HC Deb 29 July 1932 vol 267 cc1869-965

I beg to move, in page 1, line 13, at the end, to insert the words: Provided that such conditions shall require the person to whom the licence is granted to satisfy the authority that the pictures to be exhibited are suitable for exhibition on Sundays; and. In Committee I moved a new Clause to the same effect, but on somewhat different lines. It was in this form: The Secretary of State shall appoint a committee of persons, who shall have no interest in or connection with the production of or exhibition of cinematograph films who shall be charged with the duty of inspecting all films before they are shown on any Sunday in any area, and shall issue a certificate in respect of such films as they approve, and the licensing authority shall only allow such films to be exhibited as have been certificated by the committee."— (OFFICIAL REPORT (Standing Committee B), 21st June; col. 189.] The Under-Secretary raised two principal objections to the form of the Clause. He said: I do not believe in the setting up of any new bodies or the giving of any new powers. … I attach great importance to allowing the licensing authorities their own discretion in this matter."—[OFFICIAL REPORT (Standing Committee B), 21st June; cols. 185-6.] I have, therefore, moved the Amendment in another form which is not open to either of those objections. I do not propose to set up any new authority, and I do not propose to take away any power from the authority of the local licensing authority, whether a county council, an urban district council, a rural district council, or a bench of magistrates, but considering the immense advantage that is being given to the cinematograph industry, we should demand that those to whom this valuable licence for the Sunday exhibition of films is granted, should satisfy the licensing authority that gives them that advantage that the films they are going to show snail be decent and clean. There is nothing in connection with the Bill that attracts more universal interest and attention, not only on the part of those who are strongly opposed to the Bill, as I am, but on the part of many who may be generally supporting the idea of Sunday cinema entertainments, than the feeling that the films to be shown on Sunday must be decent and clean. It is the duty of the House to settle the question of the character of the films to be shown on Sunday.

There is an enormous annual outgo of money from this country to the United States of America, estimated by the film industry at £12,000,000. I have had estimates higher than that. I have had a statement from a gentleman who was chairman and founder of one of the largest cinematograph companies in this country, Provincial Cinematograph Theatres, that the extension of the privilege of showing films on Sundays, if it becomes general in this country, will wield at least between £2,500,000 and £4,000,000 additional tribute to the United States of America. In a proposal of that magnitude we should at least be able to throw the onus on the person to whom the licence is granted, that he should satisfy the authority as to the character of the films that he is going to show. It is constantly-said that what is good enough for weekdays is good enough for Sundays. It is said, why should we ask for a better character of film on the Sunday? The answer is, that we do not want entirely to secularise the Sunday or to say that we are not entitled to demand of the entertainments that we are going to legalise that they shall be something of a little better character than those that may be tolerated on the weekday. For these reasons, and considering that we have spent many hours on the Bill, I shall not detain the House further.


I beg to second the Amendment.

It has been a matter of surprise to me that the Home Office did not in some way safeguard the public in connection with the character of the films that are to be exhibited on Sundays. It is a very simple matter to do it on the lines of the Amendment, and I should have thought that it would not have presented any real difficulty. It would be a very wholesome and genuine check on the character of the films exhibited. It is true to say that the authorities who grant the licences have the power to interdict certain classes of films. That was the main point of the argument of the Under-Secretary in declining to accept the previous Amendment, but I do not think that it is good enough to say that they have the power; it is essential that they should use the power. They should take some responsibility for the class of entertainment offered to the public on Sundays.

I am not one of those who decry cinemas in general. Certainly, 75 per cent. of the films we see would be perfectly suitable for exhibition on Sundays, but there is a pernicious 25 per cent. that should not be produced on Sundays. It would be a very simple thing under our procedure to see to it that those objectionable films are not shown on Sundays. After all, Sunday is a better day than the weekday, and people ought not to have things that are not of the best thrust upon their attention on Sundays. People will go to the cinema on Sunday without knowing the class of production that they will see. They may not have any choice, because perhaps there may be only one cinema in their district. They ought to be able to see something which will enable them to take away thoughts that are elevating and not have to see the sensuous, sensual film or the gangster, blackguard film. This sort of thing does not fit in with our idea of Sunday, and if we allow it to happen—it could easily be prevented—we shall be doing something to debase Sunday and not to make a wholesome Sunday.


In asking the House to reject the Amendment, I do not want to follow the hon. Baronet who moved it into a long discussion on the general question of the opening of cinemas on Sunday, the amount of money that will go to the industry, or the question whether we need, in principle, a different censorship for Sunday from that we need on other days. The Amendment, and the machinery which the hon. Baronet is asking the House to adopt, are really quite ineffective and meaningless. It is true, as the hon. Member who seconded the Amendment said, that the local licensing authorities have the power already, and can require that certain films shall not be shown either on Sunday or on any other day. That may be right or wrong, but the Amendment, in point of fact, does not make them use the power. It would be perfectly competent for a licensing authority to satisfy the terms of this Amendment by issuing a statement to cinema proprietors that, as long as they exhibited only those films which have been passed by the Film Board of Censors, they would satisfy the authority that the films were suitable for exhibition on Sundays. That leaves the position exactly as it is to-day. Hon. Members may have something more in their minds and may want to put upon the local authority the duty of inspecting pictures to be shown on Sundays. That course has recently been adopted by one small licensing authority with two cinemas only in its area. In the course of a few weeks they found the job of viewing the films for exhibition too much for them. If the hon. Member for Barnstaple wants to put on the London County Council the job of reviewing every film shown in London on Sundays he will find—


That is not my Amendment.


I am obliged. I was trying to put into the Amendment some practical effect, and I thought that was the only practical effect which the hon. Member wanted. Now that I realise that he does not want local authorities to take any personal responsibility for seeing the films, there is really nothing left in the Amendment.


I desire to support the Amendment, even after hearing the remarks of the Under-Secretary which seem to me wholly unconvincing. The Amendment does not destroy the greater part of the objections to this Bill, but it does something to ameliorate them. It gives us a chance of making a new category of films. At present there are only two divisions; one, those films which are labelled as suitable for adults, and those which are labelled as suitable for children. If the Amendment is carried we shall have a most valuable third division; films licensed for Sundays. For that reason I support the Amendment even to the extent of making it incumbent on a local authority to go a little more into the matter of the censorship of films. There is no reason why we should trust the existing Board of Censors. It was only the other day that their identity was discovered, and then it was obvious to everybody who saw the names that they carried no weight. That being so, we have only to investigate the sort of things which they have been passing. There is no doubt that the Board of Film Censors have passed a very great number of trivial and vulgar films, and deleterious films as well; and I think that because a film has been passed by them for exhibition to adults or children it should not free a local authority from the moral responsibility of keeping, out of their town and front the children very objectionable stuff.

The hon. and gallant Member for the Exchange Division (Sir J. Reynolds) said that 25 per cent. of the films exhibited were objectionable. In the report of the Birmingham committee, formed by Sir Charles Grant Robertson, it was found that the proportion is much greater. Of 289 films in Birmingham which they investigated they found that 19 of those passed for general use and 68 of those passed for exhibition to adults only were highly objectionable. That is more like 60 per cent. than 25 per cent. At the present moment a local authority is not inclined to take much trouble in regard to a film which has been passed by the censors. They may say that, having passed the censors, it must be all right. Very often it is not. Those who have gone into this subject find that films of the most deleterious kind are being passed day by day. Let me give two examples of the sort of thing I mean; the information in both these cases was given to me by people who feel strongly on the subject. There is the case of the horror and terror film. About 1,500 school children were taken to see the ordinary films exhibited in their town, which happened to be largely of the crank—I mean the crook —type, and 379 of them complained that they had suffered from sleeplessness, terrors and unpleasant reminiscences. It cannot be right that children should suffer needless terrors from having seen horrible murders such as we now see habitually in the American wild west film, or in the elaborate crook film, such as we see produced in London.

The second class of film is the suggestive sexual film, and my informants tell me that it is a horrible thing for ladies who take young growing girls to the cinema to see films in which the whole art of seduction is being practised by the adventuress on her victims. I desire to see a distinct liability put upon local authorities everywhere to review films. I know the kind of objection that will be made. It will be said that it is tedious and difficult to manage, but licensing authorities have assumed this responsibility and they should face it. The second objection is that very cheap old argument that you cannot make men good by Act of Parliament. That is about the most contemptible argument I know. Taken to its extreme limits, if there is to be no censorship, no common decency, it means that we should take the police out of St. James' Park and the notices about litter off Westminster Bridge. You cannot trust a certain type of man without some form of law and censorship, and if that is true of the streets and of literature, it is still more true of the films, which are now one of the greatest educational influences in England. I support the Amendment with the greatest pleasure as throwing on local authorities the moral responsibility, which I hope they will face, of seeing that nothing but clean films are exhibited to children, impressionable children, who form the greater part of the audiences of cinemas.


Not on Sundays.


I know nothing about London on Sundays. I am never in London on Sundays, but I certainly know what happens on weekdays. Does

Division No. 262.] AYES. [6.57 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut. Colonel Heilgers, Captain F. F. A. O'Donovan, Dr. William James
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Holdsworth, Herbert Oman, Sir Charles William C.
Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K. Hope, Sydney (Chatter, Stalybridge) Pearson, William G.
Aske, Sir Robert William Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg) Procter, Major Henry Adam
Atholl, Duchess of Jenkins, Sir William Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Islet)
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Kerr, Hamilton W. Reid, David D. (County Down)
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Knox, Sir Alfred Reid, William Allan (Derby)
Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City) Law, Sir Alfred Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)
Christie, James Archibald Leckie, J. A. Rothschild, James A. de
Cocks, Frederick Seymour Lewis, Oswald Salt, Edward W.
Cook, Thomas A. Liddall, Walter S. Salter, Dr. Alfred
Cove, William G. Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)
Cowan, D. M. Lunn, William Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.
Crooke, J. Smedley Lyons, Abraham Montagu Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Curry, A. C. McKeag, William Somerville, Anneslay A. (Windsor)
Dawson, Sir Philip McKie, John Hamilton Spencer, Captain Richard A.
Drewe, Cedric McLean, Major Alan Strickland, Captain W. F.
Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen) Magnay, Thomas Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Gaibraith, James Francis Wallace Maitland, Adam Sutcliffe, Harold
George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea) Millar, Sir James Duncan Walls, Sydney Richard
Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John Milner, Major James Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Guy, J. C. Morrison Moreing, Adrian C. Williams, Dr. John H. (Lianelly)
Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Morris-Jones, Or. J. H. (Denbigh) Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)
Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Morrison, William Shepherd
Hartland, George A. Nail, Sir Joseph TELLERS FOR THE AYES
Haslam, Sir John (Bolton) Nicholson, Rt. Hn. W. G. (Petersf'ld) Sir Basil Peto and Sir James Reynolds.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Bossom, A. C. Chotzner, Alfred James
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Boulton, W. W. Clarry, Reginald George
Ainsworth, Lieut.-Colonel Charles Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton Clayton, Dr. George C.
Albery, Irving James Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Cobb, Sir Cyril
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Bracken, Brendan Colfox, Major William Philip
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Broadbent, Colonel John Colman, N. C. D.
Attlee, Clement Richard Brocklebank, C. E. R. Colville, John
Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M. Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham) Cooke, Douglas
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Cooper, A. Duff
Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J. Cadogan, Hon. Edward Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.
Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley) Craven-Ellis, William
Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury) Cambpell, Rear-Adml. G. (Burnley) Cripps, Sir Stafford
Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th, C.) Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)
Belt, Sir Alfred L. Carver, Major William H. Crossley, A. C.
Bernays, Robert Castlereagh, Viscount Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard
Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn) Cautley, Sir Henry S. Culverwell, Cyril Tom
Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.) Daggar, George
Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton) Chalmers, John Rutherford Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.
Bird, Sir Robert B.(Wolverh'pton W.) Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.(Birm., W) Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)
Blaker, Sir Reginald Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric Davison, Sir William Henry

the hon. Member suggest that no children are taken to see films?


This Amendment refers only to Sundays, and, therefore, if you pass it you will not preclude the exhibition of unclean films on six days of the week.


I do not see the point of the observation. If these things are bad in the week, then a fortiori they are worse on Sundays. There is still a difference between Sundays and other days of the week: to some of us. I entirely approve of the Amendment, and I hope the House will support it.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 78; Noes, 248.

Denman, Hon. R. D. Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.) Rawson, Sir Cooper
Denville, Alfred Jesson, Major Thomas E. Rea, Walter Russell
Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F. John, William Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)
Dickie, John P. Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton) Renter, John R.
Donner, P. W. Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Rentoul, Sir Gervais S.
Doran, Edward Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.
Duckworth, George A. V. Ker, J. Campbell Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)
Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel Kimball, Lawrence Runge, Norah Cecil
Duggan, Hubert John Kirkwood, David Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)
Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.) Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Rutherford, Sir John Hugo
Eden, Robert Anthony Latham, Sir Herbert Paul Salmon, Major Isidore
Edge, Sir William Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.) Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)
Edmondson, Major A. J. Leech, Dr. J. W. Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Edwards, Charles Lennox-Boyd, A. T. Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart
Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey Levy, Thomas Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard
Elmley, Viscount Llewellin, Major John J. Scone, Lord
Emmott, Charles E. G. C. Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.) Selley, Harry R.
Emrys-Evans, P. V. Loder, Captain J. de Vere Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.
Entwistle, Cyril Fullard MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr) Skelton, Archibald Noel
Erskine-Boist, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool) McCorquodale, M. S. Slater, John
Falle, Sir Bertram G. Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.
Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan) Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)
Foot, Dingle (Dundee) McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston) Somervell, Donald Bradley
Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin) Macmillan, Maurice Harold Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.
Fox, Sir Gifford Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M. Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.
Ganzoni, Sir John Margesson, Capt. Henry David R. Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.
George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) Marsden, Commander Arthur Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.
Gillett, Sir George Masterman Martin, Thomas B. Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)
Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Mason, Col. Glyn K, (Croydon, N.) Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)
Gledhill, Gilbert Maxton, James Stones, James
Glossop, C. W. H. May hew, Lieut.-Colonel John Strauss, Edward A.
Gluckstein, Louis Halle Merriman, Sir F. Boyd Summersby, Charles H.
Goodman, Colonel Albert W. Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.) Tate, Mavis Constance
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Taylor, Vice-Admiral E.A.(P'dd'gt'n, S.)
Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tfd & Chisw'k) Thorp, Linton Theodore
Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham) Tinker, John Joseph
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur Mitcheson, G. G. Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)
Grenfell, E. C. (City of London) Molson, A. Hugh Eisdale Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon
Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W). Morgan, Robert H. Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.) Wallace, John (Dunfermline)
Grimston, R. V. Muirhead, Major A. J. Wellhead, Richard C.
Gritten, W. G. Howard Munro, Patrick Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Groves, Thomas E. Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H. Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Grundy, Thomas W. Newton, Sir Douglas George C. Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Guinness, Thomas L. E. B. Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth) Watt, Captain George Steven H.
Hales, Harold K. North, Captain Edward T. Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. David
Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Nunn, William Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah
Harbord, Arthur Ormiston, Thomas Weymouth, Viscount
Hartington, Marquess of Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A. White, Henry Graham
Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n) Palmer, Francis Noel Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes) Parkinson, John Allen Williams. Thomas (York, Don Valley)
Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M. Patrick, Colin M. Wills, Wilfrid D.
Hepworth, Joseph Peake, Captain Osbert Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)
Hicks, Ernest George Peat, Charles U. Winter ton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Hirst, George Henry Penny, Sir George Wise, Alfred R.
Hornby, Frank Percy, Lord Eustace Withers. Sir John James
Horobin, Ian M. Perkins, Walter R. D. Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley
Howard, Tom Forrest Petherick, M. Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)
Howitt, Dr. Alfred B. Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H. Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'oaks)
Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Pownall, Sir Assheton Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)
Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport) Price, Gabriel
Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries) Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich) TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Hurst, Sir Gerald B. Ramsden, E. Sir Frederick Thomson and Mr.
Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd) Ratcliffe, Arthur Womersley.

I beg to move, in page 1, line 18, after the word "employed," to insert the words "by any employer."

This Amendment is intelligible only if read in conjunction with the next Amendment and the next but one, and it does, in fact, deal with the same point as that raised by the intervening Amendment in the name of the hon. Baronet the Member for Barnstaple (Sir B. Peto). The Bill provides that it is to be one of the conditions for licensing for Sunday open- ing that conditions shall be laid down securing that an employé has not worked on the six preceding days, but subject to the limitation that he has not so worked in connection with similar entertainments or exhibitions. In Committee the hon. Baronet moved an Amendment, which he is proposing to move on Report, to omit those words. In the course of the discussion on that Amendment two things became perfectly plain, that it was the desire of the Committee—and the Home Secretary gave an undertaking that, as far as possible, effect should be given to that desire—that the seven-day week in connection with the cinema entertainment should, as far as possible be avoided and, on the other hand, it was plain that the Bill as drafted left too many dangerous loopholes. For example, as was pointed out, in places of entertainment like the tower at Blackpool, where there are various entertainments going on under one roof, it would be possible to ignore the Clause as it stood, because people employed at another part of the building could be taken on in the cinema on the seventh day. On the other hand it is essential, if we are imposing a penalty upon an employer, that he should be safeguarded from unavoidable and unintentionable breaches of the law. Take the case of a man who happens to be employed as a programme seller on Sunday, but who has had casual employment on all the other days of the week, as a newspaper vendor or a caddie or whatever it may be. The employer has no possibility of checking his statements if the man chooses to tell him an untruth. He should not be made responsible for a penalty against which he has no possibility of guarding.

The Government have attempted to meet those positions, because it is felt that the necessary qualification in favour of the employer might altogether whittle away the prohibition, and it seems to be very much better to have some definite obligation put upon the employer, which will be absolute and unescapable so far as he is concerned within those limitations. Therefore, what we are proposing —and I hope the House will accept it-is that the employer shall not be able to employ a man who either in his own employment, in any occupation of any sort, has been employed on the preceding six days, or has been employed on the preceding six days in connection with similar entertainments. You will thus get rid of the possibility of an employer mobilising his own employés and shifting them from some other occupation with which he is connected into his cinema on Sunday and, on the other hand, prevent the industry as a whole moving employés about from one house of entertainment to another. If that does not absolutely accord with the letter of what was discussed in Committee, I submit to the House that it completely carries out the substance, and I hope that the House will accept the Amendment.


I must thank the hon, and learned Gentleman for the explanation he has given, and I must pay my tribute to the Home Office and to the hon. and learned Gentleman for putting down on this Clause the Amendment which we were promised in Committee. I am not quite clear about the Amendment, and I will put to him the case I quoted, in order that he may tell me if it is covered. An employé in a cinema, who is employed for six days in the week, from Monday to Saturday, can obviously not be employed on the Sunday. Even if the employé is engaged in connection with another entertainment industry he will also be debarred from working on a Sunday. The case I put was as follows: The law will prevent an employé:in a cinema or an entertainment industry from working on the seventh day, but a person employed in another occupation, as a bricklayer, painter or plumber, for instance, may have been employed the whole of the week, working regularly, and yet be able to work on Sundays in the cinema. Will this Amendment make the law such that the cinema employé will not be able to turn round and say, "The law prevents me from working on Sundays, but it does not prevent a man coming from another industry and blacklegging me on the day the law prevents me from working"? Does the Amendment cover that case?


Theoretically it will be possible for some employé, not connected with the cinema at all or with that particular employer in any other capacity, to come in on the seventh day, although he is working elsewhere on the other six days. But the practical answer is that there is so much demand for this Sunday employment within the industry that it will not be possible for the cinema employer to escape rationing Sunday employment among his own employés.


I would like to correct what might have been a wrong impression caused by the speech of the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. E. Davies). Not merely the opponents but the supporters of the Bill suggested that words of this kind should be inserted. I rise for the purpose of thanking the Government for having acceded to what was almost the unanimous request of the Standing Committee. We have been criticised in some quarters on the subject, but all that we sought to establish was the principle that no person should be allowed to work on Sunday if he had worked for six days a week in other occupations. As far as that idea can be carried out it is being carried out by these words. I realise that there are certain difficulties, but so far as possible they have been overcome.


I was the Mover of the Amendment in Committee when this undertaking was given by the Government. I fully realised at the time that it was very difficult for the Under-Secretary to do more than he did, and that was to say that he would take the matter back, consider it and as far as possible meet the general view of the Committee. In my view the Government have gone as far as possible in finding practical words which can be carried into effect, and I thank the Government for having met me in that respect. Of course while this Amendment deals with the question of the continuous seven days work in a week it does not deal with the analogous question, quite as important, of occasional rest on the Sunday. On that subject I have an Amendment to move later.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendments made: In page 1, line 21, after the word "employed," insert the words: on each of the six previous days either by that employer in any occupation or by any other employer.

In line 23, leave out the words "on each of the six previous days."—[The Solicitor-General.]


Mr. Hicks.


On a point of Order. There are three or four Amendments on the Paper dealing with the same point. Could you call an Amendment standing in my name, designed to deal with the very question that we have settled in the last Amendment so far as the 7-day week is concerned? We could then clear that part of the Clause before we deal with a totally different matter.


I am not sure to which Amendment the hon. Baronet refers.


The fourth Amendment, in page 1, line 23, at the end, to insert the words: (b) that no person employed in any place licensed to be opened and used for public entertainment or amusement on Sundays shall be employed by any employer for more than twenty-six Sundays in any year or for more than two Sundays in succession. That seems to be the best Amendment to move, because paragraph (a) has already been made very complicated by the words that we have inserted.


We have not reached the hon. Baronet's Amendment yet. We shall come to it in due course.


I do not want to question your decision in any way, but my Amendment deals with the very subject that we have just dealt with, and I thought perhaps it would be more convenient to deal with one subject at a time.


We shall deal with it when we come to it. We had better go on.


I beg to move, in page 1, line 23, at the end, to insert the words: (b) that the conditions of employment of any person employed in public entertainments on Sunday shall be such as are fixed by trade union agreement, but where no trade union agreement subsists then such as may be fixed by conciliation boards consisting of an equal number of representatives of associations of employers and of bona fide trade unions of employés engaged in public entertainment, together with an independent chairman; and. I am very grateful to the Solicitor-General for the observations that he made on the Amendment to which he spoke, in trying to provide some guarantee that persons employed in Sunday entertainments should not be employed on the preceding six days. I suggest to the Government that it would be better if they could accept such an Amendment as I have now proposed, in order to call in those who have the experience and the organisation and are willing to place such organisation at the disposal of those concerned. Very little control is provided for in the Amendments which we have just carried, and unless some further Amendment of the kind I have moved is adopted there will be many irregularities arising and the Government will find that the intention of the Clause is to a very large extent evaded.

My desire is that just as railwayman and omnibus drivers and conductors are protected generally by trade union agreements, so in the Sunday entertainments industry workers should have the benefit of a similar kind of provision. My Amendment offers the best possibility of guaranteeing that there shall be some general control over the matter. To those who are concerned about Sunday welfare I submit that my Amendment makes provision not only for material but even for spiritual welfare. We desire definitely to provide, that there shall be some sort of organisation in this matter. Without organisation I am sure that the persons employed in Sunday entertainments, if left entirely to the whims of employers, will find the same irregularities arising as occur in the case of chauffeurs who have to drive people to church on Sunday, milkmen who have to deliver milk, bakers who have to bake bread and printers who have to set up type.

I do not oppose Sunday work when it makes for happiness and pleasure. I do not believe that we should be happy only when we are making other people miserable. There is too big a tendency to crush out some of the fun and laughter of life, by certain coteries of individuals. However well-intentioned they may be, perhaps for some physical or other reason they are not able to join in fun and laughter, and with great earnestness they try to throttle the fun and laughter of other people. We want adequate arrangements to be made so that the working week is observed. I am not opposed to Sunday labour provided that adequate recreational facilities are provided for those who are compelled to work on Sunday. If a man has a 5½ days week he has opportunities for general recreation and rest. It is a deplorable feature of the present-day life that so many should say that our education is not equal to discrimination between cultural and entertainment value. I have been to the pictures many times, and I would go oftener if there were not so many calls on our time in this House. I might go to-night if we get through this Debate early enough. In this machine age workpeople have had the joy of work taken away from them to a very large extent. They do not, to the same extent as formerly, use the tools of craftsmanship, and the change has made a definite impression on the life and character of our people. There is therefore all the more need to cultivate happiness, fun and laughter. I hope that no person who is unable to respond to that provision will be encouraged with malice aforethought to try to deprive other people of pleasure.

The trade union has provided a shield for omnibusmen, tramwaymen, printers, railwaymen and a multitude of others. We have thrown away the idea that on Sundays we must go only to museums and places of that sort. I remember that when bicycles were introduced, people wanted to make women sit sideways, because it was thought to be improper for them to wear rational dress and ride the other way. I have seen the very beautiful figures of men and women on the films. I wish that workpeople and others had such beautiful limbs instead of limbs that are warped and twisted and bent as the result of misery and privation. The Amendment provides a practical opportunity for a trade union organisation, if it exists, to see that the hours of labour are generally observed. If some such organisation is not given control what steps do the Government propose to take to see that the six days week is carried out? Under the Shops Act the local authorities have to appoint inspectors. If the proposal of the Amendment is not carried out, in what way is it proposed to supervise these entertainments and see that the law is not violated? The Amendment provides the best supervision that we can suggest.


I beg to second the Amendment.

7.30 p.m.

A great deal has been said in these discussions about the position in London but we must remember that this Bill will be applicable to other districts where licences have been issued in the past and where there has been little control over the hours or conditions of those employed on Sundays. In the West Riding of Yorkshire licences have been issued in the past on the understanding that no profits were taken by the cinema proprietors and no wages paid. It was a voluntary opening and all the takings went to the hospitals. This Bill will alter the position and will call upon the people engaged in the industry to work on Sundays wherever these licences are granted. The Mover of the Amendment is right in pointing out that in all industries in which there is work on Sundays, special arrangements were made, through trade unions and employers' organisations, in regard to Sunday employment. Certain guarantees are given and observed by both sides that only certain hours shall be worked and that people shall not work more than a certain number of days in a week. We want the same kind of guarantee for those who will be employed on Sundays in the cinemas.

A number of us who are supporting the Bill do so because we are anxious to maintain the status quo in this matter throughout the length and breadth of the country. We believe that a lot of good has been done by these hospital contributions. In the West Riding for instance, as I have pointed out, the hospitals took the total. At the same time we feel that effect should be given to the desire expressed by many speakers during the Committee stage that there should be a definite guarantee to the people who will be called upon to do Sunday work, that they shall not be compelled to work more than six days in the week and that their conditions in other respects shall be reasonably safeguarded. This is a fair Amendment. Its acceptance would give satisfaction to the people who are going to be employed on Sundays and I do not think that the employers would take any exception to an arrangement of this kind. I think indeed they would welcome it and in nearly all districts where there is Sunday opening there are organisations which would readily give their services to make such an arrangement satisfactory to all concerned. I hope that the Minister will give serious attention to an Amendment which seeks to achieve an object favoured by many of the speakers both in the Committee and in the House.

The CIVIL LORD of the ADMIRALTY (Captain Euan Wallace)

I do not think that anybody in this House will quarrel with the general principle underlying this Amendment. An Amendment precisely similar was moved in Committee by the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. E. J. Davies) in one of the best and shortest speeches which we had during those proceedings upstairs. I am, certain that hon. Gentlemen opposite will realise on reflection that the Government, however sympathetic with the general principle, cannot be expected to accept the Amendment in this form. The Amendment really assumes a position in which trade union agreement is not possible because, if agreement can be obtained and if the organisations on both sides are willing to co-operate, there is not the least necessity to put in any statutory obligation to do so. The real point of the Amendment is that in a case where the trade union and the employers' organisation are unable to come to an amicable agreement, it proposes a form of compulsory conciliation. The hon. Member for East Woolwich (Mr. Hicks), who is experienced in these matters, will I think agree that the moment conciliation becomes compulsory it ceases to be conciliatory. Moreover, this proposal seta up conciliation boards but does not say how the members are to be selected or how they are to operate.

There is one point on which I am certain I can satisfy hon. Gentlemen opposite, and that is in regard to the steps which would be taken by the licensing authorities to ensure the carrying out of the provisions in regard to a six-day week. Clause 1 (2) of the Bill provides: For the purposes of Section four of the Cinematograph Act, 1909, any conditions subjcet to which a place is allowed under this Section to be opened and used on Sundays shall be deemed to be conditions of the licence granted under that Act in respect of the place. The Section 4 referred to is the Section which gives a constable or any officer appointed for the purpose power to go in and inspect at any time to see that these regulations are being carried out.

The practical effect of the Amendment, and what has finally decided the Government against accepting it, is this. It would place another statutory obligation in the Bill as a condition precedent to the opening of any cinema on Sundays. I gather from the refreshing speech made by the Mover that he, like myself, is not at all anxious to put any further obstacle in the way of the Sunday opening of cinemas where people wish them to be open. But, if these words go into the Bill, and if this conciliation machinery cannot be set up by October—and it probably could not be because it is extremely complicated—then one of the conditions in the Statute would not be fulfilled and it would be impossible for any cinemas to open. I think every- body wants the conditions of employment, not only on Sunday but on every day of the week, to be regulated by amicable agreements between employers and workmen and not forced upon the workers by the pressure of economic necessity, but however true that may be this is not the place—in a single Clause of a Bill dealing with Sundays only—to try to set up the principle of compulsory conciliation.


My experience in trade union negotiations is that conciliation boards are not always final in their decisions. Many conciliation boards adjudicate on conditions without necessarily giving final decisions and my proposition is not for compulsory conciliation, but for having a conciliation board in the event of any difficulty arising.


I think if the hon. Member reads the Amendment he will see that it is implicit in the wording that, not only should the conciliation board be compulsory, but that the decision should be compulsory.


The hon. and gallant Gentleman suggests that in this Amendment we were asking for special privileges. But this is a special Bill. It is something altogether new to the House of Commons and the country and that is why it has caused so much controversy. As it is a special Bill, we are anxious to see special protection given to those who will be called upon under it to work on Sundays. On these benches there are differences of opinion as to the Bill, but on this point we are agreed. If special conditions are created and people are called upon to work on Sunday they should have special protection, and we

Division No. 263.] AYES. [7.42 p.m.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur Logan, David Gilbert
Attlee, Clement Richard Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) Lunn, William
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)
Burton, Colonel Henry Walter Grundy, Thomas W. Milner, Major James
Chapman, Col. R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Parkinson, John Allen
Clarke, Frank Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, B'nstaple)
Cocks, Frederick Seymour Haslam, sir John (Bolton) Price, Gabriel
Cove, William G. Hicks, Ernest George Salter, Dr. Alfred
Cripps, Sir Stafford Hirst, George Henry Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Crooke, J. Smedley Holdsworth, Herbert Tinker, John Joseph
Daggar, George Jenkins, Sir William Wallhead, Richard C.
Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery) Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. David
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Edwards, Charles Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Williams, Edward John (Domore)
Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.) Kirkwood, David Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)
Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen) Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) Law, Sir Alfred
George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea) Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Mr. Duncan Graham and Mr. John.

are afraid that it is just possible that these Sunday workers may not get that protection to which they are entitled. Now is the time to try to get them that protection. After the Bill has passed through the House it will be too late. I hope that the Government will reconsider the position and will recognise the reason for this Amendment. The hon. Member for Barnstaple (Sir B. Peto) claimed that there ought to be special provisions in regard to the films to be shown on Sunday. He argued that they ought to be different from the films shown on any other day. On that principle I think the hon. Baronet should support us in this Amendment. It will be interesting to see how many hon. Members opposite we can get to vote with us on this issue of special protection for these Sunday workers.


I am quite convinced that employment in the cinema industry requires very special attention. Only to-day I have heard from the Ministry of Labour that an inquiry was started under the Labour Government into this matter. It had to be suspended owing to the pressure of other work but it is proposed to resume the inquiry when circumstances permit. The information which reaches me is to the effect that those employed in the cinema industry—an enormous number of people—are very little organised and undoubtedly need some special protection and, as the hon. Member has appealed to me, may I say that I shall certainly support him in this Amendment.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."

The House divided Ayes, 52; Noes, 248.

Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Glossop, C. W. H. O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leads, W.) Gluckstein, Louis Halle Ormiston, Thomas
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Glyn, Major Ralph G. C. Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G.A.
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Goff, Sir Park Palmer, Francis Noel
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Goodman, Colonel Albert W. Pearson, William G.
Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K. Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas Peat, Charles U.
Aske, Sir Robert William Graves, Marjorie Penny, Sir George
Atholl, Duchess of Grentell, E. C. (City of London) Percy, Lord Eustace
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Grimston, R. V. Perkins, Walter R. D.
Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J. Guinness, Thomas L. E. B. Petherick, M.
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Gunston, Captain D. W. Peto, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n, Bilst'n)
Banks, Sir Reginald Mitchell Guy, J. C. Morrison Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.
Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell Hales, Harold K. Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich)
Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury) Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon) Ramsden, E.
Beaumont, Hon. R.E. B.(Portsm'th, C.) Hanbury, Cecil Ratcliffe, Arthur
Belt, Sir Alfred L. Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Ray, Sir William
Bernays, Robert Harbord, Arthur Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)
Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn) Harris, Sir Percy Reid, William Allan (Derby)
Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton) Hartington, Marquess of Remer, John R.
Blaker, Sir Reginald Hartland, George A. Rentoul, Sir Gervais S.
Blindell, James Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n) Reynolds, Col. Sir James Philip
Bossom, A. C. Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes) Rhys. Hon. Charles Arthur U.
Boulton, W. W. Hellgers, Captain F. F. A. Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)
Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford) Robinson, John Roland
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Haneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)
Bracken, Brendan Hepworth, Joseph Rothschild, James A. de
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge) Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.
Broadbent, Colonel John Hornby, Frank Runge, Norah Cecil
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Horobin, Ian M. Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)
Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham) Howard, Tom Forrest Rutherford, Sir John Hugo
Buchan, John Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.) Salmon, Major Isidore
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport) Salt, Edward W.
Cadogan, Hon. Edward Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries) Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley) Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg) Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart
Campbell, Rear-Adml. G. (Burnley) Hurst, Sir Gerald B. Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romford) Scone, Lord
Carver, Major William H. Jesson, Major Thomas E. Selley, Harry R.
Cautley, Sir Henry S. Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields) Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.
Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City) Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West) Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)
Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.) Ker, J. Campbell Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.
Chalmers, John Rutherford Kerr, Hamilton W. Simmonds, Oliver Edwin
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J.A.(Birm., W) Kimball, Lawrence Skelton, Archibald Noel
Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric Kirkpatrick, William M. Slater, John
Christie, James Archibald Latham, Sir Herbert Paul Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.
Clarry, Reginald George Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.) Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)
Colfox, Major William Philip Leech, Dr. J. W. Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Colman, N. C. D. Lewis, Oswald Somervell, Donald Bradley
Colville, John Liddall, Walter S. Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)
Cook, Thomas A. Llewellin, Major John J. Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.
Cooke, Douglas Lloyd, Geoffrey Spencer, Captain Richard A.
Cooper, A. Duff Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.) Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.
Copeland, Ida Loder, Captain J. de Vere Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)
Craven-Ellis, William Lyons, Abraham Montagu Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)
Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Mabane, William Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur
Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro) MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr) Stones, James
Croom-Johnson, R. P. McCorquodale, M. S. Strauss, Edward A.
Crossley, A. C. McKeag, William Strickland, Captain W. F.
Culverwell, Cyril Tom McKie, John Hamilton Summersby, Charles H.
Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C. Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton Sutcliffe, Harold
Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil) McLean, Major Alan Tate, Mavis Constance
Davison, Sir William Henry McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston) Taylor, Vice-Admiral E. A. (P'dd'gt'n, S.)
Dawson, Sir Philip Macmillan, Maurice Harold Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)
Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F. Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M. Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
Dickie, John P. Margesson, Capt. Henry David R. Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)
Donner, P. W. Marsden, Commander Arthur Touche, Gordon Cosmo
Doran, Edward Martin, Thomas B. Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon
Drewe, Cedric Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.) Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)
Duckworth, George A. V. Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Wallace, John (Dunfermilne)
Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel Merriman, Sir F. Boyd Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Duggan, Hubert John Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.) Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tfd & Chisw'k) Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Eden, Robert Anthony Mitchell. Sir W. Lane (Streatham) Watt, Captain George Steven H.
Edmondson, Major A. J. Molson, A. Hugh Eisdale Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-
Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey Moreing, Adrian C. Wells, Sydney Richard
Elmley, Viscount Morgan, Robert H. Weymouth, Viscount
Emmott, Charles E. G. C. Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh) Wills, Wilfrid D.
Emrys-Evans, P. V. Morrison, William Shephard Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)
Entwistle, Cyril Fullard Munro, Patrick Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)
Erskine-Boist, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool) Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H. Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth) Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)
Foot, Dingle (Dundee) Normand, Wilfrid Guild
Fox, Sir Gifford North, Captain Edward T. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Ganzoni, Sir John Nunn, William Commander Southby and Mr. Womersley.
Gledhill, Gilbert O' Donovan, Dr. William James

I beg to move, in page 1, line 23, at the end, to insert the words: (b) that no place shall be licensed to be opened and used for cinematograph entertainments on any Sunday for more than five hours; and. I feel that I ought to apologise for moving this Amendment. The apology is not for myself, but for the Government's attitude in this matter. In Committee upstairs I moved an Amendment to limit the hours of Sunday opening to the hours of six to eleven, and the Home Secretary pointed out that it might produce certain difficulties if it were fixed that a cinema entertainment could not commence before the hour of six. He said: I gather that there is great interest in the Committee in this matter and that there is a feeling among a large number of Members that something should be done to meet the purpose that the hon. Baronet has in view. As we have spent a very long time on this Amendment, I would make a suggestion which, I hope, will be generally acceptable. To fix the hours as six to eleven in the Statute still seems to me to be open to objection, for the reasons that I have given, but there is not the same objection to fixing the limit of hours which was suggested by the hon. Baronet as a possible alternative. If we were to insert words on Report that the opening should be for not more than five hours on Sunday, which is the rule now in London, and which is the purpose the hon. Baronet and others have in view, that would not be open to the objection that I raised with regard to the future as to charitable and religious organisations, and, at the same time, it would serve fully the purpose which we have in view in regard to employment of labour and any other interference with the character of Sundays. He followed with these words, which I ask the House particularly to note: If the hon. Baronet would accept that suggestion as meeting substantially the object that he has in view, I would give an undertaking on behalf of the Government to move such an Amendment on the Report stage."—[OFFICIAL REPORT (Standing Committee B), 9th June, 1932; col. 57.] That was on the second day. On the first day, I moved an Amendment on the question of seven days' continuous work in any week. On that, the Home Secretary was nothing like so definite, and I was in some doubt as to the question of withdrawing my Amendment, but I had an appeal from the Under-Secretary of State—I might almost say a lecture on behaviour—and it was in these terms: May I make a final appeal to the hon. Member? It is quite unprecedented when the Government have made a very fair offer that they should be pressed in a manner which can only indicate distrust of their sincerity. There can be no object in carrying the Amendment unless it be that the Government cannot be trusted to carry out their words."—[OFFICIAL REPORT (Standing Committee B), 7th June, 1932; col. 31.] That was the lecture that I was given on the Tuesday, and what I have just previously read to the House was the undertaking given by the Home Secretary on the Thursday. I heard from the Undersecretary of State on Friday last, with amazement, that the Government did not propose to carry out this undertaking, and I would ask the hon. Gentleman if he has any objection to my reading a portion of his letter, which very fairly stated the reasons of the Government. I will not read it if it was meant to be a private communication.


There is no point in reading a private letter written to the hon. Baronet. The reasons which I gave in that letter will be stated by me in the course of the Debate.


I quite accept that, and I said that if the Under-Secretary of State had any feeling about it at all, I should not wish to read the letter. I will merely say, without quoting in any way, that he felt that, in view of the information which had reached them subsequently, if they put on the Government Whips in support of an Amendment in opposition to which the hon. Gentleman would have to make a speech, it might produce a situation which would bring ridicule upon Parliament. I think there is something worse than bringing ridicule upon Parliament, but I hope to be able to show that it would have done nothing of the kind. If we are not to accept definite undertakings made in Committee, I do not see how we can carry on Parliamentary business.

In the course of our Parliamentary procedure from time to time there have been slight differences of opinion between the Government and hon. Members as to the exact purport of some undertaking, and in every case where there has been any doubt about it the Government have always said, "If that is what the hon. Members understood, of course we shall stand by our undertaking and carry it out." I cannot find a precedent of any sort for this new procedure, and I cannot help feeling that it will be pointed to again and again, not when the Government are supported by a colossal majority as at present, but perhaps when Parliamentary parties are more evenly divided and undertakings of this kind have been given, and the question will be asked, "Can we trust this undertaking or not, in view of what happened on the Sunday Entertainments Bill?" That is a vastly more important question than whether cinemas should be opened for only five hours or for a longer period.

8.0 p.m.

There are two courses which the Government might have pursued. The Under-Secretary of State will probably deal with the question of what the position would be if they put on the Whips against what they believed to be necessary and in favour of the undertaking which they gave. If they did not propose to do that, they might under these circumstances have left this to a free vote of the House, but to put on the Government Whips in order to defeat the definite undertaking given by the Home Secretary seems to me to be something of a rather stronger order; and that, I understand, is the course which they intend to pursue. What are these fatal obstacles for carrying out this honourable undertaking? I have been given the agenda of the London County Council for its meeting on the 21st June in the County Hall, in which they recapitulate the whole history of this Sunday opening question, and at the end they come to this conclusion, every word of which is pertinent to this Amendment: The council's general practice for many years in this respect was to raise no objection to the opening of cinemas between the hours of 6 and 11 p.m., and when formulating the conditions under the Sunday Performances (Temporary Regulation) Act, 1931, the council on 8th December, 1931, decided to attach a condition as follows: 'That no cinematograph performance shall begin before 6 p.m. or finish later than 11 p.m. except that music, other than vocal, may be given during the period of assembly from not earlier than 5.40 p.m. (5.30 p.m. on wet days) provided such music is not advertised and does not form part of the programme.' The council also from time to time raised no objection to the opening at other hours on particular occasions. The council on 10th February, 1931, decided to urge the Government to introduce legislation 'to legalise the practice followed by the council for many years with regard to Sunday entertainment.' The Amendment to be moved by the Home Secretary at the Report stage would accord with the council's general practice as indi- cated above, but would, if agreed to, remove the possibility, which is provided both by the present Bill and by the Sunday Performances (Temporary Regulation) Act, of the council's altering its conditions in the future and adapting them to the needs of the public. The Entertainments (Licensing) Committee are of opinion that, as regards London, there is no reason why, at any rate during the winter months, cinematograph halls should not be opened for not exceeding six hours, if licensees so desire and if the council sees fit to grant such a concession. We recommend: 'That, in relation to the Sunday Entertainments Bill, the council is of opinion that no alteration should be made in the Bill which would have the effect of limiting the discretion at present vested in local authorities covered by the Sunday Performances (Temporary Regulation) Act, 1931, in regard to the hours of opening of premises for cinematograph entertainments on Sundays. Hon. Members will see from that that the county council ask for three things. They say that they want to carry on their existing practice of granting licences to open on particular occasions earlier than their usual hours; they desire to permit opening for six hours in winter; and, generally, they desire a free hand. As I understand, there are three film societies which are in the habit of exhibiting special films on Sunday afternoon. The reason they give them, then, is that they cannot get a cinematograph theatre on any other day, because the theatres are wanted for the commercial purposes for which they were erected in the afternoons and evenings of the other six days of the week. That applies to London only, and it would have been perfectly possible to put in a proviso to the Amendment, if the Government had moved it, to provide for London only and giving the county council certain special powers authorising a film society or similar organisation on occasions to exhibit a special film outside the normal hours during which cinemas are open.

We have to recollect that the whole of these objections to the Government carrying out their undertaking are purely London matters. I understand that there are no film societies in the 98 other districts and areas where Sunday performances of films have been allowed. Will the House remember that we are not dealing here with a Bill to regularise the opening of cinemas on Sunday in London. I should have liked that, and I tried to limit this Bill upstairs to that, but that is not the Bill now. It is a Bill to legalise the opening of cinemas throughout the country, and it leaves the matter to the licensing authorities. The licensing authority under the Cinematograph Act, 1909, is primarily the county council, but under Section 5 the county council can delegate its power to urban or rural district councils or to benches of magistrates sitting in quarter sessions. These powers have been so delegated and are so used in other parts of the country. Therefore, we have not to consider what will be reasonable powers to give with regard to the opening of cinemas on Sunday to a body like the London County Council, but the powers to be given to every little urban and rural district council and every bench of magistrates in the country. It is incumbent on us not to leave the Bill as it is prescribing no hours of opening at all.

There is nothing in the Bill to prevent cinemas opening for 12 hours on Sunday if a small local authority so chooses. It is not impossible that hours far beyond what are now contemplated may be allowed here or there, or even generally, in the near future. I am told that the practice has been in the county of Durham and in one or two instances in Yorkshire where there is the opening of cinemas upon Sunday to limit the hours more strictly than I propose by my Amendment. They are usually limited to three, and cinemas are never allowed to be open until after church on Sunday. That is well and good. I am told that if the Amendment is carried, it might possibly give a lead to these authorities —with whom, I need not say, I am in complete accord if Sunday opening is allowed—to extend the hours. How do I know, and how does any hon. Member know, what the future may have in store I Have we a right to go, as we are going in the Bill as drafted, far beyond the London County Council's practice of the last 20 years, and far beyond the general practice on the Continent of Europe with regard to Sunday entertainments generally?

Parliament is now giving authority for Sunday opening. That is the main fact of this Bill. Parliament retains the right to approve draft Orders that are made, and it therefore assumes responsibility. Our responsibility demands that we should place some limit to the hours on which cinematograph entertainments should be given on Sunday. We have been told in the Second Beading Debates on the various Bills that have come before the House on this matter that it is a question of a contest between the public-house and the cinema. Public-houses generally do not open before 6 p.m. on Sunday, and therefore, if we allow, as the Bill allows, cinemas to be open at 2, 3 or 4 o'clock on Sunday afternoon, where does the contest between the cinema and the public-house come in? The contest will be between the cinema and the Sunday school, between the cinema and the children's Sunday afternoon service. There is also the question of the hours of work for the people who are employed in the cinemas. Are we to justify for a moment the employment of people on Sunday practically all round the clock if some local authorities so decree it? I move the Amendment for these reasons, and I ask for it not only or mainly, for the reasons I have given, on its merits, but because of the fact that for the first time an undertaking, given in the most definite and positive words that any Minister could use, has been disregarded and is now ignored by the Government, and I am left to move an Amendment which, in honour bound, the Home Secretary or his deputy should have moved.


I beg to second the Amendment.

I am not going to enter into the rights or wrongs of the five hours at this juncture; that matter was fought out in Committee; but I want to draw the attention of the House to the fact that, as the hon. Baronet the Member for Barnstaple (Sir B. Peto) has stated, a definite pledge was given in Committee that the Government would do something about this matter. I believe that an Amendment in the name of the Home Secretary appeared at one time on the Amendment Paper. In any case, if one turns to the Official Report of the second day's proceedings of Standing Committee B on Thursday, 9th June, 1932, one reads on the cover: On Clause 1, the Home Secretary gave an undertaking to move an Amendment on Report that no place shall be opened for cinematograph entertainments on a Sunday for more than five hours. I want to know if the Home Secretary is a responsible Member of the Government. Is he entitled to make a pledge on behalf of the Government? He is not here now for he is on the Continent carrying out work in another direction, but I am sorry that he is not here be that we could have his opinion on the deletion of this sacred pledge. We have a perfect right to ask whether a pledge is a pledge, or whether it is simply given in Committee to certain people who have every hope of carrying an Amendment, which is then withdrawn when it reaches the Floor of the House. The Undersecretary and the Solicitor-General were present when that pledge was given, and I hope that we shall hear from them why it should be broken so openly on the Floor of the House. It is not the first time that the Home Secretary has given a pledge on behalf of the Government and then somebody somewhere has caused it to be broken. During the General Election the Home Secretary said—and it is printed on record—that he had had the opportunity of consulting the Chancellor of the Exchequer as to the effect of the means test, and he definitely said that only the interest and not the capital of applicants should be taken into consideration. I do not want to enlarge on that, but I am entitled to say that a different interpretation is being given to it at the present time.

What have we to think of Cabinet responsibility in the future? Have we to ask next time the Home Secretary or the Solicitor-General comes to Lancashire, what their credentials are and whether they have the authority of the Government? If I make a speech in Lancashire, I speak on my own responsibility, but when a Minister of the Crown comes the newspapers and every member of the public naturally believe that what he says is the opinion of the Government. There is also on record a case in which another Home Secretary gave a pledge on behalf of the Government which altered the whole electoral law. I think I am not saying anything which is contrary to history. It may be news to some people, but I believe it is an absolute fact, at any rate I have had it on reliable authority, that the late Lord Brentford unexpectedly, without consulting his colleagues, pledged the then Conservative Government to give votes for women.

Mr. DEPUTY - SPEAKER(Captain Bourne)

I think the hon. Member is now bringing in somewhat extraneous matter.


I am only giving an illustration of a case in which a Home Secretary had given a pledge, and the Government, a Conservative Government, honoured that pledge; but it looks as though the National Government need not honour a pledge, although it is given by the Home Secretary. I hope the Home Secretary's followers on the Liberal benches will have something to say about this pledge, given by their recognised leader, who is now on the Continent of Europe carrying out a national work, and the failure of the National Government to carry out his pledge. A pledge ought to be sacred; it is to some of us, and it ought to be to responsible Ministers of the Crown. When the discussion was proceeding in Committee upstairs we had every reason to expect, from the atmosphere pervading the Committee, that the hon. Baronet's Amendment would be carried.




We had every reason to expect so. At any rate the representative of the Home Office stepped in and asked the hon. Baronet to withdraw his Amendment.


It is not fair for my hon. Friend to say that there was any indication that the Committee as a whole were in favour of the Amendment. One of the supporters of the Bill, an hon. Member for Bristol, expressly protested against the action of the Government.


One Member protested—I do not know whether that has had any effect on the Government—but only one Member protested; and I believe I am right in saying that every other Member who spoke was strongly in favour of the hon. Baronet's Amendment. I have as much right to interpret the atmosphere in the Committee as the Noble Lord the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton), and in my opinion, and I give it only as my opinion, we should have carried that Amendment upstairs. How different it is down here. Upstairs every Member of the Committee hears the discussion before he gives his vote. We all know what happens in this House-though I am not complaining, and am thankful that there are so many hon. Members here prepared to listen to the Debate. It shows the feeling in the House and in the country generally when so many hon. Members are prepared to listen. Generally speaking, we get huge influxes of Members who have not heard the discussion to record their votes when the Government Whips are put on. Without entering into the merits of the question of the five hours I want to protest against the Government giving a solemn pledge, through one of the highest Ministers, and then coming down to the House and saying they will not carry it out, simply because an outside body, however important they may be, the London County Council or anyone else, finds it inconvenient to carry it out. This House ought to be responsible to itself, and I hope hon. Members will realise that a pledge is a pledge, and will be prepared to go into the Lobby against the Government on this particular question, quite apart from the merits of the five hours' proposal—to vote on the question of whether the Government ought to carry out its pledge.


I shall not refer to the speech of the hon. Member for Bolton (Sir J. Haslam), who seconded this Amendment. He has not dealt with the merits of the Amendment, but confined himself to rather loose imputations of a lack of personal honour. I am ready at any moment to meet him in Lancashire, where we are both known, if he chooses to impugn my personal honour. The hon. Baronet who moved this Amendment spoke, as he has done throughout these Debates, with great courtesy. It is always a great regret on my part that one who is so invariably courteous should also be so invariably wrong. I quite realise that the circumstances under which he moved the Amendment would, had he chosen to take advantage of them, have given him an opportunity for making a speech of quite a different kind. Before I deal with the substance of this Amendment I should like to make one explanation. When the hon. Baronet moved his Amendment in Committee it fell to me to be the first spokesman from the Government Bench to reply, and to ask the Committee to reject it. During the course of further debate my right hon. Friend got up and gave the pledge to which the hon. Baronet has referred. I have heard it said in various quarters that what happened was that I resisted the Amendment, and that afterwards the Home Secretary threw me over. There is no more agreeable role than that of injured innocence suffering its darts in silent loyalty. It is a role I should like to assume if I could in honesty do so, but I cannot. As a matter of fact, the right hon. Gentleman's pledge was given at my suggestion, and certainly with my approval, and although the responsibility may be technically his, as he is the head of the Department, in reality it is mine, because I have been more closely connected with this Bill.

The course which this matter has taken is as follows: The hon. Baronet moved in Committee an Amendment to limit the hours of opening on Sunday to the hours from 6 to 11, and he told us that he had chosen those particular hours because he understood they were the hours during which cinemas were allowed to open in London. The whole Debate proceeded on the idea that that was what had been done in London in the past, and that if it was all right for London surely it would be all right for any other area in which cinemas would open. I quite agree that I ought to have been better informed as to the London practice, but I can at any rate plead this in my defence, that we had on the Committee during that Debate the chairman of the Licensing Committee of the London County Council, and one could assume, with some justice, I think, that if he did not challenge the statement that that was the practice in London, that it was in fact the practice. It was because of that, because it seemed to me that if the practice worked in London it could be worked elsewhere, that I joined with the Home Secretary in making this suggestion and giving this pledge. I do not wish to minimise it in any way; the pledge is as definite as it could be.

Subsequently to that Debate I was asked to receive a deputation from the London County Council, and then, for the first time, they put before us certain facts which I think certainly should have been made available to us before. We found then, for the first time, that although it is perfectly true that the ordinary hours for the commercial opening of cinemas on Sunday evening are from 6 to 11, there are two other cases in which afternoon opening is quite commonly allowed— for film societies' exhibitions and charitable performances for specific objects. It is obvious why the afternoon is selected for that. It is because in the afternoon the cinema is lent free of charge, and of course it could not be lent free of charge at night when it had to be used for the ordinary commercial performance.

Let me deal, first of all, with the film societies. There are at the present moment in London three film societies which are being allowed to open in the afternoon. There is what is known as The Film Society, which is a large society with a subscription rate of three guineas and which gives special performances on Sunday.


Only three places allowed?


I said three guineas, I do not know whether that was the "three" to which the hon. Member was referring. The Film Society gives something like 18 performances a year. There are two other film societies, both of a working-class character with annual subscriptions of 10s. a year, and showing the same type of performance. I feel that the importance of film societies, not only to-day but in the future, is very great. They do very good work indeed in showing and popularising the better type of film for which it is difficult to find a place in the ordinary commercial market, and I believe that they will spread. I hope to see the three film societies which are now in London develop, in the course of time, into a large number of similar film societies all over the country. To strike a blow at them is one of the worst things that you could do for the development of the film in this country. It is clear that the passage of the Amendment which the hon. Baronet is now proposing would cut them out. The owner of the cinema would only be able to get from the London County Council a licence for five hours during the day, and he would have to choose whether he was going to get his licence for five hours in the evening when he opened for his own profit, or for five hours in the afternoon when he lent his theatre to somebody else to have their own show. In spite of all the unselfishness of the cinematograph owners, I cannot help feeling that there would not be very much doubt as to where the choice would go. The choice would be the five hours when he could show films to the public, and not when he simply lent his theatre to somebody else.

8.30 p.m.

The other class of case was the case where the cinema was lent in the afternoon for a charitable performance for some specific object or for a special institution, such as the St. Dominic's Priory Poor Children's Fund at the Hampstead Picture Playhouse, the Middlesex Hospital at the Rialto Theatre, Coventry Street, the British Empire Film Institute at the Alhambra Palace, Leicester Square, the College of Nursing at the Plaza Theatre, Regent Street, and a number of others of that kind. There again, the cinema is lent in the afternoon, whereas in the evening it is used by the proprietors for the commercial performance. They would once more have to make the choice between which of the periods of five hours they would accept a licence, and, again, I have no doubt whatever, that the choice would fall upon the evening. Had those facts been known when the case was discussed in the Committee, we should never have given the pledge that we gave, and had those facts been known to the Committee which was arguing the whole time as to the practice in London, the Committee would never have asked for such a pledge to be given. That is the position which I found, and upon which I had to decide upon a course of action. That is the decision which has given rise to the charge of breach of faith and general ministerial dishonesty. I do not wish to excuse myself for the mistake that was made. If there is any blame for not having known these facts, if hon. Members say: "You should have known. You should have been in a position to tell us, and the position would never have arisen had you taken proper care to ascertain the facts," I have no reply to it. I can only say that we thought that we knew what the practice was. We undoubtedly acted under an error. Ministers had no right to act under error. What were the three alternatives? I could have kept the pledge whatever happened. I could have come down to this House and moved the Amendment which the hon. Baronet is now moving, and I could have told the House what the Amendment was going to do and the harm that I thought it was going to cause, and, at the end, I could have put the Government Whips on to pass the Amendment through the House. Is that the course which the hon. Baronet says I should have taken?


I suggested in my speech that it does not seem impossible, and I still feel that very strongly, after hearing the Under-Secretary. This is entirely a question for London and is a question of exception. It is a question of dealing with film societies and not with commercial exhibitions.


I gave way to the hon. Member, but I did not want him to make another speech.


No, I am not making another speech. It would have been perfectly possible to put a proviso into my Amendment to cover the case of London alone.


What am I to understand? That I can break a pledge so long as I break it for London? That the charge that I did not carry out the Home Secretary's pledge given in Committee disappears if I carry it out everywhere but in London? If that is the basis upon which attacks are made upon my personal honour, further discussion is unnecessary. Let us get away from high politics and attacks on Ministerial honour. It is true that for the moment film societies operate only in London. I do not want to say that London must be the home of film societies because nowhere else will there be an Amendment moved—


Is the hon. Gentleman certain about there being film societies only in London? [Interruption.] Why do you make the statement?


The hon. Member will have plenty of opportunity afterwards of making his own speech.


I asked you a courteous question.


I refuse to give way.


Then do not talk about discourtesy!


The House will see that the course of coming down to move this Amendment in order to carry out the pledge, and to explain that it was a bad Amendment and put the Whips on to pass it, was really impossible. It is treating the House of Commons as a sort of university debating society and not as a legislative assembly. We cannot think that this House has to pass legislation which may injuriously affect people for years, simply in order to carry out a pledge that a Minister gave in mistake. I personally would rather rest under an imputation of having broken a pledge than that the whole basis of Parliamentary government should be brought into such ridicule.

The second alternative was that of having to devise some specific Amendment to deal with this kind of case, of which I have told the House to-night, yet which would prevent the opening of ordinary commercial cinemas for more than five hours. That would not, of course, have been strictly carrying out the pledge which the Home Secretary gave, but it would have been making the best possible effort. I can assure the House that we did make every effort to find an Amendment of that kind. Not only did I myself try, after communicating with my hon. Friends and telling them what we were going to do, but my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, after his return from Geneva, although he was only 24 hours in the office, insisted upon another effort being made to find an Amendment such as we could put before the House. There again it would have been perfectly easy for us to put some form of words on the Paper and trust to the lack of vigilance of Members of Parliament to let them get through; but there were no words that we could find which would have made provision for the kind of cases that I have detailed to the House, and which would not have left a hoophole for every local authority who wished their commercial cinemas to open in the afternoon. Therefore, an Amendment of that kind would have been merely derisory, and would have been treating the House with contempt.

The third alternative is one of which I warned the hon. Baronet as early as I could, in order that he himself might put the Amendment down, and that the matter might not go undiscussed because he was expecting us to put it down and therefore missed his own opportunity. This evening the House is asked to decide on that Amendment. The hon. Baronet, in the course of his speech, referred, not only to the pledge which my right hon. Friend gave on this particular point, but to a speech which I had made at an earlier sitting of the Committee, when I asked him to accept the Government's assurance on another point, and he used that as an argument to show how impossible it would be, if this pledge were not carried out, to go on with the ordinary routine of Committee work. The hon. Baronet quoted some words from my speech in which I said that it would be impossible to go on if he adopted a course which could only show distrust of our sincerity. I would like to ask him, does he distrust our sincerity now?


I really answered that question in my speech. I said that, if specific pledges given in Committee were not to be carried out, such an appeal as the Under-Secretary made to me would be impossible in the future.


I asked the hon. Baronet a question which he has not answered, and which I will now ask the House. I ask the House whether, in view of the facts as I have now detailed them, they distrust the sincerity of the Government? Do they believe that we acted in bad faith? [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] Do they think that we deliberately used some means of going back on a pledge which we were sorry we had given? [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] If they do not believe that, why is there all this talk about Parliamentary Government becoming impossible in future? If they merely believe that we were foolish, that we made a mistake, and that, rather than perpetuate a mistake in an Act of Parliament, we are coming to the House now and asking the House to release us, surely it is not going to be said that that will shake to the roots Parliamentary government in this country.

I would say this to the hon. Member who seemed to think that there would have been some great value if this Amendment had not been withdrawn—if it had been taken to a vote, and if on that vote it had been passed—that, even if it had been passed, there would have been nothing sacrosanct about it. The House is not deprived, on the Report stage, of the power to review an Amendment which has been passed in Committee. If our pledge had not been accepted, if the Amendment had not been withdrawn, and if it had been carried, it would only have meant that now I should be moving to delete these words, instead of the hon. Baronet moving to insert them. The Government Whips would have been on, and those who are affected by the fact of the Government Whips being on would still be voting with us. Although I do not excuse the breach of a pledge, the fact remains that the cause which those to whom the pledge was made have at heart is not in any way suffering.

With regard to the free vote, to which the hon. Baronet referred, it seems to me that that makes no difference at all. Our pledge was to introduce this Amendment and to carry it, and the hon. Baronet naturally expected, not only that we would move it, but that we would support it and put the Whips on in its favour. It does not seem to me that, if we are thinking merely in terms of carrying out the pledge, we should be in any way carrying it out if we moved the Amendment but spoke against it and left it to a free vote, and, therefore, I do not think that from that point of view the position would have been made any better. The other point of view is this: The Government definitely feel that this Amendment would do harm. Quite apart from accusations that may be made against us, the supporters of the Government in the House of Commons are at least entitled to know what the views of the Government on this particular question are, and that could only be shown by putting on the Whips. The hon. Baronet will not, I am sure, particularly in these circumstances, attach too much importance to the fact that the Government Whips are on. They have been on for the last two or three Amendments, but I do not think that that fact prevented anyone from going into the Lobby against them. No doubt it has often happened that, when anyone has felt strongly and conscientiously upon a point, he has gone into the Lobby against the Government, and I do not believe that he has suffered any great penalty on that account. Hon. Members, whether there be a free vote or no, will vote on this matter as their conscience dictates, but the Government have a right to indicate clearly to their supporters that they think it would be a bad thing if this Amendment were carried. Do not let hon. Members think that if this Amendment be defeated the hours of opening will be completely unregulated. Every local authority has the power to impose what conditions it likes as to the hours during which cinemas may open, and this is only an added power of imposing particular conditions.

I hope I have said enough to convince the House that we were faced in this case with a very difficult decision. No one regrets more than I do having to stand at this Box and justify the breaking of a pledge which was given in quite definite form; but, as I said before, I should have regretted it even more if I had had to stand at this Box and pursue a course of action which, however gratifying it might have been to my own sense of honour, and however it might have enabled me to say to hon. Members, "I always carry out my word," would have imposed limitations upon a great number of people for many years just for the sake of satisfying my own sense of honour and enabling me to escape blame, but at the same time would be turning Parliamentary government into ridicule. This is a business Assembly; it is not a university debating society; and I hope that hon. Members, with all the facts before them, will not only absolve my right hon. Friend and myself from any of that distrust of sincerity which the hon. Baronet so fears, but will also see that, in the circumstances, we are following the only course which it is right to pursue.


We thank the hon. Baronet for bringing this matter forward and giving the House an opportunity to understand the promises that were given upstairs, and the present position, and we are particularly grateful to the Undersecretary for the very excellent explanation that he has given for not carrying out the promise that was made upstairs. It appears that promises that are made upstairs are not always carried out. I am sure the House would feel that, if, in the light of fresh information, we go legislating blindly when facts and conditions that are reported to us which should suggest an amendment of our ways, we are not acting in a business way but in a contrary way altogether. I was going to support the Amendment in the early stages because it had a five-hour day. I thought that was a very excellent proposition to introduce into the cinema industry, and I hoped it would be carried out in many other industries so as to assist some of our unemployed. We feel that we should like this commercial side of the cinema, if it is at all possible, limited roughly to those hours. In view of the explanations that have been given, we have no alternative but to give the Government our support.


I feel very sorry that the discussion of the Amendment has been diverted by the incidents which have occupied most of our discussion tonight. I think the Under-Secretary should be assured, as I am certain is the case, that no one who served upon the Committee, or indeed no one who is a Member of the House, would entertain any thought that he would ever be guilty of a breach of faith. There are no two Members in the Government or in the House who have a personal sense of honour higher than the Home Secretary and the Under-Secretary. I feel that the discussion has been diverted from its real course. In the Committee I laid particular emphasis upon the difference between the conditions in the provinces and in London. I emphasised what I believed to be a fact, that the whole spirit behind this Bill is a spirit of compromise and that those Members who supported the Bill in its first form were seeking to find a compromise between the great tradition of the English Sabbath and the existing practice in London and elsewhere, and by refusing an Amendment of this sort the Government are, in my view, in order to ease the situation in one way, worsening it in 94 out of the 95 areas concerned.

The practice which it is the purpose of the Bill to legalise is the habit of offering an alternative form of entertainment and amusement to a vast number of the population after the hours set apart for divine worship, and I think we are going wrong in exposing those hours to the trespass of these alternative amusements and entertainments, and that is why I hoped that the Government could see their way to accept some such Amendment as was moved upstairs. The facts that the Under-Secretary has pointed out relate almost entirely to conditions in London and even now, if he could accept some such Amendment applying to the provinces, saying that the cinemas should not open before certain hours in the day, or limiting the hours, but certainly leaving the great portion of the English Sunday free from this encroachment, that would in my view be more fitting to the purpose of the Bill and more acceptable to public opinion. We are conscious of the strong emotion under which the hon. Gentleman was labouring and I should like to assure him, as one who has not always agreed with him in the progress of this Bill, that it was an emotion which was experienced under a misapprehension. No one would dream of making any accusation against his personal honour. I trust that his peace of mind will be put at rest on that score.


It is all very well for the hon. Member to make the speech which the has just made, but the charge made by my hon. Friend has not yet been withdrawn, and I rise with as much indignation as the Under-Secretary to support him against the charges which my hon. Friend across the Gangway and the hon. Member opposite have made against the Government and against him. The speech we have just heard betrayed a curious suspicion of local authorities, coming from the quarter from which it came. I understand that the hon. Member is a Member of the Liberal party, which has always advocated local option. [Interruption.] I do not know that that makes it any better. It shows that he has not much faith even in his colleagues. His whole argument was directed to show that local authorities could not be entrusted with the simple task of laying down the hours at which cinemas should be open. It is ridiculous to say that local authorities cannot be entrusted to lay down regulations under which cinemas should be opened on Sundays. They have always hitherto carried out that duty, in those cases where they exercise what they believe to be their rights, perfectly satisfactorily and I see no reason why they should not do so in future. With regard to what the hon. Member opposite said about his desire to see the fullest opportunity given during the hours that cinemas are opened for the production of films of the kind in which he is interested, that again is a matter, although it does not directly arise under the Amendment, for the local authorities.

I come to the charge that my hon. Friend has made. I do not wish to exacerbate the feeling that has arisen, but, as a senior Member of the House, I think it is right that I should say a word about the matter. The charge that my hon. Friend made, briefly, is this. He said that after the action of the Government it will be impossible in future to accept any undertaking given in Committee. That is a very serious charge to bring. I cannot imagine a more serious charge against the honour of the Government. Such a charge should only be brought by an opponent of a Government if he is very sure of his facts.


It was not a charge against this Government. I meant that in future in the conduct of business, whatever Government was in power, there could not be the same reliance on these undertakings as there has been in the past.


My hon. Friend is the last person with whom I wish to have a personal contest, but I hope he will not think it discourteous if I say he is rather splitting hairs. He says that, because of something that this Government has done, he will never trust any Government in future. If that is not an injurious charge to make against the Government, I do not know what is. If the offence of the Government is so bad that in future no Government may be trusted, surely it is the most serious charge it is possible to bring against the Government, and that is the charge which my hon. Friend has brought. Let us consider what happened in the Committee. The Home Secretary, when he first came to deal with the Amendment—and I ask Mr. Deputy-Speaker to be a little generous in the interpretation of the Rule about quoting—said: In these circumstances, I deprecate the Amendment."—[Official Report (Standing Committee B), 9th June, 1932; col. 54.] and later on—and these are the relevant words—he said: If we were to insert words on Report that the opening should be for not more than five hours on Sunday, which is the rule now in London."—[Official Report, (Standing Committee B), 9th June, 1932; col. 57.] It is clear that the pledge was given in the honest belief held by the Government that a certain rule was in force. The Government then discovered that the rule was not in force, and that there were exceptions to it. The Government faced the situation which my hon. Friend has so well put. My hon. Friend asked my hon. Friend the Member for Barn- staple (Sir B. Peto) in effect, If faced with that situation, what would you do? The hon. Baronet said that this only applied to London. What is the basis of this most serious charge brought against my hon. Friend? Is the basis of it that the Government could perfectly well have fulfilled the pledge by carrying out only part of it? Is that what he means? Is it his interpretation that because this rule which the Home Office thought applied to London does not apply to London but to the country, therefore the Government should bring in an Amendment to deal with the country only? I ask my hon. Friend this specific question: Would that, in his opinion, be carrying out the pledge or not?


I think it would have been far better to have done as much as the Government thought they could do, as they did in the earlier Amendment we have passed, rather than have done nothing at all; but they have done their utmost to defeat the undertaking which they gave.


I do not think that that is an answer to the question, which was, whether or not it would be a breach of faith to carry out part of it?


Half a pledge is better than no pledge.


That is a peculiar argument. If I had given an undertaking I should try to carry it out, and if I could not do so I should give a reason why I did not think that I could carry it out. I do not think that I should carry out part of it. Faced with the really relative situation as to what they should do, are the Government, having discovered that they have made a mistake, to say, "We are pledged for all time notwithstanding the fact that we have discovered a mistake?" Are they to be pledged to put into an Act of Parliament something which would be unfair and unwise, and hamper the beneficial movement already going on? Is that what my hon. Friend wishes the Government to do? If that is his idea of Ministerial responsibility, the sooner such Ministerial responsibility is done away with the better. The whole argument used by masses of people outside this House was why, when the Government found that they had made a mistake, they should not admit their mistake? I have always thought that the arguments made against a Government was that they would never admit making a mistake. The Government have admitted making a mistake now, and they have taken a very wise course in refusing to put down an Amendment, and in opposing the Amendment of my hon. Friend. It is not sufficient that a serious charge of this kind should be made from the back benches and be allowed to go unanswered except by the Government. I agree with every word of my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary, and I hope that those who have made a charge against the Government, and, inferentially, against honoured members of the Government, will withdraw it before the Division is taken.

9.0 p.m.


I heard the very moving speech of the hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary. It is a case of Quis'excuse s'accuse. He does not deny that he has accused himself of the very grave conduct on the part of a Minister of the Crown of having given a pledge without knowledge of the circumstances of the business for which he was giving the pledge. He pledges himself to an Amendment or a line of conduct which happens not to be suitable to the actual facts which were before him at the time. I have always supposed that Ministers in charge of a Bill were always more or less in possession of the facts upon which the Bill was founded, but on this occasion the Minister was not. All we can say is that there the situation lies. But the Ministry are under a false impression. They gave a pledge under the impression of the matter being in one condition, when, as a matter of fact, it was not in that condition. Ministers ought to be aware of the main facts of the Bill of which they are in charge.


While I am in favour of the principle of the Amendment, if I had spoken before my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary, I should have taken the opportunity of saying that we all know him too well to believe that he could act in any other way than in the best of faith. He has acted very honourably in telling the House that a mistake has been made. If more Ministers would admit mistakes at the beginning, there would be less serious consequences in the future. Although I have always been opposed to the original Bill, I have accepted the present Bill with some difficulty. I hoped that the Government would be able to accept the Amendment, but I appreciate the arguments put forward by the Under-Secretary. If you are to have cinemas on Sunday, it is probably better to encourage the societies to which he referred.

I see that point, but I am not sure whether he appreciates that if the Amendment is not passed he will not obtain his object. If the cinemas can remain open for all hours to show ordinary commercial films they are not likely to lend their theatres to those societies. I suggest to my hon. Friend that it is not too late really to find a way out. I cannot believe that the hon. Gentleman with all his talents, and with the talents of his superior officer, cannot find a solution. Perhaps he will assure the House,, without making any pledges, that he will again look into the matter so that it may be put right in order to meet the general desire of the House and not inflict hardship, and that the matter may be put right in another place. Will he look at the suggested Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Barnstaple (Sir B. Peto), which says: that no place shall be licensed to be opened and used for cinematograph entertainments on any Sunday for more than five hours. Would it be possible, after the words "five hours," to put in the words: except where the place of entertainment is being used by a society approved by the Home Secretary for specific charitable purposes. I ask my hon. Friend to look into the matter to see whether some solution cannot be found. I would ask my Noble Friend the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton) when he accuses my hon. Friend of wasting time and asks what effect it will have on Lausanne, what they think at Lausanne when they see the hours which have been wasted in this House by the bringing in of the Bill. I would ask my hon. Friend if he would try to meet those of us who want to support the Government and who have strong feelings, by some such Amendment as I have suggested, which might be moved in another place.


I am sorry that so much heat has been introduced into the Debate, much of which was unnecessary. No one wants to suggest that the Under-Secretary or the Home Secretary have done anything to deserve censure. I am glad that the Under-Secretary has so handsomely taken the blame upon himself, seeing that the Home Secretary is not here. I was rather disturbed this afternoon by hearing certain words that reflected upon the Home Secretary. The arguments of the Under-Secretary have not convinced me. He has pointed out that the impression of the Home Secretary and himself was that five hours was the rule in London. Is it not a fact that five hours is the rule in London? As the Under-Secretary has said, there are one or two exceptions, one or two film societies which meet on Sunday afternoon, and therefore it cannot be said that there is only five hours opening in London, but those are merely exceptions to the rule. We are being asked to legislate for those two or three societies in London, in which the provinces have not the slightest interest and about which they know nothing. It is absurd that the Amendment should not be accepted simply because of these two or three societies, which may be doing good work or bad work.

There are ways of getting over the position of these special film exhibitions, just as there are ways of dealing with the theatrical performances on Sunday. I understand that there are theatrical societies which have performances on Sundays, and that that takes place regularly in London. If these two or three film societies are doing such a good work, there must be some way of dealing with them, but we ought not to legislate specially for them in the way suggested.

I trust that even yet the appeal to the Under-Secretary will bear fruit. I feel very strongly that there ought to be some limit to the hours on which cinemas can open on Sundays. Five hours is an ample period. Not only ought there to be some limit of the hours but the cinemas ought not to be opened before a certain hour in the evening. It would be fatal to our Sunday school work if cinemas were allowed to open on Sunday afternoons. The House must be very careful not to do anything which would allow that to be done. I am not convinced by the Under-Secretary's arguments against taking off the Government Whips. This afternoon the Government Whips were taken off on the first Amendment, and we are now dealing with almost a parallel case. It would be perfectly legitimate and honourable for the Government to take off the Whips and to allow the whole House to settle this question on its merits, just as we settled the first Amendment on its merits.


I appeal to the Under-Secretary not to be sidetracked by all this talk about London. There has been too much talk about London and not a word about the provinces. I understood that the principle of the Bill was to restore the status quo. There are certain places, on the South Coast particularly, whose business depends on wet afternoons on Sundays, and they are watching this Bill and not opposing it in any way because it was understood in the first place that the status quo was to be restored. Surely, the local licensing authorities are the best people to judge what the local people want. That has been done in the past, and I hope that that position will not be lost sight of in the midst of all the talk about what happens in London.


I can assure the Under-Secretary of my belief in his sincerity and my perfect understanding of how the mistake occurred, but I want to make it very plain that my sympathy is and has always been with this Amendment, and I regret very much that the Under-Secretary had not the opportunity of moving it. He has told the Souse that the reason he could not move it was because of the change in circumstances, that there are some film societies which use cinema houses and palaces on Sunday afternoons, and that on other occasions they 'are used for specific charitable purposes. As far as I can understand, there are very few film societies and there are not many afternoons used in many cinemas for specific charitable purposes. There are, possibly, 400 or 500 cinemas scattered over London, and I cannot imagine that those cinemas will not try to take advantage, if we do not carry the Amendment, by opening for as many hours as they possibly can. Only a few of the cinemas are used by the film societies 'and for the specific charitable objects, but the vast majority would be opened all day long.


The London County Council, whether we pass this Amendment or not, will have complete power to restrict the hours, as they do at the present time.


I accept what the Under-Secretary has said, but I would point out that the London County Council is not the only authority which will be concerned. We have already introduced, in Clause 1 (1 (a) (b)), limitations on local authorities. Too much interest has been taken in the film societies and too little interest in the millions of people who really believe in the old-fashioned Sabbath. As the hon. Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Curiy) said, this Bill was accepted by many hon. Members as a compromise,, but instead of it being a compromise we are going to aggravate the feelings of those people who object to the Bill altogether. I voted for the Bill on both occasions because I have personal knowledge of the conditions under which people live in the East End of London. I have been in houses in London where seven or eight people have been sitting in one room, with a baby, the washing hanging about and the smell of cooking all day long. I have referred before to the dreadful intimacy of a Sunday night in the East End of London, and for that reason I have supported the opening of Sunday cinemas, but if I had thought that if this Bill meant the opening of cinemas all day on Sunday I am doubtful whether I could have given it my support.

We must be more tolerant. We ought to consider the feelings of those people who wish to retain a proper Sunday. The cinemas ought not to open for more than five hours; it is quite enough. That would give the people who want to see the cinema show, their chance, and it would give the people who do not want to go to the cinema, their chance. I believe that there is still a way out; that we can still say that cinemas shall not open for more than five hours on Sundays, except for specified charitable purposes and for the use of certain societies.

Mr. STANLEY indicated dissent.


The Undersecretary shakes his head; I am sorry. I should have preferred the Amendment limiting the opening to the hours from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. so that those who want to go to the cinema on Sunday night may do so and those who retain a love for the real old English Sabbath may still enjoy it.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."

Division No. 264.] AYES. [9.16 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Gunston, Captain D. W. Parkinson, John Allen
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Peat, Charles U.
Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K. Hartland, George A. Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich)
Aske, Sir Robert William Haslam, Sir John (Bolton) Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Heilgers, Captain F. F. A. Ratcliffe, Arthur
Batey, Joseph Hirst, George Henry Reid, David D. (County Down)
Beaumont, Hn. R. E.B. (Portsm'th, C.) Holdsworth, Herbert Reid, William Allan (Derby)
Bernays, Robert Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge) Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Jenkins, Sir William Robinson, John Roland
Briant, Frank John, William Salt, Edward W.
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart
Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City) Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West) Savery, Samuel Servington
Chapman, Col. R.(Houghton-le-Spring) Kirkwood, David Scone, Lord
Cook, Thomas A. Law, Sir Alfred Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)
Cowan, D. M. Leckie, J. A. Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.
Crooke, J. Smedley Liddall, Walter S. Simmonds, Oliver Edwin
Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro) Llewellin, Major John J. Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Croom-Johnson, R. P. Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick Spencer, Captain Richard A.
Curry, A. C. Logan, David Gilbert Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Lunn, William Stones, James
Drewe, Cedric Macdonald, Gordon (Ince) Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Edwards, Charles McKeag, William Tinker, John Joseph
Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen) Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan) Wallace, John (Dunfermline)
Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst Maitland, Adam Watt, Captain George Steven H.
Foot, Dingle (Dundee) Millar, Sir James Duncan Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. David
Ganzoni, Sir John Milner, Major James Wells, Sydney Richard
George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea) Moreing, Adrian C. Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Goodman, Colonel Albert W. Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh) Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Morrison, William Shephard Williams, Or. John H. (Llanelly)
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Muirhead, Major A. J.
Grundy, Thomas W. Oman, Sir Charles William C. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.-
Sir Basil Peto and Mr. Magnay.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Denville, Alfred Hepworth, Joseph
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Dickie, John P. Hicks, Ernest George
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Donner, P. W. Hornby, Frank
Attlee, Clement Richard Doran, Edward Howard, Tom Forrest
Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M. Dower, Captain A. V. G. Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.
Banks, Sir Reginald Mitchell Duckworth, George A. V. Hudson, Capt. A. U.M. (Hackney, N.)
Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell Duggan, Hubert John Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)
Belt, Sir Alfred L. Duncan, James A. L.(Kensington, N.) Hurst, Sir Gerald B.
Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton) Edmondson, Major A. J. Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romford)
Bird, Sir Robert B.(Wolverh'pton W.) Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey James, Wing.-Com. A. W. H.
Blaker, Sir Reginald Elmley, Viscount Janner, Barnett
Bossom, A. C. Emrys-Evans, P. V. Jesson, Major Thomas E.
Boulton, W. W. Entwistle, Cyril Fullard Johnstons, Harcourt (S. Shields)
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare) Ker, J. Campbell
Broadbent, Colonel John Erskine-Boist, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool) Kerr, Hamilton W.
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin) Kimball, Lawrence
Brown, Col. D.C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham) Fox, Sir Gifford Knight, Holford
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Galbraith, James Francis Wallace Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton
Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie Gillett, Sir George Masterman Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George
Cadogan, Hon. Edward Gledhill, Gilbert Latham, Sir Herbert Paul
Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley) Glossop, C. W. H. Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)
Campbell, Rear-Adml. G. (Burnley) Gluckstein, Louis Halle Leech, Dr. J. W.
Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm Goff, Sir Park Leigh, Sir John
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas Leighton, Major B. E. P.
Carver, Major William H. Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter Levy, Thomas
Cassels, James Dale Greene, William P. C. Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)
Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.) Greenwood,- Rt. Hon. Arthur Loder, Captain J. de Vere
Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)
Clarry, Reginald George Grenfell, E. C. (City of London) Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.
Clayton, Dr. George C. Grimton, R. V. Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.
Cobb, Sir Cyril Groves, Thomas E. Marsden, Commander Arthur
Conant, R. J. E. Guinness, Thomas L. E. B. Martin, Thomas B.
Cooke, Douglas Hales, Harold K. May hew, Lieut.-Colonel John
Cranborne, Viscount Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Merriman, Sir F. Boyd
Craven-Ellis, William Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon) Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)
Cripps, Sir Stafford Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford) Milne, Sir John S. Wardlaw-
Crossley, A. C. Hanbury, Cecil Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)
Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard Hanley, Dennis A. Mitcheson, G. G.
Culverwell, Cyril Tom Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Molson, A. Hugh Eisdale
Daggar, George Harbord, Arthur Morgan, Robert H.
Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil) Harris, Sir Percy Munro, Patrick
Davison, Sir William Henry Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n) Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.
Dawson, Sir Philip Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes) Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)
Denman, Hon. R. D. Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford) Normand, Wilfrid Guild

The House divided: Ayes, 91; Noes, 193.

Nunn, William Rutherford, Sir John Hugo Taylor, Vice-Admiral E. A. (P'dd'gt'n, S.)
Ormiston, Thomas Salmon, Major Isidore Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)
Palmer, Francis Noel Salter, Dr. Alfred Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Patrick, Colin M. Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney) Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)
Perkins, Walter R. D. Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard Touche, Gordon Cosmo
Petherick, M Selley, Harry R. Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon
Peto, Geoffrey K. (Wverh'pt'n, Blis'n) Shakespeare, Geoffrey H. Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)
Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G.H. Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D. Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-
Price, Gabriel Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich) Weymouth, Viscount
Raikes, Henry V. A. M. Somervell, Donald Bradley White, Henry Graham
Ramsbotham, Herwald Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East) Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
Ramsden, E. Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E. Wills, Wilfrid D.
Rawson, Sir Cooper Southby, Commander Archibald R. J. Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)
Ray, Sir William Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L. Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)
Rea, Walter Russell Sponder-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H. Winterton, Ht. Hon. Earl
Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter) Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde) Womersley, Walter James
Remer, John R. Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland) Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)
Rentoul, Sir Gervais S. Stourton, Hon. John J. Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)
Reynolds, Col. Sir James Phllip Strauss, Edward A.
Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge) Strickland, Captain W. F. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
RUSEEL, ALBERT (KIRKCALDY) Summersby, Charles H. Sir Victor Warrender and Lieut.-
Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy) Sutcliffe, Harold Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward.

I beg to move, in page 1, line 23, at the end, to insert the words: (b) that no person employed in any place licensed to be opened and used for public entertainment or amusement on Sundays shall be employed by any employer for more than twenty-six Sundays in any year or for more than two Sundays in succession. An earlier Amendment moved by the Government dealt with the 7-day week and carried out as far as possible the limited undertaking given upstairs in Committee, but it left out altogether the question of employment on Sundays. Two questions arise here. One is the question of continuous employment for seven days in the week and of the worker having one holiday on some day in the week, and the other question is that the worker should have a holiday at any rate sometimes when other people are taking their holidays, namely, on Sunday, and on some Sundays in the year for the purpose for which the Sabbath was instituted. This question has both a social and a religious side. Hon. Members will notice that in my Amendment I provide that no person shall be employed, in any place licensed to be open and used for public entertainment or amusement on Sundays, by any employer for more than 26 Sundays in the year or for more than two Sundays in succession.

I have put in the words "by any employer" because those are the words used in the earlier Amendments moved on behalf of the Home Secretary, where a distinction is made as to what is possible in the way of regulating employment by a man's regular employer and what it would be fair or, on the other hand, what it would be unreasonable, to expect of an employer who engages a man for casual employment. Therefore, in the form in which I have moved this Amendment, it contemplates that, if a person is the employer of a man, he shall see that he is not employed for more than 26 Sundays in the year, and, equally, if a man is the employer of another man and he wishes to employ (him to work on Sunday, he shall see that he does not work on more than two successive Sundays without a Sunday off. I would like in this connection to call attention to what I think was a very admirable motion 'moved in the Church Assembly and which had the support of the Attorney-General. It was in these terms: The maintenance of Sunday as a weekly day of rest in agreement with the original divine ordainment of the Sabbath is of vital importance to the whole community as it not only provides for Christian people the most satisfactory opportunity in an age of stress for the public worship of God but also the most effective safeguard against the exploitation of the week. 9.30 p.m.

That motion is exactly relevant to the question I am raising in this Amendment. It is not only a religious question or even mainly a religious question; it is a social question also. If we legalise, as we do under this Bill, an inroad on the Sunday as we have known it hitherto, so far as the public are concerned who go to these entertainments, they are only substituting pleasure for religious occupations which used to be more generally observed both in the morning and evening, but as far as the employé is concerned it is a wholly different question. We are not substituting pleasure there but a day of work for a day of rest, and therefore I say that no day can possibly take the place of Sunday, and we must see that whatever else we do in this Bill no one shall be asked to work or expected to work more than two Sundays out of three or for more than half the Sundays in the year. If the Solicitor-General thinks that in the wording of my Amendment I have in any way left any loophole which would make it difficult to apply or am imposing any obligation upon an employer to do something in regard to which he cannot find out anything and so on, I am willing to accept any substitution of other words which may be suggested by him, provided he will make it clear that they will do what this Amendment asks the House to do. I am convinced that we have not completed the work we are bound to set our hands to do, on this question of a new class of employment which will now very likely become general throughout the country by merely putting into the Bill, as far as we can, a provision to prevent seven days' work in the week. We are bound to complete that by putting in as strong a provision as we can against the employment of people for every Sunday in the year, and safeguarding for them the opportunity either of religious worship or of having a holiday on the same day as their fellows. It is for these reasons that I move this Amendment and ask the House to give it support. I only hope the Government will see their way to shorten our proceedings by accepting it.


I beg to second the Amendment for this reason. Films get special publicity in the newspapers, and there is a special exploitation of the industry for the purpose of its advertising power. It is therefore vitally essential that the voices of those who have religious scruples, and which are mainly inaudible in the Press because of their less financial advertising value—and where scruples are sometimes pocketed on account of certain social and political ambitions—should be heard very determinedly in support of Sabbath observance. For that reason I have pleasure in seconding the Amendment.


I must ask the House to reject this Amendment. First of all, there are two minor objections of draftsmanship, both of which have been indicated. In this Bill we are dealing only with cinemas, but this Amendment is so drafted as to prevent the employment of a man for more than 26 weeks in any place which is open for public entertainment or amusement. Then there is this further difficulty, that the introduction of the words "by any employer" would have this effect, for example, that supposing a man were employed in a cinema for 25 Sundays in the year, and then went off to some other place entirely unconnected with cinematograph entertainments and was employed by an entirely different employer for two more Sundays, that employer, knowing nothing about what this man had been doing at the cinema, would be liable for some penalty for infringement of this rule. Apart however from minor objections of that sort, I ask the House to reject this Amendment on broader lines. This is an attempt to lay down much too meticulously the sort of conditions which are essentially those for a local authority to decide.

The local authority knows what the local conditions are, and it can ensure that the men are safeguarded from exploitation on Sunday, much better than the House of Commons can by laying down general words of this sort. There are many people who might well prefer to be employed on Sundays. There are, for example, cinemas in the Jewish quarters of London and elsewhere, where the employés may be of that community and would vastly prefer to have their own Sabbath to themselves and to be allowed to work on our Sabbath. If this Amendment were passed there would be no latitude left to the local authority to give effect to conditions such as those. There is even the individual case of the man the rest of whose family happens to be employed in the newspaper trade, and to whom it would be a great advantage to have free a day other than Sunday, because his family have to go to work on the Sunday. Or there might be the man who is entirely free from all ties and would prefer to have some other day of the week free. No latitude would be allowed to the local authority in these or other individual cases which hon. Members may have in mind. The Government's position is this: There is a great danger of trying to tie up local authorities with too precise restrictions on matters of detail, when we are in effect leaving to them the discretion as to how this Act shall be administered. For that main reason I ask the House to reject the Amendment.


I am sure that the House has been very disappointed with the speech of the learned Solicitor-General. He spoke of objections to draftsmanship. I have known representatives of Governments very ready to accept Amendments, provided that they agreed with the principle of those Amendments, and they have had the nice habit of putting the words correctly in another place. It is no argument to oppose this Amendment on the ground of draftsmanship. The hon. and learned Gentleman also objected because the words "any place of entertainment" are included, and he said that this principle did not belong to the Bill at all. But earlier in the evening the Government tabled a new Clause that had not the remotest connection with the Bill. That was in regard to the Film Institute. Consequently that argument falls to the ground. When It suits the purpose of the Government they always desire the local authority to have the utmost freedom. But, when we deal with the means test and transitional benefit, how much freedom is given to the local authority? Or in housing, education and public health? There they tie the authorities down to the last comma. But in this connection they want to throw on the local authority a responsibility they do not like to accept themselves.

Then the hon. and learned Gentleman used the argument that some men preferred to be employed on Sundays. He represents the Rusholme Division of Manchester. He knows Rusholme, and so do I I would like to know how many men there would prefer working on Sundays to any other day. I would like to see a census taken in any working-class area in this country to find out how many men prefer working on Sundays to working on any other day. As a matter of fact, some time ago in the city of Manchester a poll was taken by a newspaper, after a long campaign, to decide whether the parks should be open for bowls and tennis on Sundays. The vote was 300,000 "against" and 30,000 "for." That is an indication of what the people's mind is in some parts of the country. Nor can the Solicitor-General get away with the Jew either. When it suits the Government's purpose they use the poor widow and the Jew and newspaper trade as a shield. Really, the hon. and learned Gentleman cannot have that argument in support of his opposition to the Amendment. We are not all Jews, anyhow. If I remember rightly, the total alien population of this country, adults and children, is less than 250,000.


On a point of Order. The members of the Jewish persuasion are not aliens in the true sense of the word, and I ask the hon. Gentleman to withdraw that remark.


I did not mean it disrespectfully. Really the hon. and learned Gentleman cannot use that argument in favour of his contention, because if he wanted to accept the principle of the Amendment he could have in this Bill a provision that would apply to the Jewish people, just as such a provision was put in the Humane Slaughter of Animals Bill. The rights of the minority are always safeguarded in every Measure of this kind, except when the minority happens to be the Welsh people. But I will come to that later. I hope that the hon. Baronet will press his Amendment to a Division, because I am satisfied that the vast majority of the people, whether they go to church or not, want their Sunday on the seventh day of the week. I have said many times and I repeat, that you cannot get a Sunday on a Tuesday or a Wednesday. You want your "Sunday" on the same day as other people, and that is on Sunday. I trust, therefore, that for once in a while we shall defeat the Government on this Amendment.


I wish to support the Amendment. I am just a bit tired of this zeal for local option in most unexpected quarters. The Solicitor-General talked about interfering with the latitude of local authorities. I want to know why we should interfere with the latitude of the working man, the cinema operator, and his natural desire to enjoy a Sunday's rest on a Sunday, the communal day of rest, when all his fellows are free from work, when his family and other families meet because it is the day of rest. The hon. and learned Gentleman talks glibly as if to interfere with the latitude of the local authorities was a cardinal sin, as if local authorities were heaven-sent bodies. Why we should interfere with the lati- tude of the working man, who has the authority of heaven-sent laws, I cannot understand.


I appeal to the Government to accept this Amendment which embodies a justifiable and reasonable request. Sunday is not like other days and we are entitled to plead on behalf of the people employed in cinemas that they should be allowed to have at least half their Sundays free from work. Those who are advocating this Amendment are the true friends of the workers. They are the supporters of family life. In the population of this country there are many who never meet around the family table except on the Sabbath day and to deprive them of the opportunity of meeting on at least half the Sundays of the year, is depriving them of a very valuable part of their family life. Those of us who have had any experience at all in these matters know that one Sunday off is worth two or three other days off. If we want any test as to whether that is so or not,, we need not go further than the fact that it is an understood principle in industry in this country that a man employed on the Sabbath day should receive at least double the ordinary rates of pay. That practice has not arisen through any accident but because the working people of this country love their Sundays and their opportunities of meeting together. Therefore I claim that all lovers of the Sabbath day and all true friends of the workers should support this Amendment.

There is one other point which I need hardly emphasise. The Sabbath day is the only day which is really set apart for the development of the spiritual life of the people of this country. It may be said that religious influences ought to affect people on every day of the week but we know that in practice the Sabbath day is the day specially set apart for this purpose. I should be sorry to see this House depriving the workers of this country of opportunities to develop the

Division No. 265.] AYES. [9.50 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Cripps, Sir Stafford Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.)
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Crooke, J. Smedley Evans. R. T. (Carmarthen)
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro) Fermoy, Lord
Attlee, Clement Richard Croom-Johnson, R. P. George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea)
Batey, Joseph Curry, A. C. Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)
Beaumont, Hn. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.) Daggar, George Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery) Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)
Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City) Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)
Chapman, Col. R.(Houghton-le-Spring) Drewe, Cedric Groves, Thomas E.
Christie, James Archibald Edwards, Charles Grundy, Thomas W.

spiritual side of their lives. They should have at least every other Sunday for that purpose: Man shall not live by bread alone.

The House ought to realise that truth. To me this is the most important Amendment on the Order Paper. The cinema proprietors themselves can easily obviate the difficulties which will undoubtedly arise if this Amendment is passed. They have the possibility of closing, as I think they will, on the slackest day of the week. They have the possibility of instituting a rota of employés. Difficulties of that description can easily be got over by trained business men who are used to getting over difficulties. I think that as a result of the passing of this Measure we shall find that the slackest day of the week will be the day on which the cinemas will close. They will close on those days on which no wages are paid, on which no dole payments are made, and they will be crowded out on the Sabbath day. I want to see the men employed in the cinemas having at least 26 Sundays in the year with their families. Those of us who have discussed this matter with policemen, transport men, public utility men and others know how they demand certain Sundays off. If we were to pass a law to the effect that those men were to work on 52 Sundays of the year, while immense privileges were, at the same time, being given to their employers, there would be a reaction throughout this country which would be felt in this House. We have a right to demand from people on whom we are conferring such great favours and privileges, such monopolies if you like, as this Bill confers upon the cinema people, that the conditions indicated by the Amendment shall apply in their case. I hope that the sponsors of this Amendment will press it to a Division and I shall have pleasure in voting for it.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 89; Noes, 199.

Gunston, Captain D. W. Logan, David Gilbert Reid, William Allan (Derby)
Guy, J. C. Morrison Lunn, William Reynolds, Col. Sir James Philip
Hales, Harold K. Macdonald, Gordon (Ince) Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)
Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) McKeag, William Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)
Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) McKie, John Hamilton Salter, Dr. Alfred
Hanbury, Cecil McLean, Major Alan Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart
Haslam, Sir John (Bolton) Magnay, Thomas Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard
Heilgers, Captain F. F. A. Maitland, Adam Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)
Hepworth, Joseph Millar, Sir James Duncan Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Hicks, Ernest George Milner, Major James Stones, James
Hirst, George Henry Moreing, Adrian C. Tinker, John Joseph
Holdsworth, Herbert Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh) Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)
Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge) Morrison, William Shephard Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. David
Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Oman, Sir Charles William C. Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West) Parkinson, John Allen Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Kirkwood, David Peat, Charles U. Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)
Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Price, Gabriel Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
Law, Sir Alfred Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)
Leckie, J. A. Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.-
Liddall, Walter S. Ratcliffe, Arthur Sir Basil Peto and Sir Wilfrid
Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick Reid, David D. (County Down) Sugden.
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Emrys-Evans, P. V. Marsden, Commander Arthur
Albery, Irving James Entwistle, Cyril Fullard Martin, Thomas B.
Aske, Sir Robert William Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare) Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John
Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M. Erskine-Boist, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool) Merriman, Sir F. Boyd
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.) Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)
Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst Milne, Sir John S. Wardlaw-
Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell Foot, Dingle (Dundee) Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)
Beit, Sir Alfred L. Fox, Sir Gifford Mitcheson, G. G.
Bernays, Robert Fremantle, Sir Francis Morgan, Robert H.
Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn) Ganzoni, Sir John Munro, Patrick
Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton) Gillett, Sir George Masterman Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.
Bird, Sir Robert B. (Wolverh'pton W.) Gledhill, Gilbert Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)
Blaker, Sir Reginald Glossop, C. W. H. North, Captain Edward T.
Bossom, A. C. Gluckstein, Louis Halle Nunn, William
Boulton, W. W. Goodman, Colonel Albert W. Ormiston, Thomas
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas Palmer, Francis Noel
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Graves, Marjorie Patrick, Colin M.
Briant, Frank Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter Perkins, Walter R. D.
Broadbent, Colonel John Greene, William P. C. Petherick, M.
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Grenfell, E. C. (City of London) Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada
Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham) Grimston, R. V. Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.
Buchan, John Guinness, Thomas L. E. B. Ramsbotham, Herwald
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon) Ray, Sir William
Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford) Rea, Walter Russell
Cadogan, Hon. Edward Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Rend, Arthur C. (Exeter)
Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley) Harbord, Arthur Remer, John R.
Campbell, Rear-Adml. G. (Burnley) Harris, Sir Percy Rentoul, Sir Gervais S.
Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n) Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes) Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)
Carver, Major William H. Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford) Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.
Cassels, James Dale Hope, Capt. Arthur O. J. (Aston) Runge, Norah Cecil
Cautley, Sir Henry S. Hornby, Frank Rutherford, Sir John Hugo
Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.) Howard, Tom Forrest Salmon, Major Isidore
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Howitt, Dr. Alfred B. Salt, Edward W.
Clarry, Reginald George Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Clayton, Dr. George C. Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg) Savery, Samuel Servington
Cobb, Sir Cyril Hurst, Sir Gerald B. Selley, Harry R.
Conant. R. J. E. Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd) Shakespeare, Geoffrey M.
Cook, Thomas A. James, Wing.-Com. A. W. H. Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.
Cooke, Douglas Janner, Barnett Simmonds, Oliver Edwin
Copeland, Ida Jesson, Major Thomas E. Skelton, Archibald Noel
Cranborne, Viscount Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton) Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.
Craven-Ellis, William Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)
Crossley, A. C. Ker, J. Campbell Somervell, Donald Bradley
Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard Kerr, Hamilton W. Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)
Culverwell, Cyril Tom Kimball, Lawrence Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.
Dalkeith, Earl of Latham, Sir Herbert Paul Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.
Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C. Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.) Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.
Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil) Leech, Dr. J. W. Stanley, Hon. O. F G. (Westmorland)
Davison, Sir William Henry Leigh, Sir John Stourton, Hon. John J.
Dawson, Sir Philip Leighton, Major B. E. P. Strauss, Edward A.
Denman, Hon. R. D. Levy, Thomas Strickland, Captain W. F.
Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F. Lindsay. Noel Ker Summersby, Charles H.
Dickie, John P. Lloyd, Geoffrey Sutcliffe, Harold
Donner, P. W. Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.) Tate, Mavis Constance
Dower, Captain A. V. G. Loder, Captain J. de Vere Taylor, Vice-Admiral E.A.(P'dd'gt'n, S.)
Duckworth, George A. V. Mabane, William Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)
Duggan, Hubert John Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan) Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.) McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston) Touche, Gordon Cosmo
Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M. Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon
Elmley, Viscount Margesson, Capt. Henry David R. Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)
Wallace, John (Dunfermline) White, Henry Graham Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)
Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend) Wills, Wilfrid D. Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)
Warrender, Sir Victor A. G. Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)
Waterhouse, Captain Charles Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.) TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Watt, Captain George Steven Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward
Wells, Sydney Richard Womersley, Walter James and Mr. Harcourt Johnston.
Weymouth, Viscount Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley

I beg to move, in page 2, line 1, to leave out from the word "that" to the word "from," in. line 2, and to insert instead thereof the words: such sums as may be specified by the authority not exceeding the amount estimated by the authority as the amount of the profits which will be received. This Amendment has to be read in connection with two other Amendments near the top of the next page, in lines 5 and 6. It is to be a condition of the granting of a licence to open on Sundays that some part of the profits are to be given to charitable objects. That is in the Bill, but this afternoon we have passed a new Clause that a percentage of that money shall be devoted to the particular purpose indicated in that Clause. As a matter of draftsmanship, in any case, it will be necessary to make some Amendments consequential upon that Clause, and it will probably be convenient if I read the Clause as it will appear when these Amendments have been made. It will then read: (b) that such sums as may be specified by the authority not exceeding the amount estimated by the authority as the amount of the profits which will be received from cinematograph entertainments given while the place is open on Sundays and from any other entertainment or exhibition given therewith, and calculated by reference to such estimated profits or to such proportion of them as the authority think fit, will be paid as to the prescribed percentage thereof to the authority for the purpose of being transmitted to the Cinematograph Fund constituted in accordance with the provisions of this Act, and as to the remainder thereof.… 10.0 p.m.

to charitable objects and so on. If the Clause had been left as it was, it would have been very difficult to arrive at what would have been the percentage of a proportion, and it is very much better to leave it to the local authority, upon making a proper estimate of the profits, to say what exact sum shall be paid over for these two purposes. As a matter of fact, in the administration of the scheme which the London County Council have been carrying out for many years, they make the estimate of the profits beforehand and settle on the exact sum that is to be paid. There is, therefore, no difficulty in practice in working it in this way, and we suggest that it will be much more effective.


I think the Solicitor-General assumes that because the House passed a new Clause earlier on, the House is, therefore, in agreement with the whole suggestion that some part of these moneys should go to charitable undertakings, and if that is so, I want to controvert it and to say that there are many people who are not at all in agreement with that point of view. There are many people who think the suggestion that it should be part of the law that a certain part of these profits should automatically go to charitable undertakings, is absolute humbug. If the assumption is to be that just because you are going to allow cinemas to be opened on Sundays, they should therefore be blackmailed into giving some portion of their profits to charitable undertakings as a sort of balm to their conscience, that though they are not quite sure it is right to go to cinemas on Sundays, yet if some proportion of the money goes to charitable objects it is all right, that seems to me a very serious matter which this House ought to spend a moment or two in considering.

This is not a point that I want to stress particularly, but I would remind the House that when the original proposal was before this House in the last Parliament the most sinister argument possible was produced by the late Home Secretary, Mr. Clynes, who actually made an appeal that the money should be kept for charities because it would help, among other things, the Jewish Aged and Needy Pensioners' Society. It may be news to new Members, but the height of cynicism was reached when it was suggested that ordinary Christian people should think it is all right to go to cinemas on Sundays and thereby benefit, of all things, a no doubt very deserving, but Jewish charity. It shows the kind of intricacies and absurdities to which one is driven in supporting a Measure of this kind. Either it is right or wrong, morally or in any other way, that cinemas should be opened on Sundays, but the question whether it is more right because you allocate a certain proportion of the profits either to the Cinematograph Fund that we created earlier to-day or to reputable or possibly disreputable charities, seems to me to be perfectly absurd. I presume that all the good people who go to church on Sunday morning will no doubt think to themselves, We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done, and try to get the best of both worlds by having said that in the morning and then salve their consciences by saying, "Well, at any rate the exciting film that we shall see to-night will benefit some charity." It is not consonant with the dignity of the House to pass a Measure which involves any such consideration as that. The Solicitor-General says that this is a drafting Amendment. It may be so, but he read out a long thing which was very hard to follow. Even if it be a drafting Amendment, it relates to a paragraph in the Bill of which I totally disapprove, and against which I should divide if I felt that I could make any effective opposition that way.


I have no objection to raise to the rearrangement of the words of this paragraph which has been moved by the Solicitor-General, but I strongly urge upon the House that, when we are dealing with this paragraph as it is now connected with the new Clause which we passed earlier, and when we consider that the sum which is to be allocated to charities is to go to another purpose, it makes it still more absurd that we should not specify that any appreciable measurable sum should be devoted to charitable objects. Out of the 98 areas, including London, where cinematograph entertainments are given on Sunday, in only three is any portion at all devoted to charity. When we were in Committee the hon. Member for West Bristol (Mr. Culverwell) asked the Under-Secretary: Under the Clause, would it be possible for cinemas to open and pay no profits to charity, or is the local authority compelled to extract some profits for charity? The Under-Secretary said: As the Clause stands, a local authority must impose some condition as to the pro- portion. The proportion can be anything that the local authority likes. The hon. Member for West Bristol asked: "Can it be nothing?" The Undersecretary replied: No, but it may be an eighth of 1 per cent."—[Official Report (Standing Committee B), 9th June, 1932; cols. 68–9.] It is all very well to talk about giving this power to local authorities, but it is going rather far to say that we are to dispose of a portion of the sum that is to be allocated to charity when in 95 areas out of the 98 nothing at all is given. While in those areas and in other areas where cinemas may be opened, one-eighth of one per cent. devoted to charity is regarded as sufficient, we are solemnly to be asked that 5 per cent. of that sum, which will be 5 per cent. of one-eighth of one per cent., shall be devoted for the purpose of improving films.

In the circumstances, the Amendment to the Amendment which I have down, in line 2, after the word "authority," to insert the words "not less than 20 per centum, and," is a reasonable Amendment. Many Members have been under the impression that in the London area all the profits have gone to charity. I do not want to use the argument about charity at all, except to point out what has been pointed out to me by a gentleman who does not mind his name being disclosed to the House. He is Mr. Adams, who was the founder and formerly managing director of Provincial Cinematograph Theatres, and he estimates that the advantage which is being given to the cinema proprietors will mean another £2,500,000 a year going to America. He said in a letter to me: The charity Clause must be strong and substantial, and if our charities do not get the benefit, the American film producers most certainly will. In those circumstances, I ask the Government to accept my reasonable Amendment, and a further Amendment in order to make the matter clear, after the second word "the," in line 2, to insert the word "whole."


The hon. Member cannot move his Amendment yet, because we have not yet got the words out of the paragraph.


I have made my speech, and when the time comes I will merely formally move my Amendments. If they are carried, we shall get something definite put into the Bill as to a contribution to charity, and we shall make sure that contributions for charity are not confined to the area of the London County Council.

Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill," put, and negatived.

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."

Division No. 266.] AYES. [10.12 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Gritten, W. G. Howard Milner, Major James
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Groves, Thomas E. Moreing, Adrian C.
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Grundy, Thomas W. Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)
Aske, Sir Robert William Gunston, Captain D. W. Morrison, William Shepherd
Attlee, Clement Richard Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)
Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar Hall, George H. (Me'thyr Tydvil) Oman, Sir Charles William C.
Batey, Joseph Harbord, Arthur Parkinson, John Allen
Bernays, Robert Hartland, George A. Peat, Charles U.
Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn) Haslam, Sir John (Bolton) Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilst'n)
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Heilgers, Captain F. F. A. Price, Gabriel
Briant, Frank Hepworth, Joseph Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Hicks, Ernest George Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Hirst, George Henry Salter, Dr. Alfred
Cautley, Sir Henry S. Holdsworth, Herbert Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart
Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chaster City) Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge) Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)
Chapman, Col. R.(Houghton-le-Spring) Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brian) Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.
Christie, James Archibald Janner, Barnett Simmonds, Oliver Edwin
Cocks, Frederick Seymour Jenkins, Sir William Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.
Cripps, Sir Stafford John, William Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Crooke, J. Smedley Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton) Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur
Croom-Johnson, R. P. Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Stones, James
Curry, A. C. Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West) Sutcliffe, Harold
Daggar, George Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Taylor, Vice-Admiral E.A.(P'dd'gt'n, S.)
Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery) Kirkwood, David Tinker, John Joseph
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Law, Sir Alfred Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)
Dawson, Sir Philip Leckle, J. A. Wallace, John (Dunfermline)
Dower, Captain A. V. G. Liddall, Walter S. Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. David
Drewe, Cedric Llewellin, Major John J. Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Edwards, Charles Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick Williams, Edward John (Ogmors)
Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen) Logan, David Gilbert Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)
George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) Lunn, William Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea) Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur McLean, Major Alan TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) Magnay, Thomas Sir Basil Peto and Sir Wilfrid Sugden.
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Marsden, Commander Arthur
Grimston, R. V. Millar, Sir James Duncan
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Carver, Major William H. Doran, Edward
Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M. Cassels, James Dale Duckworth, George A. V.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Cayzer, Ma). Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.) Duggan, Hubert John
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)
Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. Sir J.A.(Birm., W) Eden, Robert Anthony
Beaumont, Hn. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.) Clarry, Reginald George Emrys-Evans, P. V.
Belt, Sir Alfred L. Clayton, Dr. George C. Entwistle, Cyril Fullard
Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton) Cobb, Sir Cyril Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)
Bird, Sir Robert B. (Wolverh'pton W.) Conant, R. J. E. Erskine-Boist, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)
Blaker, Sir Reginald Cook, Thomas A. Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)
Bossom, A. C. Cooke, Douglas Fermoy, Lord
Boulton, W. W. Cranborne, Viscount Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Foot, Dingle (Dundee)
Broadbent, Colonel John Crossley, A. C. Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)
Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham) Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard Fox, Sir Gifford
Buchan, John Culverwell, Cyril Tom Fremantle, Sir Francis
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Dalkeith, Earl of Ganzoni, Sir John
Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C. Gillett, Sir George Masterman
Cadogan, Hon. Edward Davison, Sir William Henry Gledhill, Gilbert
Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley) Denman, Hon. R. D. Glossop, C. W. H.
Campbell, Rear-Adml. G. (Burnley) Denville, Alfred Gluckstein, Louis Halle
Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm Dickie, John P. Glyn, Major Ralph G. C.
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Donner, P. W. Goodman, Colonel Albert W.

I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, in line 2, after the word "authority," to insert the words "not less than twenty per centum, and."


I beg to second the Amendment.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the proposed Amendment."

The House divided: Ayes, 103; Noes, 186.

Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nichols McKie, John Hamilton Rutherford, Sir John Hugo
Graves Marjorie Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan) Salmon, Major Isidore
Greene, William P. C. McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston) Salt, Edward W.
Grenfell, E. C. (City of London) Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M. Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.) Margesson, Capt. Henry David R. Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard
Guinness, Thomas L, E. B. Martin, Thomas B. Savery, Samuel Servington
Hales, Harold K. Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)
Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon) Merriman, Sir F. Boyd Somervell, Donald Bradley
Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford) Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)
Hanbury, Cecil Milne, Sir John S. Wardlaw- Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.
Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham) Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.
Harris, Sir Percy Molson, A. Hugh Eisdale Spencer, Captain Richard A.
Hartington, Marquess of Morgan, Robert H. Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.
Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenn'gt'n) Muirhead, Major A. J. Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)
Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Tatnes) Munro, Patrick Stourton, Hon. John J.
Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsf'd) Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H. Strauss, Edward A.
Hope, Capt. Arthur O. J. (Aston) North, Captain Edward T. Strickland, Captain W. F.
Hornby, Frank Nunn, William Summersby, Charles H.
Howard, Tom Forrest Ormiston, Thomas Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Howitt, Dr. Alfred B. Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G.A. Touche, Gordon Cosmo
Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Palmer, Francis Noel Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon
Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries) Patrick, Colin M. Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)
Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romford) Pearson, William G. Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)
James, Wing.-Com. A. W. H. Perkins, Walter R. D. Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Jesson, Major Thomas E. Petherick, M. Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Ker, J. Campbell Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada Watt, Captain George Steven H.
Kerr, Hamilton W. Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H. Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-
Kimball, Lawrence Raikes, Henry V. A. M. Wells, Sydney Richard
Knight, Holford Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles) Weymouth, Viscount
Latham, Sir Herbert Paul Ramsden, E. White, Henry Graham
Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.) Ray, Sir William Wills, Wilfrid D.
Leech, Dr. J. W. Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter) Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)
Leigh, Sir John Reid, William Allan (Derby) Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)
Levy, Thomas Rentoul, Sir Gervais S. Winterton, Ht. Hon. Earl
Lindsay, Noel Kar Reynolds, Col. Sir James Philip Womersley, Walter James
Lloyd, Geoffrey Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U. Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)
Lockwood, John C. (Hackney. C.) Robinson, John Roland Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)
Loder, Captain J. de Vere Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)
Mabane, William Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A. TELLERS FOR THE NOES
McKeag, William Runge, Norah Cecil Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward and Mr. Harcourt Johnstone.

Question, "That the proposed words be there inserted in the Bill," put, and agreed to.

Further Amendments made: In page 2, line 5, after the word "therewith," insert the words: and calculated by reference to such estimated profits or to such proportion of them as the authority think fit.

In line 6, after the word "paid," insert the words: as to the prescribed percentage thereof to the authority for the purpose of being transmitted to the Cinematograph Fund constituted in accordance with the provisions of this Act, and as to the remainder thereof.

In line 10, leave out the word "such," and insert instead thereof the words sums calculated by reference to such estimated."—[The Solicitor-General.]


I beg to move, in page 3, line 4, after the word "conviction," to insert the words: to the forfeiture of his licence to open on Sunday and. In this Bill, the owner of a cinematograph who offends the law may be fined up to £20, and there is no further penalty upon him except that he shall be liable to pay that sum as a debt due to that person. Any sum recoverable under this Sub-section may, if it does not exceed 50 pounds, be recovered summarily as a civil debt. The Home Office is very charitably disposed towards the cinematograph owner who breaks this law. I have not been able to understand why the law is not worded so as to bring a little more pressure upon him when he breaks the law. If a motorist offends against the Road Traffic Act or any other Act, his licence is taken away, sometimes on the first offence. He has not, I believe, a chance of paying a fine. There are other cases even too where a licence is taken away if the person who holds the licence offends against the law. In this case there is nothing by way of penalties except a fine up to £20, that he shall pay a sum as a debt, and that the debt is recoverable as civil debt.

This Amendment does not intend that the owner shall forfeit his licence for any day except Sunday. I think I am right in explaining the words of my own Amendment to that effect. When the licence is forfeited, it will be forfeited only for the Sunday opening. I think that is the proper way of putting it. I am very anxious that the local authority shall have a right to take away the licence for opening on Sundays, for this reason. The Under-Secretary will know that small shopkeepers in this country break the law continually, and it pays them, so I am informed, to meet a fine of 5s. every Monday morning and continue to break the law every Sunday, because they receive more in profits by opening and paying the fine than would otherwise be the case. It seems to me, therefore, that, if the proprietor of a cinema defies this Measure when it becomes law, it is not too much to ask that his licence for opening on Sundays shall be taken away from him.


I beg to Second the Amendment.


I cannot advise the House to accept this Amendment. The penalties, from the monetary point of view, which are imposed by the Bill, are high, because the hon. Gentleman will realise that £20 is the penalty in respect of each offence. If a cinema proprietor has broken the labour provision with regard to the people he employs in his cinema, he has to pay a maximum of £20 in respect of every one of them.


Not exceeding £20.


I quite agree that there are certain cases in which the only proper penalty for flagrant disregard of the conditions under which Sunday opening is allowed would be the withdrawal of permission to open on Sundays, but the point is that that power is already possessed by the local authority, and it is unnecessary to give a similar power to the magistrates. Provided that a local authority states on its licence, as I believe London does now, that permission to open on Sundays will be liable to be withdrawn if any of the conditions are violated, then, immediately a condition is violated, the local authority is entitled to withdraw the licence. It sterns to me that that power is better left in the hands of the local authority, who will know fully the circumstances of each case, and, therefore, will only apply this rather drastic power when they are satisfied that that is the only proper punishment. I made a suggestion in Committee, which I would repeat now, that it is possible that, although London, which has long been doing this kind of thing, knows of its powers, and knows that by putting these words on the licence it can make those powers operative, other authorities which in future may have to grant licences for Sunday opening may not be aware of them, and I suggested that when, as we shall have to do after this Bill passes, we circularise licensing authorities informing them of the changes made by this Measure, we should include in the circular some reference to this power, and make it clear that any licensing authority can obtain this power provided that the necessary words are included on the face of the certificate issued. I think that it is better to leave the matter to the licensing authority, and this Amendment which would only extend the same power to the magistrates, is one which I could not accept.


In view of that promise of the hon. Gentleman, which I feel sure he will carry out, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendments made: In page 3, line 8, leave out from the word "any" to the word "be" in line 9, and insert instead thereof the words "authority or person."

In line 10, leave out the word "person," and insert instead thereof the words "authority or person, as the case may be."—[Mr. Stanley.]


I beg to move, in page 3, line 27, at the end, to insert the words: (6) This section shall not extend to Wales and Monmouthshire. I think I am right when I say that for some years the House has not been troubled very much with questions relating to Wales. I well remember that there was a time many years ago, when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) first became a Member of the House, when the voice of Wales was frequently heard. It may be necessary to deal with two points in connection with my Amendment. The first proposition that I have to make is that Parliament can, in accordance with precedent, and should in proper circumstances legislate for Wales as distinct from England. If that proposition is admitted, I think the second is that in this matter the opinion of Wales is strongly in favour of exclusion so far as cinemas are concerned and that, therefore, Wales should be excluded from the operation of this Clause. It is quite conceivable that even in this House there may be Members who are disposed to deny to Wales the right to separate legislation. One has frequently heard it said that Wales and Monmouthshire is simply a, geographical expression to represent 12 or 13 counties and that Wales has no more right to ask for separate legislation than any group of counties in England. But I submit that Wales is a distinct nationality from England with a separate language, history and tradition of its own and peculiar to itself and with its own national aspirations and ideals. In these days I scarcely think any voice would be raised against acknowledging the right of Wales to separate legislation.

The House of Commons is very fond of looking to precedent, and an appeal to precedent is always effective in this Assembly. Here I feel that I am on very strong ground. I have here a volume called "The Statutes of Wales," edited by an eminent county court judge. It may be a matter of surprise that in this volume, apart from the introduction, there are 280 closely printed octavo pages containing nothing but Statutes, or sections of Statutes, relating to Wales. Surely there is a precedent. In going through this volume I find that there have been two stages. In the earlier centuries legislation was enacted in opposition to the wishes of the Welsh people. It was oppressive and repressive legislation. Everything was done in order to stifle Welsh sentiment and to destroy the Welsh language. The efforts of legislation in that connection failed, and so great was the failure that there are today in this House, out of 36 Members representing the Principality, at least 23 who are able to speak the Welsh language not only colloquially but in public. I believe that in addition to that there are at any rate two or three hon. Members representing English constituencies who are also able to speak Welsh. What a difference compared with Scotland, which is left out of the Bill. I am told that of the Scottish Members there are only two who can speak the Gaelic language, and I very much doubt whether there is a single Member from Northern Ireland who can speak Irish. That was the first stage of oppression in legislation. Then came, within the life of some of those who are in this Chamber to-night, another period when there was legislation in accordance with the wishes of the Welsh people. If I am not mistaken, one of the first Acts of Parliament passed in this connection was the Sunday Closing Act of 1881, which was introduced by a predecessor of mine in the representation of a portion of the county of Flint. I have looked up in Hansard the Debate on the Second Reading of the Bill. I find that Mr. Gladstone spoke from the Treasury Box in support of the Bill, and there are sentences in his speech which are absolutely pertinent to the Amendment which is now before the House. I propose to read a few of those sentences. If I am not able to convince the House that my Amendment should be supported, I think that a reference to what Mr. Gladstone said on a very similar matter may perhaps influence a very large number of hon. Members in the House to-night. Listen to what he said on the 4th May, 1881: Undoubtedly, it has not in the past been the habit of Parliament to look to Welsh opinion or to Welsh interests as a distinct independent factor in the constitution of this country as it has been in regard to England and Ireland. Wales has been regarded as in a closer relation to ourselves than either Scotland or Ireland, but I am bound to say that it appears to me that we have pushed those considerations too far. I am not going to set up an extravagant theory of nationality with regard to either Wales, Ireland or Scotland, but this I will say that where there is a distinctly formed Welsh opinion, as in the present case, upon a given subject which affects Wales alone, and the acceptance of which does not entail any public danger or public inconvenience to the rest of the Empire, I know no reason why respectful regard should not be paid to that opinion. Further on he says: Wales is, after all, a country with a people of its own, with a language of its own, with traditions of its own, with feelings of its own, and with a specially religious feeling and associations of its own. Every word which Mr. Gladstone spoke on that occasion is appropriate and pertinent to the Amendment before the House to-night. That is the first of a series of Acts of this Legislature in connection with Wales. In 1889 the Welsh Intermediate Education Act was passed, and the Welsh University received its charter. Subsequently an Act of Parlia- ment was passed in regard to the Welsh University. When the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs introduced the National Health Insurance Bill in 1911 special provision was made for Wales. Therefore, in standing here to move that Wales be excluded from the operation of the Bill I am simply following the course adopted by this House from time to time during the last 50 years. There is a further point which indicates that Wales stands by itself. I was coming through Whitehall a few days ago when I noticed one of the posters of the Empire Marketing Board. Four countries were referred to in connection with their agricultural and horticultural products. England came first—Wales had been separated from England—Northern Ireland came second, Wales third, and Scotland fourth. That is what we are asking for to-night, that we should be placed somewhere between Northern Ireland and Scotland and not associated with England in regard to the Bill. I think I have discharged the onus of proof so far as my first point is concerned, that Wales is entitled by precedent, in proper circumstances, to legislation of its own.

I come to the second point, on which it will be easier to discharge my duty. The opinion of Wales is strongly in favour of the terms of my Amendment and the House is not entitled to disregard the opinion of Wales. I have looked into the Division list on the three occasions that the House has voted on the Second Reading of the Bill. In connection with the 1931 Bill, five Welsh Members voted for and 25 against. In April of this year when the first Bill was introduced, six Welsh Members voted for and 24 against. When I raised this matter in Committee the Under-Secretary asked: "What about the last Bill?" —the Bill of the 27th May, 1932. On that occasion six voted for the Bill while the numbers against it had come down to nine. Hon. Members were here in the morning but they had to go away before the Division was reached. On this occasion I am sure that when the Division is taken there will be an overwhelming majority of Members from Wales and Monmouthshire voting in support of the Amendment. If Wales is entitled to legislation in accordance with the wishes of the Welsh people, could there be a better way of gauging that expression of opinion than the votes of those who have been sent to this House from Wales representing the three political parties in the State? Apart from that, there has been an expression of opinion in various parts of Wales by means of resolutions from all the organised Free Church Associations. I have also heard from a large number of churches who have sent me copies of resolutions which have been passed. Many of them have gone to the Home Secretary. Most of them are in Welsh. [Hon. Members: "Read them!"] As the House seems to want to hear them, I will read one of the resolutions I have received: Pasiwyd ein bod fel Egdwys yn erfyn yn daer ar y Llywodraeth adael allan Gymru a Sir Fynwy o'r Mesud uchod fel y gwneir gyda Scotland a Gogledd yr Werddon. Y mae parch Cymru i Ddydd yr Arglwydd yn adnabyddus a byddai bydoli'r Dydd yn anghyfiawnder mawr a'r Dywysogaeth. The resolution says: As a church we urgently ask the Government to leave Wales and Monmouthshire out of the scope of the Sunday Entertainments Bill. The respect which Wales has to the Lord's Day is well known, and to secularise the Lord's Day would be a great injustice to the Principality. The Under-Secretary has suggested that many of these resolutions have been passed by people who did not appreciate their effect, but at any rate the people who have passed these resolutions know that the Bill is going to legalise what is at the present moment illegal. If the Under-Secretary requires an intimate knowledge of the terms of the Bill I am afraid that he would find among those who support the Bill many hon. Members who are somewhat ignorant of its purpose, and more ignorant than ever of its details. When this question was considered in Committee the Under-Secretary said this—and I am going to urge the House to deal with the Amendment on the lines suggested by him: So far as this Bill is concerned, however the practical and immediate effect of applying it to Wales is not different from the immediate effect of leaving Wales out. The latest information that we have is that there is no area in Wales where cinemas are open, and only one in Monmouthshire. That means that the part of the Bill which gives permission to certain areas to open is, so far as Wales is concerned, a dead letter, and it does not matter whether You leave Wales out of the Bill or put it in."— [OFFICIAL REPORT (Standing Committee B), 16th June, 1932; col. 146.] I appeal to the House to leave Wales out, because it does not matter in the least from the point of view of the Under-Secretary whether you leave Wales in or leave Wales out. But it does matter a great deal so far as public sentiment in Wales is concerned, and it is with that that my colleagues and myself are concerned. We know the depth of feeling there is in the Principality on this matter. That feeling has been expressed in the last few weeks in an unmistakable manner, and we therefore appeal to the Under-Secretary, as it makes no difference at all what you do, to meet the wishes of the people of Wales, and to exclude Wales from the operation of the Clause.


I beg to second the Amendment.

My hon. Friend has put the case so very ably, and has covered the ground so well, that there is not much to add to what he said. I think he convinced the House that Wales in the past has been treated on special occasions in regard to special legislative enactments as being in a special position. I think that clearly indicates that Wales has its own special point of view in these matters. We are not here dealing with a purely county matter. There are counties in England differing fundamentally from each other in their traditions and dialects and in their physical features, but this is a matter which concerns the sentiment of the nation. This is looked upon in Wales in rather a more pronounced way than it is in England. Our complaint is that the hon. Gentleman has not given consideration to that sentiment which has been expressed to him from numerous organisations in Wales, and of which he is cognisant. I am sure the House will agree that no observer of Wales, however casual an observer he may be, will deny the fact that Wales has, in this particular matter of the Sunday, rather a special position, a special heritage and special ideals.

A large number of writers have written of Wales, and I think every writer has paid tribute to this aspect of its life. I suggest the hon. Gentleman should read a book which has just come out called "In Search of Wales." He will find it a very interesting book. It is by an observer who is not of Welsh nationality, and it shows that Wales has very definite conditions of its own in this matter. I spent many years in Scotland and I know something about the Scottish Sabbath. I know some people are apt to poke fun at it, but it depends on the point of view you take on these matters. In regard to the Sabbath in Wales, those who point to a Scottish Sabbath as being dreary, may possibly think that the Welsh Sabbath is more dreary, but it all depends on the point of view. At all events, Wales is not behind Scotland in its special regard for this day of the week. It is very hard in these difficult economic times to raise enthusiasm about any issue, but I know of no issue since I have been a Member of this House that has raised a greater feeling in Wales than this issue of the inclusion of Wales in Clause I of this Bill. The hon. Gentleman in Committee the other day rather poked fun at the large number of postcards received against this Bill, but I submit that no hon. Member can ignore correspondence which he receives from his constituents. No Member can ignore the general trend of the correspondence that he receives from his constituency. I am not referring to the large number of postcards received from time to time. I have not had a single letter or postcard from my constituency in favour of this Bili—not one. I would like to know how many Members have had such communications.

Lieut.-Commander AGNEW

Can the hon. Member say how many postcards or letters he has had against the Bill?


They are so numerous that I have not counted them. I started to count, but gave it up in despair as a completely hopeless task. I have received many hundreds from my own constituency, but not one single letter of protest or suggestion asking me to support the Bill. The Under-Secretary admitted in Committee that there is only one cinema open in Wales on a Sunday, in Monmouthshire.


Not in Monmouthshire.


Then only one in the whole of Wales. Is that not clear proof that we do not want local option for Wales in this matter? Why, therefore, does the Under-Secretary want to bring in Wales willy-nilly? I suggest that the question of principle involved here, the sentiment of a nation, is such that no Government can afford to dis- regard it. This is a democratic House of Commons. On what principle are we to act unless we are to be guided by the voices and the votes of those who sent here the representatives of their constituencies? I understand that one hon. Member is going to oppose this Amendment. We can compliment him on his courage, but I think he will go down in Welsh history on that account as the only one representing the whole of Wales who will dare to get up in this House and support this Clause.

11.0 p.m.

I trust that the Government will accept the Amendment. It is a very reasonable and fair Amendment. I suggest that no Amendment embodying an important principle has received a clearer or more overwhelming mandate in its favour from the people most concerned. It has the support of the Welsh members. I am sorry that we have not in the House now the Welsh party that we used to have in the old days. Wales has been divided politically. I differ from some of my hon. Friends on many matters of vital political principle, but on this matter we are all unanimous. The last election showed that Wales was almost wholly favourable to the National Government. There are exceptions, of course, to be found in the Labour party opposite, and my distinguished Friend the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), and those who act with him, took a certain attitude. I rather think we shall have the right hon. Gentleman inside the Government, in a very short time, as I see the trend of the times. I am also sorry that the Home Secretary is not in his place. I wish to pay my respectful tribute to the Under-Secretary for the way in which he has handled the Bill, but I feel that the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, who has been so closely associated with Welsh movements in the past, would accept this Amendment if we were able to appeal to him personally. I trust that the Under-Secretary will see his way to accepting it, on the ground of reason, of principle and of language. I remember my right hon. Friend the Member for Ross and Cromarty (Mr. Macpherson) telling me with great pride of the fact that he spoke Gaelic. I should not be regarded as representative of my constit- uency at all if I did not speak Welsh, which shows that the conditions as regards the language are more emphasised in Wales. So are the conditions in regard to Sunday observance. I hope, therefore, that the hon. Gentleman will accept this reasonable Amendment which we put forward on behalf of the most gallant and patriotic portion of the British Isles.


At this late hour the House will excuse me if I do not deal as exhaustively with this subject as the hon. Members who have moved and seconded the Amendment. I quite appreciate of course the general case which they have put up as to Welsh national sentiment, although I would point out that, in the course of their very full speeches, the points of contact with the Bill which we are discussing were very few. I also have some suspicion that the national sentiment of Wales has been rather exacerbated by the fact that Northern Ireland and Scotland are omitted from the Bill. Let me assure hon. Members that this involves no question of inferiority of status. Northern Ireland has been excluded because this is one of the transferred subjects and is within the competence of the Parliament of Northern Ireland. Scotland is excluded because the law, both of Sunday observance and in regard to cinema licences, is different in Scotland and no Bill framed on these lines would be applicable to Scotland. Indeed the only modern decision which we have on the subject tends to the belief that the opening of Sunday cinemas is already legal in Scotland. I hope that I can remove any fear from the minds of my hon. Friends that we are putting a stigma on Wales by including Wales in the Bill while we are excluding Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Now let me deal with the practical aspect. Perhaps hon. Members will not mind if I do not deal with what Gladstone said in 1881 but deal rather with what this Bill does in 1932. I am always told by Welsh Members when they ask for exclusion that there is no demand in Wales for Sunday cinema opening and that cinemas do not open in Wales on Sunday. There is a certain doubt as to whether there is not opening in one area. However, I take them at their word. If cinemas do not open in Wales on Sundays, then obviously the part of the Bill which legalizes the opening of cinemas in areas where they have opened up to now is a dead letter, and as far as Wales is concerned, it does not matter twopence whether it is left in or left out.




Will the hon. Member allow me? I have not yet exceeded his limit. As far as any immediate change coming into operation because of the passage of this Bill is concerned, it does not matter whether Wales is in or out, if hon. Members are right and in fact no Sunday cinemas are open in Wales. The other question is the procedure which is to be adopted by areas which in future want to have the right to open on Sundays, even though they do not do so now. Let me make clear to hon. Members what, I think, is not clear to some of them, and, I am certain, is not clear to the people who send them postcards on the subject, and that is that whether you include Wales in this Bill or whether you do not, once the Bill is passed, any area in Wales will have the normal, natural right of any local area in the country of approaching the House of Commons by private Bill procedure and asking permission of the House of Commons to open cinemas on Sundays.


An expensive job.


The only effect of putting Wales in this Bill is that if they want to exercise that right which they possess anyhow of applying to Parliament for the right to open cinemas, they can do it in a less expensive way. What is the harm in that I We are told that Wales does not want the Bill, that no area is going to change, that this feeling always has been and always will be. Is the hon. Member who interrupted me just now going to say that we shall undermine that feeling simply because we make it cheaper for a local authority to apply to Parliament? Is that the only protection that he feels that a local area in Wales has got against the overwhelming demand of its population for a Sunday opening, that the procedure by way of private Bill is an expensive one, and that if we were to give Wales the same opportunities that English authorities will have of approaching Parliament by a cheaper method, then the demand from their constituents would be irresistible? I had hoped that hon. Members for Wales had greater faith in their professions that neither now nor in the future will Wales demand the opening of Sunday cinemas.

The hon. Member who seconded the Amendment said that Wales does not want local option. Wales has got it, whether it is included in this Bill or not. Whatever the fate of this Amendment any area in Wales, if they choose to follow the ordinary procedure by private Bill, can apply to the House of Commons, and if the House approves, they can have the local opening of cinemas. If the Amendment is defeated and Wales is included, they have to go through the same procedure, with the same poll of the ratepayers, the same notices and the same application to Parliament. All that we do is to cut out the expensive, cumbersome and quite unnecessary Committee stage in the House of Commons; and when you sift down all this fine talk that we have had, fine and, I agree, sincere talk, about national sentiment, when we are told of the affront that we are putting on Wales, we come down to the fact that you are simply going to vote whether, if on any future occasion any Welsh borough want to open on Sundays, they have to have the Committee stage upstairs or whether they get it without it. I hope hon. Members will look at it in that way and realise that as far as the present interests of Wales are concerned, its inclusion makes no difference, and if in future any Welsh authority should wish, with the consent and desire of its inhabitants, to have local opening of cinemas on Sundays, we see no reason why they should not have the same privilege as English authorities of approaching the House of Commons for its permission in the cheapest and least cumbersome way.


It will perhaps be well for a Member for an English constituency to say a word on this subject. I support the Amendment for several reasons. The Under-Secretary was grossly unfair to the mover and seconder. What is his argument? Ho said that this Bill does not apply to Northern Ireland and Scotland because the law is different there.


It does not apply to Northern Ireland because this is one of the transferred subjects which is within their competence. It does not apply to Scotland because the law is different.


It comes to the same thing. What the Welsh people are claiming is that all the differences that prevail between Northern Ireland and England and between Scotland and England are emphasised ten-fold as between Wales and England in this matter. The hon. Gentleman asks why the law should differ as between England and Wales, and says that if the Welsh people do not apply for orders under this Bill the Measure is a dead letter in Wales. He might as well use the argument that the law in relation to murder and capital punishment will never apply to Wales as long as there is no murder there; and that all the laws of England will never apply to Wales unless the Welsh people commit offences against them. It reduces the whole thing to an absurdity. I should have thought that the Home Office would have given way on this Amendment. I have never been able to understand their attitude towards it because there will be no cost to the Government in the administration of the Bill. The local authorities will do all the work, and there is no financial reason or administrative difficulty why the Government should not accept the Amendment.

The hon. Gentleman has not replied to the points that are fundamental to the Amendment. He can say what he likes, but the Welsh nation on an issue of this kind, rightly or wrongly, looks at life differently from other sections of the British people. There is a law on the Statute Book which divides Whales from England in respect of the drink problem. Why should the law differ as between Wales and England on that question? Why should public houses be closed in Wales and opened in England were it not for the fact that the philosophy of life of the Welsh people in relation to the drink problem differs from that of England or even of Scotland? The Church of England is disestablished in Wales. Why should Parliament disestablish the Church of England in Wales? Simply because the Welsh people in their philosophy of life and religion differ fundamentally from the English people. I am not saying whether they are right or wrong, but the fact is there. I will probably astonish the Under-Secretary in what I am about to say. The Welsh people look upon these problems differently because they have a language of their own, and it differs from the English language. The only vehicle for the expression of a man's mind is his language. I speak with some feeling about that, because I could not speak the English language when I was 15 years of age. A nation that has clung to its own language against the mightiest language in the world, the English language, cannot be absorbed in its ideas even by a mighty people like the English. A nation that can do that in relation to its language ought to be given preferential treatment in this Bill. It will astonish some hon. Members to know that the Welsh people have a literature of their own.

I wish the hon. Gentleman would agree to this Amendment. He would not lose anything, because no principle of the Bill would be violated. I plead with him, and I do not want to use threats. I have tried to study the minds of some of the small nations of Europe. I have recently been in the Ukraine to see how the Polish Government treat the small nationality there. I know something, too, of the difficulties of bilingualism in Europe. Therefore, I can tell the hon. Gentleman that there will grow up among the young people of Wales, and it is growing now, the same spirit of resentment that has already shown itself in Ireland. Why is it that there are Scottish Nationalist candidates for Parliament? Because Scottish people think—I do not know whether they are right or wrong—that they are not getting fair play from this Parliament. If the argument holds good 'n Scotland, where they have greater local autonomy than in Wales, how much greater is the argument for Welsh nationalism? I plead with the House not to start the idea of offending these small nations and getting them warring against each other. The English people have been very kind to me; they have been generous. But I wish some of those who sit on the Treasury Bench knew a little more of the sentiments that move the Welsh people. I trust that whatever view the Government may take of the Amendment the majority of the House will pay its tribute to a nation with traditions that are centuries old and a nation that will probably live longer than the prophets expect or desire.


It must be obvious to the House that the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. R. Davies) has attempted with no mean degree of success to draw a red herring across this discussion. The hon. Member for Flintshire (Mr. Llewellyn-Jones), in a typically moderate and persuasive speech, has invited the House to exclude Wales from the operations of this Bill, and he was ably supported by the hon. Member for Denbigh (Dr. Morris-Jones). As Member for the south division of a city which, I think, can rightly claim to be known as the unproclaimed capital of the Principality, may I say that so far as the city of Cardiff is concerned, and I may even be so bold as to say so far as South Wales is concerned, there is no evidence that the people there are in favour of the Principality being excluded from the Measure. As representative of an industrial area in Cardiff where the conditions of living are far from good, where the people have to work extremely hard for little money, I say that if we can give them the opportunity of applying to their local authority for permission to visit the cinema on Sundays if they think fit to do so, it is our duty to do it. I am amazed at the lack of faith that my two hon. Friends displayed in the discretion and judgment of local authorities in the Principality. As the Under-Secretary of State has pointed out, it seems most curious that while they support local option in regard to the liquor question they rule it out as being impracticable and unfair on the question of Sunday opening.

Before I pursue that, I would like, not only on my own behalf, but on behalf of several of my hon. Friends to protest against the action of the Government in this matter. For some reason best known to the Government, they went out of their way to exclude Welsh Conservative opinion entirely from the Select Committee which considered this most important subject. Not only that, but my hon. and gallant Friend, the Under-Secretary, replied to the Debate before any of us who are opposed to the view which has already been expressed had had an opportunity of voicing the other side. Unfortunately for Wales, it is not only the National Government who go out of their way to snub the Principality and its representatives. I would like to take this opportu- nity of telling the Government that although nine Members, some of whom were alleged to support the National Government in this Parliament, voted against this Measure in Committee as well as on Second Reading, nevertheless there were those of us who took a different point of view. Supporting the National Government as we do to the best of our ability in the Principality, I hope that the National Government in the future, when Measures of this kind come up for review, will see that this point of view is given fair-play and place on all subjects of this kind.

The people of South Wales and of Cardiff are not peculiar in religious matters, any more than the people of England. There is a very representative opinion in that city which feels that if a man wishes to go to church on Sunday, or to a cinema, to play tennis or to work in his garden, that is entirely his own affair, and that if there is any question of settling it with anybody, he can settle it with his God and not with his Government. I never heard such hypocrisy and cant as has been expressed in this Debate. I ask hon. Members on all sides of the House to realise that although there are only six Conservative Members in the Pricipality today, that is due to the fact that many Conservative candidates stood down in the national interest at the last General Election. It is important to get a proper political opinion) on a matter of this kind and to study the Debates which have taken place, not only in this Parliament, but in Parliaments in the past. On behalf of at least three hon. Members, representing constituencies in the Principality, I hope most sincerely that the House will reject this Amendment.


I did not intend to take part in this Debate, but, after hearing the last speaker, I would like to know on whose behalf he has been speaking. This question has been discussed by the two hon. Members from North Wales from the religious standpoint, and I have received letters and resolutions from the Nonconformist bodies, from the Anglican Church, and from Roman Catholics—from representatives of all religious views so far as my constituents are concerned. It is not very often that the hon. Member for West Swansea (Mr. L. Jones) and myself agree, but he will agree with me on this point, that even from the trade union and working-class standpoint in South Wales there is nothing that our people in Wales hate more than Sunday work.

I represent the iron and steel trade. In Scotland and in England there is Sunday labour in the steel trade, which is a continuous trade, but in South Wales, at the request not only of the men, but of employers who have religious convictions, the steel trade in South Wales does not commence working until after 12 o'clock on Sunday night, and we have had an agreement with the employers on that point for over 30 years. Therefore, I would ask the hon. and gallant Member for South Cardiff (Captain A. Evans) whether he is speaking on behalf of the steelworkers of Cardiff.

Captain A. EVANS

I am speaking on behalf of the hon. Member for Newport (Mr. Clarry), the hon. and gallant Member for Brecon (Captain W. Hall), and 36,000 people in my own division.


I represent the steel-workers in Newport, and there is not a single one of them who has to work until after 12 o'clock on Monday morning. Trade unionists in South Wales are all opposed to any kind of Sunday labour, and I guarantee that, although the employers in South Wales in my industry-are always prepared—they did during the War—to pay the men double time for Sunday work, if they offered the men in my industry treble time they would refuse to work on Sundays. I believe that exactly the same is true of the miners, who have always been opposed to Sunday labour.

From the sentimental standpoint there is nothing that can hurt the feeling of the people of Wales more than to include them in this Bill. The hon. Member for Flint (Mr. Llewellyn-Jones) quoted a passage that he had received from one of the local authorities there. Let me quote two lines, which give the essence of the belief of the Welsh people: O fy enaid nae angofiar dydd y dactn y 'Meichian' mawr yn rhydd. I do not want to give a Welsh sermon, but I want to state the feeling of the people of Wales. The most important thing that the people of Wales believe in is the Resurrection, and that Resurrection took place on a Sunday. They believe in the two lines that I have just quoted. That is the day on which they believe they got their freedom from the shackles of the grave, and I want to make an appeal to the House from the sentimental standpoint and from the trade union standpoint to accept the Amendment that has been proposed by my hon. Friend.


The hon. Member for Cardiff, South (Captain A. Evans) accused the mover of the Amendment of trying to draw a red herring across the trail, but he himself brought down on the trail a veritable shoal. First of all, he claimed to speak for South Wales. There is such a county as Carmarthen. There is another county known as Pembrokeshire and another known as Breconshire. He represents a little area of Cardiff in Parliament. I live there and I think I can claim to know it a jolly sight better than he does. He represents a part of Cardiff which I should cite as the last area in the world to be representative of Welsh opinion. Somalis, Arabs, Chinamen—you can scour the world and you will find every country represented in Cardiff. I can understand the Arabs and Somalis desiring Sunday opening and I congratulate them on having so eloquent a representative in the House of Commons, but South Cardiff is not a microcosm of Welsh sentiment and life. I would implore the House, however much it may respect the personal opinions of the hon. and gallant Gentleman, to pay no regard whatever to the case he has put up. This is a generous House. I can quite understand the cogency of the arguments that have been put up for the opening of cinemas in England, but in Wales for quite a number of years the Sabbath has meant something. It is not that we think going to church or chapel is indispensable to salvation, but somehow or other the observance of the Sunday, as it were, embodies the national conscience. One hon. Member has put in a plea for family life. Lads leave school at the most critical period of their lives. I suppose a boy at 14 to 18 is what he will be from forty to eighty. This period of adolescence, is really the formative period in character building. To-day he has not the discipline of work. He is withdrawn from influences at the very time when those influences ought to be operative in the moulding of character. From personal observation, I think much of the moral laxity in America is due to the fact that all these social inhibitions have been removed. Nothing is sacred. We also must exercise care.

It is not that the observance of the Sunday is intrinsically of tremendous importance, but the fact that you have on one day in the week a social conscience expressed has a most potent moral effect upon the character of our youth. We in Wales are accustomed to that. It has meant something to us. The British people, English, Scottish or Welsh, in my judgment are the greatest people on earth. They will not succumb to panic. They keep a cool and clear head. It is not merely a matter of blood. It is a matter of the kind of society which we have fashioned and in which we have been brought up. I think that we shall lose a good deal if we secularise the Sabbath. The Somali, Italians and Arabs, and people of South Cardiff may not be concerned, but I know something of the Welsh populations of Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Cardiganshire, and it does mean something to them. I want to make an appeal to the Government. It is said that there is nothing to be gained or lost. The hon. and gallant Member for South Cardiff very flippantly says, "Why do you not trust the people; why do you not have local option?" For this reason, that you will exacerbate and confound local politics. The question of whether there should be an application for a licence will, in some areas, be a supreme issue in municipal politics, and Heaven knows there are already sufficient issues to occupy attention.


The hon. Member realises, of course, that, even if Wales were left out of the Bill, it can still become an issue in municipal politics whether or not a Private Bill should be promoted.


I do not know whether I agree altogether with the hon. Gentleman, but in any case it strengthens my case to say that whether Wales is in or not, it has the same machinery. If you exclude Wales you pay tribute to something. I am not going to appeal merely on grounds of national sentiment but on the ground of something which is higher than national sentiment. I do not want to talk about it, but after all, religion is just this. One ought not to be ashamed of it. It is something which is ingrained. There are people who never go near a chapel or a church, but they do value their Sunday. The quietude of our country lanes, the restfulness and the delight of it all, does mean something of psychological and moral importance to the people. I would appeal to the Government. It does not matter whether we have the same machinery. That argument has been taken away by the hon. Member, so the only thing left is whether you should respect the sentiment which has been expressed down the years. It may mean little to people who do not know Wales and have not been nurtured in the traditions and atmosphere of Wales. I appeal to the magnanimity of the House. I do not put it on any base grounds, but I appeal to the Government to make a gesture. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Wales has played its part in the country of the British Empire. It will play it still. We do not ask for generous or specialised treatment, or for something which is difficult to give. We simply ask that the Government make this recognition of a passionate regard for the higher sanctities of life and make this concession to us. If they do so they will make Wales a grateful country. We are not asking much. I appeal to the Government even now, at this last moment, to make this concession to us.


Two phrases have been used in opposition to the Amendment that I cannot help thinking were rather unfortunate. The Undersecretary, in referring to the two hon. Members who moved and seconded the Amendment, spoke of their fine thought. If I may say so, as a humble private Member, speaking of so august a person as the Under-Secretary, it was rather an offensive phrase.


Honestly, I can assure not the hon. Member but the hon. Members who moved and seconded the Amendment that the remark was not intended in the least to be offensive. I meant that I thought their speeches were full of very fine sentiment, but I said that it did not coincide with the very small point we were settling.


I am not the only one who thought that. Not only was the phrase offensive, but the tone in which it was said added to the offence. [Hon. Members: "No!"] I accept gladly the statement which the Under-Secretary has made. The other unfortunate phrase was used by the hon. and gallant Member for South Cardiff (Captain A. Evans), when he protested against "this cant and hypocrisy." There is neither cant nor hypocrisy about the Amendment. It has been brought forward because we believe that it represents the convictions of the great majority of the people of Wales and because we believe that those convictions are deeply and fiercely held, and that they are convictions that represent the real views of the Welsh people. The observance of Sunday happens to be one of the great factors which has helped to build up the character of the Welsh people and you cannot blame them if they are jealous of any proposals which in their view tend to detract from those characteristics which have enabled them to build up their reputation. The Under-Secretary put forward two defences. One was that it does not matter whether Wales is in or out of the Bill, because a local authority can by Private Bill, if it so desires, seek to enable cinemas to be open in Wales on Sunday. With great respect I dissent from that view. That could only be done if Wales was included in the Bill. If we exclude Wales, I suggest to the Under-Secretary and his advisers that no local authority could be means of a Private Bill repeal a public law. The Sunday Observance Act is a public law which, apart from the provisions of this Bill, cannot be repealed by a Private Act. If I am wrong, what is the point of the Bill? The whole point is that they cannot do that by Private Bill except by the authority given in this Bill. We believe that this Bill offends the convictions of the great majority of the people of Wales. It is not a question as to whether we like to go to cinemas on Sunday or whether we approve of the way the Welsh people observe Sunday. Every decent man tries to act in such a way as not to offend his neighbours and friends, and we say as representatives from Wales that it would be offending the convictions of the great majority of the Welsh people if this Bill were to be put into operation in any part of Wales.

The second part of the Under-Secretary's defence was this: "Why do you complain, seeing that you have local option?" The difficulties of carrying on municipal life at the present time are sufficiently great without adding to them, and I can conceive of nothing which is going to add more to the difficulties of municipal elections than the introduction of the question whether Sunday observance shall be kept, or not. It is one of the worst possible things from the point of view of good government for this sort of thing to be referred to a municipal election. We are not asking anything different from the treatment Wales has received in the past. Wales and Monmouthshire received exceptional treatment in regard to temperance legislation and Sunday closing and we are not asking the House to take any exceptional step in proposing that these precedents should be followed. Wales is entitled to ask for this concession. This is not the first time that a Bill of this character has been before the House of Commons. The last Government found it impossible to deal with this question and the present Government are only able to do so because they are a National Government, and being a National Government we ask them to pay respect to the opinions and traditions of a part of the nation, small if you like, but a loyal part, which deserves this consideration.


The argument put forward by the Under-Secretary that quite apart from this Bill local authorities in Wales can still promote their own private legislation is not a good argument. There can clearly be no power for any local authority to promote a private Bill to enable cinemas to open on Sundays any more than they have power to promote a private Bill to repeal Clauses in the Larceny Act. The Bill, it it is applied to Wales, will alter the position altogether. The application of the Bill illustrates the anomalies as regards its application to England and Wales. The argument in its favour is that it clarifies the law and enables something to be done on Sundays which is at present illegal. Without prejudice to what may or may not be done on Sundays there is no doubt that at the present moment the Sunday laws are in a completely chaotic state. A farmer may legitimately carry on his business on Sunday, but a farm labourer works unlawfully on a Sunday, because he is a work- man within the meaning of the Sunday Observance Act. If I want to buy a paper in Aberystwyth on Sunday I cannot do so from an ordinary neswagent but I must go to a man who sells them in the square at Aberystwyth. The reason is that the Chief Constable would prosecute the man who opened his shop for the sale of newspapers on Sundays, whereas the man who does not ordinarily carry on the business is immune. That is true of London, but the police take no action in London. In Wales the law would be enforced in regard to the ordinary tradesman, but it is not the case in London. If you apply this Bill to Wales you are going to say that one particular industry shall be immune. Why should you put this industry in this privileged position? Why should you give them liberty to open on Sundays whereas other tradesmen carrying on legitimate trade and working hard in these trying times are liable to be hauled before the magistrates if they open on Sundays?

The thing is indefensible, and I see no reason why Wales should not be excluded from the Bill. Why should small tradesmen, working hard to make a living, be brought before the magistrates and fined 5s. on the Monday morning whereas cinema proprietors should be able to open in the same land and on the same day? It is merely unfairness between one set of traders and another. The law should be uniform for all citizens. I agree with the promoters of this Bill when they say that that you cannot compel people by law to go to church on Sunday. That is the last thing I desire, for religion is a matter of the spirit and of freedom, and the Church must make its own appeal. The position of the State is totally different. The State must at least see that the laws are uniform and treat every citizen alike. If Wales is included in the Bill, it will not be treating the citizens of Wales equally. Why make a difference between one class and another? That is the real ground for the exclusion of Wales from this Bill. The only reason why you are applying this Bill to England is that the law-breaking authority in London has forced the hands of the Government.

I do not want to raise the religious issue at all, but, in regard to Sunday observance, it is significant that in recent years two commissions of inquiry have been appointed, one by the Labour Government to inquire into the conditions in agriculture in this country. It reported in 1925 and the purely economic experts upon it, who were concerned not with the moral issue, but with the agricultural issue, found, when they came to make a comparison between the state of agriculture in the different countries of Europe, that it was impossible to do so because there was a variation in the religious observance of Sunday. The commission of economic experts appointed by the League of Nations in 1924 to inquire into labour conditions in the different countries, came to the same conclusion, namely, that there was a difference in religious outlook which influenced the material and industrial outlook of the people. Why has this country and the Empire given a lead in world affairs? I think it is fairly clear that the one thing which makes England and the Empire stand out is the character of the British people. Is there anyone here who will not say that whether one observes Sunday in the orthodox fashion or not, it is just as well that there should be one day in the week when a man may stand apart and judge the moral and material work of the week? He is the better for it, and that position has been built up by the character of the British peoples. We are to-day opening the doors to the deluge from Eastern Europe. A material conception of life is flowing in from Eastern Europe and lowering our moral outlook. This is the first time in our history that we have departed from the Gold Standard. That is not unconnected with our moral outlook. [Laughter.] Hon. Members may laugh, but I would ask them why is it that sterling is accepted as currency throughout the world? [Interruption.] It is accepted with every respect because of the character of the British people behind it. I do not say that it is the only element, but it is one of the main elements that have gone to the building of the British character. We in Wales have cherished this for generations. Why should the Government at this stage bring in a Bill which not merely nullifies that to some extent, as far as the law is concerned, but nullifies it in such a way as to make a difference between one class of the community and another? There can be no justification for it on the ground of making the law clearer, nor indeed upon any moral ground.


I would like to add my appeal to the Under-Secretary. [Interruption.] It is all very well for hon. Members to shout "Divide," but this is a very important question to the Welsh nation. The Welsh people are entitled to be heard in this House, equally with any other nationality. I do not understand why the Under-Secretary refuses to accept the Amendment. We are asking for nothing but what has been recognised for the last 30, 40 or 50 years. Conservative and Liberal Governments in the past have allowed it, and I cannot understand why a National Government cannot grant it. Whenever there has been any question applicable to the religious life of Wales, or the educational or cultural side of the Welsh nation, invariably the House of Commons has agreed that the Welsh were entitled to be treated as an entity. Why not now?

We are not asking for any departure from precedents. We do not claim that Wales has a better or higher religion than any other nation. All that we ask is the right and the liberty to live our own religious life in Wales. Out of the religious life of Wales there have grown certain small communities, and we ask that these communities, and that particular phase of religious life, should

Division No. 267.] AYES. [12.1 a.m.
Aske, Sir Robert William Hartland, George A. Magnay, Thomas
Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar Haslam, Sir John (Bolton) Millar, Sir James Duncan
Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th, C.) Hirst, George Henry Mowing, Adrian C.
Briant, Frank Holdsworth, Herbert Morris, Rhys Hopkin (Cardigan)
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Horsbrugh, Florence Morrison, William Shepherd
Chapman, Col. R.(Houghton-le-Spring) Janner, Barnett Munro, Patrick
Cocks, Frederick Seymour Jenkins, Sir William Oman, Sir Charles William C.
Cripps, Sir Stafford John, William Parkinson, John Allen
Croom-Johnson, R. P. Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton) Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Curry, A. C. Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Price, Gabriel
Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery) Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West) Procter, Major Henry Adam
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)
Edwards, Charles Ker, J. Campbell Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)
Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.) Kirkwood, David Reid, David D. (County Down)
Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen) Law, Sir Alfred Reynolds, Col. Sir James Philip
Foot, Dingle (Dundee) Leckie, J. A. Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)
Ganzoni, Sir John Liddall, Walter S. Salter, Dr. Alfred
George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) Lunn, William Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)
George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea) Macdonald, Gordon (Ince) Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness) Tinker, John Joseph
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur McEwen, Captain J. H. F. Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. David
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) McKie, John Hamilton Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Grundy, Thomas W. Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton
Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Maclean. Nell (Glasgow, Govan) TELLERS FOR THE AYES-
Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Macquisten, Frederick Alexander Mr. Llewellyn-Jones and Dr. Morris-Jones.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J. Bird, Sir Robert B.(Wolverh'pton W.)
Adams, D. M, (Poplar, South) Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell Bossom, A. C.
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury) Boulton, W. W.
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn) Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton) Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.

12 m.

be permitted to develop. The Under Secretary argues, "Inasmuch as there is only one cinema opening in Wales on Sundays, why not trust the people of Wales?" But does not that fact signify that the people of Wales do not want the cinemas opened on Sundays? If they do not want the cinemas opened on Sundays, why bring Wales within the purview of the Bill? The experience of the past demonstrates the possibilities of the future and the experience of the past in Wales demonstrates that the Welsh people do not want the cinemas to be open on Sundays. My appeal is not for something which is contrary to precedent. I only ask for a continuance of what has already been recognised in the case of Wales. To accept the Amendment will not lower the prestige of the National Government. If anything it will enhance the prestige of the Government, as showing their willingness to recognise the religious rights of a small nation. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will reconsider his position and accept the Amendment. If he does so, Wales will be exceedingly grateful to him.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 72; Noes, 193.

Bracken, Brendan Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Petherick, M.
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Harbord, Arthur Poto, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n, Bilst'n)
Broadbent, Colonel John Harris, Sir Percy Potter, John
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Hartington, Marquess of Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.
Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenn'gt'n) Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich)
Cadogan, Hon. Edward Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes) Ramsden, E.
Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley) Heilgers, Captain F. F. A. Ray, Sir William
Campbell, Rear-Adml. G. (Burnley) Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford) Rea, Walter Russell
Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm Hepworth, Joseph Rued, Arthur C. (Exeter)
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge) Reld, William Allan (Derby)
Castlereagh, Viscount Hornby, Frank Robinson, John Roland
Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City) Horobin, Ian M. Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)
Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R.(Prtsmth., S.) Howard, Tom Forrest Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Howitt, Dr, Alfred B. Runge, Norah Cecil
Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham) Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport) Rutherford, Sir John Hugo
Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg) Salmon, Major Isidore
Colman, N. C. D. Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd) Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Conant, R. J. E. Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.) Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart
Cook, Thomas A. James, Wing-Com. A. W. H. Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard
Cooke, Douglas Jesson, Major Thomas E. Savery, Samuel Servington
Copeland, Ida Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields) Simmonds, Oliver Edwin
Cranborne, Viscount Kerr, Hamilton W. Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.
Crossley, A. C. Kimball, Lawrence Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard Latham, Sir Herbert Paul Somervell, Donald Bradley
Culverwell, Cyril Tom Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.) Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)
Daggar, George Leech, Dr. J. W. Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)
Dalkeith, Earl of Leighton, Major B. E. P. Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.
Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C. Lindsay, Noel Ker Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.
Davison, Sir William Henry Llewellin, Major John J. Spencer, Captain Richard A.
Denville, Alfred Lloyd, Geoffrey Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.
Dickie, John P. Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.) Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)
Donner, P. W. Loder, Captain J. de Vere Stones, James
Doran, Edward Mabane, William Stourton, Hon. John J.
Drewe, Cedric Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.) Strauss, Edward A.
Duckworth, George A. V. McEntee, Valentine L. Strickland, Captain W. F.
Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel McLean, Major Alan Summersby, Charles H.
Duggan, Hubert John McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston) Sutcliffe, Harold
Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.) Margesson, Capt. Henry David R. Tale, Mavis Constance
Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E. Marsden, Commander Arthur Taylor, Vice-Admiral E.A.(P'dd'gt'n, S.)
Elliston, Captain George Sampson Martin, Thomas B. Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
Emrys-Evans, P. V. Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Entwistle, Cyril Fullard Merriman, Sir F. Boyd Touche, Gordon Cosmo
Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare) Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.) Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)
Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.) Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Fermoy, Lord Milner, Major James Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)
Fox, Sir Gifford Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tf'd & Chisw'k) Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Fremantle, Sir Francis Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham) Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Glossop, C. W. H. Mitcheson, G. G. Wells, Sydney Richard
Gluckstein, Louis Halle Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C. Weymouth, Viscount
Goff, Sir Park Morgan, Robert H. Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
Goodman, Colonel Albert W. Muirhead, Major A. J. Wills, Wilfrid D.
Greene, William P. C. Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H. Wilton, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)
Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth) Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)
Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.) North, Captain Edward T. Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Grimston, R. V. O'Donovan, Dr. William James Womersley, Walter James
Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E. Ormiston. Thomas Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)
Guinness, Thomas L. E. B. Ormeby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.
Gunston, Captain D. W. Palmer, Francis Noel TELLERS FOR THE NOES.-
Hales Harold K. Patrick, Colin M. Mr. Shakespeare and Captain
Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon) Pearson, William G. Austin Hudson
Hanbury, Cecil Perkins, Walter R. D.