§ Considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ [Mr. EMMOTT (Oldham) in the Chair.]
§ Clause 36:
§ *MR. EVELYN CECIL (Aston Manor)
said he would like to ask whether they could discuss generally the matters dealt with in Clause 36.
said he could not make any general alteration of the ordinary rule and they had better see first how the discussion went.
§ *MR. EVELYN CECIL
moved the omission of subsection (1), which, he said, was somewhat of a factitious Amendment, because he understood that some other Amendments of great importance had been ruled out of order for one reason or another, and the only means by which these important subjects could be brought up was by moving to omit the subsection.
said that some of the Amendments on the Paper were out 1246 of order, because they involved now clauses, but others were merely out of order because they were in the wrong place.
§ *MR. EVELYN CECIL
said that this was the first Amendment he had had the opportunity of moving at all. The Opposition had been charged with not endeavouring sincerely to amend the Bill, so as to give an excuse to the House of Lords for throwing it out. On his own behalf, he wanted to disclaim any such suggestion. He had had a number of Amendments down, and all of them, he thought, would have been admitted to be of substance, and he could only protest against the position in which he was placed in consequence of the extremely drastic closure Resolution, which was so wholly unprecedented, and which obliged him to avoid bringing forward questions in their proper place, and to devise some ingenious Amendment so as to circumvent the closure Resolution. To turn to this subsection he desired to move its omission because he did not feel satisfied that as regards a very largo number of clubs, the provisions of the clause were either just or fair. He had no doubt that the object of the Government was to exclude bad clubs from registration, and they had no intention, as he understood it, to hamper the members of bona fide clubs, but in his opinion these clauses certainly did not carry out their intentions. What did they do? They inflicted great hardships upon bona fide clubs; they needlessly irritated and annoyed them. In this matter two effects of the Bill seemed to stand out pre-eminently. In the first place, by forcibly reducing the number of licences, the Bill encouraged clubs of all kinds, good and bad, and he should say especially the bad clubs, because the more they reduced the number of licences, which perhaps ought to be reduced, the more they were likely to send the persons who frequented such public-houses to combine in what might be described as bogus drinking-clubs. He need hardly remind the Committee that a club, as opposed to a public-house, had no licence duty to pay, had no compensation levy charged upon it, had no restricted hours of opening, had no assessment which included the value of the licence, had no restriction on games of any kind, and had very slight 1247 police supervision over it. All these circumstances combined to increase rather than lessen the probability of this reduction in the number of licences creating a larger number of indifferent clubs, and he need say nothing in addition of the efforts which were sure to be made on behalf of professional club promoters. A second effect of this legislation would be that in the endeavour to check bad and bogus clubs this clause would penalise well-conducted ones. He did not believe that the party opposite desired to attack club life in general, but he was bound to say that the provisions of this clause went perilously near doing so unless some substantial Amendments were accepted. Strong objections were taken on behalf of respectable clubs to the propositions in this and other clauses. In this clause the jurisdiction for the first time was established of licensing justices instead of the stipendiary magistrates or courts of summary jurisdiction which had hitherto governed these matters. That provision was strongly resented by every respectable club he knew. In the next place the secretary of a club was made responsible for the misconduct of members. That was an aburdity. It was a futile proposal and one which was grossly unfair to the secretary. The proposal giving the police power to search without warrant was also strongly resented by all respectable clubs.
§ MR. MARKHAM (Nottinghamshire, Mansfield)
on a point of order, asked if the hon. Member was in order in discussing the whole of these clauses on this Amendment.
I was just going to intervene. It is clearly out of order to discuss all the other clauses on this Amendment. The motion is to omit subsection (1) which requires the annual renewal of registration of a club under the Licensing Act, 1902. That opens up a wide field but it has nothing to do with subsequent clauses.
§ *MR. EVELYN CECIL
said he was simply instancing the general effect it would have upon respectable clubs. He thought it was a great pity that the Government, in drafting this and subsequent clauses, did not consult expert opinion upon the question. The ex- 1248 pert officials of respectable clubs had no more love for mere bogus or bad clubs than the Government had. If this clause had been drafted by the officials of well conducted clubs, who understood the matter thoroughly, it would never have taken the form which it had taken, and it would not have been open to the objections he was now urging. Therefore the only course to be adopted was to endeavour to exempt the bona fide clubs from the operation of this and other clauses. He submitted that the second Amendment standing in his name more nearly effected that object than any other which he could devise.
I really must ask the hon. Member not to refer to his Amendment. We have nothing to do with his or anybody else's Amendments on the Paper until we arrive at them.
§ *MR. EVELYN CECIL
said it was difficult to ignore those Amendments, and as the Amendment he was moving raised the whole question of the renewal of licences, he merely wished to discuss the exemptions. If it were so arranged that these other respectable clubs should be exempted from the conditions of annual licenses as laid down in Clause 36 and other clauses, much would be done to remove the objections which many clubs had felt on this score. He submitted that that was the best way of doing it. It was important to bear several principles in mind in suggesting the exemption of respectable clubs. It was not desired in any part of the House to draw any distinction between clubs in Piccadilly and clubs in Whitechapel, and any exemption ought to apply equally to bona fide clubs all over the kingdom. He did not in any sense desire to create a class of privileged clubs. If exemption was granted to any club which had been established for five years, and was managed by a committee periodically elected to whom the secretary was responsible, and against which no charge had been substantiated under Section 28 of the Licensing Act of 1902, there would be no really privileged class of clubs set up. Any exemption of that kind would not apply merely to existing clubs but to all clubs, for as soon as they came under the conditions laid down, they were all equally treated. He begged to move this Amendment largely in order to draw 1249 from the Government a statement of their intentions in regard to these clubs. As the Bill was drafted it unduly affected and annoyed the respectably conducted clubs, and the Committee had a right to know at this stage, before further Amendments were discussed, what the general intentions of the Government were. He begged to move.
In page 18, line 3, to leave out subsection (1)."—(Mr. Evelyn Cecil.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the clause."
§ *SIR FRANCIS CHANNING (Northamptonshire, E.)
said the precise question before the Committee was the annual renewal of the registration of clubs, the object being that such registration should be annually revised in order to see whether clubs were really fulfilling the conditions laid down in the Act of 1902 and this Bill, under which they would enjoy the privileges of clubs. That was the whole question raised by this subsection. He wished to speak without any hostility to clubs, and as a matter of personal interest he had every reason to speak otherwise. He was familiar with the club movement, with its history, and had known intimately the men who had initiated it, Mr. Henry Solly and Mr. Hodgson Pratt and others, and perfectly understood their objects and ideals, and their motive finally in admitting liquor into the clubs in order to draw to them the men who frequented public-houses. He represented probably a vastly larger body of club members in proportion to his electorate than any other man in the House of Commons. He hoped, therefore, that the Committee would credit him with sincerity in what he was going to say upon these clauses, about which he wished to speak with absolute freedom and frankness and without the least regard to his own personal interest. The Act passed by Mr. Ritchie some six years ago contained clauses which imposed certain restrictions and tests upon the workmen's clubs of this country, which were largely suggested by the committee of the Club Union themselves. Those clauses were not condemned by this Bill, but when they said they must be strengthened, the 1250 club spokesman made the very natural but at the same time very conspicuous mistake of asserting that those conditions ought to be like the laws of Medes and Persians and ought not to be altered to meet the conditions of the present time. The enforcement of those conditions since 1902 had had a most beneficial effect upon the character of the clubs of this country. They had removed a great many evils which existed within the club movement. But what he wished to point out was that they were now face to face with a wholly different situation. In 1908 with this legislation before them the situation was different from that which Mr. Ritchie had to face in 1902. He would be out of order if he discussed in detail the various proposals of the Bill and the Amendments on the Paper on which he formed that conclusion, but he thought he would be in order in saying this much: that the sweeping provisions of this Bill would undoubtedly effect a very large reduction in the facilities for drinking in on-license houses, and that would create a wholly different situation in regard to the clubs of this country which would call not only for the imposition of now restrictions upon existing clubs and on the formation of new clubs, but also for greater vigilance and a more constant and frequent assertion of the principles under which clubs could safely be allowed to retain their privileges. They not only required greater restrictions to check the evils of club life, but by annual registration they ought to insure every year an opportunity of effectively checking those clubs in order to see that they were answering their requirements and whether any serious or grave objection could be advanced against them. It seemed to him that they should be restricted and supervised with greater vigilance and frequency. Everyone knew what were the great dangers which had to be combated at the present time. He would put it in a nutshell by saying that the real danger to-day was not only the development of club life in lieu of that of public-houses, but of clubs becoming mere unlicensed public-houses and unlicensed and unregulated music-halls. That had reached a pitch calling for more stringent regulations and checks on the part of Parliament, not only in the interest of society, but of the highest ideals of club 1251 members themselves. Some of the clubs which he represented were places which really only as a matter of form would require the annual renewal of registration provided for by the subsection which he was now supporting. There were clubs which really fulfilled the social idea, and which were capable of fulfilling that idea to a still greater extent. They were helping the social life of their districts and contributing to great social improvements and reforms. They did not wish to wipe away these clubs, but they did wish to see that the clubs to which young men, and sometimes young women also, were attracted were properly conducted, and that those resorting to them were not injured by the music-hall entertainments given in these places. He knew a great deal regarding the evils of clubs of that kind. He did not wish to dwell upon them too strongly, but he urged those who desired to make clubs useful social institutions to give the fullest support to the Government proposals now before the Committee. The Majority Report of Lord Peel's Commission insisted on the necessity of annual checking and revising in connection with clubs, and of opportunity being given for legitimate objections being brought forward, on the ground that they were not properly fulfilling the social conditions for which they existed. That necessity was ten-fold stronger now than at the time the late Lord Ritchie introduced his Bill.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR (City of London)
said he understood that the Chairman had ruled that this was not an unfitting opportunity to do what he was quite sure ought to be done, namely, to survey the general scheme of adding restrictions to those which already existed regarding clubs, the relation between those restrictions generally, and the whole scheme of the Bill as it dealt with on and off-licences. He was sure the broad question, ought to be discussed. It was one of the most difficult points of the Bill, as was admitted by the Prime Minister, who, he greatly regretted was not present. It would be well, before entering into a discussion of details, to pause for one moment to consider what relation the proposed legislation contained in this portion of the Bill bore to the general scheme of the Government. His own view he could put very briefly. If he 1252 was right, he thought the whole Bill stood condemned; if he was wrong, he desired most earnestly to hear from the Minister in charge of the Bill what view the Government really took of this most vexed and complicated group of problems which were inevitably raised when they tried to deal by increased restrictions with the difficulties and evils of clubs. This subsection was preliminary to making further restrictions upon the freedom of Englishmen to associate themselves in clubs for social purposes. He was not one of those who held that the power of association should be absolutely unlimited even in the freest country. He was a member of the Government — the only Government which, so far as he knew, had ever passed any temperance legislation—which embodied in a statute the only restriction which existed upon clubs, and which he was disposed to think, went as far as was wise in restricting the liberty of Englishmen. But he quite agreed that when the Government came forward with a measure that was going to put so enormous a restriction upon the power of retailing alcoholic liquors in licensed premises, they were necessarily brought face to face with the problem of clubs. He thought it was one of the fundamental difficulties of the whole scheme of legislation they were discussing. His own view was that they could not and ought not to attempt any serious restriction of clubs. He did not argue whether there was any serious attempt to restrict the liberty of association for the purposes of club life in these clauses. The hon. Gentleman opposite had touched upon the evils which he said arose from introducing music-hall entertainments into London clubs and clubs in other centres of population. There might be evils. He did not deny that there were. He had been startled by some of the documentary evidence put before him as to the entertainments given in certain Radical clubs in London on Sunday afternoons and evenings to their members. He should have doubted the wisdom of the course they were pursuing. He should not be in order in dealing with that. Nor was the hon. Member in order, because there was not a single provision in this Bill which was intended to restrain, or which would restrain, the 1253 abuse, if abuse it were, of the power of having music-hall entertainments on Sunday afternoon and evening. That went absolutely untouched. What was the evil the Government wished to touch? It could only be the evil which arose from the fact that in clubs, as universally understood in this country, whether of the rich or of the poor, it was the understood privilege of the members, in addition to the other privileges of the club, that they could obtain alcoholic beverages.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said there might be clubs where non-alcoholic beverages were sold. He was perfectly certain that there was not one of the clubs that the hon. Member belonged to which laid down such a self-denying ordinance. He should say that the number of clubs where alcoholic drinks were not sold bore but a small proportion to the actual number of clubs in existence. The point he raised was that hitherto it had been regarded as a national and almost inalienable privilege for the ordinary Englishman that he could associate himself with his fellows to form a club for social purposes, and that that liberty included the consuming of alcoholic beverages. He believed it would be insanity from a practical point of view, and a gross infringement of the ordinary liberties of Englishmen, to attempt to deprive them of that privilege. If that were true, they might irritate and annoy clubs, they might send in policemen at this and that hour, they might require the secretary to do this or that, they might insist upon registration at this or the other season of the year; but so long as substantially they allowed people who had associated themselves in a social club to consume alcoholic liquors, so long as they left that privilege untouched, they really left untouched the group of questions which arose from the fact that they had, on the one side, unlicensed premises where drink could be sold, and, on the other, licensed premises under the closest police supervision, where liquor could not be sold except at certain hours on certain days, and under stringent, and, as he 1254 thought, not always very wise, conditions. Did anybody deny that this problem presented great difficulties, and that the scheme of the Government only touched the surface of them? So far as the scheme of the Government was aimed at the preventing the consumption of alcoholic liquors in genuine clubs—if it was aimed at that—it was a sham. The Government's legislation would not stop a single glass of whisky or a single pint of beer being consumed in any bona fide club in the Kingdom. If all this legislation about clubs, therefore, did not touch the vital question of the competition between the club and the public-house, then he asked whether the restrictive legislation on public-houses contained in the other part of their Bill was not completely out of harmony with the liberty which even after this vexatious Bill was passed, they really left to the clubs. Was it not evident that if they were going to draw tighter and tighter the hours in which the liquor was to be sold on licensed premises, to make more and more rigid the conditions in which the public-house was to carry on its trade, they would inevitably add to the number of clubs in existence, where they could get three things winch they could get at a public-house under the restrictions of an extremely stringent law? They would be able to get society, drink, and food; and those were the three things which, after all, men of all classes desired to get in their club. To a certain extent these were given by the competing institution of the licensed public-house. It was true that in some of the large cities the public-houses were largely places where liquor only was sold, and he was afraid that the effect of this legislation would tend to increase the number. Personally, he thought that their extension would be a great calamity, but if this was undoubted in a great number of the licensed premises in great cities, in a large proportion of those in the country districts it could be said that they were places in which the people desired, not merely alcoholic liquor, but some of the features of social life which the club gave in a more perfect form, and which had been enjoyed from time immemorial in hotels, inns, and public-houses. Having these two methods of meeting 1255 these widely diffused wants, the Government put the most stringent regulations on the one class, and some irritating and, he thought, wholly illusory, restrictions on the other class; and then Ministers went about pretending, and falsely believing, that they had put in force a generally restrictive system against the sale of alcohol in the country, when, as a matter of fact, they were only driving the sale from one set of premises where it could be looked after into another set where, they might depend upon it, the feeling of Englishmen would never allow them to impose the kind of control to which licensed premises were subjected. That was the problem with which they were faced in this portion of the Bill. It was raised by the Amendment of his hon. friend. He most earnestly desired to hear from the Prime Minister some general survey of the relations which the Government thought ought to exist as between licensed premises on which restrictions were imposed and the whole system of clubs, of which they were merely scratching the surface. That was a problem of pressing insistence. Everyone must know that the number of clubs was increasing, and that the abolition of the public-house had been immediately followed by the substitution of clubs, not illegitimately, not for the purpose of substituting an unlicensed drinking place for a licensed place, but because the public-house ministered to certain legitimate wants of the community. The Government deprived them of that, and the people supplied themselves by another kind of machinery, by another method, which right hon. Gentlemen could not, and dared not, control, with exactly the same kind of indulgences which the Government wished to restrict in another direction. That was the root objection he had to offer on this aspect of the question. He took much smaller interest in the particular provisions for interfering with clubs. He thought they were vexatious, and, if they took the club system as it would exist after the Bill was passed, he said that the Government had not touched the main and central problem of the promotion of temperance through an attempt to deal with drink by restriction. On the one side they had the public- 1256 houses greatly diminished in numbers and restricted in hours, made more onerous and difficult to carry on, made, in fact, intolerable by every means in the power of the Government; and, on the other hand, they had a large and growing number of places brought into existence for the mutual convenience of their members, where all that went on in the public-house could go on practically unchecked. If the Government insisted on shutting the public-houses beyond the point which the feeling of the locality would tolerate they would see spring up clubs, the bona fides of which they could not deny, but which in many cases were less carefully conducted than the public-house, which the police had in the hollow of their hand. He hoped the Government would take the opportunity of telling them how they viewed this fundamental difficulty lying at the root of their whole legislation and would give them an opportunity of discussing the theories of the Government on those questions which had not been touched upon in the course of these debates. He asked respectfully of them that they would deal with the difficulties which he had ventured to raise.
§ *THE UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL, Yorkshire, Cleveland)
said it was difficult to understand from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman what attitude the Opposition proposed to adopt in respect of the club clauses of the Bill. He desired to point out to the Committee, in the first place, that while, on the one hand, the Government had been attacked again and again in the House and in the country because they had not done enough to limit the evils of clubs, and for that reason the Bill was not a temperance measure, the right hon. Gentleman now said that, after all, the clauses of the Bill were far too stringent, and that he disapproved of them on that ground.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
My opinions have been always the same. In my opinion it is perfectly preposterous to say that you promote temperance legislation by dealing with restriction while leaving the clubs undealt with. I am 1257 opposed to the restriction of clubs, and, therefore, I am opposed to the whole scheme.
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said that the situation which existed to-day was not the creation of this Bill, but the creation of the Act of 1904. While that Act did undoubtedly promote a reduction in the number of public-houses it die not contain one syllable from the first page to the last, as to the evils which might arise from the growth of drinking clubs. As to this particular Bill, they were entitled to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he considered that the Government were going too far or not far enough. The right hon. Gentleman was apparently anxious to secure the support of those who said that the Government were going too far, and also of that other body of public opinion which held that the Government were not going far enough. The position of the right hon. Gentleman apparently was that either they must deprive clubs of the right to sell liquor absolutely, or they must do nothing. That was not the view of the Government. The view of the Government was that the task before them was to discriminate between those clubs which did lend themselves to abuse and in which drunkenness occurred, and those institutions, which were the majority of working-men's clubs, in whch the sale of alcoholic liquor was merely an incident, and which existed mainly for social and recreative purposes. The bad club, the club which was really a co-operative public-house unlicensed and uncontrolled by the law, was not the rule, but the exception. The Licensing Commission took much evidence on this subject, and in Lord Peel's Report there were many interesting passages dealing with this subject.The real truth is that the extension of the franchise, the spread of education, and a general improvement of conditions among the working classes have had a great effect in promoting clubs. Besides these, political influences have been at work. Mr. Bryans, secretary of the Association of Conservative Clubs, told us that the Association contained 587 clubs, of which about three-fourths sell intoxicants. He strenuously denies, as does Mr. Hall, that the activity of the club movement is due to desire for drink. The main object of our clubs is good fellowship and education, concerts, lectures, and that sort of thing. I do not think the main object is drink in the least.1258No doubt, a certain class of club is, as we shall see, a very great evil, and should be put down with a strong hand, but these are comparatively few, and have attracted attention out of proportion to their numbers.We fully agree with all that has been said by Mr. Hall and others as to the benefits to be derived from properly constituted and well-conducted clubs. We believe that such clubs do much to meet the needs awakened among the working classes by education and general improvement of conditions for some better means of social intercourse and recreation than those provided by the public-house.But even at the worst a club is more capable of improvement than the public-house, for a club, unless ostensibly formed for drinking purposes, in which case it should be summarily suppressed, has better objects in view, which sooner or later a public opinion will spring up and enforce. Under proper regulation great things may be hoped for from the club movement.These passages summed up much more that might be said on the subject. The Government were anxious not unduly to restrict the activities of properly conducted working-men's clubs, but, while saying that, they did not by any means accept the view of the right hon. Gentleman, that they were not doing anything at all to meet what was unquestionably a growing evil. If the club movement was uncontrolled dangers would arise. Already clubs supplying alcoholic liquor were increasing in number, but the growth was not so great as was sometimes imagined, because the basis on which the estimate was often calculated was unsound. Some opponents of the club movement pointed out that a return presented to the Royal Commission in 1896 showed there were then 3,990 clubs, while now there were just about 7,000; but the figure of 3,990 did not correspond with the subject matter of the recent figures, because in 1896 only those clubs were counted which were clubs in the ordinary acceptation of the term, while now there were included in the returns every institution where a few men gathered together, though it might be an athletic club, a masonic lodge, or a Volunteer canteen, so long as they supplied alcohol. He would venture to draw the attention of the Committee to some interesting figures given by Mr. B. T. Hall, of the Club and Institute Union. In regard to Birmingham, the Police Return for 1896 showed thirty clubs. A year or two ago the Home Office Return showed eighty-three clubs. 1259 But that increase of fifty-three was accounted for in forty-seven cases by masonic lodges, bowling and tennis clubs. Volunteer canteens, and other similar institutions, leaving the actual increase only six. There had, however, been a steady growth in the number of clubs on comparable figures, but an increase not by any means to be compared to the decrease in licensed houses. Taking the country as a whole, the clubs were increasing by about 200 a year, while licences were decreasing annually at the rate of 1,600—1,200 with compensation under the Act of 1904, and about 400 owing to misconduct or dropped licences.
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said he found that the average membership in the 1,100 clubs which were contained in the Club and Institute Union had hardly varied at all. In 1903 the average membership of the 1,100 clubs was 291, and last year it was 296. One was not able to get figures of unorganised clubs, but there was no reason to think that the club unit represented to any considerable degree a higher membership than a few years ago. There was no question, however, that there were clubs which existed mainly for the sale of intoxicating liquor, and in which drunkenness did exist, and to discriminate and effectually to suppress and limit the evil of the drinking clubs was the purpose of the clauses now to come before the Committee. He had hoped to take a general survey of the present law relating to clubs, and to show how largely it was extended by the proposals made in the Bill, but he understood that would be out of order on this Amendment.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
suggested that it would be convenient if the Government could tell them of any general change or modification of policy in contemplation.
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said that with the leave of the Chair and without going into detail he should only be too happy to take the survey which the Leader of the Opposition suggested. In the first place the Bill must be read in conjunction with the Act of 1902, which 1260 already contained very large and drastic powers for dealing with certain classes of clubs.
said that before the hon. Gentleman went on he would say that if he thought that information was necessary to be given for discussing the details of the particular clause he should allow him to give it, but he could not allow the whole of these clauses to be discussed in a haphazard way, upon this Motion to omit subsection (1). He thought it right to say that before the hon. Gentleman began.
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said that perhaps the Chairman would be good enough to intimate to him any point at which he thought he was going a little too wide, but it was rather difficult on the one hand to fulfil what was the desire of the Committee and the Government to state clearly their policy on this matter, while not going into subordinate questions which were an essential part of that policy. As he was saving, it was essential that this part of the Bill should be read with the existing law which regulated clubs. The present law required that clubs which sold alcohol should be registered, and required certain particulars to be given on registration. That registration was automatic; it could not be refused by the registering authority. There were penalties for the supply of liquor in any club which was not registered, and that was all; but a club which had once been registered could be objected to and struck off the register on a variety of grounds set out in Section 28 of the Act of 1902, such as the fact that it had less than twenty-five members, that it was not conducted in good faith, as a club—that covered many Amendments on the Paper—or that it was habitually used for unlawful purposes, or that frequent drunkenness was permitted, or that persons who were not members were habitually admitted to the club for the purpose of obtaining intoxicating liquors, or that the club occupied premises which during the twelve months next preceding had been carried on as a licensed house, and so forth. It was also provided that there should be an interval of at least forty-eight hours between the nomination of members 1261 and their admission, and that the control of the supply of intoxicating liquor should be vested in the members or committee appointed by the members. The Committee would see that these were very considerable powers which must be taken into consideration in discussing any future questions of policy. Then there was power put in the hands of the magistrates on sworn information to issue a search-warrant and give permission to enter the club.
§ MR. MARKHAM
objected to the hon. Member dealing with questions concerning which he had an Amendment on the Paper. They were under the guillotine, and he stood the risk of being shut out.
said the hon. Member had not travelled out of the narrowest interpretation of the ruling he had given. He was only explaining the Act of 1902.
§ MR. MARKHAM
I beg your pardon. The hon. Member was referring to provisions which the Government had put down on the Paper.
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said that he was referring only to the Act of 1902. The magistrates could issue a warrant to enable the police to enter a club.
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
replied that every year between seventy and eighty clubs were struck off the register. In fact as large a percentage of clubs were struck off the register every year under the Act of 1902 as public-houses were reduced under the Act of 1904.
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said on various grounds, but mainly on the ground of permitting drunkenness. It was proposed by the clause that the registration should be subject to annual renewal, and they provided opportunities for objection both on the first registration and on renewal, which would give an annual opportunity for the position of 1262 clubs to be reviewed. It was also proposed that the registration could be objected to not only on the grounds specified by the Act of 1902, but on the ground—and this was a large extension of the law—that a club was being used mainly as a drinking club. Other proposals in this part of the Bill he was unable to enter into, but he might briefly mention that the officers of a club were made liable to a penalty in respect of drunkenness or illegal sale, and premises previously used as licensed houses might be disqualified for a period of five years. The question of clubs and off-sale he could not refer to, nor could he refer to the various Amendments that had been put down in order partly to strengthen the clauses, and partly to meet legitimate objections which had been raised in the interest of the clubs themselves. He thought he was entitled to draw attention to the fact that although the Government did not propose to set up a new judicial tribunal they could provide that the procedure of the licensing justices should be a judicial procedure, that evidence should be given on oath, and that costs might be given against persons who raised frivolous objections against clubs. The hon. Member proposed to omit subsection (1) of this clause in order to insert another Amendment to limit the operations of this part of the Act to clubs against which a charge had been proved under Section 28 of the Act of 1902; but that was an illusory Amendment, because as soon as a charge was established against a club the club ceased to exist.
§ MR. MARKHAM
asked whether the hon. Member was entitled to refer to another Amendment on the Paper, and to go away from the one which had been moved.
said he understood the hon. Member had moved to omit the subsection because the alteration he desired had not been allowed. The hon. Gentleman was entitled to refer to the matter, but he could not go into the other Amendment qua Amendment until the hon. Member had had an opportunity of moving it.
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said he was entitled to assert that among the reasons why the Government could not accept the Amendment now before the Committee was that the alternative proposed by the hon. Member who moved the omission of the subsection was an unreal one, for the reason that as soon as a charge was established against a club under the Act of 1902, the club disappeared altogether. There would be no clubs to be registered under this scheme, and the whole clause would fall to the ground. The Government held that their proposals, taken as a whole, while, on the one hand, involving no undue interference with the amenities of properly-conducted clubs, did, on the other hand, carefully watch the possibility of evil occurring, and would effectively suppress the abuses when they arose. They must oppose the Amendment.
§ MR. JOYNSON-HICKS (Manchester, N.W.)
regretted that on this particular matter he would have to vote against his Party. He was so fully pledged as a temperance man to do what he could to remedy the great evils which arose from these purely drinking clubs, that he was bound by his previous opinions and speeches, and his very strong convictions as to the evils that these clubs did, not merely to support the clause, but to go further and move Amendments to strengthen it. He could not deal with the Amendments now, but he would be in order in explaining to the Committee that a good deal of the strengthening which he desired to put into the clause had the unanimous support of the great mass of temperance opinion, not only that on the other side of the House, but also that of the Church of England Temperance Society, on whose behalf he had put down his last Amendment. He could not help thinking that the evil of the club system had not been fully recognised by the Government, the Under-Secretary had said there was a slight increase in the number of clubs, but that that increase had not been so great as the decrease in the number of public-houses in the same period. That might be so, but there was a far greater percentage of clubs to population than there was in 1905. 1264 They had been steadily growing. He could not believe that the Under-Secretary had realised the almost unanimous opinion of those who had to administer the licensing laws, that the club evil would wreck the whole basis of the Bill. The foundation basis of this Bill was that by doing away with so many taps through which liquor ran into the body politic temperance would increase. He suggested that as the Government were going to do away with so many public-houses they must not do so without strongly curtailing the opportunities of instituting and opening an enormous number of drinking clubs. If in every locality clubs were established for every public-house taken away, the condition of England, in this "great leap forward in temperance," as it was called, would not be better, but considerably worse. Practically all the licensing benches and chief constables in the country had during the last three or four years stated in public that unless a drastic reform in the conduct of these clubs was affected in this Bill the measure would be a failure. The Under-Secretary had said that the number of clubs and of members had not greatly increased, but he (Mr. Hicks) knew that the increase of membership was certainly as great as the increase of clubs. In the last three years the membership of clubs in Birmingham had increased from 24,262 to 26,594, in Derby from 7,400 to 10,500, in Leeds from 27,000 to 29,000, and in one of the boroughs of Lancashire one out of every five persons—men, women and children—was a member of a club. That was to say that every adult male in the borough was a member of a club. The hon. Member proceeded to quote the statements made by the chairmen of various benches of magistrates, including those of Durham, Keighley, Huddersfield, Sheffield, Leeds, and Marylebone, to the effect that something ought to be done to restrict and control the operations of these clubs. If the bishops were to be called in aid of this measure as a temperance measure, as they had been called in aid by every Radical supporter of the Bill, he wanted the Government to take the bishops as a whole and not merely rely upon them when they supported one portion of the Bill—to take them as of the same 1265 value when they were supporting the Amendments for strengthening this clause. He himself had had the Bishops hurled at his head at meeting after meeting, and a Bishop was by no means an easy body to have flung at one, particularly a Churchman. But he asked hon. Members to take the Bishops' speeches as a whole, not relying on their support for one portion of the Bill, when they came to the clause which he would have the honour of submitting later. In regard to clubs, the Archbishop spoke of them as a source of danger, and Bishop after Bishop, including the Bishops of Rochester and Durham, expressed themselves to a similar effect. In asking the Government not merely to adhere to this clause, but to accept Amendments to strengthen it, he wanted to assure them that they would have very considerable support from his side of the House. He was bound to say, with all deference, that he did not agree with his right hon. Leader in his attack upon the restrictions which were placed upon clubs. He had sat at the feet of his right hon. friend, who, he thought, would find that restrictions far more stringent than those now proposed in this Bill had been imposed upon clubs by the Conservative Government. If they referred to the club legislation for Scotland they would find that the restrictions put upon clubs in that country, passed by the Unionist Party when in power, infringed the liberty of the subject to an extent ten times greater than that proposed to be laid upon clubs by the Radical Party at the present moment. In the Clubs (Ireland) Act, 1904, again, his right hon. Leader and Members of the Conservative Party had imposed restrictions many times more severe than those now under consideration. If those Acts were good enough for Scotland and Ireland, and if it were right that a Conservative Government should regard those restrictions as fair to the people of Scotland and the people of Ireland, he appealed to Members on that side of the House to do something for the cause of temperance here, by minimising the evils which undoubtedly were associated with these drinking clubs. He very seriously appealed to his hon. friends not to allow themselves to be led away by mere hostility to the Bill, but to assist the Government in making the conditions more real and effective than they were at the present time. He felt sure that there 1266 were many on that side of the House who had a strong conviction as to the infinite evil which was caused by drinking clubs, and that they would support Amendments which he and others would bring forward to strengthen the clause. These drinking clubs were frequented by men and women night and day, on Sundays and on Good Friday, and there were music, dancing, and performances into which it was not necessary that he should go, the proceedings having been fully exposed in the House on previous occasions. Such clubs were detrimental to the well-being of the people; and there was a very strong feeling about these performances on Sunday, among a large body of Churchmen and others, and particularly when Good Friday was desecrated by dancing and entertainments accompanied by hot-cross buns. One of the clubs belonging to the Party opposite advertised hot-cross buns as a speciality of a Good Friday performance. He hoped that Members on both sides would agree that they should make the restrictions to be imposed real restrictions, and do what they could to drive a nail into the coffin of these drinking clubs, which were admitted by the magistrates, who had experience in licensing matters, by an enormous number of chief constables, by the Church Army and their officers, and by all those societies which were working for the temperance cause, to be detrimental to the well-being of the people. There was nothing whatever in any of the Amendments which he had put down that would be detrimental to an honest club, whether that club were in Pall Mall, or a working men's club in any part of the country.
§ MR. H. J. TENNANT (Berwickshire)
said he rose as a Scottish Member to give one or two illustrations of what had occurred in Scotland. The hon. Member for Manchester had said that the provisions in regard to clubs in Scotland were more drastic and stringent than those proposed in the Bill, or at present existing in England. That had been disputed by an hon. friend of his, but perhaps he might be permitted to say that be thought they were both right. Some of the provisions of the Scottish law were more drastic than those of the Bill or of the Act of 1902. Glasgow and some of the big 1267 cities of Scotland were asking for provisions in regard to clubs in connection with this Bill. An Amendment was proposed to strike out of the measure the provisions for annual registration, but in Scotland they had that provision now. The Chief Constable of Glasgow and the Deputy Town Clerk of Glasgow read very interesting papers at a conference of associations of borough officials, held at Ayr on the 28th August. The Deputy Town Clerk said that the law of Scotland in regard to clubs required revision on the lines of this Bill. Particular emphasis was laid on the necessity for annual registration, and one of his illustrations was that had they not had annual registration they would not have been able to deprive many of the bogus clubs, and many of the places called shebeens, of their registration. Perhaps the Committee would allow him to put before them one or two figures with regard to Sunday drinking, which was found to be mostly due to clubs. [OPPOSITION cheers.] Yes, and that was an argument for supporting the proposals now before them. As soon as the Scottish Act of 1903 was passed people who floated clubs felt that there would be great difficulty in securing registration, and the consequence was that the number of clubs in Glasgow fell from sixty-nine to forty-nine, and the number of Sunday cases of drunkenness fell 65 per cent. They very soon discovered their mistake, and found that it was easy to get registration under the Act of 1903. Since 1904 the number of Sunday cases of drunk and disorderly had risen from 256 to 370, and the Chief Constable remarked—This increase cannot fail to be associated with the fact that during the corresponding period the number of certified clubs increased from forty-nine to seventy-one, and of shebeens from forty-six to seventy two.He thought that that was no bad illustration of how opportunities led to drunkenness. He joined in the appeal so eloquently made by the last speaker for increased stringency of restrictions. He appealed to those who were zealously interested in the welfare of the community, and to those who took a leading part in the promotion of clubs throughout the country, to give their support to the proposal for stringent restriction. He yielded to no man in his belief that many clubs did admirable work, and deserved the thanks 1268 of the community; but surely, as the Under-Secretary had told the House, there was a considerable number of clubs which were doing the reverse of admirable work, and were sources of social demoralisation and degradation in our midst. He appealed to the managers of good clubs not to throw in their lot with the managers of drinking clubs, for such an alliance would be a very great disadvantage to the community. He asked the House to act with calmness and courage—for both were required—and also with a sense of public spirit and public duty. He believed that the measure before the House struck effectively at drunkenness, and he urged them not to lose the opportunity of reform which the Bill gave.
§ EARL WINTERTON (Sussex, Horsham)
agreed with the Leader of the Opposition that this was not purely a party matter. His right hon. friend was careful to avoid anything in the nature of party bias and prejudice; but the Under-Secretary for the Home Department had introduced both. The difficulty with which they had to deal was entirely one for the Government to solve. They had got themselves into the difficulty, and it was their business to find a solution. A very real difficulty had arisen from one cause alone, and it could be summed up in three words: "Repression means evasion." The restrictions imposed by the magistracy and the Legislature upon drinking in licensed public-houses had led to the up-growth of unlicensed houses and clubs. He was not saying a word against them for the moment; it was not necessary to do so. These restrictions had led to the up-growth of a number of clubs which were not licensed houses where a man could drink at his free will. The Government by proposing to increase enormously the restrictions to be placed upon licensed public-houses had brought themselves face to face with a great difficulty. They could not consistently prevent people from obtaining a moderate amount of liquor in a properly conducted licensed public-house, and at the same time allow them to obtain as much as they wanted in an unlicensed club. The difficulty was one entirely of the Government's own making, and he deprecated—and he believed his hon. friends would support him—the attempt made by the Under-Secretary to introduce irrelevant bias 1269 and prejudice into the debate. Really one would have imagined he had come down to the House with a carefully prepared speech under the impression that the Leader of the Opposition was going to make an attack on entirely different lines. They all admitted that there was a real difficulty, and they on that side of the House were as anxious as hon. Gentlemen opposite to find some way out of it, though they did not admit that it concerned them so much as the Government. Repression in this country as in every other country had led to evasion. People would find some means of getting over that difficulty and obtaining the drink they desired. The clause raised a wide and important matter. There were certain human desires—he had no doubt the hon. Gentleman below the gangway would call them vices—which could not be repressed by legislation. One of those desires was to consume a certain amount of alcoholic liquor under reasonable and pleasant conditions. That was natural in all countries and with all classes, and if they put as the Legislature and the magistrates put, and as this Bill proposed to put, a restriction on that desire—if they made it as difficult as possible for a person to satisfy that desire in public, they would compel him to satisfy it in private and by some other means. That seemed exactly to express the position that had arisen. It might be very regrettable that a man should enjoy a glass of beer in the company of his friends, but the movement having reached the stage that it had, it was impossible to blame the clubs or their members for what had taken place. The Leader of the Opposition was absolutely right in treating this matter from an unbiassed and non-party point of view. The Government had to get out of the position which had arisen and had to give some reason for it. The Under-Secretary had referred very extensively to the Act of 1902, and had endeavoured, but had failed signally, to make an attack upon the Leader of the Opposition and to draw him into a purely party controversy. He imagined the hon. Gentleman did not take the extreme view which was taken by some of his friends around him, who so far as he could gather from their attitude during these debates, objected to a man taking alcoholic drink at any time. Did the hon. Gentleman or did he not object to any man who 1270 wished to do so obtaining under reasonable conditions a moderate amount of drink in a club?
§ EARL WINTERTON
said he merely followed the last hon. Gentleman who spoke, and the Under-Secretary had read the whole contents of the Act of 1902. The last speaker had made extensive quotations from licensing statistics and licensing justices in Scotland.
§ EARL WINTERTON
admitted that the law of Scotland had no real relevancy to the clause, as the Bill did not apply to Scotland. He did not wish to go outside the Chairman's ruling, but the whole question of clubs and of the existence of clubs and how they were going to deal with the increase of them arose under the Amendment. Provided under the subsection the number of clubs which applied for annual registration enormously increased—he believed it would increase in five years by 50 per cent.—did the hon. Gentleman think that would be a good thing or a bad thing? In other words, did the Government, in bringing forward this clause, support the extension of clubs to any number? Did they think there was any harm in any number of clubs applying for registration provided they were carried on in a proper and reasonable fashion? If the Government did not object to that they would know exactly where they were. They would know that while hon. Gentlemen opposite did object to drinking in licensed houses, they had not the least objection to drinking in unlicensed houses. The point was really relevant, and he hoped the next speaker for the Government would answer it.
§ EARL WINTERTON
said that his point was that if the number of clubs largely increased, would the Government look upon that as a good thing or a bad thing, and it seemed to him that that was quite relevant to the clause. The 1271 subsection dealt with the registration of clubs, and he submitted that therefore it was in order to put that question. It was the Government's business to get out of the difficulty into which they had got themselves, and he did not intend to assist them to cook their own goose. That could be left for the hon. Member for Appleby and the hon. Member for Lincoln, whom he saw below the gangway thirsting to speak. He thought that even the Under-Secretary for the Home Department would have some difficulty in justifying the attitude of the Government on this clause. In conclusion, he would quote some words of the President of the Local Government Board which were spoken, he thought, before the Bill was brought in. He would not express any opinion as to whether they were true or not, but it certainly seemed to be the feeling of many hon. Gentlemen opposite. The right hon. Gentleman said—It requires some moral courage to get publicly drunk in the open bar of a public-house, but little or none to steadily soak or swiftly swill in the front parlour of a drinking club.He hoped they would have the views of the Prime Minister upon the whole question of the registration of clubs. In his reply the Under-Secretary never once referred to his own clause. What he did was to deal with the action which he thought the Leader of the Opposition was going to take, but he had not said a word in justification of the clause or made any effort to get out of the very real difficulty into which the Government had got.
§ MR. HART DAVIES (Hackney, N.)
said that as far as he was aware the clubs most immediately concerned had no objection to annual registration, and if that were so, he did not see why they should be more enthusiastic in their cause than the clubs were themselves. What they objected to was the restrictions being imposed, and the way the registration was to be carried, out. He ventured to say that hon. Members who were vitally interested, in this question had reason to complain of the manner in which the discussion was being carried on, and he would suggest, as nobody objected particularly to this 1272 subsection, that it should be allowed to pass in order that they might get to the other parts of the clause which were far more important.
§ *MR. WYNDHAM (Dover)
said he agreed that this Amendment was not a matter of the very first importance. After all, subsection (1) was nothing more than an advertisement of the provisions which dealt with bogus clubs in the Act of 1902. If they had registration every year the fact that they were there might become known to more persons who might wish to lodge an objection under the restrictions of the Act of 1902. That was not an important matter, but what was important was the fact that they were now at the initial stage of the whole section of the Bill which dealt with the control of clubs, and although the debate had proceeded for two hours they had not, up to the present, received any response to the appeal which the Leader of the Opposition made. His right hon. friend did not throw down any challenge or approach the subject in a controversial spirit, but he appealed to the Prime Minister to give the Committee the benefit of the general view which the Government took of this part of the Bill, in relation to the part they had already dealt with which embodied their view as to the control of public-houses. That appeal had not been responded to, and nobody had addressed themselves to the subject at all. The Under-Secretary to the Home Office made an interesting speech, which, like this particular subsection, consisted largely of an advertisement of the merits of the Act of 1902. He read out all the clauses which dealt with clubs, and which had had a great effect upon clubs. The Committee wanted to know whether the change which the Government were making in the legislation affecting clubs effected any sound equipoise with the legislation they were bringing in to control public-houses. The tendency of every speech had been to show that although they did not address themselves to the question, the effect had been to show that that equipoise would not, under this Bill, be as sound as that established under the Acts of 1904 and 1902. As a temperance reformer the hon. Member for Manchester desired to go much further than the Government. 1273 He admired his sincerity, and they must also admire the logic of his attitude, but the attitude of the Government had not been stated and it appeared to be quite illogical. His hon. friend felt that if they tightened up the legislation affecting the opportunities for drinking in public-houses, they should also tighten up the legislation which controlled drinking in clubs, and the whole of his speech was to that effect. The reason why he could not support his hon. friend in his desire to make the proposal of the Government more stringent against clubs was that he did not think public opinion in this country would tolerate so much interference with what was really common and private life. He did not think it would be wise to interfere with those liberties in one direction because the Government had interfered with them in another. If one scale was weighed down by too great a weight, they could reestablish the balance by putting more weight into the other scale. Another plan was by taking some of the weight off the scale that was already too deeply depressed. The Government had not given any reason for their belief that they were going to establish a better balance between the pressure of legislation on public-houses and its pressure upon clubs. He thought it was businesslike to invite some review or explanation of the attitude of the Government before they came to deal with a number of Amendments which seemed to have very little substance, and would do nothing to restore an equipoise which was effected by the Acts, of 1904 and 1902. It might be argued that in the Act of 1904 they went too far in the direction of placing restrictions upon public-houses as compared with the restrictions placed upon clubs by the Act of 1902. It had been shown that since the Act of 1902 there had been a great development in the number of clubs, and their membership, and the kind of entertainments given in clubs. Therefore, although they were defending the Act of 1904, he thought that Act showed that they went at that time as far as it was possible to go in the direction of placing restrictions upon the consumption of liquor in public-houses unless they were prepared to create a greater evil in relation to the consumption of liquor in clubs. The Government had 1274 not addressed themselves to that problem, but they had placed restriction after restriction upon the consumption of liquor in public-houses, and when they came to the other end of the scale they had nothing to say to show that they had in any way considered how they were effecting an equipoise in relation to clubs.
§ MR. ASQUITH
apologised for not having been able to be continuously present during the proceedings, and assured the Committee that it was due entirely to the fact that matters of very great importance required his consideration and was not from disrespect to the Committee, or from indisposition to listen to the arguments of the other side. He had heard enough of the discussion to make it allowable for him to offer two or three observations. As he understood the Amendment and the interpretation the Chairman put upon it, it was somewhat difficult to steer a middle course between what was relevant and what was out of order. He would briefly attempt to answer the question which had been put to him by the Leader of the Opposition as to the adjustment of the Bill—the manner in which, on the one hand, they were dealing with licensed premises and the manner in which, on the other they were dealing with clubs. He gathered that right hon. Gentlemen opposite were a little embarrassed in approaching the consideration of this matter. It was a much easier question for them to put to the Government than to answer themselves. They were in a difficulty between attacking the Bill on the one hand and the inclination not to attack clubs on the other. He gathered from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dover, that their view was that they had attained, after careful adjustment, in their own legislation a condition of equipoise. In 1904 the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues passed the Licensing Act, which did not contain a single provision of any kind in relation to clubs. That Bill was advocated, as they all knew, on the ground that it would give rise to an effective acceleration in the reduction of the facilities for drink provided by public-houses, and, therefore, it might have been supposed that it would 1275 also give rise to an increase in the number of substituted facilities provided by clubs. But the right hon. Gentleman did not think it necessary to make any provision in that Act to prevent the multiplication of clubs and the abuses arising from it. On the other hand, the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues were responsible for the Acts of 1902 and 1903—the English Act of 1902 and the much more stringent Scottish Act of 1903, to which in many respects they were seeking by the present Bill to level up the English law. He assumed, from the presence of those two Acts on the Statute-book and the declarations of Ministers responsible for them that they thought a case had been made out for the regulation of clubs. The question then, became a question not of principle at all; and the right hon. Gentlemen opposite were just as much committed as the Government were to the doctrine that in the public interest it was not only desirable and politic, but absolutely necessary that some curb should be put upon the indefinite multiplication of clubs, and that some security should be taken that clubs brought into existence ostensibly for the purpose of companionship and recreation and social enjoyment should not be converted into mere drinking shops and unregulated substitutes for licensed premises. If that was so, the sole question surely, that was relevant, was whether or not the Government had either gone too far beyond the necessities of the case or had not approached what the necessities of the case really required. He confessed he did not see how they could profitably or fruitfully discuss that question until they came to the consideration of the particular proposals made. The principle of regulation was conceded. The right hon. Gentleman himself and his colleagues were the authors of measures placed on the Statute-book embodying that principle. Those Acts could be justified on no other assumption than that they must check the multiplication of clubs and the supply of intoxicating liquors there. The sole question was that of degree, of method, and of expediency. In reply to the general inquiry of both the right hon. Gentlemen opposite, 1276 the Government did in this Bill make provision on a larger scale than had ever been made before for a compulsory and uniform reduction of the number of licensed premises. They did it entirely upon the ground that the undue multiplication of these facilities led to excess and intemperance, and all the evils that followed in their train. When they came to the clubs they had precisely the same objects in view. On the one hand, they had not the faintest disposition to interfere with a perfectly legitimate movement — a movement of the people to assemble together for the purposes of discussion, companionship, and study. The Government would do nothing—and if it could be shown that they were doing anything in that sense they would modify their Bill—to interfere with the legitimate growth of what they regarded as a natural social tendency. It was cant, however, to deny that those excellent institutions were capable of being grossly abused, and of taking the place of the very public-houses that they were suppressing because they presented undue temptations and excessive facilities for the consumption of drink. That could not be denied. The Government were endeavouring to strengthen the law of clubs so that, while not interfering with the right of association, they might prevent the establishment, under the cloak of that association, of drinking shops. They did not believe that in any one of the provisions of the clauses which were now to come under discussion they had advanced one inch beyond what was needed to attain that end. They were all based upon the common principle that, while they should admit in the fullest and freest sense those associations of all classes of society, they must take adequate precautions, impartially disstributed and administered, not directed, to one class of clubs—the rich man's or the poor man's—rather than to another, not directed to one object of association, political, social or religious—but applied equally and impartially to all classes of clubs, whatever their composition and ostensible object, which should secure adequate safeguards against this great and growing evil, the excessive supply of intoxicating liquor. He had 1277 necessarily dealt with what were almost platitudes, because he believed the principles he had been laying down would be accepted by nine-tenths of the Members of the House in whatever quarter. That being so, he appealed to the House to pass from these general considerations to the particular provisions, in order to see how far the principles he had outlined were carried out by their legislation.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
assured the right hon. Gentleman that all of them must appreciate the difficulty under which the Prime Minister laboured when he had to go through a vast mass of business and at the same time to conduct a controversial Bill through the House. His absence on this occasion he particularly regretted, because he thought the right hon. Gentleman missed the point which he had endeavoured to lay before the Committee. He had told them with perfect truth that the Gentlemen sitting on that Bench were responsible for legislation dealing with the good order of clubs. But let it be remembered that the Act of 1902 was passed when there was none of this coercing restriction upon the general public in regard to public-house accommodation. After the Act of 1904, although licences were largely diminished, the magistrates were specially instructed to have regard to the views and wants of the neighbourhood, and they were not obliged, as they were under this Bill, to make a reduction, which, were it good or bad, was to be wholly mechanical. Let the Committee observe the bearing of that important fact upon the relation between our system of law with regard to licensed premises and our system of law with regard to clubs. The right hon. Gentleman said that they, as much as his own friends, were responsible for the desire to prevent what he called indefinite multiplication of clubs. That, he thought, was not a fair account of the policy of the late Government. They did not at all mind clubs being indefinitely multiplied, only they wanted them to be real clubs—clubs where the consumption of alcohol might, indeed, go on, but with the social life which, in his opinion, should be an accompaniment of the consumption of alcohol. That was all their anxiety. This was a conviction which he held more strongly 1278 than almost any other upon this very difficult question of the consumption of alcohol—that what they ought to encourage was such habits among the people that they did not go and drink alcohol merely for the purpose of drinking alcohol, but that when they consumed alcohol they should do it as part of the general social life of the community. That was what he thought they ought to make their public-houses. He did not think the public-houses were now mere drinking shops, and he was quite certain that they ought to aim at such an arrangement that they should not be drinking shops. The old inns of the country and many public-houses in the town and in the country were centres of quite genuine, respectable, and estimable social life. That was true also of the clubs; but if they were going artificially to restrict social life carried on in those conditions in public-houses by the earlier clauses in this Bill, then it was preposterous to give the freedom which was left untouched by the Act of 1902, and which the right hon. Gentleman wished to leave untouched by this Bill, but which he could not leave untouched if his whole scheme was to be logical, coherent, and self-consistent. The truth was that the admirable phrases which the right hon. Gentleman had used that evening in respect to clubs were totally inconsistent with the view that they ought to prevent the consumption of alcohol by all the means in their power in all places, and it was impossible for any mar who attempted to take a wide view of our laws to deal in the spirit in which the Government had dealt with licences in the first part of the Bill, and to do no more than the Government were now proposing to do for the diminution and suppression of clubs in the second part. The two things were absolutely inconsistent, and they were bound to make their legislation consistent. There were only two ways of doing so. The one was to level up their legislation in respect of clubs to the level of their legislation about licences; the other was to level down the legislation about licences so that it should not be entirely out of harmony with the legislation about clubs. These were the only alternatives open to those who wished to take a reasonable and logical 1279 view of this problem. He and his friends held the first view; his hon. friend held the second view; but the view which the Government took was utterly illogical and could not be defended. It had not been defended. The right hon. Gentleman in his speech did not even touch it. It was because he felt the gross inconsistency between the legislation of the Government in respect to licensed premises and their legislation with regard to clubs that he welcomed the opportunity which the Chairman had allowed, to ask the Committee to try and take that wider outlook of the whole area of legislation and of which he saw no signs in the speech of the Prime Minister, or indeed, if he might speak his whole mind, in any speech delivered from the other side of the House that evening. As to the subclause itself, he did not know that a division would be necessary. The object of his hon. friend in moving it was to obtain that general survey of which he and some of his friends had taken advantage, but which apparently hon. Gentlemen opposite did not wish to embark upon. Their reluctance was intelligible and even perhaps pardonable; but he did not think that they on that side of the House could pursue the matter much further. After the ineffectual protests which had been made and after the appeals which had been made two or three times had fallen on deaf ears, he gathered that no answer having been made no answer was possible.
§ *MR. EVELYN CECIL
said that after what his right hon. friend had said, and quite coincidently with his opinion, he begged leave to withdraw his Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ A number of Amendments on the Paper having been ruled out of order—
§ *Mr. EVELYN CECIL
moved to insert at the end of the first subsection: "The provisions of this part of this Act with regard to clubs shall not apply to any club against which no charge has been substantiated on any of the grounds mentioned in Section 28 of the Licensing Act, 1902, and which is managed by a committee periodically 1280 elected, to whom the secretary of the club is responsible, and which has been established for five years. Provided always that the justices in their discretion, shall have power to compel any such club to show cause why it should not come under the following provisions of this Act." He was, he said, glad that they had had the general discussion because it enabled the Under-Secretary to make an incidental observation with, regard to this Amendment which he thought of great importance as coming from the Government bench, but which he very respectfully submitted was not correct. The hon. Gentleman said that this Amendment was wholly illusory because, as it was proposed, the provisions of the Bill would not apply to any club against which no charge had been made on any of the grounds mentioned in the twenty-eighth section of the Act of 1902. If any charge was so made was substantiated, the Under-Secretary said that the club would ipso facto cease to exist. He did not agree with the hon. Gentleman that his Amendment was illusory. He had looked up the wording of Section 28, subsection (1) of the Act of 1902 which said that—Where a club has been registered in pursuance of this Act, a Court of Summary Jurisdiction, on complaint in writing by any person, may, if it thinks fit, make an order directing the club to be struck off the register on all or any of the following grounds.He did not understand that the club was necessarily struck off, but only if the Court thought fit. It seemed to him that the club would remain an existing club against which a charge had been substantiated under that subsection, but which had not been annihilated by a Court of Summary Jurisdiction. This, for instance, might well be the case under sub-clause (a) of Section 28 of the Act of 1902 if the number of members had temporarily sunk below twenty-five. Therefore his Amendment was not illusory, but was perfectly workable. That being so he hoped the Committee would adopt it. It was framed in no controversial spirit; on the contrary, its aim was to prevent that and to exempt bona fide clubs from coming under this clause in the Bill which harassed bad and bogus clubs. He had tried carefully to frame 1281 it so as to draw no distinction between rich and poor clubs. It had the support of the Working Men's Club and Institute Union and every other association of the kind so far as he was aware; and he had not seen or heard any really substantial objection taken to it which would justify its rejection by the Committee. An objection put forward against the Amendment was that it would give rise to certain privileged clubs. That was quite a false impression as he had already shown. If it was the desire of the House not unduly to annoy respectable clubs which had been well conducted, he thought the Committee would best carry out that object by accepting the Amendment which he had now the honour to move.
In page 18, line 4, at end, to insert the words 'but this provision shall not apply to any club against which no charge has been substantiated on any of the grounds mentioned in Section twenty-eight of the Licensing Act, 1902, and which is managed by a committee periodically elected to whom the secretary of the club is responsible, and which has been established for five years. Provided always that the justices shall in their discretion have power to require any such club to show cause why it should not come under the following provisions of this Act.'"—(Mr. Evelyn Cecil.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said that the purpose of the Amendment was governed by the words in the middle of its draft—Shall not apply to any club against which no charge has been substantiated on any of the grounds mentioned in Section 28 of the Licensing Act, 1902.As he understood it, it proposed that the provisions of this part of the Bill should not apply to any club about which a charge brought against it had not been substantiated. That would be to weaken very unduly the power conferred by this part of the Bill on the licensing justices. It would be absurd to say that until a club had been convicted of gross abuses it was not to be liable to the inspection which was to detect the abuses and not to be liable to the annual registration which gave the opportunity for objection to be made. 1282 Nor could he conceive that any Court would be justified, having once said that the club was guilty of abuses, in not striking that club off the register; but merely saying that it was to be liable to inspection and to have its registration annually renewed.
§ MR. EVELYN CECIL
said that if a club through accidental circumstances was reduced to twenty-four members, according to the clause it would be struck off the register under Section 28 of the Act of 1902; but supposing the number was increased immediately to twenty-six why should it be struck off the register?
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said that there must be some suitable limit and the number fixed by the Act of 1902 was twenty-five. If any club had less members than twenty-five it might be brought before a Court of Summary Jurisdiction and as a matter of fact it would be struck off the register.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN (Worcestershire, E.)
said that there was one club of which the hon. Gentleman knew which would not have fallen off the register because it had only twenty-four members.
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said the Government did not, of course, know of every case in which clubs were proceeded against before magistrates, but they were not aware of any case in which any charge under Section 28 of the Act of 1902 had been proved against a club, in which the magistrates had not struck it off the register. He could not say that there were no other cases; they had not information on all; but they had a very large number, seventy or eighty a year, in which charges under Section 28 were proved against clubs and the invariable result was that those clubs were struck off the register. It was intended under the Act of 1902 that if a club failed to conform with certain conditions, it should cease to exist. But if, for example, there was frequent drunkenness, or illegal sales of liquor had taken place, the Amendment proposed that the magistrates should have the option of 1283 saying that the club might continue, but it must be liable to annual inspection and so forth. A proposal of that kind would take all the substance out of the clause and limit their power to a bare minimum. Such being the case it could not be accepted by the Government.
§ SIR E. CARSON (Dublin University)
did not think the full meaning of this Amendment had yet been sufficiently developed, and he was not at all sure that a very much greater importance had been attached to it than was warranted by the Under-Secretary in the speech which he had just made. The Under-Secretary had said nothing about the words at the end of the proposed subsection—Provided always that the justices shall in their discretion have power to require any such club to show cause why it should not come under the following provisions of this Act.That left it open to the justices at any time if there was any suspicion whatever as regards the club to summon it to show cause why it should not come within the provisions of the Act. That was the whole distinction between the Bill and the Amendment; his hon. friend said that a club which had hitherto been well conducted and against which there was no black mark in the nature of a conviction under the 28th Section of the Act of 1902, ought not to be asked to come yearly like a public-house before licensing justices at licensing sessions for the purpose of having the whole of its circumstances inquired into at the instance of any person in the neighbourhood who wished for inquiry. What the Amendment proposed was that as long as a club was well conducted it should not have to go through that form, but on the other hand, it allowed the magistrates, if they had any suspicion, or if there had been a conviction under Section 28, to summon the club to show cause why it should not come within the provisions of this Act. He thought the point was a very small one; it was really a matter of the inconvenience and expense with regard to registration, and he should have thought it was well worth considering by the Under-Secretary, whether he ought to put a club which was well conducted and which had nothing against it and 1284 which the magistrates did not even suspect, to the trouble of re-registration at all.
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said as he read the proviso it only related to "any such club," that was to say, a club which had already been condemned under the Act of 1902.
§ SIR E. CARSON
said he did not read it that way, although it might be so. He should think not. He thought "any such club" meant a club under the proposed subsection. He did not read it in the way the hon. Gentleman read it, but it could be made perfectly clear by the omission of the word "such." What they put before the Under-Secretary was simply that he ought not to put upon a club the burden of having this unnecessary annual renewal, at an annual licensing session, like a public-house, when there was nothing to complain of in regard to it. So far as he was concerned, the great objection that he had to this part of the Bill was that they were gradually building up as regards clubs exactly the same methods as, in reference to public-houses, had led to a claim to be compensated, in regard to which they had had such difficulties to deal with. What did the Government propose to do? They were going to have an annual licensing session as regards clubs, and to his mind the great mischief of that was, that people would think that as they had got this registration as a kind of title-deed from the Government, it was a monstrous hardship to interfere with them under any circumstances whatsoever. Anybody who had ever practised at licensing sessions, as he had in his younger days, and he thought his hon. friend on the other side had occasionally sat opposite to him there—anybody who had watched and seen the appeals that were made by reason of the moneys expended on the faith of these annual grants, as they were called, must know that a great many difficulties were built up by reason of the increased obligations put upon licensed houses, by virtue of successive Acts passed by Parliament. They were beginning to do exactly the same thing now as regards these clubs, and people 1285 would imagine that the moment they got this registration at the annual licensing session they had the same kind of property which had grown up in relation to public-houses. For his own part, he did not believe that any one of these methods that the Government were laying down would have the slightest effect as regards clubs. The stringent provisions of the Act of 1902 entitled a police officer to get a search warrant and go into a club. What had that availed? Absolutely nothing; and he would tell them why in a moment. Clubs had gone on and were going on increasing—and the Prime Minister; himself in introducing this Bill drew attention to that — even since the Act of 1902, which had put down a larger number of them than ever before. The increase of clubs had been most remarkable in various places. The truth of the matter was that there was only one way in which they could deal with these clubs, and that was if they were drinking clubs, they must prosecute them for selling drink without a licence. If they were not drinking clubs, they could not interfere with them, and anything they provided about annual registration, or anything else, would weaken the idea of prosecuting them as drinking clubs, because in such cases people would say that there was a licence, and they could not go behind the licence granted to them at the annual licensing sessions. Whereas if a club were occasionally; prosecuted, as they always could be if I they were drinking clubs, they did not lead people to believe that just because they had got a certificate of registration they could sell drink with impunity in spite of the police. Therefore, so far as he was concerned, he attached very little importance to any of the restrictions which were attempted to be set up by this Bill, and as he believed they would be entirely ineffectual as against clubs which were not bona fide he should, on this part of the Bill, endeavour to mitigate inconveniences and impertinences as regards clubs which were really bona fide clubs, who ought to have the right to go on and carry out their social arrangements without interference by the police or anybody else.
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said that on reading the proviso more carefully he 1286 thought the words "any such club" meant clubs against which no charge had been substantiated. The Amendment was, therefore, unacceptable for a different reason from the one he gave, inasmuch as it would cast upon the justices the invidious duty of picking out these clubs and saying to other clubs that their registration need not be annually renewed. It would cast upon the justices the duty which no bench would willingly have placed upon it, of saying which clubs were to come up for annual renewal. Of course, in the case of an ordinary club, in reference to which there was no suspicion, the renewal would be merely formal.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
said the Under-Secretary, in his reply, had confined his consideration largely, if not mainly, to one condition in the argument of his hon. friend, viz., that no objection should have been taken to a club which was managed by a committee periodically elected, to whom the secretary of the club was responsible. There was, however, one matter which deserved attention before he finally made up his mind not to accept the Amendment, and that was, that these clubs must have existed for five years—that was to say that during five years it had been possible for anyone to object to them under the Act of 1902. Any such clubs would not only have been in existence before this Bill came into operation, but before the Act of 1904, so that not one of the clubs as defined in the hon. Member's Amendment could have been erected as a substitute for a public-house. He thought that pat them in another category than the clubs which the Government had in mind, viz., clubs where public-houses or drinking shops had previously been carried on.
§ THE SOLICITOR-GENERAL (Sir S. EVANS,) Glamorganshire, Mid.
thought it would be impossible to work this Amendment even if it were accepted by the Government. The right hon. Gentleman had said quite truly that there were three conditions before a club got into the category of the house contemplated by the Amendment. It must, first of all, be a club against which no charge had been substantiated under the Act of 1902, and also a club managed 1287 by a committee periodically elected, to whom the secretary of the club was responsible, and it must also have been in existence five years. That, no doubt, restricted the number of clubs to some extent, but he submitted that no reason had been given for making a distinction between these clubs and the other clubs. A club which had been established since 1904 might be just as respectable as any of these. But he thought that in practice in addition to its being invidious to call upon the justices to do it, it would be impossible. How were the justices to know the facts about a particular club to see if it came within this category? Then there was the general objection to making any distinction between club and club in regard to annual registration, and he pointed out in addition to the argument of his hon. friend that neither in the Scottish Act nor in the earlier Act which required registration was there any distinction of this kind.
§ MR. SEAVERNS (Lambeth, Brixton)
asked whether before the Committee went to a division on this question, the Government could give some further information as to the nature of the authority before whom these clubs would appear. It was very material to his decision, because he was one of those who objected most strongly to the licensing justices being that authority. If there was an authority which from his point of view was more satisfactory he would be pleased to support this registration; otherwise he would have to vote against it.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ *MR. GRETTON (Rutland)
moved to add at the end of subsection (1) the words "except such clubs and places as may be carried on under the King's Regulations by the naval and military forces." This Amendment raised a question which had been one of the difficulties of the Act of 1902. It had been forced upon his notice owing to his connection with the Volunteer force now extinct. Most battalions had a mess, where alcoholic liquors were supplied, which was open when military work was going forward or when military lectures were being 1288 given, and it had never been settled as to whether these were not, technically, clubs. These messes were now carried on in accordance with the King's Regulations, and it could not be said that the control was vested in a committee. They were actually under the control of the commanding officer, and the management of the mess was under the control of the treasurer who was appointed from a roster by the commanding officer. These clubs or messes did not comply with the regulations laid down in this Bill, and it was doubtful whether they could comply with the provisions of the Act of 1902. The Amendment raised the whole question of the position of the messes carried on in accordance with the King's Regulations for the naval and military forces, also those established in naval towns for naval officers and men employed ashore. The matter was an important one, and it was desirable that it should be cleared up. He begged to move.
In page 18, line 4, at end, to insert the words 'except such clubs and messes as may be carried on under the King's Regulations for the naval and military forces.'"—(Mr. Gretton.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ SIR S. EVANS
said the hon. Member was perfectly within his rights in handing in this manuscript Amendment, but the Government would certainly have liked a little more notice with regard to a matter which the hon. Gentleman himself admitted was rather technical. They did not make in this Bill any alteration as to the kind of club that was to be on the register. All they sought to provide was that there should be annual registration of the clubs which were required to be registered under the Act of 1902. Those clubs which were not required to be registered under that Act did not require to be registered under this Bill. There was no exception of these messes under the Act of 1902 or the Irish and Scottish Acts of 1903 and 1904. The probability was that they were not "clubs" at all within the meaning of Section 24 of the Act of 1904. He was afraid he could not agree to this exception now raised for the first time.
§ SIR E. CARSON
agreed that the new Act did not make any difference with regard to the class of clubs to be registered. All it did was to substitute an annual registration before the licensing justices before whom any fanatic might appear and object to the whole of the clubs. He also agreed that there was no exception in the Act of 1902. He did not know what difference the Territorial Act might make, but it might be worth while to consider, when these elaborate provisions were being made, whether it would not be well to make this exception and exempt these messes from the operations of the Bill and the Act of 1902. There was a precedent for that, because if the hon. and learned Gentleman would look at the Act of 1902 he would see that naval and military canteens did not require a licence, so that there was already an exception made in regard to naval and military canteens.
§ SIR SAMUEL SCOTT (Marylebone, W.)
did not think the hon. and learned Solicitor-General quite appreciated the conditions under which military training took place. The Yeomanry, for instance, went out for annual training for a fortnight. Was the officers' mess which was carried on during the time of the annual training to be registered as a club? He urged the Government, if they could not accept the Amendment now, to consider the technical difficulties and on the Report stage do something to meet the points which had been raised.
§ EARL WINTERTON
desired to ask, speaking as a member of a Territorial Association, and as a yeoman of some years standing, whether a meeting of the sergeants or non-commissioned officers of a company in the Territorial Forces, held one night a week in a room in the drill hall, would come under the description of a naval and military canteen? Some hon. Members seemed inclined to jeer, but it was rather an important question affecting a large number of naval and military clubs and might, he admitted, require some time to study. Would such a club meeting in a room which was the property of the Territorial Association come under the provisions of the Act of 1902? If they 1290 would, he ventured to think the law should be altered. Under the Territorial Army Act the whole of the Territorial Army was made directly responsible to the Territorial Association and the War Office. If they proceeded on the same lines with regard to the Territorial Army as with regard to the Regular Army, the commanding officer would be directly responsible for every thing that took place in his regiment; and it would be illogical to insist upon a club within a regiment going and asking the licensing justices to register them. The matter should be purely in the discretion of the commanding officer. It would be unfortunate if they made a distinction between a club in the Regular Army and one in the Territorial Army. He therefore wished to ask whether or not the clubs of the Territorial Army would come under the law as it stood.
§ MR. LYTTELTON (St. George's, Hanover Square)
said this matter required a little more consideration than had been given to it, though he did not say anything at all against the Government on that account, because the Amendment had been brought before them suddenly. By Section 28 of the Act of 1902, subsection (a), it was made an offence for a club to have less than twenty-five members. Probably the Solicitor-General would not agree with that description, but at any rate, it was a ground for striking it off the register. He would further point out to the hon. and learned Gentleman, though he had not a wide knowledge of regimental matters, that few messes contained twenty-five members or had a secretary. He thought that many of the provisions of the Act of 1902 were entirely inappropriate to military and naval clubs. It would be ridiculous for a mess to be brought forward every year at the meeting of the licensing justices, and that these clubs for social purposes should be made illegal because they had no secretary or because they had not a membership of twenty-five. These observations would be still more applicable to the Yeomanry, who only met for training once a year. He pressed the Government not to commit themselves on this 1291 subject, but to consider the omission of these bodies on the Report stage.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
said the Secretary of State for War considered the Territorial Force to be the second line of the Regular Army. All the members of these messes received a messing allowance—that was to say, the Crown was giving a sum of money per head as messing allowance to every one of the members of these messes. He wished to know whether the discretion of the Crown in regard to these messes was to be brought up year by year before a bench of licensing justices.
§ SIR S. EVANS
said he did not pretend to be an authority upon military matters. It was one of the concerns on which he gave up his functions to the Secretary for War. On the legal question, he did not think there was really any difficulty. He should doubt very much, from the description he had heard of the places where the messes were held, whether they would require registration under the Act of 1902. He was quite willing to make inquiry into the matter, and he would trouble his guide, philosopher, and friend the Secretary for War in that part of his military duties. As to the general question he could only say, with reference to the limit of membership to twenty-five, that it was not necessary and he did not think the Under-Secretary had said so. The provision in Section 28 of the Act of 1902 only meant that if a club had gone down in membership, if there was a number remaining of members of the club not coming up to twenty-five, the justices could take that into consideration in connection with other circumstances attaching to the club, in arriving at their decision. He did not think there was any difficulty, but he would go into the question and give further information.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said they were very much obliged to the hon. and learned Gentleman for his offer of information. There was a question of policy and a question of interpretation of the law. On the latter question he agreed that the hon. and learned Gentleman must have time to consider this rather difficult point. 1292 They recognised that the Treasury Bench did not possess that gift of rapid interpretation of Amendments not put down on the Paper which was expected from the Opposition. Therefore, on the question of interpretation, they were all in favour of giving the hon. and learned Gentleman time to consider. But on the question of policy he would like to know now what was the intention of the Government. Supposing these messes proved to be technically clubs, would the Government so alter the Act of 1902 that they could no longer be treated technically as clubs? At any rate, it was a mistake. No human being ever wanted to turn messes into clubs, and he was sure it would be a wrong policy to do so. All he asked the hon. and learned Gentleman to do was to inquire whether messes were technically clubs, and if they were, to bring up an Amendment on Report to correct what was evidently a legislative error, now that they were revising that legislation.
§ SIR S. EVANS
did not think he could give a pledge to alter the status of clubs as required for registration under the Act of 1902. The Government had adopted that Act, which required not only registration but "annual renewal thereof."
§ *MR. GRETTON
failed to understand why the Government should not look into this question, which really went further and presented greater difficulties than the Solicitor-General seemed to think. He apologised for having put down the Amendment in manuscript, but in the circumstances he thought he must ask his hon. friends to go into the division lobby with him. Before doing so, he would point out there were two problems involved in this question of military messes and clubs. There was the problem as to the battalion or unit, or whatever it might be, when embodied and under canvas. Clearly under such circumstances no question of a club could arise. But there was the other circumstance, that there was usually a club for the men and sometimes also for officers in connection with a Territorial battalion. Under the Territorial Forces Act, and under military law, there was the 1293 case of non-commissioned officers belonging to the battalion who were accustomed to meet in a building which might come under the definition of a club under the Act of 1902, and for safety, under that Act, they had been careful, acting on the advice of counsel, to have such buildings registered as clubs. The annual registration could not, he thought, be carried out in accordance with the Bill before the Committee. Those clubs, being under military law, could not comply with the provisions for registration. The case must be very carefully gone into and the Solicitor-General should give a pledge that it would be considered.
§ SIR S. EVANS
That is what I did. [Cries of "No."] If I did give a pledge, I repeat it; if I did not, I now give it.
§ SIR E. CARSON
said they all thought that the hon. and learned Gentleman had given a pledge, but when his right hon. friend had asked for a declaration on the matter of policy, viz., as to whether these naval and military clubs and messes were to be excluded, he said he would not exclude them.
§ SIR E. CARSON
The hon. and learned Gentleman said he could not exclude them; but he might be wrong in that, and he wished to know whether or not what he had said was right or wrong. What he understood was that the Solicitor-General was to make legal research as to whether these messes were within the Act of 1902 or not, and whether, if they were, he could alter the law. It was a very important matter as to whether these messes of the Army and Navy were to be carried on under King's Regulations. It was important for the House to consider and to have it declared specifically whether these clubs were to come under all the various terms which they were now enacting as regards ordinary clubs. Were they to understand that the pledge was that the policy and not merely the law would be considered?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. MCKENNA,) Monmouthshire, N.
said the Government would approach the question of policy with a perfectly open mind. His hon. friend 1294 had given a pledge to consider the law and get to the bottom of the question as to whether these messes were or were not included in the definition in the Act of 1902. Should it be found that they were included the Government would approach the question with a perfectly open mind and consider the desirability of excluding them from the definition of clubs. The Committee, however, must understand that they were now using a word which had no precise meaning, and it would be perfectly impossible for the Government to give a pledge that anything which called itself a mess would be excluded. They would consider whether a definition could be properly found which would exclude combinations which were now termed "messes" which ought to be excluded from the Act of 1902, and if a solution was possible to be found they would find it. It would be improper so long as the term "mess" was undefined, for the Government to give a pledge and say that all messes should be excluded hereafter from the definition of clubs.
§ *MR. RUPERT GUINNESS (Shoreditch, Haggerston)
wished to remind the First Lord of the Naval Volunteer Reserve and to ask that it should share in any privileges which were granted to the Territorial Forces.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
pressed the Government in no unfriendly spirit to go a little further than they had done. It was perfectly natural that they should require time either to ascertain the exact condition of the law now or to ascertain the exact form of words which might make the law what they desired to see it. Surely it was not unreasonable to ask them, before parting with the Amendment, to give a definite pledge that the messes in clubs carried on under the King's Regulations—not anything which called itself a mess, as the First Lord of the Admiralty said—should be excluded from these restrictions and conditions which were never intended to apply to them. Unless the Government would give them that assurance and say that if they found they were not already excluded they would take steps on the Report stage to exclude them he hoped his hon. friend would go to a division, and they, at any 1295 rate, would assert their view that, whatever the law was, they were never intended to be included and ought not to be included.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 101; Noes, 257. (Division List No. 326.)1297
|Agnew, George William||Faber, George Denison (York)||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Faber, Capt, W. V. (Hants, W.)||Ratcliff, Major R. F.|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major||Fell, Arthur||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Fletcher, J. S.||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Armitage, R.||Freeman-Thomas, Freeman||Renton, Leslie|
|Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir H.||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Roberts, S. (Sheffieid, Ecclesall)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham)||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (City Lond.)||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Rose, Charles Day|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George.||Gretton, John||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Guinness, Hn. R. (Haggerston)||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Baring, Capt. Hn. G. (Winchester||Guinness, W. E. (Bury S. Edm.)||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashf'rd)||Stanier, Beville|
|Beach, Hn. Michael Hugh Hicks||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.)|
|Beck, A. Cecil||Helmsley, Viscount||Starkey, John R.|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Hill, Sir Clement||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staff'sh.)|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Hills, J. W.||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Houston, Robert Paterson||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.|
|Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. H. M.||Joynson-Hicks, William||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Lanark)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Keswick, William||Thornton, Pery M.|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Kimber, Sir Henry||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Cave, George||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Watt, Henry A.|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Lockwood, Rt. Hn. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Whitbread, Howard|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Worc||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Clive, Percy Archer||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Winterton, Earl|
|Collings, Rt. Hn. J. (Birmingh'm||Marks, H. H. (Kent)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Young, Samuel|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.||Younger, George|
|Cross, Alexander||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Morrison-Bell, Captain||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir|
|Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan||Napier, T. B.||Alexander Acland-Hood and|
|Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)||Viscount Valentia.|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Branch, James||Curran, Peter Francis|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Brigg, John||Davies, David (Montgomery Co)>|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Brocklehurst, W. B.||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Brooke, Stopford||Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)|
|Alden, Percy||Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Bryce, J. Annan||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles|
|Armstrong, W. C. Heaton||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Dobson, Thomas W.|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Donelan, Captain A.|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry||Byles, William Pollard||Duckworth, James|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Cameron, Robert||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Cawley, Sir Frederick||Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)|
|Barker, John||Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Clough, William||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)|
|Barnard, E. B.||Clynes, J. R.||Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward|
|Barnes, G. N.||Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Erskine, David C.|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Essex, R. W.|
|Beale, W. P.||Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W.||Esslemont, George Birnie|
|Bell, Richard||Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Evans, Sir Samuel T.|
|Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonp'rt||Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinst'd||Everett, R. Lacey|
|Benn, W. (T'w'r Hamlets, S. Geo.||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Fenwick, Charles|
|Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romf'rd||Cory, Sir Clifford John||Ferguson, R. C. Munro|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Findlay, Alexander|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Crooks, William||Fuller, John Michael F.|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Crosfield, A. H.||Fullerton, Hugh|
|Brace, William||Crossley, William J.||Gibb, James (Harrow)|
|Gill, A. H.||M'Callum, John M.||Seddon, J.|
|Glen-Coats, Sir T. (Renfrew, W.||M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Seely, Colonel|
|Glendinning, R. G.||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Shackleton, David James|
|Glover, Thomas||M'Micking, Major G.||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Mallet, Charles E.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick B.|
|Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Manfield, Harry (Northants)||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Greenwood, Hamar (York)||Markham, Arthur Basil||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John|
|Gulland, John W.||Marnham, F. J.||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||Massie, J.||Snowden, P.|
|Hall, Frederick||Masterman, C. F. G.||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hn. L. (Rossendale||Micklem, Nathaniel||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Middlebrook, William||Stanger, H. Y.|
|Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Molteno, Percy Alport||Steadman, W. C.|
|Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)||Mond, A.||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r.)||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Stuart, James (Sunderland)|
|Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.||Murray, Capt. Hn. A. C. (Kincard.||Summerbell, T.|
|Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Myer, Horatio||Sutherland, J. E.|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||Nicholls, George||Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury|
|Helme, Norval Watson||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncast'r||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Thomasson, Franklin|
|Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Nuttall, Harry||Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset, E.|
|Higham, John Sharp||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Hobart, Sir Robert||O'Grady, J.||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||Parker, James (Halifax)||Torrance, Sir A. M.|
|Hodge, John||Partington, Oswald||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Holt, Richard Dinning||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Verney, F. W.|
|Hope, W. Bateman (Somerset, N.)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Horniman, Emslie John||Perks, Sir Robert William||Walsh, Stephen|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Philipps, Col. Ivor (S'thampton)||Walton, Joseph|
|Hudson, Walter||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Wardle, George J.|
|Hutton, Alfred Eddison||Pollard, Dr.||Wason, Rt. Hn. E. (Clackmannan|
|Hyde, Clarendon||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Jacoby, Sir James Alfred||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central)||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Priestley, W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Radford, G. H.||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Rainy, A. Rolland||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro'||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Jowett, F. W.||Richards, Thomas (W. Monm'th)||Whittaker, Rt. Hn. Sir Thomas P.|
|Kearley, Sir Hudson E.||Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Kelley, George D.||Richardson, A.||Wilkie, Alexander|
|King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Ridsdale, E. A.||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Laidlaw, Robert||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Lambert, George||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradfrd.||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Lamont, Norman||Robinson, S.||Wilson, Henry J. (York. W. R.)|
|Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich||Robson, Sir William Snowdon||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.)|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Roe, Sir Thomas||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Rogers, F. E. Newman||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Lupton, Arnold||Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.||Winfrey, R.|
|Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Lynch, H. B.||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)|
|Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr.|
|Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk B'ghs)||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)||Joseph Pease and Master of|
|Maclean, Donald||Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne||Elibank.|
|Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Seaverns, J. H.|
§ MR. HART-DAVIES
moved to leave out "licensing justices" and insert "local stipendiary magistrate or local Court of Summary Jurisdiction." He said that he was inclined to think from something which had fallen from the Prime Minister earlier in the afternoon that the Government were prepared 1298 to meet this point by accepting his Amendment. He did not mean to insinuate that the licensing justices would act with partiality, but those interested in clubs felt that these proposals contained very serious restrictions which ought to be decided in a strictly judicial way. Licensing justices were not always 1299 appointed on account of their knowledge of the law. He had known instances where their knowledge of the law was rather bad. Consequently the clubs felt that this was a matter of paramount importance; they desired the matter to be decided on strictly legal grounds and they did not feel confident that they would obtain such a decision at the hands of the licensing justices. They considered that under this proposal there would be a danger of a certain amount of prejudice on the part of the licensing justices. Under the present system justices were appointed a good deal on political grounds, and a very large number of workmen's clubs were political clubs. Consequently those interested in clubs felt that, insensibly perhaps, the licensing justices might be influenced by their political prejudices and views, and be apt not to take a fair view of the position of the club brought before them. Consequently they felt that the matter ought to be settled on strictly judicial lines, as they were not sure of getting such an absolutely clear and legal decision at the hands of the licensing justices as at the hands of stipendiary magistrates. In London the Court would be presided over by the local stipendiary magistrate in whom they had every confidence, but in the country it would be the justices. There was a difference between the justices sitting as licensing magistrates and sitting at petty sessions, because at the latter Court they were supposed to be governed by the laws of evidence and people had a much fairer show if they came up before petty sessions than if they were tried before the licensing justices. He hoped the Government would regard this Amendment favourably; if they did it would carry very great weight. He thought his Amendment would strengthen the Bill and also the hands of the Government in dealing with this question.
In page 18, line 7, to leave out the words 'licensing justices,' and to insert the words 'local stipendiary magistrate or local Court of Summary Jurisdiction.'"—(Mr. Hart-Davies.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the clause."1300
§ *MR. BARNES (Glasgow, Blackfriars)
said he supported the Amendment, and he did so with the concurrence of the Club and Institute Association and all his colleagues. What they had to bear in mind was not only the absence of legal knowledge on the licensing bench, but there was also a fear that the decisions of the licensing justices were not always in accordance with the requirements of the situation. In many cases the licensing justices were guided more or less by pressure of local prejudice or financial interest. The fear the club authorities had in their minds was that the licensing justices, having little or no knowledge of law, and being unaccustomed to the sifting of evidence, were more or less guided by local prejudice on the one side or financial interest on the other. The licensing justices were sometimes "got at" by the teetotal advocates in a particular district, and by the public-house interest in other districts, and consequently they were not in a position to give an unbiassed opinion. This particular Amendment brought up the whole question of the attitude of the Committee with regard to clubs and public-houses. On the Labour benches they were not at all afraid of the multiplication of clubs. They thought that the public-house was not a desirable place. Even the Leader of the Opposition thought that some of the public-houses had become more or less intolerable places. Having regard to all the circumstances he thought public-houses would have to remain in that unsatisfactory condition. He heard the right hon. Gentleman on the front Opposition bench speak of public-houses as being on the whole very nice places. Some of them in the country where he used to live were, and in his younger cycling days he had spent many happy hours in country inns over his bread and cheese and beer. The right hon. Gentleman appeared to imagine there were such places still. Perhaps there were, but they were not in the populous places. He would like to take the right hon. Gentleman to some of the public-houses in the Walworth Road or in Whitechapel on a Saturday night, and he would very soon alter his opinion as to the character of some public-houses. That was a very regrettable state of things, but he considered it was inevitable as 1301 long as public-houses were carried on exclusively for profit. Everything was subordinated to the selling of liquor. There was no artistic decoration, little cleanliness, or order except that imposed by the public authority. The publican himself had ceased to be anything but an agent of a monopolist brewer or distiller, and had but one object, namely, the making of profit for his employer by the sale of alcohol. For those reasons he and his friends believed in the policy of the Government in the way of limiting the number of those places because they believed the public-houses were bad, and that they must remain so until they were fundamentally altered in character. The way they desired to have public-houses altered was by the elimination of the element of profit altogether, and making them places where those who kept them would have nothing to serve but the public interest, and the Labour Party knew that neither the Government nor the regular Opposition favoured that policy yet.
Order, order. The hon. Member is getting very wide of the question before the Committee.
§ *MR. BARNES
said he was trying to make his point that the whole thing hinged upon this Amendment as to whether it was desirable to encourage clubs or not. He thought it was desirable to encourage clubs, and therefore it was not desirable to put any restrictions in the way of clubs increasing in number. Under the Bill as it was framed there was an element of uncertainty, because clubs in one place might be dealt with on one principle where the licensing justices were made up of teetotallers, and in another on quite another principle, when the licensing justices were made up of a different set of men altogether. In that respect they thought the Bill was unsatisfactory, and they wished to amend it in the manner suggested because they thought under this Amendment the club people would have the assurance that their application would be made to those who had had a legal training, and were accustomed to sifting evidence, and consequently would be more likely to deal more justly with their application. Briefly, those were the grounds on which 1302 they supported this Amendment. They wished the Amendment to be passed, because they believed that sobriety, order, and the taste of the people would be improved, by the substitution of clubs for social intercourse, and healthy, stimulating enjoyment in the place of public-houses for the sale of liquor alone.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said that everybody who had listened to the speech of the hon. Member who had last spoken would agree that it was full of instruction to those who had been following the course of the Bill. He avowed that his desire was not to diminish the number of places where alcohol could be sold, or the facilities with which it could be sold, but only to substitute clubs where there was no public supervision for public-houses where there was. That general policy was consistent neither with the speeches by which the Bill had been defended by its authors and supporters nor with the support which hon. Gentlemen below the gangway had given to it.
§ MR. BARNES
thought what he had said was perfectly consistent, if the right hon. Gentleman would remember that they had Amendments later on the Paper and were going to support others for the prevention of the abuse of clubs.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
appreciated the hon. Gentleman's position, and in a certain sense he had some sympathy with him. As this discussion went on he was more and more convinced that the House was on the wrong tack in its endeavour to make the place where the population could only get alcoholic liquor intolerably inconvenient in point of accommodation and absolutely divorced from every other form of entertainment which could be obtained in clubs. Therefore in that sense he had considerable sympathy with the hon. Gentleman. Then the hon. Gentleman told them that he greatly desired this Amendment because they could trust the stipendiary magistrate, but not the licensing magistrates; that the licensing justices were gentlemen liable to have their judgments perverted either by the desire to placate the public-householder on the one side or the teetotal faddist on the other. That, he thought, was the view of the hon. Gentleman. If that was an accurate 1303 account of the licensing justices, how on earth could the hon. Gentleman support a Bill which handed over such an enormous amount of the property of licence-holders to their unfettered control? He confessed he was puzzled beyond measure at the combination of enthusiastic support of His Majesty's Government which the hon. Gentleman had shown by his votes and the very chill approval of the Government principles which he had shown by his speech. He did not at all deny that the hon. Gentleman's position might be consistent; he might have a general coherent view of the whole problem of selling liquor in the country which might be held consistently with the support of the Bill. What was that view? It was that they should substitute in every case a club for a public-house—that every citizen of this country whom they deprived of the power of going to a public-house should have in exchange the right of going to a club. That was the hon. Gentleman's idea, and it might be a good idea, but it was wholly inconsistent with the idea that they ought to deal with the liquor trade of this country, and with the sale of liquor, in all particulars so that those who would be inclined to exceed the measure of sobriety should be precluded from so doing, and that they should be supported and assisted in their refusal to yield to temptation by policemen on the one side and by magistrates on the other. Very likely there might be something to be said for this Amendment. He did not know in the least what course the Government would take, but he did not think the speech of the hon. Gentleman should be allowed to pass without pointing out the extraordinary light it threw on the general attitude of those who said that they specially represented working men, and who, he believed, did represent working men in their clear determination that, whether in the public-house or out of the public-house, they were not to be deprived of the right which every other class of the community enjoyed, and of which he agreed it would be a monstrous thing to deprive them.
§ *MR. VERNEY (Buckinghamshire, N.)
said the very existence of a club when 1304 this Bill became law would depend on registration, and that was what made the clause now before the Committee very important. He entirely endorsed what was said by the hon. Member for the Blackfriars division that those who represented clubs were all asking the Government to give clubs in this matter a Court which they would respect and willingly obey. Clubs and public-houses were to be distinguished, and particularly in this respect. The licensing justices had an entirely different duty to perform from that of deciding whether a club was to be registered, or whether the registration was to be renewed. The licensing justices, he understood, had to decide only whether a public-house was necessary in a particular district, or whether the holder of a licence had committed any breach of the law or of the conditions imposed by the licence. Important as that duty was, it was entirely different from that which would, be performed by the Court which had to decide whether a club was to be registered or not, or whether the registration was to be renewed. He asked that the House should consider whether there could not be supplied from the beginning such a tribunal as would be regularly and willingly obeyed by the members of clubs. There was nothing so good in a community as a good club, and nothing such an intolerable curse as a bad club. If a working man got drunk in a club, he was a traitor to his class and to his club, because he brought down a penalty on many who were perfectly innocent, for only a small percentage of drunkenness in a club was sufficient to condemn it as an evil in the community. He had known excellent clubs which had done much to further the cause of temperance, and they would continue to do so if they were left alone. On the other hand, he had known clubs which had really become a regular curse in the district to which they belonged, not because a majority of the members were misbehaving themselves, but because a small minority dragged down the character of the club. What really determined the character of a club? There were two or three points of vital importance. There should be an excellent manager and there should also be a first rate committee.
The hon. Member is really going far beyond the scope of the Amendment before the Committee.
§ *MR. VERNEY
said his main point was that the licensing justices were for many reasons not the best tribunal to deal with the question of club registration. Some months ago a Conference was held in a Committee-room of the House at which members of clubs from many parts of the country appeared. They included the representatives of a political club in process of formation in a village in Surrey. A deputy stated that it was proposed to establish a Radical club in that village, and that in Surrey the licensing justices were all Conservatives. In that particular instance they could not expect for entirely impartial treatment in a matter which ought to be considered purely judicially. He was not saying that that was the general case. He was ready to admit that there were many magistrates who would do their best to decide on purely judicial lines, but at the same time, in view of exceptions such as he had stated, it was surely well to avoid even the shadow of partiality by providing a tribunal which would be free from any kind of political or other bias which might interfere with purely judicial action.
§ MR. LAMBTON (Durham, S.E.)
said he would like to put a question to the hon. Member for the Blackfriars division of Glasgow, who had said that the licensing justices were generally actuated by prejudice or a desire for profit.
§ *MR. BARNES
No, Sir. I carefully guarded myself against saying anything of the kind. I said that those responsible for the management of clubs had that fear in their minds.
§ MR. LAMBTON
said the hon. Gentleman expressed their feeling, evidently thinking that there was some foundation for it. He would like to ask the hon. Member why he did not vote for the Amendment of Clause 20 which gave to the licensing justices the fullest power to decide upon the property of other people, and upon the conditions to be attached to every public-house, subject to no appeal except to the Com- 1306 missioners appointed under this Bill. If they were not fit to undertake the duty of registering clubs, then he said that the hon. Member, who had supported clauses giving them more important duties, had no right to take part in this discussion.
§ MR. H. J. WILSON (Yorkshire, W.R., Holmfirth)
said he wished to state his experience in Sheffield, where he lived. The Court of Summary Jurisdiction consisted of two magistrates who might be the youngest, least experienced, and most prejudiced. On the other hand, the licensing magistrates were selected from a large number, presumably because of their experience. How did clubs expect to gain by the transfer of jurisdiction from seven selected men to two non-selected men? He was wholly unable to understand what clubs would gain by the transfer.
§ MR. PICKERSGILL (Bethnal Green, S.W.)
said, in reply to the question asked by the previous speaker, that there was a totally different atmosphere in the two Courts. Petty sessions was a Court which had the feelings and traditions of a Court of justice, and for that reason the supporters of the Amendment asked that questions of this kind should be decided by a judicial tribunal. He did not want to throw any reflection on the way in which the licensing justices performed their duties. But the duties in question were not ordinary licensing duties. They were questions as to whether or not a particular state of facts existed—questions of evidence—and questions of evidence ought to be decided by a Court of justice. The Solicitor-General had put down an Amendment that the evidence should be taken on oath. Although that Amendment was good so far as it went, it was not sufficient, because it did not alter the character of the tribunal by which the evidence was to be heard. Further, the tribunal was to decide whether or not the proposed club was mainly a drinking club. That in itself did not seem to him to be a satisfactory definition. It was vague, and there would be grave danger to an apparently well-conducted workmen's club if that definition was to be adjudicated upon by a tribunal which was not a Court of law. 1307 The Government had attached great weight to the Peel Report. That Report stated that registration ought only to be refused on certain grounds after trial before a properly constituted judicial authority to which no suspicion of partiality or bias could attach. This was no question of administration or of knowing the wants of the public, and therefore the Commission did not think it should be done before the ordinary licensing authority. The authority suggested in the Report was the Recorder, or the County Court Judge, or, in Scotland, the Sheriff. The Commission recommended in fact that questions of this kind should be decided by the ordinary judicial tribunal. He asked the hon. Gentleman to give a favourable consideration to this Amendment, which had a very large body of support on that side of the House. They wanted to carry with them well-conducted and respectable clubs. That opinion had been expressed more than once on both sides of the House. And here the Government had a great opportunity for carrying this proposition into practical effect. It was notorious that the most respectable and well-conducted clubs had the strongest repugnance to come for registration before the licensing justices. He thought that that repugnance on their part ought to be respected if it could be consistently with the object of the Bill. He submitted that all the objects desired could be attained by altering the tribunal; and if altered they would also succeed in carrying with them the sympathy and support of well-conducted clubs.
§ MR. RUFUS ISAACS (Reading)
said he endorsed the appeal which had been made to the Government to accept this Amendment. One thing which struck him very forcibly and which he recommended to the consideration of the Committee, was that they had experience to guide them and that they ought not lightly to change a tribunal which up to the present time had given satisfaction. By the Act of 1902, which they were now extending, there was power given to deal with such matters to a Court of Summary Jurisdicton. Why should they change that Court now and go out of their way to give the licensing justices, sitting as licensing 1308 justices, the power which was taken out of the hands of a Court of Summary Jurisdiction? In a Court of Summary Jurisdiction there was no difficulty, because there they had evidence taken on oath. The Act of 1902 had really worked well so far as cases which had been brought before that Court were concerned, and why should they change the Court which had been well tried and had given satisfaction hitherto in dealing with matters of this description? He asked the Government to accept the Amendment, which really involved no question of principle; it was only a matter of detail. In view of the fact that there was a general feeling amongst those concerned that they preferred to go to the Court which they knew to going to a Court they which did not know so well, he asked the Prime Minister to accede to what he believed to be the general wish.
§ MR. ASQUITH
said that the hon. and learned Member had stated quite truly that there was no question of principle in this matter which they were now discussing. It was merely a matter of machinery and they were bound to regard it with a perfectly open mind. The only question in dealing with machinery was which would be the most efficient for the purpose and least objectionable to those interested and whose susceptibilities they all desired to respect. The hon. and learned Gentleman said that the jurisdiction was very much extended under this Bill as compared with that under the Act of 1902. The licensing justices were selected for the purposes of this clause because of the simplicity and uniformity of the procedure in dealing with matters of that kind; and to meet the objection, which he thought was a solid one, that the licensing justices as such were an administrative body the Solicitor-General had put down an Amendment on the Paper which empowered the licensing justices to receive evidence upon oath and to grant costs. That the Government thought would have sufficiently met the objection that the proceedings should not be otherwise than of a judicial nature or subject to judicial procedure. He confessed that, upon the whole, he was very much impressed by the arguments used from all quarters of the House, and he was disposed to accept 1309 the Amendment of his hon. friend—of course in its proper form, for he did not think it was in proper form as it stood and would have to be re-cast. He did so without subscribing in any way to any reflection, expressed or implied, upon the capacity and conduct of the licensing justices, nor in accepting the Amendment was he endorsing the commentory of the hon. Member for Durham on the speech of the hon. Member for Glasgow. The acceptance of the Amendment did not cast any slur or reflection on the licensing justices as to the way in which they had discharged their duties. Licensing justices in this country exercised an administrative function, in a judicial spirit and temper, of course, and he thought there was some solid and substantial ground in the contention that night that the functions they were about to entrust to them in regard to clubs were more of a judicial than administrative character, and therefore were more fit to be given to a body which would act in accordance with the ordinary laws of evidence. On the whole, he was disposed to accept the Amendment.
§ MR. MARKHAM (Nottinghamshire, Mansfield)
said he greatly regretted the decision come to by the Prime Minister. The licensing magistrates for many years had done their duty well, and he maintained that the Amendment was a reflection upon them. They had placed in the hands of the licensing justices the whole complicated machinery with regard to licensed premises where large interests and thousands of pounds were involved; but now they were going to tell 900,000 members of clubs that the licensing justices were not fit and proper people to deal with the question of clubs. The licensing justices throughout the country had made a particular study of this question, but the proposal was to remove from their review and decision all matters relating to the registration of clubs, because it was said that there might be in the minds of some people a fear that they did not act fairly and justly. That was a slur which ought not to be cast on the licensing justices as a whole. Licensing justices had done more for society in seeing that clubs were properly registered than in any other work they 1310 had done. They had taken every possible step under the Acts of 1902, 1903, and 1904 to regulate clubs, but notwithstanding they had become the curse of whole districts, of the working-man and of the community generally. In the division which he represented club after club containing 2,000 registered members was struck off the register simply because gambling and betting was a constant occurrence in them. They were, however, going to say that the licensing justices were not fit and proper persons to carry out these provisions. The Majority Report of the Commission recommended that three magistrates should have authority to deal with this question, of clubs, but in point of fact the Government had not accepted one single recommendation, either of the Minority or of the Majority Report, in regard to clubs and the conditions of registration. Why had they not been accepted by the Government? The object of the Bill he understood to be to lessen the facilities for drink. The hon. Member for Glasgow had told them that he wished to see clubs spring up so long as they were a convenience to the working-man, but his object as a temperance reformer was to diminish the facilities for drink. But this Bill, instead of diminishing those facilities, gave facilities for people getting drink all night. It was simply a question of votes and nothing else. The Prime Minister talked about cant, but listening to the debates and the bidding for the brewer's vote on the one side, and for the club votes on the other, he did not know where to find honesty in public life.
§ SIR HENRY KIMBER (Wandsworth)
supported the Amendment. He did not cast any reflection upon the licensing authority, but there was a fear, well or ill-founded, on the part of members of clubs throughout the country that the licensing magistrates in the administrative duty of dealing with licences were not actuated by judicial instincts, and that their mode of proceeding was not that of a judicial tribunal. They imagined that the whole question of whether a licence should be granted or not, or renewed or not, was left to them as a judge and jury to be disposed of according to their own sweet will, 1311 and that they were not bound by the rules or the laws of evidence, or by questions as to the admissibility of evidence. There was this particular reason for this Amendment, that the particular act that they were now discussing, and which was to be referred to this tribunal, was one of a penal character. It was a question of cancelling a licence which was in the previous year granted to a man justly and rightly, and it was proposed that somebody or other—that anybody from anywhere—could make a complaint, whether it was well founded, or right or not, and urge it against the renewal of the licence before the licensing justices. That was a quasi-criminal charge which ought certainly to go before a legal tribunal, and one which would be guided by the rules of law and of strict evidence. He believed that this was one of the Amendments which was proposed by a highly respectable body, the Club and Institute Union, in which were represented most of the clubs of the Kingdom. He thought nothing could be said about their respectability, nor the reasonableness of their claims. They did not wish to establish drinking clubs, as they considered them their worst enemies. In his division he had half a dozen large clubs which had existed for many years, and what they said was this: "We wish to obey the law; we do not wish to turn our clubs into public-houses, and if the attempt is to be made by anybody outside to take away our right to existence, then we should prefer to go before a legal tribunal. We will abide by the law, and we will be judged by the law." But they said: "Do not put us in the hands or in the power of the licensing justices." They said they knew that in the selection of the licensing bench discrimination was made against brewers and others interested in the liquor interest, but it had always been a matter of complaint by many working-men's clubs that, on the other hand, those who had political opinions against the trade were allowed to sit on that bench without objection. He had heard it said that they would not allow brewers to be there, but they did allow brewers of soda-water and other poisonous waters to sit there without objection. These were things which 1312 were the subject of great exaggeration no doubt, but he did not think it necessary to make any reflection upon the personnel of the licensing justices in order to establish the desirability of this Amendment. He thought the true ground was stated by the Prime Minister, that the licensing justices in their procedure, their duties, and their administration were not judicial; they were not bound to proceed according to the ordinary rules of evidence or law, whereas, this being a quasi-penal proceeding, the nature of it required that it should be tried before a tribunal which was bound to proceed according to the ordinary rules of legal procedure and legal evidence.
§ *SIR FRANCIS CHANNING
wished to say one or two words before this Amendment was finally disposed of. He did not think the hon. Baronet opposite had quite appreciated the fact that the Government had introduced into the original proposal, the qualification of the oath and the liability to costs in cases of unreasonable proceedings. That, it seemed to him, gave quite enough of the judicial element in this matter, but he wished to express his own very deep regret at the apparent surrender of the Government of what seemed to him to be not perhaps a vital point of their scheme, but at any rate a very important point of it. He looked at it from this point of view. This was a question of local government as well as a judicial question, and it seemed to him a matter of common sense that they should appoint the same authority to deal with, clubs as dealt with the greater question of the public-houses. He did not in the least admit that there was any incongruity, or any injustice, or any unfairness, or anything which could be resented by the members of clubs in starting such machinery. On the contrary, he thought the lessons of local government must convince every thoughtful man that the same authority deliberately chosen locally and imperially should deal with the whole purview of this very important question. The licensing justices were the authority called upon to deal with public-houses and to make great reductions in their number; they were, therefore, the best authority to deal with the same evils in clubs and to check their 1313 spread. He insisted, and he pressed this point upon the Committee, that the magistrates, the authority, whatever it was, should be the same. The law had nothing whatever to do with clubs except so far as a club or its members placed themselves in the position of a public-house. The law had nothing to say-to clubs. Clubs were self-governing institution, they only came within the scope of the administrative action of whatever authority Parliament pleased to appoint when the same evils and the same errors were found in clubs as were found in public-houses. He therefore held, although it was not a matter of supreme or decisive importance, that it was more desirable that this scheme should be the original plan of the Government, and he thought they did quite enough in putting down the Amendments which gave judicial procedure to the magistrates to remove the really valid objection taken by some clubs. He had read with astonishment the language of some clubs as to the character of the licensing justices and he did not believe that those bodies, whether they were employers or were of one political colour or another, would act unjustly in administering these provisions. On these grounds he deeply regretted the course His Majesty's Government had taken.
§ MR. JAMES PARKER (Halifax)
desired on behalf of his colleagues and himself to thank the Government for accepting the Amendment. His reasons for supporting the Amendment were entirely different from those advanced by the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down. The hon. Member wanted the licensing justices to deal with clubs and public-houses so that all these questions should be dealt with by one authority, but speaking for himself and his colleagues they were of opinion that these two institutions should be kept as severely apart as possible. They thought that the granting of a licence for this particular trade to one person was an entirely different function from the registering of an institution composed of men who met together and purchased articles from themselves. They were opposed in any way to bringing the two classes of institutions under the same control. He wished further to 1314 resent the remarks of the hon. Member for the Mansfield Division of Nottinghamshire. They were not all vote-catching with respect to this particular Bill, and he denied that the Labour Party could be accused of trimming, whatever might be their differences of opinion. They were not vote-catching in regard to clubs and public-houses. They were supporting the Bill so far as the public-house was concerned, and they were trying to make the club a bona fide club and to remove from the Bill those provisions which were un necessarily restrictive in their character and would not tend in the direction of temperance. He would help Members opposite to do anything which would do away with the vicious club, but he would do nothing that discouraged the club that was well conducted.
§ *MR. CHARLES ROBERTS (Lincoln)
said he did not wish to argue the case once more as the Government had already given way on it, and it was not much use crying over spilt milk. Personally, he thought the original plan of the Government was on its merits much better. When they had provided a judicial procedure the point that the justices might act in a casual way or without proper discretion, had been fully met, and there was an appeal from the justices to a Court of law, so that if there were members on the bench who could be got at by teetotal fanatics who were interested in some way he did not understand on financial grounds, appeals could have been made to a Court of law. On its merits he thought the scheme was much better, but, unfortunately, it ran counter to the opposition of a powerful body. At all events his real point on this matter was that there was a very close connection between licensing and these clubs. He thought that the central aim of this clause was a precaution to weed out the badly-conducted club, and a precaution against suppressed public-houses springing up in the guise of clubs. For that reason he attached great importance to there being unity of administration and some link between the licensing authority and the authority which was going to deal with clubs. He did not rise merely to continue the protest that had already been made, but there 1315 had been great objection taken on the ground of political prejudice. That was the real ground—the fear that on the ground of politics the justices would differentiate against Liberal and Radical clubs. He did not think they could or would. The justices of the country were not a perfect body, but he did not think they could do that. Public opinion would be far too strong for them. That point was raised in reference to Scottish clubs, and in the Scottish club law it was got over in this way. Clubs to be registered required a certificate of bona fides from two justices. Might he not ask the Government to look with a favourable eye upon an Amendment which was down in the name of the hon. Member for North-West Manchester. The hon. Member was anxious to stiffen up the provisions of the Government in reference to clubs, but he had not given much help on this particular occasion, and his anxiety to stiffen up the club clauses now conflicted somewhat with his recommendations on the Licensing Commission in 1899. Then he recommended a scheme which was much less strong than the Government scheme in many important respects, but at all events he had got down an Amendment under which no club would be registered except with a certificate of bona fides. That had been found to be of real value in weeding out badly-conducted clubs in Scotland, and he thought it would provide just that link of administration between the licensing authority and the authority which controlled the clubs. Might he therefore ask the Government, as they had thought fit to make this change, to say whether they would not look with a favourable eye upon that so that there might be some unity of administration. He did not think anybody would deny that on a bench of justices would be found at least two righteous men who would look at the matter with impartial eyes. He did not think in Scotland there had been any difficulty with any well-conducted clubs. He quite agreed that they had to differentiate between the well-managed and the ill-managed club. He hoped the Government would see their way to making that modification in this recasting of their scheme.
§ SIR S. EVANS
said they were quite willing to listen to all reasonable appeals 1316 on this and all other important Amendments, and if they reached the one to which the hon. Member referred it would receive the same consideration as other Amendments had done. He only wanted to say a word or two in answer to his hon. friend who raised the protest and also to the hon. Member for Norwich. He thought the difference between the two tribunals was a little exaggerated. It really was a question more of procedure than anything else, and he thought the desire of those who had pressed the Government not only in the course of this discussion, but earlier, was to have a judicial body acting judicially as a Court of justice and not as an administrative body. They were making no comments upon the conduct of the licensing justices at all. Everybody knew that the licensing justices came from the same body of people as the justices who formed the Court of summary jurisdiction. Of course, there was also the stipendiary, whose services were required by many people when the particular clause would have to be administered, and he would remain there for that purpose. But it really was more a question of procedure. When they came to Clause 39, where they were dealing with offences which might be charged against officers of clubs, the secretary of the club would come before the Court of summary jurisdiction under that clause. The reason why licensing justices were first put in was that they tried to make the Bill as symmetrical as they could. It would not be wholly symmetrical, but it would not be wholly unsymmetrical either. They had the same body, the Court of summary jurisdiction, dealing with the whole question of clubs in many matters coming within their purview from Sections 36 to 42 inclusive. The words of the Amendment were not the proper words, but he thought the Committee understood what was meant by the mover of the Amendment, and what was considered to be the effect of it, and, therefore, they would accept these words here and substitute them also elsewhere in the clause, but they would have to be recast.
§ Amendment agreed to.1317
*MR. HERBERT (Buckinghamshire, Wycombe)
moved to amend the subsection by providing that the application for the renewal of registration must be accompanied by "an affidavit of the secretary proving that not less than one-half of the income of the club is derived from sources other than profit upon the sale of intoxicating liquors." He said the object of his Amendment was to make it necessary for the secretary of a club in making his application for registration to send in an affidavit to the effect that the income of the club did not consist, to the extent of more than onehalf, of profits upon the sale of intoxicating liquor. It was by the later provisions of the Bill to be made an objection to the registration of a club that it was used mainly as a drinking club, and that was an exceedingly indefinite expression upon which opinions might easily and would probably differ, and the result of leaving clubs subject to an indefinite condition of that sort would be that they would be subjected to great uncertainty. They would have to fight for their existence on every occasion, and, of course, they might be put to great expense in so doing. It seemed desirable, therefore, in the interests of the clubs themselves, that they should in some way or other give some clearer definition of the meaning of the words "carried on mainly as a drinking club." His object was certainly not in any way to interfere with clubs, but to help them. He agreed with every word that was said by the hon. Members for Glasgow and Halifax with regard to the position of clubs. They had defined the position of hon. Members below the gangway in regard to clubs, and in so doing they bad been entirely defining his own views. He desired in every way to forward the existence of good and respectable clubs, and he was entirely with hon. Members below the gangway in their desire in a rational way to restrict those clubs which were not of a respectable nature. The Leader of the Opposition had again and again in the course of the discussion put to them a dilemma in which he said they were. He said they desired to reduce the number of public-houses and at the same time to increase the number of clubs, where drinking was unregulated, and, therefore, he put it to 1318 them that they were hypocritical and were not really advancing a temperance measure, and that they were desiring to increase the difficulties of the control of the liquor trade. That was not a true dilemma. It was a false argument, and the answer to it was this, that the conditions under which drinking would take place in the clubs were entirely different from those under which it took place in a public-house. It must be remembered that when a man was in his club he felt he was at home. He was under no obligation to drink anything he did not want. In a club there were games, reading, and other occupations and social intercourse, and there was no one whose interest it was to force upon him drink that he did not want. When he went into the public-house in the conditions under which public-houses existed at present the case was entirely different. There was no amusement for him. He was sitting there in somebody else's house, the house of a man whose business it was to sell as much liquor as he could. The working man was a very decent fellow at bottom and showed it in this way. He did not like to feel an intruder, and when he was sitting in somebody else's house he did not like to sit there without paying his footing, and he quite appreciated that feeling. He was, therefore, made to drink more liquor in the public-house than he would be disposed to in his own club. Not only was that true in theory, but he was told by two hon. Members for Staffordshire of two very remarkable instances which happened in their constituencies. In villages in their constituencies recently clubs were opened. They had a large number of members, they were good clubs, and they found by experience that the amount of liquor consumed in those clubs did not exceed one-fifth of the amount by which the total amount of liquor in the public-houses in the villages decreased. He had asked these two hon. Members to be so good as to verify the figures, and they had not done so at present, but they told him they were satisfied that they were substantially correct. If what he stated was correct, it was a very remarkable circumstance, and ought to weigh materially in the minds of the Committee in dealing with this question; because 1319 if it was found by experience, when there was an opportunity of meeting in a social way, and of consuming alcoholic liquor, that the privilege was not abused, even when there were no unnecessary restrictions, such a fact ought very materially to influence the minds of hon. Members and it became clear that it was a fallacy to suggest that if a public-house was closed and a club opened in its place, that merely transferred the same amount of drinking from regulated to unregulated conditions. He did not desire to be bound to the exact proportion of the income he had mentioned in his Amendment. There was an Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Altrincham which proposed an entirely different proportion, and it might be that the experience of hon. Members would show that the figure which the hon. Gentleman named was a better one than that which he suggested. If that were so, he would be perfectly willing that that figure should be inserted. All he desired was to have the position of the clubs clearly defined. It was very difficult to obtain the exact figures on matters of this sort. His Amendment had been under the consideration of the Working Men's Club and Institute Union, and figures had been sent to him by the secretary of that union with the object of showing that the Amendment was quite impossible. But if they looked at the figures which that Gentleman gave it would be seen they did not help in the slightest degree, because the Amendment was confined to the profits which accrued to the club from the consumption of alcoholic liquors. The secretary's figures simply gave the total amount of income received from refreshments, and if with the time and possibilities at his disposal he had not been able to give any figures which showed that his Amendment was impossible, it was not an unfair inference that the Secretary had found himself unable to put forward a club, which could be vouched as a respectable club, where more than half the funds necessary to carry it on were derived from profit on the sale of intoxicants. He had not sufficient personal experience of these working men's clubs to pin himself to the figure which he had put in 1320 his Amendment, although he should have thought that if a club obtained more than half the funds necessary to carry it on from profits on alcoholic liquor it could be fairly described as mainly a drinking club; and therefore he was perfectly willing, if it was thought that the figure given by the hon. Member for Altrincham was more reasonable, or any other suggestion was made, to accept it, for all he wished was to act in the interests of the clubs so that the matter might be made definite and clear. It must not be forgotten that, if the Committee left the words indefinite, the duty of construing them would be thrown on the Courts, and he thought it quite conceivable that the Courts would put upon the words in the Bill the construction which by his Amendment he desired Parliament to do.
In page 18, line 7, after the word 'justices,' to insert the words 'and such application is accompanied by an affidavit of the secretary proving that not less than one-half of the income of the club is derived from sources other than profit upon the sale of intoxicating liquors.'"—(Mr. Herbert.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said the Government did not think it possible to devise a hard and fast mathematical line to distinguish drinking clubs from those clubs which did not exist mainly for the consumption of alcoholic drinks. In some clubs the profits on the sale of intoxicating liquors might be exceedingly large while the subscriptions might be very moderate. A club might have a bagatelle table, a billiard table, reading-rooms, library, lectures, a football club, and subordinate institutions of all kinds, and yet with a moderate consumption of liquor the income from liquors sold might exceed the revenue from all the other sources together. A mala fide club might very easily evade a restriction of the kind proposed in the Amendment, by charging a comparatively high subscription and selling the liquors at low rates, thus encouraging drinking. Then there were cases of clubs which lived rent free. Such clubs had no reason for a large 1321 subscription, because they had a place provided for them by the employers of the workmen who formed the club. Generally a club of that sort charged a small subscription, while the charges for drink were the ordinary prices for liquors consumed on such premises. They might find two clubs exactly similar in all respects, except that one had a building provided for it by the employers of the workmen and therefore paying no rent, while the other paid rent and charged a correspondingly higher subscription. The club which paid no rent might sell no more liquor than the club which paid a rent, yet the proportion in which its profits were derived from liquor might be adduced to bring it within the scope of the Amendment, while the other club remained outside of it. These reasons, apart from others which might be adduced were, he thought, amply sufficient to convince the Committee that this was not really a desirable Amendment, and he trusted that his hon. friend would not press it.
§ EARL WINTERTON
said he found himself in the most unusual and unenviable position of having to agree with the Under-Secretary and the Government. He was bound to say, if such an Amendment had been moved from that side of the House, that he was not sure the Government would not have said it was "mere obstruction." He understood the hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment to say that he was not an expert in the matter of the proportion of the profits of clubs derived from the sale of drink and from the sale of food. He thought the hon. Gentleman was not present when on a former occasion the profits derived from the sale of drink and other sources were given in relation to the National Liberal Club. He thought that in that case, as, of course, in others as well, as much as two-thirds of the profits were derived from the sale of intoxicating drink. He agreed with the Under-Secretary for the Home Department that it was impossible to draw a hard and fast line. It would be grossly unfair, and he believed, as he had said, that if such an Amendment had been proposed on that side of the House it would have been described as obstructive.
§ MR. WILLIAM ABRAHAM (Glamorganshire, Rhondda)
said that when the noble Lord agreed with the Government it was time to say: "I wonder where we are." He would not say a word against well-conducted clubs, where they were to be found. The Labour Party were willing to do all they could to protect proper working men's clubs, but three-fourths of the clubs were known to be purely drinking dens where all kinds of evil existed. Some of the Labour Party had had occasion to mark those clubs which had degenerated into places for the sale of liquor. Clubs had arisen in his part of the country which attracted men who used to go to the Sunday school and the Lord's house on the Sabbath. He knew valleys where men spent the peaceful Sabbath in these clubs. If he had command of the English tongue like some members of the Opposition, he could depict the difference on the Sabbath between the picture of the village where there were no clubs for many years, and the picture now to be seen since clubs came with their evils. In Wales they had been receiving the blessings of the Sunday Closing Act for many years, seeing the people becoming sober, as it were, by law. It was said that they could not make people sober by Act of Parliament, but by law they could remove the temptations which the clubs had brought into their valleys. In the Rhondda Valley on the Lord's Day, before clubs were established, the scene was one of peace, but since their advent there had been a direct increase of the evils which they brought in their train. They could not expect people to say much for the clubs as they were conducted in South Wales where they were a curse. He called upon the Government to do what they could to suppress these drinking dens, and to see that they did not get more liberties than they had already. He was a teacher in a Sunday school and was proud of the fact, and he had found that men who used to come to that Sunday school before these clubs were opened had been lost. Could he have but the eloquence of an angel he would expend it all in trying to persuade hon. Members to do all that was possible to end what was a curse to the country.
§ VISCOUNT CASTLEREAGH (Maidstone)
said he did not question the 1323 sincerity of the hon. Member who moved the Amendment, because he did so in a very eloquent manner, which they expected from him, but he could not say that he agreed to the proposition put forward by him. He thought everyone would agree that it was obvious that if this Amendment were incorporated in the Bill it would mean the closing of a great many workingmen's clubs. He did not say that in any spirit of disparagement of the working men's clubs, but they knew perfectly well that many of these clubs had a very small subscription; it was of importance that they should have a small subscription so as to get as many members as possible, and it was very obvious that half of the profits of these clubs were derived from the sale alcohol to members. This was not a controversial matter in any sense of the word. They were all interested in clubs, and they had to recognise—and he thought they all welcomed that movement—that there was a great extension of club life in the country. It was true that there were clubs and clubs, and that a great many clubs had been formed owing to the repressive and restrictive legislation put forward by the Government, and that drinking had been indulged in in that way. The last speaker had referred to Sunday closing in Wales, and he (Lord Castlereagh) quite agreed that owing to Sunday closing in Wales a great many of those who looked to Sundays for drinking purposes had been driven into clubs for the purpose of satisfying those demands. It was not his idea of the extension of club life, and he could not believe that such clubs did any good whatsoever. He was convinced that if this Amendment was incorporated in the Bill, it would have the effect of closing a great many working men's clubs, and he was sure that if they were closed—he did not care on which side of politics they were—it would do a great deal of harm to the life of the working men of the country. He opposed the Amendment.
§ MR. CROSSLEY (Cheshire, Altrincham)
said that as he had an Amendment on the Paper somewhat similar in character to that before the House, 1324 he might perhaps be allowed to say a few words upon this subject. He was trying to find out some automatic way of showing whether clubs were mere drinking clubs or properly conducted clubs. He thought if an annual balance sheet, properly audited by an accountant, showing what proportion of the club's revenue was obtained from liquor, and what was obtained from other sources, were submitted to the licensing justices they would be able to see from that sheet whether the club made its way merely through the sale of drink, or otherwise, and could act accordingly. He was afraid that many of these clubs would develop into mere drinking dens, and if by any ingenuity they could find out some way of seeing whether a club was going right or wrong it would be welcomed by the working men. He believed in club life; very often it was a question of the "tail wagging the dog." If respectable working men said that drinking was on the increase, and that the club was no longer as useful as it had been they would leave it and go somewhere else, and the club would go from bad to worse. They would much rather stay away than fight their own officials. Therefore some rule should be made showing automatically whether a club was going right or wrong. He believed that many drinking clubs existed. He had the greatest horror of licensing these clubs himself. A friend of his reported to him a visit he made to one of these clubs. The visit was paid on a Monday morning. He found every department full and all the people drinking. In the theatre, a woman, with very little attire, was singing an abominable song, and fourteen waiters were serving drink. That was in the morning before one o'clock.
§ MR. CROSSLEY
No. The president of the club was drunk, and was threatening vengeance on any Government that threatened to interfere with clubs. While they knew that there were clubs that were doing more harm than public-houses they must admit that there were many good and well-managed ones. They really wanted to see restrictions on bad clubs. In Manchester the drunkenness 1325 caused by clubs was considerable. Between the hours of 12 and 3 a.m., after all those ejected from the public-houses had in all probability got home, the arrests for drunkenness were very numerous, and those cases of drunkenness were attributed by the police to the clubs. He supported the Amendment.
§ *MR. BARNARD
said nobody wanted to interfere with bona fide clubs; they aimed at something quite different. Whilst this Amendment went in the right direction he was not quite certain that it was the best that could be selected out of those on the Paper, for dealing with this matter. He should have preferred, though he did not think it was quite perfect, the Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Barnard Castle as being more likely to obtain what was desired, because it was perfectly clear that unless the conditions expressed in the Bill were specific and precise it would be easy to go behind them and defeat their object. Although they all had ideas in regard to tied clubs, it was almost impossible to prevent them. There was no legal claim on a man who betted and did not pay, but the bookmaker usually found it worth while to take the risk, and it might be worth while for a person who could not get a tie to take the risk of loaning out the money without such tie, knowing perfectly well that the debt would carry the tie with it. He thought that if the Government accepted the idea contained in this Amendment, and others dealing with this subject, and took the matter in hand, they could put something down to deal with this question on the Report stage, which would largely commend itself to the majority of the Members of the House. Under the present Bill if licensed houses were decreased by 30,000 out of 90,000, the proportionate increase of clubs would be much larger than it had been in the past. That was why he hoped the Government would make the clauses governing and controlling clubs more stringent.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. NUSSEY (Pontefract)
moved an Amendment to provide that an applica- 1326 tion should be accompanied by the names and addresses of the members and any additions to or removals therefrom made within twenty days of the date of the application for the renewal of registration. The Amendment was not moved, he said, in a hostile spirit to the Bill or to the ordinary well-conducted club. He had always had the greatest sympathy with the club movement, and had done all he could to encourage well-conducted clubs, not only in his constituency, but elsewhere. But however desirable it was to be a member of a well-conducted club, it was certainly undesirable to be a member of a bogus club. The Amendment was aimed against bogus clubs, because at present magistrates had no information regarding these at their disposal. The difficulty at present in regard to bogus clubs was to find out who were the members, where they lived, whether they were respectable members of society or known to the police, whether they had any convictions recorded against them, or whether they were sufficient in number to form a club. It seemed to him it was desirable that such information should be obtained before granting a licence, and all that information could be got within the four corners of his Amendment. He was informed that there was a similar provision in the Scottish Act which had been found of great assistance in the administration of the Act and had led to a great number of clubs being turned off the register. He did not think his Amendment could be called inquisitorial. The secretary of a club, in applying for a licence, had to sign a document declaring that he had a list of the names and addresses of all the members of the club, and this Amendment would only be asking him to produce it in Court. Under the present law he knew of no power which would compel the secretary to produce that list of members unless the club was not being properly conducted. He did not think there was any fear that the licensing justices or the Court empowered to grant licences would act in other than an impartial manner. Their duty would be more of an administrative than a judicial character. The licensing justices would act impartially, and they would have no object in view except to establish bona fide clubs. He asked the 1327 Government to give this Amendment favourable consideration, and he moved it on the ground that it would strike a serious blow at the formation of bogus clubs and would not hinder in the least the carrying on of bona fide working-men's clubs.
In page 18, line 8, after the words 'application,' to insert the words 'upon being furnished with the names and addresses of the members and any additions to or removals therefrom made within twenty days of the date of the application for the renewal of registration.'"—(Mr. Nussey.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ SIR S. EVANS
hoped that his hon. and learned friend would not press this Amendment becuse it was impossible for the Government to accept it. Even if it was adopted it would not carry out the intention of the hon. Gentleman. Such a register would only set forth the names and addresses of members of such a club at a particular date. There would be no information regarding these during the remainder of the twelve months. With the object of the hon. Member to put down bogus clubs they all agreed, but the Amendment would go further and enable people to inquire into the affairs not only of the club, but of the members as well. That was not a proper thing to allow. Already, under the Act of 1902, provision was made for the secretary of a club making an annual return to the clerk of justices showing that a register of the names of members and a record of their subscriptions was kept. For those reasons the Government were quite unable to accept the Amendment.
§ *MR. SUMMERBELL (Sunderland)
thought the anxiety with regard to workmen's clubs was being carried a little too far in this Amendment, and he hoped the Committee would reject it. A good deal had been said in the debate about working-men's clubs. For a great many years they had clubs in this country and he was a little surprised that some hon. Members had painted such black pictures about the way they were carried on. [Cries of "No, no."] At 1328 any rate the hon. Member for Manchester had done so.
§ MR. JOYNSON-HICKS
said he did not confine his remarks to working-men's clubs, and he made no such suggestion.
§ *MR. SUMMERBELL
said that at any rate many of the remarks were applied to workmen's clubs and not to political clubs which had been a long time in existence. What happened in many political clubs? Evils were to be found there. Young men were to be found drinking, playing cards, and gambling. The anxiety of hon. Members regarding working-men's clubs had been a little bit overdrawn. He was a member of a working-men's club and hon. Members could go there any time and they would not see a woman there and no women were allowed there. That rule applied to a large number of working-men's clubs. There might be bad clubs, but let not the Committee have a general condemnation of all working-men's clubs on that account. He asked hon. Members to show a little more fair play in their criticisms so far as bonafide working-men's clubs were concerned.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ SIR S. EVANS
formally moved to substitute for the words "licensing justices" in subsection (2) of the clause the words "local stipendiary magistrate or local Court of Summary Jurisdiction."
In page 18, line 9, to leave out the words 'licensing justices' and insert the words 'local stipendiary magistrate or local Court of Summary Jurisdiction.'"—(Sir S. Evans.)
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ VISCOUNT HELMSLEY (Yorkshire, N.R., Thirsk)
moved to leave out subsection (3). He said this was a new provision, the meaning of which he really did not know. Did it mean that if from inadvertence someone had failed to make an application for registration within the specified time, a club might be struck off the register? It seemed to him that it would be a very severe penalty to impose for the neglect of a 1329 secretary that the club should be automatically struck off the register.
In page 18, line 11, to leave out subsection (3)."—(Viscount Helmsley.)
§ Question proposed, "That the subsection stand part of the clause."
§ SIR S. EVANS
said it was unnecessary for him to discuss the policy of this subsection. As had been pointed out, it was possible that there might be inadvertence on the part of someone in failing to apply for registration within the time specified, and that the club might thereby be subjected to penalties. He had no great objection to add words which would allow the Court to decide whether the neglect to apply was due to inadvertence or something of that kind.
§ VISCOUNT HELMSLEY
expressed himself Satisfied with the promise given by the Solicitor-General, and asked leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ SIR S. EVANS
moved to add at the end of the subsection the words "unless the Court is satisfied that the application was not made owing to inadvertence."
In page 18, line 14, at end, to add the words 'unless the Court is satisfied that the application was not made owing to inadvertence.'"—(Sir S. Evans.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there added."
§ MR. JAMES CAMPBELL (Dublin University)
said the Amendment would give unlimited time for making the application. He suggested that the hon. and learned Gentleman should limit the time for making the application to a period of three months from the expiration of the year.
§ SIR S. EVANS
said an application for renewal must be made in the month of January. This Amendment only dealt with a particular matter, and the application could not be made at 1330 any time after the expiration of the year.
§ EARL WINTERTON
said it was most undesirable that the time should be limited. If a secretary through inadvertence failed to apply for renewal, he should be afforded every opportunity of rectifying his mistake.
§ MR. SIMON (Essex, Walthamstow)
said the clause as printed provided that unless an application for renewal was made during the first twenty days of January the club would cease to be registered. The result of the Amendment would be that the club would be liable in penalties for selling liquor unless the Court was satisfied that the application was not made owing to inadvertence. He doubted very much whether the form of words which the Solicitor-General had proposed would have the effect intended. The secretary of a club might satisfy a midsummer Court that the application was not made owing to inadvertence, but did that mean that a prosecution for something that had happened in February was to be automatically cancelled, or were words to be put in to make the subsection retrospective?
§ MR. JOYNSON-HICKS
said a prosecution might take place in the interim, and, therefore, something should be done to protect the club from the penalties which might be imposed for the illicit sale of drink owing to the inadvertent omission to have the registration renewed. He suggested that the Solicitor-General should take time to consider the form of the Amendment.
§ SIR F. BANBURY
said the Committee should be quite certain what they were doing. The lawyers who had spoken had contradicted each other. As the matter stood he did not understand what the intention of the Amendment was.
§ SIR WILLIAM ANSON (Oxford University)
said the object they had in view was to save clubs from the penalties 1331 which otherwise would fall upon them for neglect by inadvertence to apply in the specified time for renewal of registration.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ MR. EVELYN CECIL
moved to leave out subsection (4). He wished to know whether this subsection, if retained in the clause, would not require some modification in view of the Amendment which had just been made on the previous subsection.
In page 18, line 15, to leave out subsection (4)."—(Mr. Evelyn Cecil.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out to the word 'the' in line 15 stand part of the subsection."
§ MR. GRETTON
said that fourteen days were allowed for lodging objections after publication of the notice that an application had been made for the registration or the renewal of the registration of a club. In a case where an application had been delayed owing to inadvertence would the time for lodging objections be fourteen days from 21st January, or fourteen days from the time the application was made? If objections could be lodged later than fourteen days from 21st January, how was notice to be given of the application?
§ SIR S. EVANS
said that if the Court came to the conclusion that the application was delayed owing to inadvertence, all the proceedings which now followed in the ordinary course would be followed in such a case.
§ Amendment negatived.
In page 18, line 15, to leave out the words 'licensing justices,' and to insert the word 'court.'"—(Sir S. Evans.)
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ MR. JOYNSON-HICKS
said he wished to move an Amendment with the object of making the Bill more bona fide, and 1332 more stringent with regard to clubs. The Amendment provided that an application for a club certificate should be accompanied by a certificate, signed by two justices having jurisdiction in the place where the premises in respect of which the application is made are situated, that to the best of their knowledge and belief the club for which application for registration is made is to be, and in the case of an existing club has been and is to be, conducted as a bona fide club, and not mainly for the supply of intoxicating liquor. He insisted that this Amendment was not at all factious, but would only ensure the registration of bona fide clubs, and eliminate from the register those which were nothing more than drinking clubs. He suggested that any club that was unable to get from two justices of the peace in the division in which the club was situated, a certificate that from their own knowledge it was a bona fide club, must be in a very poor way. Clubs had very largely increased of late, and any workmen's club which was either political or social, or anything but a drinking club, could easily get two magistrates to certify that. The Amendment was taken textually from the Scottish Licensing Act of 1903, passed by his own party, and if the promoters and committees of clubs in Scotland were able to get that certificate, he did not see why similar persons could not get exactly the same certificate from two magistrates in England. He therefore appealed to all Members who really desired to strengthen bona fide clubs to support his Amendment.
In page 18, line 17, after the word 'purpose,' to insert the words 'accompanied by a certificate, signed by two justices having jurisdiction in the place where the premises in respect of which the application is made are situated, that to the best of their knowledge and belief the club for which application for registration is made is to be, and, in the case of an existing club, has been and is to be, conducted as a bona fide club and not mainly for the supply of intoxicating liquor.'"—(Mr. Joynson-Hicks.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ MR. JESSE COLLINGS (Birmingham, Bordesley)
said he hardly thought that 1333 the hon. Gentleman was in earnest in proposing this Amendment. It was an insult to clubs and an innovation. How was it possible for any two magistrates to know enough about a large number of clubs to be able to grant a certificate, and to become responsible for the conditions which his hon. friend desired? It was an utterly impracticable suggestion. He supposed that if the two magistrates did not grant the certificate the club would cease to exist or the registration would not be renewed.
MR. J. W. WILSON (Worcestershire, N.)
appealed to the Government carefully to consider whether they could not accept the Amendment. It seemed to meet the case when the jurisdiction with regard to clubs had been taken away from the majority of the justices in consequence of the suggestion that they might use their power in a manner not to merit the confidence of all sections of the community. The object of the Committee, he took it, was to prevent a confiscated licence being turned at once into a club, where liquors were consumed, and it seemed to him that a certificate of two justices was a very small thing to ask. He could not but think that it would be a distinct gain to the Court which had to decide these cases and would produce confidence.
§ MR. LAMBTON
said that the Amendment was quite contrary to the subsection which had already been passed. The Committee having decided that the licensing justices should not be admitted on this matter, because there was some suspicion in regard to the majority of them, it would be absurd now to put it into the power of two justices only to say whether the certificate should be granted. He hoped the Government would reject the proposal.
§ *MR. REES (Montgomery Boroughs)
submitted that this Amendment was a superfluity of naughtiness. If it was to apply to previously existing clubs, how absurd it was that clubs of long standing and acknowledged respectability were to require a certificate of this sort from justices who possibly were not suitable persons to speak of their character. It was not the intention of the Bill to 1334 create a new heaven and earth, but to encourage the institution of respectable clubs and provide safeguards for them, and to discourage clubs of an opposite character. It was quite a common thing in a small town to have both a Liberal and a Conservative club, and he thought a section like this by which the renewal of the registration of a Conservative club depended on a certificate of character from two Liberal justices, or vice versa, might lead to abuses and ill-feeling. He hoped the Government would be content with the section into which a good Amendment had already been imported and would not accept this Amendment from the opposite side, which was at the moment over-riding the temperance horse.
§ *MR. CHARLES ROBERTS
desired to support what had been said by the hon. Member for North-West Manchester, but he wished he would make it go a little further, because the Scottish Act provided not merely for a certificate on the original application for registration but on the annual renewal. He did not see why the hon. Member for North-West Manchester should fall below the high standard which his own party had already set up. It had been said that what the Amendment provided for would be inconsistent with the tribunal already set up, but he would point out that the Scottish Act, which was the work of the Unionist Government, set up a judicial tribunal, the Sheriff Court. He thought that the provision was a really valuable one, and that it would be always possible to get two justices who would be really fair in granting a certificate. For that reason he appealed to the Government to give this extra power. In all quarters of the House they had been asked to distinguish between bona fide and bogus drinking clubs. Let the Committee take this further practical step to differentiate between them.
§ SIR GILBERT PARKER (Gravesend)
did not think it necessary to multiply certificates of character in order to obtain general security against abuses. It might be necessary in Scotland, but he did not think it was so in England. The Government had already provided 1335 adequate security against bogus clubs by inspection and for objections being lodged against particular clubs. He did not think it was necessary with a club any more than with a private person to ask for a certificate of character every time an application was made for registration. When dealing with such questions they ought to bring to bear upon them their present judgment and not the past judgment of any Government. The Amendment was unnecessary; what was more, it was unreasonable, and he could not support it. If it was unreasonable in the case of private persons it was more unreasonable in regard to a club, where there was an accumulation of people who ought to be supposed to be of unobjectionable character until objection was raised to them. This appeared to him to be a most unreasonable Amendment, and he was sorry to say he could not vote with his hon. friend for it.
§ MR. MARKHAM
said the hon. Member who had just sat down had described this as a most unreasonable Amendment, but if he would go through Hansard, the hon. Gentleman would find that in 1903 he supported this very Amendment, in a Bill brought in by a Conservative Government. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bordesley was then sitting on the Treasury bench and was a party to the measure which applied this provision to Scotland. He lived among the working classes and claimed to have as much knowledge of them as hon. Gentlemen below the gangway opposite, who were always speaking on their behalf in the House. As to the restriction of clubs, he had himself established three clubs, and was establishing another one at the present moment, so that he was the last man to stand up in the House and advocate that clubs should be closed, but he did say that there was no more intolerable evil than the drinking and gambling clubs that prevailed in the district in which he lived. The Amendment was surely a most reasonable one, and was not of the unreasonable character described by hon. Members opposite, who had themselves been party to this particular provision. There was not a Petty Sessional Division in England or Wales where there were not two magistrates who knew whether a club was 1336 being used as a bogus club or whether it was a genuine club established and carried on according to law. There were in every licensing district throughout the kingdom two magistrates who would be able of their own knowledge to certify whether a club within their particular licensing area was used for the purpose of a drinking club or a bona fide club for the comfort and convenience of the people using it. What was the character of the club which would be dealt with by the Amendment? If hon. Members would refer to the Report of the Royal Commission they would find, not only in the minutes of evidence but in the recommendations of both the Minority and Majority Reports, evidence to show that numerous clubs were started in various parts of the country and run for the profit of individuals. That had happened in his part of the country. The local magistrates were, after all, the best men to judge between bona fide and bogus clubs, and, in his opinion, when an application for registration was made, it should be made to the people who had the power to deal with public-houses. If the Government accepted this Amendment, founded on the Scottish Act, under which two magistrates only had to give their certificate in their own licensing area that a club was a bona fide club and not a bogus club, that would cover the Amendments which he himself had placed on the Paper. Owing to the gag, which had been thrust down their throats, however, the Committee would be unable to discuss many important Amendments. [OPPOSITION cries of "You voted for it."] He did not vote for it. The whole of this thing was a farce. The party on the other side were bidding for the publicans' votes, the party on his side were bidding for the club votes, and between the two the cause of temperance went to the wall for the sake of political considerations.
§ *MR. RAMSAY MACDONALD (Leicester)
said he should support this Amendment with the greatest amount of pleasure, if it would carry out the declared intention of the mover, but in his opinion it would do the exact opposite. He was therefore sorry that he could not agree in this respect with his hon. friend, the Member for Lincoln. First of all, what did the Amendment say? It 1337 said that two justices should give a certificate to the best of their knowledge and belief that—The club for which application for registration is made, is to be, and in the case of an existing club has been and is to be, conducted as a bona fide club and not mainly for the supply of intoxicating liquor.They had to say that a club not already in existence was to be conducted in good faith. What two magistrates were able to say from their knowledge that a club was going to be conducted in good faith? They would therefore have a certificate which was absolutely worthless, although it would be given from good intentions. Supposing it was going to be a political club? Supposing it was going to be a Conservative club? All that was required was to go to two Conservative magistrates and they would give the certificate. The same thing would happen if it was going to be a Liberal club; two Liberal magistrates would sign it. And he was bound to confess the same thing would happen if it was going to be a Labour club: two Labour magistrates would sign. As regarded existing clubs it was not stated that the certificate was going to carry any guarantee that the magistrates signing it had inquired into the circumstances of the case. Therefore the certificate would be got much too easily to carry any value, and when it was obtained it would be taken to a Court of Summary Jurisdiction, and then it would be treated by that Court—as it had to be treated—as prima facie evidence that the club was good. If the certificate was required, then he submitted that it was required for the only purpose for which it could be required, viz., as prima facie proof that the club was good. That was all right if they made it carry a guarantee that the circumstances of the club had been inquired into, but the effect of the Amendment as it stood would really be to shelter bogus clubs much more than it would deter them.
§ SIR S. EVANS
said the Government could not accept the Amendment, although they were entirely in sympathy with those who thought it would do some good and would prevent the granting of certificates to bogus clubs or prevent renewals to bogus clubs. But he must tell the Committee that the Amendment would have no effect of that kind, 1338 and it was quite possible that it would have just the contrary effect. Supposing the applicant went to magistrates who had no knowledge of the locality or the rules of the club but who to their best knowledge and belief thought the club was going to be conducted as a bona fide club—supposing they were wrong in that belief, what happened? The club held a certificate of two justices practically in favour of opening the club. But the application for opening the club must be made to two other justices, and they would by this Amendment fetter them, and make it difficult for them to overrule that certificate. The Amendment was quite unnecessary and might be mischievous. In the case of a bona fide club it would be mischievous if they could not get the certificate of two justices, because it would prevent an application to the proper tribunal. On the other hand, if it was not mischievous it was absolutely useless, because if it did not fetter the justices it had no effect at all in regard to clubs about to be established. If the Amendment meant anything at all, it applied, not only to clubs about to be established, but also to clubs already established, and therefore, applied to the renewal of a licence. Again, in the case of existing clubs, and there were hundreds of bona fide clubs in existence, it would be absurd to have a certificate of this character. It would be a work of complete supererogation to say to those people that before they could get a certificate they must ask two of their members to say that the club was well-conducted. He thought he had said enough to convince those who had supported the Government in this Bill that they ought to support them in this. They were dealing with a clause which affected clubs which were not registered. It began—The clerk to the licensing justices shall not register any unregistered club except on an application made by the secretary for the purpose.And then came this Amendment—Accompanied by a certificate signed by two justices,and so forth. Upon its merits, even if couched in the proper phraseology, which it was not, the Amendment ought to be refused.
§ MR. WALTER LONG (Dublin, S.)
agreed with, the learned Solicitor-General in the view he took in regard to this Amendment. But he desired to express the sincere sympathy of the Opposition for the hon. Members for Lincoln and Mansfield at the position in which they found themselves at the conclusion of this debate. The hon. Member for Lincoln had made a most touching appeal to the Government to accept this Amendment in order that something might be done. The hon. Member was forced in the depths of his agony to admit that the only practical suggestion for dealing with clubs came from the Opposition side of the House, and he wanted the Government to do something which would have a real effect upon bogus clubs. He agreed that the Amendment was one which could not possibly be accepted, and he hoped his hon. friend behind him would not press it. It proposed to throw upon two magistrates a duty which they could not possibly perform. The hon. Member for Mansfield finished completely and artistically the picture the hon. Member for Lincoln had commenced. He had told the Committee that hon. Members on the Opposition side of the House were angling for the publicans' votes They were not ashamed, if the Government attempted to deprive the publicans and the owners of breweries of their property, to say that on those benches would be found advocates to stand up for their interests; but the Government were now told by one of their own supporters that this Bill was framed to secure the votes of those interested in clubs, and between the two parties temperance fell to the ground. If there were two contending parties, he was prepared to believe that they on that side were fighting for votes they already possessed, whereas the Government were fighting for what they had not got, and, therefore, the condemnation in respect of angling for votes came from one of the Government's own supporters. He agreed that this was one of the most important clauses in the Bill, and if temperance by the stamping out of illegitimate and illegal traffic in drink
§ was the real object of the Government they would have allowed further time for the discussion of the club question.
§ SIR S. EVANS
pointed out they were only taking one clause that day, and had allotted three days to the clubs.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
said that this was the vital and most important clause, and the debate upon it ought not to have been limited to one day. It should have taken three or four. The Government did not pretend, and had not pretended, that they were dealing with the question in an effective way, and their condemnation, in its most eloquent terms, came not from the Opposition, but from their own supporters.
§ MR. W. R. REA (Scarborough)
stated that the Amendment expressed a feeling strongly held by a considerable body of opinion in the House. They felt it necessary that something should be done to stiffen up these provisions, not so much in regard to existing clubs but to prevent the rapid growth of bogus clubs in the future.
§ MR. MARKHAM
pointed out that the Member for Spen Valley wrote a special Memorandum which was attached to the Report of the Royal Commission. In the Report which he signed certain recommendations were made in regard to the management of clubs, but not a single one had found its way into the Bill or been accepted by the Government. In that Memorandum, the right hon. Gentleman said that ultimately the sale of drink in clubs would have to be more stringently dealt with than in the Report of the Royal Commission. In those circumstances he asked the right hon. Member how he could reconcile that statement with his approval of the action of the Government.
§ MR. JOYNSON-HICKS
hoped that members of the Ministerial Party who took the view that the Government were not going far enough would vote for the Amendment.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 24; Noes, 370. (Division List No. 327.)1343
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Baring, Capt. Hn. G. (Winchester||Craik, Sir Henry|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Cory, Sir Clifford John||Fell, Arthur|
|Guinness, W. E. (Bury S. Edm.)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.||Percy, Earl|
|Hope, W. Bateman (Somerest, N.||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)||Joynson-Hicks and Mr.|
|King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)||Markham.|
|Lane-Fox, G. R.||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.|
|Maclean, Donald||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Cheetham, John Frederick||Goulding, Edward Alfred|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Greenwood, Hamar (York)|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hn. Sir Alex, F.||Clive, Percy Archer||Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward|
|Agnew, George William||Clough, William||Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Clynes, J. R.||Guinness, Hn. R. (Haggerston)|
|Alden, Percy||Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Gulland, John W.|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Gurdon, Rt. Hn. Sir W. Brampton|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W.||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Hall, Frederick|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinst'd||Harcourt, Rt. Hn. L. (Rossendale|
|Armitage, R.||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)|
|Armstrong, W. C. Heaton||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil|
|Ashley, W. W.||Courthope, G. Loyd||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r.)|
|Asquith, R. Hon. Herbert Henry||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithn'ss-sh|
|Astbury, John Meir||Crooks, William||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Crosfield, A. H.||Hart-Davies, T.|
|Balcarres, Lord||Cross, Alexander||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Crossley, William J.||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Curran, Peter Francis||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Dalmeny, Lord||Haworth, Arthur A.|
|Barker, John||Davies, David (Montgomery Co.||Helme, Norval Watson|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan||Helmsley, Viscount|
|Barnard, E. B.||Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Hemmerde, Edward George|
|Barnes, G. N.||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Henry, Charles S.|
|Beale, W. P.||Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)|
|Beaumont, Hon. Hubert||Dobson, Thomas W.||Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)|
|Beck, A. Cecil||Doughty, Sir George||Higham, John Sharp|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Duckworth, James||Hill, Sir Clement|
|Bell, Richard||Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Hills, J. W.|
|Bellairs, Carlyon||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness||Hobart, Sir Robert|
|Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R.||Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)||Hobhouse, Charles E. H.|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan||Hodge, John|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustime||Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Holland, Sir William Henry|
|Black, Arthur W.||Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall||Holt, Richard Durning|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Hooper, A. G.|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Horniman, Emslie John|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward||Horridge, Thomas Gardner|
|Brace, William||Erskine, David C.||Houston, Robert Paterson|
|Bramsdon, T. A.||Essex, R. W.||Hudson, Walter|
|Branch, James||Evans, Sir Samuel T.||Hunt, Rowland|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Everett, R. Lacey||Hutton, Alfred Eddison|
|Brigg, John||Faber, George Denison (York)||Hyde, Clarendon|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel|
|Brodie, H. C.||Fardell, Sir T. George||Jacoby, Sir James Alfred|
|Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Fenwick, Charles||Johnson, John (Gateshead)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Ferens, T. R.||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Ferguson, R. C. Munro||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire|
|Bull, Sir William James||Findlay, Alexander||Jowett, F. W.|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Fletcher, J. S.||Kearley, Sir Hudson E.|
|Byles, William Pollard||Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Kekewich, Sir George|
|Cameron, Robert||Freeman-Thomas, Freeman||Kelley, George D.|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Fuller, John Michael F.||Kimber, Sir Henry|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Fullerton, Hugh||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Gardner, Ernest||Laidlaw, Robert|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Gibb, James (Harrow)||Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster|
|Cave, George||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Lambert, George|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Gill, A. H.||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Glen-Coats, Sir T. (Renfrew, W.)||Lamont, Norman|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Glendinning, R. G.||Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Glover, Thomas||Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Worc||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peekham)||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)||Steadman, W. C.|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Pollard, Dr.||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Lockwood, Rt. Hn. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central)||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Dublin, S.)||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Stuart, James (Sunderland)|
|Lowe, Sir Francis William||Priestley, W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Summerbell, T.|
|Lupton, Arnold||Radford, G. H.||Sutherland, J. E.|
|Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Rainy, A. Rolland||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Lynch, H. B.||Ratcliff, Major R. F.||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro')||Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury|
|Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Rees, J. D.||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk B'ghs||Remnant, James Farquharson||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Markarness, Frederic C.||Renton, Leslie||Thomasson, Franklin|
|Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Renwick, George||Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset, E.|
|M'Arthur, Charles||Richards, Thomas (W. Monm'th||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Lanark)|
|M'Callum, John M.||Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton|
|M'Crae, Sir George||Richardson, A.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Ridsdale, E. A.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Verney, F. W.|
|M'Micking, Major G.||Roberts, Sir John H. (Denbighs.)||Vivian, Henry|
|Maddison, Frederick||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Magnus, Sir Philip||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Manfield, Harry (Northants)||Robinson, S.||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)||Robson, Sir William Snowdon||Walsh, Stephen|
|Marks, H. H. (Kent)||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||Walters, John Tudor|
|Marnham, F. J.||Roe, Sir Thomas||Walton, Joseph|
|Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Rogers, F. E. Newman||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton|
|Massie, J.||Ronaldshay, Earl of||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Masterman, C. F. G.||Rose, Charles Day||Wardle, George J.|
|Menzies, Walter||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Wason, Dt. Hn. E. (Clackmannan|
|Micklem, Nathaniel||Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Middlebrook, William||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)||Watt, Henry A.|
|Molteno, Percy Alport||Salter, Arthur Clavell||Whitbread, Howard|
|Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Montgomery, H. G.||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Scarisbrick, T. T. L.||White, Tuke (York, E. R.)|
|Morpeth, Viscount||Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Morrison-Bell, Captain||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Scott, A. H. (Ashton under Lyne||Whittaker, Rt. Hn. Sir Thomas P.|
|Murray, Capt. Hn. A. C. (Kincard)||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Myer, Horatio||Seaverns, J. H.||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Napier, T. B.||Seddon, J.||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)||Seely, Colonel||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Nicholls, George||Shackleton, David James||Williamson, A.|
|Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncast'r||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick, B.||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Nield, Herbert||Sherwell, Arthur James||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)|
|Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Silcock, Thomas Ball||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.)|
|Nussey, Thomas Willans||Simon, John Allsebrook||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Nuttall, Harry||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)||Sloan, Thomas Henry||Winfrey, R.|
|O'Grady, J.||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie||Wodehouse, Lord|
|Parker, James (Halifax)||Snowden, P.||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Partington, Oswald||Soames, Arthur Wellesley||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Paulton, James Mellor||Soares, Ernest J.||Young, Samuel|
|Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Stanger, H. Y.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr.|
|Pearson, W. H. M. (Suffolk, Eye)||Stanier, Beville||Joseph Pease and Master of|
|Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington||Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.)||Elibank.|
|Philipps, Col. Ivor (S'thampton)||Starkey, John R.|
§ And, it being after half-past Ten of the Clock, the CHAIRMAN proceeded, pursuant to the Order of the House of 17th July, to put forthwith the Question necessary to dispose of the Business to be concluded this day.1344
§ Question put, "That the clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 317; Noes, 91. (Division List No. 328.)1347
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Ainsworth, John Stirling|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Agnew, George William||Alden, Percy|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall||Laidlaw, Robert|
|Armitage, R.||Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster)|
|Armstrong, W. C. Heaton||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Lambert, George|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry||Erskine, David C.||Lamont, Norman|
|Astbury, John Meir||Essex, R. W.||Lane-Fox, G. R.|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Evans, Sir Samuel T.||Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Everett, R. Lacey||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Fenwick, Charles||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)|
|Barker, John||Ferens, T. R.||Levy, Sir Maurice|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Ferguson, R. C. Munro||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Barnard, E. B.||Findlay, Alexander||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David|
|Barnes, G. N.||Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Freeman-Thomas, Freeman||Lupton, Arnold|
|Beale, W. P.||Fuller, John Michael F.||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes|
|Beaumont, Hon. Hubert||Fullerton, Hugh||Lynch, H. B.|
|Beck, A. Cecil||Gibb, James (Harrow)||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred|
|Bell, Richard||Gill, A. H.||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)|
|Bellairs, Carlyon||Glen-Coats, Sir T. (Renfrew, W.||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk B'ghs.|
|Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R.||Glendinning, R. G.||Mackarness, Frederic C.|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Glover, Thomas||Maclean, Donald|
|Black, Arthur W.||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Greenwood, Hamar (York)||M'Callum, John M.|
|Brace, Wiliam||Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||M'Crae, Sir George|
|Bramsdon, T. A.||Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald|
|Branch, James||Gulland, John W.||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)|
|Brigg, John||Gurdon, Rt. Hn. Sir W. Brampton||M'Micking, Major G.|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||Maddison, Frederick|
|Brodie, H. C.||Hall, Frederick||Manfield, Harry (Northants)|
|Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Harcourt, Rt. Hn. L. (Rossendale||Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Marnham, F. J.|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r)||Massie, J.|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithn'ss-sh.||Masterman, C. F. G.|
|Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Charles||Hart-Davies, T.||Menzies, Walter|
|Byles, William Pollard||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Micklem, Nathaniel|
|Cameron, Robert||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.||Middlebrook, William|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Molteno, Percy Alport|
|Cave, George||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Montagu, Hon. E. S.|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Haworth, Arthur A.||Montgomery, H. G.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Worc.||Helme, Norval Watson||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Hemmerde, Edward George||Morrell, Philip|
|Cheetham, John Frederick||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Henry, Charles S.||Murray, Capt. Hn. A. C. (Kincard.|
|Clough, William||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Myer, Horatio|
|Clynes, J. R.||Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Napier, T. B.|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Higham, John Sharp||Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Hobart, Sir Robert||Nicholls, George|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W.||Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncast'r|
|Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Hodge, John||Norton, Capt. Cecil William|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinst'd||Holland, Sir William Henry||Nussey, Thomas Willans|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Holt, Richard Durning||Nuttall, Harry|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John||Hooper, A. G.||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Hope, W. Bateman (Somerset, N.||O'Grady, J.|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Horniman, Emslie John||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Crooks, William||Horridge, Thomas Gardner||Partington, Oswald|
|Crosfield, A. H.||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Cross, Alexander||Hudson, Walter||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Crossley, William J.||Hutton, Alfred Eddison||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Curran, Peter Francis||Hyde, Clarendon||Pearson, W. H. M. (Suffolk, Eye)|
|Dalmeny, Lord||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Philipps, Col. Ivor (S'thampton)|
|Davies, David (Montgomery Co.||Jacoby, Sir James Alfred||Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan||Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Pollard, Dr.|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central)|
|Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.||Jowett, F. W.||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Dobson, Thomas W.||Joynson-Hicks, William||Priestley, W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Duckworth, James||Kearley, Sir Hudson E.||Radford, G. H.|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness||Kekewich, Sir George||Rainy, A. Rolland|
|Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)||Kelley, George D.||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro')||Silcock, Thomas Ball||Ward, W. Dudley (South'mpt'n|
|Rees, J. D.||Simon, John Allsebrook||Wardle, George J.|
|Richards, Thomas (W. Monm'th||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John||Wason, Rt. Hn. E. (Clackmannan|
|Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n||Sloan, Thomas Henry||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney|
|Richardson, A.||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Ridsdale, E. A.||Snowden, P.||Watt, Henry A.|
|Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Roberts, Sir John H. (Denbighs.)||Soares, Ernest J.||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Spicer, Sir Albert||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradf'rd||Stanger, H. Y.||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Robinson, S.||Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.)||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Robson, Sir William Snowdon||Steadman, W. C.||Whittaker, Rt. Hn. Sir Thomas P.|
|Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Roe, Sir Thomas||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Rogers, F. E. Newman||Strachey, Sir Edward||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Rose, Charles Day||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarth'n|
|Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Stuart, James (Sunderland)||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.||Summerbell, T.||Williamson, A.|
|Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)||Sutherland, J. E.||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)||Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Scarisbrick, T. T. L.||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)|
|Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh. N.)|
|Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)||Thomasson, Franklin||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Scott, A. H. (Ashton under Lyne||Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset, E.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Seaverns, J. H.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)||Winfrey, R.|
|Seddon, J.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips||Wodehouse, Lord|
|Seely, Colonel||Verney, F. W.||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Shackleton, David James||Vivian, Henry|
|Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.|
|Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick B.)||Walsh, Stephen||Joseph Pease and Master|
|Sherwell, Arthur James||Walton, Joseph||of Elibank.|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hn. Sir Alex F.||Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Morrison-Bell, Captain|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Fardell, Sir T. George||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Fell, Arthur||Nield, Herbert|
|Ashley, W. W.||Fletcher, J. S.||Percy, Earl|
|Balcarres, Lord||Gardner, Ernest||Ratcliff, Major R. F.|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (City Lond.)||Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham)||Renton, Leslie|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Renwick, George|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Gretton, John||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Baring, Capt. Hn. G. (Winchester||Guinness, Hn. R. (Haggerston)||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Guinness, W. E. (Bury S. Edm.)||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Beach, Hn. Michael Hugh Hicks-||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Helmsley, Viscount||Stanier, Beville|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Hill, Sir Clement||Starkey, John R.|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Hills, J. W.||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staft'sh.)|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Houston, Robert Paterson||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hunt, Rowland||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Lanark)|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Keswick, William||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Kimber, Sir Henry||Valentia, Viscount|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Lockwood, Rt. Hn. Lt-Col. A. R.||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid.)|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Clive, Percy Archer||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Dublin, S.||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Collings, Rt. Hn. J. (Birmingh'm||Lowe, Sir Francis William||Winterton, Earl|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||M'Arthur, Charles||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Magnus, Sir Philip||Young, Samuel|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Markham, Arthur Basil|
|Doughty, Sir George||Marks, H. H. (Kent)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr.|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Samuel Roberts and Mr.|
|Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.||Salter.|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Morpeth, Viscount|
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.
§ Adjourned at six minutes before Eleven o'clock.