§ [SECOND READING.]
§ Order of the day for the Second Reading read.
§ LORD AVEBURY
My Lords, as this subject has been several times before your Lordships it will not be necessary for me to trouble the House at any length. The Bill was originally brought in at the urgent request of the shopkeepers themselves. It was referred to a Committee, which reported strongly in its favour. The Report said—The Committee are convinced by the evidence that Sunday trading is on the increase; that the Bill is urgently needed; that it is desired by the shopkeepeng interests, and would inflict no serious hardship on the poorer classes; that it would be a great benefit to the country generally, and that it commends itself both to the reason and the conscience of the community.The following year I brought in a Resolution stating—That in the opinion of this House the question of the Sunday opening of shops demands the serious and early attention of His Majesty's Government.This was unanimously adopted, and a Joint Committee of both Houses was appointed. This Committee also was strongly in favour of legislation. They pointed out that the present state of the law was unsatisfactory and unjust and they said—The Committee recommend strongly that legislation, subject to such modifications in the existing law as may be necessary, should be initiated in general accordance with the increasing feeling against Sunday trading.Under these circumstances, we were disappointed last year that Sunday trading was omitted from the list of subjects on which the Government proposed legislation. We then proposed another and stronger Resolution—That this House reiterates its opinion that the subject of Sunday trading requires the serious and earnest attention of His Majesty's Government, and urges them to legislate in accordance with the unanimous reports of the Committees of 1905 and 1906.327 This, also, your Lordships agreed to unanimously, but my noble friend the Lord President of the Council spoke very unsympathetically, and frankly admitted that the Government were not disposed to move in the matter. However, we hoped against hope, but as it is evident that the Government will do nothing, we have re-introduced our Bill. It is in the form adopted by the Committee of 1905, with one or two small Amendments suggested by the Committee of 1906. Every provision in it has been approved by that Committee also, though the Bill does not in some respects go so far as they recommended.
Now, my Lords, what are the provisions of the Bill? It does not in one sense propose to alter the law of the land as regards Sunday trading, except in detail. Sunday trading is already illegal, but the law is inoperative because the fine is too small. We propose to raise it to the amount approved by Parliament in the case of the Early Closing Bill. The shopkeepers, however, feel, and both Parliamentary Committees agreed, that if the law is to be made operative, certain exemptions are necessary. The main exemptions are refreshments, medicines, milk and cream, newspapers, tobacco in the hours during which public-houses are open, and for the morning hours bread, fish, vegetables, fruit, and cooked meat. In considering a Bill of this character we must have regard to the wishes and feelings of shopkeepers and of customers, especially the poorer customers. Now, as regards shopkeepers, the Bill is supported by all the important trades. The Report of the Committee comprises a list of 350 associations which support the Bill, and the number is now larger. Not a single association of shopkeepers desired to give evidence against the Bill, and I do not know of any by whom it is opposed. This is surely a most remarkable concensus of opinion, and having now been for over thirty years in close touch with the shopkeeping community I may assure your Lordships that there is nothing about which they are more unanimous or more determined. I see that Mr. Stacey, the energetic secretary of the Early Closing Association, in a letter in yesterday's Press, even goes so far as to say that the shopkeepers, including the 328 small shopkeepers, are practically unanimous in its favour. I must not omit to mention the shop assistants. They naturally feel very strongly on the subject, and surely they are entitled to their Sunday's rest.
Now I come to the customers, and here I think we may fairly take the trade councils and trade unions as representing the views of working men. The Committee give a striking list of about 200 trade councils and trade unions who support the shops in this demand. As representing public opinion, I may also refer to the views of municipalities. Resolutions in favour of the Sunday closing of shops have been passed by the corporations of Liverpool, Manchester, Hull, Swansea, Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Dundee, Aberdeen, and over fifty other cities and boroughs, and by the executive council of the Urban District Councils Association, representing no less than 490 urban districts. Finally, a few days ago (5th March), at a meeting of the London borough councils, convened expressly to consider the question of shop hours, a resolution was passed, one clause of which was that shops should be shut all day on Sunday. I must frankly admit that the case of the Jews presents some difficulties, and I will at this stage only say that, while ready to meet them as far as possible, the view of shopkeepers is that if Jews come to live in a Christian country they should conform to the law of the land. We are most anxious, however, to meet the views of the Jews as far as possible. The Committee recommended that certain areas where the Jews have special markets might be scheduled, and we are quite prepared to accept such a clause. This, however, is a matter for Committee. I ought also, perhaps, to mention that some of the costermongers in the East of London, though not, I believe, in any other city, are opposed to any curtailment of Sunday trading. I believe, however, that the Bill has been misrepresented to them. The Joint Committee, in their Report, said that they were—Of opinion that the greater part of the opposition is based on a misapprehension. Under the exemptions provided in the Sunday 329 Closing (Shops) Bill of 1905, which the Committee have in the main adopted, they consider that no serious inconvenience could be caused.In conclusion, I cannot more strongly commend this Bill to your Lordships than by reading a few short paragraphs from the Report of the Joint Committee of 1906. They said—They are satisfied of the great importance of maintaining the Sunday as a day or rest not only on religious and moral grounds, but also as necessary to the preservation of the health and strength of the community … Though the Committee had no doubt as to the importance of the Sunday rest from the point of view of health, they thought it well to consult the President of the Royal College of Physicians, Sir Richard Douglas Powell, who was good enough to come and express his opinion, which he said was that of the whole medical profession, that there cannot be the least doubt of the importance of one clear day's rest in seven.' The Committee do not consider that the words of any particular Bill come within their terms of reference, but they recommend strongly that legislation, subject to such modifications in the existing law as may be necessary, should be initiated in general accordance with the increasing feeling against Sunday trading in this country.The religious aspect of the question has several times been urged, with his usual force and lucidity, by his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury. If I do not refer to it, it is not because I undervalue this aspect of the case, but because I can leave it in abler hands. My Lords, in conclusion, on behalf of the shop-keeping community I most earnestly commend this Bill to your favourable consideration and trust you will give it a Second Reading.
§ Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a."—(Lord Avebury.)
§ *LORD SWAYTHLING
My Lords, I ask for your indulgence while I say a few words respecting this Bill. I feel sure that the noble Lord who introduced it is actuated solely with a desire to benefit the people of this country by assuring that every one should have a weekly day of rest. But, unfortunately, if this Bill should pass into law in its present shape it would inflict immense hardship upon many thousands of the poorer working classes in my community. I feel justified in speaking on behalf of those living in East London, because I have worked among them for over fifty 330 years. I have represented a constituency in East London for fifteen years, and am now for the twentieth year acting president of a federation of forty-three congregations comprising 30,000 souls. They are about half the number of Jews in East London; I estimate the total number at about 70,000. Of these, the majority would be seriously affected by this Bill. They observe the seventh day Sabbath of the Decalogue, as did their fathers and ancestors for thousands of years. They, therefore, cease working on fifty-two Saturdays in the year, besides thirteen festivals; and if by this Bill they are compelled to close their shops and stalls on fifty-two Sundays, that will make 117 days in the year on which they will not be able to trade. Such a restrictive measure would ruin thousands, and throw them upon the rates, and if they were tempted to sacrifice their Sabbath they would deteriorate morally and swell the number, probably, of atheists, and even of anarchists. The Committee which considered this question in 1906, unanimously resolved to add the following paragraph to their Report—Lastly the Committee must draw attention to the case of the Jews, with whom they have much sympathy. They would be glad if a compromise could be found that would satisfy the Jewish community. The Committee have been informed that any measure will be opposed which does not expressly permit those Jews who close on Saturday to open on Sunday. Such an arrangement, on the other hand, would probably be opposed by the shop-keeping community as a whole, and the Committee cannot recommend it. The Committee, however, realise that in the large cities there are to be found areas which are inhabited mainly by Jews. In those areas certain markets have grown up in which a large business is transacted on Sunday. The Committee are of opinion that these areas might be scheduled in any Act permitting any Jew who closes his shop and does not trade on Saturday to trade in these areas until midday on Sunday. The Committee recommend that, if the Jewish community desire it, permission should be given for the sale of kosher meat and Jewish bread up to midday on Sunday.The only argument of importance which I have heard in opposition to that recommendation of the Committee is that the Jews should not have any special legislation. It is said that since they come here they must abide by the laws of the majority. I would point out, in reply, that there already exists special 331 legislation in favour of the Jews in the Factory and Workshop Act of 1878, reenacted in 1901. I quite agree that everybody in this country must abide by the laws, but when new laws are proposed which are injurious to them and restrict the freedom which they generally enjoy it is the duty of their defenders to oppose them. The bulk of these Jews are Russian refugees, and it is hardly sympathetic to say that they come here. They are driven here by the murderous cruelties of the Russian Black Hundred, who murder, and incite to murder, men, women, and even little children, and are not themselves punished for their acts. The majority of these Jews have been obliged to flee to civilised countries like this, where they hope to have their life and property safe. They wish to work in peace; and if the provisions of the Factory and Workshops Act of 1878 were extended to shops and stalls, I myself should be perfectly satisfied.
I will only refer to one item in the Schedule of this Bill. While bread, fish, and cooked meat may be sold for a short time on Sundays, raw meat is not included. I should like to ask the noble Lord why it is that, in spite of the recommendation of the Committee, that concession has not been granted? This restriction would fall heavily on Jewish butchers in hot weather and when a festival occurs on a Friday or a Monday. They could not keep meat so long, and the poor people would be prevented from buying the scraps and offal which they consume, being unable to afford the expensive joints. Moreover, other than Jews protest against the Bill in its present shape. There are about 4,000 Mahomedans living in this country and 5,000 Mahomedan visitors come here annually, and I know from official sources that this Bill is strongly condemned by them. It is stated that such an interference with Mahomedans as this Bill involves, would be resented by Mahomedan British subjects, whose numbers exceed those of Christian British subjects. If these shops were closed they would not be able to buy kosher meat, the only meat that strict Mahomedans will eat in this country. I trust your Lordships will let this Bill meet with the same fate as the Bill of three years ago. My people 332 want to be let alone. Their Sunday trading is largely in food, and is carried on mainly with their own people. It has been well said that you cannot make people religious by Act of Parliament, but you can make them irreligious by Act of Parliament if you create fresh obstacles in the way of religious people keeping their Sabbath and other religious observances. I leave the matter to the humanity of your Lordships' House, and I hope the Bill will not pass in its present shape.
*THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
My Lords, I feel I almost owe an apology to the House for intruding again on this subject. Every year for a good many years past I have been privileged to say a few words respecting it, and while I feel that your Lordships listen sympathetically to the noble Lord who is so honourably identified with this work as year by year he renews his endeavour to get this Bill passed into law, you may not feel the same with regard to those who year after year speak in support of it. For, indeed, there is practically nothing new to be said on the subject. We have all the facts before us, and what we venture to complain of is that those who desire to postpone legislation, adduce, not arguments in opposition, but pleas simply for delay.
One Committee after another has during the last few years considered the subject, and the Joint-Committee which sat two years ago presented an exceedingly weighty report to your Lordships. I venture to think very scant justice has been done to the immense labour which that Joint-Committee bestowed upon it. I was not a member of that Committee and therefore can speak with freedom as to the merit which attaches to the work the Committee did. Last year no Bill was introduced, but my noble friend brought forward a Resolution in favour of such legislation as that which this year we are invited once more to undertake. Your Lordships will remember that those of us who are in favour of it, and I think the House generally, felt some little disappointment on the former occasion at what was said by my noble friend Lord Beauchamp, 333 who spoke on behalf of the Government then as I gather he will speak to-night, and whose words in this House on behalf of the Government contrasted somewhat markedly with the Amendment he had himself proposed in the Committee.
Not only have this Bill and Resolutions respecting it been again and again before the country, but during the last two or three years there has been a remarkable awakening on the whole subject of Sunday observance. The movement has been supported, not only from the religious standpoint, though from there it took its start, but by medical authorities, commercial authorities, and by those who represent the Labour section of the community in almost every large town in England and Wales, there being a widespread apprehension on the part of the working classes and others that they are in danger of losing their day, of rest and, where this is desired, of worship. Lord Avebury has again pointed out how all those to whom we have a right to look for evidence on this subject have been practically unamious in support of some such measure as that which is now again before your Lordships. The Shopkeepers' Associations all over the land support it; the municipal authorities, who, as my noble friend says, are most unwilling generally to take action in a matter of this kind which is more or less controversial, have found public opinion to be so strong in their boroughs that they have thrown themselves into the ranks of those who are supporting this legislation; and now the municipal councils of London, following what has been done in the country, support the proposal.
On the other side we have, it is true, some objection on the part of the costermongers and of a few associations such as the Society of Operative Printers, who have circulated to your Lordships a document which is a remarkable example of how a man honestly desiring to put a case before the public may misunderstand the matter in such a way as to render his manifesto practically worthless. This document rests on a basis of supposed fact, which is directly contradicted by the Bill itself, by the Reports of Committees on which the Bill is founded, and by the evidence 334 which has been adduced year by year in the speeches of Lord Avebury and others. There are, and always have been, three classes for whose interests the opponents of legislation of this kind ask consideration—the small consumer, the small trader, and the Jewish community. Every one of these cases has been most carefully considered in the Report which has been long in your Lordships' hands, and the objections are met in the Bill now before us.
As regards the consumers, it is almost impossible, as we have again and again said, to get conclusive evidence from any representative spokesmen or spokeswomen, because nobody is formally authorised, so to speak, but anyone who will look at the endeavours which have been made by successive Committees to obtain evidence from the kind of people who are supposed to be treated harshly by legislation of this kind will see that the matter has been gone into to the very bottom, and that it is really a baseless proposition that there is a widespread feeling of objection to this legislation among those who represent small consumers. Witnesses have spoken on behalf of those trade unionists or their families who are the consumers affected, and such witnesses are practically unanimous in saying that the objections are fanciful and unreal. As to the small traders, the noble Lord has often pointed out that the associations which have spoken with practical unanimity up and down the country consist very largely of small traders, and that no delusion can be greater than that which represents this proposal as being made on behalf of large tradesmen as against small tradesmen.
Then with regard to that portion of the community for whom Lord Swaythling has just spoken, the Committee which has tried to deal with this matter has expressed a desire that such objections to legislation as are fourd to be real on the part of that community should be dealt with respectfully, carefully, and generously. But I think we have a right to say that we must not, in legislation of this kind concerning the people as a whole, be too much regulated and influenced by 335 consideration of the wishes and scruples of those who must, after all, be a very small minority of the people of the land taken generally. Mahomedans have been mentioned by the noble Lord. But we are not making new legislation in a new spirit; we are making old legislation practical; and the question of how a general law will affect the position of an infinitesimal minority of the population is hardly the kind of argument that can be regarded as conclusive when we are dealing with the general well-being of a Christian nation. The community at large has spoken with no uncertain voice on this subject, and while we will take the greatest care to consider any Amendment or suggestions for improving the provisions relating to the Jewish community, I hope we shall consider the interests of the people at large as over-riding even some objection felt by so important a section of the population.
The exemptions allowed in the Schedule—exemptions which are capable of being enlarged, but are in my opinion ample as they stand—at all events show what care has been taken to find out where the shoe pinched and to prevent it pinching if that were possible. If one sees what takes place in some of the Sunday markets in our great cities, it is impossible to say that the majority of the things sold are things which it is necessary to sell on Sunday. A large proportion of the merchandise is crockery, second-hand clothing, singing birds, and growing plants. There is no attempt to show, at any rate on any large scale, that the purchaser of these things is unable to go for them on any other day. Where this could be shown we have tried to meet the difficulty by special provisions in the Bills which have been successively brought forward. I think the reality of the need for the Bill amply proved. The evil with which it deals is increasing, and I hope the House will not again be told that it is impossible to proceed in the matter, and that further consideration is required. The subject has now received the fullest consideration, and nothing is to be gained by delay.
§ *THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
My Lords, like the most rev. Primate, 336 I feel that I owe your Lordships an apology for speaking again upon this subject, for I am afraid that during the course of the last two or three years I have spoken not a few times with regard to it. To-night I shall add very little. Although I have sometimes differed from my noble friend Lord Avebury, with regard to the details of his proposal, I have always thought that in principle he had a very strong case. I think so now, and if he goes to a division I shall certainly follow him into the lobby.
What I may call the Second Reading position is really a very simple one. The practice of Sunday trading is already illegal under the laws of this country; but, as we all know, owing to certain inadequacies in those laws they are constantly defied. Then there is no doubt that the practice of Sunday trading tends to increase. The evidence upon that point is, I think, overwhelming. Another matter which I think should weigh with your Lordships is this, that this is not a case in which you can look to public opinion to redress the evil. As we all know, if a single man persists in the practice of Sunday trading, he virtually forces the hand of all other traders in the neighbourhood. There seems to me, therefore, to be a very strong case for the intervention of the Legislature.
As to the history of the matter, we have the fact that in 1905 a Select Committee of this House reported in favour of my noble friend's Bill. In 1906, your Lordships, on my noble friend's Motion, referred the subject to a Joint Committee of both Houses of Parliament, and that Committee reported in favour of the Bill presented in the previous year. Last year we carried a Resolution proposed by my noble friend in the same direction. Therefore, so far as this House is concerned, we are very strongly committed to the principle of this proposal. My noble friend has brought evidence to show that it has the support of an immense body of the shopkeepers of this country. He is supported by the trade unions and trade councils, which we may surely take as authoritative exponents of the views of the working classes. He has the support of a number of very important local 337 bodies and corporations, and, as I said a moment ago, he has the support of this House so far as its recorded votes are concerned during the last three years. It seems to me that if ever what I may call a Second Reading case was established, my noble friend has established it this evening.
It is quite true that any legislation of this kind is almost sure to occasion hardship in some directions, but it does seem to me that we have to consider the balance of advantage and disadvantage, and that we ought not to be deterred from carrying out an improvement in the law which will give infinite relief to many thousands of the people of this country, merely because certain smaller classes of the community may be to some extent inconvenienced. In Committee we shall be able to consider whether there are any cases of hardship not provided for in the exemptions already specified. We have it from my noble friend Lord Avebury, and from the most rev. Primate that if any such hardships are found to remain, they will gladly entertain Amendments for meeting them. For these reasons I hope your Lordships will give a Second Reading to the Bill, reserving to yourselves, of course, the right to modify it, should it be shown to require modification, in Committee.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
My Lords, I do not think the noble Lord who introduced this Bill will have had any illusion as to the answer he is likely to receive from His Majesty's Government. The Home Secretary, both by letter and in answer to a Question in another place, has stated that it is quite impossible for His Majesty's Government to deal with the question during the present session, and that they are even unable to take up a private Member's Bill on the subject. Therefore this afternoon, although His Majesty's Government do not propose to offer opposition to the Second Reading of the Bill, I must warn the noble Lord that in the circumstances they do not view that proceeding with any enthusiasm.
I think it is only fair to your Lordships to point out that the matter is not quite so simple as it seems at first sight. There is an increasing number of people who 338 wish to see a Bill passed to secure, not the Sunday rest, but the principle of one day's rest in seven, leaving it to the individual to choose the day most suitable. That has some merits, such as solving the difficulty of railway travelling and matters of that kind. There are a large number of Sabbatarians who regard this Bill as not going far enough and allowing a great deal more trading on the Sunday than in their opinion is really necessary. But there is, as I have said, an increasing body of opinion among the working classes in favour of following the example of French legislation, and of enacting one day's rest in seven rather than of insisting on the particular day of rest being Sunday.
Then there is the method of carrying out the principle of the Bill, as to which everybody is not yet agreed. The method of the Bill is to exempt a number of trades from its operation; but I would remind your Lordships that the present Act of Charles II. will remain in force, and I am not sure that if we put this Bill on the top of it we shall not to some extent make the confusion of the law worse than it is at present. On the last occasion when we discussed this question we had a Motion before us, which is a very different thing from a concrete Bill. The noble Marquess who has just sat down spoke, as he reminded your Lordships, in 1905 on this measure, and as a sincere admirer of the noble Marquess I hope I may be allowed to quote part of what he said to your Lordships on that occasion. This Bill is substantially the same Bill as that which was before your Lordships in 1905. That Bill received some condemnation from the noble and learned Earl who was then on the Woolsack, but the noble Marquess the Leader of the Opposition said—I cannot help thinking that that section (Clause 6) will place the Home Secretary in a very invidious position, and one in which no Minister should be placed.He spoke of the Bill as a piece of not very successful patchwork, and he also said that the result of its passing would be to produce not a few ambiguities and inconsistencies. He said he regarded the Bill as still open to very serious objections, and would regret to see it 339 become law. That is the Bill which your Lordships are asked this afternoon to read a second time.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
That is true, but those Committees have not incorporated any substantial alterations. It is practically the Bill of 1905 which the noble Lord now asks your Lordships to read a second time. The most rev. Primate made a reference to myself, the same reference as he made last year. He was tempted, I think, by the success which it met with on that occasion, to repeat it. He spoke then as he spoke to-night of a difference between the language I held in this House and the language I held as a member of the Committee. If the most rev. Primate had pursued his study of the Report a little further he would have seen that the clause which was inserted on my Motion was a very different one from the original moved by Lord Avebury. That clause read—The Committee desire to express their entire concurrence with the opinion expressed by the Committee of last year that Sunday trading is on the increase, and that the Bill is urgently needed.The words which were substituted expressly excluded the use of the word "urgently," and were very much milder in form than the original draft. I am glad to have had this opportunity of explaining to your Lordships that there is not that seeming inconsistency in my views which the most rev. Primate would have you believe. May I also say this to the most rev. Primate, that I think he is very optimistic in taking the view that the Jewish objections have been met by the provisions in this Bill. We have heard from Lord Swaythling that he would be very glad if your Lordships would decline to read the Bill a second time.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
There is no doubt of this, that the various objections 340 which were laid before us by members of the Jewish faith have not been met, or, at any rate, have not been satisfactorily met, by the provisions of this Bill. Then this legitimate criticism, at any rate, may be passed on the Bill, that it leaves the Act of Charles II. in force, and it is possible that, although certain trades are excluded from the Bill, penalties will still be applied for under the old Act. That seems to me a grave and serious objection. I can assure your Lordships that, I think in common with most Members of your Lordships' House, I should be very willing indeed if, by common agreement of all parties and of all religions, some method could be found of dealing with this question, which would be entirely satisfactory to all by securing, if not Sunday, at any rate one day's rest in seven.
§ THE DUKE OF NORTHUMBERLAND
Yes, I suppose we should all be very glad if all parties and all religions could agree about anything. I do not think the noble Earl's assurance at the conclusion of his speech is very satisfactory. I did not intend to speak on this Bill, for the very good reason that I have spoken so often upon it, but I cannot refrain from saying that, having myself served on both Committees, I share entirely the surprise of the most rev. Primate at the entire change of attitude which the noble Earl has assumed in this House from that which he adopted on the Committee. It is perfectly true that the noble Earl suggested several amendments, but I thought this was done so that we might arrive at some common ground in favour of the Bill. I did not imagine that it was done by a member of the Committee who in this House was coming forward as an entire opponent of the Bill in all forms and shapes, unless every single soul and every religious body in the country came to an agreement upon it.
I am still more surprised at the statement which the noble Earl has thought it his duty to make without the slightest corroboration or support of any kind. He tells us that there is a growing feeling in this country in favour of the enactment of one day's rest in seven instead of maintaining the Sunday. What is his 341 ground for making that statement? No such statement has ever been made before a Committee. I remember a member of the Committee suggesting to a witness whether he did not think that would be a solution of the difficulty, and, as is generally the case when a question of that kind is put, the witness scratched his head and said it might be. But I have never heard the smallest evidence of a general wish in that direction, though I have received a great many communications and suggestions from various people on this subject. With all due respect to the noble Earl, until he can bring forward some proof of his statement I must believe that he is labouring under some misapprehension.
With regard to the case of the Jews, we all admit that that is a great difficulty. I think I may claim for myself that I did what I could on the Committee to obtain for the Jews a perfectly fair hearing, and every consideration. I do not deny the difficulty, and should the Bill go into Committee I would be ready to do all I could to meet them. But I do not think that a great and growing evil should be allowed to continue throughout the length and breadth of the United Kingdom, merely because it may be difficult to meet the position of one small section in the country. I therefore hope your Lordships will give the Bill a Second Reading.
§ *LORD AVEBURY
My Lords, it is quite true, as the noble Earl opposite has said, that he moved in the Committee to omit some words which, as Chairman, I had suggested, and to insert other words. But what were the words which he proposed and which I accepted? They ran—The Committee do not consider that the wording of any particular Bill comes within the terms of reference, but they strongly recommend that legislation, subject to such modifications in the existing law as may be necessary, should be initiated in general accordance with the increased feeling against Sunday trading in this country.I did not think it advisable to stand by particular words. It is a great thing to have a Committee unanimous, and the noble Lord's words gave us substantially what we wanted. I think your Lordships will agree that it was wise to accept the words proposed by my noble 342 friend opposite. I entirely concur with what has just been said by the noble Duke. We did not find that there was any feeling in the country in favour of one day's rest in seven apart from Sunday. The noble Lord said that the provisions of the Bill would press severely on the trades included. But the trades included are most anxious for the Bill. With regard to the Jews, it must not be forgotten that they are allowed to open their shops on Saturdays after sunset, when the best trade is done. I am asked why we precluded the sale of raw meat. That was done at the earnest desire of the butchers' associations themselves; but that, of course, would be a matter for consideration in Committee. I particularly stated, in moving the Second Reading, that there was every desire on our part to meet the wishes of the Jewish community, and that Amendments in Committee, in so far as they do not affect the principle of the Bill, will have full consideration. We have every desire to meet their views without sacrificing the Sunday rest of shopkeepers generally.
§ On Question, agreed to. Bill read 2a accordingly, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Thursday, the 26th instant.