MARQUESS of TULLIBARDINE
asked the Secretary for Scotland whether the bylaws of Crieff were passed mainly in terms of the Burgh Police Act, 1911; whether when submitted to the sheriff substitute it was recommended to exclude bonâ fide temperance hotels, but such exemption was refused by the Secretary for Scotland; whether, in consequence, certain temperance hotel proprietors were recommended by the town council to register as keepers of places of public refreshment and have now been prosecuted for contravention of the Act; whether the intention of the Secretary for Scotland is to prevent the travelling public on Sunday visiting temperance hotels and to force them to patronise liquor bars; whether he will so amend the by-laws as to make it possible for temperance hotels to provide meals on Sunday; and whether, if they cease to register, they will be subject to prosecution?
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
The by-laws referred to by the Noble Lord were framed under Section 82 of the Burgh Police (Scotland) Act, 1903, as amended by the Burgh Police (Scotland) Amendment Act, 1911. I have no information as to what1872W took place prior to confirmation by the sheriff substitute. As sent to the Scottish officer for confirmation the by-laws provided inter alia for registered places for public refreshment being closed all day on Sundays and during the hours other than between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. on other days, subject to a proviso to the effect that nothing in the by-laws should be construed to interfere with the conducting of business, as use is, in temperance hotels for the hours from 7 a.m. to 12 midnight each lawful day, nor to interfere with the conduct, as use is, of such hotels on Sunday for the accommodation of guests residing therein. As it does not appear to be competent to discriminate in such by-laws between different classes of traders, the town council were informed that the proviso in question was incompetent so far as it was not superfluous, having regard to Subsection (7) of Section 1 of the Act of 1911, which safeguards the sale or supply of refreshments in any premises, including temperance hotels, to persons residing or lodging therein. In reply, the town council stated that they approved of the deletion of the proviso and the by-laws were duly confirmed. I have no particulars as to the subsequent action of the burgh authorities. I would point out to the Noble Lord that the proviso which I have quoted- did not purport to affect in any way the use of temperance hotels on Sundays by travelers, but only by resident guests, whose interests are fully protected by the Statute itself. An amending by-law such as he suggests could only be made on the initiative of the town council, and would only be competent if it applied equally to all registered places for public refreshment. The answer to the last part of the question is that if any places for public refreshment carry on business at times which entail registration they will be liable to prosecution if they fail to register.