HC Deb 12 November 1934 vol 293 cc1703-11

2.30 a.m.


I beg to move in page 6, line 18, to leave out "adjoining district," arid insert: district adjoining that county district or metropolitan borough. This is a drafting Amendment to make the meaning of the Clause perfectly clear. As it stands in the Bill, we thought it might be wrongly thought that it must adjoin a particular track. It was intended that it must be adjoining a County district or Metropolitan Borough in which the track is situated.

2.31 a.m.


The Home Secretary is good enough to tell us that this Amendment is merely drafting. I am not a lawyer and I find it difficult to understand precisely what a lot of words mean in the Clause, especially when it is proposed that they should be inserted at half-past two o'clock in the morning. I want to test this matter by the circumstances in that part of London in which I live. I live in Putney in the Borough of Wandsworth. I understand that in the constituency of Central Wandsworth there is one greyhound track. Adjoining the Borough of Wandsworth is the Borough of Hammersmith which contains a racing track known as the White City Track. Adjoining Wandsworth on one side is the County Borough of Kingston, admirably represented by the hon. Baronet (Sir G. Penny) who recently took the wrong side on this issue. On the other side, we have the Borough of Barnes. I want to know precisely what is the position not if an application arises from the Borough of Wandsworth or of Hammersmith, neither of which are licensing authorities, but if an application is made to the County or Council of London, which is the licensing authority under the Act. What is the position in that event of the Borough of Kingston, where there is no racing track? Or of the County of Surrey, which is just as much concerned with the track in Wandsworth as the Borough of Hammersmith? It is a mile and a half to the track at Wandsworth, but there is a track in Wimbledon, a municipal borough in the County of Surrey.

Sir GEORGE PENNY (Comptroller of the Household)

The answer is a lemon.


The hon. Baronet is an important personage in this House. He acts as one of the whips whose duty it is to lead us aright though at times he leads us astray. He gives us an answer which it would not be proper for me to quote and which I hope will not be recorded in to-morrow's OFFICIAL REPORT. The Home Secretary says this is merely a drafting Amendment, but I spent some considerable time after the last Division in trying to find out exactly what it meant. I want to know what are the rights of the Council in my constituency, which is a County Borough, in the matter of these appeals to the various local authorities in the neighbourhood where I live. Frankly, having read the words, I remain in a state of very considerable confusion. It may be my own fault, it may be the fault of the late hour, or it may be the fault of the inadequacy of the explanation given by the Home Secretary.

2.35 a. m.


However this matter may be viewed—and I think the explanation of the Home Secretary was very exiguous and lacking in clarity—it is perfectly clear that the point raised is due to carelessness in the preparation of the Bill. Why have we had to wait for these drafting Amendments to be introduced? We have been all through the Committee stage, and why was it not put right before, seeing that it was an original error in the Bill? Here these words "adjoining district" which the House was invited to carry in the Committee stage are now found quite unsuitable. The right hon. Gentleman has explained that they might be thought to relate to a racing track, whereas they relate to municipal or other political boundaries drawn between different districts. How is it that this has previously escaped the attention of the Home Secretary? Does he not go through the Clauses with his draftsmen in the morning? It is an extraordinary thing that this sort of drafting Amendment should be introduced at the last minute? If the House had not examined the matter very carefully, I doubt if such Amendments would have ever been put in. When I looked at this matter in the first place before hearing the statement of the Home Secretary, I said that this was mere pedantry, and I asked myself: "Why is the House being kept up at this hour on such a nicety of language and what is the refinement of meaning to discriminate the one proposal from the other."

Now that we have heard the explanation, it seems to me much more than a drafting Amendment. It is an Amendment of substance which would never have been discovered but for the careful attention which the House has given to the matter. The omission seems to indicate a lower standard in the preparation of details than is customary. I fear the present generation of Ministers falls far short of former days. I remember being brought up in Opposition under the guidance of the late Lord Balfour and seeing how that great man prepared Bills, and the hours he used to spend with his draftsmen going through them systematically and cross-examining the draftsmen on every doubtful point so that when the Bill came before the House he was complete master of it. Here we have the right hon. Gentleman treating us rather harshly, and yet he says that these are mere drafting words. Every footprint he has left behind him to-night is a sign of inadequate attention to the task for which he has assumed the responsibility of guiding this House.

2.39 a.m.


I listened to the explanation of my right hon. Friend and I must say that I am very worried. The hon. Member for South Croydon (Mr. H. Williams) certainly made it very difficult for me to understand the position I should be in as far as my own constituency is concerned. My constituency is a rather peculiar one geographically. It is very scattered and its geographical centre is a place called Halifax. You cannot travel from Halifax out to any part in any direction without going into any territory that is not in my division. In other words, my division consists of the outer circle with Halifax as the inner circle. Is it unreasonable that I should require some lucid explanation from the Home Secretary so that when any questions are raised, as they are bound to be raised, in my constituency I shall be able to answer them in a clear and concise manner? We have quite a number of local authorities in my division. I am not satisfied with the explanation that I have received. I want to be able to go into my constituency with a first-hand knowledge of the Bill. Then, in answering questions, I shall be able to say that I have received my information from the greatest living authority in regard to the measure.


Why not take a gramophone record?

Division No. 404.] AYES. [2.44 a.m.
Aske, Sir Robert William Emmott, Charles E. G. C. Lloyd, Geoffrey
Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth. Sutton) Entwistle, Cyril Fullard Loftus, Pierce C.
Bane, Sir Adrian W. M. Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.) Mabane, William
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen) MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Partick)
Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell Everard, W. Lindsay MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)
Bernays, Robert Foot, Dingle (Dundee) McKie, John Hamilton
Bossom, A. C. Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin) McLean, Major Sir Alan
Boulton, W. W. Fremantle, Sir Francis Magnay, Thomas
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Fuller, Captain A. G. Making, Brigadier-General Ernest
Briscoe, Capt. Richard George Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.
Broadbent, Colonel John Goff, Sir Park Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)
Burnett, John George Goodman, Colonel Albert W. Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John
Butt, Sir Alfred Graves, Marjorie Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T Greene, William P. C. Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale
Campbell. Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly) Grimston, R. V. Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Guinness, Thomas L. E. B. Morrison, William Shepherd
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Gunston, Captain D. W. Muirhead, Lieut.-Colonel A. J.
Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J. Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Munro, Patrick
Cooper, A. Duff Haslam, Sir John (Bolton) Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.
Copeland, Ida Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth) O'Donovan, Dr. William James
Courtauld, Major John Sewell Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge) Orr Ewing, I. L.
Critchley, Brig.-General A. C. Horsbrugh, Florence Peake, Osbert
Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro) Howard, Tom Forrest Pearson, William G.
Dagger, George Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Penny, Sir George
Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery) Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg) Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.
Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset,Yeovil) Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H. Procter, Major Henry Adam
Drewe, Cedric James, Wing-Com. A. W. H. Pybus, Sir John
Drummond-Wolff, H. M. C. Jamieson, Douglas Radford, E. A.
Duggan, Hubert John Ker, J. Campbell Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)
Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.) Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)
Eden, Rt. Hon. Anthony Leighton, Major B. E. P. Ramsbotham, Herwald
Edwards, Charles Lindsay, Noel Ker Ramsden, Sir Eugene

I do not want at this early hour to detain the House; but I do hope that the Home Secretary will accede to my request and give us a more lucid explanation.

Sir J. GILMOUR rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."

Question put, "That the Question be now put."

Mr. SPEAKER collected the voices and stated that he thought that the Ayes had it.


On a point of Order, I desire to ask the Solicitor-General for Scotland a question bearing on this matter.


Order, Order.


On a point of Order. Do I understand that you did not hear the Noes against the closure? We certainly cried "No."


I did not hear any Member say "No."


With great respect, we called "No."


I am prepared to call a Division if there were any Members who said "No."

The House divided: Ayes, 131; Noes, 26.

Reid, James S. C. (Stirling) Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich) Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.
Reid, William Allan (Derby) Smith, Tom (Normanton) Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)
Rickards, George William Somervell, Sir Donald Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Roshotham, Sir Thomas Soper, Richard Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)
Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge) Southby, Commander Archibald R. J. Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)
Runge, Norah Cecil Spans, William Patrick White, Henry Graham
Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy) Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde) Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury) Stones, James Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir Arnold (Hertf'd)
Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l) Storey, Samuel Womersley, Sir Walter
Salt, Edward W. Strauss, Edward A.
Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford) Sir Victor Warrender and Mr. Blindell.
Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell) Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Joel, Dudley J. Barnato Renwick, Major Gustav A.
Bailey, Eric Alfred George Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Rutherford, John (Edmonton)
Bateman, A. L. Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.) Tate, Mavis Constance
Bracken, Brendan Lennox-Boyd, A. T. Taylor, Vice-Admiral E.A.(P'dd'gt'n,S.)
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Levy, Thomas Todd, Lt.-Col. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Logan, David Gilbert Wise, Alfred R.
Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.) McGovern, John
Fleming, Edward Lascelles Petherick, M. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Fox, Sir Gifford Pike, Cecil F. Sir William Davison and Mr. Herbert Williams.
Hanley, Dennis A. Raikes, Henry V. A. M.

Question put accordingly, "That the words 'adjoining district' stand part of the Bill."

Division No. 405.] AYES. [2.53 a.m.
Bateman, A. L. Hanley, Dennis A. Raikes, Henry V. A. M.
Bracken, Brendan Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Bragg) Renwick, Major Gustav A.
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Joel, Dudley J. Barnato Rutherford, John (Edmonton)
Broadbent, Colonel John Lennox-Boyd, A. T. Tate, Mavis Constance
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Levy. Thomas Todd, Lt.-Col. A. J. K. (B'wick-on T.)
Davison, Sir William Henry Logan, David Gilbert Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, s.) McGovern, John
Fleming, Edward Lascelles Pike, Cecil F. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Mr. Wise and Mr. Bailey.
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Fremantle, Sir Francis Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)
Aske, Sir Robert William Fuller, Captain A. G. Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale
Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton) Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)
Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M. Goff, Sir Park Morrison, William Shepherd
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Goodman, Colonel Albert W. Muirhead, Lieut.-Colonel A. J.
Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell Graves, Marjorie Munro, Patrick
Bernays, Robert Greene, William P. C. Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.
Bossom, A. C. Grimston, R. V. O'Donovan, Dr. William James
Boulton, W. W. Guinness, Thomas L. E. B. Orr Ewing, I. L.
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Gunston, Captain D. W. Peake, Osbert
Briscoe, Capt. Richard George Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Pearson, William G.
Buchan-Hephurn, P. G. T. Haslam, Sir John (Bolton) Penny, Sir George
Burnett, John George Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth) Petherick, M.
Butt, Sir Alfred Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston) Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.
Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly) Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge) Procter, Major Henry Adam
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Horsbrugh, Florence Pybus, Sir John
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Howard, Tom Forrest Radford, E. A.
Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney,N.) Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)
Cooper, A. Duff Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H. Ramsay, T B. W. (Western Isles)
Courtauld, Major John Sewell James, Wing.-Com. A. W. H. Ramsbotham, Herwald
Critchley, Brig.-General A. C. Jamieson, Douglas Ramsden, Sir Eugene
Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro) Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)
Dagger, George Ker, J. Campbell Reid, William Allan (Derby)
Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery) Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton Rickards, George William
Denville, Alfred Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.) Rosbotham, Sir Thomas
Drewe, Cedric Leighton, Major B. E. P. Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)
Drummond-Wolff, H. M. C. Lindsay, Noel Ker Runge, Norah Cecil
Duggan, Hubert John Lloyd, Geoffrey Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)
Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.) Loftus, Pierce C. Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)
Eden, Rt. Hon. Anthony Mabane, William Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)
Edwards, Charles MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Partick) Salt, Edward W.
Emmott, Charles E. G. C. MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr) Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart
Entwistle, Cyril Fullard McKie, John Hamilton Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard
Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.) McLean, Major Sir Alan Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen) Magnay, Thomas Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)
Everard, W. Lindsay Making, Brigadier-General Ernest Smith, Tom (Normanton)
Foot, Dingle (Dundee) Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Somervell, Sir Donald
Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin) Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.) Soper, Richard
Fox, Sir Gifford Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.

The House divided: Ayes, 21; Noes, 135.

Spens, William Patrick Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles White, Henry Graham
Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde) Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L. Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
Stones, James Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey) Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir Arnold (Hertf'd)
Storey, Samuel Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull) Womersley, Sir Walter
Strauss, Edward A. Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)
Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford) Warrender, Sir Victor A. G. Mr. Blindell and Major George Davies.

Proposed words there inserted in the Bill.