HC Deb 26 June 1901 vol 95 cc1521-45

Order for Committee read.

*MR. PURVIS (Peterborough)

moved "That the Order for Committee be discharged, and that the Bill be committed to the Standing Committee on Law." The opponents of the Bill had declared that it was of so highly technical a character that it could not be adequately discussed by a Standing Committee on Law, but that it must go to a Select Committee. He should confine himself to the mere question—whether it was simple enough to be dealt with by the Grand Committee on Law, or too technical. The opponents to the Bill contended that until the Report of the Royal Commission on Arsenic in Food and Drink had been published, this Bill was premature. That argument was based on the assumption that the Bill sought to elbow out the Royal Commission on Arsenic, but it did nothing of the kind. There was a great outcry about the brewing and agricultural interests, and about their being heard; but they had been sufficiently heard, and there was a whole literature already published on this matter. They were heard before the Beer Committee of 1899, and by the Manchester committee appointed by the brewers themselves, and the matter is now also being investigated by a Royal Commission. There is already a whole literature of evidence on the subject, to master which one must "Scorn delights and live laborious days" poring over Blue-books and other documents. But great as is this stir about interests, I have heard or read hardly a word about another and greater interest—that of the consumer. I must be careful not to go into details, but it is said that the Bill will upset arrangements in the brewing trade and in the manufacture of malt substitutes; that it will upset arrangements which have existed for twenty years. It will do no such thing. Brewers will still be able to brew as they like and what they like, so far as this Bill is concerned. The motion to refer the Bill to a Select Committee is intended to kill the Bill. It is a motion which reveals the real nature of the opposition. Our opponents do not rest upon the inherent strength of their own case or upon any inherent weakness in ours; they simply attempt to hang up the Bill and to stop its further progress under a colourable stratagem, wearing the mask of a desire for more light on a matter which requires no further light so far as this Bill is concerned. I do not complain of their using all the means in their power to achieve their end; I only hope they will not succeed by concealing their real object under the cloak of a motion—to refer the Bill to a Select Committee. In vain is the net set in the sight of any bird, and I trust the House will not be caught with its eyes open. I beg to move.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Order for Committee be discharged, and that the Bill be committed to the Standing Committee on Law, etc."—(Mr. Purvis.)

MR. STUART WORTLEY (Sheffield, Hallam)

I rise to express the hope that the House will not agree to this proposal. I do so solely in the interests of the Standing Committee procedure of this House. Although it is difficult to formulate in the Standing Orders the distinction between Bills which ought to go to Standing Committees and Bills which should be considered by Committee of the Whole House, from the point of view of common sense, and of experience of the working of the Grand Committees, the thing is not by any means so difficult. What you cannot say in a Standing Order, but what you can in your own mind define as a distinction, is that the House should not send to be discussed by Standing Committees Bills which are in their nature deeply controversial, and which, as such, are opposed on Second Reading on matters of principle. On the other hand, for sending to Standing Committees you must find Bills which are sufficiently amusing in their nature to attract Members to the Committees. Unfortunately, the Bill before the House is condemned by the first of those considerations. I came down to the House prepared to vote, if necessary, for the reference of the Bill we have just disposed of to a Standing Committee, on the ground that I had reason to hope, notwithstanding the pessimistic prognostications of my noble friend the Member for South Kensington, that the Bill had reached an uncontroversial stage of its existence. But that cannot be said of the Bill under discussion. I warn the House that if they send this Bill at this stage of the session to a Standing Committee they will be going far to discredit the procedure of those Committees, and to make less their opportunity of doing such good work as they did in the early days of their existence.

MR. STEVENSON (Suffolk, Eye)

I hope the House will adopt the same course of action in this instance as was adopted with regard to the Children's Bill. Measures of a far more contentious and controversial character than the Bill before the House have been discussed by the Standing Committee. The Diseases of Animals Bill and the Vaccination Bill are probably within the memory of many Members of the House. I am certain that no harm would be done by referring this Bill to the Standing Committee on Law. Not only would the existing members of that Committee be fully capable of dealing with the subject, but other members would be added who are specially qualified, by their interest or occupation, to deal with the more technical aspects of the question. There have been many inquiries into the matter; the Second Reading of the Bill was carried by a large majority; and there will be a further opportunity of discussion on the Report stage. I hope, therefore, the motion of the hon. Member for Peterborough will be adopted.

MR. FLOWER (Bradford, W.)

; I cordially agree that this Bill is one of quite a different class and character from the one previously disposed of, and I hope the House will not be influenced by the fact that the fate of the two Bills was set down for decision on the same day, or that they seem in some way to be connected in the public mind. I should certainly have supported the sending of the previous Bill to the Standing Committee, but I suggest that there are many good and valid reasons why that course is inadvisable with regard to this measure. The hon. Member for Peterborough referred with paternal fondness to the simplicity of the Bill, saying, rather unwisely, that he who runs may read. I invite any hon. Member to take up a copy of the Bill, to read it through, and then to say whether or not it is a Bill of a simple character. It is a measure of a highly complex and technical character, and one which, in my humble judgment, can be wisely and carefully considered only by a Committee which has an opportunity of hearing evidence and of examining the statements made on the subject. The interests involved make the subject a complicated one. There is the great agricultural interest. The argument was certainly used by the promoters of the Bill that it was a measure which would lead to an increased demand for English barley. That statement was contradicted. It may or may not be true, but surely, in order to ascertain whether or nor it is true, there can be no better machinery than that of calling witnesses and examining their evidence on the matter. Then there is the interest of the Revenue. On that point I confess I should like to have had some guidance from the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It is quite true that in common with his predecessor the right hon Gentleman spoke and voted against the Bill. But he seemed to be in some doubt as to how far the Revenue would be affected by the Bill. At the opening of his speech he seemed to say that it would be not at all; later on he appeared to be more doubtful; and finally he said he felt himself bound to vote against the Bill. I think it is most essential that there should be a full opportunity for hearing the evidence of the officials of the Inland Revenue, not only as to the effect of the Bill on the Revenue, but also as to the manner in which its provisions are to be enforced. There are also the interests of those who manufacture beer, and of those who sell it. I do not desire to suggest that their interests should weigh in the consideration of a measure of a public character such as this, but surely they have a right to place their views before a Committee which is considering a Bill which certainly deals with their industry in a very drastic fashion. The course I would ask the House to adopt is of sending the Bill to a Select Committee. In doing so, I venture to say that I am acting strictly in accordance with precedent. Bills of a complex and technical character have repeatedly been referred by the House to Select Committees. There have been the Bills dealing with undersized fish, the Agricultural Produce Bill, the Companies Bill, the Adulteration Bill, and many others. I should like to mention one other, namely, the Cottage Homes Bill. At the time that was referred to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sleaford was President of the Local Government Board, and it fell to his lot to represent the Government. He made a very interesting speech on the subject, and wound up by saying that the Bill ought to go to a Select Committee. That is exactly my opinion with regard to this Bill, and it would be interesting to learn why the right hon. Gentleman insisted upon that course with regard to a comparatively simple measure like the Cottage Homes Bill, and yet objects to it being followed when dealing with the intensely complicated and intricate matter with which we are now concerned. The history of this Bill is rather a curious one. I suppose it derives such force as it has in public opinion from the deplorable outbreak of poisoning which took place last year. But the hon. Member for Peterborough has frankly admitted that so far as the arsenic question is concerned, the Bill does not touch it at all, and the measure, I believe, would not have obtained the considerable majority it did on the Second Reading had it not been for the impression in the House and throughout the country that the Bill was intended to secure the purity and wholesomeness of beer.


Order, order! The hon. Member is not now speaking to the motion before the House.


I recognise that I was going somewhat into the merits of the Bill, but I was anxious that the House should realise that the Bill is of a totally different class from the one recently referred to a Standing Committee. This is a Bill which touches several interests, and it ought to be sent to a Select Committee, which could hear the evidence of the parties interested, and investigate the statements made for and against the measure. I beg to move the motion standing in my name.

Amendment proposed— To leave out the words 'the Standing Committee on Law, etc.,' and insert the words 'a Select Committee.'"—(Mr. Flower.)

Question proposed, "That the words 'the Standing Committee on Law, etc.' stand part of the Question."

LORD EDMOND FITZMAURICE (Wiltshire, Cricklade)

As I happen at this moment to be Chairman of the Standing Committee on Law, perhaps the House will permit me to say a few words on this matter. Arguments have been put forward with regard to the proper functions of Standing Committees, the class of Bills that ought to be referred to them, and the intentions of Mr. Gladstone when the Committees were originally set up. I do not intend to go over the arguments which have been used, but I wish to put before the House one fact which has not yet been mentioned, but which I think is worthy of consideration. I would put it in the shape of an appeal to my right hon. friend representing the Home Department, what are the intentions of the Government with regard to this Bill? Upon the answer to that question ought to depend very largely—I do not say exclusively—whether or not the House should send the Bill to the Standing Committee on Law. The session is going on. Next Tuesday is July 2nd, and on that day the Standing Committee will have the Youthful Offenders Bill before it. I think we may be able to dispose of that in, at most, two sittings—I hope in one. After that, the Committee will have the Children's Bill to consider. That Bill will lead to considerably more discussion than the Youthful Offenders Bill, and, so far as you can make a forecast, I am inclined to think that those two Bills will occupy the four days which the Standing Committee has at its disposal in the next two weeks. That, no doubt, will leave time, perhaps ample time, for the discussion of even the controversial issues raised by the Bill before the House. But, assuming that the deliberations will last a considerable time, and bearing in mind that the Committee has only two days per week at its disposal, it is quite clear that it will be late in the session when the Bill comes back to the House. In all probability, the Government will then be absolute masters of the time of the House, and no private Member's measure will have the slightest chance of passing unless the Government submit it to the friendly ordeal known as "starring." If the Government do not intend to take this Bill under their protection by "starring" it, the measure will in all probability be lost. That raises a very large question. If Bills are sent to the Standing Committees at a period of the session when the members think their labours will be thrown away, it will become increasingly difficult to secure an adequate attendance or even a quorum at the Committees. It is frequently difficult, owing to the naturally dry and technical character of most of the measures which go to these Committees, especially to the Committee on Law, to secure a quorum; but if, in addition to that, a Bill comes at this period of the session, although it may perhaps be of a somewhat more exciting character than usual, I am afraid it will be difficult to induce members to attend if they think—


I think the noble Lord will not be in order in discussing the general constitution of the Standing Committees, or the difficulty or otherwise of inducing members to attend.


I do not wish to discuss the general question; I only wish to point out that it will be difficult to secure the attendance of members if they think the Government do not intend to give facilities to the Bill when it comes back to the House. That being so, I would ask the right hon. Gentleman if he is in a position to state the intentions of the Government, because if they do not intend to "star" the Bill, in all probability the appointment of a Select Committee would be the best course to adopt this year, and then next year possibly the Bill might pass in its usual course.

MR. LAMBERT (Devonshire, South Molton)

I desire to associate myself with the hon. Member for Peterborough. The difference between the two motions, to my mind, is that with one the idea is to kill the Bill, while the other is moved with the desire to secure the passage of the measure into law. I regard the Amendment as a politically dishonest method of killing the Bill. The opponents of the measure have been defeated in the division lobby; they will not come out into the open; and they want to refer the Bill to a Select Committee in order that it may be smothered by evidence and have no chance whatever of passing this session. The stale suggestion has been made that a Bill of this character should not be referred to a Standing Committee. I cannot conceive a Bill which could more properly be so referred. The Bill was carried by an enormous majority on its Second Reading, and yet the hon. Member opposite says it has not been sufficiently discussed, and that we want more evidence. There has already been one Select Committee, which had the effect of killing the Bill for that session. It is because I want the Bill to pass that I shall strenuously oppose the motion of the hon. Member for West Bradford. The motion to refer the measure to the Standing Committee has not earlier been discussed, because, for three months, it has been deliberately blocked. During those three months the Standing Committee on Law has had practically nothing to do, and this Bill might have been disposed of but for the action of some hon. Members opposite.

DR. FARQUHARSON (Aberdeenshire, W.)

I cannot conceive a better or more effective method of killing the Bill than that of sending it to a Grand Committee. I entirely associate myself with the remarks of the noble Lord, who has pointed out, with great truth, that the Standing Committee on Law is now congested with work. As a member of the Committee of Selection I know perfectly well that at this time of the session it will be very difficult to get members to attend, especially during the hot weather. If the Bill is sent to a Select Committee the Committee could be appointed almost immediately and commence its sittings. There are a great many important questions connected with the subject, and a Select Committee could take scientific evidence, especially in regard to Clause 2, as to substitutes for malt in brewing. I am, therefore, emphatically in favour of sending the Bill to a Select Committee.

MR. CHAPLIN (Lincolnshire, Sleaford)

My hon. friend opposite has very properly described this Amendment. It is undoubtedly a pretext for killing the Bill. But, if the Amendment is bad in itself, the reasons urged in its support are a great deal worse. The hon. Member for West Bradford has told us that the supporters of the Bill desire to refer it to a Committee, before which the various interests involved cannot possibly get a fair hearing, and, also, that it is absolutely necessary that we should have more evidence. How much more evidence is required? On the last occasion, when a similar Bill was before the House a Committee was appointed. That Committee sat for three years, and a mass of evidence was taken. Within six months after that Committee had reported that everything was safe and nothing needed to be done the recent epidemic broke out. There was a Commission appointed at Manchester by the brewers themselves, and that Commission has just reported. There is a Royal Commission sitting at this moment. That Commission has taken a great deal of evidence which has been reported from day to day in the public press and is accessible to all. There is, therefore, an enormous body of evidence before the House of Commons and the country; and under the circumstances it is absurd to propose that the question should now be referred to a fourth Committee, because, forsooth, the public have had no opportunity of gaining information upon the question. If hon. Gentlemen wish to defeat the Bill, let them say so openly. I frankly admit that they cannot adopt better means than that of sending it to a Select Committee. Everybody knows that even the appointment of such a Committee, unless further time was afforded by the Government, is impossible, as the opponents of the Bill certainly would not allow us to take it after twelve o'clock. Everybody must understand that the object of the Amendment is to kill the Bill, and I earnestly hope that the House, which carried the Second Reading by so large a majority, will at least grant us this—that the proposals contained in this Bill should go before the Standing Committee, where they can be thoroughly threshed out. And here is the answer to the question put by the noble Lord opposite. The decision of the First Lord of the Treasury has already been stated on this subject, namely, that if the Bill comes back to the House not more controversial than it goes to the Committee, or, at all events, reasonably uncontroversial, as we hope, with Amendments, it may do, it will naturally go forward through its further stages. I, therefore, hope the Amendment of my hon. friend will be rejected.

MR. JORDAN (Fermanagh, S.)

I confess that, as a teetotaler, I hardly know which way to vote. I know that if the Bill is sent to a Select Committee it will probably be killed for this session, and poisonous beer will not be interfered with. That being so, I am not certain whether that would not be a good way of diminishing the sale of beer. On the other hand, if the Bill goes to the Standing, Committee, it is likely to pass, and then you may get pure beer, and my fear is that if you get pure beer the sale and the drinking of beer will be increased. I am, therefore, in a strait between the two. Seeing, however, that the House was so generous in relation to the Children's Bill, I feel inclined to treat this Bill in the same way, and, therefore, having balanced the two proposals, I shall vote for sending the Bill to the Standing Committee.

*MR. GROVES (Salford, S.)

I hope I shall be able to settle the indecision of the hon. Member who has just spoken by telling him that so far as those who are responsible for the measure before the House are concerned he need not trouble his mind at all. The original Bill does not provide, or profess to provide, in any shape or form for the purity of beer. It is not a Pure Beer Bill, but I admit that on the Second Reading there was some doubt raised on the point, and that a large number of Members who supported the Second Reading were under the impression that they were doing something which would ensure the purity of beer. I consider that it is certainly better to send the Bill to a Committee specially selected, who would devote their time and attention to the discussion of the subject, rather than to a Committee composed of a large number of Members who are lax in their attendance, are wanting in expert knowledge of the question, and who will not give the attention to the subject which its importance warrants, because then when the Bill came down to the House again on the Report stage we should be no further advanced than we are now. The hon. Member for South Molton taunted the minority on this question with having been beaten in the open by an enormous majority, and with now attempting to minimise the importance of the division by a side issue, but for the reasons I have given, and which I think answer the hon. Member, there cannot be the slightest doubt as to which is the better qualified body to deal with a matter of this technical and controversial character. I shall, therefore, support the motion to refer the Bill to a Select Committee.

*MR. HEMPHILL (Tyrone, N.)

I am glad to see the First Lord of the Treasury in his place, because it is extremely desirable that we should have some light and leading as to the actual designs of the Government in this matter. As a member of the Standing Committee on Law, I entirely agree with the remarks of the noble Lord beside us. If this Bill is sent to the Committee, it should be on the distinct understanding that when it comes back to the House the Government will take charge of its further stages in order that it may pass this session. I confess I do not think there is any particular privity between law and beer; certainly so far as we Irish lawyers are concerned, I think we are about as incompetent a tribunal as possible to form a judgment on the merits of pure beer, so that, prima facie, I should be inclined to say that the Bill should be considered either by the Whole House or by a Select Committee. It would be extremely difficult for Members like myself, who are anxious always to give an intelligent vote, to deal with a subject of this more or less technical character. If, however, the Government undertake to adopt the Bill when it comes back, I will vote for its reference to the Standing Committee.

MR. BANBURY (Camberwell, Peckham)

I think this Bill should go to a Select Committee, because it introduces a novel principle into our legislation, in that it gives power to justices to compel persons to sell a certain article. Under these circumstances it would be only fair to the people who sell the article that they should have an opportunity of producing evidence and stating their case before a Select Committee, because if the Bill goes to the Standing Committee some injustice may be done.


Having occasionally served on the Standing Committees, I frankly own that a less satisfactory tribunal for dealing with a measure of this sort could hardly be conceived. The attendance is scant and infrequent; it is difficult to know when any particular Amendment is coming on; and the moment a division is called the door is locked, so that everyone outside is prevented from recording his opinion. Those who are serving on private Bill Committees, or who are called out of the room on any other business for the moment, know how exceedingly inconvenient that is. Furthermore, I do not think that the same amount of discussion and consideration is given to matters in the Standing Committees as is done either in Committee of the Whole House or before a Select Committee. This Bill raises a considerable number of controversial points, not of principle, but of detail. It is true the Second Reading was carried by a large majority, but the only principle the House then affirmed was in favour of the purity of beer. But the Bill raises other questions of quite as great importance. It has been suggested that it would promote the growth of English barley. That is a point the Committee ought to consider very carefully indeed, as we have no evidence, and the Standing Committee could have no evidence to justify the supporting of the Bill on that ground. The question whether malt beer has the sole right to be considered pure and wholesome beer, or whether beer brewed from malt substitutes may not be considered equally pure and wholesome, is another matter of considerable importance, which can be decided properly only by a Select Committee having power to take evidence. A third point would be the effect of the measure upon the trade itself. I am not interested in the trade to any extent, but I do say that the Bill would very largely affect both the producer and the retailer. Under this Bill the retailer will have to duplicate all his vessels for the sale of beer. I think these are points of principle and not of detail, and I hope that they will be carefully considered, whatever Committee the Bill is referred to. For these reasons I cannot help feeling that it would be far better that this question should be dealt with by a Select Committee or by a Committee of this House. I trust this Bill, therefore, will be referred to a Select Committee which can take evidence.


I intend to oppose this Bill when it comes back to the House, but in order that it may be discussed I shall vote for it going to the Grand Committee. I think before we proceed any further with this Bill we ought to have some opinion upon it from some representative of His Majesty's Government.

MR. GALLOWAY (Manchester, S.W.)

I object, in the first place, strongly to the Bill being referred to the Grand Committee. Those who have read the discussion which took place when Grand Committees were set up, and those who were in the House at the time, will remember that in the autumn session at the end of November Mr Gladstone was only able to carry his motion by giving an undertaking that only non-contentious measures should be sent to Grand Committees. My hon. friend the Member for Peckham has pointed out that an entirely new principle is contained in this Bill. With that contention I entirely agree, but I do not understand his argument, and I cannot see how he justified his contention that the Bill ought to be referred to a Select Committee. I should have thought that the hon. Member would have contended that the Bill ought to be discussed by the whole House, and not by some other tribunal.


That is why I wish it to be sent to a Select Committee.


In some cases I have known such a reason as this induce him to oppose such a course being taken. I do not think that even a Select Committee is specially qualified to deal with such a subject. A Select Committee ought to be a tribunal for inquiring into the subject-matter rather than into the merits of the Bill. I am entirely opposed to a Select Committee. I want to ask the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bordesley a question. The motion before the House is to refer the Bill to the Standing Committee on Law, and I am opposed to that. The hon. Member for Bradford has moved an Amendment to refer the Bill to a Select Committee, and I am opposed to that course. What I desire to ask the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bordesley is that he shall make some statement which will be a guide to myself as to which way I shall vote when the question is put from the Chair, and I hope before the question goes to a division the right hon. Gentleman will give me and other hon. Members who find themselves in a similar difficulty some guidance in this matter.

MR. MOULTON (Cornwall, Launceston)

I am afraid that in this matter I take a somewhat more serious view than most of the speakers who have addressed the House upon the point as to whether this Bill ought to go to a Select Committee or to the Grand Committee on Law. I take it that we must consider what the opposition to this Bill rests upon, so as to see whether it is a mere question of drafting or a much deeper question requiring a knowledge of the facts. I have said that I take a most serious view of this Bill. This is not because it applies to the brewing industry. The brewing industry is a great industry, and though I wish it were not so great, I feel that it must receive fair treatment at our hands. Now this Bill is in my view as had a Bill as can be brought before Parliament from the point of view not only of this special industry, but also of industrial progress generally. This class of Bill will become more and more frequent as we advance in knowledge. I have spent my life almost in watching the people who develop the various industries of our land, and I have seen things beginning with a mere rule-of-thumb practice develop into a science. And the more that occurs, what follows? It follows that those people who know the science and work it to its best advantage, those people who give us the greatest power over nature and enable us to use that power with the greatest economy and success get further and further away from the knowledge of the common people. What they do is not understood, and if anybody, whether from some political ambition or from greed or prejudice, commences an attack upon those who are in the forefront of any practical science, he can always get an audience ignorant enough—I do not use the word in any offensive sense—of what is being done in the development of that science to support him. Now I am asked whether I will let this Bill go to a Committee, where it will be debated as a political matter without an opportunity being afforded of arriving at the real facts of the case, or whether I want it to go to a Committee who can look, examine, and ascertain the facts of the case and see what is just to the various interests affected by this Bill. Now when that is the issue before us, I say that it is a Bill which ought to be dealt with with knowledge. I am sure Mr. Speaker will not consider that I am trespassing upon another stage of the Bill if I point out two or three things which will have to be raised in the Committee stage of this Bill, for I want to show that to legislate blindly and without knowledge in this case is to legislate badly, and that the only way in which each one of us can fit himself for legislation upon this matter is by seriously studying the subject and mastering the facts. Let me take the question of the agricultural interest as an example. How has this measure obtained support from the agricultural interest? People have said, "We grow barley, which makes malt; let us make the brewers use malt, and malt only, in the manufacture of beer. This will increase the demand for our malt." They do not know that the salvation of the English malt-grower and the English barley-grower lies in the skill with which modern brewing science can take the defective English malts and make them do duty in producing high-class beer. The quantity of sugars and other materials used to render this English malt equal to its duty is trivial, and if you stop the use of these materials, if you throw the ban of public opinion upon them, it means that you give up to an enormous extent using these English malts at all. To the persons who merely treat this question as a political matter all malt is malt, and that which assists in the use of malt assists the barley-grower. That is what ignorance does, and that is how ignorance makes you look at this Bill. But when you begin to put yourself in possession of the actual knowledge of brewing science you see that the additional power which has been given to the brewing chemists by the knowledge of the properties of brewing sugars enables them to use the imperfect material which is so largely grown in England. The true rival of English malt is not these sugars. These sugars are its best friends. The real rival is the foreign malt. Are you going to send a question of this kind to a Committee on Law to be swayed by people who spend their time in studying law? Are you going to send to a Committee on Law a Bill which may have the effect—and which will have the effect if it is passed and succeeds in its object—of reducing the percentage of English malt used from 80 to about 50 per cent. Is that the sort of Committee to deal with such a question? I do beseech this House to look upon this Bill in the serious light in which I have put it before the House, namely, that it is attacking people—and chiefly English people—who have worked out during the last twenty or thirty years a complete science, of the very rudiments of which I do not suppose ten people in this House, with the exception of brewers, are acquainted. Are you going to take a Bill which will have important practical consequences of that kind and send it to people for consideration who will discuss it as a matter of drafting. This would be all very well if they were drawing up a Bill upon some matter which they had been studying all their lives, but this is a matter in which the one mischievous thing is ignorance. It is only ignorance that is here to be feared. I believe that you might take at random from all sides of the House and from all parties twenty men and put them down to legislate on this matter, and if they had full knowledge the result would be exactly the same whichever twenty men you took. That which is dangerous in such legislation is legislating without that technical knowledge which enables people to understand the meaning and the purport of the very thing to which the Bill is addressed. Let me give an example of the way in which ignorance or want of accurate knowledge upon these points must affect the tribunal dealing with this matter. We have heard some speeches both on this side of the House and on the other side dealing with arsenic in beer, as if this Bill had something to do with the poisoning which occurred in the recent arsenic epidemic. And this the common belief. Yet there is not a man who has gone thoroughly into this matter who does not know that this question of arsenic in beer has not got the remotest connection with this Bill. The real difficulty which is felt by everybody who has seriously taken up the question of arsenic in beer is the keeping of arsenic out of malt. The malt is the real problem for those who are dealing with this question. There is no difficulty in keeping it out of the sugars and other substances used, and yet it is against these only that the Bill is directed. I do not intend to delay the House any further, and all I will ask is that hon. Members shall put to themselves this question—Is this a Bill upon which a right knowledge is necessary, or is it a case in which you may act without knowledge and pass a measure which is going to throw a stigma on the methods of the preparation of beer without the means of arriving at the knowledge of their nature and consequences. Remember that these methods which are being attacked are really a credit to this country? This Bill will throw into the background the triumphs of science which have given us a better, a purer, and a lighter beer, and a beer which has been so good that it has driven out that invasion of foreign beer with which we were threatened at one time. The excellence of the brewing science has enabled you to resist the invasion of lager beer. In a question of that kind, in which the right and the wrong rest upon the right appreciation of technical questions, will you be doing justice to the people and the trade of England if you send the Bill to a Committee which from its very nature cannot ask for information, and must simply trust to that knowledge, or want of knowledge, which Members of the Committee might possess?

MR. DALY (Monaghan, S.)

It strikes me that there was scarcely any necessity for the hon. and learned Member for Launceston to state that there were not ten members in the House who understood this question. [An HON. MEMBER: It is quite true.] The hon. Member opposite says it is quite true. I do not know whether he is a brewer or a barley grower, but I do feel that in this House the brewing interest is largely represented. As far as I am concerned, I do not always agree with my hon. friend the Member for South Fermanagh upon this question; but on this occasion I am prepared to support the sending of this Bill to a Committee upstairs, where I think it will be fairly treated. I think the Members of the Grand Committee on Law will be quite capable of dealing with this question in a proper manner, and I hope upon that Committee we shall have the assistance of the hon. and learned Member for Launceston. Perhaps if the hon. Member is placed upon that Committee he may be able to dispel some of the ignorance which he alleges exists among the Members of that Committee. I am not like the hon. Member for South-west Manchester upon this question, for I have no difficulty in making up my mind which way to vote. I intend to support this motion, and I do not think there need be any hesitation in sending this Bill to a Committee upstairs. It is an unfortunate thing that so many people have been poisoned by the drinking of impure beer. We are not troubled in Ireland with anything in the way of poisoned beer, because it is well known that in Ireland the beer is the best in the world.

COLONEL KENYON-SLANEY (Shropshire, Newport)

I take exception altogether to the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Launceston, who seems to suppose that all knowledge is confined to lawyers. The principal line of argument taken up by the hon. and learned Member for Launceston is that in sending this Bill to the Grand Committee we are running counter to the development of scientific brewing. Are we to accept gratefully the scientific knowledge which has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people by poisoning in Manchester? (Cries of "Oh, oh!"] I do not wonder that hon. Members do not think that argument is a sound one—it is only the sufferers from the poisoning who think it is sound This development of scientific brewing at any rate has not been advantageous to the general welfare of the public. The hon. and learned Member for Launceston has been allowed to embark upon on or two subjects which I should have thought were controversial matters.


; I must point out that the reason why the observations of the hon. and learned Member for the Launceston Division were in order was that he was pointing out that this Bill was one which involved a great number of scientific questions which could not be satisfactorily settled by the Committee, which had not the opportunity of hearing expert evidence. The hon. and gallant Member will not be in order in dealing with the merits of the Bill.


Shall I be in order, Mr. Speaker, in taking up the argument of the hon. and learned Member upon the question as to how the agricultural interest will be affected by this Bill?


Not in the economic sense, but in the scientific sense, yes.


I confess that it is a little difficult for ignorant and uneducated agriculturists to separate the economic from the scientific. I did hear the hon. and learned Member for Launceston make some remarks, upon which I am prepared to upset him, but whether they are economic or scientific I am not quite certain. I know that he made one or two statements which are contrary to the facts. He gave as one of his reasons for opposing this motion that we must take evidence as to whether foreign barley would supplant English barley. May I point out to the hon. and learned Member that the primary intention of the promoters of this Bill is not one which enters into the question of barley at all. The primary intention of the promoters of this Bill is that the consumer shall have the right to ask for a certain article, and that he shall not be supplied with something entirely different.


I think that is an economic question and not a scientific one.


I find that this is extremely cramped and difficult country to ride over. At least, I may say that the hon. and learned Gentleman, when he pointed out what the results would be of substituting foreign barley for English, forgot to mention that, in many instances, already the brewers used from 60 to 70 per cent. of sugar. [Cries of "No, no."] From those cries the House will notice the difference between ignorance and knowledge. There is a possible contingency that those hon. Members who differ from me may be ignorant, and I may be right. There is also this to be recollected. If this Bill has to have the scientific and economic effect which the hon. and learned Member desires, it will be possible to drive out this sugar and introduce more barley. But we are not discussing the question of any antagonism between English and foreign barley, and our object will be achieved if the result of this Bill is that beer will be brewed from barley, whether English or foreign, rather than from other substances which

in many cases have proved deleterious. This is not a highly controversial, complex, or technical Bill, and it is capable of being dealt with on its merits by any rational Committee upstairs. The Grand Committee on Law is perfectly competent to arrive at a reasonable and fair solution of the difficulties, and although it may be possible for those who oppose the Bill to introduce all manner of technicalities, that charge cannot justly be brought against the promoters of the Bill.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 190; Noes, 175. (Division List No. 279.)

Abraham, William (Cork, N. E,) Esmonde, Sir Thomas Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage
Aird, Sir John Evans, Sir Francis H (Maidstone Leigh, Sir Joseph
Allan, William (Gateshead) Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward Leveson-Gower, Frederick N. S.
Allen, Charles P. (Glouc., Stroud Fenwick, Charles Lewis, John Herbert
Arkwright, John Stanhope Ffrench, Peter Llewellyn, Evan Henry
Atherley-Jones, L. Field, William Lundon, W.
Bailey, James (Walworth) Finch, George H. Macdona, John Cumming
Bain, Colonel James Robert Flynn, James Christopher Mac Donnell, Dr. Mark A.
Baldwin, Alfred Forster, Henry William M'Crae, George
Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey) Gilhooly, James M'Govern, T.
Balfour, Maj K. R(Christchurch Goddard, Daniel Ford M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edinburgh W
Barry, E. (Cork, S) Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick M'Kenna, Reginald
Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire) Gore, Hon. G R C Ormsby- (Salop M'Killop, James(Stirlingshire)
Beaumont, Wentworth C. B. Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby- (Lincs. Milton, Viscount
Bignold, Arthur Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)
Boland, John Grant, Corrie Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford
Boscawen, Arthur Griffith- Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill Morton, Edw. J. C. (Devonport)
Brand, Hon. Arthur G. Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton Murphy, John
Broadhurst, Henry Hain, Edward Newnes, Sir George
Brookfield, Colonel Montagu Hammond, John Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N.)
Brown, Alexander H. (Shropsh.) Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm. Norton, Capt. Cecil William
Burns, John Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil) Nussey, Thomas Willans
Burt, Thomas Harmsworth, R. Leicester O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid
Cameron, Robert Haslett, Sir James Horner O'Brien, Patrick) Kilkenny)
Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Glasgow Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D. O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)
Carew, James Laurence Helme, Norval Watson O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.)
Carlile, William Walter Hermon-Hodge, Robert Trotter O'Doherty, William
Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)
Channing, Francis Allston Horniman, Frederick John O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)
Cogan, Denis J. Hoult, Joseph O'Mara, James
Cohen, Benjamin Louis Howard, J. (Midd., Tottenham O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens
Colville, John Hudson, George Bickersteth O'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Craig, Robert Hunter Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C Palmer, Sir Charles M. (Durham
Crombie, John William Jacoby, James Alfred Parkes, Ebenezer
Cross, Alexander (Glasgow) Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick Paulton, James Mellor
Crossley, Sir Savile Johnston, William (Belfast) Pease, Alfred E. (Cleveland)
Daly, James Jones, David Brynmor (Swans'a Pease, Sir Joseph W. (Durham)
Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan) Jordan, Jeremiah Percy, Earl
Delany, William Joyce, Michael Philipps, John Wynford
Dillon, John Kennedy, Patrick James Pilkington, Lieut- Col. Richard
Donelan, Captain A. Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop.) Power, Patrick Joseph
Doogan, P.C. Kinloch, Sir John George Smyth Pretyman, Ernest George
Doughty, George Lambert, George Rankin, Sir James
Doxford, Sir William Theodore Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm. Rea, Russell
Duffy, William J. Lawson, John Grant Reddy, M.
Duncan, J. Hastings Layland-Barratt, Francis Redmond, John E. (Waterford)
Edwards, Frank Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington) Renshaw, Charles Bine
Rentoul, James Alexander Soares, Ernest J. Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)
Rigg, Richard Spear, John Ward Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney
Robertson, Herbert (Hackney) Stevenson, Francis S. Welby, Sir Chas. G. E. (Notts.
Roe, Sir Thomas Stewart, Sir M. J. M'Taggart White, George (Norfolk)
Rolleston, Sir John F. L. Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M. White, Luke (York, E. R.)
Ropner, Colonel Robert Strachey, Edward Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
Rothschild, Hon. Lionel Walter Sullivan, Donal Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)
Round, James Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. C. (Oxf'd Univ. Willoughby, de Eresby, Lord
Russell, T. W. Taylor, Theodore Cooke Wilson, F. W. (Norfolk, Mid)
Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford- Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)
Schwann, Charles E. Thompson, Dr E C (Monagh'n, N Wrightson, Sir Thomas
Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh) Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray Yoxall, James Henry
Sharpe, William Edward T. Tritton, Charles Ernest
Sheehan, Daniel Daniel Wallace, Robert TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.
Smith, H. C (North'mb Tyneside Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir William H. Purvis and Sir Cuthbert
Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand) Walton, Joseph (Barnsley) Quilter.
Soames, Arthur Wellesley Warr, Augustus Frederick
Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F. Flannery, Sir Fortescue Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)
Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Fletcher, Sir Henry Mooney, John J.
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Flower, Ernest Morgan, David J (Walthamstow
Allsopp, Hon. George Fuller, J. M. F. Morrell, George Herbert
Anstruther, H. T. Galloway, William Johnson Morris, Hon. Martin Henry F.
Ashton, Thomas Gair Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert J. Moulton, John Fletcher
Austin, Sir John Gray, Ernest (West Ham) Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.
Balcarres, Lord Green, Walford D. (Wednesbury Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)
Banbury, Frederick George Greene, Sir E. W (B'ryS Edm'nds Nannetti, Joseph P.
Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol) Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury) Nicholson, William Graham
Bill, Charles Greene, W. Raymond- (Cambs.) Nicol, Donald Ninian
Blundell, Colonel Henry Grey, Sir Edward (Berwick) Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)
Bond, Edward Groves, James Grimble O'Dowd, John
Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn) Gunter, Sir Robert O'Kelly, Jas. (Roscommon, N.
Boyle, James Guthrie, Walter Murray O'Malley, William
Brigg, John Haldane, Richard Burdon Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)
Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson Hay, Hon. Claude George Parker, Gilbert
Bryce, Rt. Hon. James Hayden, John Patrick Partington, Oswald
Bull, William James Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale- Pease, Herbert P. (Darlington)
Bullard, Sir Harry Helder, Augustus Pierpoint, Robert
Buxton, Sydney Charles Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H. Platt-Higgins, Frederick
Caldwell, James Hickman, Sir Alfred Plummer, Walter R.
Campbell, John (Armagh, S.) Hoare, Edw Brodie (Hampstead Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Hoare, Sir Samuel (Norwich) Pym, C. Guy
Causton, Richard Knight Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E.) Reckitt, Harold James
Cawley, Frederick Holland, William Henry Redmond, William (Clare)
Cayzer, Sir Charles William Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley) Reid, James (Greenock)
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich) Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex) Rickett, J. Compton
Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r Jones, William (Carnarvonshire Ridley, Hon. M. W. (Stalybridge)
Chapman, Edward Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H. Ridley, S. Forde (Bethnal Green)
Coddington, Sir William Kenyon, James (Lancs., Bury) Robinson, Brooke
Coghill, Douglas Harry Kitson, Sir James Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye
Compton, Lord Alwyne Knowles, Lees Rutherford, John
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Law, Andrew Bonar Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool) Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)
Crean, Eugene Leng, Sir John Sandys, Lt.-Col. Thos. Myles
Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton) Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R. Sassoon, Sir Edw. Albert
Cullinan, J. Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine Shipman, Dr. John G.
Dalrymple, Sir Charles Long, Rt. Hn. Walter(Bristol, S) Simeon, Sir Barrington
Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen) Lowe, Francis William Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.)
Denny, Colonel Loyd, Archie Kirkman Stock, James Henry
Dickson, Charles Scott Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth Stone, Sir Benjamin
Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark) M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool) Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Dunn, Sir William M'Arthur, William (Cornwall) Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)
Elibank, Master of M'Calmont, Col. J. (Antrim, E.) Thomas, F. Freeman- (Hastings)
Fardell, James Patrick M'Fadden, Edward Thomas, J A (Glamorg'n, Gower
Farquharson, Dr. Robert M'Laren, Charles Benjamin Thornton, Percy M.
Farrell, Sir T. George Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe Tollemache, Henry James
Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith) Mather, William Tomkinson, James
Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Maxwell, W. J H (Dumfriesshire Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Fisher, William Hayes Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M. Tufnell, Lieut. Col. Edward
Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond Molesworth, Sir Lewis Valentia, Viscount
Vincent, Col. Sir C. E H (Sheffield Whittaker, Thomas Palmer Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Walton, John Lawson (Leeds, S.) Williams, Rt. Hn J Powell- (Birm. Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Warner, Thomas Courtenay T. Willox, Sir John Archibald Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong
Webb, Colonel William George Wills, Sir Frederick Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)
Welby, Lt.-Col. A. C E. (Taunton Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)
Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon- Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.) TELLERS FOR THE NOES—
White, Patrick (Meath, North) Wilson, John (Durham, Mid) Mr. Gretton and Mr.
Whiteley, H. (Ashton und. Lyne Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath) Charles Shaw.

Main Question put, and agreed to.

Order for Committee discharged.

Bill committed to the Standing Committee on Law, etc.