HL Deb 21 July 1908 vol 192 cc1669-71

House in Committee (according to Order).

[The Earl of ONSLOW in the Chair.]

Clauses 1 to 6 agreed to.

Clause 7:

LORD ATKINSON moved that Clause 7 be omitted from the Bill. He had, he said, the keenest sympathy with the promoters of the Bill in their efforts to attack the evils in question, but he believed that in this case their zeal had carried them too far. The Bill provided that notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the Employers and Workmen Act, 1875, where the contract for which damages were awarded under that Act consisted of, or included drunkenness, imprisonment might be ordered in default of payment of damages. The Act of 1875 to which allusion was made enabled the magistrates, as in Petty Sessions, to settle disputes between employers and workmen and to receive contributions or award damages to an extent of £10 with the same powers as were conferred on other Courts by the Debtors Act. It would be contrary to all the spirit of modern legislation to enforce a merely civil demand by imprisonment in default. It would do the employer no good, would not secure in the slightest degree his getting damages, and might mean a serious loss to the workman.

Amendment moved— To leave out Clause 7."—(Lord Atkinson.)


said that when he moved the Second Reading of the Bill he ventured to say some small Amendments would be required. Of these that proposed was one, and he had much pleasure in accepting it.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 8:

LORD ATKINSON moved to amend this clause which ran— Any person who being drunk while in charge of any person or animal, or thing, endangers the life or limb of any person, shall be liable, on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding forty shillings, or to imprisonment, with or without hard labour, for a period not exceeding one month, by deleting the word "thing" and inserting the words "or vehicle, whether the same be drawn by animal power or be propelled by other than animal power." In his opinion the word "thing" was much too wide; it might cover anything—a box of matches for instance. It should be confined as suggested by the Amendment.

Amendment moved— In page 3, line 8, to leave out the word 'thing, and insert the words 'or vehicle, whether the same be drawn by animal power or be propelled by other than animal power.'"—(Lord Atkinson.)


thought the noble Lord restricted the clause more than was contemplated by the promoters of the Bill. The clause as amended would, as he understood it, restrict that portion entirely to vehicles.


I sympathise with the noble and learned Lord in not wishing to see words which may lead to an undue application of this clause, but I cannot help thinking that his words are a little too narrow and restricted. The point is that no person is obnoxious except one who, being drunk, endangers the life or limb of any person. That is a condition which applies to every case, and if you get the conditions of a man being drunk and endangering the life or limb of somebody else you need not be too particular as to whether he has a wheelbarrow, or a vehicle or anything else. I cannot help thinking it might be well if the noble Lord would be good enough to withdraw this and consider whether some words a little less narrow than his own might be suggested.


agreed to the suggestion.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 8 agreed to.

Remaining clauses agreed to.

Standing Committee negatived. The report of Amendment to be received To-morrow, and Bill to be printed as amended. (No. 170.)