§ Order for Third Reading read.
§ THE PRIME MINISTER AND FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. ASQUITH,) Fifeshire, E.
It is as far back 1579 as the month of February last that I introduced this Bill to the House, and, from that time to this, despite the distractions of a number of other topics of competing interest, it may fairly be said that it has excited, in a very unusual degree, attention and controversy both in Parliament and in the country. This House has not been sparing of itself in discussing both its principles and its details. When the Third Reading takes place, as I hope it will, at the conclusion of our sitting this afternoon, we shall have expended upon it no fewer than six full weeks of Parliamentary time. And I cannot let slip this opportunity of paying, on my own behalf and on behalf of my colleagues in the Government, a tribute of most sincere gratitude and admiration, for the conspicuous and unfailing ability with which, in all its stages, and particularly during the Committee and Report stages, its provisions have been expounded and defended by my hon. and learned friend the Solicitor-General, and by my right hon. friend the Under-Secretary for the Home Office. I am sure that is an acknowledgement in which the whole House will be ready to join. In these circumstances, if the conditions were normal, I should have been disposed to content myself to-day with simply congratulating the House upon approaching the completion of a long and difficult task. But the circumstances in regard to this measure are not normal. There is no Bill of our time, no Bill certainly, of which I have memory, which has been the subject, at any rate outside the walls of Parliament, of greater misunderstanding, and, I must add, of more deliberate misconstruction. It has been denounced, on the one hand, as an act of spoliation, ostensibly directed against a single trade, but involving principles which, if they came to be universally or even generally applied, would strike a fatal blow at the very foundations of property itself. It has been, on the other hand, from the temperance point of view, scoffed at and derided as at once futile and hypocritical—I thought there would have been a cheer from hon. Gentlemen opposite—as inspired, not by any genuine desire to diminish the facilities for intemperance or to curtail the area of misery and crime, but simply by vindictive 1580 hostility to a particular trade which is supposed to be out of favour with the Government and with the majority in this House. I think it is right, therefore, as this may be the last occasion when it will be possible to say anything by way of general review, that I should endeavour, in a very few, but I hope plain and intelligible words, to describe before we part with the Bill what it is that it proposes aid what it is that it does not propose.
Now, Sir, the first object of this measure, as I stated when I introduced it, is to get rid by a compulsory, and, so far as local conditions will admit, by a uniform process, and within a reasonable distance of time, of the redundant licences which at present exist. Is it disputed in any quarter of the House that there is a present excess in the number of licences as compared with the reasonable requirements of the community? If it is disputed I can only say it was affirmed ten years ago by the Peel Commission, and what was true then is at least equally true at the present day.
§ * MR. TALBOT (Oxford University)
Will the right hon. Gentleman excuse me? Not equally true—there has been a substantial reduction.
§ MR. ASQUITH
That is quite true. But I was not speaking of figures, I was speaking of the fact of excess in the facilities for the consumption of drink as compared with the real needs of the population, and I say that that phenomenon is as striking to-day as it has ever been. If that be so, and if, as we think, the process of undoubted acceleration in the reduction of the number of licences, which is one of the results of the Act of 1904, is a process which still falls lamentably short, in its magnitude and in its speed, of the real necessities of the case, can any one suggest a better, a more sensible, or a more equitable way of dealing wth the problem than that which has been adopted in this Bill?
§ MR. ASQUITH
I am challenging criticism, and I say that if you start as we did, with the assumption that there is an excess in the number of licences, and that excess ought to be reduced, not sporadically nor capriciously, not casually, not merely in accordance with the wishes or desires of this or that bench of magistrates, but ought to be reduced uniformly on principles which are applicable in the main to the country as a whole, how could you do better than take, as we have taken, into account the density of population, and, having made full allowance for the special conditions of particular localities, then provide that within a not very short period of time, but within fourteen years, there shall be brought about a reduction which we estimate at something like one-third of the total number of existing licences? That is the first clause of this Bill as modified and explained by the first Schedule; and I venture to affirm that if that clause stood alone, if there was nothing else in the measure, it is one which this House or any other Legislature in this country would take great responsibility in refusing to pass.
I pass from that, which is our first object, to another and one which we regard as of equal importance. In the interests of the community we desire by this legislation to pave the way effectually by which to arrive at a state of things when the State will have an unfettered discretion as regards the conditions imposed and will have uncontrolled dominion as regards all property conferred in the shape of all licences, whether old or new. We are helped very much in maintaining that proposition by the precedent set us in the Act of 1904. The authors of that Act are estopped by their own legislation from denying that, whenever a person comes forward and asks from the community that he shall be granted the exclusive privilege, even if only for a year, of selling without competition or with only restricted competition, this particular form of commodity, then it is the right of the State, acting through the licensing authority, to impose any conditions it sees fit as regards the conduct of the business; and it is the 1582 duty of the State, not merely its right, to demand as an equivalent for the privilege which it has conferred on him the whole of what is called in that Act the monopoly value. So that, as regards future licences, it is common ground between all parties that the community has this right which we want to regain as regards all licences. What is the ideal by which, always having regard—and I shall endeavour to show that we have always had the most scrupulous regard—for existing interests—what is the ideal which, in order to provide for that, you ought to seek to maintain? In the first place, it is that the voice of the community shall have the right to make itself heard, and effectively heard, as regards the number and even the existence of licences as far as that community is concerned, and naturally that the added value given to the premises of a trade by the possession of a licence, or in other words by a State-conferred monopoly, that added value—which, be it remembered, is a bonus over and above the profits on capital and the reward of the skill and industry which an ordinary trader finds a sufficient inducement to persuade him to embark upon a commercial venture—that that added bonus may be resumed or acquired by the State. That is the second object we have in promoting this legislation.
I want now to come to another part of the subject upon which more honest misapprehension exists. I want to examine for a few moments how these two results—the reduction of redundant licences within a certain time, and the acquisition by the State of the monopoly value of all licences at the end of that period—can be brought about. As I said, I think, when I introduced the Bill, and as both I and my colleagues have said on subsequent occasions, there is no necessary logical connection between the length of the reduction period during which redundant licences come to an end and what is technically called the time-limit, or the time at the expiration of which the State is to enter into possession of the monopoly value. In our original proposals they were separate; but I have been careful to point out that it is not due to any logical or political necessities, and that that matter was 1583 freely open to argument, and that we should keep our minds open to it throughout our discussions. The House knows that we have now a different length of time. Although the length of time in the two Gases need not necessarily correspond, yet the manner in which you are going to deal with them depends, in both cases, as regards both the length of time and the money to be paid, upon what is the true view of the nature of the interest conferred by a licence. I am almost ashamed at this time of day to enter once more upon that inquiry, but it is necessary to do so, even though it be for the last time. One thing is perfectly plain. If a licence granted to retail intoxicating liquor, in respect of the premises upon which that liquor is to be sold, confers upon the licence-holder an interest analogous to the interest acquired by a man who buys a house or an acre of land in the open market, then we know precisely where we are. He is to all intents and purposes a freeholder; in other words, he has an indefeasible title to the perpetual enjoyment of the interest which he has acquired. If that is so, in accordance with all precedent and principle, the State cannot take away that which he has honestly acquired without paying him compensation, and compensation out of public funds. That is an elementary proposition which I hope will not be denied in any quarter of this House. But is such an interest conferred by a licence? It is often so described in the country; but we know what has been said about it in this House in this very week. It is absolutely impossible for anybody responsible, either as authors or supporters of the Act of 1904, to contend that the interest conferred by a licence is in any sense a freehold. If it were, the provisions of that Act were monstrously unfair, because you were taking away, or allowing the justices to take away, from those persons property not by reason of any misconduct of their own, not because they failed to comply with the conditions, expressed or implied, upon which it had been granted, but solely because in the interests of the community it was desirable to do so. If that was so, the only proper and honest way in which to deal with it was to pay compensation out of public funds—to 1584 make the community pay. They did not do so. We have never yet had an answer to the simple inquiry why, if the contentions now put forward in regard to the nature and equity of the licence-holders' interests are correctly founded, was the compensation made payable under the Licensing Act of 1904 not by the community, but by the trade?
Now if interest conferred by a licence is not a freehold, what is it? In point of law it is not, and never has been or can be until the law is altered, anything but a precarious interest, granted for a year, revocable at the end of the year, and not only revocable, but coming to an end for the year. That is the common law and the statute law. But at the same time I have always agreed that there had grown up above and around that bare legal conception the excrescence of practice, which had created expectations—expectations so constantly realised that many people had ceased to regard them as mere expectations at all; and in accordance with the rules of equity which govern legislation in this country it would not be fair, or in accordance with precedent, to deal with them according to the principles of abstract law. Those expectations, as I pointed out, were of two kinds, the expectation of renewal and of freedom—limited freedom, at any rate—from competition. But the magistrates might, when the licensing day came round, refuse to renew a licence without reason assigned, and might, as the Liverpool bench did, by multiplying licences destroy the monopoly. It is necessary to recall these things when these exaggerated and fictitious conceptions of the value of licences are put forward. That being so, what is the fair way and the only fair way to deal with the matter if you are going, in the public interest, either to reduce the number of licences upon a large scale by compulsory methods or to resume for the State the monopoly value of the licences? We have said that there is only one way and that is by a time notice with a payment in the one case of compensation, and in the other case of fair allowance for the monopoly value. This is the point to which I wish to bring the controversy, if I can, between the supporters and the opponents of this Bill. I am not 1585 speaking now of the length of the time. That is a perfectly arguable point. It always has been, and always will be and is one on which we cannot expect to get unanimity. But I wish to ask those who are going to invite the House to reject the Bill on the Third Reading whether they do or do not accept the principle of a time-limit at all. I think that is a fair question. I quite agree that if we were dealing with property to which the freehold conception applies, if we were taking railways, or land, or houses, or what not, from persons who are indefeasible owners with perpetual right of property, then I quite agree that time-limits are things which do not come in. I have said it before, and repeat it because I feel it so strongly, and it is necessary that it should be emphatically stated over and over again, that I do not think any greater disservice has been done to the real interests of property in this country than the comparison, the analogy, and the identity which the opponents of this Bill have sought to establish between the interest created by a licence and a freehold interest.
§ MR. ASQUITH
They can speak for themselves. I am not a Socialist. If you are not dealing with freehold property, a time-limit is the only way of disposing of that kind of interest, which, in point of law, is very slender, but in point of practice is magnified by this excrescence of expectation. That is the only fair and equitable way of dealing with that kind of interest which statesmen in this country can devise. How do we propose to apply that principle? We are travelling over very familiar ground, and I must apologise to the House. What will be the state of things under this Bill if it passes into law in its present shape? The hon. Gentlemen opposite seem to think this is a contingency that need hardly be discussed.
§ MR. BONAR LAW (Camberwell, Dulwich)
If the right hon. Gentleman wants to know what I was thinking I will tell him. I was thinking that the 1586 Solicitor-General's hair would rise on end at the thought.
§ MR. ASQUITH
I do not think that that observation is of much importance. We will pass from that. What will be the state of things under this Bill if by a hypothetical contingency it passes into law? First of all, in the fourteen years which have been described as the reduction period the redundant licences will be by a more or less uniform process I gradually weeded out of existence, and the compensation to those who are extinguished will be provided, as it is now, by those who survive. Of course they will be compensated on the footing that they were entitled to an annuity for a term of years, but not in perpetuity, and the basis on which the compensation will be assessed will be a different one from that which the interpretation of the Act of 1904 has placed upon it.
Now come to the end of the fourteen years. What is the state of things brought about then? Ex hypothesi the redundant licences have disappeared, and you have got to deal with the survivors alone. With regard to them, what the Bill proposes is this. Subject to two contingencies, which I will mention, they shall have a run of seven years during which their holders will not be subject to any compensation levy, and not until the expiration of those seven years will the State be entitled to resume the monopoly value. As I said, that run is subject to two contingencies, and what are they? There are two risks undoubtedly which these surviving licence-holders will have to encounter and provide against. The first is the risk that the magistrates, the licensing authority, may still think that there is a redundancy—indeed there may be in some cases—and may further reduce below the standard of the statutory reduction that has taken place during the fourteen years. That, no doubt, is a risk, but I doubt whether it is a risk of a very serious character, because you have to consider that there has been this very large and substantial reduction in the number of licences to the extent of one-third, and simultaneously and concurrently with that you will have a very large increase in the growth of population, and presumably, 1587 unless there has been some great change in the habits and opinions of the people, there will be a larger demand for the supply of liquor. If you put these two things together, I do not think that that particular risk is one of a very serious kind. There is a further risk in which my hon. friend the Member for Appleby is more interested, and that is the risk of local option by a two-thirds majority. I do not attempt to appraise what the value of that risk will be actuarily. I do not think it is at all an unfair thing to say that, after the fourteen years is over, and after they have been established in a position of relative freedom from competition by the extinction of redundant licences, which have hitherto been their rivals—it is not an unreasonable thing to say to them: "Now you shall have a seven years run without payment of any compensation levy, subject to these two risks, against which you can insure yourselves." That is the actual situation created by this Bill; and to represent that—as it is represented in many quarters—as though it were the last stage of tyranny and confiscation does seem to me to be making too great a draft on public imagination.
Let me turn now for a moment to the other aspect of the matter, and that is the pecuniary aspect. As I said, we have altered the basis of compensation which by the interpretation put by the Kennedy judgment on the Act of 1904 has for the last three years prevailed. It is a matter which mainly concerns the trade. It concerns the trade far more than it does the public, and for these two reasons: In the first place, because we are dealing here, not with a fund derived from rates or taxation, but with a fund which has been contributed by the trade itself; and in the next place—for that does not meet the cases of individual hardship—you must never forget that this trade has got into increasingly fewer hands. The statistics on that point are most striking. There is an enormous solidarity among the ostensible licence-holders of this country. You cannot treat them as a lot of individual units, separable, independent, and standing each upon his own base.
§ MR. ASQUITH
The shareholders have nothing whatever to do with it. They have nothing whatever to do with what I am now saying. The noble Lord is not showing his usual logical acumen. I am speaking of the difference between the position of affairs in which there were 92,000 persons interested in licensed premises separately and individually in this trade and the position, which now exists, where, as we know, 90 per cent. are tied and a very large proportion of the 90,000 licence-holders are really not their own masters at all. That is why I say that this is a matter which mainly concerns the trade, and we do think that by getting rid of the rule laid down in the Kennedy judgment and by confining the assessment of compensation to the difference between the value of the premises, licensed and unlicensed, as a place for the sale and supply of retail intoxicating drink, we are not only bringing back the law more nearly to that condition in which it was intended to be by the framers of that Act, but certainly more near the requirements of common sense and justice
I now come to what is really a more important aspect of the pecuniary question, and that is the method of assessing the monopoly value, which is to be resumed by the State at the end of the time-limit. That is now defined in the twenty-sixth Clause of the Bill. What is this monopoly value? There is just as much dispute about this as about the interest created by it. Some people seem to think that, when we talk of the State resuming the monopoly value, the State is going to take possession of the premises themselves, and if not of the premises, at any rate of the goodwill of the trader and the profits of his trade. We are not going to do anything of the kind. We have inserted in this Bill—I venture to think we have wisely inserted it—what was not explicitly stated in the Act of 1904—namely, a definition of what monopoly value is. That is a good thing.
§ MR. ASQUITH
I am sorry to hear my hon. friend say that, because I remember that on the night it was introduced into the Bill he expressed a qualified welcome.
§ MR. YOUNGER
That was after the right hon. Gentleman told me that he was dealing with the question from the Scottish point of view. I have since found out that the difference is essential.
§ MR. ASQUITH
I do not think the difference is essential at all. We are dealing now with an English Bill. My hon. friend and I are both Scottish Members, and have a natural admiration for the Scottish system, which we admit is superior to the English system, but I think I can show him that this is a perfectly just Bill according to English ideas, and according to ideas of justice. What is the monopoly value which, under the clause as it now stands will be obtained, resumed, or secured—I would prefer to use the neutral word "obtained"—by the State at the end of the time-limit? It is the difference measured by the Schedule A assessment between the value of the premises—that is to say, between the rent which a tenant would give for the premises licensed and the rent which a tenant would give for the premises if they did not possess a licence. [...] there any possible method simpler, [...] or more equitable? When this [...]ter was being discussed in Committee [...]got no answer to a question which [...] repeat now—If the Schedule A assessment is properly made, as it ought to be made, is there any element which it includes which for this purpose ought to be excluded, or any element which it excludes which for this purpose ought to be included? We have had no answer to this question, and I know of none. I believe it will be found that, always assuming that the Schedule A assessment is properly made—I make that assumption, and I think I am entitled to make it, subject to all the safeguards which the law provides—the State will not be able to take in the shape of monopoly value anything to which it is not really entitled in the strictest sense. A good deal has been said about goodwill. As regards personal goodwill, no one suggests 1590 that it enters, or can enter, into the Schedule A assessment, and, therefore, the State, by taking this difference, can compensate it. As regards local goodwill, there is an element of it which ought to be in the Schedule A assessment. If the situation of the premises—I do not mean a valuable piece of land in any particular quarter of the town or any circumstance of that kind—has led to their being resorted to in the past, if they have a special value which other premises have not, and which is derived not from the exertions of the capital, labour, industry, or skill of the tenant, but from the fact that they are where they are, this is an element which ought to be taken into consideration in the Schedule A assessment. Of course, it will be equally taken into account when, as very often occurs, the promises have a special value for any other reason not peculiar to premises which are used as licensed premises or used for the purposes of this trade. It may exist, and does exist, in the case of hundreds of other classes of property, and where the Schedule A assessment is properly made, that element must enter into consideration. I will say one word further about this. I do not want to labour the details of this matter; but whatever criticisms have been made on this simple definition of my hon. and learned friend, no alternative definition of monopoly value has yet been submitted to the House from any quarter with any confidence, which would stand five minutes criticism. A great deal of ingenuity, legal, professional, expert, and otherwise has been bestowed upon this Bill from that side of the House. I acknowledge it to the full. That serried phalanx of veterans, who are seated behind the front Opposition Bench, have grown almost grey by their constant and sedulous attendance and the vigilant watch they have kept on the proceedings of this Bill; but with all their ingenuity and industry they have not yet succeeded in finding a definition of monopoly value which will compete with that of my hon. and learned friend the Solicitor-General, who is entitled to say, as he did say last night, that it holds the field.
I am afraid I have detained the House too long on this part of the question. I must, before I conclude, pass to a rapid 1591 survey of the other provisions of the Bill. The parts with which I have been dealing may be described as the really contentious parts; but I should like the House to realise, and the country to realise, quite apart from all these provisions as to the resumption of monopoly value, and as to what is to happen at the end of the time-limit, what contributions this Bill really proposes to make to what ought to be the uncontroversial field. I have spoken already of the large reduction it will effect in the actual number of licences, but let me add a rather more detailed summary of the other provisions. First of all, upon the administrative side—a very important ride of temperance legislation—this Bill restores to the justices their old authority. It provides—and this is a remedy of one of the great administrative abuses that exist—an appropriate and competent tribunal of appeal. It further, for the first time, makes allowance for the payment out of local funds of the costs of justices defending their decisions in the High Court. That may seem to the House a small matter, but those of us who have had practical experience of licensing litigation, like my hon. friend the Solicitor-General and in a minor degree myself, know well that the fact that the justices are obliged to defend their decisions at the cost of their own pockets often causes the gravest miscarriage of justice, and prevents the perfectly wise and proper judgment which they have given from being adequately defended or properly upheld. Now we come from administration to the substance of the law. I have spoken of the reduction in numbers. You have next the abolition of removal which is a very easy means, under the law as it at present stands, of evading the provision of the Act of 1904 with regard to new licences. You have the restriction upon the hours of Sunday opening both in London and in the country. You have the extension of the limit of the bona fide traveller, which was recommended, if I am not mistaken, in both the Majority and Minority Reports. The hon. Gentleman the Member for the Ayr Burghs is one of those entitled to the joint credit of the authorship of that proposal. When history comes to be written his name will always be associated with it. Then 1592 you have—and there is no provision in the Bill to which I, at any rate, attach more importance—the valuable clause with regard to children. Then we hive Clause 20, which empowers the justices to impose a number of conditions in respect of specific subject-matter in regard to the renewal of licences, which they cannot impose under the Act of 1904, but which everybody who is acquainted with the real necessities of the case knows are urgently to be desired. You have provisions also which deal with the abuses of hawking drink—not the least of evils—and which make the law really stringent and effective with regard to the sale of drink on passenger vessels.
And then, lastly, there are the much discussed and much abused clauses of the Bill which deal with clubs. I believe it is still one of the most fashionable criticisms made on this Bill, and it is adduced as an irresistible proof of the hypocrisy of its authors, that, while they purport on the one hand to shut up public-houses, on the other hand they are opening the door to an indefinite multiplication of the facilities for drink through the machinery of clubs and shebeens. Well, what have we done with clubs? It is an extraordinary thing that in 1904 it never occurred to the authors of the Act of that year, for which they claim credit because in the interests of temperance they were providing a[...]easy and well-greased machinery for [...] reduction of the number of licences think that it was necessary at the s[...] time to take precautions against [...] multiplication of clubs. No, the [...] covery on the part of these Gentlemen that there should be a prevention of the multiplication of clubs is very belated. But what have we done in regard to clubs? Compare the state of the law as it was left by right hon. Gentlemen opposite to the state of the law which will be brought about when this Bill receives, if it does receive, the Royal Assent. We have, with regard to clubs brought in a number of most important safeguards and provisions, always having in view throughout the importance of doing nothing which would appear to interfere with the liberty of well-conducted and orderly clubs, or to discourage the creation of such institutions wherever there is a genuine demand for them. We have 1593 enabled persons to come forward who object to the renewal of the registration of a club, not only on the grounds specified in the old Act as to conditions which a club must observe, but on the ground that it is used or is going to be used mainly as a drinking club; and next there is this important addition which was made in Committee, and which, I hope, will have very beneficial results in checking a growing evil in regard to clubs which fall within the denomination of what is known as the tied house. There, I believe, was a real danger, a danger that, if public-houses were suppressed on a considerable scale, the brewers and persons interested in the trade might, under the guise of financing a club of this kind, bring into existence what would be practically a substitute for that which the law has got rid of. Then we have strengthened—indeed, we have created—a penal liability for permitting drunkenness or for an illegal sale of liquor, unless they can prove a diligent use of their power. We have given a right of entry properly safeguarded, as I think it now is, by requiring the order of a magistrate to the police, so that when there is reasonable ground, which the magistrate can act upon, to believe that the premises are not used for the bona fide purposes of a club, but are being used as a drinking shop, the police will be able to come in and procure the necessary evidence and get the registration of the club cancelled. And, finally, we have prohibited the sale of liquor for consumption off the premises. When all these changes of the law have taken place I am sanguine enough to believe that we shall have set up a series of safeguards which will enable public authorities to discriminate, and discriminate accurately, between clubs which ought to be encouraged and which ought not to be interfered with, and clubs which are the disguised haunts of persons who go there for the supply of drink and drink alone, and which are intended to take the place of the suppressed public-houses. I believe those provisions of the Bill now command general assent. I believe they are recognised—and recognised not least by those who are the representatives of Labour in this House—as having been carefully devised with the object of not imposing undue obstacles to the formation and conduct of bona 1594 fide clubs, and at the same time they are not wanting in stringency, and even severity, where the privileges of a club are being abused.
I should have been glad to have confined my observations within a shorter compass, but I felt it my duty to make this general survey. The House has spent upon the Bill, I think, the most laborious hours of a laborious session. It is a Bill which, upon its first introduction, was received with an amount and an intensity of hostility, which, I can assure the House, did not in the least surprise the Government, who were its authors. We calculated upon that; we should have been foolish, indeed, if we had not. That makes it all the more agreeable to me to acknowledge, as I do to-day, that in the months which have passed my hon. friends who sit behind us here, often exposed to misrepresentation and obloquy of a peculiarly offensive and wounding kind, supported us in putting the provisions of this measure through with an assiduity and a loyalty for which we cannot be too grateful. I believe they have not done so because of a blind, mechanical instinct of party discipline. I think they have done so because they recognised that in this Bill, sneered at as it has been by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, as a kind of omnium gatherum of fads and fancies, you have the first serious and solid attempt which has been made in our time to advance the cause of temperance reform. What may be its fate elsewhere it is not for me to predict or ever to forecast. It is sufficient for me to-day to know that it represents the considered judgment of the Commons of England. It is as a plan wisely conceived for a great purpose that I now for the last time submit it to the approval of this House.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a third time."—(Mr. Asquith.)
§ * MR. CLAVELL SALTER (Hants, Basingstoke)
In moving the Motion which stands in my name, I shall endeavour not to occupy an undue share of the very restricted time which is left to us for the discussion of an important 1595 matter. I agree with the Prime Minister that the Bill has attracted remarkable attention in the country. I think that attention has not only been due to the great interests which are at stake, but, more than that, to the sound instinct of our people which shows them how vast are the possibilities and precedents which this Bill raises. We have been told in eloquent terms that this Bill which to-day leaves this House represents at any rate the considered judgment of the Commons of England. Speaking with the utmost respect I am tempted to say, if that is so, so much the worse for the Commons of England. The Bill has been indeed amended in Committee. It consists of alternate layers, thin layers which have been discussed, and thick layers of which no detailed examination has been made. The major part of the Bill is unchanged except for those Government Amendments which have been voted without discussion. But those portions of the Bill of which examination has been allowed have been amended and re-amended in the most bewildering fashion and up to the very last moment. As this Bill leaves the House it contains upon its face at least one totally unintended provision which the Government have been prevented by their closure from correcting, but which they hope to correct elsewhere. Our debates are concluding in a strange fashion, are they not? We have just listened for an hour to a speech from the Prime Minister, and what was that speech? Was it a defence of the principles of the Bill on which we have been so long engaged? It was, as the right hon. Gentleman said it would be, an exposition not of the details but of the main provisions of the Bill. Are we not aware, having discussed this matter since February, what are the main provisions of this Bill? Was not this curious and interesting speech, to which we have just listened, an argument, was it not perhaps an appeal addressed to an audience not present in this House? Was it not perhaps a handy synopsis suitable for the use of other students of a somewhat complicated measure? I am not concerned with these matters. I am concerned to look at the Bill as a whole, and I refuse to look at it otherwise than as a whole. I find the time-limit, I find reduction, I find compensa- 1596 tion inextricably interwoven in this Bill, and I accept or I reject the Bill as a whole. Looking at the Bill as a whole I find it, notwithstanding our microscopic examination for many weeks, in its texture, in its essence, and in its principle unchanged, and it appears to me not merely a Bill unworthy of the support of this House, but a measure which it would pass the wit of man by any Amendment, however drastic, to convert into a wise or politic measure. I base my own opposition to the Bill upon four grounds. I oppose it as being a measure rooted in injustice and oppressive even in its machinery. I oppose it next as being an unwarrantable interference with the reasonable liberty of individuals. Without making any imputations on the personal sincerity of any supporter of this Bill, without under-rating in any way that body of most estimable if somewhat unenlightened opinion which supports it in the country, I yet oppose it, as my third ground, because it is a dishonest Bill. I speak without offence. I say that it is not a fearless, impartial, and sincere application of its alleged principles to the subject matter of the legislation. My last ground of opposition is that I am persuaded that it would be of no avail as an instrument of social reform. The hon. Member for Kingston, who has rendered such assistance to the House throughout these debates, at the outset of the illuminating speech in which he moved the rejection on the Second Reading, invited the House to reject this Bill on the ground that while not advancing the cause of temperance, it violated the principles of equity. At the conclusion of these long debates, I invite the House to reject the Bill upon these grounds. I base my opposition to the Bill upon the two grounds that it is unjust and that it would be futile. On the first main, part of the Bill, the reduction of licences, I desire to say very little. As the Prime Minister observed, we are all agreed that there should be a general and a considerable reduction of the number of licensed houses. If what you want is a reduction of licences, I think you do not need any Bill, and I am quite sure you do not need this Bill. The changes which this Bill makes as regards the reduction of licences are changes of machinery, 1597 and of principle. As regards machinery it substitutes a Procrustean method and the rigid and pedantic exactitude of a central bureaucracy for the flexible and just system with a local levy and local control which is working at this moment so admirably. As regards principle the change it makes is, by tampering with the basis of compensation, to reduce the just and beneficial process now going on into a matter of hardship and injustice. I desire to concentrate myself upon what seems to me to be the very heart and marrow of this Bill, the time-limit in its widest sense, which seems to me to be three matters, and not those throe matters only, and certainly not any one of those three matters, but a sinister combination of those three matters. At a fixed future date insurance is to end. At a fixed future date the monopoly value is to be confiscated and meanwhile insurance is to be levied. It is idle to say what terms might have been fair if other terms had been proposed. These are the terms proposed, and as a whole in their combined action we have to consider them. Was ever a lawful industry so proposed to be dealt with in any civilised country in modern times? The true and real explanation of this Bill is that it is promoted by those who in their hearts believe this trade is contrary to public policy, and is in itself an undesirable thing and should be, suppressed. I understand them, if I do not share their opinion, but if that is their view, let them come forward honestly with proposals for the abolition of this trade on the ground of its undesirable nature and do not let them attempt indirectly to destroy it by the imposition of impossible conditions. We are not concerned here to consider whether or not the Bill is merely confiscation in a fair colloquial use of the word, or in its stricter sense. But I listened to the Prime Minister basing himself for the third time in this House upon the nature of a licence and challenging us for the third time to reconcile the Act of 1904 with our opposition to this Bill, and it falls to me to follow on this difficult matter a great master of debate, and to endeavour to erect this challenge. In this matter of time-limit and confiscation we have been too apt to concentrate out attention upon the rights and position 1598 of the individual licence-holder. The argument on our side, which is so familiar, how the individual licence has always been treated as property in the Courts and in the market, by the tax gatherer and the rate collector, and the argument on the other side of the undoubted discretion of the justices—these are arguments which are concerned with the individual licence. But we are not proposing here to reduce an individual licence. We are proposing to destroy to a large extent the general body of licences in this country. The Prime Minister, in the course of his masterly exposition in introducing the Bill, dealt, as he has dealt more shortly this afternoon, with this matter. He dealt with the question of confiscation. He based himself and his proposals upon the essentially revocable nature of a licence. He pointed out with the utmost lucidity how the expectation of the licence-holder was twofold, how he hoped for renewal and how he hoped for protection, and he went on to say, having pointed out how the justices might defeat both these expectations, in the one case by refusing to renew and in the other by granting more licences—It follows that in either case, without any violation of the law, without inflicting any wrong for which any single human being could seek any legal redress, either or both of the expectations upon which the monopoly value rests might be frustrated and the whole fabric of the monopoly value itself brought down to the ground.In speaking on the Second Reading of the Bill he put the matter even more strongly and more shortly, and he said—There would be no legal wrong (as I have pointed out) in respect of which any person could complain in any Court of Law for redress if we had proposed to enact that every existing licence should come to an end at the end of the current year.I agree with the right hon. Gentleman in his statement of the law as to the nature of the individual licence, but with the greatest respect, though with great confidence, I join issue when he comes to draw his conclusions from it. He says—"This is no confiscation. Confiscation is for us to take away without compensating existing rights. We do not propose confiscation, and I have, therefore, to show that there is no legal right. If we were to take away every licence to-morrow there would be no confiscation." The words used by the Prime 1599 Minister on the Second Reading were not so absolutely perfect as we are accustomed to from him, because I take it we cannot here infringe a legal right, nor can any person go to a Court of law and complain of what we do. But his meaning is as clear as can be. If you are passing an enactment the effect of whch is to take away from people property which could be taken away by some other authority under an existing law without infringing their legal right, that is not confiscation, whatever equitable rights may arise. The argument then is this. The justices can take away any licence, therefore the justices can take away every licence, and therefore if the Government take away every licence they would not be guilty of confiscation. I agree that the justices can take away any licence. I agree that if the justices could take away every licence there would be no confiscation if Parliament did so. Where I respectfully differ is in saying that because the justices can take away any licence, it therefore follows that they can take away every licence. It is the profound fundamental fallacy at the very basis of the Bill. They have no such discretion. The justices are entrusted with a great discretion. It is a discretion which has to be exercised judicially. It has to be exercised under the law, and in accordance with the spirit and the words of the law. The words of the judgment in the House of Lords are—That they may not by evasion attempt to repeal the law which permits public-houses to exist.And in another part of the judgment it is stated that the Legislature most clearly contemplated that licences as a whole would continue to exist, without, of course, the imposition of destructive conditions. They, therefore, must exercise their functions subject to the spirit of the law which exists and guides them, not for the purpose of taking away, but for the purpose of providing, under regulation, places of public entertainment for the people. Let us take an example. Supposing the justices in any licensing district were to say: "We are temperance people. We think this is undesirable. We will refuse to renew licences in our district at the expiration of the current 1600 year." No man can doubt that the justices would be restrained from any such proceeding. Let us go one step further and suppose the justices, instead of saying that, said: "We have need of local funds and this is an undesirable trade. We will not renew except upon the condition of payment to local funds in the nature of payment for monopoly value. They did say that in one case—an individual case only, and it was an original grant. The justices required the applicant for a new licence to pay a sum of money in aid of the local rates. They were at once restrained by the Court, which observed that they had no legal right to do that. If the justices cannot do it in one case, a fortiori they cannot do it in all and a fortiori all the justices in the country cannot do it as regards all the licences. It would be the grossest and most palpable instance that could possibly be imagined of that which is described in the judgment of the House of Lords as an attempt by evasion to repeal the law which exists for the continuance of public-houses. It follows that while in the case of an individual licence there is no more than an equity to considerate treatment, in the case of licence-holders collectively and of the trade as a whole, there is a vested interest—as good a right, subject to the risks and incidents of their trade, to go on supplying people with beer under this recognised industry as bakers and butchers have. Subject, I say, to the incidents of their trade, one of which is the risk of individual reduction, which discounts the value of each licence. It fell, in the case tried before Mr. Justice Kennedy, to estimate the actual money value of that risk of individual reduction. One of these houses was an ante-1869 house, not subject to this risk, and the other was an ordinary licensed house and was subject to it, and in that case it was held that the actual difference in money value due to the risk of individual reduction was one year's purchase. I, therefore, say this Bill is based, not merely upon confiscation in its colloquial sense, but actually is a measure of confiscation in the strictest and most technical sense, and I am not concerned to inquire whether it be £100,000,000 or £150,000,000 which is going to be confiscated. Whether £100,000,000 or 1601 £100 the principle is the same, and to these people we are, it seems, to say: "The State is going to take from you valuable property, but not now. You are to be granted a respite. Use it to advantage. Toil and save, and when the time comes and we take from you your property we shall not take your savings too." It would have been a strange thing if the leaders of Socialism in this country had not been quick to see the great possibilities of this measure. Their intentions are not hid from us. They look forward to carrying by successive attacks the outworks by which the fortress of private property is defended in this country—licences first, mines next, land next, and so on to all the means of production, distribution, and exchange. They have made no secret of the light in which they regard this Bill. The hon. Member for Blackburn sees no reason why he, as a Socialist, should resist this convenient precedent, that might be adapted to property in railways, mines, and land. This Bill establishes two precedents of which use will be made hereafter. The first is—if you give a man notice beforehand, you do him no wrong in taking away his property. The other precedent will apply where compensation is to be paid to the late owner of the property. He will ask for "market value," and he will be answered on the lines of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley to the publicans: "It is true you bought the property on market value and could not have got it without. But how came you to buy at such an inflated price? Have you not recognised the danger? Have you ignored my speeches and pamphlets? Where have been your ears and your eyes? You have known for long past what we intended to do, and you are the author of your own misfortune." The practical result of this valuable doctrine is that for the purposes of compensation it substitutes the partisan valuation of a political opponent for the real ascertainment of the true value. With regard to precedent we do not need to be told—I hope we shall not be told—that a public-house is a different thing from a railway, and that both of them differ from a mine. What I want to know is this—What is the material difference of principle 1602 for this purpose? Does not the licensed trade depend mainly on capital and industry with the assistance of a certain measure of monopoly value, the necessary result of State regulation? Compare railway shareholders and their moral rights with brewery shareholders and their moral rights. Railways are regulated by the State. They exist under the sanction of something which you may almost call the licence of the State; they rely on capital and industry and a measure of monopoly due to regulation by Parliament. What is the difference between the two? I might pass on to the case of mines where there is a strong element of monopoly, or to land where the element of monopoly also operates. But the question I wish to ask is this—Is the hon. Member for Blackburn right in saying that this is a precedent which will enable him to take possession first of railways, then of mines, and then of land on his triumphant career to other conquests, and to substitute a time-limit with the chance of insurance for compensation? Is he right in saying that? If he is right, then we know where we are. Let it be frankly admitted. But if he is not right, I challenge with respect some speaker who follows me in this debate to-day to point out what is the difference which makes it right and just to apply this principle to the licensed trade and wrong to apply it to other classes of property. I am not going to speak at any length of the time-limit. I have made it clear that I object to it in principle and in its essence as it exists in this Bill. I do want to say one word upon the general question of hardship and upon the general question of equitable right, passing from the criticism of the principle of the time-limit which I have ventured to make. It is not so much a question whether a period of twenty-one years is enough or not. Is it the long agony and slow destruction of twenty-one years which these people are looking forward to? Is it not something much nearer to their doors? This trade is carried on on borrowed money. What is the position of the trade? Scared by the mere chance, however remote, of this Bill becoming law, the mortgagee is already moving. I will not trouble the House 1603 with many figures, but may I mention two cases which affect the small livings of insignificant people. There is a large public-house in South London which was bought by the licence-holder at this time last year for £40,200. He had a fifty-three years lease. He put down his own money amounting to £3,400, of which £1,200 was for equipment. He borrowed on mortgage, £38,000—one a first mortgage of £18,000 at 5 per cent. payable on six months notice, and the other a second mortgage of £20,000 at 5 per cent. payable on demand. That man will get, if he is reduced on the present assessment, for his £40,200, taking a fair average of his chances of reduction, £5,000. I pass from that. That is not the only risk or danger. The passage of this measure into law would have a disastrous effect upon the value of every licensed property in the country, and of every property connected with licensed property. What course will the mortgagees take? The first mortgagee, who happens to be a woman in this case, may run the risk of selling. If she is well-advised, I do not think she will sell with any confidence that she will get her £18,000. She may put in a receiver. It is just possible that the second mortgagee may redeem, and his receiver maybe substituted for that of the first mortgagee. What becomes of the man who paid his money last year? He would be in the street with a liability of £20,000 hanging round his neck. What has he done or what have his people done that they should be treated in this fashion? He has done nothing but invest his money in a lawful industry, relying on the continuity of British law and policy. Let me take one more case. There are cases where a licence-holder has other property. This is the case of a man who died six years ago, and his business was carried on under an order of the Chancery Division. The lease was for sixty-two years, and there was no profit rental. The property was valued for death duty at over £26,000. The widow would, if reduced, get £2,906. There is a 5 per cent. mortgage of £24,000. The widow has a small amount of other property which her husband left to her. If this Bill passes into law there is no question that the mortgagees will come 1604 in. They knew of the existence of the other property. This property with the mortgage of £24,000 would not be worth £15,000: The mortgagees will sell, and they will sue the executors for the balance on the personal covenant, and they will take from this poor woman and her children every farthing. I read a speech delivered at Brighton not long ago by the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland on this Bill, in which he spoke with his wonted eloquence of what goes on in low public-houses on Saturday nights—the sorrow and the grief of it, the outcry, the struggles, and the tears, and if I remember rightly be appealed to his audience to think of the tears of the drunkard's wife. No one would speak otherwise than with respect of one who has to bear so hard a lot. But if you pass the Bill, you will not dry the tears of one single drunkard's wife, but you will set flowing the tears of other people who have done no wrong—tears of unmerited misfortune and undeserved misery. I wish to say a word about the Act of 1904 which was so pointedly referred to by the Primo Minister. It was an Act which was bitterly opposed by hon. Gentlemen opposite, and they are bringing in this Bill to reverse its most useful provisions, but I notice that they run to it for shelter with great agility whenever they think it can assist them. I cannot imagine a more defensible and impregnable position than that Act occupies. It looks in the face facts that have to be dealt with. It recognises the precarious nature of the individual licence, and the right of the general body of licences to continue. What it does is to enforce on the trade compulsory insurance. One other thing it does. It enacts that reduction shall not go forward faster than the resources of the trade will allow. I think that one great mistake was made in that Act—a mistake of verbiage. It was a mistake to use the word "compensation" so prominently in that case. There is no compensation under the Act of 1904. Compensation is where a man is paid money by others. It a man insures himself against sickness, he receives money when he is sick; he is not compensated if he falls sick. The licence-holders mutually put their money 1605 together, and those on whom misfortune falls share it out among themselves. Compensation in that sense—and that is the essence of my complaint—the mere chance of a man insuring himself—can only be justified, as it was justified in the Act of 1904, by the expectation of an indefinite survival and of sharing the profits which you have purchased in reduced competition. What this Bill does is to destroy the expectation and retain the payments. The Leader of the Opposition the other day compared the methods of this Bill to those of the buccaneer. It was an unduly indulgent comparison. The highwayman, at any rate in this country, always gave his victim an election:—"Your money or your life." This Bill takes the money, but does not allow the licence-holder the ransom of his life. In that respect it appears to me to fall below the general average level of the morals of the footpad. As regards the adequacy of the compensation I will only say this. Since the trade cannot bear more than a certain levy it follows that you must do one of two things. You must either reduce more slowly, or give inadequate compensation. The Government have chosen the later amative. I should have liked to discuss the measure more in detail; to have said a word about the machinery and the absence of a public hearing and a public appeal. I believe the people of this country will endure a measure of bureaucracy, provided the bureaucrat is not an autocrat, and they will endure an autocrat if he is a man living amongst them and whom they know, but I think, the unpleasant combination of bureaucratic-autocrat and autocratic-bureaucrat which has been reserved for the Government of popular freedom to invent will be received without enthusiasm. I wish I had time to deal with the attack which the Bill makes upon private liberty which is really of more importance than the attack upon property; but I pass from that point to my complaint that the Bill is partial and insincere. It ought to have been applied to Scotland and to Ireland, where apparently the need for such legislation is not less than in England. We hear much of the political power of the licensed trade in this country; but has the licensed 1606 trade in Ireland no political power? In conclusion let me say that the whole Bill must fail unless it is proved to be valuable and practical as a means of reducing or preventing drunkenness. We have appealed for any tittle of evidence that it would do so. None has been forthcoming, and experience and statistics are against it. We have had nothing but reiterated assertions. In theory prohibition should prevent drunkenness; in practice it does not. It cannot be suggested that this Bill is wanted by the temperance man or the man who wants liquor in moderation. And how any reasonable man can suppose that a man who drinks too much would be better for finding two public-houses in the High Street instead of three, I cannot understand. I want to say that already our national revenue and future are based upon the consumption of drink to an extent that is neither safe nor decent. The Prime Minister has challenged us as to what we would do in order to diminish the hideous evils of drink. Members on this side of the House are not insensible to the evils of drink, and if I were asked what I would do, personally I should have no hesitation in saying: "Give the Act of 1904 a fair chance—give it time to work, and if in a short time you come to me and say the rate of reduction is insufficient, and acts partially, I will give fair consideration to that matter." But for the present let us wait and see. Let us allow the old forces of religion and the newer forces of education and science to work out hand in hand their mighty work among the people. I ask for a period of rest for the publican, the grocer, and the club. We are confronted with the state of things alluded to by the Prime Minister at the outset of his first speech, in an emphatic phrase. We have an improvement in temperance in the widest possible sense of the word which is one of the most admirable and striking features of our national life. Then why can we not have a rest? We are told there shall be no rest. The publican is threatened from the highest quarters that if this Bill does not become law there will be punitive taxation. This way or that, he would be made to squeal. Well, we shall see whether, if the event contemplated occurs, the people of this country 1607 will consent to see taxation degraded into a tool of partisan vengeance and an instrument of torture. Of course, the Bill will be carried by a majority in this House, which does not justly represent the state of public opinion. It has been supported by a majority in this House, but I believe the people have been confidently anticipating its destruction. There was no mandate for such a Bill as this, and the people have let slip no constitutional opportunity of condemning it. They see that it is futile, oppressive, and insincere. They feel that if, contrary to the general hope and expectation, it becomes law, it will be a portent of disaster; that it will be a precedent for plunder; that it will interfere intolerably with their reasonable liberties; and above all and more than all, it will break faith with those who have trusted the State, and will sully the honour of the country. I beg to move.
§ EARL WINTERTON (Sussex, Horsham)
I rise to second the Motion of my hon. and learned friend that this Bill be not read a third time to-day. And I do so with all the more pleasure because my hon. friend has stated the reasons against the Bill so conclusively and completely that it will not be necessary for me to detain the House by a long speech. I do not wish to travel over the familiar ground again, and I do not wish to put once more to the Solicitor-General those questions which my hon. and learned friend has put to him and his colleagues in the Ministry continuously during the past six weeks, and to the majority of which we have received no answers. I do not wish to make observations which have never been disputed by the Government or their supporters, and I do not wish at all to go into details. It is, in fact, impossible within the short time we have at our disposal to travel over the whole of the details of the Bill. At least a dozen of the clauses in the Bill are in themselves large enough to fill the pages of an ordinary Bill. Neither do I want to deal with the question of the monopoly value, which was so admirably dealt with by my hon. and learned friend, or any of all those other questions in the Bill from the question of the monopoly value and the time-limit to that which constituted the one 1608 little piece of humour in the measure and contemplated the captain of a passenger vessel leaving his place on the bridge and at the wheel and going into the saloon and asking the passengers if they could say "Mixed biscuits and the British Constitution," in order to test their sobriety. I merely want to say a word or two about the financial provisions of the Bill. Broadly, both in the country and in the House, one big argument has been brought forward in favour of the financial clauses. It is said that the State must, in the public interest, get back the control of the monopoly at whatever cost. I believe that is the contention put forward by the hon. Member for Appleby. I will only make one comment on that statement. It is a statement made to support their case by Governments all over the world, and especially in new countries, who are about to put through an exceedingly dubious financial transaction. Whenever in a new country they have a flagrant piece of jobbery it is always justified on the ground that it is for the good and benefit of the State, but it is a contention absolutely new in British politics. Mr. Gladstone never dared to put it forward; and it shows the danger to which we are exposed by the extreme democratic Government to which we are now subject of getting into the state of affairs from which so many of our democratic neighbours are suffering. As to the so-called temperance clauses of the Bill—and no word has been so prostituted as the word "temperance" in the debates—I want to ask the Government and hon. Gentlemen opposite a question which has never been answered though repeatedly asked—What is the root idea at the back of these so-called temperance clauses? In order to deal with this question I want to follow my hon. and learned friend in his statement that one of the most remarkable, most pleasant features of social life to-day in this country, in every class, almost universally throughout the United Kingdom, is the great increase of sobriety and of temperance which has been going on now for twenty or thirty years. That is abundantly justified by facts, by statistics, and by the testimony of every person who is qualified to speak. We may take, for instance, the relative amount of sobriety in 1908 and in 1890 1609 on Bank Holidays, Christmas Days, and the like. There is not a single police authority, from the chief constables downwards, or magistrate throughout the country who will not say that the advance made is wonderful. May I quote a phrase which was used by a very prominent inspector of the Metropolitan police district, on the occasion of the recent Commission to inquire into the Metropolitan police, in reference to the general state of London? He compared the streets of the town with what they were twenty or thirty years ago, and said they were like the aisles of a cathedral. Anyone who knows anything about the great forces of the Crown, the Army and Navy, knows that the increase of sobriety in them has been perfectly marvellous in the last twenty years, and taking every branch of society generally—no matter what it may be, or where it may be—you have this same evidence of the increase of sobriety. I am compelled to ask a question, which has not been asked from any side of the House, and that is to how great an effect has the law generally, or the action of the Legislature generally, during the last thirty years, been instrumental in bringing about sobriety? I am prepared to say, without the least hesitation or fear of contradiction, that it is only to a very, very slender and limited extent. Take the Act which was passed by right hon. Gentlemen who sit on this side of the House. The effect of that Act has been to decrease in the four years it has been in operation, I believe, something like 2,000 or 3,000 public-houses, and yet there has been no corresponding decrease in drunkenness. That decrease in drunkenness has been going on for thirty years, and I believe it has been progressive.
§ MR. LEIF JONES (Westmoreland, Appleby)
So have licences. They have been reduced in the last thirty years, more especially in proportion to the population.
§ EARL WINTERTON
That is not really the case. My point is this. Since the year 1904 there has been an enormous decrease in the number of public-houses, something like 3,000 public-houses being reduced in four years, but drunkenness has not been affected to any correspond- 1610 ing extent due to the abolition of those public-houses. I believe that that can be proved conclusively and that that Act proved conclusively to all impartial persons that you cannot do much by Act of Parliament to prevent drunkenness, or to use the old adage which cannot be disputed: "You cannot make a man sober by Act of Parliament." That Act carried out what is wished by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, the decrease of public-houses, and what is their attitude on this question? That is not sufficient for them. The fact that the number of public-houses was being decreased to an extent that it had never been decreased before and that there had been no corresponding decrease in drunkenness falsifies the result they prophesied. That would not satisfy hon. and right hon. Gentlemen. For years they had been going about the country holding up the licensed trade as a bugbear and a scarecrow to the general public, declaring that it was a thing which frightened away morality and every social reform in this country and was a great bar to the realisation of their ideals. That is the way in which they constantly appealed to the electors. They also had the cry of "dear food," and as soon as that and the question of Chinese labour began to diminish as electoral forces, they began a great campaign in favour of temperance, which was headed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the President of the Board of Trade, with all the forceful language of which those professors of urbanity are capable. It was a campaign in which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley and the hon. Member for Appleby also took a prominent part, each bearing a banner with the inscription "Excelsior" upon it, which in this case means: "Go as far as we can to injure the trade and to take away from it all that which rightly belongs to it." They started out with flying colours and an exceedingly blatant brass band, meetings were held all over the country, and eventually the Bill was brought in, and I do not hesitate to say that the whole effect of that campaign so far as it influenced public opinion was null and void. The Bill has received absolutely no support; in the country bye-elections admittedly fought upon it have ended disastrously 1611 for the Government, and there is not a tittle of evidence to show that the public are in favour of it. What is that absolute and dismal failure due to? I will in a very few words tell the House what in my opinion the failure of this agitation has been due to. I think first of all it is largely due to the violence of the language of the supporters of the Bill. The President of the Board of Trade said the Tory Party consisted of "Lords, lordlings, and a few brewers." That is not the sort of phrase that you would think would be used by anyone who had become a Cabinet Minister, and had passed the rubicon of responsibility. I might, but I will not, go to the country and say that the Radical Party is composed of "Rats and Pharisees," and I only mention that fact as showing how a person like the right hon. Gentleman, supposed to be in a responsible position, can use these violent phrases, which are thought to be smart, but which have no effect in inducing people to vote for their Bill. I think the main reason why this agitation has so conclusively broken, down in the country is because the public know too much—the impartial public, the great public, referred to in the speech of the President of the Board of Trade, in a very fine passage, which is uninfluenced by political considerations, and does not aim at power, and which is only aroused in time of crisis—that great public thinks that all Governments, not merely that of the party now in power but all Governments, do not take the course which they absolutely and honestly think to be the right one, but they take the course which they absolutely and honestly believe to be nearest to the right ones which their supporters will allow them to take. That is the view which the public have about all Governments, particularly about the present one, and it is because they have not logically carried out the policy which they professed to believe in, that restrictions upon drink and facilities for drink are bringing about less drunkenness, that this Bill has been such a dismal failure from the electoral point of view. That great public has heard the speeches of the right hon. Gentleman and has given its verdict. That brings me to what I venture to think is the most important part of the so-called 1612 temperance aspect of this Bill. As I understand it, the whole attitude taken up by right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite, and especially by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley, is that facilities for drinking mean drunkenness, and, therefore, if you reduce the facilities for drink you will have less drunkenness. Does the right hon. Gentleman deny that is broadly the position which he has taken up; it is always what I have understood. I do not agree with that myself; I think it is subject to a great many reservations, but I have always understood it to be the attitude which he took up, and which hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway on both sides take up. May I mention the hon. Member for the Rhondda Division of Glamorgan in this connection. He made a remarkable and eloquent speech in which he said that in Wales the majority of people were formerly never able to go to business before Tuesday, owing to the headaches caused by the excessive drinking they indulged in on Sunday.
§ THE SOLICITOR GENERAL (Sir S. EVANS, Glamorganshire, Mid)
The hon. Gentleman did not say majority.
§ EARL WINTERTON
I am willing to accept as a correction "a large number." I have never listened to a speech which gave me more pain; it was a speech delivered with such obvious sincerity and truth. The hon. Gentleman was asked what his views were on the subject of clubs, and he replied with absolute sincerity that he would like to see clubs done away with, and that he would vote against them. That is the whole crux of the matter. It is said that facilities for drink lead to drunkenness, but how does this Bill propose to deal with these facilities? I want to ask the Government a question in all sincerity and earnestness, because it is most important. Supposing that one of their number or myself had a friend who was addicted to drink, and was in a fair way to ruin his career by the excessive consumption of alcohol? What would be the place out of which we should be most likely to keep that man? What steps should we take to stop him from getting drink? Should we be most 1613 likely to keep him out of the public-house, or to prevent him from going to the grocer's shop, or the club? I am assuming, for the purposes of my argument, that this is a person who has a reputation for drink, and over-indulgence in alcohol, therefore the keeper of a restaurant, or an hotel, or a public-house will know his habits and that if he serves him with a large amount of intoxicating liquor, he runs great risks of having his licence taken away, if the man goes away and says he got drunk in his place. But what happens if he goes to a grocer's shop? The grocer if the man were sober could not refuse to serve him with half a dozen bottles of whisky, and the man could quietly go and soak in his own house. It is no affair of the grocer's. Do we understand that Messrs. W. and A. Gilbey or the grocers whom they supply, ask whether a man is likely to get drunk on the wines or spirits they supply him with? It is just the same if he goes into a club. Does anybody deny that it is just as likely to do harm to a man and to prevent him from becoming a better citizen, if he gets his drink in a club instead of in a public-house or restaurant? The club question is really the root of the matter. I have no hesitation in saying that this is one of those questions which it is difficult to discuss in a democratic Assembly whose Members are dependent upon votes and to get a clear issue upon it. That is because hon. Members on either side are anxious to avoid and unwilling to state unpalatable truth. Any Member for an industrial constituency who has a number of bona fide clubs in that constituency will be a bold man to come forward and say they are very bad things indeed. I cannot understand how the hon. Member for Barnard Castle or the right hon. Member for the Spen Valley, holding such views as they do, can possibly for a moment support even bona fide clubs, because the whole question is one of obtaining liquor, and not whether it is obtained under proper or improper conditions. I believe those hon. Gentlemen must hold the view that a bona fide club is a bad thing. They must hold the view that the members of a bona fide club, who are often young men who desire to get on, could better employ their time in evening con- 1614 tinuation schools or in some other way. It has been exceedingly difficult to get a clear discussion on this matter. Nobody his ventured to go into the question of the advantage of a bona fide club compared with a bona fide public-house. I have only two clubs in my constituency; and I do not mind whether the members of those clubs voted for me or not. I am quite ready to give my views on the matter. A thing that is very often put forward in the country is that an Englishman's club is his castle, and that, therefore, they cannot be considered in connection with the sale of drink; but that idea seems to me to be rather out of date. A man who chooses to keep a disorderly house cannot plead, if that house is raided, that his house is his castle and that what goes on inside has nothing to do with the general public. Therefore, I do not think that the "Englishman's house is his castle" argument is a very strong one. It is a two-edged argument, of course, but I have never been able to see how it can hold water. Is a bona-fide club a so much better place than a bona fide public-house? Are such places for the sale of drink as the beer gardens in Germany, and the open-air cafés in France, where a man can go with his wife and family and get his minimum of alcoholic liquor and listen to the music even on Sundays, worse from a moral point of view—for the question is a moral one—than the club? The President of the Local Government Board has said it was easy to get drunk in a public bar of the public-house, but it was perfectly easy to safely soak and steadily swill in the parlour of a drinking club. It is far easier to get more liquor in a club than in a public-house, because in the one case you have the strength of public opinion, and in the other you have no public interest at all. It is not disputed that public-houses generally are well conducted. That is not denied even by the extreme advocates of temperance. If that is so in every respectably conducted public-house, if a man goes in to obtain refreshment and drinks more liquor than is good for him, he is always liable to his friends or his business acquaintances taking notice of it; but what happens in a bona fide club? You get twenty or thirty people who form a club. They may be people who are accustomed to meet and who see no harm 1615 in a man having what is colloquially known as a good time and among whom tales are told closely bordering on the indecent. They form a club. If no one is seen coming from that club drunk, public opinion sees no harm in the club. If, therefore, the argument that increased facilities for drinking mean increased drunkenness is used the Government cannot legitimately only deal with public-houses; they must deal with the clubs as well. The same thing applies to grocers' licences. Of course nothing will be done in that matter. Under the Bill, facilities for drinking will be decreased in the public-house and increased in the clubs and the grocers' shops. This Bill will remain as a monument to the unctuous hypocrisy of the British people for all time. Why is a man addicted to drink less likely to abuse his privilege to injure himself in a club than in a public-house? I sincerely hope that in the event of the Bill not becoming law the Government will appeal to the country and ask their opinion upon it. We are not the least afraid of what the result will be. It has been constantly stated by the Government that the Tory Party must take the responsibility for how the House of Lords deals with the matter. I do not admit that, but I say that if the Government dissolve on this question to-morrow there is not a member of the Tory Party who will not be delighted. We believe that the whole country is in favour of our attitude and against that of the Government.
To leave out the word 'now' and at the end of the Question to add the words 'upon this day three months.'"—(Mr. Salter.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ * MR. SIMON (Essex, Walthamstow
said the noble Lord who had just spoken had occupied a portion of his speech with a detailed examination of the comparative merits of clubs and public-houses. Whether the provisions of this Bill were adequate as regards clubs or not was no doubt an important matter, but the Bill was primarily directed to the future regulation of public-houses, and he would pass from clubs with this observation—that it was a little suprising 1616 that the zeal with which the clubs were denounced by hon. Members opposite was exactly in proportion to the zeal with which public-houses were praised. That might be explained perhaps by the fact that the trade had a direct and immediate interest in public-houses, whereas there was some doubt as to whether it was directly interested in clubs. The Prime Minister to-day had pointed out, as he had done before, that there were two fundamental propositions lying at the base of this Bill. If those propositions were ill-founded, the Bill was rightly denounced, but if they were well-founded, the Bill certainly ought to pass. The first of those propositions was that a substantial reduction in the number of licensed houses was a material contribution to the cause of temperance reform. The second was that after a proper lapse of time it was just and expedient for the State to resume ownership and control of that monopoly which by its own favour was created. Those propositions had been defended from the Ministerial side of the House from the beginning as propositions which were fundamental to the Bill and which could be abundantly justified. He did not say that the first proposition was the one factor which dominated the hopes of the advocates of temperance reform, but it was a material element and an element which the Legislature could control. Here they ought to have the support not only of those who maintained that this was a good Bill, but also of those who maintained that the Act of 1904 was a good measure, because the Leader of the Opposition, then. Prime Minister, claimed for that Act that it was the greatest contribution ever made to the cause of temperance reform on the special ground that it was machinery devised for securing the- reduction of licences. Those were the very grounds on which the Act of 1904 was justified.
§ * MR. SIMON
said the right hon. Gentleman, more faithful to the Leader of the Opposition than the noble Lord, considered that, by reducing the number of licences, the Act of 1904 had made a substantial contribution 1617 to the cause of temperance reform, If that was the meaning of the right hon. Gentleman's interruption, it might be asked why should they not leave the Act of 1904 alone? That was the solution of the hon. and learned Member who had moved the rejection of this Bill. Let them give the Act of 1904 a chance, said the hon. and learned Member. But there were three good and sufficient reasons why the Act of 1904 could not be left alone. The first was that its operation in the direction of reduction was a waning operation. It could not in the nature of things continue as rapidly as it had begun, because the first houses to go were those most obviously condemned, and the fact of their removal gave the houses which remained a greater value which made it more difficult to remove them at an equal rate of compensation. The second was that the Act of 1904 was so designed that it operated in licensing areas according to the zeal of the magistrates, the activity of the police force, and the strength of public opinion, so that in the very area where there was the greatest need for substantial reduction the Act of 1904 left it open to slack administration or indulgent benches of magistrates to leave things as they were. He would give a third reason. Under the Act of 1904, however desirable to suppress a given public-house in a given neighbourhood, the ability to do so was conditioned entirely by whether there was a surplus in the local compensation fund. They might expect to find that in an area where the need for taking away further licences was conceded by independent people they were not able to take away those, licences, because they had not got a compensation fund in that area available for the purpose. He submitted that this Bill in these matters would effect a definite improvement in the law and an improvement along lines which the right hon. Gentleman opposite regarded as sound lines of advance. If they were going to reduce by a continuous process excessive numbers of public-houses, they must do it by a system which secured that it was to be done with regularity and not sporadically. They must do it so that the compensation fund was a fund which was available to meet the case which was most needed, wherever that fund was 1618 raised from, and they must do it so that they knew where they were going to in the course of the next dozen or twenty-one years. For those reasons, he submitted that the proposition that they did well to secure by legislation a systematic reduction in the number of public-houses was established and established by the consent of both sides of the House. The hon. and learned Gentleman who moved the Amendment had spoken as though the Bill at a blow was going to take away all the licences of all the licensees, as though the scale to be found in the first Schedule was a scale of impossible rectitude, only tolerable in a country inhabited entirely by gentlemen like the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley and the hon. Member for the Appleby Division. That was the contention suggested by the criticism that if the Bill passed they would see instead of the magistrates' right to take away any licence enforced, the magistrates' right to take away every licence insisted on. He would give an illustration which came to him the more naturally because it had to do with a portion of his own constituency. He had been visited by deputations from the licence-holders in his own constituency. He found that so far as regarded Walthamstow the actual figures were these, that according to the last Census there was a population of 95,131, and that, applying that population and the density of that population to the area which the first Schedule specified, 190 licensed premises was the maximum to which this Bill at the end of fourteen years expected that area to come. At this moment in that area, an area not consisting entirely of teetotallers, there were only twenty-seven full licences and eleven beer on-licences, or a total of thirty-eight; and so, when a deputation came to him some weeks ago and complained that the Bill was going to effect an unwarrantable invasion on the rights of those who wished to drink, he asked those gentlemen what they would say if someone was to come forward and propose to set up in that same area, side by side with their existing houses, twice or three times as many houses as were there now. Those gentlemen, giving their honest opinion and 1619 being singularly qualified to judge, assured him that if any such proposal were effected they would regard it as an invasion upon their own rights, and that they considered that the existing facilities for getting drink in that area were abundantly sufficient. If that was the situation in an area of that sort, what became of the suggestion that this was a Bill which was going to enforce some impossibly rigorous rule by which the honest working man who wanted his reasonable glass of beer would have to go some incredible distance to get it? The standard set up in the first Schedule was a standard which, however moderate it might appear to us, accustomed as we were to the conditions of our country, would be regarded as a scandalous exaggeration of what was necessary in the Colonies. While he desired to see reasonable facilities left, he submitted that it was not right to treat this Bill as though it was going to enforce some rule of some anchorite upon the British public, with the result that their legitimate demands for legitimate facilities for a legitimate supply were going to be frustrated. So much for the first of the two fundamental propositions upon which the Bill was based. As to the second, he submitted that the second proposition was this, that after due notice it was just and expedient that the State should resume the value of that monopoly which the State, by its own favour, had created. He was anxious to deal with this part of the matter by presenting to his own mind and to the House what he understood to be the contention of the other side. He believed he could state it without provoking a contradiction, and he trusted he might state it not only as representing the view of the more extreme Gentlemen opposite, but as expressing their more moderate view. Their view as to the nature of property in a licence was this. They said (or at any rate they said in the House of Commons) that it was quite true that the licensee had no right to an indefinite renewal of his annual licence, but they said that, though he had no right to that annual renewal, he had an expectation, a reasonable expectation, and a substantial expectation, that in the ordinary 1620 course it would be renewed, and they said—and so far as he was concerned the proposition was perfectly true—that that being so, anticipating that it was more probable that the licence would be renewed than not, relying on this reasonable expectation, honest citizens had set up a trade, widows and orphans had had their money invested, income-tax had been paid while they were alive and death duties had been paid by their estates after their death; and they further said that when licensed property changed hands in the market the price demanded, and obtained, was greater than it would be if it was certain that the licence was going to be taken away at the end of the year, and much greater. This was quite true, and he made no complaint that it was so stated, but where he found himself compelled to join issue with hon. Gentlemen opposite was when they drew the deduction that the State, when it, in its unfettered discretion, decided that a renewal for another twelve months was not to be desired, had got to pay that market value. In order to illustrate what was the real fallacy of their contention, he would ask leave to supply an illustration. There was a state of things contemplated with avidity by some hon. Gentlemen opposite involving a change in the fiscal relations of this country which would produce a precisely corresponding claim and situation. Let them take a manufacturer or trader who was enjoying the benefits of a scientifically devised tariff. He might say that it was quite true that by the constitution of this country finance was an annual matter, reviewed every twelve months; that it was quite true that as a matter of law this tariff might be changed at the end of my twelve months, but that still there he was in possession of a business which acquired much of its value from the favour of the State, because the State had given to him by its financial arrangements an aliquot part of a monopoly which he could not maintain if there was free trade in his commodity, just as the publican said it was owing to the favour of the State because he had got this monopoly and other people had not, that he was able to make profits which free trade in drink would make it impossible for him to 1621 make. But what followed? Were they really to understand that, involved in fiscal reform, there was to be fourteen years notice, or twenty-one years notice, before the tariff could be altered? Was it really to be the fact that the manufacturer or dealer in some other article than drink was to be able to say that year by year when he was taxed he was taxed on the basis of his business enjoying an expectancy—
SIR F. BANBUKY (City of London)
But that practice obtained when the corn laws were abolished.
§ MR. LAMBTON (Durham, S. E.)
May I ask if the licensing law is not at least 800 years old in this country?
§ * MR. SIMON
said that that was not quite the proposition upon which he was attempting to get a little elucidation. He had given a true analogy. The situation which might be expected to exist under such a state of affairs, and which did exist in countries now enjoying a tariff, was a situation where the protected manufacturer came forward and said that it was quite true he had no legal right to insist on the continuance of the protection, but he claimed it on the ground that he expected it, and that he had erected his business on the faith of it, and he called the Government robbers if they dared to interfere with it. The truth was that about this matter sooner or later either the public interest or the private interest must prevail. It was because they who supported this Bill believed that the notice given to the private interest that the public interest must prevail was sufficient that they so warmly followed the lead given them in the passing of this Bill into law. He would like to say a word with regard to monopoly value, though that was not dealt with in terms by either the hon. Gentleman who moved or the noble Lord who seconded the Amendment. There was a great deal of 1622 confusion about it, and that confusion entirely arose from the failure to distinguish between two things pointed out by the Prime Minister and the Solicitor-General, the goodwill on the one hand which was peculiar to the locality of the premises, and the goodwill on the other hand which was peculiar to the energy and enterprise of the occupant. One of those things was properly to be taken into account in Schedule A; the other was not. The idea that this distinction was peculiar to public-houses could not possibly be maintained if hon. Members would consider what actually happened in other trades. There was a shop which hon. Members who were also lawyers knew very well, opposite the Law Courts, where they could get a shave. Nearly every lawyer at the Common Law Bar had occasion to go there many times a week. When the occupier of that shop was assessed to Schedule A for income-tax it was rightly considered that his shop had a special value because it was close to the Law Courts, and it would be monstrous if it was not so treated; but that was a different proposition from suggesting that individual enterprise, the goodwill which came through the individual, was a goodwill which was to be taken into account when measuring monopoly value. In so far as the goodwill was due to the desire of the customers to deal with a particular person, they claimed that that ought not to be an element in monopoly value, but in so far as it was due to the fact that the premises were at a place where they caught traffic, that clement did naturally enter into monopoly value and was rightly included in Schedule A. The noble Lord opposite referred to what he called the old tag, that very well-known saying that they could not make England sober by Act of Parliament. That was quite true, but he did not think the noble Lord for the moment observed the language in which that expression was couched. They could not force upon a subject population the regulation of a despot designed to improve their morals; they could not make England sober if England did not want to be sober, but the merit of this Bill, and the reason why they so passionately desired that it should pass into law, was that it was not an attempt by some Oriental despot 1623 to impose his rule upon a subject people. It was an effort of the people themselves. The Bill was an expression in that House of an opinion which had spread among independent people throughout the country. He should not be contradicted when he said that it expressed the overwhelming opinion of every religious body of this country. He should not be contradicted when he said that it was the overwhelming opinion of organised labour in this country. In those circumstances he submitted that the maxim had no application. If this Bill were the edict of some emperor to procure the improvement of the national morals it would fail, and deservedly fail; but it was precisely because it was supported by the vast majority of disinterested people, because it was the expression of the will of the people, and not of an autocratic despot, that it would be effective for its purpose and do something for the improvement of the country.
§ MR. F. E. SMITH (Liverpool, Walton)
said the hon. and learned Gentleman had spoken, as many hon. Members opposite had done, in somewhat belated praise of the provisions of the Act of 1904. They saw now in that Act merits which, judging by their criticisms in that House, they were totally unable to discern at the time the measure was being discussed by them when in Opposition a few years ago. The hon. and learned Gentleman said the operation of the Act was inadequate for the reason that it was waning, and that it could not possibly produce the same result in the future that it was producing at the present time. Possibly that criticism was made as some justification for introducing this most bitterly controversial and complicated measure. He thought, however, that the more reasonable proposition would have been that they should wait until the operation of the Act had really commenced to wane before they introduced this legislation. The hon. and learned Gentleman said that the operation of that Act had not been satisfactory, because in important areas where it was wanted it had not been applied owing to the excessive indulgence of the local justices. He asked the hon. and learned Gentle- 1624 man, instead of dealing in generalities on this point, to tell them what areas he had in his mind in which the operation of the Act of 1904 was specially necessary, and to which it had not been applied at all under these circumstances.
§ MR. F. E. SMITH
said the hon. Gentleman was now dealing with the second point, a totally distinct point, namely, not as to indulgent magistrates who would not carry out the Act, but insufficiency of funds to carry it out. He asked for a justification of the statement, made repeatedly both inside and outside the House, that there were cases in which the Act should have been applied and in which it had not been applied through laches of the justices. Up to the present no such instance had been brought. In the speech of the Prime Minister, only an hour and a half ago, they had been told that in the Act of 1904 they had curtailed the discretion of the magistrates, and it was strange that the hon. and learned Gentleman should, within such a short space of time, get up in his place to support this Bill on the ground that the local justices could not be trusted in connection with this identical question. The hon. and learned Member had offered the House a singular analogy in the merchant who profited as he said by a change of tariff. Mark the argument. Such a man it was said would be in the same position as the licence-holder, or, for the purpose of the hon. and learned Member's argument, in an analogous position; and if the licence-holder was entitled to demand compensation on the basis of the market value then the person who suffered loss because of a change of tariff was equally or similarly entitled to compensation. With the greatest possible admiration for the ingenuity of his hon. and learned friend, he had never in his life heard of 1625 a more trivial comparison than that. And he would tell the House why. The whole basis of the case for market value, in so far as it was placed on the ground of public integrity, was that compensation was paid to the licence-holder because he had bought in the open market, with the encouragement of the State, that of which the State was going to deprive him.
§ MR. VIVIAN (Birkenhead)
Does not the shareholder in the protected trust company pay for his capital in the open market?
§ MR. F. E. SMITH
said that on a proper occasion he would be very pleased to discuss the whole question as between free trade and protection with the hon. Gentleman. What he was pointing out was that the hon. and learned Member opposite, in taking a merchant's business as an illustration, was dealing with a man who had been affected by the tariff; and in comparing the merchant with the licence-holder he in the latter case was dealing with a man who had bought what he had in the open market, while in the other case he was dealing with a person who had received benefit from a change which had been made independently: of his own exertions. ["No, no."] He had given an answer to the hon. and learned Gentleman's argument which, in his humble opinion, was an adequate one. But there was a further distinction. In the case of the licence-holder the State was, after a period, taking the whole benefit of the licence for itself. In the tariff case the State had not sold to the man that of which they dispossessed him, as in the case of "The Coach and Horses," of which the House had heard ad nauseam, but of which they would observe the pertinence from the point of view of the illustration put by the hon. and learned Gentleman. In the tariff case the State had neither sold to the man that of which he was dispossessed, nor taken for its own purposes that of which it dispossessed him. If that did not introduce a distinction between the two cases put by the hon. and learned Gentleman, then he was very sorry that he failed to appreciate his point. The most amazing part of 1626 the speech of the hon. and learned Member was that in which he recommended the Bill to the House because it was not the Bill of an Oriental despot, but a Bill introduced with the will and consent of the people of England. A little earlier the Prime Minister had said that the Bill was the result of the considered judgment of the Commons of England. That led him to put to the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite a question which he hoped would be answered in the course of the debate. Was the Bill recommended to the House of Commons and to the House of Lords as being a Bill which the majority of the people of the country did want, or as being a Bill which, in the opinion of hon. Gentlemen opposite, the majority of the people of the country, if they were well advised, would want? It was perfectly clear that the case really put forward in the House was and must be that it was a Bill which the majority of the people of the country did want, though he confessed that on that point he found the utterances of Ministers a little obscure and ambiguous. The Prime Minister had said, for instance, that the Bill was neither introduced with the object of gaining votes, nor was it likely to gain votes. That was a somewhat significant admission in the case of a Bill which was not introduced in the spirit of an Oriental despot, but introduced under a democratic system. The Liberal Press was obsessed by pictures of inebriated electors carried prone on shutters to vote against the Bill, while the Party bands played "Beer, glorious beer," as the election proceeded. That was the view put forward by a portion of the Press as to recent bye-elections, and it was of an astonishing character. They had now a provision in the Bill which was designed to deal with the case of elections, and it was curious to note how it was sought to place restrictions on the very people who were said to desire this measure. The view was carried so far that while the rulers of this country, the electors, under a democratic system passed to the booths with majestic tread to record their votes on the tremendous issues of peace or war, or to pronounce upon the economic mysteries of free trade or protection, they were to be 1627 muzzled by their admirers opposite lest they might make drunken beasts of themselves on the way. That was the position in which they were left in the case of a Bill which hon. Gentlemen opposite said the people really did want. Vox populi, vox Dei but it spoke with a hiccough unless the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley took appropriate precautions. He proposed for a moment, if the House would allow him, to recall the attention of hon. Gentlemen opposite to the pure milk of democratic doctrine. The proposition which he put before them was this, that if the majority of the country did not want the Bill, neither the House of Commons nor the House of Lords had the slightest right to pass it, whether they thought the people ought to desire it or whether they thought the people ought not to desire it. He would, with their permission, test the statement of the hon. and learned Gentleman that the people of the country desired this Bill. He confessed that he approached this part of the subject in a little more detail than he would have done if the hon. and learned Gentleman had not made that extraordinary claim. In the year 1906, before the Bill was introduced, there were eight bye-elections, and only one Conservative win. In the year 1907, there were eleven bye-elections and only one Conservative win. In the year 1908 the threat of this Bill became more definite, and it was known that it was shortly to be introduced. The House would observe the consistent course of the by-elections since 1908. First of all, there was the election in Mid Devon, where a Liberal majority of 1,289 was made into a Conservative majority of 559. Then there was the Ross division of Herefordshire, where a Liberal majority of 312 became a Conservative majority of 1,019. In the Worcester election the Conservative majority was increased from 129 to 1292. In the South Leeds the Conservative poll increased from 2,126 to 4,915. In Peckham a Liberal majority—[Ironical MINISTERIAL cheers]—yes, if they could not persuade the Peckhams of the country in favour of the Bill, then they were falling back on the Oriental despot theory. They had got to persuade their Peckhams that this 1628 Bill was a just Bill, and if they failed to do it, then the rejection of the measure was justified. In regard to Peckham hon. Gentlemen opposite were well advised in indulging in melancholy cheers. In that constituency the Liberal majority of 2,339 became a Conservative majority of 2,494. He supposed that was the justification for closing public-houses on election day. But there was not a single case of conviction for drunkenness. In Dewsbury the Conservative poll of 2,954 was increased to 4,078. In North-West Manchester, despite all the ability of the President of the Board of Trade, they sacrificed one of their most brilliant Members before the democracy. The right hon. Gentleman fought the election on the terms of this Bill, and the result of the poll was that the Liberal majority of 1,241 was converted into a Conservative majority of 429. In East Wolverhampton, the Liberal majority of 2,865 was reduced to a majority of eight. In Newport a few days later the Conservative majority of 106 was increased to a majority of 951, and that in spite of the bribe of old-age pensions. In the next instance, Pudsey, the seat next to that of the right hon. Member for Spen Valley, was lost; the Liberal poll falling from 7,043 to 5,331. In Haggerston the Liberal poll was reduced by 1,000, and finally, in Newcastle the Liberal teat was lost, the reduction in the Liberal vote being 6,703. In face of these figures how many hon. Gentlemen would come forward and say with confidence that the majority of the people of this country were in favour of this Licensing Bill? There had been a most pathetic illustration quite recently, one which excited compassion. Many hon. Gentlemen opposite were admirably fitted for peerages by aptitude, taste, generosity, and party loyalty. He had noticed that the King's birthday list was entirely unadorned by their names. He world point out that if twenty stalwarts had been created Peers, able to develop their massive eloquence in another place, and without the restriction which the consciousness of constituents imposed, they might have leavened the whole gilded loaf. But they lingered in that House mere commoners, humble democrats, with no gleam of hope except 1629 a paltry baronetcy, simply because no English constituency was safe. Why was it?
§ MR. F. E. SMITH
No; the Bill did not apply to Scotland, because the Government must preserve some cities of refuge for Cabinet Ministers who lost their seats in England. Why was it that this Bill had become so unpopular that the Government would pocket the affront if it should be rejected in another place? Let the House never forget the tone in which the Bill was first of all commended to the country by the Government. The ship of the Government was to go down into the abyss, if necessary, with flags flying. That was one of the boasts. But why had it become common knowledge that if the Bill met with the fate which was anticipated elsewhere, the Government had no intention of going down into the abyss? It was just because the Government were the Eastern despot of the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite that they would have no appeal to the people. If the Government Were satisfied that by an explicit appeal to the people of the country on the terms of this Bill they could come back to coerce the majority in another place, did any honest politician say that they would not make that appeal and come back with a mandate to correct the House of Lords as they had been threatening to do during the last three years? It was the rankest political hypocrisy to suggest, that this Bill had the support of the people behind it. The reason why it was so unpopular in the country was because it was extremely tyrannical in all its provisions, and even after three years of the present Government we were still a free people. The local option proposals empowered the cellared classes, to whom hon. Gentlemen opposite mainly belonged, to coerce the uncellared classes and to deprive them of facilities for obtaining alcoholic refreshment if they so wished. These provisions were to become operative in fourteen years, though in fourteen years that House of Commons would probably be known only as the Mad Parliament. If it 1630 was right that there should be local option in the constituencies in order to prevent excessive indulgence in alcohol, why was it not right to have local option in the House of Commons to prevent the consumption of alcohol at the bars and in the smoking-rooms? [An HON. MEMBER: Bring in a Bill] He did not believe in such remedies. Supposing the Ministerialists could obtain a majority in favour of abolishing the supply of alcohol in the smoking-rooms, would they or would they not be justified in doing so? One answer would be that there was no such mischief in the smoking-rooms or restaurants of the House as would justify a remedy so drastic in its character, but the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Rushcliffe division had said that he had seen many sad instances of excessive drinking on both sides of the House.
§ MR. ELLIS (Nottinghamshire, Rushcliffe)
said the hon. Member had evidently been misled by one of those telegrams which appeared in the papers. He never used any such words or anything like them.
§ MR. F. E. SMITH
said he entirely withdrew, of course. He was quoting from a newspaper report. He did not think the right hon. Gentleman would deny that he said he had seen melancholy cases in this House of the results of drinking. If he said he did not say so, he would withdraw.
§ MR. ELLIS
said he was sorry to detain the House. This, he might say, was an address in a chapel at Scarborough, in April, 1908, at what was called a "Pleasant Sunday Afternoon." He said—Almost everyone who has lived forty, fifty, sixty, or more years in this world can call to mind scores of persons who within his own knowledge have fallen victims of this terrible agent for evil.1631 He might say, by way of parenthesis, that he was not speaking of the Bill. The subject of his address was the relation of the State to the sale of intoxicating liquor.I myself, Mr. Rowntree has reminded you, have been for over twenty years now in the House of Commons. I suppose I have been associated with several thousand men during that time. I know I have. And looking over that twenty-two and a half years now, as I was doing only the other day, I have been saddened to think of those men, of great high promise some of them, who have fallen victims to this terrible evil, whose careers have been blighted and whose lives have been wrecked in this sad manner. There are at the present moment in the Commons' House of Parliament men sitting there who are in danger of falling, and who know they are in danger of falling, from this evil. We hear sometimes that it is a temptation which education, cultivation of the mind, will enable a man to overcome. That is not so. It is confined to no class in the community.
§ MR. F. E. SMITH
said he was very much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for his courteous intervention. He took it that what he said was that he had known such cases in the course of his experience of the House of Commons, and that he knew many men now on whom he could put his finger if he wanted to—
§ MR. F. E. SMITH: said that the point was this. The right hon. Gentleman spoke of men or a number of men now in the House of Commons who were in danger of falling. He for one, could not sufficiently thank him for leaving them anonymous. But the right hon. Gentleman greatly qualified the pleasure which he should have in sitting next to him at dinner. ["Hear, hear," and cries of "Order."] If that were true, and if the conception of local option were sound, let them set an example by denying themselves something. Might 1632 he suggest that hon. Members below the gangway, whose interruptions seemed to him a little unmannerly, should justify—what badly needed justification in the country—their own good faith by denying themselves something?
§ MR. F. E. SMITH
said he was referring to those who had started. Another obnoxious feature of the Bill was its method of dealing with Sunday closing by denying opportunities to obtain refreshment to those who did not keep liquor in their houses, and had no club. No hon. Member who had spoken in support of the measure had had the honesty to face the difficulty concerning clubs. Members opposite had replied invanably that there were more stringent conditions in this Bill than in any previous Bill. The Solicitor General shook his head. They were not dealing with bad clubs only, but with well-conducted clubs and well-conducted public-houses. They could only reduce the great evil by reducing the facilities to drink, but there was nothing in the Bill, from beginning to end, to prevent a club being established in the same street, with the same sale of liquor, a rid the same clientele face to face with the abolished public-house. Then there was the case of off-licences; and the way in which they had been dealt with by the Bill had done more to discredit it than anything else. It was true that off-licences dealt more specially with whisky than with beer, and whisky was more injurious than beer. It was true also that women went to the grocers' shops and that female drunkenness was the only drunkenness that was increasing, according to statistics, and it was true that off-licences were not affected by the reduction provisions of the Bill. Bat there was such a thing as gratitude in politics. For twenty years the holders of those off-licences had supported the Government in every moral cause the Liberal Party had taken up during those eventful years. The holders of those licences were very often Welsh; they were pioneers in the cause of Welsh disestablishment, and they were the salt of the passive resistance movement. 1633 They groaned in anguish over Chinese slavery; particularly when they reflected that the Chinaman took opium instead of whisky. If men like that who had given such support to the Liberal Party were to be betrayed on the petty ground of consistency a blow would be struck at their common human nature, and while the Bill might gain in honesty an irreparable blow would be struck at their standard of political gratitude. From that point of view the Government were wise in leaving off-licences and clubs outside the scope of the Bill. He had no time to deal now with the various points which had been made. The fact that, instead of providing, as was done under every other sumptuary law, that the seller should not supply less than the buyer paid for, under the Bill they provided that the seller should not provide more; the amazing provision—regarding the captains of steamships, which required that when the storm raged and the breakers roared the captain, instead of being on the bridge, was to be in the second-class cabin ascertaining whether a suspected passenger could pronounce the word "suppositiousness" without giving cause for suspicion; the final and crowning piece of humour that Wales was to have a most drunken nation clause of its own—these points and the confiscatory, tyrannical, and hypocritical elements in the Bill had sickened the people of the country. It was certain that if they were given an opportunity, which he trusted they would be given in the next few days, of showing whether they agreed with the principles of the Bill, they would express themselves with no uncertain sound. While hon. Gentlemen opposite were there to praise Cæsar, they on that side were there to bury him, and he had seldom attended a funeral in higher spirits. He would add this final observation, and he doubted whether a single Member for an English constituency sitting opposite could say as much. With a full knowledge that if the House of Lords rejected the Bill there might be an appeal to the country, he gave his vote that night without the slightest apprehension of his constituents or of the consequences.
§ MR. ARTHUR HENDERSON (Durham, Barnard Castle)
We who sit on the Labour Benches, from the introduction of this measure onward, have given both in the country and in this House our steady, consistent, determined, and enthusiastic support to the proposals of the Government. Having regard to the long debates which have taken place, I think it is only right that, at any rate, one spokesman from these benches should put forward our attitude on the Third Reading of this Bill, and our reasons for adopting that attitude. That is what I propose to do. May I just venture one remark in reference to the speech we have just listened to from the hon. and learned Member for the Walton Division of Liverpool. As I listened to that speech I was forced to come to the conclusion that it was one more illustration of the many futile attempts that have been made throughout these debates to get up a case against the Bill. I hope that I shall never have to listen to a speech from one of my colleagues with so much offensive matter in it as that which we had heard from the last speaker. [OPPOSITION cries of "Withdraw."]
§ MR. ARTHUR HENDERSON
The noble Earl says that they have had to listen to something worse. Supposing we admit the soft impeachment, those who come from the University ought to set an example to those who come from the mines and workshops of the country. I have sat through pretty nearly the whole of this debate. I listened to the magnificent and almost perfect case for the Bill stated by the Prime Minister, and I listened to the case against the Bill which was attempted to be made out by the hon. Member who moved its rejection. I have come to the conclusion that the latter speech was an excellent defence of the case for property and the best that has been made or attempted to be made both in the country and in this House since the introduction of this Bill. I venture to say that in this instance the case for the rights of property has 1635 never been established either in the country or in this House. I have, however, risen more particularly to give a few reasons why every hon. Member associated with me on these benches who is capable of being present in this House this afternoon proposes to give his vote for the Third Reading of this measure. First of all, the Bill appeals most directly to us because of the excellent provision it contains in Clause 1. As we have heard from the Prime Minister in his excellent speech, the proposal made in Clause 1 is intended to deal effectively and more expeditiously than the Act of 1904 does with the redundancy of licences. Why does that point appeal so strongly to my colleagues and myself? Where is it that the redundancy of licences obtains? In which localities do we find them? With all respect, I venture to say that we find them more closely associated with the districts from which my colleagues and myself have come, and with which we are closely connected, than with the districts represented by other hon. Members of this House. It is a well-known fact that the redundancy of licences obtains in working class districts, and as I have said on other occasions, that redundancy has been brought about because of a disregard of the only method the working classes have of expressing their opinions against the creation of these licences. Those who have been connected closely with working-class organisations know full well that the working classes have made repeated attempts to appeal to those who have the power of granting these licences to stay their hand, as the facilities for obtaining drink were already sufficiently numerous, and as many of them, unfortunately, because of their economic circumstances and demoralised environment, were compelled to have recourse to them they have asked that the temptations that stood at almost every street corner should not be increased, but, if possible, should be lessened. If that is so, and I think I am correctly stating the position, I hold that any measure that, in the first place, makes a definite and, I believe, a very effective attempt to lessen the facilities for obtaining drink, and will to some extent, I will not say in an equal proportion— 1636 thus reduce intemperance, and to a very large extent correspondingly reduce the temptation in the way of those who ought not to be tempted—such a measure, if there were no other provision than that in Clause 1, would commend itself to the judgment and receive the unqualified support of Labour Members. I remember very well when I was associated with one of the largest engineering works on Tyneside, I began, as many others associated with me did, pleading for the betterment of our fellows by dealing with those with whom we came in contact in the workshop, and I can look back and remember quite well how many a man has said to me: "Yes, your advice is the right advice. I want my children to follow in the way that you are going, but I have gone too far. The temptation is too much for me and I cannot resist it when the houses are facing me at every step that I take." I may be told this is a reflection upon the working classes of the country, but those who know anything of working-class life will admit that it is only too true a picture of large numbers of the working classes. We have a right to give our enthusiastic support to a proposal which in the next fourteen years will reduce by one-third the facilities for obtaining drink and thus lessen the temptation in the way of those with whom we are directly associated. We have been told that we are proposing in this clause to take a step which is an uncalled-for interference with legitimate rights of property, that by the time-limit proposal and by the re-assertion of the claim to the State of the monopoly value we are taking a step which, however laudable the end that we seek to accomplish, we are not justified in taking, or as some hon. Gentlemen above the gangway has said, we have no right to do evil that good may come The whole burden of the charge against us of the mover of the rejection was that we are going to perpetuate an unwarrantable interference with the rights of property. The hon. Member has referred to the attitude of Socialists so far as this property question is concerned, and has quoted from the speech of the hon. Member for Blackburn. But that speech is 1637 capable of an entirely different construction from that which the hon. Member had led the House to believe. We join with the Government without reservation in the assertion of the principle that the State ought to regain the monopoly value. Let there be no two opinions on that point. But because we claim that the State ought to regain that which the Leader of the Opposition told us in 1904 should never have been taken from it, there is no justification in others assuming that we should go from that to an unlawful and unwarrantable interference with the legitimate rights of property in other forms. I will tell hon. Gentlemen above the gangway what our position is in regard to interfering with the rights of property where those rights are legitimate. They need not have any misgivings about it. The records of Socialists outside the House and of Labour Members, the majority of whom have for years past been associated with public life, are known. What has been their policy in regard to the legitimate rights of property? We had an illustration only last week in the debate on the Port of London Bill. There there was a legitimate form of property under discussion. The Government had chosen two alternatives. They could take that form of property either by agreement or by arbitration. The Government proposed to accept the former and had entered into an agreement for the legitimate taking over of this property. Did those Socialist Members, who have been so scornfully pointed at, attempt to upset the policy of the Government? No. They supported the Government in having made the agreement. What has been the policy that they have supported time and time again in connection with the carrying out of improvements? The House knows full well that in these improvements, especially the laying down of new tramway systems, a policy which has been very largely influenced by men representing our way of thinking in connection with public bodies—in every case where there has had to be interference with the legitimate rights of property, the policy of Labour members on public councils has been the policy which the Government has adopted in the case of the London docks—the policy of arbitration 1638 or agreement. Why then it may be asked, are we not pursuing that policy in regard to licences. It is for the very same reason that dictated the policy of the Leader of the Opposition in the Bill of 1904, when he chose to differentiate between interfering with the legitimate and illegitimate claims of property by making a levy upon the trade to bring about its own partial extinction. That is how it strikes me. If the right hon. Gentleman and his supporters can substantiate this legitimate claim to a form of property in a licence I hold that the great grievance which the trade feels is not against those who are supporting this Bill. Their great grievance is against the Government that passed the Act of 1904. Did that Government carry out the well-recognised public policy in dealing with property for the purpose of carrying out a public improvement? No. Supposing some public authority said: "We are going to widen a street. In order to do so we are going to take away a draper's shop. But we will call the whole of the drapers of the town together and tell them we are going to take away one competitor of theirs, and to enable us to do so they must, by levy, provide a fund in order to bring about the extinction of this competitor of theirs." That would be held to be positively ridiculous. And yet that is what the last Government did. They did not enact that the money should come from public funds, but they said: "We will place upon the trade a levy to bring about its own partial extinction," and to that extent they differentiated from the well recognised policy for dealing with legitimate rights in property for the purpose of carrying out public improvements. We only follow that example if we say that we ought to differentiate between the legitimate and the illegitimate claims of property; and the Socialists, when they come to deal with other forms of property, will not deal with them as they are dealing with the licensing question, but will pursue that form of public policy which has been in operation for years past, whether at the hands of Parliament or of other public authorities. But this charge that we are interfering in this way is not going to 1639 prevent us from re-asserting our claim that the State as a whole has a right to the possession of the monopoly value. But this is not the only point that commends this Bill to the Labour Members. It has often been said in the campaign in the country that those opposed to the Bill were astonished at the attitude of the Labour Members in supporting the measure, having regard to the injustice it was going to do to working men. Much talk has taken place about liberty. We support the Bill because we claim that when it becomes law it will give to the working classes of this country a power they have never hitherto enjoyed. Instead of curtailing their liberty it confers upon them a new power—a power which the working classes have used wisely in some of our Colonies, and in some of the States. It has always been a very great grievance with working men—and especially with that type of working man who is practising, as he was always advised to practise, thrift and sobriety—the man who takes advantage of the municipal trams, and, instead of living in the slums, goes and lives in a new working class district—it has always been a grievance with them, that, in spite of having removed from the redundant public-house, and in spite of having invested his savings in some kind of property, the brewer's agent has followed him in some unexplainable way, a licence has been granted, and the new district has been subjected not only to a process of deterioration as to the value of property, but to the other processes of demoralisation that sometimes accompany public-house licences. For the first time when this Bill becomes law working men will have some say as to whether these licences shall obtain. They will have a say now so far as new licences are concerned, and they will have full say at the end of fourteen years, and no part of this measure commends itself more strongly to Members on these benches than that part which confers power on each locality to decide this important question. I know that we are almost in the last hour of the debate, but I ask the indulgence of the House while I reply to one or two of the points which have been made [Murmers of dissent]. I 1640 think the objection raised above the gangway is most unfair; I have listened attentively to three speeches on behalf of the party above the gangway, and we shall have a fourth before the debate closes. I am the only speaker for the Labour Party, and yet it would seem that some thoughtless Members begrudge a little time to me to take part in the debate. [Cries of "Go on."] Oh ! I am going on. I was going to reply to one or two of the points made by hon. Members above the gangway. One strong point of the hon. Member for the Walton Division and others has been that this Bill ought not to have a Third Reading, and I believe they went so far as to give advice to another place that it ought not to be passed into law because the people had given no mandate. It has been said that at the bye-elections and by every legitimate form at their disposal the people Lave given evidence that they are opposed to this measure. Let us look at this proposition. A great deal has been said about the bye-elections. I have taken the trouble to go into this question. After all, bye-elections do interest us on these benches. I find that from 1906 to 1908—three years—there have been forty bye-elections. Eight of these, or 20 per cent. have gone against the Government. I noticed that the hon. Member for the Walton Division in dealing with this point—and he en-deavoured to make a good deal of it—said not a single word about the three-cornered contests. Now I hold that he ought in all fairness to this House, when trying to make out a case against the Government, to have given those cases where there were three-cornered contests. He ought to have given the position taken up by the Labour candidate in the contests, and if the Labour candidate was in favour of the Bill, as I venture to say in nearly every case he has been, the votes given for the Labour candidate ought to have been given to the Government. That, and that only, would have been a true statement of the position. I follow the Conservative Press very closely, and I have always understood that the victories we have heard so much about were tariff reform victories. I am surprised that our tariff reform friends are not cheering that. It 1641 cannot be that they are tariff reform victories on the morning after the declaration of the poll, and that when we come to debate the Third Reading of the Licensing Bill in this House tariff reform is forgotten, and that they are anti-Licensing Bill victories. May I ask which they choose? We have had other bye-elections. If bye-elections have to be taken into account, they should not only be taken into account during the present Parliament, but during other Parliaments. What are the facts of the case? I have already referred to the Bill of 1904. We had bye-elections before that Bill was introduced and after. I will venture to say that bad for the then Government as the position was before the Bill was introduced, it was positively worse after the Bill was passed into law. From 1900 to 1904 there were fifty-four by-elections, and eleven of them, or 20.4 per cent. were against the then Government. I do not think there is much comfort to be derived from the stand point of bye-elections. Two or three hon. Gentlemen above the gangway have really made a very definite point about the results of bye-elections influencing this House. That is the appeal made to us to-day. They say we ought to pause because the bye-elections have gone against the Government, and, therefore, against the Bill. Very well let me see how this operates. I will not give my own opinion. I will give an opinion to which I ask the Members of the House to pay attention, because it is much more valuable than any opinion I could express.I do not for one instant admit that the bye-elections are a test, or ought to be regarded as a test of public feeling. They are, of course, a test of the feelings of a particular constituency at the time the bye-election takes place. They are not, and they cannot be made, the index and the test of what the feeling of the people of the country is as a whole. Any doctrine that is inconsistent with that is, in my judgment, not only wholly unconstitutional in theory, but wholly unworkable in practice.That is the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition delivered in this House on 29th March, 1904. If we are going to take this doctrine of the mandate to its logical issue, so far as this Bill is concerned, I want to go back to the last Parliament and to make a claim. I want to say that if the doctrine of the mandate is to obtain 1642 at all—and I am not prepared to carry it too far—I have no hesitation in saying that there is much more force in the claim that the Government of to-day should pass this measure into law by all the means at their disposal than that the Government of 1904 should pass their measure. Why do I say that? Does anyone doubt that this question of licensing reform was before the country at the last election?
§ MR. ARTHUR HENDERSON
The hon. Member for Hackney challenges my position. I venture to say that if the election addresses of hon. Members opposite and on these benches are examined, you will find that a great majority of them made reference to licensing reform, and especially made reference to the mischievous policy of the Act of 1904, and pledged the candidates to the reversal of that policy.
§ MR. ARTHUR HENDERSON
I. will leave the Ministry to look after themselves. I say that that is the state of the case taking the great bulk of the rank and file of the Members of this House. But supposing that I take it for granted that the Ministry did not pledge themselves, they would not have been in any other position than that which Members of the Conservative Party were in at the election of 1900. I am going to close with one more quotation. I am putting before the House the question of the mandate, and I claim, and I think I have shown, that the majority of hon. Members referred to this question in their election addresses. But what about the election of 1900? What about the mandate behind the Bill of 1904?It was impossible that the country should at this moment have anything in its mind to exclude the paramount interests which events in South Africa had necessarily excited. He asked them, whatever their politics might be, or to whatever Party in the State their allegiance might be given, to remember that this election did not turn on any of the other questions which had divided the electorate in previous elections in that constituency. It was a new issue to be governed by new considerations.That was said by the Leader of the Opposition in appealing to his constituents in 1900. That seems to me to demolish completely the doctrine that 1643 they had any mandate to impose on the country the Act of 1904. That being so, I venture to say that they ought not to take that as a point against the Government. I venture to say that 75 per cent. of the Liberal Members, and a larger number of the Labour Members, pledged themselves to secure, if possible, the reversal of the Act of 1904. In conclusion, let me say that we think the case for the Bill has been established. We have given it our unqualified support, and to-day we rejoice at the opportunity of once more going into the Lobby in order that we may assist the passage of this measure, believing that when it becomes law not only will it regain the monopoly value to the State, but that its excellent temperance provisions will do something to promote the sobriety of the nation.
§ MR. BONAR LAW (Camberwell, Dulwich)
There is a great deal in the speech of the hon. Member for Barnard Castle to which I would like to reply, but we have a large subject, and I must, at the outset, say this by way of apology to the hon. Member. None of us complains of the hon. Member's speech. It is not our fault that the time is so short, and that adequate time is not given for the Third Reading of this Bill. Personally, I should like if I could to leave adequate time for the right hon. Gentleman who is to follow, but I have been put here to speak for the Party to which I belong, and really I am bound to consider that more than my own feelings, and to put the case as strongly as I can for that Party. There is only one part of the speech of the hon. Gentleman to which I shall refer. He spoke of the speech of my hon. and learned friend the Member for the Walton Division as offensive. What I want hon. Gentlemen to bear in mind is that they must not judge of the offensiveness of speeches by whether they like them or dislike them. Our business is not to make speeches to please our opponents. The only limit which I personally put on this matter is to say nothing which I do not myself believe to be true. Now on this occasion I should certainly very inadequately represent the feelings of the Party to which I belong, and I should very inadequately represent my own 1644 feelings, if I did not speak very strongly in regard to this measure. It is the last opportunity we shall have of saying anything about it in this House. The duty has devolved upon mo of giving it, as well as I can, its final kick. Before I make that attempt I wish to say that I thoroughly agree with every word said by the Prime Minister as to the courtesy and patience with which the Solicitor-General has conducted the Bill through Committee. I do not think it is inappropriate on the final stage of the Bill to discuss for a moment the spirit with which it has been recommended to this House and the country. It has a little changed. We have not had the accustomed kind of speeches this afternoon. I do not know why, but no one who has followed these discussions, especially in the country, will question the accuracy of my statement when I say that the Government and their supporters have taken a very high moral attitude in regard to this question. Well, in the case of one section of the community—a section which is not very numerous, but which is very much in earnest, and which is so well represented by the hon. Member for the Appleby division—I can understand that attitude, and though I do not admire it I can forgive it. But what about the attitude of others? What about hon. Gentlemen who sit on the Bench opposite who have not put in their Bill a single line that interferes in the smallest degree with their own habits, and who have spent, as the Prime Minister told us this afternoon, six weeks of Parliamentary time with the lightest hearts, in imposing on other people restrictions, not one of which affects themselves? Surely the moral attitude is not very much justified in them. It is equally aggressive. Even the Prime Minister—and I am not going to say anything offensive either in his in presence or his absence—who is not naturally adapted to be a leader of saints—that is intended as a compliment—has adopted that role. In an address in the country the Prime Minister said that it was proved to demonstration that the Tory Parry had no interest in temperance. [An HON MEMBER on the MINISTERIAL Benches; "Hear, hear."] Well. I suppose we ought to be grateful to him for putting 1645 it in the negative form and not saying that our only interest was in the increase of drunkenness. But the Prime Minister has done better than that. He rose on these lines to the high-water mark at a dinner given in the City—I was on the platform and heard him, and therefore I am justified in referring to it—to one of that large body recently added to the House of Lords, either for the sake of strengthening or weakening it, I am not sure which. On that occasion the guest of the evening—the new peer—in speaking of the Licensing Bill, said—For unmitigated, concentrated, undiluted selfishness, you have to go to the Tory camp.Speaking of that speech the words of which I have quoted, the Prime Minister said—It was a model to all of us of good taste and good feeling.Well, all that I mean to say by alluding to these expressions is this, that the Radical Party have placed themselves again, as they have so often done before, on a moral pedestal from which they look down on publicans and sinners in the world below. But, as has been pointed out by a great public writer, the great danger of placing oneself on a pedestal is that one is liable to fall off, and I think I shall show that the Government have suffered from some very nasty falls. I am going to take, as far as I can, the line taken by the Prime Minister. The right hon. Gentleman divided the Bill into two distinct categories. He said that there are two considerations by which we must judge the Bill. The first is to what extent it is a temperance measure, and the second is how does it deal with existing interests. If the Bill is unfair to existing interests, it is no justification to say it is a good temperance measure, and the converse is also true. Let me examine it from both points of view. The right hon. Gentleman went over a long list of subsidiary and minor clauses, many of which are unimportant, and some of which are non-controversial. But take first the point of view of temperance. The Bill is only a temperance measure in reality to the extent to which it is intended to reduce the opportunities for obtaining alcoholic refreshment. Our Bill of 1904 was pro tanto a temperance measure of the same kind, though not to the same degree. Yet the party opposite 1646 who are clamouring for this Bill, had not a good word to say for our Bill of 1904 as a temperance measure. Why not? I can think of only one reason, and that is that there is one section, very small, but very noisy, which is very much over-represented in this House at the present moment, and which considers that anything which injures the trade is good for temperance and that nothing can be good for temperance which does not ruin the publican. I am willing to admit that too great facilities for obtaining drink increases—in spite of the statistics to the contrary—drunkenness. I admit that the number of public-houses in the country is too great, but the position is the same to-day as at the date of the Peel Commission. I admit that this may be to a certain extent a temperance measure, but I say that the truth is, however, the moment you reduce the opportunities for obtaining drink below the demands, not of the drunkard but of the ordinary community, at that moment your reduction ceases to be a temperance measure in any sense whatever. I happened to read the other day a report made by the directors of a distillery company in America. It was a business and not a political document, and it made the statement, which I believe harmonises with the experience of the world, that prohibition has never diminished but has tended to increase the consumption of liquor. [MINISTERIAL cries of "Oh, oh," and OPPOSITION cries of "Hear, hear."] If you reduce the open outside facilities beyond a certain point you do not diminish intemperance or the use of alcohol; you simply change the sources of supply. From the open air you drive it underground, and that is what this Bill will do. But there is more than that. The Government assure us that mere is some principle in the Bill, and that that principle is that intemperance is to be cured by taking away facilities for the supplying of drink. The Bill, however, does not carry that principle out. It takes away the facilities under most oppressive conditions and in an excessive degree from one of the sources of supply, but it leaves all other sources of supply open altogether. There is no shadow of evidence that the trade you drive out of the public-house will not instantly be transferred to the clubs. 1647 The Government had a nasty fall in regard to off-licences, but with regard to the clubs they have, in my honest opinion, had a fall from their pedestal which leaves them lying in the mire so far as the principle of this Bill is concerned. When my right hon. friend asked the Government, "How do you justify the measure you are dealing out to the clubs with the measure you are dealing out to the publicans?" the answer of the Prime Minister and Under-Secretary to the Home Department was, "We do not propose to put restrictions on the clubs." Do they think that that is an answer? The Prime Minister has taunted us with not having put greater restrictions upon the clubs in the Act of 1904. We do not accept the right hon. Gentleman's principle. We do not consider that intemperance is to be cured by imposing restrictions on the temperate, but that is the Government view, and how can they, with any honesty or consistency, leave the trade which they take away from public-houses to grow up in clubs? If they were really honest they would reduce the number of clubs at whatever cost and prevent them from increasing in precisely the same way as they propose to reduce the number of public-houses. I happened to read the speech of the Archbishop of Canterbury on this subject. It was a very moderate speech. I am not going to make any comment on any of the bishops because they do not agree with us on the matter. On the contrary, I say that if a mistake is to be made, and I think that a mistake is being made, I should far rather see the leader of the Church make it by opposing the party to which they ordinarily belong than by opposing a Bill which they really believe is a measure of social reform. I say that without hesitation. I say also that it is a mistake which, in my experience, Gentlemen who sit on the opposite side of the House have never had to deplore in the militant leaders of some denominations usually friendly to them. The Archbishop of Canterbury, speaking on this Bill, said—If I believed that the trade would really go to the clubs then I should not be in favour of the Bill, but I am informed that the Scottish Act of 1903 is a perfect safeguard against that.I happened to be speaking in my own constituency next day, and I ventured to 1648 say there that the Archbishop was mistaken, and that opinion has since been officially confirmed. I find that Sunday drunkenness has been increasing in Glasgow. The magistrates asked the chief constable to give a report explaining that fact, and he gave in a report. Another report was issued by a sub-committee of the town council, and that report said that—In spite of the precautions it is perfectly easy for clubs to obtain licences for drinking purposes and for nothing else.Of course the Glasgow magistrates have asked for more restrictions. It is the old story, if you wish to cure intemperance in this way. You ask or restrictions, and you find they will not act, and you come for more and more restrictions until I am sure the universal experience is that the public sense of the community is roused against the whole thing, and they finally abandon it. That is what is going to happen always with attempts of that kind. There were ironical cheers from the Ministerial Benches when Peckham was mentioned. The Prime Minister had said—I would rather suffer fifty defeats than win one victory such as Peckham.Now, I have made inquiries, and I find there are a large number of political clubs in the borough of Camberwell, of which Peckham forms part, belonging to both political parties. I find that the Conservative and Unionist clubs, without exception, are closed on Sunday. I find that the great majority are Radical clubs, all of which I am sure would, without a moment's hesitation, vote in favour of closing public-houses on Sundays, and that these same clubs are open on Sundays for the supply of liquor to their members, to their members' friends, and to affiliated members, at all hours of Sunday, including a great many hours of Sunday night. I hope we have now heard the last of Peckham, and of the party which does most for temperance and the party which talks about it, of the party which is lessening the temptations to immoderate drinking. If, however, they are not satisfied, I will tell them something more. These clubs are not only Sunday public-houses, but many of them are Sunday music-halls as well. If the Prime Minister wants information as to 1649 that fact, he can get it from his colleagues on the Treasury Bench.
§ MR. BONAR LAW
Well, I suppose both the Prime Minister and my self could talk about that also. What I am saying is that these entertainments take place on Sundays. I am not talking about them from the Sabbatarian point at all. It is a great mistake to bring that in. [MINISTERIAL cries of "Oh."] I am talking about them from the point of view of Sunday closing. What happens? The artistes engaged are paid, and how are they paid? They are paid from the funds of the club; and how are these funds obtained? They arise largely from the sale of the drink, from the increased consumption of drink to which their entertainments gives rise. And the party which sanctions and permits that is the party which claims to represent the religious consciences of the people of England. I hope now we have heard the end of Peckham. I believe, personally, for the reasons which I have given, that this Bill from the point of view of temperance will be, if passed to-morrow, a curse and not a blessing to the people. That is my belief; but if I thought that it would be the best of all temperance measures my opposition to it would be precisely the same. [MINISTERIAL ironical laughter.] Hon. Members do not understand me. I say that the two things ought to be kept separate. I maintain that if this country desires a temperance measure it can afford to pay for it honestly. I say that honesty should come before even an attempt at curing intemperance, and I believe that this measure is fundamentally and radically unjust. As to the principles on which compensation has been dealt with, there is a radical difference of view between the two sides of the House on the question of the justice of these proposals which makes any kind of compromise, until one of us gives way, impossible. The Prime Minister said that licences are not a form of property, but we say, not that a licence is a perpetual freehold or anything like it, but that it is a form of property which has just as much right to be respected as if it were a freehold. If I go to the Prime Minister as a beggar and he gives me a penny, I have no 1650 ground of complaint, bu[...]if I go [...]o him and say he owes me £5, we are on au equal footing, and I have to prove he owes it to me and he has to prove he does not. That is the position here. The proposals for compensation which are made in this Bill are proposals which could never be made if legitimate rights of property were recognised. If they were, the Government would not arbitrarily say, "We give you this or that," they would form an estimate of what that property really was, and, having formed that estimate, they would say how they proposed to deal with it. I believe that this is a form of property as sacred as any other. I believe that there is a legal right of property which this Bill is going to destroy. I am not going to press this point, because, unlike the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley, I believe that lawyers are much more likely to know more about the law than laymen, but I do say, and I will give my reasons, that the judgment which is so much relied upon, that of Sharpe v. Wakefield, lays down this condition. This was the argument which was pressed home this afternoon, in a way which would have been perfectly irresistible, but which most of the hon. Gentlemen opposite evaded by being outside the House at the time. The legal argument, as I understand it, is this. Under the Sharpe v. Wakefield decision a licence must not be taken away except judicially and it is impossible to take away the whole of them in accordance with any system. Now, I will put the point in this way, either to the Solicitor-General or any other hon. Gentleman. Is it possible for all the licensing magistrates in England at this moment to bring about the reduction which is contemplated in this Bill under the present law? If the hon. Gentleman says it is, then I leave him to be dealt with by other lawyers. If he says it is not, then they are taking away by this Bill a legal right which cannot be taken away without it. What is it that gives a prescriptive right? For generations the licences have been renewed so regularly that only an infinitesimal fraction of them have been taken away, except for misconduct. More than that, the State, for revenue purposes, has treated this kind of property as if it were not only a property 1651 but a freehold property. I know a great deal has been said about a circular letter which has been issued from the Treasury in regard to the instructions under the Act of 1904, as to death duties. That letter was a very curious thing to come from the Chancellor of the Exchequer and it contained two assertions, neither of which was right, and I will only say that I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he uses a Government Department as a branch of the Liberal Publication Department should sign the document himself, and not impose that duty upon a permanent official. Whatever that circular letter may say the fact remains that the principle upon which the death duties are taken has not been changed. It is the same now as it has always been, and if you tell me that they are based on market value, then that brings me to the second prescriptive right which this class of property enjoys. Not only have the licences been regularly renewed, but they have been renewed with the knowledge of the party interested, the State. As Mr. Gladstone said—These rights have grown up not through the fault of the people; they have grown up through our fault, the fault of the State.They are prescriptive rights. The right hon. Member for Spen Valley puts it this way. He said, "Suppose I was the owner of a property which a tenant had been enjoying from year to year at half its value, and I said to myself, 'I may as well have that money as the tenant,' and I went to the tenant and said to him, 'I am going to take over this property, but I will let you have it for fourteen years longer,' the tenant would say, 'Whittaker, you are a gentleman.'" But that is not the true analogy. Suppose the right hon. Gentleman was the possessor of property which had belonged to his grandfather or great grandfather; suppose, to the knowledge of his predecessors and his own knowledge, the right of occupying that property had been sold over and over again in the open market; and suppose the tenant had just paid a large sum for the right of occupying the property, and that the right hon. Gentleman then said: "I find by the law I can take possession of this property, and in a few years I am going to sell to 1652 somebody else"; if I know anything of human nature, the compliment would not be repeated, and the answer would be: "Sir, you are a scoundrel," and it would be the correct answer. ["Oh !"] The right hon. Gentleman knows that I do not mean that personally, I am sure. Now, that is not a fanciful analogy. It is an analogy which has just occurred. Take the position of Ulster "tenant right." That was a yearly renting of the property, and nothing more. Yet the custom had grown up of buying and selling the right to occupy that property. Parliament was then perfectly fair and impartial; it had no interest in the matter. It recognised that that right of property did exist, and it gave it a legal position. Does anybody say that in a case where Parliament is the buyer, in an exactly similar case, the same principles of right and equity are not to apply as applied in the case of the Ulster "tenant right?" I notice whenever the "Coach and Horses" is mentioned there is a sort of objection to it, but I am going to mention it as another illustration of how firmly the idea of property is rooted in the mind of Government officials. It was sold, as everyone admits—I have forgotten the figures, but I think it was for £6,000 more than it would have fetched without a licence. Supposing you were dealing here not between the State and an individual but between two individuals; either the Government did not believe that the Bill was going to pass, or they were utterly unjustified in selling at that price. I say that all these facts which I have given, and many more with which I do not trouble the House, show clearly that there is a right of property, which you are deliberately taking away without adequate compensation. Before I close I would point out one other objection to this Bill, and a very strong one. I am not going to work it out; I am merely going to mention it. I say that as statesmen or even as business men you have no right to create all the disturbance you have created in this trade without seeing exactly what is going to happen at the end of the time-limit. You have created chaos now. The Prime Minister said that at the end of the time-limit the State will get unfettered control of this property; but, judging by what we have heard in Committee, existing licence- 1653 holders are still to get some advantage from holding the licence. The real fact is that nobody can say what the position will be at the end of the time-limit, and I repeat that for any body of men calling themselves statesmen to create all this confusion without being certain that they are making one final job is the worst kind of incompetency. Now, Mr. Speaker, I have finished except for my peroration. I do not generally indulge in perorations—
§ MR. BONAR LAW
Yes. I have been provided with one which is much better than anything I can compose myself, and it is because it deals so adequately with one aspect of our objection to this Bill that I propose to read it. I have not touched upon that aspect, which was raised by the right hon. Gentleman when he said, "This Bill is the will of the Commons of England." It is for that reason I am going to read the peroration—I think the Bill is a bad Bill; but whether it is a good Bill or whether it is a bad Bill, surely it ought to be a sufficient reason for its rejection that, good or bad, it is not the handiwork of the House of Commons. It is to a degree which is wholly unprecedented the exclusive and incorrect composition of the Government and their draftsmen, and this House, in being asked to read this Bill a third time, is being asked to perform, not the functions of a Parliament, I but of a registry.[OPPOSITION cheers.] The cheers ought to have come from the other side of the House, for the words I have quoted are contained in the closing speech of the right hon. Gentleman opposite in regard to the Licensing Bill of 1904.
§ * THE UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL,) Yorkshire, Cleveland
The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down ended his speech with an allusion to the inadequate discussion we have had on this Bill. I should like to ask him how long he thinks this discussion would have lasted had we had no closure Resolution. A time-limit of fourteen years would itself have been inadequate, and on this day, the 20th of November, we should undoubtedly still have been discussing Clause 1. But, unlike the condition of things when the Bill of 1904 reached its conclusion, we may say and I think honestly say, that there is not a single 1654 important controversial proposition in this Bi11 which has not been amply discussed, and, if some details have been passed under the closure the reason o[...] that is patent. The tactics of the Opposition have been very transparent; prolonged discussions, interminable speeches on the Question "that subsection 1 stand part of the clause" or "that the clause stand part of the Bill," these have proceeded day by day and week by week, and methods of procedure have been so devised in order that the hon. Gentleman and his colleagues may make perorations such as that we have just heard. The hon. Member ended his speech with a quotation from a debate on the Third Reading of the Licensing Bill of 1904. I will begin mine with a quotation from the same debate, which, I think, answers most effectively a large part of the arguments he and others have addressed to the House. The hon. Member who has to-day moved the rejection of the Bill said he did not believe there was a tittle of evidence that the reduction of facilities would reduce intemperance. Well, the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down has quoted from my leader. I will quote from the hon. Gentleman's. [An HON. MEMBER: Which?] He was certainly the hon. Member's leader then, as the fiscal controversy had only just emerged on the horizon. The Leader of the Opposition said—When it is seen that by this Bill, and by this Bill alone, you can without gross injustice and discontent really diminish the number of licences in this country, all parties, forgetting the differences which have unhappily divided us for the last three months, will admit that this is the greatest contribution ever made to the cause of temperance reform.It the licences are reduced at the rate of one thousand a year by a Conservative Act of Parliament, that is a great act of temperance reform; but if they are to be reduced at the rate of two thousand a year by a Liberal Act of Parliament, that is a gross hypocrisy and sham. I have not time—[OPPOSITION cries of "Oh !"] I do not complain, because I recognise that the front Opposition bench was entitled to full time to reply to the Prime Minister—I make no complaint of the brevity of the period allowed me—I was only saying that it is obviously impossible for me to follow the hon. 1655 Member over the large field he has traversed, and I will, therefore, deal only with a point to which he seemed to attach the most importance—the question whether or not this is a confiscatory Bill. The hon. Member who moved the rejection of the Bill was exceedingly emphatic on the point. He said that any one who supports the time-limit and measures of compensation such as are proposed in this measure "falls below the level of a footpad." I cannot help thinking that the hon. Member is very severe on the Bishops. It is rather hard to accuse of a deliberate breach of one of the most important of the Commandments those who are above all others their official defenders. But these high doctrines of absolute property in licences have, I venture to say, in the course of our discussions absolutely collapsed. The hon. Member to-day has, it is true, attempted to revise and to support them. The logical inference from the arguments of the Opposition to-day is that there is absolute property in a licence.
§ * MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
The hon. Member says if you take away a licence from one house in which a man has invested his whole property it is not confiscation legally understood, and you have a right to do it, but if you deprive three or five houses, or the whole of the houses in a district, or all the houses in the country by a single act of Parliament, that is not merely colloquial—which I presume means Conservative-platform—confiscation, but technical, legal confiscation. The consequence of that doctrine is that any time-limit must be inevitably unjust. [OPPOSITION cheers.] Yes, hon. Members cheer, but the Leader of the Opposition has said
§ he does not hold that doctrine. He has admitted in unmistakable terms that, in his view, if the time-limit was sufficiently long, and if the trade meanwhile was freed from the burdens of compensation levy a time-limit may not be unjust. I submit that the doctrine of the hon. Member for Dulwich and that of the Leader of the Opposition are absolutely contradictory, and that the Party opposite must be held to be bound by the words of their official leader. The only other point I can make in the time at my disposal is this. The Bill, so far at monopoly value is concerned, laid no undue burden on the trade when it was introduced, but, as amended, has greatly lightened the burden. The seven years extension before the monopoly value is taken means a reduction by two-fifths or nearly half of that burden—and the definition of monopoly value which we have inserted has made clear that the charge will be one of small proportions. The opposition to the Bill is based upon "proputty, proputty, proputty." We are faced to-day by the old issue of wealth against commonwealth. The Government believe that intemperance, next to poverty itself, is the greatest social evil afflicting our country. We are convinced that intemperance is in large degree the product of the opportunities and facilities for intemperance. We know that this Bill will greatly lessen those facilities and opportunities. It is for that reason, in the interests of the people whom we govern and whom we serve, that we so earnestly desire the passage of this Bill.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 350; Noes, 113. (Division List No. 41[...].)1659
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.||Barker, Sir John||Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Black, Arthur W.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Barran, Rowland Hirst||Bowerman, C. W.|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Bramsdon, T. A.|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Beale, W. P.||Branch, James|
|Alden, Percy||Beauchamp, E.||Bright J. A.|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Beaumont, Hon. Hubert||Brocklehurst, W. B.|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud||Beck, A. Cecil||Brodie H. C.|
|Armitage, R.||Bell, Richard||Brooke, Stopford|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Bellairs, Carlyon||Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry||Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonp'rt||Brunner, Rt. Hn. Sir J. T. (Chesh)|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Benn, W. (T'w'r Hamlets, S. Geo.||Bryce, J. Annan|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Bennett, E. N.||Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Berridge, T. H. D.||Buekmaster, Stanley O.|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romf'd||Burns, Rt. Hon. John|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Burnyeat, W. J. D.|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||M'Micking, Major G.|
|Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Charles||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Maddison, Frederick|
|Byles, William Pollard||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Mallet, Charles E.|
|Cameron, Robert||Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)||Mansfield, H. Rendall (Lincoln)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Hart-Davies, T.||Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Marnham, F. J.|
|Chance, Frederick William||Harwood, George||Massie, J.|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Masterman, C. F. G.|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Haworth, Arthur A.||Menzies, Walter|
|Clough, William||Hazel, Dr. A. E.||Micklem, Nathaniel|
|Clynes, J. R.||Hazleton, Richard||Middlebrook, William|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Hedges, A. Paget||Molteno, Percy Alport|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Helme, Norval Watson||Mond, A.|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W.||Hemmerde, Edward George||Money, L. G. Chiozza|
|Cooper, G. J.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Montagu, Hon. E. S.|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex E. Grinst'd||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Montgomery, H. G.|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Henry, Charles S.||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.||Morrell, Philip|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Herbert T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Morse, L. L.|
|Cowan, W. H.||Higham, John Sharp||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Hobart, Sir Robert||Muldoon, John|
|Crooks, William||Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||Murray, Capt Hn A. C. (Kincard.)|
|Crosfield, A. H.||Hodge, John||Myer, Horatio|
|Cross, Alexander||Holland, Sir William Henry||Napier, T. B.|
|Crossley, William J.||Holt, Richard Durning||Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)|
|Curran, Peter Francis||Hooper, A. G.||Newnes, Sir George (Swansea)|
|Dalmeny, Lord||Hope, W. Bateman (Somerset, N.||Nicholls, George|
|Dalziel, Sir James Henry||Horniman, Emslie John||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncast'r|
|Davies, David (Montgomery Co.||Horridge, Thomas Gardner||Norton, Capt. Cecil William|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Nussey, Thomas Willans|
|Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Hudson, Walter||Nuttall, Harry|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.||Hutton, Alfred Eddison||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)|
|Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.||Hyde, Clarendon||O'Grady, J.|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Illingworth, Percy H.||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Dobson, Thomas W.||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Partington, Oswald|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Jackson, R. S.||Paul, Herbert|
|Duckworth, Sir James||Jacoby, Sir James Alfred||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness||Jardine, Sir J.||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)||Jenkins, J.||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Pearson Sir W. D. (Colchester)|
|Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Pearson, W. H. M. (Suffolk, Eye)|
|Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Philipps, Col. Ivor (S'thampton)|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)|
|Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Erskine, David C.||Jowett, F. W.||Pickersgill Edward Hare|
|Essex, R. W.||Joyce, Michael||Pollard, Dr.|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Kearley, Sir Hudson E.||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Evans, Sir Samuel T.||Kekewich, Sir George||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Everett, R. Lacey||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central)|
|Fenwick, Charles||Laidlaw, Robert||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Ferens, T. R.||Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)|
|Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Lambert, George||Priestley, W. E. B. (Bradford E.)|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||Lamont, Norman||Pullar, Sir Robert|
|Findlay, Alexander||Langley, Batty||Radford, G. H.|
|Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis||Rainy, A. Rolland|
|Freeman-Thomas, Freeman||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington||Rea, Russell (Gloucester)|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Lehmann, R. C.||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro'|
|Fullerton, Hugh||Lever, W. H. (Cheshire, Wirral)||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Furness, Sir Christopher||Levy, Sir Maurice||Rees, J. D.|
|Gibb, James (Harrow)||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Richards, Thomas (W. Monm'th)|
|Gill, A. H.||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John||Lundon, W.||Richardson, A.|
|Glen-Coats, Sir T. (Renfrew, W.)||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Ridsdale, E. A.|
|Glendinning, R. G.||Lyell, Charles Henry||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Glover, Thomas||Lynch, H. B.||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk B'ghs)||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradf'd|
|Grant, Corrie||Mackarness, Frederic C.||Robinson, S.|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Robson, Sir William Snowdon|
|Greenwood, Hamar (York)||>Macpherson, J. T.||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)||Rose, Charles Day|
|Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||M'Callum, John M.||Rowlands, J.|
|Gulland, John W.||M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.|
|Gurdon, Rt. Hn. Sir W. Brampton||M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)||Weir, James Galloway|
|Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Scarisbrick, T. T. L.||Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury||White, J. Dundas (Dumbart'nsh.|
|Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)||White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Sehwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Sears, J. E.||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr)||Whittaker, Rt Hn, Sir Thomas P.|
|Seaverns, J. H.||Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset, E.||Wiles, Thomas|
|Seddon, J.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Shackleton, David James||Tomkinson, James||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Shaw, Sir Charles Edw. (Staff'rd)||Torrance, Sir A. M.||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarth'n|
|Sherwell, Arthur James||Toulmin, George||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Shipman, Dr. John G.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips||Williamson, A.|
|Silcock, Thomas Ball||Ure, Alexander||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Simon, John Allsebrook||Verney, F. W.||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John||Villiers, Ernest Amherst||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Sloan, Thomas Henry||Vivian, Henry||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie||Walker, H. de R. (Leicester)||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.)|
|Spicer, Sir Albert||Walsh, Stephen||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Stanger, H. Y.||Walters, John Tudor||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)||Ward, John (Stoke upon Trent||Winfrey, R.|
|Steadman, W. C.||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton||Wodehouse, Lord|
|Stewart, Halley (Greenock)||Wardle, George J.||Wool, T. M'Kinnon|
|Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)||Waring, Walter||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Strachey, Sir Edward||Wason, Rt. Hn E. (Clackmannan|
|Straus, B. S. (Mile End)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Joseph Pease and Mr. Herbert Lewis.|
|Stuart, James (Sunderland)||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Summerbell, T.||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Gardner, Ernest||Pency, Earl|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Balcarres, Lord||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Randles, Sir John Scurrah|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Gretton, John||Ratcliff, Major R. F.|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Halpin, J.||Rawlinson, john Frederick Peel|
|Baring, Capt. Hn. G. (Winchester||Hamilton, Marquess of||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford||Renton, Leslie|
|Beach, Hn. Michael Hugh Hicks||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)>|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Belloc, Hilaire, Joseph Peter R.||Heaton, John Henniker||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Helmsley, Viscount||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Bottomley, Horatio||Hill, Sir Clement||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Hills, J. W.||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Hogan, Michael||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Houston, Robert Paterson||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Hunt, Rowland||Stanier, Beville|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Keswick, William||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Kimber, Sir Henry||Starkey, John R.|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staff'sh.|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Cave, George||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham||Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Lanark|
|Collings, Rt. Hn. J. (Birmingh'm||Lockwood, Rt. Hn. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham||Tillett, Louis John|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Lowe, Sir Francis William||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Whitbread, Howard|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred Dixon||M'Arthur, Charles||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Doughty, Sir George||Magnus, Sir Philip||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Moore, William||Winterton, Earl|
|Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Faber, George Dension (York).||Nield, Herbert||Young, Samuel|
|Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.||Nolan, Joseph||Younger, George|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid|
|Fell, Arthur||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Viscount Valentia|
|Fletcher, J. S.||Oddy, John James|
|Forster, Henry William||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)|
Main Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill accordingly read the third time, and passed.1660
§ Whereupon Mr. SPEAKER, in pursuance of the Order of the House of 31st July, adjourned the House without Question put.
§ Adjourned at thirteen minutes after Five o'clock.