HC Deb 06 February 1945 vol 407 cc1967-88
Mr. Rhys Davies (Westhoughton)

I beg to move, in page 3, line 18, at end, insert: and to the wishes of the residents in the area, with reference to each of the premises it is propose to license after a poll has been taken of those who are entered on the register of electors and who reside within the limits prescribed by the licensing planning committee. The Amendment raises a subject with which we dealt briefly on the Second Reading of the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill on that occasion referred to the subject, when I raised it, almost as if we were treading on dynamite. It was as if, when one raised the question at all as to the rights of the people to say whether they wanted public houses or not, one was on the edge of very dangerous, volcanic ground. If the right hon. Lady the Parliamentary Secretary would care to read the language used by the Minister of Town and Country Planning when we were dealing with the matter on Second Reading she would see that he said that the drink traffic had a very emotional history. I would, however, bring before the Committee the real problem, as I see it. The public have a say at present, through the brewster sessions, before any decision is arrived at, whether they desire to have a public house in their area or not. This Bill takes that right away, or rather removes it until a decision has actually been taken. We say that the rights of the people ought to be safeguarded before, and not at the end of the transaction. We are astonished that the Government have not carried out the recommendation of the Royal Commission of 1929–31 to do this. I understand that the Home Secretary was a member of that Royal Commission. I ought to say that in that Report the Royal Commission came—

The Deputy-Chairman

I called the Amendment, but I would remind the Committee that it is only on a narrow and temporary Bill. We cannot use it as a peg on which to hang a discussion on the whole question of local option, Royal Commissions and that kind of thing. We can discuss only the very narrow problem of whether this should be done according to the wishes of the residents.

Mr. Davies

I do not wish to hang or peg anything outside the Amendment, and I will come at once to the point at issue and to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman on Second Reading. I am glad to see that he is now in his place. When he was absent I made some comments on his speech, but they were not at all derogatory. Without going into the larger question, let me repeat that the Government are assuming that the Bill will last for only five years because it is a temporary Measure, and they do not wish to put large schemes of local option into operation at this stage. Let me say, as one who has been here for some time, that I have never believed the promises of any Government of any political—

The Deputy-Chairman

That is really going too far away from what may be discussed on this point. We cannot get into a discussion here of what temporary Bills are, or how long "temporary" Acts may be in operation.

Mr. Davies

I am very sorry, Mr. Williams, that I appear to be running contrary to the wishes of the Chair. I will therefore merely ask the Government to take into consideration that when a new licence is to be granted for a new district which will replace a bombed district—which, of course, covers London more almost than anywhere else and certainly Coventry, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, and Bootle—they will consider their attitude on this problem. Instead of saying that the local inhabitants shall have a say when the whole transaction has been decided, they should say that the people in a locality shall have their say before the transaction is completed.

Knowing a little about some of these difficulties, let me give an example. About two miles from where I live, at Withington, Manchester, is, I suppose, the finest local authority estate in the world, called Wythenshawe. If it were proposed to transfer public houses from the City to Wythenshawe, the people, or even those who take drink, might not like to see too many public houses dumped down in their new area. I would like to see the Government therefore come down in favour of giving the local inhabitants some say as to whether they want a public house or not. I think at least that I have kept well within the bounds of Order, Mr. Williams, although I would like to have handled a little more of the dynamite involved in this question which the Minister suggested on the Second Reading.

Mr. Edmund Harvey (Combined English Universities)

I support the Amendment, and I would urge upon the Government that it is right to give the very fullest opportunity for taking into account all the relevant factors in planning these areas. In order that that may be possible, is it not desirable that there should be, what I may call an informative poll, the results of which could be taken into consideration when the plans are drawn up? It would not involve any decision by a bare majority being necessary or anything of that kind, but it would allow the authority to have clearly before it the expressed views of the residents of the locality and that is surely the most important of all the considerations that they ought to have in view in making their arrangements.

2.0 p.m.

I therefore beg that this Amendment should not be lightly rejected by the Government. We want to see these new areas rebuilt under the best possible conditions. One of the ways of casting light on the subject is to have an informative poll such as is suggested in this Amendment. It is quite possible that the residents might be quite prepared to have a certain licensed house in one part of the area, but would strongly object to two or three others being dotted about the neighbourhood. I hope that favourable consideration will be given to the Amendment.

Viscountess Astor (Plymouth, Sutton)

I deeply regret not having been here for the Second Reading of this Bill. I am astounded that a Government made up of all the talents—Labour, Liberal, and some of the best Tories—should have been in such a hurry and should have handed over so much to the vested interests to the drink trade. I want to explain what I mean. I belong to a bombed area where a great many houses have been—

The Deputy-Chairman

I am sorry to interrupt the Noble Lady, but what she is saying sounds like the beginning of a Second Reading speech. This Amendment is concerned with a very small point, and does not raise the whole question of licensing and brewing and that sort of thing.

Viscountess Astor

It may be a small point but it is a very important point.

The Deputy-Chairman

No, the Amendment is concerned with a small point. I was not saying that what the Noble Lady was stating was a small point, but I was showing that she was trying to put far too many pints into one quart bottle.

Viscountess Astor

That is just what I do not want to do. I do not want to put too many pints into one quart bottle. I would like to remind the Government that this Bill is based on the report of the Morris Committee. All licensing has hitherto been under the licensing magistrates. The Morris Committee was composed of 13 members. Three of them were connected with the drink trade, and the others were ordinary people. When a Royal Commission was set up to look into this question the churches and temperance and social workers were represented. I consider that the Morris Committee has paid too much attention to the drink trade and not enough to the Royal Commission and to the feelings of the people of the country about where the new public houses are to be. I feel that as long as these new houses are to be given over to the drink trade there ought to be an informative vote.

It seems to me that the best thing would have been for the Government to have said, "We have got to have the new houses, and we want them where they are wanted, but we are not certain about that, because we do not know what the neighbourhoods are to be." Some people may want to drink with meals, and others may want to drink without meals; some may want community centres and so on. If the welfare of the community had been the only consideration, surely it would have been safer to have put these new houses under the Carlisle system or the Trust houses. Then, after they had been established, when there was no doubt as to whether the people wanted them or not, an informative vote could be taken and the people could have what they want. Once these houses are under the trade we have played into the hands of vested interests and it will be difficult to get a change.

The Minister says this is a temporary Measure. There is no reason for making a temporary Measure so secure for the drink trade. I feel it is unfair that there are to be 50 per cent. licensing magistrates and 50 per cent. local authority representatives on these new committees. After all, the members of the local authorities may not be those of the old authorities. The Home Secretary has told us that they may be new ones, and they may be entirely ignorant of temperance matters and licensing laws.

The Deputy-Chairman

We really cannot go into the whole question of the licensing laws.

Mr. Magnay (Gateshead)

With all respect, Mr. Williams, why not?

The Deputy-Chairman

This is a temporary Bill, and we are now dealing only with an Amendment to one Clause.

Viscountess Astor

Does this Committee think that this will be a temporary Bill?

The Deputy-Chairman

At the moment it is not a matter of what the Committee thinks; that has to be decided at another time. We are dealing with a point on the Committee stage. I have no doubt that the Noble Lady could have discussed the question of whether the Bill is a temporary Measure or not on Second Reading, or possibly she may be able to do so on Third Reading, but she cannot do so on this point.

Viscountess Astor

May I beg the Government and the right hon. Lady to accept this Amendment? It really is important. I know that Plymouth is one of the areas where new public houses are to be built. The people themselves would back me up in saying that they should have an informative vote. Matters will be much more difficult as a result of the Morris Committee, which has played into the hands, as we think, of the vested interests of the drink trade. I ask the Home Secretary, "Why do you do this? You believe in the Carlisle system and the Trust houses." I maintain that the Committee know very little about this; Members have not thought about it, and when it comes to a question of legislation, we ought to listen to the social workers and to people who know what the drink trade is, what it wants to do and what it has always done up to date. I implore the Government to accept this very small Amendment.

Mr. Graham White (Birkenhead, East)

I wish to commend this Amendment to the Committee for the reasons which were given by my hon. Friend the Member for Westhoughton (Mr. R. Davies) and the hon. Member for the Combined English Universities (Mr. E. Harvey). We all agree it is very important that in this new experimental venture the bodies which are to administer the scheme should command the confidence of the people concerned in the areas which are to come under this plan. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for North Kensington (Captain Duncan), in the Second Reading Debate, put in a plea that the representatives on those authorities should be highly qualified, broad-minded people, capable of an intelligent outlook. People in that position will find themselves very much handicapped if they do not know the pressure of public opinion in the area. I cannot imagine anyone in that position who has given any thought to this matter not saying, "I wish I knew what people were thinking about." It is for that reason that this Amendment, among others, is proposed. I do not wish to delay longer the reply of the Government, as I have no doubt they wish to accept the Amendment.

Mr. Richards (Wrexham)

I should like to support the Amendment. It is important for us to remember that it is not always true that local planning authorities, and certainly licensing justices, are representative of a particular locality. I have a strong feeling, based on experience, that too often they dwell on Olympian heights, quite remote from a particular locality. I do not see that there can be any harm in having the views of the locality concerned. That is what the Amendment suggests—that those views should be ascertained and should be available for those who are to decide the question eventually. It is an eminently reasonable Amendment, and I should like to appeal, as other hon. Members have done, to the Government to accept the Amendment, because it would be very useful for the people who have to admin- ister this Measure to know exactly what is the feeling of a particular locality.

Mr. Viant (Willesden, West)

I hope the Government will be prepared to accept this Amendment. I have sat on licensing authorities for about 15 years, and I know that on occasions the bench has been very doubtful indeed as to what public opinion was about the claims of certain interests in regard to the establishment of a public house or a hotel. We are embarking on what might be called an experiment. Nothing of this kind has operated previously. It is perfectly true there are to be representatives of local authorities, and the licensing authorities are also to be represented, but I am anxious that under this new departure the inhabitants of the various localities shall not have a feeling at any time that a public house or hotel has been imposed upon them. The safest thing at all times is to endeavour to find out exactly what are the desires of people in an area, and this will also reinforce the new licensing planning committees in regard to what the desires of the people are. I cannot understand why the Government should in any way offer any opposition to this proposal, because within this last 12 months we have been passing Measures through this Committee with a view to ascertaining what were the views of people on different subjects. This is but another step in that direction. Therefore I entreat the Government, for the purpose of feeling that they have, as it were, the mandate of the people, to accept this Amendment, let it go through unchallenged. I am firmly convinced that it would be a source of strength in the future, because we should at all times know that when a licence was being granted it was in keeping with the desires of the local community.

Mr. Leslie (Sedgefield)

I also share the views of the other hon. Members who have spoken, and I ask the Government to accept this Amendment. It is a very reasonable Amendment. Surely, in all fairness the views of the people of the district should be heard as to whether they want a public house or anything else of the kind dumped down on their particular area. I believe in local option, and that people should have the right to say whether these premises should be there or not, rather than that they should be imposed upon them. This is a most reason- able request, and I hope that the Government will agree to it.

2.15 p.m.

Mr. Hugh Lawson (Skipton)

I want to add my voice in support of this Amendment, but from a slightly different angle. The Amendment has been supported, in the main, as being necessary from a licensing point of view: I think it is a very good Amendment from the town-planning point of view. The more public opinion can be associated with town planning the better. A lot of opposition to town planning comes from people who imagine that it means remote planners in Whitehall offices imposing upon them some future that they do not desire. I know that town-planning committees are elected representatives, but if there is a specific issue, upon which there is strong feeling and difference of opinion, any planning committee must be reinforced if they have an informative poll on the matter. It is also known that, in certain areas anyway, there is very strong feeling, either from the temperance point of view or from the point of view of preserving the amenities of the district or the rateable value of the property, on the question of whether licensed premises should be erected.

I lived at one time in the urban district of West Bridgford, near Nottingham, and there was an association of ratepayers, established primarily for the purpose of opposing the grant of licences—whether it is a good thing or a bad thing is beside the point. The brewster sessions used to take on the effect of a first-rate criminal trial with King's Counsel briefed to appear for the Defence Association, as the local residents called their organisation. Very often each side would come reinforced with petitions and polls, taken by themselves; and very often these polls were quite contradictory. On one occasion the local authority, wishing to find out what the people desired, took a postcard ballot themselves. I think they were wise to do so. If we do not have an official poll we shall get the various interests arranging their own petitions; and that will be most unsatisfactory. It would be for the good of town planning and of licensing to have an informative poll on this issue. The poll would not be a binding veto, which would tie the hands of the local planning committee. The committee would take it into consideration with other matters. I should imagine that if the poll were fairly equally balanced, the local committee would not say, as we do in Parliamentary elections, "One side is in a slight minority, so they will get no representation." Surely also in a temporary Measure, like this, dealing with only a few areas, this is an excellent opportunity to try out this proposal and to see whether the principle of informative polls will achieve the result which we desire.

Mr. Magnay (Gateshead)

I hope that the right hon. Lady the Parliamentary Secretary will look with favour on this Amendment, which I support largely on the ground stated by the hon. Member for Skipton (Mr. H. Lawson). I have had something to do with petitions, for and against this sort of thing, at brewster sessions. The way in which the so-called petitions are got up and signed is unsatisfactory. I have thought that there was a great similarity in many of the signatures. It would be far better to have a proper poll, organised in the right way. I am a great believer in the ballot; I always insist on a poll at any meeting with which I am connected. I have seen long friendships severed because men have had to hold up their hands against their real opinions. I do not see what objection there can be to this proposal. If it is accepted it does not bind the authority, and nothing but good can result.

Mr. Tom Brawn (Ince)

I rise to support the Amendment. This is not an issue of teetotallers versus drinkers, but of acting in a commonsense way. Many of us sit upon licensing benches. We always find oursedves up against the difficulty, when applications for licences are submitted, of not knowing whether we are doing the right thing in the interests of the public. Here is an opportunity of ascertaining what the general public think about an application. The Amendment does nobody any harm, and gives wider scope for people in a locality to raise their voices as to what they think should be done there.

Mr. Marshall (Sheffield, Brightside)

I am very sorry to disagree with so many hon. Members. I feel that on this matter the majority has not the right to impose its will on the minority. Jack Smith and Joe Stokes may be living in a street; one may be addicted to going into a public house and having a glass of beer, while the other may be a teetotaller. The Amendment will confer on the teetotaller the right to say that Jack Smith will have to walk three miles for his glass of beer. That is an unwarrantable interference with the liberty of that man, and Parliament has no right to impose it. If the licensing justices do not know their job they should not be on the bench; and if the local authority cannot take a wide outlook upon its city, and consider all the needs of the citizens, and plan in accordance with the well-established desires of the people, it is not capable of doing its duty. The Amendment tries to give an overriding power to both the local authorities and the licensing justices. It says: "We will give the majority the right to interfere with the personal habits of the minority." I object to Jack Smith, next door, imposing his habits on me. [An HON. MEMBER: "So do we."] The hon. Member has no need to go into a public house if he does not want to, but he is taking the stand that he will prevent another man going in who wants to do so. I hope that the Parliamentary Secretary, in the interests of personal liberty, will not accept the Amendment.

Mr. Silkin (Peckham)

If the Amendment really meant what my hon. Friend says it means I would oppose it, but I invite him to study it again. It would be a considerable assistance to a licensing planning committee to know the views of the inhabitants of an area with regard to the provision of licensed premises. That is all that is proposed by the Amendment. People living in a district have some rights to say how their area should be planned. If a vast majority of the inhabitants do not want licensed premises in that area they would be perfectly entitled not to have them. I lived for many years in a certain street. If it had been proposed that licensed premises should be put in that street I should have had a good deal to say against it, even though I occasionally indulge in alcoholic refreshment. Licensed premises may be objectionable in a particular street, even though one does not object to licensed premises in general. The proposal is that the inhabitants should be entitled to a say in the location of licensed premises, as well as on the general principle of whether there should be licensed premises. This puts the emphasis rather on having a voice in the location of the premises. I should imagine that if people were teetotallers, and said that they did not want any licensed premises, the planning committee would ignore that, but that if people said: "We think that this is an unsuitable place for licensed premises and that they should be put somewhere else," the planning committee would pay attention to that opinion.

This is a temporary Measure, under which it is possible to try out something of that sort, without necessarily committing ourselves to the principle for all time. This principle of going to the inhabitants of a locality and asking for their opinion on a specific matter has already been accepted as regards Sunday opening of cinemas. My hon. Friend may say, "Why should I vote for the closing of cinemas and prevent somebody who wants to go to the cinema from going there?" But that is already the law of the land. It is possible for people who have strong opinions about the opening of cinemas on Sunday to express their views, and to get those views accepted. Finally, I think there is some social value in getting the inhabitants of the locality concerned in the planning of that area. Those of us who have some responsibility for town planning, and who imagine that we are helping the present generation, as well as posterity, by the improvements we are effecting, occasionally have doubts as to what the people for whom we are planning really think about what we are doing. Many of the planning proposals are so complicated that it is difficult for people to appreciate what is being done on their behalf. I think that the more we can associate the inhabitants of an area with the work of the local authority the better it is, and I feel that this is a step in the right direction and hope it may be possible for the Government to accept this Amendment, or something like it.

2.30 p.m.

I do not think the wording of the Amendment is altogether applicable to the kind of thing I want. I do not want people to say: "We want a public house" or "We do not want one." That is not a very important fact, because the voting would merely go on the pro-licence and anti-licence basis. What I would like is some expression of opinion from the inhabitants on whether they want licensed premises to be here or there, and whether they want six or four. I would listen to that sort of expression of opinion, but I would not listen to the people who say "We want none at all." If we could get that principle into the Bill I think it would be a very great improvement.

Captain Duncan (Kensington, North)

Surely, what my hon. Friend wants is already in the Bill, in Clause 5. The licensing planning committee would send up their proposals and, if there was no objection, the Minister would authorise them to proceed, but, if there were an objection—and it is the simplest thing to make an objection—then there would have to be a public inquiry. The hon. Member for Skipton (Mr. H. Lawson) talked about King's Counsel being brought in. I have no objection to King's Counsel at public inquiries, so that the views of the locality may have expression, but I should hesitate to support this Amendment if it demands a poll about licensed houses, because it seems to me that it would be extremely unwise and completely unworkable in London.

Mr. Silkin

They had a poll in Croydon on Sunday cinemas, and what is the difference?

Captain Duncan

It would be different if the whole of the County of London were in one planning area, but, as it is, it seems to me to be quite impracticable and quite unworkable. The hon. Member for Sedgfield (Mr. Leslie) spoke about local option. I do not think this is local option, but I have had some experience of local option in Scotland, and, as a result, I would be definitely against it.

Mr. John Dugdale (West Bromwich)

I support the last two speakers in opposition to this Amendment. I want, particularly, to draw attention to the remarks of the hon. Member for Skipton (Mr. H. Lawson), who advocated it on the grounds of town planning and was supported by the hon. Member for Peckham (Mr. Silkin). The hon. Member for Peckham has himself been chairman of the London Town Planning Committee, and I am not certain that he is not now, and I really cannot possibly see how he can advocate this Amendment on the grounds of town planning. It might be possible for other reasons, but to try to do so for reasons of town planning is ridiculous. If we are to have a Measure which asks for a poll when any suggestion is brought forward that a public house should be placed in a certain area, we should have a similar poll when proposals are brought forward for theatres, hotels or even butchers' shops, because, after all, vegetarians may object to them, and for chemists' shops or book shops. It seems to me quite ludicrous that we should distinguish this particular shop, selling a particular sort of goods, and I think the only reason I can give—

Viscountess Astor

Why are the Government bringing it in for public houses? Why do not they bring it in for chemists' shops and so on?

Mr. Dugdale

I suggest that the only reason why the Noble Lady is anxious for the Amendment is not because she wants to consult the inhabitants on town planning, but because it is another stick with which to beat her hated drink traffic. That is a perfectly genuine reason, but to mix it up with town planning is entirely irrelevant, and I hope the Government will turn it down.

Mr. Magnay

Would it be in Order for me to speak on that point? The hon. Member for West Bromwich (Mr. J. Dugdale), who is a young man, does not know the law of the land. We are all prohibitionists in this country. It is a prohibitionist country. With the best character in the world, I question whether I could get a licence, and I have to be licensed before I can sell this dangerous stuff. Why is a licence not needed for a chemist's shop? Because we live in a prohibitionist country. Only men with the best character, without any black marks against them, can have licences, because we are prohibitionist.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Home Security (Miss Wilkinson)

I can assure the Committee that we appreciate to the full the sincerity and depth of feeling of those who have supported this Amendment, which, I can assure them, has been the subject of consideration. Certainly the Amendment is one that the Government cannot accept, but that is not a decision that has been lightly come to. I would like to underline the ruling which was given by your predecessor in the Chair, Mr. Williams, when he said that this was a narrow Amendment in a temporary Bill. Therefore, it is not possible to raise—and we do not think it either possible or desirable—the whole general principle of local option by informative polls, which is a new principle in English law. It has been accepted in Scotland; local option has been accepted in the Scottish licensing law, but not in English licensing law. It is not wise to consider it in relation to what is a temporary Bill dealing with a particular situation left us by the war.

Is it really a fact, as those who have so heartily supported the Amendment suggest, that the Government is proposing to ignore local opinion? Really, that is not the case. So far is it from being the case that, on this very Clause, at a later stage to-day, a Government Amendment will be moved to make sure that the Licensing Planning Committee shall, in fact, consult all the organised bodies that can really claim to have some say in the matter. That will give, probably, a better-balanced and a more informative view than a hasty poll of the inhabitants, in which there might be, as we often have had, long petitions for and against and, sometimes, the same name appearing on both.

I have been rather surprised to see some colleagues of my own, Members of my own party, proclaiming, as one did, that the public representatives were Olympian and far away in the clouds and did not know what their constituents were thinking. We are not discussing Members of Parliament here; the people who are being taken into consideration are local councillors, and they, surely, are, on the whole, thoroughly in touch with local opinion in their wards. Many of them live in their wards, and even those who do not are generally pretty closely in touch with them. There are always exceptions, but, if a councillor were ignoring public opinion, that would be a very good point to be taken up at the next election by those who want to get rid of him. We think we have an ample safeguard in the fact that, on the Licensing Planning Committee, not only are licensing justices represented—and they have many years of experience in this matter—but for the first time they are joined also by the councillors of local authorities.

Viscountess Astor

Will this come into force before the next municipal elections, because, if it does, there will be many people totally out of touch with this problem to-day? We have them in every locality. We shall be handing over to old, ancient councillors a job for which they are not fit, of which they know very little and with which they are completely out of touch.

Miss Wilkinson

The new councils, I presume, will be elected in November. Whether all the machinery under this Bill will be ready before November I cannot, at the moment, say, nor can anyone else. I can say that the very pertinent remarks of the Noble Lady may act as a clarion call to local people to see what their "co-optees" are doing. If they do not do what the local people want it would be one reason for removing them in November.

There are certain difficulties in accepting the Amendment which none of the speakers have mentioned, but which are very real difficulties. For example, it would impose a heavy administrative burden, and would considerably prolong the period before the licensing planning committees would be in a position to submit proposals to the Ministry of Town and Country Planning. Hon. Members, in asking these questions, ought to see that

they are not placing such a burden on the licensing planning committees as would hold up their work and very greatly embarrass the Minister. There is also another point in connection with the proposals for a planning removal of licence. The premises for the people which the removal licence is to serve, may not, in fact, have been erected at the time the plans are passed, because we are considering areas where a large amount of planning has to take place. This is one of those things where, by attempting to get a large general principle accepted in what everybody admits is a narrow Clause of a temporary Bill, you would raise a whole host of troubles about which many of those who support the Amendment would be the first to complain. I hope the Committee will agree with me and the Government in rejecting the Amendment.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 30; Noes, 215.

Division No. 7.] AYES. [2.48 p.m.
Acland, Sir R. T. D. Horabin, T. L. Sloan, A.
Aske, Sir R. W. Leslie, J. R. Smith, E. (Stoke)
Barr, J. Lipson, D. L. Sorensen, R. W.
Brown, T. J. (Ince) McKinlay, A. S. Summerskill, Dr. Edith
Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton) MacMillan, M. (Western Isles) Viant, S. P.
George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey) McNeil, H. Walkden, E. (Doncaster)
Grenfell, D. R. Magnay, T. Watson, W. McL.
Gruffydd, Professor W. J. Owen, Major Sir G. White, H. Graham (Birkenhead, E.)
Hardie, Mrs. Agnes Pearson, A.
Harvey, T. E. Richards, R. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:—
Hollins, J. H. (Silvertown) Salter, Dr. A. (Bermondsey, W.) Viscountess Astor and Mr. Hugh Lawson.
Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. Sir G. J. Charleton, H. C. Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.
Agnew, Comdr. P. G. Chater, D. Edmondson, Major Sir J.
Albery, Sir Irving Chorlton, A. E. L. Edwards, Rt. Hon. Sir C. (Bedwellty)
Barnes, A. J. Clarke, Colonel R. S. Edwards, Walter J. (Whitechapel)
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. Cluse, W. S. Emmott, C. E. G. C.
Beattie, F. (Cathcart) Cobb, Captain E. C. Erskine-Hill, A. G.
Beaumont, Hubert (Batley) Cocks, F. S Etherton, Ralph
Beaumont, Maj. Hn. R. E. B. (P'tsm'th) Colegate, W. A. Evans, Col. Sir A. (Cardiff, S.)
Beechman, N. A. Colman, N. C. D. Fermoy, Lord
Bevin, Rt. Hon. E. (Wandsworth, C.) Conant, Major R. J. E. Foster, W.
Bird, Sir R. E. Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.) Fox, Squadron-Leader Sir G. W. G.
Blair, Sir R. Courthope, Col. Rt. Hon. Sir G. L. Fraser, T. (Hamilton)
Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. Craven-Ellis, W. Fyfe, Major Sir D. P. M.
Bower, Norman (Harrow) Cundiff, Major F. W. Galbraith, Comdr. T. D.
Broad, F. A. Davidson, Viscountess (H'm H'mst'd) Garro Jones, G. M.
Brocklebank, Sir C. E. R. Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil) George, Maj. Rt. Hon. G. Lloyd (P'b'ke)
Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith) Davison, Sir W. H. Gibbons, Lt.-Col. W. E.
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury) De Chair, S. S. Glanville, J. E.
Bull, B. B. De la Bère, R. Glyn, Sir R. G. C.
Bullock, Capt. M. Doland, G. F. Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral)
Burden, T. W. Donner, Squadron-Leader P. W. Green, W. H. (Deptford)
Burke, W. A. Dower, Lt.-Col. A. V. G. Gretton, J. F.
Burton, Col. H. W. Drewe, C. Grigg, Rt. Hon. Sir P. J. (Cardiff, E.)
Butcher, H. W. Driberg, T. E. N. Gunston, Major Sir D. W.
Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A. Duckworth, Arthur (Shrewsbury) Hall, W. G. (Colne Valley)
Cadogan, Major Sir E. Duckworth, W. R. (Mass Side) Harris, Rt. Hen. Sir P. A.
Campbell, Sir E. T. (Bromley) Dugdale, John (W. Bromwich) Headlam, Lt.-Col. Sir C. M.
Cape, T. Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. (Kens'gton, N.) Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)
Henderson, J. (Ardwick) Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- (Northwich)
Henderson, J. J. Craik (Leeds, N.E.) Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester) Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray & Nairn)
Henderson, T. (Tradeston) Mott-Radclyffe, Major C. E. Studholme, Major H. C.
Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan- Murray, Sir D. K. (Midlothian, N.) Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.
Hewlett, T. H. Naylor, T. E. Tate, Mrs. Mavis C.
Higgs, W. F. Neal, H. Taylor, Major C. S. (Eastbourne)
Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H. Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (P'd'ton, S.)
Hopkinson, A. Nicholson, G. (Farnham) Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)
Hubbard, T. F. Oldfield, W. H. Thomas, Dr. W. S. Russell (S'th'm'tn)
Hurd, Sir P. A. Oliver, G. H. Thorneycroft, H. (Clayton)
James, Wing-Com. A. (Well'borough) Perkins, W. R. D. Thurtle, E.
Jeffreys, General Sir G. D. Petherick, M. Tinker, J. J.
John, W. Peto, Major B. A. J. Touche, G. C.
Joynson-Hicks, Lt.-Comdr. Hon. L. W. Pickthorn, K. W. M. Tree, A. R. L. F.
Keeling, E. H. Plugge, Capt. L. F. Tufnell, Lieut-Comdr. R. L.
Kerr, Sir John Graham (Scottish U's) Power, Sir J. C. Turton, R. H.
Key, C. W. Pownall, Lt.-Col. Sir Assheton Wakefield, Sir W. W.
Kirby, B. V. Prescott, Capt. W. R. S. Walkden, A. G. (Bristol, S.)
Knox, Major-General Sir A. W. F. Price, M. P. Ward, Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Lawson, J. J. (Chester-le-Street) Prior, Comdr. R. M. Wardlaw-Milne, Sir J. S.
Leach, W. Pritt, D. N. Watkins, F. C.
Lees-Jones, J. Procter, Major H. A. Watt, F. C. (Edinburgh, Cen.)
Levy, T. Pym, L. R. Watt, Brig. G. S. Harvie (Richmond)
Liddall, W. S. Reid, Rt. Hon. J. S. C. (Hillhead) Wayland, Sir W. A.
Lindsay, K. M. Riley, B. Wells, Sir S. Richard
Lloyd, Major E. G. R. (Renfrew, E.) Robertson, D. (Streatham) White, C. F. (Derbyshire, W.)
Loftus, P. C. Robertson, Rt. Hon. Sir M. A. (M'ham) White, Sir Dymoke (Fareham)
Lucas, Major Sir J. M. Ross, Sir R. D. (Londonderry) Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W. (Blaydon)
Lyle, Sir C. E. Leonard Ross Taylor, W. Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.
MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G. Salt, E. W. Wilkinson, Rt. Hon. Ellen
McCallum, Major D. Sanderson, Sir F. B. Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)
McCorquodale, Malcolm S. Savory, Professor D. L. Williams, Sir H. G. (Croydon, S.)
McEntee, V. la T. Scott, Donald (Wansbeck) Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
McEwen, Capt. J. H. F. Scott, Lord William (Ro'b'h & Selk'k) Windsor, W.
Maclay, Hon. John S. (Montrose) Salley, Sir H. R. Windsor-Clive, Lt.-Col. G.
Mainwaring, W. H. Shepherd, S. Wise, Lieut.-Col. A. R.
Maitland, Sir A. Shepperson, Sir E. W. Womersley, Rt. Hon. Sir W.
Marlowe, Lt.-Col. A. Shute, Col. Sir J. J. Woodburn, A.
Marshall, F. Sidney, Captain W. P. Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)
Mellor, Sir J. S. P. Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir W. D. Wootton-Davies, J. H.
Mills, Sir F. (Layton, E.) Smith, E. P. (Ashford) York, Major C.
Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Smith, T. (Normanton)
Molson, A. H. E. Snadden, W. McN. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:—
Montague, F. Southby, Comdr. Sir A. R. J. Major A. S. L. Young and
Morrison, Major J. G. (Salisbury) Spearman, A. C. M. Mr. Cary.

Question put, and agreed to.

Major C. S. Taylor (Eastbourne)

I beg to move, in page 3, line 18, at end, insert: Provided that in carrying out such review as is mentioned in this Section the licensing planning committee shall have full regard to the nature of such licensed premises in their area as offer substantial facilities by way of food and accommodation, and in that connection to the requirements of travellers and visitors from overseas. The main reason for the Amendment is to draw a distinction between public houses, those houses which only serve drink, and the hotels—those houses which give accommodation and serve food as well as drink. It must be realised that as far as this Bill is concerned there is a very distinct difference between these two types of houses that cater for the general public and I hope that the Minister will see her way to accept the Amendment.

Miss Wilkinson

The Amendment really divides itself into two parts, one of which is to have "full regard to the nature of such licensed premises in their area as offer substantial facilities by way of food and accommodation," and the second to have regard "in that connection to the requirements of travellers and visitors from overseas." The Minister of Town and Country Planning said in the Second Reading Debate that the Bill itself is not concerned primarily with these objects, but the Amendment reflects the general interest which was expressed, for example, in the Debates on the Catering Wages Bill, as to the need for the post-war development of the catering and hotel industry.

Under Clause 4 (1), the Licensing Planning Committees are already required to consider the nature of the licensed premises, and this was intended by the Government to give them the right and the duty to take into account the facility for food and accommodation. If, however, it is felt by the Committee that while that is our intention, it is not quite clearly stated, I think we should be prepared to reconsider the wording on Report stage and to introduce an Amendment accordingly.

3.0 p.m.

With regard to the second part, I think that by the time we have dealt with the Government Amendment on this Clause the hon. and gallant Member who has moved it will see that we have the point he has made fully in mind. The Secretary of State informs me, however, that he is willing to draw the attention of the Licensing Planning Committees especially to their function under this Bill. So I think that with that assurance the hon. and gallant Member may perhaps be satisfied.

Viscountess Astor

May I ask the Government to be very careful about this Amendment, because it will be remembered that during the Debate on the Catering Bill there was a lot of talk about overseas visitors? I know a lot about overseas visitors—

Major Taylor

The hon. Lady is one herself.

Viscountess Astor

—and I can assure the hon. and gallant Gentleman that I am not at all ashamed of being a Virginian. I wish there were more in this House, and then there would be more moral courage. The overseas visitors, if I know them, would far rather get good coffee and a good glass of pure milk and good food, and that is not what the hon. Members who have put down this Amendment are interested in. It is the same group that tried to do away with the Catering Bill—I do beg the Government to remember what that cost them—and to do away with the wage boards for the catering trade. I do beg of the Government to watch carefully what they are doing. It seems to me that they are on the slippery road leading far away from those noble and high ideals to build a better world. I know that group. I have fought them for years, and I wish to heaven that I could fight them with more people in the House than we have at present.

Major Taylor

I shall not enter into an argument with the Noble Lady. She and I have different opinions about what is good for us. I would not dispute that there are certain things which are good for her, but which are not good for me. The Noble Lady has admitted herself that she is a visitor to this country—

Viscountess Astor

May I ask why the hon. and gallant Gentleman says I am a visitor to this country? He only said it to be rude. I do not care how rude anybody is, as long as I am not rude myself.

Mr. Gallacher (Fife, West)


Major Taylor

I do not want to enter into an argument about this, so, in view of the fact that the Parliamentary Secretary has stated that this matter will be considered before Report stage, and that the Government are prepared perhaps to introduce the principle behind this Amendment before the Report stage, I beg to ask leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Mr. McKinlay (Dumbartonshire)

Would the hon. and gallant Gentleman mind stating the principle? We are all interested to know—

The Chairman (Major Milner)


Mr. McKinlay

Surely, if the mover of an Amendment states that there is a principle involved, and the Parliamentary Secretary says that the Minister will look again at the words, in view of the principle involved, I can ask this question. I am not the only one who wants to find out exactly what is the principle involved.

Major Taylor

May I just answer that point? I did not want to take up too much time, and I thought that in introducing the Amendment I had made the principle perfectly clear. [HON. MEMBERS: "No.".] Will hon. Members listen now, not having listened before?

Hon. Members


Mr. McKinlay

The hon. and gallant Member must not be rude.

Major Taylor

Will hon. Members, then, allow me to make the distinction quite clear now? Will they do me the honour of listening now, obviously not having listened before?

Mr. Tinker (Leigh)

On a point of Order. I heard the hon. and gallant Member speak before and he did not explain what the Amendment meant; we are all waiting to hear. There is no need for him to be rude to us by saying that we did not listen.

The Chairman

I am afraid that is not a point of Order.

Major Taylor

I did my best to try to explain that there was a distinction between public houses which serve drink only and other houses—hotels and so forth—that serve not only drink but food, and also provide accommodation. That is the distinction. We are merely asking that in this Licensing Planning Bill the distinction should be made between the two different kinds of licensed premises, if you like, one of which serves drink and drink only, while the other caters for the accommodation of visitors and also serves food.

Mr. Gallacher (Fife, West)

I do not think the hon. and gallant Member has made his point at all clear. If we are to discuss this question, the principle must be laid down, because there are any numbers of publicans who are prepared to put forward the argument that the liquid they are selling is food, good food. I do not believe them, but they say it is. I remember a publican in my own home town who had a few lads round his bar discussing the cost of living. He was putting down so much for clothing, so much for food, so much for coal, so much for gas, and one of the lads said to him, "What about a little for beer, Harry?" Harry said "That is included in food." So we want a principle laid down that distinguishes clearly the kind of food which is involved, and to find out whether it is not possible that in every licence the same conditions should be laid down so far as the conduct of the premises is concerned. Just to say that some hotels provide food, particularly pubs—as though that makes any real difference in principle as to the character of the establishment—is nonsense.

Amendment negatived.

The Solicitor-General (Major Sir David Maxwell Fyfe)

I beg to move, in line 21, leave out "any other licensing planning committee," and insert: such authorities or bodies as may be specified in the directions. The Clause, as it stands, provides for consultation between licensing planning committees, and it was felt that there should be first of all a more extended power—that is, that the licensing planning committees should be able to consult the whole of the local planning authority or the whole of the bench of licensing justices if they wanted. I think this point of view has been held by local authorities and, indeed, this will, in part at any rate, meet one of the points raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Peck- ham (Mr. Silkin) in his speech on the Second Reading, when he said that he hoped that the licensing planning committees would consult the local planning authorities specifically, before they gave certificates for temporary premises. We want the widest general consultation, and in that way we hope that it will meet the object which my hon. Friends who moved the first Amendment also had in mind. We think it is useful that there should be power for the Home Secretary to direct what consultation shall take place, so that he can, on his side, ensure that the consultations actually occur. I hope that this is a non-contentious Amendment which everyone will feel is for the improvement of the Bill.

Mr. Silkin

I only want to ask whether in fact there will be contained in the directions, a direction to consult the appropriate authorities. If my hon. and learned Friend can give me that assurance, it will save time later on, because I have an Amendment down which will be rendered unnecessary if that assurance is given.

The Solicitor-General

That is the intention of the Amendment, just to effect what my hon. Friend has said.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.