HC Deb 24 April 1936 vol 311 cc507-29

With regard to the Amendment of the hon. Member for Consett (Mr. David Adams)—in page 5, line 37, after "If," to insert: any responsible authority of any area, or in the case of London, if the hon. Member would substitute the word "local" for the word "responsible," I should be prepared to call the Amendment.

2.41 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 5, line 37, after "If," to insert: any local authority of any area, or in the case of London. I am much obliged to you, Mr. Speaker, for enabling me to make the alteration which you have kindly suggested, and which I very gladly accept. The object of the Amendment is to preserve the very exceptional market which takes place on a Sunday morning at Newcastle-upon-Tyne. I do not know that there is any similar market outside London. It is certainly not an ordinary street market; it takes place on the Corporation Quay, and there are no shops near. It is one or two miles away from any dwelling-houses, and the time for which it is held is usually from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. It is an ancient institution, having been in operation for between 100 and 200 years. It is a rendezvous for thousands of citizens on a Sunday, and, after the preliminary market, there are always meetings of religious bodies and political and other meetings. I think it is true to say that the Members of Parliament for the city would probably endorse my statement that it is one of the most popular institutions of the Northern Metropolis. It is supported almost universally in the city. It has the support of the city council, the local Members of Parliament, and Members of Parliament for the district who know it, and, singularly, enough there are no protests that I know of from any of the shopkeepers. It is as much a part of the civic life of the city as the Town Hall, or the Cathedral, or any other institution. I should like to read a copy which has been sent to me of a letter addressed to the Home Office by the Town Clerk of Newcastle, setting forth the position from the point of view of the city council and the public generally. It is dated the 17th instant from the Town Clerk's Office, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and reads as follows: In reply to your letter of the 9th instant, the Sunday market to which Mr. David Adams, M.P., referred in his conversation with Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd is a market or fair which is held by custom every Sunday morning throughout the year. At the market there are sold every Sunday, or on some Sundays, fruit, confectionery, ice cream, table waters, razor blades, watches, boots, clothes, flowers, secondhand books, and other articles. About one-half of the traders would be exempt by virtue of the provisions contained in the First Schedule to the Bill, but the position would be extremely difficult if action had to be taken against the remainder of the trades people. The trading in the market is over before three o'clock in the afternoon. It is, I imagine, a 'customary' market in the sense in which that word is used in the Bill, though there is no statutory authority for it, and it is not officially recognised by my council. The market is held upon the Newcastle-upon-Tyne Corporation Quay, to which there is at all times public access, but, except for the fact that the crowds attending it are also on the adjoining street, it cannot be said to be a street market within the strict sense of that term. On several occasions the question, usually raised by Ministers of religion in the town, of suppressing this market has been considered by my Watch Committee, but they have never taken any effective steps to do so, for the reason that it is a feature in the life of a large section of the inhabitants of the city, and I think that my Watch Committee also had in mind that to suppress it would undoubtedly lead to civil commotion. I note that you say in your letter that it would be extremely difficult to propose an exemption for such a market except on the strongest grounds. Might I suggest that it would be still more difficult to justify the granting of the special provisions contained in Clause 6 (1) of the Bill without extending those provisions to a market such as the one at Newcastle, merely because it happened to be outside the bounds of the City and County of London. In a, letter from the Home Office to the town clerk it is admitted that this is an exceptional market, and not a street market in the ordinary sense of the word. That letter states: So far as we are aware, there is no other similar market in any provincial town. It is for these reasons that we look to the House to preserve what is, after all, a very valuable and ancient institution in that ancient city. We are not asking for the initiation of some new market. It is a very ancient one. It could not continue unless it had the sanction of the City Council, which is able to close it if it thinks fit. I do not believe the addition of the Amendment will be taken advantage of in any other part of the country for I do not know, neither does the Home Office nor the Town Clerk of Newcastle, of any similar market in the United Kingdom. It would be very unfortunate if the Jewish community in London were to be accorded preferential treatment against North country Jews and non-Jews.


On a point of Order. Are we allowed to listen to the hon. Member or are we not? There is such a noise on the other side of the House that it is impossible to hear what he is saying.


I am obliged to the hon. Member. I take it that the prime object of the Bill is to protect the interests of shop assistants. There are no shop assistants involved in this matter, but only the usual small traders with their stalls and barrows. It might be termed a kind of quayside resort for thousands of citizens of the working class, who ought not to be deprived of the privileges they enjoy in this way, as would be the case if the Amendment were not inserted. The Parliamentary Secretary has said we ought not to be parties to any vexatious restrictions upon the public. Surely that would apply to this case. Here we have an opportunity of leaving an ancient institution which is desired by the entire community, against which I have never heard a shopkeeper complain and which is far removed from all shops. It is the rendezvous of many thousands of people, who find themselves benefited in a diversity of ways. Time did not allow an opportunity of testing the opinion of the City Council, but they would be unanimous in desiring the Amendment to be made—it was drafted in association with the Town Clerk—and desiring that this ancient market should be continued.


I beg to second the Amendment.

2.49 p.m.


The hon. Member has made out a case for Newcastle-upon-Tyne but the promoters of the Bill had no idea of giving the liberty that is given in this Clause to street markets in certain areas of London. The one reason that induced him not to offer the most strenuous opposition to the Clause was the fear that, in the actual conditions of London, in certain markets where you get 50 per cent. Jews and 50 per cent. non-Jewish traders, without the Clause you would have had the Jews trading on Sunday and the non-Jews forbidden to trade, and that would have caused racial feeling and probably racial trouble. It was with much misgiving that we accepted the Clause for that reason alone. Now the hon. Member asks that it should be applied to the whole of Great Britain, for one reason only, that there is an old established market in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. I feel that it is too wide a remedy for one isolated instance. I appeal to the House not to give this tremendously wide freedom simply because there may be a good case to be made out for Newcastle. If the fear of civil commotion were reasonably grounded, there would be every inducement for Parliament to consider it.


That was the opinion of the Town Clerk.


I appeal to the hon. Member not to press the Amendment but to realise that this one case of Newcastle, good as it may be, can be considered in another place and met in some simpler way than by this enormous exemption.

2.52 p.m.


We discussed this problem of street markets on Sunday in Committee for a very long time and some Members were very eloquent on the subject. While I am opposed to the Clause as a whole, I do not see any argument at all against accepting the Amendment. I am continually protesting against provisions being made for London which are not applicable to other parts of the country. When the promoter of the Bill says this is opening the gates, he forgets one provision in it. If the Newcastle market had not existed prior to 1st January this year it could not be included in the provisions of the Clause. Consequently I think the hon. Member must in logic accept the Amendment. When we come to the question that the Clause stand part, we shall have something to say about the absurdity of mentioning Bethnal Green, Shoreditch and Stepney. Why not mention Saltburn, Bootle, Liverpool, Edmonton, Leicester, Southend, Westhoughton, Horwich and all the rest of them? While some of us will oppose the Clause, the Amendment is justifiable and ought to be accepted.

2.55 p.m.


I support the Amendment for many reasons. The Sunday market at Newcastle has existed for many years and is, in fact, an established custom, and is looked upon as one of the features of Newcastle. There is far too much interference with the ancient customs and traditions of the people of this country at the present time. The hon. Member for Consett (Mr. David Adams) suggested that Newcastle was the only town or city in the country where similar markets took place. There are in many cities, towns and villages—I should say upwards of 100—poor markets on Sundays to which people come from all parts of the country, and in many cases it is the only day available for them to earn a few pence in order to keep them going. In Newcastle there are men who served in the Great War and lost limbs who invested their savings in games which take place on the quayside in Newcastle on Sunday. If the effect of the Bill is to do away with that market, I shall vote against it, and I hope that the hon. Member for Consett will press his Amendment to a Division.

2.56 p.m.


I should not like it to be thought that my hon. Friend the Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies) expressed the opinion of all of us on these benches. I, for one, shall have to vote against the Amendment, for, presumably, if the Amendment were carried, it would practically render the Bill of no effect. It would open the floodgates to street markets all over the country, and for that reason I ask my hon. Friends to support my view.


Let us not be too selfish in regard to this matter. This is not a question of opening new markets all over the country, but of keeping up old and customary markets which have a legend at the back of them, and which are to be found mentioned in the history of England.


That is no reason why they should be excepted.

2.57 p.m.


We are getting into a very difficult position. We are to part company with the Bill and send it to another place, there to be amended possibly out of all recognition as the result of a. series of conversations between the Home Office and the promoters of the Bill, and Members of another place will have to be persuaded to accept whatever Amendment it is desired to put forward. I do not think that the Amendment could possibly be accepted in the form in whcih it is drafted. I can give the case of the "show out" market which takes place on Epsom Downs on the Sunday before the Derby. For many years there was a great effort to remove the more objectionable parts of that market. When I was a boy going to Sunday School we used to have a special flower service in order to attract the children away from the "show-out" market, In recent years the market has grown up again, and it has a number of objectionable features. I do not see that the selling of tips on Sunday afternoon is referred to in either of the Schedules of the Bill, and I can imagine a number of difficulties that would arise. If it is desired to exempt any particular market from the operation of the Bill, it should be done in the form that is already in the Bill, either by naming the places or specifying the markets. I cannot accept the contention of my hon. Friend the Member for Consett (Mr. David Adams) that this should be done because Newcastle is the Northern Metropolis. Nobody in my Division of South Shields believes that Newcastle is the Northern Metropolis. South Shields has a better claim to that distinction than Newcastle, at any rate. But it is presumably a seaside resort and has, therefore, previously been dealt with to-day.

I hope that if the promoters of the Bill desire to keep it at all, they will realise that some of us who voted for the Second Reading are finding it very difficult to accept it in its present form. It never seems to keep the same shape for two consecutive seconds. I hope that they will have the courage of their convictions, and will let us have a Bill which, when it leaves this House, means something that we can understand and something for which we can accept responsibility. All day long we seem to have been transferring all our difficulties to another place. I have been surprised at the way some of my own hon. Friends have accepted, for this afternoon only, apparently, a sort of feeling that another place is one which can safely be trusted with the British Sunday, although there are many other less important things upon which they would not accept its judgment.

3.0 p.m.


Perhaps the House will allow me to refer to a matter which only arises incidentally, and that is, to the letter which was read out by the hon. Member for Consett (Mr. David Adams). There is a slight misunderstanding for which I do not in the least blame the hon. Member. I think that he and the House will appreciate that he read out a letter which was a confidential communication of the nature which is always going on between the Home Office and town clerks. It was perhaps handed to him in a way that he did not appreciate that it was merely for his private information. I am not saying that in order not to accept his argument, but merely in order to protect the official.


The hon. Member does not mean the letter I read from the Town Clerk of Newcastle?


I did mean that, but I only mentioned the fact because it might be misunderstood locally, and I wish to protect the local official.


May I correct the position? The Town Clerk conferred with me on the subject, and the letter is the result of that conversation.


I apologise to the hon. Gentleman. There is a misunderstanding, and there is apparently nothing for me to protect.

The hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) referred to the Second Reading Debate and complained that things might be going on as the result of conversations between myself and the promoters of the Bill which he might not wish. I would remind him that on the Second Reading, speaking from this Box, I said that while everybody would probably approve of the general principles, the real difficulties of the Bill would be in Committee. I also gave an undertaking that the Home Office would try and co-operate in order to make it a workable Bill. This has been our only object. Those who have been on the Committee will appreciate the fact that I was correct in what I said with regard to the difficulties of the Bill. The House, now the Bill has come back for Report begins to appreciate this fact more in the way that Members who were on the Committee have appreciated it already.

Speaking specifically to this particular point, I appreciate the motive of the hon. Gentleman in desiring exemption for the market in question, but may I bring the House back to the general perspective in regard to this matter? This Clause was argued in order to deal with the particular circumstances found to exist in London. It is not believed that any similar circumstances exist in any other parts of the country. From our information at present it does not appear that the market in Newcastle is similar to the markets in London which have this exemption. The House, and the hon. Gentleman himself, will appreciate that there has not been a great deal of time between the conclusion of the Committee stage and the Report stage, and we have not received any representations from the City Council with regard to this matter. We shall certainly be prepared to consider those recommendations, if and when they come. Therefore, we feel at the Home Office, that the Amendment which the hon. Gentleman proposes is too wide in the circumstances. We would much prefer to consider this matter after representations have been made, if they are received, from the provincial councils. I think that is the more businesslike way. The difficulty arises more from the fact that successive phases of this Bill have come rather quickly. I do not know whether the hon. Member will accept my suggestion, but I would suggest that he withdraw his Amendment on the understanding that this matter will certainly be considered by us later if representations are made to us.

3.6 p.m.


If the Under-Secretary does receive representations, is it his intention to make further specific exemptions, or will he consider something on the lines of a provision which would be more or less inclusive?


I cannot go beyond the undertaking that I have given, but I think. our instinct would be to act more by way of special exemption rather than by a general one.

3.7 p.m.


The hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) referred to certain markets of an objectionable character. My understanding of the Bill is that it has nothing to do with the morals of markets but with considerations of fair play to shop assistants and the owners of shops, so that by concerted action it may be possible for these people to get more leisure. I may be wrong, but I feel that the suggestion of the Under-Secretary with regard to communications from local authorities may open up just that objection, that local authorities may want to close markets for reasons other than those embodied in the Bill. In many respects throughout the whole of this Debate on the Report stage the purpose of the Bill has been missed by many hon. Members, and we are becoming involved in a lot of unnecessary intricacies which will tend, perhaps, to make the Bill ineffective and valueless for its original purpose.


I am much obliged to the Under-Secretary, and, on the undertaking which he has given, I have pleasure in asking leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

3.9 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 6, line 12, after "than," to insert "bakers', confectioners'."

The object of the Amendment is to make an attempt to contract out the baking industry from the Clause. The master bakers trading in the East End areas and in the areas specified in this Clause—Stepney, Bethnal Green and Shoreditch—put to me the case that so far as they were concerned they had no desire whatever that any privilege should be given to them. They preferred that the whole of the bakers' shops should be closed. They believed that they would be considerably better off from the business point of view by so doing. They felt that as long as everyone closed on Sunday there was no room for anyone to be dissatisfied. With regard to the general Clause relating to Sunday markets, the feeling is by no means so, strong as to the absolute necessity of these markets being kept open, as certain hon. Members might suggest. However, that is another matter.

The narrow point that I am putting to the House is that bakers' and confectioners' shops should be excluded from the operations of this Clause. If the House will pay attention to the views of those directly interested, the employers and the operatives, they will find that they do not want a limited number of bakers' shops to be open in connection with these markets up to two o'clock on Sunday afternoon, because it will mean the reintroduction of a seven-day baking week. If employers are to be able to open their shops in connection with these markets and supply anything they choose up to two o'clock, there is every inducement for them to compel their men to come in on Saturday night. That means every night in the week, and they are thus reduced to the status of serfs and slaves. Employers and operatives ask the House to accept the Amendment, which is in the interests of the trade, and exclude the baking trade from the operations of the Clause.


I beg to second the Amendment.

3.12 p.m.


On behalf of the promoters I have to oppose the Amendment. On general grounds I am in sympathy with much that the hon. Member has said, and in Committee I said that I would much rather see all shops closed, but, as the Clause stands, we have given power to the local authority, that is the London County Council and the Common Council of the City of London, to deal with this matter and, therefore, having given them the right to decide what grades and classes of goods shall be sold in these restricted markets on Sunday mornings, it is undesirable to restrict their discretion at all. Having asked this authority to decide what grades and what goods shall be sold in these particular markets I think they should have a free hand. They will hear the views of traders in these markets and, therefore, should be free in any decisions they have to make.

3.14 p.m.


I am a little astonished at the attitude of the hon. and gallant Member. He says that the London County Council will hear the views of certain trades, and will accept their decision. Here we have an hon. Member connected with the trade, speaking to Parliament, on behalf of the employers and the employed, which, after all, is supreme even over the London County Council. If any trade had made an application to the promoters of the Bill while it was in Committee I am sure that they would have inserted them in this Clause rather than allow the London County Council to deal with the case. I should be astonished if the London County Council really wants to deal with problems of this kind. I imagine that if we were members of the London County Council we would say that Parliament ought to do its own job, and this is Parliament's job. If the hon. Gentleman will pardon my making a suggestion, I think he ought to withdraw his opposition to the Amendment.

3.15 p.m.


I appeal to the promoters to withdraw their opposition to the Amendment. After all, the hon. Member who moved the Amendment spoke on behalf of both sides of the trade. Not only is the trade, masters and men, unanimous, but there is a further point on which I base my appeal. In order to have new bread ready on Sunday, it has to be baked on Saturday night, and if this Amendment is not carried there will inevitably be seven night bakings which, I think, everybody will agree is most undesirable.

3.16 p.m.


In response to the appeal made from all sides of the House, I would feel inclined to withdraw our opposition, but I would ask the House to consider one or two points. Leaving aside the point raised by the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies), who said that it is our job to specify to the London County Council what shops will be allowed to be open, I would point out one difficulty. Under Clause 5 Jewish confectioners are allowed to open their shops anywhere in Great Britain. If this Amendment were accepted, as I read it, it would prohibit an orthodox Jewish confectioner opening in certain market areas in London and anywhere else. [HON. MEMBERS: "The other way round."] No, surely if this Amendment is accepted it will prohibit the opening of any confectionery shops in these particular market areas in London. [HON. MEMBERS: "Apart from exceptions."] Clause 5 admits exceptions, but Clause 6 deals with these areas and overrides Clause 5 in that respect.

Vice-Admiral TAYLOR

Does the hon. Member argue that the opening of Jewish bakers' shops on Sunday is of more importance than preventing the whole of the baking trade from baking seven days a week?


My argument is that under the Bill as it now stands there are exceptions on religious grounds in any case. Moreover, the London County Council is given power to exempt any type of shop in certain areas. If this Amendment is carried, it will take away from the London County Council the power to allow confectioners' shops to open in those areas, and it seems to me that this Clause might override Clause 5 and prohibit orthodox Jews opening their shops.

3.19 p.m.


I happen to be one of those Members who did not take part in the Committee dealing with this Bill and I must confess that I have listened to the discussion of this Amendment with growing concern. The Bill appears to come to the House on Report stage in a. comparatively unprepared state, and I hope that before we pass from the Amendment now before us we shall hear something from the Under-Secretary. I cannot help feeling that in this particular case, with a Bill of such importance, the Home Office cannot dissociate itself from a very full measure of responsibility.

3.20 p.m.


This is a difficult point, and I think the House is beginning to appreciate to the full the difficulties with which the Standing Committee have been wrestling for so many mornings. May I recall the attention of the House to the matter of perspective? In applying this general principle of Sunday trading restriction, we were faced with the exceptional difficulties and the involved circumstances of certain parts of London where there is both a high concentration of Jewish traders—as well of course as Christian traders—and a number of street markets. It was in order to solve the difficulties applying to those areas, difficulties which are very considerable, that the hon. Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Sir P. Harris) brought forward a new Clause in Committee which is now Clause 6.

The general method of trying to deal with this exceptional problem in London was to give general powers to the London County Council and the Common Council of the City of London to grant certain exemptions to Jew and Christian alike. That was done in order to avoid arousing any feeling among Christian traders because of the fact that Jewish traders, of whom there was a high proportion in the area, were being allowed to open while they were not allowed to open. The Clause, as it stands, provides that in respect of those districts the local authority may make an order permitting the Sunday opening of all shops irrespective of the religion of the occupiers. If, however, a certain class of shops is to be excluded from the operation of the Clause it seems to us that the whole object of the provision will be defeated. I would point out to the Mover and supporters of the Amendment that, so far from benefiting the class of shops with which they are concerned, they may be subjecting non-Jewish occupiers of shops precisely to those conditions which they desire to avoid. The desire of the Home Office is to avoid having anything in this Bill which would arouse any bitter feeling in any districts in London. It was for that reason that we supported the new Clause as moved by the hon. Member for South-West Bethnal Green in Committee, and it is for that reason, and because we think the Amendment would derogate from and spoil the effect of the Clause in regard to these shops, that we advise the House not to accept the Amendment.

3.24 p.m.


The hon. Member for Lowestoft (Mr. Loftus) is in charge of the Bill but references are often made to the promoters of the Bill. I had some personal connection with the drafting of the Measure and it seems to me that, in regard to certain vital Amendments of this kind, a section of the promoters have never been consulted at all. At any rate, I have not had the advantage of any consultation on this Amendment.


May I assure the right hon. Gentleman that had I known he was really interested in the promotion of the Bill I, obviously, would have consulted him.


I am sure the hon. Member would, but I am referring to the promoters of the Bill as such. [HON. MEMBERS: "Who are they?"] My hon. Friend who moved the Amendment speaks from a dual angle. He is a most experienced official of the workers' organisation connected with the baking trade of this country. At the same time, I know from conversations that went on with regard to the original drafting of the Measure that he has the confidence of the employers who are also interested in this matter. He therefore speaks with very great authority on the matter. When we come to deal with the Amendment adopted in Committee dealing with the general problem, to which the Under-Secretary of State has quite rightly drawn attention, the Committee apparently lost sight of this fact that of all the particular matters which have driven people under this kind of trading restriction to take action, one of the most modern and most urgent has been baking.

Anyone who knows the position of the operatives' side of the baking industry knows that in the last five or six years particularly there has been such a growth in London of Saturday night and Sunday morning baking as to undermine and injure the whole basis of the trade union platforms, which have been arranged on a wide basis with god employers in the baking industry, and that in consequence the whole position of the trade is being placed in jeopardy. Therefore, as both sides of the industry are completely united behind this request, and as some of us consider it to be vital, if the Bill is finally to be put upon the Statute Book, I renew the suggestion which was made by my hon. Friend that this Amendment should be accepted. We regard it as vital to the Bill, and whatever may be said about the question of feeling in London, let me say that if this is not provided for in the Bill, you are immediately going to throw into the cockpit of every borough and every county council just this kind of discussion within the baking trade as will give rise to all the local feeling which you say you are anxious to avoid. Therefore, in view of that little bit of history, I hope the promoters will agree to our request; if not, I hope my hon. Friends will go to a division on the question.

3.27 p.m.


This matter certainly is one which concerns the bakers of the country generally rather than those of London only, but on this Amendment, as on most other parts of this obviously important Measure, there is a great clash of genuine public interest. I ask the House, on balance of considerations, to reject this particular Amendment for the reasons which were put very clearly by the hon. Gentleman representing the Home Office. I submit that it is the clear construction of this Bill as it stands that Clause 5 overrules this sort of provision in Clause 6, and if you put bakers' and confectioners' shops into this part of Clause 6, it will mean that in the districts in London where there is bound to be feeling between Jews and Christians, and where certain elements in this country are engaged in stirring up feeling between Jews and Christians, the Jew confectioner will remain open on Sunday while the

non-Jewish confectioner's shop is shut, and that is, in the present state of public psychology, an evil so grave that I ask the House to reject the Amendment on that ground alone.


As a point of explanation, may I say that I am fully aware of the point which the last speaker has put forward and that I am prepared to accept that risk? It has been well considered by both sides of the industry, and we are prepared to take whatever risks there may be involved.

3.29 p.m.


I have been connected with the Masters' Association in this industry for the same number of years that the last speaker has been connected with the Operative's Association, and I know that they have fully considered this point. The Home Office are not the last word in considering points of legislation, or else a good many lawyers would be out of a job at the present time. Both masters and men have considered the particular points that have been raised here. I would ask the House to consider that the operative bakers have to work six nights a week, and that the only night they have at home with their friends and relations is Saturday night. If the Amendment is not accepted, it will result in their working seven nights. I ask the Home Office to accept the Amendment because both masters and men in the trade are unanimous on the subject, and surely they are the people to be considered.

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

The House divided: Ayes, 133; Noes, 65.

Division No. 147.] AYES. [3.30 p.m.
Adams, D. (Consett) Burke, W. A. Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.) Burton, Col. H. W. Ede, J. C.
Adamson, W. M. Butt, Sir A. Edge, Sir W.
Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G. Cape, T. Emmott, C. E. G. C.
Albery, I. J. Cary, R. A. Evans, Capt. A. (Cardiff, S.)
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.) Castlereagh, Viscount Frankel, D.
Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'kn'hd) Charieton, H. C. Fraser, Capt. Sir I.
Ammon, C. G. Clarke, F. E. Ganzonl, Sir J.
Apsley, Lord Cluse, W. S. George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)
Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet) Cocks, F. S. Green, W. H. (Deptford)
Barnes, A. J. Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.) Gretton, Col. Rt. Hon. J.
Batey, J. Crooke, J. S. Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.)
Beauchamp, Sir B. C. Crowder, J. F. E Groves, T. E.
Bellenger, F, Dalton, H. Gunston, Capt. D. W.
Bernays, R. H. Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill) Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)
Blair, Sir R. Davies, C. (Montgomery) Hannah, I. C.
Bower, Comdr. R. T. Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton) Harbord, A.
Broad, F. A. Day, H. Hardle, G. D.
Brocklebank, C. E. R, Denman, Hon. R. D. Harvey, G.
Browne, A. C. (Belfast, W.) Dorman-Smith, Major R. H. Hasiam, Sir J. (Bolton)
Bull, B. B. Duncan, J. A. L. Hellgers, captain F. F. A.
Henderson, A. (Kingswinford) Mester, F. Sanders, W. S.
Henderson, J. (Ardwick) Milner, Major J. Sandys, E. D.
Henderson, T. (Tradeston) Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham) Seely, Sir H. M.
Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan- Montague, F. Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)
Hopkin, D. Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Unlv's.) Short, A.
Jackson, Sir H, Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)
Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath) Muff, G. Smith, E. (Stoke)
Jones, A. C. (Shipley) Munro, P. Sorensen, R. W.
Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Naylor, T. E. Spears, Brig. -Gen. E. L.
Keeling, E. H. Neven-Spence, Maj. B. H. H. Taylor, Vlce-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.)
Kelly, W. T. Oliver, G. H. Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T. Orr-Ewing, I. L. Thorne, W.
Kerr, H. W. (Oldham) Ponsonby, Col. C. E. Tinker, J. J.
Kirby, B. V. Potts, J. Tufnell. Lieut.-Com. R. L.
Kirkpatrick, W. M. Procter, Major H. A. Viant, S. P.
Liddall, W. S. Ralkes, H. V. A. M. Walker, J.
Mabane, W. (Huddersfield) Rathbone, Eleanor (English Univ's.) Watkins, F. C.
Macdonald. G. (Ince) Rawson, Sir Cooper Wayland, Sir W. A.
McGhee, H. G. Reid, W. Allan (Derby) Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)
Magnay, T. Rickards, G. W. (Skipton) Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir A. T. (Hitchin)
Marklew, E. Ritson, J. Wilson, C. H. (AtterciIffe)
Mason, Lt.-Col. Hon. G. K. M. Ross, Major Sir R. D. (L'nderry) Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)
Mathers, G. Rowson, G.
Maxton, J. Salt, E. W. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Mr. Banfield and Mr. Leslie.
Beaumont, M. W. (Aylesbury) Herbert, Captain S. (Abbey) Salmon, Sir I.
Belt, Sir A. L. Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J. Samuel, Sir A. M. (Farnham)
Bossom, A. C. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.) Samuel, M. R. A. (Putney)
Boulton. W. W. Hume, Sir G. H. Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's U. B 'lf' st),
Boyce, H. Leslie James, Wing-Commander, A. W. Smith, Bracewell (Duiwich)
Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith) Jones, Sir G. W. H. (S'k N'w'gt'n) Smith, L. W. (Hallam)
Campbell, Sir E. T. Keyes, Admiral of the Fleet Sir R. Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Carver, Major W. H. Latham, Sir P. Southby, Comdr. A. R. J.
Chater, D. Leech, Dr. J. W. Storey, S.
Cobb, Sir C. S. Liewellin, Lieut. -Col. J. J. Strauss, E. A. (Southwark, N.)
Colville, Lt.-Col. O. J, Lloyd, G. W. Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)
Courthope, Col. Sir G. L. Macnamara, Capt J. R. J. Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- (N'thw'h)
Cruddas, Col. B. Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon H. D. R. Thurtle, E.
Davison, Sir W. H. Mayhow, Lt.-Col. J. Touche, G. C.
Duckworth, G. A. V. (Salop) Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. Wallace, Captain Euan
Elliston, G. S. Nicolson, Hon. H. G. Ward, Lieut. -Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Findlay, Sir E. Palmer, G. E. H. Wells, S. R.
Fremantle, Sir F. E. Peters, Dr. S. J. Williams, C. (Torquay)
Gluckstein, L. H. Petherick, M. Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)
Gower, Sir R.V. Pritt, D. N.
Gridley, Sir A. B. Ropner, Colonel L. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Hannon, Sir P. J. H. Rothschild. J. A. de Mr. Loftus and Colonel Goodman.
Hartington, Marquess of Rowlands, G.

3.39 p.m.


On a point of Order. I should like to ask your advice, Mr. Speaker. Several hon. and right hon. Members were prevented from taking part in the Division through being informed, when they came here in answer to the Division bell, that the Division was "off." Several hon. Members who wanted to vote have been unable to do so. I, myself, wished to vote in support of the Amendment.


I am afraid that hon. Members sometimes too readily believe what they are told.

3.40 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 7, line 34, at the end, to insert: Provided that the Common Council of the City of London or the London County Council shall not make an order applying to any district referred to in paragraph (b) of Sub-section (1) of this Section unless they are satisfied that the occupiers of not less than two-thirds in number of the shops to he affected by the order approve the order. The House will remember that Clauses 3 and 4 of the Bill give power to local authorities to grant partial exemption orders in certain cases. This Amendment applies the same conditions to paragraph (b) of Clause 6. It says that the London County Council can make an order only when satisfied that two-thirds of the shopkeepers affected approve Ole order. It is a very reasonable Amendment and I hope the House will accept it without any further statements from me.


I beg to second the Amendment.

3.42 p.m.


I do not know what the promoters of the Bill are going to say on this Amendment, but I suggest that it should be rejected. The purpose of Clause 6 was to enable the London County Council to protect the interests of street traders in certain districts where it is customary to hold street markets. It would be a very difficult thing to take an exact census of these street traders, to get the necessary vote that would establish the fact that two-thirds of them were in favour of the proposal. It might easily be that a great majority of them were in favour of the proposal, but the street traders are not organised and it would probably be difficult to take a vote in which two-thirds of them would register their opinion. In my view if the House passes this Amendment it will stultify the whole object of the Clause. The County Council would never be given an opportunity of exempting the particular districts for which provision is made in the Clause.


The promoters of the Bill are quite willing to accept this Amendment, subject to further consideration, but it has only just appeared on the Paper and there has not been proper time to consider it.

3.44 p.m.


I hope the House will be careful before accepting the Amendment. As the hon. Member for Shore-ditch (Mr. Thurtle) has said, it will be extremely difficult to ascertain the opinion of the street traders who occupy the areas that are to be subject to the decision of the London County Council. I hope the House realises that these street traders of London are controlled by licences which are issued by the borough councils. Those licences are not necessarily for six or seven days in a week. Shops are open all the week, and are kept by people who are in a position to express an opinion about exemptions being applied to their area, but street traders are men and women who may have a one-day licence, or a licence for Saturday or Sunday only; or they may have a two-day licence. Not all of them have licences to trade every day of the week. The licences indicate not only the days upon which they are permitted to trade, but the commodity in which they may trade and the actual pitch where their stalls are to be placed. I submit to the Under-Secretary that he should explain how it would be possible to administer an Amendment of this kind, which implies that a vote must be taken of all the street traders in a certain area. Such traders would have to be called together in some way. I hope the House will consider very carefully before supporting the Amendment.

3.48 p.m.


I hope that the hon. Member for South-East Southwark (Mr. Naylor) will not press his opposition. It is reasonable to ask whether or not the required proportion of these people is in favour of exemption for their area. If the hon. Gentleman will pardon me for saying so, these gentlemen seem since the Bill was put forward to have been very well organised, to judge from. the number of letters that I and other hon. Members have received; they seem to have an organisation almost as powerful as the trade union of the hon. Member for South-East Southwark. It is only fair to local authorities that they should know the views of these people. From the discussion we had in the Committee I have reason to say that not all of them want to work every day in the week. The bottom of the trouble of Sunday trading is not that the majority want to work on Sunday and keep their shops open; 95 per cent. of those who trade on Sunday do so because there is 5 per cent. of blacklegs among them who open their shops on Sunday. I am sure that the London County Council will be able to find out the views of these gentlemen. Some traders, who keep shops in one part of London, do their trading in a market elsewhere in London. That sort of thing ought to be cleaned up. The provision which my hon. Friend wishes to insert is very reasonable. We have done better than I had anticipated in connection with this complicated matter to-day, and I hope the Amendment will not be pressed.

3.50 p.m.


I cannot agree with the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies) in supporting the Amendment, which seems to me to be administratively impracticable. There is no electoral roll of street traders. Those who are organised are organised for one purpose, and their organisation may not include those who oppose the majority. It is not dignified to ask the London County Council to be guided by a group of street traders as to what policy should or should not be carried out in the interests of the inhabitants of London and not of a particular group of street traders. The original intention of the Bill was to restrict Sunday trading, but now it is proposed to give an option to a group of Sunday traders to say whether or not Sunday trading is to be extended. I know of no precedent for asking that a group of costermongers should be allowed to decide whether the London County Council may or may not take certain action in the interests of the inhabitants of London as a whole. Further, while these street traders are licensed, their licences do not cover any area so limited as that laid down in the Bill, but are for the whole borough, while apparently the Bill is only to apply to a small portion of two or three boroughs. If we are to have a Committee to advise and dictate to the London County Council, the unfortunate inhabitants who are going to live in the neighbourhood of the streets where these markets take place ought also to have a voice in the matter—not only these street traders, but the legitimate owners of shops and ratepayers whose living will be taken away from them by the uncharted and at the present moment, I gather, illegal activities of this small group who are to be privileged to dictate to the London County Council. I hope the House will reject the Amendment.

3.53 p.m.


The House will doubtless want this Bill to work, and, as far as I am able to understand from listening to the discussion, and with some practical knowledge of street markets in London, I do not see how the Amendment

could be worked as a practical proposition. I do not see how it would be possible to get a referendum of street traders, some of whose licences are for one day, some for three or four days, some for a week, and so on. For that reason alone, I suggest that the House should not burden the Bill with a very important proposal which in fact would prove to be quite impracticable.


I understand that the promoters of the Bill are prepared to accept the Amendment subject to consideration, but I do not know what that means. It seems to me that one has no alternative but to oppose the Amendment.

3.54 p.m.


I do not agree with my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Hitchin (Sir A. Wilson), whose interpretation of the Amendment is, I think, wrong. As I understand it, it would not increase Sunday trading, but would decrease it, because the local authority, before giving exemption would have to make sure that 75 per cent. of the traders wanted the exemption.


This is a manuscript Amendment, and the Home Office have not been able to consider it with that care which is really necessary in the case of any Amendment to so complicated a Measure. Atfirst sight we are not opposed to the Amendment, but, on the other hand, I am afraid we could not accept it without further consideration.

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

The House divided: Ayes, 101; Noes, 90.

Division No. 148.] AYES. [3.55 p.m.
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.) Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.) Hardle, G. D.
Allen, Lt.-Col J. Sandeman (B'kn'hd) Crooke, J. S. Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton)
Ammon, C. G. Crowder, J. F. E. Henderson, T. (Tradeston)
Banfield, J. W. Dalton, H. Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan-
Barnes, A. J. Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill) Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J.
Baxter, A. Beverley Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton) Hopkin, D.
Blair, Sir R. Dugdale, Major T. L. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)
Bossom, A. C. Ede, J. C. Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath)
Bower, Comdr. B. T. Edge, Sir W. Jones, A. C. (Shipley)
Broad, F. A. Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough E.) Jones, Sir G. W. H. (S'k N'w'gt'n)
Browne, A. C. (Belfast, W.) Emmott, C. E. G. C. Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)
Bull, B. B. Evans, Capt. A. (Cardiff, S.) Keeling, E. H.
Burke, W. A. Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H. Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.
Cary, R. A. George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) Kerr, H. W. (Oldham)
Cattlereagh, viscount Goodman, Col. A. W. Klrby, B. V.
Clarke, F. E.., Griffith, F. Klngsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.) Leslie, J. R.
Cluse, W. S. Groves, T. E. Liddall, w. S.
Cobb, Sir C. S. Gunston, Capt. D. W. Liewellin, Lieut. -Col. J. J.
Cocks, F. S. Hannon, Sir P. J. H. Lloyd, G. W.
Loftus, P. C. Rathbone, Eleanor (English Univ's.) Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Mabane, W. (Huddersfield) Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin) Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)
Macdonald, G. (Ince) Rawson, Sir Cooper Tinker, J. J.
McGhee, H. G. field, W. Allan (Derby) Tufnell, Lleut.-Com. R. L.
MacLaren, A. Ritson, J. Wakefleld, W. W.
Magnay, T. Ropner, Colonel L. Walkden, A. G.
Mathers, G. Rothschild, J. A. de Walker, J.
Maxton, J. Rowlands, G. Wallace, Captain Euan
Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J. Sanders, W. S. Warrender, Sir V.
Moreing, A. C. Sanderson, Sir F. B. Watkins. F. C.
Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.) Sandys, E. D. Wilson, C. H. (Attercllffe)
Munro, P. Seely, Sir H. M. Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)
Felmer, G. E. H. Shaw, Major p. S. (Wavertree)
Peters, Dr. S. J. Sorensen, R. W. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Proctor, Major H. A. Spears, Brig. -Gen. E. L. Mr. R C. Morrison and Mr. Messer.
Rankln, R. Strauss, E. A. (Southwark, N.)
Adams, D. (Consett) Fox, Sir G. W. G. Oliver, G. H.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.) Frankel, D. Orr-Ewing, I. L.
Adamson, W. M. Fraser, Capt. Sir I. Petherick, M.
Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G. Fremantle, Sir F. E. Potts, J.
Albery, I. J. Ganzonl, Sir J. Pritt, D. N.
Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle ot Thanet) Gluckitein, L. H. Ralkes, H. V. A. M.
Batey, J. Green, W. H. (Deptford) Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)
Beauchamp, Sir B. C. Gridley, Sir A. B. Ross, Major Sir R. D. (L'nderry)
Beaumont, M. W. (Aylesbury) Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel) Rowson, G.
Belt, Sir A. L. Hannah, I. C. Salt, E. W.
Bernays, R. H. Harbord, A. Samuel, Sir A, M. (Farnham)
Boulton, W. W. Hartington, Marquess of Samuel, M. R. A. (Putney)
Boyce, H. Leslie Harvey, G. Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's U. B'lf'st),
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Hellgers, Captain F. F. A. Smith, Ben (Rotherhlthe)
Burghley, Lord Henderson, A. (Kingswinford) Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)
Butt, Sir A. Henderson, J. (Ardwick) Smith, E. (Stoke)
Campbell, Sir E. T. Hulbert, N. J. Smith, L. W. (Hallam)
Charleton, H. C. Hume, Sir G. H. Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Chater, D. Jackson, Sir H. Southby, Comdr. A. R. J.
Courthope, Col. Sir G. L. James, Wing-Commander A. W. Thorne, W.
Cruddas, Col, B. Kelly, W. T. Touche, G. C.
Davison, Sir W. H. Latham, Sir P. Viant, S. P.
Day, H. Leech, Dr. J. W. Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Denville, Alfred Marklew, E. Wells, S. R.
Duckworth, G. A. V. (Salop) Mason, Lt.-Col. Hon. G. K. M. Williams, C. (Torquay)
Duggan, H. J. Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham) Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)
Duncan, J. A. L. Montague, F. Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir A. T. (Hitchin)
Dunn, E. (Rother Valley) Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)
Eastwood, J. F. Muff, G.
Elliston, G. S. Naylor, T. E. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Findlay, Sir E. Neven-Spence, Maj. B. H. H. Mr. Thurtle and Mr. G. R. Strauss.

It being after Four of the Clock, and and objection being taken to further Proceeding, further Consideration of the Bill, as amended, stood adjourned.

Bill, as amended (in the Standing Commitee), to be further considered upon Friday next.