§ * THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. AKERS-DOUGLAS,) Kent, St. Augustine's
In asking leave to introduce a Bill to amend the Licensing Acts, 1828 to 1902, in respect to the extinction of licences and the grant of new licences, I do not desire to enter at this stage into any controversy on the general question of the licensing law. Nor do I think that I shall consult the wishes of the House if, in making an explanatory statement, I were to cumber it with controversial questions more than is necessary to bear out the arguments which I may adduce. Hon. Members on both sides of the House, I maintain are greatly interested, and I think, equally interested, in reducing the number of licences in this country. We may have different views as to the methods under which those licences are to be reduced, 697 but I do not think any of us think a reduction is not necessary. The total number of retail on -licences at the present moment in this country is about 100,700; that was so in 1903, according to my latest information. I should like to point out to the House that there has been a gradual reduction of licences during recent years. I see by looking at the Returns that in 1881 there were more than 106,000 licences; in 1891, 103,000; in 1901, 101,000; and during that period the population according to the census has increased in England and Walesfrom nearly 26,000,000 in 1891 to 32,500,000 in 1901. 'The ratio of licensed houses to population has also assumed a far more satisfactory figure during the same period. In 1881 there was one on-licensed house to 242 of the population, in 1891 one to 279, in 1901 one licensed house to 322 of the population, and last year on the figures that I have been able to obtain it is estimated that the proportion was reduced to one to 331. I do not know that it is necessary, beyond entering a caveat, to go into the question as to whether a large reduction in licences would lead to a corresponding reduction in intemperance, or even a large diminution in the consumption of alcoholic drinks. For my own part I am bound to confess that I have great doubts whether it would; certainly the theory that it would has not been proved by Returns. Comparing a statement made to the Royal Commission as to the ratio of licensed premises to population with a map prepared by Mr. Troup, an excellent official of my Department, showing the numbers of offences of drunkenness, it would appear that in many counties where the licences were most thickly distributed the amount of drunkenness is least, whereas in some of those where licences are most thinly distributed, such as Northumberland, Durham, and Lancashire, I am sorry to say drunkenness is most prevalent. But I do not want to labour that point because, as I have said, we all want to see a reduction in licences. [An HON. MEMBER: Why?] It is obviously desirable that such a reduction should take place. I have stated it as the policy which I thought both sides of the House agreed in, and I think the chief difference between the two sides of the House is 698 as to the method in which that reduction should be brought about.
Last year this question assumed a very controversial aspect, principally owing to the action of certain of the brewster sessions. I have no doubt that the magistrates in those brewster sessions were actuated only by the best possible motives, but I cannot help thinking that in many of those brewster sessions they acted with great precipitancy, and without due regard to the hardships which they inflicted upon a legal and a respectable trade. The results of that action were discussed last year in a debate in this House, and a Bill was introduced by my hon. friend the Member for York. I will only allude to the figures to show that in that year a very much larger number of licences than usual was taken away by brewster sessions solely on the ground that the houses were not required in the districts in which they existed. The action of brewster sessions this year has been somewhat different. At a large number of those sessions it has been stated by the chairman that in view of legislation promised by the Government in this House they would hold their | hands. But at the same time there has been a number of instances in which licensing benches have pursued the other course, and have considerably reduced the number of licences in the district for causes other than those of misconduct.! I could give the House, not all the statistics, but many instances, where this' policy is still pursued, but I only mention it to emphasise the fact that this question is one that it is as desirable now to settle as it was last year when my right hon. friend the Leader of the House gave a pledge that if these proceedings continued it would be desirable that some action should be taken by this House. The action of brewster sessions has in these cases been to inflict a great loss and hardship upon men who, relying at all events upon what they thought was the law, and upon a practice and a policy carried out by magistrates for generations, had invested large sums in their business. The result has been to drive out of the trade many men of good antecedents and of character, who were endowed with capital invested in their houses, and in very many cases to put in their place; men of no substance and with little to 699 lose. I understand that that is especially so in London, where many men of substance who used to take these houses have been supplanted by foreigners with no stake in the business. My point is this, that in carrying on a trade of this character you surely ought to have men of substance and character and men who have something to lose.
What is the position of those who have invested capital in this occupation which, I maintain, is legal? They have sunk a large amount of capital, and their credit, of course, is very much impaired. It may be said that they can secure immunity by insurance. I do not think that statement can be borne out by facts. We know that it was held not only by right hon. Gentlemen on the other side, but by my friend the Member for Oxford University, who, in charging the quarter sessions in my own county last year, referred to the fact that the justices had so far declined to refuse licences because they felt they would be confiscating valuable property; but he went on to say that now, owing to the possibility of insurance, that fear might be dismissed. Unfortunately that is not the case. Licences of the character which I think it is desirable to guard —that is, licences held by persons against whom no complaint can be brought— are, I understand, now in many instances uninsurable. In proof of that I may mention that a circular was issued last year by the Law Guarantee and Trust Company in which it is stated that the action of the magistrates at the last brewster sessions had rendered a careful consideration of their future policy in regard to licence insurance necessary, and that the directors had reluctantly come to the conclusion that, owing to the risk of the compulsory extinction of licences without cause assigned, a licence should no longer be a subject of insurance. That course has been followed by other companies, and a certain class of property is therefore no longer insurable. I do not think that this question can really be in any doubt, because the hon. Member for Spen Valley last year distinctly stated that insurance as a protection against compulsory reduction was impossible. I think we shall all agree that not only in the interest of temperance reform, but quite as much in the 700 interest of justice and fairness to a lawful trade, it is time some solution of this difficulty should be found.
The Government have carefully considered the various methods by which this evil can be met. They are as anxious as hon. Members opposite to see a reasonable reduction of licensed houses, and they have come to the conclusion that the best method, if not the only method, for facilitating such a reduction is that in cases where licensed houses are reduced solely on the ground of excessive numbers—that is to say, licensed houses against which no complaint is made—compensation should be afforded to the holders of the licences for the loss of their property. According to the strict letter of the law no one now doubts that the licences are held for a year only; but by long custom, and by a practice of long standing, licences have been yearly renewed by the justices, and they have been renewed almost as a matter of course in all those cases where there was no misconduct on the part of the holders. On the strength of that custom large sums of money have been invested, and the security has been recognised, because death duties have been paid on the full value of those licensed houses based on an expectation reasonably held that such licences would be renewed. In framing our Bill we have based it upon two principles—first, on the principle of condensation to those whose licences have been taken away on grounds of public policy and not on the ground of misconduct, and, secondly, on the principle that the compensation should be paid by the trade. In both of these proposals we have followed the recommendations of the Royal Commission. We have further sought in the proposals we put forward to make as little change as possible in the administration of the Licensing Acts. We propose that the jurisdiction to refuse a renewal or transfer of a licence, where it is on the ground of public policy only, should be exercised solely by quarter sessions, and for this reason, that under our scheme quarter sessions will be the authority to impose contributions on the trade for the purpose of compensation, and to distribute the compensation money when it is raised. In all other respects the jurisdiction of brewster sessions will remain intact. Their power to deal with all cases of 701 misconduct and of unsuitability of premises will remain untouched. On the other hand, should a licensed house be thought to be redundant—that is, that it is not required for the needs of the district—they will hear and decide the case, and when they think the house unnecessary they will send the case to quarter sessions, together with their own report. As a special safeguard to the trade, we have provided that when licensing magistrates have refused the renewal or transfer of a licence they must specify in writing to the applicant the grounds of their refusal. Quarter sessions in determining the case, besides having the report of the licensing justices, will give persons interested an opportunity of being heard. If quarter sessions then decide to extinguish the licence on the ground of public policy they shall do so only on the grant of compensation.
The next point we have to consider is the amount of compensation to be awarded to the licencee, and we have decided that the fair measure of compensation which ought to be afforded is the difference between the value of the licensed premises and the value of the premises without a licence. Of course that will be calculated as if the Act had not beet; passed. This again, is one of the recommendations made by the majority of the Royal Commission. Should the sum awarded by quarter sessions be incapable of being settled by agreement upon that basis, the amount will be fixed by the Inland Revenue Commissioners in the same manner as they would fix the value for estate duty, and subject to a like appeal. The money will be divided among the persons interested in the licensed premises in such shares is may be settled by agreement, or, in default, determined by quarter sessions. Having settled that the license is to receive compensation, the next point is the amount of compensation which can be raised in one year. It is obvious that the whole of the redundant licences cannot be reduced at once, at all events without throwing an absolutely impossible burden upon the trade, who will have to pay the compensation for them. On the assumption that every quarter sessions will decide to raise in its district the 702 maximum amount under its powers, the amount raised in the country would be over a million a year. As to the fund itself, which I will call the insurance fund, it will be raised as regards full licences on the basis of the annual value of the licensed premises for the purpose of the publican's licence duty, and the same basis will also be applied to the beerhouses. We propose a graduated scale, under which a higher duty will be imposed upon the larger houses. At the present moment, I understand, the incidence of the duty falls with peculiar severity upon some of the smaller houses, whereas there are many larger houses and hotels which practically escape very cheaply. Under this fund, accordingly, where premises are assessed at less than £15 the contribution will be £1 a year, at less than £20 it will be £2, and so on up the scale to the limit of some £150 a year. The scale will appear in the schedule of the Bill. All those who receive will contribute. We have inserted a provision to enable quarter sessions to borrow on the security of the annual con tributions. The amounts and the rules will of course be settled by a central body. I would like to point out the difficulties of administering a central fund. They are, I think, insuperable, having regard to the very different circumstances which prevail indifferent localities and the entirely different, circumstances of many towns and cities. Quarter sessions must be the judge within their own districts. Under the Bill quarter sessions are empowered to raise contributions based on the annual value of the houses within their district. The maximum, therefore, is automatically fixed in each district. These are the main provisions of the Bill.
There are one or two other points, however, which the House might like me to state. Quarter sessions will, of course, have the power of acting through a committee. We are in some difficulty in regard to county boroughs. The appeal at present lies to the county quarter sessions, but looking at the size, the geographical area, and the importance of some of these large boroughs, such as Liverpool and Birmingham and many others, we propose that the duty of setting the compensation cases under the Bill should go to the 703 whole of the magistrates sitting in Committee with the Recorder.
§ * MR. AKERS-DOUGLAS
All county boroughs. In regard to the confirmation of new licences we propose to vest the jurisdiction in quarter sessions and to confer upon them the express duty of procuring the surrender of other licences, i.e., if they should grant a new licence— although we do not want to see licences extended—it should only be done on the condition of the cession of an old licence or several old licences (a discretion which the magistrates now have and exercise), or of the payment of a lump sum or an annual payment made as a condition of the grant. In moving the introduction of the Bill I may say that I believe it is one which will go far to put an end to the controversy which now exists, and will also go very far to a fair reduction of licences, without taking away a man's property without compensation, and generally tend to promote the cause of temperance.
§ MR. RITCHIE (Croydon)
Will my right hon. friend say what he proposes to do in regard to the ante-1869 beerhouses?
§ * MR. AKERS-DOUGLAS
They will come under the scheme. I am fully* aware that it is desirable that many of these houses should be closed, more so than other houses, but, of course, it would be unfair that they should come into the scheme without some of the safeguards with which they are now invested—in other words, the property in these licences being practically a freehold, they should secure a larger measure of compensation pro rata than other licences which have not the same statutory rights.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That leave be given to bring in a Bill to amend the Licensing Acts, 1828 to 1902, in respect to the extinction of Licences and the grant of new Licences."—(Mr. Secretary Akers-Douglas.)
§ SIR WILFRID LAWSON (Cornwall Camborne)
said that there was one thing on which they were all agreed, and that 704 was in admitting the great importance of the question which the House was called upon to discuss that afternoon. Not very long ago the Prime Minister appointed a Royal Commission to inquire into the drinking system of this country. It was a Commission of very diverse views. There were on it gentlemen connected with the trade; gentlemen who were strongly opposed to the trade; and gentlemen who had no opinion at all on the matter. The result was that that Commission, composed of these diverse elements, were unanimously of opinion that the drinking in this country was a gigantic evil, to alleviate which no labour should be spared. That had been the opinion for many long years before of all the great temperance reformers, who spent their money, time, and lives in trying to cure that gigantic evil. Nobody could blame them for doing so, or challenge the sincerity of their motives, though, of course, they sometimes advocated their views in a style that incurred the censure of many people. They sometimes heard that in such and such a place there had been a diminution of the cases of drunkenness brought before the Police Court. But why was that? It depended upon nothing more or less than the way in which the police acted in those districts. He remembered that the late Colonial Secretary in giving evidence before the Royal Commission said that one turn of the screw by the police would bring in ten times more cases to the Police Court. The Government had brought in this Bill, but one and all the societies in the country which were striving, night and day, to benefit their fellow men were opposed to it. The great Church of England Temperance 'Society and all the Bishops were dead against the policy of the Government, as developed in the Bill introduced that night. There were 2,300 petitions against it, and only ten in favour of it. and these came from the trade. That showed that there was no popular support for the policy of the Government. He knew, however, that the Government would be supported by their followers, because Party loyalty would come into play.
The object of this Bill appeared to be to check the reduction of the licences which had lately been going on. Why should the reduction be checked? It was the recommendation of the Commission, which 705 strongly said they were in favour of the reduction of licences. It was new to hear the right hon. Gentleman say he did not think it would do any good, but he was rather in favour of it. That seemed to him a most peculiar position to take up. The reduction of licences was a very practical suggestion, especially as there was already the machinery to carry it out. For centuries the law had recognised that this was a dangerous trade and had given power to the justices of the peace to do what they could to minimise the danger to the public. It was a most honourable commission to entrust to the justices. He did not wish to praise the justices too much because, as Mr. Arthur Chamberlain had said recently, they were proving the friends of the wolf rather than the lamb. But they had seen what the Commission had said, and they had informed themselves as to public opinion on the matter, and they naturally felt that they must try to stop the horrors of this trade to the country, and although they commenced to act in a tentative manner they acted with force. What was the result? Directly they started the trade became alarmed. They came in a deputation to the Prime Minister. "They came, they saw, they conquered." The right hon. Gentleman received them with his usual courtesy and far more than his usual enthusiasm. Having heard the piteous cries of this distressed deputation, which said those engaged in the trade were going to lose their living and were going to the workhouse, and all the rest of it, the right hon. Gentleman said he would see them through, and do what he could to prevent them coming to harm, and his sympathy had culminated in this Bill. He would not repeat the words the right hon. Gentleman used, because he might venture to say there had not been a day pass since he uttered them when they had not been repeated either at temperance meetings, or meetings of the licensed victuallers. He had always understood that the meanest culprit in this country had a right to be heard in his own defence, but the right hon. Gentleman had condemned the magistrates without hearing them. If he might use the classic language of to-day he would venture to ask. "Did the magistrates intend to take it lying down?" Could not the right hon. Gentleman trust the magistrates? He was a magistrate 706 but not of the general kind. His fellow magistrates were the friends of the Government, Tories of the most pronounced description. So Tory were they that he was afraid of his life almost whenever they met together. If the right hon. Gentleman could not trust the magistrates of England to look after the licensing system and deal with the licences, whom could he trust?
This was a revolutionary measure. It was going to turn an annual leasehold into a freehold. That was its object. The effect of that was to double the value of the property. In other words the Government by this measure would take hundreds of millions out of the pockets of the people and put it into the pockets of the licensed victuallers. The Advertiser. the great organ of the trade, recently said that what was wanted was not compensation but protection—it was the same thing. One authority on political economy had said that all protection was robbery. What claim had these men to this money? What had they done for it? They had done their work only too well. They had filled our gaols, our workhouses, and our lunatic asylums, and they had filled their own pockets beyond the dream-of avarice. Why should they have any money? They had had the licences and had made money on them. There could only be three alternatives to the position of licence holders. First, they might have made money; second, they might have lost money; and third, they might be in the same position as when they started. If they had made money then on losing their licence they could put what they had made in their pockets and go away. If they had lost money, a benefit was conferred by taking away the licence, and as regarded the third class no harm could be done to them if the licences were cancelled. If the principle of this Bill were once accepted, and there was to be a claim for money compensation by the man who was not to get his licence renewed, then the country would immediately have the whole of the licensed victuallers, like "the old man of the sea." upon its shoulders, and the burden would never be removed. He had read of a Roman Emperor who said he found Rome stone, and left it marble. What would be said of a Government who could boast that they found England drunken, and 707 left it sober? This Government went wholly the other way, and instead of attempting to alleviate the position did what in it lay to stereotype the miseries and horrors of this trade upon the country.
§ MR. GRETTON (Derbyshire, S.)
said it was not to be expected that the Bill would receive the support of the hon. Member opposite who had made one of those speeches they had so often heard with pleasure and amusement. The real question was not so much the extreme views of the temperance leaders, but whether an effort should be made to settle the question of compensation on reasonable lines which less violent and moderate men would support. The Rill had one valuable principle—it recognised the principle of compensation, and it provided a fund which was to be at the command of magistrates at quarter sessions to compensate those licence holders from whom licences were taken away on public grounds. But while he thanked the Government for the introduction of this principle it was well to notice that the money would be taken out of the licence holder's own pocket to provide compensation. He proposed to reserve his opinion on these details until he saw the Bill in print. One other point he desired to mention was that the Bill failed to deal with the flagrant and scandalous injustice of packing the benches with extreme partisans of the temperance party. With the vast majority of magistrates he suggested no cause of complaint, but it was impossible for any body of men to use a wise and reasonable discretion in the administration of the law if they were animated by extreme and parti-8an views on the question upon which they had to adjudicate, and he regretted the Bill contained no provision for modifying that position in any way. He admitted that the proposed reference of the cases to quarter sessions was in some degree a safeguard by which violent prejudices in certain localities might be restrained. If a division was taken he should certainly vote for the introduction of the Bill on the ground that it affirmed the principle of compensation.
§ * MR. WHITTAKER (Yorkshire, W. R. Spen Valley)
said it was understood that 708 the Government had had a great deal of difficulty and trouble in arriving at the Bill they were now asking leave to introduce, but he ventured to suggest that they were only at the beginning of their troubles. If the other Bills were not introduced because they were worse than the one now brought forward, they must have been bad indeed. The Home Secretary had admitted that there was no legal claim for compensation. That marked a great advance since 1888. The power of the justices and the legality of their action was admitted; there was no vested interest; if there were any right it could be enforced in a Court of law. It was said that there had been exceptional and unexpected action, that the liquor seller understood the law to be something different from what it was. That was not true. The trade had known the law for many years. The decision in "Sharp v. Wakefield" did not announce the state of the law to the world or to the liquor trade; it merely re-affirmed decisions going back 120 years. He had with him decisions affirming the absolute discretion of the justices given under the old law, consolidated in the Act of 1828, by Lord Chief Justice Mansfield, and in 1828 by Lord Brougham, in 1870 by Mr. Justice Lush, and in 1878 by Lord Justice Cock-burn. In giving his decision in the "Sharp V Wakefield" case, Lord Hannon said the matter had been decided long ago; therefore it was not a new decision. To show that the trade knew the state of the law he would quote the evidence given by their own chosen representative, Mr. Joseph Stint on. Chairman of the United Towns Licensed Victuallers' Association, before a Committee of this House under the presidency of Mr Villiers, in 1854—(Q) As the law now stands the magistrates cannot declare the forfeiture of a licence unless a man has been convicted three times? (A.) Yes. (Q.) The magistrates may refuse to renew the licence? (A.) Yes, at the licensing at the end of the year. (Q.) Annually, at the licensing day, a magistrate of his own knowledge may or may not renew the licences (A.) Exactly.Then there was the letter written to the Morning Advertiser by Mr. Nash in 1883. regretting that what the trade knew has; been made public—A still more unfortunate result of the Darwen care was that it promulgated and 709 divulged what had been hitherto more or less a professional secret, viz., that subject to appeal the licensing magistrates Could refuse to renew a licence to any and every holder of an on-licence.Moreover, every edition of "Paterson," commencing with 1872, the recognised legal text-book on the subject, had affirmed the absolute discretion of the magistrates.
On the figures of the refusals of renewals last year the Home Secretary had absolutely no case. The number of refusals last year in the first instance was 639, of which no fewer than 331 dared not face an a -peal to quarter sessions, and of the appeals lodged 139 were dismissed. So that of the cases in which appeals were lodged, only 140 or 150 lost their licences. Surely that was not an excessive number? According to the Returns, for twenty-six years since 1875 the average number of refusals in the first instance was 331 per year. Between 1875 and 1886 the average was 407. Therefore this was no new departure. The reason for the fewer refusals in recent years was that legislation had been expected. In 1896 the Government appointed a Royal Commission, and during the sittings of that Commission, and after the publication of its Report, in the expectation that legislation would be introduced, the magistrates somewhat held their hand. Then finding the Government had no serious intentions of legislating, the magistrates quite properly proceeded to take the matter into their own hands and to do their duty as they ought to have done it before. But even last year's refusals had not brought the number up to the average. For the twenty-one years before the appointment of the Royal Commission the average number of refusals in the first instance was 331; for the four years after the Royal Commission it fell to 187 per annum or for the five years including the larger number last year the average was only 277. or sixty per annum below the average of the twenty-one years before the Royal Commission. What, then, was all this outcry about? Where was the serious injury? The Home Secretary had dwelt on the number of licences refused because they were not required. According to the Returns for thirteen years, 1,316 renewals were refused for no other reason than that they were not required, and 1,100 more 710 were refused for that in conjunction with some other reason. That was an average of about 200 a year.
§ * MR. TALBOT (Oxford University)
Is the hon. Member including those licences which lapsed because of the premises having been pulled down?
§ * MR. WHITTAKER
said the total he had mentioned included only those that were refused renewal. If a house was pulled down or the licence lapsed no application was made for renewal. What he had given were absolute refusals of renewals.
* MR. WHTTTAKER
said it was not the total reduction. The figure he had given was the number refused by the magistrates each year. Compensation was thought to be necessary in 1888 and 1890, and they were complaining of what was called a Grievance then. Most hon. Members had heard of Burden's Official Intelligencer. In Burdett was given the particulars of most of the public companies in the country, and it contained information of 380 of the principal brewery and distillery companies. The "Over Darwen" case was in 1883, and "Sharp v. Wakefield" came before the Court of Queen's Bench in 1888. Of those 380 brewery and distillery companies to which he had alluded, only fourteen existed before 1883, and thirty were formed between 1883 and 1888.' Therefore all the 380 except forty-four had been put on to the public since "Sharp v. Wakefield." That meant two things. In the first place that those who were in before Sharpe v. Wakefield got out and got their money. The second thing meant was that those who went into these companies went into them with their eyes open, knowing what the risk was. This trade had been put on to the public steadily year by year. The amount of money added to the flotations on the Stock Exchange for brewery and distillery companies in 1891 was £4,700,000; in 1982, £2,900,000; 1893, £1,800,000; 1894, £2,500,000; 1895, £7,100,000; 1896, £10,000,000; 1897, £16,000,000; 711 1898, £26,000,000; 1899, £11,900,000; 1900, £9,000,000; 1901, £4,900,000; 1002, £4,700,000; and 1903, £3,000,000. That was the way the public had been let in for these licences. The trade knew they had no vested interest in those licences and the public subscribed the capital. He had read in a morning paper that not a few Members of this House were interested in this business, and they every one went in knowing what the law was and knowing what the risk was, and they had gone in for a very profitable investment.
They had heard a great deal about the war tax and the troubles of the trade. He had with him a list of 100 brewery companies, and he had got out the dividends they had paid for the last ten years. He must say that they had paid bigger dividends in recent years than ever they had paid before. There was no other trade in the country that was paying such dividends, and yet they were told that this was the broken-down and decaying industry that had to be helped out of a hole. He was aware that there were others which had paid smaller dividends, but if 100 breweries could do well it was clear that it was not the licensing magistrates or the war duties which affected the others. They suffered from bad management, over-capitalisation, and paying excessive prices for their houses.
Nalder and Collyer paid 9 percent. in 1891, 10 per cent. in 1892–3–4, and 22½ per cent. in 1901–2–3; Oakhill Brewery Co. paid 14 per cent. in 1893, 15 per cent. in 1894, and 19 per cent. for the five years ending 1902; R. Younger. Edinburgh, paid 10 per cent. in 1897, and 15 per cent. in 1900–1901–2–3; Stretton's Derby Brewery paid 6 per cent. in 1895, and 10 per cent. in 1901–2; Strong and Co. paid 12– per cent. in 1895, and 18½ per cent. in 1903; Strout's, Sheffield. 10 per cent. in 1895, and 20 for the four years ending 1903; Trelfall's (Liverpool) 9 per cent. in 1889, then 10 per cent. for five years, and 20 per cent. for 1900–1901–2–3.
He had 100 cases showing an enormous increase in dividends. Therefore, it was not an industry which was being driven down to the dogs and was decaying, but 712 it was one which was piling up wealth, and everybody in it invested his money knowing what the position was. He was aware that some public-houses had been bought at ridiculous prices but they were not responsible for that. Last year was a bad year and they had heavy war taxation. What was the effect on the stock market? The Bankers Magazine gave every year quotations and prices of many representative stocks of all kinds of securities, and showed how much they had risen and fallen during the year. The Bankers Magazine selected eight brewery companies representing about £11,000,000. Last year they fell on the market 1.6 per cent., whilst British Government stock fell 3.5. Therefore the brewery companies that paid the war tax had a smaller fall in their securities than the Government. Therefore the taking away of licences had not brought down the Stock Exchange value. He had seen the prospectus of the Licences Insurance Corporation, and ho noticed that they were insuring more than ever. The prospectus urged that insurance was necessary "owing to the licence in which the chief value lies being an annual grant and being liable to forfeiture and non-renewal. "This prospectus was issued in 1902, before the disturbance of last year. There was another sentence to which he desired to draw attention, and which put the whole question into a nutshell. It said—Owners, leaseholders, mortgagees, and tenants themselves stake their money on the continuity of the licence.He called particular attention to the word "stake," because it savoured of gambling and taking a chance. That was not an investment, and they did not "stake" their money when they invested in Consols. Those gentlemen had "staked" their money, and they had received the big dividends which had been paid by the brewery companies, and because a few houses had been taken from them they went whining to the Prime Minister and to the Lord Chancellor, and those statesmen were simple enough to listen to them. Why had these brewery and distillery companies not formed a depreciation fund and a reserve fund. Some of them had already done so, and had prepared themselves for the loss 713 of their licences. When they held a precarious security the proper course was to put aside funds to deal with such cases. If they had not done this they were not entitled to complain when they were called upon to find a little money for depreciation in the value of their property. Behind all this there was an appeal to quarter sessions. Who were quarter sessions? If there was any body in this country which represented the Conservative proprietary and reverence for property, surely it was the magistrates of quarter sessions. Not a single licence had been taken away except with the distinct approval of quarter sessions, or else it was a hopeless case upon which they dare not take the opimion of quarter sessions. The Majority Report of the Royal Commission stated that they regarded a large suppression of licences as essential. Nevertheless the Government did not move a peg until recently. If the number of "on" licences in England and Wales was reduced to the same number in proportion to the population as in Scotland they would have to abolish 53,000 licences in England and Wales. Every man who got a licence knew that he got it for a year, and when he sold the licence he could not sell any more than he got. It was merely a locus standi for a renewal. and every man who bought a licenced house bought it with that risk. They had had the profit and they wanted to evade the risk. One great objection to this Rill was that there was no reform in it. Almost every item in it was a retrograde step. It was a measure which would block the way to local popular control of every kind. Compensation was to come from the locality as a permanent and perpetual arrangement. They never could get rid of the lot by that means. Who was to buy out the last one? It was absolutely impossible. It was giving a freehold and enhancing the value of the business enormously. A compulsory mutual assurance scheme was possible. but the power and discretion of the justices and the people must not only be maintained but must be increased rather than diminished. Something had been said about the exchange of licences. He would not go into that. except to say that it would extend and aggravate the 714 monopoly that now existed. If licences were to be given on the principle of exchange the present brewers were to be the only people who would get into this trade. It was a gross injustice to the neighbourhood concerned. If a new neighbourhood was to have a licence it ought to have it irrespective of any other consideration. If a public-house was to be given up it ought to be shut up whether there was another to be opened or not. This proposal meant that valueless licences would be kept alive simply in order that they might be exchanged. It was proposed to give power to quarter sessions.
The evidence given before the Royal Commission showed all through that the powers of quarter sessions were like a mill-stone hanging round the neck of the licensing justices in this country. For seventy years the policy of this House had been to give greater power to the justices of the peace and to restrict the facilities for selling liquor. Every Committee and every Commission that had sat had recommended that more power should be given to the people and that the facilities for getting liquor should be diminished. Even the House of Lords, not the most re volutionary body, had recommended that the 18(59 licenses should be put under the full control of the justices. In 1902 this Government passed a measure of reform which extended the powers of the licensing justices. It freed their hand by relieving them from the fear of having costs imposed upon them. What was the object of that legislation? It was to encourage them to act more freely. It gave them more power, and that itself was a testimony that they had properly exercised their powers in the past. Having given them more power and invited them to go forward the Prime Minister came forward this year at the bidding of this miserable trade to put restrictions upon the authority of the justices. The full discretion of the licensing authority was absolutely essential to the proper supervision of the liquor trade. It was that full discretion which was the keynote of their authority. There was much in connection with the manager ment of a public-house. much in connection with the men in the house, which 715 could not be put in the form of a charge upon which a conviction could be got at quarter sessions. It was that authority of the justices to refuse to renew a licence on any ground they thought sufficient that gave them the most valuable control they had. Why was there this attack on the discretion of the justices? The Government had not been moved by the evils of the liquor trade; they had not been moved by the poverty, misery, and crime resulting from the drink system. The Government had played with this question long enough. and the appointment of the Royal Commission in 1896 was merely a device for staving off the evil day. When the Royal Commission reported they did not deal with it except to pass a meagre measure in 1902, which was good so far as it went. but was miserably inadequate for dealing with the question. It was the Woolwich and the Rye elections that stirred the righteous souls of the Prime Minister and the Lord Chancellor. When they saw that their majority was in danger they were moved and it was now proposed to bring in a Bill. It was to have been the first Bill the House was to have this session, but the Government had found some difficulty in framing it. They were only moved by the reason he had stated to defend this gigantic monopoly and to entrench it more strongly in the position which it already held. It was the hangman's whip of the publican's vote that brought them to the brewers' heel. What a deplorable degradation of a great Party! He read to the House last session a quotation from the charge given by Lord Keeper Coventry to the Judges going out to the assizes. He would read it again to the Prime Minister who was not present when he read it formerly. Lord Keeper Coventry was a Prime Minister in the time of the Stuarts, and on that particular occasion he was addressing the Judges who were going out to the assizes that tried John Hampden. He said—The next thing that I shall mention unto you is alehouses. I account alehouses and tippling houses the greatest pests in the kingdom. I give it you in charge to take a course that none be permitted unless they are licensed. As for the licensed alehouses, let them be few and in fit places. If they be in private corners and ill places they become the den of thieves 716 —they are the public stages of drunkenness and disorder. Let care be taken in the choice of alehouse keepers, that it be not appointed to be the livelihood of a large family…In many places they (alehouses) swarm by default of the justices of the peace. that set up too many…If the justices will not obey your words therein, certify their default and their names, and I assure you that they shall be discharged.He ventured to say that was worthier language than that of the present Prime Minister when replying to the deputation that waited upon him from the liquor trade.
§ * MR. LLOYD WHARTON (Yorkshire, W.R., Ripon)
said that in listening to the speech of the hon. Member for the Spen Valley Division he was anxious to hear some mention of the Bill, but from beginning to end. with the exception of half a sentence. he had not heard a word with regard to the measure. The Bill mainly provided for what was known as compensation. The hon. Member had said a good deal about the Royal Commission. He was a member of it and signed the Minority Report which was in favour of compensation. Of course the hon. Member was entitled to change his mind if he liked.
§ * MR. LLOYD WHARTON
said that in that case they might reckon upon the hon. Member's vote when they went into the Lobby. The old charge against compensation was that they were going to tax the rate or taxpayers to provide compensation for the brewer. At any rate that could not be said of this Bill. They were asking the brewers to provide their own compensation. He called this a good Bill. It was good from two points of view. He believed it would provide for a more just consideration of the subject whether licences should be taken away or not than had hitherto been the case, and it would also enable justices to act who had felt the inequity of taking away a licence from a house which was well conducted in the past. They would be able under this Bill to do what no doubt they had been anxious to do. if they could have done it fairly, in the past—they 717 would be able to take away unnecessary licences and the compensation would come out of the pockets of the trade. That was the substance of the Majority Report of the Royal Commission. He did not propose to discuss the details, but wished to say a few words on the question of surrender. It had to be remembered that surrender and the substitution of another house need not necessarily be in the same locality-It was necessary to make that statement or hon. Members might have gone away with the idea that it must be so. He did not know what his right hon. friend might have provided with regarded to that. but his idea was that under the surrender system they could get a better house for the inhabitants of the locality—they could get a better house for their entertainment. and probably they could get a larger and more airy house in which would be provided better refreshment. His hon. friend (Mr. Whittaker) would like to see the abolition of all licensed houses, but his own idea was that they ought to have an adequate number of well-conducted houses.
Then with regard to the jurisdiction of magistrates, they had had sent them for months past a variety of petitions against taking away the power of the magistrates. This Bill did not propose to take away the power of the magistrates. as a whole, but simply to substitute one body for another. He did not think that any bench of magistrates sitting in towns was the best tribunal. When he looked at the maps showing the various licensed houses, and inquired to whom this or that house belonged. and was told this house belonged to alderman so and so, and that house belonged to councillor so and so. he invariably found that those were not the houses suggested to be taken away. In his opinion. it would be better to have a tribunal some distance off. He had had the honour of sitting as chairman of a quarter sessions for twenty-three years, and hoped his services had been attended with good results. This, in his opinion. was a good Bill, and when its details came to be carefully examined they would find that it was a Bill which would have a good effect upon the whole of the country, and holding that opinion he should vote for it.
MR. HERBERT ROBERTS (Denbighshire, W.)
said at the present stage of the Bill it was impossible to do more than discuss its general principles. As representing a Welsh constituency, and knowing something of the strong feeling that prevailed in Wales, than which no part of the country was keener in regard to temperance reform, he would ask under what, circumstances had the Bill been introduced? Where was the mandate for it? It was evident that the mandate did not come from the supporters of the Government. There was a large and growing section of the Party opposite which would not regard these proposals with any favour. The genesis of this Bill was to be found in that remarkable deputation which waited upon the Prime Minister last year. and although the Prime Minister thought it well to give a political character to that deputation he could not regard it so in reality. Some Members of the, Party opposite regarded it as an essential condition to the continuance of the Government in office. That fact made it clear what was the motive behind the Bill. But upon what ground was the measure introduced? He would not go over the striking figures that had been given to the House, showing that the grievances which this Bill was designed to remedy had not arisen unexpectedly; but taking a period of five years it appeared that the discretionary power exercised by the magistrates had been more fully exercised in the past than they wore likely to be used in the immediate future. It had been pointed out that only 167 out of a total of over 100.000 licences were last year refused by the magistrates. That surely was no ground for bringing these proposals forward. For whose benefit were these proposals brought in? He would not reiterate what had been said on the point of the grievances or the machinery proposed by the Bill to remedy them, and the results that were directly or indirectly caused by this great evil, but he confidently appealed to all sections of the House to agree with him that the time had come when a very different proposal to that which had been that day submitted ought to be made with a view to doing something, not to strengthen the fortress behind the organisation, but to help forward the movement and progress of temperance reform. 719 It had always been acknowledged that they could not legislate against public opinion, but it had always been admitted that they could legislate behind public opinion. It would be impossible for these proposals to stand for any length of time under the existing condition of public opinion. This was not a measure of reform in any way, or one tending to promote the moral, social, or intellectual welfare of this country. Speaking as one mainly interested in Wales he could not but say that he had listened to the proposals of the Government with concern and with dismay. He was only expressing what he knew to be the opinion of his countrymen when he said they would have to resist those proposals to the very best of their ability in every possible way. If public opinion accepted such proposals as were contained in this Bill he would feel some concern with regard to the future of this country, and upon the grounds he had stated he should vote against the Bill.
§ * MR. TALBOT
said that having listened to the speech of the hon. Baronet he had searched in vain for any contribution in settlement of this intricate question. He had also failed to derive any proposal for a settlement from the hon. Member for Spen Valley whose lines of argument ran on those of the extreme temperance party, who deserved credit for the energy they displayed in what they believed to be a righteous cause. He did not believe that when the hon. Gentleman's utterances were examined, they would be found to give any contribution to the settlement of a question which must be decided on lines of fair dealing between man and man, and which had reference not only to existing facts but to future possibilities. All hon. Gentlemen holding extreme views on this question—to which he had devoted many years of thought—should ask themselves whether it was possible, looking at the condition of things in England, to make, suddenly, a very large reduction in the number of licensed houses. The House must remember in dealing with this question that they were not only dealing with a great question of morals but with a great practical question. They had 720 not only to deliberate with a view-to improving the morals of the people and to obtaining a better condition of things for all classes of society, but they also had to deal with the question of the supply of a considerable portion of the refreshment of the nation. When they visited other countries and crossed the Channel they did not expect to be met on the other side with vexatious restrictions upon the supply of necessary refreshment, and that expectation applied to English houses just as much as it did to foreign houses. They must remember that these licensed places were refreshment houses not only to the visitors to these shores, but to a considerable proportion of the working classes of this country. No one deplored more than himself the cases of intemperance with which they had to deal in the administration of the law. But where were the working classes to go for the refreshment they needed except to the licensed houses that existed in the towns and villages? Many unmarried working men had no homes at which they could obtain refreshment, and there was a large amount of the floating population travelling about seeking for work. for which it was necessary to have houses of refreshment where they could get ordinary provision for eating and drinking. Hon. Gentlemen opposite with strong views on the liberty of the subject should not force the doctrines of temperance down the throats of working men who could not see their way to adopt those views. These licensed houses must be recognised as part of the equipment of the country, and that being so it was the duty of Parliament not to consider how they could be suppressed, but how they could be regulated. The hon. Gentleman the Member for West Denbighshire had not pronounced any alternative scheme. He had denounced the Bill and told them that Wales as a body would be against it, but he had not said a word as to the provisions he would suggest to regulate the liquor traffic. He (Mr. Talbot) sometimes noticed a brass plate bearing the inscription, "The Society for the Suppression of the Liquor Traffic," and when he saw that plate the thought always crossed his mind that they might as well try to suppress eating and drinking. Any attempt to suppress 721 the liquor traffic was, in his opinion. both childish and impossible.
Turning from the impracticable view of the matter he asked the House to examine the proposals of the Home Secretary. He regarded them as an honest attempt to grapple with a very difficult question. and to settle it on reasonable and equitable lines. This was an attempt, for the first time, to reduce the number of licensed houses by Act of Parliament. It was a step in the direction of progress in this matter, and as such the hon. Baronet ought to give it beneficent recognition. Turning to the authority by which this reduction was to take place, he desired to thank hon. Gentlemen opposite for the recognition, although somewhat tardy, they had given to the merits and services of justices of the peace. He had sat in that House for many years, and had often heard hard things said about magistrates, hut now he was told that these authorities must never be disturbed. The hon. Member for Northampton had often in a paper for which he was said to be responsible inserted paragraphs exposing magistrates, but if that hon. Gentleman now joined in the opinion generally expressed by hon. Members opposite, he (Mr. Talbot) was only too pleased to accept a repentant sinner when he came his way, and he was glad that the Party opposite had at last recognised the action of the magistrates in administering justice in licensing matters. The Bill of the right hon. Gentleman was admirable because it merely elevated to the quarter sessions the discretion hitherto given to the petty sessions, and it was admitted on all hands that quarter sessions represented the cream of the magistracy of the country. He claimed credit for the Bill as enacting that the power of the magistrates was not to be disturbed. He did not quite understand whether this discretion in the final dealing with the question of suppression of licences was to be entrusted to the quarter sessions sitting as such, or to the licensing committee.
§ THE PRIME MINISTER AND FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
To the licensing committee.
§ * MR. TALBOT
said he was glad to receive that explanation, because the Committee was the more workable body to deal with the subject. He would also ask who was to pay the compensation to the dispossessed licence-holder.
§ * MR. TALBOT
said he thought that was a very fair suggestion. Nothing would induce the House to compensate licence-holders out of the public funds, and in this instance the dispossessed licence-holders would not be compensated out of public funds but out of funds belonging to the trade. This Bill had been unreasonably and even unintelligently denounced by certain hon. Members, but it incorporated many most important demands which had been made in the past, such as the demand for the reduction of licences, the demand for the discretion of the magistrates that should not be interfered with, and the demand for compensation should not be given out of public funds. Violent anti-liquor speeches made in that House would not settle this great question, which could only be settled on lines of common sense and fair dealing. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had told them on the previous day that there was a diminution in the receipts from this trade, and no one who looked around the country could doubt that all the moral and beneficent agencies which were being developed tended to the improvement of the habits of the people. This Bill was a step on the road of advancement; it was an honest attempt to grapple with the drink question, and as such he should give it his hearty support.
§ MR. BROADHURST (Leicester)
asked what would be allotted to the occupier of a tied house for his displacement. In some cases the tied-house occupier was subject to leave at fourteen days notice. In others it was twenty-eight days or two or three months, but the large proportion were subject to not more than four weeks. Such an occupier had probably invested between £20 and £200 in the house. His capital depreciated every week he was connected with it, and the chances were that if he 723 stayed long enough he would lose every penny he had invested. How was he to be protected? He feared that the brewers—the owners of the house— would got nine-tenths of the compensation and the occupier scarcely any. If compensation was to be given there should be definite security provided In law for the occupier. The interests of the brewer would be guarded by very competent legal gentlemen, and therefore it behoved the House to make sure that the small man should have his proper share. According to present law the magistrate need give no reasons for refusing to renew a licence or grant a new one. Would they be enabled under this Bill to have the option of appearing before quarter sessions in person to give their reasons for refusing to grant or renew a licence, or would they be bound to give their reasons only in writing or do both. He would much prefer these reasons being considered by quarter sessions as a whole instead of by a committee, for it was well known a strong incentive would exist to make the personnel of the committee fit in with the special interests with which it had to deal. Speaking generally, it was a revolutionary measure. It would create a monopoly with much greater security and increase of power, and a great trust and a great wrong, against which the attacks of public interests would be perfectly futile and unavailing. The Bill did not commend itself to his judgment. Any interference with the discretionary power of the magistrates could not command his sympathy. He noticed that the Government dare not attack the county towns. They would have the same power as they had now. It was only the small urban and rural brewster sessions that would be humiliated in the eyes of their neighbours. The consequence was their status would be much lower.
§ MR. LAWRENCE (Liverpool, Abercromby)
said that a year ago he listened with great interest to, and agreed with a considerable portion of, the speech then delivered by the hon. Member for the Spen Valley Division, and he was much disappointed that, on the present occasion, the hon. Member should have made a speech very different in tone, and almost 724 in temper. It was now perfectly established that the holder of a licence had only one-year tenure, but inasmuch as the law was intended to be a terror only to evildoers he submitted that the provision as to a one-year tenancy was meant to apply only to those who did wrong. Parliament never had in contemplation the capricious withdrawal of licences from persons who had committed no offence against public order or morality. What was right 150 or 200 years ago might not be expedient or practicable to-day. The only way by which they could ensure the carrying on of this great trade—which could not be suppressed—in the manner most conducive to public morality was to get a good class of men to occupy the houses, but that was impossible unless licence holders had a fair tenure. Security of tenure was required in every walk of life, and respectable men could not be expected to take up this business on a one-year tenancy. As to compensation. In as much as the Minority Report of the Royal Commission was in favour of compensation provided by the trade. he failed to see why the Bill should be opposed by the other side. At first blush it might appear that the discretion of the magistrates would be limited by the amount of the compensation fund but as the years came round and the number of licences decreased, values would go on increasing, and the accumulated fund for compensation would grow in a corresponding degree. If the Bill advanced the interests of true justice, and by so doing enabled magistrates to use their discretion entirely unhampered, little by little would be brought about that reduction in the number of public-houses which some people believed would do so much to promote sobriety. Personally, he did not believe the reduction in the number of public-houses would decrease drunkenness to anything like the extent some people supposed. He welcomed the Bill because it proceeded on safe and proper lines, and he hoped the Government would push it forward, being assured that it would receive the support of all level-headed people who, while anxious to promote the interests of temperance. were not desirous of inflicting injustice on the trade.
§ MR. OSMOND WILLIAMS (Merionethshire)
said the action of the Farnham 725 magistrates in acting according to their local knowledge of what they considered to be the requirements of the neighbourhood had been completely upheld by the Master of the Rolls. In fact, the decision was so emphatic that the trade had accepted it as final and had not attempted To get it reversed in the House of Lords. It was in consequence of that decision the Government had started this campaign. What were the motives by whirl; the Government had been animated? Had they been frightened by the action of the publicans at Woolwich and Rye in openly opposing Conservative candidates for the purpose of bringing the Government to heel? The course adopted by the Prime Minister in attacking magistrates for performing duties which the Master of the Rolls had pronounced TO be their unquestionable function, and in effusively welcoming a deputation from the liquor trade and promising them redress for their alleged grievances, was very different from the attitude adopted by him towards the temperance people. However, it was gratifying to find that the magistrates had taken up the challenge. At a conference held last year at Derby the licensing justices determined to defend their office, and in the battle for the maintenance of the integrity of the bench Mr. Arthur Chamberlain had played an invaluable part. The speech of the Prime, Minister to the brewers last year had had one good effect in that it aroused the alarm and awakened the fighting instincts of the community, and the right hon. Gentleman would probably find that his scheme for fastening the fetters of the drink trade upon the people had come too late. He hoped the Bill would be so strenuously opposed as to render impossible, its passage into law.
§ * SIR JOHN KENNAWAY (Devonshire, Honiton)
appealed for a calm consideration of the Bill on its merits by the public, publicans, and temperance reformers. All were asked to make concessions and to approach the Bill in a fair spirit. Was not a reduction of licensed houses effected in the way anticipated by the Home Secretary without leaving behind it a rankling sense of injustice, to be preferred to a more searching and sweeping measure which would 726 tend to outrage the sense of fairness which Englishmen were very jealous to maintain, and lay temperance reformers open to the charge of being deaf or blind to the committal of injustice and wrong in pursuit of what was undoubtedly a very great aim? How had this been brought about? The justices to their surprise had suddenly found themselves invested with a power which they were ignorant of possessing before. They found themselves suddenly invested with this discretionary power and they were called upon to act without any very clear principle having been laid down to guide them, without any suggestion as to the number of licensed houses that was necessary, and as to what ought to be done. The result of this spasmodic and intermittent action of the magistrates, who had no clear and direct principles to act upon, had been consternation on the part of the trade and the expulsion of many respectable persons either by the action of the magistrates or from the sense of insecurity which the action of the magistrates entailed upon them. The House had now an opportunity of proceeding on a direct and clear principle. The opportunity was offered in 1888 but was wrecked by the determined action of temperance reformers. He pleaded with the House to carefully consider the present Bill and see whether they could not accept it and so advance the cause of temperance. The Bill introduced by Lord Goschen in 1888 adopted the principle of placing a tax upon whisky and allotting it to compensation, and that measure had the support of Archbishop Temple. He supported that Bill himself, but it was wrecked by the determined action of temperance reformers. Who, as seemed to be the case with hon. Gentlemen opposite, were ready to wreck the Government Bill but were not prepared to suggest anything else in its place. The diversion of the money raised under a previous Bill to another purpose had left a strong sense of injustice, and the House ought to show those affected some consideration. Now they were being asked to pay a further sum. Naturally they would have preferred that the money should have been restored To its original purpose, but no Government and. no House of Commons would go back upon what 727 had been done, and certainly no House of Commons would ever sanction the voting of money directly from the taxes for compensation. An opportunity was now offered to the House of accepting a guarantee against confiscation, and he hoped it would commend itself to the House. As regarded the constitution of the Licensing Court he would have liked to have seen the recommendations of the Royal Commission carried out. He thought it was a very great advantage in county boroughs that the appeal should be to their own quarter sessions. The bringing in of the beerhouses of 1869 would be a step which had been long advocated, and which he thought would be welcomed on both sides of the House. In the course of his Parliamentary career he had seen so many steps in advance checked by temperance reformers wanting more, that he hoped the present opportunity would not be lost through a similar cause.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN (Stirling Burghs)
The right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, in introducing this Bill, in the most amiable and conciliatory manner said that he was not going to make a controversial speech. This is about the most controversial measure that could possibly have been brought in, and it is not very likely that we shall get very far before we discover how keenly Members are strung on either side of the question. I at once say that cannot promise anything but the most strenuous opposition to this Bill at every stage. On that part of the temperance and licensing question which affects the power of magistrates to review licences, there are three things upon which we on this side of the House insist. We insist that there shall be no tampering with or modification of the discretion of the local magistrates; we insist that there shall be nothing done which shall assign anything in the nature of a vested interest or right to the licensee; and I think the third cardinal principle that we contend for is that, if anything by way of consideration—or compensation, if you call it so—is given to those licensees who are dispossessed as superfluous that shall not come directly or indirectly out of public funds.
728 I test this Bill on these points. We say that the discretion of the local magistrates ought not to be interfered with or modified. But it is abolished by this Bill. The local magistrate, the man on the spot, the man who knows all about it, who lives in the locality, is acquainted with its requirements, and is conversant with the feeling of the inhabitants, is to be practically set aside, except that he may perhaps send a written memorial to the superior court, and the estimable gentleman from another part of the world, who has no knowledge whatever of the circumstances, will be entrusted with this essential part of the magisterial control of the publican. Is the power of granting licences to be dealt with in the same way? We are not told. Is it only to be the renewal of licences that is to be taken from the local magistrates and handed over to quarter sessions, or is he granting of the original licence also to be taken away? I can quote a very high authority—the one hangs upon the other. I am not going to enter-upon a subject on which I am little qualified to enter—legal questions and judicial decisions on fine points of law. But I have made myself acquainted with them, and. in the course of that exploration, I have come upon a decision of an eminent Judge, which I think is worth reading to the House for more reasons than one. Firstly, I think it will interest the House, and, in the second place, it was the judgment of a most illustrious member of the present Government—I mean the Lord Chancellor. As we should expect from him it is full of shrewd common sense. In giving judgment in that celebrated case of "Sharp v. Wakefield" he said.—It is not denied that for the purpose of the original grant it is within the power and even the duty of magistrates to consider the wants of the neighbourhood with reference both to its population, means of inspection, and so forth. If this is the original jurisdiction what sense or reason could there be in making these topics irrelevant to any future grant? it surely must have been in the contemplation of the I Legislature that the circumstances of a neighbourhood might change and population might diminish or increase. Would it be argued that, if the population had very much increased at some period where by reason of its previous want of population no such public accommodation bad been hitherto granted, no licence should be granted, because this additional grant might to some extent interfere with the 729 practical monopoly enjoyed by the person already licensed? This, of course, could not be argued, since it is a well understood practice to do this very thing. But can anything be more unreasonable than the suggestion that the Legislature had given the discretion in one direction and withheld it in the other.The Lord Chancellor, it seems, not only finds that it is the fact that the magistrates have this power of refusing renewal, but he says that it would be ridiculous to suppose that they should not. I invert the argument, and ask how can you separate the granting and the renewal of licences? Are you going to hand over the granting of licences to this distant and ignorant body, dispassionate because of their distance and their ignorance? [An HON. MEMBER: They have it now.] They have now the power of superseding others, and a very great abuse it has been in many cases. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will make that clear. But this transfer of the power of refusing to renew licences to a distant body is enough of itself to condemn the Bill. This, as I have said, is not tampering with, it is not whittling away, the discretion of the magistrates. It is actually taking away from the local magistrate his power altogether. Now, how have these magistrates behaved? The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister seems to have imagined last summer that they were a body full of predatory proclivities and fanatical impulses who were making victims of the poor publican, and in the greater activity they have shown in recent years in this matter, urged to it by public sentiment and the necessities of the case, we hear them spoken of as if they had been stung by some gadfly and ran amuck clown the street marking out this house and that house for destruction according as the wind led them. Let any one read the account of what happened, for instance, in Liverpool. The scrupulous and ridiculous pains which the magistrates took, personally going in small committees to investigate every hole and corner of the premises in the locality for themselves, spending a great deal of time and money, and taking pains of all sorts in transacting this necessary part of their duty. What was the result? The figures show that when they took one area in one year. 730 and dealt with it in this laborious and scrupulous way, they took another area next year, and the vast majority of the refusals which they decided upon were confirmed by the quarter sessions when they came before them. Therefore, there was no reckless action on the part of these magistrates. Why, then, should they not be trusted? How are you going to deal under your new system with these congested drink areas, which are the greatest curse. the greatest sources of degradation and of loss to the community that we have? They exist in all the great towns, and in some small districts as well. This Bill seems to me to consign those districts to the powers of evil. because it takes away the authority of those who were most likely to be actuated by a desire to improve the immediate locality. That is my principal reason, quite enough in itself, for declining to support this Bill.
Now I come to the quest on of compensation. There is directly, certainly, no grant of public money; no suggestion has been made such as we have seen in the newspapers and elsewhere that some little tax should be laid on, or some special addition put on the licence duty, and that then that should be given on condition that it was used for this purpose, and that it was not public money. Why, it is as if you put a shilling on the sill of a window and told a man it was there, and that then you should say that you were not giving him a shilling. The Government, exercising a wise discretion. avoid doing that. It would have been as objectionable as if the money had been voted directly for the Purpose by the House. I want to know, is there any time limit in the proposals. Is there any time limit here, and does it apply to existing licences only, or is every new licence that is to be given for all time to come into this arrangement as to the levy and as to compensation? Because, if so, it seems to create a sort of perennial property. We must remember that nine-tenths of these cases are public-houses belonging to brewing firms, and that is an impediment which has always seemed to me a forcible one in the way of any compensation with public money at all events. You might be compensating brewing firms for shutting 731 up public-houses by which they were making a loss every year. You would have to make inquiries into possibly not very reconcilable statistics and books, or you would lose yourself altogether.
The Government, I suppose, think they have got the means of dealing with these matters by this mechanical system that they have described. Still, I do not know that they have. They certainly have not been able to avoid introducing the State into the matter. In my opinion, there is no reason why this great wealthy trade should not provide proper consideration for any members of it that it chooses. It has plenty of funds and is splendidly organised. Politically, the whole trade acts as one man. It has almost become a new estate of the realm and its influence is shown in the effect it has had upon the Prime Minister and his colleagues. Why should the State meddle in this matter at all? Is this great conglomeration of wealthy businesses which we know by "the trade" so mean and so poor that it cannot provide for any poor man who has invested his money, stupidly perhaps, and finds the risk uninsurable? And is its capacity unequal to adjusting within itself the different interests that are involved in this question of compensation? Why should the State be brought in? The moment the State is brought in we become parties to the whole arrangement. I have always said that there was no objection whatever to compensation, if it was done by the trade, through the trade, for the trade. and administered by the trade; but here you go further, and we have an Act of Parliament, and we have the authority of Parliament, and we hove a system of controlling it and governing it, and I say that it is a mistake to make the public and the State parties to the matter at all. Are we so sure that we are not dealing with public money? This levy is to be laid upon the licensed houses, and in addition, I suppose, to the duty which they pay. Well, a great many of us are under the impression that they Could pay a very much higher duty and have some large margin of profit after all. think that is a very general opinion. Is this to be to the prejudice of our prospect of getting some money for the State. That is a point on which we 732 ought to be reassured. Why should we be casting about for some unfortunate income-tax payer or tea drinker to fill up the deficiencies of the Budget of this year, when we have here a large available source of income to be used for that purpose. Do not let us pay away in anticipation a considerable part of that source of income, and therefore prejudice our own claim to it when the time comes.
Another observation I have to make is, that in all this there is no guarantee whatever for a reduction of licences; there is no guarantee whatever for any real reform of drinking habits. It is an arrangement for the benefit of the trade, and for the benefit of the trade alone. I do not want to do anything to injure the trade—[MINISTERIAL cries of "Oh"]—nothing unfair I mean. On the other hand, I do not see why we should be all on our knees before the trade, asking what they would be pleased to accept in order to enable us to do the things that we are told by our Royal Commission to do, and which we can see with our own eyes are necessary for the improvement and well-being of our own people. These are the reasons why I, for my part, and all those who act with me, will give this Bill our most strenuous opposition. We regard it, as a timid concession for Party purposes to this great and powerful trade, and we regard its provisions, so far as we can yet understand them—because they are rather complicated—but in the main we regard them as invalidating the means which we already enjoy as far as they go, and which ought to be largely increased, for suppressing one of the greatest evils which afflict our country.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I will not take-up the challenge thrown out by the right hon. Gentleman in the last sentence of his speech. The amiable suggestion of the meanest motives on the part of the Government and those who support the Government is evidently exactly suited to the taste of his followers, if I may judge, from the cheers with which he was received, but it requires no comment from me on the present occasion. I will return good for evil, and I will say that the right hon. Gentleman has done what I do not think anyone else on that side has done so far as my observation 733 this afternoon has gone. He really has tried to make a speech which is relevant to the Bill. I do not think he has wholly succeeded, but, at all events, he has tried. The hon. Baronet who began the debate on the other side. and the hon. Member for Spen A alley, who speaks with all the authority of on who represents a great temperance organisation, have not attempted to deal with the Bill at all. Judging from the manner of their speeches they came down with their criticisms ready made on some scheme which they expected to hear and which they did not hear. In this I admit they have a great deal of Episcopal example and sanction behind them. But what we may forgive in a Bishop I think inexpedient in a debate in this House. The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down told us there were three reasons which induced him to oppose this measure even at this early stage of our proceedings, and. before he has seen the Bill in print. to promise undying hostility to it at every one of its stages. What are these three reasons? The first reason is that we interfere with the discretion of the magistrates, and. as he said afterwards, by magistrates he means the local magistrates—the brewster sessions. By the way, if I remember rightly, he supported a Bill in which the whole power was taken away from the local magistrates.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN.
In that Bill the magistrates would not have been the local authority. I support the local authority, as the local authority; not because they are magistrates.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The word magistrate has figured largely in the debate. The phrase "local authority" comes into it for the first time on the interpretation of the right hon. Gentleman. I understand him to object now at any rate. to any interference with the discretion of the local magistrates because, he says, they are on the spot, they know all the circumstances of the case. and ought to have an unfettered discretion in dealing with public-houses, and in that discretion you ought not to interfere. I complimented the right hon. Gentleman just now on having, 734 under the difficulties of a First Reading debate, tried to understand the Bill, but he has not taken the trouble to get up the existing licensing law, which this Bill is to amend, because if he had done so he would have known that the discretion of the local magistrates is not unfettered under the existing system, but that, on the contrary, those people who alone ought to have an appeal against their decision have an appeal to the quarter sessions which the right hon. Gentleman thinks are unfitted to administer our Bill. The right hon. Gentleman desires the status quo The status quo is that there are brewster sessions with an appeal to quarter sessions. With the quarter sessions lies the ultimate decision. Well, we retain to the quarter sessions the ultimate decision, and I am utterly unable to understand how he can feel a rooted objection to a change which leaves everything in its present state.
SIR H. CAMPBELI.-BANNERMAN
Would the right hon. Gentleman abolish the Judges because we have got a House of Lords?
§ MR. A.J. BALFOUR
I want to follow the method of the right hon. Gentleman. I was not aware that the Judges of His Majesty's High Court had that local acquaintance with crime which would put them in a parallel position as regards the administration of justice in which he thinks the brewster sessions are with regard to the administration of licensing law. The right hon. Gentleman says his reason for opposing every stage of the Bill is that the quarter sessions are the final authority, while they, as a matter of fact, are the filial authority at the present moment. The right hon. Gentleman asked me a Question as to new licences He seemed to think that some dreadful change was being made that would greatly facilitate the granting of these licences. The right hon. Gentleman is totally mistaken. There is no change as regards the granting of new licences. The only difference which this Bill makes is that, when a new-licence is granted by the quarter sessions or a committee of quarter sessions, they are obliged to make terms with the new licence-holder which will prevent those 735 enormous monopolies growing up which I think have been the greatest absurdity of our present licensing law.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
To confirm the recommendation. As the licensing committee now confirm, so the licensing committee of the quarter sessions will confirm, but it will confirm under conditions which I venture to say—I do not say they are in favour of temperance, but that they are in favour of a system less utterly irrational than the present, under which a monopoly has been allowed to grow up in this country. The condemnation of the present system is that this Parliament, in its wisdom, has created a monopoly, and has given the value of that monopoly to individuals. We think that when any new licence is granted the monopoly value should go to the public and should be added to the fund for the reduction of licences. An hon. Gentleman who sneers at that does not believe that the reduction of licences is going to have any effect on drunkenness. He only values the reduction of licences when taken away without compensation. We do not take that view, and we think one of the great reforms of this Bill is that it will in future prevent the growth of a monopoly value which, as you have allowed it to grow up, you cannot take away without compensation in our opinion, but which surely our ancestors would have been wise never to have allowed to grow up and which we ought to do our best to prevent growing up in the future. The right hon. Gentleman went on to say that anything done in the way of compensation for licences must be done out of funds provided by the trade. I confess I do not know where the right hon. Gentleman and his friends are about compensation. They assented to the Local Veto Bill of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouthshire, which permitted the unlimited spoliation of the publican. On the other hand, the hon. Member for Spen Valley thinks, or did think when he signed the Report of the Commission, that compensation should be granted, and I would 736 I almost guess from what fell from the hon. Gentleman that he had abandoned the full heresy of the right hon. Member for West Monmouthshire, and that he now thinks that some compensation should be granted—I am not sure—provided it is done out of the brewers' funds. I have no right to insist upon knowing what their view is about compensation; but it would greatly help me in the course of my argument if I knew.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I admire the wisdom of the right hon. Gentleman. All we know about his opinion is that at one time he was responsible as Cabinet Minister for a Bill which refused any kind of compensation to the publican and that he now refuses to say whether he has or has not abandoned that position. We do not take that view. I really should like to ask serious men among the opponents of this Bill—I will not say honest men, because I am convinced of the absolute honesty of even the most extreme and fanatical holders of what are wrongly described as temperance opinions—whether they have considered the methods by which they propose to treat those who carry on what is undoubtedly a legitimate, and, as I consider, a necessary trade, necessary in the sense that no community will consent to do without it, if in no other sense. A practice has been allowed to grow up, and I do not think the law prevents it, by which consideration can be, and is. constantly parted with by these people for value received. These people may be compelled under the existing law to spend large sums of money upon their premises. These people, if their houses happen to stand in the way of street improvements, are compensated under the Lands Clauses Act, as if they were copyholders, for the full amount of their premises. These people are rated, these people are taxed. Every incident and every burden of property is theirs except reasonable security. By reasonable security I do not, of course, mean freehold. The hon. Member for the Spen Valley talks as if we intended to give freehold value to people who have no freehold value. We intend to do nothing of the 737 kind, and nothing in our Bill will do it. My right hon. friend the Home Secretary told the House that the machinery by which the value of this kind of property is to be estimated is precisely the machinery which determines the amount at which it should be taxed. May I ask hon. Gentlemen opposite whether they think a man should be taxed on one value and dispossessed on another? If a licence-holder dies, his son or his widow gets his property, less the death duties, which are estimated upon a certain value which the licence is supposed to have. That is the value we attribute to it in this Bill, and how any man can say that that value is excessive, without at the same time saying that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has been robbing these people ever since the passing of the death duties, I am wholly unable to understand.
I have already told the House how much I regret the folly of the legislation which has allowed these monopoly values to grow up. But they have grown up, and we have permitted money to be given for them. No one has regarded that as either improper or as illegal, and I do not believe that in any trade in this world except the trade concerned with alcoholic liquors this House would tolerate for one moment the state of insecurity in which you have deliberately desired to place these people. Before I came into the House of Commons compensation was given to Army officers who had paid money for their commissions. It was illegal to give money for commissions, but the practice of paying for them had grown up, and it was felt it would be a gross injustice to treat that which had grown up as property as if it were no property at all. That is my great complaint of the attitude of mind of the hon. Member for Spen Valley. He went through any number of precedents and read long and interesting extracts to show that from time to time persons had arisen who held the view that a man applying for the renewal of a licence is precisely in the same position as if ho were applying for a new licence. I do not wish to enter into any legal or technical discussion with the hon. Gentleman, but this House has to consider broad equities outside these narrow limitations. It has always considered those broad equities in connection with 738 every other class of the community, and I cannot see how it is to refuse to consider them in connection with publicans and publicans alone. If you think the publican is a wild beast to be hunted down; if you think his occupation is so disreputable, so contrary to public morals, that he should be stamped out, there may be some excuse for your action. But hon. Gentlemen do not hold that view, or very few of them have courage to avow it, although I admit that an attack upon intemperance usually means a very intemperate attack upon the publican and not upon those to whom the publican ministers, who, I should have thought, were the real offenders. If the Bill only attempted, for the first time realty, to give reasonable security to this trade, which is a legitimate trade, it would have strong reasons behind it. But that is only a small part of the case for this Bill, in my judgment.
I have sketched imperfectly the position of the publicans. Now consider the magistrates. Large classes of the community, from bishops downwards, seem to think that the position of the magistrates under the law as it stands is an easy, simple, and satisfactory position. For my part, I cannot imagine a more unsatisfactory position. I am glad to think that it has never been my lot to sit in brewster sessions or in quarter sessions to decide these cases. And why? Because the existing law requires the magistrates to decide between two things which are not in pari materia, which cannot be balanced one against the other upon any rational or logical plan. In the first place, the magistrates have to consider the interest of the public, and, in the second place, they have to consider the hardship inflicted upon the publican if he were turned out of his public-house without compensation. If you say that the magistrate ought not to consider the second point at all, that it is only the first that they ought to consider, then you are suggesting a change in magisterial duties, or in the method in which those duties are carried out, greater than has ever been suggested before in this House. Everybody knows that no quarter sessions and not very many brewster sessions have taken the view advanced by hon. Gentlemen opposite. It is those few brewster sessions who 739 have taken this extreme and fanatical, though perfectly logical, view, who have brought the greater part of this trouble upon us. The truth is that through-oat the whole country, except in those few extreme cases, the magistrates have tried to strike some kind of balance between these incomparable considerations, and, naturally, they have struck it in different ways in different districts. In some instances the hardship on the publican outweighs any view they may take as to the excess of public-houses, and in other instances the hardship inflicted upon the publican is lost sight of altogether. From that intolerable and wholly illogical position we relieve the magistrates by this Bill. It was said by I the hon. Member for Camborne that the object of the Bill is to prevent the reduction of licences. I con-send that the Bill, by removing the hardship attached to the reduction of licences, will greatly promote that reduction, because, for the first time, the magistrates will be able, with a fairly equal mind, to consider the question of licences entirely from the point of view of the actual wants of their district. Therefore, not only in the interest of the publicans, but in the interest of the magistrates, I earnestly commend this Bill to the House.
But there are other interests. There is the financial interest of the public at large, and as to that the Bill, as I have explained, will prevent the growing up in new districts requiring new licences of that monopoly which we have allowed to grow up throughout the country in the past. And that is why I press the merits of this Billon the House. Then there is the interest of which hon. Gentlemen opposite profess to be the great champions, the interest of temperance. If it be true that the number of licences affects temperance, then this is a great temperance measure; but it is a great temperance measure for other reasons than those directly and immediately concerned with the mere number of licences. I do not know whether there has been any conclusive proof given as to the exact relations between the number of licences and population and the amount of drunkenness that exists in that population. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley said that in Scotland as compared 740 with England there is less than half the number of licences as compared with the population. I wish I could think that my fellow-countrymen were less given to the vice of intemperance.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
It is much more effectual. Though I doubt whether anybody can say, after having impartially examined the question, that there is any obvious connection between the amount of drunkenness and the number of public-houses, everybody, I think, must admit that an excessive number of public-houses has two effects, both of them bad. It makes police supervision more difficult, and it drives the smaller and less well-managed public-houses, by the mere effect of over-competition, to illegitimate means of supplementing their profits. You will never get rid of the public-house from this country, and, I frankly admit it, I do not think you ought to get rid of it. What, then, should you aim at? You should aim surely at this ideal, that the public-houses which you have should be kept respectably, should be kept by respectable persons, and should be kept in a manner which will make those who frequent them obey the law and conform to the dictates of morality. A difficult ideal to attain, but one which never seems to occur to a certain class of temperance reformer. [OPPOSITION cries of "Why?"] That is not intended to be uncharitable, and if it is uncharitable I think that, when I tell hon. Gentlemen the reason for the possibly harsh judgment I pass upon them, they will see what I mean. Their one desire appears to be to render the tenure of the publican insecure. All the speeches made, all the measures proposed, have that, if not for their ultimate object, for their first subsidiary object. How can you expect the trade which you deliberately intend to make insecure to be filled by men of the character I have just endeavoured to describe? And it is because I have never seen any real effort on the part of hon. Gentlemen opposite to give practical effect to that ideal, nor indeed by their friends, that I was betrayed into perhaps an unduly severe estimate of their attitude towards this particular aspect of the 741 question. I think myself that the extreme temperance reformers do a very ill-service to the great and sacred cause to which they devote so much disinterested exertion by coupling temperance and injustice. Depend upon it, no great moral cause was ever helped on by associating it with anything which the common sense of mankind, as well as the practice of this Parliament, would describe as a real injustice; and then, when I am told that this Bill is to be strenuously opposed at every stage of its existence, I am reminded of similar statements made, and, I admit, fully carried out, with regard to previous efforts made by this Party, and from this side of the House, to deal with the evil of the excessive number of licences. I do not know whether temperance reformers look back with pride—.[some OPPOSITION cheers]—orwith pain to their previous efforts. That cheer precisely bears out what I was suggesting at the beginning of my speech. They may desire to diminish the number of licences—
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I beg the hon. Gentleman's pardon. If the money which Lord Goschen intended to devote. and tried to devote, to the diminution of licences had been allowed by hon. Gentlemen opposite to be used for that purpose, the evils of which they are complaining would. I believe, almost have disappeared.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
This, I understand, is to be added to the number of Bills which we have endeavoured to pass and hon. Gentlemen opposite have strenuously opposed. The Member for the Spen Valley spoke contemptuously of the temperance reform which was carried through the House by my right hon. friend the Member for Croydon two or three years ago. He called it a small and petty measure. I am not going to estimate how great a measure that was, but let the hon. Gentlemen opposite look at their own record of temperance reform. The last Bill that was carried through the House before the Bill of my right hon. friend in 1902 was that of 1872, and 742 the Bill of 1872 had a great deal to do, as the hon. Gentleman opposite knows perfectly well, in spreading and in rendering deeper the convict on which every licensed holder has—that the Legislature did intend him to have something more than a year to year tenure of his property. And since that Bill hon. Gentlemen opposite have not touched the question at all, unless, indeed. I am to count the Local Veto Bill of 1895, which, as we all know, was intended to sweep away wholesale the licences from any area of the country which adopted it, and to sweep them away without the smallest compensation. I know the House will believe me when I say that in our judgment this is a temperance measure. I think it was the Member for the Spen Valley who said that in every respect this was retrograde from the temperance point of view. I deny that; and I demit absolutely. I deny it because for the first time since the Beerhouse Act of 1869 —and everybody interested in this question knows that beerhouses are one of the great difficulties you have to deal with— it will be found possible to deal with these beerhouses without inflicting hardship on individuals. In the second place, it is a great temperance reform, or, at all events, a great reform, because it prevents these monopoly values growing up in any new district under new licences; and, in the third place, it will enable magistrates sitting in quarter sessions to deal with licences which their sense of justice now absolutely prevents them from touching, and will in that way, at no great length of time, I believe, in most cases at all events, really make the number of licences in existence correspond fairly with the actual needs of the various districts. And are we to be told that these things are not reforms simply because they are associated with a great benefit to the publican? We always come back to that. Temperance, enthusiam for temperance, love of temperance, is the polite name for hatred of the publican. I do not believe that hon. Gentlemen opposite will get behind them that great body of moderate opinion, not 1oss earnest, believe me. than they are themselves in the cause of temperance, which will not willingly permit the great cause of public morality in one department to be wrecked 743 by a breach of public morality in another.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE (Carnarvon Boroughs)
said the right hon. Gentleman at the beginning of his speech complained that they were attributing to him and those associated with him the meanest possible motives, and he ended his speech by committing exactly the same offence himself. The right hon. Gentleman had accused them of being prompted by hatred of the publican. He could not conceive any meaner motive to prompt a political Party than hatred of anybody, and he trusted the right hon. Gentleman would believe that they were animated by the same honest motive as he was when they brought their judgment to bear on the proposals he had brought forward. The right hon. Gentleman had complained that his hon. friends the Members for the Spen Valley and Camborne had not criticised the proposals of the Bill, but that they had attacked some other proposals. His hon. friends had made the mistake of assuming that the Prime Minister would carry out the public pledges he gave.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
said the proposals had been changed from time to time. The measure had been recast a good many times during rehearsal, and in some respects he thought very much for the worse. They were told that the discretion of the licensing magistrates was to be suspended. Instead of being suspended, it seemed to him to have been choked off altogether. The licensing magistrates were to have practically no discretion at all. In future they were to have no more than the power a police constable had, for all they had to do was to report to quarter sessions. It was perfectly true that, as against this Bill, they were supporting the full discretion of the magistrates, but no one on that side of the House had ever concealed the fact that in their opinion the licensing power ought to be vested in the representatives of the people themselves. What they said was that, whoever the authority was, that authority ought not to be fettered by such conditions as were introduced into that Bill. The 744 right hon. Gentleman, he thought, hardly realised what the effect of his Bill was. He was fettering the discretion of the magistrates most materially. He first fettered the authority of brewster sessions, and he then fettered the authority of quarter sessions by the maximum limit which he imposed. He objected to the Bill because it created a property in order to buy it off. The Prime Minister had said, "We are simply saying that, if you dispossess a man, you must dispossess him at the value at which he is taxed." But what this Bill did was to increase the value of his property. By this Bill the Prime Minister was increasing the value of the property. Licensing magistrates proceeded with the utmost caution, and never interfered except in very bad cases. They might assign as a reason that a particular public-house was not required in the neighbourhood, but in making their selection they, guided by their own local knowledge, always selected the worst conducted houses. To that gross type of public-house the Bill would give a fictitious value. The would-be purchaser of a house in a district in which the magistrates were active, took into account the probability of the licence being renewed, and if licences were being reduced year by year and the renewal for the house in question was likely to be refused, he either did not buy it at all or paid a lower price for it. Under this Bill he would be assured of good compensation if the licence was refused, and consequently he would give a big price for a property which under ordinary conditions he would not touch. A value was being created for the worst type of house, and a corresponding burden imposed on the better type. The well-conducted and better class houses were to be taxed for the sake of a class of property which ought to be destroyed. Such property was of a purely speculative character, and at present the elements of risk had to be taken into account. In future, however, this class of property might be bought with impunity, and the good hotels in the district would have to pay the compensation. The Prime Minister was creating a new business, a new Stock Exchange gamble—that of speculating in bad, rotten public-houses. 745 A great deal had been said about licensing magistrates confiscating property. If the right hon. Gentleman had sat on a bench of magistrates, his conduct in making such a charge would have been inexcusable; his only excuse was that of absolute ignorance of the practical working of these bodies. The charge was unmitigated nonsense. It was the Prime Minister who was the confiscator, because by this Bill, instead of the element of uncertainty being from 30 to 60 per cent. in the bad houses and practically nil in the good, the two classes of property were placed on precisely the same footing.
A further reason why he objected to the Bill was that it created a permanent impediment in the way of temperance reform. A great deal had been said about the rights of the publican, but very little about the interests of the public. No one listening to the speeches of the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary would have supposed they were dealing with a monopoly, which in the opinion of judges was responsible for one-half of the crime, a great deal of the lunacy, a large portion of the misgovernment, and much of the distress and degradation of the country. There had been much talk about safeguards for the trade, but not a word about safeguards for the public; much criticism of magistrates. none of the trade. The Prime Minister, being a Member for Manchester, was preeminently a brewery representative, as there were more breweries in Manchester than in almost any other constituency. It was really out of what had happened at Manchester this Bill had arisen. A few years ago a great scandal occurred by reason of the corruption of the police by the brewery companies. A first-rate chief constable was appointed who went into the matter and found that, even-Christmas the police were paraded in the brewery yards represented by the Prime Minister, and there presented with a donation from the brewery. The names of those who were to receive donations were supplied by the publicans. One police inspector gave evidence to the effect that he received 30s. from one brewery, a hamper of liquor from another. and a supply of beer from a third. A sergeant received 10s. from one brewery, and 5s. from another. The police were 746 receiving donations every Christmas from the various breweries, and the chief constable said it was absolutely impossible to carry out the Licensing Act as long as this kind of thing went on. There were hundreds of cases of drunkenness on duty and of drinking on licensed premises by the police, but the chief constable put a stop to the system, and, in the very first year after. a considerable improvement was the result. Then the brewers got at the magistrates. The suggestion was that the temperance people brought pressure to bear on the magistrates, but what happened amongst the right hon. Gentleman's own friends in East Manchester? There was a magistrate named Mr. Hughes who was a great supporter of the Prime Minister. A police inspector found drunkenness on licensed premises in Manchester. Mr. Hughes drove up to the police with the licensee and begged them not to prosecute. The police inspector declined to take any notice of the appeal. The next step was that the magistrate drove up to the chief constable and brought pressure to bear upon him. When the case got into Court, the two magistrates who had been trying to persuade the chief constable not to prosecute were on the Bench, although not on the rota for the week. The case was taken from Court No. 1 to Court No. 2; the two magistrates followed. They got a little Court of their own, in which Mr. Hughes was chairman of the bench. The chief constable, being telephoned for. gave notice that if the case was proceeded with he would publish the whole of the facts. The case was withdrawn, but the facts leaked out, and the chief constable was hauled over the coals. Like a plucky man, he declared that the time had come to speak out, and he called attention to the fact that the number of dismissals in licensing cases by magistrates who were supposed to be partial to temperance was quite out of proportion to the dismissals in similar cases by other magistrates, the suggestion being that undue influence was exercised upon the magistrates. The magistrates got very angry; they appointed a committee, consisting of seven Unionists and two Liberals, to inquire into the matter. The committee found that the charge brought by the chief constable were 747 absolutely true; and the two magistrates against whom he brought the charges had to give up the commission of the peace. In another case the magistrates on the bench actually told the inspector not to bring much evidence as they had made up their minds to dismiss. This Bill was brought in because it was an attack upon the magistrates for unduly favouring temperance, but in his opinion the undue and corrupt influence had been entirely on the other side. The chief constable brought forward a charge of packing the bench. A committee after full investigation had found that. after applications for the renewal and transfer of licences had been refused several times by the magistrates after they had given careful consideration to the cases. when new applications had been made and heard on the same evidence, the previous decisions had been reversed by majorities which included magistrates who seldom appeared at other times save when licensing cases were considered. and who generally retired as soon as those cases had been reversed.
The result of what had taken place in Manchester had been to stop the bribery of the police and the interference of magistrates; and so the licensed victuallers now came to the Prime Minister and said, "As we have lost these powers. as we cannot bribe the police any longer. and as we cannot bring undue influence to bear upon the magistrates in the future. you must help us out of this difficulty." Somebody had referred to Liverpool, and the same story applied there. That was why a Bill of this kind had been brought in. and it had been introduced because at last decent men on the bench were beginning to realise what had been going on. The chairman of the Liverpool licensing justices was a strong Conservative. and the vast majority of those sitting on the bench at Liverpool were Conservatives, and the same thing applied to Manchester, where they were nearly a]l supporters of the right hon. Gentleman. But in Manchester they had some sense of their duty to the community and some regard to the oath which they had taken. and they were at last beginning to administer the law. The Prime Minister had great regard for the law, and he would punish all law- 748 breakers if they belonged to a different Party from his own. [MINISTERIAL cries of "Oh," "Withdraw" and "Divide, divide."]
* MR. SFEAKER
The hon. Member will see that his words suggest that the right hon. Gentleman is actuated. in prosecuting for crime. by the unworthy motive of punishing persons who are of different politics from his own. That is a suggestion which the hon. Member ought to withdraw.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
If my words— [Loud cries of "Withdraw"]—are capable of that interpretation I unhesitatingly withdraw them. But I am entitled to draw attention to the different treatment accorded by the right hon. Gentleman to those who have broken the law in this way and to the Welsh County Councils.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Really, Sir, I have been listening to the hon. Member for a considerable time, and I hardly thought it worth while interrupting him in his personal attack on me. But what have I to do with prosecuting any one in Manchester? [A NATIONALIST MEMBER: What about Ireland? I never heard of the transaction of which the hon. Member has given such a long history, and what he means by saying that I am prosecuting any one in connection with this Bill I am at loss to imagine.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE,
who was received with renewed cries of "Withdraw," said that if the Prime Minister said that this was the first time he had heard of these transactions in his own constituency—transactions which bore very much on the licensing law dealt with by this Bill—he could only express his astonishment. It was a matter of public notoriety in Manchester. He was entitled to call attention to the fact that for Wales the right hon, Gentleman was going to introduce a Bill to enforce the law, and in this matter he was introducing a Bill to prevent a law which had been beneficial from being carried out. It was all due to the fact that the publicans had intimidated the Government. The placard issued by them at the Woolwich election had brought the Government to heel. 749 The publicans said, "We cannot bribe I and we cannot bring undue influence to bear any longer." [Cries of "Withdraw."]
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR (turning to the Benches behind him)
Let him go on. It will not matter.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
said the right hon. Gentleman would find that it would matter a good deal. The publicans said to themselves;, "As we cannot intimidate the police or the magistrates, let us get hold of something thoroughly feeble;" and so the Government came to their assistance. The publicans issued a placard to this effect: "The time has come when the Government should be, made to feel the full force of our resentment of their policy. Let us make our trade our policy, and by putting forth our full strength render it impossible for Government candidates to secure election. All Governments depend on votes and if the present Government want the votes of licensed holders they must promise us the protection we demand." Having used that threat and having fired one or two shots at the right hon. Gentleman, he hoisted the white flag. Now the right hon. Gentleman made an appeal for equitable treatment for the trade. Was there not to be equitable treatment also for the victims of the trade? As the trade had this record of abusing its monopoly, let it remember the great principle of British law—that those who come to equity should come with clean hands.
§ MR. GROVES (Salford, S.)
said he had the honour of being a Manchester man born and bred, and he believed that the hon. Member for Carnarvon was also a Manchester man born and bred, but it was evident that he had been transplanted at a very early age to a less congenial atmosphere, or the House would never have had this distressing and disgraceful exhibition of bad taste.
§ * MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Gentleman may accuse another hon. Member of 750 bad taste, but he should not couple the word "disgraceful" with the accusation.
§ MR. GROVES
said that he withdrew the word; but the hon. Member had made a most unwarrantable attack on the Prime Minister, who commanded the unanimous respect of the House. This was a Bill which dealt with a very large trade with which he had the honour of being associated, and it was only right that that trade should have an opportunity of digesting the proposals of the Government which they had just heard for the first time. Therefore he thought it would be best to reserve judgment in regard to this measure. The hon. Member for Spen Valley and the hon. Member for Carnarvon Burghs appeared to think that this was a Bill which taxed teetotalers, and which proposed to devote the proceeds of that tax to paying compensation to the trade. He did not think there was anybody in this country who would be worse off by this Bill becoming law. The attitude taken up by hon. Members opposite, and by those who opposed the Government in this matter, was illogical in the extreme. It was only owing to the long continuance in office of a strong Government that any modification of the existing licensing laws had been brought forward. and he thought this was a true advance in temperance reform. The trade had been looking forward to a return of the £6,000,000 they contributed years ago, and they hoped and believed until quite recently that that fund would have been restored, and that the money would have been devoted to dealing with licences as was originally intended. The licensed victuallers thought that the Government in dealing with this matter might have taken a portion of the war tax upon beer and spirits and devoted it to forming a compensation fund. He desired to assure the Government that the measure they were introducing to-day was not in any shape or form what they had expected, but nevertheless they were prepared to discuss it dispassionately and give it reasonable consideration. He hoped to have an opportunity later on of refuting some of the fallacious arguments which had been put forward by the hon. Member for Spen Valley. This was no occasion to take up the time of the House by enlarging upon the merits or demerits 751 of the Bill, and he would content himself by assuring the right hon. Gentleman and the Government that the measure which they had honestly proposed would receive their serious consideration.
He should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman to consider at a later period what would happen in a district where the local bench decided that no reduction of licences was necessary because there were many benches of that kind. Would the rate in those districts be levied and would it accumulate? He would like to know something more with respect to the position of licences in county boroughs. He desired that there should be no misconception about the matter, and that nobody should be able to say there had been confiscation or robbery. In the case of county boroughs where action was taken by the licensing committee of the local bench, would the reference be made to the larger county body within the same area, or would it be referred to the local bench? There was a very important difference. In the case of the small boroughs the definition was quite clear. In the case of the larger boroughs it would be useful to know to what body the reference was to be made, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would give some information on that point. The measure had been drawn on broad lines, and gave evidence of an earnest desire on the part of the Prime Minister and the Government to deal with a most difficult and thorny question in a fair and honourable way.
§ * MR. CORRIE GRANT (Warwickshire, Rugby)
said it was not quite clear from the explanation the Prime Minister had given of the Rill whether quarter session, would deal entirely with the question of compensation. He understood the right hon. Gentleman to say so, but he wanted to be sure that that was so. He also desired further information on a question of machinery. In regard to new licences the right hon. Gentleman said that the local justices were to report to quarter sessions and that quarter sessions were to decide whether a licence was to be taken away or not. Would quarter sessions decide on the report of the licensing justices alone, or would they 752 hear the case just as if it were an application before brewster sessions?
§ * MR. CORRIE GRANT
said that was worse than if they acted on the report of the justices. He wanted to offer one or two technical criticisms of the Bill. He disputed what the Prime Minister had said as to licensed premises being rated exactly on the same basis as other premises; and pointed to the injustice of the Bill to the existing tenants who were to be taxed on their licence value in order to form a compensation fund. Upon a very low estimate, out of every 100 houses there were seventy tied to some great firm or other, and the tenants all over that area would contribute to the fund out of which compensation would be paid, but the first person to get it would be the mortgagee, who was the brewer or distiller. Not until they had been paid would the tenant get anything. The tenant, therefore, was to be the first to pay and the last to receive, and the Bill, instead of being one to look after the interests of the tenant of whose hardships they had heard so much, was one for the endowment of rich companies already making large profits out of the trade, and perfectly competent to safeguard themselves. The Bill was first of all unjust, because of the way in which it interfered with the local justices, and secondly, because of the way it treated the existing tenant, but the worst feature was that for dealing with the sale of new licences. They were going for the first time to make the State a party with the trade in the method of dealing with new licences. They would have quarter sessions putting liences up by auction, and the highest bi der getting them— [Cries of "No, no!"]—and they would have quarter sessions hearing the argument constantly pressed upon them: "We gave you a big price for a licence the other day, you ought to give us a big price when you come to deal with compensation for closing our house." If the Bill passed, did anyone doubt the 753 value of licences would go up enormously? There could be no question of it. For these three reasons he submitted that the Bill ought to be rejected.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:— Ayes, 314; Noes, 147. (Division List No. 88).757
|Agg, Gardner, James Tynte||Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.||Harris, Dr. Fredk, R. (Dulwich)|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Cripps, Charles Alfred||Haslam, Sir Alfred S.|
|Aird, Sir John||Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Hay, Hon. Claude George|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton)||Heath, James (Staffords, N. W.|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Crossley, Rt. Hon. Sir Savile||Heaton, John Henniker|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Cust, Henry John C.||Holder, Augustus|
|Arnold-Forster, Rt. Hn. Hugh O.||Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Henderson, Sir A. (Stafford, W.)|
|Arrol, Sir William||Davenport, William Bromley-||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Devlin, Joseph (Kilkenny, N.)||Hickman, Sir Alfred|
|Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hon. Sir H.||Dewar, Sir T. R. (Tower Hamlets||Hoare, Sir Samuel|
|Austin, Sir John||Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Hobhouse, Rt. Hn. H. (Somers't, E|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Dickson, Charles Scott||Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Dimsdale, Rt. Hon. Sir Joseph C.||Hornby, Sir William Henry|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Horner, Frederick William|
|Balcarres, Lord||Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred Dixon||Hoult, Joseph|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Dorington, Rt. Hon. Sir John E.||Houston, Robert Paterson|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r||Doughty, George||Howard, J. (Midd., Tottenham)|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey)||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. Gerald W. (Leeds||Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Hudson, George Bickersteth|
|Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch.||Duke, Henry Edward||Hutton, John (Yorks., N. R.)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Jameson, Major J. Eustace|
|Barry, Sir Francis T. (Windsor)||Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir William Hart||Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse|
|Bartley, Sir George C. T.||Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Jeffreys, Rt. Hon. Arthur Fred.|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir Michael Hicks||Faber, Edmund B. (Hants, W.)||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Faber, George Denison (York)||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H.|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Fardell, Sir T. George||Kenyon, Hon. Geo. T. (Denbigh)|
|Bignold, Arthur||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r||Kerr, John|
|Bigwood, James||Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Keswick, William|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.||Kimber, Henry|
|Bond, Edward||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||King, Sir Henry Seymour|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Fisher, William Hayes||Knowles, Sir Lees|
|Bowles, Lt.-Col. H. F. (Middlesex||Fison, Frederick William||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.|
|Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn)||Fitz Gerald, Sir Robert Penrose-||Laurie, Lieut-General|
|Brassey, Albert||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward Algernon||Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow)|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Lawrence, Sir Joseph (Monm'th)|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Flower, Sir Ernest||Lawrence, Wm- F. (Liverpool)|
|Bull, William James||Forster, Henry William||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks, N. R|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Fyler, John Arthur||Lee, Arthur H. (Hants., Fareham|
|Butcher, John George||Galloway, William Johnson||Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)|
|Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Glasgow||Gardner, Ernest||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage|
|Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin Univ.||Garfit, William||Leveson-Gower, Frederick N. S.|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Gibbs, Hon. A. G. H.||Llewellyn, Evan Henry|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick||Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire||Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nairn||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Gore, Hn. G. R.C. Ormsby-(Salop||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S.)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby-(Linc.)||Lonsdale, John Brownlee|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||Lowe, Francis William|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm.||Goschen, Hon. George Joachim||Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Wore||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Loyd, Archie Kirkman|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Graham, Henry Robert||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)|
|Chapman, Edward||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth)|
|Charrington, Spencer||Greene, Henry D. (Shrewebury)||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Greene, W. Raymond-(Cambs.)||Macdona, John Gumming|
|Clive, Captain Percy A.||Gretton, John||MacIver, David (Liverpool)|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Greville, Hon. Ronald||Maconochie, A. W.|
|Coddington, Sir William||Groves, James Grimble||MacVeagh, Jeremiah|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Gunter, Sir Robert||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Guthrie, Walter Murray||M'Calmont, Colonel James|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.||M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edinburgh, W.|
|Colston, Chas, Edw. H. Athole||Hamilton, Marq. of (L'nd'nderry||M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire)|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)|
|Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas||Hare, Thomas Leigh||Majendi, James A. H.|
|Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Harris, F. Leverton (Tynem 'th||Malcolm, Ian|
|Martin, Richard Biddulph||Quitter, Sir Cuthbert||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Massey-Mainwaring, Hon. W. F.||Randles, John S.||Stroyan, John|
|Maxwell, Rt. Hn Sir H. E. (Wigt'n||Rasch, Sir Frederic Carne||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Middlemore, John Throgmorton||Ratcliff, R. F.||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Mildmay, Franeis Bingham||Reid, James (Greenock)||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G (Oxf'd Univ.|
|Milner, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.||Remnant, James Farquharson||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Milvain, Thomas||Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Mitchell, William (Burnley)||Renwick, George||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Ridley, Hon. M. W. (Stalybridge)||Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.|
|Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Ridley, S. Forde (Bethnal Green||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Montagu, Hon. J. Scott (Hants.)||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Chas, Thomson||Tuff, Charles|
|Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward|
|Morgan, David J. (Walthamstow||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Morpeth, Viscount||Robinson, Brooke||Valentia, Viscount|
|Morrison, James Archibald||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer||Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Mount, William Arthur||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert||Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir William H.|
|Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Round, Rt. Hon. James||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Muntz, Sir Philip A.||Royds, Clement Molyneux||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Murray, Rt. Hn. A. Graham (Bute||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)||Welby, Lt.-Col. A. C. E. (Taunton|
|Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)||Welby, Sir Charles G. E. (Notts.)|
|Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander||Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd|
|Myers, William Henry||Samuel, Sir Harry S. (Limehouse||Whiteley, H. (Ashton and. Lyne|
|Newdegate, Francis A. N.||Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos. Myles||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Nicholson, William Graham||Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln)||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N.)||Seton-Karr, Sir Henry||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Sharpe, William Edward T.||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary, Mid||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel||Wilson-Todd, Sir W. H. (Yorks.)|
|Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)||Simeon, Sir Barrington||Wodehouse, Rt, Hn. E. R. (Bath)|
|Parker, Sir Gilbert||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)||Wolff, Gustay Wilhelm|
|Parkes, Ebenezer||Skewes-Cox, Thomas||Worsley-Tavlor, Henry Wilson|
|Peel, Hn. W. Robert Wellesley||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C.B. Stuart-|
|Pemberton, John S. G.||Smith, H. C. (North'mb Tyneside||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Percy, Earl||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.)||Wylie, Alexander|
|Pierpoint, Robert||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Pilkington, Colonel Richard||Spear, John Ward||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk||Young, Samuel|
|Plummer, Walter R.||Stanley, Ed ward Jas. (Somerset)||Younger, William|
|Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Lancs.)|
|Pretyman, Ernest George||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M' Taggart||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir A. Acland-Hood and Mr. Ailwyn Fellowes.|
|Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Pym, C. Guy||Stock, James Henry|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Crombie, John William||Harmsworth, R. Leicester|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Dalziel, James Henry||Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D.|
|Asher, Alexander||Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Helme, Norval Watson|
|Ashton, Thomas Clair||Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon Herbert Henry||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Dobbie, Joseph||Holland, Sir William Henry|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Duncan, J. Hastings||Horniman, Frederick John|
|Black, Alexander William||Dunn, Sir William||Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.|
|Boland, John||Edwards, Frank||Hutton, Alfred E (Morley)|
|Brigg, John||Elibank, Master of||Jacoby, James Alfred|
|Broad hurst, Henry||Ellis, John Edward (Notts.)||Johnson, John (Gateshead)|
|Brown, George M. (Edinburgh;||Emmott, Alfred||Joicey, Sir James|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Evans, Sir Francis H. (Maidstone||Jones, David Brymnor (Swansea|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan)||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Eve, Harry Trelawney||Kearley, Hudson E.|
|Burns, John||Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Kitson, Sir James|
|Burt, Thomas||Fenwick, Charles||Langley, Batty|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith)||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall)|
|Caldwell, James||Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Layland Barratt, Francis|
|Cameron, Robert||Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Leng, Sir John|
|Cawley, Frederick||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Levy, Maurice|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Grant, Corrie||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Corbett, A Cameron (Glasgow)||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||Lloyd-George, David|
|Craig, Robert Hunter (Lanark)||Harcourt, Lewis V. (Rossendale)||Logan, John William|
|Cremer, William Randal||Harcourt, Rt. Hn. Sir W (Monm'th||Lough, Thomas|
|Lyell, Charles Henry||Rickett, J. Compton||Thomson, F. W. (York, W R.)|
|Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Rigg, Richard||Toulmim, George|
|M'Crae, George||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|M'Kenna, Reginald||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs)||Ure, Alexander|
|Mansfield, Horace Rendall||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)||Wallace, Robert|
|Markham, Arthur Basil||Robson, William Snowdon||Walton, John Lawson (Leeds, S.)|
|Mitchell, Edw. (Fermanagh, N.)||Runciman, Walter||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmathen)||Russell, T. W.||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)|
|Morley, Charles (Breconshire)||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney|
|Morley, Rt. Hon. John (Montrose||Schwann, Charles E.||Weir, James Galloway|
|Moss, Samuel||Scott, Chas, Prestwich (Leigh)||White, George (Norfolk)|
|Moulton, John Fletcher||Shackleton, David James||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Norman, Henry||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)||Whiteley, George (York, W. R.|
|Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Shipman, Dr. John G.||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|O'Shee, James John||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Parrott, William||Slack, John Bamford||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Partington, Oswald||Sloan, Thomas Henry||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Paulton, James Mellor||Smith, Samuel (Flint)||Yoxall, James Henry.|
|Perks, Robert William||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Pirie, Duncan, V.||Spencer, Rt. Hn. C. R. (Northants|
|Price, Robert John||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Herbert Gladstone and Mr. William M'Arthur.|
|Priestley, Arthur||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.|
|Rea, Russell||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.|
|Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr|
§ Ordered, That Mr. Secretary Akers-Douglas, Mr. Solicitor-General, Mr. Walter Long, and Mr. Cochrane do prepare and bring in the Bill.