§ Order of the Day read for receiving the Report of Amendments.
§ Moved, That the Report be now received.—(Lord Lamington.)
§ THE EARL OF PLYMOUTH
My Lords, this is the first time that I have ventured to address you, and I will therefore ask the House to accord me the kind indulgence and encouragement which it invariably gives to those who address it for the first time. I am the more diffident in addressing your Lordships because the matter that I have to speak about has a somewhat personal aspect, and I can assure the House that I shall confine my remarks within the narrowest possible limits. Your Lordships will remember that when this Bill was last before the House the noble Viscount, Lord Astor, made a rather bitter attack upon the True Temperance Association, which is more or less responsible for this Bill, and of which I happen to be Chairman. I do not think I should be exaggerating if I said that the noble Viscount struck me as being somewhat intemperate in his advocacy of temperance.
121 There followed, after this attack, on the following Sunday, in a newspaper with which the noble Viscount is connected, an equally bitter attack upon the True Temperance Association, in which it was remarked that I sat in eloquent silence and refrained from replying to the charges made by Lord Astor. I therefore feel that it is incumbent upon me to do so at the earliest opportunity. I can quite easily explain why I did not reply when the Bill was last before this House. The reason was that the charges which Lord Astor made were so numerous, and so varied, and so entirely new to me in the main, that it was, literally impossible for me to deal with them at the moment, and I had to take the necessary time to find out the exact facts with regard to all the points which he raised.
I think the gravamen of the charge which Lord Astor made against the True Temperance Association was that it was not a genuine and independent temperance society, and that it had, on the other hand, acted continually as an ally of the trade. To substantiate this he pointed out that we did not publish our annual subscription list. He further suggested that the test of our genuineness depended upon the proportion of our income which we did, or did not, derive from those directly connected with the trade. I am inclined to agree with the noble Viscount that it would be wiser for us to publish our annual subscription list, if only to render ourselves immune from the kind of attack which he made upon us when this Bill was last before the House; but I entirely and most emphatically disagree with him that the amount of annual income which we derive from the trade has anything whatsoever to do with the genuineness or independence of our society.
The genuineness of our society depends entirely and solely upon the objects which we have in view, and the efforts which we make to translate those objects from ideals into realities. I can go further than this. I am sure the greater number of your Lordships will agree with me when I say that unless a society or movement such as ours has the support of, at any rate, the best elements in the trade, it stands but very little chance of succeeding. It is natural that the brewers, and the trade generally should be interested in this subject of public-house 122 improvement. So they ought to be, and I quite frankly admit that we do derive a considerable proportion of our income from the trade, but we do not receive by any means unanimous support from the trade. In fact, I know that on a number of occasions we have requested support from those members of the trade who have proved themselves either indifferent to or suspicious of the principles for which we stand.
I can go even further than this, and I can allude to the opinion of the trade with regard to this very Bill which is at present before your Lordships. In the Licensing World it was stated quite frankly that "as a matter of fact it [the Bill] excites no enthusiasm whatsoever in the trade." Then again the Brewing Trade Review says this:—Lord Lamington's Public-house Improvement Bill passed through its first stages in the House of Lords, hut … notwithstanding the desire in sonic; quarters to represent the measure as a trade Bill, it has never awakened any enthusiasm in trade circles.I think that is conclusive evidence. In further connection with this charge which Lord Astor made I should like to point out two other facts which seem to me quite conclusive. The first is that our annual income and expenditure is under £1,000 a year. I would like to ask the noble Viscount whether, if he seriously suggests that we are a tool of the trade and being used merely to undermine the morals of the public, he thinks that the trade would be satisfied to subsidise us to the extent of a paltry few hundred pounds a year. I suggest that it really is absurd. The other point which I wish to make is that every publication of the True Temperance Association is submitted for approval to each member of the Executive Committee, not one of whom is connected with the trade, and, what is more important still, these publications are not submitted to any one else whatsoever. I think that I can claim to have absolved the True Temperance Association from the charge that it is run by the trade.
I now go to the other charges made against the Association—namely, that it supports every single measure which emanates from the drink trade, and opposes every single measure put forward by the temperance forces. So far as I can make out, the only Bill which can by any possible stretch of imagination 123 be called a trade measure which has lately been introduced is Colonel Gretton's Bill of 1921, and I think your Lordships will agree that it was a very harmless measure, too. But I would like to point out that the True Temperance Association did not take a strong line about that Bill at all, and merely summed up the position by saying that, although the Bill was susceptible of improvement in detail, it demanded sympathetic consideration. I do not think those are strong words to use.
Next I come to the other side—the Bill which was referred to when this measure was last before the House, and which was introduced and passed last year, to prevent young persons under eighteen years of age from going into drinking bars. Neither the trade nor the True Temperance Association opposed this Bill officially. The only way in which the True Temperance Association was connected with it was by its women's committee becoming involved in a rather lengthy correspondence about it, mainly as to the probable efficacy of the measure in the long run. Not even the most ardent advocates of temperance, I think, would claim for that measure that it really struck at the root of the great drink problem in this country. I submit that this is really very flimsy evidence on which to make such definite and serious charges as have been made against the Association. And if it is really true that we are not in favour of temperance, but are rather, in a clandestine way, doing what we can to increase the consumption of liquor in the country, I should like to ask why we have issued a pamphlet entitled "Why you should be temperate," enumerating five very excellent reasons why people should be temperate. I admit that there are probably other reasons than those, but the True Temperance Association ought to get the credit of having found out those five good reasons for being temperate.
I think the next charge which the noble Viscount has made against the Association is really quite ridiculous. He said that at the last Election we invited voters to support Socialist candidates because they gave approval to a certain legislative proposal. Of course, we have supporters in every political Party, and all that we did was to draw up a list of the candidates who gave a favourable reply regarding our Bill, and to ask the voters in those 124 constituencies to give those candidates what help they could. That was not very much to do in recognition of the fact that those candidates had given support to our measure. Does Lord Astor suggest that we ought to have advised everybody in those constituencies to vote specifically against the Socialist candidate, in spite of the fact that he had given support to the measure which we hoped to bring before your Lordships' House? I really think that is quite absurd. One Socialist candidate whom we communicated with wrote back a very polite letter, and said that, while he sympathised very strongly with our views, he was afraid that we were offending in his constituency both the trade and what he called the temperance folk.
All these gibes on the part of Lord Astor merely go to show that the True Temperance Association is, and is quite rightly, a non-political body. And the Association was not by any means solitary in the very moderate course which it pursued on this matter. I note that at the last Election Mrs. Wintringham, a Liberal member of another place, found time to telegraph to the noble Lady who represents one of the Divisions at Plymouth:I hope Plymouth women of all Parties will remember that they have a national responsibility to return you to Parliament.Just as the noble Lady, the member for Plymouth, is non-political, in that very same degree is the True Temperance Association non-political. Then again, the Temperance Legislation League boasts that it has among its members people of all shades of political thought. I think that the noble Viscount, on reflecting, will see how ridiculous is this charge which he has made.
The next charge which he makes is, to me, quite unintelligible, because I cannot imagine where on earth he got his evidence from. He states that the True Temperance Association is opposed to disinterested management, and is in favour of tied houses. There is not a shred of truth in those two accusations. So far as disinterested management is concerned, I have been unable to find anything which the Association has ever written or said which could possibly be construed into opposition to disinterested management. And, speaking for myself, I am strongly in favour of that system. With regard to tied houses, the noble 125 Viscount says that we issued a pamphlet supporting and advocating tied houses. It is true that we did issue a pamphlet about tied houses, but what we said in it was this: "We dislike the tied house"; "but to-day we have to make the best of a bad job." That is what the True Tem perance Association are desirous of doing: they want to face the realities of the present situation, and to do what they can in the present circumstances to help to improve the public house. In face of these facts, and of the very clear and definite denials which I have given, I think that the noble Viscount ought to withdraw the quite baseless accusation which he has made in this respect.
Lastly, the noble Viscount wants to know what is the connection between the True Temperance Association and the Freedom Association. I think I can answer that quite easily. There is no connection between them whatsoever. Membership of the one does not preclude membership of the other, but I can assure the noble Viscount that membership of the True Temperance Association does not in any way entitle the subscriber to the privileges of the Freedom Association, whatever those privileges may be. And, equally, there is not any element of truth in the suggestion that we get correspondents to write to the papers, either in their own names or in assumed names, for financial recompense, or any other recompense at all. So far as I know, we have never suggested doing such a thing, and at the present time we have not got the money with which to do it.
I think that I have now dealt with all the points raised and the accusations made by the noble Viscount, and I believe I can claim that I have, not only given a, complete denial to till of them, but that I have shown that a number of them are nothing short of cruel falsehoods. In the article in the paper with which the noble Viscount is connected, and to which I have already referred, there appears at the end this question—What do noble Lords and other members of the True Temperance Association intend to do after the horrible revelations which Lord Astor has made about them and their society?Speaking for myself, I intend to conitinue taking the same interest in the Association as I did before, in the firm belief that the object which it has 126 in view, and for which it is working, will appeal to everybody except those who hold the most extreme views with regard to temperance. In conclusion, I would beg the noble. Viscount to believe that, though people, may hold different views from those which be does about temperance, they may at the same time hold them just as sincerely and just as conscientiously as he does his.
§ VISCOUNT ASTOR
My Lords, I am sure that I shall be expressing what all your Lordships feel when I congratulate the noble Earl on his maiden speech in this House. I think your Lordships will agree, and the OFFICIAL REPORT will confirm, that when I spoke in your Lordships' House the other day I did not in any way challenge the sincerity of the, noble Earl who has just spoken or of Lord Lamington. The last named had, on the previous occasion, charged me with making innuendoes and I did not want your Lordships to think that I was not prepared to say quite clearly and definitely what I felt about that particular Association; more particularly as I had not suggested outside nor in this House the other day that either of the noble Lords was doing anything dishonestly. I said that I myself had been taken in by the principles, the title and the literature of this Association; that I had for a time been one of its members and that, being dissatisfied with certain things connected with the Association, I had severed my connection with it. I did not want, by being associated with it, to lead the public to believe that it was the same as any other social, or philanthropic, or welfare society. May I deal with the points which the noble Earl has just made. He referred to the fact that this Association has an income of only £l,000.
§ VISCOUNT ASTOR
Of, roughly, £l,000. There are three societies under three different names whose objects and policy are substantially the same—the True Temperance Association, the Fellowship of Freedom and Reform, and the Anti-Prohibition League. They all advocate reform of public-houses and they all oppose the legislative policy of the Temperance Council of the Christian Churches, and the rest of the temperance 127 movement. It is true that the income of this particular society is not over £l,000. It is equally true that the income of one of the other societies is about £37,000. As to what the income of the third society may be there is, so far as I know, no indication, but there is no reason to imagine that it is less than the income or the expenditure of the Fellowship of Freedom and Reform.
Now, substantially, the noble Earl, Lord Plymouth, accepts as accurate most of what I said the other day. The Association did oppose the Bill relating to young persons. If your Lordships have any doubt, about it I am prepared to quote from the OFFICIAL REPORT of the House of Commons what was said by a supporter of the Bill on the Second Reading. He stated that, the measure was opposed by the trade, by the Freedom Association and by the True Temperance Association. Literature had been circulated to Members of Parliament from these bodies. It was pointed out in that speech thatit is worthy of note, that both Associations have their homes in the same street in this city, and that, by a singular accident, both Associations have their literature printed by the same firm. … As there are some hon. Members in this House associated with these Associations. I should he glad if they would explain what sources of wealth there are which make possible a very widespread propaganda throughout the country. If the trade is going to fight they ought to fight under their own name. As a matter of fact, they are following the example of an early King of Israel, who said, 'I will disguise myself to enter into battle.'The speaker in another place also referred to the Women's Committee of the True Temperance Association and said that these ladies had misgivings about the Association, had asked certain questions, had got certain replies, and, as a result of that, as honourable women, not wishing to be associated with what was really a fraud upon the public, had immediately dissolved themselves. That was said about the True Temperance Association in another place in the presence of members of the Association, and it is a great pity that those charges were not there replied to. If your Lordships desire it, I can produce a leaflet which was circulated by the Association opposing the Intoxicating Liquor (Sale to Persons under Eighteen) Bill. I can, if necessary, produce endless letters written 128 to the Press on behalf of the True Temperance Association opposing that Bill. After all, there would be no object in my making those statements if I could not produce that evidence.
The noble Earl has admitted that the Association invited voters in certain constituencies to support Labour candidates. I merely drew the noble Earl's attention to the fact that he, as a Conservative of Conservatives and as President of the Association, was recommending the electors to do that. It is a very different thing for a Liberal to send a message of good wishes to a Conservative where no Liberal is standing. It is a very different proposal then. I have stated that this Association bad acted as though it were an auxiliary of the drink trade; that it had, with the, other two societies, conducted an active propaganda campaign all over the country. It is well known that this is going on continuously. I invited the noble Lord, and I invite him again, to indicate any single temperance proposal put forward by any wing, or branch, or section of the temperance movement which his Association has supported. It is out against every single point which is put forward by the Temperance Council of the Christian Churches, which is one of the leading temperance organisations. It has produced literature against the legislative policy of those societies. The chief charge which I made was that the True Temperance Association did not publish a list of its subscribers and subscriptions, and that I knew of no other society that was in such a position.
§ LORD LAMINGTON
I thought the noble Viscount mentioned one just now at the beginning of his remarks.
§ VISCOUNT ASTOR
I said "any philanthropic, or social, or welfare society." I quite agree that these other societies which conduct a similar campaign, and act as if they were auxiliaries of the trade, also do not publish a list of their subscribers and subscriptions. That, I think, is a pity, and I gather from the noble Lord that he agrees that the position of the Association would be very much stronger if the public knew exactly who was giving the money. The only point which the noble Lord really definitely challenges is in regard to this question of subsidised correspondence.
§ VISCOUNT ASTOR
Yes, tied houses. In order to save your Lordships' time, I am trying to deal with the substantial and main points. I have in my possession a leaflet headed "Notes for the guidance of correspondents," which was sent out. There are two classes of people that I meet occasionally: those who, like myself, have been taken in by the title, or the principles, of these bodies and who then desire to sever their connection with them, or those whose conscience pricks them because they feel that they are doing a wrong thing. It was one of these who brought me this leaflet which, as I say, is headed "Notes for the guidance of correspondents." Let me read to your Lordships one or two extracts from it—It will sometimes be advantageous for a correspondent to write us a member of the True Temperance Association or the Freedom Association. On occasions it may be possible, and in such cases it will be desirable for the correspondent to obtain some one else's signature to his letter. … Correspondents should make full use of the handbook which is supplied to them.So far as I can make out, that refers to the "Handbook for Speakers and Writers on the so-called Temperance Question" which, so far as I can ascertain, is produced by Mr. Ernest E. Williams, who is also prominently associated with the True Temperance Association. This handbook is produced by the Freedom Association. There certainly seems to be a connecting link.
The noble Lord might have been able to give us a great deal more information than he has done about the Freedom Association had he persuaded his deputy-chairman, Mr. Williams, who, as I gather, is associated with the Freedom Association, to tell us a little more about this particular society. In another paragraph the leaflet states thatcorrespondents will join the True Temperance Association, the minimum subscription to which is half a crown a year. They will thus not only have a raison d'être for some of their letters and a definite position in the temperance movement, but will also have the advantage of the Association's publications. They will also be regarded as members of the Freedom Association which does not entail any annual subscription.It was because of that leaflet that I asked definite questions of the noble Lord the other day as to what was the 130 connection between these two bodies that are mentioned in this guide for correspondents who, for certain payments, were to write to the Press. I did not, the other day, suggest that the honorary treasurer of the True Temperance Association sent out the cheques to these correspondents. I do not now suggest it. I do not say exactly who sends the cheques, or how the money goes, for I do not know, but I think the noble Lord might very possibly, if he were to cross-examine those with whom he co-operates and who are associated with the organisation, be in a position to give your Lordships' House some information. I did not originally start any discussion in this House on the True Temperance Association. It was the noble Lord who did it by suggesting that I had made innuendoes. I only felt bound to justify my position, and to reply to the accusation which he made.
I am going to ask the noble Lord this. Does any officer of the True Temperance Association get any addition to his income either from any member of the trade, or from any drink-financed society, or for writing on licensing matters, or for acting in a legal capacity for trade members or for societies? It is quite obvious that a person might get a substantial addition to his income from are of these ways, and be in a position accordingly to give his services perfectly free to his True Temperance society. I hope I have made my point clear, and I hope the noble Lord will take steps to furnish himself with an answer to that question. I do not imagine he-can answer the question to-day, but I hope he will take steps to investigate the matter.
I also ask the noble Lord this further question. Does he approve of a prominent member of the association which is also connected with the Fellowship of Freedom and Reform as one of their paid staff coming to a private meeting of which no notice was given to the public, observing what was going on at this private temperance meeting, and apparently, so far as one could tell, publishing a very inaccurate report of he proceedings in the drink papers? I am perfectly certain that the noble Lord would not attempt to justify anything like spying on the movements of a temperance society; yet that is what happened recently. At a meeting which I addressed a lady who is connected with the True Temperance Association 131 was there. No notice had been given of the meeting, and no indication had been sent to her, and yet a very garbled report, a very misleading report, was published very shortly afterwards of the proceedings which had taken place.
The reason I personally have taken this stand about the True Temperance Association is this. When public men lend their names to a society which appeals to the public for money and for support, those public men should be quite certain that no charge can be made against their society to which they cannot effectively reply; and that their society does not engage in any activities, particularly political activities, unless they are prepared to justify and defend those activities. The True Temperance Association has been criticised during the last year or two, not merely in the paper with which I am associated, but in many other papers. I have taken the trouble to ascertain how many copies of a particular pamphlet called, I think, "The Submarine Flotilla of the Drink Trade" have been issued, and I learn that 70,000 copies of that pamphlet have been circulated, making definite charges against this association. If I were associated with a society, and were being criticised in the Press, I should make it my duty to find out exactly what that society was doing. I do not pretend to say that a chairman or a president of an ordinary society is expected to know everything that his society does, but if his society is being attacked, if its bona fides is challenged, then it is the duty, I suggest, of any public man associated with that society to make inquiries and see whether he is prepared to justify its activities.
It has given mo no pleasure to make here the statements which I felt myself called upon to make. I should not have done so had not the noble Lord who is in charge of this Bill charged me, on the Second Heading, with making innuendoes. I did not desire the noble Lord to think that I was afraid of stating here, openly and fairly, the charges which are made against the Association. I hope that I have not, to-day, any more than I did the other day, said anything against the personal honour of either of the noble Lords. That was certainly not my intention. If they can do anything to clear up the mystery, or the various mysteries which are connected 132 with this association, I certainly shall not regret the discussion which has taken place.
My Lords, the discussion to which we have just listened may have been inevitable, but it seems to me certainly to have been irrelevant. We are not, in fact, considering, as your Lordships might have supposed, a Bill for the grant of public money to the True Temperance Association. We are considering the Public-house Improvement Bill, and my only excuse for intervening at this stage is to bring your Lordships' attention back to that measure, and to the Amendments which appear on the Paper, and to ask your Lordships to be so good as to look at them very carefully before we come to them. I should like to say, in general terms, that I think in regard to some of the Amendments which have been put down by the noble Lord in charge of the Bill, that perhaps they do not carry out what he intends, and that others of them seem to me to make it a worse Bill.
There is also another matter which was not raised in Committee, but to which I should like to call your Lordships' attention, and that is Clause 3 of the Bill. If there were any reasonable prospect of this Bill going further, I think it would be necessary that we should look very carefully at Clause 3, because when you come to consider what it does you find it is rather remarkable. It says, in effect, that once a public-house has obtained the certificate as an improved public-house that fact alone shall be deemed to comprise in its ordinary public-house licence a licence which would otherwise be necessary in order that musical and similar entertainments might be given, or dancing permitted, upon the licensed premises. Those are matters which, at any rate, in crowded areas, and certainly in London, are given very careful consideration by the elected municipal bodies, and this clause proposes that all these licences shall be automatically granted to these public-houses.
Admitting, which I do not necessarily admit, that it would be desirable and proper that these facilities should be granted, I think it will be obvious to your Lordships that if that clause were not amended, all these facilities would be granted without being accompanied 133 by those other and incidental precautions, such as fire safety and rules for the exhibition of cinematograph pictures, which are laid down very carefully in regulations made by municipal bodies in crowded areas. Apparently, if any regulations are thought to be necessary, they are to be made by the licensing justices, who may impose upon the con-duet of dancing such conditions as may appear to them required in the interests of order and public safety. I do not think a municipal authority even would have the courage, or perhaps the ability, to impose upon the conduct of modern dancing any restrictions that I can conceive of. But they are to have the power to impose those conditions in the interests of order and public safety only upon the conduct of dancing, and not in any sense upon the premises, or the means of escape in case of fire, or precautions against fire on the premises. It is obvious that if this Bill were to go through that clause would require to be altered.
I do not want to detain your Lordships from the consideration of the Amendments which are before us, but merely to enter a caveat against this Bill even as amended now, and still more so if some of the Amendments on the Paper are adopted. It is an extraordinarily unsatisfactory Bill, and one which, it seems to me, in many ways, would be unworkable, and inconsistent with the real object which I think the noble Lord has at heart—namely, the provision of improved public-houses.
§ LORD LAMINGTON
In regard to the remarks which have just been made by the noble Earl I would point out that this Bill was carefully considered in your Lordships' House in 1919. It was then, I think, partly in charge of Viscount Cave, and partly of the Lord President of the Council, who conducted it through Committee. These points which the noble Earl now raises, therefore, come rather late in the day, this House having already considered them on two, if not on three, previous occasions.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to, and Report of Amendments received accordingly.134
§ "Improved public-house" certificate.
§ 1.—(1) Whore licensed premises—
- (a)are so constructed and managed as not to be mainly places for the consumption of intoxicating liquors;
- (b)contain adequate provision for the supply of food and other refreshments;
- (c)contain accommodation, apart from the bar, which is airy, commodious and comfortable;
- (d) are provided with tables and proper seating and sanitary accommodation;
- (e) are not under the management of a person who is remunerated by a salary or commission the amount of which depends upon the profits made by the sale of intoxicating liquors;
§ LORD LAMINGTON moved, in subsection (1) (a), to leave out "so constructed and managed as not to be mainly" and insert "suitable to be used as places of general refreshment and entertainment and not merely as". The noble Lord said: My Lords, this Amendment is to meet the objection of the noble Earl opposite and a so to get rid of the awkward word "mainly."
Page 1, lines 7 and 8, leave out ("so constructed and managed as not to be mainly") and insert ("suitable to be used as places of general refreshment and entertainment and not merely as").—(Lord Lamington.)
Do I understand that the Amendment has the approval of the noble and learned Viscount, Lord Cave?
I should like to ask it it is clear what the words, "suitable to be used as places of general refreshment and entertainment," mean. Is not almost every public-house suitable to be used as a place of "general refreshment and entertainment"? Are not these words very vague? No doubt, they are conditioned by the words which come afterwards—" not merely as places for the consumption of intoxicating liquor"; but is the noble and learned Viscount satisfied that licensing justices will obtain such a definition as will enable them to draw a clear distinction between the drinking shop and the improved public-house? If the noble and learned Viscount is satisfied, I will raise no further objection.
§ VISCOUNT CAVE
My Lords, I am not responsible for the Bill, but I think this Amendment is a great improvement. Objection was taken, and rightly taken, on the last occasion to the word "mainly." It is almost impossible for licensing justices to say whether a house is "mainly" used for one purpose or the other, and the Amendment introduces words which will indicate the real purpose of the Bill, that there shall be this concession to houses which are places of general refreshment and entertainment. I would not say that of an ordinary public-house.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ EARL RUSSELL moved, in subsection (1) (b), to leave out "food" and insert "meals" and at the end of the paragraph to insert "suitable to the character of the premises and the locality." The noble Earl said: My Lords, the House will recollect that at the request of the noble Lord in charge of the Bill I adopted the word "food" in Committee. I am still under the apprehension that the word "food" is altogether too vague, and that the mere placing of a plate of dry biscuits on the counter might be held to be provision of food. But in order to meet the, reasonable fear of the noble Lord that the word "meals" might be held to mean more than bread and cheese, I am proposing to restore the word "meals" but with the provision that they must be "suitable to the character of the premises and the locality." Those words, I think, will give a definition of meals which licensing justices, as ordinary men of common sense, will have no difficulty in con- 136 struing. I want a meal to imply something to which you sit down, whether it is, bread and cheese, or anything else. The word "food" means nothing; a mere sandwich would do. I hope the noble Lord will accept the Amendment with these words which leave it open to licensing justices to find what is meant by "meals suitable to the character of the premises and the locality."
Page 1, line 11, leave out ("food") and insert ("meals"), and at end insert ("suitable to the character of the premises and the locality").—(Earl Bussell.)
The noble Earl is very anxious for a clear definition, but what is the meaning of the words "suitable to the character of the premises and the locality" so far as they apply to a meal? Does he think that a plate of haggis in Scotland would be a meal suitable to the locality?
I am only entitled to speak with the consent of your Lordships, but may I point out that in East London you would not expect to find a meal of the same kind of delicacies that you would get in a restaurant in Mayfair? That is what it means.
§ LORD LAMINGTON
My Lords, the noble Earl and I want to find an intermediate word between "food" and "meals," but I do not think there is one in the dictionary. I should have thought that the word "food" meant something more than a plate of dry biscuits, whereas the word "meals" goes very far indeed. A man may go into a public-house at four o'clock in the afternoon and ask for a five-course dinner. I am advised that the words he proposes to insert would rather complicate matters, and I hope therefore he will withdraw the Amendment.
§ VISCOUNT CAVE
My Lords, I rather think these words make the clause much worse. The whole clause owes its authorship to the noble Earl; they are his words. I should have a difficulty in saying what are "meals suitable to the character of the premises and the locality." It would be a terrible burden to throw such a task on licensing justices.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
My Lords, there is a great deal to be said for the Amendment, and if the noble Earl presses it to a Division I hope he will insist on the word "meals" taking the place of the word "food," but leaving out the qualification, "suitable to the character of the premises and the locality." It would be possible then for the noble Lord in charge of the Bill, later on, to find other qualifying words. It is perfectly-obvious that, on occasions, a plate of dry biscuits is supposed to meet the case of supplying food. That is ridiculous. The noble Earl assented to the word "food" in deference to the wishes of the
§ Resolved in the affirmative, and Amendment disagreed to accordingly.
§ LORD LAMINGTON moved, in subsection (1), to leave out "the owner" ["the owner of the premises"] and to insert "any persons concerned in the ownership." The noble Lord said: My Lords, this and the Amendment which follows are really only minor Amendments. It often happens that more than one person is concerned in the ownership, and two or three may be interested in holding the licence.138
§ noble Lord, but I do not think it is surprising that on reflection he find some reason to regret his action. I hope the noble Lord will be ready to allow the word "meals" to go in and think over some other form of words which will qualify it to such an extent as will be agreeable both to him and the noble Earl.
§ On Question, Whether the word proposed to be left out shall stand part of the clause?—
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 29; Not-Contents, 22.137
|Lansdowne, M.||Cave, V.||Danesfort, L.|
|Cecil of Chelwood, V.||Darling, L|
|Bradford, E.||Cobham, V.||Fairfax of comeron, L.|
|Clarendon, E.||Hood, V.||Harris, L.|
|Eldon, E.||Knutsford, V.||Lamington, L. [Teller.]|
|Lucan, V.||Peel, V.||Merthyr, L.|
|Mayo, E.||Newton, L.|
|Mount Edgcumbe, E.||Banbury of Southam, L.||Somerleyton, L.|
|Onslow, E.||Biddulph, L.||Sumner, L.|
|Plymouth, E. [Teller.]||Clanwilliam, L. (E. ClanWilliam.)||Teynham, L.|
|Haldane, V. (L. Chancellor.)||Astor, V.||Boston, L.|
|Bertie of Thame, V.||L. Hemphill, L.|
|Parmoor, L. (L. President.)||Chelmsford, V.||Muir Mackenzie, L.|
|Beauchamp, E.||London, L. Bp.||Raglan, L.|
|Buxton, E.||Southwark, L. Bp.||Shuttleworth, L.|
|De La Warr, E.||Southborough, L.|
|Russell, E. [Teller.]||Arnold, L.||Stanmore, L. [Teller.]|
|Balfour of Burleigh, L.||Stuart of Wortley, L.|
Page 2, line 8, leave out ("the owner") and insert ("any persons concerned in the ownership").—(Lord Lamington.)
My Lords, I do not know whether the noble Lord in charge of the Bill has taken any legal advice on this point, but I am informed that the owner is a registered person, who is known and whom you can get hold of. It is conceivable, on the other hand, that the words "any persons concerned in the ownership" might include every shareholder in a brewery company. I do not know if that is so, but such, at any rate, is hardly his intention.
§ LORD LAMINGTON
The legal point raised by the noble Earl has not been brought to my notice. Perhaps the noble Viscount, Lord Cave, might be good enough to consider it.
§ VISCOUNT CAVE
My Lords, I think it would be worth while to consider it. Perhaps my noble friend will not press the Amendment to-day.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 5:—
§ Children on licensed premises.
§ 5. The prohibition of the presence of children upon licensed premises contained in any Act for the time being in force shall apply to premises to which an "improved public-house" certificate is attached, unless the licensing justices deem it desirable, owing to the special circumstances of any premises, that a specified part of such premises should be open to children.
LORD LAMINGTON moved to leave out "upon" and to insert "in the bar of." The noble Lord said: My Lords, this and the following Amendments are intended to modify Clause 5, which has caused a good deal of trouble, particularly, I think, to the noble Earl opposite. At present it appears that children are allowed on the premises of a public-house, but not at the bar; but it has been sometimes held by the police that they are not allowed to go into a room where, though there may not be an actual bar, drink may be obtained. The purpose of these Amendments is to make quite clear what may be allowed, and Clause 5, if these Amendments were accepted, would read as follows—
The prohibition of the presence of children in the bar of licensed premises contained in any Act for the time being in force shall not, unless the justices otherwise direct, apply to premises to which an 'improved public-house' certificate is attached.
The power is still given to magistrates to make regulations as regards the admission of children to improved public-houses, and I hope the noble Earl may consider that this is a better form than that in which the clause was originally drafted.
Page 3, line 13, leave out ("upon") and insert ("in the bar of").—Lord Lamington).
My Lords, I hope the House will take some notice of this clause. The words now proposed by the noble Lord are exactly contrary to the Children Act and to the whole trend of modern legislation in this matter. Your 140 Lordships will notice how the clause reads now. The words are:—The prohibition of the presence of children upon licensed premises contained in any Act for the time being in force shall apply to premises to which an 'improved public-house' certificate is attached, unless the licensing justices deem it desirable, owing to the special circumstances of any premises, that a specified part of such premises should be open to children.Is it not perfectly obvious that the clause as now printed in the Bill gives absolute and complete discretion to the licensing justices to allow children upon any part of the licensed premises upon which they think it fit and proper they should be allowed? Their discretion is not limited or fettered in any way, except by their own judgment of what is right and proper.
Now listen to the clause as it would read when amended in the way which is now proposed:—The prohibition of the presence of children in the bar of licensed premises contained in any Act for the time being in force shall not, unless the justices otherwise direct, apply to premises to which an 'improved public-house' certificate is attached.It goes out of its way to say that the prohibition of the presence of children in the bar of licensed premises shall not apply unless the justices so direct. If it be true that the prohibition in the Act relates only to the bar of licensed premises, it will still be covered by treating it as a prohibition of their being on licensed premises at all. I cannot help thinking that wording the clause in the way which is now suggested rather goes contrary to all the trend of modern legislation, by suggesting that it is fit and proper that children should not only be upon licensed premises but in the bar of licensed premises, unless the justices specifically say that they should not be. I am sorry to trouble your Lordships on the matter, especially as it is doubtful whether this Bill will ever reach the Statute Book, but if I can get support I must trouble your Lordships to divide upon this Amendment.
§ VISCOUNT CAVE
My Lords, the particular Amendment before the House is, I think, purely formal, because there is no prohibition in the existing law which prevents children from being on licensed premises. The only prohibition is in the Act of 1908, which prevents children 141 from being in the bar of licensed premises. I agree that "the bar" has been construed by the authorities—not by any Court I think—rather widely, as including the whole of a room, although there is a bar only at one end. Still the prohibition is against children being in "the bar," and to word the prohibition in the way in which it is worded in the Bill as it passed through Committee is a mis-description of the present law. I think it is only just that the first Amendment should be made.
As to the second one, to insert, after "shall," "not, unless the justices themselves direct"—I do not know whether I can discuss it now—of course, that is a far more important matter. If I may put the point now, in order to save a second discussion, I would like to say this: The clause, as it stands, is as it was framed by the, noble Earl in the Committee stage. He tells me that I did him an injustice upon another Amendment. If I did I am very sorry, and I will try not to do him an injustice now, but I think my recollection is correct that whereas he had one Amendment on the Paper, he in fact proposed another, which he brought orally before the House and which, in consequence, I think, was not fully considered. The effect was to turn round the clause. As the clause stood in the Bill when it was brought in, it was very much as this Amendment would put it; that is to say, the clause provided that the prohibition of the presence of children should not apply unless the justices thought it ought to do so. The noble Earl turned that clause round to the effect that the prohibition should apply unless the justices thought it should not. I prefer the original form.
I think that in the ease of imp roved public-houses the presumption should be that a man may take his wife and children there. If he cannot, it is not the kind of house which I have in view at all. I want to see under this Bill real, decent places, where a working-man or any other man may go, and take his wife and children with him. Unless it is that kind of place, I do not think the magistrates should give, it the improved public-house certificate. If you keep the clause in the form in which it now stands I think you are really running contrary to the whole object of the Bill, as I see it. I should like the presumption 142 under Clause 5 to be in favour of admitting women and children, and not against that admission. From that point of view I support the two Amendments. As the clause now stands, I think it is exceedingly unfair, because I am not certain that it does not mean that children may not go in any part of a public-house, and I am sure that the noble Earl does not mean that.
§ EARL BUXTON
My Lords, the argument of the noble Viscount who has just spoken in favour of these Amendments is, as I undertsand it, that you want to assume that these public-houses will be of such a character that a man can take his wife or children there in any circumstances. I do not think that that argument really applies to this case, because when you have an improved public-house there will be no question about a wife or husband being able to take a child in. I feel, however, with the noble Earl, that it would be a very serious thing if this House, by a side wind, by means of a Bill of this sort, were to get rid of the presumption that a child ought not to be allowed on licensed premises. That is a presumption of law which I think it would be a great pity to weaken.
§ EARL BUXTON
I am not competent to discuss the legal question whether the word "bar" ought to be inserted. I am dealing with a question of presumption, and the Bill as it stands presumes that the law is that a child shall not be allowed on licensed premises or in the bar of licensed premises, if you like. The clause says that if the magistrates think a house is of a suitable character they shall allow the presence of children. I think it would be a great pity if the existing prohibition was in any way weakened, and the effect of the proposed Amendments is really, I think, to throw the balance over from the right side to what I consider to be the wrong side. This cannot affect the licence. The magistrates must be generally satisfied that the particular house, is of the character required. Therefore this clause, as it stands, does not affect really the question whether the justices will 143 grant a licence or not. But the proposed Amendment is, I think, going against the general desire or view of the community that there should be a general prohibition, and that children should only under exceptional circumstances be allowed on licensed premises.
THE LORD BISHOP OF LONDON
My Lords, I should like to draw attention to the two very different Amendments. The first one I should not be disposed to oppose, but I oppose very strongly the second, if we are discussing both of them now. I should like to say that I have seen the reforms in Carlisle, but in the case of Carlisle there is no brewers' control at all. The whole point of that experiment is that it is under disinterested management. We, on this Episcopal Bench, do not believe that this Bill is going to do the good that Lord Lamington thinks it is going to do. There is no one for whom I have greater respect than the noble Lord, but, when I made a five weeks' speaking tour for temperance, who opposed me at every turn, who paid agents to give literature away at every corner? This very society which is bringing in this Bill. That is the extraordinary thing to us. When I went round England in support of very moderate temperate reforms—nothing like prohibition, but very moderate reforms agreed to by all the Christian Churches—this society paid agents to heckle me. It opposed me in every quarter in England, and I spoke twice a day, and three times on Sunday. And therefore, in the old phrase, we suspect people who bring gifts, whatever the gifts they bring. I think the most rev-Primate, while I was away, made it plain why we were not supporting the Bill. But it is reactionary to go back on the Children Act and take children into public-houses, and we will fight it to the death. It is a reactionary Bill in any case, although we are acquiescing in it up to a point, but if it is going to be reactionary about children we shall oppose it with the utmost means in our power.
THE EARL OF MAYO
I desire to support Lord Lamington's Amendment. I think the noble and learned Viscount, Lord Cave, made perfectly clear what the words "in the bar" meant. The bar could be at the end of the room, or it 144 could be a bar itself. I do not agree with the second Amendment, but the first one I shall certainly support.
§ VISCOUNT CECIL OF CHELWOOD
My Lords, I have been very much moved by what fell from the right rev. Prelate as to the second Amendment, but I hope that he will agree with me that it is right, as a mere matter of drafting, that the first Amendment should be put in. I do not know at all what my noble friends are going to do about the second Amendment. I admit I should have great difficulty in supporting that.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ LORD LAMINGTON moved, after "shall," to insert "not, unless the justices otherwise direct." The noble Lord said: The noble Viscount, Lord Cecil of Chelwood, was not enamoured of these words, but I confess that I think myself that, unless he is going to bring forward some strong arguments against them, I should desire to have them inserted.
Page 3, line 15, after ("shall") insert (" not, unless the justices otherwise direct").—(Lord Lamington.)
§ LORD PARMOOR
My Lords, I must say that I very strongly object to this Amendment, though I am not unfriendly to the Bill. The Amendment really does alter what is a provision of very great importance as regards children being brought into the bars of licensed premises. It alters the whole outlook of the law upon this point, because it assumes that the prohibition shall not apply, and that children shall be allowed in bars unless there is a special prohibition by the licensing justices. That is a very strong thing indeed to suggest in a Bill of this sort. On the other hand, as the noble Earl has pointed out, full discretion is left to the justices to allow children to go on the premises under conditions which they think suitable and right. I protest in the very strongest manner against an alteration of the law with respect to children on licensed premises in a clause of this kind.
§ VISCOUNT CECIL OF CHELWOOD
My Lords, I am greatly impressed by what the noble and learned Viscount, Lord Cave, 145 said as to the new conception of the public-house that he desires to see established. I agree that that is the object of this Bill, and it is the reason why I should certainly vote in favour of it. But I conceive that in that public-house normally there will be one place where the bar will be, and other places where the customers of the public-house might come in, and in that case I think the general rule of the law that children ought not to be brought into the bar of the public-house should be maintained, unless there were some special reasons to the contrary. But where there are some special circumstances about the construction of the public-house and the situation of the bar, then I conceive that the justices might well make an exception and allow children to be brought into a bar of that kind. But I think it would be wrong to break down the general principle that children ought not to be brought into the bars of public-houses where drinking is going on. That is a right and sound principle, and I should feel that the proper compromise had been reached in the words of the Bill as printed, and not in the proposed modification, which would indicate that the rule was to be that the children were to be brought into the bar, and only exceptionally excluded. It seems to me that the rule ought to be exactly the opposite.
My Lords, I do not wish to dwell on the merits of the matter, of which I think your Lordships are quite sufficiently seised. But I think the House should understand exactly where we are. We have now inserted the words "in the bar of," and the clause now reads:The prohibition of the presence of children in the bar of licensed promises contained in any Act for the time being in force shall——The suggestion is that it shall proceed thus:not, unless the justices otherwise direct, apply to premises to which an ' improved public-house ' certificate is attached.That is the issue we are voting on. What the noble Lord is now asking for in this clause is not that children shall be allowed on licensed premises in a proper part, where there are seats and tables for refreshments, because we are told by the noble and learned Viscount that they are already to be allowed there. He is specifically asking that they shall be 146 allowed in the bar, and allowed as a matter of course, unless the licensing justices say they shall not. I would appeal to the noble Lord in charge of the Bill to leave this out altogether. He cannot want to introduce children into the bar, and he has already the right to introduce them into other portions of the house.
§ LORD STUART OF WORTLEY
My Lords, it seems to some of us who have maintained a rather detached attitude on this Bill that we are in danger of losing sight of the main purpose, which is that the villagers and the poorest of the population and their families should have the power of obtaining what they get much too little of, and what you may call warmth and light and company in cold weather otherwise than on prohibition principles and without the compulsory segregation of members of the family from each other. I doubt whether my noble friend who is in charge of the Bill wants this clause at all. If it goes out, it will practically compel the structure of these improved public-houses to be such that there shall be a bar in one place distinctly segregated from what might be called the innocent parts of the premises. That is an idea at which we ought to aim. I suppose you cannot entirely refuse accommodation to people who want a drink and nothing else. That must be taken in the bar. But there should be the most complete structural separation of that part of the house from the kind of apartment which we want to see established and encouraged by law.
§ LORD LAMINGTON
In view of the general expression of anxiety, lest it should be understood that if this Bill passed into law children would henceforth be allowed access to the bar in contravention of all legislation up to the present time, I am willing, to secure the passing of the Bill, to withdraw my Amendment and to let the clause stand as printed in the Bill.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I take it that the noble Lord does not move the next Amendment to omit all words after "attached"?