§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Motion made, and the Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
The SECRETARY for SCOTLAND (Mr. McKinnon Wood)
In moving the Second Reading of this Bill I propose that it should be proceeded with under the Parliament Act. The procedure under that Act was explained by the Prime Minister, and it is not at all necessary that I should now deal with that question, but I propose to say a few words about the form in which the Bill appears. Two courses were open to us under the Parliament Act. Either to put forward the Bill in the form in which it first left the House of Commons, or to put it forward in the form in which it was amended by the House of Lords, so far as the Amendments were agreed to by the House of Commons. It is the latter course we have adopted, and all the Amendments agreed to in the House when this Bill was returned from another place have been incorporated in the form of the Bill now before the House. I might call attention to one point: Why we were not able to incorporate an Amendment which the Government were willing to concede. Clause 15, which deals with the limit of population in a ward which is to be treated as indivisible, fixed in the original Bill the figure as 10,000. An Amendment was carried in another place making that figure 25,000, and to that Amendment, as far as it went, the Government were prepared to agree, but the Clause was altered in other particulars, and it would not have been in accordance with the rules under the Parliament Act to have inserted that Amendment, because it was not a complete Amendment, and the complete Amendment was one the Government did not agree to. Therefore the figure 680 10,000 has been reinserted, but if that is proved to be at any time the only point of difference between us and the House of Lords, I do not think there will be any great difficulty in setting that right. I regret to see an Amendment for the rejection of the Bill has been put upon the Paper. Obviously it would not be right to discuss that Amendment until it is moved. I can only say that I hoped, perhaps vainly, that a Bill which was passed by such large majorities in this House might be allowed to proceed to its Second Reading, and that some respect might have been paid to opinion which had been expressed in the House of Commons in such a decisive fashion. I do not propose now to enter further upon the Bill.
§ Mr. CLYDE
I beg to move, as an Amendment, to leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question and add instead thereof the words—this House declines to accept a measure winch, while professing to place the regulation of the licensing system in Scotland under popular control, unduly limits the popular choice of the method of regulation, and contains no machinery for securing to those individuals whose businesses will be destroyed the means of reasonable provision against injustice and loss.The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Scotland has announced formally this morning the intention of the Government that this Bill should fall under the machinery of the Parliament Act. Coupled with that announcement the right hon. Gentleman had two things to say. One is that there is an Amendment which the Government is disposed to think a good Amendment, which they cannot embody in the Bill, and the other is that the right hon. Gentleman expresses with a regret which he will pardon me if I doubt the complete sincerity of, that the way to settlement is not open and the way to agreement is barred. He and his Government have themselves shut the door to settlement and barred the way to agreement by taking the step he has formally announced this morning, namely, putting this Bill under the Parliament Act. I had faith in the sincerity of the right hon. Gentleman, and I had a hope that the Government might have seen their way to treat this Bill in a different manner. I want to say why I think the Government might pause before they make up their mind to apply the 681 Parliament Act, and apply it particularly in the form of including this Bill in the same Guillotine Resolution as that which is to cover both the Home Rule Bill and the Disestablishment Bill, a Resolution which, in express terms, makes it impossible for anyone, and even for the Government, to discuss or to snake or propose the alteration of a comma in the measure as it stands. It seems to me that there are almost all the differences in the world between this Bill and the other two to which the Parliament Act is to be applied. This is a Bill of a different character in the respect that it raises no large or constitutional question as both the others do. It is different in the subject matter with which it deals, and it is concerned with a question which falls under that category of social reform where our differences are differences of method, and not of principle.
Apart altogether from the character of the Bill, this is a measure which differs in its circumstances both as regards this House and as regards the relations of this House with the other House. It differs toto cœlo from the other two. If you take the relation of the parties to each other with regard to this Bill, I defy any fair-minded man who remembers the discussions we have had about this Bill to say that whatever may have been the cleavage on a vote, that the cleavage of opinion is more marked on one side of the House than it is on the other. It is not so. The tact is that a great many of the doubts and objections have arisen quite as strongly upon the other side as upon this side. I am quite sure that I can say that all the doubts and objections, or, at least, all the salient doubts and objections, which have been urged from either side of the House have found sympathisers on both sides of the House. That is a very different state of things from what prevailed upon the Home Rule Bill, or a measure like the Welsh Disestablishment Bill. Not only that, there may have been questions wide and deep, severing opinion in this House, but the right hon. Gentleman cannot say with truth that as a result of the discussions in the other House last year there was left between this House and the other House any differences with regard to the principles of this Bill. If there was anything which we understood distinctly it was the distinguishing mark about the Parliament Act procedure, which was only intended to apply to measures where the differences of opinion between this House 682 and the other House went deep to the principle of the Bill, and made the process of consideration and settlement hopeless. And yet here, by the time we shall reach the third measure which is to be submitted to this form of procedure, we find that in dealing with a Bill with regard to the principle of which I challenge the right hon. Gentleman to say that the House of Lords in the end did not accept the Bill, where the differences, important as they are, are differences of mode and of method and of condition and not of principle, the Government has made up its mind to use exactly the same principle as the other two important Bills, and we can measure by that experience the value of all those professions which were poured upon us to the effect that the Parliament Act procedure would not obstruct, but, on the contrary, would facilitate and make easier the bridge to conciliation arid settlement of a disputed question.
Of course, in this matter the Government are entirely in the position of having their way. No doubt it makes our duty comparatively easy if you meet us with a stark denial of an opportunity for considering our Amendments or considering any Amendment. Under those circumstances, there is only one duty which remains to us, and it is to table as shortly and effectively as we can the points of difference which still remain unsolved, and discuss for a few moments their character and to express our disappointment and regret that the promises made, and they have been many, in the course of the discussions about this Bill of a reasonable and accommodating spirit are withdrawn and foresworn. The persons who have withdrawn them are the Members of the present Government, and in particular I single out the right hon. Gentleman. There were not only promises, but there was something more held out. I looked up this morning the Report of the Second Reading Debate on this Bill, and I find there was then, as now, a Motion before the House the terms of which were not quite the same. I was struck with this point: The Secretary for Scotland, who has to deal with that Motion, pointed out quite correctly that there was one and only one point, which could be said to touch the principle of this Bill, and it was that point which put in the forefront as a ground for refusing to accept the Bill the inclusion in its provisions of the No-licence Resolution, or, as it was called in the Motion, Prohibition. The Motion drew 683 attention to other things, and the right hon. Gentleman pointed out before the Committee with regard to every one of them that they were not really things that went to the principle of his Bill, but, on the contrary, they formed reasonable and appropriate matters for adjustment upstairs. I think he was right in pointing that out. I am not sure that he did not even exaggerate, but he laid such stress upon the objections undoubtedly and strongly entertained on this side to the No-licence Resolution.
Although it may be futile now in view of the adoption of the Parliament Act procedure, I think it is perhaps worth while to try and define exactly what the differences are. I do not want to minimise the differences, because that would be futile, but it is useful to define them. If the Government had adopted a different line, instead of the uncompromising one which they now assume, it would not only have been useful to clear our minds, but it would have been the indispensable minimum of any approach to a settlement. Of course, it depends altogether on how you define the principle of the Bill what number or what width of differences you may discover with regard to it. This reflection occurs to me: If you define the principle of the Bill as the admission into our licensing system in Scotland of an element—a large element, if you will—of popular control, then you will be struck at once by this reflection, that neither in the Amendment which was moved to the Second Reading last year nor in the Amendment which is on the Paper to-day is there expressed any objection to the acceptance of that principle. That might have been regarded, I think, by the right hon. Gentleman as a very large advance. I am not suggesting that on this side there is any enthusiasm for the introduction of any popular control into our licensing system. I am not suggesting it, and I observe, characteristic as it is of the attitude of a great many hon. Members opposite, that what they are delighted to hear is that we have not abandoned the view which originally led to practical differences much wider than those which may be said to exist now. I should not for one moment attempt to pose as a person who believes that the introduction of popular control is the proper method of regulating this traffic. Its disadvantages at least outweigh its advantages. I do not for one moment wish to pretend that it is a good thing to 684 introduce into public life an element of discussion of this sort, concerned as it is not with general principles of administration, but with the method in which each man may or may not be allowed to conduct his own life. I do not want for one moment to appear as if I had any sympathy with the view that so long as drink and its uses is confined within the limits of natural appetite and outside the limits of abuse, either I or you or the public have the slightest right to interfere with the indulgence of an appetite which is just as legitimate as it is natural, so long as it is within natural limits. These things are one thing, our duty and our attitude to a measure in the House of Commons is another thing. I do not mean to say that our convictions and our opinions are not to regulate our actions; of course, they are; but, then, an Opposition or a party in power has got to remember this, that we cannot always have our own way and that when a very general opinion is expressed in favour of a certain kind of thing, although we may not agree with it, it may be our duty to acquiesce in what the majority demand, provided that majority recognise our right, even although we are a minority, to insist upon fair conditions and upon reasonable terms. Accordingly, I say that I think it is worth while to reflect that in neither of these Motions was there anything expressed in the form of repudiation of the principle of the Bill, and that the two points which are emphasised in the Amendment I am submitting now are the two points where, if conciliation and settlement had been within our reach, not only might the minority, however unwilling, have acquiesced in the proposal of the majority here, but where you had the means, because we know the attitude in the other House so far as we can foretell, to ensure the passage of your Bill and to secure the practical application of your principle. What are these two points? The right hon. Gentleman, when he was dealing with the Second Reading of this Bill, dealt in the first instance with the objections to prohibition, the objections to the No-licence Resolution, objections which I understand the House of Lords at the end of their consideration were not prepared to press provided certain terms were agreed to.
Reviewing the Debates about the Bill here, I find that three views have been expressed and expressed not on one side of the House only. There is not one of 685 these three views which has not been expressed on both sides. One view was that although prohibition was an extreme and not an attractive form of repressive legislation, none the less it held no terrors because it never would be used. Both sides of the House said that, but with great respect to the hon. Gentlemen who used that argument, I think that it is a very bad one. If the best reason for putting a provision into the Bill is that you do not expect that it would ever be brought into operation, then I think everybody will agree that it would be better not to put it in at all. The second view expressed was that in view of the small areas with which these Resolutions would deal it was not really a serious repression; it was not an oppressive instance of repressive legislation, because anybody who really wanted to be supplied with drink would not have far to go to get it. That came from both sides of the House, and again I think that it was a very bad argument indeed. If you are going so to adjust your areas as to avoid the difficulty of over-severe repression by giving people the opportunity of being served by taking a journey for it, my only impression is that those who want to drink so much that they will take a journey for it are precisely those who are likely to take two or three more of them than are good for them before they go home. If you let them have the ordinary and reasonable opportunity in their own locality they would be much less likely to make themselves a nuisance, either in Edinburgh or elsewhere. I do not think that is an unreasonable interpretation of ordinary human nature. The third view expressed, again on both sides of the House—and this was the view which I found most frequently expressed in the Second Reading Debate—was, after all, that in regard to the No-licence Resolution its extreme effects on the business of the people whose premises happen to be within the affected area could reasonably be overcome by providing some sort of machinery to safeguard these people from what the Motion described as injustice and loss. Not only was that expressed on both sides of the House, but it was particularly expressed on the Government side. The view was taken that this objection was at least a formidable objection. Many hon. Members went further and said it was one that could be met in Committee upstairs, and this was one of many things which we were told at the time of the Second Reading, when 686 the general atmosphere and attitude of the discussion was very much what I am trying to make it now, not one of resolute or uncompromising opposition—that was the attitude which, throughout the Second Reading, Members on both sides of the House were disposed to take. Speaking for myself, I had no right to believe that there was anything else behind those professions—professions to the effect that a method was discoverable and that the best efforts of both sides would be used to find a settlement of this difficulty. It was, I confess, in that opinion, so far as I am concerned, that this Bill left the House and went upstairs.
But how are matters with regard to those right hon. Gentlemen who expressed the views of the Government about this Bill? The Secretary for Scotland himself has never disputed that there was a strong demand for some machinery which would enable these people to insure themselves. He stated on the Second Reading in so many terms that there was a very strong demand—I am not sure the word "very" was used—but a strong demand for such a scheme. His colleague the right hon. Gentleman the Lord Advocate not only admitted that there was a demand for some such machinery, but himself manfully adhered to the opinion which he had consistently expressed, as to the means by which that demand could be met, namely, that some machinery of that kind was not only demanded—I will use his own words —was indispensable to the fair treatment of the dispossessed publicans, and with the view to finding a smooth path for a no-licence Resolution. These were the opinions expressed by the responsible heads of the Government in this House, and certainly the general view which both sides had was that these were not mere expressions of pious opinions, but that we should find them given practical effect to in the actual business of moulding the Bill upstairs. I may add this, for it is only fair to the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Scotland, it was in that speech he said he thought that a voluntary compensation scheme might meet the case. He will not I think dispute this, that he certainly had, at that time, represented himself to the House as not having, and I do not believe he actually did then have, a, closed mind on this question. At any rate I am entitled to say if he did intend to indicate to the House that he had a closed mind, his words simply failed to convey the meaning
687 What about the other point? The other point which was discussed on the Second Reading Debate was the question whether it was right for popular control to be admitted into the regulation of the licensing system in the limited direction in which popular control may come. One of the arguments which was pressed and used very strongly by those who supported the no-licence Resolution on its merits—they were not many, they were very few —but one of the arguments by which it was defended, and quite logically defended, was this: if you are to ignore the demand for popular control, that popular control ought not to be fettered by a form of regulations, however experimental, which would not reasonably conduce to the settlement of this much vexed question, and indeed might not meet a crying evil. That is an argument which is irresistible, but none of the hon. Members who have used it in this House had the courage of their opinions when it came to giving them any practical expression or practical effect in any direction other than the no-licence Resolution. You cannot logically dispute this, that if the popular voice is to be entitled to say that the licences in an area are too many, the popular voice ought also to have the right and power to say that the licences in another area are too few. I do not impute motives to anybody, but it is not a reasonable thing to stand by as the advocates of popular control of the traffic if the only kind of control you are going to give to them is either to maintain the status quo of magisterial regulation or to insist on the wholesale cutting down of licences. That is not popular control. It is the setting up of an engine on the throttle valves of which those who have extreme views about this question want to get their fingers.
When you come to the question of popular control and the question of limitation, I want to know what line of argument was used to defend the no-licence Resolution and what objection you have to allow popular control to choose other experimental methods of dealing with this question? One method of fair and popular control is to leave it with the magistrates; another is to cut down the licences by 26 per cent., and another is to cut down the licences altogether. The proposal which was so much discussed during these Debates was the proposal to provide means by which popular control might have at least one other alternative—certainly, not 688 an alternative of the kind which I alluded to for purposes of argument, namely, the alternative of being able to increase the licences, but an alternative which would enable the local authority to apply popular control in the form of the system so much discussed under the name of disinterested management. I am not going to re-raise a discussion in the merits of that or any other of those methods of regulation, but what I am going to say is this. Hon. Members opposite are very keen about this Bill, and in particular the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Scotland has sold himself into the hands of the extremists on this question. The right hon. Gentleman I see challenges that, but I would point out that we are all of us at times subjected to conditions of considerable political exigency and stress, and I know of nothing to account for the right hon. Gentleman's attitude, which is not derived from the argument post hoc propter hoc. All I say is based on that impression alone. His present uncompromising attitude so far as I have had any opportunity of becoming acquainted with his views—and his enthusiasm for this particular form of regulation dates from a certain election not very many years ago. But whether that be so or not, what I want to point out is this, that so far as the alternative of no-licence and the alternative of option or prohibition of option is concerned, the right hon. Gentleman, and those who support him through thick and thin in this Bill, are said to have fixed their minds on option. So far as this country is concerned that is an experiment. It has not been tried in this country at all. It has been tried elsewhere, though not quite under the same conditions. So far as experience of that form of experiment has gone elsewhere, I defy any fair-minded man to say that it has come through the ordeal of experience with a fully satisfactory certificate as to its efficiency. But the other opinion, of which he will have nothing, the option of disinterested management is also, at least under anything like the same conditions, new in this country. It is untried. But it has been tried elsewhere, not quite under the same conditions, but in all essentials and in all principles exactly the same thing has been tried elsewhere——
§ Mr. CLYDE
Yes, it has been tried on a large scale elsewhere, and both in the 689 order of its application and the time during which it has existed I defy any fair-minded man to say with regard to it that it has come out of the ordeal of experience with any certificate but that of success. What are you doing? You are insisting upon putting within the popular choice an experiment that has, no doubt, been tried elsewhere, and has earned a certificate not of a good character, and you will not hear of this other policy, which is an experiment not tried here, but which, upon the whole, has earned, if not a good character, certainly not a bad one. I quite agree that, alike for the option of disinterested management and the option of a No-licence Resolution, you have to provide certain machinery, and there is something you have to do for a time limit and compensation, but there is no excuse either with regard to the policy of your Bill or with regard to the nature of these two options compared the one with the other, and there is no difference in respect to the difficulty of making them practicable in a Bill. There is no difference whatever between them, and the only reason why you accept the one and refuse the other is that those who are in command of this Bill, and the right hon. Gentleman in particular, are led by those who take extreme views upon this subject, therefore he will listen neither to the logic of his own proposals nor to the inherent reasonableness of any other experiments and the other operations which ought equally to be within the region of the popular choice. The truth is that we cannot disentangle, when you come to discuss for practical purposes a Bill of this kind, these various things the one from the other. You cannot disentangle the propriety or impropriety of a no-licence Resolution from the question of what you are going to do in relation to a time limit, in relation to compensation, or in relation to one or the other. Indeed, to some extent, although I regret it, because I do not think it helps the discussion of this question, disinterested management is to some extent involved in the question of compensation, but the entanglement is no greater. It is undoubted that, so far as the party upon this side of the House is concerned, its opposition, if I am entitled to speak for them, which I believe I am, to prohibition in any shape or form, though it would never be given up as a matter of principle, could be overcome, even in this Bill, if the conditions with regard to the time limit and compensation were reasonable and fair. I do not for a moment 690 suggest that they can be given up as principles. They remain, but for practical purposes and with regard to a practicable bill they not only were not emphasised here upon the Second Reading, but they were not pressed in the discussions in the other House.
It was in these circumstances that the Bill went upstairs to Committee. What happened in Committee? How much disposition was shown on behalf of the representatives of the Government—I am thinking particularly of those who officially represented the Government—to entertain either of these two questions upon which substantially the real differences turned? How much disposition was shown by the Secretary for Scotland to entertain some form of effective scheme of the kind which his colleague, the Lord Advocate, up to that point said was indispensable as a measure of common justice to the dispossessed publican, and as a means of smoothing the way to a no-licence Resolution? Those who went through that Committee cannot but have a perfectly vivid recollection of the circumstances in which our discussions took place. The right hon. Gentleman showed that he had never given the question of a compensation scheme any practical consideration whatsoever from the point of view of drafting or framing one. He might have told us some of its difficulties. If he had it is just possible that his opponents might have been of some assistance in solving some of those difficulties. But he gave us none. I know quite well that the most enthusiastic supporters of the Bill would have been very sorry if he had. I know that, because I know the experience of the Bill which immediately preceded this one. It is not too much to say that if you go back into that little bit of history you see a repetition of very much the same experience. The procedure on that Bill was shipwrecked on the absolute refusal of the enthusiastic supporters of popular control to allow any scheme of compensation whatever to enter into the fabric of the measure. That is where it broke down. I gather from what he did and said at the time that nobody regretted that more than the Lord Advocate.
§ Mr. CLYDE
The hon. Member who interrupts me at once shows the cloven hoof. One understands at once his uncompromising attitude. I can assure the hon. Member that, although he is courteously listened to, his opponent is speaking without the slightest expectation of being able to move him by any appeal, however reasonable. All the same, I say there are a good many Members upon that side of the House who did not take up the same unreasonable and extreme attitude. I am quite certain the Lord Advocate did not. What did the Secretary for Scotland do upon this question in Committee? He certainly gave it no help, and opposed nothing but an uncompromising resistance to any proposal which we had to lay before the Committee. He may say—I will be the first to admit—that our proposals may have been imperfect, but was it not worth his while to see if he could not have made them better? He would have expected us to do that if he had made the proposal. And with great deference to the right hon. Gentleman, I cannot believe that it is a proper discharge of the duties of the Minister in charge of a Bill which left the House of Commons in the atmosphere and in the position that this Bill did to treat proposals of the very kind we were told could be adjusted upstairs, of the very kind which he knew and we knew might have paved the way to the ending of the whole business, at least for the time being—I do not think it is an effective discharge of his duties simply to look at the proposals of his opponents, tell them that they are very poor and imperfect things, and therefore he cannot have them, and then take no further responsibility about the matter. If that is going to be the attitude of the Government no settlement is ever possible of a disputed question, though you have the principle of the Bill admitted in the fullest and most ungrudging terms. But that is their attitude.
Though I have said, and said very gladly, that I think this particular question owes a great deal to the emphasis and the firmness with which the Lord 692 Advocate stated his own views about it, views which certainly were not out of sympathy with those that I entertained, I want to say that I did not see on the Lord Advocate's part any echo in his conduct in Committee of the admirable principles which he had so stoutly defended up to that date. On the contrary, they evaporated into the thinnest of thin air, and not only did he vote against it in Committee, but neither did he show any symptom of having applied his own mind to the question in order to reach a practical proposal. It is a. great pity he did not. What is more, when we reached the Third Reading here he had either become converted to different views or at least he not only did not find it convenient to re-emphasise the views which we had always listened to with such approval before, but he found a variety of subterfuges for adopting precisely the opposite view and refusing to have anything whatever to do with it. It seems to me that that is to the last degree to be regretted and deplored. But we must accept the situation as it is. We were promised much on going upstairs last time. There is no upstairs ever again for this, and I suppose the Secretary for Scotland may have had it in his mind that if he presented an uncompromising front last time he would never have the unpleasant duty—I do not think he altogether liked it—of presenting an uncompromising front again, though he might say, "You will never have a chance of another Committee stage, and neither I nor anyone else shall ever have an opportunity of proposing or entertaining an Amendment to this Bill again."
Is this a reasonable or a desirable result? Political differences are hard enough to settle and there are perhaps not so very many Bills where differences in principle have existed and are not removed where the opportunity arises and so far over-coming objections to principle as can be clone by adopting what not only the Lord Advocate has said so often was an indispensable adjunct, but what a very large number, at all events, of the supporters of the Government themselves were not only ready and willing to concede, but so firmly persuaded of the indispensability and the expediency of conceding, that they gave the Secretary for Scotland one of the most uncomfortable quarters of an hour he has ever gone through in this House. These are the fruits of the Parliament Act. The result is that the right 693 hon. Gentleman has shut out the possibility of overcoming our objections, and has deprived both himself and us, and those of his supporters who were not wholly favourable to him, from reaching any possibility of agreement. I said on the Third Reading last year that so long as this Bill was disfigured by the injustice and by the imperfections which disfigured it then, and disfigure it still, the passage of this measure would do nothing to secure a satisfactory solution of the problem the solution of which is aimed at. I said then, and I repeat now, that in place of advancing a satisfactory solution of this question you will leave it more embittered than you kind it when you first touched it. That will always be the result of trying to carry cut; a measure of social reform regardless of the injustice that you do to individuals, and social reform carried under those conditions not only loses all its grace and all its benefit, but it does worse than that. It flouts those who are willing to lend a hand to this beneficent work, and it makes many people see in it only an engine of injustice.
Speaking for myself, if I were ever called upon, as I suppose I may be, to record my vote at one of these polls, were I to be asked, it may be, to say to my fellow citizens who live or work in my neighbourhood that they are to conduct their lives in this respect as I and others think, and not as they think, or if I am asked to exercise my vote with the effect of depriving, without any reasonable opportunity of defending themselves, either in time or in insurance, a considerable number of people who earn their bread and who own their property in this particular trade, then I say frankly I shall make a point of voting, and I shall cast my vote for the no-change Resolution every time. I dare say the Secretary for Scotland thinks that is very funny, and I hear him say that that is an instance of a compromising attitude. No, it is uncompromising to the last degree, and if you find in your opponents on this question an uncompromising attitude, whom have you to thank but yourselves? If you give me an opportunity under this Bill of voting where I think there is an excessive number of licences or an abuse of those that are there, if you give me an opportunity of casting a vote where my conscience shall be rid of the burden that by giving effect to my views I am going to destroy the property of other people, I shall vote in a dif- 694 ferent way. But I feel perfectly certain that to every nine out of ten honest, plain, fair-minded people, the plan that you are going to force on Scotland in this Bill, by means of your Parliament Act, is one which will alienate some who are willing enough to be friends of your cause and make your second state a good deal worse than your first.
§ Sir WALTER MENZIES
The hon. and learned Gentleman has performed his task with the greatest ability—an ability which we have a right to expect in the case of one of his well-known learning. But he knew, and everyone on this side of the House knew, that he was thrashing a dead horse, that he was throwing water on a drowned rat, so far as his Amendment was concerned. He accused the Secretary for Scotland of having very extreme views on this matter. I am sure no one will accuse me, at any rate, of being a fanatic in the matter of temperance. I have always taken some alcohol, and will probably continue to do so whether this Bill passes or not.
§ Sir W. MENZIES
What I am perfectly sure of is that the people of Scotland neither want another option in this Bill nor disinterested management. The tendency in Scotland, as indeed all over the world, is to reduce the number of public-houses. There is no necessity whatever for increasing them except in very exceptional cases, and unless there is an increase of population. If our proposition in this Bill is unfair to the publicans, then I hold, and hold strongly, the disinterested management is more unfair to them. It drags another factor into their trade— another kind of public-house is foisted upon the public instead of theirs. I rose principally to mention that I have received a number of reasons from the Scottish Licensed Trade Defence Association against this Bill, and I am bound to say that if there are no stronger reasons against it than are shown here, we can with a clear conscience and easy mind vote for the Second Reading, and against all the opposition from the other side. The first reason is:—''It substitutes for a licensing authority, acting in accordance with the forms of law and on sworn evidence if required, the chance verdict of a popular Tote of 30 per cent. of a restricted register, the vote representing about 5 per cent. of the population.695 I would ask Members of this House who know the terms of the Bill to say whether that is or is not a fair description of the option we give. My own opinion is that a Court of Justices of the Peace is the worst authority you can have for licensing or anything else. [An HON. MEMBER: "That is not the present Court."] Well it is restricted in respect of the condition as to county councils. What has been the rule where public-houses have been brought into existence first of all? If any person wanted a licence in the north of the licensing district, those justices in the south, east, and west, would vote for the licence, the people in the district probably abstaining altogether. The next reason against the Bill as formulated by this association is:—Its avowed object is prohibition, and a prohibition which will not prohibit.…I do not know that this Bill does not prohibit. When a district or a parish does not want a public-house, it need not have it. There is no doubt that there are places in our country where, unfortunately, the population is decreasing. A decrease in the number of public-houses is coming about there by the mere fact of that decrease of population. There is no trade for the public-houses now in existence. The third reason is the most extraordinary of all:—…The time notice of five years from an arbitrarily imposed date (June, 1912) is grotesquely inadequate.…I do not know who formulated that, but it is positively untrue to say that the licensed trade in Scotland have only had five years' notice. They have had notice of a change in the public mind of Scotland for the last thirty years at least. In 1892 particularly temperance reform was part and parcel of the propaganda of every Liberal candidate upon the platform. Besides all that, we in Scotland have held for a very long time that the law is with us in this matter, and that the publican has only a yearly licence and nothing more. The majority of the House and of the Scottish representatives propose to give five years' notice entirely ex gratia. There is no necessity for it from any other point of view. The fourth reason is:—Apart from the inadequate length of time run, any such proposal is a farce which does not give reasonable security during the time run.…I suppose the county council justices will be licensing justices, and they will undoubtedly keep before them the fact that the vote of the majority or the minority 696 of the voters in any given district will decide whether a public-house may or may not exist in the future. Then we are told in reason five thatthe Bill is essentially different from the English Consolidation Act, 1910.…We have never acknowledged that the licensing law in Scotland is the same as that in England, and I am sure the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite would be the first to acknowledge that that is so. The sixth reason is thatthe Bill is aimed solely at the retailer as a class.…The Bill gives the parish or district the right to choose whether it will have a licensed house or not. I should be the last to aim at any particular class, but we want the temptations which are placed before our working people, particularly in large towns, to be lessened.
§ Sir W. MENZIES
I have not succumbed to any temptation to my knowledge. I have lived in a tenement of houses where there was a public-house at the entrance—a public-house at the close mouth—and you could not come down the stair without feeling the smell of liquor from that public-house. And I say that the smell of liquor exposes the poor workman when coming home at night or going out in the evening to temptation which it would be very desirable to take away from him. Then it is said that this is a Bill for the promotion of clubs and shebeens. I do not believe that for a moment. Then it said that the manufacture, distribution, and consumption of intoxicating liquor is legal, and those who supply the need for such are legitimate traders. Of course it is legal and there are some highly respectable people in the trade, and it will continue to be legal; but what we want to do is to restrict this trade by a vote of the people if they wish to restrict it. There is no question of the trade deserving the protection of the law. They get the protection of the law. We are altering the law at the present moment, and I trust that it will be altered in a short time.
Then it says that Licence Duties have been increased by 58 per cent. in Scotland under the Finance Act of 1909–10. I have always understood that the cost of these Licence Duties have been transferred to the consumers in most cases. However, the Finance Act of 1909–10 taxed more people than licence-holders. We have all had to 697 pay additions to our Income Tax. It says in the eleventh reason that the subject of the Bill has never been a test or even a prominent question in any General Election in Scotland. I am sorry to think of the number of elections in Scotland through which I have passed, but I am quite certain that in every election through which I have passed it has been a test, and a great many members of my executive—and I am sure I speak for most Liberal Members here—would not work with you if you were not in favour of this Bill and its options. Sometimes, also, you are asked if you are in favour of disinterested management and compensation, and if you were, they would have nothing to do with your candidature, and you could not be a Member of the House of Commons for a good many places in Scotland. There may be hon. Members who have a different class of executive and constituents, but so far as I am concerned, I could not have stood as a candidate unless I was in favour of this Bill. It has, therefore, been a test through all these General Elections. The twelfth reason is that the postponement of the hour of opening until ten in the morning is an unwarrantable interference with the rights of licence-holders, for which they pay heavy Licence Duties. I have heard licence holders themselves say that they have never sold a gill stoup until twelve o'clock. There is no reason why they should, and this will be a very proper alteration in the law, supposing the Bill does pass, which I will support with the utmost pleasure.
§ Mr. MACKINDER
The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down described the Motion moved by my hon. Friend the Member for West Edinburgh as a dead horse, and then he was not satisfied with that, and he went on to describe it as a drowned rat. We are discussing a Bill which we are told is to be put under the Parliament Act. We have been told by the Prime Minister that any Bill which goes under the Parliament, Act is to stand the conflict of discussions during two years, and, if it can survive that, then it ought to become law. The spirit in which the hon. Gentleman approaches the discussion of this Bill is brought before the House on this second, not even the third occasion, when he says that the Resolution, which does not affect the whole principle of the Bill, but merely deals with certain, as we consider, details of the machinery of the Bill, is the same as a dead horse and a drowned rat. The hon. 698 Gentleman is content with his position, and I commend it to those who are watching the attitude of him and his Friends in regard to this Parliament Act. The hon. Gentleman went on to tell us that if a district does not want a public-house he would give it the power to get rid of it. That is to say, that if those who agree with his view happen to be in a sufficient majority, then he identifies them with the district. They become the district in his view, even though you are dealing not with questions of general legislation, but with a question which is one of detailed administration with regard to the deprivation of private property and the denial of private opportunities. The individual citizen in this country is supposed to have his rights secured even though he is in the smallest minority. That is a pride which we usually have in our institutions. That is the spirit in which hon. Gentlemen find themselves when once they embark on the line of policy which is implied in the Parliament Act.
The hon. Gentleman proceeded to describe to us the executive of his association and to tell us that his executive was of exactly the same character as himself, namely, that it is already imbued with the spirit of the Parliament Act, which is the spirit of riding roughshod over minorities and individuals. The question which is the root principle of the Bill, local option, is not at stake. The House of Lords is willing to accept that principle. By the Resolution which we tabled last year and by the Motion which my hon. Friend has just now made we do not oppose a negative to this policy. To what is it you are going to apply the Parliament Act? Not to a question of principle, but of detail. Before you do that there is one argument in regard to local option which at the present Moment is perhaps a little more possible than it would have been up to recent events some little time ago. The whole principle of local option is that you are going to remove, either in large measure or practically wholly in certain cases where a No-licence Resolution is carried, from a judicial authority decisions which are bound to involve personal questions, and you, are going to assign those decisions to a popular electorate. Those questions are bound to involve personal considerations. You have decided in opposition to many wishes expressed on this side of the House to have small areas, in many cases single parishes. It is quite inevitable, 699 therefore, that the decision of the local electorate of a single parish should frequently take a form in which no principle and no question of the public good will be under consideration, but in which the livelihood and position, which might be ruined, of individuals, may be involved. It is quite inevitable that the conduct of the public-house and the mode of life of its proprietor will be canvassed in the whole district. We have recently seen within a Committee room of this House a remarkable example of the application of the principle of trial by a non-judicial authority on questions where personal character and personal estate are involved. You are going to convert the small parishes of Scotland into Marconi committees. Though I am willing to support the Resolution put forward by my hon. Friend, for at this time of day personal opinions ought not to be pushed forward strongly since we now have a position on this matter which is accepted by the Opposition, both in the House of Lords and here, yet I wish to say, in all frankness, that in supporting that Resolution I am not in the least converted to the wisdom of local option. In my own Constituency, among many of my supporters, I have a few who differ with me on this question, but I am thankful to say that they are broad-minded individuals who recognise that this is not the only political question before the country, that our differences are only differences as to machinery, and that I, as well as they, would do all that is possible and justifiable to get rid of the evils of drunkenness. But, in fairness, it is necessary that I should make my position quite clear. I am not converted to the principle of local option. I believe myself that though vindictiveness will be rare indeed in an area under this Act, that charitable motives will intervene again and again to prevent the decision of this question in the temperance interest, purely as a question of public interest. But what justification have you for applying the Parliament Act to a measure, the fundamental principle of which is not at stake? We on this side recognise that there is a demand front Scotland for temperance legislation. We are willing so far to sink our opinions and our convictions as to what is wise. To agree to a principle to which we are not converts, in order that we may give effect to this demand for temperance legislation. In that situation, because we differ with you chiefly on a couple of questions of 700 machinery, you decide to ride roughshod over us by applying the Parliament Act, telling us, on a Friday afternoon, in the second and not even the third year, that our position on those questions of detail is to be compared to the discussion of dead horses or drowned rats.
I can understand your applying the Parliament Act to that which apparently you are not willing to apply it, namely, the reform of the Second Chamber; I can understand your wishing to apply the Parliament Act to the Home Rule Bill because you could not carry that measure in any other way; I can understand its application to the Welsh Disestablishment Bill, but I fail to see, on the principle announced by the Prime Minister himself, what possible moral justification or electoral mandate you can have for applying this revolutionary condition of the Constitution to the passage of a Bill upon which there is a difference merely in questions of machinery. What evidence have you that you are united even within your own party by any such mandate as would justify this course of action? In my own Constituency, I have said it before and I repeat it, so far as the evidence goes it, is directly in the teeth of any such presumption. A very large majority of the constituency voted either for myself or for my Liberal opponent, who is now the hon. Member for East Edinburgh. He, like myself, was opposed to any Bill which did not allow the option of disinterested management. And when I turn to the question of insurance or compensation, or the question of justice to the individual, I find that a Glasgow leader of the Labour party, the hon. Member for the Blackfriars Division, as everybody remembers, supported the view that some compensation or insurance should be given to the man who is deprived of his property in the public interest. Therefore, so far the evidence goes, it is dead in the teeth of this Bill, and there is no mandate whatever which would justify the revolutionary procedure of applying the Parliament Act for the purpose of carrying a measure of this description. Even in this House you are not united. I am not going to refer to past differences of right hon. Gentlemen opposite; I am simply going to remind hon. Members of a scene which we on this side of the House will not at any rate soon forget, a scene during the passage of this Bill through this House last year, when man after man on the benches opposite, rose and appealed to the 701 Secretary for Scotland to take off the Government Whips and leave Members free to vote as they wished on the question of disinterested management. We will not readily forget that long sitting. Apart from your steam-roller methods, you have no such unanimity as would justify you in applying the Parliament Act to this Bill; you have no such evidence of unanimity in the electorate of Scotland. The hon. Member who spoke last referred to a long list of what I call steam-rollered instances of unanimity on the part of the Temperance Societies in Scotland. We are told that they want the Bill, the whole Bill, and nothing but the Bill, and they ask for unanimity in order to apply the Parliament Act to this measure. That does not impress me very much, for this reason: You are dealing with the temperance question in which there is no black and white—[Mr. KILBRIDE: "Hear, hear."] I am glad to see that hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House below the Gangway applaud. They were the people whom I should have expected to have seen the point.
You have no real opposition on this question of direct affirmative and negative. You have not got certain people who advocate temperance and certain persons who advocate drunkenness. You have simply got differences of machinery. You have got, if I may be allowed to describe the matter from my own point of view, zealots and ordinary moderate public opinion. Is it not in human nature for zealots to organise, and will you not have a great movement splendidly officered and splendidly disciplined on behalf of those who advocate those measures. Are you likely to have, or is it human nature that you should have, similar countervailing organisations to represent the ordinary man who is not in favour of drunkenness, and therefore does not organise for that purpose, but simply differs from you as to the wisdom of the methods which you are asking for in order to achieve the same object. Therefore, I am not in the least impressed by that which I call the steam-rollered unanimity with a view to the Parliament Act on the part of advocates from temperance societies. I received also a paper, not from a very extremist point of view, the journal which represents those who are advocates of disinterested management, in which certain statements are made with regard to a scheme for insurance which was included in the Bill as it left the House of Lords last year. We are told in that 702 journal that there is now a new situation. That is rather extraordinary when we are face to face with a Bill, not one line or comma of which can be altered. We are told in regard to insurance that one great trade organisation in Scotland, the Scottish Licence Mutual Insurance Association has circularised the trade, drawing attention to the necessity for voluntary insurance at the present time, in view of something like ruin which is implied in this Bill which it is proposed to put under the Parliament Act. It is urged that, therefore, there is a breaking in the ranks in the trade on this question, and that there may be a reconsideration of this method of insurance or compensation in the light of these new events.
I venture to say that is hardly fair to, the threatened interests. If there are those in the trade defence association who, think it is not the wisest course to fight to the end, is it generous when some of them say that the time has come to take such poor shelter as they can find to rely upon that fact in order to rule out one portion of the opposition which is against you to justify yourselves in the drastic and ruthless action you are taking. I venture to say if you take a course in the public interest, and that is your point, which may involve individuals in loss and even in ruin, then you cannot throw off responsibility by saying, "Here is a sporting society," sporting in the sense that it is willing to take chances, which says, "We have a scheme." You cannot throw off on them, because they make the offer, your responsibility. Those of us who went into this question last year in the Committee Room know what immense difficulty there is in formulating any scheme which will stand actuarial examination with a view to compensation, but it is because you have a short period of five years, and it is because you refuse compulsion to those who frame the scheme, that you render, in our opinion, practically impossible the establishment of any scheme which will stand actuarial investigation. We doubt whether any society, however much it may come forward at the present time and in these disastrous circumstances, can really make good on a sound financial basis the offer which this society is making. The hon. Baronet (Sir G. Younger) reminds me that in the offer itself they do not even pretend it to be sound. The paper is the May and June "Monthly Notes" of the Temperance Legislation League which was issued only a short time ago. I have not 703 gone into the general merits of this question. If we are "drowned rats and dead horses," it is useless.
§ Mr. MACKINDER
I identify myself with the Amendment. For the purposes of argument I am the Amendment itself. If that is the position, then all that we can do is to protest against your unconstitutional and violent methods. We say that you have no mandate from Scotland to apply the Parliament Act to questions of mere machinery in face of the fact that we are agreed to the principle, and that we sink our own convictions and are ready to do business with you and you refuse. We say that this is simply another piece of your half-baked, hurried social legislation, the results of which will turn against you. The Tudor sovereigns, Henry VIII. and Elizabeth, were tyrants, but they tyrannised over great individuals, and the people cared little, but you are doing what all tyrants have failed to do, you are making legislation which intervenes in the homes of each individual in every corner of the land and affects the rights of property of private citizens. You are taking a course which will not tend to the promotion of temperance. That may not be a popular thing to say at present, but I venture to say it will be said and considerably voiced in a few years hence. You are taking a course as to which all we can do is, with thankfulness, to say you are putting nails into your own Government's coffin.
§ Mr. URE
I would not have intervened in this Debate, since the arguments on both sides are familiar to every Member of the House, but that the hon. and learned Gentleman who moved the Amendment and the hon. Member who has just sat down have challenged me and challenged the Government to defend the course which the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Scotland is taking in applying to this measure the force of the Parliament Act. They challenge our right to do so on the ground that there is no difference, they say, between the two sides of the House upon the questions of principle involved in this Bill. I rejoice to hear it. It is news to me that any hon. Members opposite can lay their hands on their hearts and say that they are seriously impressed with the desirability of transferring the rights and privileges now exer- 704 cised by the licensing bench to the electors in the various areas. Has anyone ever heard any hon. Member on that side of the House say that he approves of that principle? It has been opposed in every Debate we have hitherto had. I do not rely on the fact that we are faced by hon. Members who do not challenge the principle of this measure: we are faced by hon. Members who attach so much importance to certain details that unless they have their own way in regard to those details they will not accept the measure at all. The hon. Member for West Edinburgh told us plainly and frankly that if this measure passed in the particular form in which it now lies on the Table of the House he would, on every possible occasion, give his vote for the continuance of the present system. He is perfectly logical, but that proves my point. I say that here is a detail which goes to the very root of the Bill, and it is splitting hairs for hon. Members opposite to say, "We do not differ from you in principle; we only differ upon detail," when, unless we accede to their view and abandon our own, they will have nothing to do with the measure.
§ Mr. URE
I have no doubt that the hon. and learned Member for West Edinburgh said, for the purposes of this Debate, that he does not challenge the principle of the measure, but he has never at any time, nor have any other Members on that side of the House, expressed any approval of that principle. If you challenge us upon a detail which goes to the very root of the measure, that is equivalent to challenging the principle of the measure. The whole argument seems to me to overlook entirely the fact, which is well known to us all, that this Bill is in the nature of a compromise. Can any man here say that if he sat down to frame a temperance measure—or, I will say, a Liquor Bill, in order to avoid an expression which seems to give rise to dispute—this is the measure he would frame? Is there a single shade of temperance opinion in Scotland that would put forward this particular Liquor Bill? Do we not all know that this measure is one which has passed through the House oh more than one occasion and through the Scottish Grand Committee upstairs, where the promoters surrendered a little here and a little there in order to meet the views of different sections of objectors, so that as it stands the measure is not the 705 one that any shade of temperance opinion in Scotland would prefer? Accordingly, I hold very strongly that it was impossible for the Government to give way upon any of these important details, which had been thoroughly discussed before. We believe still that the overwhelming public opinion in Scotland, as voiced in this House and outside, is in favour of the Bill as it stands. I agree that while it has all the merits, it has also all the demerits of a compromise.
Let the House consider for a moment what is the theory which underlies this measure. The theory is that it is desirable in some areas in Scotland that the present licensing system should continue, that in other areas there should be no public-houses at all, that in still others there should be a limited number of public-houses, and that the people who should pronounce upon the wisdom or unwisdom of having any of these alternatives in the various areas should be the electors on the municipal roll. The Bill also provides an opportunity to the electors concerned of expressing an opinion on the subject. Does anyone say that that is the Bill which they would have framed if left to themselves? Of course, obviously, it is not. Accordingly, I say we have here a compromise which at the present moment has in its support the vast and overwhelming majority of the people in Scotland, who are really interested in the question. Let me turn to the criticisms made in the House of Lords, to which the Government found themselves entirely unable to give effect. The first is the absence of a compulsory insurance scheme. It is said that I have expressed my opinion strongly in favour of insurance. So I have. I am strongly of opinion that that is desirable, and for the very reasons which the hon. Member opposite has indicated. I think that insurance is an essential preliminary to doing justice, or rather to obviating hardship, to dispossessed parties, and, secondly, what from my point of view is more important, in order to remove obstacles which strew the path of licensing reform. The hon. Member opposite omitted to note that when speaking on the Second Reading of the Bill last year I said that the Government was far from satisfied that it was impossible to create an insurance scheme by voluntary effort, or that the proposed scheme afforded reasonable compensation to dispossessed parties, so that they might be quite sure when the occasion arose of obtaining the benefits for which they had contributed.
706 I also said that it was not for the promoters of a temperance Bill to bring forward a compulsory insurance scheme. That is a matter pre-eminently for the trade itself. I am not making any complaint against the trade. I dare say the difficulties were greater even than I anticipated. But we are not satisfied yet—indeed, I am less satisfied now than before—as to the necessity for compulsion in the matter. I am not blaming the trade, It is a very difficult thing to secure the views of a trade widespread throughout the country. But there was no evidence before the Committee that the trade were unable by voluntary methods to secure all the objects that a compulsory scheme would enable them to obtain. I think the House will agree that there was no scheme put forward which any business man would have been disposed to accept as offering fair and reasonable compensation to the dispossessed publican—very far short of that. The opinion I have held and quite freely expressed, my own individual opinion, was that if that scheme had been embodied in the measure it would have been an additional grievance. Those concerned would have said, "We have been forced into this scheme, which gives us nothing like the compensation to which we are entitled: if we had been left to ourselves we could have done much better."
§ 2.0 P.M.
§ Mr. URE
They would have said so, and would have said that here was a scheme in the Bill which afforded them nothing like compensation to which they were entitled. I would add this further, that there is a large body of opinion in Scotland, with which I am agreed, which is opposed to the principle of compulsory insurance being inserted in this Bill. You may say that these are very vexatious and unreasonable people. That may be, but nobody can deny that if it were not for these people we should have no temperance reform at all. [An HON. MEMBER: "And a very good thing."] Well, perhaps the principle of the Bill is opposed to the fundamental convictions of hon. Gentlemen opposite; but it is perfectly certain that if temperance legislation is to be put on the Statute Book, it will never be brought into active operation except by the aid of these people. The House must never forget that temperance reform, unlike other reform, is not only viewed with torpor, but with 707 positive antipathy by many of those for whose benefit it is intended. You have got to keep that steadily in view. Unless these people who are called vexatious and unreasonable are enlisted in your aid, temperance legislation will be a dead letter. The second inroad is that made by the House of Lords in the Bill, and is the insertion of a scheme for disinterested management. In other words, it is to put to the municipal electors an additional question. On principle I was in favour of that, and I am in favour of it still, but the House cannot dispute the suggestion that we are here in the region of social reform rather than a change in the habits and customs of our people. Wherever success in a particular proposal be required it is desirable to have a stronge force of public opinion at the back. I can speak with more authority than most upon this question of disinterested management, though I am bound to admit that my propaganda met with a conspicuous lack of success. I was not able even to persuade my own Constituents. I still hold firmly by my views. All I am saying is that public opinion did not support me. I ask whether there are any hon. Members opposite, whose newborn zeal for disinterested management has amazed me, who can say that they have attempted propaganda in the country by way of arousing and then strengthening public opinion upon the question? So far as I am aware there is not a single hon. Member opposite who has taken the smallest trouble to arouse or strengthen public opinion so as to secure a solid and substantial body of public opinion in its favour. I have done my best. I dare say it was very poor. But I do not intend to relax my efforts, because I still believe in the soundness of the principle. But it is no use for the moment arguing the question one way or the other, or of quoting examples and illustrations derived from other places and other countries. I find in my awn country quite sufficient to satisfy me. It would be a commonplace to say that if the disinterested management public-house is well managed it is a success.
§ Mr. URE
I recognise that there is a vast body of public opinion that is opposed to disinterested management on principle. They say, and support their views with very sound arguments, that they object to 708 the public-house being carried on by anybody, whether they have an interest in the profits of the business or not. Everybody, I think, is agreed in this region that if we have to promote a body of satisfactory legislation, it must be legislation demanded and supported by a solid body of public opinion. That solid body of public opinion, so far as I can judge, we have not at the present moment in support of the alternative of disinterested management. I support this Bill because I still feel that I myself am in honour bound to hold out against any material inroad in the Bill.
§ Mr. URE
No material inroad in the Bill. I am not saying that a single one of my colleagues in this House is bound by any sentiment, honourable or otherwise. I say, and I frankly recognise, that the Government having taken up this Bill after it had passed through the hands of the hon. Member for North Aberdeen (Mr. Pirie). We know the views of the various temperance societies in Scotland upon the question. Therefore, I am honourably bound to go forward.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
Does the right hon. Gentleman suggest that the supporters of the Bill did not want a time limit?
§ Mr. URE
I am not saying one word about the time limit. I have never myself been able to understand the meaning of the time limit. I have never been able logically to explain why there should be a time limit. I tell the House frankly I was amazed at the temperance people, those who are called the extremists, for ever assenting to a time limit. It is not compensation. Throughout the whole of the five years the publican gives the whole of his energy to the business; therefore it is preposterous to talk of it as compensation. He has no notice to quit, for who ever heard of a five years' notice to quit! The difference is that he has faithfully paid his deposits, and his affairs are in the hands of his neighbours——
§ Mr. URE
It is not all the difference in the world. Far be it from me to hazard any conjecture as to what may happen when the municipal electors have the discretionary powers now enjoyed by the magistrates, and I suspect that every hon. Member is in like predicament with 709 myself. We may hold our own opinions, but none of us can speak with any certainty; but what ground is there to justify a time limit? I have discussed it with publicans, and they tell me they attach no importance to it. They attach great importance to insurance, and I do not wonder. At the present time they are insured; and when you pick out a sentence of my speech on the Second Reading Debate, never forget I was speaking of insurance. Insurance is indispensable, but not compulsory insurance. Why should we postpone the operations of this question for ten long years? Can any man give a reasoned opinion why we should postpone the options which the municipal electors are to exercise under this measure for ten years. Some of us, and I am one, who have devoted a good many years of our lives to temperance, are anxious to see something done before one passes away, and I for my part, perhaps more resolutely than my colleagues, am most strongly opposed to extending this time limit. And if that was the only inroad made by the House of Lords, I for my part, would have stood out firmly against it, and would have opposed it without any hesitation, in a measure which has secured the overwhelming assent of this House and of Scottish Members, and a measure in regard to which many of them have surrendered dearly cherished convictions in order to see it pass into law.
§ Mr. HUGH BARRIE
I make no apology for intervening in this Scottish Debate, because both in the House and in the Committee I have always deemed it my duty to oppose this Bill, and I desire very briefly to restate, the reasons that have actuated me in taking that course. I have perhaps as large a knowledge of Scotland and Scottish conditions as regards the licensed trade as, shall I say, the bulk of Members in this House at the present time. This Bill for which the zeal of the Secretary for Scotland and the Lord Advocate has been displayed this afternoon, was originally a private Member's Bill. If this Bill had been fathered by the Government, when they had a majority independent of our friends, the Nationalist Members below the Gangway, then I think we might fairly and legitimately acclaim that they were consistent in bringing forward this extreme and drastic measure of temperance reform for Scotland. As I am always sympathetic towards temperance reform, I am bound, and I say it advisedly, when a measure of 710 this kind is being forced forward in Parliament, to consider and to recall to the House what is the record of this Government in other parts of the country which are still, happily, parts of the United Kingdom. I have been a Member of this House since 1906. In 1906 we had a Bill anxiously called for in all parts of Ireland for entire Sunday closing. That Bill passed the House by the enormous majority of 200, but our cause was betrayed in Committee by a Member of the present Government, and we failed to get what men, not extremists on the temperance question, had been advocating, and which temperance organisations in Ireland had been advocating for years. When the Children's Bill came before the House, one of its provisions was that children shall not be supplied or allowed to go into public-houses, but, under the pressure of our Friends below the Gangway, that particular Section was struck out of the Bill so far as it applied to Ireland. Then we came to the famous Budget of 1909. We know that the Licence Duties were substantially increased under the terms of the Budget. Had these duties been applied to Ireland, a great many of the 17,000 undesirable public-houses would have been wiped out, because they could not profitably pay the increased Licence Duties. What happened? Again, under Nationalist pressure, the Government abandoned the terms of the Budget as regards its application to Ireland, and we still have the minimum rate that was in existence before. What happened under the Shops Act—a still more recent piece of legislation? Under the same pressure, the hours for public-house assistants in Great Britain, which were fixed at sixty, were fixed for Ireland at seventy-two. I am glad to see in the House some hon. Members who supported me in the Committee to defeat that proposal. But what happened later? The Home Secretary stated from his place in the House that he had made a bargain, and, under the same pressure, seventy-two hours were set up as the number of hours per week that assistants in Ireland were to work.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. Maclean)
Perhaps the hon. Member would enlighten me a little more as to how he proposes to make this line of argument applicable to this Bill.
§ Mr. BARRIE
I am impugning the sincerity of the Government in pressing upon one part of the United Kingdom a drastic 711 measure of this kind, while in all those years they have been following quite a different principle, under certain pressure, in another part of the United Kingdom. I claim it is in order that I should do that on this occasion. In the last two years we had a Bill before the House entitled the Dublin Police Bill. No one would suspect from its title what it meant. It has not so far appeared upon the Paper this year, and if it does not appear, that happy result will be due to the fact that we have in opposition to it the help of many Members upon the benches opposite. What did one of the Clauses of that Bill contain? It contained a provision to reopen, on Sundays, in an important and prosperous suburb of Dublin, public-houses that had been closed for twenty-eight years. Need I say more to show the utter inconsistency of the Government's record on this so-called temperance legislation. Now a word as regards this Bill. I said I thought I knew probably as much of Scottish opinion a3 any other back bench Member upon either side of the House. I am old enough to remember that the policy of the Glasgow licensing authority for the last thirty-five years has been steadily to avail themselves of every opportunity of justly and equitably reducing the number of public-houses in that great city. I state, subject to correction if I am in error, that although the population of Glasgow has more than doubled there are 500 less licences than there were thirty-five years ago. Under this Bill if it passes into law one result is inevitable, and it is that you will stop all progress in the reduction of licences until this Bill becomes operative. I should have thought that sincere temperance advocates would have been anxious to get this measure placed effectively on the Statute Book at the earliest possible moment. Under the terms of this Bill it would only be reasonable and honest that licensing authorities, who, for so many years have been gradually reducing licences, should pause, knowing that such legislation as this would come into operation five years hence, before they proceed further on the reasonable lines upon which they have been acting for a good many years. I differ from the suggestion that there is any substantial volume of opinion in favour of this Bill in Scotland. I have looked for a considerable time to find references by hon. Members opposite to this Bill when they were addressing their constituents. I have observed long speeches made about various 712 other important matters before the House, but the references to the Temperance (Scotland) Bill have been as microscopic as the references of the Prime Minister to Home Rule at the last General Election.
§ Mr. BARRIE
The Secretary for Scotland differs from me, and he is an honourable exception which was very fittingly and properly referred to by the Mover of the Amendment. We know the reason why the right hon. Gentleman is an exception. In what I think for him was an unguarded moment, he committed himself to the extremists in his Division on this subject and promised them the Bill, the whole Bill and nothing but the Bill. What effect had that rash promise upon his majority when he returned to his constituency? [An HON. MEMBER "We shall turn him out the next time."] His majority fell from something like 4,000 to 400. [An HON. MEMBER: "Nothing like it."] I know he had an extraordinary majority, and the result showed a sharp falling off amongst those supporters who had hitherto voted for him. You can hardly blame the right hon. Gentleman for making a mistake in this matter. I do not think we have ever been favoured with a Scottish Secretary who confessedly and admittedly knew so little about Scotland. I do not desire to say anything offensive, but, after listening to the Debate during the last two years since he was appointed to his present high office, our chief entertainment on the Scottish Estimates has been the attack levelled by Scottish Radical Members against the Secretary for Scotland. The reason is because he is autocratic in his methods and is not prepared to listen to suggestions made by Scottish Members. The House has not forgotten that when we were considering the Lords Amendments to this Bill there was a revolt amongst the Scottish Members on account of his drastic methods, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer had to be sent for in a hurry, and he made a pathetic appeal to the Scottish Members to support the Government. Repeated appeals had been addressed to the Secretary for Scotland that the Government Whips might be taken off in order that we might have a free expression of opinion with regard to this Bill.
We are under no illusion as to why this Bill is being put forward. It is a little more window-dressing on the part of the Government, and the right hon. Gentleman evidently thinks that he is still filling 713 up the cup against the House of Lords. I represent the moderate temperance opinion which is very largely prevalent in my Constituency in the North of Ireland, and we are in favour of the people controlling the liquor traffic, but it must be on equitable lines; it must be exercised by a majority that would prevent intriguing and wire-pullers reversing verdicts arrived at by small majorities, which would lead to a very unhappy state of affairs when the recurring periods of consideration came round. I think I truthfully represent that opinion when I say we also desire that no licences should be taken away from the trade without compulsion, because no one knows better than the Lord Advocate and the Secretary for Scotland that unless you have compulsion in a matter of this kind it is impossible to compel all members of the trade to become contributors to the fund, and that is necessary in order to make it a success. I hope those sitting behind the right hon. Gentleman are absolutely sincere in their desire for a forward step in this matter, and I hope that it is not too late even yet by joint action to impress upon the Government that this view, which is largely held, that they are in favour of dealing justly by the trade, no matter how much they disapprove of it, will prevail. It is almost superfluous for me to say that I have no personal connection with the trade, never had, and never intend to have, but that does not make me less anxious to see my fellow countrymen getting a real reform on honest lines, free from injustice. The Lord Advocate has tried to explain his change of attitude.
§ Mr. BARRIE
The right hon. Gentleman said that without compensation an injustice would be perpetrated upon licence holders.
§ Mr. BARRIE
I will leave it to the House to judge whether the right hon. Gentleman has not substantially changed his views.
§ Mr. BARRIE
Under Parliamentary necessity we can only conclude that the right hon. Gentleman adheres to the principle, and the only change that has taken place is that he is now going to go into the Division Lobby in absolute defiance of his previous expressions of opinion.
Mr. DUNDAS WHITE
I have listened with considerable attention to the various speeches which have been made, including the remarks of the last speaker. At the conclusion of his speech the hon. Member who has just spoken referred to the fact that this had been a private Member's Bill in bygone years, and he appeared to condemn the Government for having taken up this Bill on that account. If this had been a new Government Bill, brought in for the first time, no doubt the Government would have been condemned in a similar way for starting a new Bill and forcing it through the House. I can fancy no greater tribute to the hold this Bill has in Scotland than the fact that in bygone years it has been a private Member's Bill which has gone on steadily being brought in, and has obtained increasing support year after year; that it has got further year after year, and that it has a solid majority at its back which absolutely justifies the Government in taking the action they are now taking in bringing this measure under the Parliament Act. The hon. Member for the Camlachie Division of Glasgow (Mr. Mackinder) spoke in a way that seemed to imply, as the basis of his whole argument, that the licensed trader had an absolute right to the continuance of his licence. He spoke as f we were interfering with that right and dispossessing him of it. The House knows perfectly well that the licence is only a licence for one year, that there is only an expectation of renewal, and that in giving these five years to elapse before this Bill comes into operation we are following not only the lines of Lord Peel's Report, but, more than that, we are making no deduction for the years that have passed in the meantime. After all that we have been told by the other side that there is a chance of a general agreement on the principle of the Bill, if I were inclined to be hypercritical I might ask, "Why did you divide against the Second Reading of it last year?" If we are agreed upon the principle and the differences are only matters of detail, then why will this not be given a safe passage through another place with a view to amending it at some later stage when hon. Gentlemen are in power?
715 The principles of this Bill have been before Scotland for a very long time. They are very simple and fundamental. We say that the people of the locality ought to have some right to say whether they will have a licence or not, that they should be entitled to say that licences may remain as they are, or that they may be reduced, or that they want no licence in the locality at all. In this Bill we have absolutely safeguarded liberty by requiring a sufficient and indeed an overwhelming majority for each one of these Resolutions. I can say, as a private Scottish Member who is keenly interested in this subject, that these are the principles which have been before Scotland. The idea of complicating it with a further option has no support in Scotland. Anybody who has followed Scottish opinion and what has happened since this Bill last passed this House, knows that Scottish opinion has steadily strengthened against the increased option, and that the proposal for disinterested management, so-called, has no popular support whatever in Scotland. With regard to compulsory insurance, I do not myself see how that can be effectively put in this Bill. We have already had the admission from the other side that along the projected lines it is very difficult to see how any absolutely satisfactory scheme can be made out, and, unless we can make out a satisfactory scheme, it is very difficult indeed to see what justification there is for compelling people to insure in a scheme which we cannot ourselves guarantee. Indeed, if this House does intend to make people insure, it ought in common fairness to make sure that the scheme is a safe scheme and sufficient for the purpose.
I have said that Scottish opinion has steadily hardened in favour of this Bill. The proposals of the Bill are perfectly simple. Nothing is to happen for five years, and at the end of five years the people in the locality are to have certain rights of exercising these three options. Why in the world they should not have these options it beats me to know. We have heard some talk about majorities. The hon. Member for the Camlachie Division of Glasgow seemed to be very much surprised at the idea that the affairs of the district should be controlled by the majority in that district. He seemed to think that majorities had possibly smaller rights than minorities. I know of no other way of managing the affairs pf a district. 716 We are not afraid of trusting our own localities to decide what are their own needs. Various allegations hare been urged against my right hon. Friend about the Parliament Act and steam-rolling this Bill through the House. We have always been inclined to smile at accusations like that. There has been a good deal of steam-rolling, but it has been done by another place. Liberal Bill after Liberal Bill, whether good or bad, has been flattened out, even although they had the support of the people behind them. Thanks to the Parliament Act, we hope that process will soon pass, and that, whether good or bad, the people may have an opportunity of judging for themselves and making their voice felt in this matter. We are not discussing the Bill merely on its merits. We have got to consider the feelings of Scotland on this question. The feeling in Scotland is unanimous. I cannot agree with what was said about this not having been put before the electors. It has been put forward by every Scottish Liberal Member. Speaking for myself, at election times as well as at other times, I have put it forward in speech after speech and in election address after election address. The thing has been perfectly well known to Scotland. It has general Scottish support, and all those who are interested in temperance reform in Scotland will be glad to see it pass this House a second time, and will be glad to see it become law this Session if it can, and, if not, they will look forward to the third time of asking and to its successful application.
The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down and the Secretary of State for Scotland have both at little length enlarged upon the point that the majority of the Members in this House have been for some considerable period in favour of this Bill. The Secretary for Scotland particularly made that a point. I do not dispute for one moment that a majority of the Scottish Members of this House are in favour of the Bill, but does that mean a great majority of the people in Scotland? The right hon. Gentleman is perfectly aware that they do not represent anything like the vast majority of the people of Scotland. The majority of the people in Scotland on the Liberal side are not anything like pro rata the majority of Liberal Members in this House, and the right hon. Gentleman must not bolster up his confidence by looking back upon the serried ranks of Liberal Members behind 717 him and imagining for one moment that majority represents the majority at the present time which exists in Scotland. Further, I venture to say that this Bill does not materially interest 20 per cent, of the people in Scotland to-day. I hear the right hon. Gentleman dissent from that. As far as I know, he said, "Oh, rot!" or some equally polite words such as we are accustomed to receive from that Minister.
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
I never said anything the sort. I made a private remark to a Friend behind me and nothing to that effect.
I accept the statement of the right hon. Gentlemen and I regret that I misunderstood him. I made the statement that I believe that not 20 per cent. of the electors of Scotland take any material interest in the Bill, and I shall attempt to prove it in this way. Any hon. Member who is accustomed to addressing public meetings in Scotland knows that when he is handed over to the tender mercies of the heckler the questions he is asked upon this Bill come from only one section of the hall, namely, the faddist temperance partisan. There is no comparison between the questions that are asked upon this Bill and the questions that come from all parts of the hall upon Tariff Reform, Home Rule, the Insurance Act, or any other subject engaging the attention of the electors and people of Scotland at the present time. After my short experience of public meetings in Scotland—and I dare say the Lord Advocate would be able to do the same thing—I am able to go into a Scottish meeting and before any question is asked I can pick out with exactitude who are going to ask questions on these temperance matters—and who are not. The questioning is entirely confined to a few faddists. 1 do not wish to be misunderstood; I do not mean to say that the Scottish people are not keen on the question of temperance reform; I do not mean to indicate for a moment that the majority of my Constituents do not desire reform in this direction, but that does not necessarily mean the reform laid down in the various Clauses of this Bill.
Of the three main points embodied in the Bill there is only one with which I wish 718 to deal, and that is the question of local option. I do not intend to labour that point, because it has been argued and explained far better than I am capable of doing. But, in the first place, I object to local option because I believe that by it you would drive people from one area into another, and you would do no good to the area into which they are driven. I should like to give a few instances of my personal experience, because I believe that an ounce of fact in matters like this is worth many tons of theory. I have had an opportunity on two separate occasions in Canada, in the district in which I live, of seeing the operation of local option and of the local veto scheme. As far as my recollection serves me, about four years ago, in a small village situated five miles from where I live, taking advantage of the privileges of the local option scheme in the province of Ontario, this village did away with the retail sale of all liquors. What was the result? I was informed by the municipal authorities there that after the introduction of local option there was more drunkenness in the village than had ever before existed or been seen.
It is the village of Waterford, in the county of Norfolk, in the province of Ontario, situated about seven miles from the place which I honoured with my residence, and if the hon. Member will take the trouble to write to the Reeve of Waterford—he is the deputy-mayor—and ask him for statistics as to what led them to eventually throw over local option by a greater majority than that under which they embraced it, I think the hon. Member will be satisfied as to the accuracy of the statements I am now making. Not only was there more drunkenness in Waterford, but there were greater profits and increasing power to the monopoly holders in a town only seven miles distant. Local option in Waterford was repealed on the very earliest opportunity. Now I come to the question of compensation. I always felt that if ever I should be fortunate enough, or it may be unfortunate enough, to become a member of a board which has the power of granting or refusing licences, I should feel that my hands were very much freer if I could take away a licence from a man for the good of the community without doing any injustice to the man himself. I have become very tired, and so I dare say have many hon. 719 Members on these benches, of being told so often that we as a party, and as a class, are unalterably opposed to temperance. Nothing is further from the truth. But in order to secure reform, the people must be educated up to it. You must not proceed on the lines of senseless oppression. Let me give another Canadian instance; this time of senseless oppression. Perhaps the hon. Member opposite, in his study of the temperance question, has searched for precedents. He will remember that some thirty years ago an Act was passed in Canada called the "Scott Act," doing away with the retail sale of liquors in the province of Ontario. Does the hon. Gentleman remember what was the result of that Act?
§ Mr. C. ROBERTS
I know that a much greater portion of the province of Ontario is now under prohibition than was the ease when that Act was first introduced.
That has nothing to do with the questions I am raising. But perhaps I may incidentally remark that the towns to which the hon. Member refers will probably have the same experience as Waterford. I am simply making a statement of fact. The Scott Act was introduced in order to do away with the retail sail of liquor in the province of Ontario, and I again ask the hon. Gentleman what was the result of that Act? The result, as reported by the municipal authority, was that drunkenness very largely increased. The only places in the town near which I lived where liquor was allowed to be sold in retail quantities were the drug shops—the chemist shops—and I can remember, as a boy of six, being astonished at the length of the queue—it was like a theatre queue—standing outside the drug shop, and I was equally astonished to think there should be so many cases of cholera requiring an internal application in so little a village in the province of Ontario. The fact remains the Scott Act was repealed as being ineffective and having as its ultimate result an increase of that traffic which hon. Members are so anxious to put down. Clearly the growth of temperance must be brought about by education, and I believe that education in this matter is proceeding upon right lines at the present time. I believe that it is not only in the castles of the more fortunate that drinking day by day is becoming more and more unpopular, but I believe it is descending at the present time to the homes of the less fortunate, and I think that if hon. Members 720 opposite would devote their undoubted talents and their efforts to doing by educational methods those good things for the democracy, they would be doing better than prating so glibly on public platforms in the country that they and they alone are the friends of that democracy.
§ Mr. EUGENE WASON
The hon. Member who last spoke claims that where local option has been in existence in Canada there has been an increase of drunkenness. If that be so, and if more drink and more liquor is sold in those places where they have local option than in places where the ordinary licensing system prevails, how is it that every person connected with the trade in this country does not declare in favour of local option?
The right hon. Gentleman misunderstood me. The consumption of liquor may not be so great, but there may be far more drunkenness. The people who bought drink and were accustomed to take daily their two glasses of honest beer, might, under local option, be prevented from indulging in such consumption, and might upon a Saturday night walk five miles and take several drinks, so as to make it worth their while to walk five miles.
§ Mr. EUGENE WASON
I need not deal with that subject further, because I have not been to Ontaria. The hon. Member said that there were not 20 per cent. of the people in Scotland in favour of this measure. I controvert that entirely. I can say for myself that having fought nine contested elections in every one of which I put forward the question of local option, as the hon. Baronet (Sir G. Younger) knows, and as the hon. Member for West Edinburgh (Mr. Clyde) knows, for I had the honour of fighting them both and beating them both.
§ Mr. EUGENE WASON
I shall be quite glad to fight the hon. Baronet upon local option in Clackmannan and Kinross.
§ Mr. EUGENE WASON
I am quite content with the seat I have. The hon. Member (Captain Campbell) made an extraordinary statement. He said that when you went to a meeting, when you looked round, you could tell at once from the countenances of the people present who were going to put questions on temperance. I wonder, if I had been at a meeting of his, he would have looked at me It is one of the joys of going to a public meeting that you never know what questions you are going to be asked, and very often, if no questions are asked in Scotland, your own chairman will turn round and heckle you, which is a very pleasant process. The hon. Member who moved the Amendment, in a speech of great force, complained more than anything else that this Bill should come under the Parliament, Act. We rejoice that it is coming under the Parliament Act. He did not complain so much of the Home Rule Bill and the Welsh Disestablishment Bill coming under that Act. All he said about them was that we should have no chance of passing them if we went to the country. I believe that those Bills have the support of the country at the present time. I am satisfied that the people in Scotland understand this Bill, but they do not understand and do not care twopence about disinterested management. I say that to my hon. Friend the Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Sherwell), whose zeal in temperance reform we all acknowledge. So far as the people in Scotland are concerned, I have letters by the score entreating me as chairman of the Scottish unofficial Liberal Members to have nothing whatever to do in any shape or form with the question of disinterested management. So far as insurance is concerned, that is another story. I have never been able to understand why the trade should not arrange this matter among themselves. I should have thought that with the great wealth they possess—one scarcely takes up a paper without seeing that some wealthy brewer has left £300,000 or £400,000; there is one in the paper this morning—they would be able to make an arrangement with regard to insurance among themselves.
§ Mr. EUGENE WASON
I know, but they might assist the retailers who sell their liquor. So far as this Bill is con- 722 cerned, it is a Bill the Scottish people want. They want power in their different localities to say whether they will have the sale of liquor or not; if they wish to; have prohibition, that they shall have it; if they wish for reduction, that they shall lave it, and, if they wish things to remain as they are at the present time, then that ought to be the case.
§ Mr. EUGENE WASON
I do not think anyone wants that, or that is a serious question at all. Whatever views hon. Members from Scotland may have with reference to the question of disinterested management, I am sure that so far as the Amendment is concerned they will reject it and will stand by the Bill, and will see to it that this question, which for the last thirty years has been so prominently before the Scottish electors shall at last be settled, and this Bill become the law of the land.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER rose——
§ Mr. OUTHWAITE
May I ask your ruling, Sir, upon a point of Order, as to the propriety of an hon. Member intervening in a Debate upon a question of the restriction of the sale of liquor, when he himself is interested in its promotion?
§ Sir. G. YOUNGER
On the point of Order. May I submit that this is a Bill to increase, and not to restrict, the consumption of liquor, if it results, as it has resulted in other places—whatever may be said about drunkenness—in the increased sale of liquor, owing to the introduction of local option. This measure in no way affects myself. It does not affect my business. I am a brewer, not a retail seller, and if I may say so, I think it is rather an impertinent question.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
I know nothing in the usage, practice, or Standing Orders of the House which in any way precludes the hon. Baronet from taking part in the Debate.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
I take no further notice of the interruption. I have already characterised it.[...] I have listened with great interest to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Eugene Wason). It is a speech which I have often heard before, and I am bound to say that he has always been thoroughly consistent when he opposed me, as at other times. I 723 desire to say a word or two about the position of this Bill with regard to the Parliament Act. I fully agree with the admirable speech made by my hon. Friend the Member for West Edinburgh (Mr. Clyde). I think his view was quite unanswerable that this Bill differs in such important respects from the other two Government measures which have been placed under the Parliament Act, that there is no warrant or reason for placing under that autocratic measure a Bill of this kind, the principle of which has been fully accepted by the House of Lords, and in regard to which it is only upon questions of detail there have been any very strong differences of opinion. The other day, in justifying the placing of the Home Rule Bill under the Parliament Act, what did the Prime Minister say? He said, on 9th June, about the Home Rule Bill:—This was met in the House of Lords by a blank, summary, uncompromising negative. These are precisely the conditions with which the Parliament Act was intended to deal,They are the very converse of the conditions under which we are working now with regard to this particular Bill, and by inference one is entitled to say that if these were the conditions intended—I accept frankly the Prime Ministers statement; that exactly follows out what he said during the progress of the Bill—I think the right hon. Gentleman is very wrong in placing this measure under the Parliament Act. I do not care whether it is a Temperance Bill or anything else. It is not the fact that it is a Temperance Bill which makes me say that. If it were education or anything else in which there were differences of opinion with regard to machinery, if the principle of the measure had been accepted by the House of Lords, it was never contemplated by many people who supported the Parliament Act that it would be used for the purpose, and it is wholly wrong to do so in this particular case. I tried to tempt my right hon. Friend opposite to resign his seat and come and fight me in Ayr. I wonder if I could tempt the right hon. Gentleman to resign his seat for St. Rollox. If he will I will resign mine in Ayr Burghs and we will ask them whether this is the kind of thing they think ought to be done by a free and unfettered assembly. I will fight an election there. I have an opponent in the field, so I suppose has the right hon. Gentleman. Some time ago he referred to his election and he taunted me that his majority was bigger than mine. The odds, 724 therefore, are considerably against me. I am perfectly ready now to resign my seat in Ayr and test the question if the right hon. Gentleman will resign his seat and test it also. I cannot say anything fairer than that.
§ 3.0 P.M.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
So far as that is concerned, it would be a very interesting and sporting thing on the part of both of us to do, and I will give the right hon. Gentleman a week to think over it. As far as I can make out the Parliament Act, the House of Lords is left with two important privileges. One is the power to delay a measure, and the other is the power to amend it. They have not sought in this case to delay the measure in the sense of rejecting it. In the case of the Home Rule and Disestablishment Bills, they have exercised that option. In this particular case they passed the Second Reading. They accepted the principle and sent down certain Amendments which this House rejected. They reconsidered them and sent down a smaller number of Amendments dealing with only three or four points. They were not even considered. The right hon. Gentleman did not even move them. I went to Mr. Speaker to ask whether it would be possible for me to move them so that they might be considered in the House, but Mr. Speaker said it was impossible because the whole time of the House belonged to the Government, and no one but a Member of the Front Bench opposite could move those Amendments. Therefore, they were not considered at all. Does anyone suppose for a minute that if the Prime Minister had been in his place the result would have been exactly as it was? He never is here on a Scotch debate—I have had to complain of it often before. I sympathise with the stress under which he has been placed in the last few days, and there is some excuse for him to-day perhaps. But this is an important matter. The right hon. Gentleman has been a Scottish Member for twenty-five years. He owes a great deal to his constituency and a good deal to Scotland, and I believe if he had been in his place on that day and heard the debate and realised the temper of the House, he would not have given the decision which I understand he gave from his bathroom when he was asked what was to be done. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, at all events, showed very clearly how it affected him on that occasion. We all saw it, and 725 I believe if the right hon. Gentleman had been here the situation would have been different, and we should not have got into such an impasse. Therefore, I think one is entitled to say that where the differences of opinion are after all not very great, and where any reasonable and compromising attitude is shown by the Secretary for Scotland on one or two of these points agreement could be arrived at, and I do not believe agreement will be arrived at, and I do not think any good will be done unless there is some amount of compromise in the matter. I now come to the Lord Advocate's speech. It was an interesting speech, but there were in it many statements with which I am afraid I cannot agree. The Lord Advocate seems to think the transfer of authority in this matter makes no very great difference.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
I know. But he rather made out that it made no very great difference, or rather did not call for any protective Clause in the interest of those who would be placed under the new authority. Of course, we know he wants insurance with a view to smoothing the action of the Bill, but he did not think there was any need for an extended time notice or anything of that sort, and he still says so. Does he really seriously say that a change of authority of that kind from a representative body elected for the particular purpose to a chance vote of the people, is not so important a change that we ought in some kind of way to safeguard the interests of those who are affected?
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
A vote of 30 per cent. on the parish roll is nothing more than a chance vote. In the first place, it is too small a vote—too few people are permitted to vote. Then a great many of these get no chance of voting at all. Ten per cent. of the population in any particular district could carry prohibition. The thing is monstrous and absurd, and to say that the change does not involve the necessity on the part of those who 726 make it to do something to see that it is carried out in a fair and reasonable way is a proposition which I am surprised that he should advance. Why is it that a time notice is asked for? Why is an extended time notice wanted. Because it is the only thing that hon. Members opposite will give. They will not give any other kind of compensation. It has not been asked for. These people realise that even within ten years they could not insure the whole value of their premises. They have never pretended to do so. The scheme of insurance was only partial. It never was said to be anything else but partial. It was my duty to put it forward in our Debates last year on the Report stage in this House. I said it was merely a solatium, a partial protection. It gave them a chance of an average, because they were not all going to lose their licences, and it gave them something at all events out of the wreck to start with again, because the whole of their capital must be embarked during the time the time notice runs, and they do not get the advantage of an ordinary compensatory scheme. Cannot the right hon. Gentleman see the advantage to a man who is going to lose his licence at the end of ten years by a popular vote? If he cannot see it, it is no good my arguing the question further, because it seems very plain to me, and I think must be to anyone who takes a fair view of the situation. We maintain our view as strongly as ever. The administration of a matter of this kind ought to be in the hands of selected people who can be trusted to exercise the power in a judicial manner and in a fairly consistent and reasonable way, and not as the result of some popular feeling or popular prejudice, or something of that kind by which votes are very often controlled in elections; and I retain my objection, therefore, to the change. But the House of Lords accepted that. We have not sought to reintroduce any objection to it in our Amendment to-day; and we have therefore confined that Amendment within the limits which have been set by the House of Lords themselves in the case of the one or two Amendments which were sent down at the end of last Session, and which were not considered by the Secretary for Scotland or by the Government.
The right hon. Gentleman further told us that the Bill was a compromise. I suppose that was to a certain extent true, but it was a compromise between the extremists opposite and the more moderate 727 Members like the hon. Member for the Leith Burghs and the hon. Member for Aberdeen. All of them desired the adoption of some measure of licensing reform, though some of them entirely objected to the carrying out of the proposals in the Bill as originally introduced. Therefore, in that respect, it cannot be said to be a compromise as between those on this side of the House who oppose the Bill and those who wish to carry it out in full. The right hon. Gentleman also made a remark which amused me immensely. He said the Bill had the support in Scotland of those who are interested in the matter, but who are a comparatively limited number. That statement was supported by the hon. Member for North Ayrshire (Captain Campbell). It is really only a limited number who have forced this question upon Liberal Members, but they are the balancing factor in many of the constituencies. Many hon. Members have in the past accepted the position of supporting these proposals as to licensing, just as many have accepted the position of supporting the proposals for Women Suffrage, never thinking that they would be called upon to carry them out. Now that the Bill has been brought forward, they feel bound to carry out their pledges, though they object to such changes. I was myself responsible for the proposal of some of the changes which were carried out in the Act of 1902, and no one therefore can charge me with being an opponent of reasonable changes. No one can say that I have not had a fairly decent record in that matter, but, notwithstanding that, I am supposed to have an interest in protecting the trade. I am not objecting to reasonable changes, but I say that we who are opposing this Bill are entitled to say that any changes that are made should be fair and reasonable, and that they should have regard to the justice of the case.
As to the question of insurance, I disagree with what was said by the Lord Advocate, who seems to think that it is possible for those traders in Scotland to voluntarily insure themselves. I do not think that is the fact. No doubt certain groups of them can do it, but, as the right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well, the success of an insurance scheme depends upon the largeness of the area from which the contributions are drawn and the amount of the claims that may be made upon the funds. If you do not embrace the whole of the trade, you very much 728 lower the average, and therefore a voluntary scheme would not work well. There is another point. There are certain areas in Scotland inhabited largely by people of the class of whom it may be truly said that they would not vote for local option under any circumstances. In those areas not one of the licence holders would insure himself voluntarily, because he knows that, if a vote were taken, there would be no chance of the people taking away his licence. You may therefore rule out the possibility of such licence holders being included in a voluntary scheme. You thereby reduce the average and increase the risk. That is why a voluntary system is no good. An hon. Member referred to the offer of a policy by a mutual licence company, but that offer is not of much account. It is the offer of a policy which would insure people against the loss of their licences by certain payments. It is very much the same thing as the scheme of compulsory insurance which was rejected last year. In last year's scheme, however, you had the whole of the trade involved, and, of course, you had the advantage of that. In this case you will only have a few licences insured. It is a counsel of perfection to say that people can insure themselves voluntarily against the risks in this trade. It is quite a mistake to suppose that that is possible, and if the Lord Advocate truly believes, as I think he does, that it is indispensable in the interest of justice, and for the smooth passage of the Bill, I think he takes up a very unfortunate attitude in refusing, as he did last year, and as he proposes to do again, to consider any proposal for insurance which may be made, either in this House or in the House of Lords. I do not think it is any use at this stage of our consideration of the matter to go into the question of the Bill itself. It is not in the least necessary to do that. We all know it from top to bottom. Like the curate's egg, it is good in some parts and bad in others.
I still hold a very strong opinion that this measure is very unjust, and that far too much stress is laid on the argument adduced to-day and in previous Debates that a licence only lasts a year. Far too little consideration is given to the fact that custom in this matter is stronger than technical law. A custom which has grown up in long generations is not to be lightly or ruthlessly set aside without reasonable consideration for those who have embarked their money in this enterprise, who have conducted their business in a proper 729 manner, and who will lose their all if they are deprived of their livelihood, unlike traders in England, where public-houses are largely owned by big corporations, and where, if the licence holders lose part of them, they probably improve the remainder. In Scotland the licence is the property of the man who runs the public-house, and if he loses his licence he loses his all. Therefore he is all the more entitled to be protected and considered in the matter. If we recall what was said when the Budget of 1909–10 was under discassion, it will not be denied that the Government committeed themselves over and over again, through the mouths of right hon. Gentlemen cpposite, to the obligation to consider that the position of the free licence holder was different from that of the tied house licence holder. There is no sign of that in this Bill. You cannot say that five years' notice is anything like adequate notice. I see that the right hon. Gentleman brings back the date of 1912, so that if the Bill were to pass it would be four years' notice from now. I do not think that was a wise or generous thing to do, but there is no use saying more about it, for there it is. But does it preclude him, or does it preclude the House, from making suggestions which would make the Government consider in a fair and reasonable spirit any Amendment that may be sent on from another place when the Bill goes there, and deal with those with an open mind and in a reasonable way? This appears to be the only chance that the Bill will pass into law this year. Although by the Parliament Act you can force it into law next year if you are still sitting on these benches, that is a gamble as to whether or not the Liberal party will be in power this time next year and will be able to pass it a third time. Personally, I am inclined myself to gamble on the belief that they will not, though I may be quite wrong; but in any event I would earnestly like to see this question settled somehow. I have had far too much of it all the time I have been in Parliament. It is no pleasure to me to have this Bill recurring year after year. I am only too anxious to have a settlement if we can get a chance, but so far as I am individually concerned, T do not think that the Bill as it stands is fair or just, and there ought to be some compromise on the matter and some reasonable adjustment in order that it should pass.
§ Mr. MUNRO
I have listened, as I always do, with very great attention and respect 730 to the hon. Baronet who has just sat down. I do not propose to follow him in his controversy with the Lord Advocate, hut I do not quite understand the attitude which he takes up with regard to the Motion moved by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for West Edinburgh. I do not yet know whether the attitude of those who support my hon. and learned Friend is that of approval of the principle of the Bill. I should have thought, reading the terms of the Resolution on the Paper, that the view of my hon. and learned Friend was that if the Bill contained the options which his Resolution desiderates, and if the conditions under which the Bill was to work were favourable, he would not oppose the principle of it.
§ Mr. MUNRO
If that be the position, I find it a little difficult to understand how the hon. Baronet and those who sit, near him, who have described the Bill as tyrannous and unjust, are, nevertheless, prepared to sacrifice their convictions upon these vital matters in order to avoid challenging the principle of the Bill.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
The hon. Gentleman is really misrepresenting us. I think that this Amendment expressly covers those very points. We are willing to waive our personal opinions and objections to the principle only on condition that these things are put right.
§ Mr. MUNRO
I think we are at one in this matter. I rather understood from the terms of the Motion that if the limits were not undue and the conditions upon which the Bill were to work would be favourable the Bill would not be objected to. The hon. and learned Gentleman who moved the Amendment said he desired to avoid taking up a resolute and uncompromising attitude with regard to this Bill. Then he put down a Motion which really involves the rejection and destruction of the Bill. I do not understand how he can reconcile the statement in the early part of his speech with the Motion which he has moved. I am not surprised that the principle of the Bill is not seriously challenged because it is a principle which cannot be gainsaid. I am not going to discuss it in detail at this time of the day. It has been discussed in this House over and over again. But everyone knows that drinking facilities exist for the convenience of the public, and surely it is just and fair that the public should settle the extent to which 731 their convenience requires these drinking facilities. As someone has put it rather picturesquely there should be a judgment in this matter straight from the hearthstones of the people. That is the view which at least in this part of the House we entertain in regard to the principle of the Bill. We go further, and in spite of what has been said in this Debate, we maintain that the Bill has behind it the support of the people of the country from which we come, and that it has ranged behind it the full force of the progressive movement in Scotland.
Let there be no mistake about this. There have been a great many gibes flung at the temperance party on this subject in this Debate and in other Debates, and it has also been customary to deride the organisations of the party, but the temperance party is really the backbone of the progressive movement in Scotland, just as those who are opposed to the principle which they espouse are the roost formidable foes of that movement. Accordingly, so far as the principle is concerned it is well founded and well supported, and we are justified in voting for the Second Reading which substantiates it. I understand from my hon. and learned Friend's speech in the opening of the Debate and subsequent speeches that hon. Members opposite challenge the application to this Bill of the provisions of the Parliament Act. My hon. and learned Friend seemed to suggest that unless you have a question which is a large constitutional question, on which there is no division of opinion on this side of the House, and a Bill the principle of which the House of Lords had rejected, you ought not to apply the terms of the Parliament Act. Hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on that side did their very best to prevent our passing the Parliament Act. Now that we have got it, they seek to restrain its operation in a way which the Statute itself does not contemplate, because there is not a word in the Parliament Act, which I have looked up in connection with my hon. and learned Friend's suggestion to the effect that it should be limited to large constitutional questions, that if any difference of opinion is expressed by a single Member on this side of the House the Parliament Act should not apply, and that if the Bill is not rejected on a Second Reading in the House of Lords, the Parliament Act should 732 equally not apply. On the contrary, the Statute clearly states that a Bill shall be deemed to be rejected if Amendments in the House of Lords are not agreed to in this House, and accordingly I submit that the present Bill comes within the purview of that Act, and that that Act may properly be applied to it.
There have been three matters of complaint. The first is the suggestion that another option should be included in this Bill—disinterested management. It has been said that it is only logical to include disinterested management as an option, but I pray the House to observe that this Bill does not purport for a moment to deal with anything but the number of licences. It has nothing whatever to do with the type of licences. It does not interfere with the existing jurisdiction of the Licensing Courts in Scotland, except in so far as it may say "You shall not have so many licences,' or "you shall have the same system as prevails now," or "you shall have no licences at all." It settles one matter, and one matter only, namely, the number of licences. When you suggest the introduction of disinterested management you suggest the importation into this Bill of an alien idea, namely, the type of licences, and if you are going to insert disinterested management, why should you not insert the municipalisation of licences, and the various types of disinterested management, which are many? Those who support the insertion of this option have said they want to get freedom of choice. There are many types of disinterested management. Why should not they be included in this Bill as options, if you are going to depart from the safe anchorage of number and leave to the electors the decision of questions of type? You might as well remit to the electors to treat of matters which are reserved to the justices under this Bill, namely, the suitability of the applicant and the suitability of the premises, as introduce the option which has been suggested; in other words, you might remit the whole matter of the suitability of the premises, of the applicant, and the needs of the neighbourhood to the decision of the electors. No one suggests that that should be done. I leave that point, simply putting it to the House to consider whether there is anything in the argument that it is only logical to introduce the option of disinterested management, when, in point of fact, the only thing which the Bill now contains, or purports to contain, 733 are points dealing with the number of licences alone.
Apart from that, we have on the admission of the hon. and learned Member who moved the Motion from the Front Bench opposite, the statement that disinterested management in Scotland is a new and untried thing. I am not quite sure that that is exactly accurate. It has been tried in certain places, and the results do not seem to have been altogether satisfactory. But assuming that it is new and untried, is that not a reason why it should not be applied in Scotland until there has been more experience of it? When that experience has been obtained and it has stood the test of time, then it might be included in a Bill devoted to disinterested management alone and applicable to the whole country. I do not see, however, why Scotland should be singled out for the experiment.
§ Mr. MUNRO
If the hon. Baronet considers for a moment, he will agree that the question of local veto occupies a very different position in Scotland from that which disinterested management holds. It has been widely supported for years. As to the question of the time limit, it, really comes to this: According to the decision of the House of Lords, the proposal is that there should be a time limit of ten years, instead of five years, as inserted in the Bill. The position of the unfortunate publican in Scotland seems to be assimilated to the position of a gentleman residing in the North-East of Ireland under Home Rule or a Welsh curate under the Welsh Disestablishment Bill. I do not think it is quite so bad as that, or as bad as it has been represented to be, because, after all, one must remember that this is a matter which the publicans of Scotland have had many opportunities of considering. Local veto has been ringing in their ears for thirty years, and probably they have been haunted by it in their dreams.
§ Mr. MUNRO
Observe what is involved in the suggestion of the limit of ten years. That would carry us over two General 734 Elections, as regulated by the Parliament Act. I am not a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but I predict that at the ensuing General Election, if this Bill becomes an Act of Parliament, a strong attempt will be made to secure, if not the repeal, at least the drastic modification of the Bill, before it comes into operation at all. We have got to take that risk in regard to the first General Election, but we are not prepared to take it in regard to two General Elections. So far as compulsory insurance is concerned, any business man who looks at the subject must be clearly of opinion that the scheme proposed is not a. business one. It is nothing better than the constitution of what I might term a statutory lucky-bag or till. If the till is full at the time when a No-licence Resolution is passed you may get something, but if it is empty at the time you will get nothing. I think I can hear what the hon. Baronet the Member for Ayr Burghs (Sir G. Younger) would say in the event of a No-licence Resolution being passed, and the till being found empty. I cannot pretend to his eloquence, but I think he would say, "This is a Government measure and you put into your Government measure a scheme which you called insurance, and you compelled every publican in the land to go into that scheme, and now, when there is no money in the till, you seek to evade liability by the mean, shabby, and paltry excuse that you are not liable for the solvency of the scheme."
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
I hope I am an honourable man; and I would point out that when I produced my scheme last year I distinctly committed myself to admission of the fact that it might happen that the till would be empty, and it could not be helped; certainly I should make no such speech as the hon. Member suggests.
§ Mr. MUNRO
The hon. Baronet does not always remember what he says, and he might, on the occasion which I suggested, forget the speech he has referred to. I hope I do not do him any injustice, for I should be sorry to do so, but I can see the possibility of the hon. Baronet making a speech on those lines, though with very much greater eloquence than I can command. I put it to the House that this Bill is one which the people of Scotland have wanted for a very long time, and though they have not so far realised their wishes, yet they are determined on this occasion not to be disappointed. What the Government, of 1906, with a huge majority, were 735 unable to do, this Government, with its modest majority and with the leverage of the Parliament Act, can and will achieve.
§ Sir H. CRAIK
This Debate has pursued the course to which we have become accustomed. We have had the hon. Member for Lanarkshire, who was satisfied in his reply to my right hon. and learned Friend on the Front Bench, to use certain arguments based on a document which he had received by this morning's post One of his chief arguments in favour of the Bill was that if he supported all the arguments against the measure contained in that document, it would be hopeless for him to expect to be accepted as a Liberal candidate in Scotland. We have had the usual intervention of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Clackmannan (Mr. E. Wason), who, according to his accustomed method, assumed the role of the heavy father, who blessed all round, and bade us accept everything for the best in this best of all worlds. He referred to arguments adduced by my hon. Friend the Member for North Ayrshire (Captain Campbell), who had referred to his experience of the prohibition regulations in certain parts of Canada. What was the argument of the right hon. Gentleman? Surely, he said, if those regulations led to an increase of drinking, then those on this side of the House ought to be standing up and supporting them. Does the right hon. Gentleman mean to impute to the Members on this side that it is our object to engage in increasing drunkenness throughout the country? Does he think it worthy of himself, even as a joke, to use such an argument?
§ Mr. E. WASON
The hon. Member is entirely mistaken as to what I said. I was not alluding to what hon. Members of the House would do or say. What I said was that if, as the hon. Member for North Ayrshire said, where there was local option that meant increase of drinking, then those of the trade and those interested in the subject of drink should support local option.
§ Sir H. CRAIK
That is even worse. Does he impute to myself personally or any other Members the smallest connection with the drink traffic? If he does not, what is the appositeness of his argument, what has it to do with the question? It is all very well to stand up and declare in a sort of attitude of superiority that we ought to accept everything this great 736 Government presents to us. We do not accept that, and we resent the argument by which he imputes to us an interest in associating with those who are dealing with the production of drink. The most interesting speech, I can say for my own part, which has been addressed to us from the other side is that from the hon. Member who spoke last. He always has thoughtful arguments to address the House, and they naturally impress even his opponents. I want, however, to clear up one point at the beginning of his speech. He wished to know whether we were not on this side of the House inconsistent in supporting the Motion of my hon. and learned Friend if we still adhered to opposition to the principles of this Bill? Let there be no doubt at all about this. I am as strong now as ever I was in opposition and shall continue to be, root and branch, to the principle of this Bill. I wish to have no doubt whatever on the subject. I am opposed to all this sort of legislation to make men moral by Act of Parliament. I disbelieve in it. I look upon it as a discredit to my fellow countrymen, and it makes me indignant to hear an hon. Member like the hon. Member for Lanark say he himself retains his own freedom and is perfectly free to make use of alcoholic liquors, but he wishes to deprive his fellow countrymen of the working classes of similar independence and liberty.
§ Sir W. MENZIES
The hon. Member has made a distinct accusation. I said nothing of the kind. This Bill does not prohibit any individual in Scotland from buying drink if he wants to.
§ Sir H. CRAIK
What grounds has the hon. Member for his interruption? Does he not see this Bill gives to him and the majority, as he tells us there is a majority, power to deprive the working man who wishes to have a glass of beer of the liberty of doing so? What else did I say, and what is the use of the hon. Member rising to make an inapposite interruption? Let him stand up and be bold enough to adhere to what he says. I dissent from it. I think, in saying what he said, he was insulting his fellow citizens. I am opposed to the principle of the Bill. I am opposed to taking this question out of the hands of magisterial and judicial authority of whatever sort, and placing it in the hands of those who vote only according to their caprice. Constitute your judicial and magisterial authority any way you think best. If it is wrongly constituted 737 that is the fault of the Front Bench and of our Government, and let them change it but do place this important matter of the regulation of the life of the community in those who act not with caprice and only according to their own tastes and judgment, but in the hands of those who are bound to exercise judicial deliberation in coming to a decision. Upon what grounds do hon. Members wish to impose this regulation—not, mark you, a regulation for keeping due order and proper police observation of those places where drink is sold, but a regulation for interfering with their fellow citizens in a matter in which those fellow citizens are the best judges. On what grounds do they base their right to do this? I presume upon the ground that all alcohol is detrimental and evil in its results to the constitution. I pay all respect to those who, by their own inquiries and by their own conscientious convictions accept that view. I can only say, in the first place, that it is not established by anything like scientific unanimity, and that there are many scientific men of quite equal rank and standing to the others who deny it.
Be that as it may, I come to a much more personal and more important consideration. Do the hon. and right hon. Members who are supporting this Bill apply that principle to their own conduct and their own lives? I can understand a man who is a conscientious teetotaler supporting this as a necessary part of what he thinks is closely connected with the health and physical well-being of his fellow citizens, but I do not understand the action of those who support legislation of this sort, and who yet in their own lives, and according to their own habits, show that they have no such belief in the detrimental effect of alcohol as implied in this Bill. I cannot distinguish their conduct from what in ordinary parlance we are accustomed to call hypocritical cant. I have used these arguments and I have explained clearly and with absolute frankness my own position. It is unaltered. I wish to show how much in deference to general opinion and how far we who hold these opinions have gone when we are prepared to support the Amendment of my hon. and learned Friend. We do this for the sake of peace, because we understood that under the Parliament Act a measure would only be passed after every attempt at compromise had been tried. We do it because we think that in the face of a large majority of opinion we may, 738 while holding conscientiously our principles as strongly as ever, yet as commonsense men try if some compromise is possible. Is compromise possible? Will compromise ever be possible in a measure like this, if it is forced through by the Parliament Act? Why, if compromise were ever possible, it would be in a case like this, where half your own Members protested against it last year and asked you to—[HON. MEMBERS: "No, no!"]a very large number, and half at all events of the arguments and conscientious convictions were on the side of something like compromise. That was refused, and we have not had a single word of protest from those Members who resisted the Government's action last Session. What is the reason for it? Because they know that this measure cannot be altered, that compromise is impossible, that it must go through by the mechanical process of the Parliament Act.
We all know how that mechanical process will work. On Monday next we are to carry the time limit for all the three measures which this log-rolling system is to carry into law. The Home Rulers in Ireland must be satisfied with the Home Rule Bill; the Nonconformists in Wales must be satisfied with the Welsh Church Bill; and the extreme teetotalers in Scotland must have their dole handed out to them. So the coalition will be held together, and by the mechanical process of the Parliament Act you will hope to bring your three measures upon the Statute Book. We have attempted, to compromise. We have offered large concessions. We have offered, for the sake of peace, not to yield, but to waive principles to which we are closely attached, in order that you should introduce at any rate some sort of moderation into your proposals. We ask two things: first, that the popular voice which you wish to put highest should not be restricted in its choice, that it should not be bound to give its judgment simply as you wish, but that it should be freely able to chooes another method which has worked well in other countries, and which, mark you, removes what we all admit to be the one great blot upon our licensing system, namely, that it gives an interest in extending the trade to those who hold the licences. We wish to have the possibility of establishing a system under which that interest in the increase of the liquor traffic would be separated from the trade. That is a sound principle. Whether it is a sound principle or not, we ask you to prove the 739 strength of your conviction in the sovereignty of the people by giving them freedom to choose that system if they wish. The other principle upon which we insist is that if you are to carry out a great measure of reform, as you think it, it should be at the expense, not of one class, not of a trade which has been recognised by the State, which has paid taxes to the State, which is practically in partnership with the State, but at the expense of those taxpayers who are responsible for it. W hen England abolished slavery it did not do it at the expense of the slave owners; if took the expense upon itself. Are you fallen below the moral standard of your grandfathers? Are you prepared to carry out a sort of second-hand philanthropy which will work great benefits, not at your own expense, but to the dertiment of those who have equal rights in their property with those which you possess?
We are told that there is no claim for compensation, because, forsooth, licence holders have had long warning. Is it to be understood that if a few hairbrained politicians tell us that there is a possibility of all property being abolished, of men being taxed to poverty, we are to date our right to any property we possess from the time of those utterances? Hitherto we have acted upon Acts of Parliament. We have thought that until Parliament chose to deprive us of our property we had a right to possess it. Now, forsooth, the doctrine is set up that because someone chooses to threaten the property of the hon. Member or myself, we are from the date of that utterance to consider that our property is perfectly insecure and that we must provide compensation for ourselves at our own expense. Is that what political argument has conic to? I wish to support the Amendment of my hon. and learned Friend because it offers a fair compromise—a compromise in which by far the greater part of the giving is on our side and very little on yours, and even that small part, although urged to do so by his own supporters, the right hon. Gentleman is unable to concede, because he knows that he cannot change a line of this measure without endangering the automatic process of the Parliament Act. My own position is perfectly clear. I dislike and disbelieve in this sort of legislation. I think it no compliment but a derogation of the respect due to my fellow countrymen. I disbelieve in it because I do not think it will have the effect desired. But for the sake of peace, 740 for the sake of a settlement, we will even go the length of accepting this Bill if you will, first, give free scope to the choice of the people, and, secondly, enable the change to be carried out on lines of justice and righteousness and not of plunder and spoliation.
§ Mr. ADAMSON
I desire on behalf of the Labour party to support the Second Reading of this Bill. Whatever the Bill may contain with which we may not be in complete agreement, in contradistinction to the sentiments so clearly expressed by the hon. Member who has just spoken, we on these benches believe that the basic principle on which the Bill rests secures for the people of Scotland the principle of self-government in connection with the control and conduct of the liquor traffic, and with that principle we are in unanimous agreement. Whether it is the conduct and control of the liquor traffic or any other matter connected with our national life, it should be left to the will of the people to decide the issue involved for the time being. The hon. Member for West Edinburgh (Mr. Clyde), in the course of a speech delivered in his usual eloquent and emphatic style, informed the House that, so far as he personally was concerned, if ever he had an opportunity of exercising his vote in connection with this measure, he would vote every time in favour of the "no change" option. I could not help thinking that if the circumstances under which the hon. Member lived had been less favourable, if he had had to live in the circumstances in which many of the Scottish people, particularly the workers, are placed, if he had had to live in a locality surrounded by too many licensed houses, it would have had some weight with him before he gave expression in such an emphatic manner to that intention. I venture to suggest—I am sorry the hon. Member is not in his place—that if he had lived under circumstances such as I have described, that he would be like us, who claim on behalf of our people the right to have some say in the conditions that obtain in the locality where we live, and that it should not be left entirely to those who desire the opportunity of saying whether or not they desire to drink. As a Scottish Member I am pleased that this Bill gives us the means of making some progress in the direction of temperance reform. I thought before we heard some of the speeches which have been delivered to-day, that in all parts of the House there was a considerable 741 Measure of agreement, at least so far as the various sections of the Scottish Members were concerned. As a matter of fact the Mover and Seconder of the Amendment to the Second Reading of this Bill last year professed to be strongly in favour of temperance reform. The hon. Member for East Renfrewshire, in moving the Amendment, said:—I am ready to admit that in Scotland there is great room for improvement in the direction of the control of the trade, and for advance in the direction of temperance.The hon. Member for Camlachie, who seconded it, said:—We on this side of the House take as serious a view as hon. Members opposite of the evils of intemperance.The speeches delivered to-day from the opposite side have not been as sympathetic towards temperance reform as those I have just quoted. There is no shadow of doubt but that for a long number of years the question of local option has played an important part in nearly every Parliamentary contest in Scotland. It would be too much for me to claim that the whole of the Scottish people are in complete accord with the provisions contained in this Bill. But as a step in the right direction I think there is no doubt but that a majority of the Scottish people are ready to accept the Bill. There are other good reasons why I personally, as one who has been keenly interested in temperance reform, support this Bill. There are two reasons which I think are as of much importance from the standpoint of labour, as from the general democratic principle contained in the Bill, The first is that because of the great amount of damage that is done to the physical well-being of a considerable section of our people this Bill is of great importance. We believe that the greatest asset that any nation can be possessed of is a healthy race of men and women, well able to fulfil the duties and responsibilities of citizenship, a race of men and women able to enjoy life with a minimum of pain and with the greatest amount of pleasure. My second personal reason for supporting this Bill is because I believe that the money invested in the liquor traffic brings a very poor return in the shape of wages to the workers. We on these benches do not believe that the drink traffic is the greatest cause of poverty. We hold the opinion that the greatest cause of poverty is the unequal distribution of the wealth earned by the country. At the same time we are strongly of opinion that the money in- 742 vested in the liquor traffic bring less return in the shape of wages than an equal amount invested in any other industry. For these reasons and on behalf of the party which I represent, I support the Second Reading of this Bill, and hope that it will be passed.
§ Mr. SHERWELL
I am not sure that I should have attempted to intervene in the course of this Debate this afternoon—which I do not regard as the critical Debate in connection with the future of this measure—but for the misgiving that if I do not frankly state or restate my attitude concerning this Bill my position and attitude may be seriously misjudged elsewhere. May I at the very outset express quite plainly my personal regret that we have not had a fuller attendance of the Cabinet at this Debate. I do not say that with one shadow of disrespect either to the important position held by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Scotland, or for the influence and position of his right hon. Friend the Lord Advocate. But I express my regret that we have not had a more numerous and influential representation of the Cabinet at this Debate because this measure happens to present the first real test of the Parliament Act since it same into operation. It is a mere accident of circumstances that the particular Bill which is to furnish the first efficient test of the Parliament Act deals with the question of temperance. I wish to say quite frankly that the position I take up on this point this afternoon is precisely the position I should take up if the measure before the House dealt with any other subject than that of licensing reform. It is perfectly well known to the House that so far as the Home Rule Bill and the Welsh Disestablishment Bill are concerned, there can be no sort of use in prolonging discussion or in shrinking from the effective use of the powers of the Parliament Act in reference to either of these two measures. But in this particular case we happen to be dealing with a set of circumstances which it seems to me were specifically contemplated by the Prime Minister in the course of the Debates of this House upon the Parliament Act. The Prime Minister and his colleagues again and again were careful to assure the House that under the powers of the Parliament Act the opportunities presented to another place for exercising delay, revision and amendment, would not be restricted, but would, if anything, be enlarged. Now it is an open 743 secret that there has never been for a single day one atom of dispute, so far as the House of Lords is concerned, concerning the principle of this Bill. This is a Bill the principle of, which has been accepted by both Houses. The whole dispute between the two Houses has turned upon the reasonableness or otherwise of certain proposed Amendments which everyone must admit in no way infringed the underlying and radical principle of this Bill. Therefore I very greatly regret that we should have to enter upon the further consideration of this Bill this afternoon without one word of guidance as to the novel suggestion stage at which we have been led to suppose there will be an opportunity for adjustment. I am quite in the dark, as I believe all my colleagues are in the dark, as to what this suggestion stage is to be and when the suggestion stage is to occur, and the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Scotland, in moving the Second Reading, gave the House no enlightenment as to the points which might be open to reconsideration by the Government in connection with further stages of this Bill. The position would be very easily explicable if we had any substantial reason given to us for supposing that the points upon which difference has arisen between the two Houses were from a radical and essential point of view material points.
The Secretary for Scotland in February of this year, speaking in Glasgow, referred to the changes suggested in another place in this Bill as changes which made the Bill "absolutely useless." I would like to ask the right hon. Gentleman on what sort of evidence he based a very grave statement of that kind. In the speech to which I refer, in which the right hon. Gentleman used the phrase, he gave no sort of evidence to substantiate the gravity of that particular statement. What actually are the material changes suggested and interpolated by the House of Lords into this particular measure? I select the most material and critical of these Amendments. The first, as we have been reminded, was the extension of the time limit from five years to ten years, and we have heard to-day for the first time, in perfectly definite and explicit language from the Lord Advocate, that in his view, at least, this extension he, for one, speaking for himself, could not consider favourably for a single moment. I am not here to say one word either for or against that particular 744 Amendment extending the time limit from five to ten years, but does the right hon. Gentleman suggest seriously to this House that that particular Amendment made by the House of Lords makes this Bill "absolutely useless," to quote his own words. Even if the time limit be extended from five to ten years, the operative powers of the Bill with regard to local veto and clubs, and so forth, remain precisely as they are to-day. But as a matter of fact, is it really the case that the Government have never been prepared in this Bill to reconsider the question of the term of the time limit. Is it really the fact that the Secretary for Scotland himself has never contemplated the possibility of a reasonable extension of the time limit in reference to the option of local veto? In a previous Debate is it not a fact that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Clackmannan (Mr. Eugene Wason) expressed his personal willingness to consider an extension of the time limit? Is it not a fact that the hon. Member who represents one of the Divisions of Aberdeen, to whom the promoters of this Bill are under a deep obligation for what he has done in previous years in regard to this measure, speaking as a representative Scottish Member, stated that he was prepared, in order to secure the passage of the Bill, to contemplate a time limit of eight or ten years. What I protest against is that the right hon. Gentleman should refer to an Amendment of that kind as one which would make the Bill absolutely useless to the people of Scotland. Is it a wrecking Amendment? It may be expedient or inexpedient; it may be just or unjust, but is the extension of the time limit proposed by the House of Lords a wrecking Amendment, or one that makes the Bill absolutely useless?
Take another Amendment. There was the insurance scheme inserted in another place which, in all its essentials and broad features, followed the lines of the insurance scheme proposed in this House. I am not an advocate of the scheme of compulsory insurance. The insertion of such a scheme is quite immaterial from the point of view of the interests which I personally may have in this Bill, but I have always been prepared to support proposals for compulsory insurance on precisely the same ground as the Lord Advocate himself was prepared to support if In my judgment the inclusion of such an arrangement would be a most substantial help in facilitating the options 745 of this Bill. Will the Secretary for Scotland tell the House that he regards the inclusion of the insurance scheme as an Amendment which makes the Bill useless? Let me take that which in the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman is a most important option in the Bill, the option of local veto. What change did the other place make as regards that? The material provision in that option is unquestionably the proposal that a fixed proportion of 30 per cent. of the electors must vote before the veto can be carried. That is the most important provision in the Clause relating to a no-licence proposal. The House of Lords left that entirely untouched. What they did was to substitute two-thirds for three-fifths as the number of those who voted in favour. [Cheers.] Do my right hon. Friend and hon. Members who cheer that remark really think that the difference between two-thirds and three-fifths constitutes a wrecking Amendment, and makes the Bill absolutely useless? I respectfully submit that there is no seriousness in a proposition of that kind. Three-fifths may be better than two-thirds, but it is immaterial because the governing factor is the proportion of the electorate which you require to endorse the vote. If anybody suggests that the difference is important, then I confess that I do not take their proposal with very great seriousness.
I now come to the question of limitation. What was the alteration suggested by the House of Lords in regard to that? Under the Bill, as proposed by the Government, and as introduced, supposing no licence were not carried, the votes accorded to no licence might be transferred to the credit of the votes cast for limitation. On the whole, I am inclined to think that is a perfectly reasonable proposal. Its has always been my view that when a man votes for no licence it, must be assumed that he is in favour of limiting the number of licences. Therefore, I should not personally grudge any proposal to allow the non-effective votes cast for no licence to be credited to the votes for limitation. But what is the objection taken by many people to that proposal? The objection is this—and it cannot be dismissed summarily—that if you carry out an arrangement of that kind you give the advocates of no licence two chances against the one chance held by the supporters of no change. After all, that is an objection which has a, certain amount of reasonable force in it, and the pressure 746 of that reason cannot be considered in the nature of a wrecking Amendment.
I turn to another proposal which, after all, has been at the back of the minds of almost every Member who has supported this Bill this afternoon. Running through the speeches delivered here. to-day by my hon. Friends there has been a concentrated opposition to the further proposal inserted in another place to enlarge the options given in this Bill by allowing an option of so-called disinterested management. That. really is the crux of the question so far as a number of my hon. Friends are concerned. Whatever view we may take concerning the merits or demerits of disinterested management, there is no man in this House who can get up and say that. the extension of the option to disinterested management invades by one jot or tittle the fundamental principle of this Bill, which is to confer powers of self-government upon local communities, and I still wait for an answer to my question again and again put in this House and in the Committee upstairs. No one who pleads on democratic grounds for the extension o; the power of local veto or limitation to localities can resist the, to me, perfectly logical extension of the same principle in the direction of another restricting proposal. There is, of course, the suggestion—it has been made here again to-day —that we who support the extension of the principle of this Bill to disinterested management are not prepared to give to localities freedom to increase the number of licences. As a matter of fact, I have no very great feeling on the subject at all, but I should unhesitatingly vote against any such proposal, on the ground that it is incompatible with the fundamental principle of this Bill. The object of this Bill is a restricting object; and it cannot be said that you can logically apply a restricting principle to the extension of the facilities for the sale of liquor. Therefore, there is no gravamen in the suggestion that some of us who advocate the extension of the principle of local self-government are not prepared to give to localities the power of increasing the number of licences. One hon. Member asked: What about municipalisation? The question of municipalisation was never put to the vote at any stage in the progress of this Bill. I have always said, and I say it again today, that I have no fear of municipalisation under certain conditions. So long as my hon. Friend or any proposer of 747 municipilisation—I think my hon. Friend the Member for the Blackfriars Division (Mr. Barnes) proposed it—safeguard two conditions, I have not the least objection personally to giving localities the power of municipalising the liquor traffic. But it would be in my judgment contrary to the objects of this Bill to give the localities the power of municipalising the traffic by allowing the profits made from it to be allocated to the relief of the local ratepayers. My impression is, and long has been, that to allow a form of municipalisation under which local rates will be relieved by the profits of the liqour traffic would be fatal as an obstacle to the objects sought to be obtained by this particular proposal. No one has suggested here that disinterested management in itself is undesirable. The hon. Member for Wick Burghs (Mr. Munro) invited us to introduce a special Bill dealing with the whole United Kingdom, and thereby seemed to betray a somewhat curious idea of the English and Welsh Licensing Laws. But no one has suggested that disinterested management is itself undesirable. But it has been suggested again and again in connection with this Debate that it is inconsistent with the particular framework and proposals of this Bill. When the question was debated here last the only real objection brought by the right hon. Gentleman against the proposal was that the particular scheme inserted in another place was unworkable. I agreed to some extent with that criticism, but I also felt that, in co-operation with the right hon. Member for the Spen Valley (Sir T. P. Whittaker) anything unworkable in the details of the scheme could have been rectified in half an hour. We are told with the utmost confidence by my hon. Friends that the people of Scotland are opposed to disinterested management—the hon. Member for the Tradeston Division speaking of the opposition as being unanimous on the part of the people of Scotland.
Mr. DUNDAS WHITE
I beg my hon. Friend's pardon. I did not speak of unanimity; I spoke of a "strong majority."
§ Mr. SHERWELL
I accept the correction of my hon. Friend, but I happen to have in my notes in inverted commas the phrase "unanimously in favour," and a further phrase, "No support whatever in Scotland for disinterested management." My right hon. Friend the Member for Clackmannan (Mr. Eugene Wason) said 748 the people of Scotland did not care twopence for disinterested management. There cannot therefore be a very active organised opposition to it. When my hon. Friends refer to "the people of Scotland," whom do they mean? Is there any hon. Member who has spoken on behalf of the people of Scotland to-day who has any title or right to speak for the people of Scotland. My hon. Friend the Member for Wick Burghs used that phrase. Does he pretend that the electors of Wick Burghs have always been on the side of these proposals in this House? Is the history of that particular constituency any testimony of the favour in which these proposals are held by the people of Scotland? Did he secure election for that constituency on the merits of this particular proposal?
§ Mr. SHERWELL
Is my hon. Friend entitled to speak of the opposition to disinterested management as a matter of ancient history? His connection with that constituency is a recent one, and it is certainly a tribute to his powers of persuasion that he has converted the electors on this particular question. May I ask my hon. Friend how he interprets the General Election of 1900? I believe that, so far as the Scottish representation went, there was a Unionist majority of two in the 1900 Parliament. Is it to be supposed that in 1900 the people of Scotland were overwhelmedly against this Bill, and that since 1900 they have been overwhelmedly in favour of it? Let me take another fact. Who are the people of Scotland for whom my hon. Friends speak with such confidence? I notice that at the recent assembly of the Church of Scotland last month the proposal was referred to in this way:The option of disinterested management was one of which the General Assembly had for many years expressed approval, and the committee, therefore, could not but regard as satisfactory the addition of this option to the Bill in the House of Lords.That recommendation of the temperance committee of the Church of Scotland was unanimously endorsed by the General Assembly.
§ Mr. DUNCAN MILLAR
May I interrupt the hon. Member with regard to a question of fact? There was substantial dissent in the Assembly of the Church of Scotland. Although it did not go to a vote, there was dissent expressed
§ Mr. SHERWELL
It would be very difficult to find any assembly in the world in which, in any discussion upon the temperance question, there would not be some notes of dissent. But it is an important fact that the Church of Scotland has for years passed a resolution in favour of disinterested management. I would remind the House that the Church of Scotland has 715,000 members, and represents at least one-half of the religious life of Scotland. Are my hon. Friends prepared to say that. the Church of Scotland, representing one-half of the religious life of Scotland, is not entitled to consideration in this matter, and that the only voices that can tell in connection with a decision of this kind are the voices of those of the electors who vote for them I My hon. Friend the Member for Wick Burghs gave the whole situation away a moment or two ago, when he said that the members of the temperance organisations were the backbone of the Progressive party in Scotland. If instead of the Progressive party he had said the Liberal party, I would have agreed with him. The point illuminates the whole situation in reference to this particular proposal. Those who are opposing any extension of the principle of local self-government in the direction of disinterested management are the officials and committees of certain prohibitionist organisations in Scotland and in England. The best prohibitionist workers in Scotland happen to be also the best Liberal workers in the constituencies so well represented by my hon. Friends. I quite appreciate the difficulty and delicacy of the electoral position of so many of my hon. Friends which makes them quite responsive, and properly responsive, to the electoral pressure exercised by some of the best workers in their constituencies. But I want my hon. Friends to remember that although they are justly entitled to claim that they are voicing the opinions and judgment of those who at the polling booths have recorded their votes for them, they are not justified, on the strength of that support, in claiming to speak for the whole of the Scottish nation. I also claim to have some knowledge of the opinion of Scotland upon this matter, and I say quite frankly and emphatically that it is an entire illusion for any hon. Member to suggest that there is no strong body of opinion in Scotland itself in favour of an extension of the principle of this Bill in the direction to which I have referred. I 750 am not going to argue the question further to-day. I do sincerely regret that upon this occasion, the first real testing time of the powers of the Parliament Act, we should have had no enlightenment given us concerning the way in which these powers are to be applied to this and other measures. Those of us who supported the Parliament Act have a right to expect that it shall not be used as an instrument for forcing upon the Statute Book Bills which are not complete or in the judgment of many who are otherwise inclined to support them, not adequate as solutions. I certainly hope that before this Bill passes again to another place the Government will see to it that they keep the spirit as well as the letter of the provisions of the Parliament Act by giving this House some fair and just opportunity of reconsidering some of the questions which are at issue between ourselves and another place.
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
I do not quite understand the complaint of my hon. Friend with regard to the Parliament Act. It is rather a curious complaint to come from that quarter, because it is nor very long ago that the Prime Minister explained at this very box what the provisions of the Parliament Act were and in what manner they were to be carried out, and there is no necessity to repeat the same thing with regard to every Bill. The hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Clyde) rather failed, with all his skill, to conceal the hollowness of the position taken up by hon. Members opposite. There are two points they make, first of all that this is a Bill which ought not to come under the Parliament Act, and secondly, that it is a Bill in regard to which all sides were agreed in principle. Let us take the first point. I can only speak for myself, but the great ground upon which I vindicated the Parliament Act when it was before the electorate and before it was passed into law, was that it was absolutely necessary, if the Liberal party was to carry social reform upon Liberal principles, that we should have some means of overriding the opposition of another place, and I think I may say that that was the line on which it was defended by most of my Friends. The idea that it was confined to constitutional questions never entered anyone's head. But it is rather interesting to find to-day that when we are dealing with Scotch temperance it is all right that the Parliament Act should 751 apply to Irish Home Rule or Welsh Disestablishment, but it is monstrous that it should apply to Scotch temperance. I think I recollect hearing how extremely monstrous it was that it should apply to Irish Home Rule not very long ago, and how much more monstrous it was if applied to Welsh Disestablishment. Then for what object do hon. Members think we passed that Act?
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
I am not called upon to make that suggestion. It is not the basis of my argument at all. Let us look at this very subject. Does anyone think, looking at the experience of 1908, not so very long ago, there is much chance under the Parliament Act of carrying legislation in another place? It is one of the very cases brought forward on every Liberal platform to support the Parliament Act. It was perfectly hopeless to carry Liberal legislation, so great was the strength of the trade and so great its influence in another place. That was the argument we brought forward. That that argument should be used for the Liberal side suggesting that this is not a proper thing to come under the Parliament Act fills me with the most utter amazement.
§ Mr. SHERWELL
I made no such suggestion. What I said and what I strongly insisted was that the Parliament Act ought not to be applied arbitrarily to this until a fair opportunity had been given to see if agreement could not be arrived at.
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
That is quite another question. That is a question of policy. This is a question of whether there is a chance of getting an agreement. I wish to know what offer has been made. What suggestion has come from the House of Lords for an agreement? The House of Lords made an enormous number of Amendments in the Bill. They have never offered to meet me on this Bill if I would accept some simple change. Never! The hon. Member for Huddersfield challenged me as to the justification I had for saying that this Bill was useless after the Amendments of the Lords. I confess that he went through the Amendments, or some of them, and he did so quite fairly. What were they? They altered the proportion of votes necessary to carry the veto. Has anybody appreciated the difficulty of 752 getting a three-fifths majority. Who of us would like to be required to get a three-fifths majority in order to get returned to this House I Will it be any more easy to get that majority under this proposal with all the wealth and influence that can be brought to bear against its operation? It was proposed to raise it to two-thirds, so that nothing was more important from my point of view. Then there was the power as to reducing the number of licences. I am sure there is hardly anyone in the House who will not admit that there are many districts in which there are too many licences. The power of reduction and limitation is one of the most valuable powers in the Bill, and I say that was destroyed by the Lords Amendment, because the Lords would not allow the votes given for the veto to be transferred to be the milder option of reduction. I challenge anybody to contradict me when I say that you never would have carried Veto under the Lords Amendment, and certainly you would never have carried reduction. That is what I call making the Bill useless. Perhaps the hon. Member for Huddersfield does not believe in the veto. His votes have been a little varied. I think that Amendment of the Lords strikes at a vital principle of the Bill. A most remarkable thing in this Debate to-day which must have struck everybody was the hollowness of the arguments on the other side. Member after Member rose and with great emphasis—it was put skilfully by the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Clyde)—said that, they were all agreed in principle, and then they said that they utterly abhorred the principle of the Bill, and declared, "If we have the chance under the options of the Bill, we shall vote for 'No change.'" That is to make the Bill of no effect. We know that they dislike the Bill. There is not a single Member opposite who did not say so. We know that the Bill is disliked by the trade. We know that it is detested by the trade, not only in Scotland but in England.
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
What the hon. and learned Gentleman said was that they were agreed in principle, but that they disliked the principle of the Bill. It is not that they dislike disinterested management so much, but that they hate local 753 option the more. I hope that opinion is not uncharitable. Disinterested management has been supported by people who do not care for it because they think it is the simplest method of killing the Bill. Three Members have referred to what they called a tremendous scene in the House of Commons. The hon. Member for the Ayr Burghs told a beautiful story about the Prime Minister, who was appealed to in the bathroom, hurriedly giving a wrong decision. I can assure the hon. Member that is a pure myth.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
I said he gave a different decision to what he would have given if he had been in the House.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
Certainly. I was told he was in his bath. He would not have done it if he was in the House.
Mr. McKININON WOOD
I am glad to be able to reassure my hon. Friend on that point. He was not in his bathroom. I mention that picturesque detail to show how fables grow, because a lot of fables have gone round about this scene. He was in an adjoining room. Man after man arose, in denunciation of the Government I suppose, and let me remind my hon. Friend who knows all about the circumstances of that afternoon that it was understood for the convenience of hon. Members opposite that we were to deal with that Bill in a particular time. The advocates of the Bill restrained themselves and did not take part in the Debate. Therefore, it was undoubtedly that three or four Members who opposed the Bill rose and spoke one after the other, but the hon. Member knows quite well why that happened. What was the result of this extraordinary scene? It was that the Motion, from the view of the Government, was supported by a majority of 117, and in that majority there was the enormous number of four Scottish Liberal Members. I am told that I steam= rolled my friends. That is another myth.
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
I did not say you said it. Other people have spoken this afternoon. It was said this afternoon that the action of the Government on that particular question was in accordance with the decision at which the Scottish Members had arrived, and before expressing their opinion on the subject they communicated 754 to me as representing the Government. So little was it a personal matter, as has been attempted to be made out. The hon. Member for the Camlachie Division advanced a very curious argument. He said that the mutual insurance scheme was unsound. That is the scheme which the Amendment asks us to accept. I can imagine, if the Government had put forward a scheme like that, what the publicans or the representatives of the publicans would have said about it, and how we should have been denounced from one end of Scotland to the other as putting forward a bogus scheme, a delusive mockery and so on, and I think it would have been perfectly justified. In the whole course of the Debate there has been nothing save vague generalities about enlarging option and finding compensation for the persons who are dispossessed. There was not a single-Member to rise and say, "We think that the scheme put forward by the House of Lords was fair and reasonable, well thought out, and one which we could recommend this House to adopt." No one has ever recommended this House to adopt that scheme. Take the compulsory insurance scheme. When that was put before the House of Lords it was rejected by them, and then another scheme was got up, and so the position has altered ever since then. I am quoted as having said that there is a strong demand for insurance in Scotland. So there is. Sa strong is the demand among licence holders that about 1,200 are already insured, and that with one society. There is a society which has offered to take over all the others, if they like to come in. There is no necessity for compulsory insurance nor is there any demand for it. That is proved up to the hilt. I saw a comment from a trade source in which they denounced the very idea of compulsory insurance, and the trade are Absolutely divided on the question. A very large proportion of the trade object to it, yet we are asked to reject this Bill because the Government will not adopt this scheme of disinterested management. On that subject there was disagreement in the House of Lords on two essential points—first, the element of monopoly, and, secondly, the element of compensation, —whether disinterested management should pay compensation to the publican. Lord Lansdowne and Lord Salisbury, who took great interest in the matter, objected to compensation, and 755 made strong speeches—I think very forcible speeches. They objected to monopoly, and made strong speeches—I think very forcible speeches. They said, what an hon. Member said here this afternoon, that it was not fair to take away licences in a district and give them to people to carry on the trade under a new and untried experiment. Other influences prevailed, and a scheme of disinterested management was carried through with considerable difficulty. Take the question of compensation. Lord Balfour, who introduced the scheme, did not want any compensation—does not now, so far as I know. Other peers, Lord Salisbury in particular, said that compensation was fair and reasonable. I am not going to argue it. I am only saying that these are schemes which we are asked to adopt, but on which there is the gravest disagreement, in another place, as to fundamental points. Is there agreement among the upholders of this measure? The hon. Member for East Edinburgh, who is a joint secretary with the hon. Member (Mr. Sherwell), he does not agree about this scheme, and objects to any compensation being given. I do not know whether the hon. Member for Huddersfield is in favour of it, but I am not entitled to assume that he is against it. Yet here we are told that we must not have a Second Reading of the Bill, which has been before Scotland, the hon. Baronet says, for fifty years, at any rate for a generation; which has been approved at General Election after General Election, with only one exception, by a large majority of Scotch representatives; and those who support the majority of Scotch representatives, the Liberal associations in Scotland—even the hon. Member for Huddersfield practically admits it—have sent up resolutions of support. Are all these things to be counted for nothing? Are we back again to the old days when the House of Commons did not count? I think the hon. and learned Gentleman unintentionally and unwittingly no doubt, brought forward evidence in favour of two things which I do not think he could support. One related to Home Rule for Scotland, which we all agree, if Scotland bad had its way, would have carried the Bill something like six years ago. [An HON. MEMBER: "Not a bit of it."] How do hon. Members account for the fact that Scotland returns Members who support the Bill?
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
Did you ever hear of a Liberal candidate going to a Liberal association and recommending himself by stating his opposition to local option? No. Of course, that is all a quibble. It is perfectly well known that the majority of Scottish representatives are in favour of this Bill, and have been for a great many years, and in that they are supported by their constituents. We heard a great deal about Scottish opinion from the hon. Member for Huddersfield. I think the Scottish Members should know a little about it. We are heckled at meetings, and can say something about opinion in Scotland. We have to meet the people there, and to submit to close examination. I do not know whether the hon. Member for Huddersfield knows whether people in Huddersfield are in favour of disinterested management, and I really do not care whether they are or not, but I know the people of Scotland are not, and I took every means to make myself acquainted with their opinion. My hon. and learned Friend opposite (Mr. Scott Dickson) desires to address the House, and I will conclude my speech and give him an opportunity. I submit to the House that the case is not made out for rejecting this Bill. It is all very well to talk about agreement as to principles, but you have got to be agreed also in the practical carrying out of an Act of Parliament because good principles do not make up for thoroughly bad machinery. I submit to the House that the machinery of insurance and the machinery for creating a monopoly of disinterested management are not defended even by those who advocate the principle. Indeed, no attempt was made in the Debate to do so, and under the circumstances I hope the House will give the Bill a Second Reading. If the Lords have any suggestion to make to us the matter is in their hands. Of course, the Parliament Act gives the Lords many opportunities. They had the opportunity of considering the Bill last Session, and they sent it back to us. They have another opportunity this year of making any proposals they choose to us, and they will have their opportunity again next year to consider the Bill, though I should have hoped this whole controversy might have 757 been settled without further delay. I cannot help thinking it is a bad thing, even for the trade, that this matter should be left in a state of uncertainty and unsettled for a longer time, and which, too long, has been left unsettled.
§ Mr. SCOTT DICKSON
I notice that in the Second Reading Debate last year the Lord Advocate stated that he welcomed with great gladness the assurance that I and my Friends did not desire to challenge the principle of local option. That is still our position. [An HON. MEMBER: "Not all."] No doubt the hon. Member for Glasgow and Aberdeen University (Sir H. Craik) said he was personally not in favour of the principle. Many of us may be in that position, but we do not intend to challenge, and we expressed that distinctly, the Second Reading of the Bill. I think the reasoned Amendment last year and this year shows it is not the principle of the Bill we are against, but the details. I should like to ask the House to note the position in which they now find themselves in with regard to this Bill so far as the Parliament Act is concerned. The hon. Member for Aberdeen, who, I think, everyone in the House will recognise, is one of the pioneers, if not the pioneer, of this kind of legislation, so far as bringing it to its present position is concerned, said last year, and said truly, that in his view it would be very detrimental to the Lest interests of temperance on both sides if this Bill were to become law under the Parliament Act. I think that is a very wise expression of opinion. It is significant that on the very day when we are discussing this Bill there should be put down in the name of the Prime Minister a Motion to be discussed on Monday to the effect that when we have finished our discussion to-day the Committee stage shall consist of nothing at all—… the Chairman shall forth with put the Question that he do report the Bill without Amendment to the House, and no
§ other Question, and that Question shall be decided without Amendment or Debate."
Therefore we have been playing at Parliament all day. It is a farce—just as if little children were allowed to say, "We will have a, Parliament of our own and talk about things, although we can do nothing." That is the position to which the Parliament Act has reduced the House of Commons. When the right hon. Gentleman's refusal to consider the Lords Amendment last Session was mentioned in the House of Lords, the representative of the Government said:—
There will he in the next Session, which begins all too soon for many of us, ample opportunity for discussing the Bill. When it comes before this House again, your Lordships will be able to propose Amendments and to discuss it for such length of time as may seem desirable to you.
§ That is a pretty contrast between the freedom of the House of Lords and the freedom of the House of Commons under your precious Parliament Act. They may propose Amendments; we are never to have a chance of doing so. The whole Committee stage is struck out. If that is what Liberal Members commend as the result of the Parliament Act, if that is the kind of free Parliament in which they like to take part, I confess I do not agree with them. The right hon. Gentleman had the courage to say that any action of the House of Lords will only delay the Bill for another year. There are many Members, on that side as well as on this, who think that if you have to wait another year you will never have it proposed from that side of the House. Nothing shows that more conclusively than the fixed determination of the Government that there shall be no resignations or elections, general or otherwise, if they can avoid it, and the sporting offer of my hon. Friend will not be accepted in Clackmannan or elsewhere.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided; Ayes, 248; Noes, 135.761
|Division No. 117.]||AYES.||[5.0 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. George)||Carr-Gomm, H. W.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Bentham, G. J.||Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)|
|Adamson, William||Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Cawley, Harold T. (Lancs., Heywood)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Black, Arthur W.||Chancellor, Henry George|
|Alden, Percy||Boland, John Plus||Chapple, Dr. William Allen|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbarton)||Booth, Frederick Handel||Clancy, John Joseph|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Brady, P. J.||Clough, William|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Brocklehurst, W. B.||Collins, G. P. (Greenock)|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Brunner, John F. L.||Collins, Sir Stephen (Lambeth)|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Bryce, J. Annan||Condon, Thomas Joseph|
|Barnes, George N.||Burke, E. Haviland-||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.|
|Barton, William||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Cotton, William Francis|
|Beale, Sir William Phipson||Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)||Cowan, W. H.|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Byles, Sir William Pollard||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)|
|Crooks, William||Joyce, Michael||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)|
|Crumley, Patrick||Keating, Matthew||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Cullinan, John||Kellaway, Frederick George||Pointer, Joseph|
|Dalziel, At. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirkcaldy)||Kelly, Edward||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Priestley. Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Kilbride, Denis||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||King, Joseph||Radford, G. H.|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardiganshire)||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Molton)||Rattan, Peter Wilson|
|Dawes, James Arthur||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)|
|Delany, William||Lardner, James C. R.||Reddy, Michael|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Dillon, John||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert||Richards, Thomas|
|Doris, William||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)|
|Duffy, William J.||Lundon, Thomas||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)||Lynch, A. A.||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Robinson, Sidney|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||McGhee, Richard||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Maclean, Donald||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Essex, Sir Richard Walter||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Rowlands, James|
|Esslemont, George Birrile||MacNeill, J. G. Swift (Donegal, South)||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Falconer, James||Macpherson, James Ian||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Farrell, James Patrick||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||M'Callum, Sir John M.||Scott, A. MacCallum (Gias., Bridgeton)|
|Ffrench, Peter||M'Curdy, Charles Albert||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Fitzgibbon, John||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Sheehy, David|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||M'Laren, Hon.F.W.S. (Lince.,Spalding)||Shortt, Edward|
|Gill, A. H.||Manfield, Harry||Simon, Rt. Hen. Sir John Allsebrook|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||Markham, Sir Arthur Basil||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Glanville, Harold James||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)|
|Goldstone, Frank||Marshall, Arthur Harold||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Martin, Joseph||Snowden, Philip|
|Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Greig, Colonel J. W.||Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G.||Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert|
|Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Meagher, Michael||Sutherland, John E.|
|Griffith, Ellis Jones||Meehan, Francis E. (Leltrim, N.)||Sutton, John E.|
|Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke)||Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix)||Tennant, Harold John|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Menzies, Sir Walter||Thomas, J. H.|
|Hackett, J.||Millar, James Duncan||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Hancock, John George||Molloy, Michael||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Molteno, Percy Alpert||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||Mooney, J. J.||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Morgan, George Hay||Wadsworth, J.|
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Morrell, Philip||Wardle, George J.|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Morison, Hector||Waring, Walter|
|Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Muldoon, John||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Hayward, John Evan||Munro, Robert||Webb, H.|
|Hazleton, Richard||Murray, Captain Hon. A. C.||Wedgwood. Josiah C.|
|Healy, Maurice (Cork)||Nelison, Francis||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Healy, Timothy Michael (Cork, N.E.)||Nolan, Joseph||White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E.R.)|
|Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Norton, Captain Cecil W.||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Higham, John Sharp||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Hinds, John||Nuttall, Harry||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Hodge, John||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Hogg, David C.||O'Brien, William (Cork)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Holmes, Daniel Turner||O'Doherty, Philip||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||O'Dowd, John||Williams, Liewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Hughes, Spencer Leigh||O'Grady. James||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|John. Edward Thomas||O'Malley, William||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Johnson, W.||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Wing, Thomas|
|Jones, Rt.Hon.Sir D.Brynmor (Swansea)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)|
|Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||O'Shee, James John||Young, William (Perthshire, East)|
|Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||O'Sullivan, Timothy||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Jones, Leif Straiten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Outhwaite, R. L.|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Palmer, Godfrey Mark||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Jowett, Frederick William||Parry, Thomas H.|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Barnston, Harry||Burgoyne, A. H.|
|Amery, L. C. M. S.||Been, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Burn, Colonel C. R.|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Butcher, J. G.|
|Ashley, W. W.||Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish-||Campion, W R.|
|Baird, J. L.||Bigland, Alfred||Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Blair, Reginald||Cassel, Felix|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Boles, Lieut.-Colonel Dennis Fortescue||Castlereagh, Viscount|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.)||Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Cator, John|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Boyle, William (Norfolk, Mid)||Cave, George|
|Baring, Maj, Hon. Guy V. (Winchester)||Bridgeman, W. Clive||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Burdett-Coutts, W.||Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)|
|Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W.||Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)||Royds, Edmund|
|Clyde, J. Avon||Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Salter, Arthur Clevell|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Hope, Harry (Bute)||Samuel, Samuel (Wandsworth)|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Horne, W. E. (Surrey, Guildford)||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Croft, H. P.||Ingleby, Holcombe||Starkey, John R.|
|Dairymple, Viscount||Keswick, Henry||Staveley-Hill, Henry|
|Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Steel-Maitland, A. D.|
|Denison-Ponder, J. C.||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Stewart, Gershom|
|Denniss, E. R. B.||Law, Rt. Hon, A. Boner (Bootle)||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)|
|Dewar, Sir J. A.||Lee, Arthur H.||Swift, Rigby|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Lewisham, Viscount||Sykes, Sir Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Terrell, G. W. (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Eyres-Monsell, B. M.||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Terrell, H. (Gloucester)|
|Falle, Bertram Godfrey||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)||Tobin, Alfred Aspinall|
|Fell, Arthur||Mackinder, H. J.||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert||Macmaster, Donald||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes||Malcolm, Ian||Warde, Cot. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Fleming, Valentine||Newdegate, F. A.||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Forster, Henry William||Newman, John R. P.||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Gardner, Ernest||Newton, Harry Kottingham||Wills, Sir Gilbert|
|Gastrell, Major W. H.||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Wormer, Viscount|
|Glazebrook, Captain Philip K.||Nield, Herbert||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Goldman, C. S.||Orde-Powlett, Hon, W. G. A.||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Paget, Almeric Hugh||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Gretton, John||Perkins, Walter F.||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Guinness, Hon. Rupert (Essex, S.E.)||Pollock, Ernest Murray||Tate, Colonel Charles Edward|
|Guinness, Hon. W. E. (Bury S.Edmunds)||Pretyman, Ernest George||Younger, Sir George|
|Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Rawlinson, J. F. P.|
|Haddock, George Bahr||Rawson, Col. R. H.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Lord|
|Hall, Marshall (E. Toxteth)||Remnant, James Farquharson||Edmund Talbot and Mr. Pike Pease.|
|Hardy, Rt Hon. Laurence||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
Bill read a second time, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House for Monday next (23rd June).—[Mr. McKinnon Wood.]
§ The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.
§ Whereupon Mr. SPEAKER adjourned the House without Question put, pursuant to Standing Order No, 3.
§ Adjourned at Thirteen minutes after Five o'clock till Monday next, 23rd June.