HC Deb 24 July 1916 vol 84 cc1324-5
69 Commander BELLAIRS

asked the Minister of Munitions (1), in view of the fact that the inquiries concerning the application of the Central Liquor Control Board to the south-eastern area heard the evidence of the representatives of the licensing justices of each Petty Sessional division, the licensing justices of each county borough, the municipal authorities, and the police constabulary, who all testified against the action which has now been taken, whether he can state on whose evidence the Government have relied and what was the object of going through the pretence of holding inquiries; (2) whether he will receive a deputation of members from the south-eastern counties on the application of the Liquor Control Board Regulations to those counties; if so, will he postpone the Order until he has heard their views on the matter; and (3) whether he is aware that an Order applying the Liquor Control Board Regulations to the south-eastern area comes into force to-day; whether he is aware that the Board held an inquiry at Canterbury for Kent on 8th May, and at Brighton for Sussex and Surrey on 12th May, at which every speaker expressed the opinion that there was no necessity whatever for any extension of restrictive measures, and that no useful purpose would be served thereby; and whether, in view of the fact that the decision is against the unanimous evidence of all the recognised authorities of the south-eastern counties, he will at once withdraw the Order?


I am not able to accept the hon. Member's description of the views of the representatives of local authorities and licensing justices, who attended the inquiries which were held, as a fair summary of the proceedings at those inquiries. As the hon. Member observes, the Order comes into operation to-day, and while the Department will be glad to receive any representations respecting its operation which may be addressed to them, I am not aware of any grounds for the postponement or withdrawal of the Order, which was based upon the request of the military authorities.

Commander BELLAIRS

Does the right hon. Gentleman state that the military authorities in Kent and Canterbury asked for this Order?




Since the Department is not willing to accept the account which the local authorities represented at this meeting themselves gave, will the right hon. Gentleman in future have an official shorthand note taker in order that there may be no doubt?


I think there was an official shorthand writer. I saw a long report afterwards and I think it purported to be a shorthand report. I will look into it.


Can the right hon. Gentleman account for the fact that the representatives of the local authorities and licensing justices and magistrates all give an account of this which he will not accept?


Is my right hon. Friend aware that these Regulations and Orders have been in force in the North of England for months and months?


That does not arise out of this question.