§ THE EARL OF WEMYSS,
in presenting a Licensing Ads Amendment 1362 Bill, explained that its object was to secure uniformity in the granting, by way of renewal or transfer, of licences for the sale of intoxicating liquors. It was the same Bill which he introduced last year, and the late Lord Bramwell was its draughtsman, who had felt a Bill of this kind was necessary in the interests of justice. Last year he had been prevented from proceeding with it by the General Election, but it was before the country long enough to secure the strong support of the class affected by the licensing laws. He had in his hand a copy of a monster petition which he had presented. Although there were only 289 signatures to it, each signature was that of the chairman or president of an important Trade Defence Association. The petitioners said that at present beer retailers enjoyed a protection under the Act of 1869 which licensed victuallers did not possess. They said that the holders of full licences enjoyed by custom up to recent years a similar advantage, and that they were not interfered with by magistrates except for the purpose of preventing injustice or abuse, but that there had been a change since the case of Sharpe v. Wakefield, in which it was decided that licensed victuallers had no legal right whatever in their licences. They asked in their petition that they might be put on the same footing as beer retailers under the Act of 1889. It was, as he had said, in a spirit, and as an act of justice that Lord Bramwell had drafted this Bill, and he confidently trusted their Lordships would deal with it in a like spirit.
§ Bill read 1a.—[No. 18.]