§ 21. Mr. GEORGE ROBERTS
asked the Home Secretary the number of licensing areas wherein orders have been made under the Intoxicating Liquor (Temporary Restriction) Act and the number free of such; what is the governing principle or fact accountable for discrimination; and if in all cases the consideration of the making of an order was upon the initiative of the chief of police, as required by the Act?
§ Mr. McKENNA
As regards the first part of the question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer I have just given to the hon. Member for North-East Lanark. As regards the rest of the question, I can only point out that the Act contemplates that the question of making an order thereunder shall be decided according to the circumstances of each locality. I have no reason to think that any orders have been made by the justices except on the recommendation of the chief constable.
§ 22. Mr. STEWART
asked the Home Secretary if he will explain why he has sanctioned the order by which the licensed victuallers in the rural districts of Wirral have had their business hours reduced from 9 o'clock a.m. to 9 o'clock p.m., whereas public-houses in the immediate vicinity in Birkenhead and Wallasey have not suffered a similar interference, although the sobriety of the rural districts of Wirral will compare favourably with the surrounding neighbourhood; whether magistrates from Wallasey voted for the curtailment of the hours in Wirral while allowing the public-houses in their own borough to remain open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and whether he will consider the 224 possibility of securing a general adjustment of hours throughout the peninsula of Wirral?
§ Mr. McKENNA
I gave my approval to the order referred to because I was satisfied that it was a proper one in the circumstances. I understand that twenty-seven magistrates were present when it was made, and that they unanimously approved the order, but I do not know how many of them were from Wallasey. No recommendation was made by the chief constable of Wallasey, and therefore no order could be made for the borough. I have no power to initiate the making of orders or to secure uniformity as between adjoining areas. Parliament has left the matter in the hands of the local authorities.
§ Mr. STEWART
Will the right hon. Gentleman inquire again, because country innkeepers complain that they have a very real grievance?
§ Mr. McKENNA
As to the distinctions that exist between one area and another, I have no power to put an end to them. I quite recognise that there may be a sense of injustice in those areas where the Act has not been put into operation.