HC Deb 12 November 1934 vol 293 cc1608-44

A lottery being a Christmas draw promoted in a city, borough, or district for the purpose of raising money for a local hospital shall not be deemed an unlawful lottery, provided the following conditions are observed, viz.:—

  1. (a) not more than one such lottery shall be promoted for the benefit of any one hospital in any one year and no ticket shall be sold earlier than the month of November;
  2. (b) no tickets shall be sold outside the city, borough, or district in which the hospital is situated;
  3. (c) no tickets shall be sent through the post;
  4. (d) the proceeds of the sale of tickets after payment of the expenses (including 1609 the purchase of prizes) shall be applied solely for the benefit of the local hospital whose name shall be printed on the ticket;
  5. (e) the prizes shall not be money prizes;
  6. (f) the accounts shall be audited by a qualified accountant;
  7. (g) permission to hold the draw (lottery) shall be first obtained from the mayor of the city or borough or the chairman of the district council as the case may be;
  8. (h) if any of the conditions mentioned in the last preceding sub-section is broken every person concerned in the promotion or conduct of the Christmas draw shall be guilty of an offence unless he proves that the offence under this Act was committed without his knowledge.—[Sir W. Wayland.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

8.16 p.m.


I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

This Clause represents a very small concession, so I hope that the Home Secretary will adopt it. If carried it will legalise Christmas draws. The lotteries affected can only be held once a year, and the Clause provides that tickets must not be sold before the beginning of November, that the draw must be for the benefit of a single hospital in the district, that no tickets must be sold outside the city, borough or district, that no tickets must be sent through the post, and that there shall be no money prizes. This Bill legalises smal lotteries. Those affected by the Clause are not large ones, but represent what has been done in every hamlet and town throughout the United Kingdom for many years past. I am aware that it is illegal, and has been illegal for the last 50 years, but during the last 50 years hundreds of thousands, probably millions, of these Christmas draws have been held without any interference from the police except in a comparatively few instances. No money is given away, but only produce like turkeys, fat or otherwise, geese, poultry, and provisions for the household. The tickets are usually sold for about 2d. to 6d. each.

In the case of these draws, of which the number is very large, held on behalf of the smaller hospitals of this country, the proceeds represent very often quite a considerable part of the income of the hospital. Under the Bill a draw will be legal in any works or in any club. In the Automobile Club, with a membership of 17,000 or 19,000, a Christmas draw would be quite legal; a draw held in a large works employing from 5,000 to 10,000 men would be quite legal; but under the Bill a Christmas draw on behalf of a hospital, whether small or large, for the sole benefit of that benefit, is illegal and imposes considerable penalties upon the promoters. In one instance, where it is legal, the draw would be held for the benefit of the individuals only; in the other instance it would be held partly for the benefit of the individuals and partly for the benefit of a hospital; and I cannot think it is fair that a lottery of this latter kind should be illegal.

There is no mention of charity in the Clause; it simply provides that the draw must be entirely on behalf of a local hospital, which the people in the locality would be only too delighted, as they have been in the past, to support. I cannot see how the Home Secretary can possibly resist such a proposal, since it does not mean that any money will be given or that anything of the nature of betting will take place, but simply that people invest in tickets at, say, 6d. each, knowing that, if they are lucky, they will be able to place upon their Christmas table something of a succulent nature such as a turkey or other poultry, or beef or pork, or that the housewife will be delighted with a parcel of groceries. Surely, the Home Secretary cannot say that such a Clause is going to interfere with the principle underlying the Bill. It asks very little—indeed, not as much as he is prepared to grant in other instances. I make an appeal to him on these grounds that such draws may be excepted.

8.21 p.m.

Vice-Admiral TAYLOR

I beg to second the Motion.

In doing so I would appeal to the Minister on the ground that, as has been pointed out, he is already legalising in the Bill small lotteries under certain conditions, and private lotteries under certain conditions. In this case there is no question of a national lottery, or a lottery in connection with hospitals in the country in general, which might he resisted on the ground that hospitals are opposed to obtaining money in that way. As a matter of fact, many of the smaller hospitals throughout the country have been for many years dependent to a considerable extent on the money which is raised year by year by means of these Christmas draws. The Minister has agreed to except a small lottery on the principle that it is only small, and does not matter very much. If it were a big, strapping, healthy, bouncing boy, the Minister would not look upon it with so much favour, but, as it is only a little one, it does not matter. I suggest to him that this is only a little one. It can do no harm to anybody at all. It cannot corrupt public morals in any way; it is not offering a money prize to anybody who puts his money in; but it gives to working men and other people the opportunity, which they have had for years, of putting once a year at Christmas time some money into a lottery on the chance of drawing for their Christmas dinner a turkey or a goose, or it may be a bottle of whisky or something of that nature, and of having the pleasurable anticipation of obtaining a prize. In this case the whole of the money subscribed, beyond that which is utilised for the provision of the prizes, will go to a hospital. It will be a very severe blow to many of the small hospitals throughout the country if these Christmas draws are to be made illegal, and I beg my right hon. Friend to accept the Clause.

8.24 p.m.


I feel sure that the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill cannot accept this proposed new Clause, for reasons which I am about to give. In the first place, the Clause is utterly unworkable. It says: A lottery being a Christmas draw promoted in a city, borough, or district for the purpose of raising money for a local hospital shall not be deemed an unlawful lottery, and it provides that no tickets shall be sold outside the city, borough, or district in which the hospital is situated. I represent a division in which, apart from a very small accident and a fever hospital, there is no general hospital at all; consequently, if any benefit is to accrue from a Clause of this kind, our people would never be entitled to indulge in the proposal at all.

Vice-Admiral TAYLOR

That is hardly an argument against the insertion of a Clause under which hospitals would benefit.


I will put another argument stronger than that. The two hon. Members have used the spirit of Christmas in a very plausible way. Having failed in their first attempt to induce the Government to include lotteries on a large scale, they are going to use as a lever the wonderful experience that we all get at Christmas. But the biggest argument of all against a proposal of this kind is that the two hon. Members, I feel sure, are not speaking on behalf of the hospitals themselves.


I am speaking on behalf of the hospitals.


That is news to me. because I always understood that they had come to the conclusion that, once you admitted the principle of a lottery to raise money for the upkeep of hospitals, the ordinary contributions would fall pro rata. There are people who every Christmas now give a contribution to the hospitals in their districts. If it be thought for a moment that contributions would come from lotteries and draws, those contributions would not come any more, and, consequently, there would be no gain at all. How wonderfully well hon. Members use the working man for every possible argument! Let us see what the working man does. In some districts he pays a weekly contribution of 1d. or 2d. and in some cases up to 6d. to the hospitals. If the Clause were adopted, I think it would destroy that practice almost entirely. Instead of paying his weekly contribution, he would say, "Let us have a draw every Christmas," and he would probably take a 6d. ticket once a year and drop his weekly contribution. I could not understand the argument that this would be done for the small hospitals and not for the big ones. Why not? If it be good for the small hospitals, what is wrong in adopting the same kind of lottery for the big ones? Then I want to know what they mean by a local hospital. There are many hospitals in Manchester. You could not have one draw for a local hospital, and, as I understand the Clause, it would not apply to more than one. Unless I am greatly mistaken, the hospitals in Manchester keep their end up very well. I know of several people—there may be thousands—who, if they found the hospitals drawing their revenue from these doubtful practices, would stop their contributions, and the end would be worse than the beginning.


Will the hon. Gentleman deny that there is not a single hospital in the Kingdom which has not gained funds directly or indirectly from Christmas draws?


I cannot say whether that be correct or not, but if this became a regular practice it would probably be the only method of raising revenue, and we should be doing a great disservice to hospitals if we gave the impression that their income throughout the year must be derived from a single lottery at Christmas. That would be fatal to the weekly contributions of the work-people, and the object that the hon. Members have in view would be defeated by the very means that they are now proposing.

8.30 p.m.


The hon. Gentleman says that the hospitals are opposed to this proposal. It is true that Sir Arthur Stanley gave evidence before the Royal Commission that they had been circularised and that 80 per cent. of the replies—not 80 per cent. of the hospitals—were against lotteries.


Is there anything to show that any hospitals did not reply.


He said 80 per cent. of the replies that he had received up to the time of his giving evidence. That shows that he had not received replies from all. The report states the total receipts of the hospitals, but that is misleading, because it does not show that that was their total receipts, including investments, endowments and so forth. Their actual receipts from subscriptions must be far less than 50 per cent. of the figure given. The hon. Member said that contributions would fall off if draws were allowed. In my part of the world, we keep up our contributory schemes by having draws, which shows that the hospitals need the money. I am glad to say that the working men in the district have responded, and our contributory receipts have gone up. It is true that the big hospitals do not want these schemes, especially those in London, because they have a national appeal. It is very easy for them to issue an appeal, and the whole country responds, but the poor local hospitals, to which the Clause applies, cannot raise funds in that way. The Home Secretary has legalised raffles and sweepstakes to a certain degree, and we thank him for that. They were illegal formerly, but they were the common custom of the country. In many parts of the country hospital sweepstakes are to-day illegal. They are equally the common custom of the country, and I cannot see how, logically, he can discriminate between the two.

I wonder how much the House appreciates the needs of the local voluntary hospitals to which the Clause mainly applies. We have only to picture a hospital. It always wants more money. People complain sometimes for that reason. If they are to give the best possible treatment or to institute a maternity ward or set up pathological or ophthalmic departments, they must have more money. In many hospitals to-day it is the custom to get up and wash the unfortunate patients at four o'clock in the morning because they have not sufficient staff. They cannot afford more staff to enable them to start the operations later. Many hospitals have been accustomed to Christmas draws. My own hospital has been relieved to the extent of several hundreds of pounds per annum by proceeds from their annual Christmas draw, and, if the privilege is withdrawn, it will make a serious hole in the receipts of not only my hospital, but many hospitals up and down the countryside. We are not asking for fresh gambling facilities, but only for the confirmation of what is going on at present, with the reservation that the conditions must be much more stringent than they are to-day.

8.37 p.m.


In listening to the Debate this evening, one cannot fail to be impressed by the various remarks of hon. Members as to why and how this sort of thing should or should not be of benefit to the hospitals concerned. All that the Clause asks is that a lottery being a Christmas draw promoted in a city, borough, or district shall be legalised at Christmas. For many years these lotteries have been held, and the police have been good enough to shut their eyes to them and the local authorities to give them their blessing, and now we are asking that they shall be put upon more sensible lines and under control, so that they shall no longer be illegal. Yet we find that there is opposition to the suggestion. It is foolish that anyone should suggest that it is better that the Government should control all these games of chance throughout the country, horse racing, dog racing, use of totalisators, and yet when it comes to Christmas time, that the old-established institution of the Christmas draw should be done away with altogether. I have perhaps been in more towns and villages of Great Britain than any hon. Member of this House, and I do not know of any small town in which there is not a draw or lottery of some description at Christmas. There is a provision in the proposed new Clause with which I do not agree, and that is that No tickets shall be sold outside the city, borough, or district in which the hospital is situated. Take the case of Newcastle-on-Tyne or Oldham or of many of the large towns where the residents of the district for many miles around come to a common centre. The Clause would prevent lottery tickets or tickets for a draw being sent into the suburbs. I consider that to be wrong. There is also a provision that Permission to hold the draw (lottery) shall he first obtained from the mayor of the city or borough or the chairman of the district council, as the case may be. It ought to be a sufficient guarantee to those who are apprehensive that it will not be conducted in a proper manner if the mayor, or whoever is appointed, gives permission for the holding of a Christmas draw. We do not call them lotteries, we call them draws, because usually it is not a question of money at all, but of prizes given by generous tradesmen of the town in the form of ducks, turkeys, whisky, cases of beer and all sorts of things which are seasonable at Christmas. Those who take an interest in hospitals like to help them and also to have a flutter, and so they buy one or two tickets for the hospital draw. There is a large amount of hypocrisy in connection with Christmas draws. The other day I bought from an hon. Member of this House, in this House, and during the time the House was sitting, four tickets for a Christmas lottery.




Certainly not. I bought them from a friend of mine. You would possibly get the shock of your life if I told you what it was for. If you are very pressing, I will tell you.


Was it the hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Isaac Foot)?


No, it was not the hon. Member for Bodmin. There is nothing in this world which is evil; it is the abuse of a thing which makes it evil. If these things were conducted properly, there would be no abuse, and therefore no evil. There is no evil in lotteries or draws, or in liquid refreshments; it is the abuse of them which is evil. There is no evil in gambling; it is only the abuse of it. Only three days ago I was in the company of several gentlemen. One was a well-known divine and another a well-known governor of a hospital, and they launched an argument about a certain incident which happened in the City some years previously. The well-known divine, a strong anti-gambler, said to his friend the governor of the hospital, "Well, if I am right I will give you £5 for your hospital, and, if you are wrong, you give me £5 for my church." That was gambling. The only thing about it was that it was not honest gambling.


Who won or who lost?


The cleric was betting on what was called a certainty, and all sportsmen refuse to take any money when it is a "cert." We are told that we are appealing for this sort of thing on behalf of the working men. Those who live among the working men and know the depressed areas as I do and what is happening there will realise that when a poor fellow is out of work and getting the dole and hanging about at the street corner a little flutter does him good. He will go without his breakfast, his tea or his dinner in order to have a little flutter. Think of the days and days of pleasure which that brings them. Any hon. Member of this House who has been the proud possessor of an Irish sweep ticket or a French national lottery ticket must know the pleasure that he has had for two or three weeks thinking what he is going to do if he wins £30,000. This legislation, this persecution of the small punter and the small lotteries is all wrong. We are even persecuting the poor showman for his cocoanut shy and his little penny games. It is about time that the attention of the Government was drawn to the terrible things that are inflicted upon the working classes, which the wealthier people do not properly understand, The House would be doing the right thing in taking a broad view and allowing at Christmas time the little bethel to have its Christmas draw, the street to organise its little draw for a turkey, to allow the little mission, the Salvation Army, the hospitals, to have their draws, which should not be looked upon as lotteries but as social services which will bring alleviation of misery and also happiness to many thousands of people.

8.47 p.m.


I am amazed at the desire of Members of the Government to protect working men and women from what they regard as public vices. They spend a great deal of Parliamentary time in useless discussions trying to ensure that the people of this country shall not have opportunities or outlets either for a small amount of gambling, or a flutter as it is termed, or to organise small prize draws. It has been illegal up to the present time to conduct these prize draws, but everybody has proceeded to run them and the authorities have winked at them. Mayors and chairmen of councils have assisted in these illegal things. If that has been satisfactory in the past, there is no reason to ask that it should not be allowed to-day. I have listened to a criticism of the suggested Clause. The hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies) made a great point of the language which had been used in drawing up the Clause. The promoters of the Clause are not concerned so much with the language as with the benefits that they intend to confer on hospitals. If the Home Secretary would give the right to hospitals to run draws they would be satisfied. The Clause does not seek to compel hospitals to run prize draws, If there are any large hospitals which do not want to run draws because they can make appeals to generous donors, there is no necessity for them to run draws. One hon. Member stated that the hospitals were crippled for want of funds. It would not be proper for me to follow out that course of argument but I believe that the State ought to finance the whole of the hospitals. The State provides money for destroying human life and not for the saving of human life.

The authorities of hospitals, like other organisations, are at their wits end to raise money and to bring back to life those who have suffered in industrial struggles, in street accidents and various diseases. This House ought not to penalise charitable institutions in regard to any method of raising money for bringing back to life and health those who are in need of aid, or to provide instruments, or wards, or salaries for staff. The hon. Member for Westhoughton said that many workmen contribute generously to the upkeep of hospitals. That is true, but in many industrial areas and in large works the people are not consulted. The pennies and twopences are deducted from their wages without consultation. That is a form of coercion of the work people. I have paid contributions to hospitals and have never questioned it, because I have always regarded it as a very good thing. Once I spent five weeks in n hospital, having fallen from a building over 50 feet high, and I greatly appreciated the splendid attention that was given to me. The people who are responsible for providing the skilled staff for our hospitals and, the general maintenance of the hospitals have a. right to promote prize draws if they are essential, if funds cannot be obtained from other sources.

What is there wrong in running these prize draws? It seems to me that Governments are developing in such a direction that very soon they will send policemen to look after the individuals when they draw their wages, to see that they do not go to a race track, or to a roulette table, or to a prize draw. The Government will have aeroplanes flying over areas at night, with searchlights, to see that people do not go out of their homes to spend their money in the way they desire. It is madness for any Government to think that by legislation they are going to tie people up and prevent them spending their coppers in the way they like. I could enumerate numerous prize draws which have been promoted. All the time they have had been illegal. Out of 70 or 100 prize draws I can only remember one that has been stopped. The tickets have been sold to policemen, magistrates, Members of Parliament and probably to Members of the other House. Churches have prize draws. They draw for cushions, bedspreads, table-cloths and all sorts of things. They bring in palmists to tell you your fortune. They call them draws because they draw money out of the public.

Prize draws have gone on and they will continue to go on, no matter what the Government may say in any Bill. They will go on, even if they are illegal. It would be well for the Government to realise that these things are overwhelmingly popular throughout every class of society and organisation. They ought not to attempt to prevent that which is popular but not harmful, but allow the general mass of the people to go on without all these restrictions. It would be better if the Government would get on with the job that they were elected to do. Let them deal with unemployment and the other things they were elected for and not take away every vestige of liberty from the British public. You cannot buy chocolates or cigarettes after a certain hour, but you can get them from machines. You cannot buy fruit, but you can go into Euston Station and get grapes. It is lunacy.

The Government who consider themselves the moral custodians of the people of this country are making themselves the laughing stock of every decent-minded man and woman. It would be far better if they recognised that they are doing things which are unpopular and which the ordinary working man and woman will not tolerate. They want to be able to spend their few pennies in whatever way they desire. If there be fraud, then I agree that it is necessary to protect the public, but to say that they shall not buy a threepenny ticket in a prize draw for the benefit of a hospital is the height of madness. I hope the Government will learn the lesson that all these restrictions are resented. I mix with many working men and women, and they resent these attempts to place restrictions upon them. The right hon. Gentleman who is a Member for a Scottish division is now attempting to take away every single vestige of liberty from the people of this country.

The Bill from end to end is a disgrace to liberty-loving subjects. All that the Government need to do is to take ordinary measures to prevent the public being fleeced and robbed and then allow the people to spend their money in their own way. One man's pleasure may be another man's crime. One man may keep white mice, another rabbits, and another pigeons; one man may put a shilling on a horse or a dog, and another spend 3d. in a prize draw. It all depends on your outlook, and, if people can get enjoyment and recreation in giving this support to hospitals and charitable institutions—which the Government refuse to support on a national basis—then I say that you should not penalise them or prevent the institutions raising money in whatever way they can.

9.0 p.m.

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Captain Crookshank)

The last two hon. Members who have spoken have gone somewhat wide of the Amendment, and the hon. Member for Shettleston (Mr. McGovern) was very wide of the mark when he said that prize draws would still go on in future notwithstanding the Government's attempt to suppress them. We are not trying to stop prize draws. If he will study Clause 24, he will see that not only will they go on in future, but that the private lottery raised by any institution or organisation will cover every kind of association whether it be the Carlton Club, the trade union branch or the working men's institution. They will be able to have their draws, but with this difference. Hitherto there has always been the possibility of it being stopped by the authorities, whereas in future they will be able to have them under the authority of the Bill. We are legalising these private lotteries within the limits I have described. I must contradict the hon. Member for Central Newcastle (Mr. Denville) when he says that the object of the Bill is to persecute the small punter. It is nothing of the kind. Clause 24 deals with every kind of club, institution or organisation.

I congratulate hon. Members responsible for this new Clause on having drawn it in such a form that it can be discussed again. It is not very dissimilar to the Amendment put forward by the hon. and gallant Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Captain Heilgers), to which I replied the other day. The hon. and gallant Member's Amendment dealt with charitable objects, whereas the present Clause is limited to draws at Christmas for hospitals.


We were compelled to draw up the Clause as it is; otherwise, it would not have been accepted.


I congratulate the hon. Member on being able to do it. I am afraid that the reply which I have to give is much on the lines with what I said the other night. The proposal that lotteries should be legalised for a specific period is somewhat arbitrary. Under Clause 24 organisations and clubs Way have their own draws at any time, but here the proposal is that you should apply to the mayor or the chairman of the local council for permission to have one lottery throughout the period of Christmas. I admit that in many areas there would be only one hospital, but there are many areas where the mayor might be put in a somewhat difficult position. He might find it very difficult to decide which of the several hospitals should be the beneficiary of the lottery in that particular year.


One year, one hospital, and another year another hospital.

Vice-Admiral TAYLOR

Combine them.


That is not what the Clause does. It says that there shall be not more than one such lottery promoted for the benefit of any one hospital in any one year, and that the tickets must not be sold outside the boundary of the city or borough. It would be practically impossible to limit the sale of the tickets of a lottery authorised by the mayor to the city boundary, or to ensure that no tickets shall be sold earlier than the month of November. A little reflection on the practical difficulties of those who are concerned in the administration of the law would lead hon. Members to realise how difficult it is to ask that an, unenforceable provision of this kind shall be put in the Bill. The hon. Member said that it is only a little one, a poor little hospital, a poor little lottery. That is true in the ease which he has in mind, but hon. Members who have been associated with hospitals and who have helped to run lotteries for local hospitals seems to lose sight of the fact that in this Bill we are trying to prevent the occasions for the rogue to get busy in the unlawful promotion of lotteries. Surely, within their experience they have known of the case of charities, good charities, which have been taken up by some promoter, who comes along and says: "I am prepared to run a scheme, a dance, a whist drive, or a lottery, which will bring you in £400 or £500. Will you do it?" A great many charities have, I am afraid, said "Yes," and have omitted to observe that the organiser probably took quite as much as the hospital ever got.

Vice-Admiral TAYLOR

The secretary of a club has been known to run away with the swag at Christmas time.


That is not an argument for enlarging the possibilities for such a procedure, and to enable people to do the same thing under the aegis of the mayor. Our whole object is to try to limit these lottery provisions. The other night the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) spoke quite frankly when I put the point that if you allow draws and lotteries of this kind, even for charities and hospitals, it would almost inevitably follow that they could be run on national lines. The hon. Member said frankly, why should they not become a national sweepstake? The answer is that the House in Committee decided against national sweepstakes. The only exceptions to that which we have made in the Bill are the raffle Clause, if I may call it that, and the private lottery Clause applying to clubs, organisations and institutions. If we once open the door wider there will be no reason to stop. It will always be said: "This is only a little one," and probably with reason, and it will develop and develop and there will be no end to it. The Government thought it was sufficient to limit the exceptions either to the bazaar kind or to the private lottery.

So we are driven back to the question which I put to some of the speakers tonight, what is it that they are after? Is it raising money for the hospitals pure and simple, as one lot of speakers have said, or is it because the working man wants a flutter? If the working man wants a flutter no one is denying him reasonable opportunity under the Bill. He can have a flutter at bazaars or in the form of private lotteries. If it is a question of raising money for hospitals, with all respect to hon. Members I fall back upon the fact that the great mass of hospitals do not want it. The British Hospitals Association passed a Resolution at Eastbourne on 2nd June, 1931, declaring that it was "not in favour of an amendment of the law affecting public sweepstakes the purpose being for the benefit of voluntary hospitals." A great many of the hospitals realise many of their willing subscribers would say to them, "Why ask me for a subscription? Why not have a lottery?" There is no answer to that question. For these reasons my right hon. Friend, in spite of the ingenuity of the framers of this new Clause, cannot accept it.

9.8 p.m.


I repeat what I said the other evening, when supporting a Clause which I thought would have been called before that now under discussion. The British Hospitals Assotion did support that Clause. The correspondence on the subject is available on the premises now. If the Government could have accepted that Clause the British Hospitals Association would have welcomed it. The Under-Secretary has told us that his interpretation of Clause 24 is that a draw or lottery could take place for a voluntary hospital.


I did not say that. I said that if the working man wanted a flutter he could have it at bazaars or in the form of private lotteries. In Clause 24 it is stated that the expression "society" includes a club, institution, organisation or other association of persons, by whatever name called, and each local or affiliated branch or section of a society shall be regarded as a separate or distinct society.


Is it possible for the Under-Secretary to make it clearer? If so he would satisfy those who are contending for this Clause. Can we take it that a hospital and all its contributors would be regarded as a society for the purposes of Sub-section (1) of Clause 24? If the hon. and gallant Gentleman cannot give a reply now I do not complain, but a reply might save the time of the Committee.

9.10 p.m.


What is to prevent any of these societies scheduled under Clause 24 stating on their tickets that the surplus funds will be devoted to the local hospital? That would take place at Christmas. If I read correctly between the lines of the Under-Secretary's speech I gather that it is possible to meet the case of this new Clause under the existing Clause 24 of the Bill. Is that clear?


I want the matter to be cleared up. Suppose that a trade union branch agreed to run a lottery for the benefit of the local hospital. Is that prohibited under Clause 24? I ask the learned Solicitor-General for a legal opinion. The Under-Secretary has quoted the words: For the purposes of this section, the expression 'society' includes a club, institution, organisation or other association of persons by whatever name called, and each local or affiliated branch or section of a society shall be regarded as a separate and distinct society. I have tried to understand the matter, but I fear I am too thick-headed to-night to do so.


It is not for me to say what the interpretation of the Bill may ultimately be.




It is a question of legal interpretation. The answer to the question is in Clause 24, but as we have not reached that Clause yet I cannot deal with it now. The right hon. Gentleman will see the words there: the whole proceeds, after deducting only expenses incurred for printing and stationery, shall be devoted to the provision of prizes for purchasers of tickets or chances or, in the case of a lottery promoted for the members of a society, shall be devoted either to the provision of prizes as aforesaid or to purposes which are purposes of the society.


I know of a hospital which has lately run something—I do not know what it was—every week, relating to the test matches, and it got quite a lot of money in that way. That was done by the people of the hospital, by the organisation within the hospital. Is that legal?

9.13 p.m.


I think it is clear that under Clause 24 institutions or organisations can run a lottery for the purpose of that institution or organisation. That seems to me quite clear, and I thought it was agreed that a hospital, the people running a hospital, are an organisation or institution. The specific question as to contributors to a hospital running a thing of the kind is a more difficult one. It might depend on the constitution of the hospital, and how far it was right to say, looking at that institution, that every individual member was a member of an association. I can imagine a hospital where the contributors simply paid their money and that was all. It must be clear under the Clause that, a hospital being an institution, and as the Clause says that an institution may run a lottery for the purpose of that institution, the case which the right hon. Gentleman put is clearly legal.


If a number of working men combine to subscribe 2d. per week regularly to a hospital, while they are in employment, will they be deemed to be members of a club and will it be legal to circulate the tickets among those working men?


Hon. Members, I am sure, have had experience of contributory schemes and they will appreciate that this question must depend to some extent on the actual constitution of the body concerned in the particular case. The question which the court would have to ask itself would be: Is this a body of people, having regard to all the circumstances, which would constitute "an association of persons" within the terms of Sub-section (1) of Clause 24? I should say that very probably the contributors under the scheme suggested by the hon. Member would not be members of a club, institution, organisation or other association of persons. for this purpose. They would merely be contributors to the institution or organisation and not necessarily members of it. But, as I say, the question would have to be answered in view of the constitution of the particular bodies concerned.

9.17 p.m.


Do I understand the Solicitor-General to inform the House that although we have legal gentlemen on the Front bench here to direct us as to what we shall do in regard to points of law when we are passing these Measures, it is the courts which are the deciding factors? Is it the hon. and learned Gentleman's statement that judges or magistrates are to say what Parliament meant when it passed a par- titular law and that we are to leave it to them to say what is in our minds?

9.18 p.m.


May I ask the Government to consider one suggestion? A number of societies have been formed throughout the country for the purpose of supporting hospitals. Some of these societies have been accustomed in the past to hold Christmas draws or other draws of that kind. These are not associations formed: for purposes connected with gaining, wagering or lotteries, but having regard to the terms of the Bill and to the holding of these draws, the question arises whether they might not be held under Sub-section (1a) of Clause 24 to be societies: conducted for purposes connected with gaming, wagering or lotteries. I ask the Government to consider leaving out these words in Sub-section (1a), and allowing associations genuinely formed for the purpose of assisting hospitals to continue doing what they have been doing quite innocently up to date, namely holding private lotteries in aid of those hospitals.

9.20 p.m.


This Debate appears to have brought out the extraordinary fact that the Government are not prepared to define the meaning of a Clause in their own Bill. They tell us that this question will have to be decided in the courts. Had such a statement as that been made from the Front bench when my hon. and gallant Friend the Under-Secretary was sitting on these back benches, he would have risen in violent indignation against it as an insult to the House of Commons. I can imagine my hon. and gallant Friend in such circumstances jumping to his feet and raising his top hat. He need not sit there and smile at me now because he knows that if he were here his indignation would be violent at such a reply as we have heard to-night. I appeal to the Home Secretary. We cannot pass a Clause like this on a statement such as we have had from the Solicitor-General. Let us have the Attorney-General here if the Solicitor-General cannot tell us the legal meaning of the Clause. It is not the business of this House to pass Clauses and leave it to the courts to clarify them afterwards, probably with heavy legal expense to somebody.

9.22 p.m.


I wish to know where we stand. I happen to be a, member of a hospital organisation and an annual subscriber, and my leader is also an annual subscriber. We run lotteries and concerts and balls and we sell tickets for all sorts of things. We sell what are called "spot tickets" for dances and those who can dance and who happen to get on the right spot win a prize. Is that illegal? The right hon. Gentleman opposite knows all about these matters. I know nothing about them. I could not dance for nuts unless you provided me with a hot griddle and then I might dance with my bare feet. Apparently lotteries run for private purposes are to be all right. If they are private lotteries for churches or chapels, there is nothing wrong, but if they are run for some public purpose outside the purview of private interests they come within the law. Surely this is not a Betting and Lotteries Bill at all, but a Bill which provides opportunities for people to find fault with their neighbours.


It is a guessing competition.


It is a repression competition. It is an attempt to prevent the workers of the country doing what they have a right to do. I am one of the few to whom this Bill appears wrong from beginning to end. I hold that it does not touch the real question of gambling. We have heard references to the Carlton Club and the National Liberal Club. There is not a Member here who believes that either of those clubs will be touched by this Bill. They can gamble there to their hearts content. They have tape machines in both places.


I must point out to the hon. Member that the new Clause which we are considering only deals with Christmas draws.


As Christmas is approaching I shall deal with Christmas draws. I am already a sponsor for six of them. I am president of two and a subscriber to four. How do I stand in that connection? Will any lawyer in the House tell me? There are some lawyers here—thank God there are, not more. I sold some tickets here the other night and I have had dozens of letters since asking me whether I have any more for sale. Will the lawyers on the Front Bench tell me how much of a criminal I am and what is my sentence likely to be under this Measure?

Captain A. EVANS

Is the hon. Member aware that the Bill will not, become law until 1st January?


It ought to be 1st April. How far do I know that I am not a criminal under this Act, when it becomes an Act? The hon. Member says that I can run a lottery provided that I belong to a private association or club. But why stop the ordinary working man who does not belong to a private organisation having a shilling on a horse? I know it is a lottery. It is all a lottery. To be a Member of the National Government is a lottery.


This matter does not relate to the National Government, but to a Christmas draw.


There will be a Christmas draw next year. They will he withdrawn next time. So far as I am concerned, I claim that the Government have no right to differentiate between a private draw for a lottery and a public one. If I take a 10s. ticket in the Irish sweepstake, they have no right to tell me that I am a criminal, and at the same time tell me that I can have a shilling in a sweep in my own club in Canning Town and be perfectly all right. In our club in Canning Town we run a sweep every year at a shilling per ticket and the money goes to those who are out of work. That is not a crime. But I want to ask the right hon. Gentleman if he will kindly tell me—although I suppose I am not big enough for any Minister to reply to me—what is the difference between my taking a 10s. ticket in the Irish sweepstake, one of which I have in my pocket, and my friends taking a shilling ticket in the sweep at the club? Am I entitled in the club to have a shilling ticket while not being entitled to have a 10s. ticket in the Irish sweepstake? I have heard some Members, and particularly the hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Isaac Foot), talk about sending money to Ireland. The hon. Member used to be one of the champions of the old Liberal school and he supported Irish Home Rule when Ireland was taking more out of England than she is taking now. Members talk about money going to Ireland. Well, what is the difference? Whether you send your money there or to Luxembourg or to France or to Germany you will get the same result. People will have their flutter. So far as we are concerned, if it is good enough for other people to do these things, we can do them, too. Why not have a national sweepstake?


I am afraid that under the proposed new Clause we are now discussing there is no possibility of that.


Then so long as there is no possibility of it, I will leave it out.

9.30 p.m.


I am sure that the whole House will sympathise with the difficulties of the hon. Member for Silvertown (Mr. J. Jones). We must all agree that this matter is far from being cleared up, in spite of the intervention of the Solicitor-General. I am only sorry that the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies) was not in his place to hear the speech of the hon. Member for Silvertown, because the only speech delivered in opposition to this new Clause was that of the hon. Member for Westhoughton. Those of us who have attended the Debates on this Bill both in the Standing Committee and in the House will agree that we have sometimes been led to believe that the hon. Gentleman was in charge of this Bill, from the number of times he has intervened on behalf of the Government when matters of this sort arise. I think, too, that the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition has shown a great sense of political tact, not only in regard to the new Clause but in regard to the whole Bill, by the manner in which he has withdrawn the party Whips throughout the whole of the Committee and Report stages. He knows perfectly well—and I have seen him there enjoying the situation—that whatever his own party may say, they will get the benefit in the country of the unpopularity of this Bill. That being the case, I do think we are in a difficult position at the present moment.

The Solicitor-General, when asked to define the situation which would arise in this matter, told us that after all this would be a matter for the courts. My hon. and learned Friends in all parts of the House may rejoice at that announcement. But it is a very serious matter for these organisations desiring to promote small Christmas draws if they have first to obtain, as they will have to obtain, counsel's opinion as to whether or not they are in order. Counsel's opinion is valuable but counsel's opinion is by no means cheap. And by the time counsel's opinion has been obtained in many of these matters, a great deal of the benefits of the contemplated draw will have disappeared. I am glad to see that the hon. Member for Westhoughton has now returned to his place, because a very interesting discussion has developed in his absence. He endeavoured to resist this new Clause, and I am sorry to tell him that ever since he left speech after speech has been made in favour of the new Clause. The hon. Member will remember that when he resisted the Clause, he objected to Members bringing in the spirit of Christmas and pleading on behalf of the working man. I think it is a good thing that these things have been done. The spirit of Christmas is very relevant, and the hon. Member for Silvertown told us in a most forceful speech just now how as Christmas approached he thought it most suitable that we should be discussing this matter.

So far as the working man is concerned, surely the House of Commons in these days of universal suffrage contains few Members who do not represent the working man. Some Members have the honour and privilege of representing the Universities, the City of London and so on, but there must be a very small number of Members who are not returned here by the votes of wage-earners. I was astonished to hear the hon. Gentleman say from the Front Opposition Bench: "Why drag in the working man?" Why not? What is the House of Commons here for? Are we not here to see that these traditions which the working man himself has built up, traditions of generous and kindly actions at the festive season of the year, should be carried on? I was hoping to hear from the Front Bench some definition by which under Clause 24 it would be possible for these useful sweeps to carry on their good work. I thought that the Under-Secretary was on the point of making some such announcement, but he disappointed me at the last minute.

I cannot help linking up this new Clause with the speech we had on the last one, which was moved by the hon. Member for Bodmin and then withdrawn, although some of us would have liked to say something about it. The Home Secretary, replying to the hon. Gentleman, said something which I thought was a rather grave statement. The right hon. Gentleman said that one of the reasons why the football pool matter had been withdrawn from the Bill was the flood of propaganda which poured upon this House from all parts of the country. It would seem that those who desire to help the hospitals at Christmas in these ways have not been sufficiently vocal. They should have flooded my right hon. Friend with postcards, turned out by the gross, and with all sorts of resolutions. They should have bombarded him, and then perhaps he would have turned round and said, "This is not a suitable moment to deal harshly with this traditional question of the Christmas draw." I hope

my hon. Friends opposite will not follow the example of the hon. Member for Bodmin, but will take the Clause to a Division, because the people of the country will expect the House of Commons to take a strong line on this matter. They will not be satisfied by the explanation that there was a notice outside: "Steam roller at work," and that the Government majority was coming in to flatten out this very admirable proposal. If the Clause is taken to a Division, I shall support it, because I owe my position here to those who elected me rather than to any mechanical organisation for voting down sound proposals.




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, 203; Noes, 40.

Division No. 397.] AYES. [9.37 p.m.
Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir Francis Dyke Culverwell, Cyril Tom Hornby, Frank
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery) Howard, Tom Forrest
Albery, Irving James Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil) Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.
Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent) Denman, Hon. R. D. Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)
Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K. Denville, Alfred Hume, Sir George Hopwood
Apsley, Lord Doran, Edward Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)
Aske, Sir Robert William Dower, Captain A. V. G. Hurd, Sir Percy
Assheton, Ralph Drewe, Cedric Hurst, Sir Gerald B.
Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton) Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.
Bailey, Eric Alfred George Elmley, Viscount James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.
Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J. Evans, David Owen (Cardigan) Jamieson, Douglas
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen) Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)
Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th,C.) Everard, W. Lindsay Ker, J. Campbell
Bernays, Robert Fleming, Edward Lascelles Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton
Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman Foot, Dingle (Dundee) Law, Sir Alfred
Blindell, James Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin) Leighton, Major B. E. P.
Boothby, Robert John Graham Fox, Sir Gifford Lennox-Boyd, A. T.
Borodale, Viscount Fremantle, Sir Francis Lewis, Oswald
Bossom, A. C. Fuller, Captain A. G. Lindsay, Kenneth (Kilmarnock)
Boulton, W. W. Ganzoni, Sir John Lindsay, Noel Ker
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip cunliffe
Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E.R.) Glossop, C. W. H. Loftus, Pierce C.
Briscoe, Capt. Richard George Gluckstein, Louis Halle Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.
Broadbent, Colonel John Goff, Sir Park Lyons, Abraham Montagu
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Goodman, Colonel Albert W. Mabane, William
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.) MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Partick)
Burnett, John George Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)
Butt, Sir Alfred Graves, Marjorie MacDonald, Rt. Hn. J. R. (Seaham)
Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly) Greene, William P. C. McEwen, Captain J. H. F.
Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm Griffith F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.) McLean, Major Sir Alan
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Grimston, R. V. Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest
Carver, Major William H. Guinness, Thomas L. E. B. Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot
Clayton, Sir Christopher Gunston, Captain D. W. Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.
Cobb, Sir Cyril Hales, Harold K. Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.
Cook, Thomas A. Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford) Marsden, Commander Arthur
Cooke, Douglas Hammersley, Samuel S. Mason, col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)
Cooper, A. Duff Hanley, Dennis A. Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John
Copeland, Ida Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)
Courtauld, Major John Sewell Harris, Sir Percy Mitcheson, G. G.
Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry Haslam, Sir John (Bolton) Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale
Craven-Ellis, William Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M. Muirhead, Lieut.-Colonel A. J.
Critchley, Brig.-General A. C. Heilgers, Captain F. F. A. Munro, Patrick
Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro) Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford) Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.
Croon-Johnson, R. P. Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth) Orr Ewing, I. L.
Cross, R. H. Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge) Patrick, Colin M.
Peake, Osbert Salmon, Sir Isidore Templeton, William P.
Pearson, William G. Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart Thompson, Sir Luke
Peat, Charles U. Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D. Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
Penny, Sir George Savery, Samuel Servington Thorp, Linton Theodore
Perkins, Walter R. D. Shakespeare, Geoffrey H. Todd, Lt.-Col. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)
Petherick, M Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell) Tree, Ronald
Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple) Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar) Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.
Peto, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n, Bilston) Shute, Colonel J. J. Turton, Robert Hugh
Pike, Cecil F. Simmonds, Oliver Edwin Wallace, John (Dunfermline)
Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H. Slater, John Ward, Lt.-Cot. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Radford, E. A. Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich) Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)
Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M, (Midlothian) Smith, Sir J. Walker. (Barrow-In-F.) Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)
Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles) Smith, Sir Robert (Ab'd'n & K'dine,C.) Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Ramsbotham, Herwald Somervell, Sir Donald Watt, Captain George Steven H.
Ramsden, Sir Eugene Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor) White, Henry Graham
Rea, Walter Russell Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East) Whyte, Jardine Bell
Reid, James S. C. (Stirling) Soper, Richard Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Reid, William Allan (Derby) Southby, Commander Archibald R. J. Wills, Wilfrid D.
Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U. Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L. Windsor-Clive, Lieut-Colonel George
Robinson, John Roland Spencer, Captain Richard A. Womersley, Sir Walter
Rosbotham, Sir Thomas Spens, William Patrick Worthington, Dr. John V.
Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge) Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde) Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)
Runge, Norah Cecil Stones, James
Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy) Storey, Samuel TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury) Strauss, Edward A. Captain Austin Hudson and Dr.
Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l) Scoter, Rear-Admiral Sir Murray F. Morris-Jones.
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Griffiths, George A. (Yorks,W. Riding) Owen, Major Goronwy
Attlee, Clement Richard Groves, Thomas E. Parkinson, John Allen
Banfield, John William Grundy, Thomas W. Remer, John R.
Batey, Joseph Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Rickards, George William
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Joel, Dudley J. Barnato Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard
Buchanan, George John, William Smith, Tom (Normanton)
Cape, Thomas Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, North)
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Thorne, William James
Dagger, George Lawson, John James Tinker, John Joseph
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd) Logan, David Gilbert Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
Davison, Sir William Henry Lunn, William
Edwards, Charles McEntee, Valentine L. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Gardner, Benjamin Walter McGovern, John Sir W. Wayland and Vice-Admiral Taylor.
George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur Milner, Major James

Question put accordingly, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

The House divided: Ayes, 81; Noes, 155.

Division No. 398.] AYES. [9.46 p.m.
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Gardner, Benjamin Walter Parkinson, John Allen
Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K. Goodman, Colonel Albert W. Perkins, Walter R. D.
Apsley, Lord Griffiths, George A. (Yorks,W.Riding) Pike, Cecil F.
Bailey, Eric Alfred George Groves, Thomas E. Radford, E. A.
Banfield, John William Grundy, Thomas W. Raikes, Henry V. A. M.
Boulton, W. W. Hales, Harold K. Remer, John R.
Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E. R.) Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Rickards, George William
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Heilgers, Captain F. F. A. Robinson, John Roland
Broadbent, Colonel John Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston) Runge, Norah Cecil
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge) Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart
Buchanan, George Hewitt, Dr. Alfred B. Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard
Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg) Savory, Samuel Servington
Cape, Thomas Hurd, Sir Percy Simmonds, Oliver Edwin
Carver, Major William H. Joel, Dudley J. Barnato Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, North)
Clarry, Reginald George Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir Murray F.
Clayton, Sir Christopher Lawson, John James Templeton, William P.
Cobb, Sir Cyril Leighton, Major B. E. P. Thorne, William James
Cook, Thomas A. Levy, Thomas Tinker, John Joseph
Dagger, George Lindsay, Noel Ker Todd, Lt.-Col. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd) Logan, David Gilbert Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.
Davison, Sir William Henry Lunn, William Turton, Robert Hugh
Drewe, Cedric McEntee, Valentine L. Whyte, Jardine Bell
Edwards, Charles McGovern, John Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.) Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan) Wise, Alfred R.
Everard, W. Lindsay Marsden, Commander Arthur
Fleming, Edward Lascelles Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Fox, Sir Gifford Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.) Sir W. Wayland and Vice-Admiral Taylor.
Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir Francis Dyke Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Agnew, Lieut.-Com, P. G. Graves, Marjorie Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n,Bilston)
Albery, Irving James Greene, William P. C. Procter, Major Henry Adam
Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent) Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.) Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)
Aske, Sir Robert William Grimston, R. V. Ramsay, T. B. W (Western Isles)
Assheton, Ralph Guinness, Thomas L. E. B. Ramsden, Sir Eugene
Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton) Gunston, Captain D. W. Rea, Walter Russell
Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J. Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford) Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Hammersley, Samuel S. Reid, William Allan (Derby)
Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.
Bernays, Robert Harris, Sir Percy Rosbotham, Sir Thomas
Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman Haslam, Sir John (Bolton) Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)
Blindell, James Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M. Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)
Boothby, Robert John Graham Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford) Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)
Borodale, Viscount Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth) Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)
Bossum A. C. Hornby, Frank Salmon, Sir Isidore
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport) Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.
Briscoe, Capt. Richard George Hume, Sir George Hopwood Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Hurst, Sir Gerald B. Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)
Burnett, John George Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H. Slater, John
Butt, Sir Alfred James, Wing-Com. A. W. H. Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)
Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly) Jamieson, Douglas Smith, Sir J. Walker- (Barrow-In-F.)
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Smith, Sir Robert (Ab'd'n & K'dine,C.)
Clydesdale, Marquess of Ker, J. Campbell Somervell, Sir Donald
Cooke, Douglas Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)
Cooper, A. Duff Law Sir Alfred Soper, Richard
Copeland, Ida Lewis, Oswald Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.
Courtauld, Major John Sewell Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.
Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry Lumley, Captain Lawrence R. Spencer, Captain Richard A.
Critchley, Brig.-General A. C. Mabane, William Stanley, Rt. hon. Lord (Fylde)
Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainab'ro) MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Partick) Stones, James
Croom-Johnson, R. P. MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr) Storey, Samuel
Cross, R. H. MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham) Strauss, Edward A.
Culverwell, Cyril Tom McEwen, Captain J. H. F. Thompson, Sir Luke
Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery) McKie, John Hamilton Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) McLean, Major Sir Alan Thorp, Linton Theodore
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest Tree, Ronald
Denman, Hon. R. D. Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot Wallace, John (Dunfermline)
Doran, Edward Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M. Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Dower, Captain A. V. G. Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. [...] Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)
Drummond-Wolff, H. M. C. Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.) Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Ellis, Sir B. Geoffrey Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Watt, Captain George Steven H.
Elmley, Viscount Milner, Major James White, Henry Graham
Foot, Dingle (Dundee) Mitcheson, G. G. Wills, Wilfrid D.
Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin) Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale Windsor-Clive, Lieut-Colonel George
Fremantle, Sir Francis Muirhead, Lieut.-Colonel A. J. Womersley, Sir Walter
Fuller, Captain A. G. Munro, Patrick Worthington, Dr. John V.
Ganzoni, Sir John Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H. Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)
Gilmour, Lt. Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Owen, Major Goronwy
Glossop, C. W. H. Patrick, Colin M. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Gluckstein, Louis Halle Peake, Osbert Captain Austin Hudson and
Goff, Sir Park Penny, Sir George Dr. Morris-Jones.
Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.) Petherick, M.

9.56 p.m.


I beg to move, "That further consideration of the Bill, as amended, be now adjourned."

I rise for the purpose of inquiring from the Government what their intentions are in regard to our further procedure tonight, and also to make them a suggestion which I trust may abridge our labours. We have now been at this Bill since Question Time, and we have not yet reached the first Clause of the Report stage of this long and complicated Measure. Any one who has been here through the hours of this Debate will know there has been nothing in the nature of obstruction. One speech after another has been informative, and I am certain that those who have been in charge of this Bill know more about its dangers and pitfalls than they did when they presented it to the House. The Amendment Paper is heavily loaded with matter which can be fertile of discussion and we have not yet begun consideration of the first Clause. I want to know from the Government how long they propose to sit. Will they really go on till 4 or 5 or 6 o'clock in the morning? Their Division Lobby will, no doubt, be sufficiently well furnished to carry their Measure through, but surely it would be better to take a more reasonable view of the position as it has developed since this Bill has been brought effectually under the scrutiny of the House of Commons, and I suggest to my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary a course which would be very much in his interests and in the interests of the Government, namely, that he should be willing to drop Part II of this Bill altogether. That is not only the opinion of the House but the opinion of the country.

There is no need to indulge in any apologetics. The right hon. Gentleman and the House are approaching the end of this Session and the beginning of what promises to be a very arduous new Session. He has dealt with an important aspect of this problem, and this other one, the question of this severe legislation against national sweepstakes, could well stand over and be treated in a private Member's Bill next year, when hon. Members would get an opportunity to look at it according to the opinion of their constituents—and the feeling of Members themselves—without its being mixed up with a Government Measure or the Government being mixed up with any of the popularity or unpopularity which may flow from it. A really sensible step, and one which I venture to suggest my right hon. Friend would be showing real statecraft to take, would be to let us have Part I, with any necessary penalty Clauses which are in Part III, and to drop Part II, and let it be a subject of reconsideration next year in view of the opinion which has developed in Parliament and elsewhere. If he does that, I am certain the proceedings can be wound up in a very easy and convenient manner, and there will be no need for the recriminatory and comminatory summings-up which otherwise will be necessary in order to acquaint the country of the confusion which exists. Considering what admissions the right hon. Gentleman has made about football pools and so forth, he really is not in a position to come out on the high morality side. I ask the right hon. Gentleman, in considering this proposal, not to think of his pride. Pride is a very evil thing in conducting a Bill. It is far better to defer to the unerring instinct of the House of Commons, which never is wrong upon these matters, and, after all, it is the duty of the House to apprise Ministers of the position. I trust the right hon. Gentleman will consider this point, and if he agrees, I have no doubt we shall very soon end the proceedings; but, if not, I would like to know how long he proposes to keep the House sitting to-night.

9.59 p.m.


The right hon. Gentleman who is, of course, an old hand in the proceedings of this House, has asked me two questions, one whether I will drop Part II of this Bill, and the second how long it is proposed to sit to-night. As to the questions of dropping Part II of this Bill, I have already given an answer on that point, and it can be repeated quite shortly. We either have this Bill as a whole or we drop the Bill.




A decision has been taken by the responsible Government, and has been announced to the House more than once, and that is the position by which we stand. I can understand the view of those who wish to see Part II dropped, but the truth is that the Government have decided otherwise. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] They have dealt with this problem after very careful consideration, and alter having taken into consideration the report of the Royal Commission. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I am only informing the House what the position of the Government is and from that position we cannot recede. With regard to the progress to-night, I am very anxious that the House should have the opportunity of discussing the Amendments in which hon. Members are materially interested, and I am anxious, of course, that between now and when we finish to-morrow, Tuesday, the House should have a reasonable opportunity, if the House so desires, of some discussion on Third Reading.

I wish to be quite fair and to try to accommodate the House, so long as the final stages are finished to-morrow. I thought it would have been reasonable if we could have got as far as Clause 22, but I am quite prepared to consider the possibility—after the Debate has gone on for an hour we can consider where we have got to—of stopping at the end of Clause 16. That would give hon. Members ample time to finish the Report stage of the Clauses and the Schedules and have the Third Reading to-morrow. I am willing to try to meet the House, but let me be quite frank: It is essential that we should finish, and in the circumstances I beg the House to be reasonable in the attitude that it has taken up. I am anxious not to stifle discussion on these problems—I do not think that can be said of me—and it is a matter for the convenience of the House. Many of the problems have already been discussed on other stages of the Bill, and though, no doubt, it is wise and right and proper that they should be put forward, I do not think it desirable that discussion on them should be repeated at great length. All I can say is that at the end of an hour we can see how things stand.

10.4 p.m.


The Home Secretary has heard what was obviously the opinion of the whole House, as it also is the opinion of the country—as my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) has said—that Part II should not be proceeded with at the fag end of this Session, and the reply of the Home Secretary to that demand of the House and of the country is that the Government have decided that it shall be the whole Bill or no Bill. I asked the Home Secretary what is the reason for that. The Government must not be intoxicated with their power. The intoxication of power leads to war, and a disastrous war, especially when that power is used contrary to the wishes of the country. The majority of this Government are Conservatives, and Conservative opinion of the country is unmistakable. The Home Secretary has justified his attitude by saying the Government had arrived at their decision after taking into consideration the report of the Royal Commission, but they are doing nothing of the kind. The idea of the whole report is to stop the abuses and the deteriorating effects, which everybody admits, of the increase of betting and gambling in this country. That is the whole purport of the report. What do the Government do? They neglect entirely to mention the question of street betting and its regulation, a subject which is put in the forefront of the Royal Commission's Report. With regard to football pools, which is the second matter which has been discussed to-day, and which the Royal Commission said was deteriorating not only to the morale of the adult population but to that of the young people of the country, the Government put it in the Bill, but finding that there was opposition in some sections they withdrew it, before the Bill was moved in another place. The only subject upon which they exert their full fire is that which is in Part II of the Bill, in regard to State lotteries, which no one considers deteriorating or demoralising.


The hon. Member is now discussing the merits of the Bill.


I only wanted to point out the Home Secretary's reason for not accepting the proposal which has been made. I do not wish to go into the merits of the Bill, but I am urging that Part II should be dropped, because it deals with that subject which the Royal Commission said was the least useful to stop gambling. I cannot see why the Government should say that it must be the whole Bill or nothing. What is the objection to stopping the Bill here? Why are the Government exercising their brutal power in order to say the whole Bill or nothing, notwithstanding the opinion of the country and of this House? I ask the Government to be reasonable. I recognise the courtesy of the Home Secretary. As a man he is a very pleasant fellow but I do not say that the same thing applies to his conduct of the Bill. I take a different opinion upon that.

I hope that the Government, even at this late hour and in this last moment, will see the wisdom of our suggestion, not only for the sake of Parliamentary procedure, but for the sake of preventing the criminal law being made a by-word, with all these crimes being put in without proper discussion. My right hon. Friend the Member for Epping has pointed out that if it had not been for the House of Commons the criminal law would have been made a perfect fool of. We have done something to improve the Bill, but we cannot do much in the time at our disposal. The Government have decided to end the Session on Friday; why cannot they postpone Part II of the Bill until it can be properly and adequately discussed? I support the proposal that Part II of the Bill should be dropped.

10.8 p.m.


I do not propose to go into the merits of the Bill but into the Government's procedure, and I support the proposal which has been made. The more I see of the Bill the more I am against it. This is the Report stage of a Bill which was not very well discussed in Committee. The Under-Secretary formerly occupied a very prominent position on the back benches, and it was one which he carried with dis- tinction and credit to himself. He earned the distinction by facing Governments when Governments were strong, and no man stood against them with greater credit than he did. What are we faced with now? We have spent three days on a Bill which was not discussed upstairs except in regard to very minor points. It is a Bill full of detail. The discussion was carried on until three o'clock in the morning by a comparatively small House. We have now reached the two-day Report stage and some of us who have a regard for Parliamentary discussion and Parliamentary institutions, and who occupy Opposition Benches, say to the Liberals that they cannot come here and demand, for things in which they do not believe, a different class of treatment from that which is applied to the things in which they do believe.


What does the hon. Member mean by that?


Had the Bill dealt with any other subject but betting there would have been a united demand for greater time, in the interests of full Parliamentary discussion of the controversial issues it raises. What is happening is a misnomer in Parliamentary democracy. We have just had a Division in which the figures were 155 to 81. That indicates that large numbers of Members have abstained from voting who wanted to vote with the 81. Let me point out that we are not sent to represent Tories or Labour, but to represent our divisions. It is true that we stand to a programme, but my first loyalty is to my division. It is a terrible thing to see men not exercising their vote in this House. A distinguished Member of the Government—if there is a distinguished Member—said the other day that what was wrong at the municipal elections was apathy. Who can blame apathy when it exists among the Members of the House of Commons? It is disgraceful if we walk out of the Chamber and are frightened to exercise our vote.

I would wreck the Bill sooner than agree to some of the penal Clauses of it in regard to imprisonment. It is a wrong approach to something which the great mass of ordinary working people do not look upon as a crime. Most of the people are not very bad or very good; they are very much like ourselves. The Home Secretary was Secretary of State for Scotland, and no man whom I have known in the Scottish Office could say "No" in a kinder fashion than he; but he always says "No." I was glad that he was not in charge of the Poor Law (Scotland) Bill because we got some concessions, and if he had been in charge he would have said "No." He is built with "No." A man who has built his life on saying "No" cannot go wrong. At the same time he can seldom go right.

The Bill must be finished by to-morrow. If it is not, it breaks into one of the most human and important Debates which we have ever had, that of the depressed areas. Instead of discussing to-morrow whether a greyhound course should have a totalisator or not, we should have been discussing during the next two or three days the problems of the depressed areas—we should have been tackling the things that mattered to the common people. To decide whether a totalisator shall be kept on will not keep hope where hope is fading away. I appeal to the men who are going outside and not voting to honour their divisions. To be sent here by the electors of a division is the finest thing that can happen to a man, but the man who walks out, frightened of his Government, who betrays the House, is not fit to be a public representative. I trust that the Government will adjourn at an ordinary time and delay their Bill, if they care to do so, but I trust—and this is more important than the provisions which we are now discussing—that this Debate will have some effect on the action of those men in the House of Commons of which they are Members.

10.16 p.m.

Captain A. EVANS

Apparently, we cannot indulge in the luxury of being purists in this matter, but at least let us endeavour to be realists. After all, we realise that during the course of this Debate attention has been drawn to considerations of principle and policy which it is absolutely impossible for the House to discuss to-night, but which can only be discusesd on the Third Reading. I appeal to my right hon. Friend and to the hon. Member for South Kensington (Sir W. Davison) to let us get on with the Bill now, and discuss within the limits of the rules of debate Committee points, in order that we may have a Debate on the Third Reading at the earliest possible moment and give vent to our feelings on the question of the principle and policy of the Government.

10.17 p.m.


It is now a quarter-past 10, and, having been here since a, quarter to four, I think we ought to be Able to get on with the business—not this business, because I think we have come to the end of our tether, and this Bill ought to be dropped. I find here, in a House intimidated by a Government, a voting state of 155 and 81—only 236 votes recorded, and there are 615 Members of Parliament. Three hundred and seventy-nine Members of a British House of Commons refuse to vote. I have seven Amendments on the Order Paper, which I feel I must conscientiously place before the House. This Bill is unprecedented. Upstairs it was unable to get proper consideration, and it was not possible to debate Clause 1 on the Floor of the House until the Report stage. We are only just about to start the consideration of Clause 1, and it is now to be rushed through, although a large number of Amendments have been put down.

I am told, as the rest of the Members of the House were told, that the Government, when they face what is contained in the Bill, do not know, even though they have the help of their legal advisers, what they have passed, and the courts of law will have to determine what the House of Commons passes. A more ridiculous statement I never heard in my life, and yet we are told in a British House of Commons that willy-nilly we are to accept a Bill of this description, instead of its being put off until there is proper time to debate a Measure of such importance. It may be the policy of the Government of a great number to try to force through a Measure which will be for the public good, but when I find Members of the Government refusing to respond to the appeal that has been made, and being afraid of the cry outside of those who sent them here, I begin to wonder whether this is a National Government, and whether it has any right to the mandate that it is assuming. Whatever the public responsibility may be, I am convinced that a Measure of this kind ought not to be brought forward in the House of Commons unless there is a mandate for it, and unless we have time properly to discuss the Clauses that are before us. I am not concerned either with the impressions of my colleagues or of the Liberal party, but I want to see a fair, honest, square deal. I cannot see that in the present attitude of mind of Members of the Government the Measure can get that proper thought that a Bill passing through this House should get. It is a waste of time to go on any longer with it, and I ask the Minister to withdraw it and bring it in when the Government have more time to give it full deliberation.


I put the Motion forward for the purpose of raising a point of procedure, which has been dealt with, and, in view of the fact that the Home Secretary has said that in an hour or two we can again discuss the question how far we shall go to-night, I beg to ask leave to withdrawing motion.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.