HL Deb 08 August 1872 vol 213 cc686-8

Commons' Amendments considered (according to Order).


said, that the Amendments made by the Com- mons in the Bill were numerous. Some of them were unimportant, but some of them were very important. He did not think, however, that they were likely to provoke any discussion in their Lordships' House; because, for the most part, they were in accordance with the wishes of those who objected to the stringency of the Bill before it was sent down to the Commons. The Amendments did not make the Bill more severe, but tended in the opposite direction. He was willing, however, to acknowledge that some of the Amendments made by the Commons appeared to him to be improvements. One Amendment had been carried against the Government by a considerable majority, 39, which would have placed grocers selling spirits to be consumed off the premises entirely under the provisions of the Bill. That appeared to Her Majesty's Government to be a step that went too far, and having considered the matter, they submitted to the House of Commons a modified clause, which ultimately was adopted, and under which, as the Bill now stood, it would not touch wine licenses at all. In the case of spirits sold by grocers for consumption off the premises what it provided was this—Every man who took out a license for the sale of spirits in retail, in connection with a wholesale spirit license, such spirits to be consumed off the premises, would have to apply to the justices for such a license as was at present taken out for the sale of beer to be drunk off the premises, which license could not be refused by the justices except on special grounds. The application to the justices would be a guarantee for the respectability of the party applying, while the license was one which must be granted except there were special grounds for refusing it. He could not have concurred in the first Amendment made by the Commons in respect of this matter, but he thought that the modified clause was a very proper one.

Some of the Amendments agreed to; some agreed to, with Amendments; and one disagreed to, and a Committee appointed to prepare reasons to be offered to the Commons for the Lords disagreeing to the said Amendment; the Committee to meet forthwith; Report from the Committee of a reason for the Lords disagreeing to the said Amendment, read, and agreed to; and a message sent to the Commons to return the said Bill with the reason and Amendments.


, in reference to a remark made by the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Ripon) last evening, wished to observe that the case of the Bill was not at all analogous to that of the Public Health Bill. The latter Bill only came up to their Lordships' House last Friday, and it was read a third time, and passed last evening. The Bill now before their Lordships was sent down to the Commons as long back as the 14th of June, so that the Commons had no reason to complain that they had not received it in time.


, as a magistrate acting in a small town where almost every other house was a public-house, and where there was a great deal of drunkenness, could not help expressing his conviction that the Bill had returned from the House of Commons in a much better state than that in which it went down; and he must congratulate the Government upon having passed a really good Licensing Bill, and one which he believed would materially tend to reduce the amount of drunkenness which was so deeply to be regretted.