§ Order of the Day for the consideration of the Commons Amendment to one of the Lords Amendments and the Commons Reasons for disagreeing to certain of the Lords Amendments, read.
§ THE FIRST COMMISSIONER OF WORKS (EARL BEAUCHAMP)
My Lords, I move that this House do now consider the Commons Amendment to one of the Lords Amendments and the Commons reasons for disagreeing to certain of the Lords Amendments, and in doing so I believe it is in accordance with precedent that I should make a short statement to your Lordships' House with regard to the general scope of these Amendments. I am afraid that I have very little to add to what I have already said on previous occasions without any effect upon your Lordships in regard to these questions. Your Lordships will no doubt remember that in the discussion of this Bill on previous occasions Amendments on three points of special importance were inserted. The first of them dealt with the time limit, the second with a system of disinterested management, and the third with a scheme of compulsory insurance, and though there were other Amendments introduced they were not of the same importance as those three.
His Majesty's Government were quite unable to agree to the time limit which was inserted by your Lordships; and although they had not the same objection on principle to any scheme of disinterested management, they were unable to agree to this particular scheme now in the Bill on the ground that in their opinion it was neither practical nor workable. The scheme of compulsory insurance is very largely dependent upon the Amendment which deals with the time limit, because, of course, your Lordships will realise that compulsory insurance is of very little value if the time limit is a short one; there is no time for the insurance to become of a sufficient amount to be worth having 1322 if the time limit is only a short one. To some extent, therefore, it is not inaccurate to say that that Amendment is dependent upon the one of the time limit. But taken together all the Amendments which were inserted by your Lordships' House were, in the opinion of His Majesty's Government, equivalent to a rejection of the principle of the Bill, and, as I have said on previous occasions, we were unable to look upon the future of the Bill as likely to effect much for the temperance of Scotland.
I have therefore very little to say on this occasion except, perhaps, to throw out two suggestions. First, I would express the hope that when this Bill is considered again in another session of Parliament the Amendments which will be suggested by your Lordships' House will be so different in character that they may prove more acceptable than those to which I have already referred. The other suggestion—it is no more, indeed, than a suggestion of a somewhat vague character, but which I think is at any rate worthy of the consideration of all those who are interested in temperance—is this. Your Lordships quite realise that the disinterested management scheme which has been introduced into this Bill deals only with disinterested management in Scotland. I think it is quite worthy of consideration whether the noble Earl, Lord Grey, and those who are interested in disinterested management might not consider the question—I put it no higher than that—of introducing a Bill next session dealing with disinterested management, not only in Scotland, but also in England. If a suitable scheme could be devised, it would certainly assist disinterested management far more than anything in this Bill, which is purely local in its character and applies only to Scotland. Whether a Bill dealing with disinterested management in England and Scotland might not go further to advance the cause is worthy of consideration. And if that is done, I am sure we should all be able to look upon it at any rate with a favourable eye, and if it was confined to a Bill devoted to that one subject I think it might have a chance of success. Beyond that I do not think there is anything I can usefully say in moving this Motion.
§ Moved, That the Commons Amendment to one of the Lords Amendments and the Commons Reasons for disagreeing to certain of the Lords Amendments be now considered.—(Earl Beauchamp.)1323
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
My Lords, I do not want to anticipate the discussion of these Amendments in detail, but I wish to say half-a-dozen words in reply to the statement that has just been made by the noble Earl in charge of this Bill. The situation, put quite shortly, is this. Virtually the whole of our Amendments have come back from the House of Commons with an intimation that they are unacceptable. The only reasons advanced are those to be found in the few perfunctory and question-begging words which your Lordships will find on the Blue Paper which lies on the Table. The noble Earl has amplified those reasons a little, but not very much. He has told us that the Bill in the form in which it left this House will be an unworkable Bill. Well, some of my noble friends on this side of the House took infinite pains to make it workable, and I think they may well complain that they received very little assistance from noble Lords on the other side of the House.
The noble Earl is, I think, quite right in concentrating the attention of the House upon the three cardinal Amendments which we made in the Bill—the question of the time limit, the question of disinterested management, and the question of the insurance scheme. Those three Amendments hang together. The Amendment dealing with disinterested management is really the pivotal Amendment of the three. You could not, in our view, have disinterested management without some form of insurance in order to mitigate the hardship occasioned to those licence-holders who are deprived of their licences, and, as the noble Earl told us himself a moment ago, a time limit of adequate length is essential if the insurance scheme is to be made a workable one. I am not going to take up the time of the House by once more arguing the case in favour of disinterested management. Let me recapitulate, in the barest language, the reasons which have led us to support that proposal. Disinterested management has been tried and tried successfully in other countries. It is greatly desired in Scotland. The noble Earl is well aware of the influential deputation which called upon the Prime Minister some time ago and laid before him a weighty and authoritative statement of the manner in which the question is regarded in Scotland. Disinterested management, again, found much 1324 support in the Grand Committee of the House of Commons. The noble Earl himself admitted that in principle he and his friends were not opposed to it; and, of course, he is well aware of the fact that some of his colleagues were actually committed to Bills in which the principle of disinterested management was admitted. Again, we lay stress upon the fact that the giving of this option to the electors in Scotland is essentially consonant with the main object of this Bill. The main object of the Bill is to allow the electors to decide as they please, and in our view it is absurd to preclude them from the right of deciding in this particular manner should they wish to do so. It may be borne in mind that so long ago as, I think, the year 1879 a Committee of this House advocated disinterested management; and last, but not least, those of your Lordships who read the account of the discussion of this point in the House of Commons the other day must have been struck by the almost piteous manner in which one Liberal Member after another got up and implored to be emancipated from the thraldom of the Whips and allowed to give a free and independent vote on this point.
As to insurance, in our view common fairness demands it. Nor is it less required ill order to disarm the hostility which this Bill is sure to encounter unless some means of dealing justly with those who are affected by it is contained amongst its provisions. Upon this point those who sit around me are not able to yield. Upon other and minor points we are open to consideration, but upon this point in our view it is impossible for us to surrender. The noble Earl may tell us that the Bill is, in his opinion, an unworkable Bill. I am not for a moment going to argue that as it now stands it is a perfect Bill. Some of my noble friends have put Amendments on the Paper to-day for the express purpose of meeting the criticisms which the measure encountered in another place; but no doubt it is capable of further improvement.
What I want to put to the noble Earl is ans. Is there any urgency, is there any reason why within the few remaining days of this session this Bill should be forced at express pace through both Houses of Parliament? When this session comes to an end we are not going away for six 1325 months. We are going to resume our Parliamentary labours in a few days or a few hours. Therefore, if there is still need for discussion, why should it not take place? Why should we not resume the consideration of these matters next session, when there will be still time and when I can assure noble Lords opposite we on this side will be ready to co-operate loyally with them in endeavouring to put this Bill into proper shape. I do not know whether in the suggestion which the noble Earl has made he had in his mind some procedure of that kind. He expressed the hope that we might manage better when the Bill came up again. I rather welcome the spirit in which that proposal was made to us. But, my Lords, after all that has happened, after what the supporters of the Government and of the Bill have said in another place, after what noble Lords have said as to the opportunities to which this House is entitled under the Parliament Act, I really cannot bring myself to believe that, you are going to hustle this Bill through both Houses of Parliament and impose it without further discussion, not only upon this House, but upon the people of Scotland.
§ LORD COURTNEY OF PENWITH
My Lords, I ask permission to associate myself for a few moments with the regret expressed by the noble Marquess opposite that the Government did not treat the Amendments inserted by this House with a little more consideration. The opposition which has been raised to the consideration of your Lordships' Amendments is perfectly undiscriminating, and, if I may use the word without offence, I might almost venture to add unintelligent. It is said that there are three questions involved in the Amendments which your Lordships inserted no one of which could be entertained elsewhere—the question of the extention of the time limit, the question of the introduction of disinterested management, and the question of compensation—and it is added that these three questions are inseparably linked together.
One of my objects for rising is to protest against the accuracy of that suggestion. The question of disinterested management is no more necessarily connected with the principle of compensation than is the question of no licence at all as contained in the Bill as brought up from the other House. And if the question of the abolition 1326 of licences altogether at the end of the statutory period is permissible without compensation, so I venture to say is the question of introducing disinterested management at the end of the same period without compensation also permissible; and I suggest to your Lordships that the question on which ultimately it will probably be found that the two Houses cannot be brought to an agreement is this question of compensation. Therefore it will be necessary in the interval which must elapse before this Bill is considered again that we should consider the point of the connection between disinterested management and compensation.
There is among all temperance reformers an invincible objection to the principle of compensation. They look to the fact that the form of these licences makes them annual only, though no doubt they have been renewed on condition of good behaviour, and the additional fact that sufficiently long notice may be given of any radical change as constituting adequate consideration to the interests of those who are engaged in this trade. Whether that be right or not as a general principle, it cannot be right in respect of no licences and wrong in respect of disinterested management. This is a point I would press on His Majesty's Government. If they support no licence without the question of compensation, they cannot recoil from the introduction of disinterested management without compensation; and I hope that eventually some solution of this matter will be found by the dropping of the question of money compensation.
There is only one other observation I would like to make in continuation of what the noble Marquess said in his concluding sentences. It is obvious that this Bill could not be settled in the remaining days of this session. The House of Commons has adjourned, the officers of State are away, and there would be no opportunity for that consultation and give and take which would be necessary before a settlement of the question could be secured. It must also, I suppose, be agreed by everybody that the supporters of this Bill cannot forego the advantages they have in using the provisions of the Parliament Act. This Bill in some fashion or other may be passed in two years' time, despite your Lordships' objection to some 1327 of the provisions in the form in which they came up to this House, for it is not to be supposed that the authors of the Bill will forego the advantages they have in the powers of the Parliament Act. But since the House of Commons cannot make any change in the form of the Bill to be submitted to your Lordships' House without forfeiting the privileges they enjoy under the Parliament Act, it follows inevitably that the Bill when it reappears next session will appear before us without any change whatever in the form of it from that in which it was sent up originally to this House, unless it be that the Commons incorporate in it some of your Lordships' Amendments. They can make no other change except that of incorporating some of your Lordships' Amendments. If they determined to send it up without any change at all or with some of your Lordships' Amendments incorporated, they might do it quite early in the session. No time need be occupied in the House of Commons since no change can be effected in that House. Your Lordships would thus have ample time to reconsider the whole question and to put into the Bill again such Amendments as the House thought proper, and in that way early next session the question might be brought under your consideration in ample time for co-operation with the other House with a view to a settlement.
I think if the Parliament Act is to be used against your Lordships you may at least claim that it should also be used in your favour—that is to say, that Bills which are to be submitted again and to be passed without your concurrence in some shape or other should be submitted under circumstances which would allow your Lordships to give ample time to the consideration of them. I hope I may be excused for having spoken at this stage, but I was reluctant to allow it to be supposed for a moment that the view of the Government that the three questions are inseparably linked together could be maintained. If you are to have local option, you must allow it to operate as the people in the locality desire, and you should not restrict it to only one form but should give the people the democratic power of determining in what way this trade should be carried on and whether or not there should be disinterested management. I hope this question will be disentangled from the embarrassment of Party advocacy and considered on its merits by itself.
LORD BALFOUR OF BURLEIGH
My Lords, I desire to associate myself very heartily with the remarks which fell from the noble Marquess the Leader of the Opposition. I also think there is a great deal in what the noble Lord who has just spoken says, and I sincerely hope that His Majesty's Government will take into serious consideration the suggestions he has made. As far as I am concerned, I desire to express my profound regret that the noble Earl in charge of the Bill did not adopt something like the conciliatory attitude which he has taken to-day at the time when we were discussing the Bill on its merits. I think if he had done so he would have given his own Bill a much better chance, and he would have treated this House with more fairness than in my opinion it has been treated with during these discussions. I can only say that if the machinery of the Parliament Act is to be put into operation to pass this Bill, so to speak, over our heads, I would infinitely sooner that that was done than that I should be in any way responsible for the Bill in anything like the shape in which it came up to this House.
This House does not seem to me to get even reasonably fair play from His Majesty's Government and sonic at any rate of their supporters. If we stand to our opinions, no matter how honestly they are formed, we get nothing but abuse, and if we seem to agree, if we give way at all, we do not even get credit for that; we are only treated with contempt and ridicule, and told that we would like to have opposed the Bill but that we did not dare. I do not think I am going too far when I say that throughout the whole course of the discussions on this Bill, whether on Second Reading, Committee, Report, or Third Reading, we never got the slightest help from the other side, and we never had the slightest indication from the noble Earl in charge of the Bill that he was even willing to consider any one of the three important Amendments which we, to the best of our ability, devised and put into the Bill. I also note the fact that there was not one single speech made by any noble Lord who has a personal knowledge of Scotland in favour of the Bill or any part of it. There is certainly one noble Lord well known in Glasgow, Lord Rowallan, who might have contributed to the discussion and might have answered, if he was able to do so, some of the criticisms 1329 which we made, but we never had the slightest indication from him—and he is a prominent person in the temperance reform world—that he believed in or cared for the Bill. That was our real difficulty—that we did not get the smallest encouragement, and therefore we had to proceed to the best of our ability without it.
I entirely agree with what the noble Lord who has just sat down has said. This is really a great national problem, and it is a matter of the deepest regret to me that a real endeavour has not been made to settle it upon non-Party lines. Apparently the noble Earl now is not opposed to the principle of disinterested management. Some of his colleagues have spoken in the country and elsewhere in favour of it, and all we are put off with at the present time is that if we pass this Bill in a form in which some of us profoundly distrust it we may or may not in the course of the next two years get a scheme of disinterested management in another Bill. I am afraid that is rather a slender hope, knowing as I do the fanatical opposition with which the idea of disinterested management is received by some of the supporters of His Majesty's Government in another place and by some of them in the country. I venture to say that if we were credulous enough to pass this Bill in the hope of getting that promise fulfilled, abundant reasons would be found in the fulness of time for not giving effect to, I frankly admit, the not very definite promise which is now given to us.
I do not wish to say a word of undue reflection upon those who represent the teetotal party in Scotland. They are profoundly sincere; they are absolutely consistent; I believe them to be animated by the very best possible intentions. But, my Lords, they are a small minority of the real people of Scotland, and they are not representative, I venture to say, even of the main run of opinion in the rank and file of the Party opposite. But they are splendidly organised, and they are in that position that in some constituencies at any rate they are able to impose their will upon the candidate at the time of an election. All we ask for, in suggesting this idea of disinterested management, is that if you profess to give the people of Scotland control of their affairs you should give them a real control. The suggestion of many of the supporters of the Govern- 1330 ment seems to me to amount to this, that they will only give the people power to do what these supporters of the Government think they ought to be allowed to do, and they do not want to give them real power to decide according to their own views what is best for them.
I have been in receipt of many scores of letters on this question since the Bill has been before your Lordships' House, and I am in the happy position that I have been equally abused by both sides. That is the not uncommon fate of one who is not able to take the extreme view upon either side. I hope your Lordships will not think I am making any complaint. I rather like it. I have a collection of gems which I shall read with satisfaction for a long time to come. But I believe it to be the real wish of moderate people on both sides that this question should be settled, and should be settled on moderate lines. I will not trouble your Lordships with more than one letter, but the other day I received this letter, dated from near Cambuslang, and after stating that he really hoped disinterested management would be reinstated in the Bill the writer goes on to say—I am a temperance worker of eighteen years standing and a total abstainer, hut from my study of the temperance question in all its aspects I am convinced that no Bill will succeed in dealing satisfactorily with the evils of the liquor trade unless it concedes to the people the right and the power to eliminate private profit from the sale of intoxicants in those places where the electorate do not propose to veto the traffic.I believe that this question of management is the real kernel of the whole question which we have to decide. Absolute downright repression has gone as far as it can go in Scotland, and if you attempt to press it further you will do nothing but harm. The cardinal point in this matter is management; and by what we call the disinterested management of public-houses you secure another thing—you continue publicity, which you do not get if you drive drinking into clubs. That is really the weak point of any further repression—that you will make drinking secret and increase rather than diminish it.
I do not go into the larger questions of compensation and time limit just now. But I quite agree that anything in the nature of public payment is impossible, though it is logically the fit and proper thing to do having regard to the fact that 1331 an interest—I do not say a vested interest—has grown up after a long series of years. I know that it is useless to argue it. All that you can provide is something in the nature of a time limit. What we might use the interval which will probably be before us in doing is this—in solving in some judicial way, after a proper judicial and careful inquiry, what is the real value of licences in Scotland. It is extraordinarily difficult to make sure that you are judging the matter fairly. The information given us by His Majesty's Government—I make no complaint upon it, for I know it is difficult to get information—does not enable us to solve it. The truth, I am certain, is this, that licences vary very much in value. Some of the lower class of houses are not worth more than a year's purchase, but some will come up to six years, six and a-half years, and seven years purchase. If we are going to deal with this matter judicially we ought to have more information than we have at the present time, and we ought to have it in a form which will command respect and assent on both sides, and I do not think that to be impossible. No matter what you may think of the present state of matters or even of the individuals who are engaged in this trade, you cannot get away from the fact that they are entitled to justice. If you take the interest which a licence-holder has in his public-house upon death, you cannot allow it to be taken away by a popular vote without seeing that at any rate a proper measure of justice is given to him for the interest which he undoubtedly holds, and which has grown up not only with your consent but actually for the benefit and in the interests of public policy. I most cordially associate myself with the desire that this matter should be considered on judicial lines; and, if possible, something should be done to take it out of the mere conflict of Party into which it has fallen.
THE LORD PRIVY SEAL AND SECRETARY OF STATE FOR INDIA (THE MARQUESS OF CREWE)
My Lords, the noble Lord thinks that he has grave cause to complain of the conduct of His Majesty's Government in dealing with this question, Be is, as we all know, one of the fairest-minded of men, but I think he departed to some extent from his habitual fairness in saying, almost in so many words, that the Government, under the influence of the most fanatical advocates of tem- 1332 penance policy, had been brought to force upon the people of Scotland not the kind of action which they might prefer but the action which seemed suitable to those who are imposing this policy upon them. That surely is hardly a, fair description, because if we look at the Bill we note that there are three options possible, the first of which is to leave matters precisely as they are, and that fact alone, I think, removes the foundation from the noble Lord's observation.
It is quite true, of course, as my noble friend behind me explained at the earlier stages of the Bill, that in view of the form which this disinterested management proposal took in the Amendments passed by your Lordships' House, it was not found possible, in the opinion of the parties concerned, to include that option in the Bill. The noble Lord thinks that we are entirely wrong not to do that, but I think he would admit that it is an arguable matter whether the method proposed for the introduction of that option is a practicable one, and His Majesty's Government do not consider that in the form proposed the scheme would work. However, it would be useless for me to attempt to argue the various points raised by the noble Lord, but I should like to say one word with reference to what fell from my noble friend behind me, Lord. Courtney.
The request made by Lord Courtney is-rather, I understand, of a different kind. It takes this form. Assuming that owing to the insistence of your Lordships' House this Bill as it stands cannot be proceeded with further in the present session, my noble friend Lord Courtney asks that at any rate it should be passed through the House of Commons in the forthcoming session in circumstances which would enable it to receive full discussion here as it is incapable of amendment there. My noble friend will understand that it is not possible for me at this moment to forecast the progress of business in another place next session, but I can assure him that we will see that his views are carefully considered by those responsible for the arrangement of business there, and they will be considered, I am sure, with a desire to meet, if possible, the wishes of my noble friend and certainly with a desire not to treat this House unfairly in respect to the further consideration of this measure.
§ THE EARL OF SELBORNE
My Lords, the noble Marquess who leads the House did not touch on the very important point which my noble friend made. I well remember that when we were discussing the Parliament Act Lord Loreburn, whom we are so glad to see again in the House, told us that when once that Act had been passed we should find the Government and the House of Commons much readier to consider Amendments of this House to any Bills than they had been in the past; and in recent debates Lord Emmott adjured us to read the Home Rule Bill a second time because the House of Commons would be so anxious to consider respectfully all Amendments put in by your Lordships' House. This is the first opportunity there has been. Here is a Bill that is not a Party Bill. We have put in Amendments which have been very largely supported by followers of the Government in the House of Commons—very largely supported and pressed upon their acceptance by their own supporters in the House of Commons. Yet the attitude of the Government to Amendments inserted by your Lordships' House is as unconciliatory as before, and the organs of their own Press show the same studied insolence to all the suggestions of your Lordships' House.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR (VISCOUNT HALDANE)
My Lords in considering the Amendments and the Commons reasons for disagreeing with them, I think it will be convenient to take them in the groups in which they appear on the Paper instead of taking the clauses consecutively. To illustrate what I mean, I would point out that the first set of Amendments with which the Commons have disagreed—namely, in Clause 1 and Clause 15—are grouped together inasmuch as they all relate to the commencement of the Act and the time limit. Therefore in considering the Amendments I suggest that we should take them out of the strict order in which they appear in the Bill, as it would be a source of great confusion if we were to try to consider detached Amendments in no order. I therefore propose, subject to your Lordships' consent, to treat the Amendments in the way in which they are grouped on the Commons Paper.
§ † Lords Amendments.
§ Clause 1, page 1, line 6, leave out ("five") and insert ("ten")
§ Clause 15, page 11, line 16, after ("the") insert ("last preceding")
§ Clause 15, page 11, lines 17 and 18, leave out ("in the year nineteen hundred and sixteen.")
§ Clause 15, page 11, line 21, leave out from ("poll") to ("and") in line 22 and insert ("taken in the first year in which a poll can be taken under the provisions of this Act.")
§ The Commons disagree to these Amendments:
§ Because they consider that the Amendments would unduly postpone the operation of the main provisions of the Bill.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
With regard to the first Amendment—Clause 1, page 1, line 6, leave out "five" and insert "ten"—I move that your Lordships do not insist on your Amendment. I do not think it is necessary for me, after what I have said on previous occasions, to say anything to your Lordships in moving this Motion; but I should like to hear from the noble Earl, Lord Selborne, who were the Members in another place who generally support His Majesty's Government but who did not support the Government upon this question of the time limit.
§ Moved, That the House do not insist upon the said Amendment.—(Earl Beauchamp.)
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
If I am not mistaken, Mr. Munro-Ferguson is a well-known member of the other House, and he suggested a concession in regard to the time limit which His Majesty's Government refused to accept.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
That is only one Member. I think the words of Lord Selborne were "a large number" of supporters.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
As to the Motion which the noble Earl has moved, we cannot, of course, agree to give way; and therefore we must reluctantly oppose the Motion.
§ On Question?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 32; Not-contents, 49.
§ † NOTE.—The references in each case are to Bill (149) as first printed for the House of Lords.1335
|Haldane, V. (L. Chancellor.)||Sandhurst, L. (L. Chamberlain.)||Hollenden, L.|
|Crewe, M. (L. Privy Seal.)||Inchcape, L.|
|Ashton of Hyde, L.||Lucas, L.|
|Chesterfield, E. (L. Steward)||Boston, L.||Reay, L.|
|Beauchamp, E.||Charnwood, L.||Rotherham, L.|
|Craven, E. [Teller.]||Colebrooke, L.||St. Davids, L.|
|Fortescue, E.||Courtney of Penwith, L.||Saye and Sele, L.|
|Grey, E.||Emmott, L.||Shuttleworth, L.|
|Loreburn, E.||Granard, L. (E. Granard.)||Stanley of Alderley, L. (L. Sheffield.)|
|Portsmouth, E,||Haversham, L.|
|Hemphill, L.||Weardale, L.|
|Allendale, V.||Herschell, L. [Teller.]||Welby, L.|
|Canterbury, L. Abp.||Selborne, E.||Dunmore, L. (E. Dunmore.)|
|Vane, E. (M. Londonderry.)||Estcourt, L.|
|Argyll, D.||Wicklow, E.||Forester, L.|
|Devonshire, D. [Teller.]||Falkland, V.||Greville, L.|
|Halifax, V.||Gwydir, L.|
|Lansdowne, M.||Hood, V.||Hindlip, L. [Teller.]|
|Salisbury, M.||Hutchinson, V(E. Donoughmore.)||Hvlton, L.|
|Kenry, L. (E. Dunraven and Mount-Earl.)|
|Camperdown, E.||Peel, V.|
|Cromer, E.||Kilmarnock, L. (E. Erroll.)|
|Curzon of Kedleston, E.||Ampthill, L.||Kintore, L. (E. Kintore.)|
|Eldon, E.||Ashbourne, L.||Lovat, L.|
|Graham, E. (D. Montrose.)||Balfour, L.||Oranmore and Browne, L.|
|Halsbury, E.||Blythswood, L.||Playfair, L.|
|Harrowby, E.||Bowes, L. (K. Strathmore and Kinghorn.)||Ritchie of Dundee, L.|
|Kilmorey, E.||Rothschild, L.|
|Lovelace, E.||Brodrick, L. (V. Midleton.)||Savile, L.|
|Malmesbury, E.||De Mauley, L.||Stewart of Garlies, L. (E. Galloway.)|
|Morton, E.||Desart, L. (E. Desart.)|
§ Resolved in the negative, and Amendment insisted on accordingly.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
The other three Amendments, in Clause 15, are consequential. I move that we insist.
§ Moved, That this House do insist upon the said Amendments.—(The Marquess of Salisbury.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.
§ Lords Amendment.
§ Clause 2, page 1, line 15, after ("(b)") insert ("a disinterested management resolution, or (c)" )
§ The Commons disagree to this Amendment:
§ Because they consider that the scheme for giving effect to the disinterested management resolution would prove unworkable in practice.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
This is the Amendment introducing disinterested management. In view of the discussion that has already taken place on this subject, it is, perhaps, desirable that I should say a few words. The name of Lord Rowallan has been mentioned in the course of the debate, and it will perhaps interest Lord Balfour of Burleigh if I state that I have 1336 this morning received a letter from the United Consultative Committee of the National and Denominational Temperance Organisations of Scotland, of which Lord Rowallan is chairman, and in the course of this letter the Committee say—Disinterested management has never been endorsed by the people of Scotland, has never been before the electorate in the same manner as the Temperance (Scotland) Bill, and we do not see any reason why it should ride home to the Statute-book on the back of that measure.Some comment has also been caused by the fact that there was comparatively little support of His Majesty's Government in another place when the discussion on this matter took place. It is not very orderly to revert to this question, but as this has already been referred to your Lordships will, perhaps, allow me to make two remarks on the subject. One is that there was an attempt made to get the debate finished at an early hour. Consequently a large number of supporters of His Majesty's Government did not take part in the discussion, and, as generally happens, it was found therefore that those who disproved of the proposal took the larger share in the discussion. The other point I wish to make is this. Disinterested management has been before the people 1337 of this country for a good many years, and it has been before the consideration of Members in another place. It was considered in Grand Committee before this Bill ever became a Government measure, and without any pressure from the Whips or Party pressure of any kind the Grand Committee of the day refused to insert it in the Bill; and later, when this was a Government Bill, again without Party pressure it was decided that disinterested management ought not to be introduced into this particular measure. In those circumstances I venture to hope that your Lordships will not insist on your Amendment. In view, however, of the decision which has recently taken place I shall not put the House to the trouble of a Division, but the Government reserve full right to take any action they may think fit in the future.
§ Moved, That the House do not insist on the said Amendment.—(Earl Beauchamp.)
LORD BALFOUR OF BURLEIGH
The noble Earl is wise in the matter of tactics in deciding not to take a Division on this Amendment, because if we might draw an inference from what happened before it would not be so favourable to the Government as the last Division, for on the last occasion when we divided on this matter the Government only took twenty noble Lords into the Lobby, of whom fifteen were paid members of the Government and four of the other five were Peel's of recent creation. But I cannot allow the remarks of the noble Earl to pass without some answer. I have put clown an amended form of the Amendment, which I propose to move; it is deliberately intended to meet the most serious of the criticisms which were made by the Secretary for Scotland in another place. The scheme as passed by this House provided for an absolute monopoly in the district even in the case of hotels and grocers' licences, and in his speech in another place the Secretary for Scotland called this "monopoly with a vengeance," and criticised the proposal to give to an authorised public company not only all the public-houses in the area but also all the hotel., licensed inns, and grocers' licences. The Amendment which I have put down to-day would meet the point made by the Secretary for Scotland, for it would limit the effect of the disinterested management resolution to public-house business and public-house business alone, 1338 and would leave the justices in their present position as regards hotels, inns, and grocers' licences. No one can deny that this is a substantial alteration of the original proposal. By it the disinterested management proposal is limited purely to public-house bar trade. I am sorry in some respects for this, because it may have a bad effect in rural districts, for there are few rural districts in which there is not an inn or hotel which is fitted for this class of accommodation. All f can say is that this is a genuine effort to meet the criticism made by the Secretary for Scotland. The noble Earl rather indicated that there had been comparatively little support for this proposal from the rank and file of the supporters of His Majesty's Government in another place.
LORD BALFOUR OF BURLEIGH
This proposal has been distinctly supported in another place. I have not had time to look up the whole of the quotations, but it is not true to say that it had no support. I take such a typical Member as Sir Thomas Whittaker. He said—I also am firmly convinced that the system of disinterested management would enormously hasten and facilitate the adoption of prohibition, which I ultimately look for.And Mr. Pringle, the Member for Northwest Lanarkshire, a thoroughly representative Scottish Member, said—It is idle, and it seems to me to be beside the point, for my right hon. friend the Secretary for Scotland to say that the majority of the people of Scotland do not want this option. If this option were introduced into the Bill it would not force disinterested management upon anybody in Scotland. Even if a minority of the localities in Scotland desired the option, I think we are bound as democrats to consider their wishes, and to give the opportunity to that minority of localities to take up the option if they so desired.It is because I want the real opinion of the real people of Scotland that I am anxious they should have this option, and I am obliged to ask the House to insist on this Amendment in the form in which I propose subsequently to alter it, although I am afraid nothing may come of it at this stage. But I repeat that any service I can render in endeavouring to come to an agreement on this matter in the future will be cheerfully and most zealously rendered.
§ On Question, Motion negatived, and Amendment insisted on accordingly.1339
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
On the Commons Blue Paper, which the noble and learned Viscount on the Woolsack wishes us to proceed by, there is an Amendment inserted here—Clause 2, page 1, line 18, to leave out "three-fifths" and insert "two-thirds"—that does not belong to disinterested management at all.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
I agree that if we are going by the Blue Paper at all it would be better to adhere to it. I venture to suggest that we should not insist on this Amendment.
§ Lords Amendment.
§ Clause 2, page 1, line 18, leave out ("three-fifths") and insert ("two-thirds").
§ The Commons disagree to this Amendment:
§ Because they consider that the condition imposed by the Amendment is too stringent.
§ Moved, That this House do not insist on the said Amendment,—(The Marquess of Salisbury.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.
§ Lords Amendments.
§ Clause 2, page 2, line 2, after ("resolution") insert ("or of a disinterested management resolution, as the case may be")
§ Clause 3, page 3, line 25, after subsection (4) insert the following new subsections:
§ (5) For the period during which a disinterested management resolution remains in force in any area no certificate shall be granted therein except to an authorised public company: Provided that a certificate shall not be so granted unless the company has given such security by way of deposit or otherwise as the licensing court requires, for the payment by the company by way of annual or other periodical instalments to the Scottish Licence Holders Central Insurance Board established under this Act, of one-half of the total declared value of the certificates in the area, as insured in accordance with the Third Schedule to this Act, which have been withdrawn in pursuance of the disinterested management resolution; or where applications for certificates within the area are entertained from more than one authorised public company, security for the payment of such proportion of half the total declared value aforesaid as may be fixed by the licensing court. The liability imposed upon any authorised public company in pursuance of the foregoing provision shall cease and determine if and when the disinterested management resolution, in pursuance of which the liability was imposed, ceases to be in force.1340
§ (6) The Scottish Licence Holders Central Insurance Board shall apply the sums received in pursuance of the provisions of the immediately preceding subsection towards the payment of the claims of the licence holders in the area in respect of the withdrawal of whose certificates such sums are payable.
§ (7) An authorised public company means a company registered under the Companies (Consolidation) Act, 1908, one of whose objects shall he the sale of exciseable liquors and whose memorandum and articles of association shall have been approved by the Secretary for Scotland. The memorandum and articles of association shall make provisions for such matters as the Secretary for Scotland may prescribe either generally or with reference to any particular authorised public company and shall provide, among other things—
- (a) that, subject to the payment of all sums required in pursuance of this section to be paid by the company to the Scottish Licence Holders Central Insurance Board, the whole of the profits, after payment of interest at not more than four per centum on the paid-up capital, and after making provision for the formation of a reserve fund equal in amount to the paid-up capital upon such terms as may be fixed by the memorandum and articles of association, shall be paid to the Secretary for Scotland, and shall be applied by him in making grants to local authorities to be expended upon such works of public utility as he may in each case prescribe;
- (b) that no profit or advantage from the sale of exciseable liquors shall accrue to the shareholders or directors of the said company, beyond the aforesaid dividend, and the salary or remuneration of the managers or employees of the company shall not be dependent on, and shall not be subject to increase or decrease in porportion to, the sale of intoxicating liquors in any licensed house under the control of the company;
- (c) that the accounts of the company shall be submitted to an annual audit by an auditor to be approved by the Secretary for Scotland, and that the report of such auditor, with an abstract of the accounts, shall be published in a newspaper circulating in each area in which the company holds a certificate. The auditor so appointed shall disallow and surcharge upon the interest on capital all unreasonable payments for rent, salaries and liquor, and any use of the profits otherwise than as hereinbefore provided. The licensing court shall also have power to appoint an auditor who shall have the right to inspect the books of the company at any reasonable time;
- (d) that no person who, under section nine of the Licensing (Scotland) Act, 1903, is debarred from acting as a member of a licensing court shall be eligible to be a member or director or shareholder of an authorised public company within the meaning of this Act, and every person who shall knowingly or wilfully offend against any of the provisions aforesaid shall forfeit and pay the sum of fifty pounds, to be recovered before the sheriff within six calendar months next after the offence has been committed; and
- (e) that it shall be competent for such author-iced company to apply to the licensing court for the provisional grant of one or more such certificates without stating in the statutory application where the premises are severally situated or the proprietor's or factor's name and designation, and the licensing court shall make such provisional grants accordingly, but such provisional grants shall not be valid until declared to be final by the order of the licensing court to be made whenever the court is satisfied that the premises selected by the authorised company are suitable.
§ (8) Nothing in this Act shall entitle an authorised public company to apply for or to obtain a greater number of such certificates in any area than the number of certificates in force in such area at the date on which this Act came into operation; but it shall be competent for such authorised public company to apply for and to obtain a smaller number of such certificates than the number in force as aforesaid.
§ (9) Before any grant is made by the Secretary for Scotland to a local authority under this section, a draft scheme shall be laid before both Houses of Parliament during the Session of Parliament specifying the local authority to whom the grant is proposed to be made, the amount of the grant and the works of public utility upon which the grant is to be expended, and if within the next thirty days upon which that. House has sat either House passes a resolution against the scheme or any part thereof, no further proceedings shall be taken thereon, without prejudice to the making of any new draft scheme.
§ (10) The Licensing (Scotland) Act, 1903, as amended by this Act, shall apply to any application by an authorised public company for the grant or renewal of a certificate and in addition to any terms or conditions imposed under the Licensing (Scotland) Act, 1903, as amended by this Act, a certificate granted to an authorised public company shall be granted and laid subject to the conditions specified in this section, and to such provisions in the memorandum and articles of association of the company as may have been required by the Secretary for Scotland to have been inserted therein and those conditions and provisions shall be taken to be within the terms and provisions of the Licensing (Scotland) Act, 1903, and any breach of those conditions or provisions shall be an offence within the meaning of the Licensing (Scotland) Act, 1903, against the terms and conditions contained in the said certificate.
§ (11) Unless within three months after a disinterested management resolution is carried an authorised public company has made an application in writing to the licensing court of the area stating that the company is desirous of carrying on business in the area in accordance with the provisions of this section, and has satisfied the licensing court that the company is able and willing to undertake the liability for payments to the Scottish Licence Holders Central Insurance Board imposed by this Section, the disinterested management resolution and the poll at which the resolution was carried shall be void.1342
§ Clause 3, page 3, lines 27 and 28, leave out ("or of a limiting resolution") and insert ("or, except where the grant of a certificate is refused to an authorised public company, in pursuance of a disinterested management resolution,")
§ Clause 4, page 3, line 32, after ("thereof") insert ("has not become void under the provisions of this Act, or")
§ "Clause 4, page 3, line 36, after ("or") insert ("if")
§ Clause 4, page 3, line 37, after the first ("resolution") insert ("or disinterested management resolution")
§ Clause 4, page 3, line 40, after ("for") insert ("a disinterested management resolution or for")
§ Clause 4, page 4, line 4, after ("for") insert ("a disinterested management resolution or for")
Clause 4, page 4, line 10, after paragraph (b) insert the following new paragraph:
("(c) if a disinterested management resolution is in force for the following options, that is to say, for the repeal or continuance of any such resolution, or for a limiting resolution, or for a no-licence resolution; and")
§ Clause 4, page 4, line 12, after ("same") insert ("or for a disinterested management resolution")
§ Clause 4, page 4, line 16, after ("resolution") insert ("or a disinterested management resolution")
§ Second Schedule, page 12, after line 15 insert: