§ Order for Second Reading read.2160
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."
§ 7.39 p.m.
§ Mr. T. Johnston
I beg to move, to leave out from the word "That," to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof:this House cannot consent to the Second Reading of a Bill which confirms a Provisional Order setting aside the law governing the sale of exciseable liquors in Scotland and which is contrary to the declared wishes of the inhabitants in the area affected by the Order.2161 Whatever view we may take of the proposal embodied in this Bill, I am sure it is common ground that Members in all parts of the House wish great success and prosperity to the Exhibition. We are all united in paying tribute to the energy, the enthusiasm, and the public spirit of the promoters of the Exhibition, however much me may disagree with the proposal which they seek to further in this Bill. I am sure also that every hon. Member who shares my views on the question involved, will agree with me that the commission of inquiry, composed of the hon. Member for South Edinburgh (Sir S. Chapman), and my hon. Friend the Member for Stirling and Falkirk (Mr. Westwood), and two legislators from another place, did to the best of their judgment and ability give a verdict with good intent and every desire to serve the public interest. But many of us have profound misgivings about this Bill, and it is our duty to state those misgivings in this High Court of Parliament. I hope I shall state mine persuasively and not provocatively, and certainly with no aspersions whatever on the bona fides of anyone who differs from me.
I have one preliminary complaint to make. No copy of the evidence led before the commission has been made available in the Library. The House is called upon to take a decision of considerable importance, overriding a public general Act of Parliament, and yet the evidence for and against that course embodied in the report of the proceedings before the commission which sat in Glasgow, has not been made available to Members of the House. Printed copies cannot even be obtained from the shorthand-writers and printers who acted for the promoters of the Measure. I offered to purchase a copy of that evidence for use in this Debate and I was informed that the shorthand-writers and printers had no copies available for me. I believe that six copies were sent to the Town Office in Edinburgh and that each of the four members of the commission was supplied with a copy. I believe that the promoters have some copies, but no copy has been made available for any Member of this House.
I should say that I am exceedingly obliged to the hon. Member for South Edinburgh and to my hon. Friend the Member for Stirling and Falkirk for permitting me, as an act of grace, to examine that evidence clandestinely and furtively, 2162 and I hope that those two hon. Members when they speak to-night will join with me in protesting against a procedure in public business which prevents hon. Members who will have to vote in the Lobbies of the House on this question from seeing the evidence upon which the commission came to its decision. The opponents of the Measure could not see a printed copy of the evidence unless they were prepared to share the cost and I believe that the cost is about £300. To go half-and-half in meeting that cost would be a prohibitive charge. It would mean a fine of £150 upon Members on this side of the House before they were permitted to see a printed copy of evidence led before a commission appointed by this House, upon which evidence a decision is to be taken here, involving the overriding of a public general Act. If Parliament is to discuss a proposal to override the general public law, Parliament ought to be in possession of the necessary data, and I hope I shall have the assent of all parties to that statement.
§ The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Elliot)
Is not that a reflection on the procedure of the House?
§ Mr. Johnston
Yes, Sir, most emphatically. I cannot put it any plainer. If I have failed to convey to the right hon. Gentleman that I am making a reflection on the procedure of the House, I have been singularly unfortunate in my choice of language. I do not bring the Secretary of State personally into the matter, and I hope he is not taking this as a reflection on himself, but in this particular case I am saying that it is farcical that the House of Commons should be asked to make a decision upon matters in regard to which the evidence is not placed before it, and the least it can ask is that a copy of the evidence in similar circumstances, should they ever arise, shall be placed in the Library of this House. In the first place, this discussion to-night is not a discussion upon total abstinence or upon American or any other form of prohibition. There are already eight restaurant licences granted to the promoters of this Exhibition, and six of these eight have already been handed to one individual. Another application was made for a restaurant licence for the employés of the Exhibition, but was turned down by the magistrates. Nine applications were made in all for restaurant 2163 licences; eight were granted, and six of them have already gone to one gentleman, whom I would call the monopolist in the matter.
§ Mr. Johnston
The other two, so far as I know, at the moment still remain vested in the Exhibition authorities. To whom they may delegate their functions and powers in the matter, I am not aware. At the beginning of this business—I beg hon. Members for English constituencies to take note of this fact—the temperance party in Scotland did not object to restaurant licences being granted to the Exhibition. With a great display of worldly wisdom in the matter, they decided that they would not oppose restaurant facilities at the Exhibition, but the Exhibition authorities, not satisfied with the provision of restaurant licences, which had been granted, decided to promote a Provisional Order, from which this Bill has followed, whereby public-house licences in addition may be granted within the confines of the Exhibition.
The view taken by the temperance party in Scotland was that, provided the fundamental structure of the Scottish Temperance Act was not destroyed, they were not going to seek to crab the Exhibition in any way by opposing the provision of restaurant licences. But there is a curious advertisement, which appeared in the "Glasgow Herald" on 24th November, which I should like to read to the House. Apparently they are not satisfied with restaurant licences—and six of them already granted to a monopolist—not satisfied that they should come to this House for additional public-house licences; apparently they propose to inaugurate club licences inside the Exhibition. These club licences do not require the consent of the magistrates, but are granted by the sheriff. Here is the advertisement:Manager-Secretary (temporary) wanted to Exhibition Club, Bellahouston Park, May to October, 1938. Probable membership about 2,000, past experience essential, only written applications will be considered, they must state age, qualifications, and salary required, and be received not later than 9 a.m. on Tuesday, 30th November, 1937.…That is, before the date upon which this House is called upon to decide whether or not the Bill should be approved— 2164…together with copies of testimonials addressed to the General Manager, Empire Exhibition, Scotland, 1938, 75, Bothwell Street, Glasgow.It is said that these licences are necessary for the success of the Exhibition. It is said that the poor cannot purchase a meal, cannot purchase a sandwich, and that, therefore, there must be the provision of excisable liquor apart altogether from the restaurant licences already granted and provided for. The first comment upon that that I have to make is this, that every direct representative on these benches of the organised working classes in Scotland, every one, without exception—total abstainers, non-total abstainers, men who are for prohibition, men who are for municipalisation, men who are for local veto, men who are for all and every kind of change or form in these matters—has signed the opposition on the Order Paper of this House to the Measure now being brought before the High Court of Parliament. If this is to be imposed upon us to-night, it will not be imposed upon us by working-class representatives' votes. It will be imposed upon us by gentlemen who themselves will not go to these bars, who will not have their sons or daughters go to these bars. It will be imposed upon us by people who are not directly and openly, at any rate—I desire to raise no question of provocative party feeling—representative of the organised working-class parties in Scotland. This district where the Exhibition is to be held is what is called a dry district; that is to say, on three occasions the local electors, under the provisions of the Scottish Temperance Act, have decided, by very large and growing majorities, to have no public-house licences in their area. This area includes the Bellahouston Park, which is the most suitable place in which the Exhibition can be held, and these electors now find themselves in this position, that whereas in 1920 they had a 1,300 majority to have no public-house bars, no public-house licences, in their area, in 1923 the majority was 1,175 for the same purpose, and in 1926 the majority was 1,780. They therefore have exercised their statutory rights under an Act of Parliament and have done so on three occasions. In this bar-less area the Exhibition is to be held. The Exhibition authorities, as I have already said, have got their eight restaurant licences now. Then they 2165 went to the Corporation of Glasgow, the City Council, to ask whether they, as the owners of the Bellahouston Park, would offer any objection to the promotion of this Bill, which may provide, if the magistrates agree, additional public-house licences, and by a majority of, I think, 50 to 36, or 56 to 36—I am not sure of the precise figures—the Corporation of Glasgow, not on a roll-call vote, decided not to spend public money in objecting. They decided to take no action in the matter. Then the Provisional Order was promoted, and now we have this Bill, after the Provisional Order has been examined by two hon. Members of this House and two Peers from another place, who decided that the Preamble of the Order had been proved and that the Bill should be supported.
I have four principal objections to this Measure. In the first place, it is an invasion of the statutory rights of citizens under the Act, even if the invasion be for a temporary period of six months only. We are told that local citizens must surrender these rights to wider national interests. Well, the onus of proof as to whether these wider national interests are the interests of Scotland rests with those who make the assertion. There have been other exhibitions where no public-house bars have been permitted and where they have been a great financial success. There have been exhibitions where public-house bars have been granted and where there has been very heavy financial failure. I am not saying in either case that the provision or the absence of alcoholic liquors made the difference between success and failure, but I am saying that the onus of proof as to whether or not it is essential that alcoholic liquors should be supplied rests with those who make the assertion.
We deny, for our part, that visitors would refrain from coming to the exhibition if no outstanding drink facilities were permitted. We say that to the great football matches in Hampden Park 100,000 people come. There are no drinking-bar facilities in Hampden Park, but the people come readily from all parts of the land. There are facilities outside Hampden Park for those who desire them.
§ Mr. Johnston
In some cases, I believe, people arrive there at 10 or 11 in the morning and get away sometimes at about 4 or 5 in the afternoon. Those who are nearer the gates may get out more quickly. I have not timed them. I am merely putting the point that there are great concourses of people coming to what may be called great Glasgow festivals, and coming gladly, when there is no provision of bars. If they want -to get a drink, they can get it outside. Here in this exhibition provision is made which is not made at Hampden Park, whereby they can get a drink with a sandwich and with food if they desire. I said a moment ago that there were instances where great exhibitions had been a financial success without the attraction of the public-house bar. Let me give one or two illustrations. The Crystal Palace Exhibition held in London in 1851 had no drinking facilities, yet it had a surplus of £150,000, which was used to lay the foundation of the great South Kensington Museum. On the other hand, there was the Wembley Exhibition, with 56 licences, and the Government had to pay off £847,000 as part guarantor, while private guarantors had to pay up £907,000 to make good the losses.
§ Mr. Johnston
The point I am putting at the moment is not as to the ultimate destination of the money spent on drink. I am merely putting the point that there have been exhibitions where drink facilities have been given and where there have been huge financial losses, and that there have been exhibitions where there were no drinking facilities where there were huge profits. I am not saying, and I hope that no one will take me as saying, that when they failed financially it was because drinking facilities were supplied. I believe that the bad weather in the summer had a considerable amount to do with the financial results of Wembley. All I am putting is that nobody has ever proved that it is essential that this exhibition in Glasgow must have drinking bars or there will be a financial loss. The Canadian National Exhibition at Toronto has been run for 58 years. For the last 20 years there have been no liquor facilities in the Exhibition, and the profits every year 2167 have run from 130,000 dollars to 274,000 dollars. There was tremendous trouble to keep the bars out of the Glasgow East End Industrial Exhibition of 1890–91. The local residents, including the father of the right hon. Gentleman's predecessor in office, had to give considerable financial guarantees against total loss. That exhibition was such a success financially, without liquor, that it led to the foundation of 'the great People's Palace at Glasgow Green. At the Olympic Village in Berlin in 1936 there was again no liquor bar or licence. I have failed to find out the precise financial result. All I can ascertain is that statements have been repeatedly made both in the British and the German Press that it was a great financial success. On the other hand, we had the wet exhibition in Glasgow in 1888, which went out with wild drunken rioting on the night before the exhibition closed.
§ Mr. Johnston
I do not want to get into controversy with the hon. and learned Gentleman. I hope that after we have made out our case we will get his support in the Lobby. I have Press cuttings here proving the truth of my statement that on the night before the exhibition closed there was wild drunken rioting, with the result that the East End Industrial Exhibition two years afterwards was run on a dry and unlicensed basis. My second reason for objecting to this Measure is that, even if it be granted that there should be licensed clubs, bars—whatever you like—why should not the profits go to the municipal treasury? It is on municipal property. It is a public park. Many hon. Members on this side hold strongly the view that the only desirable and possible changes in liquor licensing should be in the direction of public ownership on the Carlisle system. If it were the case that on this municipal property, owned by the public, licences had to be granted for a six-months' period, surely it is not unreasonable that the profits from that experiment should go to the public treasury and that the licences should be under public ownership and control and not be handed over to a private monopoly.
My third objection is that the exhibition is organised inter aliato promote the cultural development of Scotland. Is any 2168 hon. Gentleman in any part of the House prepared to say that the culture we want to preserve, to develop, to hand down to posterity, to train our children admist, is the culture of the perpendicular drinking bar? Is this the culture we would exhibit to the world? Is this what we are proud of? We have all witnessed scenes —I have not seen them in England, but I have seen them in my native country—that could only be done justice to by the brush of a Hogarth. "Beer Street" and "Gin Lane" can still be seen in Scotland. I do not believe that the light beer such as the English drink is so liable to lead to excitement and frenzy as whisky. I am putting the point that the culture which can be secured from the perpendicular bar is a culture that we ought to get rid of at the earliest possible moment. Whatever changes take place in our liquor habits, we can agree that the last thing we want to preserve and develop is the perpendicular bar.
My last contention is one which I hope will be supported in the Lobby by the Minister of Transport, the Secretary of State for War and other Ministers of the Crown. The Chief Constable of Glasgow, who appeared as a witness on subpoena before the Commission, said that the proposals of this Measure were preferable to no facilities at all at the exhibition. This same chief constable, in his report for 1936, records a 54 per cent. increase over the previous year in drunken motor drivers, and he adds these words:I record with regret the continued increase in the number of persons apprehended for this very serious offence.We have nearly three times as many arrests of drunken drivers of motor vehicles in Glasgow, per thousand of the population, as there are in England and Wales. Between 1931 and 1936, 737 persons were killed in the streets of Glasgow and 32,200 injured. The proposal is to provide parking places for 10,000 cars at the exhibition in a more or less congested area. This will be referred to by hon. Members who live in the ward, and who are afraid of their children's ryes if facilities are granted to provide motor drivers with spirits, particularly without food. Mr. Dummett, the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, said in sentencing a motorist on 12th June—and this is in an area where the accidents are less than with us: 2169People are being mown down in the streets—not in platoons, not even in companies, but in battalions a week. That is not rhetoric; it is plain fact. People are being destroyed—even worse, maimed perhaps for life. A very large part of it is due to bad driving by drunken or semi-drunken drivers. That is a weekly occurrence. I am not exaggerating in the least. What is to be done?If there is one certain fact about the effects of even small doses of alcohol when taken without food—and that is the essential point which we are discussing, alcohol taken without food—it is that the motorist who takes it is a public menace and a danger. The Medical Research Council published under the authority of men like the Professor of Pharmacology of the University of Edinburgh, the President of the Royal Society, the Medical Officer of Statistics at the Ministry of Health, this statement:To avoid direct injury to the mucous membrane of the stomach and to decrease the risk of inebriation, alcohol should not be taken in a concentrated form and without food.The Royal Commission on Licensing for England and Wales, whatever else they disagreed about, and they disagreed about many things, were united upon this:According to evidence given before us it is the practice of a large majority of motor transport undertakings, municipal, public and private, to require of their drivers total abstinence from intoxicants while on duty. We think this practice wise, and would welcome its universal adoption.Moreover, the commission unanimously denounce what they call the "perpendicular" drinking habit, and desire to see its progressive disappearance. Finally the British Medical Association were asked by the present Secretary of State for War, when he was Minister of Transport, to set up a special committee of inquiry into the relation of alcohol to road accidents. That was in July, 1935. They report a great and increasing number of convictions for driving while under the influence of liquor. They go on to discuss the effects of what they call sub-intoxication, the effects of small doses of alcohol without food, and say:The driving of a motor car involves a succession of highly-skilled muscular movements which are dependent on rapid and accurate co-ordination between the eyes, the hands, the feet.They made tests with typewriting, shooting at a target 200 yards away, walking and climbing, and they came to this conclusion: 2170Three ounces of whisky affect appreciably the mental processes and neuro-muscular coordination, especially if taken in the absence of food.That is our case—if taken in the absence of food. Provision has been made for parking 10,000 motor cars, there will be great concourses of people, and restaurant facilities are provided, but this House is being asked to-night to provide facilities for private drinking bars. It is for Parliament to decide, and I cannot believe that that will be carried by Scots votes. If it should be imposed upon us it must be done by a majority of Members of Parliament who do not represent Scottish constituencies. Why should we perpetuate old habits and customs which have become repugnant to the mass of our people? Why should the lives of our citizens be endangered? There is no intention on our part to crab the Exhibition, no intention to prevent what are called reasonable facilities for those who desire refreshments with food. If more restaurant licences are wanted, I have every reason to believe they will not be objected to, but to give these private drinking bars, by the overriding of a public general Act by a private group of citizens, is, in our opinion, a proposal that ought not to be assented to by the House.
§ 8.20 p.m.
§ Sir Samuel Chapman
Although I shall not agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for West Stirling (Mr. Johnston) in the course he has taken in moving the rejection of the Bill, I am sure the whole House will agree that he has done the right thing in initiating this discussion, because such a Measure as this must pass on this Floor and in face of the public opinion of Scotland. My right hon. Friend has made, as he always does, a very strong and animated speech, and with the best of good nature. We are going to have a strenuous Debate, and only for a few moments do I presume to intervene, because through your intervention, Sir, I was made the chairman of this Parliamentary Commission, and I take it that I should not be doing my duty if I shirked saying why, as a member of the commission, I voted in favour of this Bill getting as far as it has got to-day. It is so easy to refuse to serve on a commission. There are not too many Members in Scotland available for this purpose. Many of our colleagues are very busy in other directions. I knew, when I had the honour of 2171 being asked to be chairman of this commission, that it was not going to be a joyride. I did not know any details of the suggestions which were to be made, but I did know that the question before us would be one of those which affect our fellow-citizens in Scotland. They think a great deal more about it than they do about all the questions of foreign policy which take up so much time in this House. I wish to say, also, that a great many of my friends who have taken such a prominent and active part in the temperance movement are worthy of a tribute of respect for all they have done during past years to see that the drinking proclivities of Scotland were gradually lessened year by year.
It is the duty of a commissioner to go into one of these local inquiries with an open mind. Personally I make a point of not reading the papers, of not getting any views at all, until I go into the room, and then I am prepared to listen to both sides, and it is because I have tried to exercise a judicial mind and to listen to both sides that I have come to a conclusion which is different from that which has been expressed by my right hon. Friend. He has referred to the Members of the House not having had the privilege of reading the evidence given to the commission. I wish to goodness every Member had read the evidence. What can I do? I hold in my hands the report of two days' proceedings. If I were to go through those proceedings I could read many interesting paragraphs from the evidence which would controvert a great deal of what my right hon. Friend has said. Who are the gentlemen promoting the Bill? Is it being promoted by a private company, by somebody doing it for profit? The right hon. Gentleman sailed rather near the wind when he suggested—I do not know whether he really suggested, but it seemed to me that he was asking the House to accept the suggestion—that the money was not going for public purposes.
§ Mr. Johnston
I began by paying a tribute to the promoters of the Exhibition, and what I then said was that the six licences already granted for restaurant facilities had been to private individuals.
§ Sir S. Chapman
Any profit which accrues from the whole of the Exhibition goes to public purposes. I want to go over the ground very quickly, and not to go into all the details, so I must gallop over it as quickly as possible. Who are these gentlemen? Are they men of straw, men unknown in Scotland? Here is the recent report of the Commissioner for the Special Areas. The Bill is promoted by the Scottish Economic Committee. Who are they? If anybody has read this list which I hold in my hand and which it would take me ten minutes to read, it would be seen that it consists of the most eminent and outstanding men in Scotland. Such a list has never been issued for any purpose in the whole history of Scotland: such eminent men. What does the Special Commissioner say about these men? Let me read a paragraph:The Economic Committee of the Scottish Development Council was formed in March, 1936, by the Council in consultation with the late Secretary of State for Scotland, following the suggestion made by my predecessor.These are the words I wish to read:The members are representative of Scottish industry, finance, transport, travel and labour.I could read a lot more. They are the most outstanding men in Scotland absolutely, and above suspicion, and on the biggest scale that has ever been suggested for any undertaking in Scotland. These are the men at the back of the Bill. It seemed to be suggested by the right hon. Gentleman that they did not know their job and if they had done as he suggested—no licensed perpendicular bar—the Exhibition would have been just as successful. What happened? My colleague will speak. For two days we had before us 26 of these outstanding men in rotation. I never swore as chairman so many men in my life, one after the other, to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth; and they told us, as they conceived it, the truth. Am I to read extract after extract of their evidence? I shall confine myself to reading three extracts. There is the chairman of the Exhibition, Mr. Cecil Weir, very well known. I do not want to talk about him. Everybody knows him. I want to give the qualifications of these men, but I omit that. I think hon. Gentlemen know them so well in Scotland that I can omit all that. This is the evidence 2173 of Mr. Weir, the chairman of the Exhibition:I believe that it will lead to the better conduct of the Exhibition to have the facilities inside the Exhibition. There is far more prospect in my opinion of disorder and misconduct if no such facilities exist.…We believe that with the licensing conditions properly controlled there would be no prospect whatever of misconduct in the Exhibition.The House may say that Mr. Weir does not know his business, but that was part of the evidence which Mr. Weir, in his responsible position as chairman of this great Exhibition, presented to us as a commission.
§ Sir S. Chapman
Of course. We were there to get opinion. I will tell the hon. Member what opinions we had on the other side in a few moments. Hon. Gentlemen say opposite that they represent working-class constituencies, but there were working-class representatives in the witness box. There was a gentleman named Mr. Charles N. Gallie. Is he unknown to hon. Gentlemen opposite? I will give his qualifications. [HON. MEMBERS: "We know them all."] I will tell hon. Gentlemen who do not know him, exactly who he is. This was the examination:I think you are the Scottish Secretary of the Railway Clerks' Association?—That is so.And you are treasurer of the General Council of the Trades Union Congress?— Yes.That is important. What did he say? There is page after page of his evidence, but I will see whether I can boil it down and get just two or three sentences from what he said:I should think hundred.; of thousands of the visitors will not want to purchase meals and probably hundreds of thousands of them would not be able to purchase meals: I take the view that if married men, a working man and his family, go to the Exhibition—and, after all, there are married men who are permitted to enjoy a glass of beer with the consent of their wives—it would be very unfair and unreasonable that they should be required to separate themselves from their family in order to get a glass of beer.Then he goes on to say:I know from long practical experience of business and working men's organisation "—so that the right hon. Gentleman has not everybody on his side who knows only about working men's organisations—. 2174that the exhibition will be a meeting ground of people from all parts of the British Isles, and again I think it would be unreasonable unless those people were permitted to exchange hospitable greetings with each other with a sociable glass of beer.That is one of your own representatives.
Mr. J. J. Davidson
Was it made perfectly clear that this Mr. Gallie was not acting in any official capacity or as representing the General Council of the Trades Union Congress, but that he was merely representing a personal opinion?
§ Sir S. Chapman
Of course, we knew that. We were not altogether a commission of "duds." But I thought that the hon. Gentleman who has just interrupted me would like to know that the Treasurer of the Trades Union Council came before us on his own account. There was a lady named Miss Eleanor Stewart, a Justice of the Peace of the City of Glasgow. She is also a woman organiser of the Transport and General Workers' Union—so evidently she does not live in a palace or a castle—and a member of the Ministry of Labour General Local Employment Committee. Her evidence goes on:Are you a member of the Women's Committee of the Scottish Trade Union Congress?—I am.Of course, she was not speaking on behalf of the Trades Union Congress; we know that; but she was a lady who moves among the working class, just as hon. Members do, and as we on this side do. What did she say? She said:My view on this matter is that the Exhibition is not a local exhibition, but is an Empire exhibition, and so we have to cater for all tastes of the people who attend that Exhibition, and it is because of that that I am supporting this application for a Provisional Order.I went there to listen, and that evidence was laid before me. My right hon. Friend comes along, very naturally, with some extracts from a report of the Chief Constable of Glasgow. Sometimes chairmen of commissions have very unpleasant duties. My duty on that occasion was a very pleasant one, because I had to issue a warrant to the Chief Constable of Glasgow to appear before us. He came very pleasantly, and', in spite of what he had said on other occasions, and of the extracts which my right hon. Friend has read, this is what he said before us:If there were not drinking facilities in the Exhibition ground, my feeling is that there would be a tremendous number of people who 2175 would want to get pass-out tickets, and they would probably go and flood the two public houses which are in very close proximity to the Bellahouston site. From my point of view I think that is undesirable. I would rather the people have what one might call restricted facilities than have them coming out for that purpose of drinking and getting too much and coming back again.That was the evidence given to us by the Chief Constable of Glasgow. What could I do, as a humble Member listening to all this advice? I had to listen to 26 of them one after the other. What happened? When we had heard the evidence of these gentlemen, Mr. Morison, the learned counsel who was against the Bill made a most admirable speech. That was towards the end of the second day, and my hon. Friend and I were anxious to know what was going to happen on the third day, so I said to Mr. Morison:We will take your evidence.Much to my surprise he said.I have no evidence to submit.I will read what he said, because I think it is important. He said that this matter depended entirely upon principle—I will come to that in a moment—and, when he sat down, his last words were:That finishes my caseI then asked him:How long do you think your witnesses will take?He replied:I have no evidence to lead. As my opposition, as I explained, is on principle, I have no evidence to lead—We did not get a word of advice, we did not get a man in the witness-box to tell us what my right hon. Friend has been saying just now—not one. The principle that my right hon. Friend mentioned was that it was proposed to destroy, by what may be called a small Act—a local Act—another Act which applies on a national scale, and that we have no right to override the opinion of a community, however small, by altering it for a particular purpose.
We had to look at this matter from a common-sense point of view. We asked the promoters of the Bill how it was that they did not try to overturn the vote which had been taken some years previously, and make the area a "wet" area, because if they had gone to any other park in Scotland, or any other part of Scotland, there would not have been 2176 this trouble. They all came to the conclusion, however, that Bellahouston was an absolutely central and ideal place for this Exhibition. Then we asked them—it came out in evidence, but I have not time to read it—why they did not have another vote. They said that they had taken counsel's opinion on the matter and talked it over, and had come to the conclusion that they would prefer to make the small area which Bellahouston represents—only 153 acres out of the whole of the dry district of Pollokshields, or about the same proportion as the space below the Bar here bears to the rest of this House—wet for six months, but not to alter the conditions over the rest of the large area of Pollokshields.
If they had gone for a vote, the previous vote might have been reversed, and Pollokshields might have gone wet for years to come. It was really out of consideration for the majority of the voters of Pollokshields that they did not do that. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] I beg hon. Gentlemen to believe that they are not the only people who think things out quietly. There are people in Scotland at this moment who are running the national development of that country for the purpose of helping dear old Scotland, and hon. Gentlemen opposite must not jeer at them. They may have made a mistake; it is quite probable; but that is the question that we had to settle—whether for six months we should allow that space to be wet in a ring fence, with admission always paid for, and not allow a public house to be put down in any street or road which is dry and inhabited at the present moment in Pollokshields. The small space in question is uninhabited, there is not a living soul there; and we are leaving the inhabited part of Pollokshields exactly as it is. For six months this area is to be in a ring fence, and afterwards everything will be as it was before.
§ Mr. Robert Gibson
May I ask the hon. Member this question? If he had had any evidence of the facts which my right hon. Friend has put before the House, would his decision have been different from what it was?
§ Sir S. Chapman
I will reply to the hon. and learned Member in these words, that someone might have been put up to contradict his evidence. But I was not entirely convinced and would like to hear 2177 evidence from the other side. Then what would my opinion have been? I had to give a decision of some kind, and I resolved in my own mind that I could not come to any other decision. These eminent gentlemen are shouldering a terrific responsibility with £1,000,000 guarantee and £10,000,000 in the building and exhibits. With such great responsibilities was I going to say that they were wrong and that the exhibition would be just as great a success without it? Their anxieties and responsibilities were great, and I was not going to add: to their burdens. I know they are men of honour and I know that their honour will not be tarnished.
§ 8.48 p.m.
§ Mr. Barr
I can in all sincerity corroborate what the hon. Member for South Edinburgh (Sir S. Chapman), whom so many on this side call friend, has said about his judicial mind and the high purpose with which he acted in this not too agreeable duty. I should like, lest there should be the slightest misapprehension, to say in the first place that my right hon. Friend the Member for Stirling (Mr. Johnston), in speaking of public and private profit, was referring only to the proceeds of these licences going to individuals. He was far from suggesting that those who are promoting the exhibition were doing it for any private gain. I differed from the hon. Member for South Edinburgh on one point. He read a long parade of names, and said that they were the most outstanding men in Scotland. I always understood that the most outstanding men in Scotland were here, and I hope the hon. Member will revise in his own interests and ours his opinion as to the outstanding men in Scotland. I listened carefully to the hon. Member and I must say that I was more struck by certain things which were not in his speech than by anything in the speech. I thought he would have given us some precedent for this extraordinary proposal, in which Parliamentary powers are sought to set aside a public law by the method of Provisional Order. That is a complete innovation and the hon. Member has not even given us a precedent for it.
Indeed, the Provisional Order is in defiance of rights which the general legislation has conferred on the voters in the Pollokshields Ward of the City of Glasgow. I have often heard that it is possible to drive a coach and six through an Act 2178 of Parliament, but this is the first time I have ever known Parliament itself invited, to use a Scottish phrase, "to get up on the dickie" and drive its own coach and six through one of its unrepealed Acts. That is the position. It may be said that national rights should overrule local privileges, but it should be done in a Parliamentary way, and by the procedure provided by Parliament. My right hon. Friend in his very fine speech made it plain that under the Act of 1913 it is allowable to have licensed restaurants in the area, and that eight of them have been so granted without opposition on the part of the temperance party, although they might wish to see it otherwise. But we recognise, in the words of the Act itself, that there are special circumstances, the kind of circumstances which were conceived by those who framed the legislation. I want to make it plain that right through all that legislation there was opposition to the drinking bar. From the days of Mr. Pixie's Bill in 1909, right to the Debates in Standing Committee in 1912, it was emphasised on all sides that there must be no drinking bar. I will read the condition as it is at present:There shall be on certificated premises no drinking bars or other part of the premises mainly or exclusively used for the consumption of excisable liquors.Mr. McKinnon Wood, who was then Secretary of State for Scotland, emphasised that point, and it was, if possible, more strongly asserted by those who opposed the Bill in some respects. Mr. Frederick Whyte, the then Member for Perth said that on no account must there be a drinking bar; and he gave as his reason:Experiences in other countries similar to this have shown that if a drinking shop is carried on not simply and solely as a drinking shop, an appetite for drinking will be diverted in a very large measure.There was a division in the committee on one point of the law which obtains in Scotland—namely, that if the proceeds of the sale of liquors are more than two-fifths of the total proceeds, then after the first year, or after any later year, the licence cannot be renewed. There must be that proportion of food to liquor, and there was some difference of opinion between Sir George Younger and others as to whether that was not too strict a proportion on which to insist, but as lo drinking bars there was no difference whatsoever.
2179 My hon. Friend has referred to the fact that no witnesses were called by counsel. As a matter of fact, what we asserted then and are asserting to-night is the principle that you should not over-ride a general public Act in this way. Those of us who are opposing this could have called any number of witnesses. We could have kept them days together on this, but counsel did not see that it was going to serve any good purpose. It might be taken for granted that there was strong opposition. You have this particular fact that over 4,000 in the district presented a petition. I do not wish to exaggerate or to over-value that fact. It is uncommonly like the number that voted "no licence" on these various occasions. I am sure that my fellow Members here will corroborate me when I say that I have not known of a case, or very few where there has been such an expression of keen interest and opposition. These letters I hold, are only a recent number of what I have had, and not one of them is asking us to vote in favour of this Order. I do not dwell upon the reasons why they did not take a poll. The best reason of all was that there was little prospect, with 63.27 per cent. voting against any change from being a dry area, that they could have succeeded in that way. I do not know that it is worth dwelling upon. There might have been some difficulty in many districts of Glasgow. There are three no-licence areas in Glasgow and eight that are under limitation—eleven in all. I think that I know Glasgow as well as most people, and I could have taken the promoters to a very good site where this difficulty would not have arisen.
§ Mr. Barr
I do not think that it would be advisable to drift on to that. I am speaking with a site in my mind, but I do not go beyond that. I do not dwell either upon the reason given that the success of the Exhibition would largely hinge upon this question. That has been so well answered by my right hon. Friend that I will not go into these various instances of what you would call successful dry exhibitions, but it is for the promoters, whether there are to be bars or not, to make this Exhibition a success. It rests upon them. A Glasgow cinema manager at Tradeston on the south side had a strong appreciation of 2180 this position. When this evidence was given, and it came out that it was declared that the whole success of the Exhibition was hinging on this matter, he put up an advertisement for the Ardgowan Cinema:The booze may he required to get the Exhibition set a-going. Meantime the Ardgowan is confident that their excellent programme will be a sufficient attraction.That brings me now to the question of order. We had various opinions, I cannot call them more, though we pay deference to them—of Mr. Cecil Weir, convener of the management committee, who believes that better order would be kept in this way, than some other way, and the same applies to the statements of the Chief Constable, whom I highly respect but with whom I have differed on these matters many times. It has not been indicated here to-night, but it is in the evidence, that in connection with one of these exhibitions there had been such good order that there were only two convictions for drunkenness within the boundaries of the exhibition of 1911 during the whole period. I do not think that we should attach great importance to that point. I cannot conceive that the promoters of an Exhibition would allow a system under which men would be brought up day by day for being found drunk and disorderly within the Exhibition buildings. As a matter of fact there were plain-clothes officers who were appointed to shepherd out of the ground any visitors who appeared to be under the influence of drink.
Reference was made to some excesses in 1888. I have not newspaper evidence regarding that time but I will take the 1901 exhibition partly because Mr. Weir, the convener, himself said that the last exhibition to be held in Scotland nearest in size to the forthcoming exhibition was the International Exhibition held in Kelvingrove Park. I will take the liberty of reading two extracts as to drunken riots which took place on the closing day at that exhibition. I take the following from the "Glasgow Herald" of the 11th November, 1901:Towards nine o'clock the licensed refreshment bars were so crowded that more people could not be admitted. The proprietors thought that the best thing to do in the circumstances was to stop business. This did not please would-be customers and they testified their displeasure by smashing tumblers and furniture, and, when ejected, throwing stones and other missiles through the windows.2181 The "Glasgow Evening News," on the same occasion, described the scenes round the lager beer bar:Here a few unruly spirits early took possession, and wanton destruction of glasses and breaking of windows led to the stoppage of supply, and consequent clearance of the establishment by the police. During the non-serving period the scene inside was more maudlin magnified. From all corners came the sound of noisy choruses, argumentative drunken drivel, and the crush of broken glasses as the crowds swept to and fro.The article goes on to describe that when the Lord Provost and the senior magistrate appeared to quell the riot, they were pelted with flying glasses and empty bottles and not allowed to speak. We should visualise something of the dimensions of what is put before us here. We are informed by the promoters that this exhibition will be two and a-half times as large as any previous exhibition. That is to say, that it will be five times larger than the 1888 exhibition in point of numbers. A census was taken on 6th October, 1888, of those who entered the drinking bars on that one day in that exhibition. The numbers who entered the four drinking bars were 32,230—not perhaps individual persons but visits. One might go oftener than once. If this is five times larger, you have to visualise a system of drinking bars with the presence of 150,000 people on a single Saturday.
I pass now to another aspect which appeared in what was read from Mr. Gallie's evidence and from some other evidence. It is in the Provisional Order:To cater properly for the needs of visitors from all parts of the British Empire and from foreign countries.I would point out that many of our kindred from the Dominions and other parts of the British Empire live under much more drastic laws in regard to liquor than we do here. In New Zealand they close every day at six o'clock in the evening. In South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania they have six o'clock closing. In Queensland the closing hour is eight o'clock, and in Western Australia nine. In Canada, there is prohibition in Prince Edward Island; and in four Provinces you cannot buy on-liquor at all. You can buy it in a bottle but not in any drink bar can you buy it for consumption. That obtains in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario and Saskatchewan.
2182 We have heard many times the statement about giving hospitality to visitors. My hon. Friend the Member for St. Rollox (Mr. Leonard) was a member of the City Council when they passed a regulation in October, 1925, that no intoxicating liquors should be provided at any function held under the auspices of the corporation. It was suggested that that rule should not apply when the the Dominion and Colonial Premiers visited Scotland after the Colonial Conference of 1926. They were twitted for so long about that matter that the corporation reaffirmed their rule, not by a bare majority but by 59 votes to 26, in 1927.
§ Mr. Barr
In the course of that controversy the "Glasgow Herald" took a slight part and said, among other things, that it was a poor compliment to pay to the Dominion and Colonial Premiers that they alone of all men could not enjoy a Corporation banquet unless they upset the rules of the City Council. Within the last two months there was an outcry with regard to the visit of the Dominion Premiers who came north after the Coronation. I have here a menu of the banquet they attended. I will not read it, because it would take up too much time of the House; it would be easier to tell of what was not in the menu than to say what was in it. The 10s. 6d. dinner which the Kitchen Committee provided here on Coronation day was a fraud and a swindle compared with what was supplied at this particular banquet. Were they disgruntled? No. They went back to the Dominions and the Colonies lauding the hospitality of the City of Glasgow, and saying that never again would they listen to any of the silly jokes about the meanness of the Scot.
I must hasten to a close, and I will return to the democratic aspect of the subject. It has been said to me that Pollokshields is an aristocratic ward, and that the people there have liquor for themselves, and are well-to-do socially. They are not so aristocratic as some people think. I have lived there myself and it was not a "barless" area then. If we take the no licence areas and the limitation areas, the figures are 29 and 22 respectively. These areas cover some of the most democratic working-class areas in the country. Democracy is extremely 2183 sensitive, and if you offend it in one point you break it in all. I would point out that this is democracy weighted and handicapped. Before they can get a "no-licence "they must have not less than 55 per cent. of the total votes cast and not less than 35 per cent. of the number of voters on the roll. If we examine the figures we should find that a good few Members of this House, if that test were imposed, would find their elections null and void. The Secretary of State for Scotland would be the very first to fall under such a test. He succeeded in polling 35.27 of all the voters on the roll, and 48.34 per cent. of the votes cast. We should be sorry, if there were such a law, to have his election declared null and void and to lose his valuable services, but that calamity would not occur if such a test were imposed. The right hon. Gentleman and his friends would promote a Provisional Order which would lift Kelvingrove out of the surrounding constituencies, and would "deem that no poll had taken place in that area." The right hon. Gentleman would be able to say that it was absolutely necessary to the success of the Government exhibition that he should thus be returned.
We are told that there is no interference proposed with the rights of the electors because this is only a temporary matter, but if we begin this contracting out, and begin it to-night, there is no end to which we might not go. I have more than once presented Bills for self-government for Scotland. If we were looking only at this matter from that aspect, it might not be a calamity if this Order were thrown out or if the strong opinion of Scotland were overruled, but there is something higher than self-government, something higher than any party question. I have seen this House on occasion throwing aside its party colours and rising to heights of moral grandeur; and I would appeal to hon. Members in all parts of the House to unite and make this such a day and such an hour in the history of our beloved Scotland, and in the noble records of this honourable House.
§ 9.14 p.m.
§ Mr. Henderson Stewart
No one could have listened to the speech of the hon. Member for Coatbridge (Mr. Barr) without realising the sincerity with which he 2184 holds his views and the deep conviction which he has expressed. He cannot speak at any time in any place in Scotland on these matters without obtaining the respect of men of all parties. Our country is a temperance country. We are temperate in our outlook. No one who has been brought up, as I have been, in a Presbyterian home, in a temperance home, and who represents as I do a constituency packed with temperance workers, and no one who has seen the labour and the achievement of the temperance movement in our country could possibly deny that those achievements are great and, as the hon. Member said, have raised the moral standard of the whole of our people. I am not only a supporter of temperance, but I practise it, probably as faithfully as any Member of this House. It is unfortunate that this sort of issue is raised on an occasion of this kind.
But I have another loyalty. I happen to be, with my hon. Friend the Member for the City of London (Sir A. Anderson), a member of the Management Committee of this Exhibition. My hon. Friend is unavoidably detained outside to-night, and he asked me to apologise for his absence. I want to put some of the views of my colleagues on that Management Committee, but may I first make reference to one or two of the points made by the right hon. Gentleman who opened this Debate? He said he wanted to make a moderate and temperate speech. I think he succeeded in that; but he made one or two statements which, I think, were not quite so accurate as those which usually fall from his lips. He asked, by whom is this Provisional Order promoted? He said that this Order is to be imposed upon us by men not one of whom is directly or openly representative of the working classes of Scotland. Those were his words. I think I have given them accurately. My hon. Friend who has just spoken has mentioned two persons who took some part, if not in promoting—
§ Mr. Johnston
I was talking about the decision to be taken to-night by the directly-elected representatives of the working classes who are here. I was referring to the decision to be taken in this House.
My right hon. Friend is quite right. He has spoken of his friends 2185 in this House. But he said that this Order will be imposed on us by men not one of whom is directly representative of the working classes in Scotland. My right hon. Friend did not say "in this House," although he might have meant it. If he and his friends understand what he meant, that is all to the good; but other hon. Members may not understand the situation, and the outside public may not.
This Provisional Order is promoted by the Management Committee of this Exhibition. Who are the members of the committee of management? There are, first of all, the four Lord Provosts of Scotland, representing public life in the country, including of course the Lord Provost of Glasgow, who is at the head of a local government body which is friendly disposed in politics to the right hon. Gentleman. Surely he may be regarded as not unsympathetic to, not unconnected with, and not without understanding of the working classes in Scotland. Other members include Mr. Dollan, late Treasurer of the City of Glasgow, who is a most prominent, admired and respected representative of the organised working classes in Scotland; Mr. Gallie, Mr. Rosslyn Mitchell, once a great ornament of that party over there in this House, a man with strong temperance views. Therefore, I submit that my right hon. Friend scarcely conveyed an accurate impression.
§ Mr. Johnston
You have no right deliberately to misrepresent me after I have specifically said that when I was speaking about the representatives of the working classes I was referring to hon. Members here. The hon. Member is not entitled to continue these methods of controversy here.
I really do not understand my right hon. Friend. If I have misunderstood him I am sorry, but it is certain that he failed to tell us the facts that I have recited in the House; and these are essential facts. I pass from these what I regard as smaller matters, to the greater issues with which we are confronted. I could answer the right hon. Gentleman when he talked very properly about what he called the monopolists. I understand that he feels a little uneasy that the control of six out of eight restaurants should be placed in the hands of a single man or a single firm. I very much appreciate the point he has made, and I say, frankly, as a member of the Management Committee, that if I thought 2186 there was to be any unfair use made of the Exhibition to boost the drink trade, I would resign from the committee at once. There is no one on the committee, so far as I am aware, who is the least desirous of doing it. There is not one of us who is not strongly of the view that temperance must mark every day of the Exhibition.
But it is a matter of plain organisation. I do not think it will be possible, indeed, I am informed that there is no machinery in existence which would enable the Government or the local authority to run licensed premises. That being so, the only course open to the Management Committee would be either to run the refreshments themselves or let them out to tender. I have here some notes; but time is short, and I will try to summarise them. I do not think the Exhibition could have done it. To run ordinary refreshments involves also running the whole restaurant business. My colleagues were confronted with this problem: Are we able really to run the whole of the restaurant side under direct labour in this Exhibition? It was asking the committee to undertake too great a responsibility to run the whole catering business of the Exhibition, and, like sensible men, and in accordance with the principles laid down, they have let out all the catering for tender. It seemed a more efficient way, a way that would lead more effectively to the proper control of the restaurants, if one firm were to do that.
§ Mr. Leonard
Is it not the case that the hon. Gentleman one or two nights ago felt very perturbed about it?
Yes. I will explain the observation of the hon. Member. He and I were discussing this very matter outside privately. He expressed to me his doubts about it—
Yes, the monopoly. I so much respected the views of the hon. Member that I took the trouble to make immediate inquiries, and the remarks I have made now are the result of those inquiries. I want to pass now to the character of the Exhibition itself. Here is a great Imperial demonstration, taking place, as it happens, in Glasgow. The Exhibition will be the greatest that has been held anywhere in the world since Wembley 13 years ago. In area, in size, it is slightly less than Wembley; but in many other respects it will be a good deal 2187 larger. We have a list of honorary presidents which really entitled my hon. Friend to claim that it is under the patronage of a very distinguished body. It includes the right hon. Gentleman on the Front Opposition Bench, for example, and the right hon. Gentleman who represents Caithness (Sir A. Sinclair). Here is an effort which we are making to reflect within Bellahouston Park the life and culture of the people of a quarter of the earth's surface. It is a remarkable effort which we have set ourselves. Every Dominion in the Empire is to be represented. Every Dominion Prime Minister is an honorary President of this Association. His Majesty the King is Patron, and Her Majesty the Queen is Patron of the women's section.
Here is an enterprise which has attached to it oustanding men not only in Britain but throughout the Empire. Every colony will be at the Exhibition—West Africa, Southern Rhodesia, East Africa, Malay, the West Indies and others. Our home country is to be represented, too, in a pavilion for which the Government are responsible which will show something of the unique services that we provide for the British people. Scotland will have its own pavilion and a Highland village. I am not sure that the hon. Member who last addressed us is not assisting in that direction. There are to be great palaces, one of them covering more than five acres of land alone, displaying the products of almost every side of our national life—engineering, science, transport, building and mining. There is to be a palace of art in which we are trying to make the first reliable collection of the great masters of Scottish painting. We hope we shall succeed. We are scouring the country to make it a success. There is to be a concert hall, conference halls, a sports stadium and an amusement park which will rival, if not surpass, anything that has previously been presented in any country in the world. Here is something which may justly claim to be approaching greatness. This great exhibition, the greatest that the world has seen except Wembley, which will cost £10,000,000 to produce, is backed by the pennies of Scotland to the extent of £750,000. I say pennies because Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee are drawing rates from their poorest citizens to make their contributions.
2188 We must face this as a great business proposition with no parochial views of any kind. We expect that we shall be employing regularly something in the region of 10,000 people every day. Who is to be there? Who are the people for whom we are providing restaurants and all the rest of it? Certainly Glasgow and the district, but we know from our sale of season tickets that Scotsmen and women from all parts of the country, workers, male and female, in the factories around Glasgow, are contributing their pennies a week now for their season tickets. It is to be a great concourse of Scottish people. Our inquiry bureau confirms that there are to be tens of thousands of people, not only from England but from France, Germany, Holland, Spain, Russia, South America, the United States—all over the world. Such an exhibition, which is to be the commercial centre of the British Empire for six months, which will be a magnet for the world, where we shall be the hosts to the people of all countries is not the place nor the occasion for imposing niggling restrictions. If the site were in any other part of Scotland than Bellahouston, we should never have been faced with this problem. Because 4,000 people 12 years ago voted one way, surely we are not going to prevent the exhibition authorities from extending no more than ordinary refreshment facilities to all the visitors of the world. Surely that cannot be the desire of the House.
Surely the hon. Member will agree that there is no attempt to debar foreign visitors from having refreshment facilities? It is one particular kind of facility.
I am sure the hon. Member does not misunderstand me. I am asking only that we shall offer to our visitors precisely the same possibilities of refreshment as we did at Wembley, as they do in Paris, and as they have done at nearly every great exhibition of recent years. There are a few exceptions I admit. There is no proof available one way or the other regarding this matter. You can only go upon experience. We have searched the country for those with the best experience in these matters, and we have taken their counsel.
I am speaking to-night as a Scottish Member who believes, and has made public his belief, in the devolution of 2189 Scottish business. I believe that this House should, as far as possible, devolve Scottish business to Scotland.
§ Mr. Magnay
On that point, I suggest that it might be a tentative way of bringing in Scottish Home Rule to-night if Englishmen in the House would abstain from voting.
I put this point to hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, particularly the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Stirling. The right hon. Gentleman and I share views closely similar on these matters of devolution. This Bill is the machinery which we have adopted for devolving this piece of business to Scotland. This House appointed the commission of inquiry, composed of Scottish Members, to go to Scotland, to hear Scottish evidence, and to get a Scottish atmosphere. That commission was given the power and duty to bring recommendations here. It has done so. Surely, it is not right for those of us who believe in devolution to turn round and, as it were, deny and ignore the recommendations of the commission. I think this is a case where, from a constitutional point of view, the House has to stand by its own commission. For that Parliamentary reason, if for no other, I beg the House to approve this Order.
§ 9.37 p.m.
§ Mr. Westwood
I listened carefully to all that was said by the hon. Member for East Fife (Mr. Henderson Stewart) in the hope of hearing a single sentence dealing with the issue before the House. I was seriously disappointed. The hon. Member exercised his rights to deal with everything except the issue before us, and he finished with the most amazing argument I have ever heard. He said that he believed in devolution; he said that a commission set up under the Private Procedure Act had been sent to Scotland and had made inquiries, and that the House should now entirely upset the rights given to the people of Scotland alone to deal with licensing in their respective areas. I hope those who are interested in devolution will take note of that argument of the hon. Member for East Fife.
As a member of the commission, I agree with the first remarks made by the chairman of the commission, who addressed the House at the opening of the 2190 Debate. It is not always an easy job to deal with Provisional Orders. It is not always a popular job to do work on some of these commissions. From my experience of this commission, I know it was not an easy job. We were willing to sacrifice our holidays, and we knew that in dealing with this particular problem our task would be an unpopular one. If I am asked by this House or by any authority to undertake a responsibility, I am prepared to face it without fear of the consequences. I give full credit to those who are opposed to my view to-night, for they are equally as honest as I am, although we hold entirely contrary views. Let me consider what is the position. The commission was set up to inquire into a Provisional Order. It came to a decision, and by three votes to one it was decided that the Preamble was proved. I believe in democracy. The hon. Member for East Fife challenged the accuracy of certain statements made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Stirling (Mr. Johnston). I will quote from a Press report of a speech made on this problem by the hon. Member for East Fife. At St. Andrews, he said:I am, and have always been, a convinced supporter of temperance, but next year Scotland will be host to the whole world, and, as such, I think we are bound to offer the normal facilities for refreshments to our visitors.I remind the hon. Member that power was provided by the Temperance (Scotland) Act to grant all that is being asked of this House to-night, but the power was vested in the electors within the Pollokshields ward of Glasgow. By a Provisional Order to be passed, I believe mainly by English Members of the House —[HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"] If English Members would take the advice of the hon. Member for Gateshead (Mr. Magnay), they would abstain. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?") It will be very interesting to see the result when the Division takes place to-night.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore
Why should not the English Members take part in the Division, since it is an Empire Exhibition?
§ Mr. Westwood
I am merely telling hon. Members that it might be well to accept the advice that has been given. The normal facilities could have been granted, through the Temperance (Scotland) Act, by the Scottish people. In his speech, the hon. Member for East Fife went on to say:A special commission of inquiry examined the question during the summer, and unanimously recommended that the Provisional Order should be approved by the House of Commons.From where did the hon. Member get that information?
This is the first time I have heard that the hon. Member was in a minority. I am sorry I made that remark. As far as I know, until to-night it was not made public anywhere that the hon. Member was in a minority.
§ Mr. Westwood
No hon. Member in dealing with the work of other Members of the House, who have been willing to give their services without price and to face unpopularity, if necessary, in the decisions they took, ought to misrepresent their views. Surely, the only fair thing for the hon. Member for East Fife to have done, knowing that I was a member of the commission, would have been to inquire at least whether there was unanimity. The promoters at least played the game. Their Parliamentary agent and their representatives interviewed me. They intended to issue a statement to hon. Members and to say that there was unanimity; but immediately they understood the position, they did not state to Members of the House, in the case which they presented, that the commission was unanimous.
What exactly took place? I wish to give credit to my colleagues on the commission, and I am sure the chairman of the commission will, if necessary, verify what I am about to say. I disagreed with the majority, but I am a democrat, and had to accept the decision. There is no opportunity for any minority to have the right even to express views on matters of this kind, according to the procedure under which we work when dealing with Provisional Orders. It is the task of the chairman to answer the question of the Clerk, "Is the Preamble proved?" and the answer is merely, 2192 "The Preamble is proved." As far as I know, there is no provision which enables the chairman of the commission to say, "This is agreed to only by a majority." There is no indication given as to what led to the decision, which may be quite a good thing at times. That procedure was followed by the chairman of the commission. It was simply indicated to the promoters that the Preamble was proved.
Before we went into court in order that the decision should be made known by the chairman I said: "You know my views. I have expressed them. I moved a certain thing, but I did not get a seconder. I am a democrat and I accept that, but I ask the permission of my colleagues, if and when the opportunity occurs, to state my view on the Floor of the House of Commons." To the credit of my colleagues, without hesitation they said, "We grant you that permission." If they had not done so, being a democrat, I would not have taken part in this Debate, but I have the approval of my colleagues in stating my view.
What was it? I listened to all the evidence. We all listened carefully to it, and it was admitted by the Empire Exhibition authorities and by those opposing this Order, that everyone is most anxious to see the greatest success for the Exhibition. Let me point out to the House that not one witness examined during the two days occupied by the hearing of evidence, claimed on oath that the Exhibition would be made a failure if this Provisional Order were not obtained. I myself put questions on that point to the witnesses. I have here the evidence given by Mr. Weir of the Scottish Development Council and I quote question 249, from page 51 of the minutes of evidence. That document, as has been pointed out, was not made available to Members of this House. I am willing at the end of this discussion to sell a copy of the evidence for one-third of the price that was demanded for it from my right hon. Friend the Member for West Stirlingshire (Mr. Johnston). The question which I put was:You have just said that it would be desirable from every point of view that this facility, or at least the power to grant facilities, should be given by the commission. Do you think for a single moment that drink or no drink will have any effect, in any shape or form, on the success of the Exhibition?2193 This was the answer of Mr. Weir:I think that undoubtedly it must affect attendances at the Exhibition whether that Exhibition has the same facilities as other exhibitions have had. I could elaborate that if you wish me to do so.But there was no claim that if the facilities were not granted the Exhibition would be a failure and no other witness made such a claim. They were prepared to say that it might affect attendances, but not that it would tend to the failure of the Exhibition.
§ Mr. Macquisten
Surely that means the same thing. If there were no attendances, the Exhibition would riot be a success.
§ Mr. Westwood
They did not say that there would be no attendances. The hon. and learned Member for Argyll (Mr. Macquisten) is not following my argument closely.
§ Mr. Macquisten
The hon. Member said that these witnesses agreed that it would affect attendances if the facilities were not granted. It would all depend on the degree to which it affected the attendances. If it affected them to the extent of 50 per cent., probably the Exhibition would be a failure but the hon. Member has not specified the extent to which the attendances might be affected.
§ Mr. Westwood
I am not dealing with "ifs" but with the facts. I repeat that no witness claimed that the absence of these facilities would tend towards the failure of the Exhibition. May I remind the House that this is not a question of temperance or no temperance? We heard the hon. Member for East Fife (Mr. Stewart) speak of his temperance principles and his fight for temperance. It does not affect the argument if I tell the House that I am a lifelong teetotaller, that I know not the taste of intoxicating liquor, that I am a past Chief Ruler of the Rechabites, that I have never used alcohol as a medicine. It does not affect the argument if I tell the House, as I could, that I have undergone an operation and refused to take chloroform because I believe it to be an intense form of intoxication. That has nothing to do with the Question before the House.
Parliament gave power to the Scottish people to decide whether the magistrates in the various areas should or should not 2194 grant licences. That power of the people has been exercised in the Pollokshields ward and the people have decided in favour of no licences. The fact is that there would have been time in this case for a plebiscite of the inhabitants in the ward. That was admitted in evidence. It was suggested first that there might be difficulties in having a plebiscite in time, but as a result of questions put by me it was admitted that it would have been possible for the licensing court to have considered provisionally the application for licences, for the plebiscite to have been taken and for the licensing court to have met after the plebiscite had decided whether the area was to go "wet" or remain "dry." If the plebiscite decided in favour of granting licences the magistrates would have had time to grant the licences.
The argument before the commission was not one of temperance or no temperance and this brings me to the point raised by the hon. Member for South Edinburgh (Sir S. Chapman), who was chairman of the commission. He said that the opponents of the Measure had not called any witnesses. They could have called thousands if it had been necessary, but they were not arguing the temperance case. If they had been, they could have called medical men, economists and ministers of religion, but there was no need to do so. They were not arguing for the cause of temperance. I have here the petition against the Order and it is based on the rightness or otherwise of a Private Bill taking away public rights granted by an Act of Parliament. That is the issue. There were 24 petitioners and there is not a word in the petition about temperance as such. The petition proves, first, that an Act of Parliament gave the Scottish people the right to determine licence or no licence; that that right had been exercised three times in the Pollokshields ward and that the people there had decided or no licence. The petitioners claimed that it was wrong to seek by private legislation to override an Act of Parliament which gave certain rights to the electors. After sitting for two days and hearing no real arguments against that principle, I moved the following:That the Bill seeks to override a general Act of Parliament, the Temperance (Scotland) Act, 1913, which grants powers to the electors to control licences and seeks to hand this power over to the licensing magistrate. This 2195 ought not be done by a provisional Order, as power is given within the existing Act, the Temperance (Scotland) Act, 1913, to provide them (the Exhibition authorities) with all the facilities they desire, but such facilities to be granted by decision of the electors of the Pollokshields ward first and then by approval of the licensing magistrates.I got no seconder and by three votes to one it was decided that the Preamble was proved.
§ Mr. Westwood
No, because I could not get a seconder there was not actually a vote, but it was a three to one decision. The issue before the House is a simple one and there is only one further point with which I wish to deal. Special reference was made to the fact that Mr. C. N. Gallie gave evidence. I am sorry that the hon. Member did not quote the evidence given by Mr. Gallie. In that evidence he opposed what was termed the "perpendicular bar." This is what he said in answer to question 818:I would hope that the committee responsible would see to the development more of the Continental cafe system than the mere bar system.819. Are you against the establishment of what might be called ordinary bars at this exhibition?The very last answer given by Mr. Gallie was:I should certainly use every effort I could to provide the alternative form of accommodation.The alternative form of accommodation is not a perpendicular bar, and Mr. Gallie makes this position quite clear.
§ Mr. Henderson Stewart
The objection which Mr. Gallie expressed is exactly what the exhibition authorities are stating.
§ Mr. Westwood
That does not affect the issue, which is perfectly clear. It is not a question of a dry or a wet exhibition. It can be a wet exhibition, because eight licences are already granted, and more may still be granted. It is not an issue of success or nonsuccess so far as the exhibition is concerned. It is the fact that a democratic principle granted by this House in 1913 to the Scottish people and the people of the Pollokshields Ward is sought to be overridden by a private piece of legislation. If my colleague had been abstain 2196 ing from voting, I also would have abstained, having been a member of that commission, but as my colleague—I am not quarrelling with him; we admit that each is equally as honest as the other in his convictions—is going into the Lobby to vote for the Bill, I shall go into the Lobby to vote against the Bill, because I believe that rights given to the Scottish people ought not to be taken away by this House, unless you have the courage to take away the whole Act itself. You should not take away these rights by a private piece of legislation, promoted, as it may be, in the alleged interests of the exhibition, but which I believe can be of no real value in making for the success of that exhibition.
§ 9.58 p.m.
§ Mr. Elliot
I shall speak only shortly, because other hon. Members also wish to speak; and I must not be taken as doing more than, as Secretary of State for Scotland, explaining the position in regard to procedure and, as a private Member of this House, doing my utmost to give my reasons for the vote that I shall cast this evening. On the question of procedure, it seems that the House is a little confused. The point has been made most strongly both by the hon. Member for Coatbridge (Mr. Barr) and by the hon. Member for Stirling and Falkirk (Mr. Westwood) that something unusual is taking place—indeed, the hon. Member for Coatbridge said unprecedented—in having a Provisional Order which affects public Statutes. But 19 out of 20 of all the Provisional Orders that are promoted in this House do affect public Statutes. That is in fact the common form. There is nothing unusual in a Provisional Order affecting a public Statute, and there is nothing in any degree being "worked" by some small group if this Order is carried to-night by the House.
§ Mr. Maxton
I am interested in this point, which I am following with a very open mind. Will the right hon. Gentleman elaborate it and give us an example of a private Bill which overrides a public Statute in its basic principle?
§ Mr. Elliot
Every Provisional Order, let us say, obtained by the City of Glasgow—Orders for rating and valuation, Orders dealing with Burgh Police Acts and Local Government Acts—every single one of 2197 these to a greater or lesser extent overrides a public general Statute. [HON. MEMBERS "No."] But these are the facts of the case. Every single Provisional Order which is promoted to some extent or other overrides a public general Statute, and that is why they are promoted. [Interruption.]Let me say "modifies" if hon. Members do not like the word "overrides," which is technically incorrect. There is no overriding. The House passed the Temperance (Scotland) Act, 1913, and it also passed the Private Legislation Act in virtue of which the procedure under which we are now working takes place. That is the first point to clear up, that there is no infringement of democratic rights or of the procedure of this House. This is a democratic procedure which was laid down and it is under that procedure that this discussion takes place.
Now let us see how this arises. The Second Reading of the Bill arises from a Provisional Order. In the first place, under that procedure the original draft Order was deposited with me, as Secretary of State. The Chairman of Ways and Means in our House and the Lord Chairman of Committees in the House of Lords had to examine that draft and to decide whether it should be dealt with as a Provisional Order under the Private Legislation Procedure (Scotland) Act, 1936, which provided for the devolution to Scotland of such matters and for the examination and discussion of them in Scotland. They decided that it should be so dealt with. The Order was opposed, and therefore it was referred to commissioners to hold an inquiry into it and report. Two Members of this House and two from the other place acted as commissioners and reported by a majority in favour of making the Order. The hon. Member for Stirling and Falkirk not merely dissented, but had an alternative proposal of his own to bring forward. I was under the misapprehension that the hon. Member for East Fife (Mr. Stewart) fell into. When I saw in the evidence that the Chairman reported that the Preamble was proved, I thought that the approval was unanimous. I am sure it was a bona fide mistake which the hon. Member for East Fife made, because in fact I made it myself. The report was in favour of the making of the Order, and after due consideration the Order was made, and it comes before this House as 2198 a Schedule to the Bill now under discussion.
The hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) asked if there was any precedent for an Order which overrode or altered a public Statute in its root principle. The question of root principle was committed to the Chairman of Ways and Means in this House and the Lord Chairman of Committees in the House of Lords, and they took the view that the Order did not raisequestions of public policy of such novelty and importance that they ought to be dealt with by a Private Bill.It was decided, after giving full weight to the opposition, to recommend that the Order should be made. The procedure of Provisional Order legislation provides for a review of the decision of the commissioners being made, if it is thought by the House that that decision should be reviewed, not under the procedure which is brought forward to-night, but under the procedure of a petition for the appointment of a joint committee, for the hearing again of the case.
I am sure it must he in the mind of every hon. and right hon. Member here to-night that the House as at present constituted is an unsuitable body for examining with the accuracy and detail which are necessary and under cross-examination, if necessary, a question such as we have been discussing to-night. The procedure does provide for similar meticulous re-examination to be held if it is thought necessary, but the proposers of the Amendment have not sought to bring that procedure into operation, and I think that if they had they would certainly have run grave risks of weakening the authority of the commissioners and indeed of altering for the worse the excellent procedure which has been set up, by means of which these things are heard by responsible people sitting in Scotland and hearing evidence. That is not my view alone. That is the view of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Sir A. Sinclair), and I beg him to listen while I quote from his own views on this subject, for they seem to me very germane. Speaking as Secretary of State he said;I find, on an examination of previous cases in which controversy has arisen in the House on Scottish Private Bills or Provisional Order Confirmation Bills, that, while it has not been the practice for the Government to 2199 exercise any form of pressure on Members of the House, Ministers of the Crown, apart from any personal opinion or predilection or interest in the matter at issue, have submitted to the House as a general principle that we should respect the considered verdicts of our local legislation committee and of the Commissioners appointed under our Provisional Order procedure, and that we should not upset or disturb their verdict except on the most cogent grounds. ''—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd March, 1932; cols. 985–6, Vol. 263.]With that view I wholeheartedly concur. The right hon. Gentleman may say that he considers that cogent grounds have arisen. Let me quote the procedure he recommended should be followed. Speaking on 11th May, 1933, in a position of greater freedom and less responsibility, for he was no longer then Secretary of State, he recommended to the House as follows. Referring to an hon. Member who had been speaking, he said:I do not think he attached sufficient importance to the safeguard of control by this House, which undoubtedly exists in the fact that the House can, after a Provisional Order has been examined by the commission, refer it to a Committee.That was the procedure he recommended when he was considering the question in 1933.
§ Mr. Elliot
It was when we were discussing the Private Legislation Procedure (Scotland) Bill on 11th May, 1933. He went further and pointed out that this power was a very exceptional and unusual power and that it was very seldom used. He pointed out that only on one occasion had it been used. As he said, ithas only been done once, but that shows that it can be done, that the House had used this power, and would, if necessary, use it again.He went on to say:I think, however, that the House has been very wisely guided in determining not to use it except where the conviction is borne in upon Members of the House that it is absolutely necessary.So that if Members thought that it was necessary to recommend to the House a revision of the verdict of the Commissioners, the procedure to adopt was a petition for a joint committee. Speaking in general terms the right hon. Gentleman said that these Commissions 2200have done their work well; and the House has been right in saying, 'These people have heard the case on the spot, they have been in touch with the people mainly concerned, we are going to stand by the decision to which they have come'."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 11th May, 1933; cols. 1754–5, Vol. 277.]I could not ask that the point should be better put or more wisely conceived and firmly expressed than that. I do think that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen should have taken the procedure of petition to a Joint Committee, which was the proper procedure, if it was asked that the House should reverse a verdict given after so much consideration and after hearing so much evidence. None of us here can go through such ponderous documents as this with the care and attention which we should like. We have to consider whether these commissioners were well and truly appointed to consider the evidence, and it has been affirmed on all sides that they were honourable men who went carefully into it and, as the hon. Member for Stirling and Falkirk (Mr. Westwood) said, they had no hesitation in being bound by the verdict of the majority when it was given. That being so, we are placed in a difficult position to-night.
The Lord Advocate reminds me of a point raised by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Stirling (Mr. Johnston), namely, that this document had not been placed in the Library. I thought that he was complaining about the procedure of the promoters. It is the procedure of the House, and whether that should be altered is another matter. It is because Parliament did not contemplate that the House as a whole would be asked to go through the documents again and make up its mind upon the evidence which was set out, that the procedure which has been adopted was decided on.
The main question of principle raised by the Motion for the rejection of the Order is that it sets aside the law governing the sale of excisable liquor in Scotland. I have dealt with that point. There is nothing unusual, novel, undemocratic or in any way blameworthy in an Order of that kind, as it is the case with 19 out of 20 Orders which are brought before this House under our procedure.
The other main point to which exception is taken is that the Order is contrary 2201 to the clear wishes of the inhabitants of the area. Surely that is exactly the point which would have been raised most suitably by means of a Motion for the appointment of a Joint Committee of both Houses. On the merits of the objection, I would call the attention of the House to the fact that the Act of 1913 under which this Resolution is made, was designed to enable the inhabitants of a particular locality to determine the question of the grant or the refusal or the limitation of licences in the light of the normal local circumstances. It has been said by an hon. Member that the Act foresaw this eventuality. I have the greatest admiration for the foresight and wisdom of our legislators, but I do not think we could reasonably say that in 1913 they contemplated that £10,000,000 worth of public buildings should be put up in Bellahouston Park and be knocked down and carried away in seven months' time. Therefore I say the House has rightly adopted a procedure which will enable it to deal with a position which, I might say, is exceptional and unique. It is highly undesirable that, having regard to the generally accepted practice in connection with Scottish Provisional Orders, a decision should be reached which would inevitably entail an implied censure on the commission.
§ Mr. Maxton
You rejected the last private Bill which came up from the Committee by an overwhelming majority.
§ Mr. Elliot
Surely the hon. Member has not followed my argument. I say that a Committee of this House inquired into this matter and I think nobody will deny that to reverse their verdict would imply a certain reflection on their judgment.
§ Mr. Westwood
In the case of the Members of this House it was fifty-fifty. There was an equal division. One on one side and one on the other. What about that?
§ Mr. Elliot
What about democracy now? The hon. Member for Stirling and Falkirk (Mr. Westwood) admits that he was voted down by three to one, but says that from another point of view it can be brought out that it was a case of fifty-fifty. What becomes of the argument that no Englishman should vote on the matter in this House? If the Movers of the Motion desire to appear to Caesar 2202 surely by Caesar they must stand. Having sought to turn down a verdict given by Scotsmen in Scotland by a majority of three to one, they cannot complain if, having brought the issue to the wider jury, the wider jury votes upon it and decides the issue. The House would be ill-advised to turn down the Order, because undoubtedly great congestion would then be produced in the public houses which exist, and will continue to exist, whatever we do to-night, within a stone's throw of the doors of the exhibition. Within 200 yards of the grounds of the exhibition there are two public houses. Surely it is inadvisable that we should concentrate the whole weight of the tourist traffic which desires to have a drink into those two public houses, and lose all the control which would be gained by a properly supervised system in the exhibition grounds.
§ Mr. Elliot
I think such a result would be most unfortunate. I do not think the committee of the exhibition in what they are doing are in any way seeking to override the expressed wishes of the inhabitants of the ward with regard to the normal circumstances existing or likely to exist in it.
§ 10.16 p.m.
I think the House will agree that the Secretary of State has not convinced many Members by the subtle arguments which he has put up. I always understood that the purpose of a Provisional Order Bill was not to defeat the main principle of any Act that we have passed, but merely to modify, or assist in securing a true interpretation of, the meaning of that Act. I do not think his views that a Provisional Order can defeat the principle of any particular Act will be accepted either on this side of the House or the other. He has also reminded us that we can have a re-examination of the question of these bars after this Provisional Order is passed. I would point out that by passing this Provisional Order Bill we shall have already broken the Act, and that we on this side believe, first of all, in preserving the democratic liberties of the people. Whether we agree with those liberties or not, they are an established fact, and we believe that before we break them and then examine the 2203 whole question we should have a right to examine the propositions of the commission.
§ Mr. Elliot
The hon. Member must be under some misapprehension. I said that the opposers could have taken that course, but they preferred not to do so. I did not suggest that they could go back to that now. I merely said that was a course which had been repeatedly recommended to the House.
I must have misunderstood the right hon. Gentleman, and I accept his explanation, but I would point out that the commissioners had the opportunity of re-examining the whole question, as was pointed out by my hon. Friend the Member for Stirling and Falkirk (Mr. Westwood). I ask the Secretary of State whether he does not think that the fair method of ascertaining the feelings of the people in this particular area would have been for those who are anxious for these stand-up bars to go to the people and ask for their opinion. The right hon. Gentleman suggested, further, that it would be inadvisable for this House to consider all the evidence that was submitted to the commission. We already discuss many technical matters. We debate workmen's compensation, with its great legal difficulties, and a Factory Act that takes three weeks of Parliamentary time, day after day, with the most critical discussion, yet the Secretary of State for Scotland says that it is not right or conducive to public order that we should discuss the evidence submitted to the commission and the report. Any commission set up by this House to examine any proposition is expected to report to this House for approval or otherwise. We do not give commissions full power to come to decisions as they may care to, or give them a blank cheque.
I speak as a Member resident in the area where the Exhibition will be established. It is true that the bars have to be established in a field or a park where there are no inhabitants, but surrounding Bellahouston Park, and as near to it as I am to the doorway of this Chamber is a tremendous housing scheme where hundreds of thousands of people live, and where there are children and schools, in the closest proximity to Bellahouston Park. The Exhibition is to be situated 2204 on the main high road from Glasgow to Paisley, one of the busiest thoroughfares in Glasgow, where there are trams, omnibuses, private buses, corporation vehicles and a tremendous volume of private cars. The Glasgow Corporation have now laid tramway lines along Craigton Road to where the Exhibition is to be held. I often go there to football matches. The Ibrox ground is one of the largest in Glasgow. We have two greyhound tracks, and parking places for private cars are now being established for more than 10,000 private cars, as was indicated by my right hon. Friend from the Front Bench.
I ask hon. Members to visualise the great stream of traffic that will pass along the roads and through the housing schemes in close proximity to the Exhibition. The area has been considerably increased by housing schemes since the last vote was taken under the Scottish Temperance Act, but no effort has been made by those who support this proposition to get the opinion of the people living in the area. I assure hon. Members that the publicans in Glasgow have a very able secretary looking after their affairs. If he had thought for one minute that there was the least possible chance of overturning the democratic vote of those people, the same publicans and the same secretary would have been in the ward asking people to take another vote under the Scottish Temperance Act. It proves that they knew perfectly well that the people in these housing areas do not desire public houses to be situated at their doors. The hon. Member for East Fife (Mr. Henderson Stewart) who, I must remark, has proved himself to be one of the most able performers in this House of the operation of looking both ways, stated that he was a keen temperance man, that he had advocated temperance all his life; and now in this House—to assist the cause of temperance, be it noted —he is advocating that not only should restaurant licences be established in the exhibition, in an area where the people do not want them, but also that there should be stand-up bars. I do not know how he can reconcile any temperance viewpoint with that attitude. How any temperance advocate, anyone who professes to be keenly interested in the subject of temperance, can advocate temperance by the setting up inside an exhibition 2205 of stand-up bars where liquor can be obtained in any fashion at all—
§ Mr. Henderson Stewart
The hon. Member could not have heard my previous intervention. The intention is as far as possible not to have stand-up bars, but to have the continental plan of open cafés.
I have no doubt that the intention of the hon. Member may have been modified by the opposition to this Provisional Order. I would remind him of the old saying that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and I have no doubt that he at least will suffer his inferno at the hands of the temperance people in his constituency at the next election. He also told us, and it was a very good advertisement for this exhibition, that famous men were coming to the exhibition, men of considerable standing throughout the world—Royalty, Dominion Prime Ministers, representatives from the Colonies, and so on; that there were to be established great palaces in this exhibition, amusements, and, he should have added, stand-up bars. I think it is very unfair of him to associate famous men, palaces and Royalty with stand-up bars in the Glasgow Exhibition, I question very much whether his patriotism is going to stand up to criticism, as that of many hon. Members may have to do in the future.
He struck one important point. In Glasgow the local authorities are making every possible attempt to get the school children of Glasgow to attend this Exhibition for educational purposes. In Glasgow, in my boy's school, in every elementary and secondary school, and in the University, the young people are being asked to contribute weekly amounts in order to buy season tickets for the Exhibition. We want these hundreds of thousands of children to attend this Exhibition for educational purposes. Would any hon. Member suggest that it is going to further the educational interests of these children to see those stand-up bars being erected with the support of Members of Parliament who believe that we cannot have educational interests, that we cannot interest the Dominions, that we cannot give the children of this country educational facilities, unless we cater for the desire of a certain section of the community for stand-up bars. But I want to say this for the workers of Glasgow. 2206 The Glasgow working man, in many cases, is prepared to sacrifice his own personal viewpoint, in order that the children of Glasgow will not have to suffer from the conditions of public houses being set up in nearly every street in his area, as was the case in his own childhood. The Glasgow worker is not a drinker; therefore, it is unnecessary to say that Glasgow working men or women will not attend the Exhibition unless we can guarantee a drink without their having to buy a sandwich. The Glasgow working people will attend the Exhibition, and spend money at it, if the authorities, as my hon. Friend suggests, will give them an adequate amount of money to spend.
I do not agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton). I believe that this Exhibition will be educational, and that none of us, no matter how humble or how famous, can attend this Exhibition without deriving certain benefits.
In any housing Debate, I will certainly take my part, and give place to no Member, in demanding decent housing conditions for the people of Glasgow; but we are not dealing with housing now, and I know I should be completely out of order in trying to discuss housing conditions on this question. The Clause here definitely states the object of this Provisional Order. It states:in view of the large number of visitors from all parts of the British Empire and from foreign countries who will be attending the proposed exhibition it is expedient in order that arrangements may be made to cater properly for the needs of such visitorsand so on. My point with regard to this Provisional Order is that it is unnecessary. Foreign visitors coming to this Exhibition will not be influenced by the fact as to whether there are standup bars or not. As a matter of fact, the customs of many foreign countries are the customs in many English towns, that they should take drink along with their food in the ordinary course of meals. We do not find in England, in France, in Germany or even in America, this 2207 idea that people must have sawdust under their feet in stand-up bars, and be allowed to take their drink in that fashion. These people have a civilised way of taking their drink.
We say that, because this method is objectionable so far as the customs of the people are concerned; because it has established a precedent, whether the Secretary of State agrees or not, by which this House is asked to overturn an Act which gives democratic rights to any people in any particular area with regard to their way of life, this Provisional Order is a violation of all that is democratic. It is not good business from the point of view of visitors or from the point of view of the educational interest of the children of Glasgow, or any other area. I ask hon. Members of this House to recognise the dangers to school children caused by the greatly increased volume of traffic, and say that under no conditions should liquor be placed in the way of the drivers of that traffic. Therefore, I ask Members to go into the Lobby against this Provisional Order.
§ 10.35 p.m.
§ Sir A. Sinclair
We have had a good-humoured, a serious, and, I think that I may say, a sober Debate on this question, and I do not wish at all to inject heat into it when so far we have had nothing but light. I would like to join in the tributes which have been paid by my hon. Friend the Member for South Edinburgh (Sir S. Chapman) to the work which has been done by the temperance reformers who have been largely concerned in the agitation against this Provisional Order and in the tribute which was paid by my right hon. Friend on the Opposition Front Bench to those who have devoted their time and energy to the organisation of this great Empire Exhibition. It is clear that the leaders of opinion on both sides have the utmost respect for each other's motives. It was really unnecessary for the hon. Member for East Fife (Mr. Henderson Stewart) to labour the point about the immense influential support there is for this Exhibition. He mentioned the King and Queen as supporting it. He should have added all the temperance societies of Scotland and all the people of Pollokshields who are objecting to the Provisional Order. Nevertheless, I greatly enjoyed his eloquence and enthusiastic irrelevan- 2208 cies, and I realise that nobody among all these promoters has worked harder for the success of the Empire Exhibition than the hon. Member for East Fife himself.
But when the Secretary of State quotes me as being in favour, or being a consistent supporter on every occasion, of the decisions of our local legislation commissions I say that I stand by every word that the Secretary of State read out. I do not know quite what the proportion is, whether it is nine out of 10—it might be 19 out of 20—but I still think that on almost every occasion we ought to give support to the work of our colleagues who serve on these commissions and who hear all the evidence on the spot especially as is usually the case, when the evidence deals largely, if not mainly, with matters of fact upon which decisive evidence can be given by witnesses who know the details of what they are talking about. But, as the Secretary of State very fairly made clear, I did say that, in laying down these general principles, there were exceptional cases which are provided for under our procedure. If there were no exceptional cases, I would be for abolishing this kind of procedure altogether because it would be useless. But because there are these exceptional cases, I support this procedure.
I say that this clearly is one of these exceptional cases, and for these reasons. I will mention, first of all, the fact that, by this Bill, we are depriving electors in our country of Scotland of rights which have been deliberately conferred upon them by Parliament. Those democratic rights ought not to be filched from them by this procedure, but I will come again to that point. The other reason is that this deals with a broad question of political principle which should properly be decided by this House rather than by a small commission or joint committee meeting and hearing evidence. I claim, in support of that opinion, the hon. Member for South Edinburgh himself. Why, his speech this afternoon supports that view. What did he say at the beginning of his speech? What an unenviable task he had. He said that he approached it not without trepidation. That was not his phrase, but it amounted to that. He knew the great forces which would be aroused and provoked by any decision to which this Committee might come. In short he knew 2209 that he was dealing with a basic question of political principle with which he and his Commission were unfitted to deal, and one which ought to be decided by this House. He went on to say that he was very much impressed by the evidence and respectability of the gentlemen who gave evidence before the Commission. So much impressed was he that when he mentioned one who was merely a J.P. of Glasgow he flicked that one aside and went on to tell us of the more eminent people of the trade union and industrial world whom he had had to swear in as witnesses. He told us, with conviction: "And they told the truth." I have no doubt that even less eminent people on going before the Commission would have done their best to tell the truth. He gave examples of the truth they told. It was not absolute truth that they were telling, but it was merely an expression of their personal opinion on matters on which the opinion of any one of us I should have thought was as good as theirs.
One witness went so far as to say that this was an Empire Exhibition, and, therefore, they must have drinking facilities provided. He must have forgotten the case of a successful Exhibition without drinking facilities, namely, that in the great City of Toronto. The hon. Member also said that the Chief Constable of Glasgow went before the commission and stated that he wanted to have these public houses inside the Exhibition. Then the hon. Member asked: "What could I do?" Apparently, it is on the advice of the Chief Constable of Glasgow that the House is being asked to take a decision to override the deliberate verdict of the electors of Pollokshields. The hon. Member went on to say that there was no evidence available from the other side, but that he was very much impressed with the facts and statistics presented by the right hon. Member for West Stirling (Mr. Johnston). In answer to the hon. and learned Member for Greenock (Mr. Gibson) he said that he was not entirely convinced by what the right hon. Gentleman had said and that he would have liked to have heard evidence on the other side. At any rate, he was shaken in the view he had held by my right hon. Friend's speech.
It is quite clear that this matter has wider implications and ramifications in the minds of our constituents than the hon. Member appreciated when he was 2210 accepting this evidence as chairman of the commission. He told us again of the eminence and respectability of the witnesses and asked: "Was I to be responsible for saying that these men were wrong? "Yes, I think he ought to have accepted that responsibility. It was a responsibility which rested upon him to make up his mind on their evidence, quite impartially. He said that they were responsible for millions of pounds, that they were men of honour, and he trusted them. I would trust them. I am sure that they are men of honour. They have great responsibility and we should like to help them in regard to that responsibility, but when it comes merely to an expression of opinion such as the opinion that I am about to quote from Sir James Lithgow, the matter is different. Sir James Lithgow said that he considered that the decision made by the Pollokshields electors was calculated to give the Exhibition a bad name and that his desire was to prevent Glasgow's name from being sullied. When that is the kind of evidence upon which eminent people ask the commission to act, it is clear that they are out of their depth.
Only one argument has been brought forward in support of the proposal; that if we do not give these facilities the attendances will fall and it will tend to make the exhibition a failure. The onus of the proof is on the promoters of the Order. We have given two examples of successful exhibitions without these facilities—Toronto, and the East End Exhibition in Glasgow. Some exhibitions have succeeded in spite of having none of these facilities. Some have failed in spite of having these facilities. We challenge the promoters of this Order to name one exhibition which has failed because it has not had these facilities. They have not produced one jot or tittle of evidence or fact which goes to show that the lack of these facilities will tend to make the exhibition a failure. This Provisional Order is not, as the Secretary of State suggested, like other Provisional Orders, merely making provision for additional public services or modifying the provisions of a general Act of Parliament. It strikes at the very base of an agreed settlement on this important question of Scottish temperance reform, a settlement put through under the Local Veto Act.
2211 Parliament has decided that the licensing law of Scotland shall be based on local considerations, local circumstances and needs, and on the wishes of the local community as ascertained by popular vote. In Pollokshields "no licence" has been carried on three occasions by increasing majorities, and we say that this right, which was given by Parliament not to any licensing court but to the electors of the parish, ought not to be filched away and cannot be taken from them without an infringement of democratic principles, unless their consent is obtained to the right being thus disposed of. Democracy is assailed in many countries at this time. Do not let it go forth from this House that we who derive our authority from the democratic principle and the democratic principle only, consider that an express authority given to these electors by an Act of Parliament can be taken away from them by a Provisional Order promoted by people who, however eminent they may be, are only a private company.
§ 10.48 p.m.
§ Sir John Gilmour
I intervene in the Debate partly because for a number of years I have represented in this House the very area about which the discussion arises and partly because I am one of those who hope devoutly that the effort to run an Empire Exhibition in Glasgow is going to be thoroughly successful. I do not doubt that that is the wish of all parties in the House and of all men, whatever view they may take. I am very sensible also of the strong feeling which has always existed in Scotland on the problem of drinking restrictions. It is quite true that this ward in Glasgow has on three occasions voted dry. They have voted dry for reasons which may have varied in some degree, but which in the main, if I judge aright, were directed for the purpose of keeping a residential area free from public houses. When the first vote took place there were something like eight or nine public houses abolished and some grocers' licences.
What are, therefore, the circumstances that the House has to decide? Whatever views hon. Members may take about Parliamentary procedure and the justice of proceeding by Provisional Order or otherwise, what is happening to-night is that after the inquiry in the locality, after 2212 hearing the evidence produced, certainly more fully on one side than the other, by a distinct majority of that tribunal of three to one this Order has been approved and is now before the House. What in effect will happen if this vote is carried in favour of the proposal? It means that in the area which has been transferred to the Exhibition authorities by the municipality, for which they have full and grave responsibility, fenced round and into which no one can go unless they pay some entrance fee, there will be carried out not only the ordinary methods of restaurants and the other method of giving drink without food, but the responsibility for management will be upon the Exhibition authorities.
As to taking away the rights of those in the Pollokshields ward, it is clear that this procedure does not infringe upon any of the steps for which they voted in the area outside this park. It may be argued that if the park were open in the ordinary way to the public, as it is generally, it would be right that it should remain completely dry, but in this case the problem is being handled on grounds which are directed rightly or wrongly with the best judgment of those who have to manage these affairs; it is being arranged for the one purpose of meeting the proper facilities of those who come from all parts of the world, with the one object of making this as suitable and proper an occasion of good will, fraternity and entertainment as possible. I have not been without some experience of Glasgow. I spent a great part of my boyhood there. Who will say of that great city of which we are so justly proud that it has not shown greater sobriety in recent years? I am confident that this proposal is not going to lead to greater insobriety, nor do I think the fears that some Members have expressed as to the effect upon children are well founded, for if I judge aright the children from the schools will be supervised, led and directed by those who are responsible for their well being and in other cases in the care of their parents.
I fully appreciate the strength of feeling of those of a temperance mind. We have all had innumerable letters on this subject and it is beyond dispute that, whatever misgivings anyone may have, the decision that we take to-night has not been hastened and it has not been made impossible for any who are 2213 interested in the matter to make their representations, and they have had every consideration. Frankly, I believe that this is no real infringement of the rights of the individuals, and when this exhibition closes, their area will remain dry until they vote it otherwise. In those circumstances, I urge the House to vote in favour of this Order, and I trust that that will be done with the good will which has characterised the whole of this Debate and that it will not deter in any way the successful operation of this exhibition, to which we all look forward.
§ 10.55 p.m.
§ Mr. Maxton
I would like to say a few words in the five minutes that remain before the Division takes place, so that I shall not have been silent on this matter which has aroused such very great controversy in the West of Scotland. It is a rather large controversy about a relatively trivial issue. I wish we had had here an opportunity of discussing whether or not there should be an Empire Exhibition in Glasgow. I and my hon. Friends hold the view very strongly that the City of Glasgow has much greater needs in other directions than the expenditure of £10,000,000 in erecting this great fun-fair, to fulfil what public purpose I do not know. In listening to the discussion tonight, the only public purpose seems to be to provide alcoholic refreshment. Glasgow needs £10,000,000 worth of houses. If there had been the same energy, enthusiasm and super-patriotism that has been voiced in all quarters of the House to-night, about this Exhibition, in making Glasgow a really fine City to show off to visitors from the Empire and from Europe, and if £10,000,000 had been
§ spent on that, in our view it would have been something worth doing.
§ I interrupted my hon. Friend the Member for Maryhill (Mr. Davidson) to say that it does not matter what are the drinking facilities in the Exhibition grounds. A big proportion of my people will not go there. Can hon. Members imagine an unemployed man, his wife and four children, with his means-tested unemployment allowance, attending the Exhibition? It would cost him 5s. or more to transport his family from Bridgeton to the Exhibition grounds and to get inside. How much would he spend on drink, either standing up or sitting down? What food would he get on top of it? How many merry-go-rounds would the youngsters get on? That Exhibition, with or without a licence, is at this time, in Glasgow, a waste of time, a waste of money, a waste of energy and a waste of enthusiasm.
§ Mr. Stewart rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put "; butMr. SPEAKER withheld his assent, and declined then to put that Question.
§ Mr. Maxton
I do not intend to talk the Bill out; I will allow hon. Members to cast their votes. I am so much against the whole Exhibition and the whole idea that, without committing my colleagues in any way, I shall refuse to vote one way or the other.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 159; Noes, 96.2215
|Division No. 36.]||AYES||[11.0 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.||Castlereagh, Viscount||Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.|
|Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.)||Channon, H.||Elliston, Capt. G. S.|
|Alexander, Brig.-Gen. Sir W.||Chapman, Sir S. (Edinburgh, S.)||Emery, J. F.|
|Anderson, Sir A. Garrett (C. of Ldn.)||Clarry, Sir Reginald||Emmott, C. E. G. C.|
|Baillie, Sir A. W. M.||Cobb, Captain E. C. (Preston)||Emrys-Evans, P. V.|
|Balfour, G. (Hampstead)||Colman, N. C. D.||Fleming, E. L.|
|Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet)||Colville, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. D. J.||Fremantle, Sir F. E.|
|Balniel, Lord||Conant, Captain R. J. E.||Furness, S. N.|
|Barclay-Harvey, Sir C. M.||Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.)||Gibson, Sir C. G. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Craven-Ellis, W.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon Sir J.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)||Croft, Brig.-Gen. Sir H. Page||Gledhill, G.|
|Blair, Sir R.||Crooke, J. S.||Gower, Sir R. V.|
|Boulton, W. W.||Cross, R. H.||Grant-Ferris. R.|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Crowder, J. F. E.||Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester)|
|Braithwaite, Major A. N.||Day, H.||Gridley, Sir A. B.|
|Brocklebank, Sir Edmund||De Chair, S. S.||Guest, Lieut.-Colonel H. (Drake)|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham)||Denville, Alfred||Gunston, Capt. D. W.|
|Bull, B B.||Deland, G. F.||Hannon, Sir P. J. H.|
|Burghley, Lord||Dugdale, Captain T. L.||Harbord, A.|
|Burke, W. A.||Duggan, H. J.||Hayday, A.|
|Cartland, J. R. H.||Eastwood, J. F.||Hely-Hutchinson, M. R.|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Edmondson, Major Sir J.||Henderson, J. (Ardwick)|
|Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P.||Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H.||Southby, Commander Sir A. R. J.|
|Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)||Nicholson, G. (Farnham)||Spears, Brigadier-General E. L.|
|Higgs, W. F.||Nicolson, Hon. H. G.||Spens, W. P.|
|Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J.||Orr-Ewing, I. L.||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Horsbrugh, Florence||Parker, J.||Storey, S.|
|Hudson, R. S. (Southport)||Perkins, W. R. D.||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|James, Wing-Commander A. W. H.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Kimball, L.||Porritt, R. W.||Tasker, Sir R. I.|
|Kirby, B. V.||Radford, E. A.||Tate, Mavis C.|
|Knox, Major-General Sir A. W. F.||Ramsay, Captain A. H. M.||Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.)|
|Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Rathbone, Eleanor (English Univ's,)||Thomas, J. P. L|
|Leech, Dr. J. W.||Reed, A. C. (Exeter)||Thomson, Sir J. D. W.|
|Liddall, W. S.||Reid, W. Allan (Derby)||Thurtle, E.|
|Lindsay, K. M.||Robinson, J. R. (Blackpool)||Titchfield, Marquess of|
|Llewellin, Lieut.-Col. J. J.||Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)||Touche, G. C.|
|Logan, D. G.||Renner, Colonel L.||Train, Sir J.|
|Mabane, W. (Huddersfield)||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)||Tree, A. R. L. F.|
|MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.||Royds, Admiral P. M. R.||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|MaCorquodale, M. S.||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.||Turton, R. H.|
|McEwen, Capt. J. H. F.||Russell, Sir Alexander||Wallace, Capt. Rt. Hon. Euan|
|Macmillan, H. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Salmon, Sir 1.||Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)|
|Macnamara, Capt. J. R. J.||Salt, E. W.||Waterhouse, Captain C.|
|Macquisten, F. A.||Sandeman, Sir N. S.||Wedderburn, H. J. S.|
|Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Sanderson, Sir F. B.||Whiteley, Major J. P. (Buckingham)|
|Markham, S. F.||Scott, Lord William||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|Marshall, F.||Selley, H. R.||Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)||Shepperson, Sir E. W.||Wright, Wing-Commander J. A. C.|
|Moore, Lieut.-Col. Sir T. C. R.||Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)||Young, A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Morris, J. P. (Salford. N.)||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Munro, P.||Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Naylor, T. E.||Somervell, Sir D. B. (Crewe)||Mr. McKie and Mr. Erskine-Hill.|
|Acland, R. T. D. (Barnstaple)||Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)||Owen, Major G.|
|Adams, D. (Consett)||Hills, A. (Pontefract)||Paling, W.|
|Adamson, W. M.||Holdsworth, H.||Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir W. J. (Armagh)||Hopkin, D.||Price, M. P.|
|Ammon, C. G.||Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)||Quibell, D. J. K.|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath)||Richards, R. (Wrexham)|
|Asks, Sir R. W.||Johnston, Rt. Hon. T.||Riley, B.|
|Banfield, J. W.||Jones, A. C. (Shipley)||Ritson, J.|
|Barr, J.||Kelly, W. T.||Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)|
|Batey, J.||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.||Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)|
|Bromfield, W.||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. G.||Salter, Dr. A. (Bermondsey)|
|Brown, C. (Mansfield)||Lawson, J. J.||Simpson, F. B.|
|Browne, A. C. (Belfast, W.)||Leach, W.||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (C'thn's)|
|Dagger, G.||Lee, F.||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill)||Leslie, J. R.||Smith, T. (Normanton)|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Lunn, W.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Debbie, W.||Macdonald, G. (Ince)||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|Ede, J. C.||McEntee, V. La T.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||McGhee, H. G.||Tinker, J. J.|
|Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)||MacLaren, A.||Viant, S. P.|
|Foot, D. M.||Maclean, N.||Walkden, A. G.|
|Gallacher, W.||MacMillan, M. (Western Isles)||Walker, J.|
|Gardner, B. W.||MacNeill, Weir, L.||Watson, W. McL.|
|George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey)||Magnay, T.||Welsh, J. C.|
|Gibson, R. (Greenock)||Mainwaring, W. H.||Westwood, J.|
|Grenfell, D. R.||Mander, G. le M.||White, H. Graham|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.)||Mathers, G.||Whiteley, W. (Blaydon)|
|Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||Messer, F.||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Hall, G. H. (Aberdare)||Milner, Major J.||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|Hardie, Agnes||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Harris, Sir P. A.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)|
|Harvey, T. E. (Eng. Univ's.)||Muff, G.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Haslam, H. C. (Horncastle)||Oliver, G. H.||Mr. T. Henderson and Mr.|
Bill read a Second time, and ordered to be considered To-morrow.
§ The Orders of the Day were read, and postponed.