§ Considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ [Mr. EMMOTT (Oldham) in the Chair.]
§ Clause 1:
ruled out of order Motions standing in the names of the hon. Members for Hythe, York and Clapham, to postpone the clause, and also an Amendment standing first on the Paper in the name of the hon. Member for the Edgbaston Division of Birmingham to insert after (1) "If it be shown to the satisfaction of the licensing justices in any district that the number of on-licences in that district is excessive having regard to the needs of the population the." He stated that this should be moved at a later period of the clause.
§ *SIR FRANCIS LOWE (Birmingham, Edgbaston)
submitted that his Amendment came in better and more grammatically at 1510 the beginning of the clause and he could not quite see why it should be out of order at that stage.
§ *SIR FRANCIS LOWE
Is there not a danger that it may be anticipated? I fancy that it will be if it is postponed.
§ *MR. YOUNGER (Ayr Burghs) moved an Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for the Walton Division to provide that the authority to reduce the number of licences should be Quarter Sessions on a reference from licensing justices. He said the existing law was practically embraced in this Amendment, and the Government should show some reason for departing from it. They had a scheme for the reduction of licences under the Act of 1904, under which Quarter Sessions were the ruling authority. That had worked extremely well, and, therefore, the House ought to consider seriously before they made a departure whether there was any justification for it. He knew there had always been more or less of a quarrel between the temperance party and the trade with regard to Quarter Sessions. The matter was threshed out before the Royal Commission, and the mere fact that the Quarter Sessions had been placed by the law in their present position showed that their administration had been satisfactory, and that they continued to be the responsible authority under the Act of 1904 was very good ground for proposing that they should still occupy that position. They would be regarded as being more unbiassed than the licensing justices.
In page 1, line 8, at the beginning, to insert the words 'Quarter Sessions on a reference from.'"—(Mr. Younger.)
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ THE PRIME MINISTER AND FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY(Mr. ASQUITH,) Fifeshire, E.
The Government cannot advise the Committee to accept this Amendment. It proposes, in fact, to continue under the conditions laid down in this Bill the machinery set up for the first time under the Act of 1904. This is a clause which imposes a statutory duty. It does not give a discretion except in regard to the selection of the particular houses which, when the scheme has been approved, will become subject to its operation. There is no reason for bringing in Quarter Sessions there. It is far better left with the licensing justices, who know the local conditions and circumstances. The main ground for setting up Quarter Sessions as an authority of this kind is that the compensation fund under the Act of 1904 was a county fund, separated into watertight compartments. Under the scheme of this Bill there is to be a national fund—one for the whole country, and the ground for bringing in Quarter Sessions no longer exists. Again to bring in Quarter Sessions would be to bring in a third authority between the licensing justices and the Licensing Commission, which will occasion additional delay and expense. Finally, it is important that the area should be small and not large. In no other way can you carry out a scheme which will have regard to local exigencies. On all these grounds I ask the House to reject the Amendment.
§ VISCOUNT MORPETH (Birmingham, S.)
considered it undesirable that in local administration there should be a constant changing and chopping of the authorities. The right hon. Gentleman proposed later on that the proportion of houses should be a proportion over parishes and wards. Obviously the parish was an undesirable area over which to take the proportion, and a public-house might be, although at the edge of a parish, in reality a house serving an entirely different population. That would make the task of the licensing justices almost impossible. The Prime Minister realised that because in the schedule he had put in so many exceptions to the ratio that it was reduced to a pious opinion of the thinnest kind. It was most desirable that the work should be dons by the Quarter Sessions, not 1512 because they were friendly or unfriendly to the temperance cause or trade, but because they controlled the area. In small areas there was much greater room for great variations in administration, owing to the idiosyncracies of some powerful member of the local Bench, whereas, if the matter was left to the Quarter Sessions, the considerations of a larger number of minds would be brought to bear on the matter.
§ *MR. EVELYN CECIL (Aston Manor)
also supported the Amendment. What were the reasons advanced by the Prime Minister? The right hon. Gentleman said Quarter Sessions were not so desirable an authority for deciding these matters as the local justices, first, because the licensing justices knew the local conditions so well. But surely Quarter Sessions knew them equally well. He had never heard it suggested that they did not know thoroughly the local conditions throughout the county. It was adopting a very narrow point of view to say that the licensing justices were the only people who could properly judge these questions, and that the Quarter Sessions could not do it equally as well. He did not think there was sufficient ground for stating that the licensing justices knew local conditions better than the Quarter Sessions. The Prime Minister said that the compensation fund was to be a national fund, but that under the Licensing Act of 1904 it was a county fund. He was not aware that the licensing justices were specially the people to look after the matter, because it was a national fund. He did not understand that they had that much greater breadth of view which would enable them to administer a national fund better than the Quarter Sessions. He would have thought that the wider and the more national the fund was made, the wider and broader ought to be the authority that dealt with it. Surely it was wiser to leave it to Quarter Sessions rather than hand it over to the licensing justices. The Prime Minister said that the area should be a small area. He did not think that county areas were very wide areas, and if they were going to have so many different kinds of areas for different kinds of administration all over the country, he thought they would get into great confusion. He would prefer 1513 that they should not have a different system of administration all over the country, but they ought to have, as far as possible, the same system; and if Quarter Sessions had worked perfectly well up to now—at least he had never heard anybody suggest that they had not—[MINISTERIAL cries of "Oh, oh!"] Did hon. Gentlemen opposite suggest that they had done their work badly? [MINISTERIAL cries of "Yes," and OPPOSITION cries of "Name."] Could they suggest what particular Quarter Sessions had failed in their duties? He would like to hear evidence of that, because it was quite a new light to him that there was any fault to be found with Quarter Sessions. If grievances existed, he would have thought that the grievances were much greater from the decisions of the local justices than from those of Quarter Sessions; and he believed that there would be far more grievances arising from the decisions of the licensing justices than from the decisions of the Quarter Sessions. If licensing justices were to be put in authority, as now proposed under the Bill, he did not understand that there was to be any appeal from them except in so far as the new Licensing Commission was to supervise matters in general. He gathered that their decision was to be final to all intents and purposes, and that he looked upon with very considerable apprehension. The House in many matters recently, notably in criminal matters, had decided in favour of a power or Court of Appeal. But in matters with regard to licences, which some hon. Gentleman opposite thought it necessary to characterise as almost criminal in their tendencies, was there to be no Court of Appeal? He would have thought it was desirable rather than put the decision of matters of that kind in the hands of the licensing justices, to allow the parties to have a Court of Appeal; and no better Court of Appeal could be found than Quarter Sessions. He could not help feeling that the licensing bench was not the best bench to decide matters of that kind at all, because although they might be useful for summary purposes to come to some rough and ready decision, it must be remembered that in many of these cases where the interests were fairly balanced and local prejudices ran 1514 high, the licensing justices were not the proper people to whom to submit the matter. It was well known that on licensing benches persons connected with the trade could not sit in their own or in adjoining districts; whereas, in some areas at any rate, it was equally well known that those opposed to the trade might be and usually were extremely well represented. He thought that where such circumstances existed it could not be just or fair on the part of the House to make the licensing justices the only people to decide those cases. To suggest otherwise was to him a very astonishing proposition. He thought, therefore, there was every reason to adopt his hon. friend's Amendment, partly because not one of the Prime Minister's reasons against it was convincing; partly because it was most iniquitous to have a Court possessing such jurisdiction without appeal; and partly because the licensing justices were the very party specially open to local prejudices.
§ *MR. TALBOT (Oxford University)
said he was sorry at the interruption to his hon. friend's speech from hon. Gentlemen below the gangway opposite, although it only assumed an inarticulate form. He gathered from it, however, that some hon. Gentleman had an objection to make to the fairness with which the licensing committees of the Quarter Sessions had discharged their very responsible duties. As one who had sat continuously as the Chairman of such a licensing committee, he must say that he had never heard a single murmur against the justice, fairness, and consideration given by those committees to these matters. The licensing committee had gone very carefully not only into the merits of individual cases of the licences submitted to them, but into the balance to be held between one part and another of the county which they represented. They had acquired a very great deal of information which could not be at the disposal of the licensing benches, and from that point of view he thought that the Prime Minister would be well advised to continue the same confidence now felt in those licensing committees of the Quarter Sessions, rather than place the work in the hands of local benches. 1515 The Prime Minister said that the local licensing justices knew more about the matter than Quarter Sessions. That statement could not have been made by anyone who had had experience. Each bench in its own particular district knew best what were the wants of its own district. [MINISTERIAL ironical cheers.] But that was not the whole point. Each individual constituency in the kingdom knew its own affairs best, but the Imperial Parliament knew what was best for the whole country. What he said was that the licensing committee of the Quarter Sessions had a wider and a more comprehensive view of the needs of the district they represented than the local bench. There seemed to be a jealousy of Quarter Sessions on the part of hon. Gentlemen opposite. He wished they would say what were the grounds for that jealousy. Would they say that harm had followed the exercise of their functions? So far as his opinion went, and it was based on many years experience, he could say that there was no fairer, more equitable body of men than those who sat on the licensing committees of the Quarter Sessions. They did a great deal of hard work without remuneration and exercised their functions with justice. If the right hon. Gentleman wanted to carry this Bill in a shape which could and would work, then he should have regard to the commonsense doctrine of giving to those people who knew, the power of carrying out its provisions.
§ MR. AUSTIN TAYLOR (Liverpool, East Toxteth)
adjured the Prime Minister to enable the House to show confidence in those who worked the existing licensing system. If he read aright the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman its effect would be in Liverpool to take away from those who had the task of reducing licences the work hitherto put upon them and placing it in the hands of Quarter Sessions. He thought that that would be a retrograde step so far as Liverpool was concerned. In that city it was to the licensing justices that the effective reduction of the excessive number of licences was due.
§ *SIR FRANCIS LOWE,
rising to a point of order, said that in the county 1516 boroughs the whole of the licensing justices were the licensing authority.
§ MR. AUSTIN TAYLOR
said that as he understood it, the effect of the Amendment would be to change in all county boroughs the licensing authority.
§ *SIR FRANCIS LOWE
said that if the Government really wished to have this reduction of licences carried out in a just and fair manner, and in accordance with the wishes and needs of the districts affected, they could not in the least object to the Amendment. They would have the assistance of two authorities instead of one. The local justices would have first to consider the matter, and the Quarter Sessions would only be brought into operation on reference of the matter to them by the local justices. That would be simply a continuance of the state of things that now existed. The Amendment did not alter the existing law, which, notwithstanding the disparaging remarks of hon. Gentlemen opposite, had worked extremely well. During the three and a half years that the Act of 1904 had been in operation there had been an average annual reduction of 1,500 licences, so that by the end of the time limit provided by the present Bill, the total reduction would, at the same rate, amount to somewhere about 23,000 licences. That was the number which the Government estimated would be extinguished under this Bill if it passed into law. These statistics got rid of the inarticulate objections of hon. Gentlemen on the other side to the Courts of Quarter Sessions. The real fact of the matter was that the Government did not want either the local justices or Quarter Sessions to have any voice in the matter. Under the clause as it stood, they had constituted themselves the sole authority for deciding how many licences were required in every urban or rural district in the country. They had left no option whatever to the local authorities. He was trying to show that the licensing justices were a very proper body for this function and he submitted he was in order in so doing.
said it was precisely because the hon. Gentleman was not addressing himself to the point, that he called him to order.
§ *SIR FRANCIS LOWE
bowed to the ruling of the Chairman and submitted in conclusion that the Prime Minister had shown no reason why the Government should be substituted for the licensing authority in this matter.
§ MR. ASHLEY (Lancashire, Blackpool)
expressed the opinion that it was extremely unfair that this insinuation should be made against the impartiality of the licensing justices, and that no hon. Gentlemen opposite should get up and give their reason for distrusting these bodies. They wore certainly carrying out the ideas of hon. Members opposite in the debate on the Licensing Bill of 1904, when they constantly urged that absolute discretion should be left with the licensing justices and no discretion to Quarter Sessions. But the result of this clause was that neither the licensing justices nor the Quarter Sessions would have anything to do with the matter at all. It would be laid down by the clause that a certain number of licences were to be allocated to each locality, and it did not matter whether there were any licensing justices or Quarter Sessions. It certainly showed very little trust in the people.
§ *SIR THOMAS WHITTAKER (Yorkshire, W.R., Spen Valley)
said that if the statement of the hon. Member who had just sat down was correct there was no reason for the Amendment. One of the great objections to the Act of 1904 was that it so largely destroyed and crippled the power of the justices. It was only tolerable that it should be done because under the arrangement of the Act, the compensation fund was under the control of Quarter Sessions. It was a limited fund, and they alone could allocate the whole of that fund. Under this Bill there would be no allocation of any fund by the justices over a number of districts. It was a national fund, and those who made this decision would only have to decide for the locality with which they were concerned. The chief reason which justified taking the power away from the local justices and putting it into the hands of Quarter Sessions ceased to exist under this Bill. If they read the evidence given before the Peel Commission they would find 1518 that from one end of the country to the other there was complaint that Quarter Sessions hung like a millstone round the neck of the administration of the licensing law by the local licensing justices. They found in almost every town in the country complaints that Quarter Sessions, which knew nothing of the localities or the houses, constantly overruled the decisions of those who had that local knowledge. That was one of the great objections to the administration of the law. The local justices frequently decided that a house was unnecessary, and ought to be abolished, and they continually had their decisions reversed. There was no more forcible complaint made before the Peel Commission than that. This Bill was to select the houses only whose licences should be taken away. That was a local matter, where local knowledge was required. It was an administrative matter. The amount of reduction would be fixed, and it would be for the justices to settle which houses should go. This involved no insinuation against Quarter Sessions or any reflection upon that body. It merely involved the opinion that the local justices on the spot had a closer, more accurate and intimate knowledge than Quarter Sessions could have. There was no reflection upon their honour or capacity. The local people must necessarily have the best knowledge.
§ MR. WALTER LONG (Dublin, S.)
The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has dealt with Quarter Sessions and local justices directly, and no one would suspect him of making any direct charge against the honour of the Quarter Sessions or the local licensing Bench. But I wish to remind the House that when reference was made on this side to Quarter Sessions suggestions came from the other side, not that Quarter Sessions were incompetent, but that they performed their duties in some ways unsatisfactorily. Those who cheered that statement have never had the courage to specify one single charge against any Quarter Sessions Court in the country. If those charges are to be lightly made as they were just now, and cheered, to the credit of the courage of hon. Gentlemen who cheered, quite apart from the 1519 foundations of those charges, they ought to get up and substantiate them. Pending that let me point out that the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down is under a strange misconception. He told us that in the country at large there were considerable towns which had no practical representation on Quarter Sessions.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
If he denies that what becomes of the suggestion that Quarter Sessions have no local knowledge? Under the licensing law as it now stands, a decision of the licensing Bench is subject to appeal to Quarter Sessions. Not only would this Amendment carry out the existing law, but if it is not accepted you are reversing the present law. You are putting the local Bench in regard to the selection it has to make in the revision of licences in a position superior to Quarter Sessions, and in a different position from that which they occupy at the present time. The hon. Gentleman has said that Quarter Sessions hung like a millstone round the neck of the local justices. Will he go a little further? If it be a true charge it involves not only the honour but the credit of the Quarter Sessions. Why have Quarter Sessions hung like a millstone round the neck of licensing justices? Because where the local Benches have made recommendations those recommendations from the point of view of justice could not be affirmed by Quarter Sessions who stepped in and considered the whole case. That is the only justification for the charge he makes. But I come back to the law as it stands. The law makes Quarter Sessions the appellate body. Here you are taking away these licences eventually without any compensation at all. You are imposing powers which enable compensation to be paid. Where there is compensation under the Act of 1904 the decision of the local Bench is subject to appeal to Quarter Sessions. The actual proposal here is to give to the local justices a power that they do not hold at present and to take away that right of appeal. The Amendment is a just and proper one, not only if you are to make the Bill workable, but if you are to make it work with any measure of justice. I hope before this debate comes to an end 1520 we shall have made in Parliament by a responsible Member in an articulate form those charges against Quarter Sessions which up to the present moment have only been made indirectly. If they are made, and the names of the respective Quarter Sessions Courts given, there will be an answer to every one of them. Whatever the Committee may think of this Amendment they will say that Quarter Sessions have done their work not only justly and fairly, but as this House and the country would desire it to be done.
§ *MR. CAVE (Surrey, Kingston)
disagreed with the statement of the right hon. Member for the Spen Valley that the Act of 1904 had crippled or destroyed the powers of the local justices; the very opposite was the case. The local authorities had far more voice in the decisions of Quarter Sessions than they had before the Act of 1904. The object of this Amendment was to provide that in those decisions which vitally affected private interests the final voice should not be with those who had local interest, and possibly local bias, but with those who were far removed from influences of that kind, and who would give an impartial decision. Again and again the view taken by the Quarter Sessions when they first saw the report of the local justices against the renewal of licences had been modified or reversed upon a careful hearing of the case and of the evidence given before them. That was what they could not get from a local Bench. He thought it was a great pity that the Government had decided to reverse the whole system of the Act of 1904, under which the decision of the local licensing Bench was subject to appeal. The present system had worked successfully and exceedingly well. He wanted to give some part of the credit of that result to a gentleman who was never named, namely, the draftsman by whom the rules under the Act of 1904 had been framed. He believed that a very great deal of the credit for the smooth and successful working of that Act was due to those rules. They had been very carefully framed, and they provided what was not in the Act—that there should be a consultation between the county committee and the local 1521 Bench. They provided for a series of meetings. At the first there was a preliminary consideration of the justices' reports, then at a later meeting, a careful consideration of the whole case, and at the third meeting the shares of the persons interested were finally determined. That system had worked extremely well; but he was afraid that under the somewhat hasty procedure of the local benches they would not get the same consideration given to the facts. He did not think that anyone on the other side of the House, who knew the circumstances, would deny that Quarter Sessions under the Act of 1904 had done their work well. Certainly no one on the Treasury Bench had denied that; nor could it be said that the Act had not been fully taken advantage of. The figures showed that nearly 95 per cent, of the funds it was possible to raise had been employed for the reduction of licences. He did not think that more could have been done by any tribunal than had been done by Quarter Sessions. It was a thousand pities that the system was to be done away with. The proposal could not be defended on the ground of restoring freedom to the local Benches, because although they would be taken from the control of the Quarter Sessions they would be put under the control of the Licensing Commission. Instead of having their decisions considered by a body of gentlemen in their own county, they would be subject to reversal by a body of gentlemen in London, who had no knowledge of the facts of the county, and who would simply act upon an arithmetical consideration and without regard to local and special circumstances which ought to be taken into account. He regretted that the Government had come to such a decision, and he hoped before the Bill passed into law, if it ever became law, further consideration would be given to the question whether the whole system under the Act of 1904 had not worked fairly well, and whether they could not still provide machinery for carrying this Act into effect so that the Administration of the Act might remain in the hands of those Courts which had already shown their capacity for dealing with the whole of this matter.
§ EARL WINTERTON (Sussex, Horsham)
said he did not think the right hon. Gentleman had made clear his interruption of his hon. friend the Member for one of the Divisions of Birmingham. His hon. friend, as he understood, had stated clearly that in his view the system of Quarter Sessions since the Act of 1904, had discharged their duties well; and he understood that the interruption of the right hon. Gentleman and his friends was a distinct insinuation against the work of Quarter Sessions, and meant that Quarter Sessions had acted improperly and had not done their work efficiently since the passing of the Act of 1904. He thought, at this early stage of the Bill, and on this clause, that they should get absolutely clearly what was the view of hon. Gentlemen opposite on the work of the Quarter Sessions under the Act of 1904. Did they really assert that Quarter Sessions had done their work improperly? If they did, then he thought they ought to bring forward some evidence in support of their view. He did not think at this early stage of the Bill they ought to have this species of legislation by innuendo, for that was what it meant. The right hon. Gentleman had made an innuendo against the work of Quarter Sessions. Did he withdraw?
§ SIR THOMAS WHITTAKER
No; I distinctly stated that I made no insinuation. The noble Lord wants me to withdraw a statement I never made.
§ EARL WINTERTON
said that he and his friends were very anxious to get the point cleared up. Then they were to understand, he presumed, that the reference to a millstone round the neck of the justices had reference to what took place before the passing of the Act of 1904, and that the right hon. Gentleman was satisfied with everything that had taken place since. Therefore, the hon. Gentleman and his friends supported the Opposition as against the Government on this Amendment. If the insinuation was not against the work of Quarter Sessions since the passing of the Act, but referred to what took place before, then what had taken place before could not really be compared 1523 with what had taken place since, because the duties of Quarter Sessions had been so altered that the right hon. Gentleman and his friends could have no objection to his hon. friend's proposal that the power should be in the hands of Quarter Sessions.
§ MR. H. C. LEA (St. Pancras, E.)
said hon. Members opposite had complained for some time of inarticulate interruptions. On a point of order, he wished to say that there had been a cause for that. His hon. friend on his right was ready to take part in the debate, and immediately the hon. Member for West Wiltshire had turned round and inquired "Who is rising on this side of the House?" and told the hon. Member to sit down. He thought the time allowed for the discussion of this Bill was limited enough as it was, and for any hon. Member of that House, whether he was Prime Minister or Chairman of the Kitchen Committee, or anything else, to tell another hon. Member that he was not to take part in the debate, was, to his mind, a piece of insufferable impertinence. [Cries of "Order."]
The hon. Gentleman has just concluded his speech by making use of an unparliamentary expression. I call upon him to withdraw it.
§ MR. H. C. LEA
If you ask me, Sir, to withdraw it, I will do so, but I consider it true nevertheless.
§ MR. F. E. SMITH (Liverpool, Walton)
said he only desired on this Amendment to add a very few observations to those which had already been made. It was one which he had placed on the Paper, and he greatly regretted that he had not been present to move it, and that he had not had the advantage of hearing the reasons given by the right hon. Gentleman. He had himself had some experience in the last few years, and since the Bill of his right hon. friend was passed into law, both of the conduct of the justices in the Court below and of the conduct of Quarter Sessions, and he desired to make no reflection of any kind upon the manner in which the justices in the Court below had performed their duties. But he would venture to call the attention of the Committee to the fact that in the Amend- 1524 ment now before them they were dealing with the very much broader question of whether or not there was to be any Court of Appeal at all in respect of these proposals, which affected very valuable interests on the part of those whose licences were to be taken away. The only other suggested Court of Appeal was the Committee sitting in London, which he did not think would be seriously put forward as an appellate tribunal in any shape or form. It had merely to go into the question for the purpose of coercion; it was not a tribunal to review the decision of the justices where they might have gone too far, but to stimulate them where it was thought that they had not gone far enough. While they were dealing with this point surely they were entitled to ask whether the whole tendency of our legislation had not been rather to widen the area of appeal, even under the criminal laws. The right of appeal was given in dealing with small proprietary rights in the County Court, which enabled an appeal, in certain circumstances, to be taken right to the House of Lords. And, in this instance, they were dealing with proprietary rights which, though somewhat truncated, were still of considerable value. None the less, the proposal was now put forward under the Bill that Quarter Sessions were to be excluded from an appellate jurisdiction, which, it was universally admitted, they had exercised with much efficiency during the past few years. His hon. friend beside him had asked whether or not it was the view of the Government and of hon. Members opposite that Quarter Sessions had efficiently discharged their functions in the past few years. Surely, in the absence of any hon. Members getting up and saying that Quarter Sessions had performed their duties either inefficiently or unfairly, he was entitled to say that there was a universal consensus of opinion that Quarter Sessions had discharged their duties both efficiently and fairly in the past few years. What had been the extent of interference by Quarter Sessions with the decisions of the Benches below? That was a very important point in deciding whether their functions should be continued. In the year 1905, 891 licences were referred to the various Quarter Sessions of the country. Of 1525 those 891, there were 519 refused, so that in about 400 cases Quarter Sessions were unable to take the view which had been taken by the justices in the Court below, and in those 400 cases a longer lease of life was given to the licences affected. If they took 1906, the number of licences referred was 2,045. Of those 1,575 were refused by Quarter Sessions, so that in about 500 cases the appeal was allowed. In 1907, the number of licences referred was 1,825, and in 1,219 cases the licence was refused. So that in 1907 there were about 600 cases in which appeal from the lower Court was successful. What was the proposition which was advanced on the other side of the House as justifying the destruction of an appellate body, which during these last three years in so many cases had shown a discretion which had not been impeached by argument in the course of the discussion which had taken place on the Amendment? He ventured to submit to the Committee the view that the Quarter Sessions were a very much better tribunal for the purpose of dealing with these matters than the justices of the Court below. It was felt to be a very great anomaly indeed that while, quite properly, persons interested directly or indirectly in the liquor trade were debarred from sitting on the licensing Benches, it very frequently happened that teetotallers, who had the strongest possible view as to the propriety of granting licences, were members of the Bench. It was extremely unlikely that magistrates who belonged to vigilance committees, and who shared the views which were embodied in this Bill, who would introduce local option or absolute prohibition to-morrow if they had the power, would bring to bear on the specific cases that came before them that judicial temper which Lord Halsbury, in the case of "Sharpe and Wakefield," said it was the duty of licensing justices to display. In Quarter Sessions, representing a wider area, they were likely to bring to bear a far less prejudiced judgment than in the case of the ordinary justices, and that was the explanation why in so many cases I the discretion of the justices in the Court below had been interfered with by Quarter Sessions. It was far easier to destroy than to build 1526 up. They had at present an efficient tribunal in the Court below, and an efficient appellate tribunal. They had chosen, for no adequate reason which had been stated or which by any argument could be defended, to destroy at once the appellate tribunal, and that destruction would be construed by those who would be affected by it as a deliberate design to prevent them enjoying what almost all litigants, however small the amount in dispute, enjoyed as a right.
§ *MR. LEIF JONES (Westmoreland, Appleby)
said he was sorry that every Member opposite who had spoken had felt it necessary to suppose that in taking one side or the other they were passing judgment on the respective merits, as an administrative or judicial body, of Quarter Sessions or licensing justices. He did not think there was any reflection on Quarter Sessions in the proposal which the Government had made. The functions which the local licensing Benches would have to perform were quite different from those which Quarter Sessions performed under the Act of 1904, and he supposed everyone would admit that for some purposes Quarter Sessions were best and for the others local licensing justices were the best. He really could not conceive how anyone considering the system apart from all the controversies that had raged about it could doubt that for the purposes of the local reduction which was to be carried out, the licensing justices, with full knowledge of the local conditions, were a better body than Quarter Sessions could possibly be. Hon. Members opposite forgot the history of the licensing question. By an Act of George II. licensing justices were appointed to act locally expressly on the ground that the Quarter Sessions justices, acting at a distance, were ignorant of local conditions. The Government were simply doing what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxford University said they ought to do and giving those who knew control in the matter. The essential principles of the licensing system were carried out by giving to the local justices full power in this, which was after all an administrative matter.
§ SIR E. CARSON (Dublin University)
said one observation made by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Spen Valley was entirely inaccurate, and he rather gathered that the Prime Minister's mind ran in something of the same groove. The observation was that the only reason that Quarter Sessions were retained as the licensing authority under the Bill of 1904 was for the purpose of the distribution of compensation.
§ SIR THOMAS WHITTAKER
I did not make that observation. I said "the only reason that made it tolerable"; I did not say it was the only reason for appointing them.
§ SIR E. CARSON
said the right hon. Baronet went on to say that the reason now was not going to exist. Quarter Sessions were retained for the simple reason that up to 1904 there had always been an appeal to Quarter Sessions in every case in which a licence was refused. They saw no reason, cither then or now, for taking away that appeal, and up to the present none had been suggested. Why on earth should they, in extinguishing a man's property, take away the right of appeal, and leave it when taking away property under the Act of 1870, because that was what they were doing? They were allowing the right of appeal to continue if the property was being taken away for misconduct and were allowing no right of appeal to exist if a licence had been taken away without any misconduct. Surely there never was a more ridiculous proposition.
§ SIR E. CARSON
asked if that was a reason why he ought not to have a right of appeal. Did the hon. Gentleman think he was going to get adequate compensation? Did the hon. Gentleman think it made no difference to him whether his licence was taken away or not? Of course he did not, and that was rather an ill-considered interruption. They were not going to give a man an equivalent for what they were taking away from him, which was the only kind of compensation that he understood. Where public-houses were taken for 1528 public purposes—and this was a pretence of taking it for a public purpose—there was an award and an appeal from the award to a jury. If they set up a tribunal of that kind they might talk of compensation. But under this Bill the whole thing was a sham. It was not the magistrates or Quarter Sessions who were the ultimate tribunal, but the paid officers of the Government. Let them put away cant and face thereat matter. What was the justification for abolishing the right of appeal? What they really wanted to do was to hurry the matter up, and get rid of these fellows as quickly as possible, and to have no millstones round their necks. They were quite willing at the commencement of the debate to interject cheers and inarticulate observations about Quarter Sessions, but when challenged they went back and said Quarter Sessions were the most respectable people in the whole world, and they could not criticise them. Then why were they taking away the appeal from Quarter Sessions if it was not for the purpose of hurrying the matter up, and doing the thing in a perfunctory kind of way, and getting rid of these people's property at the lowest possible price? The hon. Member talked of the value of local knowledge, but Quarter Sessions would have the report of the local justices and would have representatives of the local justices on the Bench. All this pretence of the great superiority of the local justices had nothing to do with the case. The truth was that they were taking away the appeal, and that was what he objected to. He had not had much experience of these appeals since the Act of 1904, but he had had one painful one, where but for the appeal an injustice of the greatest enormity would have been done. But the whole bench of forty-six magistrates unanimously reversed what had been most deliberately and wilfully done. The existence of such a state of affairs as that, if they wanted to deal fairly with the trade they were going to destroy, ought to be a sufficient argument to prevent them in this haphazard, easygoing fashion, taking this right away. No case was made out for this drastic change in the whole procedure of the licensing law of the 1529 country, and he hoped some real substantial reason would be given.
§ MR. ASQUITH
The only purpose for which I rise is to point out that the right hon. and learned Gentleman does not seem to appreciate what is the real question before the Committee. He has talked about the right of appeal and about compensation. He has vindicated Quarter Sessions from charges which certainly I have never made against them, and in making that vindication he has attacked the local justices, who, to the best of my belief, like Quarter Sessions, perform their duty in the matter admirably, and on the whole efficiently. But none of these things have any relevance whatever to the question before the Committee: What does the clause do? I think I had better read it.Licensing justices shall, in accordance with this Act, reduce the number of on-licences in their district so that, at the end of a certain time, the number shall bear a certain correspondence to the population.That is the clause. In other words, Parliament here is imposing a mandatory duty upon a particular body. There is no question of discretion of any sort or kind. They have to carry out what Parliament requires them to do. I should have thought it would have been regarded rather as a compliment to the Quarter Sessions than otherwise that this purely administrative function should be imposed upon the licensing justices of the district. Under the Act of 1904 it was totally different. I agree under that Act Quarter Sessions had a very real and delicate discretion, because it rested with them whether or not a particular reduction should take place. Under this Bill the reduction is compulsory and made by Act of Parliament, and the whole function of a discretionary kind which the licensing justices will have to discharge is whether this or that house should prevail. It is the question whether the "Red Lion" or the "Black Bull" should be a victim. Are not the people who are on the spot and know all the circumstances a more convenient and on the whole a more equitable tribunal? I ask 1he Committee to decide in the way suggested by the Government.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR (City of London)
I think the right hon. Gentleman will see that he really has not met the particular point or two points which we have raised, and which really are material to the decision of this question. The first is a point of justice, the second is a point of administration. With regard to the point of justice the right hon. Gentleman lays it down as an almost self-evident proposition that if there is a statutory requirement for any body, be it Quarter Sessions or the local licensing benches, to make a reduction of a certain number of licences in a certain district, no question of individual rights can arise, that no individual wrongs can be performed, and that therefore there is no real reason for having an appeal to another tribunal at all. Is that the fact? The right hon. Gentleman says it does not matter whether the "Black Bull" or the "Red Lion" is in question. It matters very much to the licensee.
§ MR. ASQUITH
I never said anything of the kind. I said that in determining the question whether one or other of these houses has to go, the licensing justices were better and more equitable.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The right hon. Gentleman's contention is that no right of jurisdiction so given to the licensing justices involves questions of personal right. If he does not hold that view, if he thinks there is a question of personal rights and property involved, why is he going to refuse in these questions the privilege of an appeal which is given in every other case in which the question of property or personal rights are involved? Of course, if it is merely an administrative point that no injustice can be done by the licensing justices, I agree that there is no need for an appeal. But, quite clearly, where there is a choice between depriving "A." or "B." of some of their rights, and where there may be prejudices in the exercise of the judgment of the licensing magistrates, then you ought to give "A." or "B." the right of appeal to some superior tribunal. What answer has the right hon. Gentleman given to that contention? The argument put forward that under all the series of statutes 1531 which regulate our licensing laws, when you take a man's property away hitherto you have always given him the right of appeal. In this Bill and for the first time you are allowing the local people to deprive a man of his property, and you are giving that man no appeal. I think both sides of the House will agree, whether that argument be a good one or a bad one, no answer has been given. No attempt has been made to meet the point. But there is another point, which I call the administrative point, on which I do not think quite enough has been said in the course of this debate. The whole plan of your Bill is to diminish the number of licences until they bear a certain proportion to the total population. What are to be the, areas taken into account when that diminution is made? The right hon. Gentleman in his speech laid it down that it was quite clear that the small area, and not the large area is the proper one to be dealt with; and that, therefore, it is not Quarter Sessions who ought to deal with it, but the magistrates who live in the smaller areas. In my opinion, it is the larger area that ought to be taken into account, and from that point of view alone—leaving out the question of judicial equity—Quarter Sessions ought to have the say in the matter. I do not think I should be in order in discussing whether the proportion of licences to population should be estimated in the small area or the big area. That will come up on a subsequent Amendment. I will assume, for the sake of argument, that the proportion is to be maintained in each small area, making up a Quarter Sessions district. I think it is a bad plan. I will assume for the moment it is the right plan, and I will say, even if it is the right plan, it is the Quarter Sessions, who know the larger area, and not the licensing justices, who know the smaller area, who ought to determine which public-house ought to be destroyed. Clearly the justices in the small area merely consider the needs of the small area and the public-house in the small area. They do not consider the public-houses on the borders of their area. It is only Quarter Sessions who can take a general view of all the small areas that should decide, 1532 having in view not merely what happens in each area, but what is going to happen in each area, taken in connection with what is happening in the neighbouring areas. How are you to distribute the public-houses which are to be preserved? The right hon. Gentleman I do not think has dealt with that at all. Surely it is a point that ought to weigh with every Member in the House who wishes that the public-houses which are left should be so arranged in the area as to meet the needs of the people. If you want to consult the convenience of the country districts I think the Government arrangement is very foolish. I think, putting aside altogether the question of equity, leaving wholly apart the question of whether it is right for the first time to allow a man's property to be taken away from him without appeal—I would ask the Prime Minister, as responsible for the framing of an administrative Bill, whether he does not think his own object would be far better served by allowing the elimination of public-houses to be dealt with by an authority which has under its conspectus and control all the smaller areas in which the proportion of licences is to be reduced on some uniform rate between population and licences. These are two arguments upon which I rest the vote which I will certainly give without the smallest hesitation. I think the arguments are entirely on the side of the change we recommend. When I remember that after the discussion upon the position of the magistrates in relation to Quarter Sessions had gone on for, I think, two or three days on the Bill of 1904, the present Prime Minister declared that the subject was not half exhausted, I cannot help thinking that a little further discussion on this point would really prove, what I think hon. Gentlemen opposite are beginning to see, that the change we recommend does not touch the substance of the Bill, on points that may be regarded as vital by the authors of the Bill, but does, undoubtedly, conduce to a maintenance of those ordinary principles of justice and equity which this House ought to maintain, and will most unquestionably make the administrative work of the Bill far fairer to the populations whose needs 1533 are to be served by the public-houses to be left than the rather crude patchwork system the Government are proposing.
§ MR. SAMUEL ROBERTS (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
said the Committee would remember what took place before 1904. The licensing justices all over the county were taking licences away simply because they were redundant, and not because of misconduct. What happened? The licence-holders appealed to Quarter Sessions, and Quarter Sessions in almost every case, after hearing the evidence, reversed the decision, and restored the licence to the licence-holder. If it had not been for that appeal these licence-holders would have been deprived of their property without compensation. Quarter Sessions had done justice in the past, and if their jurisdiction was maintained they would do justice in the future.
§ MR. LANE-FOX (Yorkshire, W.R. Barkston Ash)
said there was one point which, seemed to have been forgotten. The right hon. Member for Spen Valley, who said that Quarter Sessions hung like a millstone round the neck of temperance reformers, forgot that he was dealing with past years, before the justices were entitled to give compensation, whereby they could reduce licences without doing injustice. The Prime Minister had given as his reason for refusing to accept the Amendment that he desired to have more local knowledge. Then why did he set up as a court of appeal in certain matters, though not in this, a tribunal which had no local knowledge whatever? A second reason the Prime Minister gave was that it was desirable to keep to small areas. In small areas it was quite conceivable that in one there would be an excessive number of licences in proportion to the population, while in an adjoining area there might be considerably less than the proportion sanctioned under the Bill. Was there not a stronger reason operating in the mind of the Government? There was no doubt that these small bodies of licensing justices would be very much more easily dealt with by the Licensing Commission than would Quarter Sessions with all the authority which lay behind them, which would not be so easily brought to book as the smaller body of 1534 men who constituted the licensing justices. That, he believed, was the reason why the Government would not accept the Amendment. The Prime Minister said it was absolutely necessary that they should have local knowledge. He would like to remind hon. Members who so loudly condemned Quarter Sessions that the licensing committee which dealt with these cases was composed of representatives of every petty sessional area in the district. Such a committee had not only local knowledge, but local knowledge combined with broad views. He hoped the Government would be able to give some stronger and better reasons before they asked the Committee to reject the Amendment.
§ *MR. G. D. FABER (York)
said the Prime Minister had stated that the duties to be performed by the licensing justices would be purely ministerial. Was that the view of the hon. Member for Westmoreland, who, when addressing the United Kingdom Alliance last October, said—Let us restore the power to the licensing justices. When we have done that we can go forward, and give the people the right to deal with this question for themselves. Under the Act of 1904 discretion was taken away from the licensing justices.Surely, in view of these words, the hon. Member could not hold that the licensing justices were to perform a merely ministerial office. The real power behind the throne were apparently to be the gentleman named in Clause 1.
§ *MR. G. D. FABER
said the Prime Minister based his argument in favour of these duties being placed upon the licensing justices rather than Quarter Sessions upon the fact that the duties would be purely ministerial. If that view were correct it was against everything that had been said by the Radical Party in the country. He thought the Prime Minister was wrong—it was not going to be a purely ministerial function that the local justices would have to perform. It was perfectly true that they would have to reduce a certain number of licenses in a certain number 1535 of years. As far as that went it was merely ministerial, but they would have to decide which houses were to be taken away, and which were to be left—"Some shall be taken and others left." It struck him that that made all the difference in the world; that was by no means a purely ministerial function. It would rest with the local justices to decide whether a house was to receive what the Government called compensation during fourteen years, or whether it should be allowed to exist until the end of fourteen years, and then be annihilated. It was not merely the question whether the "White Lion" or the "Blue Bear" should be taken away—they had to consider the question of the living of the man who was in the house and the convenience of the parties who used the houses—matters of vital importance. Surely it was desirable that questions of this kind should be dealt with on reference, by a larger tribunal. Quarter Sessions, who would be outside the sphere of local prejudice. The Amendment affirmed that the local justices should collect all the intelligence and that then the matter should be referred to the Quarter Sessions for determination. That seemed to him a course based on common-sense and on justice. He hoped the Prime Minister would see his way to accept the Amendment.
§ SIR JOHN RANDLES (Cumberland, Cockermouth)
said the Prime Minister had stated that the question whether the "Blue Lion" or the "Red Bull" should be the victim should be left to the people on the spot, who had knowledge of the locality, and the circumstances. But the point of the objection to that procedure consisted largely in the fact that it was not the animal itself which would be treated, but the house, and it was the colour of the animal which would cause difficulty to the local magistrates. It often happened that in the country districts, public-houses were called by the names of blue and red animals, and each of these colours was favoured by people of certain political parties. The "Red Bull" was very often the Radical public-house, and it might be that the bench which would not be a Radical bench in that particular area, 1536 might decide that it should be abolished. In that way a grievance would be set up on account of the "Red Bull" being disestablished, while the "Blue Lion" got all the customers. That would be a difficult position for the magistrates, and in the interest of the districts themselves he thought if the Prime Minister took into account the real feeling of the local magistrates, he would see that, in view of this difficulty, there was reason for accepting the Amendment. It might be that the local magistrates, having prejudices, would try to please all the licence holders in one part of their area, while their action in other parts would give rise to grievances. There might be all kinds of difficulties present to the minds of the magistrates, and, therefore, he thought the Amendment should be accepted, so that they might be relieved in some measure of the responsibility of deciding on the relative merits of licensed houses.
§ MR. BOWLES (Lambeth, Norwood)
said the Prime Minister had told the Committee that it was quite unnecessary to put in Quarter Sessions because the local justices would have to carry out an express direction given to them by this House to reduce licences in their districts, until they bore a certain fixed proportion to the population. He was rather led to fear that the Prime Minister had not read the schedule in the Bill. If he had read it, he would have known that the licensing justices had not merely to carry out an express direction, but that they would exercise most difficult and wide discretion. Under this schedule it would be the duty of the local justices not merely woodenly to reduce the licences in accordance with population, but to decide whether the strict application of the scale was or was not expedient owing to the isolated position of any licensed premises, or to the fact that the premises or any of them were constructed, fitted, or intended to be used in good faith for any purpose to which the holding of an on-licence was merely auxiliary. The justices would have to decide whether the population of any place within their district as shown by the Census did or did not represent the population for whom on-licences might be required, by reason of the resort thereto 1537 of a larger number of persons than that shown in the Census during special seasons of the year, or special times of the day, or for any other reason. It was not really the case, as the right hon. Gentleman said it was, that the justices were to carry out a hard and fast mandatory duty. It was a discretion; and that discretion would have to be supervised to some extent. Who was to supervise them? Who was to say whether the local justices were doing their duty under this Bill, unless it were those three great men in London? But surely on questions of that kind the proper authority was not three gentlemen sitting in London, but the licensing committee of the county. It was not true to say that they had not local knowledge. The right hon. Gentleman said that the licensing justices consisted almost universally of gentlemen appointed from the various districts of the county; but inasmuch as the local justices had to administer questions of discretion, unless that discretion was to be left entirely to them, it was ridiculous to say that they had to appeal to those three gentlemen in London, and that that was equally good as an appeal to Quarter Sessions of the county in which the licences existed. Apart from all other considerations, as a pure matter of administration, Quarter Sessions ought to have the final decision.
§ CAPTAIN FABER (Hampshire, Andover)
supported the Amendment because he thought it was better to go to Quarter Sessions for a final appeal on this matter. Every social and personal pressure that could be brought to bear on the local justices would be brought to bear on them. He was one of those who did not think it desirable that those connected with breweries or the trade should sit on the licensing Bench, but he was also of opinion that those who were ardent teetotallers should not sit on the licensing Bench either. It was a position for moderate men. In his own part of the world he had seen justices committed up to the hilt to teetotal principles—and he had many good friends amongst them—but he objected to their sitting as licensing justices. They all knew that the Prime Minister was possessed of a judicial mind, and believed him to have a just mind, and he asked him 1538 why there should not be an appeal from the local Bench to Quarter Sessions?
§ MR. H. C. LEA
said that so far as he had heard no mention had been yet made of the ante-1869 beer-houses. Suppose one or two licenses in a district were to be extinguished, and among them was an ante-1869 beerhouse, it would, in his opinion, be well within the functions of a Court of Appeal to decide whether the beerhouse should be the first to be extinguished in order that the keeper might secure compensation under the Act of 1904. It was well known that prior to that Act the ante-1869 beerhouses were freeholds, and the magistrates had no jurisdiction over them as to renewal. He should support the Amendment in order to secure an appeal in the event of an unfair decision in such a case.
§ MR. AUSTIN TAYLOR
wanted to know what the exact effect of the Amendment would be in county boroughs where the functions of Quarter Sessions were now exercised by the whole body of justices. Did the hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment propose to transfer to the whole bench in Quarter Sessions the powers now possessed in county boroughs? Why did he propose to take away the jurisdiction from the county boroughs now exercised by them?
§ SIR F. BANBURY (City of London)
said he understood tint the effect of the Amendment would be that the decision now given by the local justices would have to be confirmed by Quarter Sessions; but in county boroughs the County Quarter Sessions would not come in. That disposed of the argument of the hon. Member for East Toxteth. He asked the Prime Minister why the decision of the local justices should not require confirmation? So far as he knew, in practically every case any decision given by the local justices was liable to be appealed. Now, in this particular case, when local justices were going to take away a man's livelihood from him, why was no confirmation of their decision to be required? The Prime Minister said he had nothing whatever to say against Quarter Sessions, but he declared that the local justices 1539 were better acquainted with the merits of the "Black Bull" or the "Red Lion," because they had better opportunities of seeing them. The right hon. Gentleman was in error. The vast majority of the local justices were not in daily or hourly attendance at the "Black Bull" or "Red Lion." There might be one or two of them who had particular knowledge of the public-houses in their own village, but the local justices had to consider the public-houses in various villages outside their own particular area. Therefore, he contended, the argument of the right hon. Gentleman was mistaken. The argument of the hon. Member for Appleby had been completely demolished by his hon. friend, and he need not say anything further about it. The right hon. Member for Spen Valley said that this matter should be left to the local justices, because there was a national fluid to compensate for the extinguished licences. But the fund came not from the nation, but from the trade. This was the first time that he had heard a fund provided by the trade being described as a national fund. If the teetotal people were to have their tea shops taken away from them and they were compensated for that, would they call it a national fund if the money was derived from the other tea-shops? Hence, he maintained that this was not a national fund. But granted that it was a national fund, the administration of it should go to the higher Court of Quarter Sessions, and not to a small petty local Court. Therefore, the argument of the right hon. Gentleman in that respect had no weight. Now they came to the "millstone" argument, which had some weight in it, at any rate. The right hon. Gentleman said that those local justices who shared his extreme opinions would not have a fair and impartial tribunal to revise their decisions, but he thought that they should not be able to exercise their partiality in a way that was not right in the public interest, or for the benefit of those unfortunate people who had invested their money in a legal and justifiable occupation. Therefore, under all these circumstances, as they had heard no argument worth listening to from hon. Gentlemen opposite in con- 1540 travention of the Amendment, he should have great pleasure in voting for it.
§ MR. F. E. SMITH
said that the answer to the hon. Member for Toxteth was to be found in the provision of Section 8 of the Act of 1904. The point of that section was that where they were dealing with county boroughs the whole body of the local justices would discharge the functions discharged in other cases by Quarter Sessions. Should the sense of the Committee be against this Amendment, of course, it would be idle to put down substantive Amendments to deal with the county boroughs, but should the sense of the Committee be in favour of this Amendment, then it would be necessary to do so.
§ MR. JESSE COLLINGS (Birmingham, Bordesley)
thought that the Amendment and the debate upon it had shown how completely the Prime Minister and the Government had given themselves into the hands of the extreme teetotallers. It was lamentable to see the manner in which they had surrendered themselves to a fraction of a fraction of the 18,000,000 adults of England and Wales. That small but well organised fraction of the people were, it seemed, to rule the comforts and liberties of the nation. Although the discussion in the House was very one-sided owing to the determination, or the order that had gone forth to hon. Gentlemen opposite, to be silent, he would remind the Committee that the matter would have to be discussed in the constituencies. This discussion was good, because it revealed one strong instance of the many instances of injustice with which the Bill was associated. What was to be the composition of the licensing committees? They all knew that in the past members of the extreme temperance party, as they called themselves, tried and tried successfully to get on these licensing committees, and this was very germane to the question because the publicans whose property 1541 was to be taken away could not be represented on those committees at all. The people whose desire was to take away this property were represented, and so partial were they in some cases that in the case of the Birmingham Licensing Committee its indiscretions were so great that the magistrates had to meet and change the chairman and reconstitute the committee. What help could license-holders expect from committees composed in that way to help them to retain their property and to see that it should not be unjustly dealt with? He thought the Prime Minister would do well to accept this Amendment, because it would be difficult to justify his refusal of it either to the House or to the country.
§ *MR. GRETTON (Rutland)
in answering the question put by an hon. Member with regard to the position of Quarter Session in county boroughs, said the Act of 1904 as regarded reductions and compensation set up the whole body of the justices of the borough to perform that duty. The licensing justices were controlled by the Quarter Sessions in the counties, but not in the towns. That section he understood would still hold good. Supposing the Amendment were carried, there would be no change in the appeal to Quarter Sessions in the matter of
§ compensation. He thought there was a good case made with regard to the exercise of discretion on the part of licensing magistrates, and a strong case for appeals when necessary. Not so long ago the right hon. Member for Spen Valley and his friends pointed out how partially in their opinion the licensing magistrates acted in the administration of the law, and some Members actually accused the licensing benches of corruption in their administration. Apparently they had now forgotten those tirades and charges, and said the licensing justices could now be entrusted to carry out this scheme fairly. The licensing magistrates would be very pliable bodies, easily bent to the will of the Commission, and they were to say who was to go and who to remain without there being any appeal whatever. While the Government and their friends by this conspiracy of silence failed to show any reason why this change was to be made in the law, the people outside would know and understand what was meant by it, and would rightly suspect that the Government and their friends kept silence because they had no adequate or reasonable arguments to adduce.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 126; Noes, 299. (Division List No. 202.)1545
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Clark, George Smith||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.|
|Ashley, W. W.||Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Hay, Hon. Claude George|
|Balcarres, Lord||Collings, Rt. Hn. J. (Birmingh'm||Heaton, John Henniker|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S)||Helmsley, Viscount|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (City Lond)||Craig, Captain James(Down, E.)||Hill, Sir Clement|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Craik, Sir Henry||Hills, J. W.|
|Baring, Capt. Hn. G. (Winchester||Cross, Alexander||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield|
|Barrie, H. T.(Londonderry, N.)||Dalrymple, Viscount||Houston, Robert Paterson|
|Beach, Hn. Michael Hugh Hicks||Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred Dixon||Hunt, Rowland|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Joynson-Hicks, William|
|Bertram, Julius||Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Kimber, Sir Henry|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Faber, George Denison (York)||Lane-Fox, G. R.|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Lea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras, E.)|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Fardell, Sir T. George||Lockwood, Rt. H. Lt.-Col. A.R.|
|Bull, Sir William James||Fell, Arthur||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Forster, Henry William||Long. Rt. Hn. Walter (Dublin, S)|
|Carlile. E. Hildred||Gardner, Ernest||Lonsdale, John Brownlee|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Lowe, Sir Francis William|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred|
|Cave, George||Gretton, John||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Guinness, Walter Edward||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Haddock, George B.||M'Arthur, Charles|
|Cecil, Lord R.(Marylebone, E.)||Hamilton, Marquess of||M'Iver, Sir Lewis|
|Chamberlain, Rt Hn J. A.(Worc.||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashf'rd||M'Killop, W.|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Magnus, Sir Philip|
|Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Renton, Leslie||Walker, Col. W.H. (Lancashire)|
|Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Middlemore, John Throgmorton||Ronaldshay, Earl of||Whitbread, Howard|
|Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Morpeth, Viscount||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Morrison-Bell, Captain||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D.||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Nolan, Joseph||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)||Winterton, Earl|
|O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|O'Dowd, John||Stanier, Beville||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk)||Young, Samuel|
|Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)||Starkey, John R.||Younger, George|
|Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staff'sh.)|
|Percy, Earl||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir|
|Randles, Sir John Scurrah||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)||Alexander Acland-Hood and|
|Ratcliff, Major R. F.||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.||Viscount Valentia.|
|Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Lanark)|
|Remnant, James Farquharson||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.)||Cleland, J. W.||Gulland, John W.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Clough, William||Gurdon, Rt. Hn Sir W. Brampton|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Hall, Frederick|
|Agnew, George William||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Harcourt, Rt. Hn. L. (Rossendale|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Harcourt, Robert V.(Montrose)|
|Alden, Percy||Cooper, G. J.||Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)|
|Ambrose, Robert||Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinst'd||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r.)|
|Armitage, R.||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithn'ss-sh|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry||Cowan, W. H.||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.|
|Astbury, John Meir||Cox, Harold||Harwood, George|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynomouth)||Haworth, Arthur A.|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Crooks, William||Hazel, Dr. A. E.|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Crossley, William J.||Hazleton, Richard|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Dalziel, James Henry||Hedges, A. Paget|
|Barker, John||Davies, David (Montgomery Co)||Hemmerde, Edward George|
|Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset)||Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan)||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)|
|Barnard, E. B.||Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Henry, Charles S.|
|Barnes, G. N.||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S)||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)|
|Beale, W. P.||Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)|
|Beauchamp, E.||Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.||Higham, John Sharp|
|Bellairs, Carlyon||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Hobart, Sir Robert|
|Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R.||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Hobhouse, Charles E. H.|
|Benn, W. (T'w'r Hamlets, S. Geo)||Dobson, Thomas W.||Hodge, John|
|Bennett, E. N.||Duckworth, James||Holland, Sir William Henry|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)|
|Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romf'rd||Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)||Horniman, Emslie John|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall||Hudson, Walter|
|Black, Arthur W.||Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Hutton, Alfred Eddison|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Illingworth, Percy H.|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward||Jackson, R. S.|
|Bramsdon, T. A.||Erskine, David C.||Jacoby, Sir James Alfred|
|Branch, James||Essex, R. W.||Jardine, Sir J.|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||Evans, Sir Samuel T.||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)|
|Brodie, H. C.||Everett, R. Lacey||Jones, Leif (Appleby)|
|Brooke, Stopford||Faber, G. H. (Boston)||Jowett, F. W.|
|Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Fenwick, Charles||Joyce, Michael|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Ferguson, R. C. Munro||Kearley, Sir Hudson E.|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||Kekewich, Sir George|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Kilbride, Denis|
|Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Charles||Fuller, John Michael F.||Laidlaw, Robert|
|Byles, William Pollard||Fullerton, Hugh||Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster)|
|Cameron, Robert||Gibb, James (Harrow)||Lamont, Norman|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Gill, A. H.||Langley, Batty|
|Causton, Rt. Hn. Richard Knight||Gladstone, Rt. Hn Herbert John||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington)|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Glendinning, R. G.||Lehmann, R. C.|
|Chance, Frederick William||Glover, Thomas||Lever, W. H. (Cheshire, Wirral)|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Cheetham, John Frederick||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David|
|Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Lundon, W.||Pollard, Dr.||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Lupton, Arnold||Ponsonby, Arthur A.W.H.||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Power, Patrick Joseph||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Lyell, Charles Henry||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh Central)||Stuart, James (Sunderland)|
|Lynch, H. B.||Price, Sir Robert J.(Norfolk, E.)||Summerbell, T.|
|Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)|
|Macdonald, J.M.(Falkirk B'ghs||Pullar, Sir Robert||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Mackarness, Frederic C.||Radford, G. H.||Tennant, Sir Edward(Salisbury|
|Maclean, Donald||Rainy, A. Rolland||Teannnt, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)||Raphael, Herbert H.||Thomasson, Franklin|
|M'Callum, John M.||Rea, Russell (Gloucester)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Rea, Walter Russell(Scarboro'||Tomkinson, James|
|M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)||Reddy, M.||Torrance, Sir A. M.|
|M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Redmond, William (Clare)||Toulmin, George|
|M'Micking, Major G.||Rees, J. D.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Maddison, Frederick||Richards, T. F.(Wolverh'mpt'n||Ure, Alexander|
|Mallet, Charles E.||Ridsdale, E. A.||Verney, F. W.|
|Manfield, Harry (Northants)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Villiers, Ernest Amherst|
|Markham, Arthur Basil||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Wadsworth, J.|
|Marnham, F. J.||Roberts, Sir John H. (Denbighs)||Walsh, Stephen|
|Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradf'rd||Walton, Joseph|
|Massie, J.||Robinson, S.||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Masterman, C. F. G.||Robson, Sir William Snowdon||Wason, Rt. Hn. E. (C'lackmannan|
|Meagher, Michael||Roche, John (Galway, East)||Wason, John Cathcart(Orkney)|
|Menzies, Walter||Rogers, F. E. Newman||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Molteno, Percy Alport||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Watt, Henry A.|
|Mond, A.||Russell, T. W.||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Money, L. G. Chiozza||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)||Weir, James Galloway|
|Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Samuel, Herbert L.(Cleveland)||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Samuel, S. M.(Whitechapel)||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Moorrell, Philip||Scarisbrick, T. T. L.||White, Luke (York, E.R.)|
|Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||Schwann, Sir C. E.(Manchester)||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Myer, Horatio||Scott, A. H. (Ashton under Lyne||Whittaker, Rt. Hn. Sir Thomas P|
|Napier, T. B.||Sears, J. E.||Wiles, Thomas|
|Nicholls, George||Seaverns, J. H.||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncast'r||Seddon, J.||Williamson, A.|
|Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Seely, Colonel||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Nussey, Thomas Willans||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick B.)||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)|
|Nuttall, Harry||Shipman, Dr. John John.||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.)|
|O'Donnell. C. J. (Walworth)||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Parker, James (Halifax)||Snowden, P.||Winfrey, R.|
|Partington, Oswald||Soames, Arthur Wellesley||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Paulton, James Mellor||Soares, Ernest J.||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Joseph Pease and Master of Elibank.|
|Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)||Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.)|
|Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Steadman, W. C.|
LORD R. CECIL (Marylebone, E.) moved the first of a series of Amendments designed to provide that the duties imposed by the clause should be discharged by a committee selected by the justices of a licensing district from their own number, provided that no justice shall be qualified to act on such committee who is a member or subscriber to any society or organisation having among its objects the suppression or prohibition of the sale by retail of intoxicating liquors, or who has publicly stated or professed his desire that licences for the sale by retail of intoxicating liquor should not continue to exist." [MINISTERIAL laughter, and
OPPOSITION cries of "Order."] He gathered from the inarticulate sounds on the opposite side of the House that some hon. Members regarded that as an Amendment that in itself was not possible, but he moved it in a most serious spirit, in order to do something to mitigate, although it would not altogether remove, a grievance which was very seriously felt all over the country. The present state of the law was that if a justice had any pecuniary interest, however slight or remote, in the continued existence of a licence, he was not allowed to sit on the licensing Bench. Indeed, it
has been carried to such, a point—he believed he was right, though he had not looked into the cases—that it had been held that a shareholder in a railway company could, not sit in a case where the licence of a railway refreshment room was in question. [An HON. MEMBER: That is changed.]. His hon. friend reminded him that that was changed in 1902. He ventured to say that it was an utterly absurd and ridiculous condition of the law. In dealing with such a subject as this, was it really supposed by any hon. Member opposite that a trifling pecuniary interest in the licensed trade unfitted a man to judge impartially when the question of a licence came up, and that a gentleman holding the view, he would not say of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley, but a view compared with which his was moderation itself, was perfectly entitled to sit and judge of this very question? It was manifest that such a condition of affairs would produce the grossest injustice, the grossest infringement of the rule in favour of impartiality that could possibly be imagined. Why, at that very moment, he understood that a case was in process of appeal where the facts were, he believed, that members of a vigilance committee who themselves had promoted the objection to a licence subsequently sat on the Bench and adjudicated upon that licence. In the present condition of the law, it was very doubtful whether the decision of the Bench under those circumstances was good or bad. He did not propose to make any general alteration of the law, but he did say that in reference to these new powers which were to be given to the justices by Section 1, and which were explained by a later section, it was right that the House of Commons should say that only those should be entrusted with those powers who had not pledged themselves to be partial. It had been said in the debate that afternoon that very little was entrusted to the discretion of the justices under the Bill. He did not think that was true. If hon. Members turned to Clause 6 of the Bill, they would see what a very large measure of discretion was entrusted to the justices under that clause, because it was provided that justices were to be subject, of course, to the control of the Committee of Three,
who sat in London. They were to provide a scheme, and each scheme—
Shall show as respects each rural parish and urban area in the district the effect of the scheduled scale as applied to the parish or area, and provide for the statutory reduction being distributed reasonably over the reduction period, having regard to the circumstances of the district, and show the manner in which the reduction is to be so distributed.
Then they were to revise that scheme, and generally control the whole administration of the scheme. If hon. Members would consider for a moment, they would see what a tremendous power that gave to the justices. They were entitled to say about any licensed house that it should cease to exist, and that with a compensation which was always admitted to be ridiculously unfair. That was a tremendous power to give to any body of men. To entrust to men the power of fining their fellow-subjects large sums of money, not for any misdeed of theirs, but because the trade which they carried on did not meet with the approval of the majority of the present House of Commons, was a strong order, and it became essentially necessary to take such precautions as they could against the undue exercise of that power. It might be said that his Amendment as a novel proposal, but it was not so. It existed in Australia, and, he believed, in Canada. They had been constantly, on the Old-Age Pensions Bill, referred by right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite to the example of the Colonies, and he invited them, on this occasion, to follow the example of the Colonies, as they did in regard to the example which they thought so admirable in the case of old-age pensions. Even if it were a novel proposal, he would not be frightened by such an argument as that. The truth of this licensing question was that they had to deal with a very exceptional state of circumstances. There was no part of our administrative machinery which excited more violent party passions. [MINISTERIAL cries of "Oh, oh!"] Hon. Members must indeed be sunk in self-deception if they thought otherwise. Everybody knew that the licensing question did excite violent party passions, which existed in every quarter of the House, and in every part of the kingdom. Therefore it was quite right even if there were no precedent
to adopt that novel principle in order to guard against a novel and exceptional danger. He appealed to the Committee and the Government to consider favourably his suggestion, which was made in perfect seriousness, honesty and straightforwardness, and with a desire to make the provisions of the Bill as little burdensome and intolerable as from their nature it was possible they should be.
In page 1, line 8, at beginning, to insert the words 'A committee of the.'"—(Lord R. Cecil.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. McKENNA,) Monmouthshire, N.
I regret that the Government cannot recommend the Committee to accept the Amendment. What is it that the noble Lord asks for? He suggests that a new test should be instituted, not on the appointment of magistrates, but on the permission for a magistrate to exercise particular functions under Clause 1 of the Bill. If the test were of any value at all it ought to apply to magistrates on all occasions when sitting as licensing justices.
§ LORD R. CECIL
As soon as the principle has been established in this case it would be no doubt extended.
§ MR. McKENNA
The noble Lord does not do that here, because it would not be in order, and. instead of waiting until it would be in order, he proposes now to institute this test on the exercise Of the magistrate's functions in this particular case only. All the magistrates have to do is to decide which of a certain number of houses are to be taken, and they prepare a scheme, which must go before the Licensing Commission for confirmation. That of all functions, I should suggest, is the one occasion when any bias which the magistrate might feel would not be exercised. The noble Lord did not suggest that magistrates had personal bias against particular licensed victuallers, but a general bias against all licensed victuallers. In this case the suggested bias would have no 1550 influence and the test that he suggests would be entirely illusory. If the magistrate subscribes or openly professes certain opinions, he is to be debarred from acting on the committee, but if he is strong but silent and thrifty he is not to be debarred from acting. If he does not subscribe because he is thrifty and does not express his opinions because he is silent, but is nevertheless very determined to be biassed, the noble Lord does not touch him. Therefore this, like so many other tests, would prove in practice to be altogether illusory. For these reasons the Government recommend the Committee not to accept the Amendment.
§ MR. F. E. SMITH
said that if the right hon. Gentleman had paid the hon. Member for Norwood the compliment of listening to his observations on the last Amendment he would have known that there was a very wide and important area within which the freedom from bias of these justices was of the very first importance. Let him recommend the right hon. Gentleman once again to give his attention to the first schedule of the Bill and the modifications which were of the very first importance—which were entirely in the hands of the justices. The modifications might be made on the direct application of the scale as followed—Where the number of on-licences in any such parish or area does not exceed two, and it appears inexpedient to reduce the number below two.That, he agreed, was not one of the more important instances. The next was—Where the strict application of the scale appears in the special circumstances of the case to be inexpedient owing to the isolated position of any licensed premises in the parish or area.The third was the most important of all—Where it appears that the population of any place, being a rural parish or urban area, or part of an urban parish or urban area as shown by the Census does not represent the population for whom on-licences may be required by reason of the resort thereto of a larger number of persons than that shown in the Census during special seasons of the year, or special times of the day, or for any other reason.Could the House conceive a wider discretion committed to licensing justices than the right to decide whether for any other reason modifications should be 1551 introduced in other cases than those mentioned in the schedule? He desired to speak with profound respect of the three Members of the House whom he would name, and he invited the Committee to consider for instance what view the Members for Spen Valley, Westmoreland, and Lincolnshire would be likely to take sitting as licensing justices if this particular modification was brought before them. He should insult them—he should ruin their unsullied reputation as moral reformers—if he suggested for a moment that they would permit one of these modifications. They were men who were notoriously poisoned by their views. [Cries of "Oh."] He said deliberately that a man who was a prohibitionist and pretended that he was going to consider on its merits a proposal which was made to him and which was inconsistent with the theory of prohibition so far as that particular application was concerned was poisoned by his views. He was utterly unable to bring a fair and judicial mind to hear on the consideration, whether or not an application should be granted. Let the Committee make up their minds as to what were the broad principles upon which disqualifications for magistrates were to be based. At least upon one side the House had previously in many similar discussions made up its mind with all imaginable clearness as to what the principle was and it was this. If they were interested in any shares of a licensed company however remote that interest the presumption was that they were not in a position to bring to bear upon the consideration of a particular case that absolute impartiality of mind which the State had a right to demand of those who were discharging quasi-judicial duties. Did the Committee pretend that men who held that all licences ought to end and that no new licences under ally circumstances should be granted, could bring a judicial mind to bear on the specific proposals before them? The thing was a farce. If it was indeed the desire of the Committee that licensed victuallers should have justice, let them see that those who were the bitter and avowed enemies of licensed victuallers were excluded from the Bench. If it was the intention of the Committee to destroy 1552 licensed victuallers, unless they happened to be destroyed first, then by all means reject this Amendment and keep on the Bench as many men as they could possibly collect together who were pledged under all circumstances and whatever the argument might be to grant no licences. Let them do this if they liked, but let them cease to describe the process as justice and to describe the officials who would administer it as judicial in their character.
§ *SIR GEORGE WHITE (Norfolk, N. W.)
said the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down was one of the best illustrations they could take of the unfair way in which such an Amendment would act. He supposed no one could say that the hon. Gentleman had not at least an indirect interest in the trade they were discussing, and yet unless he was a shareholder and an advocate of the trade he was no doubt one who could not be excluded from the Bench. Yet he desired to exclude those who had no pecuniary interest whatever in the question, but took it up on the ground of morals. [Cries of "Oh, oh."] Perhaps the hon. Gentlemen would define on what other ground they could take it up. If this Amendment meant anything, it meant that the magistrates-who did not habitually take strong drink were incapable of exercising a judicial mind upon any question which affected the interests of the drink trade in the community, and that after having taken the oath to administer the law, they were either unwilling or incapable of administering the law, because of their personal habits. To apply such a test as this was absolutely unknown, and he ventured to say that, by the majority of the community it would be received with ridicule. Were they to presume in this age that a glass of beer was necessary to a judicial mind? That was the outcome of the Amendment. He thought it was a legitimate inference to draw that unless one was in practice the consumer of a certain amount of strong drink, he was not able to form an opinion and not able, indeed, to carry out the law which he had taken the oath to administer. A short time ago, in discussing a previous Amendment, it was said that the bulk of the local justices were teetotallers and the bulk of county 1553 justices were drinkers, but he thought it would be found that the teetotallers were not confined to one class of magistrates or the other. He was quite sure he could produce many advocates before local and county benches who would say that they would rather present those oases to a mixed bench, containing amongst others those who were abstainers, than they would to a bench who were all moderate drinkers. The question as to whether a man was opposed to the existence of the drink trade in its present conditions was not one which should bias his judgment in deciding on those cases which came before the bench. He could bring abundant evidence to show that many barristers who practised before the benches were willing to testify to the judicial character and bearing of those who had very strong views upon this drink business. He could give the noble Lord a testimonial in regard to himself from the leading Conservative paper of his district as to the way in which he had exercised his judicial functions in regard to the licensing question. His own was not an isolated case, and he was quite sure that whatever were their views upon the drink custom of society, when they took their position on the magistrates' Bench they never allowed their personal views to influence their judgment against the trade, and they gave their judgment according to the law. To assume for a moment that it was necessary that they should abstain from subscribing to temperance societies or to a society which had for its foundation the prohibition of the drink traffic was a doctrine which it was too late to advocate in the twentieth century. He hoped the House would reject the Amendment by a large majority, otherwise they would have to have a test applied to the other side. He did not mean so much those who had a direct pecuniary interest in the trade, but they would have to see how far those who sat on the Bench were qualified in of her ways, and inquire whether their habits had led them to excess upon any occasion. [Cries of "Name."] Of course, one test was quite as fair as the other, and if the Opposition were going to begin tests the one which they proposed would not be the only one which would have 1554 to be applied to the qualification for those gentlemen who would be called upon to exercise judicial functions in this matter. Those who sat upon licensing Benches and expressed their views freely upon the temperance question outside were always extremely careful in this matter, and they were quite as competent to form a judgment as those who, perhaps from one cause or another, attempted to build up the drink traffic and maintain it in its present position. He submitted that this Amendment was not necessary, and the House ought to indignantly reject it.
§ *MR. GOULDING (Worcester)
said he rose to support the Amendment which had been moved by his hon. friend. This was no new question. There was art obligation on Parliament to remove all doubts as to the impartial administration of the law. There should be absolute and complete confidence by the public in regard to the tribunal, and also by the individual whose case had to be adjudicated upon. Rightly those who had pecuniary interest in the liquor trade were excluded from the licensing Bench. He asked the Prime Minister how could he possibly expect a magistrate who believed that the drink traffic was wrong, and who spent most of his time in advocating the aims of a society to suppress the liquor trade, who believed that most of the crime of the country was the result of the sale of intoxicating liquor, to adjudicate on the licensing Bench without bias. They were going to reduce the number of justices. They might all be of the same way of thinking, and, therefore, to ask a publican to go into court and appeal to individuals saturated with such opinions would be a mockery. An individual so biassed put himself in such a position that discretion with him was an absolute impossibility. It was not asked that an ordinary temperance man should be excluded from the bench, but those who advocated the suppression of the liquor traffic. In Australia and Canada such men were precluded from sitting on the licensing Bench; and surely it was in the interests of the party opposite that they should accept reasonable Amendments. In Australia no justice being an officer or an agent in any society 1555 interested in the prevention of the sale of liquor could be appointed on the magistrates Bench. In Canada the same state of things existed, and no person who was known by public statement to be connected with temperance societies whose conduct stamped them as positive opponents of the liquor trade could sit as a justice. He did not know how far his noble friend desired to go, but he did ask the Prime Minister to consider whether it was right to allow those individuals who were saturated with such opinions to adjudicate on on licensing questions. This Bill was likely to create a good deal of feeling in the country, and it was even in the interests of the Party opposite to show that they were willing to accept reasonable Amendments, and thus remove all grounds of suspicion in the administration of the law in regard to licensing.
§ MR. ASQUITH
The hon. Gentleman has made a special appeal to me. Let me point out to him that the precedents of Australia and Canada are much more restricted than the proposal before the House. They do not come within the Barrie category as this. The Amendment prohibits the justices from taking any part in the administration of the licensing laws, but would only disqualify them from discharging that function which most nearly approached a purely ministerial function. It would still be open to them to sit on the licensing Bench for judicial duties such as the granting or refusal of new licences. That would be anomalous and ridiculous. I am not talking about drunkenness, but about those who subscribe to licensed victuallers' protection leagues and societies of that kind. We have in this country recognised in the discharge of a purely judicial function no disqualification unless it rests on a pecuniary basis. A Judge, sitting on the Bench and exercising the most solemn and sacred duties, cannot be impeached unless he has a pecuniary interest in the matter, directly or indirectly. The proposal before the Committee, if adopted, would establish a new precedent, and a precedent of a most detrimental kind, and on that ground alone I ask the House to reject it.
§ SIR E. CARSON
The Prime Minister regards the question as most impor- 1556 tant. We have to consider decency in the administration of justice, and it is often as important as absolute impartiality. The right hon. Gentleman nays the remedy is only a partial remedy. Even a partial remedy is something, and when we get an opportunity we ought to do something to remove the grievance which undoubtedly exists.
§ MR. ASQUITH
was understood to say that the Party opposite did not challenge the position formerly.
§ SIR E. CARSON
It is quite sufficient that we have the opportunity now. If a grievance exists and we can only have a partial remedy, let us have a partial remedy. But the right hon. Gentleman went on to say that it would be anomalous that those justices should be allowed to adjudicate in certain cases and not in others. After the last Amendment I do not think it comes well from the Prime Minister to talk of anomalies. Why, in cases under this clause, are there to be no appeals? In all other cases there are to be appeals. What about anomalies? Is that any answer? No. If there is an anomaly, it is the anomaly we created by the division on the last Amendment, and I think the fact that this is to be the only and ultimate tribunal raises a strong reason why that tribunal should be above all suspicion. If ever there was a case in which a partial remedy ought to be given, it is a case in which for the first time by the action of this House we take away the right of appeal in relation to the property of a particular trade. Just let us see what the question really is that comes before us on this Amendment. The First Lord of the Admiralty asked—What is the use of this test? We have tests already. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to forget that if you have even the most remote share in a hotel which happens to be licensed, you are not allowed to adjudicate in these eases. But if you are an active exponent of the principle of prohibition, and of the putting down of the liquor traffic altogether, or even if you are a paid advocate of prohibition, you are allowed to adjudicate. What about anomalies again? Is it no anomaly that a mail who, in all respects would be an upright magistrate in the 1557 adjudication of cases, because he happens to have a share in a hotel in some other place—[MINISTERIAL cries of "No."]—Certainly, in some other place—in an adjoining district. [MINISTERIAL cries of "No."] Hon. Gentlemen need not say "No." If a man happens to have a share in that hotel, he is not allowed to adjudicate, however high his character may be; but if he happens to be a paid lecturer of one of those prohibition societies, which have such large funds at their disposal and which can distribute large quantities of literature throughout the country, he can adjudicate. Does anybody suppose for a moment that persons who have to go before that tribunal, and whose property is going to be taken away from them, will imagine that they are going to get justice from such a tribunal as that when you have taken away the only safeguard they had, namely, the right of appeal to Quarter Sessions? I venture to say that anything more ridiculous it is impossible to conceive. The First Lord of the Admiralty asks—What is the use of this test? He says that a man may have very strong opinions even though he may not have expressed them. That is perfectly true, but I think the right hon. Gentleman would prefer to go before a Bench of magistrates if their opinions had not been expressed, rather than before a Bench who shortly before he had made his application had strongly expressed their opinions in regard to the matter in which he was applying. The whole thing comes back to doing our best to take care that the tribunal set up is an impartial tribunal, as far as we can make it so, and that it will have the confidence of the litigants who go before it. I cannot see how one-sided proposals can ever lead to any litigant—at all events litigants whose property is going to be confiscated—being satisfied with the tribunal which is to be set up. The Prime Minister said that Judges were never excluded except for pecuniary reasons. The magistrates are a very peculiar kind of judicial tribunal. The Judges of the High Court are excluded from taking part in then e public matters, in political matters, and in matters of this kind. They are purposely prevented from coming into this House and from taking any, active part whatsoever in politics, when they are put 1558 on the judicial Bench, so that there may not be the appearance of any bias towards one person or another.
§ SIR E. CARSON
I would rather that the hon. Gentleman did not make an insulting remark about a Judge who is not here to defend himself.
§ EARL WINTERTON
asked whether it was in order, by way of an interruption, to make an insulting insinuation against one of His Majesty's Judges?
Of course it is not in order to make an insulting insinuation against one of His Majesty's Judges. The only way of dealing with a Judge in this House is to bring forward a substantive Motion after notice. I did not see who made the interjection. I do not think the hon. Member ought to interject the name of a Judge. [Cries of "Withdraw."]
§ SIR E. CARSON
I do not think I need take any more notice of what is the very lowest form of cowardice—to attack a man who is not here to defend himself. I appeal to the Government, as they are now setting up the local justices as the sole tribunal in this particular matter—a matter involving so much to the parties who come before them—to make some effort to remedy the grievance under which those parties undoubtedly suffer.
§ *MR. LEIF JONES
thought the right hon. Gentleman opposite had treated the noble Lord's little joke with somewhat ponderous gravity. The whole essence of a good joke was to deliver it with a grave face and in a serious spirit. The Amendment was ridiculous, and he would, prove it. The test it proposed to apply was not to be applied to the justices as such but to certain justices acting under this clause. It proposed to exclude front licensing matters magistrates who had expressed opinions of the kind referred to in the Amendment. He took it that under the Amendment practically all members of temperance societies would be excluded from acting on the Bench in those cases. It was not at all the case, as had 1559 been said by some hon. Members, that the Amendment was narrowly confined to members of prohibition societies who were interested in the reduction of licences. It would exclude all who had publicly stated their desire that the liquor trade should not exist. [Cries of "No."] He admitted that a lawyer might argue against that, but there would be substantial ground for excluding from the Bench any man who might be called an aggressive teetotaller. Did the noble Lord not desire to exclude such persons?
§ LORD R. CECIL
said he desired to discuss this on the question of principle, and if the Prime Minister was prepared to bring in a general disqualification for those extreme temperance advocates he would be willing to withdraw his Amendment.
§ MR. ASQUITH
I would like to quote the words of the right hon. and learned Gentleman who has just spoken, and which express my own views admirably. He said he strongly deprecated the practice of magistrates who have expressed strong temperance views acting on such cases. There was no other course, but to leave it to the good feeling and sense of justice of those magistrates. That is the language of the right hon. and learned Gentleman who has just addressed the House.
§ *MR. LEIF JONES
said the noble Lord had declined to define exactly what he did mean, and, therefore, he was left to interpret his Amendment as best he could. Under the Amendment he thought that a person who was an aggressive teetotaller would be excluded from the bench in certain licensing cases. How was the noble Lord going to find out who were to act? Were those who drank to be allowed to adjudicate, while those who refused to drink should not be allowed to adjudicate. He seemed to think that those who did not drink were biassed against public-houses, while men who did drink were not biassed in favour of them. There 1560 was as much bias in one direction as in the other, and he could only interpret the Amendment as meaning that the noble Lord would exclude those who did not partake of alcohol. He ventured to say that teetotallers had a cooler judgment than those who drank. [OPPOSITION laughter and. cries of "No."] He was willing to submit the question to any scientific man in this country. The verdict of the medical profession would be for the teetotaller rather than fir those who consumed alcohol; because alcohol was a brain poison which affected the judgment. He said that without any feeling against hon. Gentlemen opposite. The results of recent five bye-elections had rejoiced the breasts of hon. Members opposite. He was told that the victors in these five by-elections were all more aggressive teetotallers than he was; that the hon. Member for Hastings had publically declared his adhesion to teetotalism; that the hon. Member for Peckham was a well-known temperance advocate; and that the hon. Member for Manchester had long associated himself with the Church of England Temperance Society. These were men of clear and unbiassed judgment; as hon. Members opposite would admit. Of course, he could not vouch for these gentlemen. It was hard to know who were teetotallers and who were not. The noble Lord might exclude by his Amendment a man giving vent to the fiercest sentiments against drink, and in secret visiting the public-house of his village by night. But to comfort the noble Lord he would remind him that the function to be discharged under the clause was not to decide whether or not there should be opportunities for drinking. What they had to determine was whether, it having been settled by the House of Commons that a certain number of houses were to be closed in their licensing districts, the people who were abstainers were less fit judges of witch houses ought to be closed, than those who took drink. He could not suppose the noble Lord thought they were less fit on that account, unless he maintained that when a man judged on a particular house he ought to go to that house and taste the quality of the liquor sold there. He did not believe that the 1561 noble Lord suggested that, but only that in the discharge of his functions a magistrate should have a clear and unbiassed judgment. A teetotaller could be quite as unprejudiced as any drinker in arriving at a decision on the matter committed to the justices by this clause.
§ MR. STUART WORTLEY (Sheffield, Hallam)
said he thought the Opposition ought to be very glad that the Amendment had called forth answers which served as a sort of mask or screen on the real defence of the Government proposals. It had been said the Amendment was ridiculous. That was what men said when they had nothing else to say. Then they had the dilatory plea that the Amendment did not cover the whole field. If the Amendment was accepted, he assured hon. Members it would not be long before the whole field was covered. In all their speeches hon. Members opposite had failed, as of course they must fail. But they had a man of penetrating instinct in that House, and that was the Prime Minister. The real defence was that there was no precedent for this Amendment, because, forsooth, this Parliament had never forced on any judicial authority any such disqualification as a pecuniary disqualification. He believed that to be historically true, but to be historically unsound. The Prime Minister asked them to remain hide-bound by a tradition which did not exist. He invited the right hon. Gentleman to let the Committee know exactly what kind of motive it was on which the disqualification from sitting in the High Court of Justice rested. The Amendment could not be defeated by laughing at it, or by advancing dilatory pleas, but only by trying to ignore the deep resentment which existed among Unionists when the 1904 Act went through the House, and which they knew to exist among large classes among His Majesty's subjects.
§ *SIR THOMAS WHITTAKER
said that the real point of the disqualification at present was one of direct personal, financial interest. Hon. Gentlemen opposite had indicated that brewers, publicans, and shareholders in liquor trading concerns were as such debarred from sitting on the Bench. That was 1562 not correct. They were only debarred if they went to sit on a Bench in the immediate locality in which their interest prevailed. But the largest Burton brewer, if he lived in London, and was a magistrate, could sit on the London Bench. That was a very different law from the law indicated by the Opposition. Under the Act of 1828 every brewer and publican in the country was debarred, but that disqualification was removed. If they were going to carry the Amendment they would have to go a little further. Every man who sat on the Bench had an opinion, and if they debarred because of opinion they would have to debar all. But, further, it had to be remembered that men with something like an interest in trade did sit on the Bench. There were solicitors to brewers advising the brewers and then sitting on the Bench. When the Royal Commission sat they had a solicitor to five breweries who sat on the Bench and adjudicated on their licences when they came before the Bench. Then they had cases of persons interested in what were called the allied trades who sat on the Bench. Were they not more likely to be biassed than temperance men? It was a very big step if they introduced opinion as a test, apart from direct, local, and financial interest. They had justices who were in favour of free trade in licences, and that no licence should be taken away except for misconduct. An Amendment similar to this was moved when the Act of 1904 was under discussion, and the Leader of the Opposition refused to accept it on the ground which he thought the Committee would do well to refuse this Amendment.
§ *MR. JAMES HOPE (Sheffield, Central)
said he agreed that this Amendment was not free from difficulty, inasmuch as it did not cover the point; but it did not follow that some effort should not be made to deal with cases which had caused a positive scandal. Sir Henry Poland, in his examination before the Royal Commission on Liquor Licensing Laws, said—If a man has proclaimed to the world that he intends to vote against every licence, whatever its merits may be, he cannot be qualified to sit as a judge exercising the powers given to him by the Act of Parliament. It is like a man proclaiming that he meant to vote for every 1563 licence in spite of whatever may be said against it. He is bound to come into the Court with an impartial mind, and to exercise his judgment on the facts of the particular case.Hon. Members who were in the last Parliament would remember the late Sir Wilfrid Lawson, who was generally admired, and almost beloved, for the courage and consistency of his opinions, and who went out of his way to say that he had never pretended to go on a Bench fur licensing purposes in anything like a judicial frame of mind. In the Alliance News for 8th June, 1894, Sir Wilfrid said—I object to anybody selling drink, whether he be a fool or a philosopher, a saint or a sinner, a blackguard or a bishop. They are all one to me.… Anybody who sells drink is doing an evil to the public, and let us tar them all with the same stick; and make up our minds that we will sweep away the whole boiling as soon as we can.A particular instance where bias was shown by a justice on a licensing Bench was brought before the Court in the case Regina v. Fraser, the Report of which stated—A justice was a member of a voluntary association, one of whose objects was to oppose all licences. He was present at a meeting of the association (though he left before the Resolution was carried) at which it was resolved to instruct a solicitor to oppose a certain application for the transfer of a licence. The solicitor was instructed by the association, and appeared at Special Sessions and opposed the transfer of the licence. The justice in question was present at the Special Sessions, and sat on the bench and adjudicated on the application, which was refused. It was held that the justice was disqualified by bias (as being identified with the opposition to the transfer) and the proceedings were quashed.What was held there in the case of an individual licence, the Amendment of his noble friend wished to extend to those who had opinions about the transfer or the granting of all licences. He thought it was hardly right for hon. Gentlemen opposite to taunt the Opposition with want of logic in seeking to remedy what they held should he cured. As a matter of fact they thought it could not he done by this clause, but that it could only be carried out by a new clause. However, under the guillotine Motion there would not be time to consider new clauses. As to the Amendment, he denied there were considerable difficulties, and he suggested that a declaratory test should be substituted for the words of the 1564 Amendment. He could give two examples of a declaratory test. Hon. Members who served on Private Bills Committees had to make a declaratory test. They said: "I have no personal interest in this Bill." And then they went on to say: "My constituency has no interest in this Bill." That was really a test of opinion. What was meant by that was that those who sat on private Bills were exercising judicial functions and that they must submit to a test. It meant that hon. Members had a natural bias to do something to please their constituents. The same thing applied to licensing justices. Another precedent was that we imposed a test of opinion on the Sovereign when he came to the Throne. He had put down a schedule containing a declaratory test, and if they got to it he would be able to defend his words. In the meantime, as this was the only opportunity of asserting the principle, let them carry the Amendment before them. He would make one more quotation from Sir Wilfrid Lawson, who sent the following metrical epistle to Mr. Hall, one of the Derby Justices of the Peace, and a prominent member of the temperance party in that town—Dear Mr. Hall,—I'm delighted to seeThat they've had the good sense to make you a J.P.Long, long, may you live to do justice and right,The poor to protect, and the publicans fight.Temper justice with mercy wherever you go,And that's the advice from me and from Roe.P.S.—If e'er on the Bench for a licence you vote,T'will be a sad witness that Hall's changed his coat;But no, I am sure that you never will do;And whatever betide, you will give Bung his due.
§ MR. CHARLES ROBERTS (Lincoln)
said that if the hon. Gentleman, who had evidently referred to him and said he was poisoned with venom, whilst another hon. Member had stated that the temperance party were saturated with injustice, had known his licensing work they would not have made those charges. There was, he thought, still considerable misconception in the Committee as to what the law was on this point. A man could still he on a licensing Bench if he was pecuniarily interested in the liquor 1565 trade, but he was disqualified from acting so far as the district was concerned in which the brewery or distillery in which he was interested was situated and also in the adjoining district. But he could act in any other district on a licensing authority, and a brewer or distiller could act in any district providing his brewery or distillery had no houses in the district which he administered. A licence holder could act on the licensing body in respect to all the houses in the district except the one in which he was interested, and he could act judicially in spite of the disqualification. Therefore the pecuniary disqualification was extremely partial. He congratulated the noble Lord in having gone in this Amendment even further than the brewers before the Licensing Commission, as would be seen from both the majority and minority Reports.
§ EARL WINTERTON
said he desired to put a Question to one of the hon. Members for Norfolk, who had made the only attempt. to reply to the Amendment, but first of all he would like to call attention to a remark made by another hon. Member, who said that in his opinion one of the great difficulties in applying the Amendment would he to discover what was the meaning of bias. That really was a most extraordinary admission. Did he mean to contend that those who attended the Lobby bar had a bias in favour of it?
§ *MR. LEIF JONES
I only mean that a man who goes into a public-house to drink has a bias in favour of finding drink there.
§ EARL WINTERTON
said that that was a very different thing from what the hon. Member said originally. He said that a man who visited a public-house was necessarily biassed in favour of a public-house, and not that he was biassed in favour of finding intoxicants there. That was evident on the face of it. The main point in connection with this Amendment was not so much the difficulties which might arise in carrying it out; those difficulties could be got over by subsequent amendment. The point was whether hon. Gentlemen opposite accepted the principle of the Amendment, and he would like to ask 1566 the hon. Member for Norfolk whether he believed, as they believed, that this tribunal should be absolutely unbiassed and altogether above the suspicion of bias. Did he think we had freedom from bias now? If they could get answers to those two points, it was within the bounds of possibility that an arrangement might be come to, and they might be able to arrive at an Amendment which would prevent those on either side of the House saying there was any bias in the matter. He certainly did not think we had freedom from bias now. He had in his hand a remark made by Sir Wilfrid Lawson which showed that at any rate he had no delusions as to the opportunities which being upon this tribunal gave. He said in a letter to the Carlisle Journal—I consider licences for the sale of drink are not required for the public convenience; on the contrary, I hold they cause very great public inconvenience, and shall act on my conviction until the publican can succeed in getting my name struck off the roll of magistrates.There was an absolute instance of a sincere advocate of temperance who was actually in favour of his views controlling his action on the licensing Bench. The point of the Amendment had never really been met. Would hon. Gentlemen opposite accept the principle they put forward that these tribunals should be above all breath of suspicion? It would be an absolute farce if the hon. Member for Appleby was on a licensing Bench. They might as well make a member of the Little Navy Party the First Lord of the Admiralty. They appealed to hon. Gentlemen opposite to accept the principle of this Amendment, and attempt to make these tribunals as far as possible free from bias.
§ Mr. ASHLEY
thought that before the division was taken the Committee ought to be perfectly clear as to what it was upon which they were going to vote. It seemed to him that hon. Members thought if the Amendment were carried that what the hon. Member for Appleby called the earnest temperance reformers would be excluded front the licensing Benches, but if they read the Amendment they would see that that was not the case. If it was he could not support the Amendment for a moment. The question on which the vote would shortly be taken 1567 was whether a man who supported the total prohibition of the sale of liquor in this country should be allowed to sit on any of these licensing Benches. That was a clear issue and was not at all mixed up with earnest temperance reform views or anything of that sort. He was surprised to hear the Prime Minister earlier in the discussion say that the discretion given to the licensing magistrates was very narrow. On the contrary, in some cases, it seemed to him of the widest possible character. If hon. Members referred to Clause 3 of the Schedule they would see that discretion was given to them to increase the number of licensed houses where large numbers of people resorted to a district at certain seasons of the year or at particular times of the day. Did anybody suppose that, at any of the great seaside towns, with the number of people who went there, the discretion of the licensing magistrates was narrow under the Bill? Were they to keep the licences down to what they should be for the normal population of the town and take no notice of the thousands who came in during the summer months? At Blackpool, 150,000 people sometimes came in in one day, and he suggested that to say the licensing body should have regard to the normal needs of the 50,000 inhabitants and not provide for the 150,000 or 200,000 visitors who came there in a day was treating this Amendment with scant courtesy. Let them take again a country town where the licensed houses were far more than was sufficient to meet the needs of the town on the ordinary days, when the market day came and farmers and others came in from all parts it was a very different matter. The Committee must remember that in voting for this Amendment it only aimed at keeping from the licensing bench those who believed in total prohibition.
§ *MR. NIELD (Middlesex, Ealing)
said he only desired to intervene in the debate for the purpose of giving to the Committee two instances from his personal experience which bore on this question. The first was that of a gentleman connected with a brewery who had taken part, whether inadvertently or not he could not say, but he thought so—not in determining whether a licence 1568 should be granted, but in the selection of the borough licensing committee, he being a magistrate for the borough in question. For that error, he was brought up to the King's Bench Division and fined £500. In the second instance, he himself was a member of the Middlesex Bench, and a reverend gentleman, who was also a member of the Bench, and whose interest in the work of the Bench always showed increased activity, and a marked one on the days set apart for licensing, before ever the Court was opened, and before ever a scintilla of evidence was given, went through every one of the applications and indicated his intention of refusing them all, and at the same time canvassing his colleagues, including the speaker, to support him, and for their concurrence in that view. There were two illustrations. In the one the justice who had an interest in a brewery was fined for more or less inadvertently taking part in the selection of the licensing committee, while in the other the justice was able to indicate his intention of refusing all applications because he had a bias in that direction. The latter was a very strong argument in favour of the Amendment, which was directed to render Benches really impartial and free from prejudice either way, so that the discretion which the House of Lords had held existed might be exercised in a judicial spirit after hearing evidence, as they the highest tribunal had directed they should do.
§ MR. MARKHAM (Nottinghamshire, Mansfield)
was understand to say that the hon. Member who had just spoken had referred to the jurisdiction to refuse applications. [Cries of "Speak up."] He ventured to say that there was no judicial refusal at all by the Bench, as was shown in the case before the House of Lords in which the Kent parties were concerned. He was an advocate of temperance, and be thought that all in that House were advocates of temperance, and desired to put down drunkenness. He lived in a place near his constituency where there was perhaps more drunkenness than in any part of the United Kingdom, and he contended that, as regarded such a place, 1569 acting on this decision of the House of Lords, a justice could always refuse applications for licences. If the Amendment of the noble Lord were carried, he would still be entitled to refuse an application.
§ MR. MARKHAM
Not now, perhaps, after what he had said in the debate. But in the present state of the law, the justice did not act judicially, and he could vote against the granting of licences if, in his knowledge and belief, the district had an undue number of them. It was a waste of time to go on discussing these points for now nearly three hours, when after all the law was clear. He looped the Committee would
§ come to a decision, in order that they might be enabled to reach more important questions.
§ *CAPTAIN FABER (Hampshire, Andover)
said he wanted to defend Members of the front bench opposite front the imputation of the hon. Member for Appleby that he had a clearer judgment on these matters than they possessed. He was quite sure that he could defend his own front bench. He felt sorry for hon. Gentlemen opposite that they had not been able to get up and defend their front bench from the imputation nude by the hon. Member for Appleby.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 122: Noes, 315. (Division List No. 203.)1573
|Acland-Hood, Rt Hn. Sir Alex. F.||Forster, Henry William||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Gardner, Ernest||Oddy, John James|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Gibbs, G, A. (Bristol, West)||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens|
|Ashley, W. W.||Gretton, John||Pease, Herbort Pike (Darlington)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Guinness, Walter Edward||Percy, Earl|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Haddock, George B.||Ratcliffe, Major R. F.|
|Balfour, Rt Hn. A. J. (City Lond.)||Hamilton, Marquess of||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Renton, Leslie|
|Baring, Capt. Hn. G. (Winchester||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Beach, Hn. Michael Hugh Hicks||Heaton, John Henniker||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Helmsley, Viscount||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Bertram, Julius||Hill, Sir Clement||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Hills, J. W.||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D.|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Houston, Robert Paterson||Smith, Hon. W. F. D.(Strand)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hunt, Rowland||Stonier, Beville|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Kimber, Sir Henry||Starkey, John R.|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staff'sh|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Cave, George||Lea, Hugh Cecil(St. Pancras, E.||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Lockwood, Rt. Hn. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Lanark)|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham||Thornton. Percy M.|
|Chamberlain, Rt Hn. J. A. (Worc.||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Dublin, S)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Clive, Percy Archer||Lowe, Sir Francis William||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H.A.E.||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Whitbread, Howard|
|Callings, Rt. Hn. J. (Birmingh'm||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Craig, Captain, James (Down, E.)||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Craik, Sir Henry||McIver, Sir Lewis||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Cross, Alexander||Magnus, Sir Philip||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)||Winterton, Earl|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred Dixon||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Middlemore, John Throgtmorton||Wyndham., Rt. Hon. George|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Young, Samuel|
|Duncan, Robert (Lanark Govan||Morrison-Bell, Captain||Younger, George|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield|
|Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants W.)||Nield, Herbert||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Lord Robert Cecil and Mr. Henry Gooch.|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Nolan, Joseph|
|Fell, Arthur||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.)||Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Hyde, Clarendon|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S||Illingworth, Percy H.|
|Agnew, George William||Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Diekinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.||Jackson, R. S.|
|Alden, Percy||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Jacoby, Sir James Alfred|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Jardine, Sir J.|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Dobson, Thomas W.||Johnson, John (Gateshead)|
|Armitage, R.||Donelan, Captain A.||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Duckworth, James||Jones, Leif (Appleby)|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry||Duffy, William J.||Joyce, Michael|
|Astbury, John Meir||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Kearley, Sir Hudson E.|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)||Kekewich, Sir George|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Kilbride, Denis|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)||Laidlaw, Robert|
|Barker, John||Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster)|
|Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset)||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Lamont, Norman|
|Barnard, E. B.||Erskine, David C.||Langley, Batty|
|Barnes, G. N.||Essex, R. W.||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington)|
|Beale, W. P.||Evans, Sir Samuel T.||Lehmann, R. C.|
|Beauchamp, E.||Everett, R. Lacey||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich|
|Bell, Richard||Faber, G. H. (Boston)||Levy, Sir Maurice|
|Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonp'rt||Fenwick, Charles||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Benn, W. (T'w'r Hamlets, S. Geo.||Ferguson, R. C. Munro||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David|
|Bennett, E. N.||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas|
|Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romf'rd||Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Lundon, W.|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Fuller, John Michael F.||Lupton, Arnold|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Fullerton, Hugh||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes|
|Black, Arthur W.||Gibb, James (Harrow)||Lynch, H. B.|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Gill, A. H.||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert Jn.||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk B'ghs|
|Bramsdon, T. A.||Glendinning, R. G.||Mackarness, Frederic C.|
|Branch, James||Glover, Thomas||Maclean, Donald|
|Brigg, John||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||Gooch, George Peabody(Bath)||M'Callam, John M.|
|Brooke, Stopford||Greenwood, G.(Peterborough)||M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald|
|Brunner, J.F.L.(Lancs., Leigh)||Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)|
|Brunner, Rt Hn Sir J.T.(Cheshire||Gulland, John W.||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Gurdon, Rt Hn. Sir W. Brampton||M'Micking, Major G.|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||Maddison, Frederick|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Hall, Frederick||Mallet, Charles E.|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Harcourt, Rt. Hn L. (Rossendale||Manfield, Harry (Northants)|
|Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Charles||Harcourt, Robert V.(Montrose)||Markham, Arthur Basil|
|Byles, William Pollard||Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)||Marks, C. Croydon (Launceston)|
|Cameron, Robert||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r)||Marnham, F. J.|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithn'ss-sh||Massie, J.|
|Causton, Rt Hn. Richard Knight||Harvey, A.G.C.(Rochdale)||Meagher, Michael|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Harvey, W.E.(Derbyshire, N. E||Menzies, Walter|
|Chance, Frederick William||Harwood, George||Micklem, Nathaniel|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Molteno, Percy Alport|
|Cheetham, John Frederick||Haworth, Arthur A.||Mond, A.|
|Cleland, J. W.||Hazel, Dr. A. E.||Money, L. G. Chiozza|
|Clough, William||Hazelton, Richard||Montagu, Hon. E. S.|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Hedges, A. Paget||Montgomery, H. G.|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Hemmerde, Edward George||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Morrell, Philip|
|Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Henry, Charles S.||Morse, L. L.|
|Corbett, A. Cameron(Glasgow)||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Corbett, C. H (Sussex, E. Grinst'd||Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Higham, John Sharp||Myer, Horatio|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John||Hobart, Sir Robert||Napier, T. B.|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)|
|Cowan, W. H.||Hodge, John||Nicholls, George|
|Cox, Harold||Holland, Sir William Henry||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncast'r|
|Crooks, William||Hope, John Deans(Fife, West)||Norman, Sir Henry|
|Crossley, William J.||Hope, W. Bateman (Somerset, N||Norton, Capt. Cecil William|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Horniman, Emslie John||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard|
|Davies, David (Montgomery Co.||Howard, Hon, Geoffrey||Nussey, Thomas Willans|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Hudson, Walter||Nuttall, Harry|
|Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan)||Hutton, Alfred Eddison||O'Kelley, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Parker, James (Halifax)||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)||Verney, F. W.|
|Partington, Oswald||Samuel, Herbert L.(Cleveland)||Vivian, Henry|
|Paulton, James Mellor||Scarisbrick, T. T. L.||Wadsworth, J.|
|Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Pearce, William (Limcho se)||Schwann, Sir C.E.(Manchester)||Walsh, Stephen|
|Pearson, W.H.M. (Suffolk, Eye)||Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne||Walton, Joseph|
|Perks, Sir Robert William||Sears, J. E.||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton|
|Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Seaverns, J. H.||Wardle, George J.|
|Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Seddon, J.||Wason, Rt. Hn. E (Clackmannan|
|Pollard, Dr.||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)||Wason, John Cathcart(Orkney)|
|Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T.(Hawick B.)||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Power, Patrick Joseph||Shipman, Dr. John G.||Watt, Henry A.|
|Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central)||Silcock, Thomas Ball||Weir, James Galloway|
|Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Simon, John Allsebrook||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Rainy, A. Rolland.||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Raphael, Herbert H.||Snowden, P.||White, Luke (York, E.R.)|
|Rea, Russell (Gloucester)||Soares, Ernest J.||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Rea, Walter Russell (Searboro'||Spicer, Sir Albert||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Reddy, M.||Stanley, Albert (Staffs. N.W.)||Whittaker, Rt. Hn. Sir Thomas P.|
|Redmond, William (Clare)||Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Rees, J. D.||Steadman, W. C.||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Rendall, Athelstan||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)||Wilson, Henry J.(York, W. R.)|
|Richardson, A.||Strachey, Sir Edward||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Ridsdale, E. A.||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)||Wilson, J. H.(Middlesbrough)|
|Roberts, Charles H.(Lincoln)||Stuart, James (Sunderland)||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.)|
|Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Summerbell, T.||Wilson, P. W.(St. Pancras, S.)|
|Roberts, Sir John H.(Denbighs.||Sutherland, J. E.||Wilson, W. T.(Westhoughton)|
|Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Braf'rd||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)||Winfrey, R.|
|Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)||Tennant, Sir Edward(Salisbury||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Robinson, S.||Thomasson, Franklin||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Robson, Sir William Snowdon||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampt'n|
|Roche, John (Galway, East).||Tomkinson, James.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Joseph Pease and Master of Elibank.|
|Rogers, F. E. Newman||Torrance, Sir A. M.|
|Rowlands, J.||Toulmin, George|
|Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Russell, T. W.||Ure, Alexander|
§ EARL WINTERTON
said the Amendment proposed to do something different from the one already disposed of.
It would not come here. The Amendment of the hon. Member for Kingston is already disposed of.
§ MR. YOUNGER
asked if that was so. It proposed to substitute quarter sessions for the licensing justices. In the other case the quarter sessions were only introduced as an appellate Court.
said the subject of the debate was not only as to an Appeal Court, but also as to which was the better tribunal.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
May I respectfully ask whether any speaker in favour of the first Amendment suggested that 1574 Quarter Sessions was a better Court of first instance?
said the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxford University certainly advocated it, and other Members also. He had taken particular notice of the debate. The next Amendment in order was that of the hon. Member for Edgbaston.
§ *SIR FRANCIS LOWE moved to insert after licensing justices the words "if it be shown to their satisfaction that the number of on-licenses in any district is excessive, having regard to the needs of the population." He said the object of his Amendment was not in any way to interfere with the number of existing licences being redacted to any extent which, after due inquiry, might he found to be necessary in the interests of true temperance reform. The object he wished to achieve was to ensure that these reductions, whenever and wherever they might be found to be necessary, should be carried out by 1575 some competent and proper tribunal in something like a fair and equitable manner, and on something like a rational and intelligible basis. Under the clause as it stood it would appear that the Government had constituted themselves the sole authority for deciding what licences were required, how many of them should be done away with, and how many of them should be allowed to continue in every urban and rural district, and they had practically left to the local licensing justices no discretion in the matter. They had transformed them into a sort of automatic penny in the slot machine, to register the decrees which the Government sought to impose upon them. They were allowed to make certain modifications in some cases, but it was not at all obligatory upon them to do so, and they need not allow themselves to be guided by any local considerations, nor take into account in any way the wishes of the locality or the needs of the district. But they must, whether they liked it or not, proceed to make reductions blindfold in accordance with the arbitrary standard of population laid down in the schedule. How and by whom that cast-iron schedule of reductions was arrived at goodness only knew. He would not be at all surprised, when its secret history came to be known, if its authorship were traced to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley, so that after all it was probably he who would be the sole arbiter and the final Court of Appeal to decide how many licences were to be allowed to continue, not only in Yorkshire, with which he was acquainted, but in every other part of the country. They all had the greatest respect for the character and ability of the right hon. Gentleman, but he would hardly regard himself as altogether an unprejudiced and unbiassed judge on a question of this kind. However, the Government had adopted the scheme and were responsible for it, and he would be very curious indeed to hear how they proposed to explain or to justify it on any ground of reason, justice, or common sense. There was no doubt that the number and density of the population in any given locality were quite important factors in deciding the number 1576 of licences required to supply the needs of the district, but there were many other considerations which ought to be borne in mind as well. For instance, there were the questions of the nature and habits of the population. There was the question of the fixed and permanent or the moveable and fluctuating nature of the population. Then, there was the question as to whether people were likely to go out of the district or coins into it at certain periods of the day or seasons of the year. There was the question whether more houses were likely to be built or not, and whether the population was likely to increase or decrease; there was also the question of the existence or non-existence of clubs and places other than licensed houses where drink might be obtained. There were also a large number of other considerations which could only properly be inquired into and adjudicated upon by those who were acquainted with the locality and its probable needs and requirements. He would like to ask any sensible person in the world to say whether all these questions could be best decided by the Government, sitting in a room in London, with ordnance maps and census returns before them, or whether they could not be much better decided by the local licensing justices, who knew well the district that they had to deal with and had all the facts and figures at their fingers' ends. He would have thought himself that the Act of 1904 was working uncommonly well, and that everything which the Government were seeking to accomplish under the kill could be accomplished quite as effectually and in a more equitable manner under that Act if they would only give it a further trial. During the three and a half years it had been in operation the average yearly reduction of licences had been about 1,500. If that process were allowed to go on something like 23,000 or 24,000 licences would be extinguished under the present law at the expiration of the fourteen years which had been fixed. That came to very nearly the estimate which the Government made of the number of licences they wanted to extinguish during that period, that number being 30,000. If they would only leave the present law alone very nearly the 1577 number they estimated under this Bill would be extinguished under the existing law. If, as the Prime Minister said in introducing this Bill, the reduction was not going on fast enough and it was necessary that its operation should be accelerated, he respectfully submitted that that could be done under this Amendment and a consequential Amendment standing in his name. If this method was adopted by the Government the machinery which already existed for making these reductions would not in any way be interfered with, for if it was shown to the satisfaction of the licensing justices that further reductions on any large scale were needed in any district, all they would have to do would be to submit a scheme to Quarter Sessions who would be able to make the necessary reductions to carry out the scheme at once, under the powers they already possessed under the Act of 1904, and there would be this manifest and overwhelming advantage over the method which the Government proposed? The licensing justices and the Court of Quarter Sessions would be well acquainted with, and they would be obliged to take into their consideration, all the local circumstances of the case and the needs and requirements of the district, before they adopted or put any scheme into operation. They would also be obliged to pay to those licence holders who would be deprived of their licences in order that this scheme of reduction might be carried out, the fair, equitable, and adequate amount of compensation which they were now entitled to receive under the present law, instead of the miserable pittance allowed to them under this Bill. In conclusion, he would very much like to know whether the main and primary object of the Government in bringing forward this Bill was to promote the cause of temperance? If that was their object then he, said without fear of contradiction that it could be accomplished under the Amendment which he proposed just as well as. under the clause as it stood. But there was this difference between the two. Under the clause of the Government they were bound to inflict a serious wrong and injustice on a very large number of unoffending people, whereas, under hi. Amendment, no injustice or wrong could 1578 possibly be inflicted upon any single individual. If, on the other hand, their object was not to promote temperance but to obtain a financial advantage to the State by dishonest means, if in point of fact, they had found another hen roost which they meant to rob and plunder, by all means let them frankly admit it, let them adhere rigidly to their clause, and then this veil of hypocrisy would be stripped from their faces and they would all know, and. the country would know, what their real motive was in bringing forward a confiscatory measure of this character. He begged to move.
In page 8, line 8, after the words 'Licensing Justices,' to insert the words 'If it be shown to their satisfaction that the number of on-licences in any district is excessive, having regard to the needs of the population."—(Sir Francis Lowe.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted"
§ *THE FIRST COMMISSIONER OF WORKS (Mr. L. HARCOURT,) Lancashire, Rossendale
I do not complain of the hon. Gentleman in regard to his later observations or in reference to the Amendment which he has moved, because we realise fully that he is an opponent of the Bill. He will not expect that the Government will show any sympathy or give any quarter to the Amendment which he has just moved. His Amendment, in fact, would defeat the whole object of this clause and consequently would defeat the whole object of the Bill. To state our object quite frankly, what we wish to do is to compel backward justices all over the country to bring the licences down to a certain proportion of the population which in our opinion is just and sufficient. The hon. Member by this Amendment would leave a complete option to the licensing justices to reduce or not to reduce at their own sweet will. I am a little surprised that he should be prepared to leave so large a discretion to the justices whose qualifications we have heard described with such frankness today, and who were accused by one of the hon. Members for Liverpool of being "poisoned with venom." If that be so, the less discretion you leave to these 1579 gentlemen the better. The Government are not leaving them a large discretion. In fact we are leaving them none as to the statutory number to which licences are to be reduced, although we give them a power of modification under Schedule I to make many of the arrangements which the hon. Member thinks are not included in the Bill. We will justify the proportion of population to licences in its proper place when we come to it, which will, be later in the year. The justices have power with certain modification to provide for the different needs of different populations and to deal especially with areas containing larger day than night populations. As the hon. Member will see in Clause 6, Section 3, they have power at any time to revise their scheme according to the alteration which may occur in the habits of the people and the distribution of the population in then area. It is unnecessary for me to explain further why the Government cannot possibly accept an Amendment which strikes at the whole root of this Bill.
§ MR. LUPTON (Lincolnshire, Sleaford)
said he was sorry that the Government could not accept this Amendment, because he thought it was a very needful one. At the present time the discretion of the magistrates was a very valuable asset in deciding these questions. An Amendment of this kind would be more likely to produce temperance in the way of the reduction of licences than the cast-iron reduction provided for in the schedule. The hon. Member for Mansfield said he always voted against the granting of new licences, but this schedule would not affect the number of licences in the district which he referred to, was one of the most drunken districts in England. He knew another district where this schedule would not reduce a single licence. It was a pity that the licensing justices should be compelled to apply this provision in districts where there was hardly any drunkenness and thus prejudice the action of the Bill. This would happen in districts where hardly such a thing as a drunken man was seen from year's end to year's end. He thought the Amendment would make the acceptance of the schedule optional, and in that way it would operate in the right direction. The Amendment 1580 would not interfere in any way with the vital part of the Bill, or with the time-limit, which would come into operation where the magistrates adopted the schedule. Therefore, he thought the Amendment was a good thing, because it made the first clause of the Bill more consistent with the second clause than it was at the, present time. The second clause gave a certain amount of local option, and the Amendment gave a certain amount of option to the magistrates in regard to the reduction of licences. He did not think the schedule would affect the reduction intended, and it would be a great disappointment and cause dissatisfaction in the country where there was really very little need for any action of the kind proposed in the Bill. From entirely different motives from those which had prompted the hon. Member to move the Amendment, because he was thinking more of the protection of certain financial interests, which although he respected them he did not care twopence halfpenny about, while he wanted to promote temperance, he would be very glad if the Government could see their way, if not to adopt this Amendment, at least to indicate that they proposed to adopt some Amendment in the direction of giving the justices some discretion.
§ MR. F. E. SMITH
said the Amendment moved by his hon. friend opened really a very wide question of principle as between those in favour of the present licensing proposals and those who were not. The Amendment proposed that if it were shown to the satisfaction of the licensing justices that the number of on-licences was not excessive having regard to the needs of the population, the obligation upon the justices should up to that extent be qualified. The Government thought that whatever view the licensing justices might hold as to the desirability in their own areas of dealing with the licensing problem and the reduction of licences, a cast-iron automatic scheme should be imposed upon them. He was not so sure that the case attempted to be made by the First Commissioner of Works was an extremely happy one having regard to the antecedents of the 1581 Government on the licensing question. The right hon. Gentleman said that the justices would have the power of destroying the whole object of the Bill, and he claimed that the Amendment of his hon. friend would leave an unduly large discretion in the hands of the local justices. He was not in the House some years ago when the discussions took place on the Licensing Bill of his right hon. friend, but he had read the debates and nothing was more striking than the insistence with which hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite claimed that inadequate discretion was left to the licensing justices or the emphasis with which they laid stress on the competence of the licensing justices to perform any functions put upon them. They argued that it would be a misfortune to the whole licensing administration if their discretion was in any way restricted. In the present proposals, the Government were cutting themselves adrift from all that local knowledge on the part of the magistrates, which one would have supposed, a few years ago, to be the whole of their reforming stock-in-trade, and they preferred the alternative course of imposing upon the justices an alternative scheme prepared by themselves. One would have imagined that in taking that course, they would at least have obtained some actuarial calculations in order to commend their scheme to the House. But in the answer of the Prime Minister to his hon. friend, the scheme of the Government was shown not to depend upon a scientific or actuarial calculation, but represented the idea of somebody undisclosed as to what would be a convenient scale and rare of reduction. The Committee were not privileged to be informed of the stages of reasoning by which the Government arrived at the conclusion or of the information that was before them or of the pressure exercised upon them before proposing it. What did the scheme of the Government depend upon? It depended, of course, upon the view that if the local justices were compelled to reduce the number of licences in the area under their jurisdiction on the scale which was provided in the schedule, drunkenness would be diminished in that area; but the Government refused to the justices themselves the right of saying whether 1582 in their particular areas, hiving regard to the circumstances, they believed that result would be obtained. The scheme of the Government depended upon the assumption which had no warrant whatever in any figures ever produced as to the extent of the growth of drunkenness in this country. If the schedule of the Government could not, be defended on the ground that the scale imposed on the justices—whether they desired it or not, was one which would have the effect of reducing intemperance, it was quite obvious it could not be defended upon any ground at all. How far did recent statistics published by a Government Department lend countenance to the view that under this scheme intemperance would be reduced. One thing which the licensing statistics of the present year conclusively established was that the number of licensed premises in a particular urea bore no relation whatever to the extent of drunkenness in that area.
§ MR. F. E. SMITH
said that his hon. friend had moved an Amendment which would have the effect of leaving justices a discretion as to whether or not the Government scale should be applied. The alternative proposal was the proposal of the Government that a. hard and fast scale of reduction should be applied. His argument was founded upon the fact that recent licensing statistics showed that there was no such relation between the reduction proposed by the Government and the amount of intemperance.
The hon. and learned Member must not go into the merits of the Government scheme. He cannot go into a detailed examination of that scheme on this Amendment.
§ MR. F. E. SMITH
said he did not wish to pursue the point if he was not in order. He was not going into the details of the Government scheme, but what he was proposing to do if he was in order was to show that the Government scheme was inferior to the proposal of his hon. friend 1583 for this reason, that judging by experience such reductions had not been found to produce an effect upon intemperance in given areas. Taking it in the most general way possible it would be found on an examination of the latest licensing statistics that if they took four counties in England in which the convictions for drunkenness——
That is going outside of the Amendment and into details of the Government scheme, the discussion of which would come later.
§ MR. F. E. SMITH
said that what he had said was not in order and he was not to be permitted to enter into the subject of the needs of the population by showing what the official Statistics had shown to be the need, he would venture to say that no calculation had ever been adduced by any of the hon. Members opposite who were familiar with the statistics on this subject, which had ever shown or tended to show that the reduction of the number of licences had any connection at all with the state of intemperance in the areas in which those licences were reduced. He reminded the Committee that Mr. Gladstone's attention was directed to a proposal very closely resembling that of the Government and he said that if a reduction in the number of public-houses pretended to the dignity of a remedy it was nothing more than a sham. Under those circumstances he would prefer that the justices in each district should be able to deal with the problems which presented themselves for treatment in their particular areas. He would illustrate this by a case which had come under his own notice. It was a county borough, where, in point of fact, cases of drunkenness were far fewer than almost any other county borough in England. There were very few at any rate which could show better results. He did not pretend to explain it sociologically, but in that borough the number of convictions for drunkenness was extraordinarily small, while at the same time the number of licences per 10,000 of the population was extraordinarily large. In such a case was it to be suggested that the local justices, finding themselves in the position of exercising jurisdiction 1584 in a borough of almost unexampled sobriety, so far as the population were concerned, were to be compelled to bring about the very great pecuniary hardship which by universal admission would be occasioned by this Bill, not only without the certainty of effecting any moral reform, but with the certainty that no moral reform would be brought about, because the statistics of sobriety stood higher there at present than in any other town in the kingdom? To lay down that doctrine and to say that the justices would be made merely the automatic mouthpieces of what was suggested by another department in London, and to say that if these gentlemen did not carry out the instructions they received from London, they were then to be subjected to the jurisdiction of a committee of three who were to deal with them for their administrative failure; that might be right or wrong, but it was certainly a very big step from what had been deemed the discretion of the justices.
§ *MR. G. D. FABER
said he was rather surprised to hear the right hon. Gentleman opposite talking about compelling the local justices to move forward. The conclusion they arrived at on the last division was that the local justices were to be trusted and the Quarter Sessions were to be swept away altogether. Now the right hon. Gentleman got up and said that the local justices were so little to be held in confidence that they were to be compelled to take a certain line by a committee of three sitting in London. That was a very extraordinary position for the Government to put themselves in. It contradicted the whole attitude taken up by the supporters of the Government in regard to the licensing justices since 1904. In Parliament and on every platform in the country Radical candidates had said: "Restore the power of the local justices," and on the first opportunity they got of putting that great principle into practice they went away in a contrary direction. The right hon. Gentleman said that they could not trust the local justices; that they must have some power in the background to compel them to move forward. The question raised by this Amendment was a very large one. It was which system was the best of the two. Were they to 1585 have hard and fast machinery as laid down by the Government clause, extinguishing, by Act of Parliament a certain number of licences in a certain number of years? He had the high authority of the late Mr. Gladstone for stating that a limitation of the number of licences if intended as a remedy for intemperance was little better than a sham. The right hon. Gentleman disagreed with the prediction of that great man—a man who had studied the temperance question deeply. He was afraid that in these degenerate Radical days the Radical party had travelled a long way, not only from that dictum but many others of Mr. Gladstone's. The Government would no doubt found themselves upon the Minority Report as to fixing licences according to population. They always relied on the Minority Report if and when it happened to suit their views. But the Majority Report, after all, was signed by men of independent minds, and that said that there was no correlation between the number of licensed houses and. the amount of drunkenness. Why should the House of Commons found itself on this matter on the Minority Report and not on the Majority Report? This cast-iron system would not work. The Government's proposal had not even the merits of the bed of Procrustes.
§ *MR. G. D. FABER
said he was going to show that the Government wished to prevent the local justices from extending the number of licences in an area, when new licences were less than the statutory limit. [MINISTERIAL cries of "No."] Certainly they did; because if the way in which the areas were apportioned was examined it would be found perfectly possible for a whole borough to have less than the number of licences provided under the Bill. Therefore, he said that this clause was not even a Procrustean clause. Procrustes shortened his victim's bodies to suit his bed, but he also extended the length of his victims' bodies if they were too short for the bed, until they were long enough; whereas the Government 1586 were giving the power to cut down the redundant licences, but not to extend them where they were insufficient. He wished to point out that their action was contradictory, and that if they did not accept the Amendment they would go back on everything they had said for nearly five years.
§ *MR. G. D. FABER
said that this matter was so important that it could hardly be emphasised too often. Of course, the Government action was contradictory and the Amendment was consonant with all the professions of the Radical Party during the past five years.
§ *MR. NIELD
said he did not think that during the whole time he had been in the House he had ever seen such an illustration of inconsistency as had been given that night. They had reached one of the most important points of the Bill and yet the enthusiasts on the other side who had put pressure on the Government to press forward the Bill were conspicuously absent. The policy of the Government was grossly inconsistent with the utterances of the Radical Party on every platform since 1904. The right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works had spoken of the New Commission pressing forward the backward justices to do their duty in extinguishing licences. Such language was in keeping with the talk of the President of the Board of Trade, when the English Land Act was about to be introduced, about "gingering" the county councils to carry out the provisions of that measure whether or no those councils (the most democratic and recently constituted bodies) considered there was a demand for small holdings and allotments in their county. This was what the Radical party called "trusting the people." It was proposed by this Bill to fetter the discretion of the licensing magistrates by a hard and fast rule, which provided that they should take upon themselves the role of prophets and determine what in certain places would be the population at a certain period, 1587 in order to determine upon a scheme which should at the end of that period leave just so many licensed houses per head of population as was provided for in the schedule. The whole thing was absurd. They all knew that there were districts where in the old days licences were granted freely, and where in the inner Metropolitan area licences were far too thick. But in suburban districts, where licences had been moderately granted having regard to the wants of the neighbourhood at the time, was the growing population not to be taken into account? In districts like the old parish of St. Pancras, the possibilities of building and growth of population had been reached, and the justices could say, having all the facts and figures to go upon, what would be the needs of the population at the end of fourteen years. But they could not do that with other neighbourhoods, where houses would be turned into tenements; and where within fourteen years the whole character of the population might be changed. He maintained that the provision in the Bill was without justification and contrary to the declarations and professions of the Radical Party, and was one of the best illustrations which could be imagined, of the organised hypocrisy which lay behind this measure.
§ MR. PATRICK WHITE (Meath, N.)
said that this clause was so unjust and so unfair that he felt it his duty to protest against it. The Government first of all denied the right of appeal to Quarter Sessions on the ground that the licensing justices were quite competent to deal with applications for licences, but they were denied the right or opportunity of forecasting accurately what the population of a district would be in the future, and of saying whether the licences in that district were sufficient. He considered that the proposal of the Government was antagonistic to and subversive of every principle of local government. Upon a subject where there should be some regard for local opinion and local knowledge of facts, the Government were arrogantly setting up an automatic machine under their own control, and, right or wrong, the local justices were required to work this machine for reducing licences. If the object of the 1588 Government was to bring the number of licences into conformity with the needs of the people in the locality, they should have some regard to local opinion and pay some attention to the facts of the case. They should not arrogantly override their opinions and say: "Here are a certain number of licences to be reduced, and you must carry out this law whether you think it right or wrong. Local opinion is to have no voice in the matter. It is a cast-iron law, and it is for you to carry it out."
§ *MR. L. HARCOURT
pointed out that under the first schedule the licensing justices were empowered to vary the application of the Bill according to the special needs of the district. Clause 6, subsection 3, provided that the licensing justices might as occasion required revise their scheme with reference to any alteration in the circumstances of their district. The system of the Bill was not a cast-iron one. A very large discretion in these matters was allowed to the justices. With regard to the Act of 1904, he observed that the magistrates were then being deprived of the discretion they possessed. The Act was a measure to fetter their freedom of action.
§ MR. STUART WORTLEY
, on a point of order, asked whether, if the right hon. Gentleman discussed the Act of 1904, the Opposition would be allowed to do so.
said that obviously there could be no discussion on the Act of 1904. He understood in this case it was merely being referred to. The reference, however, could not be carried further.
§ MR. L. HARCOURT
said that he only wished to show that as the Act was an Act to fetter their freedom of action this was a Bill to fetter their freedom of inaction. The fact that in a place there were a number of licences and an absence of convictions for drunkenness was no proof that drunkenness did not exist. Absence of convictions was consistent with a large amount of drunkenness if the police were encouraged to be supine by the Bench.
§ *MR. YOUNGER (Ayr Burghs)
thought that everyone would admit 1589 that this portion of the Bill was extremely difficult to deal with. He complained that the Government had dumped upon the House a proposal to abolish a number of licensed houses by a certain method without attempting to see how that method would act. In answer to a Question of his on the 9th of March last the Prime Minister admitted that he had had no information from his advisors as to how this method would act in the various rural and urban districts. The right hon. Gentleman dealt with some sample cases, no doubt drawn by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Spen Valley, and not such cases perhaps as he himself would have drawn it he had been asked to perform that operation. The Licensing Commission considered this matter with great care, and came to the conclusion that it was quite impossible to suggest any scheme of this kind which would not operate adversely in some districts. In many towns the licensing justices had confined the licensed houses to certain areas in order to have a more complete police control over them, and had refused to scatter them over the town. And no doubt by that means they had secured better control. One of the difficulties of this case was, for example, that of a town which ought to have 110 or 120 licences according to the scale, but where the existing licences were so distributed that if this scheme were carried out as it stood the town would be left with only fifty licences. That was a thing which nobody could defend. This was a very important Amendment which would, he hoped, receive the careful consideration of hon. Gentlemen opposite and their support in the division lobby. It was certain that this was one of the greatest changes proposed by the Bill, and one that would operate more seriously in reducing licences than hon. Members thought. The number of licences to be reduced in fourteen years would be far greater than the right hon. Gentleman intended if this scheme was allowed to go through. Because, although there was no power under the Bill to increase the number of licences, the obligation to decrease them would be greatly enlarged. It would be an invidious task for licensing justices, because the so-called compensation allowed was not 1590 even a proper solatium to the people whose houses were taken away.
§ *MR. REMNANT (Finsbury, Holborn)
said the further the debate proceeded the more hon. Gentlemen opposite showed discredit to their common sense and injustice to those with whom they were dealing. No hon. Member opposite, with the exception of the right hon. Member for the Spen Valley, had attempted to answer the points raised by the Amendment. No one had attempted to defend the Government's position. Neither the Home Secretary nor his Under-Secretary had taken part in the discussion of a matter in which of all the Government Departments concerned theirs was the most affected. This Amendment showed the extraordinary attitude of the Government. At one moment they said they trusted implicitly the licensing justices, and at the next they did not trust them at all. The licensing justices were to have nothing to do but administer the Bill according to the Prime Minister, while the First Commissioner said that under subsection 3 of Section 6 they might be called upon, as occasion required, to revise the whole scheme in relation to their district. He did not understand the position taken up by the Government. They all desired to produce a Bill that would work smoothly in practice, but under the guillotine they were to be called upon to pass clauses which could not be carried out in practice or with justice. Whatever happened, everything was going to be worked and ordered by a Commission sitting so London and wholly out of touch with local requirements and perhaps composed of hon. Gentlemen like the right hon. Member for the Spen Valley and the hon. Member for Appleby and the hon. Member for Lincoln. If that was so, he could only inform the right hon. Gentleman that in his opinion and the opinion of the country the whole thing was a farce from beginning to end.
§ *MR. CLAVELL SALTER (Hants, Basingstoke)
thought it was admitted by all those who had fairly considered the Bill that the point which they were now considering was to a great extent a leap in the dark. It was really impossible 1591 to say how the reduction would work out in practice either in regard to the country as a whole or in any particular part. That being so, the Amendment was a reasonable attempt to minimise that uncertainty by availing them selves of that which surely was greatly relied upon by Liberals in all other matters, viz., the elasticity and safety which was attained by having recourse to local knowledge on local needs. In answer to that, it was pointed out by the First Commissioner of Works that they must turn to Clause 6. He based his argument upon a power which was given there. Clause 6 was headed "Schemes for Statutory Reduction," and subsection 3 to which the right hon. Gentle man referred related to a power given to licensing justices to revise schemes which they were to prepare. They had to prepare a scheme showing that they would reduce here in this proportion and there in that proportion, this year to this extent and that year to that extent, and they might if they thought fit, and quite rightly, alter these details from time to time. The scheme, however, was after all one to carry out the statutory reduction required by the Act. It was therefore idle of the right hon. Gentleman to refer them to Section 6, subsection 3, as an argument that any sort of discretion was given by the Bill to justices in any way to alter or amend or modify the hard and fast minimum of reduction which the Act forced upon them, whether they desired it or not.
§ MR. LANE-FOX
said that to his mind one of the great blots on the scheme of the Bill was that it would set up a hard and fast rule and standard as to the number of licences and did not in the least distinguish between varieties in the amount of trade done or the number of people who frequented the house. The local justices would know the needs of the population and the extent to which a house was used; and in that way there would be far better administration under the Amendment than under the Government's scheme. The schedule was particularly hard and fast on this point. It dealt with the number of licences and not at all with the particular class of the house or the quality of the trade done. 1592 That was a matter in which local discretion was strictly needed.
§ MR. ASHLEY
said the First Commissioner of Works, in answer to the mover of the Amendment, made great play with the fact that under the schedule of the Bill discretion was left to the licensing justices to meet the necessities of various places under various circumstances. He would invite the Committee to look at the beginning of the schedule. They would there see that modifications might be made in the strict application of the scale, but it did not seem to meet the case of his constituency, for instance, which had every day of the week a large population coming in quadrupling the normal population of the borough. A. modification in the strict application of the scale to the 50,000 inhabitants of Blackpool would not in the least meet the needs of the case, and on that ground alone he strongly supported the Amendment to give the local justices, the people who knew the town and its needs and what was likely to be the needs of its visitors, the power to decide what should be the number of licences to be granted. The Committee of the House of Commons knew no more about the local circumstances of each individual area than it probably knew about astronomy. Surely they would at any rate have the support in this matter of the right hon. Member for Spen Valley. He hoped he would be consistent, and act up to his declarations. A few years ago he said the full discretion of the licensing authority was absolutely necessary to the proper supervision of the liquor trade, and he went on to say that for seventy years the policy of his side of the House had been to give greater power to the local justices. Full discretion was the keynote of their party. Could the right hon. Gentleman, if he voted against this Amendment, get up and say he was carrying out the declarations he made in 1904? Would the Liberal Party as a whole be acting up to their professions of two or three years ago if they voted against the Amendment?
called the hon. Member to order, stating that what the Liberal Party did several years ago had nothing to do with the Amendment.
§ MR. ASHLEY
said they would agree that the Liberal Party had broken their pledges upon this matter, and that there was no more to be said about it. He urged the Committee to consider very earnestly whether the Amendment should not be carried. As an illustration of the working of the scheme he took a Bench of licensing justices who had to reduce the number of licences in a small town by three. They went carefully into each case and found that all the licensed holders were well conducted and that all three houses, in their opinion, were necessary for the needs of the town and district. What could they do? They could only take away the three licences according to the scale as laid down in the schedule, although in their opinion it was not necessary and would do harm to the town. Surely, it would be better to leave them full discretion to deal with the matter.
§ *MR. MONTAGU (Cambridgeshire, Chesterton)
said the debate had convinced him of the superlative excellence of the measure and had discovered to him new charms in it. Hon. Members opposite were much exercised as to the consistency of the Government with regard to trusting to the discretion of the justices, but, if it was inconsistent for the Government to prefer the local justices in one case and not in another, it was equally inconsistent of hon. Gentlemen opposite not to prefer them in one case and to prefer them in the other. The hon. Member for Barkston Ash had objected to the clause because it dealt with the number of public-houses and not with their quality; but discretion was left to the justices to prepare a scheme to carry out the statutory reduction and with full local knowledge at their disposal to select those houses most fitted to remain and those which they most desired to see closed. The hon. Member for Blackpool was concerned about the strict application of the schedule to his constituency, but modifications were provided for, and subsection 3 of the schedule was designed precisely to meet cases like the hon. Member's constituency.
§ MR. ASHLEY
Am I to understand that it will be made clear that this is to be a large exception and not a small exception?
§ *MR. MONTAGU
said that, if the hon. Member had any doubt that Blackpool was satisfactorily included in the provision, when they came to the schedule would be the time to insert Amendments. It seemed to him that hon. Members had again and again misread the Bill. They alleged that it was not competent for justices to grant new licences, but there were many rural districts in England—in Cornwall for example— where there were less public-houses than were provided for under the statutory scale, and justices would have every power to grant new licences, providing they did not grant them to bring the total above the statutory scheme. There was a clause which allowed local option with regard to new licences, and, under Clause 4, subsection 1, there was power given to the justices not to stop at the statutory scale of reduction, but to go beyond it where the people in the district desired it. It seemed to him, therefore, that under the provisions of the Bill the discretion of the justices was so large that it was no wonder the hon. Member for the Ayr Burghs failed to obtain any declaration from the Government as to the exact results of the application of the schedule.
§ *MR. CAVE
asked whether the scale should be compulsory on all benches or whether the benches should not have some discretion in reference to local needs. The first element which the local benches ought to take into account in considering the granting or renewal of a licence was that of population. Under the Bill some regard was paid to population, but not to the population at the time when the applicant went for renewal, but to the population at the date of the last census, which might be five, six or nine years previously, and no regard could be had to growth of population since that date. That did not seem to him common sense. Secondly, they should have regard to 1595 change of population—migration from one parish to another which had begun and appeared likely to continue. They should also surely have some regard to the question whether the licensed house served, not only the ward or parish in which it was, but some neighbouring parish or ward. They must have some regard to the boundary question, but under this clause they had no regard to it at all. Unless the Amendment was accepted, magistrates were bound to adhere to the statutory scale, subject to exceptions which might not apply in the cases he had put. Further, different places differed in their habits and in the manner in which they lived, and in their occupations. Some required more houses or houses nearer the actual habitations of the people than other parishes, but under the Bill no kind of regard would be had to these facts. The magistrates must not have regard to local circumstances. They must simply keep their eye on the scale and conform to it whatever the facts might be with which they had to deal. Surely there was something to be said for an Amendment giving some kind of discretion to justices. The charm which the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire saw in the Bill was that the justices had discretion to refuse but no discretion to renew, if by so doing they slightly infringed the scale. If they were going to force benches to refuse licences which they thought to be required, the effect would be to reduce the houses, but not to reduce drunkenness. It would lead to the opening out of new sources of supply not under proper supervision and not so legitimate as those which they were suppressing. Instead of reducing drunkenness they would be increasing it. He felt very strongly that if they wanted to deal with matters in a common sense way they ought to leave the local benches some greater latitude than that which was given by the fixed statutory scale. He strongly supported the Amendment.
§ SIR F. BANBURY
said the hon. Member who had last spoken on the Ministerial side had said Members on his own side and also Members of the 1596 Opposition were inconsistent. But it did not improve matters for the pot to call the kettle black. Two wrongs did not make a right. The charge of inconsistency against the Opposition, however, was a mistaken one. The point of the hon. Member's remarks was that they had said earlier in the evening that the local justices were not the proper tribunal to which to refer matters. But they had never said that. They said on the contrary that they were the proper authorities, but that there should be confirmation of their acts by another authority. They were the proper people to be called first into requisition, but there should be either an appeal or confirmation by some other authority. He was sorry the Prime Minister was not in his place, because he thought he would support the Amendment even if his Party refused to accept it. The right hon. Gentleman was at all events consistent and had in eloquent phrases informed the House that the local justices knew all about the "Black Bull" and the "Red Lion" and were, the proper people to decide what houses should be maintained and what should not. He regretted that more hon. Members opposite were not present because he believed, on the whole, they would themselves agree that the proper course to be pursued was to accept the Amendment and allow the local justices some discretion in the matter. After all, that was local option because the local justices were supposed to represent the feelings of the locality according to hon. Members opposite, and if they did that, why on earth should they not be allowed to say how many public-houses were necessary? The hon. Member for Mansfield had told them he was a local justice and when he went to the justice room to consider the question, he made up his mind that there were too many licences and he was going to reduce them. There was an instance. Did hon. Gentlemen object to the hon. Member for Mansfield deciding whether or not the number of licences in a given area should be fifty-one or fifty-two, or did they prefer that a body sitting in London, with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley as chairman, should decide? He had a great opinion of the, right hon. Gentleman and had heard some of the best reasoned and 1597 argued speeches from him that he had ever heard, but he did not credit him with all knowledge. He knew a great deal about Spen Valley, but he did not know everything about every other part of England.
§ *MR. BERTRAM (Hertfordshire, Hitchin)
said he only rose to ask a Question arising out of one of the defences that had been made of the Government policy in resisting the Amendment for which he intended to vote. It had been alleged on the part of the Government that there would be a great power of modification reserved to licensing justices and that they were not to be bound by the hard and fast rule set out in the schedule. But it appeared to him that the whole of the powers of the licensing justices in relation to the schemes of reduction were to be subject to an over-riding power vested in the Commissioners. How far was the Government defence a real one? Was there any reality in this power which they alleged resided in the licensing justices, or was it merely an illusory power entirely over-ridden and controlled by the Licensing Commission?
§ MR. JAMES HOPE
said he was not altogether satisfied with the Amendment as it stood and he wished to amend it by inserting after "if" the words "on the presentation of a requisition signed by not less than one-tenth of the parochial electors in the district." He thought there should be evidence of some local feeling before proceedings under this clause were started. The impetus to reform should come not from above but from below, and the justices should have the body of public opinion behind them. It was their business as occupying a judicial position to check and regulate popular movements but not to initiate them.
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
asked if it was in order to move an Amendment raising a completely different point. The point they had been discussing was whether the justices should have a discretion. The point the hon. Member now wished to raise was whether reduction should take place on the initiative of a certain number of electors.
I think the Amendment may be put although 1598 hon. Members must recognise that the debate has altogether been very prolonged.
§ *MR. JAMES HOPE
submitted that there were certain precedents for the procedure which he advocated. He believed that in the Companies Acts there was a precedent for a requisition of one-tenth of the shareholders or of the interests represented. In the Allotments Act there was also a provision that certain machinery should be set in motion on the initiative of a certain number of parochial electors, and in this Bill itself subsection 2 of Clause 2 said—The licensing justices shall cause a poll to be taken on the question of a prohibitory Resolution if a requisition signed by not less than one-tenth of the parochial electors in the district is presented to them requiring such a poll to be taken.What was valid in one case was valid in the other. If the machinery of this Bill was to be set in motion upon popular requisition the same principle should be applied in regard to the reduction of licences. The popular impulse ought to be the deciding factor in both cases and discretion should not be allowed in the one case and denied in the other. The justices should be allowed to act upon their own discretion, but upon their own initiative they should not be allowed to start a reduction scheme for which there was no popular demand. He begged to move.
Amendment proposed to the proposed Amendment—
After the word 'if,' to insert the words 'on the presentation of a requisition signed by not less than one-tenth of the parochial electors in the district.'"—(Mr. James Hope.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted in the proposed Amendment."
§ EARL WINTERTON
said he agreed with his hon. friend that something was needed to round off this Amendment. The Government had recognised by their qualifications that there was need in some cases at any rate for guidance by the experience of the local justices, but they had immediately, by making those qualifications subject to the approval of a Commission, of which no one in the House except the Government seemed 1599 to be particularly fond, practically sterilised the discretion thus placed in the hands of justices. In this Amendment they were really proceeding along the same line as the Government, apart from the fact that the discretion given by the Government in their scheduled qualifications was not a real one. In his opinion the Amendment really made the system perfectly symmetrical. It had been pointed out several times that the qualifications in the Schedule were really very wide, although they were rendered largely of no avail by the fact that the appeal was subject to the approval of the Commission; still, the fact that the Government put in these qualifications showed that they themselves realised the need in certain circumstances for getting the opinion of the local justices. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, speaking at Manchester last year and referring to the coming Licensing Bill, said that in a Bill which aimed at reducing excessive drinking the moderate drinker must feel that he was safeguarded. He did not agree with the contention put forward by hon. Gentlemen opposite that there could, be any real relation between the number of public houses and the amount of drunkenness, but he and his friends did say that there might be isolated instances in which there was that relationship, and if there was anyone who could judge as to whether that relationship existed it could only be the local justices. Therefore, he thought the Government should adopt the Amendment, if only for the reason that they themselves had admitted by the qualification as to licences in rural parishes and health or pleasure resorts, that the justices must be left some discretion.
§ MR. LAMBTON (Durham, S.E.)
thought that this Amendment was a most valuable one. He had had some personal experience in regard to these difficulties. On the last occasion when he sat upon the Licensing Bench it was proposed to reduce the number of licences by three. That was not the wish of the inhabitants of the neighbourhood, and they presented a requisition to that effect. The desire to reduce the number of public-houses in a district might not come from the inhabitants but from some rich man who did not want a public-house near his 1600 garden or lodge gate. A similar request might come from the squire of the parish or even from the parson or the attorney, in fact it might come from anybody but the people concerned. He had known public-houses situated miles away from any town, used perhaps chiefly by carters and travellers and a few agricultural labourers, and how could these people get their views represented before the magistrates? If they insisted upon a requisition being signed by one-tenth of the electors as was proposed by this Amendment, that would be some indication to the justices as to whether the public-houses concerned were wanted or not. He thought the Amendment moved by the hon. Member for one of the divisions of Birmingham would be an improvement upon the Amendment which had been moved by the hon. Member for Sheffield. They had been asked whether the authority of the justices was to be a real or an illusory one. Of course he could not expect an answer to that question from the Government in view of the fact that they had refused to answer a similar question from cue of their own supporters. All they wanted to know was what the real position of the justices would be under this Bill.
§ THE SOLICITOR-GENERAL (Sir S. EVANS,) Glamorganshire, Mid
said the Government did not mind whether the Amendment was amended or not. All the argument opposite on the original Amendment had been in favour of granting the fullest discretion to justices. This Amendment would restrict that discretion, and it would not be possible for them to act at all unless on the requisition of a certain proportion of the inhabitants. The Government's objection was that it went against their own proposals that there must be a reduction of licences according to the schedule. They would oppose both Amendments.
§ SIR S. EVANS
said the Government proposed that there should be a compulsory reduction, according to the modifications in the schedule, by the licensing justices, and, therefore, they opposed the Amendment as they would also oppose the Amendment if amended.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
I have listened to the reply of the hon. and learned Gentleman with amazement, because in his reply he has entirely ignored the fact that a Member on his own side of the House has directly addressed a question to the Government to which no answer whatever has been given. The hon. Member opposite put a question as to the power to be exercised by the licensing justices. Are those justices to act under the shadow of the Licensing Commission? The question of the hon. Member is: "Are we discussing a sham or a reality? Are the magistrates to do real work, or are they to prepare a sham return to enable the Commissioners to act subsequently?" The Solicitor-General has given no answer to that. He simply says that the Government object to the Amendment because it goes contrary to the way they want to go. I should like to ask how many men on the Government Bench or behind it have sat with a Bench of licensing magistrates. I wonder whether the First Lord of the Admiralty, who treats these matters with great condescension, ever sat as a licensing justice either in a county district or at Quarter Sessions. I venture to say that anyone who has done so with regularity will feel that the discharge of the duty thrown upon him under this Bill will involve the greatest difficulty. I have consulted a great many who have sat, and I have not found one yet who knows how they will have to proceed. I do not like local option at all, and I have never voted in favour of it in any form. I know that circumstances alter cases, but in the difficulties in which some of us find ourselves at the present moment I do not know that local option would not be better than what the Government are proposing. I do not like local option at all, I have never voted in favour of it, but in the difficulties in which the proposed legislation of the Government puts us I confess I have great fellow feeling with my brother magistrates. I protest against casting upon the justices the duty of effecting the reduction of licences without any indication from the locality as to what they desire to be done. In the circumstances the justices would have nobody to depend upon for information except the clerk to the licensing bench. What occurs now? An application is 1602 made for the renewal of a licence, or the granting of a new licence, and when opposition is offered by people who object either to the renewal or the granting of a licence the magistrates have something to proceed upon when they are hearing an application, and they sit simply as a judicial body to inquire into the case; but here you are going to throw upon them an entirely new duty. They will have to have present to their minds the whole circumstances in regard to every public-house in their area, and they are not to decide between the comparative claims of different public-houses. How will they decide what particular house they should go for first? Where are they to begin? An application from a locality will be most useful, just as applications are in respect to small holdings and allotments. All that is asked here is not that there should be local option to decide the question, but that there should be, at all events, the right given to the locality to move the bench of magistrates, and to prove that there is a prima facie case. I cannot understand why the Government will not accept some Amendment which will define the duty which those unfortunate magistrates will have to perform. If they do not the magistrates will be apt to fail, and the real work will have to be done by the Commission, who will descend upon the locality and override local government and local opinion. If the clause passes without some such Amendment it will be a most extraordinary step for a Liberal and democratic Government to have taken.
§ MR. ASHLEY
opposed the Amendment to the Amendment because it would limit the discretion of the justices. He had already endeavoured to get unfettered discretion for the licensing justices. If the Amendment to the Amendment were accepted it would mean that they would not be able to move a step until one-tenth of the parochial electors had sent them a memorial asking them to move. What possible means had that number of local electors of ascertaining what were the real needs of the locality? His hon. friend's Amendment would be as the Bill of the Government.
§ MR. JAMES HOPE
said the justices would be able to go on reducing licences, even if no requisition was sent to them.
§ MR. ASHLEY
said they would not be able to do anything until one-tenth of the parochial electors asked them to reduce licences. What the Government said was that they should be reduced on a certain principle which was outlined in the schedule.
§ MR. BELLOC (Salford, S.)
said his constituency considered that the great blot on the Bill was that the power was given to the licensing magistrates, and not to the electors. Heaven forbid that he should say that one-tenth of the votes of the parochial electors on this subject should compensate for a popular vote. It did not compensate for the democratic principle that the locality should have the power of saying how many more, or how many less, public-houses there should be, or whether there should be none at all. But the Amendment would be a very small step in that direction, and he should have thought it incumbent on everyone who approved of popular control to vote for the Amendment to the Amendment.
§ *MR. CLAVELL SALTER
said that this was undoubtedly a local option Amendment, and he could not understand any hon. Member opposite doing other than vote for it. If one-tenth of the parochial electors were prepared to suggest reduction, and the justices were of the same mind, that local initiative would greatly strengthen their hands. If, on the other hand, one-tenth of the electors could not be found who were prepared to suggest reduction, how could any man in his senses say it was right to make a reduction?
§ SIR F. BANBURY
said the Amendment had been advocated by hon. Members below the gangway opposite as a democratic Amendment. He was not sure he knew what they meant. He would certainly support an Amendment that would give freedom to everybody, but he was afraid that "democratic Amendment" meant one by which a number of people would be able to dictate to the rest whether they should have a 1604 glass of beer or not. Such an Amendment he could not support. It was the thin end of the wedge. If the Amendment were carried, how could they consistently refuse to support local option hereafter? And he was sure all his hon. friends wished to be consistent. He presumed the Solicitor-General was going to vote in the same lobby with him.
§ SIR F. BANBURY
said he had always voted in one lobby or the other. One ought to have the courage of his opinions.
§ *SIR FRANCIS LOWE
said he did not see his way to accept the Amendment to the Amendment. He very much preferred his own Amendment as it stood, because it would give the justices power to act if it was shown to their satisfaction that the number of on-licences in any district was excessive, without reference to the number of people who had first called their attention to the matter.
§ Amendment to the Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. JAMES HOPE,
in moving to insert "full" before "on-licenses," said his object was to except the beer-houses of 1869 from the operation of the Amendment, on the ground that they should not be considered in this scheme of reduction, because they stood in a different position from full on-licences. The owners of beer-houses give up their Parliamentary title to their licence in 1904 on condition that these were put on the compensation provision, and, therefore, it was not fair that they should be included in the general number of licences which were to be dealt with. He begged to move.
Amendment proposed to the Amendment proposed—
In line 2, before the word 'on-licences' to insert the word 'full.'"—(Mr. James Hope.)
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
On a point of order, I wish to know whether the acceptance or rejection of this Amendment 1605 would at all affect the specific Amendment in regard to beer-houses which comes on later, put down on the Paper by the hon. Member for Liverpool. It is a very important point, and should be dealt with separately and adequately. I, therefore, wish to know whether the insertion of this word will prejudice the later discussion.
§ MR. F. E. SMITH
said that he had on the Paper an Amendment which dealt with the 1869 beer-houses, which appeared to raise precisely the same point made by his hon. friend the Member for Sheffield.
said he did not quite grasp whether the hon. Member wanted to move an Amendment to the Amendment or to amend the Bill.
§ MR. ASQUITH
I understand that the proposal of the hon. Gentleman is to insert in the Amendment the word "full," after the words "the number of."
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
My only point is evidently a question as to whether this Bill should apply to all licences or only to full on-licences. That is a very important point, and I want to know at what stage it should be raised.
§ Amendment to the proposed Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 121; Noes, 310. (Division List No. 204.)1609
|Acland-Hood,RtHn.Sir Alex.F.||Faber, George Denison (York)||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Arkwright, Sohn Stanhope||Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Ashley, W. W.||Fardell, Sir T, George||Morrison-Bell, Captain|
|Balcarres, Lord||Fell, Arthur||Nicholson, Wm.G. (Petersfield)|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Forster, Henry William||Nield, Herbert|
|Balfour,Rt Hn.A.J.(City Lond.)||Gardner, Ernest||Nolan, Joseph|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Gibbs, G, A. (Bristol, West)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Banner, John S. Harmood||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Oddy, John James|
|Baring,Capt.Hn.G(Winchester)||Gretton, John||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens|
|Barnard, E. B.||Guinness, Walter Edward||Pease,Herbert Pike(Darlington|
|Barrie, H.T. (Londonderry, N.)||Haddock, George B.||Randles, Sir John Scurrah|
|Beach,Hn. Michael Hugh Hicks||Hamilton, Marquess of||Ratcliff, Major R. F.|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Rawlinson,John Frederick Peel|
|Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R.||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Remnant, James Farqharson|
|Bertram, Julius||Hill, Sir Clement||Renton, Leslie|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Hills, J. W.||Roberts, S. (Sheffield,Ecclesall).|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Houston, Robert Paterson||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Hunt, Rowland||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Joynson-Hicks, William||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Keswick, William||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Kimber, Sir Henry||Sheffield,Sir Berkeley George D.|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford,East)|
|Cave, George||Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)||Smith, F.E.(Liverpool,Walton)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Lea,Hugh Cecil (St.Pancras, E.||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Lockwood,Rt.Hn. Lt.-Col.A.R.||Stanier, Beville|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Long, Col.Charles W.(Evesham||Starkey, John R.|
|Chamberlain,Rt.Hn.J. A. Wore||Long, Rt.Hn.Walter (Dublin,S)||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staff'sh.|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Clark, George Smith||Lupton, Arnold||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Clive, Percy Arther||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Talbot, Rt.Hn.J.G. (Oxf'd Univ|
|Craig,Charles Curtis (Antrim,S.||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Lanark)|
|Craig,Captain James(Down,E.)||Mac Veigh,Charles (Donegal,E.)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Craik, Sir Henry||M'Arthur, Charles||Valentia, Viscount|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||M'Iver, Sir Lewis||Walker, Col. W.H.(Lancashire)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Magnus, Sir Philip||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||White, Patrick (Meath, North).|
|Duncan,Robert (Lanark,Govan||Middlemore, John Throgmorton||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Willoughby de Eresby, Lord||Wortley, Rt.Hon.C.B.Stuart-||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir Francis Lowe and Mr. Lane-Fox.|
|Wilson, A. Stanley (York,E.R.)||Young, Samuel|
|Winterton, Earl||Younger, George|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.)||Crooks, William||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Crosfield, A. H.||Hope,W.Bateman (Somerset,N|
|Agnew, George William||Crossley, William J.||Horniman, Emslie John|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Dalziel, James Henry||Hudson, Walter|
|Alden, Percy||Davies,David (Montgomery Co.||Hutton, Alfred Eddison|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Hyde, Clarendon|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Davies,M.Vaughan-(Cardigan)||Illingworth, Percy H.|
|Armitage, R.||Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Jackson,R. S.|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Davies,Sir W.Howell(Bristol,S||Jacoby, Sir James Alfred|
|Asquith,Rt.Hn. Herbert Henry||Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Johnson, John (Gateshead)|
|Astbury, John Meir||Dickinson, W.H. (St.Pancras,N||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Dickson, Poynder, Sir John P.||Jones, Leif (Appleby)|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Dobson, Thomas W.||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Duckworth, James||Joyce, Michael|
|Barker, John||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness||Kearley, Sir Hudson E.|
|Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset)||Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)||Kekewich, Sir George|
|Barnes, G. N.||Dunne,Major E.Martin(Walsall||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)||Laidlaw, Robert|
|Beale, W. P.||Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster|
|Beauchamp, E.||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Lamont, Norman|
|Bell, Richard||Erskine, David C.||Langley, Batty|
|Bellairs, Carlyon||Essex, R. W.||Leese,Sir Joseph F.(Accrington|
|Benn,Sir J.Williams(Devonp'rt||Esslemont, George Birnie||Lehmann, R. C.|
|Benn,W.(T'w'r Hamlets,S.Geo.||Evans, Sir Samuel T.||Lever, A. Levy (Essex,Harwich|
|Bennett, E. N.||Everett, R. Lacey||Levy, Sir Maurice|
|Bethell, Sir J.H.(Essex,Romf'd||Fenwick, Charles||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Ferens, T. R.||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Ferguson, R. C. Munro||Lundon, W.|
|Black, Arthur W.||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Lyell, Charles Henry|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Fuller, John Michael F.||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)|
|Brace, William||Gibb, James (Harrow)||Macdonald,J.M.(FalkirkB'ghs|
|Bramsdon, T. A.||Gill, A. H.||Mackarness, Frederic C.|
|Branch, James||Gladstone,Rt Hn.Herbert John||Maclean, Donald|
|Brigg, John||Glendinning, R. G.||M'Callum, John M.|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||Glover, Thomas||M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald|
|Brodie, H. C.||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||M'Micking, Major G.|
|Brooke, Stopford||Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Maddison, Frederick|
|Brunner, J.F.L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Mallet, Charles E.|
|Brunner,Rt HnSir.J.T(Cheshire||Gulland, John W.||Manfield, Harry (Northants)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Gurdon,Rt Hn.Sir W. Brampton||Markham, Arthur Basil|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Hall, Frederick||Marks,G.Croydon (Launceston)|
|Buxton,Rt.Hn. Sydney Charles||Harcourt,Rt.Hn.L.(Rossendale||Marnham, F. J.|
|Byles, William Pollard||Harcourt, Robert V.(Montrose)||Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)|
|Cameron, Robert||Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)||Massic, J.|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r)||Meagher, Michael|
|Causton,Rt.Hn.Richard Knight||Harmsworth, R.L. (Caithn'ss,sh||Menzies, Walter|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Micklem, Nathaniel|
|Chance, Frederick William||Harvey, W.E.(Derbyshire,N.E.||Molteno, Percy Alport|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Harwood, George||Money, L. G. Chiozza|
|Cheetham, John Frederick||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Montagu, Hon. E. S.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hn. Winston S.||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Montgomery, H. G.|
|Cleland, J. W.||Haworth, Arthur A.||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)|
|Clough, William||Hazel, Dr. A. E.||Morrell, Philip|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Hedges, A. Paget||Morse, L. L.|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Helme, Norval Watson||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Hemmerde. Edward George||Myer, Horatio|
|Cooper, G. J.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Napier, T. B.|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Henderson, J.M.(Aberdeen,W.)||Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)|
|Corbett,CH(Sussex,E.Grinst'd||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon.,S.)||Nicholls, George|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Nicholson,Charles N. (Doncast'r|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John||Higham, John Sharp||Norman, Sir Henry|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Hobart, Sir Robert||Norton, Capt, Cecil William|
|Cowan, W. H.||Hodge, John||Nussey, Thomas Willans|
|Cox, Harold||Holland, Sir William Henry||Nuttall, Harry|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Holt, Richard Durning||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)|
|Parker, James (Halifax)||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Paulton, James Mellor||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)||Ure, Alexander|
|Pearce, Robert (Staffs. Leek)||Scarisbrick, T. T. L.||Verney, F. W.|
|Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)||Vivian, Henry|
|Pearson,W.H.M. (Suffolk, Eye)||Schwann, Sir C.E.(Manchester)||Wadsworth, J.|
|Perks, Sir Robert William||Scott,A.H. (Ashton under Lyne||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)||Seaverns, J. H.||Walsh, Stephen|
|Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Seddon, J.||Walton, Joseph|
|Pollard, Dr.||Seely, Colonel||Wardle, George J.|
|Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick, B.)||Wason,Rt.Hn.E. (Clackmannan|
|Price,Sir Robert J.(Norfolk,E.)||Shipman, Dr. John G.||Wason, John Cathcart(Orkney)|
|Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)||Silcock, Thomas Ball||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Priestley, W.E.B. (Bradford,E.)||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John||Watt, Henry A.|
|Radford, G. H.||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Raphael, Herbert H.||Snowden, P.||Weir, James Galloway|
|Rea, Russell (Gloucester)||Soares, Ernest J.||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro'||Spicer, Sir Albert||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Redmond, William (Clare)||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Rees, J. D.||Stanley, Hn. A.Lyulph (Chesh.)||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Rendall, Athelstan||Steadman, W. C.||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Richards, T. F.(Wolverh'mpt'n||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)||Whittaker,RtHn.Sir Thomas P.|
|Richardson, A.||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Ridsdale, E. A.||Strachey, Sir Edward||Williamson, A.|
|Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Stuart, James (Sunderland)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)|
|Roberts,Sir John H.(Denbighs.)||Summerbell, T.||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Robertson,Sir G.Scott (Bradf'rd||Sutherland, J. E.||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)|
|Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh.N.)|
|Robinson, S.||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Robson, Sir William Snowdon||Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Roche, John (Galway, East)||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)||Winfrey, R.|
|Roe, Sir Thomas||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan,E.)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Rogers, F. E. Newman||Thomas, David Alfred(Merthyr||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Rose, Charles Day||Thomasson, Franklin|
|Rowlands, J.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Joseph Pease and Master of Elibank.|
|Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Tomkinson, James|
|Russell, T. W.||Torrance, Sir A. M.|
|Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)||Toulmin, George|
§ EARL WINTERTON moved to insert after "justices" the words, "Unless they certify to the Secretary of State that it is unnecessary to do so." His object, he said, was to give the Government one other chance of adopting the principle of local option and trusting the justices, and under those circumstances he hoped the Amendment would be accepted by the right hon. Gentleman. He would not detain the Committee in enlarging upon the matter, but would content himself with saying that he objected altogether to a scheme which reduced the licences in this harsh and arbitrary fashion. But if such a scheme was adopted at all, it was the local justices on whom the duty should fall.
In page 1, line 8, after the word 'justices' to insert the words 'unless they certify to the Secretary of State that it is unnecessary to do so.'"—(Earl Winterton.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."1610
§ MR. ASQUITH
said the noble Lord's Amendment raised very neatly the question whether reduction should be discretionary or compulsory. In the opinion of the Government, the House decided on the Second Reading that it should be compulsory. They could not accept the Amendment, and he hoped the House would decide the question now, once for all.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said the House decided on the Second Reading that it would go on to the Committee stage and discuss the details of the Bill. How it could be said to have decided the important question whether reduction should be dealt with by the justices or by some other authority passed his comprehension. He hoped the discussion would not be continued on this Amendment, but he must say the Prime Minister's answer ran totally counter to all the traditions of the House, and would practically make the Committee stage of a Bill perfectly illusory.
§ MR. F. E. SMITH
drew attention to the statistics available in order to assist the Committee in coming to a decision as to whether it was better that this should be compulsory or discretionary. The licensing statistics of last year showed that where the number of licensed houses per 10,000 of the population was larger there was a greater proportion of convictions for drunkenness. He would take the three counties Northumberland, Durham, and Glamorgan. In Northumberland in 1907 there were 146 convictions per 10,000 of population, and in Durham 101. On the other hand, in the two counties in England in which there was the largest number of licences, there was the fewest number of convictions, viz., 15 convictions of drunkenness per 10,000 of population in Norfolk, and 19 per 10,000 of population in Bucks. There were 60 licences per 10,000 of population in Norfolk and Bucks as against 20 per 10,000 in Northumberland. The four counties in which there was the largest percentage of convictions had the smallest number of licences. Was the Government in face of these facts going to close the door upon discretion, and say to the justices, who, for years, were their own creatures and pets, that to-day they preferred the view of a bureaucracy and triumvirate sitting in London? There was no object at all in the Government's proposal except that they did not trust the local justices. If they trusted them, they would infinitely prefer men of the localities deciding whether the scheme was for the benefit of their districts than men who had no local knowledge at all. When the question whether there was to be any appeal was raised they were told that there was no occasion for it, because the justices had a much better local knowledge than the Quarter Sessions. Yet they would not give them any discretion here, because they preferred the views of a number of doctrinaire bureaucrats in London to those of the men on the spot.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
On a point of order, I said just now I rather hoped this discussion would not go on, but that was under the impression that the matter might be more conveniently raised under 1612 "shall" and "may." I should like to know whether it will be possible to discuss "shall" and "may" if a vote is taken upon this Amendment or if this Amendment be put from the Chair and negatived. If "shall" and "may" cannot come in under those circumstances it is manifest that the discussion which would legitimately be raised on "shall" and "may" must be taken out.
§ MR. ASQUITH
I submit that upon the Amendment we shall already have discussed the whole question of discretion throughout.
In reply to the question of the right hon. Gentleman, I certainly do not think that if the present Amendment is negatived we can discuss the question on "shall" and "may." This Amendment seems to me to dispose of it.
§ SIR F. BANBURY
said his hon. and learned friend the Member for Liverpool was not, he thought, quite as sharp as usual. He had asked what the answer was to the Amendment. There was no answer, and that was why the Prime Minister made the extraordinary statement he made a few moments ago. He had been sixteen years in the House, and he was a fairly regular attendant, but he had never before heard a Member say that an Amendment in Committee could not be discussed because the principle had been accepted by the Second Reading. He would suggest most humbly that if this was to be the new principle which was to govern the House of Commons there would be no need for a guillotine Motion. They only decided by divisions, arguments were not to be put forward, and the House of Commons was to be reduced to an automatic machine for registering the decisions of the Government. He would like to know what was the real objection to the Amendment. It seemed to him wise and useful. It would give power to the local justices to consider whether or not the needs of the locality demanded fifty public-houses or forty-nine, and, under those circumstances, he failed to see why hon. Members opposite could not accept it. It seemed to him to contain a principle which had been advocated throughout the whole of the discussion. 1613 He hoped it would be supported, and, if his noble friend went to a division, he should certainly vote with him.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN (Worcestershire, E.)
Having regard to your ruling, Mr. Emmott, I think this Amendment becomes one of the most important we have to consider in the course of the Committee stage of the Bill, I am sorry that we have to enter upon it so late in the evening. Its importance is not a matter of dispute. Hon. Gentlemen opposite attach as much importance to refusing all discretion to local justices as we attach to giving it them. They attach as much importance to laying down arbitrarily a scale dependent upon population as we attach importance to having a scale varying with the necessities and character of the locality. The Prime Minister in the course of the earlier debate attempted to stop us from raising the contention that such an arbitrary reduction of licensed houses as he proposed would not lead to the promotion of temperance by saying that that was the basis of the Act of 1904, and that those who voted for the reduction contemplated by that Act were logically at any rate prevented from contending that there was no connection between the number of houses and the amount of drunkenness. That is a position I rise to challenge. I entirely dispute the justice of the parallel which the Prime Minister attempted to draw between the procedure under the Act of 1904 and the procedure under this Bill. The essence of the Act of 1904 was that those who were locally cognisant of the circumstances should inquire and decide whether reduction was necessary, and, if so, what houses should be closed. The essence of this Bill is that Parliament, which does not happen to be cognisant of the circumstances of any particular locality and which neither has any local knowledge nor is capable of receiving, nor has the means of collecting, any evidence which would put it into possession of local circumstances, shall arbitrarily declare for the whole country that the number of licensed houses shall bear a certain proportion in each locality to the population. Instead of this Bill being founded on the Act of 1904 it is the very contradiction of the whole principle and spirit of the Act. Consider for a moment 1614 what the position is in regard to the numbers of public-houses compared to the density of the population in the area as a test of how many licensed houses are required. Take a country village with a small population. It is quite conceivable that one house of the requisite size may serve the whole population, and according to the scale which you have laid down one house may be all that is allowed. [Cries of "No."] Where is the provision in the Bill which says no village should have less than two public-houses?
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
The hon. Member, I think, is talking of something different from what I am. He is talking of the number of houses in a licensing district—Where the number of on-licences in any such parish or area does not exceed two, and it appears inexpedient to reduce the number below two.That is an exception engrafted on their scheme. I really think it is intolerable that the Prime Minister and the Undersecretary, who refuse to discuss the Amendment in speech themselves, and who, when they do speak, are very intolerant of any interruption, even reasoned interruption, from this side, should continue to give interruption across the floor of the House.
§ MR. ASQUITH
We only ask that before the right hon. Gentleman criticises our Bill he should read it.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
The Prime Minister's interruption is scarcely courteous. We have not been accustomed, in whatever part of the House we sat, to be discourteously interrupted by the Leader of the House, who, by his position, ought to be more careful——
I must ask hon. Members not to interrupt. The question on which the right hon. Gentleman was speaking, though it was a matter of opinion, was not a matter in which he was transgressing the rules of order.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I was saying that the Prime Minister ought 1615 to be more careful than any other Member of the courtesies of debate. I have read the right hon. Gentleman's Bill and I am attempting to discuss it under such limitations as the right hon. Gentleman has thought fit to allow. I was saying that the section in the schedule to which the hon. Gentleman called my attention is a modification engrafted on the scheme of the Bill. It says—Modifications may be made in the strict application of this scale where the number of on-licences in any such parish or area does not exceed two, and where it is inexpedient to reduce the number below two.I do not think that as it stands it carries the Government case very much further. It does not seem germane to the argument which I was originally stating, which was that in a particular village, which need not in itself comprise a parish, there might be two public-houses, that one of these houses might be all that was allowed under the schedule, and if it were big enough and in all other respects suitable, it might be sufficient for the needs of the place. What guarantee have you that it is big enough, or that it is a legitimate place of business, or that the business which has hitherto been done in two houses may be compressed into one, and what justification have you for depriving people of all choice as to what house they will go to? I am tired of listening to declamation from that side of the House about the hardship which is inflicted upon those who frequent public-houses by having to go to places which are tied, and where they can only get one particular class of liquor. Have you ever considered how much by this Bill you are limiting their choice, how much you are adding to their difficulty of making a selection, and if they do not like the treatment or the liquor they get at one place, of going to another to get it? Now I invite the hon. Gentlemen who interrupted me to follow the advice of their Leader and read the Bill and the Amendment, and compare the two. But it is not merely a question of accommodation. It is a question of suitability in other respects. The public-house is subject to the springing into existence of the class of club which none of us wish to encourage, and it is and must remain the club of a great portion of our popula- 1616 tion. Consider for a moment the case of public-houses regarded as clubs. They are not merely places where a man goes for drink, but where he goes to meet congenial society and to discuss the public questions of his locality or of the nation. That is the way we use our clubs to a large extent in London. I have not the least doubt that if the Government lays down a scale of clubs necessary to the population they will find that Pall Mall, Piccadilly, and St. James's are very much overcrowded, and that all members of the Turf Club can be accommodated at the Athenæum. On the other hand, it might be that the Athenæum might be closed, and the Bishops and Cabinet Ministers would wish the use of the Turf Club instead. As long as you put it that way you will see that there are two different societies, and it does not follow that those at the Athenæum want to associate with those at the Turf Club or those at the Turf Club with those at the Athenæum. It is exactly the same with the public-houses. The right hon. Gentleman said that it did not matter whether you close the "Red Lion" or the "Black Bull," but I should like to point out that the society which frequent two public-houses may be entirely different and distinct. There may be no excessive drinking in either of the public-houses, and yet you may inflict quite an unnecessary and unmerited hardship by forcing all those people to use one public-house irrespective altogether of their desire to have decent accommodation. When you say that by applying an arbitrary rule of that sort you are promoting temperance, I say that you are doing nothing of the kind. In particular where you have an excess of public-houses you may by an arbitrary reduction secure some amelioration of the difficulties, but in the great mass of cases where there is not that gross excess where each house suits a particular trade, then I say that by an arbitrary reduction you do not promote temperance at all, but you inflict a great hardship upon individuals, and that hardship falls not merely upon the licence holders, but also upon those who have been in the habit of frequenting the houses and have in fact used them as their clubs. If you attempted to put any such regulations to the facilities 1617 which are offered to hon. Members in this House, I am sure you would not get this Bill through at all. That fact alone shows, if anything is needed to show it, that the procedure under this Bill is class legislation of the most arbitrary kind, applying restrictions and conditions to the poor man's life and legislative interference which would not be tolerated by hon. Members in circumstances of their own.
§ SIR S. EVANS
said they had just listened to a very extraordinary speech from the right hon. Gentleman, in the course of which he had discoursed upon every topic which might be properly discussed in the Second Reading debate. From the commencement to the end of the right hon. Gentleman's speech he had been wondering whether he had actually read the Amendment before the Committee. They had had a discussion upon the Amendment moved by the hon. Member for Edgbaston as to whether the justices should have a discretion or whether they should be compelled to make the reduction provided for in the schedule. It might be that the right hon. Gentleman's speech had been prepared for delivery upon another Amendment, but at any rate there was not a single word in it which showed that he had even looked at the Amendment on the Paper. The right hon. Gentleman had referred to class legislation and he very nearly went the length of saying that they were proposing to rob the poor man of his beer. He had also introduced the Turf Club and the Athenæum Club and the "Red Lion" and the "Black Bull." He would remind him that the Amendment was—Unless they notify to the Secretary of State that it is unnecessary to do so.He asked the Committee whether any argument the right hon. Gentleman had used had any reference to that point. He contended that it had not. The Amendment in itself was a very small one, and raised very neatly the point of the discretion which had already been sufficiently discussed and determined in the division on the preceding Amendment. He hardly needed to say that under the circumstances the Amendment was one which the Government could not accept.
§ LORD R. CECIL
said the hon. and learned Gentleman began his speech with a gibe fashioned upon the model furnished by the Prime Minister, and he trusted that the Prime Minister would now see how dangerous his lapse from manners had proved. [MINISTERIAL cries of "Withdraw."] It was to him a matter of profound indifference how much hon. Members opposite cried out "Withdraw." [Renewed MINISTERIAL cries of "Withdraw" and OPPOSITION cries of "Chair, Chair."]
I must ask hon. Members not to interrupt. [Cries of "Name."] I hope they will not continue to cry out "Withdraw." [An HON. MEMBER: Why not?] Because the noble Lord had not said anything that I can call upon him to withdraw. At the same time I may say that I should deprecate any continued discussion of the question of manners.
§ LORD R. CECIL
said that, of course, he would not pursue the subject, in deference to the suggestion made from the Chair. All he desired to say on that point was that he thought the Opposition had been treated with the greatest possible provocation that evening. The Solicitor-General in dealing with his right hon. friend had stated that his speech had no bearing on the Amendment at all. He could not imagine why the hon. and learned Gentleman said that. He had listened as closely as possible to his right hon. friend, and, in spite of the interruptions to which he was subjected by hon. Gentlemen opposite, he had argued that the desirable plan of giving discretion to the justices should be adopted instead of the plan of fixing a hard and fast limit in the Bill itself. He had illustrated that by the reference to the clubs in Pall Mall. It appeared to him, with all respect to the Solicitor-General, that what his right hon. friend said was absolutely germane to the Amendment. The Prime Minister himself had laid down in the single sentence which he had contributed to the debate, that the whole point of the Amendment was that it raised the question whether it was desirable to leave discretion to the justices, or to fix a limit by the Bill 1619 itself. He confessed on that question it did not appear to him to be open to doubt that it was far better to leave it to the discretion of the justices. He did not think that anyone who read the Bill and the schedule could fail to see how exceedingly clumsy and difficult it would be to work the opposite plan. The Bill proceeded on the theory of fixing a hard and fast limit, and then when the Government found that that would work profound and obvious injustice, they inserted in the schedule a number of far-reaching exceptions to make it workable. He could not imagine why hon. Members opposite, believing as they did in the local justices, should not be willing to give them full discretion to enable them to do real justice between one public-house and another, and between one public-house and the population. That appeared to him to be the true way in which legislation should proceed, and, believing that, he should certainly support the Amendment.
§ MR. JESSE COLLINGS
said that hon. Members opposite talked about reading the Bill, but it appeared to him that, so far as the representatives of county constituencies were concerned, they could not have read the Bill. Otherwise they would not consent to such an injustice to the labouring population of the rural districts as they would inflict by voting against this Amendment. If hon. Members would look at the first schedule of the Bill, and then consider the areas over which the population was spread, and the number of licences allowed, and further if they would remember, that taking the rural districts alone, there were a large number of counties in England and Wales in which there were only 200 to the square mile, in other counties only 100 to the square mile, and a few with only fifty to the square mile; and if they would work that out and see the distances which the heads of families would have to walk for a glass of beer, they would see that it would be impossible for these men to have it. [Laughter.] Yes, that would please the prohibitionists, and he had no doubt it would please some hon. Members opposite; but would it please the rural population to have public-houses closed in this wholesale manner? He was aware that 1620 there were certain modifications, but if they examined them they amounted to nothing in the way of doing away with the evils against which the Bill was directed. At present there were a number of public-houses scattered over an area where men could get not only their glass of beer, but an evening chat, and have all the advantages which others enjoyed in their clubs, within easy distance of their homes. He challenged any hon. Member opposite to dispute the statement that if this Bill passed as it stood without giving the justices discretion, they would practically put it out of the reach of rural labourers in sparsely populated places to have any enjoyment whatever. [Laughter.] Hon. Members laughed at the idea of the enjoyment of labourers in the rural districts. He contended that they had not many enjoyments, but the principal one was to go in the evening and sit down with their fellows over a glass of beer. The events of the day were talked over at these meetings by men who knew what they wore talking about. It would be difficult for those who knew the rural districts to say that these poor fellows had many enjoyments except the evening talk over these matters in the public-house. As for getting drunk, first of all they could not afford it, and in the next place he did not know that they had any particular propensity that way. The amount of excessive drinking in public-houses which they were about to abolish was very small. The men in the rural districts went to the public-house not for drink but for social enjoyment. Although hon. Members opposite were silent, they should bear in mind that what they were going to vote for in the division on this Amendment—and he was prepared to prove it—was the depriving, practically, of the rural labourer of the enjoyment which he had at present. It would be utterly impossible for a man when he had done his day's work to walk three or four miles to meet his fellows and have a glass of beer with them. To get his pipe and glass to which he had been accustomed, it was evident that the distance would be too great for him to walk. What right had they in the House of Commons, a large proportion of whom had cellars and servants and had only to 1621 ring a bell and have what they wanted at their own time, to destroy the occasions for enjoyment which people in the rural districts now had? That might not be the idea of enjoyment which the right hon. Member for Spen Valley had; but perhaps he had some little enjoyment of his own which he would not like to have taken away. There never was such a tyrannous proposition made under the name of temperance and democracy. An hon. Member had said that it was almost a crime to take a drink. Well, if that were so, do not let him take it. Perhaps he would be a better man if he did take it. At any rate this introduction of religion into the question was anti-Biblical, because all through the Scriptures they were taught how good it was to take something to drink. The good Samaritan when he found the stricken Jew by the wayside poured wine and oil into his wounds. The right hon. Member for Spen Valley and the Member for Appleby would in this case pour in ginger-beer or some stuff, of that sort. But instead of paying the 2d. for the poor man's treatment in the inn out of their own pocket, they would take it out of the publican's pocket to discharge the debt. [Interruption and cries of "Vote."] But the question did not seem to meet with favourable discussion in this House. It would, however, be discussed in the rural districts where the clause would bear most hardly. If he represented a rural district, and if he voted for the rejection of the Amendment he should find it tremendously difficult when he met a dozen or so of labourers in the neighbourhood who were in the habit of enjoying themselves in a public-house—legitimately enjoying themselves with their pipe and their glass—to explain to them why he had cast his vote to destroy the possibility, in a large number of eases, of their having such enjoyment. What did this Amendment mean? It meant that the licensing committee should have some discretion. They knew very well—or if they did not, nobody else knew; certainly no body in London—whether it was well to have a public-house in a certain district, and they knew—they were the best people to know—exactly the number suited, 1622 not only to the population but to the situation of that population. In the districts of which he spoke there might be 100 to 200 people to the square mile; and that was the case in the rural districts of above forty counties in England. But there were counties where instead of 200 there would not be fifty people to the square mile, and what a distance they would have to travel for a glass of beer. The matter was not regulated by the number of adult men; but by the number of the population all told, so that the men who wanted a public-house would be a fifth of the whole number or less, and this sparseness intensified the hardship. Therefore, it would be seen how utterly impossible it would be under this Bill for them to have this enjoyment. He called it enjoyment, and hon. Members opposite had no right to take it away. If hon. Members opposite who represented rural districts—he knew that their motives were all right, and that they did not wish to inflict on others that which they would not stand if inflicted upon themselves—were to go to their constituents and explain to them—not perhaps in a public-house, but in a meeting called for the purpose—what this Bill did without the Amendment, they would see what answer they would get. There was a class of public-house which as a licensed house did not pay but the holder of which had some other occupation. By means of that additional occupation he was able to have a licence, and perhaps in the evenings he would have in half-a-dozen of the poor people who lived in the neighbourhood who could enjoy their glass of beer or cider, and use the house as a club, in fact. Were not these people, who had their troubles and anxieties, and perhaps a large family of ten or twelve children, to have some enjoyment, somewhere to go and smoke their pipes? This was in many cases the only pleasure and recreation they had, and those who were going to vote against this Amendment were going to deprive them of that enjoyment which now existed. He appealed to the Prime Minister to accept the Amendment. If the right hon. Gentleman would not he would recommend him to adopt a Resolution which 1623 would save a great deal of time, namely, that the Bill should now pass. He could carry that with the closure, would be done.
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."1624
on a point of order asked whether in view of the Government having applied the closure it would be in order for them to discuss the words "may" or "shall."
I will answer the point of order, but it really should not have been put until after the division is finished. It will not be in order now to discuss "may" and "shall." I have already given my decision on that point.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 298; Noes, 122. (Division List No. 205.)1627
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Collins, Sir Wm. J.(S. Pancras, W||Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward|
|Agnew, George William||Cooper, G. J.||Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Corbett, C H (Sussex, E. Grinst'd||Gulland, John W.|
|Alden, Percy||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Gurdon, RtHn. Sir W. Brampton|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Cory, Sir Clifford John||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Hall, Frederick|
|Armitage, R.||Cowan, W. H.||Harcourt, Rt. Hn. L. (Rossendale|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Harcourt, Robert V.(Montrose)|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry||Crooks, William||Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)|
|Astbury, John Meir||Crosfield, A. H.||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r)|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Crossley, William J.||Harmsworth, R.L.(Caithn'ss-sh|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Dalziel, James Henry||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)|
|Barker, John||Davies, David (MontgomeryCo.||Harvey, W.E.(Derbyshire, N.E.|
|Barnes, G. N.||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)|
|Beale, W. P.||Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Haworth, Arthur A.|
|Beauchamp, E.||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S||Hazel, Dr. A. E.|
|Bell, Richard||Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Hazleton, Richard|
|Bellairs, Carlyon||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Helme, Norval Watson|
|Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonp'rt||Dobson, Thomas W.||Hemmerde, Edward George|
|Benn, W. (T'w'r Hamlets. S. Geo.||Duckworth, James||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)|
|Bennett, E. N.||Duffy, William J.||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)|
|Black, Arthur W.||Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)||Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Higham, John Sharp|
|Brace, William||Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall||Hobart, Sir Robert|
|Bramsdon, T. A.||Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)||Hobhouse, Charles E. H.|
|Branch, James||Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Hodge, John|
|Brigg, John||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Holland, Sir William Henry|
|Bright, J. A.||Erskine, David C.||Holt, Richard Burning|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||Essex, R. W.||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)|
|Brodie, H. C.||Esslemont, George Birnie||Hope, W. Bateman (Somerset, N|
|Brunner, J.F.L. (Lanes., Leigh)||Evans, Sir Samuel T.||Horniman, Emslie John|
|Brunner, RtHn Sir J.T. (Cheshire||Everett, R. Lacey||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Fenwick, Charles||Hudson, Walter|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Ferens, T. R.||Hyde, Clarendon|
|Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Charles||Ferguson, R. C. Munro||Illingworth, Percy H.|
|Byles, William Pollard||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||Jackson, R. S.|
|Cameron, Robert||Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Jacoby, Sir James Alfred|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Fuller, John Michael F||Johnson, John (Gateshead)|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Fullerton, Hugh||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)|
|Chance, Frederick William||Gibb, James (Harrow)||Jones, Leif (Appleby)|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Gill, A. H.||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire|
|Cheetham, John Frederick||Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John||Joyce, Michael|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Glendinning, R. G.||Kearley, Sir Hudson E.|
|Cleland, J. W.||Glover, Thomas||Kekewich, Sir George|
|Clough, William||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Laidlaw, Robert|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster|
|Lamont, Norman||Pearson, W. H. M. (Suffolk, Eye)||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Langley, Batty||Perks, Sir Robert William||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Leese, Sir Joseph F.(Accrington||Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Lehmann, R. C.||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich||Pollard, Dr.||Stuart, James (Sunderland)|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Summerbell, T.|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central)||Sutherland, J. E.|
|Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Price, Sir Robert J.(Norfolk, E.)||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)|
|Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Priestley, W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury|
|Lyell, Charles Henry||Radford, G. H.||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Raphael, Herbert H.||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr|
|Macdonald, J. M.(Falkirk B'ghs||Rea, Russell (Gloucester)||Thomasson, Franklin|
|Mackarness, Frederic C.||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro')||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton|
|Maclean, Donald||Redmond, William (Clare)||Tomkinson, James|
|M'Callum, John M.||Rendall, Athelstan||Toulmin, George|
|M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Richards, T. F.(Wolverh'mpt'n||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)||Richardson, A.||Ure, Alexander|
|M'Micking, Major G.||Ridsdale, E. A.||Verney, F. W.|
|Maddison, Frederick||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Vivian, Henry|
|Mallet, Charles E.||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Wadsworth, J.|
|Manfield, Harry (Northants)||Roberts, Sir John H.(Denbighs)||Walsh, Stephen|
|Markham, Arthur Basil||Robertson, Sir G Scott(Bradf'rd||Walton, Joseph|
|Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampt'n|
|Marnham, F. J.||Robinson, S.||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)||Robson, Sir William Snowdon||Wason, Rt. Hn. E (Clackmannan|
|Massie, J.||Roche, John (Galway, East)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Menzies, Walter||Roe, Sir Thomas||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Micklem, Nathaniel||Rogers, F. E. Newman||Watt, Henry A.|
|Molteno, Percy Alport||Rose, Charles Day||Weir, James Galloway|
|Mond, A.||Rowlands, J.||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Money, L. G. Chiozza||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Russell, T. W.||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Montgomery, H. G.||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Morrell, Philip||Scarisbrick, T. T. L.||Whittaker, Rt. Hn Sir Thomas P|
|Morse, L. L.||Sehwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Morton, Alphcus Cleophas||Schwann, Sir C.E.(Manchester)||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Myer, Horatio||Scott, A.H.(Ashton under Lyne||Williamson, A.|
|Napier, T. B.||Seddon, J.||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)||Seely, Colonel||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Nicholls, George||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Nicholson, Charles N. (Donecast'r||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick, B.)||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.)|
|Norman, Sir Henry||Shipman, Dr. John G.||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Norton, Capt, Cecil William||Sileock, Thomas Ball||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Simon, John Allsebrook||Winfrey, R.|
|Nussey, Thomas Willams||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Nuttall, Harry||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Parker, James (Halifax)||Soares, Ernest J.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Joseph Pease and Master of Elibank.|
|Partington, Oswald||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)|
|Paulton, James Mellor||Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.)|
|Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Steadman, W. C.|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Brotherton, Edward Allen||Craig, Captain James(Down, E.)|
|Ashley, W. W.||Burdett-Coutts, W.||Craik, Sir Henry|
|Balcarres, Lord||Butcher, Samuel Henry||Cross, Alexander|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Carlile, E. Hildred||Dalrymple, Viscount|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J.(City Lond)||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Castlereagh, Viscount||Du Cros, Arthur Philip|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Cave, George||Duncan, Robert(Lanark, Govan|
|Baring, Capt. Hn. G (Winchester||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Faber, George Denison (York)|
|Barnard, E. B.||Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Fell, Arthur|
|Beach, Hn. Michael Hugh Hicks||Chamberlain, Rt Hn J. A. (Worc.||Forster, Henry William|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase,||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Gardner, Ernest|
|Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R.||Clark, George Smith||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)|
|Bertram, Julius||Clive, Percy Archer||Goulding, Edward Alfred;|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Gretton, John|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Collings, Rt. Hn. J.(Birmingh'm||Guinness, Walter Edward|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim,S)||Haddock, George B.|
|Hamilton, Marquess of||Middlemore, John Throgmorton||Smith, F.E.(Liverpool,Walton|
|Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashf'rd||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Harris, Frederick Leverton||Morpeth, Viscount||Stanier, Beville|
|Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Morrison-Bell, Captain||Starkey, John R.|
|Hay, Hon. Claude George||Nicholson, Wm. G.(Petersfield)||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staff'sh.)|
|Helmsley, Viscount||Nield, Herbert||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Hill, Sir Clement||Nolan, Joseph||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Hills, J. W.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Talbot,Rt.Hn.J.G.(Oxf'd Univ.|
|Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield||Oddy, John James||Thomson,W.Mitchell-(Lanark)|
|Houston, Robert Paterson||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Hunt, Rowland||Pease, Herbert Pike(Darlington||Walker, Col. W.H.(Lancashire)|
|Joynson-Hicks, William||Randles, Sir John Scurrah||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Kerry, Earl of||Ratcliff, Major R. F.||Whitbread, Howard|
|Keswick, William||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Lambton, Hon. Frederick Win.||Remnant, James Farquharson||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Lane-Fox, G. R.||Renton, Leslie||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Lea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras, E)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield,Ecclesall||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Lookwood, Rt.Hn.Lt.-Col.A.R.||Ronaldshay, Earl of||Winterton, Earl|
|Long, Col. Charles W.(Evesham||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Long, Rt.Hn. Walter (Dublin, S)||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)||Young, Samuel|
|Lupton, Arnold||Salter, Arthur Clavell||Younger, George|
|MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|MacVeigh,Charles (Donegal, E.)||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Viscount Valentia.|
|M'Arthur, Charles||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D.|
|Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
§ Question put accordingly, "That those words be there inserted."1628
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 124; Noes, 290. (Division List No. 206.)1631
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Duncan, Robt.(Lanark, Govan)||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Ashley, W. W.||Faber, George Denison (York)||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Balcarres, Lord||Faber, Capt. W.V.(Hants, W.)||Morrison-Bell, Captain|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Fell, Arthur||Nicholson, Wm. G.(Petersfield)|
|Balfour, Rt Hn.A.J.(City Lond.)||Forster, Henry William||Nield, Herbert|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Gardner, Ernest||Nolan, Joseph|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard|
|Baring, Capt. Hn.G(Winchester||Goulding, Edward Alfred||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Barnard, E. B.||Gretton, John||Oddy, John James|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Guinness, Walter Edward||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens|
|Beach,Hn.Michael Hugh Hicks||Haddock, George B.||Pease, Herbert Pike(Darlington|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Hamilton, Marquess of||Randles, Sir John Scurrah|
|Belloc,Hilaire Joseph Peter R.||Hardy, Laurence(Kent, Ashf'rd||Ratcliff, Major R. F.|
|Bertram, Julius||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Renton, Leslie|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Helmsley, Viscount||Roberts, S.(Sheffield,Ecclesall)|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Hill, Sir Clement||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Hills, J. W.||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Hope, James Fitzalan(Sheffield)||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Houston, Robert Paterson||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Hunt, Rowland||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Joynson-Hicks, William||Scott, Sir S.(Marylebone, W.)|
|Cave, George||Kerry, Earl of||Sheffield, Sir Berekley George D.|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Keswiek, William||Smith, Abel H.(Hertford,East)|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Smith, F.E.(Liverpool,Walton)|
|Cecil, Lord R.(Marylebone, E.)||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Smith, Hon. W. F.D.(Strand)|
|Chamberlain,RtHn.J.A.(Wore.||Lea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras, E.)||Stanier, Beville|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Lockwood, Rt.Hn.Lt.-Col.A.R.||Starkey, John R.|
|Clark, George Smith||Long, Col.Charles W.(Evesham)||Stavely-Hill, Henry (Staff'sh.|
|Clive, Percy Archer||Long, Rt.Hn. Walter(Dublin, S.||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H.A.E.||Lupton, Arnold||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Collings, Rt.Hn.J.(Birmingh'm)||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Talbot, RtHn.J.G.(Oxf'd Univ.|
|Craig, Charles Curtis(Antrim, S.||MacCaw,William J. MacGeagh||Thomson, W.Mitchell-(Lanark)|
|Craig, Captain James(Down, E.)|
|Craik, Sir Henry||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Cross, Alexander||M'Arthur, Charles||Walker, Col.W.H.(Lancashire)|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Whitbread, Howard|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip.||Middlemore, Jn. Throgmorton||White, Patrick (Meath,North|
|Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)||Wortley, Rt.Hon. C.B. Stuart-||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Viscount Valentia.|
|Willoughby de Eresby, Lord||Young, Samuel|
|Winterton, Earl||Younger, George|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Cowan, W. H.||Harvey, W.E.(Derbyshire,N.E.|
|Agnew, George William||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Crooks, William||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)|
|Alden, Percy||Crosfield, A. H.||Haworth, Arthur A.|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Crossley, William J.||Hazel, Dr. A. E.|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Dalziel, James Henry||Hazelton, Richard|
|Armitage, R.||Davies, David(Montgomery Co.||Helme, Norval Watson|
|Asquith, Rt.Hn.Herbert Henry||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Hemmerde, Edward George|
|Astbury, John Meir||Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Henderson, J.M.(Aberdeen,W.)|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Davies, Sir W.Howell(Bristol,S||Herbert,Col.Sir Ivor (Mon.,S.)|
|Barker, John||Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)|
|Barnes, G. N.||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Higham, John Sharp|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Dobson, Thomas W.||Hobart, Sir Robert|
|Beale, W. P.||Duckworth, James||Hobhouse, Charles E. H.|
|Beauchamp, E.||Daffy, William J.||Hodge, John|
|Bell, Richard||Duncan, C.(Barrow-in-Furness||Holland, Sir William Henry|
|Bellairs, Carlyon||Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)||Holt, Richard Durning|
|Benn,Sir J.Williams(Devonp'rt||Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)|
|Bann,W.(T'w'r Hamlets,S.Geo.||Dunne, Major E.Martin(Walsall||Hope, W.Bateman(Somerset,N|
|Bennett, E. N.||Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)||Horniman, Emslie John|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey|
|Black, Arthur W.||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Hudson, Walter|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Erskine, David C.||Hyde, Clarendon|
|Brace, William||Essex, R. W.||Illingworth, Percy H.|
|Bramsdon, T. A.||Esslemont, George Birnie||Jackson, R. S.|
|Branch, James||Evans, Sir Samuel T.||Jacoby, Sir James Alfred|
|Brigg, John||Everett, R. Lacey||Johnson, John (Gateshead)|
|Bright, J. A.||Fenwick, Charles||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||Ferens, T. R.||Jones, Leif (Appleby)|
|Brodie, H. C.||Ferguson, R. C. Munro||Jones William (Carnarvonshire|
|Brunner, J.F.L.(Lancs.,Leigh)||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||Joyce, Michael|
|Brunner,RtHnSir J.T(Cheshire||Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Kearley, Sir Hudson E.|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Fuller, John Michael F.||Kekewich, Sir George|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Fullerton, Hugh||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)|
|Buxton, Rt.Hn.Sydney Charles||Gibb, James (Harrow)||Laidlaw, Robert|
|Byles, William Pollard||Gill, A. H.||Lamb, Edmund G.(Leominster|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Gladstone, RtHn. Herbert John||Lamont, Norman|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Glendinning, R. G.||Langley, Batty|
|Chance, Frederick William||Glover, Thomas||Leese,Sir Joseph F.(Accrington|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Lehmann, R. C.|
|Cheetham, John Frederick||Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Lever, A.Levy (Essex,Harwich|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Levy, Sir Maurice|
|Cleland, J. W.||Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Clough, William||Gulland, John W.||Lloyd-George,Rt. Hon. David|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Guldon,RtHn. Sir W Brampton||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes|
|Collins,Sir Wm. J. (S.Pancras, W||Hall, Frederick||Lyell, Charles Henry|
|Cooper, G. J.||Harcourt, Rt.Hn. L. (Rossendale||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)|
|Corbett, A. Cameron(Glasgow)||Harcourt,Robert V.(Montrose)||Macdonald, J.M.(Falkirk Bg'hs|
|Corbatt,C.H(Sussex,E.Grinst'd||Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)||Mackarness, Frederic C.|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Wore.)||M'Callum, John M.|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John||Harmsworth,R. L. (Caithn'ss- sh||M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)|
|M'Micking, Major G.||Rendall, Athelstan||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)|
|Maddison, Frederick||Richards,T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Mallet, Charles E.||Richardson, A.||Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury|
|Manfield, Harry (Northant s)||Ridsdale, E. A.||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Markham, Arthur Basil||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Thomas,David Alfred (Merthyr|
|Marks, G.Croydon(Launceston)||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Thomasson, Franklin|
|Marnham, F. J.||Roberts,Sir John H.(Denbighs.)||Thorne, G R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Massie, J.||Robertson,Sir G.Scott(Bradf'rd||Tomkinson, James|
|Menzies, Walter||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)||Toulmin, George|
|Micklem, Nathaniel||Robinson, S.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Molteno, Percy Alport||Robson, Sir William Snowdon||Ure, Alexander|
|Mond, A.||Roche, John (Galway, East)||Verney, F. W.|
|Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Roe, Sir Thomas||Vivian, Henry|
|Montgomery, H. G.||Rogers, F. E. Newman||Wadsworth, J.|
|Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Rose, Charles Day||Walsh, Stephen|
|Morrell, Philip||Rowlands, J.||Walton. Joseph|
|Morse, L. L.||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Ward,W.Dudley (Southampton|
|Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Russell, T. W.||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Myer, Horatio||Samuel,Herbert L.(Cleveland)||Wason, Rt.Hn.E. (Clackmannan|
|Napier, T. B.||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)||Wason, John Cathcart(Orkney)|
|Newnes, F.(Notts, Bassetlaw)||Scarisbrick, T. T. L.||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Nicholls, George||Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)||Weir, James Galloway|
|Nicholson,Charles N. (Doncast'r||Schwann,Sir C.E. (Manchester)||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Norman, Sir Henry||Scott, A.H.(Ashton-under-Lyne||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Seddon, J.||White, Luke (York, E.R.)|
|Nussey, Thomas Willans||Seely, Colonel||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Nuttall, Harry||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Parker, James (Halifax)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T.(Hawick B.)||Whittaker,Rt.Hn.Sir Thomas P.|
|Partington, Oswald||Shipman, Dr. John G.||Wiles, Thomas|
|Paulton, James Mellor||Silcock, Thomas Ball||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Simon, John Allsebrook||Williamson, A.|
|Pearson, W.H.M.(Suffolk, Eye)||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Philipps, Owen C.(Pembroke)||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.|
|Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Soares, Ernest J.||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Pollard, Dr.||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)||Wilson, J.W.(Worcestersh. N.)|
|Ponsonby, Arthur A.W.H.||Stanley,Hn.A. Lyulph(Chesh.)||Wilson, P. W.(St. Pancras, S.)|
|Price,Sir Robert J.(Norfolk,E.)||Steadman, W. C.||Wilson. W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)||Winfrey, R.|
|Priestley, W.E. B.(Bradford,E.)||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)||Wood, T. McKinnon|
|Radford, G. H.||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Raphael, Herbert H.||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Joseph Pease and Master of Elibank.|
|Rea, Russell (Gloucester)||Stuart, James (Sunderland)|
|Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro'||Summerbell, T.|
|Redmond, William (Clare)||Sutherland, J. E.|
§ Committee report progress; to sit again to-morrow.