§ 10.21 p.m.
§ Mr. LOGAN
I beg to move, in page 1, line 10, to leave out "four days," and to insert:thirty days in the case of a track situate in the Metropolitan Police District and one hundred and fifty-six days in the case of a track situate elsewhere than in the Metropolitan Police District.I will not rush what I intend to say. I want to be most careful and exact, because in my opinion this deals with the most important Clause in the first part of the Bill. The introduction of the Measure was obtained under false pretences. It was stated then that 104 days met the requirements of dog track proprietors. That was absolutely incorrect. It was contradicted, and it was admitted that a mistake had been made. It then came to this House, which sent it to a Committee and, because progress was not being made, when only the first Clause had been dealt with, the Government decided that it could only be got rid of in the House of Commons, and that it must be brought downstairs. They denied the House the right of debating Clause 1 in Committee. It is unparalleled in the history of Parliamentary procedure. We are told to-night that the Measure must be rushed so that it may be got through. The Noble Lord, when introducing the Bill, in another place said that it was not their object, and it had never entered 1645 their minds, that they should spoil the industry or the sport that had had an innings for so long and had been able to race six days a week, but they felt that it was necessary that there should be regulations. Originally it was suggested that there should be 100 days' racing, and later it was agreed that 104 days should be given to dog racing. I hope that the Home Secretary will listen to what I am about to say because it is very important to many interests in this country, and I want to be straight and to speak without subtlety, so that everyone shall understand the position and shall know that for which we are fighting. The Bill was brought to this House and we were told, as we were told elsewhere, by the Home Secretary, that if they could come to an agreement in regard to a greater number o f days—mind you, he said he did not bind himself—if the interests concerned, the dog track proprietors of the country, could come to an agreement he might consider it. He was quite candid and did not give any definite promise that there should be an extension of the days. It was indicated that if an agreement could be arrived at, it was quite possible that there will be 111 days. That fact, which you will find in the OFFICIAL REPORT, was mentioned by the Home Secretary. It took place just before the Recess.
§ Sir J. GILMOUR
In order that there shall be no mistake, will the hon. Member state in which column of the OFFICIAL REPORT that reference may be found.
§ Mr. LOGAN
I am speaking from memory. I will be quite accurate. My memory recalls that it was on the day of the last meeting of the Committee upstairs that the promise was made. I made the remark to the Home Secretary that I hoped that when he had travelled over the moors of Scotland his conscience might prick him, and that he would come back to the House prepared to give more advantageous terms than he was prepared to give on that particular day.
§ Mr. ISAAC FOOT
Are we to understand that at some time the Home Secretary said that if the owners of the dog tracks came to an agreement as to a greater number of days, it would be accepted, and that the opinion of the 1646 ordinary Member of the Rouse would not be invited?
§ Mr. LOGAN
I did not say anything of the kind. I did not say, nor did I impute, that the Home Secretary made any binding agreement. I want no misunderstanding at all. What I said was that if the interests concerned, which up to then did not agree, came together there might be an agreement. If they could agree among themselves then the question of days so far as he was concerned would be considered; but he gave no guarantee in regard to the number of days, which it was then suggested should be 111. There was no agreement. Neither the Home Secretary nor any other Minister can get beyond what I am stating because it can be found in the OFFICIAL REPORT. Agreement has now been made. The interests concerned have met. At least, the representatives of 60 to 80 per cent. of the tracks' in the country have come to a common agreement, and I would urge the importance of meeting them not simply from their point of view but in the interests of those who will be thrown out of work unless something can be done. It was considered at the outset that 310 days ought to be allowed. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] If a legitimate sport is carried on in a legitimate manner I do not see why that should not be allowed. The Government came forward with a proposal for 104 days. So far as the Metropolitan interests are concerned they are prepared to accept 130 days and the provinces are prepared to accept 156 days.
It was definitely stated by the Home Secretary to-night that what he sought to do in this Bill was to deal with betting, which is described as the curse of the nation. The Government recognise that, but the legal authorities and those associated with the Government, got what in common parlance may be called the "wind up." They decided that because of the pressure brought to bear upon them, one or two Clauses ought to go by the board, and they withdrew them. We have had a revelation of the fact that because there was pressure before the Bill was discussed the Government withdrew something which was intended to deal with one of the worst forms of gambling. With all the £240,000,000 of gambling that goes on, they have fixed on a lesser form of gambling which they 1647 thought it would be better for them to attack. In spite of all the rebuffs they have had in the country they have decided not to drop the Bill.
So far as the tracks are concerned, they are not carrying out the promise that was made in another place. In another place it was definitely stated that it was not the intention of the Government to strangle or put out of operation the racing tracks of the country. It was said that they were going to regulate gambling and the evils ancillary to it and make the conditions better than they are today. With that we are in total agreement. I hope that the Home Secretary will not think that anything I say is intended in a personal way. I am concerned with what will happen in the city of Liverpool and elsewhere if the number of days on which racing can take place on the tracks is to be cut down in the way proposed in the Bill. I am not concerned with the procedure of this House. I am concerned at seeing 20,000 to 30,000 people thrown out of work by the Government through this legislation. When you speak about small tracks, what do I find? This is what I read this morning:The National Greyhound Racing Society in a statement issued during the week-end points out that unless the Bill is revised there will be 167 meetings on 146 separate days for the Metropolitan horse race goer and 108 meetings on 104 days for greyhound racing in the same area.
I know that the hon. Member does not want to mislead the House but when he is making the total of the horse races is he not adding the number of race meetings and multiplying it by the number of horses? Where does he get the 167 meetings from?
§ Mr. LOGAN
Perhaps the Under-Secretary does not accept the authority. It simply says:The National Greyhound Racing Society in a statement issued during the week-end points out that unless the Bill is revised there will be 167 meetings on 146 separate days for Metropolitan horse race goers, and 108 meetings on the same 104 days for greyhound races in the same area.
I cannot accept that statement without knowing what is called Metropolitan race courses. Any total of that kind includes a great many race courses which would not be 1648 covered by the licensing area for dog-racing tracks under the Bill.
Captain A. EVANS
I have the particulars here which might assist. There are, at Kempton Park, 16 days racing, Alexandra Park 6, Gatwick 14—
The Under-Secretary overlooks the fact that the licensing area for dog racing is not the Metropolitan area. It is a joint committee for adjoining counties.
There is nothing to prevent the authorities of Surrey forming a joint licensing committee with the County of London. At Windsor there are 10 days racing, Lingfield 14, Hurst Park 16, Sandown 21, Epsom 7, Newbury 6, Ascot 4, Northolt 53 days, of which 21 coincide with the above days, leaving 32 further separate days, giving a total of 146 days and 167 meetings.
§ Mr. LOGAN
I thank the hon. and gallant Member for the information. I think the information as far as the number of days and races are concerned is correct. Where the races take place I do not know, I do not know the London area. If you ask me anything about the North I can tell you. I am trusting the Minister to be reasonable. Hitherto every time he has been asked for any concession he has simply said "Nay." What is the point of view and the position of the greyhound track owners, some of whom are associated with the National Greyhound Association and some associated with other tracks in the provinces? Everyone with whom I have come in contact has said that this Bill means the break-up of his business. I have met at least 60 of these people at conferences at which I have tried to get enlightenment as to their point of view. I am fully convinced that what they have told me is absolutely correct. That being so I say that the Minister has no right whatever to do what means their total annihilation. I agree that the right hon. Gentleman has a right to introduce regulations, to do his best to abolish gambling or put it under proper restrictions, and as far as public amenities are 1649 concerned to see that there are proper safeguards; but in this Bill he does a grave injustice to a large body of men.
I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will not think that I am in any way offensive to him personally if I speak strongly. I am not. I am dealing with the subject because I feel that many people—I am informed that at least 40,000 are in one way or another attached to greyhound racing—are likely to be put out of work. If the two days a week proposal comes into operation many of these people will become casually employed. No longer will any man or boy attached to any of these tracks be in a regular employment. That brings us up against a great problem, because it will put on the labour market men and boys and girls who will not be able to get any unemployment benefit because they come into the category of the casually employed. I ask, should we take so great a responsibility? Would it not be easier to reduce the number of days by 50 per cent.? The business must be legalised and controlled, but surely these people should have a chance of living. Having in view the overhead expenses, the numbers employed and the cost of upkeep, these track owners cannot manage unless given a greater number of days than the 104. I have foregone the extreme demand for 310 days, and I hope that the justice of my claim will be admitted. For the provinces 156 days, that is three days a week, would not be too much. As far as the London area is concerned, I think 136 days would meet requirements. I hope that the Minister will pay attention to what I have said. I ask him to consider all the people concerned and to grant this concession. I go further and say that if he is not prepared to go to the full extent proposed in the Amendment he ought to make some reasonable concession to meet the demand of these people.
§ 10.46 p.m.
§ Mr. FLEMING
I beg to second the Amendment.
I wish, in the first place, to draw the attention of the House to what was said by the Under-Secretary on 6th November. On that occasion when discussing Amendments in Committee he said that the reason why this Bill, in- 1650 cluding the Clause which we are now discussing, had been introduced was,the definite opinion expressed by the Royal Commission and supported by a great body of public opinion in this country that this is a problem"—That, I take it, is gambling—that had to be tackled; and it had to be tackled if at all on the basis of limiting the existing facilities for organised gambling on dog racecourses."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 6th November, 1934; col. 892, Vol. 293.]The Royal Commission when discussing the quantity of betting in their report pointed out that the bulk of betting in this country is on horse racing. Referring to dog racing and horse racing in comparative terms it is 12 to 1 on the horses every time in this respect. Football has half the quantity of horse racing so that really the smallest amount of betting takes place on dog racing tracks. That is, in effect, what the Royal Commission say and if I am wrong, I am sure the Under-Secretary will correct me. If the real reason for the Bill, as stated by the Under-Secretary, is to curtail facilities for gambling in this country I would like to know as a back bench supporter of the National Government why was dog racing attacked first? If the Government really mean to curtail gambling facilities in the country as a whole, why do they not attack horse racing?
Reading further the remarks of the Under-Secretary and those of other speakers on behalf of the Bill—and they are very few I must say—I do not find one instance in which any supporter of the Bill has said that it would increase employment. I am perfectly satisfied on the other hand that if passed in this form it will increase unemployment. Although I represent a constituency in which there, is not a dog track or likely to be one, I come from a part of England—Lancashire—in which unemployment is rife and we Lancastrians are not going to support anything which is going to increase unemployment in our county. I wish to make clear why I am opposing this Clause. My reason has nothing to do with betting, nothing to do with increasing or curtailing facilities for betting. It is to me purely a question of employment or unemployment. I have made inquiries from people with whom I first came in contact during the War, weavers and colliers who were in the same division with me and who were un- 1651 able for a long time after demobilisation to obtain any employment—particularly the weavers. When these dog racing tracks were opened up in Lancashire a certain number of these men did find employment.
I do not know how many men altogether are employed in Lancashire, but I suppose that there are probably between 2,000 and 3,000 men directly or indirectly employed. I meet these men who are working on dog tracks, and also ex-officers working on the boards that are running some of these dog tracks, and I am perfectly satisfied that, if this Clause goes through as it stands in the Bill, limiting the racing and betting days to 104 in the year for the whole of the country, it is utterly useless for any Lancashire Member to expect to increase employment by supporting this Clause. The hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Isaac Foot) says "Nonsense." Perhaps he is a judge of nonsense. I do not know. But I know this: When I wanted to find out whether this Clause would create or increase employment I did not go to him to ask his opinion on it, I went to those working on the dog tracks in Lancashire, where there are many tracks. Some of the men working on them were men whom I knew during the War. They were trusted by the Government, during the War when they served in the Army, and I took their opinion. I took it as being the opinion of honest men as I found them to be during the War.
I know nothing about the running of a dog track. I have never been to one, and I do not suppose that I ever shall go. Dog racing does not interest me as a sport and the betting part of it does not interest me either. What does interest me—and it is the only reason why I came here and the only reason for which I want to stop in this House—is to do something to improve employment in Lancashire. We shall not do anything to increase employment in Lancashire by passing a Clause like this. I believe from what I have heard from men understanding this industry of dog racing that if you allow these tracks to operate for only half the number of days on which they have been operated up till now they will be able to carryon. If the Government really want to curtail gambling facilities on greyhound racing tracks they would 1652 curtail those facilities by cutting down the betting days to three days a week. They would still cut it clown by 50 per cent. But I realise now that somebody has made up his mind on this point. Although this is supposed to be a House where free discussion is allowed, I feel somehow in my bones—I have learned it to-day if never before—that whatever we say this particular Clause as it stands and as it was settled by the Committee upstairs, to which I had no access, has got to be driven through the Lobbies. I can only say this. The considered opinion of many people who are quite unbiased as regards betting and greyhound tracks or any other kind of racing tracks, but who are concerned only with the question of employment in Lancashire, is that this Clause, if passed as it stands now, cannot fail to increase unemployment in our county.
§ 10.55 p.m.
§ Captain GUNSTON
I want to put two points. With regard to the desire of my hon. Friend opposite to increase employment, you could use the same argument for anyone who wanted to start casinos in this country.
§ Mr. FLEMING
I did not suggest increasing employment; I said that this Clause would increase unemployment.
§ Captain GUNSTON
My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for South Cardiff (Captain A. Evans) used what I thought was a most misleading argument, that showed what is behind some of the greyhound tracks in the country, when he spoke about 167 days' horse racing near London. He knows very well that on days when horse racing takes place, there is generally a meeting on one racecourse only or on two courses at the most.
§ Captain GUNSTON
But that is the whole argument. Under this Bill 104 greyhound meetings will be taking place all over the country. I believe there are 270 race tracks in this country, and if the hon. and gallant Member multiplies that by 104, he will find that there will be about 28,000 greyhound races in a year, compared with horse racing. Therefore, his argument has no background and is totally misleading.
The hon. and gallant Member must remember that on every 1653 day that horse racing takes place, betting is allowed, and on every day of the year for practical purposes it is permissible within the law to bet on horse racecourses, but it is only permissible under this Bill on 104 days on a greyhound racecourse.
§ Captain GUNSTON
That is not the argument. I say that horse racing is limited by the number of days in a flat racing season, but greyhound racing is allowed on 104 days multiplied by the number of tracks there are in the country, so that to say this Bill gives a preference to the number of days on which horse racing may take place is totally contrary to the facts.
§ 10.59 p.m.
§ Mr. J. JONES
I am sorry to discover that there is an argument between those interested in horse racing and those interested in dog racing. Some people go to the dog races, and some go to the dogs. I speak for the average workman who believes in putting a shilling on a horse but cannot attend a meeting. Therefore, he goes to dog races, because he has a limited amount of money to spend, and I want to know why he should not have that opportunity. I know some people in my constituency who go to Newmarket, but they are better off than my constituents are on the average. They are going to be allowed to gamble every day of their lives on their favourite sport.
§ Mr. JONES
As a matter of fact, they can gamble at Newmarket every day and night of the week without seeing the races. The people whom I represent go to Custom House Stadium to see the dog racing. They are not on the telephone or able to use the telegraph. They do not even belong to the Stock Exchange. 1654 They go down to see the dog races, and they are told they must not see the dogs in London more than 130 days a year. The number of days does not count; it is the principle that matters. Some men can afford to use the telephone and telegraph and back horses and dogs every day of the week. I have seen hon. Members in the telephone room here. I have sat next to another Member of the House who has been backing horses when there were no horses running—backing them at night time. I cannot back them in the clay time. [An HON. MEMBER: "Not winners."] I have never backed a winner. Stop illegitimate gambling if you like, but do not tell a workman in the East End of London that he can have only one day to the other fellow's two.
The most extraordinary argument I have heard was that used by an hon. Member about the reduction of unemployment. Lancashire is in a bad state, and, according to him, you can alleviate the situation by allowing the workers of Lancashire to go to dog races. What an extraordinary argument. I do not know the difference between a dog and a horse, and I cannot argue about them. I only know that I do not back them, although I am a supporter of my hon. Friend the Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. Logan). We have no right to say that a rich man can back a horse or a dog any hour of the day or night, but that the workman must be limited. I am not a gambler and do not want to be. I want to get rid of the Pecksniffian cant about gambling. The man is a gambler who takes a commission from an old lady who has been left a widow with thousands of pounds; who takes charge of her property and invests it in something; and who knows as much about the property in which he invests the money as a Connemara pig does about astronomy. He is not a bookmaker, but a solicitor. He can put her money in arty wild-cat scheme he likes, and if she loses he is a virtuous person, and she has to carry the baby. If you put a "bob" on dogs and you lose your money, you are more or less a virtuous person, but the gentleman who puts the widow's money in stocks which are not any good is the perfect specimen of a decent citizen. I am neither. I have heard speeches in this Debate which 1655 make me sick, with their sham morality. There are those in this House whoCompound for sins they are inclined to By damning those they have no mind to.They are full of virtue where their own interests are concerned, but are full of condemnation where other people's interests are involved. Whether this Amendment is carried or not, one thing stands out a mile—that we are proposing to make a working man who puts a "bob" on a horse or a dog a criminal under certain circumstances. I used to hear it said from Liberal platforms in the days when the hon. Member was a big man in the Liberal party that it was not fair to condemn the poor man who stole the goose from off the common and absolve those who had stolen the commons from the goose. All these restrictions and regulations for the ordinary man in his recreations are becoming a bit nauseating, and I, for one, am tired of them. I do not gamble. I have never had more than Is. on anything—I could not afford to lose more. But I stand for the right of my class to do the same as other people do. They gamble in stocks and shares, and why should not I have a shilling on a horse if I want to? We are trying to make criminals of working men, but we do not interfere with other people. It is pure cant, and I tell hon. Members so straight to their faces. What about the Calcutta Sweepstake? Just imagine the Carlton Club being raided?
I must remind the hon. Member that we are now dealing with the number of days for racing.
§ Mr. JONES
I know, and I was talking about the number of nights. Where I live the number of days will be limited, but other people will be able to gamble night and day in the places where they assemble. I say to the hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Isaac Foot) and the Noble Lady the Member for the Sutton Division (Viscountess Astor) that they dare not tackle the people at the top of the tree in this matter of gambling, dare not introduce legislation to interfere with their rights, and therefore, I am standing up for the right of the working man to enjoy the same rights as other people.
§ 11.9 p.m.
§ Mrs. RUNGE
I do not suppose that any words of mine will persuade the Home Secretary to accept this Amendment, but though I have voted against the Government once to-night, and do not like doing it, I shall feel compelled to do it again if this Amendment is taken to a division. I do know something about greyhound racing, having owned greyhounds and raced them. My opinion of the sport was never a high one, and the longer I remained in it the worse it became. If the sport is to continue, I should like to see the standard raised, but if the number of days is reduced to 104 the standard is bound to be lowered, because the prize money will be reduced, and a great many owners will think it not worth while to race their dogs. I therefore support the Amendment.
§ 11.11 p.m.
§ Mr. PIKE
I support the Amendment, more especially that I see in 104 clays' racing the great success of the multiple or monopolistic tracks. There are 270 tracks in this country, according to an hon. Gentleman who spoke a moment ago, and there is no doubt that, apart from the big tracks within the Metropolitan area, they will find it extremely difficult, if not almost impossible, to pay their way on 104 days' racing. The Home Secretary knows, because information was placed before him in Committee upstairs and downstairs on the Floor of the House, that the average attendance at provincial tracks does not exceed between 600 and 700 persons, that the average income from them is about £40 or £50 per night, and that, taken over a whole year, the income is much below the £20,000 level. From the receipts come all costs of maintenance, repair, staff, lighting and apparatus for the successful running of the tracks, and 104 days are insufficient to maintain a healthy and worthy sport. The figures are based, not on 104 days per year, but on three times that number. That is the total income of the average provincial track, from gate money, but, if you reduce the number of days by two-thirds, you naturally reduce the gate money by two-thirds. If the right hon. Gentleman thinks that a provincial track, catering for 600 or 700 persons per night at an average admission fee of a shilling, can be successfully run and controlled and can produce the 1657 best and cleanest sport with an income of about £6,000 or £7,000 per year, he knows nothing of the practical side of the control of these tracks.
It is unquestionably urgent that this sport, if it is to be run at all, must be run cleanly. I am not anxious that dog racing should get into the monopolistic hands of the interests, for instance, of the hon. and gallant Member for Twickenham (Brigadier-General Critchley) who has very fine tracks and looks after them, and demands that they shall be cleanly run, that the sport shall be honest and that the man who owns dogs and the man who bets on them shall have a fair crack of the whip. He knows that the community on whom he has to draw is so vast—
§ Brigadier-General CRITCHLEY
May point out that we have at least four provincial tracks as well as the London ones?
§ Mr. PIKE
H the hon. and gallant Gentleman does not know any such thing, he should be very glad that I am enlightening him. My own personal knowledge of the provincial track is, as I have said, that with 104 days per year under present conditions, both as regards admission charges and costs, they cannot maintain a clean, straightforward sport and show a profitable balance sheet. Therefore, the hon. and gallant Gentleman, with all this evidence, may now be able to prepare against the death of the four provincial tracks in which he is interested.
On reference to the reports of the proceedings in Committee I find that, when this matter was being thrashed out upstairs, a number of people who are now supporting the Government's 104 days condition for greyhound racing were then opposed to it. Even the hon. and gallant Gentleman himself voted twice against the Government's proposal for the insertion of the words "one hundred and 1658 four days per year," and I find from the reports that he opposed it, not because in his opinion that was not enough, but because he thought that 111 days, plus a close season which he asked the Government to determine, would be much better than the condition which the Government have now considered it necessary to put into the Bill. This is reducing the possibility of honest greyhound racing to a farce. These people cannot run their tracks honestly with only 104 days a year, for more than one reason. The Government have legalised totalisator betting. They think that by doing that they are going to draw a line of demarcation as between those who are dissatisfied with bookmaker betting and those who are dissatisfied because the totalisator is allowed on the horse-racing track. What is going to be the result? The moment that these totalisators start, the bookmakers need only do one thing. They will say that in the case of any dog on the card they will lay 3, or 3½, or 4 per cent. above the odds declared by the totalisator. Therefore, you will have an atmosphere of, not dishonesty, but unfriendliness, attached to the betting side, which, in my opinion, if the number of days is limited to 104, will spread into the racing itself.
I am convinced that, under the present racing conditions, if a dog runs a little bit behind its form, or if it is thought that a dog had perhaps a little drop too much water before the race, or too big a piece of cold tripe, there will be "ructions" on the course; and in my opinion a reduction of the period to only a third of that now permitted will encourage these things. I would rather have no greyhound racing at all than the possibility of dishonest racing. I am convinced that, when the Government are going to recognise the legality of the sport, they should 'at least try to harness it so that, under the conditions which they permit, it will be run honestly and cleanly.
I could give numerous instances where this scheme will fail, but that has been done already upstairs, and there is no need to keep the House longer to-night. I am convinced that in the London area they can do without more racing days than the 130 which the Amendment suggests. But in the Provinces there is a big difference that demands that peculiar 1659 concession of an extra 26 days over and above the London area and, even if the Home Secretary cannot accede to the request, I hope he will before the Third Reading suggest an alternative which will create a balance of equilibrium as between racing in the provinces and in London. With regard to the case put forward respecting the difference between racing dogs and horses, what is the good of us being hypocrites and arguing whether a track is in the London area, a county area or a borough area? We can go into our own divisions and at every street corner people are having bets on every race on the card on every day that racing is permitted. Every street corner is a gambling den under the present betting laws. It may not apply to county areas but in London and in the industrial areas my statement can be fully justified. It is no good arguing whether more horse races are allowed than there are to be dog races. Let us face the fact that there is a betting evil. Let us, if we cannot completely eliminate it by this Bill, be honest enough to say so and proceed as far as we can with this in the most practical form to alleviate the problems that confront us.
§ 11.22 p.m.
§ Sir J. GILMOUR
I will at once acknowledge that there was nothing in anything that the hon. Member for the Scotland Division (Mr. Logan) said, now or at any time, that would cause any difference of opinion of a personal nature between us. This problem of the number of days is admittedly a controversial one. I said in Committee in a discussion running over several days that we had decided to adopt the 104 days. The Royal Commission recommended 100 days and suggested that it should be specifically limited to two days a week. We have tried not to tie down the greyhound industry as specifically as the Royal Commission would have done. A point was raised earlier as to what I had said about 111 days. It was mainly in reference to this problem of the close season that the discussion took place. I said:Having been invited from certain quarters to increase the number of days from 104 to 111 that that appeared, on the face of it, to be a very modest request, but that I could not at that stage commit myself. I said:1660'Having listened to this Debate, I am constrained to say, in view of the divergence of opinion and in view of the dubiety about the point raised by the hon. Member for Gorbals that I am not shutting my mind to considering that particular point between now and the Report stage, and unless those interests concerned with this greyhound industry can come to me between now and Report with a very much clearer and more definite unanimity than this Committee has shown, I must ask the Committee at this stage to stand by the 104 days.' Could language be clearer than that? What I have said, and what I repeat is that, if there can be reached, between now and the Report stage, some unanimity on this subject of a close season"—[OFFICIAL REPORT (Standing Committee D), 26th July, 1934; cols. 311–12.]That settles it. That is what I said. What are the facts? That between the Committee stage upstairs and the Report stage there has been no unanimity of interests concerned. Certainly, knowledge of it has not come to me. I am speaking of what I really know. It is not sufficient for one or other section to come to me about such proposals. I said quite plainly there must be some very definite and clear proposal. What is it that we are doing? It is 104 days, and there is no reason whatever under the Bill why those interests should be confined to any two days in a week. They can, as the House know, if they have the unanimity which is now indicated from certain quarters, have their close season without any interference from Parliament. They can so organise the running of their affairs and they can have, in fact, that for which they were asking. Let the House make no mistake that this was the adding of four days to the 100. [An HON. MEMBER: "Four meetings."] I am speaking of the four days in the first instance. Subsequently we tried on four particular days a year to give adequate opportunity for double meetings. We have, therefore, as far as we have thought fit and right, given these concessions. Those who think that more of these tracks can exist upon that period have never been able to produce to us very adequate reasons. All I can say is this was debated very fully in Committee upstairs. It was gone into in the very greatest detail.
We have no desire to kill this industry, and on the ground that the Royal Commission heard very carefully all the evidence and took meticulous care and went into a great variety of details, we 1661 have given this concession of extra days and extra meetings, and we have, above all, given, and linked up the possibility of having, the totalisator. The totalisator is no small concession to this industry. It is illegal at the present time, and I want to make it clear to the minds of hon. Members what we are doing. Along with that there are certain limitations upon the amount which can be taken by the totalisator. I believe that this is a solution which, while it does riot go as far as the Royal Commission's recommendation, at any rate has been an honest and genuine attempt to let the industry run profitably and, I hope, successfully. We have heard a great many accusations of one kind or another about the way things are run. The House and the Government are not concerned with the running or actual details of the industry, any more than we should be drawn into running the great industry of horse racing. I am very conscious of the criticism which has been made from this angle or that, but I regret that I cannot accept the Amendment, and we must retain the 104 days.
§ 11.31 p.m.
§ Mr. DENVILLE
As one of the intermediaries in connection with the various branches of the dog-racing interests—a purely voluntary intermediary—it may be interesting if I attempt very briefly to clear up some of the misunderstandings before the House. It seems to me strange and elementary that we should be under any misunderstanding as to the number of the race days on dog-racing tracks and on horse racecourses. It is not quite elementary to say that on the dog-racing tracks of this country the betting is purely local. That is to say, that on dog-racing tracks betting only takes place in the district in which the track happens to be, while on 260 days of the year in every town, every city, every village there is betting on horse races, which shows that the volume of betting on horse races is much more than it ever could possibly be on dog-racing tracks. You have to add to this something like 100 other meetings that are commonly called "flapper" meetings, at which horses are raced. The Home Secretary has touched rather sympathetically on a point which was brought before him some time ago, and that was that 75 per cent. of the dog-racing interests would be prepared if they could get no further 1662 concession, to have a close season of three months in the year, and for the other nine months run on three days a week. This would mean giving the dog-racing people three days a week on which to open their tracks. This would be acceptable to them.
§ Mr. DENVILLE
I am speaking for 75 to 80 per cent. of the tracks. The hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. Logan) is in a cleft stick. He is out for 135 days. Good luck to him. I hope he gets it. Failing that there is only one alternative. If they are to have their tracks open on 104 days in the year, they must have a close season. They must close down in the worst part of the year and open in the better part. We think that is a small concession by means of which the objections of the dog racing interests could be met. I am not now speaking in favour of 130, 104 or 100 days but I am simply placing the facts as I know them before the House. I hope the House will digest what I have said and that the Home Secretary in his mercy, his kindness, or his justice will see that that is a way of doing it. There might be a Clause inserted providing that certain tracks, instead of applying for a 12 months' licence, could apply for a licence for not more than nine months, those tracks to be allowed to run the number of days, 111, three days a week or, if they so desired, to run their quota off in a shorter period.
§ 11.35 p.m.
§ Sir W. DAVISON
As one who has taken no part in the controversy with regard to dog racing, and who has nothing whatever to do with it, I made the original suggestions as to days as representing the public as a whole. It is not a question for the House to decide as to what the dog racing interests require, but what is in the interests of the general public, and as representing the general public I suggested that it was far better to be a three months' close season and that on the other 37 weeks the dog racing people should be allowed to race on three days a week. As the hon. Lady has said there are two alternatives before the House, 1663 either to stop totalisator betting on dog races altogether or to give them such opportunities to make money as will enable them to carry on their tracks in a decent and proper way. From inquiries I have made I am satisfied that any decent track can be carried on with a close season of three months with three race meetings per week during the remaining 37 weeks. I put that suggestion forward, not on behalf of dog racing but on behalf of those people who like to go there and who want the races to be decently and fairly run. The Home Secretary arid the majority of the Committee thought it was a reasonable and fair suggestion. The Home Secretary said that it was reasonable and fair and promised to consider it before the Report stage. He now couples with the promise the statement "If I could get unanimity of the dog racing people." That has nothing to do with it. Is this great National Government the representatives of the dog racing interests of the country? Either dog racing is a thing which should be encouraged and allowed or it should be stopped. To say that be is not going to do what he considers fair and reasonable, and what the Committee and the ordinary man considers fair and reasonable because he cannot get unanimity among the dog racing people is to prostitute the position of the Government and Parliament.
Here is a proposal made by one who has no interest in dog racing. I do not know anything about their finances except what I have learned during our Debates, which I am sure would enable dog racing to be conducted in a fair and decent way and enable those who desire to see the races and put a little money on the dogs to be sure that the meeting is conducted properly. I protest against the Government refusing to accept a proposal which commended itself to the Committee and to the Home Secretary simply because the right hon. Gentleman cannot get unanimity among the dog racing interests. They will not deal with street betting and football pools because of interests, and now they will not do what the ordinary man wants, a totalisator on dog racing tracks, because there are certain tracks which say that they do not want them. It is the duty of the Government to do what is fair and right for the people irrespective of interests. Why 1664 cannot they screw up their courage and do what is fair, what the Committee thought fair, and what the Home Secretary thought fair, that is, have a close season for three months and racing on the remaining 37 weeks of the year, which would meet the views of all reasonable-minded men?
There is a further point. If you allow the employés—there are some 30,000, I believe—to be employed on 111 days, it will enable them, I am told, to get unemployment benefit. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I am told that that is so. At any rate the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) raised that point, and he should know. This is not a matter to be decided by the dog-racing interests but by the Government representing the people of this country, if they consider the people at all. Their attitude to this Bill is "We have decided; We do not know what the people want, but we have decided." It is a prostitution of popular Government, and the sooner the Government represent the people and not the dog-racing or other interests the better it will be for the country.
§ Sir B. PETO
Is there anything in the Bill to prevent the licensing authority in any locality from licensing the tracks for three days a week for the limited number of weeks in a year, as long as the 104 meetings are not exceeded?
§ Sir W. DAVISON
The Government say "we must have unanimity", which is like people saying, when daylight saving was being discussed, "Every one can get up at seven in the morning, if he likes". The hon. Baronet is too sensible a man to put forward that proposition.
§ 11.42 p.m.
Mr. G. BRAITHWAITE
Since this Amendment was moved we have been suffering from the disability of the procedure adopted by the Government in reference to this Bill, in that we are dealing with Amendments to Clause 1, which a great majority of Members did not have an opportunity of discussing in Committee upstairs. Of course the upstairs jury having been changed or having retired, to deliberate on their work puts us in a difficulty. But the country will view with much alarm the short step from changing a jury to dispensing with a jury when the Govern- 1665 ment is in a difficult situation. I am never certain whether the Home Secretary is going to appear before us in the role of Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde. When he appears as Dr. Jekyll he rests himself with confidence on the recommendations of the Royal Commission. But we have had him in the role of Mr. Hyde jettisoning the whole of those recommendations on football pools. I almost felt that the unhappy Report of the Commission is somewhat in the position of the sword of Excalibur, which was thrown into the mere but emerged from time to time. The Commission's Report has been the plaything of the Government, in what they desired done or not done in reference to the Bill.
When this Amendment was moved I thought that the most valuable contribution was from the hon. Lady the Member for Rotherhithe (Mrs. Runge). She made a good point when she said that greyhound racing depends to an enormous extent upon how far the private owner of greyhounds is able to continue to put his dogs upon the track. I am sure that in no quarter of the House would any support be given to a system under which the owner of the track would a2so be the owner of the dogs. The pernicious results of such a system must be obvious to all. Nor would it be satisfactory that those who lay the odds at the tracks should also own the dogs. It is important that the private owner should be able to continue. In view of the peculiar circumstances in which we are now discussing Clause 1 on Report, I do not know how far I am entitled to quote again some evidence which I gave in the Committee upstairs from private owners in my constituency. Although the Eleven o'Clock Rule is suspended, I do not want to weary the House by quoting at length, but I think hon. Members who were not on the Committee ought to know that I had a letter from the Sheffield and District Private (Greyhound) Owners' Association stating:At a meeting of the above association … it was the unanimous opinion of the Committee that if the Government decides to restrict the number of greyhound races to 104 per annum it will definitely do away with the private ownership of greyhounds on race tracks. It would be much better if the present number of meetings were continued even if it means no tote.That is the view of the people who are supposed to be so anxious for betting. 1666 The totalisator is being held out to greyhound racing like the carrot before the nose of the donkey. Hon. Members who support these proposals should consider the possible effect and realise that the responsibility for any harm that may be done to greyhound racing will lie at their door. The letter continues:Our very strongly considered opinion is that most tracks without privately owned greyhouds will deteriorate in many ways. One of the most important is the question of the true running of the dogs. Greyhound owners watch and take note of the time their dogs take in each race they run so the trainers have always to keep the greyhounds in condition and 'up to scratch.' Thus the public get absolutely fair races. With no owners to watch the running time it may lead in some cases to fraud … Many working men, by themselves and with others, have bought dogs and the loss will be very serious; with forced sales there will be no means of recovering such losses. … Several prominent Sheffield citizens have taken up the breeding of greyhounds, employing a number of workers all of whom would be unemployed.The writer of the letter goes on to urge that they should be allowed 208 days per annum. I am not going to debate that point now, but I would submit that here, not for the first, time in connection with the Bill, the Government have succeeded in getting the worst of both worlds. These 104 days may enable London tracks and some provincial tracks to remain solvent, but they will undoubtedly destroy the system under which greyhounds owned by working men, as private owners, can be entered and run on those tracks. Is that to be the monument of the National Government, in this connection 7 Are they to go down to history as the Government which made it impossible for the working man to run his own greyhound at those tracks? If so, while that may excite the applause of the Samuelite rump, with the ardent support of the Noble Lady the Member for the Sutton Division of Plymouth (Viscountess Astor), who is always anxious to strike a, blow at working class liberty—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"]—and has undoubtedly led to the breaking up of many working-class homes through speculations in running horses on the turf—however that may be, I cannot think that the House of Commons will endorse such a situation in this country. Once more may I warn my hon. and right hon. Friends of the consequences of the action which they propose to take? The 1667 Government have not said, "Let us stamp out greyhound racing as a social evil." They have said that the evil may be indulged in on 104 days in the year, and we say that if that be the case, it must be permitted in the provinces at any rate to such an extent as will enable the tracks to be carried on in a condition of solvency, without resorting to some of the great abuses which I have enumerated. I think the House has, not for the first time to-day, a very grave responsibility. The hon. Gentleman opposite has performed a great service by once more raising this question, and I hope that the Government may be prepared to save some of the consequences of this disastrous Bill, which after three years of excellent work, is very gravely undermining their position in the constituencies.
§ 11.51 p.m.
§ Mr. LENNOX-BOYD
I wish to support the Amendment. Those of us who were privileged to sit on the Committee upstairs and who have some first-hand knowledge of the subject involved, very much hope that the Government will see their way to listen patiently and favourably to the views advanced by my hon. Friends. I should like to reinforce what was said by my hon. Friend the Member for South Kensington (Sir W. Davison), that it is the duty of the Government, not to attempt by some nice balancing of rival interests, to arrive at a solution suitable to different groups, but to discover what is in the interests of the great mass of the people. There are very many of us who are profoundly convinced that the public welfare would be served if this Amendment could be carried and who are not in any way interested in or improperly persuaded by any greyhound interest. I myself, though I attend greyhound racing sometimes, am in no sense under the control of any greyhound racing concern, and I earnestly ask the Home Secretary to give patient consideration to an Amendment which is not promoted in any way by a desire to foster a particular trade or interest. My right hon. Friend said a few moments ago that the Government are not concerned with the running details of the industry any more than with the running details of football or any other interest. Nobody would quarrel with that statement, but it is the duty of the Government to create such 1668 a set of circumstances as will enable the industry to be properly run. No one would wish to see the Government, least of all a National Government, interesting themselves personally and directly in the running of any particular industry or sport, but to create conditions under which it can be properly run is obviously the paramount duty of any Government of the day.
I have no axe to grind, but I was much influenced by what was said by the hon. Lady who sat opposite earlier in the debate, and I believe, after patiently listening to what was said in Standing Committee upstairs and consulting with many people qualified to give an unbiased, shrewd, and accurate opinion, that if this Amendment could be carried, and still more if there could be a properly arranged close season, it would be possible for more honest conditions to prevail on greyhound racing tracks than will be the case if the Government's conditions are imposed without qualification or change. I believe it is imperative that the honest private owner should be encouraged. Though I would not have agreed with it, I would recognise as honest and logical the complete prohibition altogether of the totalisator on all greyhound racing tracks, but I believe it would be class legislation of the worst kind. The fact that it would bring down the National Government and so be very disquieting to a number of people here, is not so important as that it would be putting on the Statute Book really partisan legislation, but if you once recognise that it is proper to allow the use of the totalisator on greyhound racing tracks, all your moral objections to that form of institution have gone, and the only reasonable ground you can take is to render such conditions possible as will enable it to be worked honestly and properly. It is because I, personally, believe that it will not be worked either honestly or properly if this small number of days is made the maximum for provincial tracks, that I do ask the Government to listen to the voice of many of their supporters and to give consideration to this Amendment.
It has often been said of this Government, with a great measure of truth, that they seem to find it easier to give concessions to their political opponents rather than to their political friends. Many of us have to go about the country 1669 each week-end attempting to defend—which is not a difficult task—the great achievements of the National Government during the past three years. We are much concerned that when we go in the coming weeks and months to mobilise, as I hope we shall, the support of all sections of the community for the continuance of His Majesty's present Government in power, nothing that has been put forward here shall make it possible for our critics to say that we have been responsible for partisan legislation. It is a little strange and a thing worthy of note by the Government that so much of their support in these matters should be coming from those people who are most active in attempting to undermine the confidence of the country in the present Administration. The hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Isaac Foot) is anxious to facilitate the passage of this Bill, and yet at week-ends he goes to the West Country and among the West Country people he endeavours to sow discontent and lack of confidence in the present Administration. I have read reports of many speeches that he has made, sent to me by a mutual friend in Cornwall. When the important question of the reform of the House of Lords was under consideration he made many speeches
§ which turned on the theory that the Tory party has always been the advocate of partisan legislation.
§ Mr. LENNOX-BOYD
I must apologise if my natural indignation at the hon. Member has made me diverge from this particular Amendment. I do most strongly hold the view that if the Amendment is carried we may be in a position to see the greyhound racing industry—which has come to stay—properly managed and honourably controlled. We might wish to abolish it. Many people supporting this Amendment would like to see the totalisator made illegal. But to permit the totalisator and at the same time to strangle it by prohibitive legislation appears to me to be an action ill-suited to any Government, and particularly ill-suited to the present Administration.
§ 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."
§ The House divided; Ayes, 182; Noes, 32.1671
|Division No. 399.]||AYES.||[12.0 m.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir Francis Dyke||Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||Gunston, Captain D. W.|
|Albery, Irving James||Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Hales, Harold K.|
|Asks, Sir Robert William||Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||Hammersley, Samuel S.|
|Assheton, Ralph||Cross, R. H.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry|
|Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Crossley, A. C.||Harris, Sir Percy|
|Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M.||Dagger, George||Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)|
|Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J.||Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery)||Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Hornby, Frank|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Drewe, Cedric||Horsbrugh, Florence|
|Bernays, Robert||Drummond-Wolff, H. M. C.||Howard, Tom Forrest|
|Beven, Stuart James (Holborn)||Duggan, Hubert John||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.|
|Blindell, James||Duncan. James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)|
|Borodale, Viscount||Eden, Rt. Hon. Anthony||Hums, Sir George Hopwood|
|Bossom, A. C.||Edwards, Charles||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)|
|Boulton, W. W.||Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thorns; W. H.|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Elliston, Captain George Sampson||James, Wing.-Com. A. W. H.|
|Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E.R.)||Elmley, Viscount||Jamieson, Douglas|
|Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||John, William|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Ker, J. Campbell|
|Burghley, Lord||Everard, W. Lindsay||Kirkpatrick William M.|
|Burnett, John George||Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Leighton, Major B. E. P.|
|Cadogan, Hon. Edward||Fox, Sir Gifford||Lindsay, Noel Ker|
|Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly)||Fremantle, Sir Francis||Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe|
|Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm||Fuller, Captain A. G.||Lloyd, Geoffrey|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Loftus, Pierce C.|
|Carver, Major William H.||Goff, Sir Park||Lyons, Abraham Montagu|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Mebane, William|
|Clayton, Sir Christopher||Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd. N.)||MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Partick)|
|Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Graves, Marjorie||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Greene, William P. C.||McKie, John Hamilton|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Grimston, R. V.||McLean, Major Sir Alan|
|Copeland, Ida||Grundy, Thomas W.||Magnay, Thomas|
|Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest||Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)|
|Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot||Reid, William Allan (Derby)||Stones, James|
|Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Rickards, George William||Storey, Samuel|
|Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)||Rosbotham, Sir Thomas||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir Murray F.|
|Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Runge, Norah Cecil||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E.A.(P'dd'gt'n,S.)|
|Muirhead, Lieut.-Colonel A. J.||Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Munro, Patrick||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)||Tree, Ronald|
|Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Salmon, Sir Isidore||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Nunn, William||Salt, Edward W.||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|O'Donovan, Dr. William James||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart||Wallace, John (Dunfermline)|
|Orr Ewing, I. L.||Savery, Samuel Servington||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Patrick, Colin M.||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Peake, Osbert||Shute, Colonel J. J.||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Pearson, William G.||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Penny, Sir George||Slater, John||White, Henry Graham|
|Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, B'nstaple)||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Peto, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n, Bilst'n)||Smith, Sir J. Walker. (Barrow-In-F.)||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.||Smith, Sir Robert (Ab'd'n & K'dine,C.)||Williams, Thomas (York. Don Valley)|
|Procter, Major Henry Adam||Smithers, Sir Waldron||Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir Arnold (Hertf'd)|
|Pybus, Sir John||Somerset, Thomas||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Radford, E. A.||Somervell, Sir Donald||Womersley, Sir Walter|
|Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Soper, Richard||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Ramsbotham, Herwald||Spencer, Captain Richard A.||Commander Southby and Dr.|
|Ramsden, Sir Eugene||Spans, William Patrick||Morris-Jones.|
|Bailey, Eric Alfred George||Gardner, Benjamin Walter||Ramer, John R.|
|Banfield, John William||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Renwick, Major Gustav A.|
|Bateman, A. L.||Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)||Rutherford, John (Edmonton)|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Buchanan, George||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Templeton, William P.|
|Cape, Thomas||Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)||Todd, Lt.-Col. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Levy, Thomas||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||McGovern, John|
|Davison, Sir William Henry||Petherick, M.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Pike, Cecil F.||Mr. Logan and Mr. Fleming.|
|Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.|
§ Question put accordingly "That the words 'four days' stand part of the Bill."1672
§ The House divided: Ayes, 164; Noes, 40.1673
|Division No. 400.]||AYES.||[12.7 a.m.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir Francis Dyke||Cross, R. H.||Harris, Sir Percy|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Crossley, A. C.||Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)|
|Albery, Irving James||Dagger, George||Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)|
|Assheton, Ralph||Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery)||Horsbrugh, Florence|
|Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset,Yeovil)||Howard, Tom Forrest|
|Bailey, Eric Alfred George||Drewe, Cedric||Hewitt, Dr. Alfred B.|
|Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M.||Drummond-Wolff, H. H. C.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney,N.)|
|Banfield, John William||Duggan, Hubert John||Hume, Sir George Hopwood|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Eden, Rt. Hon. Anthony||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.|
|Bernays, Robert||Edwards, Charles||James, Wing.-Com. A. W. H.|
|Blindell, James||Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey||Jamieson, Douglas|
|Borodale, Viscount||Elliston, Captain George Sampson||John, William|
|Bossom, A. C.||Elmley, Viscount||Ker, J. Campbell|
|Boulton, W. W.||Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||Kirkpatrick, William M.|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ)||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton|
|Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E.R.)||Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)|
|Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Everard, W. Lindsay||Leighton, Major B. E. P.|
|Burghley, Lord||Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Lindsay, Noel Ker|
|Burnett, John George||Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Fox, Sir Gifford||Lloyd, Geoffrey|
|Cadogan, Hon. Edward||Fremantle, Sir Francis||Loftus, Pierce C.|
|Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly)||Fuller, Captain A. G.||Lyons, Abraham Montagu|
|Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm||Gardner, Benjamin Walter||Mabane, William|
|Cape, Thomas||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G. (Partick)|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Goff, Sir Park||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||McKie, John Hamilton|
|Clayton, Sir Christopher||Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.)||McLean, Major Sir Alan|
|Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Graves, Marjorle||Magnay, Thomas|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Grimston, R. V.||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Grundy, Thomas W.||Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot|
|Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)|
|Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Hammersley, Samuel S.||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colone John|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale|
|Muirhead, Lieut.-Colonel A. J.||Reid, William Allan (Derby)||Spens, William Patrick|
|Munro, Patrick||Rickards, George William||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)|
|Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Rosbotham, Sir Thomas||Stones, James|
|O'Donovan, Dr. William James||Ross Taylor, Waiter (Woodbridge)||Storey, Samuel|
|Orr Ewing, I. L.||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Patrick, Colin M.||Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir Murray F.|
|Peake, Osbert||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Pearson, William G.||Salmon, Sir Isidore||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Penny, Sir George||Salt, Edward W.||Wallace, John (Dunfermline)|
|Petherick, M.||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Savery, Samuel Servington||White, Henry Graham|
|Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bliston)||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Procter, Major Henry Adam||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)||Williams, Thomas (York, Don valley)|
|Pybus, Sir John||Smith, Sir J. Walker- (Barrow-in-F.)||Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir Arnold (Hertf'd)|
|Radford, E. A.||Smith, Sir Robert (Ab'd'n & K'dine,C.)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Smith, Tom (Normanton)||Womersley, Sir Walter|
|Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Somervell, Sir Donald|
|Ramsbotham, Herwald||Soper, Richard||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Ramsden, Sir Eugene||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.||Sir Victor Warrender and Dr. Morris-Jones.|
|Ried, James S. C. (Stirling)||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Bateman, A. L.||Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston)||Shute, Colonel J. J.|
|Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn)||Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Bragg)||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Buchanan, George||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E.A.(P'dd'gt'n,S.)|
|Carver, Major William H.||Levy, Thomas||Templeton, William P.|
|Clarry, Reginald George||McGovern, John||Thorp, Linton Theodore|
|Copeland, Ida||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Todd, Lt.-Col, A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Pike, Cecil F.||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Davison, Sir William Henry||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Remer, John R.||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||Renwick, Major Gustav A.|
|Greene, William P. C.||Runge, Norah Cecil||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Hales, Harold K.||Rutherford, John (Edmonton)||Mr. Logan and Mr. Fleming.|
|Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.|
§ 12.16 a.m.
§ Mr. T. WILLIAMS
I beg to move, "That further Considerations of the Bill, as amended, be now adjourned."
I do so in order to ask the right hon. Gentleman how far he proposes to go to-night. I think he will appreciate that Members on the Government benches have occupied practically the whole time daring the evening, and it seems to me, in view of the number of Amendments that remain, that he might well consider the advisability of adjourning now, in the hope that we may have time not only to complete the Report stage but also the Third Reading to-morrow.
§ 12.17 a.m.
§ Sir J. GILMOUR
As I said when I was asked this question earlier, I am very anxious not to press the House unduly. I had hoped that we might have reached Clause 22. It is very much a matter for Members whether they wish to debate some of these points on Amendments or on the Third Reading. It is a question of time. The longer we take over the Report stage, the shorter will be the time available for the Third Reading. I would only say that there are one or two of my Amendments which are really purely drafting Amendments, 1674 and one or two in which I am making concessions, and I should have hoped that we might make such progress as at least to reach Clause 16. That would leave a reasonable period of time for the remainder of the Report stage tomorrow, and also time for the Third Reading. I hope that this suggestion will meet the wishes of the House.
§ 12.18 a.m.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
My right hon. Friend will not be under any delusion on the situation in which he and his Bill now stand. He seems to think he holds some sort of whip over us. Really what he says is: "If you do not neglect your duty of discussing all the questions which arise on the Report stage, then you will not be allowed to have a proper debate on the Third Reading." But supposing that the House chooses to discuss, and thinks it is its duty to discuss, these matters all through to-morrow and tomorrow night, and right on till the next day, then the right hon. Gentleman will not be able to enforce the Third Reading debate, and all his attempts to push matters forcibly upon the House may be brought to a standstill. I think he would be well advised to allow the proceedings to be terminated now. We have only 1675 reached Clause 1 so far, and he wants to get, in the small hours of the morning, another 15 Clauses. There are a great many Amendments on the Paper besides those which he has put down, and there are many points of interest and importance which will have to be discussed; but there are other reasons, apart from keeping the House up till two or three o'clock to get a few more Clauses to-night, which I would ask my right hon. Friend to consider, and which I would ask the Government to consider. It seems to me that this is a matter where my right hon. Friend should have some consultation with the Leader of the House.
I do not know why the Leader of the House is not present. He ought to be present. I have often seen the House in great difficulties because it does not have superior guidance given it at critical junctures, the Departmental Minister unable to take his eyes off the immediate present, his amour propre excited and his obstinacy aroused, driving the House into a very difficult position. Those are the times when I have again and again seen the Prime Minister come in and say "You must not do this." I strongly recommend the right hon. Gentleman to press this proposition no further. If he attempts to do so, I do not think he will make progress in proportion to the labour and inconvenience that will be caused. As for to-morrow, I hope before we come to-morrow he will have had an opportunity of taking better advice.
§ 12.21 a.m.
§ Mr. H. WILLIAMS
I have spoken only once to-day. [An HON. MEMBER: "Shame!"]. That may be, but my observation is that when I speak I attract a larger audience than the hon. Member who made the interruption. I have spoken only once, though I hold very strong and definite views about every aspect of this Bill. I was once on the Committee upstairs and whenever any proposal was put forward the Home Secretary tried to bully us. He said he would withdraw the Bill, as if that mattered in the least to us. There is only one reputation that will crash if the Bill is withdrawn and that is the reputation of the Home Secretary. We do not like these bullying tactics. In the next stage he threatened that he would bring the Bill downstairs, as if one cared about 1676 that. Now he threatens us that if we talk now we shall be denied an opportunity of speaking on the Third Reading, as if he alone was in charge of the business of the House. I had no intention of getting up until he once again adopted the attitude of a bully. I am not going to be bullied by the Home Secretary or any other Minister. I hold my own views strongly and never hesitate to express them. I never hesitate to vote in accordance with what I think to be right. I have just got up to make my protest against the right hon. Gentleman's attempt to bully the House of Commons.
§ Mr. T. WILLIAMS
Much as I should prefer to adjourn now, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Motion.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
Will the Home Secretary give us any idea of the time he wishes us to sit or must he get Clause 16 before we adjourn?
§ Sir J. GILMOUR
I had hoped that we might get to the end of Clause 22, which would have left a reasonable amount to be done to-morrow. I have no desire to keep the House, but I ask them to go to the end of Clause 16. There are not very many Amendments and it will not, I think, be an undue tax.
§ 12.25 am.
Sir NAIRNE STEWART SANDEMAN
I very much resent the words of the hon. Member for South Croydon (Mr. H. Williams) addressed to the Home Secretary. I have known the right hon. Gentleman ever since he was a little boy. He really had the hardest head I ever came across, and I often skinned my knuckles on him. He never showed any signs of bullying. The dogged perseverance which we all admire in the young has gone on all his life, and I hope he will not give in on this matter. Although I am ready to sit up all night and vote against this beastly Bill, I know well all the time that the Home Secretary absolutely believes in it, and will carry it through somehow or other.
§ Sir W. DAVISON
As the Home-Secretary disclaims all idea of bullying, or of dictating to the House, why does not he accept the Adjournment? He said that he was willing to meet the views of the House. The House wishes to adjourn now, so why not accept it? [HON MEMBRRS: "No!"]
§ 12.26 a.m.
§ Mr. WISE
I wish to ask the Home Secretary if he can satisfy us on one point arising from his speech. Assuming that the gloomy prognostications of the Opposition to the Bill are fulfilled and the Debate on the remaining Clauses on. the Report stage is unduly prolonged, is he proposing to ask the House to take the Third Reading of this very important Bill possibly after the hour of 2 a.m. tomorrow, or is he not?
§ 12.27 a.m.1678
§ not we finish the Report stage of the Bill To-morrow and then take the Third Reading on Thursday, cut out the various Resolutions which we have to take and begin them with the fresh Session. That suggestion may possibly ease the situation, and may meet the general approval of the great majority of the House.
§ Question put, "That further Consideration of the Bill, as amended, be now adjourned."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 31; Noes, 156.1679
|Division No. 401.]||AYES.||[12.29 a.m.|
|Bailey, Eric Alfred George||Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)||Rutherford, John (Edmonton)|
|Bracken, Brendan||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Shute, Colonel J. J.|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Buchanan, George||Levy, Thomas||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E.A.(P'dd'gt'n,S.)|
|Burnett, John George||Logan, David Gilbert||Todd, Lt.-Col. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||McGovern, John||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.|
|Fleming, Edward Lascelles||Petherick, M.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Hanley, Dennis A.||Pike, Cecil F.||Sir William Davison and Mr. Herbert Williams.|
|Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.|
|Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston)||Renwick, Major Gustav A.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir Francis Dyke||Edwards, Charles||McLean, Major Sir Alan|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com, P. G.||Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||Magnay, Thomas|
|Albery, Irving James||Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.)||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.|
|Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Everard, W. Lindsay||Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)|
|Banfield, John William||Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Fox, Sir Gifford||Motion, A. Hugh Elsdale|
|Bernays, Robert||Fremantle, Sir Francis||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)|
|Blindell, James||Fuller, Captain A. G.||Morrison. William Shepherd|
|Borodale, Viscount||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Muirhead, Lieut.-Colonel A. J.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Goff, Sir Park||Munro, Patrick|
|Boulton, W. W.||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Nunn, William|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Graves, Marjorie||O'Donovan, Dr. William James|
|Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E. R.)||Greene, William P. C.||Orr Ewing, I. L.|
|Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Grimston, R. V.||Peake, Osbert|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Grundy, Thomas W.||Pearson, William G.|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.|
|Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly)||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Procter, Major Henry Adam|
|Campbell-Johnston. Malcolm||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Pybus, Sir John|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Harris, Sir Percy||Radford, E. A.|
|Carver, Major William H.||Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Hamby, Frank||Ramebotham, Herwald|
|Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Horsbrugh, Florence||Ramadan, Sir Eugene|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Howard, Tom Forrest||Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Hudson. Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney,N.)||Reid, William Allan (Derby)|
|Copeland, Ida||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Rickards, George William|
|Courtauld, Major John Sewell||James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.||Rosbotham, Sir Thomas|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||Jamieson, Douglas||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Critchley, Brig.-General A. C.||John, William||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Slivertown)||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)|
|Cross, R. H.||Ker, J. Campbell||Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)|
|Crossley, A. C.||Kirkpatrick, William M.||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)|
|Dagger, George||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Salmon, Sir Isidore.|
|Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery)||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Salt, Edward W.|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Lindsay, Noel Ker||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset,Yeovil)||Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe-||Savery, Samuel Servington|
|Denville, Alfred||Lloyd, Geoffrey||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Drewe, Cedric||Loftus, Pierce C.||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Drummond-Wolff, H. M. C.||Mabane, William||Smith, Sir Robert (Ab'd'n & K'dine,C.)|
|Duggan, Hubert John||MacAndrew, Lt.-Col C. G. (Partick)||Smith, Tom (Normanton)|
|Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Somerset, Thomas|
|Eden, Rt. Hon. Anthony||McKie, John Hamilton||Somervell, Sir Donald|
|Soper, Richard||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.||Tree, Ronald||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Spencer, Captain Richard A.||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.||Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir Arnold (Hertf'd)|
|Spent, William Patrick||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut-Colonel George|
|Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)||Womersley, Sir Walter|
|Stones, James||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Storey, Samuel||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Strauss, Edward A.||White, Henry Graham||Sir George Penny and Sir Victor Warrender.|
|Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
§ Sir J. GILMOUR
I beg to move, in page 1, line 11, to leave out "calendar."
This is consequential on an Amendment made in the Committee Stage and defines the year.
§ 12.34 a.m.
§ Mr. H. WILLIAMS
May I ask whether this is consequential on anything that was passed in Committee upstairs or downstairs? After sitting on a Committee which spends more time on the preliminary stage on Clause 1, which we are now discussing, and less time, including the small hours of the morning, on the subsequent numerous Clauses, all we are told is that it is consequential on something we did in Committee. I was in the Committee on Clause 1, and there was no Amendment to it in regard to the calendar year which makes this consequential. I have never heard of anything being consequential on something which happened afterwards. As a rule "consequential" means something which follows an earlier Clause. We are now told that something is consequential on Clause 1 because of something contained in Clause 20. That is a new doctrine of "Consequential" which I do not understand. There was a time when I was called a mathematician because I took a degree in it. I never understood Einstein to mean that what happened before happened afterwards. This is a new doctrine because of the new procedure which has been adopted in regard to this Bill, and I hope the Home Secretary will give some more adequate explanation.
§ 12.36 a.m.
§ Sir J. GILMOUR
This Amendment is to bring the Clause into line with Clause 20, and it defines the year. As I explained in Committee here, it had been hoped that the Bill would have been through in time to start on 1st January, hut that has not been found possible, and it is therefore made the 1st July. Therefore, the licensing of tracks will begin on the 1st July, 1935, instead of on January 1st.
§ 12.37 a.m.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I do not think that is at all a satisfactory explanation. I must say I was surprised that the Home Secretary should not be able to explain it and to put the House in a proper position to decide on the point. This is a question which stands in a peculiar position, because, as the hon. Member for South Croydon (Mr. H. Williams) reminded the House, it was never discussed in Committee of the whole House. That shows the slovenly manner in which this Bill has been conducted. Here is the right hon. Gentleman who during an enormous period in Committee upstairs never detected an obvious discrepancy and incongruity between the wording of Clause 1 and of Clause 20. It is astonishing that he should have overlooked a thing like that. I suppose that the right hon. Gentleman has been so busy adjusting all the little interior questions or is so buoyant with his feeling of the high morality that he has established and the blows that he has struck against gambling in this country that little matters like defining the actual year—which is of real importance in this matter—are out of his mind.
I still do not understand his preference for the word "year" instead of "calendar year." I think that "calendar year" would be much better; it is more precise. Evidently when this Bill emerged from the machine it was considered that it should be the calendar year, and I am sure that the Noble Lady the Member for the Sutton Division (Viscountess Astor) will agree with me. I do not see why this Bill should be weakened by the abolition of an expression which has a most respectable tradition attached to it. "Calendar year" is clear and plain to me. The word "year" leaves it doubtful as to whether it may not be the Income Tax or the financial year; but the calendar year is a year that corresponds most accurately to the movement of the celestial bodies and will enable us best to deal with this difficult matter. I am 1681 most anxious as the House has been discussing very seriously the question of 104 or 130 days that we should know if by substituting the word "year" for "calendar year" any complications may arise. I should like to hear the views of the hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. Logan) on this matter. We must know the reason why the word "calendar" is to be struck out. I hope we shall not dismiss the matter in a hurry. I think we ought to stand by the word, and I shall vote in the Lobby for its retention. I feel that I should be able to make up my mind on the subject with more conviction if I had a fuller explanation of how the different interests are affected by this change. It would also be a great advantage if the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Office who has been sitting silent all the day would display those brilliant talents that have won him advancement and would give us some clear reason in support of it. After all, we have heard little from the Home Secretary, and I must say that when he chooses to speak he never attempts to bully the House. He just attempts to overlay it, bringing pressure to lay down on top of it, crushing the life out of it in the most friendly and genial manner. I can understand his desire to do right and to get rid of the word "calendar," because he wants to lighten the Bill. If he wants to get on he should lighten it still further and get rid of Part II. However, in the absence of a fuller assurance as to the effect of this Amendment I shall feel it my duty to vote against the deletion of the word "calendar."
§ 12.45 a.m.
§ Mr. LOGAN
I am completely at a loss to understand what the Home Secretary means. I am anxious that the right. hon. Gentleman who has just spoken and the hon. Member for South Croydon (Mr. H. Williams) should know exactly what we are going to do. I am most anxious to know whether there is any Parliamentary significance in the word "calendar," and what is its definition. Why is there, any difference between the word "calendar" and any other. I think the Government ought to be able to give us the information and I am trying to get the information in an orthodox way. I would be very pleased if the Minister could tell us what he really means by this Amendment.
§ 12.48 a.m.
§ Sir W. DAVISON
I hope that the Home Secretary or the Under-Secretary will explain this matter to us a little more clearly. The right hon. Gentleman for Epping (Mr. Churchill) thought it ought to be a calendar year starting from the 1st January, and I would like to ask why this Amendment has been put in at the last moment. Why it is that this House after all this time in Committee is asked to make this change now? Why have the Government only now found out that "calendar" is not the proper word? Why not lunar year? I really think we must have some further explanation, or we shall have to divide against the Amendment.
§ 12.49 a.m.
§ Sir J. GILMOUR
I should like to say a few words at this point. The Bill when it was introduced was intended to come into operation on January 1st, 1935. It became obvious when the Bill came back here that not only would it be too short a. time for the local authorities, but that it would be unfair and unreasonable to greyhound racing. It was to meet that difficulty that the year was altered to let July, and we have deliberately deleted the word "calandar" so that the year may run from 1st July. That date was devised in the interests of all concerned.
§ 12.51 a.m.
Mr. G. BRAITHWAITE
The Home Secretary has referred to Clause 20, which he said would be affected by the Amendment. I am unable to find there any reference to the calendar year.
§ 12.52 a.m.
§ Mr. BAILEY
This is a very important matter, and it is not our fault that it is being discussed at this hour of the morning. We feel that we cannot allow this thing to go through without a little more explanation from the Home Secretary. I should like an assurance, before deciding how to vote on this matter, that it is not due to pressure from the various interests, such as the football interests, or the greyhound interests, that this alteration is being made. I cannot help feeling that this is going to cause considerable trouble and an amount of confusion. You have your lunar year, your fiscal year, your Income Tax year, and your calendar year. Now you are going to add a "dog" year. It is a point about which 1683 we are very serious. I think we ought to have from some other Minister a further word. I appeal to the Liberals to come into the Lobby with us on the matter. I would appeal to them for support, because we are making a stand for the liberties and the privileges of Parliament and insisting that this thing shall not be pushed through without adequate discussion. I hope that we shall have some explanation before the matter is forced to a division.
§ 12.57 a.m.
§ Mr. DENVILLE
The hon. Member who has preceded me has suggested that the Liberals should come into the Lobby with us. The best Liberals are on this side of the House, and they always come into the Lobby with us. The question of the word "calendar" is worthy of consideration. Does it refer to the ordinary calendar, or to that to which Home Secretaries are more attached—the Newgate Calendar?
§ 12.58 a.m.
§ Mr. WISE
I would like to put this point. The word "calendar" was probably inserted in the Bill for some definite purpose. If this new year is to run from 1st July to 30th June, it should be so stated in the Bill. I believe that I am right in saying that in every enactment where the ordinary year is tampered with it is laid clown that the year shall be from such and such a date to such and such a date. This is a point of substance. If it is to run from 1st July to 30th June, it should be stated that that is to be the dog racing year.
§ Amendment agreed to.