§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ 11.6 a.m.
§ Mr. JOHN LOCKWOOD
I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."
This is the first time that I have had the honour of addressing the House, and l am sure that the House will be good enough to grant me that indulgence which is so necessary to one who has the ordeal of addressing it for the first time. The Measure which I have the honour to introduce is the Licensing (Standardisation of Hours) Bill, and its intention is to do away with some of the extraordinary anomalies which have arisen under the existing Act which deals with licensing. I have no doubt that in the course of the Debate reference will be made to the Act which deals with licensing matters, namely, the Licensing Act of 1921. Perhaps the House will allow me to read the two subsections which it is proposed to repeal. By Section 1:The hours during which intoxicating liquor may be sold or supplied on week days in any licensed premises or club, for consumption either on or off the premises, shall be as follows, that is to say: eight hours, beginning not earlier than eleven in the morning and ending not later than ten at night, with a break of at least two hours after twelve (noon):Provided that—
The result of these two provisions is that at the present moment, so far as the 1978 metropolitan area is concerned, licensed premises are allowed to be opened for not longer than nine hours with a break of two hours in the middle of the day. The break must be after 12 o'clock, but it will be observed that the Section fixes the maximum hours, and, although nine hours may be permitted under the Act, it is within the power of the licensing justices to fix the hours for a shorter period. So far as the country is concerned, the total number of hours during which premises are to be opened is eight, except that in certain cases where the licensing authorities think it desirable premises may be opened until 10.30. The point which I particularly wish to stress at the moment is the fact that it is not possible for premises to be open for more hours in London than nine and in the country than eight.
- (a) in the application of this provision to the metropolis 'nine' shall be substituted for 'eight,' and 'eleven at night' shall be substituted for ten at night'; and
- (b) the licensing justices for any licensing district outside the metropolis may by order, if satisfied that the special requirements of the district render it desirable, make, as respects their district, either or both of the following directions:
- (i) that this provision shall have effect as though 'eight and a half' were substituted for 'eight' and 'half past ten at night' were substituted for ten at night';
- (ii) that this provision shall have effect as though some hour specified in the order earlier than eleven, but not earlier than nine,, in the morning were substituted for eleven in the morning'."
The result of this provision unfortunately is that there has arisen the most extraordinary anomalies. Probably the House knows pretty well what the result has been. Licensed premises in various boroughs of London and in the country are opened at the most extraordinarily different times. We have some districts in London where they close at 10. Others where they close at 10.30 and others again where they close at 11. I cannot imagine that when the Licensing Act was passed it was ever intended that this should be the result. I do not wish to bore the House with a lot of figures, but as these hours Of opening are very material to our case I propose to read a list of some of them in London and the suburbs. In the City of London the opening hours on week days are from 11.30 to 3 and from 5 to 10.30. !In Blackheath, Deptford, Greenwich, Lewisham and Woolwich the hours are from 11 to 3 and 5 to 10; Finsbury and Islington, 11 to 3 and 5 to 10; Hampstead, 11 to 3 and 5 to 10; Hanover Square, which includes Westminster, 11.30 to 3 arid 5,30 to 11. I could give many others but perhaps I may take three at random: Stoke Newington 11 to 3 and 5 to 10; Croydon Borough 11.30 to 2.30 and 6 to 10; Croydon County 11 to 3 and 6 to 10. Perhaps I may be allowed to give one case in the county of Essex as I happen to live there. Epping opens at 10.30 and closes at 2.30 and opens again at 6 and closes at 10.
1979 These cases will show to the House that there are the most extraordinary anomalies in the hours of opening. It is also perfectly clear that that applies not only to London but throughout the country. Perhaps the best illustration that I can give is this. If I can get any hon. Member to walk with me down Oxford Street, starting at Oxford Circus and going towards Marble Arch, we shall find that as we walk along the public-houses on the north side of Oxford Street are open until only 10 o'clock, whereas those on the other side are allowed to be open until One rather wonders what is the difference between the good people of Marylebone and the good people of Westminster, and why it should be necessary that special protection should be given to the people of Marylebone whereas the good people of Westminster apparently are to be allowed to drink, if they want to do so, for an hour longer. The House will realise that these are extraordinary anomalies, and we who support this Bill go a step further and say that that state of things really brings the licensing laws into contempt. One is tempted to wonder what a Frenchman, say, thinks of these anomalies. Our foreign visitors must find them difficult to understand, and they probably think that we are a most peculiar people.
Our Bill seeks to put things right; under it the hours are to be fixed. In the Metropolis, and in boroughs and urban districts with more than 20,000 inhabitants, the opening hours are to be from 11 o'clock in the morning until 3 in the afternoon; there is to be a two-hours' break from 3 to 5; and then the opening hours in the evening are to be from 6 to 11. So far as the country is concerned, exactly the same hours are to apply, except that in the country the closing hour is to be half-past 10 instead of 11. The existence of clubs raises a most important point. Many clubs are springing up all over the country. Their rules are exactly the same as in the case of licensed houses, with this exception, that instead of having fixed hours for the break they are allowed to fix their own hours. The result of this—and I do not think we can altogether blame them—is that they have worked things so that they can sell intoxicating liquor when the public houses are closed. I think the House will agree that that is very unfair 1980 to licence holders. It is a great grievance amongst licensed victuallers. Everybody knows how expensive their licences are, and how heavy are their overhead expenses, and it does seem very unfair that clubs, which have to pay only half the charge for their licences, and have not the same overhead expenses, should have this opportunity of, we will say, getting a better position than the holders of licensed premises.
That is, roughly, what the Bill proposes, and I hope and believe the House will agree that some such Bill is necessary. Before I finish I would like to deal with one or two criticisms which I feel certain will be levelled at my head by those who oppose the Bill. If I know anything about some of my teetotal friends, for whom t have the highest respect, because I know their views are sincere, although I think them totally wrong, I feel certain they are going to say that the effect of this Bill will be to increase drunkenness. That is a serious charge, and one which the promoters of the Bill must consider seriously. I can only say that, so far as I personally am concerned, if I thought that would be the result I would withdraw the Bill at once, because I think the sobriety of the country is absolutely essential. Everyone in the House must realise that the sobriety of the country is greater than it used to be; and is there really any evidence that if half-an-hour were added to the opening hours in London there would be increased drunkenness? I do not believe that would be the case, and I think that view is shared by the majority of people in the country and in the House.
I have never beer able to understand the mentality of those who seem to think that you have only got to open public houses for a few hours extra, even half-an-hour extra, and everybody becomes a natural or potential drunkard. The reason why there is more sobriety than there used to be—arid here I am borne out to a great extent by the Licensing Commission—is not, so much on account of the fact that public houses are not open so long as they used to be, but is due to the changing habits of the people. Nowadays there are so many more things to interest people. There are cinemas, there is dog racing, and people, with a greater desire to be 1981 more healthy, take more exercise. believe the decrease in drunkenness can be put clown to those factors; and the present financial condition of the country has also to be taken into account. At the same time I see no reason why any man who finds pleasure at a cinema or a dog racing meeting should not have the opportunity, when he comes out, of going into a public house for a, glass of beer. In my own constituency of Hackney the people who go to a cinema or to a music hall find themselves unable, when they leave, to get any alcoholic refreshment at all. I think I know the people of Hackney well enough to be able to say that they do not go into a public house for the purpose of getting drunk, but in order to get reasonable refreshment. I, and I am sure other Members of the House, look upon a glass of beer as very reasonable refreshment.
I ought to deal, also, with another argument which I am perfectly certain is going to be advanced against me. It is perfectly true that the provisions of the Bill run contrary to the recommendations of the Licensing Commission, but it is fair to say that although the report of that Commission is very valuable their views do not of necessity represent the opinion of the country. There are many people who agree, and a large number of people who disagree, with those recommendations, and in any case the final decision must surely rest not with the Commission but with the House of Commons, who will have to decide.
§ Mr. LOCKWOOD
I am very glad to hear you say it. This Bill will give an opportunity to the House of Commons to express its view on the recommendations of the Licensing Commission. Many other criticisms will be raised against the Bill. I am sure it will be said that one result of it is to take away to a great extent the existing powers of licensing authorities. That is true, but the Bill does not altogether take away the powers of the licensing justices, because we have been very careful so to frame it that the power of granting extensions or things of that sort has not been done away with. There are provisions for granting one occasional licence, what is called the 1982 restaurant licence and licences which are given in certain districts, such as Covent Garden, where particular requirements of the inhabitants necessitate it. We have been careful so to frame cur Measure that none of these are interfered with. The licensing magistrates will still have great powers.
Many hon. Members would probably support the Bill merely because, to a great extent, it does away with anomalies which exist at the present time owing to the extraordinary manner in which licensing justices perform their duties. It may not be out of place to remind the House that we are just about to come to a festive season called Christmas, and probably we have all read about the variety of curious licensing anomalies which are arising in connection with that season. I propose to read an extract which deals with those anomalies. Many hon. Members will support this Bill because they are sensible-minded, and like to do away with what nowadays seems to be more or less of a joke. I will read a very short paragraph from the "Daily Express" newspaper, which says:If you happen to be in Hastings on Saturday, 23rd of December, or on Boxing Day, you can have drinks in 90 different places up to 11 o'clock at night. If, on the other hand, you have chosen to go to Southend for the Christmas week-end, you will find every place of alcoholic refreshment barred against you after 10.30 on the 23rd and after 10 on the 26th. In Oxford you can have your drink up to 11 p.m., not only on the 23rd and 26th, but on Saturday, the 30th as well. Licensees wanted to be allowed to keep open till 11 on New Year's Day, too, and from 2.30 to 4 on the 23rd but this was refused. Swansea publicans' extension applications came up in court yesterday. The Chief Constable said that the longer hours granted last year were abused. Their counsel demanded details of the abuses, and suggested that the only people who failed to behave themselves were methylated spirit drinkers. In the end the magistrates refused to allow the public-houses to remain open till 11, but agreed to 10.30 instead of 10. For those who like to begin early they conceded an extra half-hour in the mornings and an hour and a half in the afternoons.
§ Mr. ISAAC FOOT
Is the hon. Member aware that none of the anomalies of which he has just spoken will be removed after his Bill is passed?
§ Mr. LOCKWOOD
The hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Isaac Foot) gives me an opportunity, which otherwise I would 1983 have missed, of stressing that particular point. I am very much obliged to him, because I had nearly forgotten it. I can see that he is going to argue against us that the Bill will cause greater anomalies than existed before.
§ Mr. FOOT
The quotation which the hon. Member read to the House showed the number of different results given by different benches of magistrates in relation to Christmas time and the New Year. The question I put was as to whether those anomalies would be touched at all by the Bill, if it is passed into law.
§ Mr. LOCKWOOD
I am much obliged to the hon. Gentleman. He is perfectly right, and I do not wish to make a false point. As the Bill now stands, it is true that licensing authorities will have the power to grant extensions, and that they can use their discretion as to whether they do or not. I am seeking to point out that this Bill is, at any rate, doing something to do away with those anomalies. I am sure that one of the criticisms which is going to be made is that we are doing away to some extent with the powers of the licensing authorities. That is a thing to be considered, in view of the way in which licensing magistrates at the present moment exercise their discretion.
§ Dr. SALTER
May I ask the hon. Member what was the point of reading out that list of anomalies, when the Bill, as the hon. Member admits, does not touch them at all?
§ Mr. LOCKWOOD
If the hon. Member for West Bermondsey (Dr. Salter) will kindly allow me to proceed, I have no doubt that I shall be able to make that point perfectly clear. I have been very careful so far not to say anything which would tend to hurt the feelings of those who are obviously very much opposed to us. If the hon. Member will give me an opportunity I shall be able to make everything perfectly plain. [Interruption.] Well, I will do my best. I feel that I have delayed the House long enough, and I do not therefore propose to mention any of the other things which, I feel certain, will be brought against us. The hon. Member for West Bermondsey will, I am sure, agree with me that this is not a perfect Bill, but it does seek 1984 to do away with some of the anomalies which at present exist, and I hope that the House will allow us to have our Second Reading. We can assure the House that if anomalies are pointed out to us, we will do everything we possibly can to meet the wishes of those who have indicated them.
So far as I am concerned, I have no personal interest whatsoever. I do not hold any brewery shares—I wish I did—and I have no interest of any sort or description in the licensing trade. The Bill which I have brought forward, and which is supported by my hon. Friend, is merely what I will venture to call—although this is perfectly obvious—the Bill of a Back-bencher, and of someone who is, more or less, a man in the street. I sincerely believe that this country has become exceedingly impatient of the restrictions which have been put upon it, and that all over the country people are asking, "How long, low long?" They want to know how long it is going to be before something is done to relax those restrictions, which, although obviously necessary during the War, are, in my opinion, no longer necessary. If I can feel that, as a result of this Bill, I have done anything in that direction I shall be perfectly satisfied. I ask the House not lightly to reject this Measure, but to consider it, and after they have done so, to give it a Second Reading.
§ 11.34 p.m.
§ Mr. RAIKES
I beg to second the Motion. I have the happy privilege of, first of all, congratulating my hon. Friend the Member for Central Hackney (Mr. Lockwood) upon his extraordinarily successful debut in this House. The ingenuity which he has shown in introducing a Bill which, although controversial, is at the same time, non-party, will result in considerable enjoyment and pleasure among those who are going to take part in this Debate. The object of the Bill is not, as my hon. Friend has said, to assist any particular vested interest. Those of us who are promoting it are doing so simply in the interest of individual liberty, and not in the interest of any trade or combine of any sort whatsoever. We feel that the time has come to remove from this country, if possible, some of those restrictions which since the War have been making us the laughing-stock 1985 of the world. I hope—though I am afraid it is almost past hoping for—that even at this late hour the hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Isaac Foot) may at any rate come out of his Cromwellian fortress, and may even now learn to act a more tolerant and Cavalier-like part.
§ Mr. RAIKES
I must not be led away, or I shall run the risk of not being allowed to remain on my feet, but I think that Cromwell was a brewer, or, if not, he was the son of a brewer.
§ Mr. RAIKES
I am not prepared at the moment to accept the hon. Gentleman's reply, because I think I could produce evidence, but I will not. Anyhow, to return to what is even more important than the hon. Member for Bodmin, namely, this Bill, I should like once again to reiterate very briefly our two main objects. The Bill is a very simple one; it can be brought down to a very close compass. It has only three Clauses, of which two do not mean anything, and one means a lot. That one means considerably more than the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition even yet realises. The main object of the Bill is to give a little extra time in the evening to the ordinary man in the street in which to consume his glass of alcoholic refreshment. We feel, and I say it in all sincerity, that it is somewhat depressing that the man who may have been engaged in late work, or who may have been, as my hon. Friend said, at a cinema or some such place, should have to dive out at five minutes to 10 and then gulp down two or three glasses very rapidly. That is bad for the digestion. We in this House sometimes have to gulp down our own food or drink in order to do our duty here, and we realise how very unpleasant it can be. I think we ought to make it possible for the ordinary man in the street, instead of being obliged to leave the cinema or other entertainment early if he wants to visit licensed premises or a club somewhere about 10 o'clock, and having only two or three minutes in which to consume his refreshment, to have a little more time to drink it in peace, and not be packed off to bed like a 1986 naughty child the moment the hour strikes. Even Cinderella was allowed until 12 o'clock.
The second object of our Bill is a very legitimate one. It represents a real effort to standardise the hours as between licensed houses and clubs, and to standardise the afternoon break. For my part, I think it is a cause of a good deal of discontent, and very natural discontent, among people who use licensed premises, that clubs are able under the present law, if they wish to do so, to adopt a different closing time in the afternoon from the time that has been adopted under licensing regulations by the licensed houses. I think that to give fair play as between licensed houses and clubs is in itself a good thing, and, further, that to give fair play to the consumer by allowing him a little extra time in which to consume what he wants is giving fair play to an individual who is very seldom considered to the extent that he might be considered, even by Royal Commissions. After all, one realises that, when a nominated Royal Commission is set up to deal with licensing or any other subject, it is set up very largely with the idea of representing vested interests on both sides. It is set up with the idea of giving representation to those who are connected with the trade, and also representation to those who are connected with temperance associations, which I suppose I may say without any offence are a big vested interest in this country today, particularly among those who sell non-alcoholic beverages.
§ Mr. RAIKES
I never thought, that I should so completely agree with anything that the right hon. Gentleman said, and I do not suppose I shall again for many moons.
§ Mr. RAIKES
If the right hon. Gentleman and some of my hon. Friends on this side will allow me to be serious for a moment, I should like to return to what is I think, a serious matter. A licensing commission, as I have said, represents vested interests, whether the interests of the trade or the interests of temperance associations, and the result is that in any licensing report you are bound to have 1987 something of a compromise. The temperance associations, naturally and quite legitimately, are determined, if possible, to retain, or, better still, to increase, the restrictions upon hours. The representatives of the trade, provided that they can make their profits, are prepared to agree to some sort of compromise, and probably it is a, compromise in which the general public are very little considered, but one in which those who have taken part in the Commission have at any rate satisfied their own consciences, which are not always the same as the consciences of the people outside. That is why I feel that the report of an appointed licensing commission is in a different class altogether from criticism of an independent public character.
Some of us in this House may be connected, quite legitimately, with certain interests, although neither I nor my hon. Friend is connected in any way either with a temperance association or with the brewing trade or with the licensed trade. But generally speaking we represent our constituencies; we represent the ordinary people who do not go and sit on commissions and who do not hold very violent views about anything except that they like their freedom. They are not organised, they do not make a tremendous fuss, and they do not, generally speaking, send postcards to Members of Parliament. It is rather absurd that in these days they should be tied down by a restriction which certainly could be justified during the War, and might, indeed, very largely have been justified in the old days when there were in existence many things which made for heavy drinking which now have been removed. We are not asking for the old hours, which, as my hon. Friend has said, have been rendered unnecessary by the change in the people's habits of life, by the opportunities afforded by the cinema, education and other agencies, and to some extent by the improvement in housing, although that has not gone nearly far enough.
These are totally different from the days when there was nothing else to do in the evening than to go to a public house or a club. All restrictions are bad except in so far as they are vitally necessary. If the need grows less, restrictions ought always to grow less if we are to remain an independent and strong country. In many other countries there 1988 are far fewer restrictions than here. I will give this point to the hon. Member opposite, that undoubtedly the increased expense of spirits has been one of the many causes which have led to a decrease in drunkenness. If at present we found that the old habits continued to exist, we should get a lot of drunkenness before ten o'clock, but we get very little to-day amongst any class whatever. There is plenty of time to get drunk if a man or woman wants to get drunk. We do not suggest for a moment that there is no time under the present law for getting drunk, but there is very little drunkenness and in these circumstances a fair opportunity ought to be given to the ordinary individual to get a glass.
There is one more point which has not yet been touched upon and which may be raised by hon. Members opposite, and that is the question of the hours of those employed in licensed houses. They are governed under the Shops Acts.
§ Mr. RHYS DAVIES
Will the hon. Member tell the House where the hours of labour are governed under the Shops Acts.
§ Mr. DAVIES
Will the hon. Member take it from me that there is no regulation of hours at all under any of the Shops Acts except in respect of young persons, and the maximum number of hours in that case is 74 per week.
§ Mr. RAIKES
If the hon. Gentleman puts it to me, of course I will accept it from him, but that only leads me to the point I wanted to make that, if there is any real danger as the result of an increase of hours in licensed houses of the interests of the workers being affected, we shall be only too pleased in Committee to take any step either in regard to arrangements for the hours at present worked not being increased and extra labour being taken in or to the payment of overtime. The last thing that anyone desires to do, while giving freedom to the community as a whole, is to make things hard for those who may have to be working in licensed places, and I ask hon. Members opposite to assist us in that matter in Committee. This is the week when America has at last been restored to sanity. It will be a good week for this country to strike the 1989 first blow at wiping out a number of cumbersome, irritating and unnecessary restrictions.
§ 11.50 a.m.
§ Dr. SALTER
I beg to move, to leave out the word "now" and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."
I should like to join the last speaker in congratulating the mover of the Bill on his very able, though most unconvincing speech. I should also like to assure him that I should not have interrupted him had I known it was a maiden speech. Having regard to all the circumstances at present, I think the Bill represents one of the most impudent proposals ever put before the House. Here you have a problem in regard to the licensing laws which, because of its extraordinary complexity and difficulty, was referred to a Royal Commission. It sat for two years and took an enormous volume of evidence from a large number of competent witnesses, and on this very matter of hours came to an almost unanimous conclusion. The hon. Member who seconded the Motion said the Commission was variously composed and that diverse vested interests were represented. The personnel of the Commission was diverse enough in all conscience, but 17 out of 19 of the Commissioners, the 17 including representatives of every conceivable shade of opinion and interest, were in favour of retaining the hours as they are at present and the only two who suggested any variation were the representative of the brewers on the one hand and of the Licensed Victuallers Trade Protection Association on the other.
§ Dr. SALTER
The hon. Member's information is entirely erroneous. The Commission was certainly very heavily weighted against the temperance party, and everyone who knows anything at all about the circumstances is perfectly well aware of it. The Commission decided that the present hours of sale in public houses were quite long enough and that the latest hour for sale should be 10 p.m. throughout the whole country, except that the magistrates in rural 1990 districts and the less populous areas should have power to fix an hour not earlier than 9 p.m. Seventeen out of the nineteen Commissioners put their names to these paragraphs:45. We have had strong evidence of the beneficial results which have been brought about by the abolition of former hours.That is after listening to 40 or 50 witnesses drawn from all over the country.105. We regard it as an essential safeguard that, whatever else may or may not be done, the present restrictions should be maintained.456. We have found a remarkable consensus of opinion in favour of restriction. It has been suggested to us that the general public is naturally inarticulate in matters of this kind and that there is really a widespread wish for relaxation. We do not accept the suggestion. We think that to a vast section of the public, including public house clients themselves, the present scheme is acceptable and is becoming more and not less so.461. We recommend, therefore, that the latest hour for the sale of intoxicants should be 10 p.m. throughout the country.If that recommendation of the Commission was carried out it would mean a real and true standardisation of hours and not a bogus standardisation as is proposed by this Bill. In view of this very weighty pronouncement on the part of the Commission, in spite of the very strong and unanimous recommendation that the licensing question as such should not be dealt with piecemeal in the fashion proposed by this Bill but should be dealt with as a comprehensive whole by the responsible Government of the day, and, also in spite of declarations from the Front Bench opposite that the licensing question must be a matter to be dealt with by the Government of the day and not by means of a Private Member's Bill—in spite of that, I say that the promoters have exhibited a remarkable audacity in bringing forward this Bill in face of this united expression of opinion by persons of all parties, by authorities and by representatives of the Government.
I shall not attempt to recite to the House any of the remarkable evidence on which the Commission based their judgment, because I know that other speakers are here this morning, notably my hon. Friend the Member for Bodmin (Mr. Isaac Foot) who is going to deal with that aspect of the subject, but I 1991 merely say that the Commission recognised that there was no genuine public demand for the extension of hours and that the present restrictions were definitely beneficial. Even the spokesman of the Brewers Society before the Commission admitted that there was no claim for an extension of hours by—and he gave this list—any church, established or otherwise, any friendly society, any trade union, or by any association of the public whatsover.
§ Mrs. TATE
Will the hon. Member deal with this point? He said that there is no genuine demand from the public for different hours. How then does he explain the Commission's remarks in paragraph 451, page 95, where they tell us that 8,686 Hubs have altered their hours to vary from those of the public-house, whereas only 4,827 have adopted the same hours? If there is no demand for different hours, how does the hon. Member explain away the difference in the hours of the clubs and the public-houses?
§ Dr. SALTER
I am going to deal with that point and with the point of the alleged demand on the part of sections of the public for increased hours. I am going to deal with them in extenso in a few moments if the hon. Lady will be patient. [HoN. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] I said in extenso, and I mean it.
§ Mr. ISAAC FOOT
I will give the hon. Lady the reference so that she may have an opportunity of looking it up. The reference in the Report of the Commission is contained in the answers by Alderman Frank Nicholson on behalf of the brewers, numbered 15,136 to 15,143.
§ Dr. SALTER
I will proceed with the statement which I was making when I was interrupted, that the evidence given before the Commission was definitely as I have stated. The Clerk to the Paddington and Tower Justices described the agitation for longer hours asa very artificial one. The closing at a comparatively early hour at night has conferred a great benefit on licensees. The allegation that the trade as a whole desires later and longer hours is not true. There has been absolutely no public demand whatever in the Paddington and Tower Division.1992 I say that in reply to the statement about the varied hours in London to which the Mover referred just now.
§ Mr. LOCKWOOD
That is wrong, because, as a matter of fact, as far as the licensing justices in my constituency are concerned, they had a meeting and unanimously passed a resolution in favour of this Bill.
§ Dr. SALTER
Acting under the orders of their masters and owners of the houses, who, if they disobeyed, would turn them out of their houses. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] Certainly. There are plenty of us in this House who know individual instances where that has occurred under comparable conditions. I am prepared to justify that with detailed, concrete facts and instances on the proper occasion. The Clerk to the Paddington and Tower Justices concluded by saying that the 10 o'clock closing had been a real benefit to the people in his area and to the people of London. The evidence of the Metropolitan magistrates was again unanimous on this point. Sir Chartres Biron, the Chief Magistrate at Bow Street, said that the restriction of hours had almost automatically decreased the amount of drinking and drunkenness. I do not think that anybody will deny the extraordinary and long experience which he had of matters of that sort. The magistrate at the South Western Police Court, Mr. J. H. Broderick, saidThe police in my district, I am sure, would be very sorry to see the hour of ten altered to a later hour. Ten o'clock closing lightens my labours in the police court very considerably.The Clerk to the Walsall Justices said that there was no demand for longer hours in his city aid that they had not had any requests to alter the hours. The Clerk to the Sheffield Justices said exactly the same thing and supported the present hours of closing, and added that the people of Sheffield "think a good deal of early closing at ten o'clock." They think that it is exceedingly beneficial. The Clerk to the Liverpool Justices said:It is the general opinion in Liverpool that the present hours account for a reduction in convictions to a great extent.The Deputy-Chairman of the Manchester Licensing Justices confirmed that view and said that the trade applications for extension to 10.30 apparently 1993 received no public support whatever and were consequently refused by the Justices. The Chief Constable of Bradford said that:Ten o'clock in an industrial area is quite late enough because a man of the artisan class must have a full night's rest to make him fit for his employment next day, that the hour of commencing work in his area was pretty early, and that the present hour was better for the people and better for the good order of the city.He finished by saying:The city gets to rest much earlier now than in the old days, and that is all to the good.This point was emphasized by a very large number of other witnesses, representatives of philanthropic societies, social workers and so on, who said that it was specially valued in respect of the improvement in home life. Numbers said that, the later the hour, the worse for the children. It is clear that if we are to keep public-houses open for an extra hour in London and elsewhere that, in large numbers of instances, either the children are going to be kept out of bed altogether or else, if they go to bed earlier, they are going to be disturbed or awakened when one or both parents come home, very often in a very fuddled condition. [Hon. MEMBERS: "No!"] Sneers of that sort do not move me in the least. I know what I am talking about far better than many hon. Gentlemen opposite. I live in an industrial district; I reside in a working-class street. I have been a poor man's doctor for 30 years, going in end out of homes in one of the poorest districts of the metropolis, and I know what I am talking about perfectly well, and hon. Gentlemen opposite in their hearts know that what I am saying is true. [HoN. MEMBERS: "No!"] After all this evidence and an enormous amount more, with which I shall not attempt to weary the House, the Commission said that they were satisfied that shorter hours, as fixed by the Act of 1921,had proved themselves to be an indispensible element in the reduction of insobriety.I think that is an answer to the statement by the mover of the Second Reading that the lengthening of hours had no relation to the question of drunkenness. That may be his opinion but it was not the opinion of the great mass 1994 of witnesses who gave evidence before the Commission and it was not the opinion of the Commission itself.
I want to examine some of the claims made on behalf of the Bill by the mover and seconder and the trade Press. It has been claimed by the mover and seconder that they have no pecuniary interests in the matter, that they are quite disinterested and that they are not acting on behalf of any vested interest or of the trade. I know that that claim has been made outside. It has been made in the trade Press, but it is a very extraordinary thing that this Bill was anticipated in the liquor Press and that forecasts of the Bill appeared in the trade Press over and over again. I have evidence that it has been promoted by the trade. The Brewers' Journal, of 15th August, said:As a result of negotiations which have been taking place for some time between representatives of the trade on one side and certain club organisations on the other a Bill is to be introduced next Session, the object of which is a very considerable increase of the permitted hours in both clubs and licensed houses throughout the country.The statement then gave detailed particulars such as are to be found in the present Bill. I claim that that is perfectly definite evidence that the Bill has been engineered by the trade and that it has been promoted primarily by the trade.
§ Mr. LOCKWOOD
I do not want to interrupt the hon. Member, but he is under a misapprehension. It is perfectly true that there was a Bill, of which I have a copy, which it was proposed to introduce into the House, but the provisions of the Bill I have introduced and the other Bill are not, I can assure the hon. Member, the same.
§ Dr. SALTER
I agree. Second thoughts were best. The hon. Gentleman and the promoters of the present Bill realised that the demands of the trade were so excessive that this House would not look at them for five minutes and, as a consequence the provisions of the projected Bill were modified.
§ Mr. LOCKWOOD indicated dissent.1995
§ Mr. LOCKWOOD
My hon. Friend seems to try to lead the House to believe that because he says something, it is necessarily true, and that if I say anything, it is necessarily untrue. I can assure the House that the hon. Member is under a misapprehension. The terms of the two Bills are entirely different. The licensed trade would have gone much further, but, so far as I am concerned in introducing the Bill, I am not introducing a trade Bill at all.
§ Dr. SALTER
I must leave it to hon. Members to make their own deductions. I say that this is a brewers' Bill, that the brewers demanded hours from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. without the afternoon break, but that after consultation with a number of hon. Members of this House it was decided that that was too extravagant a demand to make upon the House at the present time. The brewers want it and the clubs want it, and both for the same reason. The brewers want larger sales, more profits and bigger dividends. The clubs in many cases are on their last legs at the present time, owing to the industrial depression, and many of them have had to close, and many more are threatened with actual bankruptcy. They think that increased sales of alcoholic drink will follow an increase in hours. Their spokesmen have been extremely frank about the situation—I am now dealing raised by the hon. Member for Willesden, West (Mrs. Tate)—as to why they want the Bill. They sent a deputation to the Chancellor of the Exchequer last February and asked him to reduce the Beer Duty.
§ Dr. SALTER
Exactly. For what reason did they ask for a reduction? In order that their members might spend more on beer. I have a copy of the Memorandum which they submitted to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in which they say:We are at present examining the annual accounts of our clubs for the year ending the year 31st December, 1932. These are being sent to us for general statistical purposes. Up to date 2,480 statements have been received and these show that not less than 63 per cent. of the clubs worked at a loss throughout the year, and this notwithstanding the most stringent and heart-breaking economies. It is not denied, and we make no attempt to hide the fact, that the major part of our clubs' revenue is derived from the sale of beer to members.1996 They go on to say that the clubs do not supply food except to an insignificant extent and that unless they can increase their revenue by the projected increase in the sale of beer large numbers of them will have to close down altogether. Then comes a very remarkable statement:The unemployment and distress amongst the members is undoubtedly having a moral effect, many members having to appear daily with wearing apparel which formerly would not have been good enough even for their daily occupations.They describe the horrible conditions into which their members have fallen as a result of the industrial depression and say that they cannot even get decent clothes in which to visit the clubs, and the next thing they ask is that they should spend more upon beer instead of buying more clothing for themselves and their children. They have not sufficient money even to pay their club subscriptions, they say, and yet they are to waste money on beer. In that document we have the real reason why the clubs are supporting the pubs or the brewers in this particular demand for increased hours, in order that they may get increased revenue for themselves, just in the same way that the brewers demand it.
§ Dr. SALTER
I say perfectly frankly that I regard working men's clubs where drink is sold as the greatest possible centres of injury to working people as a whole.
§ Dr. SALTER
It is not merely an admission or a proclamation by myself but it is a proclamation that has been made by other people in the Labour movement for years past. It is a declaration which we do not hesitate to make to the people themselves in the trade unions and in the clubs. It has been my business for months past to go round to working men's clubs and similar places and point out the injury which they are doing to themselves and to their movement by wasting their money in alcoholic drinks.
Lieut.-Colonel CHARLES MacANDREW
Did the hon. Member 1997 not also make a proclamation to the country that there is a great deal of drunkenness in this House?
§ Dr. SALTER
I did, at one time, certainly, and, what is more, when some hon. Member opposite put down a Motion declaring that my statement was a breach of privilege, I justified it in this House.
§ Dr. SALTER
I justified it in this House from these benches. I adhere to every word that I have said outside the House, and in the House itself. Not a scrap of evidence was produced on the other side. I offered to go before a Select Committee of the House and give the names of hon. Members who were guilty of repeated drunkenness inside this House, and the majority of the House, for very good reasons—reasons which were perfectly obvious to the public outside—declined my offer to go before a Committee [Interruption]. I know that I should be out of order in pursuing that subject, but I am perfectly prepared to do so in this House or anywhere else on a proper occasion.
The next point is one upon which great stress has been laid by the Mover and Seconder, namely, that this Bill is intended to abolish or reduce the anomalies which at present exist regarding the variation of hours in different places. I am not going to touch on that except extremely lightly, because I know that it is going to be dealt with by other speakers. There is a mass of documentary and other evidence on the point which completely negatives the claim made by hon. Members who have spoken. I want to refer very briefly to the claim made by the Mover when he instanced from newspaper quotations the extraordinary case that exists with regard to the powers of justices. That, I think, has been answered by my hon. Friend when he pointed out that there was nothing in this Bill which dealt with that anomaly at all. That chaos will remain if this Bill is passed into law, the same as if the Bill had never been introduced at all. There is another anomaly which, again, will not be remedied in flit slightest by this Bill. The Mover alluded to the fact that on one side of 1998 Oxford Street licenced premises were closed at one hour and on the opposite side at a different hour. That will still remain in certain respects if the Bill passes in its present form.
§ Mr. ANNESLEY SOMERVILLE
Has the hon. Member any statistics to compare the amount of drunkenness in districts in London which close at 11 o'clock, and those which close at 10 o'clock
§ Dr. SALTER
No such statistics are available, and therefore I cannot produce them to the House at the present time. I do not believe they are even available to the Minister on the front bench, except from special inquiries which only a Government Department can make. In respect of the two sides of Oxford Street, for example, this Bill does not interfere with the power of the justices to grant what are called supper licences, by means of which a licensed house can keep its premises open and supply drinks for an hour later than the neighbouring house that does not possess a supper licence. This anomaly is quite unjust, and let me show what a piece of arrant humbug the supper licence is. I will deal with Oxford Street, as that case was selected by the hon. Member. We are always told that this supper licence business is not on a par with the ordinary supply of intoxicating liquors for consumption on the premises, because it is said that the supper licence is to enable a hungry person who wants a meal late at night to have a drink with his food. Take the Café Monico. [An HON. MEMBER: "That is not in Oxford Street."] I could mention others. I happen to know particulars relating to that house. What happens at 10 o'clock? Someone comes along and says, "Time, gentlemen, please", and immediately a waiter clears the table, spreads a cloth, puts before each person present a plate containing microscopic sandwiches—two little thin wafers of bread with a fraction of ham or some meaty substance between. For that, every person present is charged 1s. or 1s. 6d. They are not required to eat the sandwiches. As a matter of fact, they do not eat them. As a matter of fact, the same sandwiches are sold over and over again to successive customers for this exorbitant price of 1s. or 1s. ed., and the whole business is a piece of sheer camouflage to enable certain persons— 1999 and large numbers do—to go on drinking for an hour later than otherwise they would be permitted to do.
That anomaly is not remedied by this Bill. It remains precisely as it was before, and, if I had time, I would give similar examples. The Bill, instead of decreasing anomalies, is going to increase them enormously, and if the hon. Member gives the slightest consideration to the matter, he must realise at once that this differentiation between an area which has a population of 20,000 and another area which has a greater population must, in itself, create anomalies. Only think of the county of Lancashire with towns only a mile or two apart. Think of Surrey, the part nearer London almost completely suburbanised, split up into areas, one with a population of 20,000 and the next area to it with a population of over 20,000. One of the Yorkshire Members called attention the other day to the position as between Leeds and Bradford, each a town with some hundreds of thousands of population separated by four or five miles, and in between Pudsey with a population of under 20,000. Think of the injustice to the publicans in Pudsey, compelled to close at one hour, and another publican the other side of the road being able to remain open longer. I say that the injustices and anomalies created by this Bill will be far greater than the number of anomalies and injustices which may be swept away by it. In my judgment, the Bill, from that point of view alone, is completely unworkable, and I think in course of time it will be shown to be so.
I say quite definitely that there is no public demand whatever for this Bill or the alteration of hours, except from the trade, from the brewers and their obedient servants, and no other persons, except, perhaps, a very, very small section of people who think it is smart to be drinking after hours—a disreputable class of the population who like to be hanging about the West End and elsewhere, and getting surreptitious drinks at all hours of the day and night. That class, I agree, is in favour of the Bill. I dare say that there are some of the old timers, the habitual soakers, who would sit in a public house until midnight or later if they had the chance, who are also in favour of the Bill. [An HON. MEMBER "Woolworths!"] You 2000 have not heard the last of Woolworths. There may be small sections of this character in favour of the Bill, but no one else; at least there is no evidence.
I look forward with great eagerness to the revelations as to the overwhelming evidence of a demand for the Bill. I say that you have the Royal Commission against you, and practically the unanimous opposition of women's societies of this country, particularly working women's societies, and the absolutely unanimous attitude of the churches and religious bodies, let alone the temperance societies. The working women of this country are thankful to-day, and have been thankful for years, for the post-war Act which restricted hours. I speak from personal knowledge, living in a working class area. I know their family life from inside, and I have heard myself over and over again expressions of gratitude on the part of working women because public houses are no longer open for the shocking hours they were pre-war.
§ Dr. SALTER
I can assure hon. Members opposite that if there is any really serious threat to extend drinking hours it will be met by an overwhelming uprising of the working women of this country, and I can promise them a volume of opposition such as will astonish them and the Government.
Is is claimed that the younger generation are in favour of an extension of hours. Out of the mouth of the trade itself you have overwhelming evidence to the contrary. In his famous speech of the 15th June, Sir Edgar Sanders said that if they looked into public houses they would see mostly the elderly and the middle aged. Where are the young people to-day? They are hiking and bicycling, playing games and motoring. He said that the younger generation did not desire to sit in a public house until late at night like their forebears and that they had to create the desire in these young people; which means that millions of young people who do not know the taste or smell of beer may be induced to become drinkers. It cannot possibly be claimed that the rising generation has put forward any demand for an extension of hours, and I also say that the employés of public houses do not want the Bill. If they 2001 could speak freely and openly there would be a unanimous vote by the barmen and barmaids, the potmen and the chuckers out, and other people employed in public houses.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Sir Dennis Herbert)
If the hon. Member speaking does not give way the hon. and gallant Member has no right to interrupt.
§ Dr. SALTER
I admit that my speech has been to some extent provocative. I have been interrupted so much and detained the House for some considerable time that I cannot give way again. I say that the employés of public houses would vote unanimously against the Bill if they were in a position to give a free vote. It means an extra hour or two hours' work for them. We are told that it will affect hundreds of thousands of employés; I do not know whether that is true, but these people would necessarily have longer hours of work. If a public house is to remain open one hour longer the publican will not engage additional assistance, the only alternative is for him to pay overtime. There is no provision in the Bill for this, and I did not expect it, although we have heard from the hon. Member who seconded the Second Reading that the promoters would consider some compensatory advantage from the employer.
The whole tendency of industrial legislation at the present is to reduce hours of labour all round, except at seasons like Christmas time. I ant addressing myself now particularly to members of my own party, and I say that had they been successful in the Ballot they were all pledged to introduce as the first Measure a Bill to regulate and shorten hours in shops and offices. Here is a Bill which proposes to lengthen hours, and I say that any Member on these benches who ventures to vote for this Measure will be voting in direct opposition to party policy and will be a traitor to the principles to which he is committed. I say that quite definitely, and I appeal to Labour Members to give the most determined opposition to this Bill. I suggest that the real motive behind the Bill is the same motive as was behind the Hotels and Restaurants Bill, introduced last Session, and that is merely to enable certain big capitalist interests to make greater dividends 2002 and bigger profits. [An HoN. MEMBER: "Rubbish!"] I would remind the hon. Member that on the Hotels and Restaurants Bill I brought to the notice of the House—
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
I think there is another Bill of that title now on the Order Paper and therefore the hon. Member will not be in order in discussing that.
§ Dr. SALTER
I bow to your ruling. Let me add in conclusion that the evidence which I have brought before the House, and which I shall bring again, is to the effect, it has been admitted by hon. Members, that the main object of this type of legislation is to give bigger dividends to certain classes of shareholders. That is the sole motive of the persons responsible for framing the Bill, and they are using innocent gentlemen opposite as their instrument for bringing it before the House. There is no thought for the employés who are to be employed longer hours, no thought for the children whose rest is to be disturbed, no thought for the family life that may be injured, but simply the one sordid motive of increasing profits. This Bill is a retrograde Bill, it is an anti-social Bill, and it is one which will injure the individual life, the social life and the national life, and I beg the House to refuse it a Second Reading.
§ 12.36 p.m.
§ Mr. BANFIELD
I beg to second the Amendment.
I wish to draw the attention of the House to a rather different point of view. It is well known that my hon. Friend who moved the Amendment speaks on behalf of the Temperance party. I am not a teetotaler, and I want to deal with this matter chiefly from my own experience as a trade union leader and one who has been connected with the working classes for pretty well 40 years. In the first place, I am satisfied that licensed victuallers, the people who manage public-houses on behalf of the brewers, the people who are the servants of the brewers as distinct from those who own and hold their own licences, have no desire whatever for longer hours, which would simply mean more work for them. It is quite true that they may pass resolutions at their association meetings expressing desire that the hours should be extended, but I am satisfied that in 2003 passing those resolutions they are simply doing something to please those who employ them.
My second point is that there are very few industries where the people employed, those in and about licensed premises, are required to work such excessively long hours. The trade is rather a bad one from the point of view of long hours and low wages. This Bill makes provision for far longer hours for the employés but makes no provision for compensating them, and in any case it is directly against the feelings of the trade. But my most important point is that the majority of people who go to public-houses for refreshment do not desire that the hours should be extended. I speak from some experience then I say that people have become used to the reduction of the hours to 10 o'clock in the evening, and that there is no desire for longer hours. The vast majority are quite content with the present hours and believe that the 10 o'clock closing time has been for the benefit of almost everyone concerned. Speaking as one who knows something of the lives of working people, I say quite sincerely that the 10 o'clock closing time has meant a tremendous amount of happiness in hundreds of thousands of homes. I am satisfied on that point.
I say to supporters of the Bill that I do not want them to be led away by the fact that they meet some men who say, "Let us have no restriction on the hours of opening." This is more a woman's question than a man's question. The woman in the home has to be considered. The effect of the 10 o'clock closing time has been to make the woman in the home happier. It has brought her husband home at a decent hour. I was surprised to hear the hon. Gentleman who moved the Second Reading of the Bill, in an excellent speech, suggest that after men turned out of a public-house all that remained for them to do was to go to bed. He rather suggested that. It is the business of all Members of this House to realise that the family life of the nation is the biggest asset we have. I am not so stupid as not to recognise the right of men and women to reasonable refreshment in public-houses. I am not standing here for prohibition. I recognise that if 2004 we are to have real temperance we must proceed along temperate lines to obtain it. The 10 o'clock closing has been a tremendous Advantage.
I was in my constituency yesterday, and a doctor who has had fifty years experience of the Black Country, a man who is widely known and highly respected, whose name is a household word, said to me, "You may tell the House of Commons that I, as a doctor of 50 years experience among working-class homes, declare that the greatest reform I have known in my time has been the 10 o'clock closing and the break in the afternoon, so far as public-houses are concerned." I have received, and I dare say other hon. Members have received, a circular from the Club and Institute Union declaring that the Bill doe§ not go far enough and that they want to do away with the break in the afternoon. Much wants more. The House recognises that here is a trade in which there must he some restriction as to opening and closing, and that it is not a trade in which we can say, "Oh, well, they may keep open as long as they like." That being the position, the house has to consider what are the best hours for opening. I am not satisfied that there is any case for an extension.
I think far too much is made of so-called anomalies. I am satisfied that far too much is made of the cry that present legislation unduly restricts the liberty of the subject. I am satisfied that commonsense men and women who, like myself, have brought sons into the world who are growing up to be young men, have no desire to see a return to the bad old days when public-houses used to keep open so late. I am very much afraid that the problem has been looked at by the hon. Gentleman who moved the Second Reading of the Bill, chiefly from the point of view of London. But the Bill applies to the Provinces. There is no one quite as provincial as the ordinary Londoner. Londoners can only see Westminster or Hackney or Bermondsey -[HON. MEMBERS: "Or Poplar"]—or even Poplar, but we who come from the provinces are not inclined to take suggestions and ideas from London people. We like to do our own business in our own way.
Something has been said this morning about the licensing justices throughout 2005 the country. I think all Members of the House will agree that, on the whole, the licensing benches do their work properly and are actuated by a sincere desire to render public service. In the great majority of cases they have no axe to grind and, generally speaking, whatever they do reflects the feelings of the community among whom they work. I should be very sorry to see this power taken out of the hands of licensing justices. They make mistakes, but so do other people, even Government departments. [Hon. MEMBERS: "The House of Commons"] Yes, the House of Commons has made many. We have to look at this matter broadly. Hon. Members may say "Why should they not have another half-hour?" and think that that proposal will he a popular one. But among whom will it be popular? Will it be popular among those of our constituents who really matter, among the men and women whom we look up to, the men and women of influence in our constituencies, the men and women who, by the example of their lives, set their light before their fellowmen and women. These are the people who are against the extension of hours and they are against it on the best possible grounds.
As a trade union leader, dealing with the thousands of members in my organisation, I want to do something more for the working people than merely to put bread and butter on their tables. I want to do something to develop the spiritual side of their lives, to make them better husbands, better fathers and better citizens. I cannot do that if I encourage them or offer them any temptation to have too much drink. I do not necessarily say that the members of the licensed trade have not their places in society and their uses in society but it is the business of this House to see that no-one, whoever he may be, is allowed to use his trade or his position in such a way as to worsen the lot of his fellowmen. I am satisfied that the ten o'clock closing, with all, that may be said against it, with all the anomalies and inequalities which have been referred to, satisfies 90 per cent. of our people. It has worked well, it has benefited family life, it has done something to bring more happiness to the women of our country and to help the little children as well.
2006 No man knows better than those, like myself and my colleagues here, who have had close association with the working people for so long, the terrible and shocking things that happen where men drink too much. I think of the homes that have been wrecked and of the little children that have been made unhappy, and while I agree that people must be given reasonable time for refreshment, while I recognise that we are not going to cure drunkenness by prohibition,—of that I am positive—yet I hold that the present system is working fairly well. If there is to be a change, let the Government have the courage to bring forward a Bill. Let us deal with the question in that way and not in the worst of all possible ways, by a Private Member's Bill of this kind.
§ 12.50 p.m.
§ Mr. LECKIE
I wish briefly to express my approval of the Amendment and to hope that it will be accepted by the House. I join with those who have spoken against the Motion for the Second Reading of the Bill in their objection to it as an example of piecemeal legislation. Piecemeal legislation is never satisfactory and this is far too important a question to be dealt with in a Private Members Bill. The Bill itself runs directly contrary to the recommendations of the Royal Commission. That was a very important Commission appointed in a very careful manner. It was selected with a view to giving representation to all sections of the community, to the licensed trade, the brewers, the clubs, the temperance reformers and the general public, and the general impression among temperance reformers at the time of its appointment was that, if anything, it was rather weighted against temperance reform. It is very important that the report of a Royal Commission of this kind should receive every possible attention and yet the very proposal which is made in this Bill was roundly condemned by the Commission. My hon. Friend the Member for West Bermondsey (Dr. Salter) has already referred to paragraphs 44 and 45 but I think it desirable that the House should hear those paragraphs in full. Paragraph 44 states:Although opinion among our witnesses was not unanimous, we feel satisfied that the shorter and broken hours, as fixed by the Act of 1921, have, by restricting the almost indefinite continuity of opportunity 2007 for drinking which formerly existed, proved themselves to be an indispensable element in the reduction of insobriety.Paragraph 45 states:We have had strong evidence of the beneficial results which have followed from the cutting off of early morning drinking particularly among industrial workers, the value of afternoon break—particularly in checking the continuity of afternoon soaking —and the changed conditions which have been brought about by the abolition of the former late night hours.I think those passages are a very emphatic condemnation of the Bill and one would be content, almost, to leave the matter in that way. With regard to the question of permitted hours there is a further reference in paragraphs 455 and 456. Paragraph 456 states:From the point of view of the consumer, substantial restriction of hours introduced during the War is in the nature of a novelty to this country and we have, therefore, given much attention to the reactions of the public to it. We have found a remarkable consensus of opinion in favour of restriction. It has been suggested to us that the general public is naturally inarticulate in matters of this kind, and that there is really a widespread wish for relaxation. We do not accept the suggestion. We think that to a vast section of the public, including public house clients, the present scheme is acceptable, and is becoming more, and not less, so. That such should be the case is, in our opinion, vital. Restriction, in a matter of this kind, depends on the sanction of public opinion.That is a very emphatic statement on the very point with which we are dealing to-day. Reference has been made by the mover of the Second Reading to the confusion, or so-called confusion, in London owing to the fact that the hour of closing varies from 10 p.m. in some parts to 11 p.m. in others. The Report of the Royal Commission deals very fully with that point, and it says, in paragraph 459:We have heard a good deal of evidence in regard to the disorder which results in London at and after 10 p.m. on the margins of the 11 p.m. areas through persons streaming across the boundary from 10 p.m. areas. This trouble may have been exaggerated in mime quarters, but is nevertheless of local importance.Paragraph 460 says:It is in any case our view that the general public who use public houses would be inconvenienced little if the hour of 10 p.m. which has proved acceptable to the bulk of London, were applied uniformly throughout the Metropolis. Nor do we think there is real need anywhere in the provinces 2008 for licensed houses to be open for business in intoxicants after 10 p.m. In rural districts too, especially in winter, there may be no public demand for even so late an hour as 10 p.m.Then again paragraph 461 says:We recommend, therefore, that the latest hour for the sale of intoxicants should be 10 p.m. throughout the country, with the exception that it should be within the discretion of justices in rural districts to fix a latest hour not earlier than 9 p.m. during the winter—that is, during the months when summer time is not in operation.I think that is a complete answer to the points raised with reference to the supposed confusion of hours. I agree with the hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Banfield) that the present arrangements are working very well. After all, it is a compromise, but it is a compromise which has Secured increasing support as the years have gone on, and there is no real demand in any quarter for any alteration. We all know that it is an Englishman's way to grumble, but there is really nothing at the back of it, and I am sure that no one in the House or in the country wants to go back to the bad old days of the pre-war situation. Some of the younger hon. Members of this House do not remember the conditions in those days, especially on Saturday nights at the 11 o'clock closing. In industrial areas I have seen a great deal of the terrible injury that was done by these long, late hours, and I agree with what my hon. Friend said with regard to the marvellous improvement which has been brought about by earlier closing.
I should like to point out as a Member for an industrial constituency that working men have to go to work early in the morning, and in the old days there was always a great deal of difficulty in getting men to turn up to their work in the morning on account of the late closing hours. That is all now done away with, and that is very largely due to the 10 o'clock closing. I therefore hope the House will reject this Bill. There are two special classes which I know would very strongly oppose this Bill. There are, first, the chief constables of the country, among whom I know there is a very strong feeling that to go back to 11 o'clock closing would be very detrimental to the good government of the towns. I agree also with every word that has been said by the hon. Member for Wednesbury with regard to the 2009 women. I know this, that if the women of the industrial areas had to vote on this question, there would be a unanimous feeling in favour of keeping the present hours. I therefore most cordially support the Amendment for the rejection of the Bill.
§ 1.1 p.m.
§ Sir REGINALD BLAKER
I have listened to a great deal that has been said in opposition to this Bill, and I think many of us must have wondered why it was necessary to depart so far from its provisions. I propose to support the Bill, and whether the hon. Member for West Bermondsey (Dr. Salter) believes it or not, I can assure the House that I have no interest whatever, financial or otherwise, in any brewing undertaking; but I begin to wonder why it is that some hon. Members consider that unless you belong to a trade union, a temperance league, a friendly society, or possibly the Frothblowers, you have no right to be heard in this country to-day. It has been said that before the Royal Commission there was no demand for increased hours from—and then we had reiterated a whole list of organisations, leaving out, of course, the last one to which I have had the temerity to refer. My point is that there are vast numbers of people to-day who belong to no such organisation and who have no method of making articulate grievances which they feel very strongly, and I know that to certain sections of this House that class is considered of remarkably little importance.
I take a different view, and I am a little surprised at the opposition which this Bill has encountered. I hear, first of all, that the Bill is piecemeal, the complaint apparently being that it does not go far enough. Almost in the same breath I am told that it is a retrograde Bill, which will do incalculable harm. I would ask hon. Members to turn to the provisions of this simple and, in my view, salutary Measure.—[An Horn. MEMBER: "Sanitary?"].—No, salutary, but it is both. If hon. Members look at what is proposed now, it is simply to do away with one form of anomaly, and I have not heard any hon. Member yet say that anomalies are desirable. Indeed, the Royal Commission, the holy writ to some of my hon. Friends, expressly point out the undesirability of anomalies. They 2010 would have us standardise hours at 10 o'clock, but, on the other hand, others think we should standardise them up, and it is idle to disguise the fact that this Bill increases, by varying periods, the hours during which liquor may be consumed. Hon. Members should, however, remember that if once you accept the view that anomalies are undesirable, then indeed you must say that this Bill does go some way towards removing them. It is true that "special occasions," to which my hon. Friend referred, will still leave considerable anomalies, but this Bill seeks to tackle only one of them at the moment.
This question of closing time becomes acute during the summer months. Attempts have been made to cope with the changed conditions which obtain during that period by means of an application to the local licensing justices in an endeavour to convince them that Summer Time constitutes a special occasion. These attempts were at first successful. The House will remember that quite recently that decision was overruled by the High Court and the position now is one of considerable doubt. Surely during the summer months we are entitled to say that our people should be able to have a drink as late as 11 o'clock in London and 10.30 in the country. If that is going to lead everyone on the road to damnation, I am only too pleased that I shall be in good company when I get there. The House must not assume that this is of necessity a bad Bill because it may help the brewing industry. I have heard it said so often outside the House, directly any attempt is made to lift some of the restrictions, that it is a brewers' Measure because it will help the brewers. Surely the people to consider are the consumers, and it is for them that I, in a representative and, indeed, in any other capacity, address the House. I say quite frankly that there is an enormous amount of soreness among decent sober people at the restrictions which are placed upon them to-day. Any Measure which has the effect of causing people to think lightly or disparagingly of our law is altogether bad. It may be said that I am exaggerating, but it is a small step from saying that the licensing Acts are rubbish to saying that possibly more important Acts which make for the peace 2011 of this country are wrong. Nothing could be worse than for this House to-day to register its opinion that a lightening of these burdens is undesirable.
I suggest to the hon. Member for West Bermondsey that the idea that by opening later drunkenness will be increased is borne out by no evidence whatever. We have the example in Oxford Street, where one side closes an hour later than the other, and surely if that had produced any increase in drunkenness, the hon. Member for West Bermondsey of all men would have had notice of it. There is not a tittle of evidence to show that that is the case. Every circumstance points to the fact that drunkenness to-day is controlled, not by legislation, but by public opinion, which looks upon drunkenness in a light very different from that of the old days. We shall hear a great deal about the iniquities of this Bill, but I say, as one who has had some experience in making applications before licensing committees, that I do not identify myself entirely with the observations of the promotor of the Bill, because as a rule there is no body of men who carry out their duties more conscientiously than the Licensing Committees in administering the licensing laws. While any licensing justice who has an interest, however remote, in the brewing trade, is disqualified from sitting, yet it is not an uncommon experience to find oneself faced on the bench by men who are pronounced teetotallers and who believe that the whole liquor trade is bad. They are allowed to sit and they have to carry out the almost superhuman task of showing that it is in the interest of the community that any licences whatever shall be granted. That is one of our difficulties, and I ask the House that this anomaly of the closing and opening hours should be removed. Under this Bill the duty is taken from justices to determine the hours, for they are made fixed, and therefore we may possibly hope for some continuity in the drinking facilities that are given in and about the metropolis.
§ 1.11 p.m.
§ Mr. HICKS
I rise to support the Bill because it will remove certain anomalies. I have listened with great interest to the speeches made this morning, and one would imagine from some of the descriptions 2012 that have been given that a club was a den of infamy and vice. I have not discovered it. I am a member of five clubs, and they do an enormous amount of work in providing recreational facilities for a large number of people. In connection with them we have dramatic societies, choral societies, football, cricket and tennis clubs, hiking parties, a library and lecture rooms. Last night I left the House to go to my own constituency to a very fine club to give a lecture on democracy and dictatorship, and I was told as I was going down that I should do well because I represented both. When the meeting started, men and women came from different parts of the building and we had a very fine meeting. I cannot see that, because a man is a club member, he must necessarily be a bad husband and father and a man whose habits are generally reprehensible. That kind of picture is overdrawn, and a libel on a very large number of people.
I believe that the public houses in the main in this country are dull, drab and uninviting. One sees that they could be improved very substantially when one compares them with, the opportunities for drinking that are provided on the Continent. There one can openly have a glass of light ale or a cup of coffee or other refreshment, and drunkenness is almost absent. The approach to the place where you can get drink, the space and light and freshness of everything around, make them very good places for the purpose. My complaint generally against public houses here is that they are dark, the windows are too far up for looking into, and there are too many partitions and secret places. If they could be cleared and light and fresh air enabled to get into them, it would be a substantial advantage. Every public-house and every club ought to be a place where a man can go not only to get refreshment for himself, but it ought to be respectable enough for him to be able to take his wife and family there. There ought to be reform in that direction.
I have worked for very many years in the workmen's club movement, in an effort to bring about improvements in some directions, and in a number of instances they have materialised. Let me say to my friends on the Labour benches that clubs have been a centre of activity for Labour propaganda and politics; 2013 without them we should have had very little opportunity for the concentration and the organisation of the effort which the Labour party have put forward. They are very, very valuable, and I am not desirous of diminishing their strength or their numbers, but would rather see them extended. [Interruption.] I cannot speak for Scotland, but I can speak for the South of England, at any rate, and for a good part of the North. The club movement has been a very valuable agency on behalf of Labour. Liberal clubs and Tory clubs have played a very important part in the political life of this country, just as the old Jacobean clubs in France played an important part in the political life of that country and in the French Revolution.
§ Mr. HICKS
I am speaking of club life. Some hon. and right hon. Members seem to imagine that a club is a den of vice and infamy, but I protest that that picture is not only overdrawn but is a complete misstatement of the facts. Clubs are very valuable agencies and very valuable institutions. That is the only point I wish to make, except to say that I will support anything which will do away with the anomalies which have been referred to. I do not need to be lectured upon trade unionism in regard to hours of labour. There is no one in this House or outside who would take a firmer stand than I would on behalf of trade unionism and in support of proper hours and working conditions. I do not want that question imported into this argument, because I believe it is only done as a matter of prejudice. The habits of our people are continually changing. To say that the extent of drunkenness corresponds to the opportunities afforded for drinking is not true. People do riot get drunk simply because drinking facilities are available. Certainly they do not. A state of affairs in which people have the opportunity of leaving one district and going to another where the public houses are open longer is a definite attraction to them to take the opportunity of getting a little more drink, but to say that men would get drunk if there were a little extension of the hours during which licensed premises are open is not true. I do not drink very much 2014 myself. I like a glass of beer. My doctor has told me it does me good.
§ Mr. HICKS
He said to me, "Mr. Hicks, after you have been at the House of Commons for a week listening to speeches I certainly think a bottle of beer would not do you any harm." To say that because drink is available to them people will get drunk is not true. The habits of our people have changed considerably and they now have other attractions. Another point—some of my friends who remember the beer we used to get tell me that nowadays there is not a black eye in a bucketful of beer, let alone the possibility of getting drunk simply because licensing hours are longer. I should say that this country is as sober as any country in the world. I know of no country that merits a higher certificate of sobriety than Great Britain. To go into a public-house or a club to get drunk is the last thing in the world that our people think of doing. They go there because it is a social centre, there is an opportunity for communal chat, an opportunity to discuss things that are common to them and their friends, and they find there companionship and develop friendships, and get to know one another better.
Let me remind hon. Members, also, that womenfolk use our clubs—that is the case in my constituency—for the purpose of their meetings and to assist and promote Labour propaganda and to help us in our election fights. It may be that the conduct of certain clubs can be condemned, but clubs in themselves are not bad things, and to say that this Bill should not be supported simply because there are clubs which are asking for it is, in my view, wrong. The Club and Institute Union consider that this Bill is a desirable one and have written to hon. Members asking them to support it. Are those who run the Club and Institute Union thinking of nothing else than how to increase drunkenness in this country? That is a terrible indictment, and I do not think it is true. 2015 They have noted the anomalies which exist and believe that they do not tend to good order, and it is because they see in this Bill an attempt to correct those anomalies that they have asked Members to support it, and if a division is taken I shall do so. Members of the Labour party in this House can do exactly as they like on this matter, because there is no party vote on this occasion. I know there are some who hold very strong views, but I should hesitate about giving them more facilities to control me. I believe this Bill represents an effort to regularise conditions which are at the moment very irregular, and I shall support it.
§ 1.23 p.m.
§ Mr. R. J. RUSSELL
I listened to two speeches from hon. Members who introduced this Bill which were extremely frank and refreshing, and I think perhaps that if some of us had felt sure that hon. Members were prepared to act reasonably upon the arguments that had been put before them we should have been quite willing to go to a vote at that moment and had this Bill thoroughly defeated. One cannot enter upon a discussion of a subject like this without hearing extreme statements from both sides. The Seconder of the Bill told us that this country was the laughing stock of the world. I should be sorry to think that that was the case, even sorry to think that he thought it was the case.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
I was citing that as an example of the danger of extreme statements. The hon. Member for East Woolwich (Mr. Hicks) has put up a number of objections and knocked them down again. None of them have ever been presented to this House. He stated, for example, that it was not true that becoming a member of a club necessarily meant being dissolute. Nobody ever said it did. One of the things that struck me about the speech of the Mover of this Resolution was his discovery that we have such a thing as local government in this country; that, therefore, there are boundaries to each district and that where there is a boundary there are bound to be different conditions of administration, and hon. Members are going so far as to suggest 2016 that we should abolish local government because so long as we have it we shall find discrepancies, and shall have to bring in rectifying Bills.
I do not deal with this matter from an extreme point of view, and I do not represent any of those groups of people of whom the one hon. Member spoke a few minutes ago; I simply represent a constituency. As I look at this Bill, I want to ask: What is it going to do and who in my constituency, among the people with whom I come into contact, wants those things done? We are told that the Bill is going to rectify certain discrepancies, yet the Mover and Seconder of the Bill have already admitted that if the Bill passes into law many of those discrepancies will survive. One thing is certain in regard to the Bill, and that is that it will increase the flows of drinking from one end of the country to the other, and will interfere with the local knowledge in regard to licensing which many of us think is a strong barrier against reaction in this country, from wherever it comes. We should not forget that the question has to be considered, not from the standpoint of the teetotaler or from the trade, but from the standpoint of those whom it is to affect.
After a fairly long experience of public-houses one way and another, I know how difficult this subject is. An hon. Member has stated that he has never been in a public-house. Some of us have been compelled, as a matter of duty and of civic administration, to go into public-houses of all kinds, during the last 30 or 40 years, and we have had considerable experience as to the effect of an increase of hours or a reduction of hours. Everybody to-day admits that there is a tendency to reduced drunkenness, far out of proportion to the reduction of hours. I should like to give a little evidence which is, perhaps, a little unusual, and is to the opposite effect, namely, that the later the hour the greater the drunkenness. It has fallen to my lot, on quite a number of occasions, to occupy that very unique position of being the magistrate in charge when rioting was taking place and time after time I have had to sit in the magistrates' room, when the hours of the day were passing quickly along, with the Riot Act ready, and with a platoon of soldiers outside the door ready to take action. What was always our experience in those 2017 circumstances? Rioting began when the houses discharged, and became more severe the later the hour at night when that discharge took place. I have had to be in the streets with soldiers and the Riot Act, trying to keep peace in those circumstances, and I have no hesitation in saying that, for the sake of keeping the peace, more particularly in times of excitement, every bench of magistrates would say that the shorter the hours the better for the community.
Captain ARTHUR EVANS
>Is the hon. Member suggesting that such conditions would obtain in normal circumstances, or that it is only in abnormal conditions, when the population have been excited by some national situation, that such riots take place? The fact that public-houses remain open half-an-hour later cannot affect circumstances of that kind.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
Evidence has already been produced in the House as to what happens in normal circumstances, and I have now produced evidence that, in abnormal times, extension of hours tends to have certain results. What is the demand for this Bill? Hon. Members on both sides have spent a good deal of time discussing the Royal Commission. This House for the last 50 years has again and again realised the seriousness and the importance of licensing, and has appointed licensing commissioners who have drawn up reports after long consideration. It is not our province to enter on the subject with a Bill of this description, while many considerations still remain untouched and not put into operation.
This Bill is a bit of amateur drafting which, if it were put into practice in its present form, would produce chaos. Who wants this change? Obviously, not the Members of this House, because we have not had more than a quorum at any time to-day for this Debate. That is some—thing for which this House should be ashamed of itself. We are considering a matter of great importance, and this House should treat it seriously. There is no evidence of a great demand for the suggested change. The Royal Commission did not want it, and there is no demand from the homes of the people for such an extension of hours. I suggest to the hon. Lady the Member for West Willesden (Mrs. Tate) that if she can get, for example, the women's institutes of 2018 this country, to pass a resolution in support of an extension of hours for public-houses, I should be prepared at once to consider the subject again, but I challenge anyone to bring evidence that the women of this country want anything of that description. I grant that our friends are not asking us to go back to the old hours, but I would also submit that the first step is the serious step. If you take one step to-day, you may take another step to-morrow.
I think that my hon. Friends, if they had known the conditions as we knew them in pre-War days, would hesitate very much before proposing to increase the facilities for drinking. There is an outcry as to the dangers which would attend this from all Mae churches and from every society for social betterment throughout this country. I would ask, do those engaged in the trade want this Bill? I say without hesitation that they do not. Coming in contact with members of the trade, as I do to a great extent, I know that they realise that the future of the public-house does not lie in an increased consumption of intoxicating liquor. They realise that the public-house must be reformed, that it must become a real centre of recreation for the people as a whole; and if anyone will bring forward a Bill which would make the village public-house what it might become, a real centre of recreation and uplifting, if you like, of the people of this country, I will back him up with all the energy that I can command. The licensees do not require it. They know that the changed habits of the people demand a new form as regards the conduct and organisation of the public-house—
§ Mr. HOLFORD KNIGHT
My hon. Friend speaks from his point of view; may I put mine? I have just received a letter from the secretary of the licensed victuallers of Nottingham, with many of whom I have to do in connection with their annual affairs, desiring me to support this Bill. I am not saying what action I am going to take, but, on my hon. Friend's point that the license-holders do not want this Bill, I must ask him to reconsider the evidence.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
I am prepared to consider the evidence, but my hon. and learned Friend knows as well as I do what is the value of evidence that comes from tied houses. I get my evidence direct from the individuals themselves, 2019 and not only in my own constituency. I suppose that perhaps, as much as any Member of the House, I go through the country from district to district, and wherever I go the evidence is the same—that the licensees themselves realise that a new day has come for them, and that they must move on different lines from those on which they moved in the past. Everywhere thoughout the country you will see as you pass the public house—the inn—the announcement that teas and refreshments without intoxicants are served there. We are all grateful for that; it is a very definite move among the trade to cater in that direction, and it is all to the good.
As regards the trade itself, I would ask, why do they want increased hours? We have already been told by every speaker that there is a reduced consumption. There is no need to quote figures; we all know that it is true. If last year it was possible to distribute 100 barrels in eight hours, why do you want nine hours in which to distribute 90 barrels this year? There is no demand that is due to the exigencies of the trade itself as regards distribution. Do hon. Members suggest that the wealthy brewing industry has ceased to keep up with the times as regards equipment for distribution? If I go into a grocer's shop, I find all sorts of machinery brought in to expedite distribution, and I think I should find the same thing in most public houses. To-day they could distribute to a larger number of customers in a shorter time a greater amount, and yet the amount which they have to distribute is smaller than they have ever had to distribute before. In these circumstances, how can it be said that the conditions of the trade itself require these longer hours?
We used to be told, and I have every sympathy with the statement, that housing and social conditions demanded public houses. In years gone by, when I have had to go into the slums of some of our large cities, I have said over and over again that, if I had to live under conditions like that, 1 would go to the public house and get drunk. But I must remind my hon. Friends that, since the last rectification of these hours, we have constructed 1,000,000 houses, that we are reducing our slums as rapidly as we possibly can, and that the most devastating 2020 influence on new housing estates would be the introduction of the public house and the increasing of the hours during which it is open. I will give an experience of my own on that point which will perhaps be interesting to most Conservative Members in the House. Years ago it was my privilege to be the first collaborator with the late Sir Archibald Salvidge, of Liverpool, one of the greatest organisers that the Conservative party ever had. He was the chairman of a brewery company. We worked very closely together, and I never had a more loyal colleague or friend. The time came when the question was put before the Liverpool City Council whether they should sell sites on their new housing areas for the erection of public houses, and the man who stepped into the breach and stopped any such sale was the principal member of the brewing trade in that district, and the leader of the Conservative party there. Why did he do that? Because he realised the devastating effect on civic property that would follow. Every social element, every social movement—the cinema, the allotment, even the dog-racing track—has tended to reduce the demand for increasing the hours during which public houses may be open. Why, then, does this Bill come before the House at the present time?
We have heard much during the past week about children iii necessitous areas starving because of the means test. It is a fact that in some of our towns there is an expenditure of between £1,000,000 and £2,000,000 per annum on liquor. We cannot get milk for children because we say it is too dear. That is true, but what a commentary upon the whole thing that, while we cannot do that, we can increase the hours for the consumption of that which cannot in any circumstances take its place. If there is one thing that this country needs, it is that we shall pull ourselves together and brace every nerve to make sure that we maintain our place in the world and capture the leadership and maintain it. No one will suggest that we are going to do that any better by increasing either the number of hours in public houses or the conviviality in our clubs. I know perfectly well the value of clubs. They find that it is difficult to make ends meet, and this is the way they always try to make ends meet, by increased consump- 2021 tion of liquor. I, also, am a member of a large number of clubs. I hope the younger Members of the House, whom I am glad to see taking a lead in some of these questions, will realise that this country needs a period of sobriety, a period of strenuous endeavour and the cutting out of all those things which contend against sobriety.
§ 1.47 p.m.
§ Mrs. TATE
I came here to-day with no fixed intentions, and very little desire to enter into this Debate, but some of the statements that I have heard have been of such an extraordinary nature that it is really impossible any longer to sit silent. The last speaker first of all told us that this Bill was promoted to further the interests of the brewing in-industry, and in the next breath he told us that the one man who prevented the setting up of a public house on a housing estate was a brewer. [Interruption.] That is what the hon. Member said, and he will find it in the OFFICIAL REPORT. I do not like the Bill before us in its present form. I do not care for it for several reasons, but I think the hon. Member who introduced it has rendered a service to the House in that he has given us an opportunity of airing the various points of view on the subject, and the various anomalies that exist with regard to licensing in different areas. I think it is also a very good thing that we should have an opportunity of discussing it before the Government themselves bring forward—as in time they must—legislation to deal with the subject, which will presumably have some relation to the report of the Royal Commission on Licensing. I should like to point out one strange statement in the report of the Royal Commission on Licensing. They say it is their view that the general public who use public houses would not be inconvenienced if the hour of closing remained at 10 p.m. I represent a constituency in which there are a very large number of railway workers. They cease work at 10 o'clock and if the public houses close at 10 they are debarred from obtaining a glass of beer after a hard day's work. The railways are vital to the industry of the country. Are my railway workers to be entirely debarred from a glass of beer because the public-houses close at, 10, while in London, in what is known as 2022 "theatreland," they are open until 11? That is utterly unjust.
I support the Second Reading only because the Bill at least does something to show up the glaring anomalies and discrepancies in various districts. I think it is grossly unjust that in the West End public-houses should be open until 11, while in a working class constituency such as mine they should be closed at 10. Let the closing hour be the same in all urban districts. The hon. Member for West Bermondsey (Dr. Salter) has described the Measure and the introducer of it as being extraordinarily impudent. Such a statement comes very ill from a Member who is known to be one of those who, rightly or wrongly, consider all alcoholic beverages as poison and who has recently informed the House that he is a member of the medical profession. Doubtless he would rather that everyone drank tea, coffee or milk. I am glad the hon. Member has brought that, up, although I myself, know a limited number of the male sex who do not care for drinking a glass of milk unless it has a dash of brandy in it. While we are on the subject of milk and impudence, may I remind the hon. Member for West Bermondsey that the hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. Glossop) once took the trouble to have a sample of milk obtained from this House analysed, and asked a Question about it —whether it was desirable that we should be served with milk which contained 2,000,000 bacteria per cubic centimetre and bacillus coli present in 1 = 1,000 cubic centimetres. The hon. Member belongs to the medical profession. May I ask what steps has he taken to purify the milk he wishes hon. Members to drink? The hon. Member below me boasts of being a distributor of milk. What have these two hon. Members done to ensure that we should have cleaner milk in this House or in the country?
§ Dr. SALTER
I have sat on endless committees and, as a representative of one of those committees, I have assisted in putting all the pressure that I can bring to bear on the representatives of the Government of the day, including the present Government, in order that the public may be supplied with tubercle-free milk, but we have been able to get no action from them. The hon. Lady had better address her remarks to the Minister of Agriculture rather than to me.
§ Mrs. TATE
I was not dealing with the question of agriculture, but of milk in this particular House, and I ask what the hon. Member, as a member of the medical profession, has done in view of the lamentable statements that we have heard of the dirt supplied in milk in this House, to verify that statement? He has no business to say that anyone who brings forward a Measure such as this is impudent. For as a medical man he is impudent unless he has attended to our welfare with regard to the beverage he acknowledges he wishes as to drink. I do not believe that there is a Member in this House who wants to go back to the old unrestricted hours of drinking, although many Members speaking in opposition to the Bill have tried to make out that that was the case. Personally, I do not wish to see the hours of drinking extended, and I would not support this Bill on the Third reading, unless it was very drastically amended, but I should like to see one definite hour all over the country when the public houses would close Although the licensing justices have done their best, it is too great a matter to be dealt with by districts. When, as hon. Members have said, you can cross from one side of Oxford street to the other, and on the one side you cannot drink after 10 o'clock and on the other side you can drink until 11 o'clock, it is obviously a ridiculous state of affairs. I welcome the Bill solely because it shows up that state of affairs, and also because, as I have said, it is unjust. I certainly do not wish to increase drinking.
I will mention one other argument which has been extraordinarily weak. There has been a lot of talk about the happiness of the home and the welfare of the children and the women. It is not only drink which tends to break up the home. It is not only drink which has harmed the children. We have heard that other recreations have made drinking less popular in this country, and that is true. But would any Member who is really interested in the welfare of the children to-day say that they are standing in greater danger from drink than they do from some of the films they see? I very much doubt it. I very much doubt whether the little children who from the age of 5 go, attended by so-called 2024 guardians who can be found with the very greatest of ease at cinema doors, into the cheaper seats at cinemas and ruin their eyesight watching films marked "A" films, are being harmed by drink more than they are being harmed by the cinema.
I wonder if many hon. Members would care to say that the money spent on drink is doing more harm in the breaking up of homes than the money spent on gambling and on dog-racing tracks? I merely mention those two alternative recreations, because we have constantly been told that they have been a power towards stopping drinking in this country. You cannot abolish all these things, nor would we wish to do so. You cannot create desirable behaviour entirely by legislation. It has to be done by education. I think that the temperance reformers, if they are as keen on the public life of the nation as they say they are, would be very well advised to spend more energy, time and money on seeing that the people in this country have a greater knowledge of the dietetic values of food and of how to cook it when they get it. I firmly believe that if our women and girls were brought up to be better cooks there would be a great deal less drinking in this country, and that that would do far more to check drinking than the opening of public-houses until 11 o'clock will do to increase it.
The hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. R. Davies), in reply to one of the remarks of the introducer of the Bill, brought up the question of the Shop Hours Acts. I am as interested in the hours worked by shop assistants as he is, especially in the hours worked by young people. If we suggest or discuss the opening until 11 o'clock at night of all public-houses and talk of longer hours there—and if the powers of all engaged in the brewing industry are as great as we are told they are—then perhaps a greater light will be thrown on the desirability of shortening the hours, not only of those who work in public-houses, but of those who work in shops, and especially young people. I support the Second Reading of the Bill not because I consider that it is perfect at present, far from it—it needs very drastic amendment—but because at least it does something to show up anomalies and the utter hypocrisy of some of the arguments used against it.
§ 2.1 p.m.
Mr. OWEN EVANS
I am opposed to this Bill on several grounds. The hon. Lady the Member for West Willesden (Mrs. Tate) has told us that drink is not the only evil which breaks up the home. That, if I may remind her, is an admission that it is an evil, and no one who supports the Bill as far as I know has told the House that there are no other evils besides drink which break up the home. But we are here to deal with one of them this afternoon, and one only. I am opposed to a uniform hour of closing throughout the county. There are two hours mentioned here, and I am opposed to the proposal precisely for the reason that local authorities know best the circumstances in their various areas. If this Bill was a Measure to give power to the local authority and to the people in the localities to determine at what hour and under what conditions they would allow public-houses to be open, I should be the first to support it. Unfortunately, the Bill in fact increases the facilities for drinking in this country. That is the sum and substance and result of it.
We have been told that there are supporters of the Bill in the House because it removes certain anomalies. No one likes anomalies, especially anomalies which are unfair to any particular class as against another class, or unfair to a particular individual as compared with another individual. But this Bill, while it may remove some anomalies in certain parts of the country, is bound to introduce anomalies far greater and far worse than the anomalies which are removed. We have been told to-day that in the country there are about 300 local areas —urban districts and boroughs—which will be entitled under the Bill to have an extra hour beyond that of the other part of the country. But between the two there is the boundary question. The anomaly will remain which enables people to go from one area into another and obtain drink after closing hours in their own area. The Bill should be rejected on the one ground only, that it is contrary to the principles of licensing legislation in this country to interfere and to have this House laying down a definite and unalterable rule as to conditions under which public-houses are to be allowed to open in the various 2026 localities. The Bill is, in fact, a backward step instead of a forward one. I do not suppose that even hon. Members who are supporting the Bill consider that we have reached the end of legislation on the question of licensing. I do not suppose there is anyone who will say that we have reached the end of the long and tedious journey which we have travelled on the question of licensing reform. Although there may be different views as to the method to be adopted, I believe the bulk of people in this country realise that a great deal more remains to be done, especially when we consider the report of the Royal Commission which has sat on the question. We have not finished with licensing reform, but this Bill is not reform, it is reaction, and for that reason it should be opposed by the House.
I thank the promoters of the Bill for inserting one provision with which I thoroughly agree, and that is that they have excluded the Principality of Wales from it. It seems to me, however, that that provision is diametrically opposed to the principle of the Bill, because whilst they recognise in one breath that local considerations and local opinion must prevail, by cutting Wales out of the Bill, they will not allow local opinion to prevail in England, which is a much larger place than Wales. Why should it be that, for instance, in the North of England hours of closing should be fixed which may be entirely opposed to the opinion of the people. Again, why do they include Monmouthshire which, for purposes of licensing, has often been attached to the Principality of Wales? The reason why they have excluded the Principality of Wales from the operation of the Bill is because they know that public opinion there will not stand a Measure of this kind, which extends the hours of drinking.
Is anyone going to say that the extension of an hour for drinking in a club or a public house does not conduce to increased drinking? No one says that people who sit and drink in a public-house are there in order to get drunk, but is anyone prepared to say that by increasing the facilities for drinking and by increasing the hours for drinking, as this Bill does, that that does not give greater opportunity for increased drinking by the individual?
Captain A. EVANS
Does the hon. Member suggest that if, for instance, it is possible in certain circumstances to obtain a dinner between the hours of 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., that that necessarily means that people eat more?
Mr. O. EVANS
My hon. and gallant Friend knows that there is ample distinction, from practical experience, between eating food and drinking alcoholic liquor. There is no comparison between the two. I sympathise very greatly with those individuals who may be and who are sober people when they are left alone, but one knows from experience—I am speaking from personal experience—of the social side of drinking, and when people get together in a public-house or a dub the tendency is for the individual, who might otherwise be very moderate, to drink to excess.
Hon. Members must realise that there is something beyond the mere question of hours underlying the Bill, there is a moral aspect. I do not mean to say that anybody who drinks is immoral, but I do say that to drink excessively and to give facilities for so doing is demoralising to the individual. It can be established beyond any shadow of doubt that when people get together for an extended period of drinking in a public-house or a club it does give inducement to the individual to drink more, when in ordinary times he would be a perfectly moderate drinker; which I am not here to condemn. There are ample grounds why the House should reject the Bill. It interferes with the conditions which exist locally and with opinion locally, and it would increase the facilities for drinking which, in this stage of our history, would not be good for the country or the individual.
§ 2.11 p.m.
Captain A. EVANS
I am afraid that I take an entirely opposite view from my hon. Friend, who comes from the Principality, and I join with the hon. Member for Willesden, West (Mrs. Tate) in welcoming the Bill, not in a whole-hearted way but on the principle that half a cake is better than none at all. I think that the mover would have been better advised had he endeavoured to apply the Measure not only to England but also to the Principality of Wales and the County of Monmouth. It is a somewhat curious 2028 fact that, in spite of the persuasive eloquence of the Under Secretary of State for the Home Department in the first Socialist administration and gentlemen who share the opinion of my hon. Friend who has just spoken, the licensing laws at the present time on the Statute Book do apply equally to England and Wales. Therefore, I much regret that the promoter of the Bill has not seen his way clear to extend the Measure. At the moment, I am advised that because of the long title of the Bill and the way it is drawn it will not be possible for us in the Committee stage to move that the Principality of Wales be included. For that and other reasons, -due to careless drafting, I regret, although I am in favour of the principle of the Bill, that we shall not have the opportunity of putting it into more workmanlike shape.
The Bill as at present drafted, so it would appear to me, proposes legislation for hours in England on weekdays but leaves the question of hours on Sundays to local justices. If the promoter of the Bill is prepared to say t-tat it is in the interests of the majority of the community that this House should have the last word on these matters, surely that applies equally to the conditions of drinking on weekdays and Sundays. We have heard a great deal about interested parties, and we have heard the brewers criticised. I do not think that I am a particular friend of the brewers or of their interests. I think their beer is bad, it is rotten beer, and I much prefer the American 3.2 per cent. beer when I can get it. We condemn the brewers in this House and never lose an opportunity of criticising them and their work, but we must remember that they are one of the largest bodies of taxpayers, that they contribute enormous sums of money to the national exchequer every year, that they afford a public facility and convenience which the public demand, and, therefore, with great respect, I submit that the brewers have a perfect right to have their case put with fairness when questions concerning their immediate interests are under discussion.
We are asked to legalise a Bill which will enable people in this country to consume intoxicating liquor between the hours of 11 a.m. and 11 p.m., excluding the hours from three to five; in other words, out of every 24 hours the people in this country will be able to consume 2029 liquor in 10 of those hours. No one is asking the House to pass a Bill which would authorise people to go back to the old days before the War, when they were able to consume liquor in 19i hours if they so desired, and I cannot appreciate the argument—and I say it with great respect to my hon. Friends—why it is more harmful to consume a half-pint or pint of beer at 10.30 or 11 o'clock, and less harmful to do so at 9.30. I fail to appreciate the argument that because a man goes into a public-house after his evening meal for a chat and smoke with his friends, it necessarily means that because the public-house is open half an hour later for his own convenience, he is necessarily going to drink more. We have to realise that in these days the working man has not the money available to enable him to drink more. After all, the high burden of taxation which the brewery industry has to pay, and of which the consumer has to pay a very large share, absolutely prohibits a man drinking beer during the whole time the public-house may be open.
In these days, when Great Britain especially is endeavouring to show an example to the world of democratic Parliamentary practice, of democratic government in the more important issues of international relations, when the world is faced with dictatorship prohibiting the freedom of every individual, we should not only apply democratic principles of Parliamentary government to international relationships, but also to the liberties and the rights of our own people. I see no difference at all in the dictatorship, whether of Mussolini in Italy, of Stalin in Russia or Roosevelt in America—I see no difference between the attitude of mind of those and of hon. Members on this side who, by legislative enactment, desire to restrict the freedom of the people.
Captain A. EVANS
I think there is reason in all things, and even in the mind of my hon. Friend. I quite agree that, in these matters we must preserve a sense of proportion, and I do hope that if we find it is outside the Rules of Order that Wales should be included in this Measure, my hon. Friends who are 2030 responsible for introducing this Measure, and those who agree with me, will support me when I venture to introduce a Bill under the ten-minute Rule to apply the same conditions to the Principality of Wales.
§ 2.19 p.m.
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Douglas Hacking)
I would like to join in the general chorus of congratulations to my hon. Friend upon his maiden Speech which he delivered earlier to-day. My hon. Friend has studied his case with very great care. He put his arguments forward, if I may say so, with great force. I would also congratulate him on the help that he has received from the hon. Member for West Bermondsey (Dr. Salter), whose enthusiasm so carried him away that his speech, in its result I believe, will be of the greatest assistance to the promoters of this Bill. It is a remarkable thing what a curious effect alcohol has upon those people who do not take it. Hon. Members will probably remember that one of his main objections to this Bill was that its provisions were not in agreement with the recommendations of the Royal Commission. Possibly that same reason will enable him at a later stage in the Session to support another Bill known as the Hotels and Restaurants Bill.
§ Dr. SALTER
Yes, I am entirely in support of the Hotels and Restaurants Bill as adumbrated by the Royal Commission but not the Bill introduced in this House which defies all the conditions laid down by the Royal Commission.
§ Mr. HACKING
I am not able to deal with that Bill, because were I to do so I should be ruled out of Order. But one of the main reasons which the hon. Gentleman gave for opposing this Bill might possibly enable him to give his support to the other Bill at a later stage.
Many hon. Members have described this Bill as a simple one. At first sight, I agree that this Bill does appear to be very simple in practice. My hon. Friend the Member for South East Essex (Mr. Raikes) described it as such a Bill. The provisions would seem to be quite easy to comprehend. It appears, in fact, to be a Bill completely and absolutely acceptable to all those who would desire 2031 to reduce the restrictions at present imposed upon them in respect of the purchase and consumption of intoxicating liquor. That impression was obviously created in the mind of the hon. Member for East Woolwich (Mr. Hicks), who addressed the House from the Opposition Bench. I repeat that, on the face of it, at any rate, the Bill would seem to give full satisfaction to everybody who desires greater freedom in this respect, whether they may be ordinary members of a club or ordinary frequenters of licensed premises, whether they be licensed victuallers or members of a club committee —in fact, whether they be purveyor or consumer, this Bill would appear on the surface to give them complete and absolute satisfaction. But it is my duty to tell the House that the Bill is not quite so simple as the one operative Clause would imply. For example, the long Title might lead the less intelligent citizen—I do not say the less intelligent Member of this House, because there are none less intelligent—to imagine that all that this Bill does is to standardise hours. There is, however, a further and possibly more desired object of the promoters, namely, to extend the time within which it will be lawful to obtain intoxicating liquor. That reason, at any rate, for supporting this Bill has been given by many of my correspondents from whom I have received letters asking me to support the proposal in this Bill.
I desire, in the first place, to re-state the existing law, for even my hon. Friend the Member for Central Hackney (Mr. Lockwood) was not fully accurate in his description of the existing law and the existing practice. Permitted hours within which drink may be sold are fixed in each district by the licensing justices at their discretion, subject to certain statutory limits. For example, the earliest hour of opening is fixed by law, and the latest hour of closing is fixed by law. In London the earliest possible hour for opening is 11 a.m., and the latest hour for closing 11 p.m. Elsewhere, subject to certain exceptions, the earliest hour for opening is 11 in the morning and the latest hour for closing 10 o'clock in the evening. Under the existing law the maximum number of hours during which licensed premises may be open is fixed by Statute, and this, I think, is where the hon. Member fell into 2032 unintentional error. In London the maximum is nine hours per day, and it cannot be reduced by the licensing justices. Elsewhere the maximum is eight hours per day, or eight and a half hours if the local licensing justices so determine. Then there is a compulsory break of at least two hours commencing at or after midday. The permitted hours apply alike to licensed premises and to clubs, but with a difference in their application to clubs and licensed premises. Let me examine the changes contemplated in the Bill regarding the permitted hours of sale. The suggestion in the Bill is that clubs and licensed premises should still, in the main, be treated alike in respect of hours of sale, but that the hours in the future should be, morning hours from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and evening hours from 5 p.m. to 10.30 p.m.
§ Sir R. BANKS
I would like the Under-Secretary to be a little clearer. I do not think he is quite accurate when he says that the permitted hours with regard to licensed premises and clubs are the same. There is this essential difference, that whereas the magistrates can arrange the hours—
§ Mr. HACKING
If I might interrupt my hon. and learned Friend I was going to deal with that point a little later and to explain the difference. The evening hours, according to the Bill, are to be from 5 p.m. to 10.30 p.m. except in the case of licensed premises or clubs in the metropolis or in boroughs and urban districts of over 20,000 population, where the evening closing hour will be 11 p.m. instead of 10.30 p.m. From information with which I have been provided it is clear that in most districts at present the latest hour when licensed premises are closed is 10 o'clock. The effect of the new hours proposed in the Bill would be, in the majority of cases, and I must emphasise that because there are exceptions, an addition to the present hours of two hours in the metropolis and in boroughs and urban districts with over 20,000 population, and an addition of one and a half hours in the rest of the country. There is also this difference as a result of the Bill, an extension in the majority of cases of the late hour of closing time by one hour as far as the metropolis and boroughs and urban districts with over 20,000 population are concerned, and by 2033 half an hour in the case of other parts of the country. So much for the general effect of the Bill upon hours.
Now I come to the point mentioned by my hon. and learned Friend. He said that there was a difference in the application of the hours of opening at present as regards licensed premises and clubs. This is the difference and it is an important difference. The two hours after 12 o'clock noon, during which licensed premises are closed, are fixed by the licensing justices, but clubs, on the other hand, are free to fix their own hours of closing so long as they are after 12 o'clock noon. Clubs may at present remain open for the sale of intoxicating liquors when licensed premises are compelled to close. I suppose that the majority of licensed premises are in fact closed by licensing justices from 3 o'clock to 5 o'clock in the afternoon. During these two hours, when public houses are compelled to close, clubs, if they choose, may remain open, and that is the great advantage which clubs have at present under this part of the existing law. If the licensing justices fix the latest closing hours for licensed premises earlier than the latest possible hour for closing, clubs may still take advantage of that latest possible hour.
Take London as an example. Generally speaking—I do not refer to what is called the theatre district—it is not possible to get intoxicating refreshment at licensed premises after 10 o'clock, that hour being fixed by the licensing justices. Clubs, however, may remain open for the sale of intoxicating liquors until 11 o'clock, nominally the latest hour allowed by law. Under the provisions of the Bill clubs will no longer be in a privileged position. Licensed premises and clubs will be compelled to open and close at the same hour in the same district. I am not arguing whether this is desirable or undesirable, I am merely stating a fact and pointing out that we have here a considerable alteration of principle which must be of great concern, at any rate, to clubs throughout the country. It would appear from the speeches to which we have listened that most hon. Members when speaking on the subject of our licensing laws have their eyes glued on London. We have heard a great deal about anomalies in Oxford Street, in fact, there are few speakers who have not mentioned it. 2034 The hon. Member for Hackney Central wrote a letter to the "Times", which I think appeared this morning, in which he said that in Oxford Street some public-houses closed at 10 o'clock and 'public-houses on the other side of the street at 11 o'clock. He went on to say:This is obviously ridiculous and tends to bring the licensing law into contempt. We who support the Bill, although we do not contend that it is altogether perfect, desire to put an end to such anomalies.It is a praiseworthy desire to do away with anomalies, but I think I shall be able to show my hon. Friend that in abolishing the anomaly in Oxford Street he is in fact creating many more not only in London but in other parts of the country. Some months ago the hon. and gallant Member for Enfield (Lieut.-Colonel Applin) told me in this House that he had a bar in his constituency where half of it had to be closed at 10 o'clock in the evening while the other half was open until 10.30, and I remember thinking of the hon. and gallant Member when 10 o'clock was approaching edging his way up to the other side of the bar so that he would be in the forefront when 10 o'clock was called by the lady behind the bar.
But to return to the anomalies of Oxford Street. As I say, it should be made clear that, although this anomaly would disappear, under the Bill further anomalies would arise. A serious anomaly would be created, for example, in the City of London. It may not be known to hon. Members that the City of London has a population of less than 20,000. You would have the public-houses in the City having to close at 10.30 when all the public-houses around the City of London would remain open until 11 o'clock. That is not the only anomaly. Outside London there is, for example, the county of Warwick. In Warwickshire the two principal towns are Leamington and the City of Warwick. In Leamington, with a population over 20,000, the houses would remain open till 11 o'clock, but in the City of Warwick, the capital of the county, which has a population of less than 20,000, all the public-houses and licensed premises and clubs would have to close at 10.30 under this Bill. I do not propose to give any other anomalies, but they are being created by the Bill. It is a curious thing that the elasticity per- 2035 mitted by the present system has produced so little lack of uniformity in practice.
I think I should mention two other matters. It will be noticed that the Bill does not apply to Sundays. I suppose that the licensing justices would still have to decide the hours for that day of the week. At the present moment, as the House knows, five hours opening is allowed on Sundays, two hours of which must be between noon and 3 o'clock and three hours between 6 and 10 o'clock in the evening. I suggest that it is perhaps a little inconsistent to take away most of the powers of the licensing justices in respect of weekdays and to leave them their existing authority so far as Sundays are concerned. The House will no doubt consider that aspect of the problem. I am bound to draw attention to the Report of the Royal Commission. I must repeat that it was stated quite definitely in that Report that the Royal Commission was unable to find any evidence of a widespread wish for relaxation of the existing restriction. I believe there are only two members of the Royal Commission who signed a minority report. That is all I desire to say on one side or the other.
Let me sum up the situation. In the first place this Bill proposes a considerable change—desirable or otherwise it is not for me to say—in the present law dealing with a matter which is the subject of much controversy. In the second place the subject-matter of the Bill has recently been thoroughly examined by a Royal Commission, and the proposals of this Measure are not in accordance with the recommendations of that Royal Commission. Thirdly the Bill would undoubtedly remove some anomalies, but it would equally undoubtedly create some new ones. I have no doubt that the House desires to know the attitude of the Government towards the Bill. The Government have not yet had time, have not been able to take into full consideration the recommendations of the Royal Commission. It is not therefore prepared to propose legislation of its own at the present time. I understand that most of the time of the House for a long period ahead is already mortgaged.
I submit to the House, especially to my hon. Friends, that the Government could not reasonably be expected to support 2036 a Bill which cuts right across one of the main proposals of the Report of the Royal Commission, which report has not received at their hands the full and complete consideration which it undoubtedly deserves. The Government then quite obviously cannot give its blessing to the Bill. But this is a private Member's Bill and it is brought before the House on a private Members' day. Many of us may differ as to whether certain existing restrictions should or should not be removed. There has been much difference of opinion to-day as to that. But we are all united in the request and even in the demand that there should be as little restriction as possible of the rights and privileges of Members of this House, and the Government has full sympathy with that demand. It does not desire in any way or at any time to restrict the opportunities of private Members on the days which have been allotted to them, unless such action on the part of the Government is absolutely unavoidable.
It is my duty to explain the Bill quite clearly, without, I hope, being prejudiced one way or the other, and I submit that I would have been failing in my duty and my respect for the House had I not pointed out certain fundamental objections to the Bill. Some of these objections, for all I know most of them, it may be possible to correct in Committee. All I can say now is that the House will be perfectly free to give the Bill a Second Reading if it cares to do so. No pressure will be exercised by the Government Whips in one direction or another. Hon. Members can make up their own minds as to whether or not the Bill should be sent upstairs for further and detailed consideration by a Standing Committee.
§ Mr. PIKE
Reference has been made to the fact that a club is licensed under the law whilst a public-house is under the charge of the local licensing authority. Is the Under-Secretary aware that during the past year the number of licensed clubs in this country has increased from 430 to no less than 14,377. That statement has been made officially.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
I did not call upon the hon. Member to make a speech, but, if he wishes, to put a question to the Minister.
§ Mr. HACKING
I do not know that I can accept the hon. Member's figures. They may be right or not. Undoubtedly there has been an increase in the number of clubs. I did not say that the clubs were not keeping the law. Licensed premises and clubs are both keeping the law. The difference is that for licensed premises the hours of dosing after 12 o'clock are definitely fixed by the licensing justices. The two hours of closing in the case of clubs are left entirely in the hands of the club, and that may be one of the reasons why the number of clubs has increased.
§ 2.45 p.m.
§ Mr. ISAAC FOOT
While I am in agreement with a great deal that has been said by the right hon. Gentleman I am rather sorry that a more definite declaration was not made by the Government on the policy indicated in the Bill. I am sorry that the Mover of the Motion for the Second Reading of the Bill is not at the moment in his place, because I would like to congratulate him upon the maiden speech in which he presented this Measure. It is not an easy thing at any time to make a maiden speech in this House; it is certainly not easy to make one in introducing a Bill, but the hon. Member did it in a manner which commended itself to all in the House. The hon. Member who seconded his Motion fell into a historical error when referring to Oliver Cromwell. A little while ago the suggestion was made in this House that Oliver Cromwell was a brewer. I thought that every one had by now dismissed that suggestion as being quite groundless. It is easier for a live Scotsman to scoff at a dead Cromwell than for a live Scotsman to stand up against a live Cromwell. When, the other day, such a reference was made here I thought it had been dismissed finally and I am astonished that one bearing the hon. Member's name and having his historical knowledge should lend his support to an invention of the lampoonists of the 17th century. I thought it had been dismissed.
§ Mr. RAIKES
I thought that what the hon. Gentleman said earlier in the day, that Cromwell was the great apostle of toleration, had also been dismissed. I thought that was equally dead.
§ Mr. FOOT
I do not wish to detain the House with a discussion on this point, but that is another evidence of lack of historical knowledge on the part of the hon. Member. If he refers to the letters contained in Mr. Carlyle's volume he will find ample evidence upon that point. However, I do not wish to be in any sense uncomplimentary to the hon. Member. I desire to include both the Mover and Seconder of the Motion for the Second Reading in the friendly reference which I have made.
The discussion to-day has dealt largely with clubs. I do not want to be involved in a discussion upon clubs. I raised the question of clubs in this House many years ago and if that question is to be dealt with, we ought to take into consideration the general recommendations upon clubs made by the Royal Commission. I do not say that we ought to legislate upon those lines, but, obviously, there is an urgent case for legislation in that respect, and we cannot remedy that problem within the four corners of this Bill. There has also been the question of anomalies with which I shall deal later.
The case was put I think very effectively by the hon. Member who moved the rejection of the Bill when he said that we ought to have regard to the recommendations of the Royal Commission. That criticism was anticipated by my hon. Friend who moved the Second Reading when he said that the House was not bound by the recommendations of the Royal Commission. No one suggested that it was and it would be preposterous if it were sought to put such restriction upon our liberty. But the Royal Commission consisted of very distinguished men and women who gave their time and their service voluntarily to the public, some, as I know, at great personal inconvenience and sacrifice. It is only fair to them, as they are public servants like ourselves, and as they have spent upon that important work, at the request of His Majesty and of His Majesty's Government, so much time and energy, that proper consideration should be given to their conclusions. That is all I ask.
2039 We should also have regard to the fact that their conclusions were based upon evidence which is not available to us. It is all very well for hon. Members to talk about the railwayman coming late from his work and unable to get his glass of beer. It is all very well to speak of a few people in this or that constituency. The ladies and gentlemen who acted on the Commission had the advantage of an exhaustive inquiry in which they were able to call up all those who are best qualified to speak on the subject, such as medical officers of health and chief constables of our large cities and towns. Who are better qualified to speak on the maintenance of public order than such witnesses? One of the advantages of this Bill, for which I thank the hon. Member opposite, is that as a result of it we shall now probably pay more attention to the evidence and the recommendations of the Royal Commission. Let hon. Members consult the volumes of evidence and see how qualified were those witnesses, from whatever parts of the country they came. That evidence having been obtained it is entitled to the serious consideration of the House and we should be neglectful of our duty if we thrust it on one side. The suggestions and the declarations of those witnesses were definitely against the proposal contained in the Bill. That is beyond question and the Commission, having gone into the question of anomalies, having gone into the difficulties particularly in London, including the difficulty of Oxford Street and all the rest of it, came to the conclusion that it would be a reactionary step to go back upon the hours that were established in recent years.
We ought to be guarded in this matter. There is no part of our law more intricate and difficult than that which deals with licensing. I see an eminent Member of the Bar near me and although I am a younger member of a junior profession I am sure he would agree with me that it is a most intricate part of our law. Statute after Statute passed in generation after generation, and consolidated with great difficulty in the Act of 1921, and a great body of case law exist upon the subject, so that it is necessary to have counsel who are specially qualified in this work. There is no branch of our law in connection with which it is more 2040 difficult to bring in a new proposal, and it is necessary to proceed with the greatest care in any such attempt. The proposal in the Bill has been very hurriedly put together. The Bill talks about clubs, but as far as I know there is no such thing as a club known to the law. There is a registered club, but I assume some definition would be needed on that point. Indeed, this Measure has been so hastily drawn that no one seemed to know whether Monmouthshire would come within its provisions or not.
§ Mr. LOCKWOOD
I think if the hon. Member looks at Section I of the Licensing Act of 1921, he will find that the word "club" is used there.
§ Sir R. BANKS
May I make a correction purely on a matter of law? The consolidation Act is the Act of 1910 and the Act which prescribes the hours and procedure now in operation is the Act of 1921—which is an example of piecemeal legislation and therefore against the hon. Member's argument.
§ Mr. FOOT
I ought to have remembered that the great Consolidation Act was the Act of 1910 and that the Act of 1921 was the Act which dealt with the experience following upon the War. But we are asked in this Bill to override the Royal Commission. I do not wish to alienate the support of any Members of the House by any strong statements, but I think I am entitled to suggest that a very strong case must be put forward to justify us in setting aside the conclusions and recommendations of that body. We are also asked to override the recommendations of the local justices. Although these anomalies may exist in different parts of the country, why are they there? The justices have come to their conclusions always after calling before them the evidence of the local police. Hon. Members will know that the first thing that is done by the justices is to call for the evidence of the police upon the matter before them. There is the opportunity for the public to represent their views, and very often they come to the court to express their opinions. All the local justices 2041 are aware of the local anomalies when they arrive at the decisions of which we are speaking, but obviously they are justified in making some difference between the closing hours in the provinces and those in London.
If you take the county of Cornwall, in one part the closing hour was made 9 o'clock, and it is that because it is in accordance with habits of the people. The latest closing hour in that county is 10 o'clock, but some houses close at 9.30. It is not so unreasonable to close at 9.30 in Cornwall, as compared with 10 or 11 in some parts of London, because the people there go to bed earlier and they rise earlier; and surely the local justices are qualified to express an opinion upon this matter. I cannot understand the desire that has been expressed in this House to override the decision of the people who have made close inquiry and have no interest to serve except that of the public.
§ Mr. FOOT
I will make this confession, that if this were a Bill that reasonably offered to us stabilisation, I think it would be entitled to a Second Reading; that is, if it is intended to secure throughout all the country some reasonable uniformity—I do not say precisely the same hour, but perhaps one hour in the country and another in London, without any extension of licensing hours—I think the hon. Member might have looked for very considerable support in this House, but this Bill does not give stabilisation. As has been pointed out by the right hon. Gentleman, it will create anomalies, and I would carry it a great deal further than he did. Having gone into this matter very closely, I will tell the Mover of the Second Reading that for every one anomaly that his Bill wipes out, his Bill will create ten others.
§ Mr. FOOT
I will give the evidence. He mentioned Oxford Street in a letter that appeared in the "Times" news- 2042 paper this morning, and he spoke of the injustice of houses being kept open till 10 on one side of Oxford Street and 11 on the other, but he is going to create thousands of Oxford Streets throughout this country.
§ Mr. FOOT
It is a matter beyond all dispute, and it can very easily be proved. He will create thousands of instances throughout the country where, on one side of the road, the closing time will be 10.30 and on the other side 11 p.m. The great majority of places in this country to-day have 10 o'clock as the closing hour. Do hon. Members know that outside London 10 o'clock applies to nearly all our people? At present there are 34,000,000 of our population subject to the 10 o'clock closing hour and about 3,000,000, some with 9 p.m., some with 9.30 p.m., and some with 11 p.m., but the overwhelming majority of the people of the country are at present subject to a 10 o'clock closing hour. Under the hon. Member's Bill that 10 o'clock closing hour will be gone, and he would make some 17,300,000 people subject to the 10.30 closing hour and some 20,400,000 subject to the 11 o'clock closing hour.
At present, taking great contiguous counties, you have immense areas—the greatest part of the area of this country—under a 10 o'clock closing rule, and there are no anomalies there in the closing hours. But let us see what would be the result of the hon. Member's own scheme. Take the division represented by the right hon. Gentleman who spoke from the Treasury Box just now. In his constituency there would be one areaChorley—closing at 11, with a population of 30,000, and there are four urban areas in his division, with a population of just under 20,000, which would all be subject to a 10.30 closing hour. That would mean new anomalies again. Take Nelson. The name of the hon. and learned Member for Nelson (Mr. Thorp) is on the back of this Bill. You will create anomalies in his division that do not exist at present. In that division, Nelson and Come will close at 11 under this Bill, but in the same division the three urban areas of Barrowford, Brierfield and Trawden abutting upon those boroughs will all close at 10.30. As far as Nelson is concerned, the hon. and learned Member 2043 backs a Bill that will introduce into his division anomalies that do not exist at the present time.
Take the division represented by the hon. Member for Ince (Mr. G. Macdonald). There will be two 11 o'clock areas under the Bill there and five urban areas with 10.30 p.m. It is dividing the whole place up. In Doncaster there are two areas, Doncaster and Adwick, which will close at 11, but in between those two is the district of Bentley with Aksey, which will have to close at 10.30. Take Pudsey. Pudsey would be closed at 10.30, but it would be lying between the two places of Leeds and Bradford, which would both close at 11, and the constituents of my hon. Friend would have to hesitate which trams they would take.
§ Mr. LOCKWOOD
At present the public-houses there may be closed at 10, 10.30, or 11, but under my Bill there will only be two choices. They will close at either 11 or 10.30.
§ Mr. FOOT
I am showing how the hon. Member's scheme works out, and I have gone to the trouble of taking actual areas. I think it is irrefutable that the great mass of the people of this country, some 34,000,000 out of a population of about 36,000,000, are subject at present to the 10 o'clock rule, and there is scarcely a division in the North of England where you will not be introducing the anomaly of which I have spoken. The only reason I do not go on to the other constituencies is that I do not wish to occupy the time of Parliament in stating what I think has already been amply proved. See the anomalies that will be left, apart from all those that you will create. There are the special licences given now by the magistrates. We have had a great deal of attention drawn to them in the newspapers, in which the magistrates have been held up to derision because they have come to varying decisions in different districts. It would still be done, although this Bill might pass into law, and that is an anomaly which would remain entirely untouched.
§ Mr. LOCKWOOD
The hon. Member is wrong there, because so far as refreshment licences are concerned, provided the premises are usually used for supplying food and are structurally suitable, a certificate has to be given.
§ Mr. FOOT
I am speaking about the special occasions and the special licences that are now being given to meet the different times, like those that are given for New Year's Day, Christmas, and the rest. I understand from the Press that they think that there is all the difference between refusal in one district and granting in another. I say that these anomalies will continue and this Bill will itself create any number of anomalies. It will leave untouched those that exist on Sunday and the anomalies that may exist in Scotland and Wales. Really, the Bill does not achieve the purpose that is suggested by the hon. Member, but it does one thing that is most serious; it extends substantially the licensing hours of this country. There are some people who would not look upon that as a grievance. I do not give my opinion of it, and I do not ask the House to give any opinion. I suggest, however, that the House ought to take the considered opinion of those who gave evidence before the Royal Commission. I will not trouble the House with that evidence, but I can, if necessary, give the evidence of the Chief Constable of Middlesbrough and the Chairman of the City of London Sessions and of the Licensing Committee, Sir Robert Wallace. That is a name which will command some respect from those who try to find the truth in these matters. In his evidence he spoke of this as being a change of immense importance, and said:I have had it reported to me everywhere that the change in the comfort of family life has been perfectly marvellous since the worker was enabled to retire at an earlier hour.Another witness was the Chairman of the Licensing Committee of the County of Dorset, the Clerk of the Licensing Justices of Sheffield, and the Clerk of the Licensing Justices of Liverpool. The question was expressly put to the latter:There is a very considerable reduction in the convictions. How do you account for that?I do not know this gentleman, but I know that if he is Clerk to the Licensing Justices of Liverpool and cares to travel that distance, to give his evidence before the Royal Commission, his words relating to one of our great industrial cities ought to have weight. His answer was: 2045The restricted hours have had a very large influence. I think the break in the afternoon had some influence, but more particularly the cutting off of the last hour at night. Before the War the houses were open till 11 o'clock, and now they are closed at 10.The question was again put to him:You think that the fixing of the hours in that way is partly at least accountable for the reduction in convictions?His answer was:It does account for the reduction in convictions to a great extent. I am sure that is the general opinion in Liverpool.Evidence was given by the Deputy Chairman of the Manchester Licensing Committee, the clerk to the Licensing Justices of Birmingham, and by the Chief Constable of Bradford, who spoke in the strongest terms against any alteration in the hours. Evidence was also given by the Chief Constable of Newcastle-on-Tyne and by Lord D'Abernon who had experience as Chairman of the Central Control Board. He said:My first desire is to accentuate the progress already achieved under existing legislation and draw attention to the undesirability of any measures tending to weaken what has been done in restriction of hours.Am I not entitled to ask my hon. Friend to put against his conjectures the considered evidence of these people representing practically all the great cities of this country; and if we are concerned for the good order of this country, who are more qualified to give evidence than those in whose hands that responsibility rests? I will quote only one other piece of evidence, which is a rather fortunate piece, for it was given by the director of the Brewers' Society, Sir Edgar Sanders. He was formerly Clerk to the Licensing Justices at Liverpool and afterwards in charge of the experiment in Carlisle. He gave this evidence before he became the Director of the Brewers' Society. I ask hon. Members to notice that what he had to say was not in response to a question. It was his written memorandum. These are his words:In my opinion there is no real drunkenness problem at present, and I consider the following reasons, given in order of their importance, account for this: (a) the present high price of intoxicants due to the level of taxation; (b) the curtailed hours during which sales are permitted.He went on to speak of other causes, but the second of the causes for sobriety was 2046 the curtailed hours during which sales are permitted. I think those words are important coming from a man who holds the position of the director of the Brewers' Society. He said further:I consider the present opening hours have met with extraordinary acceptance by the British public. I should be in favour, however, of seeing a uniform closing hour in all parts of London, with, if thought necessary in certain areas, an extra time for service of intoxicants with food. The earlier closing hour has been a reform of the first magnitude for the whole country. The last hour in the evening is always the worst, whatever the period of opening is, and to get the streets cleared at least an hour earlier than used to be the case has been an enormous benefit.That was the evidence given by the director of the Brewers' Society and I call it in aid in putting the case not, with my opinion but the opinions of those who are best qualified to speak. I know that there is some demand for this Bill as expressed by the voices of Members of this House, but there is against it a very strong body of opinion. I believe that there is against it the body of opinion that is contained in the declarations of the Royal Commission, I believe we have against it the opinions of the chief constables of this country, and the opinions of the medical officers of health. I would ask any Member who is in doubt to consult the health visitors in his constituency, especially those who work among the poor. I think we have against it the women of this country and the mothers and the children. I trust that as a result of this appeal and some ascertainment of the mind of those to whom I have referred there will be such strong objection to this Measure that it can be defeated, and that the Government may be then very strongly pressed to bring in, within a reasonable time, considered proposals dealing with all the conclusions that were placed before the country by the Royal Commission.
§ 3.13 p.m.
§ Sir R. BANKS
We have heard a great deal this afternoon about the Royal Commission. It is true that nobody can treat the findings of such a body without respect. It is also true, as my hon. Friend has said, that we are perfectly free in this House. More than that, we in this House ought not to put our own opinions in the background just because some Royal 2047 Commission, at some time or another has come to conclusions with which we may or may not agree. This temperance problem is a thorny one, as everyone knows. The Royal Commission was appointed by a recent Government, and I have always thought it was appointed because that Government had not got the courage to tackle the problem itself. Of course, it would be entirely improper and wrong, and I should not think for a moment of doing so, to suggest that any royal commission or any joint select committee is packed or biased or prejudiced; but I can only say that after one glance at the personnel of this Commission I felt able to forecast with absolute accuracy the conclusions at which it arrived. It is astonishing how people who get on to Commissions are always interested, as they say, in social work, in philanthrophy and in moral progress. I give them all the credit for their good intentions, but it is strange how often their activities seem to consist in interfering with their neighbours' wishes.
§ Sir R. BANKS
Oh yes. It is a curious thing but there still seems to be among these excellent people some trace of the Puritanical spirit so much admired by the hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Isaac Foot)—whether it was intolerance or not is a matter for the historians to discuss. The House may remember the famous epigram of Lord Macaulay, who said that the Puritans objected to bear-baiting not so much because it gave pain to the bear as because it gave pleasure to the spectators. We are men of the world. We have knocked about—or at any rate I certainly have. I have been lawyer, politician, private soldier, officer, and Member of Parliament, and I have considered the temperance question in the wet canteen in the Army and in the wet canteens in this House and other places. We can all have our own opinions on the matter, as sensible and practical men of the world, without assistance from Commissions, to which most of the witnesses come with all sorts of considerations weighing upon their minds. From my own experience of licensing sessions I can tell hon. Members that a policeman will often support some proposal for the shortening 2048 of hours, and will tell you in confidence that he does not believe in it at all, but that it is expected of him. Whatever Royal Commissions may say, we have to make up our own minds, as men of the world, for ourselves.
As I understand this Bill, it does not purport to be drafted with a view to removing anomalies, but, in spite of all that has been said, I still think that it will remove some anomalies. Anomalies you always have, under the old law. The hours for London, and towns and other populous places, differ from the hours in the country. You have to take your choice. If you want to get rid of anomalies, it is obvious that you must have the same closing hours all over England. If you do that, you must either make people go to bed in London at the same time as in the country, or else you must keep the houses in the country open as long as in London. Nobody will suggest that great cities like London should be compelled to close their hotels, restaurants and public-houses at the early hour of 10 o'clock, and I do not think that anybody supposes that little rustic taverns in the countryside need, or wish, to keep open as long as the houses in London. There you have an anomaly.
It is surely wise to see if we can get the same hours fixed for the same sort of places. What is ridiculous is that, as between two districts which are exactly the same in every particular, where the same considerations apply in every particular, and where the needs of the population are precisely the same in every particular, as they are between the north and south sides of Oxford Street, you should have, as in that instance, a Sahara to the north and an oasis to the south. Moreover, the drought on the north side of Oxford Street is inflicted, not by the deliberate will of Parliament, but by the caprice of a bench of magistrates. That is very much resented. Anybody who has had the experience of attending a licensing session where the justices fix such hours, knows that the scenes are by no means edifying. A sort of regular public meeting is made of it. I notice that there are always large bands of social workers. They all seem to belong to one another's organisations; they all overlap. They take great care to fill the court to overflowing at the beginning—they always get front seats. Moreover, 2049 they are organised. They all begin, as some hon. Members have to-day, by saying, "Far be it from me to say that I am a prohibitionist; I am not a prohibitionist." And, having said that, they oppose every kind of chance, however slight, for anybody else to get a drink. If the last hour is 11, they want it to be 10; if the last hour is 10, my hon. Friend the Member for West Bermondsey (Dr. Salter) knows perfectly well that he would like it to be 9.
§ Sir R. BANKS
What they would really like is that all the hours should be so reduced and so arranged that nobody could get a drink of any sort at any time that suited him. They would like to send us all home and tuck us all up comfortably in bed somewhere about 8.30 with a cup of cocoa, and prevent any of us from doing any of the things that we want to do afterwards. I would point out to my right hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, who talked about anomalies, that the very worst anomaly of all is that which exists under the present law. In London, as my right hon. Friend has very truly said, the magistrates have it in their discretion to arrange the permitted hours, subject to the conditions that there must be a break of two hours in the afternoon, and that the latest hour is 11 o'clock. Suppose that, as they are inclined to do in some divisions, they fixed the hours of opening at from 5 in the afternoon to 10, they think they have accomplished what so many of my hon. Friends would like to see, that is to say, they think they have sent home everybody safely to bed at 10 o'clock. They think they have arranged for five hours' opportunity for the sale and consumption of drink in the afternoon, but in fact they have done nothing of the sort; they have provided thirsty persons in that district with six hours in which to drink instead of five.
I will tell the House how it is done, in case anybody would like to know. The magistrates say that the public houses are open at 5, so the scientific consumer goes into a public house at 5. He leaves the public house at 10, but he is, as nearly everybody is, a member of a club, and the clubs have arranged that their hours shall be from 6 to 11. Therefore, having left licensed premises 2050 at 10, he gets from 10 to 11 in a club; so that, where the licensing justices have fixed the hours for licensed premises at the earlier period, and the clubs, as they always do, keep them to the last, there are six hours for the purpose of obtaining drink instead of five. What could be more absurd than that, and how can it be said in any way to advance the cause of temperance?
While I am on this subject, let me say a word about clubs. In the first place, the fact that there are so many clubs as there are to-day is due to the ill-advised and narrow-minded restrictions which the House of Commons imposes upon licensed premises. We have seen in America—I am not going to deal with it except to say this—the ghastly failure of trying to make people obey laws of which their consciences and common sense do not approve. It has been made so inconvenient in every way for the customers of licensed houses that they have had recourse to the loophole of forming clubs for themselves. All along, the policy of the temperance party has been shortsighted. They have tried to make the public house as dirty and disreputable and inconvenient and uncomfortable as they could, in order to be able to say, "Do not go into that disreputable place." What has happened? People have left these places because they were inconvenient and their liberty was restricted, and have formed clubs for themselves; and we know that in many cases those clubs have been infintely more undesirable than licensed premises. They have nothing to pay except a registration fee of 5s.; they are not under magisterial control; women and children can attend them in the places where drink is sold; they can have musical performances; in fact, they can do exactly what they like. The result has been an enormous growth of clubs. You stop up one avenue for the consumption of drink and you open another equally dangerous, but, thank goodness, such is the character and common sense of the working people that they have not abused that privilege to anything like the extent one would have expected.
The hon. Member's observation about clubs was nothing short of what we often hear from those benches in response to something said on this side, an insult to the working-classes. I am a member 2051 of all the working-men's clubs in my constituency, and I frequent them. Most of the members, I daresay, are not of my political school of thought, but it is there that I meet them in a friendly way. They come back from their work and have their tea and then they go on to these clubs, play a game of billiards or meet their friends and have a pint of beer, and why in Heaven's name should they not? They organise admirable entertainments. One club has a garden and on Sunday evenings in the summer a band plays and their wives and children go with them and I am glad they do, because where that sort of thing prevails men are ashamed to use bad language or to misbehave. I have spent evenings there in an extremely pleasant atmosphere with a great deal of good to myself, and I have never seen any conduct at any of these clubs which could disfigure any society in the world. Why should the hon. Members use such words in connection with these clubs simply because they sell beer. Of course, they are afraid of bankruptcy, but it does not imply that there is drunkenness because they have made a considerable profit out of the sale of beer. I suppose it would be the best thing in the world for those who sell liquor if no one took too much but everyone took a little. Consumption would probably increase, but drunkenness would go down.
There are many clubs with a big membership which have never been disgraced by one scene of intoxication where the actual consumption of beer is very considerable indeed and where the profits on the sale are sufficient to render the club solvent. I think it would be a disaster, not to the brewers or publicans but to the comfort and happiness and social progress of the working people, if a narrow-minded policy of restriction was to militate against the continuance and further improvement of working-men's clubs. I know the members of my clubs. I go among them. I am not one of those who form their opinion of their habits by hearing resolutions passed at temperance societies. I see them in their own gathering places. They are respectable men who may well be trusted with full liberty.
Surely the same policy ought to be adopted with regard to licensed premises, 2052 not a policy of ill-advised restriction but a policy of improvement, a policy of trusting the people, of trusting to the effects of education and of their other pleasures and distractions. The very people who want to shut up public houses on Sunday are the same who want to shut up the cinemas on Sunday, which are a very strong counter attraction to the public-house.
It is said, and it may be right, that the curtailment of hours has produced good effects in the matter of temperance, but what does that mean? Let us be a little more precise in our phraseology. If it means that the curtailing of the old very long hours was a good thing, I agree. No one wants to go back to the old pre-War years. But, because you say it has done good to shorten them, it by no means follows as a matter of logic, or as a matter of common-sense, that you are going to cause deterioration by a slight extension of the present hours, which were laid down at a time when post-War prohibitionism was rampant in the land. I understand—and I shall be corrected if I am wrong—from this morning's paper that the latest licensing statistics show a considerable falling off this year in the convictions for drunkenness. Have the hours been changed this year? They have not, but there has been a steady improvement under the same hours since 1921. There has been no change in the hours, yet there has been a steady improvement. There are a number of causes which I need not specify. There are the hard times for one thing. Students of the temperance movement will know as well as I do that in the years when drunkenness is low crime is high as a general rule, and vice versa. In poor times crime tends to go up, and in rich times drunkenness tends to go up, but the general trend of temperance in this country is up and up all the time. It is most noticeable in those gasses of society with whose habits nobody has ever attempted to interfere.
Why is it that the wealthier classes in 1933 are very much more sober than they used to be in 1733? Nobody has tried to stop them from getting a drink. All this has been class legislation from the start, an interfering with the working man and the poor man. Everybody knows that the rich man has never been interfered will, but that the poor man is packed off to 2053 bed at 10 o'clock and the rich man can be carried upstairs tight at one o'clock in the morning. He may have enough spirits and wine in his house to stock 52 country public-houses, and no one interferes with him. I am not going to say the higher classes, because I do not approve of that sort of falsehood. But why are the wealthier classes more sober today than they used to be? It is simply a change in public opinion, and that is the end of it. I suggest that whatever the Royal Commission said, and that whatever my hon. Friends, whose sincerity I do not for a moment question, may say, there is a feeling of exasperation and irritation among the working men of this country at the restrictive legislation to which they have been exposed. There is a genuine demand for some further freedom and a genuine opinion that present anomalies, though they are somewhat less, are particularly irritating, because they are illogical and capricious, and, although the Bill may need alteration in Committee, I hope that the House will give it a Second Reading.
§ 3.33 p.m.
§ Mr. RHYS DAVIES
This Bill is a Private Member's Measure, and consequently every Member of every party is entitled to speak for himself.
§ Mr. J. JONES
On a point of Order. May I ask why, if a Private Member is allowed to express a private opinion, he should speak from the Treasury Bench or from that Box? Some of us—
§ Mr. DAVIES
I have listened practically to the whole of this Debate, which has been very interesting. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Swindon (Sir R. Banks) said that as soon as the Royal Commission on Licensing was appointed he could foretell at once what their decisions would be. I hope that he will not be offended if I say that before he got up to-day I could tell what he was going to say. When hon. Members protest that they have no vested interest in the drink traffic, I would remind them of Shakespeare's dictum:The lady doth protest too much, methinks.2054 Hon. Members are quite as sincere in their points of view as I am in mine, but I would point out that there is no vested interest in fighting for a better standard of citizenship. There is, however, a vested interest when you have shares in breweries or in hop farms.
§ Sir R. BANKS
I can assure my hon. Friend that from no point of view have I any such vested interest.
§ Mr. DAVIES
If the hon. Member or any other hon. Member can put me on to a seven guineas engagement for speaking on temperance, I should be pleased. I do not think that I had ever received even half a guinea for doing that sort of work. I want to touch upon one or two points that have not been dealt with up to now. I have interested myself, and have almost been compelled so to do, in the hours of labour of those employed in the distributive and kindred trades, and in that connection I should like to reply to a point made by the hon. Member who seconded the Motion for the Second Reading of the Bill. He said that if we allow the Bill to go to Committee upstairs he would guarantee that we could come to an arrangement as to the hours of labour of those who are employed in the licensed trade. I feel sure he has no authority whatever to speak on behalf of the employers of those people. I am almost certain that there is no hon. Member who could stand up at any time in this House and say that they can negotiate with us for a maximum 48 hours, a 50 hours or even a 52 hours week for the employés in the licensing trade.
I object to the suggestion that the present restrictions ought to be whittled down. That same argument has been employed thousands of times with regard to restrictions affecting the closing of shops. Hon. Members would do well to take warning that once we agree to the removal of some of the present restrictions in relation to the hours worked in the distributive and allied trades, it will mean that practically all the other restrictions would go in the end. 2055 The hon. and learned Member for Swindon said that the Bill was not asking for very much—only an hour or an hour and a half a day extra—but if this Bill becomes law those hon. Members who are backing it now will be emboldened to bring another Measure forward in 12 months time and will want still other restrictions removed. In the end we shall find ourselves back to the old position of pre-war days. We shall find ourselves in the position described to me by an hon. Member of my party who tells me that at one time he was the steward of a club in the north of England, where the hours of opening were from 6 o'clock in the morning until 11 o'clock at night. He was compelled to be on the spot in the club the whole time. Surely, no one wants to go back to those hours for the opening and closing of clubs. Hon. Members would do well to remember that every extension of hours means that the next demand for a still further extension will be much more difficult to resist. That is one of the objections that I have to the Bill.
We must face up also to the question of conditions of employment in the licensed trade. There are some hon. Members here who were members of the Select Committee on shop assistants when we inquired into this among other problems. If the House will bear with me, I will give some facts with regard to the licensed trade itself as to the hours of labour of its employés.
§ Sir R. BANKS
The hon. Member said, I think, that the Shop Hours Acts had nothing to do with the licensed trade. Surely he must be wrong there. If I am right, Section 1 of the Act of 1912 applies to the licensed trade. He then said that it does not apply to employés who sell intoxicating liquor by retail if the employer chooses to put up a notice saying he will have the hours under the Act of 1913, and those hours, I think, are 65 per week. That is a point I am not sure about.
§ Mr. DAVIES
Well, for once a layman appears to know more about the law than a lawyer. It was the hon. Member who seconded the Motion, who made the statement quoted by the hon. and learned Gentleman. What he said was that the hours of labour of those employed in the licensed trade are regulated by the 2056 Shops Acts, and I assured him, from the little knowledge I had of the working of the provisions of the Shops Acts, that there is only one compulsory provision governing the hours of labour of shop assistants, and so far as I gather, these employés fall into the same category, namely, that there is a maximum 74-hour working week laid down in law in respect of young persons only. There is, so far as I know, no compulsory restriction as to the number of hours of adults.
§ Mr. DAVIES
As a layman, I would again venture to correct the hon. and learned Gentleman. The only other provisions in the Shops Acts relating to hours of labour are to be found in connection with the closing of shops. To close the door of a shop or licensed premises does not, however, affect the hours of labour of the assistants. That is where, I think, the hon. and learned Gentleman may be wrong.
Let me pass to another objection I have to this Measure. The hon. Members who moved and seconded this Bill spoke about removing anomalies, and the same point has been referred to on several occasions since. The example of Oxford Street has been quoted. Let me bring the provisions of this Bill down to my own Division; I do not know how it will affect other Parliamentary Divisions represented in this House. There are five urban district councils in my own Parliamentary Division. The hon. and learned Member spoke of the same point, by the way. He spoke of anomalies in the present law which, he said, this Bill will remove. In only one of the five urban district councils in my Parliamentary Division is there a population of over 20,000. The people in all the five townships are practically alike, consisting of miners, engineers, textile workers and so on. This Bill will create in my Parliamentary Division a greater anomaly in respect of hours of opening and closing than has ever existed up to now. Let me refer to the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department. He represents a constituency next to mine. The town of 2057 Chorley which he represents will certainly have a population of over 20,000, but the town of Horwich next to it, in my Division, has only 15,000. The result, if this Bill becomes law, will be that the right hon. Member may get the credit of extending the hours in Chorley, and contracting the hours in my own Division. These anomalies will grow as far as the Provinces are concerned.
§ Sir R. BANKS
Will the hon. Member allow me? He has repeatedly asserted, and it is a most important question, that the hours of employ´s on licensed premises cannot be altered because the Shop Hours Act does not apply. May I refer him to the Shops Act, 1913, which says, that the provisions of Section I of the Shops Act, 1912, shall not apply to shop assistants employed in any premises for the sale of refreshments if they are employed wholly or mainly in connection with the sale of intoxicating liquors, and if the occupier of the premises gives the requisite notice such assistants shall not be employed for more than 65 hours in any week exclusive of meal times. It seems to me that the Shop Hours Act of 1912 does normally apply to everybody, but if the person is employed in selling intoxicating liquor by retail and the occupier chooses to give the notice the maximum hours during which that person can be employed is 65 hours per week. I may have misread the law but I do not think so.
§ Mr. DAVIES
I do not withdraw anything I have said as to the provisions of the Shops Acts, because that was the point made. Let me quote the words of a potman who gave evidence before the Select Committee. He ought to know. [Interruption.] I am trying to give information to the hon. and learned Member and I listened very attentively to what he had to say. A law was passed immediately after the War to provide some time off for those people employed in the licensing trade, and this is what a man, working under that law, said to the Select Committee on Shop Assistants.
§ Mr. DAVIES
1930! Shop assistants, for all legal purposes are domestic servants and I have always thought that the law equally applied to people employed 2058 in the licensing trade, who are domestic servants just as much as shop assistants. This is what the potman said:My desire is that the 1916 Act be put into operation without delay by all engaged in the public house and licensing trade. If it was it would give us Sunday off without prejudice to the employers.I think that the legislation referred to by the hon. and learned Member has nothing to do with shop assistants, it only affects those engaged in the licensing trade, but even those legal provisions are not now operative. I have dealt with the point with regard to the hours of labour for shop assistants; let me now turn to something else. The hon. and learned Member talked about his interest in working men and said that he met them often in clubs. I think I have had a much closer connection with working men than meeting them in clubs, arid as far as I know the working men of this country there is no demand for this Measure. There is no demand indeed except a spurious one fomented from headquarters in London. I am positive that if a plebiscite was taken on this subject there would not be a majority in favour of this Measure in any industrial district, especially among the women.
§ Mr. DAVIES
I have been interrupted a great deal otherwise I should have sat down before now and allowed more time for the Noble Lord who is to follow. I think that the attitude of the Government towards the Bill is very fair. The Under-Secretary called the attention of Members of the House to the fact that the Royal Commission went into this subject very closely, and that they reported and recommended other methods of dealing with this drink problem. I have another objection to any extension of the hours of drinking. Last week we discussed and next week we shall again discuss the problem of unemployment. There are millions of people who are living on unemployment benefit and Poor Law relief. Some of us have been fighting for years in order to raise, and have succeeded in part in raising, the standard of life of 2059 our people by social services and the like. I object very much therefore to new and extended facilities being given to people to spend on more drink money that ought to be spent on food and clothing. They have little enough in all conscience to buy necessities for themselves and their families. I sincerely trust that the Government will hold tight and will not give facilities for the passing of the Bill, because, above all things, there are much more important problems than this waiting to be dealt with. I hope we shall make it clear in the Division Lobby that the people we represent have never asked for this extension and are opposed to its passage into law.
§ 3.52 p.m.
§ Viscount WOLMER
I do not propose to occupy more than a few moments, because the case against the Bill has been put so well by my hon. Friend who has just sat down, and the case in favour of the Bill has been put so well by the hon. and learned Member for Swindon (Sir R. Banks), that I think the House is quite ready to come to a decision on the matter. We recognise that the Government is absolutely impartial in the matter. It has been pointed out that while the Bill undoubtedly remedies a great many anomalies, it also perhaps creates other anomalies. My friends and I have consulted together and we believe that any anomalies that are created by the Bill as drafted can be very easily removed in Committee. Therefore, I hope very much that the House will give the Bill a Second Reading, and allow us to improve it upstairs. I am certain from letters which have reached me that there is a demand for more relaxation in regard to licensing hours, and I would warn my temperance friends that if they go beyond public opinion in the restrictions which they seek to impose they will not be serving the cause of temperance. Legislation in this matter can only keep pace with public opinion, and undoubtedly public opinion at the present time finds many of the hours and regulations irksome. This Bill, while it does not profess to remove all anomalies, does give greater latitude, and does go some way towards meeting the public demand, and I think our constituents will be very disappointed if the House does not give the Bill a Second Reading.
§ Mr. LOCKWOOD rose in his place and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put," but Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER withheld his assent, and declined then to put that Question.
§ 3.54 p.m.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I dislike all private Bills, particularly Bills brought forward by a vested interest. Obviously, if they have any rood in them, they should be brought forward by the Government. I wish to put a point of view that so far has not been heard in the House. I speak in the interest of our sons. Anyone who has watched the expression of delight and satisfaction that comes over the face of a young man who has been dancing with a girl when she says, "I think I will have a lemonade"—
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
There is no doubt about it, and the House ought to realise, that the cost of giving a girl a good time has gone up, is going up, and ought to be diminished. This is a Bill for making it more expensive. In the interests of our sons, and in the interests of the whole population, hotels should be allowed to sell ginger beer as late as they like, but not the more expensive form of refreshments. The Bill will go to a Committee and there we shall be able to put forward fundamental objections but I should not like the House to run away with the idea that in giving the Bill a Second Reading they are conferring a benefit on humanity. They are adding to the cost of growing up.
§ 3.56 p.m.
§ Mr. J. JONES
I do not propose to follow the right hon. and gallant Gentleman in talking about the West End of London and taking ladies out. I am talking about the East End of London where we take the ladies in. I understand the attitude of those who talk about the public houses on one side of the street in London closing at eleven o'clock while those on the ether side of the street, only a few yards away, close at ten o'clock. It is with the object of removing anomalies such as that that this Bill has been introduced. I only happen to be an ordinary beer drinker. I cannot afford to be an extraordinary one—unless 2061 somebody else pays for it—but I want to point out to the House that during the War we agreed voluntarily to sacrifice some of the privileges in this respect which we then enjoyed. This Bill does not ask for the restoration of all that we have lost. It only asks that we shall have reasonable opportunites of enjoying social intercourse in the times when we can do so. I do not pretend to be a lawyer and I am not going to intervene in the discussion which has been going on between one hon. and learned Gentleman and another who is not so legal, though quite as honourable.
§ Mr. LOCKWOOD
rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put," but Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER withheld his assent, and declined then to put that Question.
§ Mr. JONES
I only want to say that I represent a working-class constituency and that we object entirely to these restrictions. We are willing to accept reasonable regulations; we do not want the old hours back again but we want reasonable opportunities. I cannot understand for the life of me why I should be able to come up to the West End by spending a sixpenny omnibus fare and drink, if I want to, until eleven o'clock when, in my own constituency I cannot get a drink after ten o'clock.
§ Mr. LOCKWOOD rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 103; Noes, 69.2063
|Division No. 14.]||AYES.||[4.0 p.m.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John|
|Albery, Irving James||Everard, W. Lindsay||Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)|
|Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent)||Ford, Sir Patrick J.||Nall-Cain, Hon. Ronald|
|Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Fraser, Captain Ian||Nicholson, Rt. Hn. W. G. (Peters'fld)|
|Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Galbraith, James Francis Wallace||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.|
|Banks, Sir Reginald Mitchell||Ganzoni, Sir John||Remer, John R.|
|Belt, Sir Alfred L.||Glossop, C. W. H.||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.|
|Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn)||Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Rickards, George William|
|Blaker, Sir Reginald||Goff, Sir Park||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Bossom, A. C.||Goldie, Noel [...].||Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)|
|Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton||Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Smith, Sir J. Walker (Barrow-In-F.)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Groves, Thomas E.||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Burton, Colonel Henry Walter||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly)||Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon)||Spens, William Patrick|
|Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm||Hartington, Marquess of||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Carver, Major William H.||Hartland, George A.||Summersby, Charles H.|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)||Hicks, Ernest George||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E.A.(P'dd'gt'n,S.)|
|Clayton, Sir Christopher||Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge)||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hurd, Sir Percy||Thorp, Linton Theodore|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd)||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||Jesson, Major Thomas E.||Wayland, Sir William A|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||Knight, Holford||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Cross, R. H.||Knox, Sir Alfred||Whyte, Jardine Bell|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Daggar, George||Levy, Thomas||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Davison, Sir William Henry||McCorquodale, M. S.||Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir Arnold (Hertf'd)|
|Donner, P. W.||Maitland, Adam||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Doran, Edward||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest||Wolmer, Rt. Hon Viscount|
|Duggan, Hubert John||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.|
|Elliston, Captain George Sampson||Marsden, Commander Arthur||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Martin, Thomas B.||Mr. John Lockwood and Mr. Pike.|
|Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds,W.)||Brown,Brig.-Gen.H.C.(Berks.,Newb'y)||Elmley, Viscount|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir William (Armagh)||Browne, Captain A. C.||Essenhigh, Reginald Clare|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Burnett, John George||Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Cape, Thomas||Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.)|
|Banfield, John William||Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Foot, Dingle (Dundee)|
|Batey, Joseph||Cripps, Sir Stafford||Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)|
|Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th,C.)||Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Gillett, Sir George Masterman|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)|
|Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Dickie, John P.||Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)|
|Blindell, James||Dabble, William||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro',W).|
|Briant, Frank||Edwards, Charles||Grundy, Thomas W.|
|Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Hamilton, Sir R. W.(Orkney & Zetl'nd)||Morrison, William Shepherd||Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)|
|Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)||Nation, Brigadler-General J. J. H.||Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A.(C'thness)|
|Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Soper, Richard|
|Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Parkinson, John Allen||Stewart, J. H. (Fife, E.)|
|Leckie, J. A.||Peaks, Captain Osbert||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick||Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilst'n)||Wallace, John (Dunfermilne)|
|Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Price, Gabriel||Wilmot, John|
|Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|McKie, John Hamilton||Rathbone, Eleanor||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)||Rea, Waiter Russell|
|Maxton, James.||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Ross, Ronald D.||Dr. Salter and Mr. Magnay.|
§ Question put accordingly, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."2064
§ The House divided: Ayes, 101; Noes, 67.2063
|Division No. 15.]||AYES.||[4.8 p.m.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John|
|Albery, Irving James||Everard, W. Lindsay||Nall-Cain, Hon. Ronald|
|Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Ford, Sir Patrick J.||Nicholson, Rt. Hn. W. G. (Petersf'ld)|
|Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Fraser, Captain Ian||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.|
|Banks, Sir Reginald Mitchell||Ganzoni, Sir John||Remer, John R.|
|Belt, Sir Alfred L.||Glossop, C. W. H.||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.|
|Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn)||Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Rickards, George William|
|Blaker, Sir Reginald||Goff, Sir Park||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Bossom, A. C.||Goldie, Noel B.||Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)|
|Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton||Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Smith, Sir J. Walker- (Barrow-In-F.)|
|Burton, Colonel Henry Walter||Grundy, Thomas W.||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly)||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm||Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon)||Spens, William Patrick|
|Carver, Major William H.||Hartington, Marquess of||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Hartland, George A.||Summersby, Charles H.|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)||Hicks, Ernest George||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge)||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E.A.(P'dd'gt'n,S.)|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Hurd, Sir Percy||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Ro[...]f'd)||Thorp, Linton Theodore|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Galnsb'ro)||Jesson, Major Thomas E.||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)|
|Cross, R. H.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Knight, Holford||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Dagger, George||Knox, Sir Alfred||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Davison, Sir William Henry||Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)||Whyte, Jardine Bell|
|Dickie, John P.||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Dobbie, William||Levy, Thomas||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Donner, P. W.||McCorquodale, M. S.||Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir Arnold (Hertf'd)|
|Doran, Edward||Maitland, Adam||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Duggan, Hubert John||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Elliston, Captain George Sampson||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Marsden, Commander Arthur||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Martin, Thomas B.||Mr. John Lockwood and Mr. Pike.|
|Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||Mason, Col. Glyn K, (Croydon, N.)|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Essenhigh, Reginald Clare||Morrison, William Shepherd|
|Alien, Lt.-Col. Sir William (Armagh)||Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.)||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Bonfield, John William||Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Peake, Captain Osbert|
|Batey, Joseph||Galbraith, James Francis Wallace||Peto, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n,Bilston)|
|Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th,C.)||Gillett, Sir George Masterman||Price, Gabriel|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Blindell, James||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro,W.)||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Briant, Frank||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C.(Berks., Newb'y)||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)||Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)|
|Browne, Captain A. C.||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A.(C'thness)|
|Burnett, John George||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Soper, Richard|
|Cape, Thomas||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Stewart, J. H. (Fife, E.)|
|Caborn, Arthur Cecil||Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Clayton, Sir Christopher||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Wallace, John (Dunfermline)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||McKie, John Hamilton||Wilmot, John|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Maxton, James.||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Edwards, Charles||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Elmley, Viscount||Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Dr. Salter and Mr. Magnay.|
§ Bill read a Second time.
§ Motion made, and Question put, "That the Bill be committed to a Com-