§ MR. SUMMERBELL (Sunderland)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if his attention has been called to an application made to the Corporation of Sunderland by the local hairdressers' association for a closing order, under The Shop Hours Act, 1904, the petition for the same having been signed by 104 of those interested out of a possible 118, and the subsequent ballot vote revealing sixty-seven for and twenty-five against, but, by adding twenty-nine who had not voted, the corporation refused to put in force the Act, as the two-thirds required had not been obtained; and, if so, whether he can make any promise as to introducing legislation having for its object the remedying of the defect indicated, namely, the adding of all those who do not vote to the minority.
§ MR. GLADSTONE
I know nothing of this case except what is contained in the newspaper extracts with which my 923 hon. friend has been good enough to supply me. I do not gather from them that the non-voters were added to the minority, nor is there any requirement in the law that they should be so added. What is required is that the town council should be satisfied that the occupiers of two- thirds of all the shops to be affected approve the order. This two-thirds majority is not shown prima facie as the result of the voting in the case in question. Whether the town council could take any further steps to satisfy themselves in the matter I am not in possession of sufficient information to judge.