§ Order for second reading read.
§ Motion made and Question proposed: "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ Mr. CHARLES ROBERTS
No one will charge me with having proposed a Bill which is beyond the limited scope of the legislative effort of a private Member. This proposal was discussed at considerable length during our debates on the Licensing Bill a few months ago. One of the reasons which induces me to single out this particular point of temperance reform from among the others, and to bring it again before the House to-day is the fact that the principle, at all events of the proposal, received the assent of the Leader of the Opposition. It was a qualified and somewhat halting assent, but, nevertheless, he approved of 622 the principle of the proposal. He classed it among the proposals in the Licensing Bill which "were really intended to promote social reform without inflicting, or intending to inflict, any injury on any portion of the community." I do not say anything to-day of the other proposals in the Licensing Bill which he objected to. The right hon. Gentleman went on to ask whether the Committee thought it desirable to shut all public houses on public holidays. He dissented from the proposal in reference to public holidays, but he said he agreed to their being closed on days of elections, and so forth. In another place, another Unionist statesman, Lord St. Aldwyn, declared that he cordially approved of this particular clause. Under the circumstances, I hope that even some hon. Members opposite, who take an extreme view on the liquor question—those who regard themselves as the sworn champions of the sacrosanct privileges of the liquor trade in every jot and tittle—may regard this measure as an unpretentious, and not very contentious measure, and I think it may be taken as a test and touchstone of the professed willingness of hon. Members, or some of them, to assist forward those measures of temperance reform which they regard as non-contentious. It is merely on a restricted point that I am suggesting legislation. The details of the provisions are, I think, exceedingly moderate. To tell the truth, it is a little Bill, and it is not even my own, for I have borrowed wholesale clause 20 of the Licensing Bill of last year. That clause differs in certain respects from another Bill which for the last three years I have tried to get passed through the House. This Bill provides for the case of lodgers and travellers by trains. It really only stops the sale of liquor in bar rooms during a portion of an election day. It leaves the chance of getting drink with meals in dining rooms or commercial rooms. That is a point on which I have considerable misgiving, and it was introduced to meet the well known difficulties of places like the City of London and other large centres. It leaves public-houses open after polling hours. I notice that the National Trade Defence Association has circulated a statement against the measure, and it complains of the proposal to leave public-houses open after polling hours during the time when, according to them, disorder is most likely to occur. Well, I can only say that if they object to the measure on that ground of detail, I should be very glad indeed to meet them in 623 Committee, and to restore the original proposals of my Bill.
There is another point where I regret to say the measure is not so far reaching as I should wish. It omits local government elections altogether. Objection was taken during the debates last autumn to that—more, I think, than to the proposal in its relation to Parliamentary elections—and especial objection was taken if the matter was to be left optional and permissive to the justices. I can only say that it is a sense of the limits of the powers of a private Member which has induced mo to limit the proposal to the one single definite point of trying to get an alteration of the law in reference to Parliamentary elections. Of course, this is not the last Licensing Bill the House will see, and if we can get the law altered in regard to the sale of liquor on days of Parliamentary elections I think the restriction with reference to local government election days will easily follow. But if the Bill is weaker than I would wish, all I can say is that I recognise that I should have no chance of persuading the House to pass the proposal in a form stronger and more drastic than that which received the approval of the House only a few months ago. Therefore, I take credit to myself for subordinating my predilections for a stronger measure, and for endeavouring to present this measure in a form which I judge may meet the general sense of the House. Of course, we temperance reformers are always told that we are asking too much. The Bill applies to the whole of the United Kingdom. Clause 20 of the Licensing Bill of 1908 was, I think, objected to very hypercritically by hon. Members opposite, on the ground that it did not sufficiently specify that the premises were to be those situated in the proposed area. The Solicitor-General told us that no court would interpret the clause in a way in which it was interpreted by an hon. Member. But to make the point quite safe, I have incorporated into my Bill an amendment of the hon. Member for Marylebone, so that it should be absolutely clear that the premises to be closed are to be those situated in the area of polling. We understood that, owing to this drafting flaw, as he thought it, the Leader of the Opposition did not vote for the clause, though he spoke for it. There is a very widespread opinion in favour of the clause. There is a Foreign Office Report on liquor legislation in the United States; and 624 as regards Massachusetts, Virginia, and other states the evidence of this restriction will, I submit, appeal to hon. Members opposite. Dr. Eliot, the ex-president of Harvard University, who, I hope, we may see in this country shortly, has said that the experience of many years and many places in the United States shows that there should be no selling of drink on Sundays and on election days. It is not only America which affords us this experience, but it exists in the Transvaal, and I noticed in "The Times" a telegram bearing testimony to the good order of the recent Transvaal elections, owing to the restrictions on the sale of liquor. In Canada the restrictions are on a much more drastic scale than are proposed by this Bill. During a recent visit to that country I made special inquiries on this question. I was told that both sides in America were in favour of these restrictions, on the ground that it took the public-house out of politics. This is the case in the United States, in Australia, New Zealand, New South Wales, Tasmania, while we have got one small piece of experience in our country. In Monmouth-shire, on election days, the justices use the power entrusted to them under the Act of 1872, according to which, if they apprehend riot or tumult, or have grounds of apprehending disorder, they may order public-houses to be closed. Previously there had been in Monmouth-shire and South Wales serious riots, in which several persons lost their lives. The justices decided to avail themselves of the Act, and since that day the restriction has been continuous in Monmouth-shire. I quote from an inquiry by the "Liverpool Daily Post" that during a recent by election "the arrangement worked well," and that on the day after the election the colliers went down into the colliery to a man. It was evident that the great majority of the publicans themselves welcomed the safeguards, and the police knew that but for the closing they would have had a very rough time, and as it was there was not a single charge arising out of the election. Of course, that is not a general power, but only where a riot is anticipated, and there was some very strong feeling expressed during our debates last August that it should be given by statutory enactment, and that it should not be left to discretion of the justices. The chairman of the Monmouth-shire County Council, as a county justice, came before the licensing commission and gave evidence, and he stated 625 that they found everything quiet in their elections, and he asked that these provisions should be made statutory. I think, therefore, that the experience, which is very widespread, confirmed by such experience as we have at home in this country, is largely upon our side in this matter. When it comes to a matter of mere abstract argument upon this matter, I admit at once that there will be a certain amount of inconvenience to some people by means of this. But I think the restriction is justified. After all, elections, by-elections especially, are a nuisance and inconvenience to the whole community. [An HON. MEMBER: "To the Government."] We have had evidence of that. The leader of the Opposition bases his belief in this measure on the adventitious excitement that takes place. He confessed his own impressions that in the great centres of population, where excitement in certain circumstances and party feeling exist, it might be a prudent step to prevent an extra source of excitement of an adventitious character being added to that which the state of feeling necessarily engendered. And remember that great excitement does not take place only in great centres of population. At the General Election the greatest disorder was in the rural district of Shropshire. We were challenged last time to show where the evils of excessive drinking at election time were, and we were told the Peckham election was a model and a miracle of immaculate self-restraint.
§ Mr. CHARLES ROBERTS
The hon. Member mentioned that fact during the debates of last autumn and I am perfectly aware of his instance. The opinion of several eye-witnesses does not confirm the fact. There was one witness who said in this House that the election was a pandemonium of drunkenness. Quite apart from that, it is a fallacy to found yourself upon police statistics upon drunkenness. There are times, such as Christmas time, when the police allow things to go on that they would not allow in ordinary circumstances. If anyone wants evidence of that, I refer him to the minority report of the Royal Commission, and if they are not satisfied with that I ask them to look at the long line of Parliamentary elections from Oxford in 1880 to Southampton in 1895, when there was a procession round the town from one public-house to another, headed by the candidate, down to the 626 Worcester election petition in 1906, and if anyone wants further information he can satisfy himself. Then we were told by the hon. Member for South County Dublin that if this measure was passed into law the publican would be driven to electioneering outside his public-house. I do not so much object to that. He is fully entitled to exercise his privileges as a citizen. What we object to is the illegitimate facilities for electioneering inside the public-house, and I am not thinking merely of treating by the publican. I think also of the indiscreet supporter, he may be on one side or the other, whose zeal outruns his discretion. It is for the interest of candidates on either side. Treating is very difficult to prove; the difference between it and open-handed hospitality has been differently drawn by election judges. Prevention is better than cure. If this Bill is passed into law it will be a real blow struck for the purity of elections. The Member opposite, who opposed this Bill last autumn, laid great stress upon one argument. He said you trust the people with power over the nation's destinies, why cannot you trust them with power to have their own public-houses? Is it not a monstrous insult, he asks, to the democracy of this country to interfere with their liberty? Well, if it is an insult to the democracy of this country, it is an insult which those of other countries are ready to take upon themselves, and it is an insult which the democracies of the United States, Canada, and New Zealand bear with patience and equanimity, and I may point out that this argument goes much further. If it is to have any weight, surely it would be right to abolish the Corrupt Practices Act, which may also be regarded as an imputation upon the electorate. That Act says to the people you are fit to deal with the destinies of this nation, but we warn you that a certain proportion of you may be open to corrupt influences.
§ Mr. C. ROBERTS
I certainly do not believe that I am making any attack upon the electorate. I believe the mass of the working classes of the electorate, so far as my observation goes, is far more interested' in politics than a great many people sunk in selfish comfort. But there is a small section which cares nothing whatever, I think, about polities, and which measures its. 627 imperial responsibility in liquid measure by the glass, and by the pint, and this small section, I think, gives us a right to take precautions, and if once more I am challenged to produce evidence I refer to the judge's report upon the Worcester election, which says:—The Constituency as a whole is not corrupt, but there exists in Worcester a class of voters, approximately 50", and consisting mainly of the needy and loafing class, who are prepared to sell their votes for drink or money.
§ Mr. C. ROBERTS
I say again that against that -small class we have a right to take our precautions. I should like, if I might, in conclusion, to mention one other argument which is used against me by the hon. Member for the Widnes Division of Lancashire—an argument I think not devoid of humour. He said that if a measure of this kind was passed the districts in which Parliamentary elections took place would be very unpopular, and he wanted to keep the public-houses open in order to encourage people to go to the poll. That is the reason why I want them shut. If people will only go to the poll because they are induced by that kind of encouragement, they had much better stay away. We have got a very difficult experiment in the Government of this country of ours. We are trying to have a people, governing not merely themselves but a great Empire at one and the same time, and I think it is not too much to ask for a higher standard of temperance on election days, once in five years, than you have on others. Let us try if we can to make treating as difficult, as impossible as we possibly can. The issues which divide parties are very great and very serious. Hon. Members opposite seriously believe that our policy on this side of the House will be detrimental to the country, and we as sincerely think that the principles of the other side would be ruinous to the country. Those issues are, at all events, very great, very far reaching and very serious, and we have the right to call upon the people to rise to the standard of temperance, when they are deciding these great issues, which prevails in the United States and in our Colonies. I think we may ask the people of this country with clear and unclouded brains to register their decisions as to problems as grave as ever faced any nation. I beg to move.
§ Question proposed: "That this Bill be now read a second time."628
§ Mr. W. W. ASHLEY
moved, as an amendment, to leave out the word "now," and to insert "upon this day six months." He said: I confess that when I listened to the speech of the hon. Member, and after having read a good deal lately about temperance legislation, I am profoundly thankful that I personally am in no way interested either by shares or ownership and have nothing to do with the licensing trade, because it seems to me that no trade could possibly be carried on in this country while these constant Acts are being passed and Bills brought in and carried in this House and put upon them, to change from month to month and from year to year the conditions under which their trade is carried on, which make it perfectly impossible for any wretched holder of a licence to know where he stands or will stand in a year's time. Hon. Members do not seem to assent to that, but if they will look into the laws they will see that there are 238 statutes already which affect the licensing trade and have to be considered by those interested in it, and if we pass this one it will raise the number to 239. I think that will show that the licensing trade is carried on at this moment under very great difficulties and under greater supervision than any other trade in this country. Therefore. I say that we must in this House consider very carefully any Bill which will change the conditions under which that trade is carried on, owing to the great difficulty and the great supervision which they have to undergo at the present moment. Last year we had a Bill brought in to shut some public-houses for all time, now we have a Bill to shut all public-houses for some time. I suppose hon. Members will never be satisfied until they have a Bill to close all public-houses for all time. Then I trust they will turn their attention to other places where drink may be obtained—viz., the grocers' licences and the clubs. This Bill had its origin in one of the sub-sections of a clause of the Licensing Bill of 1908. It is practically the same with a very important extension which the hon. Member just touched upon—viz., that instead of applying only to England and Wales it applies to the whole of the United Kingdom. The hon. Member gave no reason why this large extension should be made, but only said he thought it desirable. When an hon. Member brings in a Bill and founds it upon one which has passed this House, and then makes a very large extension of the scope of the measure, he ought to give us some reasons 629 why a proposal which was only going to be applied to England and Wales should now be applied to Scotland and Ireland. I do not suppose that he founds his extension on any undue influence which was exercised at the Glasgow election by the licensing trade, nor I suppose does the hon. Member for Clare found the extension of the Bill to Ireland on anything which might take place in an election for Cork City. I say that that extension is a very large step to take on the initiation of a private Member, and I trust hon. Members who address the House will give us some reasons for extending its scope.
What are the reasons which were given by the hon. Member for passing this Bill? He called it an unpretentious measure, but I do not think it is. I think a Bill which says to a grown-up man, "When you are voting you shall not drink a glass of ale" is not an unpretentious Bill. I do not think the hon. Member will carry other hon. Members with him in his contention that this is an unpretentious Bill. He cited the American case in favour of the Bill, but he did not give us any instance of what occurred there, and he gave us no reasons why this had worked so well in America. Therefore we may put entirely aside what happens in America because we have been given no reasons in support of what he said. The hon. Member told us that it had had a good result in the Transvaal and Canada, but again he gave no reasons. Nothing was said except that it took the licensed houses out of politics. There are many publicans who wish that the public-houses could be taken out of politics, and then they could have a little peace and quietness, but simply to tell us that a measure will do so is no reason. In fact he gave no reason except that when a man gives his vote he should give it without inducement of any kind at all. I challenge the hon. Member to point to any reason in his speech why we should pass this Bill. He gave us an extract from a Liverpool paper, and apparently the result of that was that the candidate who was returned when public-houses were closed during the polling day thought it a most excellent measure. Naturally, I suppose, every candidate who is returned thinks that everything that goes on during polling day is an excellent measure. But, apart from that, there is no single reason given for passing this measure.
I can quite understand any hon. Member who considers that intoxicating liquors are harmful to body and mind 630 voting for any Bill which even to a small extent diminishes the facilities for getting what he conscientiously believes to be a harmful form of liquid refreshment. But I think, though there may not be many of them in the House, there are certainly very much fewer in the country. The ordinary man in the street agrees that excess in drinking, just as in eating and smoking, is bad, and will not be prepared to support the Bill on the ground that all intoxicating liquors are harmful, and some other reason will have to be given. I, in my experience of the East, have come across the evil effects of enforced abstinence, which only leads to subsequent excess. The Mahomedan religion enjoins that during a certain period of for some 40 days, I think, no good Mahomedan should eat or drink from sunrise to sunset. A great number follow that out most religiously, and I respect them for it, but the result is not satisfactory. If a man does not eat or drink from sunrise to sunset, directly the sun has gone he eats, and, probably, drinks to excess, and all the night is spent, not in getting natural sleep, but in eating and drinking, and at the end of a few days all this vast Mahomedan population are not in a fit state to carry on trade and agriculture. Anyone who has been in the East will agree that though in theory that feast is an excellent thing, in practice it works out very badly.
The Bill proposes that till 8 p.m. no one, when an election is going on, should be allowed to have drink. If you prevent a man from having a drink till 8 p.m. the result will be what happens after sunset during the feast of Ramadan, and the voters will accumulate a very severe thirst and will drink to excess, the very thing which the hon. Member and I wish to avoid, excessive drink, will be stimulated by the Bill. To be logical we ought to add another clause to the Bill, that in this House no intoxicating liquors should be served to hon. Members between meals. If it is right that the elector who elects us should not have his vision clouded, as the hon. Member put it, when he elects a Member for Parliament by being allowed to have a glass of beer or any other form of intoxicating liquor between meals, it is equally right that a Member, when he has to attend to the business of the nation, should not be allowed to have any intoxicating liquor except with his meals. If the hon. Member will accept my suggestion and move that Amendment in Committee, I should 631 be very pleased to support him in that. Then I cannot help thinking some hon. Members may support the Bill because they think it may do good to the trade that they are allowed to keep open on election days, and that they will get increased custom over an ordinary day. If that is so, to be logical we ought to close public-houses on boat-race days, bank holidays, and football matches—in fact, on every day on which crowds of people assemble and excitement is caused, and therefore an extra amount of liquor is ensumed. Another reason which may be given, and I think was given, why the Bill should be passed, was that there is always a liability to disorder on election days, and that facilities for getting drink cause it. I think the common experience of everyone who has anything to do with elections is that if disorder occurs, which it very rarely does, it does not occur before 8 p.m., when people are busy, voting and bringing voters up to the poll, but after the poll is closed, when canvassers and party agents are free from their duties. The Bill is extremely illogical, and it would be much more to the point to close houses between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. and allow them to remain open before 8 p.m. If the magistrates have any reason to suppose that any disorder is about to occur they have ample powers under the Act of 1872 to cause public-houses to be closed. Section 23 of the Act reads:—Any two justices of the peace acting for a county or place where any riot or tumult happens or is expected to happen may order every licensed person in or near the place where such riot or tumult happens or is expected to happen, to close the premises during any time which the justices may order. A penalty not exceeding £50 is attached to a breach of the order so made.We have, therefore, ample powers already vested in the justices to close public-houses if there is any reason to expect disorder, and therefore any argument which may be advanced in support of this measure cannot be based on the fact that power is required to prevent disorder, because the magistrates, who know the needs of the district and know whether disorder is likely to occur, have already power to make a closing order. Such an order was made in West Monmouth in 1904, and the public-houses were closed from 10 a.m., and were not allowed to reopen during the whole day. The Bill proposes to close the houses at a time when disorder rarely if ever occurs, and does not close them at the time when 632 disorder occurs, if it occurs at all, and the Bill makes compulsory what has up to now been left to the discretion of the magistrates. In the last Parliament we constantly heard that the Unionist Government were taking away the discretion of the local justices in the matter of licensing. We were told that we were not trusting the justices, and here we have a proposal put forward by a prominent member of the Liberal party to take away discretion which the justices now have by making an arbitrary and rigid rule to apply all over England. The Bill will take away some of that discretion which the Liberal party unanimously said that these justices should have in regard to licensing. In the last Parliament the Radicals always said, "Trust the local magistrates. They know the needs of the district." We now have this curious state of things—the Liberal party will not trust the publican, and they will not trust the man who wishes to have a glass of beer, and they will not trust the magistrates who have ample powers to deal with this disorder when it occurs. The hon. Member for Lincoln did not say it in so many words, but he somewhat hinted that the opening of a public-house during the time of the poll was likely to conduce to corruption. There is no case given except in regard to the Worcester election. But that was amply dealt with. Surely we have got rather a higher opinion of the voter than the hon. Member for Lincoln. Surely the ballot amply protects the voter. The voter is supposed by hon. Members who support this Bill to be such a poor, simple creature that if a publican offers him a glass of beer he will vote for anybody. What guarantee has a publican that a voter will carry out his promise? When the voter gets to the polling booth he is perfectly safe, and can vote whichever way he likes, whether he has received a glass of beer or not. We have ample power already on the Statute Book for preventing any person from being bribed by a glass of beer. If the hon. Member will look up the Corrupt Practices Prevention Act, 1883, he will find that treating is a recognised offence already provided for. It enacts:—(1) Any person who corruptly by himself or by any other person, either before, during, or after an election, directly or indirectly gives or provides, or pays wholly or in part the expense of giving or providing any meat, drink, entertainment, or provision to or for any person for the purpose of corruptly influencing that person or any other person to give or refrain from giving his vote at the election, or on account of such person or any other person having voted or refrained from voting, or being about to vote or refrain from voting at such election, shall be guilty of treating.633(2) And every elector who corruptly accepts or takes any such meat, drink, entertainment, or provision shall also be guilty of treating.and section 6 provides heavy punishments for treating, which is classed as a corrupt practice. It is a misdemeanour entailing a sentence up to a year with hard labour, or a fine up to £200; and the person guilty loses his vote for seven years, and any public or judicial office which he may hold. The law, therefore, deals adequately with the offence; and the statute just quoted is one more demonstration of the lack of necessity for the Bill. In view of that very stringent law, surely it cannot be contended that it is necessary to close a public-house on polling-day simply because some publican may be unwise enough or corrupt enough to offer a man a glass of beer when he knows that if he does that he lays himself open to these pains and penalties. "We heard when the last election took place at Peckham that it was won on beer. The hon. Member for the City of London (Sir Frederick Banbury), who is so deeply interested in Peckham, pointed out that that charge was absolutely unfounded, and that the day after the Peckham election (which was described in some quarters as an "orgie or Saturnalia") only two people were charged at the police court with drunkenness, and they were not inhabitants of Peckham. So that any such charge in regard to the Peckham election during the discussion of this Bill cannot be sustained. Now I come to the main objection to the Bill. If we can trust a working man or any other man, whether a working man or a millionaire, to vote for a Member of this House, surely in the name of common sense we can trust him to drink a glass of beer without it affecting his judgment as to who he shall give his vote for. If you are going to trust a man with the vote, you ought to trust him to go into a public-house for a glass of beer when he needs it. But the hon. Member for Lincoln seemed to be dealing with a very j much bigger matter, and I would say that if any Bill is necessary to deal with alleged corrupt practices at elections it should deal with the wild promises made at the last General Election by hon. Gentlemen opposite, whereby electors were induced to vote for them, and not for Conservative candidates. Then I notice that in this Bill my old friend the bonâ fide traveller disappears altogether. If I go by rail and get out at a railway station I can have a meal there and a glass of beer; but if I do not I cannot get the glass of 634 beer on polling day. [An HON. MEMBER "No, no."] I think you will find it is so; but it is difficult to make out the real meaning of this clause of the hon. Member's Bill. Can the hon. Member tell me whether if I travel by train, and on arriving at my destination go to the refreshment room, I am allowed on election days to have a meal and a drink, or is it drink without a meal? [An HON. MEMBER: "You can have either, if you like."] Oh ! Then just think of the injustice to the rural districts. In a suburban place you have only to get into the train at one station and go, say, five miles and, alighting in the same constituency, you can drink as much as you like. But the work of the farmer and labourer and the ordinary life of the population goes on even on election days, and these people are not to be allowed to have a drink unless they take a meal. These people might feel they are dealt with harshly under the Bill. Therefore, you propose to penalise country districts in a way in which you do not penalise the towns. In the towns they have their clubs. Under this Bill men can go into their clubs and drink as much as they like, but in the country districts they have no clubs, and in the country districts you are going to close all means of getting intoxicating liquors, a thing that you are not going to do in towns. On behalf of agricultural districts I must protest against this discrimination in favour of towns. Then the hon. Member failed to explain why the provisions of the Bill of 1908 were departed from. That Bill included not only Parliamentary elections, but borough elections and county council elections—
§ Mr. CHARLES ROBERTS
They were not included in this clause. They were dealt with in the optional part. Power was given in another part to the justices to deal with them, and the hon. Member objected to the arrangement.
§ Mr. ASHLEY
If the hon. Member has refreshed his memory from "Hansard" he has the advantage of me, but I do not recollect having spoken on the subject at all.
§ Mr. ASHLEY
Well, he has the advantage of me there, but I think some justification for the change is necessary. I should also like to know on what possible grounds the hon. Member excluded clubs, because it seems to me that if we are going to get 635 the voter to exercise his privilege of voting in the way desired we must deal with all public sources, because, after all, clubs and grocers licenses are semi-public sources, from which intoxicating liquors may be obtained. That has not been dealt with, and perhaps some hon. Member, when he talks in favour of the Bill, will give us the reasons for this, because this seems to me to be a very unfair penalising of the publican. He is under constant police supervision; his licence is looked into every year for renewal, and while you deal with him you do not deal with clubs, which are practically under no supervision at all. I protest against singling out the wretched holder of the licence, as he has always been singled out in the past, for special legislation while you leave out grocers' licenses.
§ Mr. ASHLEY
I am very glad to hear it. I shall vote against the Bill all the same, because I am against it altogether, but still the hon. Gentleman is much more logical than I thought. We are opposing this measure just as conscientiously as the hon. Member is supporting it. I think that the Conservative party on the whole has nothing to be ashamed of in reference to its temperance legislation. I think that the great Bill which the right hon. Member for the City of London passed in the last Parliament, in 1904, was a far greater measure of temperance reform than was ever passed before, and far greater than the wretched Bill of last year. Under that Act a large amount of money is raised to compensate publicans whose licenses are taken away; all the pre-1869 licenses are brought under the review of the licensing justices, and the monopoly value of all new licenses is taken by the State; and if that Act is allowed to work well, as it is working well at present, we shall in a comparatively short time reduce the number of licenses all over the United Kingdom by one-fourth, which is quite a sufficient number for temperance legislation for the next 10 or 15 years. For these reasons I move the Motion which stands in my name.
§ Mr. CARLILE
In rising to second the Amendment, I may mention that one of the points advanced in support of the measure by the hon. Member for Lincoln is that it was a little Bill. It shows what a weak case there is when the hon. Member 636 is obliged to fall back on an argument of that kind, because surely the amount of mischief or of good which an Act may accomplish does not in any way rest on the fact that the Bill is either big or little, but the hon. Member, driven into a corner to find some additional ground for forwarding the interests of his measure, described it as a little Bill, and he further went on to say that it is a Bill dealing with a very small section, and intended to deal with and affect the habits and customs of certain types, of a very small section of the population. And in order to deal with these reprehensible habits alleged to exist by the hon. Member he does not attempt to deal with the small section itself, but he places very strong restrictions upon the general public as a whole. That is one type of legislation which we on this side of the House very distinctly object to. We think that exceptional cases like that can be very well dealt with either by the magistrates or by the other provisions which are already on the statute book, and that it is not necessary to attack the habits, and customs of the entire population of a Constituency in order to bring about or secure the temporary good conduct of certain individuals who at times are given to insobriety. On polling days the voters poll all through the day. They do not make a holiday of it. They do not throw down their work altogether and devote the whole of their day to recording their votes. It only takes a very small portion of a man's time to record his vote. It is, therefore, unreasonable that the licensed premises should be closed for the whole day in anticipation of disorders; which are not at all likely to arise. My hon. Friend below me has just drawn the attention of the House to the fact that the justices are already well armed under the Act of 1873—section 3, I think—to deal with anything in the shape of riot or disturbance that arises, or of which there is any possibility or apprehension of arising, so that, under that head, there is no necessity for this Bill. Then, as to these alleged orgies at election times. Surely people who were disposed to indulge in such orgies would be likely to do so whenever the occasion of an election arose. Why on earth should it be confined to Parliamentary elections? Why should not these lovers of orgies indulge in them on the occasion of a municipal, county council, board of guardians, or, for that matter, on the occasion of any other elections that take place? Why, for instance, 637 should not an orgie arise on the occasion of the annual gathering of the parish meeting? Of course—
Attention called to the fact that forty Members were not present. House counted; and forty Members being found present,
§ Mr. CARLILE
If it is thought desirable by hon. Gentlemen opposite to close public-houses on an occasion of this one particular kind of election—a Parliamentary election—then why do they not propose a similar provision upon the days when the alleged necessity is far more likely to arise—I mean on Bank Holidays? On Bank Holidays, I am sorry to say, it is the custom of the people of this country to take a universal holiday, with the result that nobody enjoys himself. They are all congregated together in huge masses; all the railways and other means of locomotion are congested, and as a result if there was a temptation existing in the habits of any men to excessive drinking, an occasion like that would be far more likely to lead to his indulgence in it than a Parliamentary election, when, as a rule, individuals go in perfectly sober earnest to record their votes, and return either to their homes or to their work.
But there is another occasion when it would be much more likely that the difficulty would arise—that is upon the days of the declaration of the poll. There would be more sense—a great deal—in restricting the opportunities of obtaining intoxicating liquor upon the day of the declaration of the poll than on the day upon which the vote is recorded. Referring once more to the case of the justices who already have powers under the Act of 1873, I should like to point out that although these particular powers have been exercised upon several occasions, apparently they were without any effect, so far as local and temporary insobriety was concerned.
There is another ground on which we object to this Bill. I know that it is the custom of hon. Members below the Gangway to use derision when we refer to the working men, but, after all, many of us have been most of our lives in close touch with working men. We know their liabilities, customs, lives, difficulties, just as well as hon. Members below the Gangway; and from my own experience and observation I venture to say that while the working man will very often fail to confide in the Labour Members and Socialist Members 638 of this House, they do not mind confiding in a man who, perhaps, is not exactly in their own sphere of life, but who, nevertheless, greatly enjoys putting his feet upon their fender, and talking over with them not only their own difficulties, but also the difficulties of his own life. We object to this kind of class legislation, which leaves the men of independent means or good means the power and opportunity to indulge in habits which he may have, and to take from the working man the opportunities of the perfectly justifiable indulgence of which he desires to avail himself. In the vast majority of cases there is not the least prospect of his abusing the opportunity so given. We object to class legislation of this sort. We believe that if the working man wants a glass of beer on the day of a Parliamentary election he should not be prevented from having it. Why, then, the hon. Member not only selects class legislation with regard to the social position of the people with whom he has to deal, but he actually makes preferential treatment in behalf of one class of those who move about on these occasions. Why should the hon. Member select the people who travel by rail and give them preferential treatment? Nowadays people travel in all sorts of ways. Some of us are obliged to travel vast distances in carrying out our political work. I remember travelling some 12,000 miles in 1905 on political work alone. If any election where I happened to have a vote had arisen, and where I desired to record my vote, I would not have been—by this Bill—precluded from getting that refreshment which I should have been perfectly justified in desiring to have. The Bill of the hon. Member is full of this miserable class legislation. Why, if a man goes on a motor, a bicycle, or if he walk or move in any other way, he is not allowed to have anything, but let him take a penny ticket on the railway—I speak from no disrespect to my hon. Friend below me, who I know is very keen on the interests of railways; and I do not want to discourage railway travelling in the least—why, I ask, should this particular mode of locomotion be selected and recommended for preferential treatment? I have no doubt the hon. Member has grounds, but he has undoubtedly failed to place them before the House. That constitutes a further ground for our being entirely justified in moving the rejection of this Bill, superficially considered and superficially discussed so far as the hon. Member who has introduced it is. 639 concerned. In many small country villages there is no polling booth, and there is perhaps none within two or three miles, and I see no reason whatsoever why the public-house should be closed while polling is going on elsewhere. In the case where the polling booth is two or three miles away the voter will have to walk to it, and if the public-houses are closed he will be prevented from getting a glass of beer or a meal before eight o'clock. Then there is another unreasonable condition imposed by this Bill. This measure, if it became law, could be easily evaded. People have only to flock into a room, the dining-room or other room of a house "ordinarily used," as the Bill expresses it, "for taking meals," and by ordering a biscuit they can have anything they like. But those who do this would be naturally conscious of evading the law—a very reprehensible practice on the part of anybody, and one which must destroy to some extent the self-respect of those who indulge in it. It is not fair to place this temptation to "break the law in the way of a large proportion of the inhabitants of a district. It is only necessary for them to know that they may go into a room and order two-pennyworth of bread and cheese, and they can have what drink they choose for as long as they like. There was a difficulty in connection with a Bill of last year in defining what is the meaning of a "place within the meaning of the Act." We are all thoroughly familiar with that controversy, but the difficulty experienced then will be nothing to the future difficulty under this Bill of defining "a meal within the meaning of the Act" if this Bill be passed. The hon. Member takes no pains to define what a meal is, and what is the meal of one man is not the meal of another. My hon. Friend below me says that an egg is a meal for him ("a hard-boiled egg"), but he might be deprived of even that if this Bill became law. It is impossible to define what is a meal for another man. I know that the meal which some men can eat is one that I could never undertake, while there are other men who would be satisfied with a meal on which I -would starve.
But there is another ground on which I second the rejection of this Bill—it is that our people are becoming increasingly sober themselves. The people of this country are taking the matter into their own hands, and are increasingly showing by their own personal habits the desir- 640 ability of sobriety. The hon. Member takes no cognisance of that fact; neither do hon. Members who are usually associated with all these tyrannous proposals for temperance legislation. If the object of this Bill is to decrease treating upon the occasion of elections, why are not better means taken to prevent it? Hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite know perfectly well that in connection with clubs the greatest difficulty would be likely to arise under this Bill, and yet the hon. Member who moved it has not the pluck to attack that question. He forgets, or else fails, to treat the subject of political clubs and clubs of all kinds. In many cases I could mention the Radical clubs in large boroughs supply drink, though hardly any of the Conservative clubs in those large boroughs sell drink at all; yet I think that clearly suggests a line of opposition to this Bill, which the hon. Member dare not face, and, therefore, he has not brought political clubs within the scope of this measure. Yet a member of such clubs could supply drink to his friends whom he introduced. At present there is a system of affiliating clubs, especially political clubs, so that a member has only to pay a small subscription in one place and under the affiliation arrangements that constitutes him a travelling or visiting member of all the other clubs either in his own district or in any other district to which he may go. As a result anyone may be supplied with drinks by such a travelling member, who can take into the club any of his friends. Undoubtedly if the practice of treating obtained at all or in any great degree these would be the circumstances under which it would be most likely to arise. Yet the hon. Member ignores that fact. It is just the same in regard to all other temperance legislation. We have been here a few weeks this year, and this is the third alleged temperance measure which has been brought before us. We have had a Prohibition Bill for Scotland and a Sunday Closing Bill for England, and hon. Members opposite have got into a state of great excitement over prohibition, evidently mistaking perspiration for inspiration. In conclusion, I may say that there can be no other conceivable reasons for the Bill except the likelihood of these disorders or the risk of corruption of the voters by treating. Perhaps the hon. Member thinks that the publican himself requires a holiday in order to make up his mind as to the candidate he intends to vote for. That would be a ground, but the hon. Member does not mention it, for the 641 simple reason that no publican desires to have a holiday of that kind or a quiet day. The publican can easily make up his mind, for he knows the candidate he is going to vote for. He does not need the sort of protection, and I do not think the Bill gives him any such protection. We object to this sort of grandmotherly legislation, and we have had far too much of it in this Parliament. We do not believe in the adult population of this country being put into leading strings, and we object to give the hon. Member for Lincoln or any of his friends power to tyranise over the people. We believe that if the hon. Member and his friends were to observe the signs of the times they would not be constantly wasting our time with these ridiculous measures and propositions. If the hon. Member were to use his great powers to forward customs and habits of sobriety, which the people are increasingly adopting, to their great and lasting benefit, the time of hon. Members would be better spent than in wasting it as they are doing at present trying to pass ridiculous and uncalled-for measures.
§ Sir IVOR HERBERT
I rose earlier in the debate in the hope of being able to second my hon. Friend's Motion on the ground that an ounce of experience is worth a ton of theory, and I propose now to give to the House that small measure of experience which I have had of the adoption of the principle of this Bill in Monmouthshire, which I venture to think is more conclusive than the somewhat prolonged oratory to which we have listened against the Bill. My hon. Friend, in moving the second reading of this Bill, referred to Monmouthshire as the county in which the practice has been adopted of closing licensed premises on polling day, and that is a fact. The history of this question goes back to the middle of the century, when there were, unfortunately, several regrettable incidents and a certain upheaval, which caused a considerable amount of anxiety. In the first election which I remember the troops had to be called out, and two people were killed. I think that was in the year 1868. I am only speaking now of what I remember myself, but I know there have been several similar incidents before that time. There was another regrettable disturbance about the year 1880 at election time, and since then it has been by common consent the practice to apply to the justices to exercise the power given to them by the Act of 1872. In the last election I know that an 642 application of that kind was made on my behalf to the justices, and it was immediately complied with, and no objection was raised on the part of my opponent, who agreed with me that it was a desirable measure to take, and on no occasion has the fact that one side or the other had applied to the justices to have this administrative action taken ever been used politically on the platform by one candidate against the other. We have been spared that form of argument which says: "This man cannot trust the people; we are the party who trust the people," and so forth. It is far better to eliminate that from the discussion, and I can only say that my experience has been entirely satisfactory, and has given rise to a better feeding on both sides. The position of the public-house at election time is one which at one time placed it in the position of what may be called a dominating factor in the political situation. I do not think it can be said to hold such a proud position today as it did a generation ago, but it seems to me that a public-house on polling day still exercises far too large an influence in determining the result of the election. [Cries of "Oh, oh."] The hon. Members who cry out "Oh, oh" have only got to look at the reports of inquiries upon election petitions and they will invariably find that the occurrences complained of have been traceable back to acts which occurred in public-houses. From the smaller corrupt practices, such as treating, it is always easy to pass to the more serious form of corrupt practices, because one is a very easy manner of introducing the other. There is another position which the public-house takes at election time, and I am speaking of the country to which I belong.
§ Mr. YOUNGER
I thought the hon. and gallant Member said that the public-houses were closed in his Constituency on polling day.
§ Sir IVOR HERBERT
It is a fact that in my own personal experience at elections in my Constituency the public-houses were closed. Nevertheless, during the period over which I have been ranging—going back before the Act was passed which 643 enabled the justices to take the action which they now take—undoubtedly public-houses were open, and I can remember those days, and I certainly claim to use as evidence what I have also heard from reputable witnesses. There is no doubt that a public-house naturally forms a centre in which people congregate, and in those congregations the feelings of the people are heated. We in Wales are a very hot blooded race, and in England these measures are less necessary, because the English people are not so hot-blooded. I am now speaking for my own country. The congregation of a number of people in public-houses, the excitement induced by a discussion of politics—always a heated occupation, as we know by our experience in this House—and the consumption of heating liquids, lead to a state of feeling in which a breach of the peace is very probable. Where these breaches of the peace have occurred—and they have occurred on more than one occasion in the county to which I belong—they have nearly always been found in the neighbourhood of, or actually on, licensed premises. Therefore the closing of licensed premises on these days would prevent the possibility of their being made the centre of corruption and disturbance. I am not one of those who claim for my party an entire monopoly of temperance reform. There are hon. Members opposite—I see one present now, that hon. Member for South Belfast, who has done yeoman service in the cause of temperance—who are as anxious to promote the cause of temperance as any Member on this side. It is unfortunate that their lines fall in places where it is more difficult for their good intentions to produce fruit; but that is a matter for them to consider. The fact that hon. Members opposite have the same interest in temperance as I have myself leads me to believe that it is putting one party or the other in an invidious position if, in order to have a measure of this sort put in force it is necessary for the one side or the other to apply to the justices. It would be far better if that invidious position were swept away altogether, and the public-houses, in fact, put outside politics, by there being on polling days no question of one party being for the closing and the other for the keeping of public-houses.
The Mover of the rejection of the Bill seemed to be under a misapprehension as to what had been done in the matter of 644 closing public-houses in the county to which I belong. It is not a question of one constituency in every constituency in the county the practice has obtained. He quoted from a newspaper, which itself quoted from the official report of the Chief-Constable of the county of Monmouthshire, and that report was most emphatically in favour of the measure adopted. It was, I believe, the first election after the appointment of that Chief Constable—the election in West Monmouthshire following the death of Sir William Harcourt—and, naturally, he referred to what was a peculiarity occurring within his jurisdiction, namely, the closing of public-houses on polling day. Probably the hon. Member would have been saved some little trouble in arguing this question if. he had known the actual fact—that the quotation was from the official report of the Chief Constable of Monmouthshire, and tended to show that the difficulties of the police were very much reduced by the public-houses being closed.
§ Sir IVOR HERBERT
Yes. I believe it was the first election after the appointment of the Chief Constable, and no doubt that, led him to make special mention of it in his report. I need not deal at great length with some of the other arguments used by the Mover of the Amendment; I hardly think they were made altogether seriously. His opinions as to drinking between meals have not yet become thoroughly satisfactorily fixed. He seemed to have some doubts in the matter, and had some anxiety for the poor millionaire motorist who might be unable to get a drink between meals if going through one of these areas. At the same time, he seemed to suggest that he might at some time bring in a Bill to prevent drinking between meals in this House. That showed a certain uneasiness at the back of his views on the question of drinking between meals; and in other ways I think his opinions might be described in the words of the Seconder of the Amendment, as only "superficially considered." I rose expressly for the purpose of giving the experience of the county to which I belong, as I believe that that should have a considerable influence in leading Members to a correct opinion on this matter. The extension of this measure by Statute to the whole country would undoubtedly be a benefit, and would limit the possibility of breaches of the 645 peace on these important occasions. That I am sure is an object desired by hon. Members opposite just as much as by us on this side, and if the Bill were passed no one need fear that the liberties of the voters of the country were being unduly interfered with.
§ Mr. STUART-WORTLEY (who was indistinctly heard): From the varying utterances which have succeeded one another it is difficult to make out what the true object of this Bill is. It may be intended to promote the preservation of the public peace, or, on the other hand, its object may be the prevention of corrupt practices. If it really aims at the prevention of public disorder on polling days it will probably be found that it is limited in its operation to portions of the day when disorders are least likely to take place. A triumph having been realised, is converted into insolence. Passions, at all times fervent, are apt to become vindictive after the decision of an election has been pronounced, when expectation has been converted into success, and when disappointment is apt to find vent in violence. But that is not the time which will come within the operation of the Bill. It is limited entirely to the period of the election, when people have other things to do than to break each others heads. Their object then is to discover where the voters are who have not voted, and to bring them safely to the poll. The hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite referred to his experience in a part of the country where they always do have the public-houses closed, and he seemed to theorise on what would have happened if they had not been closed. It seems to me that there was a good deal more theory than experience in his contribution to the debate.
§ Mr. STUART-WORTLEY
The hon. and gallant Member did not even show that that was during polling hours. What he said about the attitude of the magistrates towards this question in some parts of the country is not a very good argument for the passing of a universal Bill which would operate where the closing of public-houses may not be necessary in the interest of good order. Why should closing take place where there is no reason for it? I should have no objection personally to such a Bill as this, but I am quite certain that the passing of it would be a matter of 646 extreme annoyance, and something a great deal more than annoyance, for it would be regarded as an indignity to large classes of the people of this country. I believe them to be perfectly capable of preserving order without extreme measures of this kind. If the British electorate is not fit to exercise its functions without being bear-led during the day and tucked up at night it is very difficult to say what functions they are fit for, and yet hon. Gentlemen opposite in many cases profess to be always prepared and anxious to give the widest possible further extension of these functions of the electorate.
I come now to the kernel of the speech made by the hon. Member who moved the second reading of the Bill. The hon. Member for Lincoln said it had been alleged that this Bill assumed the universal habit of treating, and that it was practically an insult to the democracy. He said further, if that was so, it was no greater insult than existed under the Corrupt Practices Acts. In other words, the Bill is to be defended on analogous grounds to those on which the Corrupt Practices Acts are justified. These Acts do not proceed on the assumption that every mortal member of a constituency is going to bribe or be bribed. If you did assume that you would have to suspend and prohibit all cash payments on the day of an election, and you would have to go further, and prohibit all pecuniary promises. You do not do that as a matter of fact, because if you did go that distance you would have to apply prohibition to cash payments and the promises of cash payments at other times and at other places. Of course, the Corrupt Practices Acts did nothing of the kind, for a very good reason. It is only during polling hours that the closing is to take place, but this measure would fail because probably at other times, say, before the polling hours, or on the previous day, it would be perfectly possible to exercise the subtle influences which you desire to pi event. Drinking does not go on only on the polling days. There is already a considerable inducement to withdraw from licensed premises on polling days for the purposes of electioneering. We all know that you cannot have committee-rooms in licensed premises at present. The hon. Member who moved the second reading said it was difficult to distinguish between treating and open-handed hospitality. He said that you have openhanded hospitality in the public-houses. But if public-houses are not open you will have open-handed hospitality in clubs. You 647 may also have it at luncheon in committee rooms. It would be just as difficult to show the difference between open-handed hospitality in these places as in the public-houses. The mere fact that it is not done in a public-house does not raise any presumption that it is not treating. These, I conceive, will be the evils which will possibly be promoted by the Bill. It would simply be driving underground or shifting to other places the practices at which this Bill is nominally aimed. Whether we regard it as a Bill for the prevention of corruption or the prevention of disorder, I think that equally it must fail in its object. As the Bill places large classes of the population under undeserved stigma, and attaches an entirely undeserved label of discredit to our electoral system, I myself do not see my way to support it.
§ Mr. SLOAN
I do not expect that any Irish Member but myself will speak on this Bill. I support the measure. I do not think that it imposes any hardship, and I do not see that it throws any insult on any portion of the community to have polling carried on under conditions which will be conducive to good order. It will afford no justification for believing that votes cannot be given without bribery. I understand that this Bill is a reproduction of the clause in the Licensing Bill with a little extra drafting. I was in the House when the Licensing Bill was under discussion, and I said to a Member in the Lobby this morning that this was a non-controversial Bill; the moment clause 20 was introduced it became a question of controversy.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
This clause was introduced under the guillotine, and it was impossible to discuss it.
§ Mr. SLOAN
I do not think that interruption spoils my argument.. My argument is this. There is no Irish Unionist who opposed the Bill, and there was no Irish Unionist found to go into the Lobby against closing on the days of election. The public-house is not closed all the day, but only while the election takes place. I distinctly state that early closing in Ireland has undoubtedly resulted in the establishment of bogus clubs where illicit drinking goes on. I am going to move tonight the second reading of a Bill dealing with that subject. It has the support of licence holders. It may be argued that while we are trying to deal with this drinking in clubs, we are trying to put obstacles in the way of legislation for that purpose.
Mr. STANLEY WILSON (York, E.R., Holderness)
Does the hon. Gentleman propose that the Bill should be passed without discussion?
§ Mr. SLOAN
I suggest that the second reading should be passed, and that the discussion should take place in Committee. If you believe that facilities exist which ought not to exist we have the right to ask for limitations. We have had the experience of New South Wales, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, where the limitations are actually in force. I suggest that there is nothing in the Bill to rouse the animosity of hon. Members on this side of the House. During the debates on the Licensing Bill every Member on this side declared that he was in favour of temperance reform. The fact of the matter is that it seems to be the function of some Members of the House to object to any legislation on the part of private Members quite irrespective of the merits or the demerits of the Bills which private Members introduce. As regards the representatives of the trade it is not an unnatural thing for a man to speak in favour of his own interests.
§ Mr. SLOAN
The debate has not closed yet. As Ireland is included in the Bill some expression on the part of Irish Members will not be out of place. I do not know whether any Irish Unionists will vote against this Bill, but several have in previous years voted for temperance legislation for Ireland. This Bill is of great importance, and I believe that Members on both sides of the House will reap the benefit which it will create. The hon. Member who moved the rejection of the Bill asked why the bonâ fide traveller should be abolished, and regarded the proposal as class legislation. The moment you make a reasonable demand that the bonâ fide traveller coming by rail after travelling a long journey should have refreshment you are told you are creating class legislation. It is too bad that a charge of this kind should come from this side of the House. There is no legislation ever passed by this House but might be described as class legislation. [An HON. MEMBEE: "Why?"] Because all legislation goes against the will and the pleasure of mind of some people. Ireland is interested in this legislation, and I only rose to deprecate the efforts which have been made to assail the 649 motives of the hon. Member who has introduced this Bill. As a Unionist from the North of Ireland I believe I have the acquiescence of all the Members for Ulster in saying that this Bill will not interfere with the liberty of the subject, but will prevent treating and interference with the liberty of the subject. There will be plenty of time after the poll is closed for people to enjoy themselves without any interference with their dignity or their honour or their rights.
§ Mr. YOUNGER
My hon. Friend has thrown out a direct challenge to those interested in the trade to give their views upon what he calls temperance reform on this occasion. For myself I have never stood in the way of certain proposals; indeed, I have put my name to a report which expressly proposed to limit the hours of opening on Sundays. I agree, and always have agreed, that a certain amount of restriction is necessary, and that our laws are founded on that belief. But there are restrictions and restrictions, and it is possible to go too far, and this Bill goes too far in the prohibition of the sale of intoxicating liquors during the whole, of the polling day. I have had experience of five Parliamentary elections and I have never heard of any treating of the kind mentioned to-day, or of the dangers from having the public-houses open when people are able to get the ordinary refreshments they require. I do not find that extraordinary interest taken in elections that hon. Members opposite think. They seem to think that the elector is very anxious to vote. That is not so at all. They have to be dragged out, and so far from being excited about it, they go about their ordinary business and they look upon it as rather a nuisance when the canvasser comes up and asks them to vote. I have never seen that excitement in Scotland, although I have seen a good deal when the poll closed, when those satisfied were exalted and those despondent were the reverse, and those glorifying in their success indulged a little, as did the others to drown their grief. The hon. Gentleman, I frankly acknowledge, has, from his point of view, brought in a very moderate Bill. I think he has shown that latterly he has acquired a certain amount of wisdom in this matter. I have n) doubt the debates we had in the House last year had an excellent effect upon the hen. Member. He has dropped the extreme proposal which was contained in clause 20 of the Licensing Bill to give the 650 local magistrates a right to close the public-houses on election days, municipal and otherwise, and he has also dropped that particular proposal with regard to Parliamentary elections, and he has decided that the law should be general over the whole Kingdom, and should not be left to the local justices to say whether or not during the Parliamentary elections the public-houses should be closed. I think that shows a development and improvement, on which I very heartily congratulate the hon. Member. He says this is only intended to stop the sale in bars, but I would point out to him the Bill lacks definiteness in this matter. Some people never realise how far their Bills would go. The particular clause dealing with that matter, says, "No person shall sell or expose for sale any intoxicating liquor in any licensed premises in such constituency, and that no person should be on any licensed premises for the purpose of obtaining or consuming intoxicating liquor." That is a very wide clause, and I think it goes a great deal further than the hon. Member imagines. It would close grocers' shops as well as public-houses. There was a discussion at a Committee up stairs as to what closing meant. There never has been any case decided as to that. I know it has been held in England that during closing hours a grocer may supply ordinary articles such as ham and tea, but that he cannot sell drink. And we have the astounding statement of the Prime Minister last year that public-houses could supply meals even in the middle of the night provided the customer was not supplied with liquor. That matter has not yet been cleared up, for no publican has taken the advice of the Prime Minister, and if he had he would find his licence; very soon taken away from him, and his business destroyed. Here again you would have the grocers prevented from supplying ordinary articles of domestic economy during the whole of those hours, with the result that people would be put to very great inconvenience. I might also remind the hon. Member that in Scotland public-houses are not allowed to open for the supply of bonâ fide travellers at any time. There are no words in this clause to confine the prohibition to premises where the sale is by retail. I do not suppose the hon. Member proposes to stop brewers and distillers sending out their carts on election day. In Scotland it is often very necessary to have retail licenses in connection with breweries, and I have in my mind a case of very large premises which 651 has an actual retail licence, not for the purpose of retail sale, but in order to be able to sell quantities of beer in less than four-and-a-half gallon casks. Is there anything in this clause to exempt those places where you are sending out two or three dozens of bottled beer to persons round the corner and 3,000 or 4,000 dozens by train to catch the boat for Calcutta? Is there anything to prevent the police stopping any carrier or railway porter who shall go upon those premises for the purpose of taking those goods away? I do not think the hon. Member wants to include them, and I know it is a Committee point, but it is a very important point, that the Bill should be confined to those licences under which the liquor is sold by retail only either for consumption "off" or consumption "on" the premises. There is not a single word which confines the Bill to that.
In regard to the American case, I do not know whether it is necessary to prohibit drink at elections or whether the people are excitable or not. We do not know why they prohibit the sale of drink in America, but they have never been able to prevent the sale of it by prohibition, and there are no cases that we know of in which they have been able to do so. I was never more struck than I was by the experience which was told me of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Spen Valley. He found himself in no place in which he was not able to obtain spirits, but not only to obtain them, to do more than that. As everybody knows, the right hon. Gentleman does not drink them, but he set himself the extremely difficult task of carrying away those spirits in a flask. It is an easy matter to get a glass of whiskey and swallow it, but it is not so easy to get it in a flask and take it away. In only one case he thought he was defeated, and then, I think, he had to go through twelve doors, each one of which would only open after the other was closed; but ultimately he found himself in a cellar with a large cask of spirits on the floor and a drain down which the spirits could be poured if the Sheriff or his men came in. I do not say that the mere closing of public-houses between 8 and 4 will in any way induce the construction of premises for purposes of this kind, but I do say that it is one of the instances of mistake which hon. Members make when they think that extreme restrictions are likely to bring about temperance. The hon. 652 Member for Belfast must surely be honest and admit that it is the restrictive form of these proposals that we object to. I have pleaded over and over again for a more generous policy and for some of the wisdom the Danes have shown. Copenhagen was, some years ago, one of the most drunken cities in the world. They tried restrictions until they were sick of them, and things got worse and worse. They went to Parliament again and again, but they did no good, and they gave up Parliament as a bad job. Then they went to the brewers and asked if they would produce a light beer if they went to Parliament and got special facilities for the sale of it. The brewers said they would produce a light beer, and Parliament granted the facilities and allowed these licences to exist wherever they liked to have them. There is no restriction on hours or anything at all, so long as the licence-holder does not sell drink which contains more than a certain per cent. of proof spirits. The people have been weaned largely from drinking spirits. They do not go to the spirit shops, but to these places where light beer is sold and where there are no restrictions as to hours, and where there are amusements and music. What you want to do in this country is not to restrict your public-houses but to try and get well-managed and regulated public-houses and clubs, and not have clubs without any restriction at all.
§ Mr. C. ROBERTS
Is it not the fact that Denmark drinks three times more per head of liquor than we do?
§ Mr. YOUNGER
I do not know what they do now. They may drink far more spirits and beer than we do; they may have been drinking eight or nine times more, but these houses have been a very great success, and there is no drunkenness in them whatever. There cannot be the amount of drunkenness, because the people who drink these liquors would burst before they got intoxicated. I was challenged a few days ago in Committee as to whether I was a temperance reformer, and I said I was. When I came home to my business in Scotland we used to brew very strong ale. What do we brew now? We do not brew a gallon of it, and have not done so far 20 years. The brewers of Scotland have educated public taste, which now demands a very light, carefully-brewed, extremely palatable and nutritious ale, not containing much more than 3 per cent, of proof spirits, upon which no one could got drunk. I have therefore 653 no responsibility for drunkenness in Scotland, and if they will drink the article I brew they will keep sober.
It is the excessive drinking of whiskey that is the curse of Scotland, and, therefore, as one who has brewed this light beer and educated the people to drink it instead of whiskey, I have done far more for temperance than any Member of this House who is not in the same trade and doing the same work. I really do not think that the hon. Member for Lincoln produced any figures at all events to justify the proposal which he made. I know he is animated by the very strongest convictions in the matter—I frankly admit that. I know some temperance reformers who have not a great deal of moral conviction behind them, but I know the hon. Gentleman has, and I give him credit for his intention, which I think has been to do right. But I do think he is getting a little wiser than he was, just as the hon. Member for Spen Valley, since he sat on Lord Peel's Commission, has become wiser and takes a very much more moderate view of many questions than he did when I first knew him. I ask the hon. Member not to place his reliance upon extreme restriction, because he will only land himself in a greater mess and difficulty than he is at the present moment.
§ Mr. T. SUMMERBELL
In rising to say a few words on this Bill, I do not wish to speak from a narrow temperance standpoint, nor have I any desire to say anything against the liquor trade. I think the point which arises is this: is it best to have a sober electorate or one which is partially intoxicated? Nowhere have I yet found a man who is not prepared to assert that a sober electorate was the best. I can call to mind a public-house where to every person who went in a strong intimation was given as to which way he ought to use his vote. Influence may be all right, but when influence is backed up by liquor it is bound to be all wrong, and you get an elector with a clouded brain, who is prepared to receive advice which he otherwise would not receive. When a person can use a licensed house in order to influence the electorate there is no section of the community which suffers more by that than we on these benches. It is a question of wealth. It is a question of the man who can spend the money. It is on account of what is sometimes done on election days that I am prepared to support this Bill. I think if we had the public-Houses closed between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. 654 we should have an electorate which would not be influenced, as many of them are on the day of election by literature similar to that which I hold in my hand. I have a sample of literature issued in the Croydon election: "Socialism means more unemployment, injustice to honest workers, the loss of our Empire, and Hell for all." The man who is influenced by literature of that kind is the man who is influenced by the giving away of liquor. I do not wish to abuse the people in the liquor trade, or those who advocate temperance reform to the most narrow extent. I admit there is good on both sides, but I stand here to proclaim in favour of a sober electorate. I consider that the recording of a vote is an important function, and that a man's head ought to be clear. A man who is led to the booth, or brought up in a motor car, or trap in an intoxicated or semi-intoxicated condition is not in a right condition to give an expression of opinion as to what ought to be the policy of any Government.
I admit that to a great extent certain gentlemen who are against the Bill probably know the working classes as well as we do, but I am not convinced by many of the arguments which have been adduced here this afternoon. We have heard a great deal about the freedom of the working classes, and we are told that those who oppose the Bill stand for freedom as far as the working classes are concerned. I only wish hon. Gentlemen would carry this policy of freedom into all walks of life. I have every justification for saying that J am not convinced by my experience during the short time I have been in the House I am not aware that those hon. Gentlemen, when we were attempting to give social and economic freedom for the working classes of the country, ever stood up and advocated it and fought for it. We have generally found them on the opposite side. I take with a grain of salt their arguments in regard to the freedom of the working classes.
With regard to the working men's clubs, it is an extraordinary thing that they should loom so large during the past year or two. Clubs are very old institutions. We have had Liberal and Tory clubs for many years, but we have never heard any talk about restriction in regard to them, but only with regard to workmen's clubs. If a measure is brought forward providing that the same restrictions shall be placed on all clubs, whether they be Conservative or Radical, gentlemen's clubs or working men's clubs, are gentlemen on this side of the House prepared to give their unani- 655 mous support to it? If they are they can rest assured that they will get more support from this side of the House than they had in regard to legislation which has gone before. Probably they would not, and there is every justification why they should not, because we know that the Gentlemen who advocate it in specific cases are the very ones who oppose it when it is suggested that it shall be generally applied. There is nothing new in the demand that has been made here to-day. It is in operation in America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other places where, on the best authority, it has been found beneficial. If it is beneficial in these places, I cannot see why it should not have the same result so far as this country is concerned. I am not yet convinced that even the gentleman behind the bar, the man who controls the public-house, would not be prepared to give his support to the closing of the public-house from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. I do not think hon. Members on this side of the House have a right to be so dogmatic, when they are fighting for the interests of the liquor trade, that they are fighting for the freedom of the working classes. I think both the workers and the men engaged in the licensing trade to-day will see the reasonableness of such a request, and would be prepared to acquiesce in any suggestion that public-houses should be closed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on election days. It has been argued, Why not apply it to municipal contests and many other things? Well, why not? I am prepared myself to support its applications to municipal elections. Are hon. Gentlemen who use that argument prepared to give the same support? We know the working classes, and we are prepared to take the consequences of that which we advocate so far as the working classes are concerned, and we think we know something about working men's clubs. I advocated this before I was elected, I advocated it during my election, and I advocate it here to-day, and I am prepared to take all the consequences of my support to this Bill, and I think the majority of my colleagues will also give their support to it.
Mr. STANLEY WILSON (Yorks, E.R., Holdemess)
I have not heard any adequate reason adduced for the introduction of this measure. This is one of those little inoffensive one-clause Bills to which we are getting accustomed now on Friday afternoons. It is brought forward by the temper- 656 ance party—I suppose on the principle that if they cannot get all they want they will get a little bit of it. The temperance party, I must say, have been very successful in the course of the present Session in being able to bring forward several of their Bills. I think in the few weeks of this Session the temperance party have brought in two Bills. From the Memorandum of this Bill, and the speeches we have heard, we gather that this is clause 20 of last year's Licensing Bill. Yes, clause 20, with slight alterations in the drafting, and I am sincerely glad that these alterations have been made, because, if my memory serves me right, if clause 20 had been carried as it stood it would have meant the closing of public-houses at elections of every character, and I suppose the public-house could have been even closed for parish council elections. I congratulate the hon. Members named on the back of the Bill on having re-drafted that clause, but it does show how badly a Government can advance an important measure as their Licensing Bill, and it does show how the Government ought to give proper, fair, and adequate discussion to such an important proposal as this.
From the names of the hon. Gentlememan the back of the Bill I see they are all prominent supporters of the present Government. [Cries of "No, no."] I apologise. I see there is the name of the hon. Member for South Belfast, but I really think he might find the atmosphere of the Benches opposite more to his liking than that on these Benches. [Cries of "Withdraw."] I cannot understand how hon. Members who are supporters of the present Government—this most democratic Government that this county has ever had—should wish to place such a slur on the working classes of this country as is contained in this Bill. I listened to the speech of the hon. Member for Sunderland just now, and certainly from the tone of the speech he does not appear to think very highly of the intelligence of those electors who have sent him to represent them in this House. I do maintain, in spite of all the Member for Belfast has said, that legislation of this character is class legislation, and class legislation of a character that hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway and hon. Gentlemen opposite have always spoken against. "One law for the rich and one for the poor." There it is, and everybody can see it. This Bill which would allow the rich man to take what he likes (because even this Government cannot stop him), but they can debar 657 the working man from a glass of beer when a Parliamentary election is taking place. What is the reason that hon. Members opposite have for pressing forward this Bill? Do they mean to insinuate that the vote of the working men of this country can be bought by a glass of beer? I quite agree that if this Bill means anything, that is what it does mean.
I am one of those who do not believe that at elections there is very much treating done at the present time. We all know that our laws are of such a stringent character that nobody is likely to take such a risk. At least it does not agree with my experience. For hon. Members to insinuate that a working man's vote can be purchased like this is an insult to the intelligence of the working classes. If hon. Members will turn to the words of the Bill they will find that licensed premises are to be closed until the close of the poll. Does it really mean this: that hon. Gentlemen opposite mean to say that an English working man is not fit to take a glass of beer until after he has recorded his vote? Is that the reason for this, or i3 it this: that they have in mind what happened in the course of last year when they introduced a Bill which was known as the Licensing Bill, of mournful memory, which they endeavoured to impose upon an unwilling country? Do they then think, in consequence of what they did a year ago, that every licensed victualler will work his hardest against them, will work tooth and nail for the party of which I have the honour to be a representative? I ask is that the underlying secret reason—[Cries of "Yes, yes"]—that they press this Bill forward? I am glad to hear that there are some honest men in this House who candidly admit that that is their reason for supporting this measure.
Now I cannot help saying that you are going to allow, if this Bill is to be passed into law at the present moment, the public-house to open at the very worst time possible. After eight o'clock on days of Parliamentary elections is a moment when excitement begins to run high, and that is the moment you are going to allow your public-houses to open. And now I say, and with all due deliberation, that if that is done it will entirely defeat the wishes of the hon. Gentlemen who are supporters of this measure. It will not lead in the direction of sobriety, but it will, I am confident, largely increase the drunkenness which may exist at the present time at elections. The real question is whether there is any necessity for this Bill, 658 and whether there is much drunkenness at elections? Well, in my experience I have not met with it. At the commencement of this debate the hon. Member for Lincoln mentioned Peckham. I have a vivid recollection of the by-election that took place there. I have a vivid recollection of the remarks of hon. Members opposite, who, I do not say in this House, but outside, said the hon. Member who represents that constituency now floated into the House on the top of a wave of beer. I can even remember, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, how on the introduction of that hon. Member to this House he was greeted from benches opposite with shouts of "Beer !" I say at once, in spite of the insinuations which have been made on many occasions by hon. Gentlemen opposite, that there was no truth in the allegation then made. In the history of Parliamentary elections there probably never was a more sober election than the Peckham election.
I do not take alone the police-court statistics, though by themselves they are sufficient to prove that there was very little drunkenness in Peckham on that day. Why was there so little drunkenness? The reason was that after eight o'clock the majority of the public-houses in Peckham voluntarily closed their doors. [An HON. MEMBER: "Sold out."] Suppose the Bill had been law at the time, do hon. Gentlemen suppose that the public-houses would have closed their doors in the way they did? There is not the slightest doubt that had this Bill been law they would have opened at eight o'clock and remained open to the latest possible hour. Hon. Members have referred to this as a temperance Bill. I cannot see where the temperance comes in The proper name for it is an insult to the working men of this country. If the Bill had been a temperance measure it would have made some attempt to deal with the clubs. Hon. Members opposite never attempt to deal with the clubs in dealing with this temperance question. Is it not because they know that there are in all the big towns many working men's clubs which are run principally by the sale of drink, and which are affiliated to the party opposite? If hon. Members opposite were really anxious for temperance reform they would endeavour to deal with the question of clubs. [An HON. MEMBER: "They did in their Licensing Bill."]
Under this Bill railway refreshment rooms are allowed to remain open for people who are coming or going by train. Hon. Gentlemen opposite are now going to give preferential treatment to one class 659 of voters, a class whom they detest and loathe, the voters whom they have done their best to deprive of their votes, the out-voters. The majority of out-voters at elections come and go by train, and these are the men you are going to allow to have drink whenever they like. I do believe most firmly and sincerely that this Bill, if passed into law, instead of having the effect which the hon. Member who moved it most conscientiously believes it would have in advancing temperance reform, would on the contrary increase drunkenness at elections. What would be bound to happen would be this. Immediately the poll closed the toilers of both parties who had been working hard hour after hour would rush straight to the public-houses and spend their entire time there until the declaration of the poll, and we would see scenes to which hitherto we have not been accustomed at elections. I trust that hon. Members will not press this Bill to a division. If they do they will only defeat their own object.
§ Mr. McCALLUM
I think that the speeches made in opposition to this Bill have not touched the fringe of the arguments of the hon. Member who moved its second reading. He has given the experience in America, Canada and other places where the system now advocated has worked with success. The trade is one that must naturally be subject to restrictions. When a man gets a licence for a house he has to be of good character; he has to conform to the rules of the State, and open and close his house at certain hours. We have a right here in legislating for the trade to make such changes as we think may be necessary for the highest good of the country. The hon. Member for Holderness has stated from his point of view that this Bill is a slur on the working classes of the country. So far as Scotland is concerned the working classes have always been willing to submit to restrictions of this nature. We have certain holidays during the year, and the magistrates have the power to say that during these days no liquor shall be sold. That has been carried out for five years in Scotland, and the results have been most satisfactory. Drunkenness has decreased, and we have seen evidence all round that the working men have appreciated this legislation, and they have been more sober in going about than they used to be. This proves very clearly that it cannot be an 660 insult to the working men to have this legislation which is to their advantage.
The truth is that in Scotland we have more restrictive legislation than in England. We have more drunkenness, unfortunately; we have more drunken people, but we are also the most sober of the three naitonalities if you look into detail. Our liquor bill was at one time £1 per head more, but last year it was less than that of England. We have more men who are abstainers and more men who are moderate drinkers, but, unfortunately, owing to the nature of our climate and the traditions of our people, there is more drunkenness there than here. We are, therefore, anxious that there should be restrictions, as we know what will be their effect, and we are sure that Scotland will welcome a Bill of this sort. It has been effectual in Canada. I have seen it working there. The Canadian working men do not consider it an insult to have the public-houses closed at seven o'clock at night. The restrictions there have been so helpful to all ranks of the community, and so great is the change that has been made, that Canada's liquor bill is exactly one-third of the liquor bill of England. Now as to Peckham, we have heard a good deal of it. I rejoice to learn that the public-houses were closed after 8 o'clock. But they had done a good deal of work, and they had been fairly successful during the day. I understand in many cases the liquor was completely finished. As to club legislation, which has been referred to, I do not see why we should not have club legislation, but we must begin legislating in certain directions. We have many clubs with us in Scotland where the liquor trade has been so opposed to them that they did all they could to get them removed. Where the Magistrates have been able to see clear evidence that these clubs were in fault, and have had legitimate grounds, they have been able to deal with them on several occasions. I can speak with knowledge for I have sat on the bench when we killed within nine months two of those clubs by using the power of the law at our disposal. The liquor sold was bad, and the influences were so bad on Sunday through people getting liquor before eight o'clock in the morning that we were, therefore, able to use the means with results that were immediate. If the power of the law was frequently exercised when these things were complained of in connection with clubs, I am sure the difficulties ought to be easily got over, if Members on the other side are as willing 661 to help us as we are on this side to introduce legislation. The hon. Members, who spoke from the other benches, forgot to say that liquor could not be had ad libitum at railway stations, but only with meals. That is the wording of the clause. I am sorry to see that the Member for the Ayr Boroughs is not here. He has been telling us, both upstairs and in the House, that he is a temperance reformer. Certainly he is not a temperance reformer of the orthodox type. He believes in restriction. When we introduce a Bill most moderate and with minimum conditions of restrictions he goes directly opposite to it. This wisdom, he has clearly indicated, is not that which the hon. Member for Lincoln has adopted. I wish he himself would read a different kind of literature, and get the wisdom which would make him wise beyond measure; the measure of mind that would tend to show to him that the limits of this licensing trade are not possibly restricted to those in the trade, and the trade itself is founded on this principle, that a man comes and asks for a licence itself, because presumably it is wanted in a locality. Well, 800 people in the locality are of more importance than the one man who has to exercise that licence. We are so constantly hearing the interests of the trade advocated from that side of the House, that one might naturally suppose that the common people have no interest in it, and that the interest in this trade is that confined to the pecuniary.
I heartily support this Bill, because I think it is sound and reasonable. It has been successful in other parts of the world. I am exceedingly sorry to see men on the other side of the House speaking in such a tone and spirit that it is an insult to the working-classes. It has been suggested that this is an attempt to deprive them of rights that they have at the present. That right has been given in times gone by to the landlords; why not now to the people themselves'? Surely masses of people have a right to judge whether they want a license or not. In Scotland there are 210 parishes where there is not a drop of liquor sold. It does not seem to me that for one day in five years it would be out of place to take the privilege from the people, that they shall be able to record their vote sober and thoughtfully, without influences which are dangerous, pernicious, and criminal.
I am not one of those who regard this Bill as an insult to 662 the working people. I am one of those who regard as an insult to the working people that the Bill should be supported by the sort of arguments we have heard to-day. I have probably had as much experience with regard to working class constituencies as anyone I am addressing. For myself, I say it is not fair, it is not decent, to say that the Scottish working class electorate is in any way liable to be subject to the trade or bribery, or to go to the poll in a condition of drunkenness. I do not know what it is in Wales. I do not know what it is in England. But I say that in Scotland there is no time when the Scottish electorate, and particularly the working men electorate, are more earnest and determined to do their duty to those constituencies they live in, than on election days. I say it is an insult to working men, and I am surprised to find it put forward by those who speak on behalf of the Labour party—so-called. For my own part, for the last 20 years I had the honour of being a candidate for constituencies, or for the most part of that time, which I believe for the most part were working class constituencies, and I have never found more intelligent or sober people than those who lived in these working class constituencies. That, to my mind, is the great weakness in this Bill—that it is required to be supported by arguments of that sort. I say further, that to my mind it is a bad Bill, and I think it will not only not promote temperance, but it will promote the very reverse. F think I am entitled—if I may say so with the greatest possible respect—to speak as a temperance reformer in this House, so far as Scotland is concerned, because I have given a challenge before, and I give it now, that no greater measure of temperance reform for Scotland has been passed within the last 40 years than that which the Government of which I was a member passed in 1903. The hon. Member who has just sat down, the Member for Paisley, spoke of holiday times. Does he not remember what happened in holiday times when the Glasgow magistrates closed the public-houses? What was the condition of Paisley? It was so bad that the Glasgow magistrates withdrew the prohibition, because the people ran down from Glasgow to Paisley.
§ Mr. McCALLUM
I have not the slightest hesitation in corroborating what the hon. Member says, but I would like to say that if you take the drunken cases the next day, and compare them with the 663 year previously in Glasgow and Paisley, even with all this, the results were very satisfactory.
It was so satisfactory that the magistrates of Glasgow did not carry out the repressive powers they had. They found that it would not be tolerated. But that is exactly the same sort of thing that this Bill is going to do. What the measure of the Government proposed to do last year about clubs in England was, to a large extent, if not altogether, borrowed from the measure which we Unionists passed for Scotland in 1903. You are going to carry out the principle of repression in this way, that during the hours when men are busy attending to their electoral duties they are not to be allowed to have any drink. I do not know why. They are just as sober and just as capable as those of the clubs, and just as much entitled to be entrusted with the responsibility of taking care of themselves as we are. Then you are positively going to suppose that closing the public-houses from eight to eight, and opening them when the enthusiasm and excitement runs highest is temperance reform. It will lead to excess more than exists at the present time. I repeat, too, from my knowledge of Scotland, that if you extended this Bill to that country it would not only not conduce to temperance but it would be distinctly in the interests of intemperance. It would keep the houses closed during the time of day when a man would not be so much tempted to go to them, and it would open them at an hour when, after the strain of work, there is enthusiasm and excitement, and when men might be led wrong if they are capable of being led wrong. It is upon these grounds I submit that this, instead of being a measure to promote temperance, is one which would really result in intemperance. I think hon. Members opposite will realise that, while we differ from them as to the best means of checking the great evil of intemperance, we are not less anxious than they for its diminution. But hon. Members opposite will not benefit by the lessons of experience. What was the result of repressive measures on holidays in Glasgow? There we had a striking example of what results from such legislation. And under this proposal, instead of closing for the whole day you are going to close for a part of the day, and then re-open at a time when the danger will be at its worst. On that 664 account I submit that this measure ought not to receive the support of this House. I understand the allegation is that there may be bribery and corruption if the Houses remain open during the hours of polling. I do not know what the circumstances are in England in that respect, but I know that to offer to treat an elector in Scotland with a view to influencing his vote would be regarded as an insult. Any Scotch candidate will tell you that any practice of that kind among the Scottish electors would do him the greatest possible harm. Whatever may be the case with English or Welsh electors, I say that the electors of Scotland do not need this protection. We do not need, nor do we want, a Bill of this kind, and temperance reformer as I am, having proved myself to be one in connection with Scottish legislation, I believe this to be the very worst kind of measure, because so far from decreasing it will tend to increase intemperance.
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY for the HOME OFFICE (Mr. Herbert Samuel)
We have heard from the hon. and learned Gentleman who has just sat down arguments which are very familiar to us on every measure of temperance reform of this kind proposed to the House. We are always told that so far from promoting temperance, it will certainly cause drunkenness.
I was a supporter of the Government which passed the Act of 1903, one of the biggest temperance reforms for Scotland.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
I know that when a temperance measure happens to come from hon. Members opposite then they believe that restriction is invaluable, and that you can make men sober by Act of Parliament. But as soon as a measure on similar lines is proposed on this side of the House then they say that so far from promoting temperance undoubtedly it will give rise to orgies of drunkenness. In the same way, if any measure is proposed in the way of labour legislation, or to improve the condition of factories, or anything of that kind, we are promptly told that the working classes themselves will be the first to suffer from restrictions of that sort.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
The hon. Gentleman is not the only Member of the House who spoke on that measure. Hon. Members will recollect that the arguments continually used in respect of that Bill were that the working classes would be the first to suffer from anything which restricts freedom of labour. Here we have also the arguments that this proposal is a gross interference with the liberty of the subject, that we are nursing the electors, and that we are insulting the working classes. [Cheers.] Hon. Gentlemen opposite almost unanimously cheer a repetition of those statements. I only wish the Leader of the Opposition were here to hear the denunciations of a principle which only last year he himself cordially endorsed. I see the hon. Member for the City of London shakes his head.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
Perhaps it will be well to repeat what the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition said in the discussion on a similar clause in last year's Bill. There have already been quoted to-day one or two passages from speeches of the Leader of the Opposition when a similar question was discussed on the Licensing Bill of last year. "Did the Committee think," he said, "even if it were possible, it would be right or desirable to shut the public-houses on public holidays? He quite agreed, if he might say so, as to the days of election, and so forth." A few days later, on 2nd Nov., he said, "Taking the great towns, apart from the rural districts, that his own opinion was that it would be desirable to close public-houses in towns on election days." And in the other House we had a statement by Lord St. Aldwyn, who is not generally regarded as an extreme temperance fanatic, that he cordially approved of the proposal to close public-houses on election days. If there is an insult to the working classes in this proposal, the insult has been endorsed by the most prominent leaders of the hon. Members opposite. Many points have been raised to-day which are Committee points. Hon. Gentlemen opposite have urged that this principle if it is to be adopted at all should be extended throughout the day, and that after the hours of polling are over then is the time when disturbance may arise. I have no doubt if they propose that Amendment, as we should, of course, expect them to 666 propose it, the Committee would listen to their proposition with much interest and some sympathy. The question of clubs is one which is usually raised in these debates. There never was a more convenient red herring than this question of clubs which supply intoxicating liquor. There are at present 7,000 clubs registered, many of them golf clubs and masonic lodges, and other bodies which have to be registered under the Act of 1902, and which are not clubs at all in the ordinary sense. There are only 7,000 of these clubs, while there are 95,000 public-houses in England and Wales. So that the problem is obviously infinitely larger in the case of public-houses than it is in the case of clubs, in any event. Further, we hold the view which we expressed last year, and which we hold still, that the ordinary, reputable, well-managed workmen's club is not a public-house, and should not be so treated. But, undoubtedly, there are a number of clubs which exist for the purposes of drinking, and which are merely public-houses on the co-operative principle. With regard to these clubs, we hold not that their hours should be regulated, not that they should be closed on election days like public-houses, but that they should be suppressed altogether. That was the proposal contained in the Bill of last year, which was rejected, with much else, by the Upper House. I should like to draw the attention of the House to this fact in connection with the club clauses of the Licensing Bill of last year, that every Amendment, with one exception, moved to those clauses by hon. Members opposite was intended to weaken and not to strengthen them. With reference to the proposals of this Bill, I have not heard that there is any widespread evil, or any evil, with regard to the use of clubs on election days at the present time. It is possible that there may be some evil; all I can say is that if there is it has not come to my notice. I do not think arguments have been adduced to prove it, and there has been no reason for my hon. Friend to attempt to deal with clubs in this Bill.
I come now to what the hon. Member who moved the rejection of the Bill called his main objection to this measure—an objection which has been repeated again and again by Members opposite, and in most emphatic and vigorous language by the hon. and learned Gentleman who has just sat down. The hon. Member for Blackpool said that if you can trust the. British elector to vote upon matters which 667 may decide the fortunes of the Empire, surely you can trust him to be sober in a public-house and not yield to the temptations of those who by treating would endeavour to induce him to surrender the proper use of his electoral privilege? We are told that this Bill is an insult to the intelligence of the working classes, that it is an insult to their morality, and an insult to their capacity for self-restraint. All these objections might be used—some of them have been used—to any proposal to improve our electoral laws. They might be used against the Ballot Act, and they might be used against the Corrupt Practices Act; indeed, they were used against the Ballot Bill when the opponents of that measure, year after year, throughout a long controversy, declared that it was insulting to say that the British electorate could not be relied upon freely and without hindrance to record their votes, and they were able to make party capital, as the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has endeavoured to do, by saying, "Here you have certain people in Parliament who are insulting you by saying you are not fit to exercise the franchise." Parliament soon came to see that all this was little better than cant. It was notorious that the electors in considerable numbers, through the very fact of their economic position, could not vote as free men without the protection of the secret ballot. Thirteen years after that a measure was introduced by Sir Henry James, called the Corrupt Practices Bill, which might have been opposed on the same ground that it was insulting the electorate to suggest that they could be bribed, that it was necessary to prevent committee rooms being placed in public-houses, and that treating should be made an offence. Parliament ignored those considerations, and the Corrupt Practices was not considered in any degree a reflection on the general body of the electorate of this country. This Bill proposes to extend the principle adopted in those measures for securing the purity of our elections somewhat further.
§ Mr. ASHLEY
The right hon. Gentleman has reminded us of the Corrupt Practices Act and the Ballot Act, but will he show the House in what way this Bill will increase the freedom of the electors from any undue influences?
§ Mr. H. L. SAMUEL
That is quite a different point. The argument with which 668 I have been dealing suggests that any restriction of this sort is an insult to the intelligence of the electors, and interferes with their liberty. I think it is somewhat remarkable that as the franchise in this country has been extended, with the full approval and desire of that electorate, our electoral laws have become more and more stringent and severe. I think it stands to the credit of the democratic principle, looking back over the last 70 years, that we can say, as the electorate has been enlarged, our elections have not become more tumultuous, or more irrational, but they have become more serious and orderly year by year. I do not consider the evil of intemperance at elections is any longer a grave evil. I do not pretend that we are dealing with a really widespread and serious abuse gravely affecting our electoral system. The days are long past when every election was an orgy and every General Election a sort of national Saturnalia. There are, however, a comparatively small number of electors influenced by considerations like those which have been discussed to-day. From time to time election petitions do reveal that these evils go on and while we get to know in this way what goes on in certain constituencies when they are lighted by the searchlight of a petition inquiry, we do not know really what goes on in the darkness which is not so illuminated. It is notorious, and one does not need proof of it, that at election times the public-house does frequently exercise an illegitimate influence, and we believe that a measure of this kind will greatly improve both the orderliness and purity of our elections. The attitude of the Government cannot be in doubt in regard to this Bill. This particular clause is taken almost word for word from the Licensing Bill of last year. There have been some amendments in drafting; to one of them hon. Members opposite have attached very much importance, which, to my mind, is a very unimportant one. My hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General pointed out last Session that the contention that our clause, as drafted, would have closed public-houses all over the country whenever there was a by-election in a single constituency is one which cannot be seriously held, because it is inconceivable that any court could put such an interpretation upon it. In order, however, to make this point perfectly clear, the clause has been slightly altered in that respect. The attitude of the Government on this Bill cannot be in doubt. The ruins.
669 of the Licensing Bill have formed a quarry in which many private Members have been able to get material—like the Coliseum at Rome—and my hon. Friend has gone to our measure for the clause which he has embodied in this Bill, which he asks the House to accept. The Government approved of that clause last year, and they naturally support it to-day, and as it was endorsed by the House of Commons by a large majority in the late Session so I believe it will be endorsed by a similar majority this afternoon.
§ Mr. GEORGE CAVE
We all thought the right hon. Gentleman would remedy an omission which I have noticed in every previous speech in this debate in regard to this Bill, namely, that he would supply some facts supported by figures to prove to the House that there was more drunkenness on a polling day at Parliamentary elections than on other days. This Bill must cause great inconvenience to a large number of people, and, therefore, it ought to be supported by some special case. So far from that being the case, we have just heard from the Under-Secretary that on the contrary, there is no special intemperance on polling day and, therefore no case for distinguishing that day from any other day in the year. This Bill is founded, I believe, on a very exaggerated conception both of what goes on on election days and of what is the effect of the opening of public-houses. In my experience election day for ordinary people is very much like any other day. The business man gives five or ten minutes to go to the poll and record his vote; lie sometimes thinks it rather a trouble to do so, but, having done it, he goes back to his ordinary business. The working man is far too busy to bother about the election until, perhaps, the very latest moment, the last hour before the closing of the poll. He has his work to do, and he goes about it; certainly he is not disposed by reason of the election to drink during the day. If any temptation occurs it is in the evening, after the poll is closed. That being so, look at the amount of trouble and inconvenience that will be imposed upon ordinary people by this Bill. It often happens that polling day is fixed for a Saturday. Saturday afternoon is a time when people go out for their relaxation, and they want a certain amount of refreshment. In country districts polling day may happen on market day, and what an amount of inconvenience would be caused to ordinary business men 670 by closing the houses of refreshment on that day. I might mention many other such cases. Take this one: The Bill would prevent the sale to an ordinary man of his dinner beer under an off-licence. Why should it be impossible for a man to get his ordinary beer in the middle of the day at an off-licence house on polling day? The poll is a very important matter, but not so important that it should stop the ordinary transactions of everyday life or subject people to special inconvenience. The right hon. Gentleman says there is the matter of treating. There is a certain amount of treating at elections, but I believe it is getting less and less; it is very rare indeed, and when it occurs there is a penalty under the law. That penalty is very heavy; but if it is not enough, increase it, and punish the offender; but do not, for the purpose of roasting your pig, burn down the house, as the old proverb puts it. Do not cause trouble and inconvenience to the whole population in order to prevent an evil which is very rare indeed, and which when it occurs can be properly punished.
It is said that riots sometimes occur at elections. If a riot is feared there is an easy remedy. There is already power in the bench, if a riot occurs or is anticipated, to close the public-houses. That power is very rarely exercised, because it is very rarely wanted, and I do not see that this measure is required to deal with rare cases of that kind. Even if the Bill were passed I do not believe that the little drunkenness that occurs on election days would be affected by it. I will not go into the question of clubs again, but I want to put this point. Nobody suggests—certainly I do not—that drunkennes occurs in clubs on election days. What we say is that to close the public-houses would drive men into the clubs, and you would get in the clubs exactly the same drinking, possibly the same amount of treating, and certainly it would be under less supervision than in the public-houses. That, I think, is a fair argument, without reflecting on the ordinary use of clubs. Then take the point put by one of my hon. Friends—that if you close the public-houses in one place, the only effect will be that a man, if he wants a drink so badly will go to the next place. We know what happened in Glasgow when the public-houses were closed there—the people went to Paisley. That produced a scene there which led to a protest from the chief constable and to the opening of the houses on the next public holiday. The same thing would happen here. What is 671 the use of closing the public-houses in one tillage or in one town if the people who want drink can go to the next—certainly are some trouble to themselves, but with the same result so far as any risk of drunkenness or treating is concerned?
I say with all seriousness that to close public-houses all day when the greater part of the drunkenness occurs, and to open them at eight o'clock at night for two or three hours will have the effect not of decreasing but of increasing drunkenness. There will not be so much drinking on the whole during the day, but there will be much more drunkenness in those two or three hours at night than there is at present during the whole of the day for this reason: The houses will be opened just at the time when excitement is at its height, when the polling is over, when discussion is rife as to what has happened during the election, when everybody wants to tell the story of what he has or has not done, and the people will go in hundreds straight to these houses as soon as they are opened, stay there until the time for the declaration of the poll, and you will have, I believe, more real trouble, more drunkenness, more risk of riot if this Bill passes than under the present system. I say that, fully believing it to be true, and I hold that the Bill for that reason, far from doing good, will really do harm. No case has been made out for the Bill; no figures have been given; no proof has been adduced; there is nothing but the bare assertion that drunkenness goes on on election days. That being so, as one is bound to make up one's mind what to do, I distinctly say that the Bill ought not to pass, and therefore I shall vote against the second reading
§ Mr. LUTTRELL
It seems to me that this Bill is a very moderate measure indeed. If it errs at all, it is on the side of moderation. If one wanted proof of that, it has been continually afforded in the course of the debate. Many arguments have been directed against the Bill because it does not go far enough. The trend of the arguments has been in that direction Those defects may very easily be remedied. Many of us on this side quite agree that the Bill would be greatly improved if it were a less moderate measure. For instance, I think there is something in the argument that it is a mistake to close licensed premises during the day and open them at the time when, no 672 doubt, there is a great deal of excitement. But that can be very easily remedied by omitting the words "Until after the hour fixed for the close of the poll." On this side of the House such an Amendment would be received with great pleasure, and I hope we may receive the support of hon. Members opposite in that direction. Another argument was that the bars of clubs should be closed when the bars of public-houses are closed. I am strongly in favour of treating the bars of clubs in the same way as the bars of public-houses, and, again, the point could be met by a small Amendment. Another objection urged is that the Bill will not affect all elections. We hold that it would be a great advantage that the Bill should be extended to apply to all elections, municipal as well as Parliamentary. It is a very moderate Bill, and I support the measure thoroughly because I believe it is one which is likely to do good in the interest of temperance, and to do something to purify elections. It is absurd to contend that these public-houses are to be treated in the same category as other places. We have already recognised that they are not so. We do not allow political committees to be held in licensed premises, and other countries have also recognised the principle that it is better to have licensed premises closed on election days. It is no new proposal, and it is one which if carried out should be acceptable.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
The Undersecretary for the Home Department quoted from the speech of my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition on 2nd November last. May I point out to the right hon. Gentleman that the quotations he made, while correct so far, did not give all the remarks which were made. The words used by my right hon. Friend are to be found at page 814 of "Hansard." He said:—Even on the subject of the closing hours on the days of polling, he understood that the right hon. Gentleman was quite ready to mortify his views, and to a certain extent to recast his Bill. He had always had a feeling himself that at all events, so far as Parliamentary Elections in great towns were concerned, it would he a wise thing to close public-houses during certain hours of the day, and to restrict the sale of intoxicating liquors.But here is a qualification which the right hon. Gentleman did not read, and it is very important:—Those who had looked into the statistics on the subject had informed him in the first place that, there was no experience to show that there was any increase of crime or violence or even excitement, due to the consumption of intoxicants, and in the second place that the consumption was not larger on those days than on 673 other days. If that could be established lie supposed the main case for sub-section (g) would fall to the ground.My right hon. Friend voted against the amendment.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I am perfectly willing to read it. The right hon. Gentleman said:—He confessed that his own impression would be that in the great centres of population where excitement in certain circumstances and party feeling ran very high, it might be a prudent step to prevent an extra source of excitement of an advantitious character being added to those which the state of public opinion necessarily engendered. But that was relatively an unimportant matter ….That is the statement of my right hon. Friend. He was inclined to close public-houses at certain hours in large centres and towns if it could be proved what he was told could not be proved that the opening of public-houses on these particular days added to the excitement and danger of an election. I think it is perfectly clear that the closing of public-houses on election days would have no effect whatever, and the remarks of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kingston are very apposite in that direction, for he has called the attention of the House to the fact that no one has attempted to bring forward evidence to show any ground for supposing that riot or drunkenness is excited on election days by public-houses being open. My hon. Friend on my right, who is in a position to obtain statistics on this question," is going to show that, as a matter of fact, all the statistics prove that practically there is no increase in the sale of intoxicating liquors on election day. The hon. Member for Sunderland made a speech in favour of the Bill; but I do not think he had read it carefully, because he made a mistake with reference to the hours of closing as proposed by the Bill.
I know that some hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway on this side of the House have wealth on the brain, just as the hon. Member for Lincolnshire opposite has temperance on the brain. The hon. Member opposite apparently thinks that wealth can influence on voting day the vote of a working man by means of a pint of beer—that wealth can induce him to vote for the wicked capitalist, instead of the Labour candidate. There is not the slightest proof that such a state of affairs attends, and if it did attend not a single speaker has advanced any argument that this Bill would 674 alter it. There is no evidence that there is a tendency on the part of working men or other people to sell their votes for drink. A fortnight before the polling day canvassing goes on, meetings are held, and the merits of the candidates are discussed. My experience has been that on the day of polling, except just round the booth, there is quietness. After 8 o'clock I admit that sometimes noisy scenes take place, but when these scenes take place the public-houses will be opened. Several reasons have been advanced for the Bill. I have dealt with the question of corruption, and I will not say anything more except to say that the Under-Secretary for the Home Department said that it was absurd to describe the Bill as an insult to the working classes. The Ballot Act and the Corrupt Practices Act are two very different things. The right hon. Gentleman opposite has stated that there were certain people who from their dependent positions could not exercise their own desires in casting their votes. That is very true, but it is quite a different thing from a person who sells his vote. A man who has a vote ought not, of course, to be influenced by any consideration, but I admit there is great temptation under certain circumstances, and therefore the Ballot Act was provided, and a wise and proper provision it made. The same applies to the Corrupt Practices Act; but when you come down to something like a glass of beer I say it is absurd to suppose that people are going to be corrupted by a glass of beer, that they are going to put the safety and the welfare of their country behind the drinking of a pint of beer. [An HON. MEMBER: "Agreed."] The hon. Member says "Agreed." Very well, I presume we shall have the pleasure of the hon. Member's society in the "No" Lobby shortly. The hon. Member who introduced this Bill used the old argument of Canada and the United States, and pointed out that they were in favour of this Bill, and that Canada had a similar Bill in actual practice. Now I have a great admiration for the Colonies, and I do not wish to say anything that would be considered derogatory of them. I think they know how to manage their own affairs, and manage them well. But I object entirely to this Mother of Parliaments being continually told they are to manage their affairs by what has been done by other people. Surely we ought to regulate our own affairs for ourselves, and if we show ourselves incompetent, if this particular 675 House of Commons is incompetent, then the sooner we go to the country and ask it to give us a more competent House of Commons the better. May I ask the hon. Member who introduced this Bill how he thinks the closing of public-houses for one day is going to promote temperance? The right hon. Gentleman opposite said it would not be an inconvenience to people, because it would only occur once in five years. I do not know how he knows that there are only going to be elections once in five years, and I think very likely he will find that he is wrong in that statement. But, be that as it may, supposing he is light, how can the closing of public-houses once in five years promote temperance, especially when the public-houses are all open after 8 o'clock, when there is still a considerable amount of feeling in the constituency and probably there will be a considerable amount of thirst, as the in habitants will have been precluded from obtaining drink before eight o'clock. The argument as to riots is the third argument which has been advanced, and it is the only argument which has been accompanied by any statistics or figures to show that there is any foundation for it. I hope I shall show that those statistics and figures were useless. There were riots in Monmouthshire in 1868 and 1880, both of which are a long time ago, and they were elections at which the Radical party were triumphant. When the Radical party is triumphant there very often are riots, as there was at Peckham in 1906. I contested four elections at Peckham, and there was in no sense a riot until 1906, and that was not because the public-houses were open, but because supporters of hon. Gentlemen opposite got the upper hand and could not control themselves. Consequently they went away and rioted, and prevented people who disagreed with them from being heard. Then, for the first time in my election experience at Peckham, there were riotous scenes, but they were not on the polling day. There was one on the eve of the polling day in a public hall at Peckham, and there were considerable riots at meetings for ten days before the election, but on the polling day there was no riot of any sort or kind. The figures, therefore, which the hon. Baronet brought forward prove nothing. At times, when the electors are turned to the belief that the party opposite should be returned to power, the result is riot, and that has nothing to do with public-houses, but with the unfortunate state of mind of the elec- 676 tors for the time being. Is this Bill necessary even from the point of view of riot? Is it not the fact that if the proprietors of public-houses desire to close their houses they can close them now? And if there is any fear of riot the inspector of police of the district would go round and say to the licensees he thought it advisable to close, and the publicans would probably do so.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I am not a brewer myself, and therefore I cannot say, but I do not know that a brewer would prefer to have his property wrecked sooner than refuse to sell a small quantity of beer.
The hon. Member for South Belfast said that while hon. Members on my side of the House found their arguments against Bills of this sort on the fact that clubs are not included they do not, when circumstances arise, vote for the inclusion of clubs. That is a travesty of our position. We do not desire interference with the liberty of the subject, either in the public-house or in the club, but if we are going to interfere with the liberty of the subject, against which we protest and shall always protest, and which I hope we shall always succeed in defeating, we say what is fair for one man is fair for the other, and you must include clubs if you deal with public-houses in this manner. We do not say we want clubs stopped, and we do not say we want public-houses stopped. We do not want either stopped, but if any demand of this sort is made both must be included, and it is not illogical; on the contrary it is logical, holding these views, that we should oppose both the closing of public-houses and the closing of clubs. The Under-Secretary for the Home Office does not hold these views. Replying to a deputation, he said:—He fully shared the views of the deputation with regard to clubs which wore established for the purpose of drinking. It was useless to secure the closing of public-houses if the result was that wherever a house was closed a drinking club arose to take its place. These clubs were neither more nor less than public-houses under co-operative principles.And yet the right hon. Gentleman told us he saw no reason why clubs should be included in the Bill. Then what is the object of the Bill? If it is to promote temperance, why does the right hon. Gentleman who supports the Bill and believes you cannot promote temperance unless we include clubs, says it is not necessary to introduce clubs in this Bill. He is always logical, and the only possible conclusion you can draw from his statement is that he does not advocate the second 677 reading of the Bill for the same reason as the promoter does. The supporters of the Bill regard it from three different standpoints. It is curious that there is not a single temperance advocate who has spoken in favour of it except the promoter. Where is the right hon. Baronet the Member for Spen Valley, that great knight of the temperance crusade? He is conspicuous by his absence. Where is the right hon. Gentleman the Member for S. Tyrone? Why does not he come to support the hon. Member for S. Belfast? The hon. Member for Belfast is away just now, and, therefore, we are driven to the conclusion that the Temperance party represented by one solitary Member are not very keen on the effect of this Bill, and then we have the right hon. Gentleman who advocates it, though he has not said exactly why. If the Bill is not going to stop corruption, and is not going to promote temperance, what is the good of discussing it. It certainly will inflict inconvenience on a very large class of the community which the right hon. Gentleman specially claims to represent. The right hon. Gentleman talked about the Coliseum at Rome, and he said that from the ruins of the Licensing Bill the hon. Gentlemen opposite were culling great measures. May I venture to point out that, as far as I know, the Coliseum at Rome is still in a state of ruin, and his analogy will prove that the Licensing Bill, like the Coliseum, will remain in a state of ruin. The fact remains that this is an insidious attempt to introduce little bits of the Licensing Bill by instalments. Hon. Gentlemen opposite want to be able to say that they have done something, and so they bring in a little bit of a thing like this, which will do no good to anybody, and which, I believe, will provoke great discomfort among the majority of the people of this country. The hon. Member for Belfast said he introduced a temperance Bill with a bad result.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
Then perhaps the hon. Gentleman will correct me. He told us, I thought, that he introduced a temperance Bill which had results he did not anticipate, and that he had a Bill to come up after five o'clock which would have the effect of correcting those bad results.
§ Mr. SLOAN
I said I had the good fortune to propose the Early Closing Bill for Ireland, and that it was considered that since it came into operation a certain 678 number of bogus clubs had been established. When I tried to pass another Bill to correct that, and to make bogus clubs impossible, it was killed by the hon. Gentlemen who are now complaining that bogus clubs are not dealt with in this Bill now before the House.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
The hon. Gentleman said he promoted a Bill which caused certain bogus clubs to spring up. Then he said there is another Bill on the Order Paper of to-day relating to the registration of clubs in Ireland, and that he wishes to get that through. Let me point out to the hon. Member a much simpler course—to repeal the first Bill. We should be then perfectly certain not to risk any further bad results. The three arguments that have been brought forward for this Bill are the prevention of corruption, the prevention of riot and the advancement of temperance. It has not been shown that it would for one single moment effect any single one of these objects. Under these circumstances I shall have very much pleasure in voting against the second reading of this Bill.
§ Mr. CROOKS
I could not let this opportunity pass of welcoming the hon. Baronet as a champion of peaceful picketing. He asks for facts as regards the influence of drinking on the day of the election. I should like to go a little further and ask him what becomes of all the money subscribed by railway companies to election funds?
§ Sir F. BANBURY
As the hon. Member has made a charge against railway companies, and I happen to be a director of one of them, I beg to say that my company, the Great Northern, never subscribed a single farthing to an election fund.
§ Mr. CROOKS
It is a good thing that some of them come out so well. But, looking at the balance-sheets, we may ask where the money went. We know perfectly well that there was a coal consumers and gas protection society at Peckham. We know where the money went. After 8 o'clock in the evening there would be no need to spend anybody else's money. The people who go to public-houses then will be spending their own money, and, therefore, it is of no particular advantage to the candidate at all. It is said that after 8 o'clock there are disorderly scenes. Of course there are. They have been well primed during the day.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
As to the danger of corruption, it is rather easy for a man to say, "If you go into a public-house after 8 o'clock you will find that orders have been given to supply you with drink."
§ Mr. CROOKS
As a matter of fact, that has been done. There is nothing new in that. I know pretty well: I can give answer chapter and verse, the particular incident in which the candidate that day was asked for a drink. He said: "After 8 o'clock to-day maybe I can help, but up to then I cannot do anything." What the right hon. Gentlemen are alarmed at about this Bill is that it will rob them of that peaceful persuasion that they are always protesting against—these statements that are made—dear knows how wild they are—as to the marvellous things that are going to be done when certain candidates get in. Let me say, for instance, he says: "We need eight 'Dreadnoughts.'" The man says: "I do not believe it. Then the man is asked:" Will you come and have a drink with me and I will explain things to you." They go off and have a drink, and the man is told: "Look here, my dear boy, the other man is a fool; let us have another one. If I am returned to Parliament it will be all right. You know what they said the other day—'we want eight, and we cannot wait.' That does not mean you are going to be any poorer for it, because what you are going to do is, when we get into power we are going to give you all the 'Dreadnoughts' you want." "Will not it cost money?" "No; it will not cost a halfpenny. What we are going to do is, we are going to tax manufactured goods"—" "Do not take me off into Tariff Reform; give me another one landlord." "Well, we are going to do more. We are making this money out of the foreign manufacturers' goods coming in. That will keep them out, and that will make work for the British workmen." You will never be able to persuade the British voter when he is sober to believe that that sort of thing is any good. He will not be persuaded unless he is half drunk. I cannot imagine any sober man believing it. I can only understand the opposition to this Bill on the ground that those concerned: hope to be able to chloroform half the nation on a given day to believe that sort of stuff. I know candidates do not know anything. They are sweetly innocent of, the actions that go on. I know in one election that a man went into a public-house, and said to the landlord: "I think 680 our man is all right to day, sir," and the landlord said: "Yes," and subsequently when the man laid down 6d. for his glass of "Scotch," gave him change for 2s. 6d. The customer said: "It is all right, good afternoon." He went out perfectly sober, nobody bribed him at all, but the influence was enormous and it is influence of that sort that we object to. I prefer that you should keep the man out of the public-houses at all hazards on election days. Let any Member in this House have a confidential chat with his agent as to how some of the money went at the election time. When told, he will say, "Thank God I didn't know anything about it before, or I should not have allowed it; but I am in now, so it is not necessary to say anything about it." It is said it is a lack of trust in the working man to suggest this measure, but the working man is not given much trust except at election times. It is said that it interferes with the liberty of the man and with his manly independence. How can you talk like that in the face of the Acts of Parliament you have passed. It is not good enough. People do not believe it. Those who oppose the Bill say they are the champions of the public and of freedom. Very well, then. If they believed that themselves they would show it, for under this Bill they would be able to set at liberty on election day the publican, the barman, the barmaid, the potman, and others, and they could all go out and canvas. I have seen what has happened on election days, and hon. Members above the Gangway know perfectly well what I refer to. I have never bribed. I never had enough money to bribe anybody, even in pop, as suggested by one hon. Member. Besides, I would far sooner be kept out on my merits than get in on blankets, soup, and beer.
Would the hon. Member say whether he saw the publican, or does he know the publican who gave the change for 2s. 6d. out of 6d.? Has he any evidence, or can he give us the name?
§ Mr. CROOKS
Yes, yes; but why should I give the name? I am within my privilege of making a statement of this sort, but I can produce the man who took the money, and I can give the name of the public-house. If the public-houses are closed on election days there will be no need to talk to the people. They will be tolerably sober, and will be able to exercise their franchise in the proper manner. If you had all the elections on a Sunday 681 they could vote and go to church at the same time. If this proposal does not go far enough, would you be willing that the public-houses should be shut up the day before or the day after the election? I do not see why you should not. Where there are seething poor there drink will always be a temptation. We want to remove that temptation. We know how difficult it is to do so. We know that people living under these vile conditions become riotous at election time through drink. Surely the more sober you make the day the better it will be for everybody. Why should you object to it? For no other reason, I believe, than that you have no faith in your own programme, and you are trying to chloroform the people into agreeing with you.
Mr. E. HAVILAND BURKE
This Bill, if passed into law, would have two main results. First of all, it would cause an immense increase in the drinking that would take place just outside the borders of the Constituency in which the election might occur; secondly, and worst of all—and I would call the attention of the hon. Member for Woolwich to this—I believe it would confer immensely increased advantages on the rich and unscrupulous candidates or on the unscrupulous agents of the candidates who were willing to spend money in corrupt treating. Let me point out the following facts: First of all, we have no law to compel all elections at a general election to take place on the same day. The elections are generally spread over some weeks. There is no law that compels even the elections for two or three or four divisions in a Parliamentary borough to be held on the same day. What does that come to? Supposing, for instance, I were a wealthy man and stood as a Conservative for the City of London, I could treat as many people as I liked just outside the Constituency. I could treat them there to my heart's delight and to my heart's content. This would enormously increase the difficulties in tracking down corrupt treatment. Of course, if the corrupt treating takes place in the Constituency, where the agents are keen and alert and ready to report matters to the head committee-rooms of the candidates, then corrupt treating may very easily be discovered, and the candidate proved to be guilty of such corrupt treating would be unseated. In the case of a by-election or a general election not being fought on the same day as in the adjacent Constituency, 682 it would be immensely difficult with all the candidates' men on the spot to prevent the parties on the other side getting refreshment as they liked in the next division, and then coming back to the scene of the contest. If any section of this House ought to view this Bill with special suspicion, it ought to be the Labour Members. I will not go into the abstract legal question whether a political candidate could be unseated for bribing and corruptly treating electors either directly or through his agents, outside the boundary of his constituency; but my argument is that he co aid do it on a much bigger scale and with less chance of detection than he could do it within the limits of the constituency he is contesting. We have already had 238 Acts of Parliament affecting the licensing trade, and this proposes to be the 239th, and we ought at least to be sure that this one will be effective. I stand breast-high for equality in all legislation, and especially in this particular class of legislation. I say that a law which forbids drinking on polling day at ordinary places of public refreshment is an unjust law, and the first thing the framers of this Bill ought to have done was to have included clubs, whether they were the rich man's club or the poor man's club. Look at the ridiculous paragraph, for I can call it nothing else, in lines 11, 12, and 13 of clause 1. It says:—And in the case of railway refreshment rooms at a station to persons arriving at or departing from the station by rail.In the case of constituencies divided only by a two minutes' run in a tube or upon an electric tram, how ridiculous it is for a Bill to proceed on such lines. A man living in a particular constituency might be served with drink on the polling day by simply crossing the street. Even the hours I find fault with. The Bill provides that:—No person shall, until after the hour fixed for the close of the poll.Why did the framers of this Bill not have the consistency and the logic to put in, "On the day fixed for the closing of the poll." At the present time a vast number of public-houses open at six o'clock in the morning, let alone at eight, at a time when large masses of the working men, for whom the hon. Member for Woolwich so eloquently pleads for special treatment, are returning home to breakfast and sleep after long hours of night work, when they are in a more ready condition to be unduly influenced by drink than at any other hour 683 in the day. Why was it not put in that licensed houses should be closed the whole day?
§ Mr. HAVILAND BURKE
I have quoted the exact words—that they shall be closed "until after the hour fixed for the close of the poll." The close of the poll is eight o'clock at night. It is notorious that hundreds of places for the supply of drink are open at six in the morning, before the poll is opened, when thousands of men in London are returning home after hours of exhausting night-work, in a state when they are least fit to stand alcohol, and when their best course would be to go straight home to breakfast and bed. The Bill does not even provide that on polling days the public-houses should not be opened at all.
The hon. Member persistently refuses to grasp my point. I am amazed at his attitude. The Bill only provides that public-houses shall be closed between eight o'clock in the morning and eight o'clock in the evening on polling days. ["No."]
I beg the hon. Member's pardon; he is arguing against plain English. Clause 1 says:—On the day on which the polling for a Parliamentary election takes place in any constituency, no person shall, until after the hour fixed for the close of the poll ….It does not provide the legal wording necessary to make it illegal for a public-house to open before 8 o'clock in the morning Moreover, it does not provide even for the most dangerous hours of the day, that is, after the closing of the poll. T have hardly ever heard of a case of really serious disturbance, riot, or assault taking place during polling hours; it is almost invariably after the close of the poll or the declaration of the poll that such occurrences happen. I have been through three passionately contested by-elections, and in each case any regrettable incidents or serious violence took place, not during the day, but after the close of the poll, although the public-houses had been open all day. I object to this Bill first of all because it 684 does nothing to make the closing of public-houses extend beyond the close of the poll at 8 o'clock in the evening. I think that is a serious defect in the Bill. I have had experience at election times when the Liberal party stood truer to Home Rule than it does to-day. I was among a number of young Irishmen who helped Liberal candidates, and I had experience of fiercely contested English as well as Irish by-elections, and, so far as I can remember, every serious thing happened just at the time or shortly after the time when it is actually proposed by the Bill to throw open public-houses to the excited and thirsty public. If the Bill were to apply to the whole of the polling day, and to clubs as well as public-houses, it would have my support. In the circumstances I think it is one of these grossly one-sided, shortsighted and unfair Bills with which the Temperance party in the House of Commons discredits itself, and cools the ardour of a number of men who would otherwise follow it into the Division Lobby. I can speak quite consistently on this subject. I think when we make an attack on the poor man while the rich man is left alone we are making a great legislative mistake. I will tell the House a simple thing that happened in my own experience when the last Licensing Bill was before the House, and in that one thing is summed up the whole situation as regards this and many other Bills. I was taking a week-end holiday, and I was in a third class carriage with two unmistakably superior English working men. They were discussing the Licensing Bill, and they dragged me into the discussion. I did not let them know that I was a Member of the House of Commons, for I wanted rather to gather their opinions than to give them my own. One of them said:What is the good of closing pubs, when clubs are open? What right have the so-and-so House of Commons to tell us when we are to go into public-houses or to come out of them? When they have an all night sitting, they go on boozing all through the blooming night.'Believe me that the sentiment of the man in the street is a very formidable factor which is too little reckoned with by Nonconformity and Toryism alike, and until the fact is realised by the man in the street that you are going to touch the rich man's and the poor man's clubs alike, and that you will have one law for all classes with respect to the supply of liquor, there will not be that guarantee of sincerity and consistency which public opinion in this country demands.
§ Mr. RENWICK
I have listened practically to the whole of this debate. I have tried to find out why this Bill has been introduced—whether it has been introduced because on election days there is such a large amount of drunkenness that electors are unable to give their votes in an intelligent manner. I have heard no arguments to prove that such is the case. I have listened in vain to find out whether the Bill is introduced to prevent undue treating and bribery. I have not heard one single word in favour of that view. I think that the House will agree with me that never was a measure introduced with weaker arguments in its favour. The Under-Secretary for the Home Department did not pretend to support the Bill as a Bill, but he endeavoured to draw a red herring across the path. I was rather surprised that the Under-Secretary should have described the Bill as a temperance Bill. My opinion is that it will not be conducive to temperance. I have heard several speakers declare that the Bill is an insult to the working classes. I believe that working men will regard it as an insult. Have hon. Members opposite or hon. Members below the Gangway on this side of the House such a poor opinion of the honesty of the voters of this country that they believe they will be influenced by a glass of beer? I have a higher opinion of voters than they have. If we regard this Bill from the point of view merely of party politics we on this side of the House have no reason to regret its introduction. Its introduction will be resented outside, and if any working man needs anything to induce him to make up his mind to vote against the Liberal party a Bill like this will confirm his decision in that direction.
This is one of those Bills which we have on a Friday afternoon. What is the object of these Bills? If hon. Members will take the trouble to look up the record of Friday debates they will find that the Liberal party have brought the Bills in to curtail the liberty of those who differ from them; This Bill is a portion of the Licensing Bill which Parliament rejected last year.
§ Mr. RENWICK
I was waiting for that. It was rejected in another place, and notwithstanding the fact those who call themselves the friends of the democracy have not the courage to appeal to the country. The Licensing Bill is being re-introduced 686 in sections, and this Bill is another section of it. Ever since the Licensing Bill was rejected there has been a continuous increase of victories at by-elections—not of supporters of the Bill, but of its opponents. So I believe, as I have already stated, this will be another nail in the coffin of the party which has introduced it. Let us consider the measure itself. It is intended to close public-houses upon election days until eight o'clock at night. If it could be proved, as it has not been proved, that there would be any large amount of drunkenness on election days, we should acknowledge it would do some good. Not a word was said to prove there is any amount of drunkenness at election time. If it was so are there no other means left by which those who wish to bribe and to be bribed could achieve their purpose? Grocers' licences, I understand, are not affected—
§ Mr. RENWICK
Are grocers' shops considered as licensed premises? I venture to say in this country it is not so, whatever may be the effect in Scotland. Surely our temperance friends do not wish that a teetotaller should not be able to get tea on that day. Notwithstanding the interruption of the hon. Member, I think it does not mean that grocers' shops should be closed upon the polling day. Next let us take refreshment rooms at railways. They have to be open for those arriving and departing by train. Take my own Constituency. We have a large railway station, and men come and put a penny in the slot and get a ticket for Gateshead or some other station. What is to prevent a man if he wishes to bribe another, coming along and putting a penny in the slot, or two pennies if he likes and joining the man he wishes to bribe on the station. Then we have heard a good deal about clubs. I cannot help thinking if a man wishes to bribe or corrupt another he will find means of doing so. Such a man is mast likely to be found in one of the political clubs. What is to prevent him introducing a friend? Nothing whatever. Whatever safeguards may be provided against bribery in this Bill, there are still great facilities left even if this Bill was passed. We sometimes hear from hon. Gentlemen opposite of the danger of driving certain transactions into subterranean channels. I never heard of a Bill more, likely to drive these things into sub- 687 terranean channels than this Bill. The man who is licensed is one of the last men who would be likely to dare to bribe a voter. It is as much as his licence is worth, and someone would be sure to hear of it. I have fought most fiercely contested elections in large constituencies, and I have never seen any undue drunkenness on polling day. Invariably, moreover, a day or two after the polling the magistrates complimented the city on the fact that there has been very little drunkenness on the day of the poll. As to rioting, which the promoters of the Bill fear, if there is a riot at all one generally finds it originated in the ranks of the extreme Radical party and their allies, the extreme temperance party. They are the people who originate these riots. Therefore, although I have endeavoured to find out the reasons for this Bill, it is impossible to do so. There is no argument put forward on the other side as to why this Bill should pass. Therefore I maintain that it would be impossible on the meagre reasons put forward for this House to proceed to vote on this Bill. Before the country should be saddled with this Bill, and before the slur which will undoubtedly be cast upon the working classes by it is cast upon them, the country j ought to be entitled to further consideration.
§ Mr. HAMAR GREENWOOD
May I ask the hon. Member if he considers a slur has been cast upon the Canadian people by the adoption of this legislation?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I have not called upon the hon. Member for York to address the House. The hon. Member for Newcastle in in possession of the House.
§ Mr. RENWICK
Notwithstanding the interruption of the hon. Member I have not the slightest hesitation in saying this Bill will cast a slur upon the people of this country—a slur from which this House ought to save them. We hear from hon. Members opposite, and especially from Members of the Front Bench, that this House ought not to act without a mandate and without the country is behind it. Can right hon. Gentlemen opposite say the country is behind them at the present time, and that it demands this legislation? They know perfectly well that the country is not with them, and one of the great reasons is because they introduced the Licensing Bill, and it is because I believe the country will equally resent the Bill being forced upon them in sections in the way it has been forced upon them by the introduction of this Bill, and without one word to recommend it to the House.
§ Mr. C. ROBERTS rose in his place, and claimed to move "That Question be now put."
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 197; Noes, 49.689
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Micklem, Nathaniel||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)|
|Hudson, Walter||Molteno, Percy Alport||Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|Hyde, Clarendon G.||Montgomery, H. G.||Seaverns, J. H.|
|Illingworth, Percy H.||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Seddon, J.|
|Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Jardine, Sir J.||Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.)||Simon, John Allsebrook|
|Jenkins, J.||Myer, Horatio||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Norman, Sir Henry||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Jowett, F. W.||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Stanger, H. Y.|
|Kekewich, Sir George||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Stanley, Hon. A. Lyulph (Cheshire)|
|Kilbride, Denis||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid.)||Steadman, W. C.|
|King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Parker, James (Halifax)||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Paulton, James Mellor||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Lamont, Norman||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Summerbell, T.|
|Layland-Barrett, Sir Francis||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Lea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras, E.)||Pease, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Saff. Wald.)||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington)||Perks, Sir Robert William||Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset, E.)|
|Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Phillips, Col. Ivor (Southampton)||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Pollard, Dr. G. H.||Verney, F. W.|
|Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Vivian, Henry|
|Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Lyell, Charles Henry||Radford, G. H.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Lynch, H. B.||Raphael, Herbert H.||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Rees, J. D.||Weir, James Galloway|
|Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W.)||White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)|
|Mackarness, Frederic C.||Ridsdale, E. A.||Whitehead, Rowland|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|M'Callum, John M.||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs.)||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Robinson, S.||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)|
|Maddison, Frederick||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)|
|Mallet, Charles E.||Roe, Sir Thomas||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Manfield, Harry (Northants)||Rogers, F. E. Newman||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)||Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.|
|Marnham, F. J.||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. C. Roberts and Colonel Sir Ivor Herbert.|
|Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Menzies, Walter||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Division No. 45.]||AYES.||[5.1 p.m.|
|Adkins, W. Ryland D.||Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Faber, G. H. (Boston)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Cheetham, John Frederick||Falconer, James|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Ferens, T. R.|
|Athton, Thomas Gair||Cleland, J. W.||Ferguson, R. C. Munro|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Clough, William||Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Clynes, J. R.||Furness, Sir Christopher|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Gibb, James (Harrow)|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W.)||Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert John|
|Barnard, E. B.||Cooper, G. J.||Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)|
|Barran, Sir John Nicholson||Corbelt, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Grant, Corrie|
|Beale, W. P.||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)|
|Bellairs, Carlyon||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Greenwood, Hamar (York)|
|Benn, w. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Griffith, Ellis J.|
|Bennett, E. N.||Cowan, W. H.||Gurdon, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Bramptom|
|Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romford)||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Black, Arthur W.||Crooks, William||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worcester)|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Crossley, William J.||Hart-Davies, T.|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Dalziel, Sir James Henry||Haworth, Arthur H.|
|Bramsdon, T. A.||Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Hazleton, Richard|
|Branch, James||Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)||Hedges, A. Paget|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||Dobson, Thomas W.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)|
|Brodie, H. C.||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Henry, Charles S.|
|Brooke, Stopford||Edwards, A. Clement (Denbigh)||Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)|
|Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Hobart, Sir Robert|
|Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Elibank, Master of||Hobhouse, Charles E. H.|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Erskine, David C.||Hodge, John|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Evans, Sir Samuel T.||Holland, Sir William Henry|
|Byles, William Pollard||Everett, R. Lacey||Horniman, Emslie John|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F.||Fletcher, J. S.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Ashley, W. W.||Forster, Henry William||Peel, Hon. W. R. W.|
|Balcarres, Lord||Gardner, Ernest||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Ginnell, L.||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham)||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Guinness, W. E. (Bury St. Edmunds)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Halpin, J.||Talbot, Rt. Hon. J. G. (Oxford Univ.)|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Hills, J. W.||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Burke, E. Havlland-||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Kimber, Sir Henry||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)|
|Cave, George||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||M'Arthur, Charles||Younger, George|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Magnus, Sir Philip|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott-||Murphy, N. J. (Kilkenny, S.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Renwick and Sir W. Bull.|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred. Dixon||Newdegate, F. N.|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Nolan, Joseph|
§ Question put, "That the word stand part of the Question."690
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 199; Noes, 46.691
|Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)||Kettle, Thomas Michael||Raphael, Herbert H.|
|Dobson, Thomas W.||Kilbride, Denis||Rees, J. D.|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W.)|
|Edwards, A. Clement (Denbigh)||Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Ridsdale, E. A.|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Lamont, Norman||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Elibank, Master of||Layland-Barrett, Sir Francis||Roberts, Sir. H. (Denbighs.)|
|Erskine, David C.||Lea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras, E.)||Robinson, S.|
|Evans, Sir Samuel T.||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington)||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Faber, G. H. (Boston)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Falconer, J.||Lewis, John Herbert||Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.|
|Ferens, T. R.||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Furness, Sir Christopher||Lyell, Charles Henry||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)|
|Gibb, James (Harrow)||Lynch, H. B.||Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|Ginnell, L.||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Seaverns, J. H.|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert John||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Seddon, J.|
|Glendinning, R. G.||Mackarness, Frederic C.||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)||Simon, John Allsebrook|
|Grant, Corrie||M'Callam, John M.||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Greenwood, Hamar (York)||Maddison, Frederick||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Mallet, Charles E.||Stanger, H. Y.|
|Gurdon, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Brampton||Manfield, Harry (Northants)||Stanley, Hon. A. Lyulph (Cheshire)|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)||Steadman, W. C.|
|Halpin, J.||Marnham, F. J.||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Hardie, J. Kelr (Merthyr Tydvil)||Menzies, Walter||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worcester)||Micklem, Nathaniel||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Mart-Davies, T.||Molteno, Percy Alport||Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset, E.)|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||Montgomery, H. G.||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Hazleton, Richard||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Hedges, A. Paget||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Verney, F. W.|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.)||Vivian, Henry|
|Henry, Charles S.||Myer, Horatio||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Hobart, Sir Robert||Norman, Sir Henry||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Weir, James Galloway|
|Hodge, John||Nussey, Thomas Willans||White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)|
|Holland, Sir William Henry||O'Grady, J.||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Horniman, Emslie John||Paulton, James Mellor||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Hudson, Walter||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)|
|Hyde, Clarendon G.||Pease, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Saff. Wald.)||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)|
|Illingworth, Percy H.||Perks, fir Robert William||Wilson, p. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Jardine, Sir J.||Pickersglll, Edward Hare|
|Jenkins, J.||Pollard, Dr. G. H.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. C. Roberts and Colonel Sir Ivor Herbert.|
|Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Jones, Lell (Appleby)||Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)|
|Kekewich, Sir George||Radford, G. H.|
|Division No. 46.]||AYES.||[5.10 p.m.|
|Adkins, W. Ryland D.||Black, Arthur W.||Clough, William|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Boulton, A. C. F.||Clynes, J. R.|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Bowerman, C. W.||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Bramsdon, T. A.||Collins, Sir Win. J. (S. Pancras, W.)|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Branch, James||Cooper, G. J.|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Brocklehurst, W. B.||Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Brodie, H. C.||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Brooke, Stopford||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.|
|Barnard, E. B.||Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.|
|Barran, Sir John Nicholson||Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Cowan, W. H.|
|Beale, W. p.||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)|
|Bellairs, Carlyon||Byles, William Pollard||Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)|
|Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Crooks, William|
|Bennett, E. N.||Cheetham, John Frederick||Crossley, William J.|
|Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romford)||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Dalziel, Sir James Henry|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Cleland, J. W.||Davies, Timothy (Fulham)|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F.||Forster, Henry William||Peel, Hon. W. R. W.|
|Balcarres, Lord||Gardner, Ernest||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham)||Renwick, George|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Guinness, W. E. (Bury St. Edmunds)||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Hills, J. W.||Talbot, Lord E. ((Chichester)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Talbot, Rt. Hon. J. G. (Oxford Univ.)|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Kimber, Sir Henry||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||M'Arthur, Charles||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Cave, George||Mooney, J. J.||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Morpeth, Viscount||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Murphy, N. J. (Kilkenny, S.)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Newdegate, F. N.||Younger, George|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott-||Nolan, Joseph|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred. Dixon||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Ashley and Mr. Carlile.|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Fletcher, J. S.|
Bill read a second time.
§ Sir F. BANBURY proposed: "That the Bill be committed to a Committee of the whole House."692
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 31; Noes, 167.693
|Division No. 47.]||AYES.||[5.19 p.m.|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F.||Forster, Henry William||Renwick, George|
|Ashley, W. W.||Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham)||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Guinness, W. E. (Bury St. Edmunds)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Hills, J. W.||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Morpeth, Viscount||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)|
|Cave, George||Murphy, N. J. (Kilkenny, S.)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Nolan, Joseph||Younger, George|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid.)|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott-||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir F. Banbury and Mr. Remnant.|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred. Dixon||Peel, Hon. W. R. W.|
|Faber, George Denison (York)|
|Adkins, W. Ryland D.||Greenwood, Hamar (York)||O'Grady, J.|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Gurdon, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Brampton||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Halpin, J.||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Pease, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Saff. Wald.)|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worcester)||Perks, Sir Robert William|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Hart-Davies, T.||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Hazleton, Richard||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Barnard, E. B.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Pollard, Dr. G. H.|
|Barran, Sir John Nicholson||Henry, Charles S.||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Beale, W. P.||Hobart, Sir Robert||Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)|
|Bellairs, Carlyon||Hodge, John||Radford, G. H.|
|Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Holland, Sir William Henry||Raphael, Herbert H.|
|Bennett, E. N.||Horniman, Emslie John||Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W.)|
|Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romford)||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Hudson, Walter||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs.)|
|Black, Arthur W.||Hyde, Clarendon G.||Robinson, S.|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Illingworth, Percy H.||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Bramsdon, T. A.||Jardine, Sir J.||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Branch, James||Jenkins, J.||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Brodie, H. C.||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Brooke, Stopford||Kekewich, Sir George||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Kilbride, Denis||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|Bytes, William Pollard||Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Seaverns, J. H.|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Lamont, Norman||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Cheetham, John Frederick||Layland-Barrett, Sir Francis||Simon, John Allsebrook|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington)||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Cleland, J. W.||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Clough, William||Lewis, John Herbert||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Clynes, J. R.||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Stanger, H. Y.|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Stanley, Hon. A. Lyulph (Cheshire)|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W.)||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Steadman, W. C.|
|Cooper, G. J.||Lyell, Charles Henry||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Lynch, H. B.||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset, E.)|
|Cowan, W. H.||Mackarness, Frederic C.||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)||Verney, F. W.|
|Crooks, William||M'Callum, John M.||Vivian, Henry|
|Crossley, William J.||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Maddison, Frederick||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)||Mallet, Charles E.||Weir, James Galloway|
|Dobson, Thomas W.||Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)||White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furnest)||Marnham, F. J.||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Edwards, A. Clement (Denbigh)||Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)||Whittker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Elibank, Master of||Menzies, Walter||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Erskine, David C.||Molteno, Percy Alport||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)|
|Evans, Sir Samuel T.||Montgomery, H. G.||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Falconer, J.||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro||Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.)|
|Furness, Sir Christopher||Myer, Horatio||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. C. Roberts and Colonel Sir Ivor Herbert.|
|Ginnell, L.||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)|
|Grant, Corrie||Norman, Sir Henry|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Norton, Capt. Cecil William|
Bill committed to a Standing Committee.
§ Whereupon Mr. SPEAKER adjourned the House without Question put, in pursuance of Standing Order No. 3.
§ The House adjourned at Twenty-seven minutes; after Five of the clock until Monday next.