§ Sir NORVAL HELME
On behalf of over 2,000 residents in Lancaster and neighbourhood I beg to present to this honourable House a petition praying that it will pass the Second Reading of the Sale of Intoxicating Liquors on Sunday Bill.
§ Order for Second Reading of Bill read.
§ Mr. TIMOTHY DAVIES
I beg to move,. "That the Bill be now read a second time."
I must first express my regret at the inability, through illness, of my right hon. Friend the Member for East Hull (Mr. Ferens) to be present to move this Motion. In the circumstances, I believe that hon. Members on both sides of the House will sympathise with him and join in the hope that he will be sufficiently recovered to take charge of the Bill when it is sent to Committee upstairs. It is a great disappointment to him personally not to be able to be here to argue this question, in which he has taken a life-long interest both inside and outside this House.
This question is no new question to the House of Commons. It has been the subject of discussion in the House for many years. For the last sixty years nearly every part of the United Kingdom and nearly every part of the British Empire has come under a total prohibition of the sale of liquors on Sunday, with the exception only of England, the centre of the Empire. So far back as 1839 a restriction of the hours of sale of liquor was adopted in London from midnight on Saturday night until one o'clock on Sunday. London being the first in the field, it was very soon succeeded by the towns of Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and other great towns in the north of England. In 1848 the restriction was made general throughout the United Kingdom. Scotland came first, as usual, in having total prohibition of the sale of drink on Sunday. Sixty years ago Scotland, under the Mackenzie Act, obtained for its people the great boon of Sunday closing. Twenty-four years elapsed before a great measure of prohibition of the sale of liquors on Sunday was given to Ireland, with the exception of five cities. That Act was passed for four years. At the end of the four years the 600 Irish people did not want a change, and for twenty-four years that Act appeared every year in the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill and was passed, until the present Government came into power in 1906, when the Act for Ireland was made permanent and the restriction in regard to the five cities were altered. Under the Gladstone administration, after a Hill had been introduced and moved many a time by, I believe, the father of my hon. Friend the Member for West Denbigh (Sir J. H. Roberts), it secured a Second Reading went through all its stages, and became the law in Wales in 1881.
In England there has practically been no change with regard to Sunday closing since 1874. For forty years England has remained, so far as this question is concerned, unprogressive. It is remarkable that to-day the very district in which this House stands—London—which was the first to have restrictions of the hours of sale of intoxicating liquors on Sunday, is now the one place in which licensed houses are open for the longest hours on Sunday; London, which in 1839 was the most progressive in regard to this question of all parts of the country, is to-day behind all other parts. Why that should be so I cannot tell, unless it is that London is the happy hunting ground of the powerful trade and the monopolies connected with it. Several attempts have been made by different Governments, both Conservative and Liberal, to have the hours restricted in England. In 1888 there were provisions in the original draft of the Local Government Bill introduced by Mr. Ritchie that every county should have power to restrict the hours of sale of liquor, or to totally prohibit the sale on the Sabbath day, but unfortunately there were stronger forces in this House at that time on Mr. Ritchie's own side, and it had to be abandoned. I believe if these provisions had been inserted in the Local Government Act of 1888 London and many other counties in England would have taken advantage of the powers given and we should have in England, as in Scotland and Wales to-day, a general Sunday closing of public houses.
Governments of the different parties in power have tried their hand at this. In 1893–4 Sir William Harcourt brought forward a Sunday closing proposal which I think cost him rather dearly, and in 1908 the present Prime Minister inserted, in that great Licensing Bill which passed this House with a great majority, and which was, 601 owing to the action of another place, never placed on the Statute Book, practically the same provisions as there are in this Bill. But as that Bill was overthrown so were the Clauses dealing with Sunday closing. Not only have the Governments of the day done their best with regard to this matter, but private Members in every Parliament for the last sixty years or more have done their part to obtain a hearing for this matter, and when they were fortunate enough in the Ballot have moved a Bill. In 1863 Mr. Soames, the Member for Hull, got a First Reading majority of fifty-nine on a restricted Sunday Closing Bill. In 1871 Mr. Rylands, Member for Warrington, got a majority for his Bill of twenty-eight. In 1886 Sir Joseph Pease, sitting for Barnard Castle—and I am glad to say that his follower in that seat is going to follow me this afternoon—carried his Bill by a majority of thirty-two. In 1896 Mr. C. H. Wilson, also a Member for Hull, proposed a total Sunday Closing Bill, which on the Second Reading was carried by a majority of eight. In 1909 practically the same Bill as I am now moving was brought in by Mr. Briggs, the then Member for Keighley, and passed a Second Reading in this House by a majority of fifty-nine. On 2nd April last the Bishop of London brought in practically the same Bill in another place, and it was carried without a Division. There is one provision in that Bill which went far beyond any provision in this present Bill, but if the House feels that they ought to insert it I am quite sure the promoters will be only too glad to accommodate him.
§ Mr. HAROLD SMITH
The hon. Member mentioned the Constituency which I now represent. Can he tell us the name of the late hon. Member for Warrington and the date of the Bill?
§ Mr. T. DAVIES
It was Mr. Peter Rylands, and the Bill was brought in in 1871. I hope the hon. Member will see his way to follow his predecessor in voting for the Bill.
§ Mr. T. DAVIES
I really do not know what that has to do with it unless he was such a good man that he could not stop any longer on this side of the House and joined the hon. Member's party, and if that is the case I think it is a very good example for him to follow. This is only 602 a tiny Bill. The first Sub-section of the first Clause reduces the hours for sale at mid-day from two to one, and in the evening from four to two, and in the provinces all the houses must be closed before ten o'clock. In London another hour would be allowed, and three hours will be allowed in the evening. Why, I do not know. This Bill has the same defect as nearly all Bills which are introduced now, but it has less than most, that is, legislation by reference. The only reference in this Bill is to one Statute, and that is that splendid Act which was passed in 1910, codifying and bringing up to date all the licensing laws of the country. Section 56 of the Licensing Act is repealed. That Section gives power to vary general closing orders on Sunday, Good Friday and Christmas Day. If the Bill is passed justices will not have power to vary it. It will be Statute Law, and it cannot be altered. The second Sub-section provides that a traveller must go six miles from where he slept the previous night in order to get a drink. I have heard many qualifications, but one suggested by an hon. Member last night was the best. He said, "The qualification of a bonâ-fide traveller under the Licensing Act is a person with foot-and-mouth disease." Under Sub-section (3) of the third Clause licensing justices are empowered to grant a renewal of any licence to a hotel or restaurant if satisfied that the public convenience so requires, and to permit the supply of liquor on Sundays during the hours during which the premises might have been opened but for the passing of this Bill. Any person taking the benefit of the provision with respect to bonâ-fide travellers must be served in a room set apart for meals—that is to say, the room must be other than one which during the week is used mainly for the supply of liquor, and it must be in a restaurant or hotel. Subsection (4) is a very important one, and I wish to draw the attention of my Welsh Friends to it. It provides:—For the purpose of the Sixth Schedule to the Licensing (Consolidation) Act, 1910, Wales shall be deemed to include the county of Monmouth.I will deal with that more in detail presently, but the object of the Sub-section is to bring Monmouth under the same legislation as regards the sale of liquor on Sunday as the whole of Wales. Here, again, we endeavour to meet the opponents of the Bill, so that for once, at any rate, Wales shall include Monmouth. I 603 understand that "England" always includes Wales in our enactments unless otherwise specified. In this case, if we get inserted in the Bill that Wales is deemed to include Monmouth, then by one stroke of the pen we can have Sunday closing for all England.
Clause 2 gives power to the licensing justices to attach any condition which they think fit in respect of Sunday closing on the renewal of an on-licence. It provides either for complete Sunday closing or the further restriction of the hours during which licensed premises may be open on Sunday for the sale of intoxicating liquor to meet the wants of bonâ-fide travellers. Sub-section (2) of the Clause provides that where the justices desire to attach any such condition, to the renewal of a licence, they shall cause not less than seven days' notice of the required condition to be served upon the registered owner of the premises, and give him an opportunity of being heard. Sub-section (3) provides:—Where a condition closing the licensed premises during the whole of Sunday is attached to a licence under this Section the licence shall be treated as a six-day licence granted under Section fifty-eight of the Licensing (Consolidation) Act, 1910.That Sub-section refers to the provisions as to a licence granted for six days. Subsection (4) gives the power of abrogation to the justices themselves, if they think fit, on any subsequent application for the renewal of the licence—that is to say, they will have power to alter or remove the condition which they themselves have imposed. Sub-section (5) provides for an appeal against a decision of the licensing justices to attach a condition on the renewal of a licence as provided for by Section 29 of the Licensing (Consolidation) Act, 1910. I understand that some of my hon. Friends have an objection to that Sub-section being inserted there, because those who are borough magistrates say that they do not get fair play at Quarter Sessions when they send cases up there. We cannot deal with that matter here, but if the Bill goes upstairs, and if it is possible to leave out the Sub-section, we shall have no objection to do so. The Clause at the end of the Bill provides:—
Those are the provisions in the Bill, and, as I stated at first, they are not very great. The demand, undoubtedly, for this, or a similar, Bill has been general from almost all classes of the community. It has come, certainly, from people of all creeds and political opinions, and from all classes of life in this country. I know of no question where the demand for legislation has had the support of so many people holding different views in matters of religion and politics. They feel that it is a measure of social reform, and they are agreed that it meets the wishes of people of all creeds, political opinions, and classes. That can easily be seen from the number of people who have petitioned in favour of the Bill. I find that in one year over 11,000 clergymen of the Church of England and 7,720 Nonconformist ministers petitioned for such a measure. The Free Churches and the Established Church go hand in hand in regard to this matter. There have been petitions sent to this House from all religious bodies. Earlier in the Session I had the honour of presenting one of the largest petitions presented to this House for some time, containing 126,700 signatures of adults—and most of those were working people—gathered by officers and members of the Salvation Army. I have this morning received resolutions passed in favour of this Bill, six in all, passed by meetings of Primitive Methodists, representing 1,007 churches and 122,459 adherents. It will be seen, therefore, that the best people in the land' are really anxious that something should be done in this matter. There has also been a plebiscite taken in 1,501 places, and over 1,000,000 householders have voted. The result of that vote was 893,652 in favour of Sunday closing and only 129,000 against it.
- "(1) This Act may be cited as the Sale of Intoxicating Liquors on Sunday Act, 1914, and shall be read and construed as
604 one with the Licensing (Consolidation) Act, 1910.
- (2) This Act shall not extend to Scotland or Ireland, and Section 1 of this Act (except so far as it amends the definition of a bonâ-fide traveller and extends the provisions for Sunday closing in force in Wales to the county of Monmouth) shall not extend to the Principality of Wales or to the county of Monmouth."
§ Mr. T. DAVIES
It was taken in 1,501 places in the country. I do not wish to waste the time of the House giving the names of all the places, but the details can 605 be had by the hon. Gentleman before he speaks.
§ Mr. RIGBY SWIFT
Would the hon. Gentleman state whether in the words "in the country" he includes Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, or whether the 1,501 places are entirely in England?
§ Mr. T. DAVIES
It is confined to England, and particulars can be had when required. The objections raised by the opponents of this Bill are very few indeed. The first objection that will be trotted out is that this Bill takes away the personal liberty of the working man especially. Already the liberty of the working man is restricted to a certain extent with regard to drinking on Sunday. We only want to extend this restriction a little further. My hon. Friend (Mr. A. Henderson) can speak for labour better than the hon. Gentleman opposite, and I will leave this point in his able hands to deal with. The other objection is that if you close public-houses on Sunday you will increase the number of clubs, and that, therefore, if you close public-houses on Sunday, it will be necessary to provide that no drink should be sold in the clubs during the hours of restriction. I quite agree. But the hon. Member for Sheffield, who sits on the opposite side of the House, had a Bill restricting the hours during which drink may be sold in clubs. That Bill passed its Second Beading only a fortnight ago, and will be up in Committee and will be taken with this Bill, so that that second objection is now removed. But, as a fact, it is not true that where Sunday closing is the order of the day there is an increase in the number of clubs. In England, where there is Sunday opening, there are twenty-three clubs for every 100,000 of the population. In Scotland, where there is Sunday closing, there are only thirteen clubs for every 100,000 people. In Ireland, where there is Sunday closing except in the five exempted cities, there are only five clubs for every 100,000 of the inhabitants. So that argument falls to the ground.
My own experience with regard to Sunday closing is not so large in Scotland and in Ireland, but in my own native country I know from personal experience the effect of Sunday closing, and no Welshmen in this House, and few outside it, would dare to say they wanted to repeal the Sunday Closing Act for Wales. And once we have a measure restricting, or enacting the total abolition of, the sale of liquors in England on Sunday, there will 606 be no Englishmen, except those who are interested in the trade, who will want to go back to the old order of things. We have had Royal Commissions inquiring into the working of the Sunday Closing Acts, and they have invariably reported that there is no demand for the repeal or abolition of any of them. The Reports of the Royal Commissions and the Sub-committees have been invariably to the same effect. Every country which has experienced the benefit of the Sunday Closing Act wishes to continue in that happy state for the future. The Royal Commission on Licensing in 1899 reported strongly in favour of Sunday closing in Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, and recommended the extension of Sunday closing to Monmouthshire, and reported that in Wales Sunday closing had been a success. I wish to say a word on the position of Monmouthshire, because the non-inclusion of Monmouthshire in the Welsh Act has been a great bar to the working of the Act in an important district, as Glamorganshire and Monmouthshire are in such intimate communication along the borders. In 1889 the chairman of the county council, the late Mr. Edwin Grove, appeared officially before the Royal Commission on Welsh Sunday Closing and gave evidence that the border between the Sunday closing area in Wales and the opening area in Monmouthshire passed through a population of 160,000, which has since nearly doubled, and has now something more like 300,000, whereas by including the latter county in the Act it would pass through a very rural population of only 9,000, which is not likely to increase. The advantage would be that the border line between Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Monmouthshire is a very sparsely populated district, and therefore it would be easier to administer the Welsh Act if Monmouthshire were included, than it is at the present moment; and Mr. Grove said, as to the trouble caused by the present dividing line:I have been concerned with one of the largest industrial concerns, the Ebbw Vale Company, for the past thirty-seven years, and their works are situated partly on this border line, and I have continually heard and known of circumstances showing that there has been an enormous amount of drinking on the border towns of Monmouthshire from the people coming from the other side.Then the Royal Commission went on and reported that, from the evidence, Monmouthshire should be included. They said:In our opinion there is some force in the argument, and we think that the difficulties of carrying out the law in these districts have been accentuated and in- 607 creased by that cause.…It is in our opinion sufficient for us to say that the special difficulties inseparable from the existence of different laws can only be reduced to the smallest compass where the least populous border line attainable is chosen.The Monmouthshire County Council themselves have passed resolutions asking to have the county included in the Welsh Bill, and the Town Council of Newport itself has passed a similar resolution, Newport being the largest town in the whole county. On the question of the increase of clubs as a result of Sunday closing, I may instance the two towns of Cardiff and Newport. Cardiff is a town which has double the population of Newport. It is more industrial and is likely to have quite as many, if not more, clubs. Cardiff has Sunday closing and has a population of close upon 200,000 people, but has far fewer clubs in proportion to its population than Newport. Coming then to the number of convictions, Cardiff, which has no Sunday opening, has only six convictions, whereas Newport, which has Sunday opening, has forty-two convictions. Or taking it according to the population, Cardiff has only three convictions per 100,000 inhabitants, and Newport, where there is no Sunday closing, has fifty-six convictions per 100,000 inhabitants. There are many reasons in support of this Sunday closing measure, among them the long hours of labour worked by those engaged in the trade. It would really be a relief that three hours more leisure were given to the very hardworking employés in this particular trade who are engaged for such long hours. Other reasons in support of the Bill are that it passed through the House of Lords only last Monday; that the Clubs Bill has passed through the Second Beading this Session; that the proposals of the present Bill are practically identical with the proposals of the Government Bill of 1908; and that the Bill also passed the Second Reading in 1909 by a considerable majority, and went through Committee upstairs, but, owing to lack of time, there was no opportunity to take the further stages. When this Bill comes into operation, it will bring to millions of women and children some, however slight it may be, additional comfort, by part of the money which is now being wasted on drink being turned into other channels. The change will be, I am convinced, of advantage to tens of thousands of homes which are now none too cheerful. It will benefit some quarter of a million of people engaged in the trade, people who 608 work longer hours than any other class of workpeople, by giving them three hours more leisure every Sunday. These being the provisions and objects of the Bill, I submit the Motion for its Second Reading with great confidence to the decision of the House.
§ Mr. ARTHUR HENDERSON
I beg to second the Motion.
I want to make it perfectly clear, in seconding this Motion moved by my hon. Friend, that I do so on my individual and personal responsibility. It is not often, I think, that a Member who seconds the Motion for the Second Reading of a Bill, proceeds at once to offer, as I intend to do, certain criticisms of the measure. I feel, however, that I cannot allow the opportunity to go by of expressing my dissatisfaction with one or two of its features. I frankly confess that its limited character, and one or two objectionable provisions, especially that provision which makes it possible for the hours to remain as they are now, provided that meals are served along with the liquor—I frankly confess that those things do not attract me. There are several objectionable features. One was alluded to by the Mover, and he held out the prospect of accepting an Amendment in Committee, if it was the desire of the Committee that it should be done—I refer to the provision referring to the Quarter Sessions. I must, however, admit that these limitations and objections are very largely the result of the kind of provisions contained in the Government Bill. The mere fact that these provisons formed a part of the Government Licensing Bill in 1908 has a good deal to do with their being found in a separate Bill to-day. We ought to keep in mind that, but for another place—I think I may safely say this—every provision recognised in the Bill now before the House would have been the law of the land.
But in spite of the limitations and objections to which I have referred, I am prepared to give the Bill my support; and I want to make it perfectly clear that I do not support the Bill on anything that might be described as Sabbatarian ground's. I am prepared to make another frank confession, that even at the risk of being charged, as I have been, with being a Sabbatarian, I would have whole-heartedly supported any Bill for total Sunday closing. I think that a Bill for entire Sunday closing could have been justified by the success that has attended all the I efforts that have been made in different 609 parts of this great Empire of ours, on the lines of total prohibition of the sale of liquor on Sundays. I think that such a measure could have been supported and justified on social grounds. I think it could have been supported and justified in the interests of the industries of this country. I think it could have been supported very clearly from the general working-class point of view. Every argument that could be used in support of an entire and total Sunday Closing Bill would be legitimate in support of this Bill, except the strictly Sabbatarian argument, Believing as I do in the curtailing, as far as ever possible, of the hours of labour, I see no reason whatever for continuing the excessively long hours to which those who are engaged in the liquor trade are subjected—exceptionally long hours during six days of the week, and, as my hon. Friend below me has pointed out, far too long hours during the Sunday. I therefore support the Bill because I believe, from the purely labour point of view, that there can be a very strong case made out for it.
It is estimated that there are something like 300,000 persons, including the publicans themselves, employed in the sale of liquor on most Sundays of the year. The number of on-licences in the country is 34,358, and the number of off-licences 23,508, making a total of 107,776. Mr. A. E. Pratt, one of the trade experts, estimates that there are seven persons to every two licensed houses. That would give us a total of 376,481. But this number must be reduced, owing to the fact that there are some 3,000 six-day licensed houses, and therefore the estimate that there must be some 300,000 persons, including the publicans, but excluding the publicans' wives, employed in England alone, is very near the mark. But I would also point out that included in this number there are no less than 23,000 barmaids, whose ages range between 18 and 25 years. What, I would ask, are the conditions, generally, under which this form of employment must necessarily be followed. I have read with considerable interest an article which has appeared in the April number of the "Women's Industrial News," which is a periodical published by the Women's Industrial Council. This article throws some light on the conditions under which persons are employed in connection with the liquor trade. I desire to make one or two quotations from the articles. The writer says:Holidays are few and far between, but sick leave is common. The voting girl who enters the trade 610 is more, perhaps than usual, robust. The frail, the anæmic, the languid or nervous girl is not herself attracted to the bar, nor is she encouraged by her employer. Good spirits, good nervous vitality, a bright appearance, a clear complexion, a well-grown figure are common qualities of the learner, and attach, as a rule, to a vigorous constitution. But the foul air the fumes of the alcohol, the long hours, the standing, the nervous strain tell even on the strongest. Flat foot, varicose veins, ulceration of the legs, anæmia, indigestion, nervous breakdown—few of the older women do not suffer from one complaint or the other. Tuberculosis, too, is a familiar disease of the public-house. Drink, dust, crowded and ill-ventilated quarters, the bad habits of the tuberculous patient who haunts the bar are the various evils to which the disease is attributed.Such is the description which the writer of this article gives as the result of very careful investigation which she has made on behalf of the Women's Industrial Council. At the close of the article we have brought to our notice some typical London cases of the conditions under which the barmaids are employed. I would like to give one or two cases, so that the House may grasp the serious effect of the hours question.Case No. 1. All round bar. Commercial and working-class clients. Age 22 years. Wages 12s., all found. Hours, 8.30 a.m. to 12.30 a.m. Two hours interval for rest. Sunday, 9 a.m. to 10.30 a.m., cleaning; 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.I would like to impress upon the House that those are the hours on the Sunday.Case No. 2. All round bar. Working-class clients-Age 24. Wages 10s., all found. Hours, 8 to 12.30. Two hours interval for rest. Sunday, it a.m. to 11 a.m., cleaning; 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. or 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. alternately.Case No. 3. Hours 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on three days of the week; 6 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. on half holiday; 4 a.m. and 4.30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on two remaining days of the, week. Sunday 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.Making seven hours on the Sunday in addition to those exceedingly long hours during the other six days of the week. There are several more cases, and if any hon. Member wishes to examine the whole of the fourteen typical cases that I have here I shall be very pleased to allow him to see them. The writer of the article concludes with the following interesting statement:—Thus the two great evils of the bar are first, long hours affecting men and women alike, and to which are attributed bad health and the drinking habit in the bar; and secondly, the exploitation of the young girl which affects women only, and to which is attributed the degradation of women as barmaids.It seems to me, if the writer of this article is correct in her statements, that these are typical cases, and I think we have no reason to doubt that they are genuinely typical cases of the conditions of the hours under which employment is carried on—I notice that the hon. Gentleman who is, I believe, to second the rejection of the Bill seems to dissent from 611 what I have just said. I hope in his speech he will be able to satisfy the House that those hours are not worked and that those conditions that this lady has described as the result of personal investigation do not exist.
§ 1.0 P.M.
§ Mr. A. HENDERSON
I hope the hon. Gentleman will occupy himself in showing that they are untypical and far from being the rule, but I hold the opinion that they are nothing of the kind. This Bill, in spite of the limitations to which I have referred, does deal, though in a very moderate way it is true, with the evil of long hours. Anxious as I am to reduce hours whenever possible in this trade, or in any other, I am prepared to avail myself of the opportunity that this Bill presents to secure a substantial reduction in the hours, if only on one day of the week, for barmaids and those others who follow the calling in connection with the liquor trade.
Sir GILBERT PARKER
In his statement the hon. Member said that the injury to the health of the barmaids was due to drinking in the bar. Does he suggest that the barmaids themselves drink, or suffer from the drinking or general surroundings?
§ Mr. A. HENDERSON
It was the general surroundings and long hours leading to tippling on the part of the employés in order to keep up strength working under such conditions. That is the point you get out of the article. That was not the point I myself read to the House, because it was not part of the quotation from the article. This Pill does reduce the hours, and on that very day of the week when most other employés have opportunities for rest or recreation and to the extent that the Bill promises to make the conditions of employment easier for a most deserving class. I do not think there is any Member in any part of the House unconnected with the trade who would make any defence as to the conditions as a whole under which men and women are employed in connection with drinking bars, and, in so far as the Bill does relieve them even to a moderate extent, it is deserving of our whole-hearted support. There are one or two objections to the Bill, which I think are worthy of notice. One thing we hear, on all occasions when we are making 612 any attempt to deal with legislation on the lines of a Bill of this character, and that is that the House of Commons or the-Legislature has no right to interfere with the personal convenience of the social life or personal liberty of the community,
§ Mr. A. HENDERSON
I am not surprised to hear that response by that cheer from the hon. Member for Nottingham (Sir J. D. Bees). I was glad that his was the voice crying in the wilderness. How-far can we carry this objection? Can the same objection not be applied to almost alt forms of legislation? What would become of the Budget of the Chancellor of the Exchequer if we applied that theory? What would become of the Budget of any Chancellor of the Exchequer if we applied that theory? The House might pretty well close its doors and cease to legislate at all, because a great part of our legislation can have this objection, to a less or greater degree, raised against it. But why should we allow this argument to influence us against treating England as the Legislature has already treated the other parts of the United Kingdom? I hope that those who object will be prepared to say that England ought to go on in perpetuity being denied that form of protection—because I claim that it is a protection—which has already been extended with such advantage to" Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. Another objection, to which the Mover of the Second Reading referred, is one that we often hear when we attempt to legislate in reference to public-houses, namely, that we are not dealing with clubs. I notice-that an hon. Member opposite has made-himself responsible for a Clubs Bill. But that Bill does not deal with public-houses. Evidently the hon. Member is of opinion that the two subjects ought to be kept entirely separate. Personally I have always refused to put the club on the same basis as the public-house. I do not say that I am not prepared to legislate against the abuse of the club ideal. I am strongly in favour of legislation wherever it can be shown, whether in a rich man's club or in a poor man's club, that the ideal that ever ought to be associated with club life is being departed from. In any such case I am prepared to assist to put down the abuse.
But I do not think that that is a valid argument against our proceeding on our own lines. I know that hon. Members 613 opposite sometimes try to get a party advantage from our position. I was a member of the Committee upstairs which had before it in, I think, 1909 a Sunday Closing Bill. Hon. Members opposite moved an Amendment dealing with the clubs question which the hon. Member in charge of the Bill declined to accept, and Members like my right hon. Friend the Member for the Span Valley Division (Sir T. Whittaker), the hon. Member for the Rushcliffe Division (Mr. Leif Jones), and myself, the strongest supporters of temperance legislation, were pilloried in the election leaflets sent out by the party opposite for no other reason than that we would not accept that Amendment. I hold that we are proceeding on right lines when we keep these two subjects separate. But I am prepared to say, and I think my hon. Friends will join me, that whenever hon. Members opposite, either individually or as a party, get the opportunity and are prepared to deal with the real abuses of club life, they will have no stronger supporters than those of us who on this side support this Bill. This point brings to my mind an objection which is very frequently raised when we are dealing with small measures of this kind. When it is a large Licensing Bill—and I sat very closely through the Debates on the Bill of 1908—we are told that the Government is attempting too much. When hon. Members in their private capacity, availing themselves of the ballot, introduce a small limited Bill, they are attempting too little. How difficult it is to please hon. Gentlemen opposite. It seems to me that what we have to do is to follow the course most in harmony with the pledges which we have given to our constituents. So far as I am concerned, I have fought four elections; in every case I have submitted the question of Sunday closing, and I believe that in every case my opponents have been against Sunday closing; and on all four occasions I have been returned to this House to see what I could do in this direction.
In conclusion, I want to make an appeal to the House to pass this Bill, if on no other ground, on the ground of giving some slight protection to the employés engaged in the liquor traffic under the conditions I have described. I must confess that I am in doubt as to the fate of the Bill to-day. There has been a good deal of lobbying going on. During the discussions on the Bill of 1908 there was a good deal of lobbying by the trade on 614 the ground that they were going to be hit too hard. They are going to be hit too hard by this little insignificant reduction in the hours of sale on Sundays, and they have been working exceptionally hard during the past few days. In fact, it is very difficult to say whether the moneylenders or the publicans have been lobbying the harder. It seems to me that it is not a bad combination. At any rate, a too free use of the public-house often leads to the free use of the moneylender. I trust, however, that the House will give this Bill a Second Reading, and that we shall do something to put England on an equality, so far as the sale of liquor on Sunday is concerned, with the other parts of the United Kingdom.
§ Sir A. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
I beg to move to leave out the word "now" and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."
I desire, first of all, to associate myself entirely with the regret expressed by the Mover of the Bill at the absence of the hon. Member who should have moved it, and at the reasons for that absence. Though I do not like his Bill, I hope the hon. Member will soon be restored to his usual health. I move the objection of this Bill in no sort of way in the interests of the trade. I have never held a single share in any brewery or trade company; I should not be ashamed if I had; nor am I any less aware of the evils of drunkenness, nor any less anxious to put an end to those evils, than any supporter of this Bill. I oppose the Bill, in the first place, because I do not believe it will mitigate the evils of drunkenness in the slightest degree, and, secondly, because I think it will involve an intolerable interference with the liberty of the general public. [Laughter.] Hon. Members opposite may laugh.
§ Sir A. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
Very likely I shall. It does not follow that members of the trade are necessarily wrong. I think the interruption of the hon. Member really shows what the support of this Bill largely is. There is a much greater desire to do an injustice to the trade than to promote temperance. Before I come to the principal arugments against the Bill, I should like to refer to one or two arguments used by the Mover of the Second Reading. He told us that there was a great demand for this Bill, and he supported 615 that statement by saying that there had been a great many petitions in its favour. As a matter of fact, there have been very few petitions in favour of the Bill. But when did the hon. Member begin to take an interest in petitions as indicating the feeling in regard to a Bill? In the case of another Bill now before the House we really have had a great many petitions in its favour, but the hon. Member and his Friends have all turned a deaf ear to those petitions.
§ Sir A. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
No, against. Does the hon. Member really tell me that he attaches more importance to the very few petitions in favour of this Bill than to those enormous numbers of petitions against another Bill which I need not mention further at the present time? He tells us that 1,500 places have passed resolutions in favour of the Bill.
§ Mr. T. DAVIES
No, no; I said that 1,500 places had been canvassed, and that over a million householders had voted "Aye" and "No."
§ Sir A. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
Yes, I know something about canvassing. I will give an example to hon. Members. I have no doubt they will cheer when they have heard it. The right hon. Gentleman who was going to move the Second Beading of this Bill is the Member for Hull. There was a canvass or plebiscite taken at Hull quite lately in respect to this Bill, and this is what happened: 19,407 householders voted in favour of the Bill, and 5,223 voted against it. That is represented as an enormous majority in favour of the Bill in Hull. But there are altogether 52,000 householders, 30,000 of whom never took trouble at all to vote. That shows that these plebiscites and canvasses, and the arguments adduced from them, are really no evidence whatever of the feeling of the people. It is a little knot of people getting together and passing resolutions and pretending that they represent the whole people.
§ Sir A. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
The hon. Member for Barnard Castle, who seconded the Motion, speaks from the Labour point of view, but I must confess that as I listened to him I was not clear whether he was speaking for or against 616 the Bill. He appeared to have so many objections to it.
§ Sir A. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
Ah, yes; we often observe the votes of the Labour party which go in direct opposition to their speeches. There was a notorious case—the question of the housing at Rosyth—a little while ago. The hon. Gentleman speaks from the point of view of the Labour party. He made an eloquent appeal on behalf of the barmaids. I fully admit that the case of the barmaid is a very hard one, but does the hon. Member think that that case is touched by this Bill? His speech was an argument really in favour of abolishing altogether the barmaid system in this country. But this is not a Barmaid Abolition Bill or there might be something to be said for it. I must not go into that argument, but really to pretend that the grievances of the barmaid, and the evil conditions under which she works are going to be remedied by this Bill is to adduce an argument which has no application whatsoever. The hon. Member speaks from the labour point of view. The hours may be long. I suppose that he contends that the employés of public-houses are in favour of this Bill? No doubt employés anywhere are in favour of working six days a week instead of seven for the same wages. Does he tell us that the employés are in favour of the Bill? Does he tell us that the publicans themselves are in favour of the Bill? I know attempts have been made in various quarters to prove that the publicans of this country are in favour of the Bill.
§ Mr. A. HENDERSON
If hon. Member appeals to me, I have already said that the publicans have been lobbying against this Bill. That is not my argument at all.
§ Mr. A. HENDERSON
No; I did not say anything of the kind. I know too well the conditions under which the employés labour. If they were organised they would state their position as freely as other workers.
§ Sir A. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
No doubt about it—the employés would like to get shorter hours, and possibly they ought to get them. But I say that this is 617 not really dealt with by this Bill. With all respect to the hon. Member that part of his argument has no bearing whatever upon the Bill. The rest of his speech was an argument in favour of interference with liberty on every possible occasion. He said, "Why not interfere with liberty. I quite agree that most of the legislation of the present Government does interfere with liberty. Why, he asked, should we not, have this closing in England. They have it in Scotland, in Wales, and in Ireland, and in other parts of the British Empire? I think the answer to that question is this: because the people of England themselves do not want it. If they did want it, they would have it in England as they have in other parts of the British Empire. Until you can prove that the people of England want it you have no right to force it down their throats. That is the main objection to this Bill. What docs this Bill propose? To listen to the speech of the hon. Member for Louth, who moved the Second Beading, you would imagine that this is a very small thing indeed. [An HON. MEMBER: "No!"] The hon. Member for Louth called it a tiny Bill. That is rather a curious epithet to apply to his own bantling. He said the tiny Bill, in its first Clause, was a very small measure. It was simply a measure for reducing hours. But when you get to the second Clause, you get total prohibition. I know that the hon. Member said you do not, because he says that the promoters have left out Sub-section (6) which was in the House of Lords Bill, by which the local Bench might issue a general ukase in their district in favour of Sunday closing. But what can Sub-section (2) do? It leaves to any local Bench the absolute right to make it a condition of the renewal of an on-licence that the house shall be closed. It enables them to deal with every single house in the district in the worst possible way, because it would allow the Bench if it chooses to single out, this, that, or the other house to do so and inflict every sort of injustice.
One of the greatest objections to the Bill is that there is no sort of uniformity about it. If you reduce the hours as proposed in the first Clause, it is left to the idiosyncrasies of every separate Bench. What is the result? You will never know what the hours are in other parts of the district. If there is to be any sort of reduction of hours there ought to be uniformity as there is at the present time. Again, with regard to total closing, I say it is a most unjust proposal. Let me take 618 a small example. There are a large number of new on-licensed houses which got their licence for the first time since 1904, and which have paid the full monopoly value under the seven days' licence. You now propose to take away one-seventh of that monopoly value and make no provision whatever to refund the money which you have taken from these people. Where is the justice in your Bill in that? What, too, can be worse than to leave it to the individual local Bench, which may be a packed Bench at a particular licensing session, and who, on some one occasion, might close all the houses in the district? Then you have got the wonderful provision that the distance for bonâ-fide travellers is to be extended from three to six miles. That is class legislation pure and simple! Hon. Members opposite in their motor cars can easily travel the six miles to get a drink, but the poor working man cannot with any satisfaction walk the distance to satisfy his reasonable requirements! What I want to ask hon. Members opposite is, What are the arguments on which they base this proposal? Do they say that the consumption of alcohol altogether is wrong? Is that their argument? If it is not wrong, then the sale of it cannot be wrong, and why should the sale of it be wrong on Sunday, if not on any other day?
§ Sir A. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
I do not know why we do. I will take the Sabbatarian argument. I am entirely in favour of reducing Sunday labour to the smallest minimum, but, after all, I think the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath, and if hon. Members opposite are to be consistent, if they are supporting the Bill simply from the point of view of getting rid of Sunday labour, do they never eat anything but cold meat on Sunday? Ho they never ride in a taxi on Sunday? Do they never travel by train on Sunday? Do they never read newspapers on Monday, knowing full well that they were printed on Sunday? It is perfectly absurd! The only one kind of interference on Sunday they wish for is to penalise the workman in getting refreshments in public-houses, because they are very careful not to interfere with other places where the workmen can get reasonable refreshments. They never interfere with clubs. The hon. Member who spoke last admitted that they were not 619 interfering with the club question. I see the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Spen Valley (Sir Thomas Whittaker) in his place. He has been a valiant fighter in this cause for many years, and I honour him for his consistency. He wrote a letter to the papers, in which he stated that to include the club question in this Bill would be to wreck it, because he knows that public opinion is not ripe for such interference.
§ Sir A. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
At any rate, the right hon. Baronet admitted that you could not get this Bill through if you interfered with the club, and if you cannot interfere with the club you should not interfere with the public-house. Clubs are open every day of the week; they are open on Sundays and on Good Fridays. There is no sort of idea of preventing Sunday labour of the club. Let me give an example—I have here a paper called "Club Life." It gives advertisements of what clubs are open. Here is the Hackney Progressive Club. I do not know whether the supporters of the hon. Member for Hackney belong to the Hackney Progressive Club, but I find the following advertisement:—Sunday morning, Mr. J. Ryder's grand concert. Olive Wade, Will Gibbs, the Lesters, Lil Kirton, Will Sohn. Bert Retford, Edie Robey, Dot Ives. Chair: Mr. G. Gaisford, supported by the Octagon Boys, Merry Mumpers, Silver Circle Boys, and various other sub-clubs.The next Sunday, 12th April:—Grand concert and Octagon Boys' morning at home. Will Jack and Edwin call and see me.I do not know what on earth that means—that was the Hackney Progressive Club. Now, there is another, at Bethnal Green, Liberal and Radical Club:—Sunday morning. Bagatelle Boys' morning, Rose Nicholson, Jim Savage, Ada Harrison, Cotton and Sands, Austin Webb. Will Temple, Chair: G. Hillier (captain, Bagatelle Boys).Sunday evening there is the same sort of thing.Good Friday evening. Special concert.Good Friday evening appears to appeal particularly to those Liberal and Radical clubs. How on earth can hon. Members opposite who object to Sunday labour and employment, and who object to drinking 620 on Sundays, tell us that you are going to promote temperance by reducing or abolishing altogether houses at which alcoholic drinks can be bought on Sunday, while these clubs are still open, and sell drink on the whole of the Sunday The inconsistency is so apparent that it does not require to say anything more. The right hon. Gentleman opposite told us it would have been impossible to carry this Bill if the club question was dealt with in the Bill. What is going to be the result of the Bill if it passes? You are simply going to have more clubs open. [An Hon. MEMBER: "Why?"] For the very simple reason that if the working men cannot get reasonable refreshments in public-houses, there will be a greater demand for clubs, where they can get them, than at the present time.
§ Sir A. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
There are fewer clubs in Scotland and Ireland and Wales in comparison with the population, but does the hon. Member not realise this—that clubs grow up in urban districts, and do hon. Members not know that Scotland, Ireland and Wales are mostly rural, while the prevailing characteristic of England is its towns and urban districts?
Then why are there more clubs in Newport than in Cardiff, two towns within a mile of each other?
§ Sir A. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
I have no doubt there are local circumstances. I am not going to generalise for a single instant, but I am going to say this, which I am sure is a fact, that if you close the public-houses entirely on Sundays, you are bound to have an increase in the number of clubs. The reduction of public-houses under the Act of 1904 brought about an increase of clubs since. I do not know whether hon. Members dispute that fact. [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes!"] Do hon. Members dispute the fact that in consequence of the general reduction of public-houses there has been an increase in clubs?
§ Mr. LEIF JONES
There has been an increase but comparatively slight, not at 621 all in proportion to the reduction of public-houses.
§ Sir A. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
Let me give an example. I take it from the general annual licensing meeting of the justices:—At Barrow-in-Furness, on 6th February, Mr. J. Clarkson, who presided, stated that while in the past four years licences had been extinguished, six clubs had been formed. Some clubs, he was afraid, were little better than public-houses. This was a great injustice to the licensed trade which had to pay Licensing Duties. He felt sure in the next Licensing Bill clubs would be dealt with. The chief constable (Mr. Berry) reported nineteen clubs with a membership of 4,246.
§ Sir A. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
I have not got the figures. I do not carry them in my head. Another example is from Accrington:—February 4th, the mayor presiding, the chief constable in his report said, 'There were fourteen clubs where intoxicating liquors are sold, an increase of one over last year. The justices have endeavoured to bring about reforms by reducing the number of licensed houses, and since the passing of the Licensing Act, 1904, have refused nine licences, …. but since then no fewer than six new clubs had been registered.'If you continue this process of reducing facilities where wanted, and if you go the length of closing altogether on Sundays, more clubs will arise in spite of police control, and in the long run the last state of affairs will be infinitely worse than the present. But I know that it is alleged that in Wales there has been an enormous improvement since the Sunday Closing Act was passed. I can speak with some little experience of that matter, because I happened to live in Wales when the Act was passed in a place just over the limit of three miles from a large town, and I know what the effect was on the particular village where I lived. There was a public-house there which, before the passing of the Act, practically did no business, but no sooner had the Act come into operation than that public-house was doing a roaring trade on Sundays. The Act was evaded in every way. Enterprising people started running brakes and one of those brakes was labelled "The Sunday closer," and it brought people out of the town, and the result was that in the case of the particular public-house I have referred to, instead of having restricted hours, it was open absolutely all day. I believe the effects of Sunday closing in Wales have been uniformly bad. There happens to be a very curious public opinion in Wales which appears to favour Sunday closing in theory, but breaks it in practice.
622 The figures we have got showing the result of Sunday closing in Wales proved most clearly that the effects have been very bad. Let me give an example. I cannot give the prosecutions for drunkenness on Sunday because they are not published separately, but I can give the total number of prosecutions for drunkenness before and since the passing of the Act. During the quinquennial period 1878–1882, before the passing of the Act, there were 771 prosecutions per 100,000 people in Glamorganshire, and in the neighbouring county of Monmouth, the total was 734 for the same period. Taking the quinquennial period of 1905–1909 the prosecutions in Glamorganshire had increased from 771 to 831 per 100,000, whereas in Monmouthshire, where Sunday closing did not apply, the prosecutions for drunkenness fell from 734 to 429. That clearly shows that drunkenness in Monmouthshire had decreased where they had no Sunday closing, and in Glamorganshire where they had Sunday closing, it had largely increased. Let me take Ireland as another instance. [Laughter.] The right, hon. Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley (Sir T. Whittaker) laughs at that statement, but these figures are hard things to laugh at. There has been a very large diminution of drunkenness in Ireland, and where has it been chiefly? There has been a very much bigger diminution of drunkenness in Ireland in those five towns which have not got Sunday closing than there has been in the rest of Ireland which has got Sunday closing.
§ Sir T. WHITTAKER
May I remind the hon. Member that although that is so, it is because there was more to reduce, and drunkenness in the Sunday closing areas is far less now than in those parts.
§ Sir A. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
You have got an area of drunkenness and a certain amount of it there, and you want to reduce it. You produce a new up-to-date instrument in a Sunday Closing Bill, and you find where you apply it that drunkenness is reduced less than in other places where it docs not apply.
§ Sir A. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
If the right hon. Gentleman can derive any satisfaction from that argument he is welcome to do so. There is any amount of illicit drinking going on in those prohibited areas. I will take the prosecutions for illicit sales. In the whole of England there 623 were 124 prosecutions in 1912, and in Wales there were 1,273. The position is absurd. Wales is an infinitely smaller place than England, and yet the prosecutions for illicit sales were ten times as great in 1912 as they were in England. Even if you try this prohibitionist plan people will get drink somehow or another, and if they cannot get it by fair or above-board methods they will get it in an illicit manner. I am going to give the House a little personal experience. On one occasion I was travelling in America, and I was staying in a big hotel in New York. On Sunday I went out for a walk, and it was a very hot day. I returned to my hotel, and I asked for a whisky and soda. The waiter said, "You cannot have it. We have a blue law here." I replied, "But I am staying in the house, and I am entitled to have it." The waiter replied, "No, you cannot have a drink, but you can have a meal." I asked. "What is a meal?" And he replied, "You can have a sandwich." I replied, "Then bring me a sandwich and a whisky and soda." I was thirsty and not hungry, and I drank that whisky and soda and another, but I did not eat the sandwich, and I saw that same sandwich go round to six other people until at last one hungry man ate it, and the waiter had to get another sandwich in order to provide meals for others who came in. That little personal experience determined me that I would never have anything to do with Sunday closing. It is a gross interference with personal liberty. I know it will be evaded, and people will be inclined to drink more if they have to get what they require in an underhand or illicit manner. I hold no brief on behalf of the trade, and I know very little about the trade. I have never been connected with it. I fully admit that the intentions of the promoters of this Bill are in every way excellent, but I oppose this measure because I believe it will do more harm than good. I regard this measure as class legislation, and an intolerable interference with the liberties of the working classes. For these reasons I shall oppose this measure.
§ Mr. H. SMITH
I beg to second the Amendment.
May I at the outset say that I hold no brief for anyone in the trade, nor do I possess any shares in any English brewery company, and, may I add, American. I do not suggest to the House that the possession of brewery shares or any other interest in a perfectly legitimate and 624 desirable trade is in any way an act to be ashamed of, but I make this disclaimer because it happens to be the fact, and because the members of the so-called temperance party have long since come to the conclusion that no person who is in any way connected with the brewery trade is a person to be trusted. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I make that assertion with some knowledge of the subject and after many years' experience. I know the right hon. Gentleman opposite is one of the principal advocates of that policy which denies to every person, however remotely connected with the trade, the right to raise his voice as a member of the Licensing Bench. I approach this case from the point of view of the man in the street and the moderate drinker who never drinks to excess, who values such liberties as the temperance party have left us, and which they now propose to take from us. I would ask the House to bear in mind that this most objectionable Bill has three main features. First of all, it proposes, as we have heard, to extend the radius for bonâ-fide travellers from three miles to six. Secondly, it proposes to curtail by half the hours of opening the public-houses on Sunday; and, thirdly, it proposes to hand over to the licensing magistrates powers which are most intolerable, and indeed despotic. I object to each and every one of those features of this Bill, and I desire to divide my criticism of the Bill under three heads. First of all, I object under any circumstances to any further restrictions upon the hours of opening. I object, again, to the proposal to make magistrates lawmakers instead of administrators of the law. And I object, finally, and with even almost more force, to the entire absence of any proposals to deal with clubs, to deal, shortly, with the other main source of supply of alcohol on Sunday. We here have the whole principle of Sunday closing raised, and surely we who claim to represent the people of England have a right to ask at the very outset, when we are considering this question, what demand there is for it. Hon. Members who are members of the United Kingdom Alliance or temperance lecturers, come here, and they ask the House to adopt a Bill so drastic and stringent as this. I say that neither the Mover nor Seconder submitted any evidence whatever that there is any popular demand for the Bill.
§ Mr. H. SMITH
Yes, but it does not follow that the English people are behind you. They must prove that the majority of the English people are behind the promoters of the Bill, and that duty both hon. Members have utterly failed to discharge. The hon. Member who moved the Second Reading of the Bill endeavoured to cite some evidence in support of it. Among other attempts he cited the fact that a late member of the Constituency which I now represent once got a Bill passed through this House by a majority of something like 28. I unfortunately did not hoar the date or the name of the Member, and I ventured to interrupt. Just consider that one case, because I know something about it. There was a Mr. Rylands who once represented the Constituency which I now represent, and he introduced a Bill for Sunday Closing. The hon. Member never told the House that Motion was made and that Bill was introduced before the years 1872 and 1874, when the alteration to the present hours was made. That Bill was introduced before and not since the alteration was made. Neither did the hon. Member inform the House that the Gentleman who introduced the Bill, representing the Constituency which I now represent, very shortly afterwards left it, and that his place was taken by a Member of the party of which I am now a member. That is the class of evidence we have submitted. I ask the promoters of this Bill, whether they belong to the Liberal party or the Labour party, to cite for me any evidence that this Bill is wanted by either the police, the magistrates, the trade, or the public. For hon. Members to come down here and submit a Bill of this sort and not be able to call the attention of the House to the fact that neither the police nor the magistrates or the trade or the public have really demanded it is in my view, sufficient to condemn the Bill finally and for all time.
Hon. members of the United Kingdom Alliance are very fond of statistics when they suit them, but I am going to rely upon three broad facts. How do the promoters of the Bill get over the fact that the improvement in England, as regards prosecutions or convictions for drunkenness, is greater than in Scotland and Ireland? The improvement in England, where you have no Sunday closing, is greater each year than in most places where you have Sunday closing. How do hon. Members get over the fact that the improvement in 626 Monmouthshire, where you have not Sunday closing, is greater than in the adjoining county of Glamorganshire, where you have Sunday closing? And how do hon. Members get over the fact that the improvement in the Irish cities, where you have not Sunday closing, is greater than in the rural districts of Ireland, where you have Sunday closing? Hon. Members will have to answer those questions before they persuade the honest opinion of this House to support the Bill they introduce. Let me deal with another point. I am convinced that the overwhelming majority of the people in England and of the English representatives are against this Bill. I do not think that even hon. Members who support this Bill will dare to stand up and say that England, to which this Bill only applies, has sent a majority of representatives in favour of its principle. I do not believe that even they will go so far as that, certainly not in this House, whatever they may do on temperance platforms. Having established the fact that we in England are to have this Bill forced upon us by the votes possibly, if it receives its Second Beading to-day, of the Irish party—[HON. MEMBERS: "No!"]. I am very glad to hear that. I was assuming that the Bill would receive its Second Reading, and I was further assuming that it would only receive its Second Reading by the support, or at any rate the absence, of hon. Members of the Nationalist party. I cannot believe that they will either vote for this Bill or be merely satisfied with abstaining front voting, because we know it is contrary to the views of their party and to the whole ideas of their party. I cannot, therefore believe that they will do anything to support it.
Let me take Scotland. When the recent Scottish Bill was introduced and was being-discussed in this House, I, as an English Member, was appealed to over and over again by the Scottish Members not to oppose the Bill, because, they said, Scotland had sent for years and years past an overwhelming majority to this House in favour of the principle of Sunday closing and in favour of the principles of the Bill generally. That was the only argument which I really found it difficult to answer, and I came to the conclusion, and the party which I represent came to the conclusion, that it was an overwhelming argument, and that Scotland had a great right to decide a question such as this, which only affected Scotland, for itself, and that 627 we English Members ought not perhaps to carry our objection to the principle of the Bill too far. I ask the Scottish Members to allow me to appeal to them, as they appealed to me and my hon. Friends. As they said, "This is a purely Scottish matter, and Scotchmen have sent us here for years to demand this Bill," I say to them, "This Bill, which we are now discussing, is a purely English matter and the English constituencies have sent us here to oppose it." I, therefore, ask that the Scottish Members should not go into the Lobby to force upon us a Bill which the people of England do not want, and for which they have never asked. If this Bill receives a Second Reading to-day, it can only do so by the support of the Government, and I imagine by the support of the Nationalist and Scottish parties, or at any rate of one of them. We are having our eyes opened more and more each day to the new principles of democracy which are actuating His Majesty's Government. It is not a case with them of what the people want, but it is a case of what the people ought to have, or what they think they ought to have. They are determined, like modern Mrs. Gamp, to seize the public by the windpipe and pour their nauseous messes down their throats. They trust only the people with whom they agree, and coerce the people who do not agree with them.
I come to the second objection to the principle of Sunday closing, which is the fact that this Bill will not in any way restrain the drunkard from drinking—that it will be a serious interference with the liberties of the preponderating majority of the people of the country, for whom with great humility I claim to speak this afternoon; it will punish the millions who use for the imaginary benefit of the handful who abuse. I had a powerful pamphlet sent to me only a day or two ago in which the case that it would not restrain the drunkard from drinking was put with great emphasis and clearness. We are told that persons who frequent public-houses can be divided into three classes; The moderate drinker, the careless drinker, and the drunkard. As regards the moderate drinker, you will only interfere with him, cause him great inconvenience, and you will only insult him by this Bill. I take it that this Bill is not obviously aimed at the moderate drinker, hut is aimed at the drunkard. I ask the hon. Members who promote it whether they seriously think they are going to stop the drunkard getting his drink on Sunday 628 in these days of clubs, in these days of off-licences, and in these days of the hawking of liquor from door to door? I dare say the moderate drinker will not get his drink, but the drunkard assuredly will, while the careless drinker will probably take his drink home, and take too much when he gets it there, and that he will take whisky home instead of the beverage which does him less harm and is more popular. The proposals in this Bill are objectionable in that they are all restrictions of one class, and one class only. I am astounded that any representative of the Labour party should stand up in this House and support a Bill which is so undemocratic, and support so unwarrantable a restriction on the class he is supposed to represent in this House.
The Bill is grossly undemocratic in its inception. It provides, or purports to provide, for the exemption of bigger hotels. I say it only purports to do so, because, in fact, so sloppy is the wording of the Clause that it does not exempt the hotels of the well-to-do, None of us in this House will in any way be interfered with by this Bill, but it makes it practically impossible for men of the working class to get that access to refreshment which I and my hon. Friends will still be able to have should this Dill go through. As regards the proposals with respect to the bonâ-fide traveller, I cannot understand the view of the hon. Member who claims to represent organised labour. Does he seriously say that it is a proper thing that the working man, who has not the means of transport which are at the-disposal of the rich, should be deprived of the opportunities which the rich will have because they have those means of transport? I cannot understand how the hon. Member who seconded the Motion can reconcile such action with the principles he is sent here to support. The Bill is also undemocratic because it proposes to hand over enormous powers to magistrates, who are elected by nobody and who are responsible to nobody. If you are going to commit to any body of people the right to so unwarrantably interfere with the liberties of the people, then you must place such powers in the hands of persons who are selected by those people, so that the people can decide whether or not they are using those powers properly. That brings me to my second main objection to the Bill—the handing over of these powers to the magistrates. It is proposed to give the magistrates the 629 opportunity of deciding without, so far as one can gather, any necessity of exercising a judicial discretion, whether a big hotel shall be opened in a particular area for the supply of milk—[Laughter]—I mean liquor, with meals on Sunday. Hitherto it has been the statutory right of every public-house to open in order to give reasonable refreshment, within certain hours, with meals on Sundays. It is proposed in this Bill that that right should cease to be statutory, and that the owner of each house, large or small, must go periodically and plead before the licensing bench, I object to that, and I am glad to see that the Noble Lord who spoke for the Government in another place when a similar Bill was introduced a few weeks ago, spoke somewhat strongly against these proposals. I will not trouble the House by reading the quotation, but I imagine that whoever speaks for the Government this afternoon will indicate quite clearly that the Government will not tolerate a proposition of that kind. Magistrates are to have the power to insist upon the complete Sunday closing of any house, and to make any conditions they like as to restricting the sale to bonâ-fide travellers. They may, in short, override their limited discretion as to the hours which the first Clause of the Bill purports to allow to them, and, if the conditions which the magistrates lay down are disobeyed, they can take away the licence as though the premises had been ill-conducted—that is to say, without any compensation—even though the person who they allege has disobeyed the conditions has not been convicted. Therefore the person against whom the allegation is made may go before a stipendiary magistrate, who will hear the whole of the evidence and yet not convict, while the Bill allows a bench of magistrates to take away a man's living without any compensation, even though the authority which heard all the evidence has refused to convict on that evidence. Such despotism has never been proposed in this House, and I have never heard of such a despotic or of such an undemocratic proposal since I have been in this House.
My greatest objection of all is the fact that this Bill fails to deal with the other source of supply—clubs. I do not understand the view which hon. Members opposite take. They seem to be quite satisfied that this Bill should touch only the one source of supply and not the other. Let us ascertain, before we vote upon this Bill, what is the aim of its promoters. Do they desire to check 630 the consumption of alcoholic liquor on Sunday or do they merely wish to aim a blow at their political opponents? We have a right to have that question answered. If they desire, as I imagine they will say they do, to control or curtail the consumption of alcoholic liquor on Sunday, then it is pure hypocrisy to come to this House and ask it to sanction the curtailing the source of supply in the public-houses and leave untouched the supply in clubs. I confirm the statement made by my hon. Friend who moved the rejection of the Bill, that where you reduce the opportunities for drinking in public-houses, you immediately increase clubs or the opportunities of drinking on Sunday. An hon. Member objected to that statement when it was made. I repeat it without hesitation, and I say you will increase the clubs or the opportunities for drinking. The hon. Member jumped up and asked how it was in Wales. He got his answer, and the answer was that, in Wales, there is more illicit drinking than in all the rest of the United Kingdom put together. That is the result of the Sunday closing of public-houses in Wales. Wales is as drunken, if not more drunken, than any part of the United Kingdom, and it is certainly infinitely more drunken than the country, part of which I am inadequately trying to represent here this afternoon. Here we have a demand, and this is one of the arguments used in the case for the further closing of public-houses by the promoters of this Bill. They have said that there has been no demand in reference to the clubs. But I may point out that the hon. Gentleman who represents the Home Office this afternoon, in May, 1912, made a speech with reference to the demand for the curtailment of drinking in clubs on Sundays. He said:—During the interval—(1908–1912)—we have had a great many resolutions from licensing authorities all over the country, and these licensing authorities are demanding some change in the Jaw so far as it affects clubs. The resolution were detailed and explicit, and they called for legislation mainly on four points.I will not trouble the House with all the points, but the second point on which they demanded immediate legislation was as to the provision for closing clubs as if they were licensed premises. How can hon. Members, in view of that weighty official statement, come here and say there is no demand? How can they deny the fact that there is a great demand for dealing with clubs immediately in the same way as it is proposed to deal with public-houses? The hon. Member who moved this Bill is anxious, as the temperance party always 631 have been to avoid grappling with this question. He seems to think that because a Bill dealing with the club question, which I myself have backed, has received a Second Reading in this House, there is no need for him to introduce a proposal to extend the provisions of this Bill to clubs. That is a very comfortable idea which relieves the hon. Member in charge of the Bill of the necessity of grappling with the problem. But I say that the party he represents dare not grapple, and never have dared to grapple with it, at any rate, since I have been a Member of this House.
§ Mr. T. DAVIES
I am quite prepared, and always have been, to support the Bill to which the hon. Member has referred.
§ Mr. H. SMITH
But why not introduce this provision into the Bill now. Why did not the Bishop of London introduce a similar proposal into the Bill which he introduced in the other House. We test your sincerity not by your words but by your deeds. You have never introduced any Bill which boldly grapples with the club question, and it is because you do not do so that we charge the promoters of such Bills as this with hypocrisy. Of course, the hon. Member thinks that it is a comfortable way of getting rid of this question, because a certain Bill was, by accident, a week or two ago, read a second time in this House. I challenge his sincerity, and I put this test to him: Will he insist, if that Bill goes no further, as indeed he knows it will not, will he insist on making it a condition of his support to this Bill that it shall go no further until an Amendment extending its provisions to clubs is inserted in it? Of course he will not. And neither will his Friends, and that is the test of their sincerity. When I find hon. Members moving Bills such as this are willing to include clubs, as they include public-houses, I shall be ready to pay them this tribute, that at last we have honest temperance reformers. I appreciate well the Government difficulty. I would remind hon. Members who represent the Government that this demand for extending the provisions of this Bill to clubs has come from all over the country. We have had it not only from the various constituencies which my hon. Friend has mentioned, but we have had it from many other constituencies with the names of which I will not bother the House. We have had it from the right hon. Gentleman 632 who represents the Spen Valley. Speaking in this House, in May, 1912, he used these words:—It is not, in my judgment, fair and reasonable to the licensed trade that we should have an unregulated and almost unrestricted sale of liquor in clubs at all hours"—I would ask my hon. Friend to mark these words—and on all days by anybody.The Mover of this Bill, I notice, cheers that. I have no doubt the right hon. Gentleman who used those words will support the Bill to-day. He has told us more than once that there is urgent necessity for reducing the hours for the sale of intoxicating liquors on Sundays in clubs, and I shall be interested to see how the right hon. Gentleman reconciles those words which I have just read with his support of a Bill which does not purport to deal with clubs. As I said just now, I appreciate the difficulty of the Government. They realise that they have many, very many supporters, hundreds of thousands, and possibly more, who are members of clubs. They have to try to steer their ship between temperance reformers whom they have bluffed for years, and the members of clubs on whose support they rely. The Government find themselves between the Scylla of temperance fanaticism and the Charybdis of club bar accounts. They intend to cling to both, but particularly to the bar accounts. I will remind the House that those who support this Bill—a Bill restricting the sale of liquor in public-houses only—must deal with the question of the sale in clubs. My hon. Friend cited many instances of what takes place in Liberal clubs in London. I know it is not confined to Liberal clubs, but I am pleased to say there are no examples of dramatic performances, music hall entertainments, and similar attractions in Unionist clubs on Sundays in any part of the country.
§ Mr. H. SMITH
The suggestion behind the observation of the hon. Gentleman is that I am making an untrue statement.
§ Mr. H. SMITH
I should like to hear a single instance where a Unionist club in London or elsewhere have dramatic entertainments, music hall performances, or bioscope shows on Sundays. We can give 633 dozens of cases where these things go on, and the majority of them are Liberal clubs supporting the Government clubs, situated in many constituencies represented by hon. and right hon. Members of this House. Take the Attorney-General. Go to Walthamstow. I guarantee that on any Sunday morning or evening you will find at least three Liberal clubs in which you will get music-hall performances or dramatic performances, or a bioscope entertainment. I have here a list of entertainments for weeks past. I shall be pleased to accompany any hon. Member who likes to go with me into the Attorney-General's constituency any Sunday morning or afternoon, and we will taste the delights of these music hall entertainments. I notice that on Sunday next they advertise a bioscope entertainment in which there will be something extra special—no doubt a picture of the right hon. Gentleman hastening to the House to vote for the Sunday Closing Bill to-day. In the constituency of the Secretary to the Admiralty there are at least three clubs in which these entertainments take place every Sunday. For instance, last Sunday, Pinkie Martini, Jolly Julia, supported by the Jolly Boys—I have no doubt a very jolly afternoon. It does not say whether the right hon. Gentleman attended the entertainment himself.
I find that at the Woolwich and Plumstead Radical Clubs there are entertainments, and at Central Hackney, dances all Good Friday night, and frequently on Sunday night. In West Southwark these performances take place, and the president of the club is Lord Southwark, the Noble Lord who only a very few years ago sat in this House, and who has been sent to another place for services rendered, doubtless to the desire of the Liberal party, for temperance reform. I cannot understand the consistency of hon. Members opposite who support the temperance party. I do not make this point because they are Radical clubs. I do not care whether they are Liberal clubs or what sort of clubs they are. It is not possible for the promoters of this Bill to attack the one source of supply which is controlled, which is supervised, and the management of which is in the hands of a man who has had to have his character passed by a judicial body, and to support that attack, while they leave untouched this evergrowing evil of clubs which has been appreciated by the Government and by Members on both sides of the House, and 634 yet apparently they are prepared to perpetuate that growing evil, and because they attack only one source of supply they are suspect, and the country believes that the temperance party are actuated largely by motives which are hypocritical. I notice that it is put forward by the promoters of the Bill that one of their objects is to reduce the hours of labour of employés. There is a splendid example of the new democracy as represented, at any rate, by individuals of the Labour party. There is no demand for it. You are going to thrust this great boon down their throats whether they want it or not. For a Member who represents the Labour party to stand up and plead, with an emotion which I thought a little forced, on behalf of a body of employés, to admit that there had been no demand among any employés for any such reform is trifling with the House. The hon. Member (Mr. A. Henderson) referred to fourteen cases of long hours out of 90,000 licensed houses in this country, and said they were typical. I did smile when he made that claim. How does he know? The onus of proof is on the hon. Member.
§ Mr. H. SMITH
I should have thought that interruption was hardly worth while. The hon. Member by quoting that report, and by his interruption, has shown that he solemnly expects the House to accept the suggestion that these fourteen houses were typical of the 90,000 licensed houses. [An HON. MEMBER: "Common knowledge."] I ask hon. Members who say that to bear in mind that the onus of proof is on them and you have not discharged that onus, and you have not discharged it, not for want of trying, but because you cannot discharge it, because the licensees of these 90,000 odd houses are satisfied, at any rate, that it is not possible to make any change which will be greatly beneficial to you. If you make a change, if you say that a man who has hitherto only been working seven days a week is only to do six days a week, do you suppose the average wage of the wage-earner in that particular industry is going to remain the same? Of course not! There is not a 635 worker in any trade who would not be glad to reduce his hours of work for the same pay, but go to the workers in the principal trades in the country and ask them to reduce their hours of work and to accept reduced pay, you will not get their support. A case has not been made out, either on grounds of Sabbatarianism or on the ground of easing the hours of labour of those who are employed in this trade, and I mistrust temperance reformers who ask our support for a Temperance Bill and base it largely on the solicitous interest which they take in the employés of that trade. Temperance reformers can, at any rate, be unmasked in this House. They come here, as they always have done, not to reduce consumption, not to assist the employés, not to further Sabbatarian ideas, but with the intention of injuring those who are connected with that branch of the trade, and their sincerity will be tested by their willingness to attack all sources of supply, and until they do attack all sources of supply, I will do all I can to oppose proposals which I think are unreasonable, undemocratic, uncharitable, and which are certainly not wanted by the British people.
§ Mr. GEORGE ROBERTS
I rise for the purpose of supporting the Amendment. I desire at the outset to emulate the example of my hon. Friend (Mr. A. Henderson), and make it clear that I am speaking purely in my individual capacity. I apprehend that the voting will disclose the fact that each party in the House is very sharply divided on this question. I can claim a measure of consistency in the action I am taking. I gave a very general support to the Licensing Bill of 1908, but I have just refreshed my memory, and am able to say that in respect to the Sunday closing proposals of that Bill, I both spoke and voted against them, as I did also against certain other proposals of that measure. I felt that there was a great deal of good in that Bill. I believe the Bill failed to become law, not only because the House of Lords rejected it, but because certain of these provisions were so irritating to the great, worthy mass of the population that the action of the House of Lords in no way provoked them to resentment. I feel that if the Bill had passed without those provisions, then what was good in the measure would now be the law of the land. I recognise that the House of Commons has a right to legislate against the vicious, criminal, or weak-minded, but this Bill does no such thing. 636 It is to legislate against millions of entirely worthy citizens. You do not apprehend that you are going to diminish drinking or that you are going to abolish drunkenness from the land, even if this Bill becomes law, but, if you pass the measure, it will have the effect of unwarrantably interfering, in my opinion, with the just liberties of a great class of wholly deserving citizens. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] I have been cheered by the hon. Member for Nottingham (Sir J. D. Bees) and the hon. Member for Haggerston.
§ Mr. G. ROBERTS
I would just as soon be cheered by the hon. Member for Nottingham as by the hon. Member for Barnard Castle (Mr. A. Henderson) if it is in support of a view which I believe to be thoroughly sound. My hon. Friend (Mr. Chancellor) may accept it from me that I meant no personal offence to him. My hon. Friend the Member for Barnard Castle applied the chief measure of his advocacy of the Bill from the point of view of the labour conditions of those engaged in the trade. I have analysed the Bill to the best of my ability, and I fail to see any relevance in his arguments as directed to labour. I share with him the regret he feels with respect to the hours of labour of many of those engaged in these establishments, and which are unduly long. But these conditions do not apply alone to the licensed trade. There are many other forms of industry in which the hours of labour ought to be restricted, and I say if we are going to deal with that problem, let us do it openly and honestly, and induce this House to declare that all classes of labour shall have the hours of service regulated and restricted, but it does not necessarily follow that, even if you succeed in closing licensed houses, you are diminishing the hours of labour. You make no such provision in the Bill. You do not declare that the licence holders shall release their servants when the houses are closed. The organised workers, shop assistants, and others, are well aware of the fact that although you may decree the closing of establishments, it does not necessarily follow that you are diminishing the hours of labour. Some people may say that there is no great advantage in keeping them there when the establishments are closed. I am prepared to make that admission, but it does not at all follow that 637 the hours of labour are to be reduced by any provision you are making in your Bill. I am quite prepared to go with my hon. Friends in declaring a weekly limit of hours beyond which labour shall not go in licensed premises or elsewhere, and I shall watch very closely the conduct of some of the supporters of this Bill to see how their action here squares with their conduct in their industrial undertakings. I think that is quite a legitimate point.
I have to travel about the country a good bit, and I have a preference for temperance establishments, but I have found that even in these places the hours of labour are very long, and that the consideration given to servants is not very great. My hon. Friend cited some extracts from an excellent report, which went to show that barmaids suffered from flat-foot, varicose veins, and other things of that sort. That may be so. I am not denying it, but I am also aware of the fact that workers engaged in temperance or other establishments are very often subject to illnesses of that kind. It does not apply alone to barmaids or to men in attendance at licensed premises. It also applies to those engaged in the trade with which I am connected. Any class of men or women who have to be constantly on their feet, are subject to the forms of illness referred to by my hon. Friend, and it seems to me that these arguments are altogether outside the real consideration of this question, and that they are only introduced for the purpose of bolstering up a central principle which docs not receive the open advocacy which it ought to have. I must say that the promoters of this Bill are not entitled to claim for it that it is promoted purely from the humanitarian point of view of assisting those engaged in the trade. That can be done apart from a, Sunday closing measure, and, in my opinion, it can be better done under a general provision for the hours of labour in the country. I am inclined to the opinion that the real impulse behind the measure is that of prohibition. Many of the promoters of this Bill are really concerned, not only to prohibit the sale and consumption of drink on Sunday but on the whole of the 365 days of the year, and my respect for them would be considerably greater if they frankly came forward in that fashion in order that we might understand their real aims.
The prohibitionist I can understand. The open advocacy of prohibition has my respect. As to the person who says that 638 to drink a glass of beer is a sin and an iniquity, and that the habit ought to be abolished, I can understand his outlook, although I may not agree with his contention. But I cannot understand a persons who will say that on six days of the week you may drink to your limit, but that on the seventh you will not be allowed to exercise your wish without restraint. If it is a sin to drink a glass of beer on Sunday, how can it be right to drink a glass of beer on any other day of the week? I think the average man has a right to drink a glass of beer, or anything else if he desires it, and I am quite certain that the great mass of those who do exercise that right suffer no manner of harm because of it Here again, I repeat, it is that great class of citizens who are well qualified to exercise restraint against whom we are striking in this measure. In my opinion, the-great majority of those who frequent public-houses on Sunday are well able to restrain themselves, and they in no way reflect any abuse of the right they exercise. I do not think you are even going to help the careless drinker, the man who may slip into excess, by the provisions of this measure. I get decidedly apprehensive of that form of social sympathy which desires to regulate and control every action of the individual. I believe that thereby you are weakening individuality, and I feel that it is a form of development which it is necessary for us to avoid. I believe that what you have got to do is to allow these people as full a measure of freedom as possible, and to throw them upon their dignity and self-restraint. Thereby you will develop in them, even in the most weakened section, a higher order of individuality and restraint than generally possesses the masses of the people.
§ Mr. G. ROBERTS
I am not convinced that that is altogether an undesirable thing. I have a right to drink a glass of beer if I choose. Does my hon. Friend suggest that if beer was free I would take it to excess, and would make a beast of myself simply because it was free? I think that my hon. Friends totally misapprehend what is desirable in human development. It is that we should be able, to rely upon the restraint and dignity of the individual, rather than upon the fetters with which some are anxious to surround him. I believe that this measure is totally impracticable. I do not believe 639 that you can ever possibly administer it. A new law to be effective must secure the acquiescence of the great body of people who are to be affected by it. The great body of people who are likely to be affected by this measure are not total abstainers. They are not those people who never enter a public-house or never drink a glass of beer on any day of the week. The people certain to be affected by this matter are those who are accustomed on Sunday to enter a public-house and get a glass of beer, and generally avail themselves of the social facilities which they have hitherto enjoyed. I do not think that you have the acquiescence of that class of people in support of this measure. From my knowledge of my class I believe you have the active resentment of that class. I am here saying what I believe from my positive and intimate knowledge of the working class.
I agree that this is a form of class legislation that does not bear with equal incidence upon the various classes of the community. Well-to-do people have their cellars. It may be said that I have a certain amount of liberty to lay in drink on Saturday night if I want it. I do not need it. I never go to a public-house on Sunday, and I am not speaking because the measure will in any way affect me personally, but I believe that an argument of that sort is just as dangerous as anything you can contemplate in respect of trade. It is dangerous to say that a workman can lay it in. Of course he can if he has got the money to lay in a lot. Very often it would induce him to lay in a larger supply than he would consume if you allowed him to go and get a reasonable quantity on Sunday. I remember some time ago a lecturer declaring that he had succeeded in keeping a certain well-known character out of public-houses on Sunday. The character was subsequently visited and admitted that he no longer went into public-houses on Sunday because he laid in the drink on Saturday night, and he found that it would be much cheaper and he got a great deal more for his money. An argument of that sort does not seem to me to be very effective. Others approach the subject from the purely Sabbatarian point of view. I take second place to nobody in this Mouse in my respect with those who take the extreme view of the Sabbath day. But, after all, we must fairly face this question: What is a reasonable observance of the Sabbath? There are some who say that 640 unless a person regularly attends all the services of a place of worship, he has not fully regarded and respected the Sabbath. I know of some Anglican ministers who would say that because a person went to a Nonconformist place of worship instead of to a Church of England place of worship, he had not properly regarded the Sabbath. I know of cases of that sort, and I think that they are not irrelevant to my argument. I would prefer people to go to some place of worship to hear the hon. Member for Barnard Castle or myself addressing a Pleasant Sunday Afternoon, but I am not prepared to say that a person who elects not to do so, but prefers to go away into the country, is any less a religious citizen than my hon. Friend or myself; and when we are addressing ourselves to this subject we need fairly to face it.
The whole tendency of the age is for people to possess themselves of the means of transit, and if a working man now saves his money and buys a bicycle with a side-car, and takes his wife and family out for a drive, he cannot be criticised for it. I have previously declared in this House that I can worship God amid the scenes of nature in the country just as well as I can inside a place of worship. Then you are going to tell me that if I take my wife and children out on a Sunday we are not allowed to go into a public-house because of the caprice of some bench or magistrate. If I go into one district I can get plenty, but if I go into another place I am not allowed to have any reasonable refreshment at all. And not because there is any great difference in the scenery, or the character of the people in those different parts of the country, but merely because of the caprice of those who happen to constitute the bench of magistrates in that particular place. We want to take a more rational view of this question. We desire everybody to have a day of rest. For my part I want to see every worker enabled to have at least one clear day off in the week, and I am prepared to do what I can to ensure that to those who are engaged in the licensed trade. Therefore, if I am prepared to go to that extent with my hon. Friend, I am perfectly justified in saying that that point has no direct relevancy to the Bill under consideration. But what do you mean by rest? You do not want me to lounge about simply at home on Sunday. Rest means recreation—in many cases getting about the country. But to 641 have rest and recreation of that character you must have some employment on Sunday, and if you do not concede that much, then I say that you are not logical unless you are prepared to give your servants the complete leave of absence, that you are asking for in this Bill in respect of the servants engaged on licensed premises.
I would like to know whether some of those who ask support for this Bill ever use their motor cars on Sunday, or whether they abstain entirely from food on Sunday, or get it ready themselves? I venture to say that if I were fortunate enough to be invited by some hon. Member of this House for a motor drive on Sunday, I should find some of the supporters of this Bill availing themselves of Sunday labour to enjoy themselves in hotels on the different parts of the route that they cover, tarry the arguments of the supporters of the Bill to a logical conclusion. If you believe that Sunday labour is a wrong thing, be consistent and banish it altogether. My respectful submission is that it is not wrong, and that you cannot possibly abolish it altogether. But the best assurance you can give to the worker is that he shall have at least one free day off in the week, not necessarily Sunday, but paying always due regard to the susceptibilities of those workers who desire to attend their places of worship, and securing that they shall be able to carry out that desire. The hon. Gentleman who moved the rejection of the Bill entertained us by narrating his experience in America. He reminded me of a very similar experience which I had. When I got into New York I was told that it was impossible to get alcoholic drink, even if I had desired it, because of Sunday closing. I was called on to address a meeting. Friends took me down to the meeting place, but, I suppose because they had had such a feast of oratory, they were not inclined to accompany me to the meeting, and they adjourned to a bar, and told me that I should find them there whenever I needed them. I went in and found that an old stale sandwich had been brought to them, and the group sat around the table with the sandwich in the centre. I was occupied the greater part of the day, and when, in the evening, I returned to them, I found that they were still drinking and that the sandwich still remained unconsumed, and the person in this story who consumed that sandwich was entitled, in my opinion, to public recognition as a hero.
642 I further object to this Bill because it confers upon magistrates legislative powers. I think that most objectionable. After all, magistrates are not necessarily persons of judicial mind. I happen to be a justice of the peace myself, and therefore, of course, I am capable of judging of some of my colleagues, and even capable of some little introspection on my own behalf. Nobody will dispute that magistrates are not appointed because they have given proof of the possession of judicial minds, or that they have any judicial knowledge. My hon. Friend near me suggests that they are mostly endowed with political minds. Everybody is aware that there is a large amount of political consideration in the appointment of magistrates. I am not making a party point; I am not saying that it applies to one party any more than the other; I am simply stating what everybody knows to be the fact; and it must also be admitted that these people have not the qualities requisite for the fair administration of the powers that are proposed to be conferred upon them by this Bill. As I said, it would resolve itself merely into a matter of prejudice, partisanship, or of caprice. I am not prepared to trust a teetotal bench of magistrates to deal principally with the licensing laws, any more than I would be prepared to allow a bench composed exclusively of those interested in the licensing trade to deal with them. My own opinion is that the body would be totally incompetent to deal with a problem of this character, and if you feel the time has arrived when Sunday closing ought to be enacted, let this House bear the responsibility, and not shift it to a bench of magistrates as proposed.
Other hon. Gentlemen have introduced the question of clubs. Some regret that the measure does not propose to deal with clubs, and others, and, of course, the promoters of the Bill, think that the point is not quite relevant to the measure itself. I remember that in 1908, when I was a new and diffident Member of this House, I ventured not only to oppose the Sunday closing provisions of the Bill, but I also defended clubs against the attacks frequently made upon them in this House. I want to say here, right out, that I know of no party in the State that dares to tackle the club problem in the way suggested by some of the speeches we have heard this afternoon. The hon. Member for Warrington made what I felt to be a party point by endeavouring to prove that 643 Liberal and Radical clubs are specially prone to abuse. I have had a fairly wide experience, and I am not going to admit that Conservative clubs are any better in this resepct. In 1908 I heard very highly coloured stories of what happened in those clubs on Sundays. I made it my business then to invite those people who knew the clubs to take me round some of them. I confess that there were things which transpired there that I did not agree with, and which offended my susceptibilities; I should have preferred if the people who were there had been devoting their time to somewhat loftier purposes. But I asked myself this, What are the home conditions of these people, what might they be doing if they had not access to this club?—and I was not convinced that the second state would be any better than the first.
Again, just as I have asserted that it is not wrong to drink a glass of beer, so it is not wrong to listen to music on Sundays, even if you call it a music-hall entertainment. I candidly confess that I would rather have people inside a club listening to music than I would have them rolling about the street in disgraceful fashion, affecting the susceptibilities of their neighbours. I feel that I ought not to give a silent vote on this occasion, particularly as my hon. Friend the Member for Barnard Castle (Mr. Arthur Henderson) had the honour of seconding this measure. I do not know how my colleagues stand. I am certain of this, that neither the hon. Member for Barnard Castle nor I represent a united party. I am free to admit that he may carry with him more Members of the party than I am able to do, but as my hon. Friend beside me points out, a majority of even the Labour party might be wrong sometimes. For my own part, I am convinced in regard to this matter, but whether I am right or wrong, I have always the courage of my convictions, though I seek to express myself with duo regard to their susceptibilities, and I ask no more from them. I am going to vote against the Second Beading of this Bill, because I feel that there is no demand for it, and that it seeks to legislate not against an unworthy section of the community, but against some of the best of the class to which I belong. I believe the measure to be extremely unfair in its provisions, and that it sets up a form of class differentiation, and for that reason I propose throwing my influence against it, and 644 I can only express the hope that it will never get beyond the present stage.
§ Sir T. WHITTAKER
I will refer later to a few remarks made by the hon. Member who has just sat down. I desire to point out that this Bill represents a question on which the House has expressed its opinion very clearly many times, and over a long period. The Second Reading of the Sunday Closing Bill was carried in 1871, in 1886, in 1899, in 1896, and again in 1909. Two of those Bills were total Sunday closing measures. Further, this House of Parliament passed the Sunday Closing (Scotland) Act in 1854, a Bill for Ireland in 1878, and for Wales in 1881. In connection with every one of those Bills we had the same statements, the same forecasts, the same allegations as to what would follow as we had had in respect of this Bill. Experience proves that in every case the forecasts were falsified, and the statements were mistaken. The statements persisted after the passing of the Acts, with the result that in the case of Scotland, of Ireland, and Wales, some years after the Acts had been in operation, Committees or Commissions were appointed specially to inquire into the working of those Acts, and the allegations that were made against them. The Scottish Act was passed in 1854, and the Commission to inquire into its working reported in 1860. The Irish Act was passed as an experiment for four years, and it was made renewable every year until 1906, when it was made permanent. The Welsh Act was passed in 1881, and a Royal Commission was appointed in 1890 to inquire into those very statements which the hon. Member for Dudley (Sir A. Griffith-Boscawen) is now repeating with regard to the failure of the Welsh Act. What was the result in every one of those cases? The Committees or Commissions reported that the Acts were working most successfully, were beneficial to the community, and recommended their extension. With this lengthy experience we have never had a single Member for one of those countries, and we have had representatives of the liquor trade from those countries sitting here, from Ireland or from Wales or Scotland, of any party, during the long time those Acts have been in force, who has had the courage to rise in this House and move that those Acts be repealed. I go further and say you cannot bring forward in this House a single request in the form of a resolution or memorial from any 645 publicly elected body, either in Ireland or in Scotland or in Wales, asking for the repeal of those Acts. What is the use of the hon. Member coming here and telling those fairy tales of the failure of the Act in Wales. If those things were taking place, do you mean to say that the people of the country concerned would not desire the repeal of the laws producing those results? When those allegations have been investigated by Commissions or Committees which have been appointed they have reported that those allegations were unfounded and untrue, and yet we have them repeated here again—the same old story! Why do not those hon. Members get away down to yonder countries, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, and persuade one representative body there to ask for the repeal of the Act which is, according to them, doing so much damage I They cannot do it. The people who live under that law know the benefit of the law, and there is not a single Member of Parliament from any one of those countries who would dare to rise up, or who has ever risen up, to move the repeal of those Acts. Then we have Sunday closing practically unanimously throughout the Colonies, and that is the sort of experience we get. The liquor trade, of course, opposes this reduction of the hours of sale—very naturally. This House from time to time during the last seventy years has made many reductions in the hours for the sale of liquor, and in every case they have been opposed by the trade, nominally in the interests of public convenience, but we have never gone back in a single case. Public opinion has never required us to go back on a single reduction. Every forecast they have made has been falsified. A great deal has been said about clubs. I agree that the supply of liquor in clubs should be regulated as we regulate it in public-houses. I say it is unjust and unfair to the licence holders to allow practically unlicensed public-houses to be supplying liquor in competition with them. I agree that many of the things that are advertised and done in our clubs are, in my opinion, undesirable.
§ 3.0 P.M.
§ Sir T. WHITTAKER
I am prepared to agree that some of them are entirely objectionable. One must, of course, recognise that clubs have an enormous range—from the West End club in Pall Mall to the working man's club, the golf club, the Masonic club, and all kinds of clubs. They are all under the definition of clubs. There are 646 some clubs which are drinking clubs to an extent which makes them a curse to the neighbourhood in which they are. I would like to see them dealt with. Hon. Members ask, "Why do you not deal with them in this Bill?" The reason is obvious, and it is purely a Parliamentary one. This is a private Member's Bill. It proposes to do what I believe to be a good thing to reduce the hours of sale in public-houses, and that is a good thing. If you hamper that Bill by adding to it another contentious question, every Parliamentarian knows that the Bill cannot possibly be carried. There is a Bill dealing with clubs. I will give that Bill every support in my power. That Bill does not propose to deal with Sunday closing in public-houses. That is an admission that the promoters of that Bill recognise that the questions are two different ones. Everyone knows that if you will only weigh any measure with a sufficient number of topics you will sink it. If you deal with these two questions separately I believe you can do so successfully. You will find people who will vote in favour of Sunday closing but who may not be in favour of dealing with clubs, and vice, versa. It is a proper thing to deal with them separately, and then you will deal with them both. This device of asking you to deal with something else is an old Parliamentary dodge, and a very ancient device, and I wonder that some hon. Members can keep from smiling when they are bringing it forward. We all understand what it means. We have never had a mea sure for the extension of the franchise but it has been met with the claim that you must have Redistribution with it—not because they wanted the extension of the franchise, but because that was a device for killing it. That is the object of that objection to this Bill. A great many of those who are urging us to deal with the clubs do not want clubs dealt with. I have sat upstairs in Committee on a Clubs Bill and the representatives of the liquor trade on that Committee opposed the restriction of clubs. The representatives of the liquor trade in this House represent the brewers. The brewers sell the liquor to the clubs, and they do not want the clubs restricted, and in Committee upstairs the representatives of the liquor trade are opponents—
§ Mr. H. SMITH
Has the right hon. Gentleman had his attention drawn to the fact that the National Trade Defence I Association, representing the whole of the 647 brewing industry throughout the country, have over and over again passed resolutions demanding that you should deal with clubs as with public-houses?
§ Sir T. WHITTAKER
In Committee upstairs the brewers' representatives in this House opposed restrictions on clubs. The same thing happened in the House of Lords when the Licensing Bill of 1908 was sent from this House. That Bill had amongst a number of provisions, a proposal for Sunday closing. When the Bill was a big one, the representatives of the Unionist party in the House of Lords told us that it was too large, too comprehensive, and too contentious, but that they would like to deal with the question of Sunday closing if that were brought in separately. No sooner is that done than hon. Members want to add clubs to it. It is the old process of killing a Bill by adding contentious matter to it. What are the facts on this club's question? I agree that clubs ought to be dealt with, but it is a comparatively minor matter beside the question of public houses. In England there are 84,000 on-licence premises—public-houses, and there are 7,900 clubs. That figure includes all kinds of clubs. Thus there are more than ten times as many public houses as clubs. What do we spend on intoxicating liquor in this country? The total expenditure last year would be about £167,000,000. We can tell roughly the expenditure on liquor in clubs now, because clubs have to pay a duty of 6d. in the pound on the cost of the liquor they supply. From the finance accounts we know how much they pay, and how much liquor that amount represents. The cost of the liquor sold in clubs last year was £2,277,000. If you assume that that was sold at a profit of £1,250,000, it would mean that the price paid for the liquor in clubs would be about £3,500,000. Therefore the liquor sold in clubs is about £3,500,000 as against a total of £167,000 in licensed houses. That means that of the liquor consumed in this country, only about one-fiftieth part is supplied in clubs. Therefore, it is possible altogether to exaggerate the influence and the evils of clubs. I am out for the restriction and regulation of clubs, but it is a minor matter beside the incomparably greater question of the 648 enormous number of public-houses, and the enormous amount of liquor sold in them.
There is a great deal of talk about the increase in the number of clubs resulting from the closing of public-houses. There is some increase of clubs as the result of closing public-houses. Sometimes a publican will set up a club when he has lost his licence. But that is not the main cause of the increase of clubs. The increase of clubs is a modern movement, independent altogether of the closing of public-houses. Here and there clubs are opened because public-houses are closed, but in the great majority of cases the clubs spring up from a social want, the desire of working people and others to have places in which they can meet, and they have discovered that clubs can be largely carried on on the profit from the sale of liquor. If you have energetic men in the locality they organise clubs, and clubs spread not so much because of the closing of public-houses as from causes of that kind. What does it all amount to? The last Licensing Return gives us the figures comparing the years 1905 and 1912. In the former year the Act came into force reducing the number of licensed houses. During those seven years in England and Wales licensed houses were reduced by 10,870, and clubs increased by 1,620. Some people talk about two clubs springing up for every public-house that is abolished. We abolish six public-houses for every new club.
§ Sir T. WHITTAKER
No. Clubs do not sell anything like the amount of liquor that public-houses do. I have just given the total figures.
§ Sir T. WHITTAKER
I will deal with that. You have ten times as many licensed houses as clubs, and each licensed house on the average supplies five times as much liquor as each individual club. Altogether licensed houses supply fifty times as much liquor as the clubs supply; there are ten times as many licensed houses as clubs; therefore it follows that the amount supplied in value in each licensed house is five times as much as in each club. I will give a number of cases where the number of licenstd houses has been reduced, while the number of clubs has either not increased at all or diminished. This is 649 between the years 1905–12. In Portsmouth the number of on-licences was reduced by fifty-six, and there were four fewer clubs at the end of the period than at the beginning. In Walsall there was a reduction of thirty-five on-licences, and there were two fewer clubs. In Gloucester twenty-one licences were abolished; there was not an extra club. In Wolverhampton fifty-one licences were abolished; there was not an extra club. In Ipswich thirty-three licences were abolished; there were two fewer clubs. In Cambridge forty-one licences were abolished; there was not an extra club. In Newport, Monmouthshire, nineteen licences were abolished; there was not an extra club. In Peterborough twenty-five licences were got rid of; there was one fewer club. In Chester twenty-five licences were got rid of; there were two fewer clubs. In Bolton forty-seven licences were got rid of; there were two fewer clubs. In Oldham thirty-four licences were got rid of; there were three fewer clubs. In Rochdale thirty-five licences were got rid of; there were three fewer clubs. In Wigan twenty-five licences were got rid of; there were two fewer clubs. There are other cases where the opposite is the result. What I am pointing out is that the number of clubs is not directly to a serious extent dependent upon the increase or the decrease of licences. I could run through a number of other towns where there has been either a diminution or no increase in the number of clubs, in spite of a large deduction in the number of public-houses. The two questions do not by any means entirely hang together.
The hon. Member for Norwich (Mr. G. Roberts) referred to free trade in drink. I do not think he quite appreciates the ground on which we advocate the restriction of the liquor trade. It is not that we claim to have any right whatever to interfere with the individual actions of anybody. Nor is it on Sabbatarian grounds or anything of that kind. It is in the public interest, for our own protection against a great evil which inflicts loss and misery upon us. The liquor trade is an evil; it is an injury to the community, and to us as part of the community. Our only claim to regulate and restrict, and the desire of sonic of us to prohibit it, is to protect ourselves and the rest of the community against the evil which results from it. That is not an interference with any man's liberty of a legitimate kind. No man has a right to a 650 liberty, the enjoyment of which injures other people. It is on that ground only that we want to regulate his actions—that is, only when the actions injuriously affect us. These measures to promote sobriety and temperance in various part of the United Kingdom in which they have been enforced are irresistible on the public opinion of the people there. The hon. Member for Dudley referred to the Irish figures, and said there had been a greater reduction in drunkenness in the districts where Sunday closing was not complete than in the areas where it is complete. That is so; but it is a very small point. It is so, simply because there was more drunkenness to reduce. The Sunday Closing Act has been in force a long time. Drunkenness in the districts on Sundays where Sunday closing is in force had got down to a very small figure indeed. Therefore, there was very little scope for further reduction. There was more drunkenness in the exempted places, and therefore the reduction has been larger there. It is no use the hon. Member shaking his head; it is so. It is a fact. I went into the figures only yesterday.
§ Sir T. WHITTAKER
It is so. I have myself verified the figures. Further, the drunkenness is less in proportion to the population in the total closing districts than in the districts under partial closing. The hon. Member for Dudley suggested I hat if we had Sunday closing the people would drink more. I think if the trade really believed that we should not find them opposing the Bill. He said there was no public opinion for this Pill.
§ Sir T. WHITTAKER
in England. I remember years ago the hon. Member sat for the Tunbridge Wells Division. He took some action against the Sunday Closing Bill of 1896. His constituents brought pressure to bear upon him to withdraw from that action. In the following year, 1897, he voted for the Sunday Closing Bill.
§ Sir A. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
Will the right hon. Gentleman allow me to explain? I did vote, and I also spoke, and I said that I would vote for a slight reduction of hours which the promoters of the Bill expressed their willingness to put into the Bill, but I would not vote for total 651 closing. They subsequently brought in a Bill—a Total Closing Bill—and I voted against it.
§ Sir T. WHITTAKER
The hon. and gallant Gentleman voted for the Bill of 1897. Now we have a Bill for a reduction of hours, and not for total closing.
§ Sir A. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
The right hon. Gentleman is quite wrong. He has obviously not read the Bill. This Bill by its second Clause allows any Bench to enforce total closing.
§ Sir T. WHITTAKER
No, no. There was a Clause in the Bill as it came down from Committee upstairs which gave that right, but it is not in now. That Clause gave to Benches power to close over the whole of their areas. This Clause which is left in the Bill gives the power to a Bench to deal with individual licences, and individual licences only. That is a very different thing.
§ Sir T. WHITTAKER
No, no; it is no use. We all know what the Clause in the Bill is which came down from Committee. A Clause in the Bill gave the licensing justices power to order total closing throughout their area, but that Clause is not in this Bill.
§ Sir A. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
Allows the local Bench as a condition of the renewal of any on-licence to declare for six days. That means that in that licensing district there might be total closing.
§ Sir T. WHITTAKER
No, no. It deals with individual licences only. It does not give power to close over the whole area. The Clause which gave that power has been taken out. What I say is that this Sunday closing question is one which we have settled for the other three countries of the United Kingdom without troubling with the question of clubs. We ask the House to deal with it here in the same way. There is a Clubs Bill. Personally, I shall gladly support that Bill, and no doubt a very large proportion of those who support this Bill will support it. It is a simpler Parliamentary method to deal separately with two distinct questions. 652 The club question has been used in connection with this Bill purely as a red-herring, to take people off the scent, to divert attention, and to capture those who have not given attention to the subject. It is a proposal which is intended to kill this Bill, and which would have that effect. The result would be that we should not get a reduction of the hours of sale in public-houses, nor should we get the regulation of clubs. By the passing of this Bill, and also by the passing of the Clubs Bill, as we may do if we only go energetically about it, we may carry both measures and so deal with both questions.
§ Mr. GOULDING
I desire to support the Amendment moved by my hon. Friend in the able speech that he delivered. I do so because I consider the Bill, in most of its provisions, exercises an undue interference with the liberty and freedom both of the trade and of the consumer. It is idle for some hon. Members on the other side who support this Bill to attempt to side-track the main objections to the Bill by contending that the object of the Bill is to reduce the hours of labour of the employés The question of the employment of those engaged in the trade was dealt with under the Shops Act. If that Act does not deal with it as effectually as some of us would desire, the main fault rests upon hon. Gentlemen opposite who did not put sufficient pressure upon the present Government to give effect to changes that some of us advocated on this side—greater consideration to the Bill, and greater regulation of the hours of labour of the employés connected with the trade. That is not the object of this Bill. Everyone knows perfectly well the object and purport of this Bill is Sunday closing, Sunday closing as far as possible in the reduction of hours, and finally in absolute prohibition. It is idle, and perfectly absurd, for the right hon. Gentleman, whose advocacy in regard to this question we perfectly well know is as consistent as his ability is great, to say that the magistrates under this Bill are not given the power of prohibition. He says they are given the power of dealing with particular licences. But cannot they use that control over every single licence in their jurisdiction, and so effect the very object which he says the Bill does not favour, and that is total prohibition?
I object to this Bill on the ground that it is a Sunday Closing Bill. I do nut believe, if it is right to participate in alcohol and the fruits of the earth in 653 moderation during the weekdays, that there is any reason to say that facility to do the same should not be given to the people on the Sabbath. The distinction as regards the closing hours of public-houses on Sundays as compared with weekdays came about, as the House knows perfectly well, during an entirely different state of affairs, and was in accord with the general spirit of the nation—which I hope exists to-day—that regard should be had to the hours of divine service, and that public-houses and places of that character should be closed during those hours and opened for the community when divine service had ended. This Bill, to my mind, will not tend to create greater temperance in the country. It will, on the contrary, induce intemperance in certain districts, and will be a hindrance to that temperance reform which is cultivated by all classes of the community at the present time.
It is also a Bill that can only be justified as class legislation. It is not going to interfere, I dare say, with the vast majority of Members of this House. They have sufficient to stock their cellars; they have sufficient to belong to some club where they can easily get facilities. When they are putting forward this measure, I should like to know how many Members of this House are going to practice in their lives, and households, the rigid discipline they wish to impose upon the working classes, who are the frequenters of public-houses. I have often attended golf clubs and other clubs, and I have seen great numbers of Members, who doubtless will support this Bill in the Lobby, and there were very few of those gentlemen in their golf clubs, after their games, that did not find it desirable to refresh their appetites in moderation. These clubs are not places that working men frequent—everyone knows the public-house is the club of the vast majority of working men, and the only places they can go to on a Sunday to meet their friends and to take part in discussions of general questions of the day, besides those appertaining to their daily labours, and this legislation is mainly levelled against that. I listened, and I am perfectly certain many others did, with very great pleasure to the speech of the hon. Member for Norwich, in which he indicated his belief that it was not by molly-coddling measures of this kind that you improve the condition of the working classes, but that it is by thrift and self-reliance that the working classes could be made good citizens.
654 I said I considered this Bill would not tend to create temperance in the country, nor do I think so, because no fact has been introduced here to-day to show that where Sunday closing is in force it has been a great success. No doubt in some cases it has been a success, and restrictions have been of advantage to the community, but taking the figures as a whole, from the Returns which have been before us, no man can claim, whether in Ireland or in Wales, that Sunday closing has been a success. Hon. Members say that the numbers of excessive drinkers in Ireland has been reduced by Sunday closing, because in districts where there is Sunday closing there was more drinking in the past. How on earth do hon. Members arrive at that conclusion? The figures of the Return state the numbers per head of the population that have been punished for drunkenness on Sundays. That does not in the least distinguish between any of the districts; it simply takes the number per head of the population, but it does not show that the numbers per head of the population who get into trouble is greater in the cities where total Sunday closing does not exist and where the people have still some freedom than in the districts where it does exist. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Spen Valley said that if clubs were introduced into this Bill, the Bill would become as dead as a doornail. I am surprised, having heard the right hon. Gentleman to-day, that he should express such views. I should have thought to-day that the right hon. Gentleman was briefed on behalf of the numerous clubs throughout the country. If he listened to the speech made here by my hon. Friend and the statements of the, regular orgies that go on on Sundays in clubs, the right hon. Gentleman cannot pursue his claims to be a great temperance reformer when he knows of these things and the liquor consumed there and says that we ought to keep our hands off the clubs.
§ Mr. GOULDING
The House will be better able to judge of the bonâ fides of the right hon. Gentleman in dealing with clubs if he will avail of the suggestion I am going to make presently as regards these clubs. We have not had the good fortune to have a Bill dealing with clubs pass its Second Reading. Will the right hon. Gentleman, if this Bill goes to a 655 Second Reading, agree to have that Bill read a second time and then have the two Bills referred to the same Committee and both considered together? The Prime Minister in 1907, said:—I agree, that from the point of view of the publican, it is an extremely unfair thing that he should be exposed to the illegitimate competition of unregulated rivals.From that day to this no Member of the Government, or of the party opposite has tried to undo that mischief, and tried to put the clubs under some regulation which would give fair play to the trade, and give the authorities power to deal with the evils which we know prevail. Now it is perfectly clear why clubs are excluded from the provisions of this Bill. It is well known that a great many of these clubs are really Radical clubs. I am perfectly aware there may be clubs belonging to the party to which I belong, but I am quite ready to place them under the same regulations and restrictions as I would place upon Radical clubs; but the right hon. Gentleman prefers to make his attack upon public-houses which are controlled, which are subject to regulations, which are subject to inspection, which are subject to penalties, which would enable the licence to be withdrawn if there are any misdeeds as regards drunkenness, such as often takes place in clubs. The right hon. Gentleman and his party does not touch clubs, they prefer to solely attack the publicans, because they have a great grudge against publicans, and they find it is a very difficult task to deal with the clubs which are instrumental in returning so many of them to this House. They preferred to have puritanism on the cheap. It is to be given effect solely against the publicans, but nothing is to be done against Radical clubs whose existence depends so much upon drink consumption, and whose influence is so great in returning so many Members to this House. If the right hon. Gentleman and his party think they are going to impress the country with the bonâ fides of their temperance reform and temperance legislation, they are trying an impossible thing. They are trying at the same time to ride two horses, one going in the direction of reform, and the other going in the direction of unrestricted freedom. They would impose upon the clubs no control and no restrictions, but they propose drastic regulations upon a trade which is already very much harassed, and which already bears a great deal of the burdens for the 656 upkeep of this country, while very little is contributed by the clubs. I do not intend to make a long speech, as I know many other Members desire to speak. Indeed, I think it is a great misfortune that so many Members very often make long speeches and crush out many of us who desire to have an innings. I am as much in favour of temperance reform as any man, and so I am quite sure are all my Friends on this side of the House. We desire to recognise the fact that we live in a country which at times is damp and cold, and we have a climate of a very hostile character. Consequently the vast majority of the people look upon a refreshment place as a place of necessity, and they wish to see the public-houses in the land properly conducted and places where they can go and participate in the refreshment they desire. If we want to create temperance in this country what we have to do is not to carry out the ideas of teetotalers, who do not wish to use public-houses themselves and who wish to stop those who do wish to use them from doing so, but we must consider those who use the public-house and not abuse it, and do what we can to brace the whole moral atmosphere inside those places, and make them as far as possible more hospitable and comfortable for the people to associate, where they can take their friends and meet them without any disgrace at all, and thus put those places on the level which exists in many of our great Continental towns.
This Bill seems to me to go in a drastic fashion against the working classes. For what conceivable reason can the three-mile limit be extended to six miles unless you wish to penalise the working man and let free the individual who can drive either in a trap or a cart? Under the law as it exists the individual who goes three miles to a public-house cannot get a drink if it is proved that his object is simply to get a drink, and he can only be supplied if he is going either for a walk and taking ordinary recreation, and he must show that ho has gone that distance for a legitimate purpose. On what conceivable grounds of justice should an individual, in these days, when the tendency is more and more to encourage people to go out for walks on Sundays and participate in the enjoyment of the country, be penalised by providing that he must now go six miles instead of three before he can get refreshment? I should like those hon. Members who talk so much about improving the working classes and their 657 hours of labour to consider also how they would like it if they had to take a walk in the country, say for twelve miles, before they could participate in refreshment. This measure is brimful of intolerable principles which are professed by the Radical party for terrorising over every one who does not agree with them, and imposing conditions which they take good care not to impose upon themselves.
Do hon. Members realise the gross injustice of placing in the hands of a bench of magistrates entire authority over the closing of public-houses? Anyone who has sat on an ordinary licensing bench must have seen the motives which actuate people there. Hon. Members are aware of the way in which benches of magistrates are formed, and parties on both sides of the House look upon it as a scandal and a disgrace, and a thing which is crying aloud for a remedy. It is actually proposed now in this land of freedom that the chance occupiers of the bench on a particular day are to have absolute power to say that no one in a particular area is to be able to go to a public-house to enjoy a glass of beer on Sunday, irrespective of the feeling in the locality, giving no vote whatever to the masses of the people in those districts to whom the public-houses are practically their clubs, and giving them no opportunity of saying whether they desire public-houses to be opened, or whether they desire to continue the freedom which they have of being able to get reasonable refreshments if they choose. If this Bill is sent to the Committee upstairs it should be accompanied by the Bill dealing with clubs, which has already received a Second Reading, and if carried upstairs against the majority of English voters in this House, hon. Members on the other side of the House and those who vote with them will be voting in direct contradiction of their whole claim of Home Rule, and what, they have practically been doing for the last three Sessions. They will be acting contrary to the principle that the people upon whom legislation is intended to be imposed should have the deciding voice whether that legislation should pass or not.
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Ellis Griffith)
I desire to associate myself with what the hon. Member has said, and I will try to be as brief as possible. The hon. Member for Worcester (Mr. Goulding) has referred in very pathetic terms to the fact that we live in a cold, damp, 658 and hostile climate, and under these circumstances he argues that it is well to have public-houses made comfortable. He also expressed the pious hope that the Conservative party to which he belonged will be able to brace up the atmosphere inside those places. After what has been said on these points I think it is just as well that we should come back to the real facts of this Bill. The three main objections taken to the Bill in this Debate, which has lasted for three or four hours, are these: First of all, that there are undue restrictions upon the hours during which intoxicating liquor is sold on Sundays; secondly, that the Bill gives too much power to the magistrates; and thirdly, that this measure ought to contain legislation with regard to clubs in order to be a fair Bill. [An HON. MEMBER: "And the distance."] Yes, and the distance. As for restrictions on the hour" of sale, it is now a part of the law of this country that Sunday is a different day to other days. I do not wish to use the term offensively, but the liquor trade is looked upon as a trade different from all other trades, and the law has differentiated between that trade and other trades as far as the hours of trading are concerned. For a very long time past it has been recognised that the liquor trade is of such a character—I will not say of such a dangerous character—that certain restrictions must be put upon the time during which it is to be carried on. My hon. Friend said that restrictions with regard to Sunday closing were introduced between 1872 and 1874 in order to safe-guard divine service. I am not entitled to speak about the hours of divine service in the Established Church, but I know that the public-houses in London are open on Sundays from six o'clock until eleven o'clock, and in the country from six o'clock till ten o'clock, and I think those hours interfere a little with divine service both in town and country.
§ Mr. ELLIS GRIFFITH
Yes, you are able to go in the morning, and the public-houses are open as competitive institutions in the evening. Now the real point is this: At present, in the country, the public-houses are open for six hours, and in London they are open for seven hours. This Bill proposes to reduce the six hours in the country to three and the seven hours in London to four. That is the real Bill. We 659 are driven back to this point: It is not a question of principle. It is admitted that there must be some restriction, and the question is, "Are the new hours in this Bill fairly sufficient and adequate to enable men who live in a damp, cold, and hostile climate to enjoy the fruits of the earth within the limits of those hours?" That is the real point; and that, to a considerable extent, must be a matter of opinion. It is no particular use arguing this point. It depends entirely upon the habits of the people for whom we are legislating. I venture to think that an hour in the early day, between noon and three, and two hours in the evening in the country, and one hour in the morning and three hours in the, evening in London, would be practically sufficient to meet all the requirements of the case. The hon. Member for Dudley (Sir A. Griffith-Boscawen) told us that this was an unwarrantable and an intolerable interference with personal liberty. That may be so, but I doubt very much whether any hon. Member in this House on either side thinks that it is an interference with his liberty. I know the answer, "We are not dealing with the classes, but with the masses." At any rate, it is a step if we can get so far as to agree that this Bill would not impose any restrictions upon any hon. Member in this House. No hon. Member in this House would feel it an intolerable hardship, so far as he is personally concerned, if this Bill were to be passed.
The hon. Member for Dudley went further. I thought that a limitation of the hours on Sunday was a recognised part of our legislation, but he quite frankly said that he did not know why we should limit the hours on Sunday at all. I would venture to think that we may have an opportunity of seeing him support a Bill such as this when the electors of Dudley have had an opportunity of expressing their opinion. We have all heard of the sandwich before, but it did not interfere with our enjoyment of the story. I do not think that the sandwich carries us very far in this case. The sandwich, as we all know, has had a long-lived existence. Supposing the hon. Member went to New York and found a great deal of municipal corruption going on there, would he come back and say, "You must not think of passing a law against municipal corruption, because there is so much of it going on in New York"? Of course he would not. We have got to deal with the facts of the 660 present situation in this country, and we have to try and make up our minds whether, upon the whole, the hours contained in this Bill are or are not fairly and sufficiently and reasonably adequate for the purpose, not for teetotallers, because they do not want any hours at all, but whether they are sufficient for people who habitually use public-houses in this country. That is the only question. The hon. Member for Dudley and myself, in another matter to which he obscurely alluded, are accustomed to talk about the trend of legislation. There can be no doubt as to the trend of legislation so far as this is concerned. The whole history for the last fifty years has been in this very direction of limiting the hours during which intoxicating drink may be sold on Sunday in this country. It is a curious thing that the Sunday Closing Acts for Ireland, Scotland, and Wales were given, one by a Coalition Government, another by Mr. Disraeli's Government, and the third by a Liberal Government', so that each party in turn is really responsible for this trend of legislation to which I have referred.
We who belong to the small nationalities are quite willing to be experimented upon to see whether the predominant partner should legislate for itself. We in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales have suffered an experiment to be made upon us, and it is for you to gather what guidance you can get from the result. It is for hon. Members on one side to show that the Sunday Closing Act is a great success, and for hon. Members on the other side to show that it is a great failure. The figures on either side are not very conclusive, but there have been official inquiries into the matter. There has been a Select Committee of the House of Commons, and there have been Royal Commissions, one on Ireland, one on Scotland, and one on Wales. In each case the Royal Commission and Select Committee unanimously expressed the opinion that this legislation was a success. Am I not entitled, therefore, to say that this is really conclusive so far as an impartial inquiry into this legislation is concerned. I have seen two-thirds of the Welsh Tory representation present in this House at a time, but I do not see them here to-day. I suppose in their absence they are represented by the hon. Member for Dudley. It is a very curious thing, so far as this question is concerned in Wales, that it is looked upon as a matter decided once for all. If you look at the addresses of the three Conservative Members for Wales 661 you will find that there was not a word of suggestion about repealing the Sunday Closing Act. When discussing the Act of 1908 Mr. Shaw, now Lord Shaw, said that If anybody suggested a repeal of the Sunday Closing Act in Scotland there would be something like a social revolution, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London (Mr. Balfour) said, "I agree." That was in 1908, when revolutions were not so popular as they are today. I feel certain when an hon. Member on this bench and the First Lord of the Treasury of the last Conservative Administration agree that anything in the nature of the repeal of the Sunday Closing Act in Scotland would approach a social revolution, we may look upon it that it is not only established in Scotland for all time, but that it receives practically the unanimous support of the people in that country. It is the same thing in Ireland and Wales. Nobody would think of going back upon the legislation for those three countries. Is there anything so different in the circumstances of those three countries as compared with England to disentitle us to come to the conclusion that what has proved of good effect in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, would, if tried, be equally good also in England?
Then I come to the second point, which I quite admit is important, and that is the power which the Bill gives to the magistrates. I just want to indicate to the House one point upon which in Committee, on behalf of the Government, an Amendment will be moved. I think perhaps it will satisfy hon. Members opposite so far as I understand their objection to-day. At present a discretion is given in this Bill to the Licensing Bench as to the hours during which refreshments shall be served, not during the hours mentioned in the Bill, but the hours during which houses are now open under the present law. The Government would be prepared in Committee either to support or to move an Amendment making the right to serve refreshments in the way I have indicated depend upon the principle of the Finance Act of 1909; that is, to depend upon the proportion borne by the receipts from sales of intoxicating liquor to the total receipts. I think that makes it more certain; it makes it automatic, and I think probably it will commend itself to the majority of the Committee. With regard to the power of the justices, in effect, to compel Sunday closing, I think hon. Members would do 662 well to take into consideration the fact that the power vested by the other Bill in the justices to impose Sunday closing wholesale was withdrawn, and now it is given to them not wholesale, for all licences within their jurisdiction, but for any individual cases.
§ Mr. ELLIS GRIFFITH
It might be said if they took the licences in turn—A B C D, and so on—and refused each one individually and separately within their area, that would be complete Sunday closing in their area, but I do not think that that is the intention of the promoters of the Bill. This point can he safeguarded in Committee. At any rate the justices must exercise judicial discretion as far as each case is concerned. They must take each case into account. That is a point which, no doubt, will be considered elsewhere. One thing has pained me very much in this Debate, and that is the way in which hon. Members have spoken of the magistrates. I have heard most painful things said, and the hon. Member for Warrington (Mr. H. Smith) got quite eloquent. He said, "Where is the public opinion behind this Bill? Go to the magistrates, go to the police, go to the trade, go to the public, and you will find opinion is practically unanimous against your Bill." Well, you cannot have the argument both ways. If the magistrates are against your Bill, if they say that the Bill is a bad one, they ought not to be attacked.
§ Mr. H. SMITH
I said that, in moving restrictive proposals in respect of public-houses, you cannot state there is any demand from either the magistrates, the police, the trade, or the public. I say further, that, as regards the closing of clubs, there is a demand of which the hon. and learned Gentleman himself has spoken frequently in this House.
§ Mr. ELLIS GRIFFITH
I do not think I did the hon. Member any injustice. I said he stated that the magistrates were not in favour of this Bill. If they had been, what a splendid argument it would have been for us. If they are with us in favour of the Bill, they are not likely, as magistrates, to be opposed to Sunday closing where they reside. Now I come to the six-mile limit. I am rather relying on the Royal Commissions. We all do that when they are in our favour. It is a curious thing that in the Majority Reports of the 663 1899 Commission the six-mile limit is advocated, and the Minority Report, not to be outdone, supported a seven-mile limit. At any rate, six miles was the minimum recommended by the Royal Commission. As regards Monmouthshire, the Royal Commission on the working of the Welsh Bill was not very clear on this point. It said that, the present boundary was a very difficult boundary in Courts of Law, and it would be very much better to have a less populous border line. The 1890 Royal Commission unanimously said that Monmouthshire should be included in Wales for the purposes of the Sunday Closing Act.
I now come to the question of clubs. I say frankly, at once, it is a difficult matter. I do not understand the position taken by hon. Members opposite. When we say anything about restricting the hours during which public-houses are open, hon. Members get quite livid and say, "What an intolerable interference it is with the freedom of the subject." They propose to include clubs, to regulate them, to restrict their hours. Is not that equally "an intolerable interference with the freedom of the subject." I adhere to everything I have said about clubs. We, on this side, feel that this is a matter which does call for the attention of the Legislature. It is an exceedingly great hardship that public-houses should be dealt with in one way, and their unregulated rivals be treated in another way. Hon. Members on that side have brought in a Bill dealing with clubs. We on this side are introducing a Bill dealing with public-houses, and, if it is possible to get some unanimity of opinion, I am sure we on this side have no objection to the two problems being dealt with together. There is a place across the Lobby where our Bill might meet with some difficulty, and if hon. Members opposite can do anything to expedite its passage elsewhere, it might be possible for some arrangement to be made here with regard to their Bill. This Bill practically embodies the provisions of the Bill of 1908. There is one matter to which I ought, perhaps, to refer, and I regret that the hon. Member for Dudley is not in his place. It has been said more than once that there is no public demand behind this Bill. I note with great favour the fact that hon. Members opposite want to differentiate England from Wales and from Scotland and from Ireland. 664 "This is a Bill dealing with England," they say, "and, therefore, we must know what English opinion is." I hope they will not forget that when we come to deal with Scotland, Wales and Ireland in relation to another matter. I hope they will apply the same argument when we have to deal with our own separate countries. I hope they will be consistent. Of course, you cannot be consistent in one thing: you have to have two things on which to be consistent, and the difficulty is in being consistent in more than one thing. Now, something has been said about there being no public demand in favour of this Bill. Does the hon. Member for Dudley remember that there was a memorial some years ago from 11,000 clergymen and 7,000 dissenting ministers in complete sympathy with this Bill? I will appeal to him on the strength of the 11,000 signatures of clergymen of the Established Church. I venture to think that the leaders of religious thought all over this country are in favour of some such restrictions as are embodied in this Bill.
§ Mr. ELLIS GRIFFITH
I do not know, but if the hon. Baronet tells me he will support this Bill if bishops did sign that memorial I will verify the matter. At any rate, I would remind him that in another place the Bishop of London has introduced a similar Bill, and perhaps that will satisfy the hon. Baronet. I hope he will remember that 11,000 clergymen of the Established Church have signed the memorial in favour of Sunday closing, and that he will in consequence reconsider his more secular views. I believe that the restrictions contained in this Bill are in accordance with the legislation of the past, that they make for the good of the community as a whole, and, although it is a small point, which is sometimes forgotten, the Bill will do something for the many thousands of people employed in the public-houses of our country, including some 22,000 barmaids. It may be asked what will it do for them? My reply is, that even these restrictions will lessen their hours of work on Sundays to the extent of three in the country and four in London, and that is not a trivial matter. It is something which will benefit both the men and the women who work so very hard at this class of trade. For these reasons, on behalf of the Government, I commend this Bill to the 665 House, and hope that the Second Reading will be passed.
§ Mr. CHAPLIN
Like my hon. Friends who sit behind me, I rise to oppose the Second Reading of this Bill, and, I may add, it is at the request of my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition that I am taking part in this Debate. The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down began with a brief description of the contents of this Bill, and perhaps I may be allowed to follow his example and give a description of my own, which, I hope, will be as brief as his. As I understand the Bill, it provides that all licensed premises out of London are to be closed except for three hours between noon and ten o'clock at night, while in London they are to remain open for five hours, between noon and eleven o'clock. Secondly, the distance as regards bonâ-fide travellers is to be increased from three to six miles, which is one of the most objectionable provisions in the Bill. Thirdly, the licensing justices are invested with the most arbitrary discretion. I am going to ask the House to allow me to read those provisions. Clause 2 says:—Licensing justices may attach to the renewal of any justices' on-licence any condition which they think fit to attach in respect of—That is what I regard as a very arbitrary discretion. Fourthly, in default of the fulfilment of those conditions the owner of the premises may be practically ruined, a very severe penalty, by the loss of his licence altogether. Fifthly, what I cannot understand coming from Hon. Gentlemen opposite, is the provision that the Bill shall not apply to Scotland or Ireland where, if the prevalence of drunkenness is to be taken as any criterion, and if this Bill is needed at all, it is needed a great deal more than it is in England.
- (a) the closing of the licensed premises for the sale of intoxicating liquor for consumption on the premises during the whole of Sunday or during any hours on Sunday during which that sale would otherwise be permitted;
- (b) the restriction of the circumstances under which intoxicating liquor may be so sold to bonâ-fide travellers under Section sixty-one of the Licensing (Consolidation) Act, 1910."
§ Mr. CHAPLIN
That is a matter of opinion. The hon. Gentleman told us just now that in Wales and in Scotland they like this and are perfectly satisfied with it, and he asked, "Why do you object to the restrictions here?" Are there not restrictions in England now? There is no doubt about that. These are added restrictions. If drunkenness is to be taken as any criterion at all, I am surprised that there is this special enactment that Scotland and Ireland are to be exempted from the Bill.
§ Mr. ELLIS GRIFFITH made an observation which was not heard in the Reporters' Gallery.
§ Mr. CHAPLIN
I am aware that that adds to the force of the arguments used by my hon. Friends behind me in which they endeavoured to show how useless it was for the purpose of limiting drunkenness to pass Bills of this description for England. While I am as anxious as any man in this House to promote temperance and to do everything which can reasonably be done to diminish drunkenness in this country, and while I am sure that is the feeling of hon. Members in all parts of the House, this is a very unfortunate instance of what the late Sir William Harcourt used to speak of as grandmotherly legislation. I had very much sympathy with Sir William Harcourt when he described these questions in that way. What is the reason of all these new proposals to which there are so many manifold objections? Certainly it cannot be put down to a steady increase of drunkenness because in the last twenty years drunkenness has enormously decreased. Judging from the fall in the number of prosecutions it has decreased by nearly one-half, and, thank God, that is a process which we have every reason to believe is steadily increasing in all classes of this country. It is not only limited to the poor. Go to the restaurants. The managers come to me sometimes and say, "None of the gentlemen drink anything now. Champagne is unknown. We hardly ever get an order for a bottle. We have some of the finest wine in the world, and no one ever asks for it." It is carried to such an extent that I am told they are called barley-water boys. Take the streets of London. Formerly it was a thing of daily occurrence to see half a dozen 667 or a dozen men reeling about the streets perfectly drunk. How often do you see a drunken man in the streets within a reasonable distance of the House of Commons to-day! I declare that if I am asked to remember the occasion, I should find it very difficult to say. It is the same thing in the country districts too. Everybody must admit that, and a most happy and fortunate circumstance it is that drunkenness is very steadily decreasing at the present time, and all I say is, long may it continue.
The hon. Member who seconded the Motion for the Second Reading of the Bill (Mr. A. Henderson), and also the Under-Secretary for the Home Department, spoke of the hardships of the employés, and argued that we ought to support this Bill in order to relieve them of the strenuous labours which they have to undergo. I took a careful note of what the hon. Member said. He stated that there are 20,000 barmaids, and he described the conditions under which their services are performed. He said that sickness, unhappily, was very common, and that it arose from foul air, the fumes of tobacco and alcohol, and he went on to say that the long hours they worked on weekdays led to tippling, which had become more or less the practice among the employés to keep up their strength. I admit that, if all he said was true, he made out a strong case against the conditions under which these people work at present. But his remedy would be perfectly useless. I have looked at the Bill, and counted the difference between the working hours per week now and the number if this Bill were passed. Even supposing that the argument of the hon. Member were absolutely sound, how would a reduction of four hours per week in London, or three hours everywhere else, on Sunday, accomplish his object? It would not make a complete change in the conditions under which they perform their work. It would be a fleabite. The hon. Member who spoke just now said that we should support this Bill, not so much for preventing further drunkenness, but because it would give real and substantial relief in respect of the hardships of the employés engaged in this trade. If he wants to do that, he ought to turn his attention to the number of hours they work during the week. I agree with what the hon. Member for Dudley (Sir A. Griffith-Boscawen) said on 668 this point, but that argument has no bearing whatever, or any substance at all, in connection with this Bill, the object of which is the decreasing of drunkenness.
I turn now to what seem to be the objections to the Bill. In the first place, the measure is, in my humble judgment, a most unpleasant instance of what I call class legislation. I heard with immense satisfaction the speech of the hon. Member for Norwich (Mr. George Roberts), a distinguished Member of the Labour party, and I am bound to say that I entirely agree with him. The Under-Secretary for the Home Department said that he had arrived at the conclusion—why, I do not know, after the speech of the hon. Member for Norwich—that, at all events, this Bill interfered in no way with the convenience or liberties of Members of this House. Why the hon. Member for Norwich spent at least ten minutes in inveighing against this particular Clause of the Bill on this ground. He said, "Why am I, when I take my children out on Sunday, not to be allowed to get refreshment when I want it? Sunday very often is our one day's holiday in the week. Why cannot we get refreshments without travelling, as you propose we shall do, six miles out and six miles back again?" I think that that is an intolerable provision. It does not affect us, but I may remind the House of one of the old "Punch" cartoons published many years ago which I happen to remember just at the moment. There are not so many Members of this House who may have seen it or who remember it. There were two pictures opposite to one another. The cartoon appeared at a time when this question was being discussed. One picture represented a gentleman sitting in a smart club, well-dressed and looking extremely comfortable, though rather warm. It was a very hot day in summer. A waiter was handing him a, silver salver. Underneath was written, "Just a nice sandwich and a glass of hock and seltzer." On the opposite picture there was a man with a perambulator and his wife and two or three children, as hot as could be, and pulling up at a public-house with the door closed and nothing to be got. Underneath it were these words, "A mouthful of dust and a pull at the pump." Nothing could better describe the situation than those two pages of "Punch." That, in my opinion, is the greatest possible objection to this Bill, and as far as I am concerned, I will do all I can to oppose it.
669 Another objection is that the Bill is going to be totally ineffective. How can it be otherwise? What have you heard discussed all through the Debate this evening? Hon. Members must know perfectly well that if you close the public-houses, as you are trying to do by this Bill, you inevitably create more clubs. The clubs which exist at the present moment are totally without control, but the hon. Member said just now that in his judgment clubs ought to be controlled. Then what would be the answer, the very proper and fitting answer, of the owners of licensed premises? "If you think that, why do you not postpone your legislation, in justice to us, until you are prepared to deal with the clubs as well as with the public-houses?" That is a very pertinent question. There is really nothing more to be said on the subject. This is a Bill of only three Clauses. I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman is prepared to hold out to the House of Commons and to the owners of licensed premises that he is prepared to deal with the whole question; but unless he does so, I can only say—that is, for myself—that I think we are justified in opposing it by all the means in our power.
If you were to raise the question of clubs and attempt to deal with it as you suggest, I do not know that you would not find yourselves, when you come to consider it, placed in a position of greater difficulty than you are at the present time with this Bill. I will end as I began. I submit that this Bill ought to be opposed because the remedies which it proposes would be hopelessly ineffective, and because, to my mind, it is particularly obnoxious. I think I may say, even without exaggeration, that it is the most odious form of class legislation, and you will be doing a great wrong, unless you deal with the whole question; and you will be adding to the bad treatment which has been experienced by one particular trade, a trade that has been harassed and maltreated in a way which I never recollect having been applied to any other trade in this country. You will find, if you proceed on the lines on which you are going at present, that instead of putting an end to, or seriously diminishing drunkenness, you will probably be much more likely to increase it, and increase drinking by other means and in other directions, so that you will fail in the very-object of the Bill which you put before us now.
§ Sir S. COLLINS
I am sure I heartily congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on 670 the first part of his speech, that splendid temperance address which he gave us. I expect that the Member for the Attercliffe Division (Mr. Pointer) will be asking the right hon. Gentleman to go on the platform of the United Kingdom Alliance and repeat that speech, and I shall be very glad, at any rate, to hear the right hon. Gentleman say, "Long live the barley-water habit"; and I say "Long live the right hon. Gentleman"—long may he live to give us such vigorous and eloquent speeches as he has given us a specimen of this afternoon. The right hon. Gentleman asked what were the reasons for this Bill. I think there are many excellent reasons. We have experience on our side. The Scotch Act was referred to, and I believe this is the Diamond Jubilee of the Forbes MacKenzie Act. With the long experience we have already had, I do not believe that there is any hon. or right hon. Member from Scotland who would venture to repeal that Act. They know that the results of the Act have been such that to a very large extent drunkenness has decreased. Drinking has decreased through Sunday closing in Scotland to a very large extent. There are one or two circumstances to which I desire to refer. Three years before the Sunday Closing Act there were on Sundays 4,082 arrests for drunkenness in Glasgow. Mark the difference—and I ask the right hon. Gentleman's attention to these figures—in the three years after the Sunday Closing Act there were 1,466 arrests, and the proportion fell from 26 per Sunday to 9½ per Sunday.
I can give you many other instances of figures, but I will confine myself to only the one illustration, Many more instances could be given proving it is a success everywhere. All the inquiries of the Sunday Closing Parliamentary investigations made at the instigation of the opponents of Sunday closing have proved that the Acts have been a remarkable success everywhere; and, whether Royal Commission or Select Committee, the conclusion has been the same, and they have stated that on no account should the Acts be discontinued. The hon. Member for Norwich (Mr. G. Roberts) questioned rather whether the working-classes would be in favour of this proposal. I will take an instance from Bootle, which, I am sure, he looks upon as a working-class town. Not long ago in Bootle there was an investigation over Sunday closing, and 8,412 671 voted in favour of it and 1,035 against. I venture to say that might be repeated all over England to a large extent. The hon. Member for Dudley (Sir A. Griffith-Boscawen) is a great upholder of the Church, which he has defended here in the most eloquent terms, and I know he appreciated the great work the Church does for the uplifting of the people. Let him ask the clergy of the Church, and those who work in mission work in connection with the Church, and I think he will get almost unanimous support from every clergyman, and especially from every mission worker, throughout the length and breadth of this land for this Bill. Magistrates have been referred to, and I think an hon. Member said they were against this Bill. I will quote one magistrate, the Chairman of Quarter Sessions at Leicester, Sir William Vincent, whoexpressed strong regret that on Saturday and Sunday evenings in particular some of the large public-houses in the town were crowded with young men and young women not much beyond childhood. He added that the most growing need of Christianity and morality was that something should be done that should take them away from the public-houses Sunday school teachers complained that many scholars were late or absent altogether from Sunday afternoon school through the parents being in public-houses.It is not very often that I am in London on a Sunday, but some time ago I had to pass through London on a Sunday evening, and between seven and eight o'clock I went down Villiers Street and, to my surprise, found it crowded. I could hardly get along for young people of about fifteen or sixteen years. I was so astonished I asked a policeman, "What is the cause of this, or what is up?" I did not tell him who or what I was. He said, "This is a usual thing on Sunday evening If you go into the adjacent streets and the side streets all around here, you will find nearly every public-house full of boys and girls from fifteen years of age and upwards." I ask the hon. Member for Dudley, lover as be is of his Church and of the noble and sacred work which that Church is endeavouring to do, will he not come on our side and help us to save the young people from these temptations to which they are subjected? You do not like legislation. I would rather have moral suasion—I am a moral suasionist—but as the Under-Secretary indicated, this is a privileged trade. It is a trade in which licensing Acts have been in operation for 200 years, and we have had about 400 Acts of Parliament to regulate it, and we have not got it satisfactory yet. Will you 672 not help us to do so? I believe in moral suasion. I believe in the old lines:—There is a little public-houseWhich everyone may close;It is a little public-houseJust underneath the nose.I would rather that that were found possible; but while poor human nature is what it is, while men, women and young people are subject to the temptations of the public-house on every hand, I ask hon. Members to do a little to help us remove these temptations from their way. I ask them also to relieve the publican. I verily believe—in fact, I know—that if the publicans could speak freely 75 per cent. of them would be glad to have their Sundays for themselves and their wives and children. It is cruelty to the publicans. They do not live half as long as other shopkeepers. I plead also for the barmaids and the barmen. I ask the House to carry this little Bill so that we may take one more step in the way of our social legislation which right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite are so anxious that we should carry through for our country.
Sir G. PARKER
We all give the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken credit for possessing a very kind heart and for feeling very deeply in regard to the welfare of the masses. He has spoken of "the little public-house underneath the nose." I am quite sure that the "little public-house" that he owns has done no injury to his cause this afternoon. Earlier in the Debate hon. Members opposite made frequent reference to what they called "your party" as being the friends of the public-house. It is constantly done. I would ask hon. Members opposite who are going to vote for this Bill whether they represent the whole of their party. They are not entitled to speak of Members on this side as the only Members who oppose this Bill. The hon. Member for Norwich (Mr. G. Roberts) made a speech of great power and force. Whether you agreed with him or not, there was logic in what he said; it was a coherent and very sound utterance from every standpoint of Parliamentary logic. Does the hon. Member represent no Members of his own party except himself? I think he does; I think he represents Members both of the Liberal and of the Labour party, who are not in sympathy with this Bill, and who would vote against it but for purely sentimental reasons. We have been asked why Scotland, Wales, and Ireland do not ask for the repeal of their Sunday Closing Acts. I do not think that 673 that is a very strong argument. To repeal an Act, particularly when it represents a sentimental feeling, is a very difficult operation. Many Members vote for Bills of this kind who are not convinced in their minds at all as to the soundness of the principles of the Bills, but are animated by the feeling that the measures represent a sentimental attitude of mind which they ought to encourage. The hon. Member the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department said it was no good quoting other countries or other organised communities like the United States, the Overseas Dominions, for even Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. If that is the case how comes it that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Spen Valley Division and the hon. Member who moved the Bill did little else but quote the good which had been done elsewhere by these Acts, and called upon this House not to stand out of this development of civilisation as represented by legislation in the Overseas Dominions and the United States? I submit to the House that if you are going to use the illustration at all you must not be afraid of it. You must quote it, and give evidences of the working of these Acts elsewhere, because I know a good deal about the working of Prohibition Acts in Kansas, Maine, in Canada, and in Australia. I venture to say this: That just as with Sunday closing in Scot land to-day there is a vast amount of drunkenness, greater in proportion—I say it sorrowfully—than in the other countries of the United Kingdom or any other country of our Overseas Dominions, and that it is largely due, as I think, to the restriction which has been made which is not in sympathy with or in consonance with, the feelings of the people as accepted by their—
§ Sir S. COLLINS
May I quote figures? For England and Wales, expenditure on intoxicating liquor, £3 12s. 9d.; for Scotland, £3 2s. 7d.
Sir G. PARKER
There are a good many ways of quoting figures, and as my time is short I do not intend to respond to the invitation of the hon. Member. But I say that with your further restrictions you will only increase the consumption of the more strenuous of our alcoholic beverages, namely, whisky, instead of beer, which is in England the national drink—and I think that that is the case in Scotland, too. I think the greater amount of drunkenness there is due to the fact that a more strenuous liquor is imbibed.
Sir G. PARKER
I admit that. I admit that in proportion there is a general decrease in the consumption of liquor in this country, because this country itself stands, so far as the punishment of offences against the law goes, lowest on the list. Next comes Wales, next comes Scotland, and next Ireland. Whether these figures are correct or not I cannot say, because there is contradiction in statistics. But those who observe, and members of the Scottish community itself, admit that the amount of drunkenness of Scotland is out of all proportion to the effect that ought to be produced by such restrictive legislation as exists. I think it is an extraordinary thing that the party opposite, the party of local option, the party of leaving it to the individual community to decide what should go on in its own borders, should give an assent to a Clause or Subsection of this Bill which leaves it in the power of the magistrates to close every public-house on Sunday within their jurisdiction. Where does local option come in there?
I wonder if hon. Members opposite realise to what they are committing themselves? There was some by-play about political magistrates. I did not mean that any magistrates sitting upon the Bench would act for purely political purposes. What I meant was that when they were appointed the appointments were largely political. Hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite desire that those Tory magistrates who have been appointed shall not favour the liquor trade, and that those who on this side and who are for fair play should not criticise magistrates who are Liberals. I do think that all parties in this House ought to see that the power that is granted in this Bill should not be permitted. From the standpoint of hon. Members opposite it is quite undemocratic quite apart from the effect it will have. The Under-Secretary to the Home Office said the Government were going to introduce into the Bill in Committee a Clause which would prevent this wholesale application of their powers by the magistrates. It is a very difficult thing to do that. Are hon. Members going to allow to remain in the Bill that which is in defiance of every principle ever maintained in this House? I do not think they ought. We have no assurance that the Amendments will be carried in Committee, and we ought not to 675 consent to the Second Heading of this Bill which, to my mind, embodies so pernicious a practice and power on the part of the magisterial Bench. With regard to employés, I do not think there is any hon. Member on the opposite side of the House who is more concerned about employés of public-houses than Members on this side, and it does not seem to me, as my hon. Friend (Mr. Goulding) pointed out, that you should use this Bill in order to secure a decrease of the hours of the employés and the barmaids in public-houses. It seems to me it would be a right thing to deal with that question of hours elsewhere, and you are not entitled to deal with it in this Bill or to use it as an argument in favour of the present Bill. There is another thing. If you are to deal with it it ought to be dealt with separately. You should impose certain restrictions, if necessary, upon the landlords of public-houses to allow relief on the Sunday for the barmaids. That would be a fairer way of doing it—I do not say that you ought to do so—but I say you have no right to relieve barmaids by this Bill and at the same time put restrictions upon the working classes who are the only people who really will be affected by the measure. Hon. Members opposite are democratic. They say they are. Well, if they are democratic—and let us admit it—why in the world do they put restrictions upon the working classes who are the only classes who will be affected by the Bill? The hon. Member for Norwich is no greater degree representative of the working man than me. It is working men in my Constituency who elect me.
Sir G. PARKER
There are a great many working men in my Constituency, and the hon. Member for Norwich said that the people to be affected by this Bill are the majority who send us to Parliament. The workman wants his exercise, not in the evening but in the morning, and I am inclined to believe it is in the morning he takes his exercise and does his three miles, not for the purpose of getting a drink, but for recreation. That being the case, I think it is a very grave mistake on the part of hon. Members of this House who are supposed to represent the democracy of this country to press forward this Bill which will injure those whom they profess so much anxiety to relieve of burdens. It is said that 11,000 clergymen have spoken in favour of the entire closing of public 676 houses on Sunday. I wonder if hon. Members opposite would always wish to act upon the legislative suggestions of the clergy or ministers of this country? Would you accept their legislative proposals handed in to you without the closest scrutiny? After all, with their Sunday services, they are in competition with those outdoor services and worship of nature which the working man enjoys. That argument is not to be pressed, because we could easily get another 11,000 clergymen if necessary to present and support the other side of the case. [An HON. MEMBER: "Where?"] I am not going to enter further into the subject because my speech is ended, no doubt to the satisfaction of the House. I oppose this Bill because I believe it to be ill-devised, and it gives unwarranted power to the justices to do in an indirect way what the Government failed to do in 1908. This Bill ought to have been brought in by the Government if at all, because it is a question of far-reaching consequences affecting the moral and industrial position of every working man in this country. The Government have no right to support this Bill. Whenever this question is taken up it should be with the full sanction of the Government and under their direction, instead of hon. Members having to vote as now, not upon the wisdom or unwisdom of this question, but largely from a sentimental attitude on the part of Members of this House.
§ Sir NORVAL HELME
I rise to support this Bill on the ground that a restriction of the hours of sale will conduce to the sobriety of the people, and I believe that that view is held by a large number of people on both sides of the House. The hon. Member for Warrington (Mr. Harold Smith) said that hon. Members who supported the Bill were trying to aim a blow at their political opponents. That is not so. We are all anxious to unite and carry on the work of social reform which is so near the hearts of many Members on both sides of the House. Mr. Disraeli passed the Irish Sunday Closing Bill, and in 18S8 Mr. Ritchie proposed, in his Local Government Bill, to give local licensing authorities the power to impose total Sunday closing. We need not now discuss political motives, but go straight to the question as to whether we cannot together bring about an improved condition of things for the people. The hon. Member for Sheffield was right in bringing in his Clubs Bill. When the Licensing Bill of 1900 was before 677 the House I put down an Amendment to restrict the sale of drink in clubs to the same hours as public-houses, and in supporting that Amendment we, many of us, desired to support the publicans. They do a trade sanctioned by the State, and we do not think it right that there should be unfair competition through the clubs with a trade carried on under the conditions of their licence. There is behind this proposal a consensus of opinion. I have only to allude to the fact that the Archbishop of, Canterbury presided over a National Convention of representatives sent from 120 towns to support Sunday closing. Then the Convocation of York, in February last, passed a resolution unanimously in favour of Sunday closing. Again, some years ago a petition, signed by 11,008 clergymen and
§ 7,720 Nonconformist ministers, was presented to the late Lord Salisbury. The Free Church Council have passed resolutions year after year in favour of Sunday closing. I think if this House were to set itself carefully to unite the support of Members on both sides in favour of securing the passage into law of this measure and a Clubs Bill, this Session would be usefully employed.
§ Mr. T. DAVIES rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."
§ Question put accordingly, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 176; Noes, 198.679
|Division No. 93.]||AYES.||[4.57 p.m.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Hackett, John||Molloy, Michael|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Hancock, John George||Money, L. G. Chiozza|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire)||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Montagu, Hon. E. S.|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Hardie, J. Keir||Morgan, George Hay|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||Morrell, Philip|
|Beale, Sir William Phipson||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Murphy, Martin J.|
|Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. George)||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C.|
|Bentham, G. J.||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Black, Arthur W.||Hayden, John Patrick||Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)|
|Boland, John Plus||Hayward, Evan||Norman, Sir Henry|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Helme, Sir Norval Watson||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Hemmerde, Edward George||O'Donnell, Thomas|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Henderson, John M. (Aberdeen, W.)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Cawley, Harold T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Herbert, General Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||O'Shee, James John|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Hewart, Gordon||Palmer, Godfrey Mark|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Hinds, John||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Clough, William||Hogge, James Myles||Parry, Thomas H.|
|Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)||Holmes, Daniel Turner||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)|
|Collins, Sir Stephen (Lambeth)||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Pointer, Joseph|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||John, Edward Thomas||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Jones, Rt. Hon. Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Radford, George Heynes|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Cotton, William Francis||Jones, Leif (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Crooks, William||Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Reddy, Michael|
|Crumley, Patrick||Joyce, Michael||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Cullinan, John||Kellaway, Frederick George||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)|
|Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirkcaldy)||Kelly, Edward||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardiganshire)||Kenyon, Barnet||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Delany, William||Kilbride, Denis||Robinson, Sidney|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||King, Joseph||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Dickinson, Rt. Hon. Willoughby H.||Lamb, Sir Ernest Henry||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Doris, William||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Lardner, James C. R.||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumbr'ld, Cockerm'th)||Seely, Rt. Hon. Colonel J. E. B.|
|Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)||Leach, Charles||Shortt, Edward|
|Elverston, Sir Harold||Levy, Sir Maurice||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert||Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)|
|Essex, Sir Richard Walter||Lyell, Charles Henry||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Esslemont, George Birnle||Lynch, Arthur Alfred||Snowden, Philip|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert|
|Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles||Maclean, Donald||Tennant, Harold John|
|Ffrench, Peter||Macpherson, James Ian||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Furness, Sir Stephen Wilson||M'Callum, Sir John M.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Gill, A. H.||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Ginnell, Laurence||Markham, Sir Arthur Basil||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Glanville, Harold James||Martin, Joseph||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Greig, Colonel James William||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Griffith, Ellis Jones||Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix)||Watt, Henry Anderson|
|Webb, H.||Williams, John (Glamorgan)||Young, William (Perthshire, East)|
|White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Whitehouse, John Howard||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.||Williamson, Sir Archibald||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)||Mr. Timothy Davies and Mr. Arthur|
|Wiles, Thomas||Yeo, Alfred William||Henderson.|
|Williams, Aneurin (Durham, N. W.)|
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||Newton, Harry Kotingham|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Forster, Henry William||Nicholson, William (Petersfield)|
|Archer-Shee, Major Martin||Foster, Philip Staveley||Nield, Herbert|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Gardner, Ernest||Norton-Griffiths, J.|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Gastrell, Major W. Houghton||O'Connor, John (Kildars, N.)|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Gibbs, George Abraham||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Gilmour, Captain John||O'Dowd, John|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Glazebrook, Captain Philip K.||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Banner, Sir John S. Harmood-||Goldman, Charles Sydney||O Malley, William|
|Baring, Major Hon. Guy V. (Winchester)||Goldsmith, Frank||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Barnston, Harry||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen B. (Glouc, E.)||Grant, James Augustus||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Greene, Walter Raymond||Peel, Lieut.-Colonel R. F.|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Gretton, John||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Guinness, Hon. Rupert (Essex, S. E.)||Pole-Carew, Sir R.|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Guinness, Hon. W. E. (Bury S. Edmunds)||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Bigland, Alfred||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Ratcliff, R. F.|
|Bird, Alfred||Haddock, George Bahr||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Blair, Reginald||Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)||Rawson, Colonel Richard H.|
|Bowerman, Charles W.||Hall, Frederick (Dulwich)||Rees, Sir J. D.|
|Boyle, William (Norfolk, Mid)||Hall, Marshall (Liverpool, E. Toxteth)||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Boyton, James||Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)||Roberts, George H. (Norwich)|
|Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell||Harris, Henry Percy||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Rolleston, Sir John|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Henderson, Sir A. (St. Geo., Han. Sq.)||Royds, Edmund|
|Burgoyne, Alan Hughes||Henry, Sir Charles||Rutherford, Watson (L' pool, W. Derby)|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Butcher, John George||Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Campbell, Captain Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)||Hickman, Colonel Thomas E.||Samuel, Samuel (Wandsworth)|
|Campion, W. R.||Hills, John Waller||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Hill-Wood, Samuel||Sassoon, Sir Philip|
|Cassel, Felix||Hoare, S. J. G.||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Hodge, John||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Cave, George||Hohier, Gerald Fitzroy||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University)||Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)||Staveley-Hill, Henry|
|Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W.||Houston, Robert Paterson||Stewart, Gershom|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk.||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)|
|Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Ingleby, Holcombe||Swift, Rigby|
|Clive, Captain Percy Archer||Jackson, Sir John||Sykes, Sir Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Jessel, Captain H. M.||Talbot, Lord Edmund|
|Cooper, Sir Richard Ashmole||Kerry, Earl of||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Craig, Ernest (Cheshire, Crewe)||Keswick, Henry||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Tobin, Alfred Aspinall|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Touche, George Alexander|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Croft, Henry Page||Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts, Mile End)||Walker, Colonel William Hall|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Lee, Arthur Hamilton||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury)||Warde, Colonel C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Denison-Pender, J. C.||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Weigall, Captain A. G.|
|Denniss, E. R. B.||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Colonel A. R.||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Dixon, C. H.||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C.||Wilson, Captain Leslie O. (Reading)|
|Duffy, William J.||Mackinder Halford J.||Wilson, Maj. Sir M. (Bethnal Green, S. W.)|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Macmaster, Donald||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Duncannon, Viscount||Magnus, Sir Philip||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Malcolm, Ian||Worthington Evans, L.|
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Mallaby-Deeley, Harry||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart|
|Faber, George Denison (Clapham)||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Yate, Colonel C. E.|
|Faber, Captain W. V. (Hants, W.)||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Younger, Sir George|
|Falle, Bertram Godfray||Mooney, John J.|
|Fell, Arthur||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert||Mount, William Arthur||Sir. A. Griffith-Boscawen and Mr. Harold|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes||Newdegate, F. A.||Smith.|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||Newman, John R. P.|
Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.
§ Words added.680
§ Second Beading put off for six months.