HC Deb 19 November 1908 vol 196 cc1431-2
MR. COURTHOPE (Sussex, Rye)

I beg to ask the Prime Minister in view of the fact that it is an offence, indictable at common law, for an innkeeper to refuse to allow persons to enter or remain on his licensed premises after the closing hours for the purpose of obtaining nonalcoholic refreshment, whether he will take immediate steps to inform justices of the peace of the correct interpretation of the law.

MR. PIKE PEASE (Darlington)

At the same time may I ask the Prime Minister in view of the fact that it constitutes an indictable offence for any innkeeper to refuse to accommodate any person and provide him with nonalcoholic refreshments after closing hours, whether he will take steps to indemnify those individuals who have in the past suffered penalties for allowing persons to be on licensed premises after closing hours owing to the misapprehension of the existing law by those responsible for its administration.


I am not aware that; there is any misapprehension among magistrates or police as to the obligations of an innkeeper at all times to receive and supply food to travellers, or that any innkeeper has suffered any penalty for carrying out that obligation; and I see no reason for any steps on my part in the matter.


Will not the Government use their opportunities in another place to define the meaning of the word "meal"?


I hope not.

MR. MEYSEY-THOMPSON (Staffordshire, Handsworth)

Is it not a fact that innkeepers have been punished for having people on their premises during prohibited hours?


I am not aware of that.