HC Deb 04 June 1919 vol 116 cc1987-8
52. Captain O'GRADY

asked the Prime Minister whether, having regard to the appeal that the public shall take holidays earlier, and that the statutory holidays follow in quick succession, and, further, the anticipation that Peace celebrations will take place about the middle of August, in which the nation as a whole will participate, and will require and demand reasonable facilities for refreshments, can he state what steps will be taken to wind up the functions of the Liquor Control Board; and whether there will be an approximation to pre-war conditions in respect to the production and sale of exciseable refreshments in order that such facilities may be established?

Mr. BONAR LAW (Leader of the House)

I cannot add anything to previous replies on this subject.

Captain O'GRADY

Have the right hon. Gentleman and the War Cabinet taken into consideration the point of my question, that probably on the celebration of Peace there will be half the population of London in the streets, and that if these houses are closed for reasonable refreshment nothing but riot and chaos can ensue?


That is possible, and I think if there is any likelihood of the facts being such as my hon. and gallant Friend suggests it is a subject for consideration whether special arrangements might not be made on such an occasion.


Can he state when the Cabinet will announce its decision in regard to the removal of this control?


I am sure my hon. Friend will realise that it is not a simple subject to deal with. In the meantime the Board of Control are exercising their functions. It is not intended that that should be permanent, but whatever arrangements are ultimately made should be under the responsibility of some Minister who is answerable to Parliament.


Does he realise that the indefinite continuance of this control is causing increasing exasperation in this country, and can he take no steps either to give an explanation or to put an end to it?


We have taken very considerable steps. We have, for instance, authorised an increased output of beer which is at least as large as can be brewed under present conditions, so there is no limitation of output, and as regards hours I do not think either the House or the country would like to see a reversion to the old system.


Is he not aware that the primary incentives to all men working, including Members of the House of Commons, are hunger and thirst, and that at least by one of his Regulations he has to a large part cut off one of the primary incentives and caused great irritation to all classes of the community, and that if he continues that he will likely have to greatly increase his unemployed benefit?


There is a great deal of truth in what the hon. Member says, but Members of Parliament, like other human beings, have to be content very often without the full satisfaction of their desires.