§ As amended (by the Standing Committee), further considered.
§ (12.15.) MR. ALBAN GIBBS (London)
had upon the Paper an Amendment to insert words in the proviso to Sub-section 1 in order to provide that the sub-section shall not apply to any excise licence taken out by a spirit-dealer or wine-dealer for premises which are exclusively used for the sale of intoxicating liquors., "or of intoxicating liquors and mineral waters."
§ *The SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPAWMENT (MR. RITCHIE,) CROYDON
As the hon. Member is not in his place, I propose to move the insertion of these words.
§ MR. GALLOWAY (Manchester, S.W.)
moved the addition of the following words:—"Provided also that this sub-section shall riot apply to any excise licence taken out by a wine-dealer in respect of Colonial grown wine." He said there appeared on the Paper, in the name of the hon. Member for the Hallam Division of Sheffield, an Amendment which he, understood was out of order, because they had already passed that portion of the Bill, and therefore it could not be moved; but he frankly admitted that he would have preferred the hon. Member's Amendment to his own. Were it possible so to alter his Amendment as to bring it into line with that of the hon. Member for the Hallam Division, he would be very glad to do so. The Home Secretary, in dealing with that Clause, had always 241 asserted, both in that House and in the Committee upstairs, that it was the firm of Messrs. Gilbey who were primarily concerned in the objection to that clause relating to grocers' licences. He trusted he need not assure the House that he knew nothing whatever of Messrs. Gilbey, and had no connection whatever with them, and with the exception of having received the circular which he believed had been addressed to every Member, he had bad 110 communication with them. When the Home Secretary accused those who took a different view of that Clause of being supporters of Messrs. Gilbey, he did them an injustice. They were in that matter actuated solely by a sense of justice, and whether it affected Messrs. Gilbey or anybody else, they would have taken exactly the same course of action. He did not think the Home Secretary could have considered how far-reaching the effect of that Clause would be. The right hon. Gentleman had assumed that, so far as the sale of wine was concerned under that Clause, its effect would be confined almost entirely to French. Wine He had not considered how very seriously that Clause would affect the Australian and Colonial wine trade, the protection of which was the object of his Amendment. He was sure the right hon. Gentleman would desire to do nothing which could adversely affect the wine trade or any other trade of the Colonies, but that Clause could have no other effect. The object of the right hon. Gentleman avowedly was to reduce the number of grocers' licences.
§ MR. GALLOWAY
said although the right hon. Gentleman denied that intention, it was evident that the effect of the Clause could be none other than to reduce the number of such licences, which would he the necessary consequence of the passing of the Clause, and the result would he that the Australian wine trade, which was very largely carried on through grocers, would be adversely affected. He wished to except from the working of that Clause Colonial wines. The Australian trade was a new and growing one. It was started in 1871—only some thirty years ago—and the figures of its increase were very extraordinary. In 1886, the amount 242 of Australian wine imported into this country was some 148,000 gallons. In 1890, it had grown to 314,000 gallons, and in 1900, to 822,000 gallons. This year it would probably amount to something like 1,000,000 gallons. The whole of that trade was done by the grocers of this country. It was not carried en by the wine merchants, because those connected with the trade found, to begin with, that very naturally the wine merchants were prejudiced against the now wines, the sale of which detrimentally affected the interests which they represented. From one end of the country to the other the grocers had taken up the sale of the Colonial wines in a remarkable manner, and if they were going to reduce the number of their licences they were, undoubtedly, going to affect detrimentally the interests of the trade. They could not now deal with the amount to be charged for these licences; but that was a matter which could be easily adjusted hereafter, and he hoped he had convinced the right hon. gentleman that by the Clause concerned he would be doing a, very serious injustice to a rising and already flourishing trade which affected nearly all our Colonies. It could not be contended that any serious moral effect was produced upon the people of this country by the consumption of these wines. He begged to move the Amendment which stood in his name.
Amendment proposed—In page4, line 30, after the word 'business,' to insert the words, 'provided also, that this sub-section shall not apply to any excise, licence taken out by a wine dealer in respect of Colonial grown wine'."—(Mr. Galloway.)Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ *MR. RITCHIE
I have not the smallest doubt whatever as to the intention of my hon. friends in regard to this or any other Amendment. If I have ever seemed to imply that they are actuated by consideration for other people engaged in the trade, I must have made myself very much misunderstood. That never entered my mind at all, and I entirely dissociate myself from any idea of the kind. No one will fail to agree that it is very desirable to encourage all forms of trade with the Colonies, but I think the hon. Member is mistaken in believing that the proposed Clause will lead to any 243 diminution whatever in the amount of Colonial wine consumed in this country. The hon. Member has suggested that the intention of the Government is to reduce the number of these licences. That, of course, is not our intention at all.
§ MR. GALLOWAY
I argued that the effect of the Clause would be to reduce the number of such licences.
§ *MR. RITCHIE
The intention of the Government is in no way to discourage the reasonable sale of wine, spirits or beer as now generally carried on. What we want is to guard against an indefinite multiplication of those licences, and also to put more power into the hands of the magistrates to deal with those who, although not infringing the statute law, do undoubtedly infringe the moral law. There can be no doubt that there are cases in which grocers do supply liquor and call it some thing else. However, I will not press that point further, except to say that at present there is no power whatever in the hands of the magistrates to control such action as the sale of wines as groceries. But apart altogether from other considerations, I do not see how what the Amendment proposes can be done. How are we to differentiate between Colonial and other wines? I suspect a great deal of the Colonial wine is used for admixture with other wines, and that it is not all sold as Colonial wine. I do not see how it would be possible to give the Colonies that preference. I would point out also that there will be a decided anomaly under the terms of the Amendment. There will be no control by the justices of the sale of Colonial wine, but there will remain the full control which now exists as to the sale of alcoholic liquors produced in this country do not think that that would be either wise or practicable.
§ MR. STUART WORTLEY (Sheffield, Hallam)
said that according to the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill, the main object of these restrictions of grocers' licences was to prevent secret drinking which led to habits of inebriety. It could not be said that these light wines were responsible for such habits, and no doubt it was the intention of MR. Gladstone to encourage the consumption of these wines when he created grocers' licences. Surely that was not impracticable to so provide that the justices in 244 their discretion should not interfere with grocers who sold these light wines, which it should be remembered paid duty. We ought to help the Colonial industries wherever we could. He did not think much weight should attach to the complaint that wines were sometimes sold under another name, neither could he see that there would be any great difficulty in differentiating between Colonial and other wines, for the provisions of the Merchandise Marks Act were now so clear that it was extremely difficult to falsely describe the place of origin of any commodity, and nil wines had to be described under that Act. He thought the right hon. Gentlemanmight have given a more sympathetic reception to the Amendment.
Question put and negatived.
(12.35.) MR. HERBERT EOBERTSON (Hackney, S.)
said he had intended to move the omission from lines 32 and 33 of the words, "And seventy-four." He had, he said, discovered that in the definition clause there was a small section, which was enacting in its character—and which ought not in his opinion to appear in that part of the Bill. The House was wrong in putting into an interpretation clause a really enacting clause, but as the words were there, he proposed to meet the difficulty not by moving the Amendment which stood in his name, but by proposing the deletion of all words after "Notwithstanding" in line 31, down to "licensing justices" in line 33, and the insertion in he u thereof of "any enactment to the contrary."
Amendment proposed—In page 4, line 31, to leave out from the word 'notwithstanding,' to the second word 'the,' in line 33, and insert the words 'any enactment to the contrary.'"—(Mr. Herbert Robertson.)Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."
§ *MR. RITCHIE
said he understood that the Amendment was put forward on the plea that it was an improvement of the wording of the Clause. He could not possibly accept the proposal 245 without full consideration. He read the Clause carefully through With the Attorney General on the previous day, and was assured by the hon. and learned Gentleman that the words were essential as they stood.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
said it was about time the right hon. Gentleman made up his mind as to what he desired to do. Did he mean to give the licensing justices free and unqualified discretion? If so there could be no possible harm in the Amendment, The Clause as it stood gave such discretion notwithstanding certain things; the effect of the Amendment would be to give it notwithstanding anything. It made the Clause wider: it could not possibly narrow it.
MR. HERBERT ROBERTSON
said he would like to explain that he had been in consultation with the Attorney General on the subject of his Amendment. Still, as it was a rather difficult point, and as in a round-about way the Clause as it at present stood did arrive at the point arrived at by the Amendment, he would not put the House to the trouble of a division. He would therefore ask leave to withdraw it.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ *MR. CRIPPS (Lancashire, Stretford)
said he wished to make some verbal alterations in the Amendment which stood in his name, chiefly in the direction suggested in the Amendment to the Amendment of which the hon. Member for the Devizes Division of Wiltshire had given notice, viz., by substituting the, 25th June, 1902, as the date at which licences must be in force to exempt them from the magisterial discretion in regard to renewal. His Amendment would then read—
"Provided that where a licence for the sale of wine, spirits, liqueurs, sweets or cider not to be consumed on the promises was in force on the 25th June, 1902, an application for the renewal of such licence or of any licence granted by way of renewal thereof from time to time, shall not be refused to the person holding such licence, except on one or more of the grounds on which it might have been refused if this Act had not been passed."
§ *MR. SPEAKER
It appears to me the hon. Member would not be in order in moving this Amendment, seeing that the House has already expressly provided for the "free and unqualified discretion" of the magistrates. Now the hon. Member wishes to put in a proviso that they shall not have that unqualified discretion except in certain cases. I do not think that can be done.
§ *MR. CRIPPS
pointed out that a distinction was drawn in his Amendment between existing licences in the hands of existing licensees and future licences in the hands of future licensees, and he submitted that where they had a, general provision, such as the Speaker had pointed out, it was in order to subsequently insert words limiting that provision, so as to take out from its operation certain existing licences in the hands of existing licensees. Surely it was a common practice to make exceptions to general provisions. The same principle was applied in Sub-section 1.
§ MR. BARTLEY (Islington. N.)
Would it not be possible to put in the limiting words "except as hereafter stated" before the words "free and unqualified discretion"?
§ *MR. SPEAKER
Yes, if those words are there inserted the hon. Member for Stretford might afterwards move his Amendment. But when the House has positively decided there shall be no exception, it is not in order to subsequently move exceptions.
§ *MR. CRIPPS
said he would move that these words "except as hereafter stated" be inserted in the Clause. He said the necessity for putting them in depended on the question of bringing in the subsequent proviso. The proposals in the Bill would apply not only to future licences and future licensees, but to existing licences and existing licensees. He did not think they were now dealing with what was called the general temperance question, and he did not believe the most ardent advocate of temperance would say that he looked to this Bill as one intended to materially decrease existing licences. They did look upon it as a Bill to prevent the too large extension of this 247 form of licence in the future, and, therefore, if they eliminated that element they came to a simple issue. Could the main object of the Bill be attained by dealing with future licences only 1 What the Home Secretary desired was to have a guarantee against an undue increase of these licences, and so far as that was the object of the Bill his Amendment would make no alteration whatever. As hon. Members would see, he had been most careful to limit it not only as regarded the time at which the licences existed, but he proposed to limit it to existing licensees. He did not want to perpetuate what was a system of privileged licences, but his object was to protect the individual engaged in a legitimate trade, and not to protect the licence itself. He wished to protect the trader carrying on his business, and he did not want to give any special or exceptional value to the premises in which that business was being carried on. They knew that whenever they created by regulation what he might well call "monopoly value," it did unfortunately tend to increase the value of the premises in which the trade was carried on. He had always been opposed to that, and said his object was to protect the individual and not the licence. He did not think it was necessary in temperance reform to act unjustly to existing interests. It had been a mistake to look too exclusively at the temperance point sometimes with disregard to fairness and justice, but he claimed that he reconciled the two in his Amendment. If there was any misconduct on the part of a particular licensee, his licence could be taken away at the present time. He was now subject to the magistrates as regarded questions of personal misconduct, and the magistrates could also deal with the question as to whether the premises were themselves proper and suitable for the particular business. Take the position of the existing licences. No one could say that the grocers of this country—as a class—as regarded their business capacity arid moral character—were not equal to other classes of traders. The small grocer, in a small country town, was very often one of the most respectable residents in that town; he was a man who had built up his trade, 248 and had expended a certain amount on stock, and it was now the law that he should not be interfered with except for misconduct. Surely it was not right or just to sacrifice the interests of that man—interests legitimately acquired, because other people wanted some change in the licensing laws. There were two points with which he ought to deal. First there was that relating to one control. It was obvious that it would be an advantage as far as they could apply it justly and fairly. They had to remember that there was one control at the present time on the question of individual misconduct, because these licences were in that sense subject to the jurisdiction of the magistrates, and they must not push the policy of one control so far as to act unfairly and unjustly to legitimate trade interests. It was desirable to find some means of reconciling the two, and he thought the best plan to do that was to apply the now regulation to new licensees only. As to the argument that this Amendment would give a privileged form of licence, he contended that it did not create any privilege at all. It merely prescribed that existing licensees should not be disturbed in the lights they now was an entirely It would be a the protection to existing licensees, but the proposal of the Government was to give no consideration whatever to them. It should be remembered that the licensees were not the movers in this matter. Their position was sought to be altered by legislation. An effort was being made to regulate their trade, and one natural effect of that was to give a certain privileged position to existing holders. That privileged position was given under such Acts as the Acts of 1869 and 1872, and similar enactments. It was a great advantage to avoid that difficulty. Let them take the Minority Report. There it was desired to do away with grocers' licences for all time, but they proposed a limit of five years before it became obligatory, so that these people might turn round and rearrange their business. The Minority Report gave consideration to the existing licences and licensees, and it was rather hard, therefore, to give no consideration 249 to existing licences and licensees, against whom there was already protection with regard to their conduct, and against whoso business there was no indictment that could be made. So much had been said upon the subject on a previous occasion that he had endeavoured to limit his observations particularly to this matter, and he hoped the Home Secretary would sec his way to giving some consideration to these people. This Amendment had been drawn in the most careful form, after full consideration from the point of view that it was only desired to protect the licensees as apart from the licences. Everybody was desirous to prevent abuse in the liquor trade, but he hoped they would not be blind to the claims of justice, he hoped the House would remember that it ought to give fair consideration to existing interests. In his opinion justice and fairness as regarded the character of the country was just as important as the question of temperance.
Amendment proposed—In page 4, line 34, after the word 'discretion,' to insert the words 'except as hereinafter provided.'"—(Mr. Cripps)Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ (1.5.) MR. T. P. O'CONNOR (Liverpool, Scotland)
said he rose to support the proposal made by the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite. The view he had always held with regard to social and trade changes was that the persons engaged in them at the moment ought to be treated with the greatest consideration. That principle in general guided the law, but if there was one class of people to whom the principle ought to be specially applied it was the class of men who had small businesses in small places. There were a large number of grocers' licences in great cities like this, the owners of which might, and | to a certain extent, did take care of themselves, but he would ask the House respectfully to consider this question with sympathy and to follow out the working of such a law as this in the smaller towns and villages of the country. In such places they would find the grocer who sold tea, coffee and sugar and various forms of provisions and wines and spirits—more often than not only wines alone— 250 to be consumed off the premises. Everybody knew that a grocer in that position in. a small town or village would practically have to shut up his shop if deprived of his wine and spirit licence. That was his opinion, and that was the statement of the Minority Report. Let them apply the Amendment to that state of things. All the hon. and learned Member asked was not that the licence of the house should be preserved—he should have been in opposition to the hon. and learned Member if that had been his proposition. He objected to tied houses, to privileged houses, or to privileged individuals, but he thought whore a man had embarked his small capital, and his wife and his family and himself were dependent for income upon that business, it was grossly unjust on the part of this House to interfere with the business of that house without due consideration. The Amendment was confined so that it did not privilege the house or the man behind the house, but the small shopkeeper with the small income and the small capital whose all might be involved in this business. He did not know what the Homo Secretary was going to say with regard to this Amendment, but it certainly seemed to be in exact accord with the principle the right hon. Gentleman had laid down. The right hon. Gentleman said his object was not to interfere with grocers' licences, but with the tendency to undue multiplication, his position being not that there were too many grocers' licences at the moment, but that if they continued to multiply the country would be overrun with them. The Amendment did not interfere with the future, but merely endeavoured to safeguard the persons who had embarked their capital in this way. He spoke strongly upon the matter of grocers' licences because he felt strongly upon them, but he was neither influenced nor interested in grocers' licences. He was in favour of this Amendment, because he knew what the lot of the shopkeeper was, and especially having regard to the fact that the small shopkeeper had very few friends in this House. He had no doubt the liquor trade behind him, but the publican was against him, and the temperance party was against him. The principle which his hon. and learned friend was fighting to-day did not bind the House to anything but the justice of the case. This 251 Clause subjected these people to the free and unfettered opinion of the justices. He wished the House to remember that there were various kinds of justices. He did not wish to say anything against the justices as a whole, but there were justices and justices, who differed from each other very widely upon the question of the drink traffic, upon which they held very strong convictions. These justices had practically no law to guide them, except their own judgment. It might be found in many cases that their judgment might be the judgment of the strong advocates of the liquor trade, and then it might err too much on the side of indulgence, or it might be the judgment of the strong, almost fanatical temperance opinion, and then it would err as greatly the other way; so that before one set of justices a man might be safe, and his interests safeguarded, but in other districts, and there were districts where the justices might not be fair, moderate minded men like himself, but men imbued with strong fanatical opinions on the question of temperance, who would interfere with these licences wholesale, the only result would be that these small grocers would be impoverished. The drink would not diminish, but one class of grocer would be impoverished and another would be enriched. That was not a fair state of things. The Amendment of his hon. and learned friend was perfectly reasonable and just, and he hoped the moderation of the Government would not be misplaced, and that this Amendment would be acceded to.
§ *MR. GOULDING (Wiltshire, Devizes)
said he rose to make a special appeal to the Home Secretary to accept this Amendment. The Amendment originally on the Paper, in the name of his right hon. and learned friend, had been considerably modified by Amendments which he had suggested and which had been accepted, it had been modified and had been assented to by the supporters of the Government, and the Home Secretary had been one of the first persons to bear testimony before the Grand Committee as to how much he had been indebted to Members of his own party who, though not in favour of several Clauses of his Bill as drafted, had 252 helped him materially by their suggestions. The Amendment, as it originally appeared, allowed for an avalanche of new applications, and might have created a huge and gigantic monopoly, but as now proposed, it simply kept the 10,000 holders of grocers' licences in their present position. If they conducted their business improperly they rendered themselves liable to the loss of their licences, and they could only carry on their trade so long as they did so in accordance with the law. By accepting this Amendment the Home Secretary would adopt in another form the recommendation of the majority of the Royal Commission, and avoid the whole difficulty of providing compensation, which the majority of the Commission laid down in clear and specific terms should be given. To give these men ten or fifteen years was absolutely useless; what they wanted was to be allowed to continue in their present occupation, and no reason whatever had been adduced why that occupation should be taken from them.
§ SIR JOHN LENG (Dundee)
said it was obvious that there was something like a concerted movement on the other side of the House, to weaken very I seriously this excellent measure. He appealed to the Home Secretary not to give way to the somewhat noisy demonstration on his own side of the House. Some hon. Gentleman opposite were equally noisy the other night, but when the feeling of the whole House was taken, the Government were supported by a largo majority, and he believed the same thing would happen on the present occasion if they only stood firm. The hon. and learned Gentleman in moving the Amendment endeavoured to minimise its, effect, to make it appear that it was only doing justice to the present holders of licences. I He assumed throughout that the effect of the present system, with regard both to the number and to the conduct of licence holders, was absolutely perfect and for the general good. But the proposals of the Government would not have been made unless it was. known by experience that it was important to bring the holders of grocers' licences under the general law applicable to all licence holders. These proposals 253 were made because neither the Government nor the public were satisfied with the present system. The licences concerned were introduced with the best of motives, but experience had shown that while in some respects they tended towards public convenience they were accompanied by very serious evils. From the statistics of convictions for drunken ness and disorderly conduct, it would he found that there had been a serious aggravation of those offences, and he believed it was largely attributable to the effect of those licences. Those who were acquainted with the social conditions of the poor and the working classes, knew that in many cases the drinking habits of women were due to the facilities they had of quietly introducing drink into their homes without the knowledge of their husbands, and effectually concealing for a long time a practice often resorted to, especially when the poor women were suffering from nervous and other afflictions. They began in a quiet way, but gradually they resorted more and more—
§ *MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Member is now renewing the debate on the whole question. The only point before the Mouse is whether a distinction should be drawn between two classes of holders.
§ SIR JOHN LENG
said he would not proceed further with that subject. An attempt had been made to magnify the mischief which might arise from the withdrawal of these licences from small shopkeepers. But there would be no occasion for such withdrawal if the the holders of the licences conformed to the regulations in the Bill. Those regulations were not penal; there was nothing excessive or exorbitant in them; they were devised simply to prevent drunkenness and to meet gross cases of infraction of the law. So long as the present licence holders kept within the regulations they might continue to hold their licences as before. ["No."] That, at any rate, was his interpretation of the provision. Reference had been made to the possible action of justices in dealing with cases that might come before them. Such an argument was applicable not only to the matters here dealt with, but to all others, and if it was contended 254 that the justices were not to he trusted, an end should he put to their jurisdiction altogether. All these contentions were made in the Standing Committee, and was the House, owing to agitations which undoubtedly had a special trade origin, to set aside the carefully considered resolutions then arrived at. It would be a most dangerous thing to give way to an outcry and agitation of this sort, and he hoped that the Government would adhere firmly to the decision of the Committee.
§ *(1.25.) SIR JOHN ROLLESTON (Leicester)
reminded the House that on the Second Reading of the Bill he expressed the opinion that it would be unjust to alter the law with regard lo these off-licences by increasing the powers of the magistrates in the direction proposed without compensation, and also that the proposals in Clause 8 should be prospective and not retrospective. He had heard no arguments since to cause him to 'change that opinion, and he thought the Amendment before the House was a reasonable compromise, and went a considerable way to meet the justice of the case. It must not be forgotten that these licences were instituted in the interest of temperance, and for the convenience of those among the public who desired to get their supplies without going to the public house. His reason for thinking that the Clause ought not to apply to existing licences was that large sums had been invested in the alteration and improvement of premises, largo stocks of wines and spirits were now held, and to alter the law now would probably inflict great loss on individuals, cause inconvenience to the public, and possibly raise prices. Unionist Members had been charged with inconsistency because thirty years ago they opposed the proposals of MR. Gladstone, while now they were urging the continuance of these licences. There were reasons for that opposition. The intention, largely, was to encourage the I consumption of light wines and cheap spirits from the Continent instead of the products of the United Kingdom. That intention had been eminently successful, as, aided by the advice of the medical profession, light wines and spirit, and water with bubbles in it, had largely 255 supplanted the use of the ales and stouts of Great Britain and Ireland. So largely was spirit costing less than Is. a gallon imported for the adulteration of whiskey in this country, that serious loss was caused to the distillers of purer and sounder spirits in Great Britain and Ireland, and great injury inflicted upon the national constitution. So far, then, as it was MR. Gladstone's intention to encourage the consumption in this country of cheap spirits and sour wine, it was not a happy intention, having regard to the health and the stamina of the people of this country. Those proposals, however, having passed into law, a vast interest had been built up by thrift and industry under that law, and he submitted that those who opposed it at that time were quite consistent in rejecting now the sweeping away of those safeguards under which they were created. He believed that it was worthy of the attention of the Home Secretary to do something to check the spread of these licences in the country. The Amendment under consideration provided for this, arid he earnestly hoped the House would agree to it, and not, by neglecting, it inflict a great injury on the reasonable and legitimate interests of a very respectable body of trades people in the country.
*MR. WHITTAKEE (Yorkshire, W.B., Spen Valley)
said he hoped the Home Secretary would not accept this Amendment, because it would introduce much more complication into the licensing system than already existed. Upon a previous Amendment he enumerated some of the complications which would result, but those complications would be practically doubled by this proposal. Precedents were against it. When the Home Secretary brought in his Bill in 1882 he gave no exemption to the existing licences. As for the contention of the hon. Member for the Scotland Division that small grocers depended for their livelihood upon these licences, that was an entire delusion. As a rule they did not find these licences held by small grocers, for they were generally held by the large firms. The measure of 1882 made no provision for the protection of existing off-beer licences, and there had been no injustice done to them.
said that the evidence given by justices' clerks before the Royal Commission was strongly in the direction of the advisability of providing that magistrates should be given full control over all licences. The Parliamentary title given to the ante 1869 beer-houses had proved to be very objectionable. A similar title should not be created for the grocers' licences. They had no greater difficulty at the present time than the 1869 beer-houses, and it would be a great mistake to create another privileged class. He contended that no case had been made out for exemption. The majority by which this Clause was carried indicated clearly the feeling of the House and of the country upon it. There was a strong feeling that grocers' licences should be put under the control of the justices, and to leave 10,000 of these licences as they were before would deprive this Clause of all its force.
§ MR. LYTTELTON (Warwick and Leamington)
hoped the Home Secretary would accept the Amendment, which provided for the gradual extinction without friction and without cost of these grocers' licences, if it should be established that they really were the sources of secret inebriety. As a strong advocate of rational temperance reform he had always felt that nothing could be more dangerous to that cause than to affect any class with a sense of injustice such as would result from the possible extinction of these licences without compensation. Inferences had been drawn from certain statistics that these licences were the cause of secret inebriety, although personally he did not think the statistics established that fact. No one could deny that these licences had the support of both Parties, for they were proposed by MR. Gladstone, and sanctioned by the Party opposite. A man who held such a licence might well think that he had acquired a property established with the general assent of both political Parties of this country. Therefore, if they deprived the holders of those licences of their property they were entitled to compensation. It would never do for the Members of the Unionist Party to support a proposition which enabled the property in these licences to be absolutely extinguished without any compensation. For these reasons he hoped the Home Secretary would see his way to accept the Amendment.
§ *(1.40.) SIR WILLIAM HOULDSWORTH (Manchester, N.W.)
said the position of these licence holders was entirely different with regard to any claim f or compensation than the ordinary publican when they came to deal in a wholesale manner with the licences. In the ease of public house licences there were many things which they had to consider, such as the large expenditure which owners of public houses had been put to and the large amount of capital which they had invested in the licences. None of these circumstances were at all present in this particular case. Even if a grocer's licence was taken away by the magistrates there would be no actual loss which he could see. [Cries of "Yes, there would."] He admitted that there might be a loss of future profit, but there certainly would not be anything like the loss which would be caused in the case of other licences. he did not think the case was very strong for making this exception. At the same time, however, there was no doubt that there, was a plausibility about the Amendment and certain sentimental considerations in its favour which entitled them to attach some weight to it. In its original form he could not have supported it, for it would have destroyed the value of the Clause altogether, but in its modified form he recommended its acceptance, because it would shorten the debate and promote the passing of the Bill. Although personally he could only speak for himself, at the same time he had same knowledge of the views of those with whom he usually acted in this matter. On the whole the acceptance of this Amendment would shorten the debate and promote the the passage of the Bill, and most of his friends and himself felt that getting this measure through and getting it made into an Act of Parliament this session was perhaps much more important than this small question, of the effect the Bill would have upon grocers' licences. He did not believe for a moment that these licence holders would be put in any very great danger, and it would be very few cases in which the justices would abolish those licences. There might be one or two cases, and therefore the matter was reduced to a very small point. In any case this proposal would not have any effect on present licence holders, and under those circumstances he was 258 disposed to support the Amendment, and he thought the House would be well advised to accept it.
§ MR. CAINE (Cornwall, Camborne)
said he could hardly contemplate for a moment that the Home Secretary would accept this Amendment, because it would stultify the Government. The principle of the Clause, with which it was inconsistent, had been confirmed by a majority of five to one. It was a most dangerous Amendment. He did not believe that a very great number of these licences would be taken away, and it was a must dangerous thing to establish a class of privileged licences, which would very greatly complicate the licensing system in the future. If the Home Secretary resisted it he would find the result would vindicate him as in the case of the division on the main issue. He thought the Home Secretary had no reason to complain of the temperance party in this debate, and he appealed to him to stand firm. The danger was that if this principle of a life interest in the licences was now admitted it would be used as a precedent in the future, and would greatly increase the difficulty of future attempts to deal with the licensing question. He hoped temperance friends in the House would show the same courage in resisting this Amendment as the party had shown who represented the licenced victuallers in supporting it.
§ *(1.45.) MR. RITCHIE
I agree with the hon. Member for the Camborne I Division that in the course of the various discussions on this Bill, the temperance party have displayed a moderation which I think is creditable to them, and which I think is really in the interest of the cause they wish to serve. But it must not be supposed that because I am ready to say that, I am not as ready to say that my hon. friends behind me have also displayed a moderation which think is to their credit. There have been naturally a good many proposals in this Bill which have not met with enthusiastic support, but should like to know how it would be possible to put together any Temperance Bill which would not be open to objections of that kind. Far be it from me to complain of the action taken by 259 my hon. friends on the Hill at this stage. A remark was made by the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down with which I disagree, and that is that the division which took place two nights ago on Clause 9 was really a division on the present proposal. I do not think it was. The House will remember that the question at issue then was. whether there was to be any regulation at all of these so-called grocers' licences, and in my opinion the division with regard to that was a division which went to the very principle of one of the parts of the present Bill. Of course I felt bound to resist the Motion to omit the Clause, and in resisting it was supported not only by hon. Gentlemen opposite, but by an immense majority of hon. Members on this side think the speeches that have already been made from this side, or at least some of them, should have shown to the hon. Gentleman opposite, that the position which he has taken up in regard to that is an unsound one, because some of the warmest supporters of our proposals in the main, do not look favourably on the present Amendment. If the Amendment had been one which was originally on the Paper, I should have had no hesitation whatever in opposing it to the utmost of my power, on the ground that it would have set up a great class of privileged monopoly which the House at some future time would have found to be extremely difficult to deal with. I think that would have been most unfortunate. But what is the difference between the present proposal and that? The original proposal was that you were to set up a monopoly which would assume great value in future, and which Parliament would be unable to deal with. This proposal is simply that the process by which the Magistrates shall obtain control over these licences shall be a gradual one. That principle is affirmed in the Minority Report of the Royal Commission.
There was of course the great principle referred to by the hon. Gentleman opposite that in the end the ultimate result would have been, according to the Minority Report, the absolute extinction of those licences. There is nothing in our proposal which would necessarily lead to the extinction of the trade. But 260 there is the advantage for our proposal that the control of the magistrates commences at once. I do not know exactly what may be said to be the actuarial calculation as to the period when full control will come in under this proposal, but we have not to deal with a gigantic number of licences such as were dealt with in 1869. In that year some 50,000 licences were affected, but the number to come in under this proposal is little more than 10,000 or 11,000. I have never defended this Clause quite on the grounds which many hon. Gentlemen who hold extreme views in this matter have expressed have always said that I consider that the grocers' licences established by MR. Gladstone in 1869 are not licences to be utterly condemned root and branch. On the contrary, in the course of these discussions I have said that would regret to see these licences extinguished. If the business is properly carried on they perform a useful part in the distribution of that which most of us appreciate. I think in the general interest we cannot leave that out of sight. Hon. Gentlemen opposite will acknowledge that have been pretty firm with regard to the provisions of the Bill, and that I have done my utmost to get a real piece of temperance legislation passed into law. I confess that I should regard with great apprehension the imperilling of this Bill on what after all is a small point, for, undoubtedly, it is a small I point, whatever may be said by extreme partisans on one side or the other. Under the proposal of my hon. and learned friend those 10,000 licences will begin to be reduced at once; and though, no doubt, that is not a good argument in favour of it from the point of view of hon. Gentlemen opposite who desire to see the abolition of the licences, I am not sure that could not make a good argument in its favour by saying that when the licence does fall in the licensee will have got his quid pro quo, and so a considerable reduction will be effected in places where a reduction is desirable.
There is one point in connection with this matter which, I think, we must not leave out of sight, and which I shall endeavour to put right when my hon. and learned friend comes to move his 261 Amendment. I should not like these licences to be continued at all without some greater safeguard than at present exists for the proper carrying on of business. It, has been alleged, believe with some truth—how far I am not prepared to say—that in some case—I hope only the lowest class of these houses—whisky has been sold and put down as soap, or something of that kind. I understand that there would be, to say the least of it, very great difficulty in penalising a grocer under existing powers for an action of that kind; and, if we are to assent to the Amendment proposed, it must be accompanied by some words which will make it clear that the justices in every case, both in regard to existing licences and future licences, shall have power to refuse the renewal of licences where men are guilty of practices of that kind. Therefore, I say that addition is really in the interests of grocers who carry on their business in a respectable manner, and those who do not carry on their business in a proper way deserve to be punished. When my hon. and learned friend moves his Amendment I hope he will assent to the addition of the words—Or on the ground that the licensee has been guilty of misconduct in the management of his business under such licence.That will give the magistrates sufficient power to refuse the licence in case of abuse. I have stated the reasons which actuate me in accepting the Amendment. Whatever may be in the minds of the temperance reformers, they must recognise that this is a very moderate proposal, which will conduce a great deal to the interests they have at heart.
§ MR. WALLACE (Perth)
said he doubted whether the selling of spirits to women under the circumstances described in evidence would amount at all to legal misconduct. Personally, he was afraid it would not. If, therefore, the right hon. Gentleman would use such words as would cover the ground they were anxious to cover, it would largely remove their objection to the Amendment. He did not think the words suggested by the right hon. Gentleman quite met the case.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir ROBERT FINLAY,) Inverness Burghs
My impression is that the words the Home Secretary has just read would meet the case. If a grocer supplies whisky to the wife of a customer and in the Bill calls it sugar or soap in order to prevent the husband from knowing what is going on, he is guilty of gross misconduct. If any real doubt exists about it we will see that the matter is dealt with.
§ (1.59.) SIR ROBERT REID (Dumfries Burghs)
I do not like the substance of the Amendment, which is that a life interest in the licence should be conferred on those who hold it at present. I am not going to discuss that now, as the question will more properly come forward on another occasion. I want to confine myself at present to one matter only, namely, that referred to by the hon. Member for Perth, and by the Attorney-General. Misconduct under an Act of Parliament means misconduct in the eye of the law. Whether it is right or wrong, morally, to do that which the Home Secretary had alluded to—that is, to sell whisky and enter it in the bill as soap—I am not aware that it is a violation of common law at all, and fear that if the words suggested by the right hon. Gentleman were adopted it would at least be open to very great doubt if the result he desires would be attained.
§ MR. TRITTON (Lambeth, Norwood)
said that as a teetotaller of many years standing, and one who had taken the deepest possible interest in temperance reform, he meant to vote for the Amendment. Although Clause 9 did not do much for putting down existing licences, it would prevent the issue of fresh licences and put the present holders in a very good position indeed. He wished to see all licence holders placed under one authority; and he believed that a good workable measure had been made out of the Bill. The amended Amendment, plus the addition of the Home Secretary's words, was a very different thing from the Amendment originally moved, and he, and those who took the same view as he did on temperance matters, could support it. 263 They were immensely indebted to the Home Secretary for the manner in which he has piloted this Bill through the House.
Question put, and agreed to.
Amendment proposed—In page 5, line 5, after the word 'licences,' to insert the words, "(4) Provided that where a, licence for a sale of wine, spirits, liquors, sweets, or cider, not to he consumel on the premises, Was in force on the 25th day of June 1902, an application for the renewal of such licence, or of any licence granted by way of renewal thereof from time to time shall not be refused to the person holding such licence, except on one or more, of the grounds on which it might have been refused if this Act had not passed, or on the ground that the I censee has been guilty of misconduct in the management of his business under such licence."—(Mr. Cripps.)Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted." (2.5.)
§ (2.35.) SIR ROBERT REID
said he had utilised the short time allowed by the interval for luncheon for examining the language of this Amendment, and he desired in the first place to confine himself to a discussion which would be very short but which he thought was necessary to make the matter clear. The object of the Amendment was to carry out the views which the Home Secretary had expressed in his speech, and looking at the Amendment, which was not upon the Paper, he wished to make one criticism with regard to it. That criticism was this, that the words of this Amendment did not carry out the intention of the Home Secretary, because, as framed, the Amendment created a perpetuity instead of creating a life interest in the licences in existence in June 1902. The clause as worded provided that no application for the renewal of a licence which was in existence in June 1902 should be refused. That would simply have the effect of perpetuating licences. Therefore he proposed, as an Amendment to this Amendment, after the word "person" to leave out the words "holding such licences" and to insert the words "who held such licence after the 25th of June 1902."
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
said that the Amendment of his right hon. friend was to make perfectly clear what was stated to be the intentions of the Amendment 264 of his hon. and learned friend the Member for the Stretford Division. That being so, he accepted the Amendment.
§ MR. CRIPPS
said he had had an opportunity of considering the wording, and he accepted the suggestion of the right hon. and learned Member.
§ LORD EDMUND FITZMAURICE (Wiltshire, Cricklade)
expressed his gratification at the acceptance of the Amendment, because considerable apprehension had existed as to how the words of the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for Stretford might be construed. The matter was now made perfectly clear.
Proposed Amendment amended—By leaving out the words 'holding such licence,' and inserting the words 'who held such licence on the twenty-fifth day of June, one thousand nine hundred and two'."—(Sir Robert Reid.)
§ SIR ROBERT REID
said there was another Amendment to carry out what the Home Secretary had stated. In his speech the right hon. Gentleman had said it was not his intention to withdraw the right of the magistrate to put down these licences in any case where there had been misconduct or mismanagement, such as unfair and surreptitious selling of goods so as to deceive the persons who had to pay for those goods. He assumed that the word "misconduct" was sufficient to cover everything of that character, but he had found himself so often disappointed by the interpretation put upon words which were thought to be sufficient when the law was made in this House, that he had the gravest apprehension in his mind that the present words would not have the effect desired. He, therefore,' would move to add after the words "guilty of misconduct" the words "or on the ground that the licensee has sold surreptitiously under such licence, or has assisted in concealing or misrepresenting the nature of the goods sold under such licence, or has in any other way, in the opinion of the justices, been guilty of misconduct in the management of his business under such licence." Those words he submitted were more wide, and they touched a specific evil.
§ MR. CRIPPS
said he had had an opportunity of discussing these words with his right hon. and learned friend, he thought the general words of his own Amendment were better, but he strongly desired to bring such surreptitious dealings under the term "misconduct," and, therefore, he raised no objection to these words.
§ SIR ROBERT REID
replied that it meant that a man carrying on business ought to sell and deal openly. A grocer should not hand things over the counter under a cloth to the wife while the husband was standing by.
§ SIR ROBERT REID
said the words he suggested were not so drastic as the original words of the Home Secretary.
§ MR. GALLOWAY
did not object to the word "misconduct," but he objected to the words "in any other way". He entirely agreed, as he understood it, with the first two parts of the Amendment; it was the last part to which he did not agree. It had been rather sprung upon the House, and he hoped the Home Secretary would stick to his original words.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
confessed that, as a matter of drafting, he preferred the words of the hon. Member for the Stretford Division. They struck at any misconduct in the carrying on of the business. The words were adequate, because he thought they left it to the justices to determine what was misconduct. He, however, did not share the apprehension of his hon. friend below the gangway that any mischief would be done by accepting the words now proposed. These words did riot go beyond the general term "misconduct."
said the last part of the clause was very sweeping. He did not object to the first, because 266 these were matters which they desired to stop, but the words "in any other way" were so very sweeping they really ought not to be put in. They would cover every misconduct under the sun, and he apprehended that it was not desired by this Bill to punish men who could be punished in another way. He thought that if these words were accepted they were so very drastic that the whole trade would be up in arms against them.
§ MR. WALLACE
said the words were intended not for misconduct generally, but for misconduct in the management of the business under the licence. Everybody would agree that any man guilty of any misconduct in his business ought to be liable to lose his licence.
§ *MR. RITCHIE
said he would appeal to the. House to agree to this Amendment as it had been accepted by the hon. Member. He undertook to look carefully into the words of the Amendment, and have them fully considered and altered, if necessary, before parting with the Bill.
§ MR. GALLOWAY
said that having had that assurance from the right hon. Gentleman he would not proceed further and divide the House against this Amendment as he had intended to do.
Proposed Amendment further amended—By inserting after the word "has," the words "sold surreptitiously under such licence, or has assisted in concealing or misrepresenting the nature of goods sold under such licence, or has in any other way in the opinion of the justices"—(Sir. Robert Reid.)Question proposed, "That the Amendment, as amended, be there inserted."
§ SIR ROBERT REID
said he recognised there had not been in this clause acknowledged explicitly or implicitly anything in the nature of a definite vested interest, because the interest had been limited to the personal life of the holder of the licence; yet the consequence was, though it could not be shown from the arguments upon this clause, that this House recognised that there was a vested interest to that person in an annual 267 licence either from the Excise or the magistrates. It was one of the most dangerous things they could do to confer upon people vested interests in the licences which were granted. At the same time, he felt it was hopeless to make any successful opposition to it. He wished to say very seriously in regard to this matter that the people who held these licences held them by annual tenure, and he regretted that anything of the kind had been created by this clause, for it would give the people a legal status which they did not possess before. He thought it was much to be regretted that that was not limited to a term of years—five years—not more. He did riot think hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite were wanting in courage, and he thought that might have been done. At the same time, he would not deny that the right hon. Gentleman had done a very great service to the cause of temperance.
§ MR. GRETTON (Derbyshire, S.)
said that from a layman's point of view, so far from creating a vested interest, the clause, even as amended, would in reality very materially diminish the existing interest.
Amendment as amended agreed to.
§ (3. 8.) MR. GROVES (Salford, S.)
desired to propose an Amendment which he thought would make the wording of the clause much more clear and distinct than it was at present. In dealing with an important question of this nature, the House ought to take care that the words of the clause should not be open to any misconception. The words, "gives increased facilities fort drinking," which he proposed to leave out, would, he considered, lead to a very great deal of misconception. The words were vague and dangerous, and opened the door to a diversity of administration. In the clause as originally drawn, the words. "material structural alterations" appeared, and, if they had remained, there would have been no necessity for his present proposal. He proposed to insert the words "enlarges the portion of the premises used by the public for consumption of liquor on the premises." These words, he thought, would clear 268 the ground, and materially assist the magistrates in understanding what the intention of the Legislature really was.
Amendment proposed—In page 5, lines 13 and 14, to leave out the words "gives increased facilities for drinking." and insert the words "enlarges the portion of the premises used by the public for consumption of liquor on the premises."—(Mr. Groves.)Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."
§ *MR. RITCHIE
thought it could not be contended that anyone who obtained a licence for the sale of intoxicating liquors was justified in making alterations which gave increased facilities for drinking without having first secured the sanction of the justices who granted the licence. None could reasonably object to a proposal which simply limited the licensee, so far as alterations were concerned, to the contract he had entered into with the justices, and, therefore he could not accept the Amendment.
§ MR. GROVES
said his only desire was to free the words from ambiguity? He knew from experience that the words "increased facilities" were open to extremely varying interpretations.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. GROVES
said the purpose of his next Amendment was to provide that the clause, instead of striking at an alteration which "concealed any part of the premises used for drinking," should be so worded as to cover cases in which the alterations concealed the person obtaining intoxicating liquor from the observation of the person supplying it. He only desired 'to clear away any possibility of misunderstanding, and believed the words he was about to move expressed the intention of the Bill. If the words stood as they were in the clause it was quite possible they might be interpreted by a bench of magistrates to mean that the whole of the premises should be open to observation. From the observation of whom was it intended the premises should be concealed I Was it from the observation of the constable or the man in the street, or the would-be informer—who he believed would be 269 very much to the front—or was it from the observation of the landlord? he had a somewhat painful experience of what certain magistrates could do, and if the hon. Member for Spen Valley had had the same experience he would probably modify some of his views. The hon. Member had the previous day been referred to as not being a proper person to interpret the law. He should be very much surprised to hear that he claimed to be. No doubt he would be disqualified by his conscience, but it should not be forgotten that he represented a very Large class of the magistrates of this country who would have to administer this Act, and who would interpret this clause according to their own judgment. These magistrates could not conscientiously take the same view of the question as the ordinary unbiassed man would do, and it was to prevent many benches taking advantage of the ambiguity of the clause that he moved this Amendment, which he thought would remedy what he had referred to.
Amendment proposed—In page 5, line 14, to leave out from the words 'or conceals,' to the word, 'or,' in line 15, and insert the words, 'the person obtaining intoxicating liquor from the observation of the person supplying the same.'"—(Mr. Groves.)Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."
§ *MR. RITCHIE
said the mover of the Amendment ought to remember that many of the provisions of the Bill would not operate against nineteenths, or perhaps ninety-nine-hundredths, of licensed houses. In framing a Bill of this kind, however, they were bound to try and strike at evils which existed in only a small percentage of cases. It was in the interests of the well-conducted public house that the ill-conducted public house should be penalised for doing that which ought not to be done. The clause simply proposed that alterations should not be made without the consent of the authority who gave the license. A plan having been submitted to the magistrates, and the license granted on that plan, it was perfectly fair to say 270 that no alterations should be made giving increased facilities for drinking, or which prevented proper supervision, without the magistrates having assented to them. His hon. friend had assumed that alterations which concealed the person who supplied from the person who consumed, was the only kind of alteration it was desired to prevent. He quite admitted that that was an important part of the evil at which the clause was intended to strike, but it had to be remembered that these licenses were given under the condition that they should be subject to police supervision, and, accordingly, any alteration made by the licensee contrary to the plan on which the license was granted, and which prevented proper police supervision, ought not to be made, and there ought to be a provision in the Bill to penalise it if done. That was all that was proposed in the Bill. There was nothing to prevent any alteration, provided the consent of the justices who gave the license was obtained. In the interests of all well conducted houses alterations should not be made surreptitiously.
§ MR. GROVES
said he would not have moved his Amendment if it had not been for the fact that he knew of scores of cases in which permission to make a simple alteration had been applied for, and the magistrates had refused it.
Question put and agreed to.
MR. HERBERT ROBERTSON
moved to insert after the word "way" in line 18 of Clause 10 the words "or involves rebuilding wholly or in part the licensed premises." He thought the clause should be a little wider, and that if premises were built in exactly the same way as before, the justices should have the matter brought before them.
Amendment proposed—In page 5, line 18, after the word "way," to insert the words "or involves rebuilding wholly or in part the licensed premises."—(Mr. Herbert Robertson.)Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
hoped the hon. Member would not press his Amendment. If premises were merely rebuilt as they 271 were before, there seemed to be no adequate reason for imposing the condition.
Question put and negatived.
§ MR. GROVES
, in moving to insert the word "structural" after the word "such" in line 39 of Clause 10, said the clause gave the magistrates power to call for plans, and to order the licensee to make such alterations as they thought fit. He desired to make the wording more definite, and also to limit somewhat the scope of this power on the part of the magistrates. Many benches of magistrates were composed of men who conscientiously believed that certain arrangements of the premises should exist in order to prevent certain things taking place, and they might make themselves extremely objectionable by going altogether outside the scope intended by the clause. He knew that many magistrates confidently relied on this clause to enable them to effect that which they could not otherwise do. In some instances they had demanded, as a condition of the granting of this permit to alter the premises, almost an entire rebuilding of the premises, and there were cases Which he had known where the magistrates had actually demanded that the adjoining premises which did not belong to the owner of the licensed premises should be acquired and pulled down. He was not quoting imaginary cases, but instances which had come within his own personal knowledge. He knew that very great hardships had been inflicted upon tenants and owners of licensed premises in this way. At present the magistrates might make an order to make certain alterations which it would be absolutely impossible to comply with under the terms of the lease, because the holder of the lease could not make alterations without the consent of the owner. He begged to move the Amendment standing in his name.
Amendment proposed—In page 5, line 39, after the word "such," to insert the word "structural."—(Mr. Groves.)Question proposed, "That the word 'structural' be there inserted."
§ *MR. RITCHIE
said he could not accept the Amendment because alterations other than structural might be required. He would propose to leave out the word "fit" and to insert "reasonably necessary for the proper conduct of the business."
§ MR. GROVES
asked permission to withdraw his Amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn, and Amendment proposed by Mr. Ritchie agreed to.
Other Amendments made.
§ (3.35.) MR. GRIFFITH BOSCAWEN (Kent, Tunbridge)
asked if under the existing law a man who was a shareholder in the railway company which sold intoxicating liquors would be disqualified from sitting on the Bench when a case arose under the Child's Messenger Act. If so, he thought words I ought to be introduced into the clause to remove such a disqualification.
§ MR. GRIFFITH BOSCAWEN
said that under those circumstances he would not move the Amendment of which he had given notice, Amendment proposed—In page 6, line 6, after the word 'railway,' to insert the words 'or pier.'"—(Mr. David Morgan.)Question proposed, "That the words 'or pier' be there inserted."
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
said it was reasonable that this exemption should apply to railway companies, but he did not think the same consideration applied to pier companies.
§ MR. FLOWER (Bradford, W.)
said no one would go on a pier for the purpose of obtaining intoxicating liquor. [Cries of "Oh."] He thought the argument which applied to railway companies might be applied to pier companies.
§ SIR WILLIAM TOMLINSON (Preston)
said he thought it was generally agreed that shareholders in railway companies ought not to be excluded from sitting on the licensing bench, but it did not follow that any other person should be relieved from that exclusion.
Question put and negatived.
*(3.45.) MR. DISLRAELI (Cheshire, Altrincham)
moved the Amendment standing in his name. He said that although the hon. Member for Spen Valley might be kept away from the Bench by his conscience upon certain occasions, a great many magistrates who held strong views upon this question would not be kept away by their consciences. As one who had sat for many years on a licensing bench he could inform the House that there were many magistrates who had very strong views on these questions, which, his experience taught him, were not approached in a judicial spirit, if the law disqualified any one interested in a brewery from sitting on the licensing bench, it ought also to disqualify those who were opposed to the sale of liquor at any time or in any place. There should be a certain amount of distinction, and the law ought to make some discrimination between those who were not bigoted tee to tallers and those who came to the Bench straight from public meetings where they had denounced all licenses, and where they had definitely stated that next morning on the bench they would oppose the granting of a certain license, and who therefore sat upon the bench as absolute partisans upon the question. He hoped that when the Government had the courage to bring in a proper Licensing Bill which was not all shreds and patches, and which would carry out some of the great recommendations of the Licensing Commission, he hoped the first thing would be to create a new authority for granting licences, which was the crux of the question before the House. Bodies of magistrates were not fair judges of those questions, and he hoped this Amendment would have the sympathy of the Home Secretary. Night after night, in the course of the discussion on this Bill, the creation of a new authority which had been recommended by the Royal Commission, was demanded, and he hoped that before long the Government would deal with the constitution of the licensing body.
274 Amendment proposed—In page 6, line 7, after the word 'liquor', to insert the words, 'but he shall be disqualified to act for any purpose under these Acts if he has publicly stated that he has a conscientious objection to the sale of intoxicating liquor.'"—(Mr. Disraeli.)Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ *MR. RITCHIE
said he was sure his hon. friend, who was rather inclined to taunt the Government with want of courage in not bringing forward a proper Licensing Bill, would have had good reason to congratulate the Government upon their courage if they had accepted an Amendment of this kind. He could not think for a moment that this proposal was a serious one, and it was certainly a very bold thing to propose. The disqualification in the Bill was reserved for persons who had certain specific and, in the main, pecuniary interests in licenses. He did not know where they would have to draw the line if they began to disqualify people from sitting on the bench in consequence of their expressing their opinions upon the licensing question. He hoped his hon. friend would see that it was quite impossible for the Government to accept this Amendment.
§ MR. GROVES
reminded the Home Secretary that this question had caused a considerable amount of controversy in recent years, and he thought the House would admit that it was a question which required to be dealt with. By permitting this state of things to exist they were placing an enormous penalty upon a class of people who had obtained the right to carry on their business under the sanction of the law. He did not think it was asking too much that the licensing tribunal should be made one in which the whole body of their fellow-countrymen would have confidence. He thought this was a question which the right hon. Gentleman might very well have dealt with upon the present occasion.
§ MR. GOULDING
regretted that the Home Secretary had not expressed his dissatisfaction with the present constitution of the licensing authority. Owing to the large amalgamation of breweries 275 which had taken place, a large number of well-qualified men had been disqualified from discharging their duty as magistrates. No matter how small a man's interest in a brewery might be he would be absolutely precluded from sitting on the bench. That was a state of things which was never intended by the Act. They were all agreed that where a brewer himself held nearly all the licenses in a certain district it would be wrong for him to sit in judgment over his own property, but it was a totally different thing that a man holding shares to the extent of £200 or £300 in a brewery, with a capital perhaps of £10,000,000 or £12,000,000, should he disqualified from sitting on the bench in. the several counties where the amalgamated firms might hold only one or two licenses. He hoped the Government would in the near future tackle the question of the licensing authority, which at the present time was a very unsatisfactory one.
§ *MR. RITCHIE
said his hon. friend had expressed the hope that he would have the courage to deal with the licensing authority. He did not think he could do better than refer to what he did in the Bill of 1888, when he proposed that the licensing authority should be purely elective.
§ *MR. MARSHALL HALL (Lancashire, Southport)
said he would not have risen to support this Amendment were it not that he wished to disapprove of the manner in which the Home Secretary dealt with it. His manner of dealing with it reminded him of an occasion when he happened to be junior to the late Sir Frank Lockwood. They had an extremely difficult case to deal with, and he (the hon. Member) asked how they should best deal with it; in reply Sir Frank said he did not know what to do, unless the case could be laughed out of Court. The Home Secretary in the same manner was trying to ridicule this Amendment and laugh it out of Court. The latest judicial decision was that there was no longer any necessity for the licensing authority to use judicial discretion. Licensing justices were entitled to take into account matters which would not otherwise be 276 received as evidence, and besides this they were entitled to rely upon their own outside knowledge and observation. It was rather hard that a man should have to go to a bench of magistrates to ask a favour when, before going, he knew that some proportion of the justices were absolutely pledged to refuse to grant it under any conditions whatever. This was a matter of substance and not one of fancy, and no scheme of licensing reform would be complete which did not deal with it.
§ *MR. MARSHALL HALL
said he did not think the hon. Member opposite would like to listen to him while he quoted the cases he knew of.
§ MR. CAINE
denied that such motives actuated temperance reformers, and he knew of no instances of the kind which had been referred to. He had been a member of a licensing bench for many years, and he had not known an instance in which any one who had taken a part in the proceedings had expressed particular views with regard to a public house in the neighbourhood. He was sure that speaking generally, licensing magistrates who were members of the temperance party came to the Courts simply and solely for the purpose of giving effect to the law as it stood on the Statute Book. He did not think a single definite and specific case had been brought forward to the contrary.
§ (4.0) MR. GRIFFITH BOSCAWEN
said the extraordinary statement made by the hon. Member for the Camborne Division was contrary to all the facts of the case. He could not mention the name of any particular well-known man who had acted unfairly on the bench, but he appealed to anybody who had served on the licensing bench whether, when there were applications for new licenses coming on, there was not a regular whip up.
§ MR. GRIFFITH BOSCAWEN
Yes, but there was a disqualification on one side and not on the other. There was a determination shown to go and vote down every application, however reasonable it might be. He reminded hon. Members that the United Kingdom Alliance had been formed sixty years ago with the express object of totally suppressing the liquor traffic, and the man who was pledged beforehand to obtain the total suppression of liquor was less likely to act judicially than the man who happened to hold a few shares in a brewery. There was a strong case for the reconstitution of the licensing authority. He thought they were indebted to his hon. friend for bringing this matter before the House.
MR. NEWDIGATE (Warwickshire, Nuneaton)
thought it was very hard that, because a man held a few shares in a brewery company, he should be disqualified, while temperance advocates were allowed to sit in judgment on the granting of licenses. He was sorry there was not to be a division on the Amendment. He should have supported his hon. friend the Member for the Altrincham Division.
Question put and negatived.
§ MR. BROADHURST (Leicester)
moved an Amendment providing that no solicitor or other person being a clerk of licensing justices shall, "in any way," by himself, his partner, or clerk, as solicitor or agent, for any person, conduct, or act in any application for, or in respect of a license or any other proceedings under the Licensing Acts. The clause as it stood would prevent the magistrates' clerk from taking part in the work in connection with new licenses, but that was nothing compared with the work connected with the transfer of licenses. For one new license applied for, there were ten or twenty transfers applied for. He hoped the Home Secretary would see his way to accept the Amendment which was a very moderate one.
278 Amendment proposed—In page 6, line 9, after the word 'clerk,' to insert the words 'in any way.'" —(Mr. Broadhurst.)Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
The object of the Amendment is to prevent any solicitor, being a clerk to the licensing justices, from being in any way concerned in preparing notices or forms in licensing cases. I would put it to the consideration of the House that that is going rather too far. We, by the Bill, propose to prevent them from taking part in the advocacy or management of cases, but if you go on to say that they shall not take any part in the preparation of forms relating to such cases, you would be inflicting a serious loss on a number of persons. As I understand these are deserving persons, and I do not think we should be justified in inflicting what would be a very serious loss on a large number of such persons by debarring them from the preparation of forms. The preparation of forms or notices may bring in a certain amount of income to those persons, and I hope the House will not go so far as to deprive them of it.
§ SIR ROBERT REID
I think it is a pity that the Attorney-General should refuse to accept this Amendment What we want is that the administration of justice should be not only pure, but that it should be universally believed to be pure by every person concerned. I am not aware that we have made any suggestion in any other sense. If you are going to allow the clerk to the licensing justices to make any profit at all in respect of the applications to the Court in regard to licenses you do expose the Court to a certain amount of natural suspicion and you do expose the clerk to a considerable amount of bias, or risk of bias. I must say that I think it would be a very wrong thing in any Court that any official whose opinion might be asked or on whose judgment the magistrates might in any degree rely should be exposed at any stage to the suspicion of bias. It is a matter on which the House would be very strict. If it is right to prevent the clerk to the justices from 279 appearing as the advocate of a case in Court, surely it is right to prevent him from having a pecuniary interest in the case in any way.
§ SIR WILLIAM TOMLINSON
hoped the House would not carry the clause further than was necessary to secure the ends of justice. The clerks to the justices were dependent on other business in order to maintain a sufficient income.
Question put and negatived.
§ *MR. RITCHIE
With regard to the next Amendment standing in my name, I find myself in a position which renders it necessary that I should make a modification in the Amendment as it appears on the Paper. When the Bill was introduced it contained disabilities in respect of justices' clerks not only in their own but the adjoining districts. That was taken, I am afraid, without full consideration, from the existing disabilities of justices. Before we came to that portion of the clause in the Grand Committee, I had reason to consider that as regards the adjoining districts this proposed disqualification could not be defended by any argument of value, and that it would undoubtedly entail on justices' clerks a very great pecuniary loss, and, therefore, in the Grand Committee I proposed to accept an Amendment which was on the Paper leaving out the words in regard to the adjoining district. There was a little discussion on that matter, and I am bound to say that the Committee were rather against me on that point. But it was thought by the Committee that the words were rather too sweeping, and an Amendment was suggested, that the clause, instead of referring generally to the adjoining district, should confine the disqualification to business transacted in the adjoining district for a brewer who carried on business in the clerk's own district, and words were inserted rather hurriedly, which did not seem to me to be quite appropriate. At the request of the Committee, I promised to bring up words on the Report stage which would make the clause read better than it read after the insertion of the hurried Amendment in the Grand Committee. In accordance with that promise I have, therefore, put down the words on the Paper, which do not alter the sense of the words as they 280 left the Committee, but they do make the clause more readable, and, perhaps, more grammatical. In the Grand Committee I committed myself to a promise to bring up other words, and, having brought up other words, it is for the House to say whether they will adopt them or not. So far as I am concerned, the further consideration of the subject has only added to the belief I expressed at the time, that to disqualify justices' clerks in other than their own districts, could hardly be justified by any argument of strength. That they should be disqualified in their own districts is perfectly clear, because there is no doubt that a clerk has properly very considerable influence with his bench, and I do not think it would be right or proper that he should be employed in any application to his own Bench, on any question connected with licensing, for the purpose of advancing the interest of a client. But I cannot see how that applies in an adjoining district, even to the limited extent to which it would apply if the Amendment made in the Grand Committee were adopted. It says in effect that if a clerk to a bench of magistrates does business for brewers in his own district he shall not be allowed to act for those brewers in the adjoining district. Now, whatever may be the value of his influence with his own bench of magistrates, I cannot conceive how it can be contended that he has that influence with another bench of magistrates, and therefore I consider the disqualification would be a very great pecuniary disadvantage to the men which we are hardly justified in imposing upon them. Therefore, what I propose to do is to move to omit the words of the disqualification for the district adjoining, and not move to insert the words I have put upon the Paper—"Nor shall he act in any such proceeding at any licensing or petty sessions held for any district adjoining thereto for any person carrying on business in the district for which he is the clerk." It will be in the power of any other Gentleman to move their insertion.
Amendment proposed—In page 6, line 13, to leave out from the word 'clerk,' to the word 'except,' in line 15.'"—(Mr. Ritchie.)Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."
§ *MR. WHITTAKER
said he would endeavour to point out to the right hon. Gentleman the objection to a justices' clerk acting for brewers in the district adjoining that for which he was clerk. In these days of limited liability companies the business of a firm of brewers might extend over a wide district, and it was not desirable that a justices' clerk who was disqualified from acting for that firm in his own district, should be able to act for them or for houses in the adjoining district. [An Hon. MEMBER: Why not?] Because he then became distinctly financially connected with that brewery. No justices' clerk should be allowed to derive income from brewers carrying on business in his own division. The Home Secretary had said that if justices' clerks were prevented from acting in districts adjoining their own, financial loss would be inflicted upon them. It was very clear that it was an important matter to the brewers to be able to employ justices' clerks, because the brewers could, so to speak, punish them if they were not complacent. There was one borough in England where the Licensing Commission found that the previous clerk was solicitor to five breweries in the town. It was important that the administration of the licensing laws should be purified in the Court itself. It was a gross anomaly that a justices' clerk should be receiving fees from and be dependent for a considerable portion of his income upon brewers who owned breweries in the district where he was clerk.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
It seems to me that there maybe an evil in magistrates' clerks appearing as advocates for brewers within their own districts, but I cannot see any objection to their acting as such in adjoining districts in which they are not magistrates' clerks. If that argument were pushed to its logical conclusion it would mean that magistrates' clerks should be disqualified from acting for brewers in any business whatever.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
The House understands that the proposal now before us is not of that drastic nature; but I quite 282 ageee with the hon. Gentleman that to support the proposal at all you must go a great deal further and disqualify the magistrates' clerk from acting for any brewer, publican, or distiller, in any capacity whatever. That would be a proposal of a very sweeping nature, but it is not the one before the House.
§ MR. BROADHURST
asked the Attorney-General to consider how the proposal of the Government would work out. The magistrates' clerk was to be prevented from dealing with applications for new licences or renewals in his own district, but he was to be allowed to run riot in the adjoining district. The chances were that one or two brewery firm held the licences in both districts He should be sorry to countenance the suggestion that the magistrates' clerk would use undue influence, but the whole of those connected with the administration of the law should be above suspicion. If the clause was amended in the way proposed by the Home Secretary, there would be very little change in the present condition of affairs.
§ (4.35.) MR. TALBOT (Oxford University)
said they should keep distinct the functions of the advocate and the judge. The duty of the magistrates' clerk being to advise the magistrate, he might be said to take part in judicial decisions; and it was idle to contend that if a magistrates' clerk went outside his division and appeared for the brewers he could act impartially in the division to which he was magistrates' clerk.
MR. LLOYD MORGAN (Carmarthenshire, W.)
said he entirely agreed with the course taken by the Home Secretary. When he read the Bill first of all, it appeared to him that the prohibition proposed was most unfair and unreasonable, and besides no good purpose could be served by it.
§ MR. COHEN (Islington, E.)
said the attitude of the temperance party opposite was a little inconsistent. A temperance advocate, in his own opinion, required no safeguarding for the exercise of his judicial duties, but anyone who was not a temperance advocate must be safeguarded for the proper discharge of his duties. If 283 the prohibition were not removed, the petty sessions Courts would be deprived of the services as clerks of persons singularly qualified for the position. He believed the justices' clerks were as honourable and free from corruption as any of the most ardent temperance advocates.
§ MR. EMMOTT (Oldham)
said he did not understand why a lawyer should be allowed to serve two masters any more than any other man. If a justices' clerk was employed by brewers, it seemed almost inevitable that he should have his judgment biassed. There might be some hardship, but he thought that, on the whole, this change in the law ought to be made.
§ MR. HUDSON (Hertfordshire, Hitchin)
said justices' clerks would feel that they were being unjustly treated if they were prohibited from acting professionally outside their districts.
§ Question put, and negatived.
In page 6, line 13, after the word "clerk," to insert the words "nor shall he act in any such proceeding at any licensing or petty sessions held for any district adjoining there to for any person carrying on business in the district for which he is clerk."—(Mr. Talbot.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
Proposed Amendment amended —
By leaving out the words "carrving on business," and inserting the words "dealing in or selling intoxicating liquors." — (Sir William Tomlinson.)
§ Question put, "That those words, as amended, be there inserted."
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 119; Noes, 206. (Division List No. 250.)285
|Abraham, William(Cork, N. E.)||Havne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-||Pearson, Sir Weetman D.|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D.||Pease, Alfred E. (Cleveland)|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||Pease, Sir Joseph W. (Durham)|
|Ambrose. Robert||Hickman, Sir Alfred||Pickard, Benjamin|
|Asher, Alexander||Holland, William Henry||Pilkington, Lieut.-Col Richard|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||Reddy, M.|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Horniman, Frederick John||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Bartley. George C. T.||Humphreys Owen, Arthur C.||Reid, Sir R. Threshie(Dumfries)|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Jacoby, James Alfred||Renshaw, Charles Bine|
|Black, Alexander William||Joicey, Sir James||Rigg, Richard|
|Boland, John||Jones, William (Carnarv'nshire||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Jordan, Jeremiah||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Burt, Thomas||Joyee, Michael||Runciman, Walter|
|Caine, William Sproston||Lambert, George||Russell, T. W.|
|Caldwell, James||Langley, Batty||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Carew, James Laurence||Leamy, Edmund||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Leese, SirJoseph F. (Accrington||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Leng, Sir John||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Lundon, W.||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Craig, Robert Hunter||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Sullivan, Donal|
|Crean, Eugene||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Crombie, John William||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Thomas, David Alfred(Merthyr|
|Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||M'Crae, George||Thomas, JA(Glamorgan, Gower|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||M'Govern, T.||Thompson, DrEC(Monagh'n, N|
|Delany, William||M'Kean, John||Tomkinson, James|
|Donelan, Captain A.||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Toulmin, George|
|Doogan, P. C.||Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe||Wallace, Robert|
|Dunn, Sir William||Mooney, John J.||Warner, Thomas Countenay T.|
|Emmott, Alfred||Murphy, John||Weir, James Galloway|
|French, Peter||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Whiteley, George(York, W. R.)|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Nolan, Col. John P.(Galway, N.)||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Wilson, Chas. Henry (Hull, W.)|
|Flynn, James Christopher||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||O'Brien, Kendal(Tipp'raryMid||Wilson, J.W.(Worcestersh.N.)|
|Furness, Sir Christopher||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Wood, James|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||O'Brien, P.J. (Tipperary, N.)||Woodhouse, Sir J.T(Huddersf'd|
|Grant, Corrie||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.|
|Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||O'Dowd, John||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Hay, Hon. Claude George||O'Kelly, James(Roscommon, N||Mr. Talbot and Mr.|
|Hayden, John Patrick||O'Shanghnessy, P. J.||Whittaker.|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Gordon, Hn.J.E.(Elgin & Nairn||Myers, William Henry|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)||Newdigate, Francis Alexander|
|Austin, Sir John||Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby-(Linc.)||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Goschen, Hon. GeorgeJoachim||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Pease, Herbt. Pike(Darlington)|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Green, Wal ordD(Wednesbury||Peel, Hn Wm. Robert Wellesley|
|Balfour, Rt, Hon.A.J.(Manch'r||Greene, Sir E. W(B'rySEdm'nds||Pierpoint, Robert|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey)||Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury||Plummer, Walter R.|
|Balfour, RtHnGerald W.(Leeds||Grenfell, William Henry||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch.||Grettou, John||Pryce-Jones. Lt.-Col. Edward|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Greville, Hon. Ronald||Purvis, Robert|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Groves, James Grmble||Pym, C. Guy|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Gunter, Sir Robert||Randles, John S.|
|Bill, Charles||Hamilton, Rt Hn Lord G(Midd'x||Rankin, Sir James|
|Blundell Colonel Henry||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne|
|Bond, Edward||Hare. Thomas Leigh||Ratcliff, R. F.|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Haslam, Sir Alfred S.||Rattigan, Sir William Henry|
|Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn||Haslett, Sir James Horner||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Brookfield, Colonel Montagu||Helder, Angustus||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)|
|Bull, William James||Hoare, Sir Samuel||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Campbell, Rt. Hn.J.A(Glasgow||Hogg, Lindsay||Robinson, Brooke|
|Carson, Rt. Hn. Sir Kdw. H.||Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside||Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye|
|Cavendish, V.C.W.(Derbyshire||Horner, Frederick William||Ropner, Colonel Robert|
|Cawley, Frederick||Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry||Round, James|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Hoult. Joseph||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Cecil, Evelvn (Aston Manor)||Houston, Robert Paterson||Rutherford, John|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm.||Howard, Jno. (Kent Faversham||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen(Wore'r||Howard, J. (Midd., Tottenham)||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Chapman, Edward||Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Charringson. Spencer||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Hutton, John (Yorks, N.R.)||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)|
|Colling, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Simeon, Sir Barington|
|Colomb, Sir John Charles Ready||Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Jones, David Brynmor(Swansea||Smith, James Parker(Lanarks.)|
|Crossley, Sir Savile||Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H.||Spear, John Ward|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Kenyon, Hon. Geo. T. (Denbigh)||Stanley, Lord (Lanes.)|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Keswick, William||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|Davies, Sir Horatio D.(Chatham||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Davies, M. Vaughan (Cardigan||Lawrence, Joseph (Monmouth)||Strutt, Hon Charles Hedley|
|Denny, Colonel||Lawson, John Grant||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Dewar, T. R(T'rH'mlets, S. Gco.||Lecky, Rt. Hn. William Edw. H.||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Dickson, Charles Scott||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Dimsdale, Sir Joseph Cockfield||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Leveson-Gowerm, Frederick N.S.||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Dixon-Hartland, SirFr'd Dixon||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Dorington, Sir John Edward||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward|
|Doughty, George||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter(Bristol, S)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Vincent, Col. Sir C.E.H (Sheffild|
|Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)||Wranklyn, James Leslie|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Macartney, Rt Hn.W.G. Ellison||Webb, Colonel William George|
|Evans, SirFrancisH(Maidstone||Macdona, John Cumming||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan||MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Whiteley, H(Ashton-und-Lyne|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||M'Arthur, Churles (Liverpool)||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r||Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W.F.||Wilson, A. Stanley(York, E.R.)|
|Finch, George H.||Maxwell, W.J.H.(Dumfriessh.||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H.(Yorks.)|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Milner, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick G.||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R.(Bath)|
|Fison, Frederick William||Milvain, Thomas||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose-||More, Robt. Jasper(Shropshire)||Worsley-Taylor, Henry Wilson|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edward Algernon||Morgan, DavidJ.(Walth'mstow||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Fletcher, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Wylie, Alexander|
|Flower, Ernest||Morton, Arthur H.A.(Deptford|
|Galloway, William Johnson||Mount, William Arthur|
|Gardner, Ernest||Mowbrav, Sir Robert Gray C.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Garfit, William||Muntz, Philip A.||Sir William Walrond and|
|Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H(City of Lond.||Murray, Rt Hn.A. Grah'm(Bute||Mr. Anstruther.|
§ *(5.0.) MR. WHITTAKER
said he desired to move in Clause 12, page 6 line 15, to leave out the words "except so far as relates to the preparation of notices or forms". The Amendment referred to the employment of clerks to the justices in the preparation of notices and forms in their own districts. It was important that the clerks to the justices should not be in any way interested in licensing matters which came before the magistrates, or that they should receive money from persons applying for licences. It was clear that many clerks derived a considerable part of their income from the preparation of notices and forms; and, in his opinion, it was extremely undesirable that they should derive any income from persons in the trade, particularly in the districts in which they acted.
Amendment proposed —In page 6, line 15, to leave out the words 'except so far as relates to the preparation of notices or forms'."—(Mr. Whittaker.)Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."
§ *MR. RITCHIE
said he thought that the House had arrived at a conclusion in regard to the matter on the previous Amendment. He could not really conceive that the mere preparation of matters of this kind was at all likely to unduly bias the clerks in the advice they might be called upon to tender to the justices.
§ *MR DISRAELI
congratulated the Home Secretary on the course he had taken, and hoped the hon. Member for Spen Valley would not further waste the time of the House, as the Bill ought now to go through.
§ *MR. WHITTAKER
said that he resented the statement of the hon. Member. As a matter of fact he had refrained from moving half a dozen Amendments.
§ Colonel PILKINGTON (Lancashire, Newton)
said he was of opinion that magistrates' clerks should have nothing whatever to do with any part of the licensing business, and he did not think it was proper that, they should obtain fees, whether for the preparation of notices or in any other way from persons interested. He thought the hon. Member for the Spen Valley Division had 288 rendered a good service in moving the Amendment. Many of the Amendments which had been passed were good and sound, and the Amendment now before the House was quite as sound as any that had been passed during the afternoon.
§ LORD EDMUND FITZMAURICE
said it was distinctly understood, when his hon. friend the Member for Leicester withdrew his Amendment earlier in the afternoon, that the Amendment now before the House would be moved. The Amendment of his hon. friend the Member for Leicester was slightly wider than the present Amendment. His hon. friend also admitted that it would be better in another place; and therefore, with the unanimous assent of the House he withdrew it. The Amendment now before the House was very different from the Amendment which had just been disposed of; and he thought his hon. friend who moved it, had some cause to complain of the manner in which it had been received by the hon. Member for the Altrincham Division. With regard to the last Amendment, he was perfectly willing to admit that there was a great deal to be said on both sides. The present Amendment, however, related to the district in which the clerk was acting; and it was held that he might be unfairly biassed by the inducement of giving him the preparation of notices and forms. The clerk was an exceedingly important person, and should be kept entirely apart from having anything to do with the licensing business coming before his bench, and, regarding which he was often called upon to advise the magistrates. He, therefore, hoped the right hon. Gentleman would carefully consider whether these words might not be struck out of the Bill.
*MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
said he considered that the words should be struck out of the clause in order that the justices' clerks might be wholly and not partly above suspicion. Undoubtedly the words, if they were retained, would leave some suspicion upon them. It reminded him of the wife of an Ambassador at Constantinople who was given the second class of the Turkish order of the Chefkat. On asking what the word Chefkat meant, she was 289 told it meant virtue; and she said she was very much surprised that she should have received an order of second class virtue. That was what this clause. as it stood, would give to the justices' clerks.
MR. LLOYD MORGAN
said that if the words were retained a clerk might be called upon to advise the magistrates regarding the very notices he himself had prepared. He had already expressed the opinion that clerks should be permitted to practice outside their own districts; but he thought they should be prohibited from practising within their own districts.
§ SIR ROBERT REID
said he desired to mention only two points. The first was that the clerk was the confidential adviser to the justices; and if the words were retained he would be in a position to receive tees for the very matters on which he might he called upon to advise the magistrates. That was wholly unjustifiable. The second point was that the clerk might be called upon to advise the magistrates as to the validity of the very notices he himself had been paid for preparing. If the House sanctioned such a proposal he thought it would depart from the standard which had hitherto been applied in such cases.
§ MR. SAMUEL EVANS (Glamorganshire, Mid.)
said there was a great deal of feeling on the matter in the country, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would be able to accept the Amendment. The clerk could charge any fees he wished for the preparation of these notices. No scale of fees was laid down regarding them; and surely the solicitor who was to advise the magistrate should not be allowed to take business, which was in the nature of private business, on which he might afterwards have to advise the Bench. He voted with the Government in the last division, because he thought that the restriction with regard to adjoining districts was too great; but he certainly would vote in favour of the present Amendment.
said that, by permission of the House, he might state that there was nothing new in the proposal in the Bill, and to adopt the Amendment would mean taking away 290 a very considerable part of the clerks' remuneration. He confessed, however, that some of the arguments in favour of the Amendment were very strong; and though he could not agree to the Amendment now, he would be prepared to give it further consideration.
Question put, and agreed to.
MR. HERBERT ROBERTSON
said the Amendment he proposed to move related to the time at which the annual meeting was to be held. The Bill named February, but that would be a most inconvenient time, as the whole of the work would have to be done about Christmas time. The magistrates of London very strongly objected to February, and desired that the meeting should be held in March.
Amendment proposed —In page 6, line 21, to leave out the word 'February,' and insert the word 'March.'"—(Mr. Herbert Robertson.)Question proposed, "That the word 'February' stand part of the Bill.
§ *MR. RITCHIE
said that a very general desire had been expressed that the meetings should be held at the same time throughout the country. The reason for fixing February rather than March was that it was provided in the Bill that there should be an interval between the granting of the licence and its confirmation, and that it might be very difficult, if the Amendment were accepted, to get all the necessary proceedings completed before the 5th April, when the licences ought to come into force.
Question put, and agreed to.
§ MR. JOHN HUTTON (Yorkshire, Richmond)
said that, as the Bill stood at present, holders of licences would be able to retain their licences for six months without the payment of any fees. It was not a very important matter in itself, but a very considerable principle was involved in it.
Amendment proposed—In page6, line 36, after the word 'contrary,' to insert the words 'upon production of such licence to the clerk of the licensing justices and upon payment to him of the fees which would have been payable if that licence had been renewed at a general annual licensing meeting held in August or September one thousand nine hundred and two."—(Mr. John Hutton.)291 Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ *MR. RITCHIE
said he thought it was quite clear that the licensee should pay the proper amount due from him; but the Amendment of his hon. friend seemed to imply that the licensee should pay the fees for the whole year. He would be prepared to accept the Amendment, however, if the word "half" was inserted before "the fees."
§ LORD EDMUND FITZMAURICE
said that that quite met the point.
Proposed Amendment amendeds—By inserting after the words 'him of,' the words 'half of.'"—(Mr. secretary Ritchie.)Question, "That those words, as amended, be there inserted," put, and agreed to.
§ MR. GROVES
said he wished to move to omit the words "or Section 14." It dealt with the case of persons who might abscond and take away the papers with them.
Amendment proposed—In page 7, line 41, to leave out the words or Section 14.'"—(Mr. Groves.)Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."
§ *MR. RITCHIE
said that it was necessary to retain the words, and, therefore, he could not accept the Amendment.
Amendment by leave withdrawn.
§ MR. GRETTON
said that the Committee upstairs agreed that the licensing authority should have the power of adjourning the consideration of any applications for a new licence, and his Amendment was to give the same power to justices with reference to cases of transfer.
§ MR. WHITTAKER
said he desired to move the next Amendment standing in the name of his hon. friend the Member for West Denbighshire. Its object was that, in cases of transfer, the same notice should be given as in the case of a new licence.
Amendment proposed—In page 8, line 19, after '1828,' to insert the words, '(5) In respect of an application for the 292 transfer or removal of a licence under section fourteen of the Alehouse Act, 1828, to other premises not theretofore licensed for the sale of intoxicating liquor, the applicant shall give the like notices as are required in the case of a new licence.'"—(Mr. Whittaker.)
§ MR. RITCHIE
said that he was informed that Sub-section 3 provided in substance for what the hon. Member desired.
Question, "That those words be there inserted," put and negatived.
It being half-past Five of the clock, further proceedings on consideration of the Bill, as amended (in the Standing Committee), stood adjourned till Monday next.