§ MR. FETHERSTONHAUGH
I beg to ask the Prime Minister whether he is aware that the number of licensed public-houses per head of the population is much greater in Ireland than in England, that there is no provision for reduction of the number of licences in Ireland, that till very recently the number was constantly and enormously increased, and that the licensing laws are chaotic and badly enforced; and does the Government propose to introduce any general 494 measure of licensing reform for Ireland in the next session of Parliament.
§ MR. ASQUITH
The hon. Gentleman is quite correct in saying that the number of licensed houses per head of the population is much greater in Ireland than in England, and that there is no special provision for the reduction of licences such as exists here. Since 1901, up to which year there had been a slight progressive increase in the number of publicans' licences, there has been a small but steady decline in the numbers annually issued. My right hon. friend the Chief Secretary has expressed a hope that licensing legislation for Ireland will not be long delayed; but the Government cannot at the moment make any pledges with regard to such legislation for next session.
§ *MR. PATRICK WHITE (Meath, N.)
Will the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that the Licensing Bill for Ireland will not proceed on the same lines as the English Bill?