§ (1) The requisition for a poll shall be in the form set out in Schedule I. of this Act, and shall be signed by not less than one-tenth of the electors in the area; and the signatures to the said requisition shall be appended thereto with the full addresses of the signatories, on papers which shall be issued on demand of any elector by the clerk to the local authority, not earlier than the fifteenth day of August immediately preceding the month in which the requisition is to be lodged; and such papers shall bear on each sheet the date of issue. The requisition shall be lodged during the month of September in any year with the clerk to the local authority, who shall thereupon insert, in not less than two newspapers circulating in the area, a notice of the receipt of such requisition, and shall allow inspection of the requisition by any elector, but, after the requisition has been so lodged, no signatures thereto may be withdrawn.
§ (2) On the day on which a poll under this Act is taken in any area, all the premises in such area in which exciseable liquors are sold by retail shall remain 376 closed for the sale of such liquors until after the hour fixed for the close of the poll, but nothing in this Sub-section contained shall prohibit the sale of such liquors to lodgers or to bonâ fide travellers taking meals on the premises in any room usually set apart for that purpose, for consumption therein at the meal, or the sale, distribution, or delivery of exciseable liquors under the conditions prescribed by Section sixty-three of the Licensing (Scotland) Act, 1903.
§ (3) A poll shall be taken on any day which the local authority may fix in the month either of November or of December immediately following the lodging of the requisition: Provided that in a county a poll shall be taken only in the year of a triennial election of county councillors, except in the case of a poll held in the year in which a resolution under this Act is first competent; and provided further, that if a poll, or the declared result thereof, is by a judgment of the Court of Session declared void, the Court may, if they think fit, order the local authority to cause a new poll to be taken, or one-tenth of the electors in the area may, by requisition lodged with the clerk to the local authority within one month of the date of the judgment, demand a new poll, and the local authority shall thereupon forthwith cause such poll to be taken.
§ (4) Polls under this Act shall be by ballot, and the Secretary for Scotland shall make rules for regulating the procedure with respect to requisitions and the taking of polls, and providing for the recounting or scrutiny of the votes recorded on any poll when a demand is made there for, and, without prejudice to the generality of the power hereby conferred, may by those rules apply for the purpose with any necessary modifications any enactments relating to Parliamentary or local government elections (including the penal provisions thereof):
§ Provided that where a poll is taken for the first time in any area, the ballot papers shall be in the form contained in Schedule II. of this Act, with any modifications thereof to meet the circumstances of the case which may be sanctioned by the Secretary for Scotland, and in case of polls other than the first poll or in cases where there are no certificates or not more than one certificate in the area, in such forms as may be prescribed by the Secretary for Scotland, who shall fix a maximum scale for the expenses of a poll, and any expenses incurred within such scale by the local authority in connection 377 with this Act shall be defrayed out of the county general purposes rate in counties and the burgh general or police assessment in burghs, but shall not be reckoned in any calculation as to the statutory limit of such assessment.
§ (5) If any returning officer, presiding officer, clerk or officer of the local authority is guilty of any wilful act or omission in contravention of any of the provisions of this Act, or of any of the rules made by the Secretary for Scotland under this Act, he shall on summary conviction, in cases where no penalty is otherwise provided, be liable to a penalty not exceeding ten pounds for the first and twenty pounds for every succeeding offence.
§ (6) Every person who forges or procures the forgery of any signature to a requisition, or alters or defaces a requisition, or delivers to the clerk to the local authority any requisition knowing it to contain signatures which have been forged, or to have been altered or defaced in any way, shall be guilty of an offence, and shall be liable on summary conviction to a penalty not exceeding ten pounds, or, failing payment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months with or without hard labour.
§ Earl WINTERTON
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the word "one tenth" ["shall be signed by not less than one-tenth of the electors in the area "], and to insert instead thereof the word "one-fifth."
If a resolution of this kind is to have effect, it ought to be supported by at least one-fifth of the electors. I cannot see any possible objection, even from the point of view of the Bill itself, to the acceptance of this Amendment. If the question is of sufficient public interest in the locality it ought to be possible to get this proportion of the electors to move. I believe I am
§ correct in saying that where legislation of this kind is in force in other countries, the proportion is one-fifth and not one-tenth. I hope the Government will accept this Amendment.
MARQUESS of TULLIBARDINE
I beg to second the Amendment which, I think, is a perfectly sound one. If there is sufficient feeling in the district in favour of prohibition, there would be no difficulty in getting the number proposed in this Amendment. If there is not, then it means that a certain number of people are asking for that for which there is really no necessity.
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
This matter was considered at length in the Committee, and it was felt that it was hardly fair to put a burden upon the parties whoever they might be, of obtaining more than one-tenth. It will work both ways, and will affect not merely those who wish to have restriction, but those who wish to raise the question again of having more licences in the district. The Committee came to the decision that 10 per cent, of the electorate demanding a poll was a sufficient safeguard against any frivolous demand. I am sorry I do not see my way to accept the Amendment.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
It is important that there should be no unnecessary continuance of these polls, and what we are asking for is only a very small proportion of the electorate. How any man is to conduct his trade under this continuous repetion of polls I do not know. I think the only effect will be that every reputable man will get out of the trade as quickly as he can and leave only the blackguards to continue it.
§ Question put, "That the word 'one-tenth' stand part of the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 243; Noes,101.381
|Division No. 224.]||AYES.||[4.10 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Bowerman, C. W.||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)|
|Adamson, William||Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Condon, Thomas Joseph|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Brace, William||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Brady, P. J,||Cotton, William Francis|
|Armitage, R.||Brunner, J. F. L.||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)|
|Arnold, Sydney||Burke, E. Haviland-||Crawshay-Williams, Eliot|
|Baker, Harold T. (Accrington)||Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Crumley, Patrick|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney C. (Poplar)||Cullinan, John|
|Barnes, George N.||Byles, Sir William Pollard||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Cawley, H. T. (Heywood)||Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)|
|Bentham, George Jackson||Chancellor, H. G.||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)|
|Bethell, Sir John Henry||Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Delany, William|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Clancy, John Joseph||Dickinson, W. H.|
|Black, Arthur W.||Clough, William||Doris, William|
|Boland, John Plus||Clynes, John R.||Duffy, William J.|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Elverston, Sir Harold||Leach, Charles||Radford, G. H.|
|Esmonds, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Lewis, John Herbert||Reddy, M.|
|Essex, Richard Walter||Logan, John William||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)|
|Falconer, James||Low, Sir F. (Norwich)||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Lundon, T.||Richards, Thomas|
|Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles||Lyell, Charles Henry||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)|
|Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||Lynch, A. A.||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Ffrench, Peter||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Field, William||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward||McGhee, Richard||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Maclean, Donald||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneslde)|
|George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Robinson, Sidney|
|Gill, A. H.||MacNeill, John G. S. (Donegal, South)||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Ginnell, L.||Macpherson, James Ian||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Glanville, H. J.||M'Callum, Sir John M.||Rowlands, James|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Goldstone, Frank||M'Laren, Hon. F. W. S. (Lines, Spalding)||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Greig, Colonel J. W.||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Griffith, Ellis Jones||Marshall, Arthur Harold||Samuel, J. (Stockton)|
|Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G.||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Hackett, J.||Meagher, Michael||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Hall, Frederick (Normanton)||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Sheehy, David|
|Hancock, John George||Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.)||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)||Menzies, Sir Waiter||Smith, Albert (Lanes, Clitheroe)|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Millar, James Duncan||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim)|
|Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Molloy, Michael||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.)||Molteno, Percy Alport||Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Sutherland, J. E.|
|Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Mooney, John J.||Sutton, John E.|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Morgan, George Hay||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Hayward, Evan||Morison, Hector||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Hazleton, Richard||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Tennant, Harold John|
|Helme, Sir Nerval Watson||Muldoon, John||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Munro, R.||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C.||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Henry, Sir Charles||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Higham, John Sharp||Needham, Christopher Thomas||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Hinds, John||Nolan, Joseph||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Hodge, John||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Hogge, James Myles||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Holmes, Daniel Turner||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Watt, Henry Anderson|
|Horne, C. Silvester (Ipswich)||O'Doherty, Philip||Webb, H.|
|Hughes, Spencer Leigh||O'Donnell, Thomas||White, J. Dundas (Glas., Tradeston)|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rutus||O'Dowd, John||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|John, Edward Thomas||Ogden, Fred||Whitetnuse, John Howard|
|Jones, Rt. Hon. Sir D. Brynmor (Sw'nsea)||0'Kelly, Edward P. (Wickiow, W.)||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Williams, John (Glamorgan)|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||O'Shee, James John||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Jones, William S. Glyn (Stepney)||O'Sullivan, Timothy||Williamson, Sir Archibald|
|Joyce, Michael||Outhwaite, R. L.||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Keating, Matthew||Parker, James (Halifax)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Kellaway, Frederick George||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Winfrey, Richard|
|Kelly, Edward||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Young, w. (Perthshire, E.)|
|King, J.||Pirie, Duncan V.||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Lamb, Ernest Henry||Pollard, Sir George H.|
|Lambert, Richard (Wilts., Cricklade)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Archer-Shee, Major||Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Craik, Sir Henry|
|Ashley, W. W.||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Croft, Henry Page|
|Baird, J. L.||Cassel, Felix||Denniss, E. R. B.|
|Balcarres, Lord||Cator, John||Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Cave, George||Dixon, C. H.|
|Barnston, H.||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Duke, Henry Edward|
|Barrie, H. T.||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University)||Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Falle, B. G.|
|Bigland, Alfred||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Fell, Arthur|
|Boyton, James||Clyde, J. Avon||Fletcher, John Samuel|
|Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell||Cooper, Richard Ashmole||Forster, Henry William|
|Bridgeman, W. Cllve||Courthope, George Loyd||Foster, Philip Staveley|
|Bull, Sir William James||Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Goldsmith, Frank|
|Burgoyne, A. H.||Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Goulding Edward Alfred|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Grant, J. A.|
|Greene, W. R.||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Gretton, John||Lewisham, Viscount||Sanders, Robert Arthur|
|Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)||Lockwood, Rt Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Stanier, Beville|
|Hall, Fred (Dulwich)||Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||Mackinder, Halford J.||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Harris, Henry Percy||Magnus, Sir Philip||Steel-Maitland, A. D.|
|Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Malcolm, Ian||Stewart, Gershom|
|Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Maliaby-Deeley, Harry||Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)|
|Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Newman, John R. P.||Talbot, Lord E.|
|Hickman, Colonel Thomas E.||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)|
|Hill, Sir Clement L.||Parkes, Ebenezer||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Hills, John Waller||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Hoare, S. J. G.||Peto, Basil Edward||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Hope, Harry (Bute)||Pollock, Ernest Murray||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)||Pryce-Jones, Col. E.||Yate, Colonel C. E.|
|Hunter, Sir C. R.||Quilter, Sir William Eley C.||Younger, Sir George|
|Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East)||Randles, Sir John S.|
|Kebty-Fletcher, J. R.||Rees, Sir J. D.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Earl Winterton and Marquess of Tullibardine.|
|Kerry, Earl of||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen)|
§ Mr. FELL
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), after the word "issue" ["on each sheet the date of issue"] to insert the words "and shall forthwith lie for signature at the post office or any branch post office within the area."
My Amendment is to make the procedure a little more clear and add a little more solemnity to it, so that this requisition when signed my carry greater weight than would be the case if it were simply taken round by an individual who canvassed and obtained signatures through his or her own influence. The signatures may be taken on different sheets. We know how petitions to this House are frequently obtained, and very often they do not have the weight which the number of signatures obtained appears to give them. We know how petitions have been got up in favour of this Temperance Bill. I do not know what effect they will have upon the divisions, but I know that petitions obtained by an influential person who goes round asking for signatures does not carry very much weight, because a man is not very likely to refuse his signature when his friend asks him to sign. Consequently many of the signatures obtained may not represent the opinion of the people who put down their names. It would be better for all purposes if the petition were lodged at the post office. In the Bill there is no guidance as to what is to be done and the procedure must be created, and I suggest as the most public place the petitions should lie for signature is the post office. The petition should be one document and it should lie at the post office, where the people can go and sign their names and addresses. Under these conditions you would be far more likely to get such a requisition as is intended by the promoters of this Bill. A document sent to us signed under those circumstances would have more influence, although you would 382 get very much fewer signatures than if canvassing took place by persons in sympathy with it. If the post office is not considered the proper place, I would suggest it should be the town hall or some other public building, but the post office is the only one I can suggest now.
§ Mr. NORMAN CRAIG
I beg leave to-second this Amendment.
I would like to call the attention; of the Secretary for Scotland to the total absence in this Bill of any provision which will make these requisitions substantial and real. You have under this Clause simply the provision that the requisition may be issued. There is no provision as to where it is to be taken or by whom, and no method of getting the signature is provided. The only provision is that it must bear the names and addresses, and then it is to be deposited with the clerk to the local authority. You have no provision for inspection by anybody until after it is deposited, and after it has been deposited no signature can be withdrawn. You have no provision for a verification of the names and addresses, and no signature may be withdrawn if it his been forged, altered, effaced, or procured by misrepresentation. Unless you make this alteration, you are going to have this state of things. Anybody may get a directory, take the names and addresses of a number of different people, and copy them and put them into a petition. You hand it in just before the time expires for lodging. Nobody can inspect the names until they are lodged, and when they are lodged none of them can be withdrawn. That is the position. On the next page of the Bill you have a provision for prosecuting people who forge, deface, or alter signatures, but you have got to find them first, and then get evidence against them. You 383 have nothing which requires the person who brings in the requisition to stand responsible for the signatures, and you have no provision at all for prosecution of a man who secures signatures by misrepresentation and fraud. How can you ascertain public opinion in that way I have an Amendment to this Clause later on to make it possible when a man, an hon. Member of this House for instance, finds that by fraud or forgery his name appears on a requisition he may go to the clerk of the local authority and say, "That is not my signature, and I want it withdrawn." Unless you make some radical alteration, and put in some sort of machinery for the honest carrying of it out, the whole thing will become a public farce and a scandal.
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
It is suggested this should be done on the ground that there are no provisions in the Bill to prevent fraudulent signatures being appended to a requisition for a poll.
§ Mr. NORMAN CRAIG
Xo provision for wrong signatures, whether altered or fraudulent, being withdrawn on lodging.
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
If it can be shown the signatures are not the signatures of persons who are entitled to vote, or that they are forged signatures, or that they have been improperly obtained in any way, those signatures will not be counted. There is a very stringent provision in this Clause providing that any person who forges, or secures the forgery of any signature to a requisition, or alters or defaces a requisition, or who delivers any requisition to the clerk of the local authority knowing it contain signatures which have been forged, may not only be fined, but, as I am going to propose, may be imprisoned without the option of a fine.
§ Mr. NORMAN CRAIG
If the right hon. Gentleman will look at his own provision for punishments he will find the things which appears upon the document and is forged is described as a "signature." ["Every person who forges or procures the forgery of any signature."] It is still a signature, though a forged signature.
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
Does the hon. and learned Member really suggest that anybody can go to a directory and copy out a hundred names with impunity? If anyone did anything of the sort he would render himself liable to a term of imprisonment not exceeding three months with or without hard labour. We have to rely on 384 penalties of that sort with regard to all electoral corruption, and we have nothing else to rely on. I think it is a perfectly sufficient remedy against forged signatures. The hon. and learned Member also complains that there can only be inspection after deposit. I do not see how there can be inspection before deposit.
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
It would not be a convenient thing for it to lay at the Post Office in a great many cases. There is not the slightest doubt this proposal would render it extremely difficult to get signatures, because the Post Office is not at all a convenient place in the rural parts of Scotland. I cannot help thinking the object of this proposal is to make it very difficult to get signatures. I certainly could not agree to the Amendment without the sanction of the Postmaster General, and he would probably tell me it would be an inconvenient thing to have the Post Office mixed up in this business. The responsibility is put on the parties who want the poll to get a requisition of the right number of people, and very severe penalties, which I am about to make more severe, are imposed upon people who fraudulently obtain signatures. I think that is a perfectly sufficient safeguard.
§ Mr. NORMAN CRAIG
Will the right hon. Gentleman answer the point I put to him? There is no provision in the Bill to punish anybody who procures signatures by fraud or misrepresentation. You have punishments for forgery and for defacement if you can find it out, but you have no punishments for procuring signatures by fraud or misrepresentation.
§ Sir J. D. REES
The Secretary for Scotland in defending this Bill, seems to me to develop all the worst qualities of an Oriental tyrant. It is not enough apparently to deprive people who are prepared to drink in moderation of the opportunity of getting drink, because a small number who may easily be got together by methods of peaceful persuasion, picketing, and other methods with which we are becoming familiar, but it is actually provided, when the petition-writer or the person corresponding to that well known attribute of Oriental government, has got together the requisite number of signatures, that no person who has been coerced, persuaded, or in any manner 385 persuaded to give his signature, shall be able to withdraw it. That I know will be dealt with by a later Amendment, but the Amendment of my hon. Friend which is now before the House, will be a very useful safeguard. I have compared the right hon. Gentleman's procedure with that of an Oriental town where it is usual to have an official whose attribute it is to obtain signatures. You go to him and pay him two rupees or so for such signature, and they are put in. In this case it would be perfectly easy to obtain the requisite number of signatures. Fanatics are always with us. [Cheers.] I am very glad hon. Gentlemen opposite see themselves as others see them. It will be the easiest thing in the world to obtain these signatures, and, when they are locked up in the clerk's desk, why, in the name of wonder, is a man not to have an opportunity for glorious repentance? There is to be no opportunity of his undoing what he has been persuaded to do, perhaps on insufficient information or for some improper reason. If this register remained as, my hon. Friend's Amendment provides at the post office, there would be some opportunity of recalling signatures, provided the subsequent Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Thanet (Mr. Norman Craig) is carried. The Secretary for Scotland is driven again and again to the most desperate straits to defend his case, and he actually says the post office is the most inconvenient place possible, being generally situated in some place where nobody can find it.
§ Sir J. D. REES
Well, words to that effect. I may be guilty of more or less embroidering the right hon. Gentleman's statement, Taut, if that was not the substance of what lie said, I do not understand the English or the Scotch language. Why, in the name of wonder, should there be any difficulty about this when the post office is used for old age pensions and every conceivable purpose? The post office in small Scotch villages is absolutely the centre of all gossip, of all business and purchase, and of everything else. The right hon. Gentleman, if he is not going merely to use, as I say, the methods of an Oriental tyrant, should honour the House by giving something like fair colourable reasons for rejecting an Amendment of this sort which is so necessary to provide that these polls which interfere so desperately with 386 the liberty of the subject—not that he and his friends object to that—shall be bonâ fide and shall be open in every possible manner to such Amendment as can be applied to them.
§ Sir H. CRAIK
The answer of the right hon. Gentleman, as I understand it, was that under another Sub-clause certain penalties are imposed upon anyone who forges or secures the forgery of any signature or defaces or alters a requisition. That is not the difficulty. The difficulty is, that it might be absolutely necessary to go through the whole procedure, involving heavy expense and great disturbance to all concerned, though the petition when presented and lodged might have signatures forged or fraudulent. I see the right hon. Gentleman is good enough to smile at my argument. Perhaps, instead of smiling, he will listen to me and then attempt to give an answer to it. The only time when guilt could be brought home to the guilty person would be when the matter was brought before the Court of Sessions and the Court of Sessions had declared the proceedings void. We wish, instead of these long and expensive proceedings taking place upon the presentation of a petition, some precautions should be taken to see that signatures are rightfully appended by those who are really entitled to sign, and that persons are not induced under pressure to append their names to a requisition. That is the difficulty we feel, and if the Secretary for Scotland cannot solve it perhaps he will allow the Lord Advocate to give us some explanation as to how to prevent this misrepresentation and how to render a requisition with improper signatures nugatory without relying upon the possibility at some long-distance date that certain persons may be found guilty.
MARQUESS of TULLIBARDINE
I think rather more safeguards are required than we have at present. I am certain the Secretary for Scotland would wish to have the poll as clean as possible, and if we were satisfied that Sub-section (6) would deal with cases of fraud, bribery, and intimidation, as well as forgery, it would make a good deal of difference. After all there are various ways of proceeding on lines that ought not to be encouraged. My hon. Friend wishes the signatures to be obtained as openly and above-board as possible, and I cannot see what objection there can be to their being appended at the post office. We do not want signatures got from a man while he is drunk 387 and at a time when he does not know what he is signing. Why cannot the petitions or requisitions stand at the post office, where they can be signed in open daylight?
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
I think these fears are all unfounded. You are going to have a vote of the electors, and electors are the only people on earth who can sign the requisition. A certain proportion must sign it before the requisition can become operative. You must have no fewer than one-tenth of the electors in the area. You have consequently to deal with a limited number of names, and no one can doubt that the requisition for a poll will be closely scrutinised by those who object to the poll. There will be no difficulty in seeing if the signatures are proper, and it should be remembered that very serious consequences—imprisonment without the option of a fine—are attendant upon any misconduct in this respect. I submit there is no substantial fear that this requisition will not be signed by the proper persons, who must be electors on the roll of the district. To my mind there are sufficient safeguards.
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
One would expect that if the requisition is lodged at the offices of the local authority and it is necessary it should bear 200 signatures, if twenty of them are wrong, the local authority will declare that the requisition is not in order and will decline to act upon it.
§ Mr. SCOTT DICKSON
I cannot quite appreciate the objections raised by the right hon. Gentleman. What is the procedure prescribed? A resolution is put forward advocating the refusal of all licences or a restriction of their number, and, up till the end of September, people may go about with papers in their pockets worrying the electors in order to get signatures. The requisition must be deposited with the local authority by the 30th September, and then the signatures can be examined, as it is not until the 1st of November that a poll can be ordered. 388 We know that the months of September and October are very inconvenient ones, as the Registration Courts are being held and the new register is being drawn up. There is some trouble, in fact, in knowing exactly where the electors are. Apparently no provision is made for a scrutiny of the signatures to the resolution.
§ Mr. SCOTT DICKSON
I certainly cannot sec any provision for scrutiny. The Secretary for Scotland is to lay down rules regulating the procedure. Is it intended that he may prescribe that the requisition shall be signed at the Post Office? If he is to have that power, if it is intended to give it to him by Subsection (4), why should not the provision be put by this House itself into the Bill? Nobody would be the worse off, and surely the Secretary for Scotland has already sufficient work upon his hands without adding unnecessarily to his duties. If the requisition were directed to lie at the post office everybody would be entitled to see it, and could, if they so desired, test the genuineness of the signatures. This Clause only provides a penalty for forgery and for nothing else. We have had some experience of requisitions of this nature already. We have had petitions got up either for or against the granting of licences, and it has constantly occurred that whoever the petition may be opposed to, claims that the signatures have been obtained by means of misrepresentation. That does not necessarily involve forgery. Therefore I am in favour of these requisitions being signed at the post office, where everybody can see them. That would make them public documents, open to public inspection, and at the same time it would save people being worried by unpaid canvassers. If it is honestly desired to secure properly signed requisitions, what ground can there be for objecting to their being placed in an office where the public can see what is going on? If the electors are to be put to the trouble and expense of an election, surely they are at least entitled to have the protection, small as it may be, which this Amendment offers.
§ The LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. Ure)
May I remind the House of what it has apparently forgotten, that this is by no means a novel procedure, so far as the law of Scotland is concerned. Hon. and right hon. Members opposite have been 389 speaking as if we were enacting the provisions for these requisitions for the first time. But, as a matter of fact, we have been familiar with such requisitions for many years. Requisitions for setting into operation statutory machinery are well known, and never before has it been suggested that they should lie at the post-office for signature. There are a great many things which burgh and county authorities can only do after they have been set in motion by a requisition signed by a certain number of the electors. But nobody has ever before thought of suggesting that such requisitions should lie at the post office for signature. It is a remarkable fact that my right hon. and learned Friend opposite took a very active part in our discussions upstairs, and yet never until the present moment has he made such a suggestion as this.
§ Mr. URE
No doubt. The right hon. and learned Gentleman will learn to the end of his days, but I certainly do not think that he will find this a useful part of his education. After all, it is a question of convenience and nothing else. People who may be deeply interested in these questions may not be in the habit of visiting post offices. It may be their practice to post all their letters in the nearest pillar-box. As to the suggestion that there are no provisions against fraud, I would point out that under the law of Scotland fraud can already be punished without its being necessary to put any special provision for it in an Act of Parliament.
§ Mr. NORMAN CRAIG
But the requisition remains good, all the same. The signatures cannot be withdrawn.
§ 5.0 P.M.
§ Mr. URE
I disclaim the idea we are dealing with dishonest men, whose only desire is to cheat one another. Surely if it can be shown that the requisition has not been properly signed, it will not be acted upon. While the requisition is lying at the offices of the clerk to the local authority it will be open to inspection. The provision does not mean if a man discovers, or somebody else discovers for him, that his signature is put there, that it cannot be withdrawn. It is not the signature of an elector at all. I further draw the attention of the House to the fact that 390 if any additional safeguards are thought to be necessary—for the life of me I cannot see that any are required—the Secretary for Scotland has ample power under Sub-section (4), Clause 5, to provide all the procedure necessary with regard to requisitions. That is not confined merely to the handing about of the requisition, but it covers the whole area, from the beginning of the operation to the end of it, from the time the clerk to the local authority issues the requisition until the last day of inspection. I submit to the House that if this Amendment were carried it would be a great inconvenience to a great number of respectable people, who ought not to be put to such inconvenience on such a flimsy ground.
§ Sir FREDERICK BANBURY
The Lord Advocate says it would be very inconvenient for an elector to go to the post office, because he puts his letters in the pillar-box. Does he get his insurance stamp at the pillar-box? Every week every employer or employé must go once to the post office. [HON. Members: "No, no."] Well, I suppose he can buy a considerable number of stamps at a time, but he must get his stamps. [HON. Members: "The employer must."] There can be no question that the ordinary elector must go to the post office to get the stamps to put on the letters which he puts in the pillar-box. If the letter is not stamped when it is put in the pillar-box it is charged up at the other end. The argument of the Lord Advocate is almost as futile as the arguments brought forward against the Amendment by the Secretary for Scotland. What were the arguments of the Secretary for Scotland? First of all, he said that we on this side of the House desired that there should not be many signatures to the requisition. That is not at all what we desire. What we do desire is that the signatures to the requisition should first of all be genuine signatures and should have been put there by people who knew what they were signing when they affixed their signatures. Everyone knows perfectly well that there is nothing easier than for a person of persuasive manner to go round to a number of people—it is often done in this House—and say, "My dear fellow, would you mind signing this for me?" The person asked says, "Oh, well, yes," but he says privately, "What an infernal nuisance. I want to do something else." Then he says, "What is it, my dear fellow?" and he is told, "It is one of 391 those things you ought to sign, it does not mean very much; won't you sign it?" In order to get away he signs it. That has often happened in this House, and on this side of the House, where there is more common sense and a greater desire to know what we are doing. I can remember one occasion when I found myself that several Members on this side of the House had put their signatures to a document which was viewed with disfavour by right hon. Gentlemen who sit below me. I went round to a good many of them who told me, "I did not know what I was signing. When I put my signature to it I did not know what I was doing."
If human beings, such as hon. Members on this side of the House, do that sort of thing, what is to be expected from the ordinary elector? The result will be that there will be a large number of people who will sign these requisitions, not because they desire to do so, but because they desire to give pleasure to someone to whom they are under a debt of obligation, or whom they personally like, or because they want to get rid of a tiresome fellow. That is what we want to avoid. Does the Secretary for Scotland desire it? I cannot believe that he does. We must remember that these signatures are going to cause, I will not say ruin, but a very considerable pecuniary loss to a great number of people. There is not the slightest doubt about that. It may be right that that should be done, but before we do that we should be very careful to see that the people who are going to inflict this loss on other people are really cognisant of what they are doing before they put their signatures to a document. That is a very simple proposition, and I cannot see any argument against it. With regard to whether or not the Post Office is a convenient place I have already attempted to show that stamps must be bought there, and I should have thought that it was the most convenient place. Old age pensions are paid at the Post Office, and a large number of other matters are settled there. The Secretary for Scotland says that he has not got the consent of the Postmaster-General. Is that a proper argument to put before the House? Has he asked the Postmaster-General for his consent?
§ Sir F. BANBURY
No, he has not. The Amendment has been on the Paper for a 392 considerable time, and the right hon. Gentleman might have asked the Postmaster-General whether he would consent. I am convinced that the Postmaster-General, with the tact that distinguishes him, would have consented at once. Therefore that argument falls to the ground. The next argument was that the area was a very small one. Is it? If the right hon. Gentleman will look at the Bill he will see- that an area may consist of 9,999 people. It will have probably 1,500 electors in it.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
My hon. Friend tells me I am wrong. There will not only be small areas, but a large number of areas where there will be a considerable number of signatures to be obtained, and it will be difficult to ascertain whether the signatures are forged. It must be remembered further—I say this without any desire to cast any reflection upon the advocates of temperance, either in this House or in the country—that the advocates of temperance in the country are, to a certain extent, fanatics, at any rate some of them. You do not quite know to what lengths people who believe they are doing something for a good cause will go. Look at the suffragettes. They actually starve themselves in order to advance their cause. Is it not possible to conceive that a woman who is a suffragette and also a teetotaler may consider that, in order to advance the temperance cause, she is right in endeavouring to obtain signatures by going round and putting a little gloss upon the actual results of those signatures. That is what we want to guard against. We have not had a single argument from anybody on the other side of the House which meets one of the questions I have raised, and in these circumstances I hope the Government will reconsider their decision. I have not dealt with the question of forgery. I understand that a signature cannot be withdrawn, and that if it is on the requisition it must be counted. We require some Amendment to deal with that, and I understand the Lord Advocate is prepared to consider favourably an Amendment on that point. If it is not done here, I hope it will be done in the House of Lords, which exists for the purpose of allowing the Government to correct their errors. If they do not accept my hon. Friend's Amendment here it can always be done in the House of Lords. If the Postmaster-General refuses his con- 393 sent, which I think is most unlikely, I hope the Government will find some other place which is better or as suitable as the post office. With reference to Sub-section (4) of Clause 5, the arguments advanced against the Amendment only strengthen the case for it. It is advisable that we in this House should know what we are doing, and should not give to Ministers the power of making requisitions for this, that, or the other. Let us make the requisitions ourselves.
Mr. DUNDAS WHITE
The main question raised on the other side of the House is whether there is sufficient precaution to make sure that the signatures are real signatures and not bogus signatures.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
That they should be signatures by people who know what they are doing, and who, when they sign, know the effect of signing.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I said that with regard to forgery I would not deal with it, because I understood the provisions with regard to it are satisfactory, and that with regard to the counting of forged signatures the Lord Advocate was going to bring in an Amendment.
Mr. DUNDAS WHITE
I believe the ease is sufficiently met. I would ask the hon. Baronet's attention to Clause 5, Subsection (1):The requisition shall be lodged during the month of September in any year with the clerk to the local authority, who shall thereupon insert, in not less than two newspapers circulating in the area, a notice of the receipt of such requisition, and shall allow inspection of the requisition by any elector.Sub-section (3) says:A poll shall be taken on any day which the local authority may fix in the month either of November or of December, immediately following the lodging of the requisition.The hon. Baronet will see that between the lodging of the requisition and the poll there must be at least one clear month, and during that time the signatures can be investigated to the fullest possible extent.
Mr. DUNDAS WHITE
I am taking the hon. Baronet's own point. If any signature is proved to be a false signature, or a forged signature, then, as the Lord Advocate has pointed out, it is no signature, and will not be counted by the local authority in deciding the number of signatures on the requisition.
Mr. DUNDAS WHITE
I have no doubt that those who object to this requisition will take the ordinary steps to see that the signatures are genuine. Every opportunity is given for that. In regard to the point of the hon. Baronet as to whether every man who signs a thing fully realises all the consequences, and that every man who votes for something fully realises all the consequences of his vote, I think that is more than the wit of man can contrive, but I, for my own part, can trust to the common sense and common honesty of my own countrymen. Then the hon. Baronet spoke of this requisition as inflicting grave pecuniary loss on various people. I would ask him to distinguish between the requisition and the poll. All that the requisition does is to make the poll possible, and unless a great preponderance of the voters, and in any case at least a third of those on the register, are in favour of one or other of these resolutions, the Act will be inoperative and will have no force at all. We are dealing now, not with the poll, but merely with the requisition, and for that purpose, at all events, we have ample safeguards in the way I have suggested.
§ Earl WINTERTON
The hon. Gentleman who has been put up to speak has been put up as the fifth wheel of the Government coach, and he has made no better fist of it than the two right hon. Gentlemen on the Front Bench. He entirely misunderstood the point put by my hon. Friend, which was simply this: What provision is there under the taking of this requisition for signatures which are found to be fraudulent and are not real signatures to be withdrawn before the requisition comes into operation? My hon. Friend, I thought, was far too optimistic when he said the Lord Advocate had given a promise that he would consider the matter. The Lord Advocate 395 made no reference to it at all in his speech. As far as I can understand, there is nothing in the Act regarding the taking of the requisition which would prevent a number of fraudulent signatures being appended to that requisition and counted and being used for the purpose of taking the poll. It says at the bottom of this Sub-section: That no signatures may be withdrawn. We are in some difficulty in discussing the Amendment, because many points arise on subsequent Amendments. It illustrates the difficulty of doing business under the Government's present arrangements when they send Bills of this kind, which ought to be discussed in Committee of the Whole House, upstairs. The result is merely that Committee points have to be discussed on the Report stage. Before we go to a Division, I hope the Government, or one of their private secretaries—there is a whole row of private secretaries behind them who have not exhausted their right to speak—will give us an answer on this point as to whether or not there is any means in the Bill for removing signatures which have been found to be fraudulent before the requisition comes into operation. The whole method of taking these polls is reminiscent of the methods of Tammany, and might have been invented by Mr. Boss Croker, the prominent supporter of the Irish Nationalist party. The whole of the provisions for taking the poll have been so fashioned as to make intimidation easy and undue pressure of every kind, not only on the elector, but on his family, and to make it perfectly easy for fraudulent signatures to be put in the requisition, and it would be impossible for these fraudulent signatures to be withdrawn. The argument of the Secretary for Scotland is the most grotesque argument I have ever heard—that it was impossible for a voter to walk to the post office. I should like to ask the Government this question, which has not yet been raised: If it is impossible for him to walk to the post office to sign his name there, what steps is he going to take when the requisition is circulated in the area to go to the authority in question and discover whether or not the names on the requisition are real or forged names? Anyone who knows anything about election law and registration knows how difficult it is under our present law to prevent wrong names creeping in and people being wrongly described. Schedule I merely asks for the elector's signature, his 396 address, and his number on the register. There is nothing whatever to prevent a man going to some lonely cottage in a Highland district to obtain signatures. The occupants themselves will probably be ignorant whether or not they are on the register, and if those names be placed on the requisition the list will be published in the newspapers—they may or may not see the newspaper—and the requisition will be put into force, and, in the absence of any intimation to the contrary from the Government, there is nothing whatever in the Bill to prevent it being enforced.
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
Surely the clerk to the local authority will know whether the name is on the register. The local authority will not incur the expense of a poll on a bogus requisition without a sufficient number of names. If the requisition is deposited with him, he will look over it to see the names of the electors.
§ Earl WINTERTON
The right hon. Gentleman has misunderstood my point. There are very frequently two men of the same name—for instance, Thomas MacNeil, senior, and Thomas MacNeil, junior. A man goes round with a list to obtain signatures and both Thomas MacNeil, junior, and Thomas MacNeil, senior, believing they are on the list, sign the requisition. In the case of an ordinary poll, taken at an ordinary polling place, the polling clerk asks the man if he is the Thomas MacNeil described in the register. Who is going to do this under this form of taking the poll?
§ Earl WINTERTON
I see. The Thomas MacNeil who is entitled to vote does not vote and the Thomas MacNeil who is not entitled to vote does vote. That is the only logical result of the right hon. Gentleman's statement. Both names have the same value. That just shows the way in which this requisition is being drawn up. It does not matter in the least, according to the right hon. Gentleman's argument, whether the man is on the register as long as there is a name and someone signs it. He may be a man from Glasgow. It is perfectly clear that the right hon. Gentleman and the Government, when they drew up this thing, were quite unaware of the effect it would have, and when the Lord Advocate speaks of this having been put into operation under former Acts in Scotland he quite omitted to tell those who are not familiar with Scotch procedure 397 that it has never been used for anything except comparatively small questions affecting the water supply of a parish—small compared with the gigantic interests of a trade such as this, in which many millions of pounds are invested and in which many men's livelihood is at stake. Seeing the strong belief that exists opposite that the end always justifies the means, I am prepared to find temperance fanatics in the Highlands putting men under the influence of the very whisky they are anxious to ban and then making them sign the requisition.
§ Earl W1NTERTON
A Scotchman has to be very drunk before he is unable to sign his name or to do a good many other things which an Englishman would have to be sober to do. It is not in the public interests that a matter of this kind, in which big trade interests are affected, should be left in the hands of persons who may misuse the opportunity they obviously have to intimidate and to act fraudulently.
§ Mr. GLYN-JONES
Though I am not a private secretary, perhaps the Noble Lord will forgive a sentence or two to show that his fears are absolutely groundless. It docs not depend as to whether a requisition is effective or not on how many names or addresses are on it, but that it should be signed by not less than a tenth of the electors in the area; and it does not matter whether the signature is withdrawn or not if it is a false signature. It has not been signed by an elector. If the people who have to examine these requisitions find that there are upon it signatures which have not been signed by electors they count for nothing, and it does not affect the efficacy of the requisition at all. Therefore this point about withdrawing signatures does not arise. Another point that ought to be borne in mind is this. Hon. Members opposite seem to think it is most important that there should be no attempt to obtain forgeries to the requisition, and we are told that if they do certain people may be injured. But who is going to attempt to get forged signatures to a requisition, knowing perfectly well that the requisition will not in the end be effective unless they have got a three-fifths majority of the whole electorate? If the requisition is going to decide anything I can understand people who are unscrupulous attempting to get forgeries. But this is 398 only something to set the machinery in motion, and if you have a number of them forgeries, what better are the people who want to bring about a reduction of licences unless they have the whole of the population behind them? It seems to me that a great deal of fuss is being made about the danger of forgeries to these requisitions, and I am certain the point raised about there being no machinery to allow of signatures to be withdrawn is utterly worthless, seeing that the Act itself provides that it shall be signed by not less than a tenth of the electors.
§ Mr. MACKINDER
I wish to support the Amendment for a somewhat different reason from those which have been advanced in recent speeches. I do not wish to deal with the chances of forgery, although I agree that ought to be guarded against. My view is that there ought to be a certain amount of reasonable difficulty in the matter of the signature of this requisition. There ought to be a certain amount of formality, because we want to secure that this tenth of the electorate shall not be chance persons worried into signing, but shall be serious teetotal reformers who have considered the question and come before the locality advocating a change. They ought to be a tenth of the inhabitants. Let me suggest what would happen when the time approaches for the Bill to come into force. The teetotalers do not regard this as an end. It is a means to an end. Their intention is to make Scotland piebald. They want to have a certain number of dry districts, and they know that the result of a certain number of dry districts will be that a certain number of the remaining districts will become very wet indeed. It will be a public scandal, and the result of that scandal will be that they will be able to take a further step forward. What will happen when the Bill is approaching the time when it comes into force? The organisations in Edinburgh and Glasgow will take a map of the country. They will carefully consider every single unit under this Bill, and they will select suitable areas in which they think it desirable for one reason or another to try the experiment, and, if possible, to make those districts dry. An emissary will then go down to the quiet and peaceful parish in question. He arrives, let us say, in a parish with 300 electors, and he has to get thirty signatures to the requisition. He gets hold of half-a-dozen men, and they meet in a back parlour. The whole electorate of the parish 399 is gone carefully through, and the character of each man and woman is carefully considered. Their price mentally, morally, and, in some cases perhaps materially, is considered, and the best way of approaching each individual is carefully weighed. I venture to say that this is what will happen. Each of these half-dozen people—everyone who has sat on a Committee knows how these things are done—will undertake to see a certain number of the electors, and in that way they will get their thirty signatures. They will arrange to waylay the electors in a suitable manner in order to obtain the signatures. The result will be that the necessary number will be forthcoming. Once they are forthcoming, there is no means by which they can be withdrawn. The whole parish may be laughing at them, but even the Secretary for Scotland has no power to make regulations for the withdrawal of signatures.
The whole place will be turned into a state of turmoil. There will be a tremendous teetotal agitation carried on, and there will be great defensive action on the part of the publicans. The whole place will be upside down, and what is the hope. The hope is that there will be a certain number of people who will say, "Confound both parties, I am not going to vote," and the proposal will be carried by
§ a small number of electors. The work will be done systematically. The power which has been exercised to get the Bill brought here, will be exercised in the carrying out of its provisions. It is the organisations which have forced the Secretary for Scotland into the position he has taken up. Circulars have been sent by the supporters of the Bill asking us not to alter a single line. What the organisations want is the Bill, the whole Bill, and nothing but the Bill. They have been successful in these Debates in achieving their end, and those who have been so successful in organising this stone-wall attitude on the part of the Government will sit in their organisations in Glasgow, Edinburgh, and elsewhere, and carry out a campaign in the way I have indicated. I venture to say that it is in the best interest of the little community to which I have referred, the interest of freedom, and the interest of temperance in the long run, that you should have a certain amount of formality, delay, and difficulty in obtaining signatures, in order that they may be obtained, not in a hole and corner manner, but from those who are convinced that the question ought to go to the poll.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 121; Noes, 264.403
|Division No. 225.]||AYES.||[5.35 P.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Denniss, E. R. B.||Ingleby, Holcombe|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott-||Jardine, E. (Somerset, E.)|
|Baird, J. L.||Dixon, C. H.||Kebty-Fletcher, J. R.|
|Balcarres, Lord||Duke, Henry Edward||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Kerry, Earl of|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Falle, B. G.||Kimber, Sir Henry|
|Barnston, H.||Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes||Kirloch-Cooke, Sir Clement|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Fletcher, John Samuel||Lewisham, Viscount|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen B. (Glouc, E.)||Foster, Philip Staveley||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gerase||Gardner, Ernest||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.|
|Bigland, Alfred||Gastrell, Major W. Houghton||Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. (Griffith-||Goldsmith, Frank||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo. Han. S.)|
|Boyton, J,||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Mackinder, H. J.|
|Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell||Grant, J. A.||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Greene, W. R.||Newman, John R. P.|
|Bull, Sir William James||Gretton, John||Newton, Harry Kottingham|
|Burgoyne, A. H.||Guinness, Hon. Rupert (Essex, S.E.)||Nield, Herbert|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)|
|Butcher, J. G.||Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Hall, Fred (Dulwich)||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Hall, Marshall (L'pool, E. Toxteth)||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Cassel, Felix||Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Cator, John||Harris, Henry Percy||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Cave, George||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Quilter, Sir William Eley C.|
|Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)||Randles, Sir John S.|
|Clyde, J. Avon||Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Rees, Sir J. D.|
|Cooper, Richard Ashmole||Hickman, Col. Thomas E.||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Hill, Sir Clement L.||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Hills, J. W.||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Hoare, S. J. G.||Sanders, Robert A.|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Hope, Harry (Bute)||Stanicr, Beville|
|Croft, H. P.||Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Dalziel, D. (Brixton)||Hunter, Sir C. R. (Bath)||Staveley-Hill, Henry|
|Steel-Maitland, A. D.||Walker, Col. William Hall||Wright, Henry Fitzherbert|
|Stewart, Gershom||Watt, Henry A.||Yate, Col. Charles Edward|
|Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud||Younger, Sir George|
|Talbot, Lord E.||Winterton, Earl|
|Terrell, G. (Wilts, N.W.)||Wood, John (Stalybridge)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Fell and Mr. Norman Craig.|
|Touche, George Alexander||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Tullibardine, Marquess of|
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Gladstone, W. G. C.||Mason, David M. (Coventry)|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Glanville, H. J.||Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G.|
|Adamson, William||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Meagher, Michael|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Goldstone, Frank||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)|
|Armitage, Robert||Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.)|
|Arnold, Sydney||Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)||Menzies, Sir Walter|
|Atherley-Jones, Llewellyn A.||Greig, Colonel J. W.||Millar, James Duncan|
|Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Griffith, Ellis J.||Molloy, M.|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Molteno, Percy Alport|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Mond, Sir Alfred Moritz|
|Barnes, G. N.||Hackett, J.||Mooney, J. J.|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Hall, Frederick (Normanton)||Morgan, George Hay|
|Bonn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. George)||Hancock, J. G.||Morrell, Philip|
|Bentham, G. J.||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)||Morison, Hector|
|Bethell, Sir John Henry||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Muldoon, John|
|Black, Arthur W.||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Munro, R.|
|Boland, John Pius||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C.|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Hayden, John Patrick||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Hayward, Evan||Needham, Christopher T.|
|Boyle, D. (Mayo, N.)||Hazleton, Richard (Galway, N.)||Nolan, Joseph|
|Brace, William||Helme, Sir Norval Watson||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard|
|Brady, P. J.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Brunner, J. F. L.||Henry, Sir Charles||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Higham, John Sharp||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Hinds, John||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||O'Donnell, Thomas|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, N.)||Hodge, John||O'Dowd, John|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Hogge, James Myles||Ogden, Fred|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Holmes, Daniel Turner||O'Grady, James|
|Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood)||Horne, C. Sylvester (Ipswich)||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Chancellor, H. G.||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)|
|Chapple, Dr. W. A.||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||O'Shee, James John|
|Clough, William||Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Clynes, J. R.||John, Edward Thomas||Outhwaite, R. L.|
|Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)||Jones, Rt. Hon. Sir D. Brynmor (Sw'nsea)||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)|
|Cotton, William Francis||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Cowan, W. H.||Jones, W. S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Jowett, Frederick William||Pollard, Sir George H.|
|Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Joyce, Michael||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Crumley, Patrick||Keating, M.||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Cullinan, John||Kellaway, Frederick George||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Davies, E. William (Eifion)||Kelly, Edward||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk,[...])|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||King, J.||Radford, G. H.|
|Delany, William||Lamb, Ernest Henry||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Dickinson, W. H.||Lansbury, George||Reddy, Michael|
|Doris, W.||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Duffy, William J.||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)||Leach, Charles||Richards, Thomas|
|Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Lewis, John Herbert||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Logan, John William||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Elverston, Sir Harold||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Low, Sir F. (Norwich)||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Lundon, Thomas||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Essex, Richard Walter||Lyell, Charles Henry||Robinson, Sidney|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Lynch, A. A.||Rock, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Falconer, J.||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||MacNeill, John G. S. (Donegal, South)||Rowlands, James|
|Ffrench, Peter||Macpherson, James Ian||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Field, William||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||M'Callum, Sir John M.||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Furness, Stephen W.||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Samuel, J. (Stockton)|
|George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd||M'Laren, Hon. F. W. S. (Lincs., Spalding)||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Gill, A. H.||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Ginnell, L.||Marshall, Arthur Harold||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Sheehy, David||Trevelyan, Charles Philips||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Simon, Sir John Allsebrook||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)||Verney, Sir Harry||Williamson, Sir A.|
|Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)||Walton, Sir Joseph||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Soames, Arthur Weliesley||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Sutherland, J. E.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)||Winfrey, Richard|
|Sutton, John E.||Webb, Henry||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|Taylor, John W. (Durham)||Wedgwood, Josiah C.||Young, W. (Perthshire, E.)|
|Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)||White, J. Dundas (Glas., Tradeston)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Tennant, Harold John||White, Patrick (Heath, North)|
|Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)||Whitehouse, John Howard||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|Thorne, William (West Ham)||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Toulmin, Sir George||Wiles, Thomas|
§ Mr. GRETTON
I beg to move in Subsection (1), after the word "year" ["September in any year'], to insert the words "within twenty-eight days immediately following the date of issue of the requisition."
The point raised by this Amendment is quite a simple one. The Clause as it originally stood, provided that the requisition papers should be issued not earlier than 1st August in any year, and that they should be lodged within thirty-five days of being issued. During the passage of the Bill through Committee the date was altered from the 1st of August to the 15th August, and subsequently the thirty-five days were struck out of the Clause. This was done by the Committee somewhat inadvertently, because the effect of that Amendment was that the period of the requisition was extended from thirty-five days to forty-five days. It is issued on the 15th August, and is not to close till the 30th of September. I am asking the House to put a somewhat shorter period, and I suggest twenty-eight days. There is strong reason why this process of collecting signatures should not be unduly prolonged. If there is a real desire in any area that any one of these resolutions should be passed there will not be the slightest difficulty in getting a requisition signed by one-tenth part of the electors. On the other hand, if there is a reluctance to pass these resolutions, it is not easy to understand, why should the area be subject to a prolonged canvass and the electors constantly harassed by the advocates of one view or the other? On the grounds of convenience to the electors themselves the period should not be unduly prolonged. Twenty-eight days surely is quite long enough to collect all the material signatures necessary in a case of this kind, and there is no reason why forty-five days should be required unless very great difficulty is apprehended in getting these signatures. If there is difficulty in getting these signatures clearly there is not the necessary majority 404 to carry a resolution. No election is necessary, the public will be put to quite unnecessary expense, and there is no reason why the matter should proceed further. On these grounds I think that the Amendment is one which should be accepted by the Government, as it is not vital in any way to the principle of the Bill but improves the somewhat crude machinery which they have incorporated in the Clause as it now stands.
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
I do not think that the hon. Member has stated any adequate reason for reducing the period except to place more difficulty in the way of carrying out this procedure. The Committee met this point by reducing the time from the 1st to the 15th of August, thus taking off a fortnight. I do not think that six weeks is an unreasonable period for things which are to be done not by a public body, but by voluntary organisation. I do not see any disadvantage in their having a reasonable time of six weeks to educate the electors in the matter and to see if they can get them to share their views.
§ Mr. GRETTON
The right hon. Gentleman did not listen to what I said. He was talking to someone else. What the Committee did was to alter the date from the 1st of August to the 15th, but they struck out of the Clause the words "thirty-five days," thus making the period forty-five days. But the right hon. Gentleman says that he will not accept this Amendment, and I will not put the House to the trouble of a Division. He shows very little confidence in the powers of temperance organisations if he thinks they cannot get one-tenth part of the electors to sign a requisition in a very much less period than twenty-eight days.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.405
§ Mr. NORMAN CRAIG
I beg to propose in Sub-section (1) to leave out the word "no" ["no signatures thereto may be withdrawn"], and to insert instead thereof the word "any."
Having regard to what has happened, this Amendment becomes a little more important than it otherwise would be, but I think that it is important in any case. As I have already pointed out, under this Clause you get your requisition first and then lodgment and inspection is only after lodgment. There is no withdrawal of signatures after lodgment. Therefore nobody sees anything except what he signed at the time of signing until it is too late for him to withdraw. In answer to the attitude of hon. and right hon. Members on the other side that we are trying to make the proper working of this Bill more difficult, it is remarkable that they should think that it is the people who are in favour of extreme temperance who are necessarily going to do dishonest things. I do not know why they should assume that that is the case. There is another aspect of the matter. Suppose you have got a "no-licence" resolution in operation it may be to the interests of certain persons to get the "no-licence" resolution repealed, and this would be just as applicable to them as if the extremist temperance advocate was seeking to get a "no-licence" resolution. I think that hon. Members on the opposite side do themselves an injustice when they assume that the dishonesty is only going to be done by the people who advocate extreme temperance, and I think they do us an injustice when they assume that the people on this side of the House take no interest in temperance. It is in the interests of temperance that the machinery under this Clause, which is a very important Clause, should be efficient, because we want a repeal of a "no-licence" resolution to reflect public opinion as fairly and as thoroughly as we want the original passing of a "no-licence" resolution to do, and any abuse if possible is just as likely, probably hon. Members opposite think more likely, to be worked by those who carry on this trade.
The Lord Advocate said that there were plenty of precedents for requisitions in Scottish law. So there are. But I am quite certain that you cannot produce any Statute applying to Scotland or to any other part of the United Kingdom, provisions for requisition without provisions for efficiency of machinery and for the prevention of abuse of the regulations. Here we 406 have got Sub-section (4). When we come to it, there is power to make regulations as regards the procedure with respect to requisitions and the taking of polls, but when it comes to provisions for scrutiny or re-count of votes the only provision you have got in Sub-section (4) is as regards the polls. So you extend your provisions as regards procedure both to requisitions and polls, but you limit your provisions as regards scrutiny of the votes. You have got no provisions at all for scrutiny. You have no power vested in any person, not even in the clerk to the local authority, for scrutineer's work, or for securing the purity and the accuracy of the poll. It does not really meet the case for the Minister of the Crown to say: "I am a great believer in my fellow-countrymen, and they are not a dishonest nation," or to say, as the hon. Gentleman behind me was saying, that he is a great believer in the common sense and the common honesty of his countrymen. We are here to pass Acts of Parliament which are watertight and which affect all sorts of people. I suppose even in Scotland the people are not wholly virtuous, otherwise we should not be concerned with a Bill which is intended to prevent them from getting drunk. No, that is not the way in which any representative institution whose business is legislation should deal with a serious argument as to the nature of the Bill under discussion. I hope that some more solid argument than the lack of necessity to provide watertight Bills in regard to Scotland, as the Scotch people are this, that, and the other, will be forthcoming.
The Lord Advocate said to the hon. Member who sits behind me that a signature to a requisition is only a signature if it is the signature of a real elector. I can demonstrate from his own Bill that he has inadvertently mistaken the legal effect of what he is asking the House to pass. It is true, you begin by saying that the requisition must be signed by not less than one-tenth of the electors. That must be done to make it a requisition under the Act, but it says that after the requisition has been drafted, no signature may be withdrawn. A signature is no less a signature because it is a forgery. Look at the next page, and the Bill calls a forged signature still a signature. In line 22 you do not even say, "and no signature thereto may be withdrawn unless it be not an elector." You simply say that no signature shall be withdrawn, and a 407 forged signature is still a signature. On the next page of your Bill, page 5, in lines 37 to 40, you call it so, and you have the word signature used twice in relation to forgery. It says in clear terms that even where the signatures are forged the requisition contains signatures, and then the words of the Bill with which we are dealing say that no signature to the requisition shall be withdrawn. You have by the Bill no machinery against the practice of forgery in signing a requisition. You have no machinery for taking the signatures of the requisition; there is no punishment for fraud, and no provision for the removal of signatures obtained by fraud. In either case they must remain on the requisition, unless the Government accept my Amendment. We know how many are the ways in which names are affixed to requisitions. A roll of signatures is presented to persons and they sign, though their mind is not carried with their signatures. The requisition comes in a long roll, probably, and its object is buried in the head of that roll, yet the requisition is signed without the object being known. It might be a petition for the reprieve of some murderer who had excited public sympathy. It might be a petition for the release of Mr. Wilks because he had not the money to pay the Income Tax in respect of his wife's property and because his wife would not pay it; it might be a petition for the reduction of the Licence Duties, and anti-temperance men would sign it; or it might be one in favour of local veto, and temperance men would sign it. Let me give as an example what took place last Session in this House. Last Session, as I understand, a matter of difficulty arose between the hon. Member for Forfar (Mr. Falconer) and the hon. Member for Aberdeen (Mr. Pirie). The hon. Member for Forfar, at the request of the hon. Member for Aberdeen, had signed a petition, and that petition turned out to be in favour of removing the Scottish Board of Education to Edinburgh. When that subject came up in this House for discussion, the hon. Member for Forfar, in spite of having signed the petition in favour of the proposal, voted against it, and incurred the wrath of the hon. Member for Aberdeen, who could not understand it. It turned out that the hon. Member for Forfar had not the least idea what was in the petition, although he is not only a Member of Parliament but a lawyer.
408 If that can happen in the case of a highly intelligent and very important Member of the House, there is all the more reason why special attention should be given to this subject. If such a thing could happen in a question of Home Rule for Scotland, how much more easily would it happen in the case of requisitions such as I have referred to? Whether it is on the side of temperance or not, or whether it is on the side of moderate men or not, it is important that you should be certain that the requisition which is lodged carries with it the mind of its signatories. So long as this Clause remains unamended there will not be that assurance. Short of crime, short of false pretences, short of fraud, signatures may be given by inadvertence, ignorance, or mistake, and it is manifestly only just that there should be opportunity to withdraw such signatures. What you are doing here is equally against temperance as for it. Whichever way you look at the matter it is but natural justice that a man, whose signature has been procured by fraud, by mistake, or by lack of apprehension on his part, when he finds out what he has done, and when he learns that it does not really express his view, should be able to withdraw his signature. That you wholly decline to do. I agree that it will produce strange results. It will encourage and induce people who are not too particular in their methods, whether they are in favour of temperance or whether they are interested in the sale of alcohol, to be a little unscrupulous in obtaining signatures to the requisition, whether for a no-licence resolution or the repeal of a no-licence resolution. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will consider the Amendment which I propose.
§ Sir J. D. REES
I beg to second the Amendment.
This Clause, without the Amendment of my hon. Friend, sins against the light. He has given instances, and many more can be given if necessary, of how signatures may be obtained. If mistakes occur in the case of signatories of the utmost intelligence, how much more likely is it to happen in instances such as those to which reference has been made? I frankly own that I think the getting of signatures should be made as difficult as possible, and that their withdrawal should be as easy as possible. If that shows any bias in the matter, I can only say that I would take no action in restraint of liberty, and would continue the enlarge- 409 ment of such liberty or the retention of such liberty as the subject has hitherto possessed. I should like to see that liberty continued. The hon. Member for Glasgow said the getting of signatures should be made difficult. On one occasion Dr. Johnson saw acrobatic feats performed, and a friend remarked how difficult they were. Dr. Johnson remarked, "So difficult that I wish they had not been possible." That would be the attitude I should adopt in regard to this matter, and in the interests of liberty I should make the obtaining of signatures as difficult as possible. In reference to an observation by one hon. Member, that the Secretary of Scotland is not the tyrant, but that certain organisations are the tyrants. One can see the organisations which set men in motion—one can see them plotting against the peace of mind of every man in Scotland who at the end of the day's work looks forward to his pipe and pot of beer or pint of claret. Every action which is in restraint of liberty should be subject to the intensest scrutiny, and I cannot understand the Secretary for Scotland in accepting a measure which really puts a great deal of restraint upon the free people of Scotland. The right hon. Gentleman says there are safeguards under this Bill which are analogous to those which exist in the case of elections for Parliament.
But this is a wholly different question. It does not so very much matter who is elected to be a Member of Parliament as it does whether a man is to be deprived of the liberty to have a drink, or of the man engaged in an honest trade being deprived of the power to pursue that trade. We must all see that the two things are on a totally different footing. As the right hon. Gentleman, on this side, said, they differ toto in cœlo, or, I should say, toto inferno. The safeguards in the Bill are wholly insufficient where the liberty of the subject is concerned. Whatever may be the good intentions in regard to this measure, we know that many places are paved with good intentions besides the House of Commons. In classical times, before the country was flooded with the paid agents of Government, there was an appeal from Phillip drunk to Phillip sober. Why should there not be an appeal in the case of signatures obtained in circumstances with the description of which I need not trouble the House? Why should there not be supervision and scrutiny of signatures; and, above all, provision for their withdrawal, if that should prove to be neces- 410 sary? It has been suggested that it is not necessary to have these safeguards, because there is a sufficient safeguard already in the limitation to a tenth of the electors. Everybody knows that men in the possession of liberty to take a drink, men who are in the position of living their lives contentedly, are not active as agitators; they do not get up early in the morning and cease not from ill-doing, nor try to compel everybody to accept their nostrums, seeking from day to day whom they may devour.
It is well known that the ordinary moderate man is not active in signing requisitions. He loathes agitations and elections and will not sign at all. In consequence of a tenth being required, they can easily get the number of signatures required, and these cannot be withdrawn, so that a district may be brought under this extremely penal measure without the matter ever having really come before any sufficient number of the intelligent electors or without any sufficient explanation to justify it. The Lord Advocate just now said it was a small matter, just as he did with Home Rule when it was to be the chief factor in elections in Scotland. But when it did not seem to catch on, he said it was only a gas-and-water business. But surely this Bill is not analogous to a gas-and-water business. It is not enough to refer to the fact that similar requisitions are not unknown in Scotland, and that the electors will know how to deal with them. An hon. Member referred to the suffragettes who starved themselves, but here we have to deal with people who would starve others in order to impose their own will on the necks of the electors. The Secretary for Scotland said there was a sufficient safeguard in Sub-section (4), Clause 5, but I would not even trust the present occupant of that office to deal with those safeguards and to make the necessary rules for regulating procedure. The reasons which have induced the Government to bring forward this Bill have availed with him to make him refuse every suggestion which would impair its popularity among those who support the Government.
There is no sweet reasonableness in regard to this measure, and there is a departure from the old traditions, which have been so much neglected of late, of impartiality on the part of the Minister who deals with matters, whatever may be permissible to private Members on either 411 side of the House. We have had interesting disquisitions as to when a signature is not a signature, and the hon. Member for Stepney argued that it does not matter whether the signature is false or not, because you must get a certain percentage. The whole point is that the false signature makes up the number, and there is an irreparable error, whereas under the Amendment of my hon. Friend the error is easily repaired, and no one is any the worse. Those who support this Bill are not prevented from obtaining another signature in place of the one which ex hypothesi has been obtained by foul means, peaceful picketing, or those other methods which are fashionable at the present time. The hon. Member for Tradeston (Mr. Dundas White), with the other Members for Glasgow, with one honourable exception, is in favour of this Bill, though if I know any place in the whole world where it is likely to be more unpopular or less likely to express the feelings of a great city, it is in Glasgow. He said why should there be any feeling about this, as he, the hon. Member for Tradeston, had no doubt that proper rules and regulations would be made. That is all very well, but it is not the intention or the feelings of the hon. Member for Tradeston which will settle this matter, but the law which is actually passed to-day, and I sincerely hope the Amendment of my hon. Friend will be adopted.
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
I do not think I need deal with the speech of the hon. Member for Nottingham (Sir J. D. Rees) further than to point out that he indicated what his view is in voting for this Amendment, and it is to make it as difficult to obtain a requisition as to be equivalent to an impossibility. I do not think I am misrepresenting what he said. With regard to the speech of the hon. and learned Member for the Isle of Thanet (Mr. Norman Craig), he troubled himself with three or four difficulties which do not exist in the Clause, and which exist purely in his own imagination. To begin with, he said that there was necessity for a scrutiny. He also troubled himself greatly with entirely unimportant and irrelevant considerations as to the signature and as to it being a forgery.
§ Mr. NORMAN CRAIG
I am sure the right hon. Gentleman does not desire to misrepresent me. What I said was that the Bill contained provision as regards a 412 scrutiny on a poll, but that as regards the requisition the Bill only contained provisions to proceed.
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
What is the trouble about that? What is the position of this requisition? The matter has been explained several times. It is perfectly clear on the face of the Bill, and there is no difficulty whatever about it. A certain number of people sign a requisition to the local authority asking that the poll should be taken. The local authority, whatever its views may be on the subject of temperance, has no inducement or temptation to provide for a poll unless it believes that a sufficient number of electors will vote at that poll. Even though the majority of the local authority may desire temperance legislation, or, as the hon. and learned Member very fairly pointed out, the reversal of temperance legislation, they have no interest in acceptiong a requisition unless they think it represents the opinion of a considerable number of voters in the-constituency, because they are merely putting their locality to the expense of a poll for nothing. Most exaggerated language has been talked about the importance of this requisition. The requisition decides nothing in the world except that there shall be a poll. My argument is that the local authority has ho temptation or object in having a poll unless they are satisfied the requisition represents real opinion in the electorate. What will happen? A certain number of signatures are sent in. Those must be signatures of electors. The question raised by the hon. and learned Gentleman about forgery was very clearly answered by hon. Friends behind me. They point out that if a signature is proved not to be the signature of an elector, it does not count. There is no question of with drawing it, there must be 10 per cent. of electors signing. If you prove that the signature "William Jones," either is not the signature of an elector, or is a forged signature, it does not count in the 10 per cent.
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
My hon. Friend is a practical man, and knows perfectly well that the moment that requisition is lodged with the clerk the representatives of those who are opposed to the requisition or the representatives of the temperance party will go and very carefully scrutinise it. If those opposed to it can prove that there is not 10 per cent. 413 of the names of the electorate, then the whole thing is naturally void. People have asked how is that to be done. It will probably be the same as putting lodgers on the register. You will probably have agents of both parties, and you will certainly have agents of the trade, so that all this talk about forgery and so on is in the air. There is no substance and reality in it. The local authority will see that it gets a requisition signed by 10 per cent. of the electorate. Take the next point raised by the hon. Member. He says you cannot go into the mind and motives of the elector. Under what circumstances can you do that. Why are you to be asked in the case of this requisition to go into the minds and the motives of the signatory. An hon. Member of this House cannot go into the motives and the minds of the elector who returned him or who voted against him.
§ Mr. NORMAN CRAIG
I desire to correct a false impression of the right hon. Gentleman. I never suggested that you should go into the motives and the minds of the elector. I said, if a man's name is got for a requisition and if his mind did not go with it, it is only just that his name should be taken off.
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
How can we go into the question of the man's mind, whether it goes with it? He is an individual who knows presumably what he is doing. He is a responsible person and signs, and how are you going to go behind that any more than behind the case of the man who puts a cross against your name or the name of your opponent on the ballot paper. You cannot go behind his mind. The thing is perfectly absurd to suggest.
We get another suggestion, which shows the spirit in which this thing is fought, and which is equally absurd, and that is that people might go and tell him that this was a paper about Home Rule for Ireland or a copy of the Covenant, or that it had something to do with any other subject. Really, why is that suggestion made? Those signatories must sign their paper provided for them by the local authority, and the form of the Paper is settled by the First Schedule of the Bill. It is headed:
Form of Requisition for a Poll.
We, the subscribers hereto, being electors, do hereby demand a Poll under the terms of the Temperance (Scotland) Act, 1912.
They have got to put their names and addresses.
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
The name and address has to be put on, and the number on the register. Why is it suggested when a clear paper of that kind is to be signed on a prescribed form, that people are more liable to be told falsehoods about it than about anything else. There is no substance in that argument or in any of the hon. and learned Gentleman's arguments. The whole point, as the hon. Member for Nottingham put it, is that it is desired to make it so difficult to get the requisition that in practice it will be impossible.
§ Question put, "That the word 'no' stand part of the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 265; Noes, 107.417
|Division No. 226.]||AYES.||[6.25 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Burke, E. Haviland-||Denman, Hon. R. D.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Doris, W.|
|Adamson, William||Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, N.)||Duffy, William J.|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar)||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)|
|Armitage, R.||Byles, Sir William Pollard||Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)|
|Arnold, Sydney||Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood)||Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Atherley-Jones, Llewellyn A.||Chancellor, Henry G.||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)|
|Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Clancy, John Joseph||Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Clough, William||Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Clynes, John R.||Essex, Richard Walter|
|Barnes, G. N.||Collins, G. P. (Greenock)||Esselmont, George Birnie|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Falconer, J.|
|Benn, W. W. (T. H'mts., St. George)||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Farrell, James Patrick|
|Bentham, G. J.||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles|
|Bethell, Sir J. H.||Cotton, William Francis||Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Cowan, W. H.||Ffrench, Peter|
|Black, Arthur W.||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Field, William|
|Boland, John Pius||Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Flavin, Michael Joseph|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Crumley, Patrick||Furness, Stephen|
|Bowerman, Charles W.||Cullinan, J.||Gill, A. H.|
|Boyle, D. (Mayo, N.)||Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirkcaldy)||Ginnell, L.|
|Brace, William||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Gladstone, W. G. C.|
|Brady, P. J.||Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Glanville, H. J.|
|Brunner, J. F. L.||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Delany, William||Goldstone, Frank|
|Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Maclean, Donald||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)|
|Greig, Colonel J. W.||MacNeill, John G. S. (Donegal, South)||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Macpherson, James Ian||Richards, Thomas|
|Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||M'Callum, Sir John M.||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Hackett, John||M'Curdy, C. A.||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Hall, Frederick (Normanton)||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Hancock, J. G.||M'Laren, Hon. F. W. S. (Lincs., Spalding)||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Marshall, Arthur Harold||Robinson, Sidney|
|Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, w.)||Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G.||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Meagher, Michael||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Hayward, Evan||Meehan, Patrick (Queen's Co.)||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Hazleton, Richard (Galway, N.)||Menzies, Sir Walter||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Helme, Sir Norval Watson||Millar, James Duncan||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Molloy, Michael||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Molteno, Percy Alport||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Henry, Sir Charles||Mond, Sir Alfred M.||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Higham, John Sharp||Mooney, J. J.||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Hinds, John||Morgan, George Hay||Sheeny, David|
|Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Morrell, Philip||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Hodge, John||Morison, Hector||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Hogge, James Myles||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Holmes, Daniel Turner||Muldoon, John||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Home, Charles Silvester (Ipswich)||Munro, R.||Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Murray, Captain Hon. A. C.||Sutherland, J. E.|
|Hughes, S. L.||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Sutton, John E.|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||Needham, Christopher T.||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)||Nolan, Joseph||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|John, Edward Thomas||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Tennant, Harold John|
|Jones, Rt. Hon. Sir D. Brynmor (Sw'nsea)||Nuttall, Harry||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Jones, Leif (Notts, Rushcliffe)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||O'Doherty, Philip||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H'mts, Stepney)||O'Donnell, Thomas||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Jowett, Frederick William||O'Dowd, John||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Joyce, Michael||Ogden, Fred||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Keating, M.||O'Grady, James||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Kellaway, Frederick George||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Watt, Henry A.|
|Kelly, Edward||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Webb, H.|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|King, J.||O'Shee, James John||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Lamb, Ernest Henry||O'Sullivan, Timothy||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Outhwaite, R. L.||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Lansbury, George||Parker, James (Halifax)||Whyte, A. F.|
|Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Leach, Charles||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Williamson, Sir A.|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Pirie, Duncan V.||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Pollard, Sir George H.||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Logan, John William||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Power, Patrick Joseph||Winfrey, Richard|
|Low, Sir F. (Norwich)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas)|
|Lundon, T.||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Lyell, Charles Henry||Pringle, William M. R.||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Lynch, A. A.||Radford, G. H.|
|Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Raffan, Peter Wilson||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Reddy, Michael|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)||Gardner, Ernest|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Gastrell, Major W. Houghton|
|Baird, J. L.||Clyde, James Avon||Goldman, C. S.|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Cooper, Richard Ashmole||Goldsmith, Frank|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Courthope, George Loyd||Goulding, Edward Alfred|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Greene, Walter Raymond|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Gretton, John|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Craik, Sir Henry||Guinness, Hon. Rupert (Essex, S.E.)|
|Bigland, Alfred||Croft, Henry Page||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)|
|Boles, Lieut.-Col. Dennis Fortescue||Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Denniss, E. R. B.||Hall, Fred (Dulwich)|
|Boyton, James||Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Hall, Marshall (E. Toxteth)|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Duke, Henry Edward||Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence|
|Bull, Sir William James||Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Harris, Henry Percy|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Falle, Bertram Godfray||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.|
|Butcher, John George||Fell, Arthur||Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)|
|Cassel, Felix||Forster, Henry William||Hewins, William Albert Samuel|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Foster, Philip Staveley||Hickman, Col. T. E.|
|Hill, Sir Clement L.||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo., Han. S.)||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Hill-Wood, Samuel||Mackinder, Halford J.||Staveley-Hill, Henry|
|Hoare, Samuel John Gurney||Malcolm, Ian||Stewart, Gershom|
|Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Neville, Reginald J. N.||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, N.)|
|Hope, Harry (Bute)||Newman, John R. P.||Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)|
|Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)||Newton, Harry Kottingham||Talbot, Lord Edmund|
|Ingleby, Holcombe||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)||Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, E.)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Kebty-Fletcher, J. R.||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr||Pollock, Ernest Murray||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Kerry, Earl of||Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Kimber, Sir Henry||Randles, Sir John S.||Wright, Henry Fitzherbert|
|Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Remnant, James Farquharson||Yate, Colonel C. E.|
|Lane-Fox, G. R.||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Younger, Sir George|
|Lewisham, Viscount||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Norman Craig and Sir J. D. Rees.|
|Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Sanders, Robert A.|
|Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee||Stanier, Beville|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ Mr. HARRY HOPE
I beg to move, in Sub-section (2), after the word "area" ["taken in any area"], to insert the words "the local authority may by order provide that."
The Clause as it stands provides that all licensed premises shall be shut while a poll is being taken. This Amendment would give the local authority power to shut or not, as they pleased. In the constituency which I have the honour to represent there are at certain periods of the year a large number of visitors, and at such times if a poll is taken it is only right that the local authority should have power to say whether or not the premises are to be closed.
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
I thought it was common ground in the Committee that as far as possible we should take this matter away from the local authority, in order that they should not be made more responsible than was necessary. Taking that view it seems desirable that the provision should be mandatory. As the poll takes place in November it is not likely that many places will be thronged with summer visitors. Therefore, I think, that the argument of the hon. Member is not very strong.
§ Question negatived.
§ Amendment made: After the word "the" ["all the premises"], insert the word "certificated."—[Mr. McKinnon Wood.]
§ Mr. WHYTE
I beg to move, in Subsection (3), after the word "day" ["A poll shall be taken on any day"], to insert the words "not being a market day." There was a short discussion in Committee on this point, since when I and probably other Members have received representations from various quarters ex- 418 pressing the hope that this Amendment will be inserted on Report. On the face of it it is a reasonable Amendment. Many traders, especially in the smaller towns, will be grateful if it is made possible for the disturbance consequent on the taking of a poll to be avoided on market days.
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
We thought that there was security on this point. It is one of the matters which might properly be left to the local auhority, and if my hon. Friend thinks it desirable I will accept the Amendment.
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
I beg to move, in Sub-section (4), after the word "elections" ["local government elections"], to insert the words "and to the prevention of corrupt practices thereat."
These words are inserted to meet an Amendment put down by the hon. Baronet opposite (Sir G. Younger). It is certainly desirable that all the provisions with regard to corrupt practices at other elections should apply to these elections so far as they are applicable. I am advised that it would be difficult to accept the Amendment in the form proposed by the hon. Baronet, because there are many provisions in regard to corrupt practices which would not be applicable to these elections. Our view is therefore that under Sub-section (4) the Rules should include, as far as applicable, the provisions against corrupt practices included in the Acts mentioned by the hon. Baronet, namely, the Ballot Act, 1873, the Corrupt Practices Prevention Act, 1883, and Acts amending the same, and the Election (Scotland) (Corrupt and Illegal Practices) Act, 1890. I hope that the insertion of these words will meet the view of the hon. Baronet.
§ Amendment to proposed Amendment made: After the word "corrupt" insert the words "and illegal."
§ Amendment, as amended, agreed to.
§ Further Amendments made: In Sub-section (4), after the word "certificate" ["not more than one certificate in the area"], insert the words "in force."
§ After the word "counties" ["county general purposes rate in counties"] insert the words "(excluding police burghs)."
§ In Sub-section (6), leave out the words "failing payment," and insert instead thereof the word "alternatively."—[Mr. McKinnon Wood.]