HC Deb 20 February 1940 vol 357 cc1149-50
69. Mr. Mathers

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has considered the proposals of the Presbytery of Bathgate sent to him regarding war-time restriction on the sale of alcoholic liquor; and whether he is prepared to act upon the recommendations made by the presbytery?

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Colville)

I have noted the proposals referred to. I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave on 13th February to a Question asked by the hon. and learned Member for Greenock (Mr. Gibson) on this subject.

Mr. Mathers

Does not the right hon. Gentleman recognise that the bringing forward of these proposals from various quarters indicates that there is a considerable volume of opinion behind the suggestions that are made; and why does he require to be pushed into taking action which would be beneficial?

Mr. Colville

Statistics show that the number of arrests for the offence of drunkenness in the great cities of Scotland is rather less since the commencement of the war than it was during the corresponding period of last year. I am watching the situation and I must have regard to all the facts.

Viscountess Astor

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that the number of arrests has nothing to do with the actual drunkenness, because the number of arrests depends entirely on the local authorities, some of whom make arrests while others do not?

Mr. McGovern

Is it not about time that this slander about the drunkenness of the working-classes was stopped?