§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ MR. SLOAN (Belfast, S.)
said that in submitting this Bill to the House it would be necessary for him to offer some justification for so doing, but he did not think the views he advanced would meet with any very serious opposition. They unfortunately in Ireland did not come into line with England, Scotland, and Wales when anything in the way of temperance or licensing reform was introduced in that House. There was before the House at the present time a drastic Licensing Bill for England, which was causing a good deal of commotion and criticism, and the people of the North of Ireland—and he spoke with a knowledge of their feelings—very much regretted that they were not included in it. They had made attempts from time to time by individual effort to get legislation passed which would meet the wishes of the people there, and it was well known to every Member of the House how difficult it was to get the Second Reading of a Bill and still more to get it placed on the Statute-book if it were in the hands of a private Member, unless the Government willingly and sympathetically afforded 1711 facilities it was almost impossible to do more than get the principle approved. In 1906 he had the good fortune to introduce a Bill which dealt with early closing of public-houses on Saturday, and entire closing on Sunday. Its Second Reading was carried by a large majority, and it was then sent upstairs to a Committee. During the course of its passage through Committee, negotiations were opened up between certain individuals in favour of the measure, and others who favoured the licensed trade, and although he was responsible for the Bill it was passing strange that he was never once communicated with in reference to the proposed compromise. As a matter of fact that, compromise, as effected, met with his entire disapproval. He tried both in the House and in Committee to point out that the Irish people had waited long enough for that Bill, and that it was indeed a small thing to ask that licensed houses should close two hours earlier on Saturday nights and entirely on Sundays, in the cities of Ireland. But the Committee upstairs, influenced, and very naturally so, by the Vice-President of the Irish Board of Agriculture, who had had such long experience in this question, was persuaded to agree to the compromise, which he looked upon as a mistake. The principal allegation made against the Bill when it was under discussion was that its passage would involve the creation of bogus clubs.
§ SIR F. BANBURY (City of London)
called attention to the fact that forty Members were not present. House counted; and, forty Members being found present—
§ MR. SLOAN,
continuing, said that during the debate on the Second Reading the Member for the College Green Division of Dublin declared that the Bill would lead to the establishment of bogus clubs. The Bill came into force on the 1st January, 1907, and he now had to confess that the contention had proved well founded, and that the effect had been the creation of a number of bogus clubs. Hence the measure he was submitting for their approval that day, and he was bound to say, if he had his choice, he would rather see the working-man in the open public-house than indulging in illicit drinking in a bogus club. The Bill aimed 1712 at doing away with that evil, which admittedly was created by the Bill of 1906. He thought the trade, as it was called, would not object to being safeguarded against illicit drinking in clubs. He would be the last in the world to stand up and ask for legislation which would curtail the rights or liberties of the working classes, but he was thoroughly convinced that nothing in the Bill would unduly interfere with the rights of the working classes, nor with their bona fide clubs. In Clause 1 of the Bill it was provided that no excisable liquors should be sold for consumption off the premises of a club, and that no visitor to or honorary member of a club should be supplied with excisable liquor on the club premises after licensed houses were closed. He thought the main objection to the Bill would be that it provided for the entry of the police in order to find out whether the club was being carried on according to the law. He did not wish to be the means of creating a new department at Dublin Castle Someone had suggested that instead of a policeman in plain clothes being entrusted with the duty of entering a club after licensed premises were closed for the purpose of finding out whether illicit drinking was going on, there should be a special inspector appointed for the purpose, but it seemed to him that that would mean the creation of an additional department at Dublin Castle. He did not know how they were going to get over the difficulty of inspection, because at the present time if the police got a warrant to visit a club on suspicion they could force an entrance. If any hon. Gentleman could make a better proposal than that contained in the Bill, by which police inspection could be carried out, otherwise than by an ordinary policeman going into a working-men's club, so far as he was personally concerned he would have no objection. The only thing they wanted to do was to make the Bill effective. The application for registration was to be made on the 1st of January. At the present time if a bogus club was raided and brought before the Court its registration might be withdrawn, but all that they had to do in such an event was to change the name of the club and registration could be obtained again. It was intended by the Bill to make impossible in future such an occurrence. They proposed that registration should 1713 take place every year on the 1st of January, with notification to those who were interested in the proper working and conduct of these clubs, so that they might make investigation as to whether the application was a bona-fide one or not. The fourth clause was very important; it provided that no club should be qualified for registration where the premises were leased by a brewer or a distiller. There would, therefore, be no possibility of subsidising a club by cither a brewer or distiller. He did not see how any reasonably sane man could object to the simplicity of the Bill, the object of which was really to curtail what, they admitted, the measure of 1906 had created. Perhaps the Vice-President of the Agricultural Department could tell them about the round table conference which was to have been held last year. There was to be a compromise, and they were to draw up another Bill agreed to by both sides.
§ THE VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE FOR IRELAND (Mr. T. W. RUSSELL,) Tyrone, S.
was understood to say that the reason why the round table conference was not held was that the temperance party were so enraged about the compromise that they declined to take any action,
§ MR. SLOAN
said that the temperance party were enraged while the compromise was going on. If the temperance party were enraged because of the compromise, and if that was the reason why the round table conference did not take place, would the hon. Gentleman say how it was that the compromise had taken place, because one argument was as good as the other? The fact of the matter was, they understood that there was a compromise, but that it fell through, not because of the temperance party, but because of the representatives of the trade and of those who joined to assist in bringing the Bill through. Though he ran the risk of being misunderstood, he himself was prepared, rather than reject the whole Bill, to accept what he could get as a reasonable first step towards his object. Much good had already been effected, and it was now a comfort, after ten o'clock on the Saturday night, to walk through the city of Belfast, compared with what it 1714 was formerly; and the records of drunkenness on the Monday were now much less. On Sundays, when the people were going to places of worship, the public-houses were closed. Men were turned out of the houses about five o'clock in the afternoon, and the result was that there was now a greater amount of convenience and comfort to the citizens of Belfast in going through the streets. He appealed to the House to look upon the Bill as a non-contentious measure. He did not think that even the ardent temperance reformer could object to it. He understood that the junior Member for the City of London intended to oppose the Bill. If he did he hoped that he would give them some tangible reason in support of his objections, because the reasons which the hon. Baronet gave were sometimes difficult to understand. But in this instance the measure was not complicated, and the hon. Baronet could go through it line for line and letter by letter, and so endeavour to give them some really tangible reason for his support of the rejoction of the Bill. He desired respectfully to urge on Irish Members of both parties that the Bill was as much in the interest of bona-fide clubs as in the interest of temperance reform, and there was no reason for rejecting it on the Second Reading, because when they got into Committee reasonable amendments would be considered and no doubt accepted if they did not interfere with the purpose of the Bill. With these remarks he begged to move the Second Reading of the Bill.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Sloan.)
§ MR. PATRICK WHITE (Meath, N.),
who was imperfectly heard, in moving the rejection of the Bill, said that in his view a more absurd measure wasnever submitted to the House, and instead of being drafted in the interests of temperance reform, it really seemed to be in the interest of the licensed trade. It did not promote temperance in any way. The effect of the Bill would be that a man in his own club would not be able to entertain a friend who resided within seven miles of that place, during prohibited hours on licensed premises. What would be the result in such circumstances? The suggestion would be made that men 1715 should become members of clubs, and in that way clubs would be multiplied, and as the multiplication of clubs would be bad in itself, so this Bill which brought about such a result must necessarily be bad. The Clubs Bill of 1904 provided that no constable could enter a club without having previously obtained a search warrant from the magistrate, who should be satisfied that there was reasonable ground for entering the premises. This Bill provided that any police constable could enter a club during prohibited hours for licensed houses in order to see whether the provisions of the Bill were being carried out. He submitted that that was a violation of the rights of clubs which ought not to be tolerated. He was a member of a club numbering 600 or 700 members in Dublin, and what would be thought by Irishmen if a sergeant of police could enter their club at any time from five o'clock in the evening to closing time? It would not be tolerated for a moment; the police, with their privileges and rights, might use their powers for purposes of espionage. It would be a violation of the rights of the subject, against which they were bound strongly to protest. Then as to the extra number and control of the police. The police in Ireland were an Imperial force, and under this Bill they would have an opportunity of prying into private affairs. They were bound to protest against their entering any club except upon reasonable ground, and on a warrant obtained from the magistrate. Let the advocates of temperance promote their cause by means of moral suasion, and not show want of confidence in it by resorting to oppressive and coercive means. Coercive means never succeeded in elevating the individual character. If they adopted the means of moral suasion it would be found that they had a far greater effect than methods of coercion. The club was a man's home where he was supposed to be able to entertain his friends without being interfered with by the police. He moved the rejection of the Bill, and he hoped that the House would join in supporting his Amendment.
§ MR. CREAN (Cork, S.E.) rose to speak.1716
§ MR. CREAN
said he did. He had opposed every measure of temperance reform since he entered the House, and had given as his reason for doing so the very reason which had been adduced by the mover of the Bill. The hon. Gentleman in charge of the Agricultural Department would remember that he had given strong evidence on behalf of the Corporation of Cork and the trading bodies of Cork in opposition to the Bills, and his main plea was that they simply closed the doors of the public-houses, which were under the supervision of the police force, who could enter into them at all hours of the day or night if they had a suspicion, with warrant or otherwise, while they left open premises which were known to be kept open all night long so long as unfortunate men had money in their pocket. It was a crying and a growing shame, and the evil had become more intense since the last restrictive measure was placed on the licensed victuallers of Ireland. He did not complain of the closing of the houses earlier on Saturday night or Sunday, but he complained of closing them to divert trade into a lot of bogus clubs, created for no other reason than that the public-houses were closed and the public had not what they considered to be legitimate opportunities for taking refreshment. They were the reasons why he had always opposed temperance programmes that came before the House. To-day he was more strongly in favour of this Bill than over he was opposed to the old Bills that were introduced, and for the selfsame reason that he opposed the old Bills he was a supporter of this. To his own knowledge bogus clubs had been created. He knew men who could not afford to spend money either in public-houses or in clubs who had been brought into clubdom as visitors. The decency of the men themselves would not allow them to accept treats from others without returning the compliment. That was the unfortunate vice of their people, and it should be stamped out if possible. He sincerely hoped the House would accept the Bill. It was no special pleading on his part. His opinion was the stronger on account of the new legislation that had passed through the House all in one direction. He remembered a Catholic bishop, a man of great influence in his own division, speaking to him and for a full hour appealing to him to vote for 1717 certain legislation that was introduced by the hon. Gentleman who represented the Agricultural Department, and he told the bishop he could support no such Bill until such restrictions were placed on clubs as would prevent them from being a rendezvous for men who wanted to get drink after the public-houses were closed. Let them be worked on the same principles and under the same conditions that public-houses were worked. He went further than the Bill. He would make them pay a heavy licence if they were going to get the same facilities for sale. He knew clubs to which people went after being discharged from public-houses at closing time and at which they stayed till all hours of the morning if they had enough money. He dreaded the effect of that so long as clubs were left uncontrolled by some authority, he eared not what. He was not speaking of the working man's club any more than of the wealthy man's club. There were scandals in the highest clubs in the land that should be blotted out. He had seen clubs where, when the lights were put out at night, candles were lit and the men went on drinking. If clubs wanted the privileges of vending drink they should be subjected to restrictions to prevent them from doing wrong to the community, and he was there to speak as strongly as he had ever spoken on any subject in support of the Bill.
To leave out the word 'now' and at end of the Question to add the words 'upon this day six months.' "—(Mr. White.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ MR. J. P. NANNETTI (Dublin, College Green)
did not rise to give any opposition to the Bill, because from what the hon. Member had said in his speech and from some conversation he had had with him his desire was not to interfere, he took it, with the bona-fide clubs of the country. His desire was rather to meet that difficulty. When the Early Closing Bill was going through the House he was courageous enough to make the prediction that the result of an interference with legitimate trade would be the means of establishing all over the country those bogus institutions which those interested in the welfare of the working classes 1718 would be delighted to see abolished. In the city he represented there were bona-fide clubs, and with reference to them he was quite satisfied with the reasonable Amendments which his hon. friend would accept to safeguard those clubs; therefore he would not interfere with the passing of the Bill. He, however, entered a strong protest against one provision of the Bill—that which gave the right to any policeman to enter on any club premises. It was most objectionable and would be resented by every working man. If they allowed the principle that a policeman could go into a bona-fide club it was no stretch of imagination to say that in the near future they would have them coming into private homes to see what amount of liquor people put into their cellars. Such legislation would be repugnant to the feelings of Irishmen generally. There was a safeguard at present. If any person had a feeling that a club was not carried on in a proper manner, all he had to do was to make an affidavit and get a warrant from a police inspector to inspect a club. He was a member of two clubs in Dublin, though he very seldom used them; he found the best club at the fireside at home, and he was more happy there. At the same time, he knew that a large number of working men took advantage of the club system in the city from which he came, not for the mere purpose of drinking, but for reasonable enjoyment. It would be a terrible thing if they put a restriction on that and allowed policemen to enter at any hour, and perhaps take hold of a man who might be sitting in his club, and make him walk the line. It was objectionable, and he did not think the hon. Member for Belfast would attempt to ask that any such thing should be done. He wanted to get rid of the bogus club system. He was happy to say that his prognostications as to bogus clubs had not extended to Dublin. The authorities had been able by proper means to do away with every one of the bogus clubs—bogus in the sense that they were started by individuals for personal gain. He did not believe there were any such clubs in Dublin at present. He was given to understand that in Belfast there were plenty of them. The hon. Member had said that one of the chief benefits of early closing was that one could walk the streets of Belfast after ten o'clock on 1719 Saturday night. But the hon. Member gave away the whole show. The reason was that the people had gone into these bogus clubs which he was anxious to put down. They had closed respectable licensed houses, and opened the door to the bogus club which came under no regulations. There was another point in the Bill which he hoped the hon. Member would see his way to modify, viz., in regard to not being allowed to take intoxicating liquors off the premises. He did not wish it to be thought for a moment that he would like working men to spend their evenings in a club and put half a pint of whisky into their pocket and take it home. But these bona-fide wellmanaged clubs got up Sunday morning excursions, and the members took from the club liquor and sandwiches, and anything else. He did not see why the working-man should be denied the right of going on an excursion, and if he did not wish to buy his spirits overnight, to make the purchase at his club the next morning. If he had to buy it overnight there would probably be none left in the morning, and therefore it would be a great evil to compel him to purchase it overnight. He was thoroughly in sympathy with the point raised in Clause 1, dealing with the brewers and distillers, and preventing them having anything to do with the matter. He had no sympathy with the brewers or distillers who owned tied houses. He was a member of a well-known club in Dublin, and he was sure nobody could say a word against the way in which it was carried on. It would be little short of a scandal if the police were allowed to walk into that club just when they pleased when members might be having a cup of tea or reading the newspapers. He hoped they would be met in their effort to prevent anything like that happening. Personally he was as much opposed to bogus clubs as the introducer of this Bill, and he was willing to support any proposal to kill such clubs which would not interfere with bona-fide working-men's clubs. Then there was another clause which would deprive a member of a club from taking his friend to the club during the hours when licensed premises were closed. Surely that would be a great hardship to an Irishman. Under Clause 1 of the Bill a member of a club was prohibited from asking a friend who resided within 1720 seven miles of the club to have a drink in the club during the hours that the sale of drink was prohibited on licensed promises. Surely it was going too far to say that a member of a club must not bring in a friend during those hours?
§ MR. J. P. NANNETTI
thought it would be very cold comfort to the friend to be brought in and then told he might have a glass of water. It was a fact that in Dublin there was hardly an hotel where a traveller could get his dinner after five o'clock in the afternoon, and that was the result of temperance legislation, because it was found that it did not pay to provide dinners at that hour unless intoxicating liquors were sold. If people were prevented from taking their friends into the clubs during closing hours they would have to take them to their homes, and if he took all the friends he had in Dublin to his own home he was afraid that he would have a lively time of it. Whilst he welcomed heartily the effort made by the Bill to do away with bogus clubs he urged that the points he had raised should be looked into, because they had in the past caused a great deal of confusion and inconvenience in Dublin. He did not, however, intend to vote against the Bill.
§ SIR F. BANBURY (City of London)
said he was astonished at the action of the hon. Member for South-East Cork, who, while he seconded the rejection of the Bill, declared that he intended to vote for it.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
I asked the hon. Member if he rose to second the Amendment, and I understood him to say "Yes."
§ SIR F. BANBURY
said he regarded the Bill as a persecuting Bill, and for 1721 that reason he was opposed to it. He did not think they would be able to promote temperance by persecution. The hon. Member was proposing that no excisable liquor should be supplied for consumption off the premises. That might be very inconvenient, because the club might have purchased, for example, a large stock of wines or champagnes which it was desirable for commercial reasons to dispose of, and under this proposal they would not be able to do so. Even the Licensing Bill introduced by the Government did not go so far as the hon. Member now proposed. Section (b) of Clause 1 provided that no visitor living within seven miles of the town should be supplied with liquor during the closing hours of licensed premises in the district. That appeared to him to presume that all these clubs were bogus clubs. [Cries of "No."] It meant that if he belonged to a club in Ireland he could not take a friend there and give him a brandy and soda during the closing hours of licensed premises in that district. It would be very hard if a member of one of those clubs took a friend there and gave him a drink, and he was hailed before a magistrate because the drink had been served five minutes after the prescribed time. There was a provision imposing a seven-mile limit. It was claimed that that was being done in order to make the club a parallel to the public-house, but he did not think that ought to be done. He did not think that distance had anything to do with the matter. A club ought to be a place where men could meet together for friendly conversation, and general harmless amusements. It should be a place where members could bring their friends just as they would do to their own houses. He thought the promoters of the Bill were wrong in attempting to enforce a condition of the kind referred to. Clause 2 provided that—Any district inspector, or head constable, or sergeant of police, may, for the purpose of detecting or preventing the violation of any of the provisions of this Act or of the principle Act, enter the premises of any registered club at any time during the hours when the sale of excisable liquors is prohibited on licensed premises in the district as aforesaid.
That went very much further than the provisions of the Government Bill. He thought this continual inspection of everybody was a very great mistake. Working-men like other members of the community resented being continually
dogged to see that they were behaving themselves. If he were in his club with a friend who had just sat down with him he would very much resent being addressed by a policeman—"I see you are here with a friend, he is not a member of the club, and I must ask you whether he has had anything to drink during the last twenty minutes." He thought hon. Members would be inclined to join in objecting to provisions of that sort. He believed that already there was a very great reaction against certain proposals made by hon. Gentlemen on the Ministerial side of the House, chiefly because of the provisions in relation to clubs. Clause 4 was unnecessary. It was in the following terms:—
No club shall be qualified for registration where the premises have been purchased or leased for the purpose of such club by any brewer, firm of brewers, brewery company, distiller, or wine and spirit merchant, or where the club is under covenant to purchase excisable liquors in consideration of money advanced on account of the said club.
There was a provision in the Act of 1904 which seemed to cover everything that was aimed at by this clause. There might be something to be said for the proposal from the point of view that a brewer who was unable to obtain a licence might set up a bogus club and tie it to himself in order to sell his own beer. Clause 6 seemed to him to involve a departure from the old principle of English law that every man was deemed to be innocent until he was proved to be guilty. That principle also applied in Ireland. It was proposed to enact by that clause—
Where any registered club sells, or distributes, or supplies, or permits any of its members, servants, or officials, to sell, distribute, or supply, any intoxicating liquors in contravention of Section 1 of this Act, the responsible officers and committee, and every person paying for such intoxicating liquors shall be liable severally on conviction to a penalty not exceeding for the first offence, seven pounds, for the second offence, fifteen pounds, and for every subsequent offence, thirty pounds, unless he proves to the satisfaction of the Court that such liquor was so sold or supplied without his knowledge or against his consent, and, where it is proved that such liquor has been received, delivered, or distributed, within the premises of the club and taken outside the premises, it shall, failing proof to the contrary be deemed to have been so taken for consumption outside the premises.
He was to be deemed guilty unless he proved his innocence. He really
did not see why they should suddenly under this Bill reverse what had been an accepted principle of English law for many centuries. It seemed to him that the members, servants, and officials of clubs would have a very great burden cast upon them if they were to be liable to conviction before a magistrate unless they could give the proof which the clause required. He had been asked to give some tangible reasons for opposing the Bill, and he would do so. He thought it wrong to subject clubs to police inspection without a warrant. The police under the Act of 1904 could get a warrant if they were under the impression that anything illegal was going on. Subsection (a) of Clause 1 was absurd, because it meant that once liquor was taken into a club it must be consumed on the premises, and subsection (b) was an infringement of the liberty of the subject because it would prevent the member of a genuine club from giving harmless refreshment to a friend "during the hours when the sale of excisable liquors is prohibited on licensed premises in the district where the club is situated." He had no objection to Clause 3 which required that all applications for club certificates should be made at a certain given time. That was the only harmless clause in the Bill. He claimed that he had shown that the Bill was unnecessary and unjust, and that it ought not to pass.
§ MR. HART-DAVIES (Hackney, N.)
said he had a certain amount of sympathy with the objection to allowing the police to enter club premises in the way proposed. He was well aware that the objection was mainly sentimental, but sometimes sentimental objections were as strong as, if not stronger than, other objections. He gathered from what was said by the mover of the Second Reading of the Bill that he was open to conviction on that matter. As to the rest of the Bill, he had no observations to make. The clauses dealt with matters which the Irish themselves ought to be allowed to settle.
§ *MR. T. W. RUSSELL
said he rose to state the view of the Government in regard to the Bill. They would vote for the Second Reading, but left it entirely to the judgment of the House, reserving to themselves the right to deal 1724 in Committee with the particular proposals contained in the measure. As to the question of the sale and consumption of liquor off the premises, he had to say at once that during the whole of the time he had been in the House he had always found the opponents of temperance legislation advising temperance people to attack clubs on the ground that they were the real sources of mischief. They said that temperance people were beating the air in attacking the licensed house while they left untouched the unlicensed club. His hon. friend the Member for South Belfast had taken their advice, and he had introduced a Bill which, though it doubtless had faults, dealt with clubs. He agreed with one of the objections of the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London, but it was a matter of detail which could be easily rectified. So far as he understood, his hon. friend did not attack the rights of genuine clubs. The hon. Member's desire was to reach the bogus clubs. The hon. Member who moved the rejection of the Bill and his supporters had made it quite apparent that they were opposed to all temperance reform. Whether the attack was made on clubs or public-houses it was all the same to them.
§ *MR. T W. RUSSELL
said that he had heard the bon. Member make a speech an hour and a half long against a temperance Bill.
§ *MR. T. W. RUSSELL
said he accepted, as he was bound to do, the hon. Member's statement and his recollection must have been deceptive. His point, however, was that some hon. Members opposed every attack made in the interest of temperance reform on the licensed trade, unlicensed clubs, or the drink traffic in any shape or form.
§ *MR. T. W. RUSSELL
said he knew nothing about other countries, but as regarded Ireland, he knew it was true that just as temperance legislation had progressed, it had been frustrated to a certain extent by the appearance of these clubs; and it was also true to say that with the present law on the Statute-book, it was exceedingly difficult for the magistrates to control clubs. In his own experience he had known more than once when sitting as a licensing magistrate that as soon as a public-house had been closed it was immediately opened as a club. It was not much use doing things like that. He did not understand that there was any desire on the part of any man to hamper legitimate clubs. Certainly it was not his intention or the intention of the hon. Member for South Belfast, but he thought that the members of genuine clubs ought to be prepared to make some little sacrifice of their rights which they did not themselves abuse, in order to remedy what everybody admitted to be one of the greatest evils. As to the matter of police entry, he quite understood the feeling of hon. Members below the gangway opposite. And what was more, to a certain extent he sympathised with them. All he could say in the matter of police entry was that if the Bill secured a Second Reading, as he hoped it would, that clause could not stand as it was. Some method would have to be taken to obviate the apparent difficulties and to satisfy the scruples of members of legitimate clubs who objected to the police, whether in or out of uniform, going into their clubs and doing what they liked. The clause would have to be completely overhauled. Then there was the matter of the sale of liquor to be consumed off the premises. He was a member of two clubs, and he had never been able to understand why a club which paid no licence, and which contributed nothing to the rates, should be enabled to sell intoxicating liquor for consumption off the promises, any more than anybody else. He always paid attention to everything said by the hon. Baronet the senior Member for the City of London, and he thought 1726 that the hon. Baronet had made a splendid case with regard to the stock of champagne which the member" of a club would not drink—and probably they were right. That champagne the hon. Member said the club could not sell if this Bill passed. He thought a very slight alteration of the clause in the Bill would enable the hon. Member's club to get rid of its bad champagne. But that was not what the promoters of the Bill aimed at. He had never been able to understand the justice of a number of men starting a club and forthwith commencing to sell intoxicating liquor without a licence and with no regulations as to hours or anything else. He maintained that that was a gross injustice to the revenue and also to the legitimate trader who paid for his licence and was subject to all sorts of regulations. The hon. Member for the College Green Division had said that it would be terribly hard for members of a club if they could not get their liquor in the morning when they were leaving for a trip in the country. The hon. Member thought it would be a hardship if they had to purchase their liquor overnight and that they ought to be allowed to purchase it in the morning. Perhaps if it were purchased overnight the liquor would not last so long, although he was not a judge of that. But, as he had already said, members of a club who desired the welfare of the people should be prepared to make a small sacrifice for the general good. He dared say they would get their liquor in the morning even if not at their clubs.
§ MR. J. P. NANNETTI
said that he did not believe in the sale of liquor, etc., ad lib off the premises; but if members of a club were going for an excursion to the country it would be a hard thing to be unable to bring with them from the club premises the liquor they wished to consume during their excursion. He agreed it would be an intolerable nuisance if a club were able to sell liquor off the premises to anybody. His argument was that the club members should be entitled to take from the club premises their liquor in the morning they desired to do so.
§ *MR. T. W. RUSSELL
said that at all events, speaking for himself—he only spoke for the Government in favour of 1727 the general principle of the Bill—he believed it was not right, and that they ought to oppose—and this applied to every kind of club, bogus or legitimate—the sale of liquor in clubs for consumption off the premises. If clubs wanted to do so they ought to pay for a licence and be subject to regulations. His hon. friend the Member for College Green knew it to be true that within his own city it frequently happened that when the public houses were closed at a certain hour, a very large number of men who would be much better in their homes adjourned to their club and sat there to all hours under no control whatever.
§ *MR. T. W. RUSSELL
said he differed from his hon. friend. He contended that immeasurable injury was done to poor people who adjourned from the public-houses to clubs, probably with their wages in their pockets, and sat there drinking to all hours and spending their money, while their wives and families were waiting for them at homo. He held that the law ought to be strong enough to deal with that matter. He was far from saying that oven after they had done their best they could deal with it effectively, but at all events this Bill was an attempt to bring these clubs into some tolerable relation to law, order, and decency. He would suggest to the hon. Baronet that as this was a matter purely affecting Ireland, the Irish people and their own morals and interests, he should allow the Irish Members to fight out their own domestic differences amongst themselves. That was the view the Government took of the matter. They thought that this great evil ought to be dealt with, and so far as the Government were concerned they would support the Second Reading, though not putting any pressure on their followers to do the same. They might do what they liked. But if the Bill went to the Committee upstairs, as it probably would, 1728 then they would submit any Amendments to clauses that might be required in order to make the measure effective for the purpose intended, and he believed that it would be supported by ninety out of the 103 Members from Ireland.
§ *MR. BARRIE (Londonderry, N.)
said he rose to support the Bill, although in principle he objected to several of its provisions. The Bill, it was said by its promoters, had been found necessary as the result of the legislation passed in the year 1906, but they had had no statistics which bore out the allegation that as the result of that Bill bogus clubs had become very numerous in Ireland. He hoped before the Bill came to the Committee stage they would be furnished with statistics bearing out that suggestion, and that it would be shown there was some misapprehension on the subject. He had listened with great regret to the hon. Member for South Tyrone when he appealed to the English Members to have regard in considering this measure to the moral sense of the Irish Members, and urged them to leave it to the Government to put down in Committee the Amendments which they deemed necessary. He could only say with sincerity, as one who was anxious that everything that was necessary in this direction should be done, that whatever nominations the Government made on that Committee, he hoped they would not nominate the hon. Member for South Tyrone. For very many years the hon. Member was the advocate of the most extreme form of temperance reform in Ireland. The Bill of 1906 passed the House by an overwhelming majority, and they thought it was a modest measure of reform, but thanks to the intriguing—he could not call it anything else—of the hon. Member for South Tyrone with the representatives of the licensed trade in Ireland and his ignoring the Members who were in charge of the Bill, they had to accept a measure which was hardly worth placing on the Statute-book. He thought there was a general consensus of opinion that as regarded the five cities in Ireland which had not enjoyed the benefits of Sunday closing the time was ripe for giving them Sunday closing, but thanks to the hon. Member for South Tyrone that day was again deferred. He regretted the arrangement made at that 1729 time with the licensing trade by the hon. Member.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
I fail to see how the reminiscences of the discussions on a previous Bill are relevant to this one and bear upon the subject before the House.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND (Clare' E.)
On the point of order. I ask you respectfully, Sir, on the point of order, whether any hon. Members sitting here will be secured the opportunity of combating the statements which have just been made by the hon. Member, which are quite inaccurate with regard to the hon. Member for South Tyrone.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
If the statements are out of order the answer to them will be out of order. I think it would be undesirable to pursue the subject.
§ *MR. BARRIE,
said that as far as he was personally concerned, although he did not accept the Bill altogether, yet inasmuch as it was aimed at bogus clubs and there was no attempt to limit legitimate clubs, he gave it his hearty support. They had heard a great deal that afternoon about inspection of all kinds of clubs. He found it necessary to be a member of more than one club, and he had not yet been connected with any club where the police were likely to feel it necessary to exercise this power of entry. He did not believe the power would be abused by the authorities; it would only be used where there was some suggestion that irregularities were going on. Therefore he thought the fears expressed as to that portion of the Bill need not be seriously considered. As to the other provisions, he was opposed to liquor Being sold by clubs for consumption oft' the premises; that was outside the province of any properly constituted club. As to these provisions he was satisfied, but there were some other provisions which had been dealt with which he thought would require to be modified, if not altogether withdrawn from the Bill. He thought, however, that there was a general consensus of opinion that the Bill with all its drawbacks might fairly go to a Committee.
§ MR. WATT (Glasgow, College)
said that when he came down to the House he had no views at all upon the Bill, 1730 but having listened very attentively to the arguments which had been put before them he had no hesitation in supporting the measure. The tendency of temperance legislation of recent years had certainly been to give rise to bogus clubs. As public-houses were reduced in number by that temperance legislation, unfortunately in many cases clubs arose in the immediate neighbourhood of the public-houses which had been shut, and as this Bill was a bona fide attempt to suppress bogus clubs he could give it his hearty support. He took the view that temperance legislation should be aimed especially at clubs. He, too, like many hon. Members who had spoken, had the privilege of being a member of many clubs, and it was always a subject of wonderment to him why clubs were permitted at all hours of the morning to sell drink freely not only to members but to the friends of members, while the neighbouring public-houses which had to pay heavy licence duties were closed hours before. He could not see why that distinction was permitted by the Legislature, and he thought that temperance reformers should take the line of prohibiting the sale of liquors in clubs at all hours in the morning. For his part he did not see why a respectable club should object to this inspection on the part of the police. He, as a member of, he hoped, respectable clubs, would have no objection whatever to the passage of any representative of the law through the room, but, of course, he thought it advisable when his visits were made that he should be in plain clothes, as the Licensing Bill suggested. He was glad that the Government had given their followers the opportunity of supporting this Bill, and he would have the pleasure of voting for it.
§ MR. J. P. FARRELL (Longford, N.)
said he did not like to give a silent vote with regard to this Bill. He had never been in favour of drastic temperance legislation, as he did not believe they could make people sober by Act of Parliament. Temperance was a thing which could be spread by outside opinion just as much as, if not more than, by legislation. But he heartily supported this Bill for the suppression of over-drinking in clubs, and he would make no exemptions whatever in regard to any club whether it was a bogus or so-called respectable club 1731 They should all, he held, be subject to and obey the same law, and he did not think it was at all fair or just that the publican who had to pay a heavy licence duty, support his wife and family, pay rates, and discharge all the duties of a citizen, should have side by side with his house a club, bogus or otherwise, in which people could get drunk at any hour if they wished. He thought any legislation which would check such a state of things as that was a step in the right direction, and for that reason he supported the Second Reading of the Bill.
§ MR. J. DEVLIN (Belfast, W.)
said that he also was not in favour of drastic legislation dealing with the temperance question, because he thought that it was very much like the speeches of temperance orators and did not conduce to temperance, but went in the opposite direction. He was in favour of this Bill because he thought it was the only logical Bill that the temperance party had introduced. He was somewhat surprised to hear the speech of the learned Member for South Belfast to the effect that Saturday and Sunday closing was a success, because he had seen people reeling through the streets. He had not seen the city of Belfast turned into the peaceful paradise which had been represented. He listened with some interest to the speech of the hon. Member for Derry, because he understood that he was one of the hon. Members who flung their hats into the air because of the result of the Peckham election.
§ MR. BARRIE
said he was sorry to say that he had an engagement outside the House that afternoon and was not there.
§ MR. J. DEVLIN
said in any case he understood that wherever he had the engagement the hon. Member flung his hat into the air, and rejoiced at his Party swimming into the representation of Peckham upon beer.
§ MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. CALD WELL, Lanarkshire, Mid.): The hon. Member must speak to the Bill.
§ MR. J. DEVLIN
said he knew that the Peckham election had nothing to do with temperance, and therefore he would not say any more about it. He did not 1732 hesitate to support this Bill as the hon. Member for South Tyrone was prepared to consider and pass such legitimate Amendments as those who were in favour of the Bill as a whole, but yet were opposed to some of its provisions, might approve. He quite agreed that bogus clubs had sprung up in Belfast. Those bogus clubs were the direct effect of drastic temperance legislation. The hon. Member for South Tyrone had stated that when people left the public-houses at five o'clock on a Sunday afternoon they wont to these clubs, and that was probably true. He himself believed that the true solution of the temperance question was to be found in the legitimate public-house under proper control and supervision, and proper drink sold in proper hours, with the addition of decent house accommodation for the people. It was not by closing the public-houses that the appetite for drink was destroyed. On the contrary, it was very often increased thereby. When turned out of the public-house people often turned into these clubs to get more drink. He disagreed with one or two of the observations of his hon. friend the Member for the College Green Division. The hon. Member failed to see why members of clubs should not be allowed to buy drink at the clubs to carry with them on excursions. He himself agreed with the Member for South Tyrone that it would be a scandalous thing to allow clubs to become competitors of the legitimate public-houses. Nor did he think there was much point in the argument, because people on an excursion could obtain what they required from the public-houses under the travellers' clause of the Act, and he did not believe there was a thirst so intense that it could not wait for five miles to be satisfied. With regard to the Amendment which the hon. Member for South Tyrone said he was prepared to accept on behalf of the Government, he could only say he should oppose the Bill most strenuously if policemen were to be allowed to go into clubs either in or out of uniform. Personal liberty in Ireland was very slight at the present time, and as the clubs were the homes of the people who used them he objected to officious policemen being allowed to enter them and to behave as the policemen of Ireland did in these matters. Therefore, if the Government desired that the Bill should pass, they should devise some other means 1733 of inspection to ensure that the purposes of the Bill might be carried out. Some alteration should also be made in the Bill with regard to the introduction of a friend. The provision of the Bill governing that matter was an absurd one. A member ought to be allowed to introduce a friend and treat him as a temporary member of the club. To say that the friend should only have one drink while the man who took him in could have as many as he wanted was ridiculous. H would not, however, press the point. The hon. Member was the only logical temperate man he had listened to in the House; he had always been a strong opponent of the drink traffic and his object in bringing in the Bill was to ensure that people when they left the public houses should not go into clubs and secure that which the law would not allow them to have in the legitimate public-houses. He was a strong opponent of grandmotherly legislation on temperance. He himself would not give a licence to a single publican whore the public-house was owned by a brewer or distiller. He believed that if the public-houses were owned by the men who occupied them and were not tied to brewers or distillers, half the temperance question would be solved. He objected altogether to the brewer or distiller when a public-house was closed starting a bogus club. He believed that brewers and distillers were at the bottom of the bogus clubs, and he was glad his hon. friend had sufficient grasp of the subject to see that they should not have any control over these clubs and that they should not establish them in opposition to the legitimate public-house. For all these reasons, though he supported the Bill, he hoped in Committee the genuine friends of temperance would alter it in some particulars.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
expressed his pleasure at finding, in respect to this Bill, at any rate, practical unanimity among all who had spoken. The hon. Member who had just spoken and others, who did not always share the views of those interested in temperance legislation, were in favour of the Bill, and it would be found he believed that every man representing an Irish constituency also was in favour of it. That being the case it seemed almost unnecessary to prolong the debate, and he would not have done so by rising 1734 but for the fact that the unanimity that prevailed had had an assault made upon it by the hon. Member for North Derry. He quite agreed that the hon. Member was an ardent supporter of temperance but nothing could have been better calculated to injure that cause than the attack the hon. Member had delivered on the hon. Member for South Tyrone.
§ MR T. L. CORBETT
pointed out that Mr. Speaker ruled that the hon. Member for North Derry was out of order, and his; hon. friend was prevented from continuing his argument. Mr. Speaker said he would not allow any reply upon it.
§ MR. J. DEVLIN
said that when the point of order was raised the hon. Member for North Derry was ruled out of order, and when his hon. friend rose to reply he was ruled out of order.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
said it was perfectly true as his hon. friend had stated, and he was sorry the hon. Member for North Down thought so meanly of him as to suppose that he should take advantage of Mr. Speaker being out of the Chair to do something which he could not do if Mr. Speaker were present. What he was about to say when interrupted by the hon. Member was that the hon. Member for South Tyrone had taken no isolated action at any time. So far as he (Mr. Redmond) knew the hon. Member had acted in consultation with some of those who sat on the Nationalist Benches, and they were prepared to take their share of the responsibility. He would say, however, that it was not in the interest of temperance that attacks of that kind should be made.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
expressed his inability to account for the restlessness of the hon. Member for North Down, unless it was duo to the fact that the hon. Gentleman had recontly been speaking at street corners where there was no toleration and no order, good, bad, or indifferent. It was not in the interests of temperance 1735 that such attacks should he delivered, in view of the fact that it was more than thirty-five years since the hon. Member for South Tyrone devoted himself to the interests of temperance legislation. He differed from him in a great many things, but there was no gainsaying the fact that he had devoted his life to this thing, and that long before the hon. Member for Derry was heard of in temperance legislation, the interests of temperance legislation in Ireland were served by the hon. Member for South Tyrone. When former legislation was being carried through the House in reference to temperance matters in Ireland, it was constantly alleged, he thought somewhat unfairly, that many of those who were interested in passing Sunday Closing Acts and measures of that kind were animated by some strange desire to injure the interests of their fellow-countrymen who were engaged in the licensing trade, but he thought that that was never true. So far as he knew, no Member had over been animated in such a way, and there had been no desire whatever unfairly to interfere with the legitimate business of those engaged in the licensing trade. But, be that as it might, he thought the introduction of this Bill showed clearly that the object was not in any way to harass those in the licensing trade, but to promote temperance, and having in view the legislation which had become law, it would he simply an unfair thing to the licensed trade in Ireland if such a Bill had not been produced. He was sorry to admit that where licensed houses had been interfered with and licences extinguished, they had found bogus clubs springing up; that was one of the worst difficulties to be met with, and he did not minimise it for a moment, but that being so, surely this Bill was necessary, in order that the same rules should be applied to clubs as were applied to licensed promises. He thought it would be monstrously unfair to the licensed trade to interfere with their business and at the same time to allow it to be transferred to clubs, which were not under the same public control; therefore he believed this Bill was the necessary consequence of previous legislation in the same direction. He quite agreed with the hon. Member for Belfast, that the Bill would need some amendment in Committee. He thought that in Irelaud especially the question of the entry 1736 of the police was an extremely difficult one. He was not going to deliver any attack on the police at that moment, but he was afraid that if the Bill passed in its present form, the poor working-men's clubs in the out-of the-way districts of the city, where men congregated for legitimate amusement, would be far too regularly and far too officiously inspected by the police, and a great deal of irritation would be caused; but there were other clubs in Dublin which he was perfectly certain in which no policeman would dare to show his nose. They could not make it too clear that it was to be in reference to clubs generally; there were to be no exceptions made in favour of the rich man's club. He felt, with regard to legislation about clubs, a good deal of hesitation, because he was assured that, certainly, in Ireland, the law under a measure of this kind would be strained against the poor people, and it would be in many cases practically a dead letter when it came to deal with the wealthy clubs of the leisured classes. Therefore, he quite agreed that the question would have to be very carefully considered in Committee. As to whether the policeman must be in uniform or not, that was a question which he remembered was debated in reference to the Act limiting the speed of motor cars, and there was a question as to whether the policeman who stopped the car should be in uniform or not. He remembered making a remark on that occasion which he thought he might appropriately repeat; and it was that alter all it made very little difference whether a policeman was in uniform or not. A policeman was a policeman all the world over. He had had the advantage of being arrested more than once. He had been arrested by a policeman in full uniform and by a plain clothes detective, and in the end the result was exactly the same, and it made no difference to him at all. But there was no doubt that in Ireland, on the question of a policeman marching into working-men's clubs when they were sitting at their tables, perhaps playing a game of cards, if the policeman was not extremely tactful the result would in all probability lead to a worse row than ever took place in any public-house. He congratulated the hon. Member for Belfast and the whole city of Belfast on being united on this Bill, and he specially 1737 recognised the appropriateness and fitness of the Government being represented in the matter by the hon. Member for South Tyrone, who had done good service to the cause, which was gladly recognised in Ireland in spite of what the hon. Member for Derry had said.
§ MR. T. L. CORBETT
said the hon. Member for East Clare had said that he (Mr. Corbett) had been engaged in speaking at street corners in Peckham. He was only too proud to have spoken at street corners in Peckham, not altogether with bad results. He did not propose to intervene between the House and a division for more than a moment. He was only too glad to give a general support to the Bill, although a few Amendments might be ventured. In Belfast there would, he thought, be no feeling about the entry of police such as that which appeared to be dreaded by the hon. Member for East Clare, and he hoped the Government would not give way on that important point when the Bill went into Committee. He heartily supported the main principles of the Bill, reserving to himself the right to discuss details in Committee.
§ LORD R. CECIL (Marylebone E.)
said he would not have taken part in the debate except for an observation of the hon. Member for South Tyrone, who, with all the dignity of the Treasury Bench, rebuked him even for cheering his speech and told him that since he was an English Member he had no right to take any part in the debate.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
I did not say that. I said it was simply a domestic concern in which nobody else than Irish representatives were involved.
§ LORD R. CECIL
said the hon. Member had intimated that he thought it was undesirable that an English Member should take part in the debate, and he did not in the least agree with that. He thought it was the duty of all Members to consider the Bills that were submitted to them and, if necessary, to give their opinions thereon; therefore, he desired to say a few words on this Bill. He understood that it was introduced in order to put a stop to what were described as 1738 bogus clubs, but he did not find anything to confine the Bill, except, perhaps, in Clause 4, which dealt with clubs established by brewers, specifically to bogus clubs more than to any other clubs; it applied to all clubs, however genuine. Moreover, he thought there were some very good observations made by the hon. Members for Clare and for Belfast, which showed the danger of all this kind of legislation. They said that these bogus clubs had come into existence by reason of the drastic temperance legislation already passed. He thought that was the kind of observation which was exceedingly true and important for the House to remember. They did not destroy the disease of excossive drinking by such legislation. At the most they changed the symptoms, and he was by no means sure that if they passed legislation dealing with clubs in general it was the bogus club which would suffer most severely. Bogus clubs which intended to carry on business of a disreputable character in the sale of liquor would be able to protect themselves far more easily than the bona-fide clubs. They would take elaborate precautions and have an elaborate system of spies and so on, such as they knew did exist, to protect those institutions, and they would be the last clubs that would be hit by legislation of this kind. It was not the bogus clubs that would most resent the policemen. Where men were assembled merely to drink they would not be disturbed by policemen coming in, but the genuine clubs, which existed for proper social purposes, were the very cults which would be most hit by the entrance of a policeman. He did not know how it might be in Ireland, but he was asked to go the other day to a working-men's club in his own constituency on this question. It was not a political club in any sense, and he was asked to hear their view on the question. He found profound indignation at the idea of a policeman being allowed to go into that club. They said that the talk about the same law for the rich and the poor was the merest nonsense, which might take in Members of Parliament, but nobody else, and that for a policeman to go into a working-men's club was totally different from a policeman going into a club in Pall Mall.
§ LORD R. CECIL
said he was sorry the hon. Member knew so little. The club he was speaking of consisted substantially of one fair sized room where the members sat and played billiards and talked, and, he had no doubt, drank their beer. If a policeman went in he went right into that room. There was no other part of the club at all to which he could pay a formal visit, and, as they said, he could go to any member if he thought right, take him by the shoulder, and say, "I think you have had quite enough to drink." They said that it was the end of all privacy and of all social enjoyment, and as to whether the policeman was in plain clothes or in uniform, they scoffed at the distinction. He was surprised and greatly delighted to find that there was still alive in Englishmen such a strong sentiment of personal liberty as he found among the members of that club.
§ LORD R. CECIL
said he did not think he would go and seize one of the members by the arm and ask whether he had not had enough to drink. Everybody knew that an inspection of such a club as that would be the merest formality. He would go into the hall, and perhaps look into the morning room, taking care to go in when there was nobody there, and then go out again. The thing was totally different, and he observed that, the hon. Member for Stoke agreed with him in that, if in nothing else. There was another consideration which he ventured to urge on the House. One of the great difficulties in dealing with the liquor trade was that there had been created a monopoly for the sale of liquor by well-intentioned legislation attempting to put a stop to intemperance The effect had been to create the monopoly and to raise a difficult question, and it appeared that there was a great danger that the House was going to create the same difficulty in regard to clubs as now existed in regard to licensed houses. They were going to provide strict regulations as to registration and to make it increasingly difficult to obtain registration, and they were going to create a specially privileged class of clubs entitled to registration which would gradually acquire a 1740 monopoly value very similar to the monopoly value created in public houses, and in future years they would have the same difficulty to deal with when they came to deal with registered clubs which they now had in dealing with licensed houses. That was a large subject, and he could not enter upon it more than to indicate the difficulty. But he felt that the Bill was a bad one, and really, if the House dealt with it honestly, they would reject it on the Second Reading; but in view of the great unanimity of those who had the most local acquaintance with the subject he did not propose to put the House to the trouble of a division on it. He could not accept the offer of the hon. Member for South Tyrone to amend the Bill as any satisfaction to himself. He did not feel sure that his Amendment would make the Bill more acceptable to him, and he observed that many of those who supported the Bill did so in the hope and belief that all its main provisions would be struck out. He thought that if that was so, the better course would be to reject it now, and not to leave it to casual Amendments.
§ MR. W. E. HARVEY (Derbyshire, N.E.)
said he rose to support the Bill, which he thought quite necessary at the present time. He quite agreed with the Member for South Tyrone when he said that they could not touch this question by legislation imposing restrictions without exciting opposition somewhere. The Bill was worthy of the support of all Members of the House who wanted to got rid of a monopoly which was growing in this country to an alarming extent. Clause 4 was the very life of the measure, and in his opinion, knowing the working-men of the country as well as any Member of the House, it would be generally accepted. Many reasons had been assigned for intemperance, and strong statements had been made about bogus clubs, but he ventured to say that the brewers were more responsible for it than any other class of the community. What happened? Many a club owed its origin to a brewery company. There was an inner working in this matter which was not generally recognised, and he ventured to say that if they put a restriction on what he called property in drink they would do a great deal to remedy a great 1741 evil. Brewers established clubs in this country, and they paid enormous prices for the premises. The club established, they thon forced their drink upon the members, who had no choice as to their drink at all. He wished that the clause could be made to apply to licensed houses as well as to clubs; it would be the salvation of the working-men of the country. He wanted to see the time when they would have no tied clubs or tied houses, and the occupiers of licensed places would be free to buy the best commodities in the open market for the customers who resorted to their houses. He hoped that in the near future something of that kind would be introduced into the House of Commons and accepted, for it would be for the well-being of the community. With regard to the question of the fairness of the Bill to licence holders, he was of opinion that a great injustice had too long been done to the publicans, who were under great restrictions, and were prevented from doing a great many things. Their houses were watched, and it became almost intolerable for thorn sometimes to continue in their trade. He had yet to learn that one law ought to apply to one trader and not to another; if it was wrong to get drunk in a public-house it was equally wrong to get drunk in a club, and some provision in regard to that aspect of the case ought to be made. Why should a man go into a club which paid no licence and was under no inspection, and get demoralised and intoxicated there, in evasion of the law? A man in such circumstances would be shielded and hidden in the club, and there was no remedy. But in a licensed house, under police inspection, there were effective restrictions. For himself, he could not understand why men should be afraid of policeman going in anywhere. Where they objected to it, the inference was that there was something shady going on which they wanted hidden. He knew well that there were some very disgraceful clubs, and on a Sunday when the public-houses were still closed, he had seen men turn out drunk at half-past ten in the morning. Such a state of matters on a Sunday morning was a disgrace to the nation, and the time had come when they should treat the question in the most serious manner. He, therefore, should give his support to the Second 1742 Reading of this Bill, and he was hopeful that ore long the same principle would be applied throughout the whole of England and the rest of the United Kingdom. They wished to put drinking places under proper supervision and proper command.
§ MR. J. MACVEAGH (Down, S.)
said the noble Lord the Member for Marylebone had approached the consideration of the question with frequent references to personal liberty, and he had asked the House to believe that the interests of personal liberty were involved in the Bill. He did not know by what process of argument the noble Lord had convinced himself of that, unless it were in pursuance of the old theory that a man's club was his home, and therefore a man was immune from interference of the law if a member and within its walls. But he thought that the position about a club being a man's home was fallacious. To his mind a club in a sense was public, and he could not understand how any man of intelligence could urge for a moment that a man, by paying a subscription as a member of a club, could imagine that he was therefore entitled to place himself outside the law. He supported the Bill from a standpoint perhaps different from that of his hon. friend the Member for South Belfast who introduced it, and of his colleague in the representation of Lister, who supported it. He did not profess to understand the working of the mind of the Ulster Unionists on the question of temperance reform. They shuddered at the name of drink, and they shrank from the contamination of association with the common publican, but these same Gentlemen in the case of a brewer or distiller prostrated themselves before him. They wanted to apply to Ireland the same law as prevailed in the state of marine, under which, when a man sold drink, they sent him to gaol. But what did they do themselves? Provided a man in Ulster sold enough of it, they sent him to the House of Commons.
§ MR. J. MACVEAGH
said it was in England that they sent them to the House of Lords; the Ulster Unionists only sent them to the House of Commons. 1743 He was in favour of the Bill for two reasons. He believed these clubs were a far greater source of intemperance than the legitimate public-houses. He had been driven to that conclusion by his observation of clubs in this country, and he supported the Bill because he was sincerely anxious that the day should never come when the club curse should obtain such a hold upon Ireland as it bad obtained upon this country. Secondly, he supported the Bill because he thought the competition of the clubs was unfair to the legitimate licensed trader. He had to pay a high licence duty; he was told the hours at which he was to open and to close; but no such regulations were imposed upon the clubs; they could sell intoxicating drinks at any hour. If the Bill was to be effective it would have to be modified in one way and certainly strengthened in another. He had never been able to understand why it was that neither temperance reformers nor publicans had had the courage to demand that the regulations should be carried to a logical issue and club bars compelled to close at the same hour as public houses. The noble Lord the Member for Marylebone might call it an interference with personal liberty, but there was an interference with personal liberty in many things. The law interfered with the burglar, with a man who wanted to take poison and commit suicide, and with the man who wanted to go into a public house and drink after a certain hour; and, inasmuch as the law regulated the sale of drink, if it was improper to sell drink after a certain hour in a public house, the same regulations ought to be made with regard to clubs. He did not think it would be any great hardship for the hon. Member when he entered the Carlton, or when he went up to the club in Marylebone about which he had spoken, to be told it was half-past twelve, and that he could not get drink there. He had too much respect for the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London to imagine that he wont round at half-past twelve at night looking for clubs at which he could drink. he sincerely trusted the Bill would be amended in that direction. Unless a clause was put in regulating the hours during which drink could be sold in clubs, the Bill would be non-effective, because inspection after all would be an absolute farce. It was no use for anyone to ask 1744 him to believe that the rich man's club would be inspected the same as the poor man's club. The secret of all hostility to legislation with regard to clubs arose from the fact that there would be one law for the rich and another for the poor. If a clause was inserted, such as he had suggested, regulating the hours at which clubs should be allowed to sell drink, then that allegation of class distinction must disappear, and he believed the moral sense of the community—the working-man as well as the middle classes—would demand the enforcement of the law. If they admitted the principle of the regulation of clubs, they must admit the principle of inspection, because otherwise their regulations would not be obeyed. The hon. Member for Clare carried the sympathy of the House with him when he said that it did not matter whether the policeman was in plain clothes or in uniform, the result was all the same. Whilst some precautions and some modifications in the clause might be necessary, he was bound to say that in his judgment, even as it stood, it did not seem to be a penal clause. He did not think the power was likely to be exercised so as to interfere with political action in any club. He had never known politicians sitting up at one o'clock in the morning working out deep political problems. He recognised, however, that some modifications might be necessary in that clause. He hoped the principle would not be abandoned, and that the Bill, instead of being weakened, would come back from the Committee considerably strengthened.
*MR. E. DUNCAN (Lanarkshire, Govan)
said it was not very often they saw Irishmen above and below the gangway of one mind, but they were of one mind that this Bill would do something to promote temperance in Ireland. He supposed Irishmen were sometimes intemperate. He was sorry to say there was intemperance in Scotland and England, and anything that could be done to decrease it should be welcomed by Englishmen, Irishmen, and Scotsmen. The Bill, on the whole, was supposed to be a stop forward in the direction of temperance; but the proof of the pudding was in the eating, and the success of the measure would depend upon its administration. It was all very well to say they were working for temperalice when they 1745 treated people like children. He had felt inclined sometimes to introduce a private Bill providing every hon. Member with a bib and tucker. He was sure the hon. Member for the City of London would have heartily supported such a Bill, knowing its ironical intention. Englishmen, Irishmen, and Scotsmen, when they forgot themselves, were going to be treated in the future like babies. They believed in public opinion, and in the long run it was the most potent factor in promoting temperance or any good work. Temperance was more common than it used to be. The sight of a drunken man was once looked on as something amusing, something to laugh at. Now it was altogether different. Now a man who was the worse for liquor in the streets was hurried out of sight by his friends as soon as possible. It was something to be ashamed of. That was a healthy feeling, and it was far more powerful than anything they could do by legislation. They could do far more by influencing public opinion than by any legislation they passed. He thought that the administration of the law should be more severe in regard to the rich man's than
§ the poor mans club. The poor man tried to forget his sorrows and wont to the one place where he could have society—something to raise him out of himself. If he took a glass too much who could very severely blame him? The rich man on the contrary had every appliance for amusement. He was a member of a club which he supposed would be called a rich man's club—the Conservative Club of the City of Glasgow. He was not in the slightest degree ashamed of it. If men habitually took too much to drink by all means let an inspector come in, with lace on his cap or without, hold the president and secretary responsible, and see that the club was not abused.
§ Amendment put, and negatived.
§ Motion made, and Question put, "That the Bill be committed to a Committee of the Whole House."—(Sir F. Banbury.)
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 26; Noes, 140. (Division List No. 57.)1747
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford. East)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Starkey, John R.|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Houston, Robert Paterson||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Kimber, Sir Henry||Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Lanark)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Lockwood, Rt. Hn. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred Dixon||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Fell, Arthur||Remnant, James Farquharson||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir Frederick Banbury and Mr. Robert Duncan.|
|Fletcher, J. S.||Roche, Augustine (Cork)|
|Forster, Henry William||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Grant, Corrie|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Cowan, W. H.||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Gulland, John W.|
|Barker, John||Crean, Eugene||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Crooks, William||Halpin, J.|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Crossley, William J.||Hamilton, Marquess of|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Curran, Peter Francis||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.|
|Branch, James||Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan)||Hayden, John Patrick|
|Brigg, John||Delany, William||Hazel, Dr. A. E.|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Devlin, Joseph||Hazleton, Richard|
|Byles, William Pollard||Dobson, Thomas W.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)|
|Cameron, Robert||Donelan, Captain A.||Higham, John Sharp|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward||Hobart, Sir Robert|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Esslemont, George Birnie||Hodge, John|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Farrell, James Patrick||Hogan, Michael|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Ffrench, Peter||Horniman, Emslie John|
|Collins, Sir Wm J. (S. Pancras, W||Findlay, Alexander||Hudson, Walter|
|Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Illingworth, Percy H.|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Flynn, James Christopher||Jacoby, Sir James Alfred|
|Corbett, C H (Sussex, E. Grinst'd||Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Jenkins, J.|
|Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Mechan, Francis E.(Leitrim, N.)||Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n)|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Mechan, Patrick A.(Queen's Co.)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Joyce, Michael||Menzies, Walter||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Kavanagh, Walter M.||Montagu, E. S.||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Kekewich, Sir George||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Robson, Sir William Snowdon|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Morpeth, Viscount||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Russell, T. W.|
|Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Murnaghan, George||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Murray, James||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)|
|Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Myer, Horatio||Scott, A. H. (Ashton under Lyne|
|Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Dublin, S.||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Seely, Colonel|
|Lundon, W.||Norton, Captain Cecil William||Smyth, Thomas F.(Leitrim, S.)|
|Lupton, Arnold||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid||Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.)|
|Lyell, Charles Henry||O'Doherty, Philip||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)||Torrance, Sir A. M.|
|Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Bg'hs)||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Wads worth, J.|
|Macpherson, J. T.||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Ward, John (Stoke upon Trent)|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)||Parker, James (Halifax)||Waterlow, D. S.|
|M'Callum, John M.||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Watt, Henry A.|
|M'Crae, George||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|M'Kean, John||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Whitehead, Rowland|
|M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.|
|Mallet, Charles E.||Pirie, Duncan V.||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Markham, Arthur Basil||Power, Patrick Joseph||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)||Price, C F. (Edinb'gh, Central)|
|Marnham, F. J.||Radford, G. H.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Sloan and Mr. William Redmond.|
|Massie, J.||Raphael, Herbert H.|
|Meagher, Michael||Reddy, M.|
Main Question put, and agreed to.