§ Order for Third Reading read.
§ 3.32 p.m.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Younger)
I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."
I think, as this is the first occasion on which I have addressed the House on the substance of this Bill on the Floor of the House, it would be right that I should begin by declaring an interest. It will not be a surprise to hon. Members to know that I belong to a brewing family, and I am in fact a shareholder in a Scottish brewery. I have never myself taken any active participation in the in-industry, and after hearing what I have to say, I think that there will be few hon. Members in this House who imagine that, on this occasion at least, I am a spokesman for the brewing industry.
It is now some five months since this Bill was discussed on Second Reading. At that time we were given to understand that the country was much agitated by the proposal in it for State management. The trade and the Press and the Opposition were all anxious to stimulate excitement upon this subject. Now, five months later, I find it rather hard to recapture the atmosphere of that Debate. Whether hon. and right hon. Gentleman who have their names down on the Order Paper to an Amendment to reject this Bill will try to restore the excited atmosphere of that earlier period I do not know. So far as the Debates have gone in Committee and on Report, I think it fair to say that the original excitement steadily ebbed away as argument proceeded and as the facts of the situation emerged, and, if I may say so without offence, as some opponents of the Bill at last really began to read the Bill and see what it implied.
The exaggerated attack on State management, both as a general principle and as it had been practised in the State management district of Carlisle, thoroughly overreached itself and eventually faded out. There was a violent trade campaign foreshadowed in the columns of the "Morning Advertiser," a campaign which was to be in support of the right of every free Briton to drink the beer of his own choice in any public house into which he might choose to go. That too, I would venture to say, some-what 268 misfired firstly, as it became clear that there would in fact be no tie in the new State managed houses and also when my hon. Friend the Member for Horn-church (Mr. Bing) called attention to the highly restrictive practice adopted by the trade in many respects at the present time. Moreover, I think it was borne in on the trade that a large part of their own members, and in particular a great number of licensed victuallers were much more interested in my hon. Friend's proposals to set them free than in the particular campaign which they were being invited to enter by the Brewers' Society.
At this stage little need be said about Parts II and III of the Bill, because I can scarcely be wrong in assuming that the Opposition Amendment is based primarily upon the provisions of Part I. About those other two parts I would only say that Part II, concerning mainly the constitution and procedure of licensing authorities has been the subject of little disagreement, and only on minor points, throughout our Debates. Part III, which contains a variety of miscellaneous provisions, is principally of interest because of the subject which we discussed very fully only last week on the Report stage, namely the provisions for winding up what have been known as bottle parties, and substituting new arrangements for the serving of liquid refreshment in certain hotels and restaurants and clubs in the London area. This was fully debated very recently, and although a number of hon. Members had misgivings about the proposals of my right hon. Friend, I think, in view of the general reception given by this House and subsequently in the Press to what he proposes, he is entitled to feel some modest satisfaction at having found a sensible solution to a rather intractable problem, and one which looks like being acceptable to the great bulk of public opinion.
May I turn to Part I and the State management proposals? In the Second Reading Debate the right hon. and learned Member for West Derby (Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe) told us he regarded them as the thin end of the wedge of nationalisation coming by stages. That suggestion, or allegation, was repeated very frequently by a number of hon. Members during the sittings which we devoted to this part of the Bill in Committee. There really is not the slighest 269 foundation for any such suggestion. As my right hon. Friend made clear on Second Reading this part of the Bill was introduced to deal with the quite specific problems occasioned by the planning of new towns. These were problems which were recognised by the brewing trade itself. Indeed, as my right hon. Friend said, it was the brewing trade which was the first to suggest that some special measures—though not precisely these—beyond the ordinary licensing arrangements would be required. If there is anybody who read the Bill carefully on Second Reading and who really had doubts on this matter, I suggest that those doubts would now be resolved by reading Part I of the Bill as it is now amended.
I wish to cover rapidly the main types of Amendments which have been introduced. They are designed to meet four types of anxiety which were expressed. First was the fear that under the Bill as introduced the Secretary of State might be legally entitled to extend the area of State management far beyond the new towns. Secondly, he might be legally entitled to extend the range of activities undertaken by State management in the new town areas. Thirdly, there was the very general and, if I may say so, proper anxiety to protect the interests of the rather limited number of existing licensees who might be affected when State management came into operation.
Finally, there was some anxiety that there should be adequate expression of local opinion at all stages of the introduction and management of the new scheme. I may say in passing that the Amendments which have been introduced to meet these various points are all entirely in accord with the original intention of my right hon. Friend, and it is the view of the Government that in many respects those fears were really unfounded. Nevertheless, my right hon. Friend has been anxious to do everything he could to make precise in the statute itself the provisions which he always had in mind.
Dealing first with the question of the extension of the area, the House will remember that there was a Clause 2 in the Bill which gave the Secretary of State power to extend the scheme to areas adjacent to new towns and areas between two or more towns which were near to each other. That has now been dropped. 270 The object of the original provision was to protect a narrow ring around the planned area. On reflection, however, my right hon. Friend feels that now that the whole country is covered by town and country planning provisions it probably will be sufficient to make use of the existing powers—the existing licensing laws and town and country planning powers—in order to protect the area immediately around the new town area from any undesirable developments in respect of licensed premises.
Secondly, as regards the range of functions which might be carried out under a State management scheme, some of my hon. Friends in Committee were afraid that in connection with the State management activities for off-sales business, they might undertake certain other businesses which are often associated with off-licences, such as chemists' shops or grocery businesses. I doubt very much whether there was any ground for that fear as the Bill was originally drafted. In any event, subsection (4) of Clause 1 now puts it beyond question that there cannot be an undue extension of the ancillary functions carried out in premises where liquor is sold for consumption off the premises. The second fear was perhaps even more far-fetched. It was suggested that my right hon. Friend or one of his successors might be entitled even to enter the greyhound racing business merely by virtue of the fact that the State management maintained a restaurant or a bar in the grandstand. That, of course, was never any part of the intention. Again, I doubt whether, as the Bill was originally drafted, it would have been possible, but to put the matter beyond any doubt Part II of the First Schedule has been redrafted, and any hon. Member who reads it will feel that there can now be no anxiety upon that score.
Thirdly, there was the question of the protection of existing tenants and managers. In terms of numbers this is likely to be an exceedingly small problem, partly because in many of the new town areas there are no existing licences and even in those areas where there are existing licences it seems clear that, at any rate in the long run, more and not fewer premises where liquor can be sold will be required as the towns develop. Nevertheless, it is important that even if the cases are few provision should be made 271 for them. Anxiety was expressed on that score from all sides of the House and of the Committee upstairs.
There is now a new Clause 4 in the Bill, the first part of which gives the greatest assurance that is practicable that a resident tenant, will have the chance to continue in his occupation under State management if his premises are required under the State management scheme. The second part of the Clause gives him an assurance about his living accommodation if for any reason he is displaced from a licensed house which is also his residence. I think that when one adds to those provisions the functions which can be carried out by the local advisory committee in making local opinion effective and, in particular, in watching over the public relations, if I may so call it, of the scheme with the local people, and when one takes into account the influence that the committee is likely to have, one can feel that this part of the Bill need give existing tenants and licensees no cause for anxiety.
Finally, the fourth of these fears was that there might not be an adequate scope for the expression of local opinion and not enough local autonomy. This is admittedly a rather difficult matter because—as my right hon. Friend said, and I do not think anybody disagreed with him—it does not seem desirable that the question of the local provision of liquor should be allowed to enter directly into local politics or that it should be a matter of contest at local elections. There are in Clause 1 a number of new provisions relating to the expression of local opinion through the local advisory committees. These provisions will ensure that the Secretary of State is advised by a local advisory committee which will be broadly representative in character and will be formed on the initiative of the development corporation in the new town. It will be formed after consultation with local authorities, licensing justices and other appropriate persons or bodies.
My right hon. Friend explained at some length in the course of the Debates how he envisaged the activities of these committees. He pointed out that they will be entitled to advise upon all aspects of the setting up and operation of the State management scheme. I think that hon. Members who read Clause 1 will now be 272 obliged to come to the conclusion that the people in these areas will have a very much more effective measure of control over the local facilities—both the amount of them and the way they are provided—than is ever the case in any area where the liquor is provided by the private trade subject only to the control of the licensing justices.
I appreciate that hon. Members opposite have such a general objection to any extension of Governmental activity in trade or in industry, that their objection to it is of such a doctrinaire and indiscriminate character, that they may find it rather difficult, even in a case like this, to apply their minds to the practical arguments which have been adduced in support of State intervention in this specialised and quite limited branch of activity.
§ Mr. Marlowe (Brighton)
The hon. Gentleman says that we take a doctrinaire and apparently impractical view of this matter. Is he aware that he has just recited the four major points in which this Bill has been somewhat improved during its passage through Committee, and that every one was put in by an Opposition Amendment or as a result of pressure from the Opposition?
§ Mr. Younger
I would not accept that they were by any means all put in through pressure from the Opposition. If indeed the hon. and learned Member is as impressed as I think he should be by the conciliatory manner in which legitimate criticism from both sides of the Committee has been received by my right hon. Friend, I only hope that he will vote for the Bill at the end of the Debate. I shall be glad to hear that hon. Gentlemen opposite are prepared to withdraw any general objection to the principle of the intervention of the State in trade or industry. That would be a new development.
We on this side of the House have no objection in principle to an increase in State participation in the liquor trade in which, after all, the Government have already had a considerable measure of success which has been commended by the Royal Commission and by other bodies of inquiry over a period of something like a quarter of a century. We are satisfied that this Bill, and particularly this Part of the Bill, provides an effective solution 273 to the very difficult problem of planning and developing the liquor facilities in these new towns, and it is upon that basis that I commend the Bill to the House.
§ 3.50 p.m.
§ Major Sir David Maxwell Fyfe (Liverpool, West Derby)
I beg to move, to leave out "now," and at the end of the Question to add, "upon this day six months."
We on this side of the House oppose this Bill because it still applies the top-heavy machinery of centralisation to an essentially local and different problem. This is its cardinal error, which persists despite the concessions with regard to which the Under-Secretary has sung a modified and modest pæan of praise, but when the Under-Secretary protests that this is not the thin end of the wedge of nationalisation, there is a slight difference from six months ago. The position now is that our nationalised sword of Herbert Damocles, hanging by a certain number of hairs, remains suspended over the industry, and it is ready to drop as soon as the hairs or any of them shiver from political fear. What did the right hon. Gentleman the Lord President of the Council say at the close of the Second Reading Debate? Leaving out the interruptions, the right hon. Gentleman said:If the trade is going to make itself … a party political instrument … then I venture to say that the trade will be ill-advised and will be inviting a policy which it does not want."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 14th December, 1948; Vol. 459, c. 1138.]So, instead of the thin end of the wedge moving into the flank of the trade, we have this sword hanging over it, ready to be released as soon as the trade may offend the right hon. Gentleman the Lord President or any of his coadjutors.
But it does not stop there, because, as the Under-Secretary omitted to inform us, the attitude of his party with regard to nationalisation has suffered a sea change, if not a beer change, in the last six months. As I understand from their latest literary manifestations, they are determined that they will not lay down any definite line of cleavage between those activities which are to be the subject of private enterprise and those that are to be the subject of State enterprise, and that is to be done on the basis that, in the field which remains the field of private enterprise, the party opposite will take an 274 unqualified right to carry on individual or a number of operations at the public expense, their losses being covered by public funds, in order to compete with those parts of the industry still left free. Of course, we observe that into this conception the activities of this Bill fall snugly, and we point out the danger which lies on these lines.
I give the Under-Secretary some points. He has told us that the immediate attack has been decreased by omitting the areas around the new towns or the areas in between the new towns, and I grant him that that has been done, but reasonableness in that limited regard does not prevent us on this side from facing with open eyes the fear that still remains. I do not think the Under-Secretary was quite so happy when he dealt with the question of local rights. According to his attitude of mind, local rights are not troubled at all if we have an advisory committee. Again, we accept and are grateful for the smallest mercies. Then the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary improved the position of the local advisory committees and put forward a scheme which would come into operation through the development council consulting the local authorities, the licensing justices and others forming the scheme, but that scheme has to be confirmed by the Home Secretary, and, apart from that, it has no executive authority and there is no guarantee in history or in the Act that it will be used. In fact, it may well be a shadowy local governess from which Whitehall can easily play truant whenever it so desires, and that is the result.
With regard to local advisory committees—and I am sure always of the sincerity with which the Under-Secretary speaks—when he says that that gives a more effective control legally than under existing conditions, I fail to appreciate any basis for such a statement. Local justices who decide the matter at the moment are local people, knowing local affairs and understanding local conditions. On the other hand, where a more difficult problem has arisen, the licensing planning authority is representative not only of the justices but also of the local authorities, and these people have executive authority. What they say will be done. In place of that method we are left with the improved but certainly inadequate provisions for advice.
275 I was amazed that the Under-Secretary who shares with me the distinction—I am sure that we should both call it that—of Scottish blood, remained absolutely silent on the treatment of Scotland, which is still apparent and obvious in the Bill in its present state. I hope I shall not go an inch beyond what is permissible on Third Reading, but when we have a Bill which includes Scotland, as this Bill does, we are entitled to remember that for 100 years Scotland has had an entirely different history in licensing matters. When he came to consider 1931 and the Royal Commissions, the Under-Secretary took some rather placid commendation from the English Commission. It was a very tepid commendation which they included, and it was given on conditions which would be quite unacceptable to the framers of this Bill and are quite different from anything in this Bill.
But when we come to the Scottish Commission, we are again faced with the fact that both the majority and minority reports were emphatic in their condemnation of the system which is now being perpetuated, and the minority report in fact reflected the views of figures of the greatest eminence and respect in the Labour movement of that time. But the main point still remains that on a question like this, with differences of history, of treatment by Commissions, and of present conditions, there ought to be a separate Bill for Scotland; it should not be included as the fag end of an English Bill, as is being done today. I cannot understand why this Bill has been taken as an occasion deliberately to flout Scottish opinion and the legitimate desire for separate treatment which exists North of the Tweed.
The hon. Gentleman said that his right hon. Friend has met us on various matters. I agree that on the three matters of the boundaries—the districts between—on the advisory committees, and on the improvement of the position of the licensees, the right hon. Gentleman certainly did meet us; but they are comparatively minor, though important, matters, and we must not disguise from the House or the country the great powers which the right hon. Gentleman still retains. It is still true that not only is there to be State management of public houses, but that the right hon. Gentleman is to have power to run hotels and 276 teashops, to provide entertainments on the premises, and to brew beer and manufacture soft drinks, as well as various ancillary powers which also cover a wide field. It is no small matter, and no small step which is being taken; the powers secured by the right hon. Gentleman are extensive and must be watched.
I echo what was said by my hon. and learned Friend the junior Member for Brighton (Mr. Marlowe), but I am glad that there has been an improvement in the position of licensees of houses in the new towns. It was most unfortunate that when this Bill was introduced many hon. Members opposite wrote to their constituents and published the fact that there was no question of existing licensed houses being affected. However, that point has been clarified, and, in addition, the right hon. Gentleman has met us to the extent of giving assurances with regard to dwelling-houses in the new towns, and, as far as practicable, in finding employment for dispossessed licensees. For that, we are very grateful. It is very easy for the Under-Secretary to say that this is a matter concerning only a small number of people, but it is a most important matter for those who are licensees in the 40 or 50 districts which may eventually become new towns. We still believe—again, I am not going into it in detail, but I do not want there to be any doubt about our position—that it would not have affected the problem with which the right hon. Gentleman is dealing and would have removed all difficulty of this kind had he consented to give up his compulsory powers of purchase and been prepared to work on a basis by which the houses could have been re-distributed without that threat to the licensees, whether they be tenants or managers of the houses.
On Third Reading it is not correct—and, believe me, I do not intend to trespass—to go into the alternatives to the scheme put forward by the Minister. However, I think it is in Order and only fair to say this. It is often suggested that the Opposition—indeed, it has always been suggested against every Opposition in the past—have put forward no alternative to the scheme in the Bill. I only wish to say, so that the matter may be on record, that on Second Reading, and at great length during the Committee stage, my hon. Friends and I put forward 277 a scheme for applying the licensing planning machinery to these areas, a scheme which would have given the licensing justices and the local authorities, together with the development corporations, the chance of finding a local solution of the various problems that are raised. We still believe that what we propounded was the right solution, but what is important is that it should be on record that we did propound that solution, and that it is no mere blank negation which we have put forward against the right hon. Gentleman's proposals.
I come now to the point at which I started in opposing this Bill. I believe it is quite intolerable that in a democratic country in time of peace there should be interference with the right of the ordinary man to choose the type of draught beer he wants to drink. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I believe that is an essential basis of liberty, taking into account the ordinary range of human nature as we know it, and I am sure that there is practically entire agreement on that point. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] What we complain about is that if State management is imposed on a new town, or anywhere else, it will be impossible to go round the corner from the house one visits, if one does not like the State beer, and get a can of the beer one does like. That is a perfectly simple point of view; that is the basis of our opposition, and we are proud of it being the basis of our opposition.
§ Mr. Walkden (Doncaster)
Is it not proposed that under this Bill there will be a wide choice of draught ale in the new development areas, a choice which does not exist in Carlisle at the moment, and which many of us think should exist there?
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
I can only say that I have found no basis for the irrepressible optimism of the hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Walkden). These are the conditions as I see the position. The Home Secretary has power compulsorily to take over any house that is there. It is true that he could leave it, but one knows how the passion for neatness, orderliness, and regimentation arises as these schemes get into operation. The far greater likelihood is that the houses, or most of them, will be acquired. One comes to this position, which I hope I put quite fairly. The Home Secretary told me there were one or two houses in 278 Carlisle where one could obtain draught beer other than State beer. That is not good enough. When 60,000 or 70,000 people are, at any rate so far as the vast majority of them are concerned, confined to State beer, it is no good saying that, after all, they can walk outside the town and go to the next district. Let hon. Members try it on a December night in the North of England and see who is ready to walk two, three or five miles. We say that that is an intolerable burden and we say it is completely unnecessary.
I will not trespass, Mr. Speaker, but I must say that all the procedure was offered for keeping variety and keeping freedom in these new places. Instead, the Government have chosen to clamp down upon them the dull and gloomy iron framework of a State scheme. The Parliamentary Secretary asked, very pleasantly and without any offence, whether we would try to manufacture any feeling on this Bill. Of course not; there is no need to manufacture any feeling. One has only to state the underlying circumstances of this Bill and the feeling bubbles forth of itself. It is for that reason, and because we feel that this is a hopeless way of treating grown-up people in 1949, that we oppose this Bill and we shall oppose any further inroads on the liberties of the people of this country.
§ 4.13 p.m.
§ Mr. James Hudson (Ealing, West)
The Bill to which we are now giving a Third Reading is one that stirs in our minds varying emotions, and I find it even more difficult than the Parliamentary Secretary to avoid what might be called pre-disposed and dogmatic views about the situation before us. Yet I hope to manage to avoid those views by stating simply, as I see it, that the Bill before us proposes to do that which is at bottom a great public evil and which has formerly been done by private enterprise. In response to the questions of the right hon. and learned Member for West Derby (Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe) about the respective merits of private enterprise and public enterprise as applied to the supply of drink, I should say at once that, the thing being in itself bad, then from my point of view, whether it is private enterprise or public enterprise, the same evils will be experienced as a result of it.
279 In the discussions which took place during the Second Reading of the Bill I felt that hon. Members generally spoke as though they were dealing with something like a water board. The pride that was expressed by some of my hon. Friends in the capacity of a public authority to put out the right sort of beer gave me the impression that they were discussing the matter as though it were water. [HON. MEMBERS: "So it is."] Yes, but it is notHonest water which ne'er left man in the mire.This is a thing in which, over many generations, the State has found it necessary to devise the most careful regulations and watchfulness in order to prevent public disorders and defects which would inevitably have been the consequence if that care had not been shown. We have not suddenly lived out of a situation which has been constant in this respect, certainly since the days of Henry VIII. We have not lived out of that necessity for watchfulness simply because we have a teetotal Home Secretary. Indeed, we have a teetotal Home Secretary, but unless the House of Commons is watchful in this matter he may prove himself just as defective as a Home Secretary who takes an entirely different point of view about this evil.
Since the discussions which took place on Second Reading there have been, with respect to the nationalising proposals—that is, the proposals by which national authority under the Home Secretary is to become responsible in the new towns—very considerable modifications and, I should like to admit, improvements effected by the Amendments which have been carried. I am particularly glad of the commitments which the Home Secretary has accepted with reference to the local advisory committees. I agree, for example, that if a general survey is made in each district where drink is in future to be supplied under national authority by those who are living on the spot and who know the consequences of any disorders that may follow from too much drinking, then there will at least be a check of sorts placed on the conduct of this enterprise.
Indeed, the promise of the Home Secretary is that not only shall local authorities and the benches of magistrates 280 be represented on such local advisory committees but, if the town corporations provide for it—and I expect they will provide for it under the advice and general stimulus that will come from the Home Secretary—then all manner of organisations which have the public welfare at heart may secure representatives on the advisory committees and may, by that means, bring to bear in each locality not only a demand for intoxicating liquor but in many cases a demand for precisely the opposite sort of thing.
For example, under the terms of this Bill as it is now before us there may be in localities, if the advisory committees so advise and press, temperance hotels, cafes and centres of social welfare where there may be no intoxicating beverages at all. There may also be, in places where intoxicating beverages are sold, such provisions as now exist in Carlisle where there is, say, a room where no intoxicating beverages are provided and where workers in the local industries may procure a meal free of any temptation—and certainly there is temptation to the apprentices from the local industries—to indulge in intoxicating beverages. I regard that as a good thing. I am thankful to the Home Secretary that he has made that provision possible and I am thankful to the Committee which was responsible for piloting it through. I am thankful to that Committee, and to hon. Members on both sides, that the proposal for an advisory committee was accepted in the broader aspects suggested by the Home Secretary. I am sorry it did not go a step farther, but I cannot discuss that because it is not in the Bill.
I am pretty certain that, as the years go on and we gather experience, it will be seen that it would have been a good thing if another proposal of mine had also been accepted—namely, that the local inhabitants should be consulted directly. That provision is not in the Bill. I hope that at some future time we shall make provision to that effect in legislations similar to this. I have also to thank the right hon. Gentleman, and the Committee that dealt with the Bill—for there was no strong opposition to this provision—that in the public houses in future there shall be employed no one under 18 years of age. That provision, to my mind, is in itself a charge against the evil of drink. It is a recognition that in trading in drink 281 there is a definite temptation put in the way of young persons—a temptation that ought to be avoided. I am glad that hon. Members opposite, as well as the Home Secretary and the Government, have taken the responsibility for saying that there shall be no one under 18 on either side of the bar in a public house. Customers under 18 were ruled out years ago. Now suppliers under 18 are ruled out also.
I am also glad that the mistake of Mr. Gladstone is to disappear through this Bill—the grocers' licence. In the new towns there will be no opportunity to obtain grocers' licences and druggists' licences. That is an advantage. I must again thank hon. Members opposite for having taken their part in making this provision.
§ Mr. Hudson
So much the better. However, my hon. Friends may leave the Opposition to me. They have no need to object to the line I am now taking, and I am paying them all the compliments I can.
There is one very serious issue about which I should like to hear a little more from the Home Secretary, and that is what he proposes to do under the Bill. Will he give us any clear indication of what he is going to do with the national committee, the control board, which, presumably, he has taken over, since the scheme of Carlisle is now to be associated with the scheme of this Bill. The Board at the moment consists of two brewers, two representatives of the Home Office—very distinguished representatives, I agree—and, I think, two other individuals. Is that to be the sort of board the Home Secretary will be satisfied to accept as his advisers in the scheme? I observe that the Home Secretary nods his head disapprovingly. I shall be glad to have a clear statement that that board in its present form is not to be the sort of board to be accepted.
I am sorry that during our discussions of the Bill we have dropped what was in the Bill originally, a provision to include adjacent areas. I am most sorry of all that we have included in the Bill during its consideration the provision that places in London shall have the 282 opportunity to open drinking facilities until 2 and 2.30 in the morning. I am not going to repeat the arguments I used on Report and in Committee, but I believe this is a very gross defect in the Bill. I think it has worsened the chances of the Bill's acceptance, even with some enthusiasm, by organisations of social welfare and by the churches, that have been modifying their views very considerably as the Debates on the Bill have gone on. The Home Secretary's insistence on drinking in London until 2 and 2.30 in the morning has gravely upset a great many people who otherwise would have been much more on his side. I would say to him that, having put his foot on the slippery path as far as drink is concerned, he is hurtling at a rather rapid rate downwards.
His hon. Friend brought in with very little notice the proposal that Kensington magistrates should permit drinking to a later hour at night. They for years, after hard fighting on behalf of a good cause, have managed to keep the drinking hours of London, so far as they could direct them, at 10 o'clock, even though they saw other people slipping away into later hours. The Home Secretary has now given the opportunity for all their good work to be negatived, and Kensington will lose its earlier hours, and must take the later hours of other contiguous areas. I believe that further slipping will overtake even this good Home Secretary, who is a teetotaller in his heart, because he has managed to believe that good can be done in London by boozing until 2 in the morning. [Laughter]. Yes, that is the reality of the situation.
§ The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Ede)
Would my hon. Friend mind giving me the reference for his quotation of me, because I have no recollection of saying anything like that. I have not insisted that anybody should drink. I do not insist on anybody's drinking. I advise my hon. Friend to follow my example.
§ Mr. Hudson
I meant that the Clauses in the Bill will compel everybody to drink. However, I withdraw that remark. I say, however, that my right hon. Friend gives opportunities for drinking to those who are really a nuisance. He himself felt they were a nuisance when he first brought in the Bill, because he insisted then on doing something about 283 these night clubs. He has changed his mind under the pressure put upon him. All I can tell him is that he has lost a very considerable amount of reasonable support that would have helped him in the general conduct of the Bill.
My right hon. Friend's proposal to remodel the drinking facilities in the new towns is a challenge to me, for I have never wanted an extension of the Carlisle system. I have never had it satisfactorily proved to me that that system has contributed to the sobriety of the nation, although many who were enthusiasts about it thought that it would and that it has. I admit that it could be made to play a greater share if it is carefully watched. If the advisory committees watch the scheme of the Bill carefully, and if those are appointed to them who ought to take on this responsibility—members of the churches and of social welfare associations, as well as others—I believe that the advisory committees may do a great deal of good. I am recommending, wherever I can, the churches and social organisations to take their part on these committees. I think that may lead to an improvement in the situation.
I wish that I could have sat down with a full note of enthusiasm, and without thinking of the night clubs in London and of the weakness of the Home Secretary in yielding when he might have been strong. I wish that I could have done that. I would then have known that I was helping the Labour Government in a way in which, I believe, the Home Secretary would like it to be helped by the great mass of church members and others who are seriously concerned that this evil of drink, so long an evil in the life of the community, should be watched with due care by Parliament and the Government in every legislative step that is taken.
§ 4.31 p.m.
§ Mr. Orr-Ewing (Weston-super-Mare)
I think that the whole House will regret that the hon. Member for West Ealing (Mr. J. Hudson) was unable to sit down happy. Whether we disagree with him or not, I am sure that we all like to see him happy, because he enjoys himself so much when he puts his case and we enjoy listening to him, even when we do not agree with his remarks. I do not wish to disturb him on the matter of night clubs. I 284 do not propose to say anything about that aspect, except that I think that the compromise proposals which the Home Secretary has put forward are the best that can be devised at the present time, if and when everybody can understand them. I must admit that during the later part of the Report stage there was some possible self-contradiction apparent in the words used by the right hon. Gentleman. If the position is clarified and the words as they stand in the Bill now really are the words which we had explained to us on the first round and not on the second round, then I think that the compromise is a satisfactory one on the whole.
Nor would I say much about the second part of the Bill. There are some serious, intricate, and touchy problems there, and I believe that, on the whole, largely as a result of Committee pressure and criticism, we have managed to improve the Measure very considerably, It is to the first part of the Bill that I should like to turn my attention for a few minutes. It is there that I find the most extraordinary advertisement of the fact that the Home Secretary must have had a very unpleasant battle with his right hon. Friend the Lord President of the Council.
When the Lord President addressed us in the Second Reading Debate he made perfectly clear that in his mind the Bill proposed to do certain specific things. All I can say is that to all the three main points which the Lord President put forward, the Home Secretary has now provided in the Bill complete and absolute contradiction. I should like to examine the first part of the Bill from that aspect. In the Second Reading Debate, the Lord President said that he had been depressed and the House had been depressed by the preposterous claims that His Majesty's Government in the future were going to control the type of landlordand that the Government are presuming the right to prescribe what should be drunk and how it should be drunk.He ended his sentence with the words,What nonsense.If it was the Lord President's view that it was nonsense, I can only say that one has only to look at Clauses 1, 2 and 3 and the First Schedule to the Bill to see that the Home Secretary has done exactly what the Lord President said was nonsense. He made it clear, without any 285 possibility of doubt, that he and his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland could in fact, and do propose in fact, to prescribe what should be drunk, how it should be drunk and when it should be drunk, exactly in those terms. Nothing could be more specific. I do not know what happens at the private meetings between the Home Secretary and the Lord President, but I hope that the next time they meet—and I assume they do on the most friendly grounds—there will be some arrangement about that matter. Nothing could be more unfortunate than that there should be a big Government split on the question of liquor. There are lots of other subjects on which there could be a Government split.
To take another test, as to whether the contents of the Bill comply with the requirements of the Lord President, the Lord President said:They"—that is to say, the Home Secretary and the Secretary of State for Scotland—were in the difficulty that the public houses do not exist in these new towns, because the new towns do not exist. …The Home Secretary was therefore saying that there were no public houses in the new towns, and we need not do anything about it. In Clause 4 of the Bill, the Home Secretary says now that there are public houses in the new towns already, and that that is the way he proposes to deal with them. It is quite true that, as a result of the persuasive powers of my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for West Derby (Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe) and others, the Home Secretary has been persuaded to deal more kindly with the tenants, managers, and so on, of such houses if, in fact, he sees the necessity of taking them over.
When one looks at Clause 4 it seems almost impossible to imagine that the Lord President expected to find it in the Bill, because he denied the existence of these very houses which are now set out, and even at that time were set out, in the Bill. I am not surprised that many Members were misled by the words of the Lord President in winding up the Second Reading Debate. They were in some difficulty because, according to the Lord President, the public houses had no existence in the new towns. I hope that the Home Secretary will be able to resolve that little difference with his right hon. Friend.
286 I now come to the third test which I should like to apply. Again in the same speech, the Lord President said, concerning licences and so on:The arrangements ought to be fitted into the general requirements of the new towns and in a way where we can get the maximum of private social enterprise. …"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 14th December, 1948; Vol. 459, c. 1135–6.]I test the Bill for that requirement of the Lord President. In fact, does the Bill supply the maximum freedom to exercise maximum private social enterprise? I would say that the Bill, as it stands, in every relevant Clause absolutely and flatly denies the possibility of any private social enterprise in the supply of liquor in the State management districts. Nothing could be more clear and distinct than that. Yet how is it that the Bill was put through, with that description by the Lord President, and is now before us on Third Reading without any explanation from the Lord President himself? If it was the aim of the Government to frame the Bill in such a way that the maximum of private social enterprise could be exercised, the Bill is a miserable failure. Private social enterprise, indeed—it might be something one had never heard of if one studied this Bill and this Bill alone.
The Under-Secretary, in his opening speech this afternoon, made one remark which I thought almost shocking. He claimed that it was necessary in this Bill to extend the system of State management because over the last 25 years Royal Commissions and various other public bodies had reported in favour of its extension. That was the background he put to this Measure. I deplore that sort of statement from the Government Front Bench at the stage of Third Reading, when we have threshed out this matter to some considerable degree in Standing Committee, in short snappy speeches from myself and in long, although most welcome, utterances from the Home Secretary. I should have thought that at this stage that particular issue would be fully understood.
If the Under-Secretary claims that his justification for the introduction of this Bill, and for the finalising of it in this form, is 25 years of recommendation from Royal Commissions and other public bodies, how can he possibly justify the application of this Bill at this stage to Scotland, where exactly the reverse has 287 been our experience? If recommendations from public bodies are claimed as justification for England, surely recommendations from public bodies can be claimed as justification against applying the same system to Scotland. If the system is to be applied to Scotland, it is fundamentally wrong that it should be applied through this Bill. It is a shocking thing that Scotland should be included in this Bill. I said in Committee, and I am not ashamed to repeat it now, that I look upon it as an insult to the whole of the work that has been done in Scotland on their licensing system and the general management of the liquor trade; I think it deplorable that this Government should now steamroller out of existence all the good work that has been done, and should discourage the continuance of that sort of work in the future.
I consider that we lack something else in considering this Bill this afternoon, and that is the assistance of any hon. Member representing the Liberal Party. In Committee we discussed freedom, in different shapes and forms, at some considerable length, and even there we were, I think completely, denied the assistance of the Liberal Party, whose Members talk so much on that issue, but who, when it comes to a job of work, seem to become even queerer than they are generally. All those who are interested in maintaining the freedom of the individual in this country should be opposing this Bill, and hotly opposing it here on Third Reading this afternoon. If those who claim to be the friends of freedom deny us their services I can only believe that they put the value of their services so low that they hardly think it worth while attending. That may be a possible explanation.
Finally, I oppose this Bill because I think it is an unnecessary interference with the freedom and liberty of the subject in this country. I oppose it because I believe, not that it is a general threat for the nationalisation of all public houses in the country, but because I believe it to be one of those laboratory experiments to which Governments of the type under which we now suffer are committed, and of which they appear to be so fond. They would put human beings under experimental tests—[Laughter.] The Home Secretary may laugh, but that is exactly what happens. I could quote, as could the right hon. Gentleman, from the 288 Second Reading Debate arguments which he and his right hon. Friend the Lord President used, showing that the populations of these new towns supply suitable means for social experiments. That is exactly what is being done. The laboratory type of experiment in which the human being is treated as a rabbit is anathema to me, and for that reason I oppose the Bill.
§ 4.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Braddock (Mitcham)
During the Report stage I heard the hon. Member for Weston-super-Mare (Mr. Orr-Ewing) make a suggestion which was new to me; that it was the duty of anybody attending the Report stage to read what had taken place in Committee. That may be true, but it seems to be adding a new terror to political life when it is suggested that we should gravely go through what are called the "short snappy speeches" about which we have heard this afternoon. I recommend the hon. Gentleman to read his own Committee speeches. In all honesty, I think that would be a very good training for him; it would make the punishment fit the crime.
The hon. Member seemed to suggest that private social enterprise would give us everything we wanted for dealing with the liquor and licensing trade. But in a country such as ours, in a democratic community, where all people, quite rightly, like to have a say in the affairs of the community, there is at any rate some room for public social enterprise as well as private social enterprise. It was because this Bill seemed to give some opportunity for a development of that democratic idea that I welcomed it when it was introduced. All the discussion that has taken place in the House and in Committee, when the Debates are carefully read and analysed, show that this Bill gives the people an opportunity of themselves dealing with what is, after all, a very difficut problem. We have only to look through the history of past legislation to see what trouble this trade has been and has given to our people.
This Bill may also help us to take further steps in bringing the public house back to what it was originally intended to be; not a place for making profit; not a place for assisting the Government to collect taxes; but a place where people could meet together for social intercourse, 289 could talk to one another, and could enjoy themselves when their day's work was over. It is a great pity that the brewery trade, intent on profit-making, has been able to combine with the State in ruining, in my opinion, what should be a great national and public institution. I believe this Bill to be a further step in reforming the present position and in bringing the public house back to what it should be.
There is no doubt that this Bill, coming as it did without being mentioned in the King's Speech, caused a certain amount of surprise, and a great deal of alarm among the brewery interests. Even before the Bill was printed, Members of Parliament were getting telephone messages, telegrams and postcards suggesting that the Government had in mind the nationalisation of the drink trade. In those circumstances, when these matters were brought forward before the contents of the Bill were known, it is not surprising that there were certain misapprehensions.
Many Members on this side of the House have been accused by Members opposite that we have misled our constituents in regard to this Bill and that we have made pledges which have not been carried out. During the Report stage I happened to come into the House and to my astonishment heard my name given as one of the people who, in particular, had made a blunt statement deceiving my constituents. Some words of mine, which I thought came from a newspaper report of a speech of mine, were quoted by the hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter). He stated I had said:There is no proposal before the House to interfere with existing public houses."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th May, 1949; Vol. 464, c. 1764.]He added that that statement lacked nothing in clarity. It is unfortunate that the hon. Member did not read all of that statement, which I now assume comes from one of my letters. I do not know whether he had the letter; I am hoping that he did not have it, because I am perfectly certain that with his legal training he would not have made a statement of that sort without having the complete letter before him. I can only assume that some one sent a snippet from one of my letters which he unfortunately read to the House.
290 I was given no notice that this matter was to be brought up, although I have told the hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames and the hon. Member for Weston-super-Mare (Mr. Orr-Ewing), who is also concerned in this matter, that I intended raising this question this afternoon—I am glad to see that both are present today. I had no opportunity, at the time, of consulting my papers, but I was told afterwards by the hon. Member for Weston-super-Mare that this extract was contained in one of my letters. I went through my letters very carefully as I was accused of deceiving my constituents. I assume that it was a letter written in reply to a petition from public houses in my area, but I could not find that statement in any one of them. I may have missed the letter concerned, and if so I should be glad to know which it was.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter (Kingston-upon-Thames)
I can assist the hon. Member. The extract is from a letter he wrote on 10th December, 1948, to Mr. G. C. Hyem, 22, Bramcote Court, Cricket Green, Mitcham, Surrey.
§ Mr. Braddock
If the hon. Member had allowed me to continue, I was about to say that after my research I assumed that the extract came from that letter, which is a private letter sent by me to one of my constituents in a reply to a letter from him. I am not objecting to this letter being quoted. I am always very glad to receive letters from my constituents. I was particularly glad to receive this interesting letter. The unfortunate thing about it was—and this would have made the letter even more interesting—that the gentleman concerned did not tell me that he was interested in the brewing and licensing trade—it would have added to the value of the letter had I known that.
§ Mr. Braddock
It would not have made any difference. I always value information coming from experts I know, and it would have added to the value of this letter if my constituent had told me his interest. I will read to the House what I wrote to my constituent, and Members can then contrast it with what 291 the hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames and the hon. Member for Weston-super-Mare said:There is no proposal before the House to interfere with existing public houses. All the Government is doing is to take powers to allow public control of public houses in new towns.I suggest that the complete quotation should have been given, which makes it perfectly clear that the Government intended to take these powers and that I was in agreement with them. It is unfortunate that our proceedings have been marred by an incident of this sort. I would remind Members opposite of the old saying that he who sups with the devil should use a very long spoon.
§ Mr. Braddock
I should be glad to go into that if the question were put to me. Obviously the hon. Member has brought up that point because he is in an unenviable position—I do not wonder that some of our faces are looking very red. I suggest that Members should remember this saying and that when they get representations from people interested in this matter they should examine them very carefully before passing them on to the House. I have no objections to what Members opposite may say about myself. I should feel that I was in a very unfortunate position as a representative of my constituency if I were receiving approval from Members opposite. I say that Members opposite who attempt to deceive the House and the country in this way should get up and apologise to the House for the mistake they have made.
§ 4.56 p.m.
§ Lieut.-Commander Gurney Braithwaite (Holderness)
I think that the kindest course we can take is to leave the hon. Member for Mitcham (Mr. Braddock) to his own constituents. He has told us that his letter was incompletely quoted, but when he read it in extenso it still gave an entirely false picture of the proposals under this Bill.
§ Mr. Braddock
I have read the relevant paragraph of the letter, but if the hon. and gallant Member wants the whole of the letter I am quite willing to read it.
§ Lieut.-Commander Braithwaite
I am saying that the relevant part of the letter he has read is still misleading. The hon. Member added the illuminating comment that the letter quoted was a private one, leaving us to draw the conclusion that in his view it is perfectly proper to give improper information in a private letter. Therefore, I say that the good people of Mitcham will have an opportunity at an early date to deal with their Member.
§ Mr. Austin (Stretford)
The hon. and gallant Member seems to be impugning the honesty of my hon. Friend. Perhaps he would care to comment on the ethics of the hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) in quoting the contents of a letter to one of my hon. Friend's constituents?
§ Lieut.-Commander Braithwaite
My hon. Friend is hopeful of catching Mr. Speaker's eye later in the proceedings, and he is more than capable of dealing with either the hon. Member for Mitcham or the mute, inglorious Member for Stretford (Mr. Austin).
Bills are usually introduced for one of three reasons; first, to implement a pledge in an election manifesto; secondly in response to some popular demand, and thirdly—and all Governments have been guilty from time to time of doing this—in the hope of attracting votes to Government candidates in a forthcoming appeal to the country. I submit that this Measure fails to qualify under any of these heads. Parts II and III have not excited any violent controversy. They went through the Committee quite smoothly and I cannot remember any Debate which reached any great heat. In my view they introduce one or two valuable reforms, not the least being the right hon. Gentleman's handling of the night club problem.
The hon. Member for West Ealing (Mr. J. Hudson), whose sincerity on this matter we all respect, painted a lurid picture of life in these establishments, describing them as haunts of vice and cesspools. The hon. Members for West Ealing and Merthyr (Mr. S. O. Davies) spoke with great force on this matter, but the description they gave of these night clubs and bottle parties was accurate only in so far as it gave a picture of what many clients visiting them for the first time expect to find, only to be disappointed. On the two occasions when I visited night clubs, shortly after the First World War, 293 when taking part in the process known as "seeing life," I came away with an impression, which has remained with me to this day, of the complete and utter boredom on the countenances of all present—clients, waiters, members of the orchestra and——
§ Lieut.-Commander Braithwaite
If the hon. Gentleman will allow me, I will explain what my reactions were, in some detail if necessary.
§ Mr. J. Hudson
The hon. and gallant Gentleman said he went to night clubs twice. Why did he go the second time?
§ Lieut.-Commander Braithwaite
Because, under a system of private enterprise, it is sometimes possible to obtain better service by going to a different establishment. I thought it worth a second venture. However, I hope hon. Members will not interrupt my autobiography too frequently, because the time for this Debate is limited.
I was saying that the look of complete and utter boredom on the faces of all present at these two establishments will be my lifelong impression. I mentioned clients, waiters and members of the orchestra, and I was about to add dance hostesses. It was not remarkable to find them fatigued, seeing that they had spent several hours revolving in a confined and restricted space, described as a dance floor, in the embraces of a succession of those who were described in those days as "tired businessmen," all of whom, I have no doubt, had rung up their wives to say that they were detained at their offices. But the description of the hon. Member for West Ealing of such establishments really does not fit in with any definition of haunts of vice or cesspools in point of fact. I cannot help feeling that many people who visit them, hoping to find these things, go away grievously disappointed. I support the Home Secretary, who tells us that for the people Who enjoy such experiences, facilities should be provided, as they are in other great capitals. Before passing on to more controversial subjects, may I say that the Home Secretary made a courageous and wise attempt to deal with what has been a grave problem?
294 When we come to Part I of the Bill, we enter into the chief area of controversy. Some improvements were made during the long Committee stage upstairs, due to the arguments used by the Opposition. There was, for instance, the right hon. Gentleman's retreat from the "adjacent areas." There was great anxiety not only on this side about that provision, but many of the right hon. Gentleman's supporters were anxious as to just how far that phrase could be used to extend the area of State ownership over a great part of the country. The right hon. Gentleman clarified his attitude considerably over the question of the establishment of State breweries, and said clearly that unless his new public houses in the new towns were subjected to something in the nature of a boycott, he did not propose to exercise the powers which he already possessed. That was a valuable statement. The right hon. Gentleman also clarified the position about mineral waters in a manner even more satisfactory.
We have had a denial today from the Treasury Bench, not for the first time, that this Measure is the thin edge of the wedge of the nationalisation of the brewing industry. If that is the case, we have to look a little further for what is the real motive behind the Bill which, make no mistake, has excited a great deal of opposition in the country, which was outside the Government's electoral mandate and which was not mentioned in the Gracious Speech at the beginning of the Session. What can be the motive?
I feel that it is not far to seek, and I want to submit to the House what I believe it to be. I believe that this Bill is chiefly desired in order to extend still further the frontiers of patronage by His Majesty's Government. After all, the General Election is beginning to cast its shadow over the House and without making any reference to the events of last Thursday, which may be unwelcome on the benches opposite, whatever happens in that Election there are hound to be heavy Government casualties. [An HON. MEMBER: "What about the by-elections?"] It is interesting to note that what I have just said has led to only one interruption, whereas a year ago it would have aroused jeers from all hon. Members opposite. Indeed, a shadow is falling upon them——
§ Lieut.-Commander Braithwaite
I am sure that when the results of the next Election are declared, and the hon. Member finds his party in a minority, he will be found mumbling to himself, "We never lost a by-election." Let him go on repeating it; let him enjoy his little day.
§ Lieut.-Commander Braithwaite
May I, with great respect, Sir, say that my observations were strictly relevant until I was interrupted? I was endeavouring to put forward what I believe to be the motive behind this Measure, and I was pointing out that I think it probable that there will be a number of Government casualties in the forthcoming General Election. The number of appointments available in the Bank of England, on the Coal Board and on the Transport Commission is limited, and can only be expected to cater for ex-occupants of the Treasury Bench. But here is a new and fruitful field—jobs for the boys in front; pubs for the boys behind. Let us admit that here at least are many admirably qualified for the task. One can picture the hon. Member for West Ealing as the jovial and smiling host of "The Silkin Arms." What travel-stained tourist could resist the irresistible lure of the hon. Member for the Exchange Division of Liverpool (Mrs. Braddock) in her new capacity as licensee of "The Red Dragon," where doubtless, at closing time, all the customers would be invited to participate in a lively jig——
§ Lieut.-Commander Braithwaite
I was about to remark, Sir, that although I believe these to be the only concrete consequences likely to emerge from this Measure, even these remarkable possibilities cannot reconcile me to approval of the Third Reading. I say to the Home Secretary, whose sense of humour is one of his strongest assets, that legislation which arouses the antagonism of the electorate is bad, but that that which excites 296 ridicule is worse. I urge right hon. and hon. Members opposite to think twice, indeed thrice, before giving a Third Reading to so fatuous and factious a Bill as this.
§ 5.10 p.m.
§ Mr. Bing (Hornchurch)
The hon. and gallant Member for Holderness (Lieut.-Commander Braithwaite) has, so far, given only one reason why we should oppose the Third Reading of this Bill. His reason is that it extends the frontiers of patronage. I can quite see why he did not adopt the argument of his right hon. and learned Friend the Member for West Derby (Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe), because to have done so would have put him in very considerable difficulties on the point which he will no doubt seek to argue at some later stage. The hon. Member for Weston-super-Mare (Mr. Orr-Ewing) suggested that the disadvantage of this Bill was that it interfered with the freedom of the individual. I am sorry the hon. Member is not here so that he could tell us which individual—whether the Bill interfered with the freedom of the consumer or the freedom of the landlord and the publican.
The right hon. and learned Member for West Derby put forward a number of arguments with which I will deal, in the absence of the hon. Member to whom I have referred. I have not recorded his words on Third Reading, but I think that they more or less reproduced what he said in the Second Reading Debate. He then said that the real reason why hon. Gentlemen opposite opposed this Bill was that it sought:to deprive a large section of the people of this country of what should be their inalienable heritage, the right of choosing their own draught beer."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 14th December, 1948; Vol. 459, c. 1043.]Let me ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman one question. How does he propose, by opposing this Bill, to give them that right? What he would do would be to substitute in the new towns public houses tied to sell one kind of beer for State houses which will be free to sell all kinds of beer. How can that be a reason for opposing this Bill?
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
The answer, as the hon. Gentleman appreciates is twofold. In the first place, in respect of such houses as are tied, there would be houses of different brewers, and the customer 297 would therefore be able to make his choice. The second limb of the answer is that, with regard to the State public house, there are very few—I did not know that there were any but I accept the statement of the Home Secretary that there are one or two—in the State management area where one can get draught beer, as opposed to bottled beer, of any kind, except the State brewed beer.
§ Mr. Bing
If I may follow what the right hon. and learned Gentleman has said, firstly, so far as the point about free houses is concerned, there are none in any of the areas which are being included in the new towns at the moment. Therefore, that question does not arise. There are only 700 of them in the whole country. As regards the ordinary towns, the right hon. and learned Gentleman said something about the North of England. I have not been able to document myself about the North, but I can give figures in regard to Nottinghamshire.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman complained that was not sufficiently documented. Let us take the villages and let me give him the routes and places. The Worksop Brewery, taking Route A 57, have the "Queen and the Crown" at Markham and the "Sun" at Darlton. One goes on to Dunham and there one finds the "Swan" run by the Worksop Brewery. What the right hon. and learned Gentleman would do by opposing this Bill would be to provide that, in new towns, one would have only one sort of beer instead of the various sorts offered by my right hon. Friend. The reason this Bill arose at all was because the brewers were not able to agree as to what their private empires would be. One side said that they should be entitled to supply all the new towns because the people would be going there from their areas. The others said that would not be possible, because this was in the empire laid down by some agreement which they had reached.
298 The second argument which the right hon. and learned Gentleman put forward was, if he will excuse me again quoting from his Second Reading speech, as I did not make an absolutely accurate note of what he said this afternoon—it was more or less the same—was:What is ensured is that, in these areas, the potential of future competition will be swept away and the hand of the State left alone."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 14th December, 1948; Vol. 459, c. 1044.]If the right hon. and learned Gentleman had included in his brief—it is an omission that I cannot quite understand—the more recent advertisements of the Brewers' Society, he would have seen that they are all out against competition. These advertisements explain that the fine quality of the beer we enjoy at the moment is due to the absence of any competition, which they ensure by a tied house system. What I think the right hon. and learned Gentleman objects to, is the second part of the point he made on Second Reading, which I have quoted—the "hand of the State"—and only if we were to substitute the "hand of the brewer" would be think that the position was quite satisfactory.
After all competition is not only between one public house and another but between the suppliers of each public house. One of the most valuable things which the Home Secretary's Measure will ensure is a free market for the suppliers of mineral waters and the suppliers of wines and spirits. Owing to the existence of these houses in the new towns, the stranglehold over this trade will be broken. Let me give an example by quoting a letter which was written to me by a salesman-driver of a firm of mineral water manufacturers. He said of the system which the right hon. and learned Gentleman would fasten on the new towns if he had his way:Whenever I received complaints from landlords of these houses regarding the quality, etc., of the mineral waters I passed them on to the manager of this firm and was invariably met with the remark 'Do not bother about them—they cannot do anything about it—they are tied to us.'That is the system which the right hon. and learned Gentleman would substitute for what is proposed by the Home Secretary, a system under which there is no competition whatever.
299 Let me give him one other example by quoting a letter from a gentleman whose name I will not give because obviously he would be victimised if I did so. He operates in the vicinity of a proposed new town under the old dispensation which, if the right hon. and learned Gentleman were successful in his proposition today, we should restore in these new towns. He says:For over 30 years I have been in practice as a valuer to the licensed trade anff have valued on behalf of tenants on the taking over of licensed houses in all parts of the country and have valued practically all the licensed houses in——I will not specify the area but it is adjacent to one of the new towns. He continues:A firm of brewers in this district tie their tenants in the following; draught ales, bottled beers, wines, spirits, cigarettes and tobacco, cider, lager beers, glassware, insurances, minerals, and at one time even sawdust was supplied, as the managing director was interested in a box-making concern. Regarding glassware, the managing director is a director of a concern who deals in glassware and public house sundries. Regarding insurances, the secretary of the brewery company is an agent as, according to the articles of association, the brewery are not registered to act as insurance brokers. Regarding minerals, the managing director is also a director of a local mineral water concern … if a tenant is not satisfied with his rateable assessment he is not allowed to appeal, as the company have previously agreed, with the local authority, the assessment.So much for the freedom which the right hon. and learned Gentleman is anxious to restore and thinks could be restored to these new towns.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman went on to say, in his Second Reading speech, and he repeated it in his speech this afternoon, that the Home Secretary:has the power to run hotels and teashops, the power to brew and the power to go in for the manufacture of soft drinks."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 14th December, 1948; Vol. 459, c. 1043.]How very necessary these powers are is apparent when one considers how people have been treated when they do not possess them. Of course, the Home Secretary might be subject to the same blackmail and the same pressure which has been put on the owners of free houses and which has been introduced so as to squeeze out the small mineral water manufacturer. As I have said, one of the 300 great advantages of this Bill will be to give an outlet to people of that sort, and that will be a considerable advantage, among other things, in lowering the prices not only of intoxicants—I am sorry my hon. Friend the Member for West Ealing (Mr. J. Hudson) is not here—but non-intoxicants as well.
Let me illustrate this point for the benefit of the right hon. and learned Gentleman. Writing to me from the Midlands—I will not give the address of the writer because it might result in his victimisation—a mineral water manufacturer described to me how a brewery company had bought up 150 houses in a certain town. He said:New agreements were drawn up by their new masters tying them to one particular firm for their purchase of mineral waters from whom the brewery company draw a royalty of about 3d. a dozen.So much for the effect of the system which the right hon. and learned Gentleman would rivet on the new towns. It would give somebody an opportunity to take a rake-off of 3d. a dozen. What happens if somebody tries to supply a continuing need? Why, this: the same correspondent writes:A house owned by another brewery company recently ran short of Guinness stout and my firm made a delivery at the request of the tenant to help them out. This came to the notice of the brewery company who sent a representative to see us and threatened that if this occurred again we should be prevented from supplying any of their houses with mineral waters.Very naturally, to protect himself from this sort of grossly improper pressure, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary had to take these powers.
My hon. Friend the Member for West Ealing and my hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham (Mr. Braddock) both raised the question of the sale of non-intoxicants, and this Clause is equally important from this point of view, because what should be recognised by hon. Members on both sides of the House is that the present arrangement, unlike the arrangement proposed in this Bill, definitely discourages the sale of non-intoxicants because the brewery company is only interested in making a rake-off on the sale of beer by obtaining what is known colloquially in the trade as the wet rent. Indeed, a tenant of one of these houses wrote to me and said: 301Now if a house was 'free' a tenant could provide cups of tea or coffee like the A.B.C. or Lyons do. Can you imagine the brewers allowing the tenant to do so today?I cannot imagine the brewers doing it, but who can suppose that the Secretary of State would prevent it?
§ Mr. Erroll (Altrincham and Sale)
Did the brewer in question actually refuse to allow his tenant to supply cups of tea? Are we to listen to more of this claptrap?
§ Mr. Bing
The hon. Gentleman asked me two questions; first, whether the brewery company of this occasion actually refused to allow the supply of cups of tea, and secondly whether he is to listen to me any further. In reply to the second question, the answer is that the hon. Gentleman will have to listen to me for a little longer. In reply to the first question, I should like to refer the hon. Gentleman to a model agreement set out in the "Brewers' Almanac" which hon. Members Opposite ought to read—there is a new edition of it just out—before they enter into Debates of this sort. If they will look at it they will see that a tenant is not entitled to instal anything at all of that nature without the permission of the brewery company. If the right hon. and learned Gentleman could give me the name of one brewery company which has allowed a steam tea urn to be placed in a single house, I will give way to him now.
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
I would like to give the hon. Gentleman the benefit of the experience of Liverpool where all the brewers, including Bent's, Greenall's and every brewery which has a house in Liverpool, supplied teas as a matter of course.
§ Mr. Bing
Perhaps I can enlighten the right hon. and learned Gentleman on what generally happens, by quoting a case which was reported in the "Manchester Evening News" under the rather surprising title of "Ex-Licensee Kept Sandwiches Secret." This case came to light because it was a condition of this licensee's agreement with the brewers that he should obtain all his supplies from the brewery company who owned his hotel. Between 1941 and 1944 he managed to obtain some supplies from other breweries, and his wife began to supply 302 sandwiches without the permission of the brewer—a terrible offence. Unfortunately, he had to keep his profits from the brewery company, because if he disclosed the profits which he was making, he would have been in serious difficulties with the brewers for breach of his agreement. He therefore kept the profits secret, and he also kept them secret from the Income Tax authorities, which was, perhaps, unfortunate. As a result, the whole matter came to light. What is interesting is that the additional profit which he made from these illicit sandwiches in the course of three years was £7,500.
I do not want to delay the House too long because I hope and trust that we shall have another opportunity of discussing in this House the whole question of tied houses. Then, no doubt, the right hon. and learned Gentleman will be able to put the arguments which perhaps he will not have an opportunity of doing at this stage. I should like to deal with his final argument, which has not been produced with such force today, but which he certainly dealt with in his Second Reading speech, namely, that as many public houses are dreary and dismal places, the most progressive brewers should be encouraged. I should like to refer the right hon. Gentleman to his colleague in another place, Lord Balfour of Burleigh, the Chairman of Lloyds Bank and, I think I am right in saying, one of the staunchest supporters of the right hon. and learned Gentleman's party in another place. He has made a great study of this question, and he gave very valuable evidence before the Royal Commission on Licensing which sat in 1931. Therefore, before launching into any more of these attacks, hon. Members opposite might consult what an expert on their own side has to say on the matter.
I should like to quote a few remarks of Lord Balfour of Burleigh because they show the system which the right hon. and learned Gentleman would like to introduce in the new towns. He said:Vis-è-vis the brewer, the retailer is in a position of dependence and almost complete helplessness.The hon. Member for Weston-super-Mare said that the reason for opposing this Bill was because it did not give independence and it was against the freedom of the individual. That was his ground for asking for the rejection of 303 the Measure. He might think again when he has heard what Lord Balfour of Burleigh said on the independence granted to the tenant.
§ Mr. Orr-Ewing
The hon. Member's speech is completely at variance with the attitude of his own Front Bench who have assured us on more than one occasion, especially on Second Reading, that this is not a vindictive Bill and is not an attack on the brewers at all.
§ Mr. Bing
I am dealing with the undesirability of extending the system. The House will have another opportunity to decide whether there ought not to be some considerable control put on the brewers' activities generally, and whether we should not, for example, refer the whole of their practices to the Monopolies' Commission. That is quite a different question, and it would be out of Order for me to pursue it here. I am dealing only with the point made by the right hon. and learned Gentleman that this Bill is an attack on the individual, and I am saying that the publicans in the new towns will be saved from the circumstances described by one member of the Tory Party. Lord Balfour of Burleigh said, in his evidence before the Royal Commission, in 1930:Vis-è-vis the brewer, the retailer is in a position of dependence and almost complete helplessness. The tied house system as a whole in the hands of the brewers is a tyrannical one, and the difficulties of the licensee are many and serious. The brewers are in business to sell their beer and to make their shareholders the maximum possible profit in the process …That is a system which, not in the name of the brewers but in the name of the freedom of the individual, hon. Gentlemen opposite would like to impose on the new towns. In his memorandum Lord Balfour deals very thoroughly with the suggestion that if we only leave the brewers alone, there will be first-class buildings everywhere all over the country. He points out that the objects of the improvement in public houses are:(1) To sell more beer.(2) To meet the competition of the new attractions in social life.(3) To suggest to the public that all will be well if only the brewers are left in peace to work out their own plan of reform.There is something of an echo of what the right hon. and learned Gentleman said 304 in those words. Is not his suggestion that all would be well if the brewers were left in peace to work out their own plan of reform which—and these are Lord Balfour's words—will incidentally secure the permanence of their own abounding prosperity.
§ Major Tufton Beamish (Lewes)
On a point of Order. I am interested in this argument, but I should like to know to what part of the Bill it refers.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
It is in reply to the speech made by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for West Derby (Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe).
§ Mr. Bing
I am sorry that the hon. and gallant Member for Lewes (Major Beamish) missed the early part of the Debate and the very valuable contribution made by the right hon. and learned Member for West Derby, because it will be of great value as a great declaration of policy when we come to discuss the whole question of tied houses. It would have been of value if more Members of the Party opposite had been here when the right hon. and learned Gentleman made that declaration on behalf of his party. I do not want to go back to that point now, but wish to conclude. Lord Balfour further stated:It must never be forgotten that the house doing a large trade in nothing but drink is the most profitable for the brewery companies' shareholders.Therefore, if one has got to decide what sort of a house one is going to eat in, it is better not to choose a house which is designed, as Lord Balfour said, to make immense profits out of the sale of beer, but to try to restore the old English inn. That is why I did not follow the hon. and gallant Member for Holderness (Lieut.-Commander Braithwaite) in his dissertation. What we on this side of the House want is the restoration of the old form of the traditional English inn. In this country we have got a great many forms of beer. I would like to see them as widely known and seen as possible, but in proper and decent conditions which would restore the old type of inn. We shall not restore that old type of inn if we are going to support a system in 305 Which great commercial monopolies erect huge barracks without thought of accommodation, without providing room for travellers, without providing catering facilities and the other things, and in which they can best do for their shareholders by selling the maximum amount of beer. I hope the House will give the Bill a Third Reading.
§ 5.35 p.m.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter (Kingston-upon-Thames)
The hon. Member for Horn-church (Mr. Bing) has given a very characteristic example of the two aspects of his Parliamentary technique. The first and most adroit—and which I sometimes admire—is the extremely able tour he has made around the inner perimeter of the Rules of Order; and secondly—and this I admire less—he has sought to buttress his case by a mass of allegations which have only one thing in common—neither date, name, place nor occasion is given in support of any one of them and it is, therefore, quite impossible for anyone who disagrees with him to check and verify them. That is precisely the technique which the hon. Gentleman applied to the Northern Ireland Government a few days ago, and this afternoon he has applied the identical technique and method to the brewers.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
I do not wish to encourage the hon. Gentleman to make a second speech this afternoon. On his own responsibility he has made a speech to this House and uttered allegations in support of it. He has given no details and no opportunities for verification. It is no excuse, if he has quite deliberately done that—and it is not the first time he has done it in this House—to say subsequently that it had not occurred to him that it would be desirable to support his allegations by evidence. That is not good enough.
§ Mr. Bing
The hon. Gentleman ought to be, if anything, a little less unfair. When I was dealing with the point, I said it was from the evidence of Lord Balfour of Burleigh, which is contained in a rather bulky volume, just as the Debates 306 of the Northern Ireland House of Commons, for which I was criticised because I did not give the authority, were in a bulky volume, and I used the individual parts. If the hon. Gentleman is in any doubt and will bring in the volumes, I can show him the necessary passages.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
The hon. Gentleman knows that I was not referring to the one part of his speech where he quoted his authority, Lord Balfour, but the case of the mineral water sales man-driver, the licensee somewhere in the North of England; and when he quoted the particulars, without any sort of admission——
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
Wait a moment. The hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that that was not what I was referring to. That was a solitary quotation, which can be checked up and about which there is no doubt at all. I have far too great a respect for the hon. Gentleman's acuteness of mind to believe for one moment that he thought I was referring to the one authority which he quoted rather than to the score of cases which he gave without any quotation whatever.
§ Mr. Bing
The hon. Gentleman is sometimes a little unfair. He must remember that these people possibly are liable to victimisation. There is one case of a person who would not be victimised and, therefore, I can give his name. He is Mr. A. A. Leedham, and his address is 37, John English Avenue, Braintree, Essex. If the hon. Gentleman is interested in dealing with the correspondence received by other hon. Members, he might care to write to him some time.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
I am obliged to the hon. Gentleman. No doubt he will tell us to what case he desires to attach the name and address he has given us. He has also given a number of other cases, and I am willing to give way if he wishes to help me by saying to which case this name is attached. I think that that is a sufficient demonstration of the hon. Gentleman's methods.
I will now proceed to reply, as he is entitled to a reply, to the hon. Member for Mitcham (Mr. Braddock), who took exception to certain observations—[Interruption.] If the hon. Member for 307 Shettleston (Mr. McGovern) desires to intervene I believe that he is a sufficiently experienced Parliamentarian to do it on his feet. The hon. Member for Mitcham took exception to certain quotations made from a letter written by him and referred to during the Report stage of the Bill both by my hon. Friend the Member for Weston-super-Mare (Mr. Orr-Ewing) and myself. Perhaps the hon. Member for Mitcham will allow me to say that I greatly prefer his attitude, in contrast to the attitude of some of his hon. Friends who also have given these pledges. He has had the moral courage to come forward and put his point of view upon the Bill. His attitude contrasts very favourably with that of certain of his hon. Friends, who have not done so.
What did the hon. Gentleman actually say? I would remind the House of the quotation itself. When I first quoted it, I paid the hon. Gentleman the compliment of saying that it was perfectly clear, and I now repeat that. The hon. Gentleman said:There is no proposal before the House to interfere with existing public houses."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th May, 1949; Vol. 464, c. 1764.]The hon. Gentleman dealt with that matter this afternoon. He began by referring to criticism of the Bill before it was printed. That observation presumably has no relevance to the hon. Gentleman's letter, which was written on 10th December, whereas the Second Reading Debate took place on 14th December. The Bill was in the hands of hon. Gentlemen some days before 10th December. The hon. Gentleman went on to say that he did not know that the person to whom he wrote the letter was connected with the liquor trade. I do not doubt the truth of that statement, but I somewhat question the relevance of the matter.
Does the hon. Gentleman's answer mean that if he had known that his correspondent was connected with the liquor trade he would have given the correspondent a different answer? Truth, proverbially, has many facets. Does the hon. Gentleman present a different facet of truth in accordance with the professional occupation of his correspondent? Then the hon. Gentleman took exception to the letter being quoted at all. It was a letter written by one of the hon. 308 Gentleman's constituents to him upon a public matter, and written to the hon. Gentleman in his capacity as a public man and the Parliamentary representative of his constituency. It was an attempt to elicit the hon. Gentleman's attitude and views upon a pending public matter. Does the hon. Gentleman desire to challenge my statement?
§ Mr. Braddock
If the hon. Gentleman will refer to the OFFICIAL REPORT tomorrow, he will find that I said that I took no exception to the quotation.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
I am very much obliged to the hon. Gentleman. I take it that the objection which he raised on the Report stage to the quotation of this letter is now withdrawn.
§ Mr. Braddock
The objection I make is to the hon. Gentleman's quoting only a snippet of the letter and not quoting the sentence following.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
I am coming to that point in due course, but it is necessary to take the hon. Gentleman's objections separately. I take it that the objection previously made to the quotation from this letter is now withdrawn. I agree with the hon. Gentleman that it is right that he should withdraw it. Constituents who correspond with their Members of Parliament on public matters are entitled, if dissatisfied with the reply, to communicate it to other people. It would be impossible if constituents who regarded a reply as being unsatisfactory could take no action at all because the reply was to be treated confidentially.
§ Mr. Braddock
The hon. Gentleman can keep on talking but he is not going to get away with this. I make no objection to the publication of that letter. I do not care what my constituent did with it.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
The hon. Gentleman has it on record that he does not object to the publication of that letter. He would have saved a good deal of time if he had done so before. Now, as to the letter itself, and to the words which I quoted. Let us get them quite right. They were:There is no proposal before the House to interfere with existing public houses.All that the hon. Gentleman objects to is that the next sentence, which goes on to relate to public management for new towns, should have been added.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
It so happens that I did not get the words which the hon. Gentleman added. If he likes to supply them to me, I shall be grateful.
§ Mr. Braddock
Am I really to understand that the hon. Gentleman took a snippet from the letter and did not take the trouble to consult the full letter?
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
The literary style of the hon. Gentleman is no doubt so appealing that he would like to have the letter quoted in full. I am quoting the relevant passage and I challenge the hon. Gentleman here and now to say that there is anything whatsoever in that letter which qualifies the perfectly clear statement he made that there is no proposal before the House to interfere with existing public houses.
§ Mr. Braddock
I do not want to waste the time of the House. I have already read the passage and I recommend the hon. Gentleman to read it himself in HANSARD tomorrow.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
The hon. Gentleman has already read the passage, he is good enough to say, and it is to be in HANSARD. It is clear that all hon. Gentlemen who heard agree that it does not qualify in the slightest the clear statement that there is no proposal before the House to interfere with existing public houses. The hon. Gentleman knows that perfectly well. He also knows that if he refers to Clause 3 (1, b) of the Bill, despite the efforts of hon. Gentleman on this side to take it out, he will find the power to interfere with existing public houses, not only in existing new town areas but in any area which in the future may be designated a new town, anywhere throughout the country. It is really no use the hon. Gentleman pretending that his statement was accurate. It could never have been made by anyone who had read and understood that subsection of the Bill. It was quoted on the Report stage, as I would remind the hon. Gentleman. He really came into the Debate without having heard it.
I say that not as an attack upon the hon. Gentleman's good faith but in reference to the complete lack of understanding 310 among some hon. Members opposite of the effect of the Bill, and of the fact that the Bill constitutes a direct attack upon the interest and livelihood of licensees of public houses, not only of every new town but of every future new town area. Widespread ignorance of what the Bill did gave rise to a great deal of misunderstanding in the country. There was a perfectly innocent and inadvertent attempt made by quite a number of hon. Gentlemen opposite to suggest to their constituents that the Bill did not do what it patently does.
There is only one other matter in the Bill to which I desire to refer. The Under-Secretary of State, in his delightful speech in which he seemed to combine the penetrating lucidity of the Foreign Secretary with the warm generosity of the Chancellor of the Exchequer—the Under-Secretary of State does not seem to appreciate the compliment—did not seem to realise that the real objection to Part I of the Bill is its automatic application to every new town as that town comes into being. Be the Carlisle experiment right or wrong—the hon. Gentleman seemed to think that opposition to the Bill was intended to be an attack upon the Carlisle experiment—it was aimed at a definite purpose. That purpose was the restricting of drunkenness in an area where drunkenness was rife in a vital war industry. That was a definite and specific objective.
We have not been told the objective behind Part I of this Bill. We have not been told the circumstances which it is assumed will exist in the present new towns and any areas on which the roving eye of the Minister of Town and Country Planning alights in the future. What is the common factor which has caused this instrument, which was aimed at a definite purpose in Carlisle, now to be applied widespread throughout the country? Is the objective that of Carlisle, restriction on drinking? We have not been told. Or is the objective the spread of public ownership and public management? We have not been told this. We have been given no explanation as to why it is that this method is to be applied automatically.
The other point on which we have not had a satisfactory answer, though I pressed the Home Secretary on the Report stage, is the bias disclosed by him in his attitude in the Schedule to the 311 method to be used should he decide to manufacture soft drinks or to brew beer. The House will recollect that the right hon. Gentleman has made a deliberate distinction. He has said that he will not make soft drinks unless he lays the Statutory Instrument by which he exercises the power to do so, thereby retaining Parliamentary control, but he has declined to include any similar safeguard in the case of the brewing of beer. The right hon. Gentleman has not given any satisfactory answer as to the reason for that difference in Parliamentary control.
In column 1811 of the OFFICIAL REPORT of 10th May, 1949, he said that there is a difference between a brewer and a soft drink manufacturer. To judge from their products these days, that distinction has become a rather narrow one. The right hon. Gentleman indicated that a brewer was a more powerful person than a soft drink manufacturer. If that is so, what reason does that give for diminishing Parliamentary control over the right hon. Gentleman in his dealings with brewers? It would be a valid argument for arming the right hon. Gentleman with greater administrative powers; it is no argument whatever for denying the House control over the right hon. Gentleman in his exercise of these powers. I am at a loss to see why the right hon. Gentleman persists in and insists upon this curious distinction. He indicated that there was adequate Parliamentary control by way of a Motion to reduce his salary even in the case of his starting a brewing industry. If there is already adequate control in that case, why the additional control by Statutory Instrument in the case of soft drinks? The right hon. Gentleman cannot have it both ways. Either there is more control over him in the case of soft drinks or there is not. If there is more control, why is there more control; and if there is not, the concession he made with so much geniality to the soft drinks industry is not worth the paper it is written on.
This point and a number of other points which my hon. Friends have in mind leave us profoundly dissatisfied with the Bill. No valid and reasonable explanation having been given even by the right hon. Gentleman who is admitedly the most persuasive exponent of Government policy on the Front Bench, 312 we are left to speculate as to the motives which the right hon. Gentleman and the Government of which he is so conspicuous an ornament have in mind. I cannot help feeling that the real explanation was given by the Lord President of the Council when he wound up for the Government on Second Reading and that precisely the same explanation is in the mind of the Government in pushing forward with the Iron and Steel Bill—it is yet another example of this Government's unfailing appetite for power.
§ 5.55 p.m.
§ Mr. Nally (Bilston)
It is fair to remind the hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) of a fact of which he had probably forgotten. I well remember that some time ago he rose to make a speech on a very serious matter into which I cannot go into detail, and he made very grave allegations about the conduct of a number of trade unionists. I asked him to give me the name of the person who had made those complaints and said that if he would, I would not only undertake to give all publicity to the disgraceful behaviour but that I would also guarantee, as I was then able to guarantee, protection for the men concerned. He took refuge in the fact that he could not give the name or any of the details because the man might be victimised. I thought that the hon. Gentleman sought a rather cowardly refuge, but he may have been right and I may have been doing him an injustice. My hon. Friend has original letters from people whose names are known, professional men connected with brewers, and if we gave their names the hon. Gentleman opposite could not guarantee them any protection whatsoever from the vengeance of those who employ them. Surely my hon. Friend is far more justified in refusing to give names than the hon. Gentleman was.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
Does not the hon. Member distinguish in his mind between the necessity in one individual case to be a little cautious about the disclosure of names and the building up of a large case by the quotation of scores of examples in the case of none of which are particulars given? Will the hon. Member accept from me, I hope without discourtesy, the fact that it is possible for an hon. Member to doubt whether the hon. Member for Bilston (Mr. Nally) really has the power to protect people 313 from victimisation which he, no doubt genuinely, thinks he has?
§ Mr. Nally
Referring to those letters, the hon. Member took to task my hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham (Mr. Braddock), and he did so in what I considered a rather unfair way. He produced a part of a letter. He had not got the original letter by him. I put to him this direct question: Was the snippet of the letter which the hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames quoted supplied to him by the Brewers' Society or one of its officials? [HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."] I am putting a perfectly fair question to the hon. Member, and I will give way for him to answer it. [HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."] Apparently there is no answer. The truth is self-evident. It was supplied by the Brewers' Society.
What happened during the Committee stage and other stages of the Bill and what is no doubt happening today? Every day and sometimes oftener throughout the proceedings on this Bill the Opposition have been supplied with a continual rain of documents from the Brewers' Society defending the brewers' interests. There is not a shadow of doubt about it. The House knows it and the country ought to know it. There have been certain notable exceptions among hon. Gentlemen opposite. Throughout the proceedings on the Bill the right hon. and learned Member for West Derby (Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe) has been completely sincere about every point of view he has advanced. In justice to him I am bound to say that throughout the proceedings the only motives which have actuated him in consideration of the Bill have been the best, most honest and sincerest motives, although we may disagree with him. It is right that a brewers' party should choose a good and honest man behind whom to hide itself when it is passing a Bill of this kind.
§ Mr. Beverley Baxter (Wood Green)
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in speaking so harshly of the brewers, he is attacking the Under-Secretary who 314 comes from a most distinguished brewing family?
§ Mr. Nally
As a journalist who did that, he should never interfere in this House on points that involve accuracy of recollection.
The technique of the Opposition in this matter throughout has been one that many of us have met at various times. They take a Bill, as the Licensing Bill is being taken at this stage, they then make a complete caricature of it in whole or part, and then they deliver a completely convincing reply to something which never existed anywhere except in their own imaginations. In this Debate the Opposition have to a large extent concentrated upon that. We have had, particularly in the case of the new towns, with which I am primarily concerned, a campaign, continued this afternoon, of the most vicious misrepresentation as to the implication of this Bill upon the lives of ordinary people. Whenever the hearts of the Opposition are breaking on behalf of the brewers, we can always rest assured that they will get up with a sob in their throats about the people. They have been doing it for generations, and they are doing it now.
The truth is that the brewing industry has an uneasy conscience about its position in relation to the people of this country. What it has done in relation to this Bill, and what some of the least reasonable members of the Opposition did this afternoon, was to exaggerate and caricature the case only to discover that they had done precisely what my hon. Friend the Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Bing) and two or three of us had wanted them to do, to create a situation where we could push forward with other ideas we have had for some time, about dealing with the brewers. They were kind enough to incite that public interest which will enable us to proceed with what we have in mind, but which it would be out of Order for me to go into in any detail now.
There was quite a simple issue in the case of the new towns. It was, broadly, 315 what is in the Bill, or on the other hand, the brewers. The Opposition in this matter stand for the brewers—I do not think they deny it—for they are primarily in matters of politics, brewers' men. We are told that this affects the freedom of the licensee as well as of the public in new towns. On the Committee stage, I asked the Opposition if there was a single Member—by that time their shirt fronts had been soaked with tears about the death of liberty in the new towns—who had raised his voice at any time in his own constituency to protest when a free house was taken over by a brewery combine. History should note that there was a voice. It was one of the voices on the Opposition side to which I like to listen because it talks good sense. It was that of the hon. Member for Devizes (Mr. Hollis) and his name should be blazoned in letters of gold in every public house, for he was the only Conservative Member of that Committee who could honestly say that in his own constituency, he has fought the efforts of a brewer to take over free houses. The sooner he is over here with us the better.
§ Mr. Hollis (Devizes)
While I am flattered at the suggestion that my name should be put up in letters of gold in every public house, that was not the precise question which the hon. Member asked me, though I forget exactly what it was.
§ Mr. Nally
I am always willing to give way where I think that an interjection would serve a useful purpose, but having heard the hon. Member for Weston-super-Mare (Mr. Orr-Ewing) wasting our time earlier, I see no reason why he should waste mine when I am making a speech.
The other point made by hon. Members of the Opposition was that they claimed a victory in making certain improvements to the Bill. I should be the last to withhold from any Member of this House, irrespective of party, the right to claim pride in having effected improvements 316 in a Government Bill. On occasions, the Opposition have made a substantial improvement, and we are grateful to them, but there must be no misunderstanding about this. There has not been a major improvement made in this Bill affecting the right to security of tenure of the licensee, or the question of adjacent areas, where there has not been as much pressure from Labour benches, and consultation with the Minister concerned, if not more than from the other side. Nevertheless there will be a claim advanced on the weekend platforms that in the defence of the little people, the Opposition are the knights in shining armour and we are the wicked grinders of the faces of the poor, including the poor licensee. On the question of adjacent areas, there were two speeches made. One was made by the hon. and gallant Member for Macclesfield (Air-Commodore Harvey) who was a most constructive Member of the Committee, and one was made by myself. The Minister accepted our proposals.
There was one other aspect of the Bill to which the Opposition might have directed itself. We are dealing here with a position in the new towns where public houses are to be taken over under a form of State control. If the Opposition are so deeply devoted to the cause of the poor licensee and his wife and children, I should have thought they would examine this Bill with care to see that under it the possibility would be that licensees coming under the control of my right hon. Friend, would get an infinitely better deal than they would do under the brewers, under whose control they have operated previously. I will undertake to say that, within two years of this Bill becoming effective in any new town, in security of tenure, in conditions of service, in methods of working, the licensees there under this Bill will be infinitely better off than their neighbours who are still under the brewers and so of course will the customers.
Here, if I may say so, I had an idea that the right hon. and learned Member for West Derby—so rightly busy is he in trying to provide the Opposition with some semblance of honest political leadership—has not been in local pubs lately. I can remember a time when I could legitimately go at the age of 18 into 317 local pubs in parts of the country, Lancashire, Durham and Northumberland where there was the choice not only of brewers but very often in the same public house, if it was a large village, there was the choice of two or three kinds of beer. That situation has ended and has been ending in all the new town areas. One by one, the great octopuses, so to speak, of the brewery industry have taken free legitimate enterprise in public houses by the throat and strangled it. There was never a word of protest from the Opposition in all that long and painful process.
I ask the House to give the Bill an enthusiastic Third Reading. It is not a gigantic Bill. It is a Measure of common sense and decency, not only for the decent public, the ordinary publican and the ordinary licensee, but is the first really effective step to free Britain from the stranglehold of the brewers.
§ 6.11 p.m.
§ Mr. Marlowe (Brighton)
The speech of the hon. Member for Bilston (Mr. Nally) has been very illuminating, but I doubt whether his right hon. Friend will thank him for it, because it has entirely confirmed our worst fears that the Bill is a first step in the nationalisation of the licensed trade. While it has been the main plank of the Home Secretary, and also of the Lord President of the Council on Second Reading, that this was but a limited Measure which affected only a small number of possible licences which may come into existence in the future in some rather nebulous small towns, the hon. Member for Bilston has committed himself to a policy of extending nationalisation, and has committed the Socialist Party to it.
§ Mr. Marlowe
I will give way in a moment. Although the hon. Gentleman did not give way on quite a number of occasions, I will give way in due course. It would be more convenient if I did so to enable the hon. Gentleman to answer the two points I am making, if he so wishes.
The other point I want to make about the hon. Member's speech is this. I had not noticed that he was endeavouring to catch the eye of the Chair in the early, part of the Debate and I rather formed the impression that he decided to speak in 318 the Debate after my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) had raised the matter of various correspondence in which hon. Members opposite had engaged. We on this side are delighted to notice the extent to which hon. Gentleman opposite have proved themselves touchy upon this subject. It has been abundantly clear that many hon. Gentlemen opposite committed themselves to expressions of opinion which they did not wish drawn out in the light of day and that now that these have been drawn out in the light of day, they very much regret it.
§ Mr. Nally
On the first point, I am sure that the hon. and learned Gentleman does not wish to misrepresent me. I am not in favour of a vast extension of the nationalisation of public houses. All I want to make certain is that those very worthy citizens whose names appear over the doors are, in fact, the bosses in their own public houses and not the boys who run around for the brewers. In short, what I want to do is to restore as far as I possibly can the free house system in Britain, and to that question the hon. Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Bing) and I will be leading hon. Members in the near future.
§ Mr. Marlowe
The hon. Gentleman should be very grateful to me for giving him the chance to unsay what he said before and thereby getting the best of both worlds by giving himself the opportunity of being able to go back to his constituency and say, "Although I may appear to have said that I am in favour of nationalised public houses, I know how unpopular that is in the public houses so I do not really favour it."
I want to deal with one or two aspects of the Bill which I regard as of major importance. In many respects it is, perhaps, unfortunate that the right hon. Gentleman included in the Bill a Clause or Clauses dealing with night clubs. Many hon. Gentlemen on both sides and people outside the House, have been at a loss to understand why the right hon. Gentleman of all people—a confirmed teetotaller—should have engaged in Clauses which extended the hours of drinking.
§ Mr. Marlowe
I agree—it does not extend, but carries later, the hours of drinking. I equally found this procedure of the right hon. Gentleman difficult to understand until I realised its purpose. One had only to read, for instance, the reports in the newspapers of the Report Stage of the Bill to see at once that all the objectionable features of the Bill were obscured by the great publicity given to the new Clauses dealing with night clubs. I congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on his great ingenuity and use of the propaganda weapon in trying to pilot through a Bill of this kind which in so many ways infringes the liberty of the subject, and doing it in a manner which ensured that no publicity was given to those objectionable features because, of course, night clubs have so much greater news value.
There are features of the Bill which cannot be allowed to pass without comment. It must, I think, be clearly understood from the start that the important feature of Clause 2 is that it completely eliminates competition in the areas affected by the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman proposes to take to himself the sole monopoly of the licensed trade in the designated areas. There can be only one reason for that. It is because he knows that the State monopoly is incapable of standing up to the competition of private enterprise. The right hon. Gentleman in his designated areas dare not have a privately-run public house because he knows that it would receive all the patronage and drive his State public house out of business.
My next objection to the Bill is that it contains powers of compulsory acquisition in Clause 3. Although we battled considerably in our endeavour to get "agreement" substituted for "compulsory purchase," the right hon. Gentleman resisted our proposal from start to finish. He does not propose to allow even the freedom of a licensee in possession to negotiate with him for the sale of his licence or for the transfer of his premises. The right hon. Gentleman prefers to descend upon the new town area and drive that man out of his livelihood. That is one of our strongest objections to the Bill. Whatever are its other unpleasant features, the worst of them is that the right hon. Gentleman can come down upon a man earning a perfectly honest and respectable livelihood and throw him 320 out and prevent him from earning a living in that way. Only under pressure from us, has even the man's residence been protected. We had to move Amendments for that purpose and it was not until the Report stage that we got any satisfaction about it. We were able to protect the man's residence, but his livelihood is still endangered.
The next feature of the Bill which I find objectionable is the manner in which the right hon. Gentleman has taken the power to brew his own beer. I need not elaborate on this at any length because it has been dealt with by my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter), but for some reason which he has never explained, the right hon. Gentleman has made a complete distinction between the power to manufacture soft drinks and the power to brew. If he wishes to manufacture soft drinks, that will be under the control of Parliament to the extent that he can do so only by laying a Statutory Instrument; but with regard to the power to brew the right hon. Gentleman takes quite a different line and insists upon maintaining the power in the Bill so that he need take no further step of the same kind which he has to take for soft drinks. The right hon. Gentleman has never given us any explanation of that distinction other than to say that the brewing trade is a very powerful organisation. It may be a powerful organisation, but I should have thought that if that were so, it is all the more desirable to keep it under Parliamentary control. The right hon. Gentleman does not accept the proposition and one can only draw the conclusion that his motives are more sinister than he will admit.
The next objection to the contents of the Bill is to those parts of the First Schedule in which the Secretary of State takes power, not only to run his own public houses, but to engage in ancillary activities, which may be of a very wide order. He can include the provision of "entertainments and recreation." Those words are not defined anywhere and obviously are capable of very considerable extension. Most of all I object to paragraph 8 in the Schedule in which the Secretary of State commits the unpardonable sin of endeavouring to put himself above the law. On many occasions in Committee we drew attention to this matter and I hoped that the right hon. 321 Gentleman would do something about that part of the Bill before we left it, but he has not done so and I think it only right that the attention of hon. Members who were not on the Committee should be drawn to those words. The paragraph states:Notwithstanding anything in the enactments relating to the sale and supply of intoxicating liquor, to the sale of tobacco and to entertainments and recreation, any of the activities specified in section one of this Act and the foregoing provisions of this Schedule may be carried on"—and those are the effective words—by or on behalf of the Secretary of State, in premises occupied by him, without the need for any licence, and shall not be subject to any restrictions imposed by law on the carrying on of such activities.I hold strongly that that is a provision which this House ought not to allow to pass without strong comment. It should be remembered that this provision goes far beyond the running of a public house or an inn and covers ancillary activities such as providing "entertainments and recreation." In respect of all these matters the right hon. Gentleman says, "I shall not require a licence or come under the jurisdiction of the local justices as do all other people who carry on those activities." On those grounds, I contend that he is seeking to place himself and his servants above the law.
I see the hon. Member for West Coventry (Mr. Edelman) in his place. He has spoken to me of some reference I made to him in the course of the Report stage when I drew attention to an undertaking given by the hon. Member and inquired why he was not in his place. The hon. Member has explained that he was ill at the time and was unable to be present on that account. I would not have commented on his absence if I had known that he was ill.
I am sorry that the hon. Member for Barking (Mr. Hastings) is not present. He found himself at variance with me on Report stage and I think I did some injustice in the sense that I was under a misapprehension as to his position at the time of Second Reading. That would have been cleared up if the hon. Member had intervened, or if any hon. Member had intervened, at the time the Lord President of the Council said that no existing licence was affected. The point I was making was that the Lord President of the Council was misleading 322 all his colleagues in telling them that no existing licence was affected when so obviously some were. If I did the hon. Member for Barking any injustice, I apologise.
The final conclusion I come to on this Bill is that it is taking powers which are quite unnecessary for the solution of the problem of the licensed trade in the new towns. It is one in which the great step of State control is taken one pace further forward. It is something which hon. Members opposite want only because they believe it to be a profit-making concern. It is in line with what hon. Members opposite have indicated as their policy for the next General Election, to look round where the money is and to make an effort to grab it. That is what hon. Members are doing in relation to matters which they have outlined in regard to insurance, cement and other things. I do not pursue that further than to say that they are endeavouring to do the same in the licensed trade, to go out for the money and grab it for themselves.
§ 6.26 p.m.
§ Mr. Walker (Rossendale)
I am delighted to join in this Debate. I am pleased for the reason that I have devoted the whole of my life to advocate temperance reform. Because of the activities which have formed the chief part of my religious and public life, I wish to say what I think about this Bill. I cannot say I am delighted about it or that it arouses any enthusiasm. Looking at it as a life-long teetotaller and temperance worker, I cannot see that it will advance the cause of temperance which I have so much at heart.
All through my life in studying temperance and licensing reform I have had to come to the conclusion that members of the Conservative Party have, throughout the course of their history, been ardent supporters of the liquor traffic. I do not say that to give the impression that every Member of the Conservative Party is a supporter of the liquor traffic in the way of individual drinking, because I know there are hundreds in the Conservative Party who are just as good teetotallers as I am. But, politically, they have always supported this great traffic which has done a great deal of harm and created a great amount of evil in our midst. I feel very strongly that we should have been an immeasurably better 323 country, healthier and wiser, and that everything would have been improved, if we had had little to do with a traffic of this description. I know it is a worldwide question and one which we have to face in this country.
When the Bill was introduced there was no doubt that the trade and the Conservative Party generally went into hysterics about it. They felt certain that here was a proposition which would cause a great deal of harm and mischief to the trade. Like other hon. Members, I received many petitions against the Bill. One I remember came from a public house in my constituency and the landlord accompanied it by a personal letter in which he said:My customers strongly object to State public houses and to State beer and they do not want their beer served to them by civil servants.I sent him a reply in which I said:Unless the town of Rawtenstall becomes a new town under the Bill you need have no fear about State control or your business being taken over by the State.In answering in that strain I think I was answering quite correctly and in accordance with the provisions of the Bill.
The party opposite cannot get away from the fact that they have cultivated assiduously the idea that here is a Bill to nationalise the liquor traffic all round. Every publican in the country, every man who likes a glass of beer, became fully satisfied that the position, as declared from every platform and in all their newspapers was that the liquor traffic was to be nationalised. We know that the Bill is confined entirely and absolutely to the new towns. What I do not like about it is that the Home Secretary, in introducing this Bill, seems to have conceived the idea that we are to transfer thousands of people to these new towns, and that every 1,500 or 2,000 people brought from congested areas and dumped down into these new towns would bring their local pub with them; there would be a pub for every 1,200 or 1,500 people. I hope I am not mistaking the intention of the Home Secretary in making that statement.
§ Mr. Walker
I am very glad to hear that. I was quoting a view very generally expressed. I do not believe that public houses in this country should be numbered according to the numbers of the population.
I am speaking specifically today as a temperance worker and a teetotaller and I do not like this Bill. The Opposition say they oppose it because it is to nationalise the liquor traffic. The right hon. and learned Member for West Derby (Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe), opening the Debate for the Opposition, said it was the first wedge in the nationalisation of this traffic. I am against this Bill because I am against nationalisation of the drink trade. I do not think that the drink trade ought to be nationalised and I think it would be a bad thing if it were. I do not know, and nobody knows, whether this trade will be improved, whether or not the evil would be reduced by nationalisation. I am certainly in favour of anything that will reduce the iniquity of the drink evil in this country, but I should have to be satisfied that if the trade were nationalised, it would reduce the drink habit and the volume of drinking which is going on today—the consumption of drink which we cannot afford and which is a menace to our basic unity. Therefore I cannot accept the idea or the supposition that nationalisation would in any way reduce this fearful traffic that there is amongst us today. I want to see it controlled and put under wise direction, but I cannot see that the provisions of this Bill will help us in any sense whatever.
The very thought that certain public houses are to be open for later hours, and that night clubs are to be open until 2 and 2.30 in the morning, is certainly a most grievous proposition so far as I am concerned. I believe that every one of us would be very much better off, and in every aspect of our every-day life we should be immeasurably better off, without this drink menace. Therefore I think that the object of every party should be to unite in reducing this evil and trying to make our country more sober and more temperate. With the general wish that human life should improve and that the standard of life should be raised, I cannot conceive that there is anyone, whatever 325 might be their investment interest in this business, or in temperance reform who can give support to the building and development of a drink traffic of this description.
On the other hand, I think we should devote our attention in passing Bills of this description to ensuring that there will be a definite improvement and something that will make our nation more sober. I am interested in the young people. I think we should do everything to help them and give them a better future than we have ourselves. But if there is to be the incubus of the drink traffic upon us, the future of the rising generation will be no better than that of the past. For those reasons I do not feel that I can support in the Division Lobby a Bill of this description.
§ 6.37 p.m.
§ Mr. Beverley Baxter (Wood Green)
While Mr. Deputy-Speaker was in the Chair the hon. Member for Bilston (Mr. Nally) called attention with some force to an inaccuracy of which I was guilty in confusing him with the hon. Member for West Wolverhampton (Mr. H. D. Hughes). I would like to make it plain to the, House that while I plead absolutely guilty to this inaccuracy, it was at a by-election meeting in South Hammersmith, and the hon. Member for West Wolverhampton was rather hidden by the microphone and the extraordinary charm of the learned Attorney-General. Both hon. Members being of rather the same size, I did commit that inaccuracy. I often think that while parents of two sardines probably have no difficulty in distinguishing between their progeny it is not so easy for the casual observer.
The hon. Member for Rossendale (Mr. Walker) made a very sincere speech on the evil of alcoholic drinks, and argued that our country would be better off without them. That is the point of view held by many hon. Members, regardless of their politics, and we respect it very much. At the same time, we cannot agree with it and I think it is a little unfortunate to regard the public house as necessarily a place of iniquity and temptation. The public house of this country is peculiarly an English invention. There is nothing like it in the rest of the world.
I can tell the House that when the Canadian and American soldiers got back to their own country, the institution which 326 they have missed most and which they talked about most was the English pub—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."]I assure hon. Members it is true. They found in it a form of club and also a second Parliament where there is great interest in public affairs. There are some pubs which are dirty and some which are not well run, but there is an extraordinary difference according to the type of proprietor and according to the personality of the persons who run the public house. There was a great enthusiasm for this English invention of the public house. Therefore, I feel it is a pity to see the encroaching hand of the State upon it.
If we consider for a moment the lives we now lead, we feel that hand upon our shoulder almost from sunrise to midnight. We get up in the morning and, if it is in the winter time, we light our fires with State-owned and State-produced coal. The housewife cooks her meal with State-owned gas. If it has not been cut off, we light our rooms with State-owned electricity. We travel by State-owned trains to the City to our offices. We pick up the telephone and get a wrong number. It is a State-owned telephone. Wherever we turn it is the State, the State, the State. We get our teeth filled by State paid dentists. We get our appendixes cut out by State-paid surgeons.
The State is becoming the monster of modern existence in this country. When the Under-Secretary of State—nurtured in Conservatism as he was and with his family fortunes suckled on beer—accuses us of being doctrinaire in our response to this Bill, we asked what has built up this monstrous middle-European conception of the State but doctrinaire Socialism by hon. Gentlemen opposite? The electors have already indicated their feelings towards this State penetration. This is the final step. This is State penetration into the one free institution left—into the public house.
There were many other important points that I wished to raise as well, but I shall end on this one note because I have seen that slight movement of your hand, Mr. Speaker, which indicates that there should be presto and not adagio. One or two hon. Gentlemen opposite have proclaimed with great confidence that this Bill does not threaten the nationalisation of the beer industry. I see that my good Friend the hon. Member for Bilston nods 327 his head. I would remind my hon. Friend that this is what the Lord President of the Council said in this House during the Second Reading Debate. [HON. MEMBERS: "It has been quoted twice already."] Then I shall quote it again. Perhaps on the third time it will penetrate even the skulls opposite. He said:I say, that if, as I hope will not be the case, this trade is going to make itself the instrument of a political party—[Interruption]—if this trade is going to make itself, according to this declaration, a party political instrument and turn every public house into—[Interruption.] If that is so—[Interruption.] The Opposition will get this back in good time—[Interruption.] If that is so, then I venture to say that the trade will be ill-advised and will be inviting a policy which it does not want."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 14th December, 1948; Vol. 459, c. 1138.]It is a policy which will apply to insurance, to steel and to everything in the country. For that reason we on this side of the House will vote with great heartiness against this had Bill.
§ 6.44 p.m.
§ Mr. Walkden (Doncaster)
I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to put to the Home Secretary three questions which concern the men and women engaged in the restaurants and clubs of London. I raised this matter on the Report stage. I must confess that today I had intended to speak, as many of my hon. Friends have done, about Part I of the Bill, about which I interrupted the right hon. and learned Member for West Derby (Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe). I believe that the right hon. and learned Gentleman knows that the assurances given during the Committee stage by the Home Secretary concern policy when these new State public houses are built in the new towns, as distinct from the places such as that visited by the hon. Member for Wood Green (Mr. Baxter) when he called at my "local" the other month.
On that occasion he wanted a pint of ale and he could only have one particular ale from one brewery. I believe that he liked it, because I like it myself and I have been a customer there for 18 years. The difference will be that if we should meet in one of the new State houses, say five years from now, we should be able to choose a brew from three or four breweries. We should be able to quench our thirst with the choice of the breweries in the area. That is a sensible way of 328 approaching this problem. This gives greater freedom to the customer, as was explained in the magnificent speech of the hon. Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Bing). Also, I do not know how the Opposition will be able to find an answer to what was said by the hon. Member for Bilston (Mr. Nally). We realise what is involved, and we know that the Opposition dare not face up to the tied house question.
My questions to the Home Secretary relate not to Part I but to Clauses 19 and 20 which refer to the restaurants and clubs. I have previously explained my surprise that the clubs have been brought in, but on reflection I agree that the only way in which the Home Secretary could approach the problem was by bringing in the right of some clubs to keep open until 2.30 if the licensed restaurants were to remain open. This is the issue. Everybody knows that the licensed restaurants will observe all the laws. I should like to know whether the right hon. Gentleman has consulted with the Minister of Labour regarding the implications of the concession he is making to the clubs. They will get their music and dancing licences from the L.C.C., so I am informed, because their premises are structurally in order. I understand that if we approve of Clauses 19 and 20 each restaurant if it wants an "extra hours" licence and if it is structurally in order and complies with the fire and other safety precautions, will be able to get an extension until 2.30. According to the next Clause, the clubs are in the same class.
Here is the risk. At the moment these clubs are not observing any of the conditions—the Meals in Establishments Order, for example. In the main these clubs do not observe any of the conditions laid down by the Ministry of Food. This is a most serious matter. From the angle of the worker it is a serious issue that we should give to the people who will run these clubs certain rights which they will enjoy because this Bill says so and because the L.C.C. grant them a music and dancing licence. They will observe no conditions whatever unless we have the necessary safeguards in the Bill. I know that the right hon. Gentleman may say that they will be compelled to observe the law, but I want an assurance from him that consultations have taken 329 place not only with the police and the L.C.C. but with all the other Departments involved in regulating the wages and conditions which were the subject of my challenge on the Report stage.
I would say to my hon. Friends the total abstainers that I cannot pretend that I am a teetotaller. I have been a beer drinker for a long time. They have missed an important point in connection with Clause 29. I cannot understand why. I ask the Home Secretary to look at this Clause before we send the Bill to another place. Clause 29 allows these six-bottle shops, which are now running under an Excise licence in the hope that the local magistrates will grant them a licence at the next sessions, a full licence when this Bill becomes law. Let us face the facts. This is a chance for many of the gin shops which have been planted down in the suburbs of London and all large cities in the hope that they will gain favour at the Brewster Sessions. I questioned the Under-Secretary about this matter during the Committee stage, and I remember the answer I received. I am deeply concerned about it, because this Clause certainly gives the "Open, Sesame" to these people. I beg the Home Secretary to have a look at it again, to see if he can explain it or amend it in another place. If it can be amended, let us do it in such a way as to safeguard this position, because otherwise I fear that we shall be handing out licences to all these six-bottle shops, for which there is no real need.
I wish the Bill well and I wish the Home Secretary well, because this is the most practical way of dealing with the problem of the licensed trade that has been put forward for years, and we hope that it will soon reach the Statute Book and become law.
§ 6.51 p.m.
§ Mr. Hollis (Devizes)
There are obviously a number of ways in which, theoretically, public houses can be run. They can be owned by the breweries, we could have the public house keeper owning them, we could have municipal or State public houses, or we could have various compromises between those schemes. All our complaint about this Bill is that it absolutely settles that in the new towns the public houses shall be exclusively and without appeal, State pubs.
330 I entirely repudiate the argument of the hon. Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Bing) and other hon. Members opposite that we are committing ourselves either to an exact perpetuation of the present system or to any other particular system by being opposed to this Bill. In fact, if my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for West Derby (Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe) will forgive me, in his Second Reading speech, far from speaking as the creature of the brewers, as the hon. Member for Horn-church seemed to think, he said he was in favour of experiments in municipal pubs in certain circumstances. Therefore, all we are concerned about with this particular Bill is not these large considerations which we shall be debating at another time as to how the public house system can be reformed, but whether we are committing ourselves to this particular method as the one method which is possible at all.
The second point I want to make is that the hon. Member for Rossendale (Mr. Walker) was far from fair when he used the very strong phrase, which he used without qualification, that on every platform Tory speakers were assiduously cultivating the notion that by means of this Bill, the whole liquor traffic was to be nationalised. For myself, I repudiate that very strongly. I was rung up by licensed firms in my constituency who were under that impression, and I took the trouble to explain to them what the Bill does and does not do, and I certainly contradicted that impression. I am sure that other hon. Members must have done the same thing.
The point is that we are told by the Government that they do not wish to nationalise the whole of the liquor trade in this country, but the trouble with the logic of the majority, if not all, of the arguments in favour of this limited method of nationalisation is whether or not they make the way clear for nationalisation. I have no time to demonstrate that, but it is fairly self-evident. That being so, it is exceptionally important, if the Home Secretary does not desire to have this general nationalisation, that he should take out of the Bill paragraph 4 of Part II of the First Schedule, which gives him power for the brewing of beer. He himself has admitted that he does not wish to exercise that power, except in certain circumstances, such as sabotage, which it is practically certain can never 331 exist. I would make a last appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to take a step which would greatly relieve the public mind.
§ 6.55 p.m.
§ Mr. Grimston (Westbury)
In opening this Debate this afternoon, the Under-Secretary referred to the fact that the Bill has been considerably modified during its passage through Committee and Report stages, and that is true. Some of the objectionable features have been taken out of it. For instance, it has been restricted to the new towns, and the power to go into adjacent areas has been removed. Nevertheless, the Bill still remains objectionable to us, for reasons which I shall briefly summarise.
It has been argued that this method is the only solution of the problems of licensing which will arise with the creation of new towns and where there are nucleus areas, but we do not accept that. I cannot, of course, on Third Reading go into alternatives, but we put them forward at considerable length during the Committee stage and we remain entirely unconvinced that they were not a practicable solution. Therefore, one of our objections to this Bill is that there are methods open to them which the Government have not taken, and, in spite of the protestations, we are driven to the conclusion that the real reason for this Bill is to be sought elsewhere. It fits far too closely into the general pattern of the nationalisation proposals which this Government have brought forward, and, if the House wants a further illustration, it resembles very closely the proposals for the partial nationalisation of the insurance industry that have been produced. For that reason, we believe that, in spite of their protestations, the real reason is not that State management is the only solution.
Of course, the Bill flies in the face of the most recent reports on licensing, both in the case of England and Scotland. In the case of England, it is true that some extension of the Carlisle State system and a further experiment in it was recommended, though not upon these lines. In the case of Scotland, it was definitely recommended that State management should be brought to an end. This Bill deliberately flouts both 332 these conclusions of the licensing Commissions.
Now, I want to say a word or two about the matter of pledges and assurances given by hon. Member; opposite. It seems to me that this is a matter which ought to be put before the public, and I would go so far as to say that no hon. Member opposite who has given an assurance or pledge that existing licensees are not interfered with by this Bill has any right to vote for its Third Reading, and I think it is just as well to place the matter on record in reference to the contents of the Bill. Clause 2 restricts the sale and supply of intoxicating liquor other than by the Secretary of State, and if hon. Members will take the trouble to look at Subsection (1, a), they will see the proviso that the subsection shall not apply—to anything done in premises which were licensed premises or a registered club when State management came into operation in the district in which the premises are situated and have continued to be licensed premises or a registered club, as the case may be, since that time.That looks fair enough, but if we look at Clause 3, subsection (1, b), we see that the Secretary of State can acquire by compulsory purchase any licensed permises in a State management district. Clause 3 completely takes away the protection provided by Clause 2. It may be that hon. Members opposite who have given assurances in that regard only looked at Clause 2, but the fact remains that any assurance of that sort is not substantiated by the Bill as it stands, and I think that the country and the public should know that.
In a way, it is even worse than that because, if we turn to Clause 4, we find that one of the provisions of the New Towns Act, 1946, which gave security to people carrying on a business in a new town, is also repudiated. It is true that the Home Secretary has made some concessions about this, but the fact remains that only three years ago the House passed the New Towns Act, and in that Act it was laid down that a development corporation had an obligation to see that people who were disturbed in their business should have the opportunity of carrying on that business on some land provided for them by the development corporation. One would have thought that an assurance enshrined 333 so recently in an Act of Parliament would certainly stand some test of time. No doubt it was thought to apply to existing licence holders at the time the New Towns Act was passing through this House, but, three years later, this Bill is brought along to impose State management in the new town areas, and part of the undertaking specifically put into the 1946 Act is taken away.
I think that we have every right to protest at that sort of thing being done. It is true that, as the Bill first appeared before us, there was no obligation to find the dispossessed man even a dwelling. That has been put right, and, to be perfectly fair to the Home Secretary, he has also accepted an Amendment that, as far as practicable, he will find a man a job either as a manager or as a State licensee. But that does not cover the case of the man who may own his pub and does not want to become a State licensee or manager. He will be turned out, and if it is any use to him to have a house found in an area where he is not permitted to work any longer, he can have it, but that is all he can have. Therefore, I come back to the assurance given by hon. Members opposite—some have retracted it, I know—probably based upon what the Lord President has said, but any hon. Member who has given such an assurance and who votes for the Third Reading of this Bill is violating his pledge. I know that there are precedents for it under this Government, and I dare say the friendly societies will not forget it, but it is not a good thing that a thoroughly bad precedent should be followed. There seems so very little reason for it because, during his speech this afternoon, the Under-Secretary referred to the fact that there will be very few of these people. That is true. There will only be a few licensees in the nucleus area of the new towns.
The Home Secretary has said that one of his difficulties is going to be to find enough people to manage the new "pubs," so there really seems very little reason for going back on the pledge under the New Towns Act. We were given a hint, perhaps inadvertently, by an hon. Member opposite during Report stage of why the right hon. Gentleman wants this power; it is because he may not be able to find enough people of the right political frame of mind to take on the job, and who are already in the new towns. 334 The same hon. Member tried to cover up what he had said, but it was pretty obvious that he thought the Home Secretary should have the power to turn out a man who might be of a political persuasion which was not, perhaps, best calculated to tit him for the job of manager or licensee of a State "pub."
Apart from the general question of nationalisation, those are the main reasons why we object to this Bill. To digress from Part I for a moment, I wish to say a word or two about the provisions which enable night entertainment to be provided in London. Here, I think, the Home Secretary has shown a very broad-minded attitude, and one which caused the hon. Member for West Ealing (Mr. J. Hudson) who, I am sory to say, is not here, some grief and disappointment. I must say he is one of those people who want to take away some of our liberties—I am glad to see that he is now with us—but he does it in such a genial and disarming way that if anyone could persuade us to have our liberties taken away, I think he would be the person most likely to do it. He also thought that the churches would be upset by these Clauses. I do not want to be irreverent in any way, but I would remind him that at the marriage feast in Cana of Galilee is was not wine that was turned into water.
I happened to see a paragraph in one of the papers last week to the effect that some of the foreign visitors to the British Industries Fair were complaining of the lack of entertainment in London. It was suggested that that had some bearing upon the fact that they were not giving as many orders as they might have done. On reading that, although of course it is only a very small step, I thought that perhaps the provision of more of what they can obtain on the Continent in the way of entertainment at night, which in future they will be able to obtain in London, was just a small instance of the argument we put forward, and with which the Home Secretary agrees, that the provision of these facilities would help trade, at any rate in an indirect way.
In conclusion, we believe this Bill is unjust in some of its provisions. It may dispossess a man who has been a publican for many years in a nucleus area simply because the Secretary of State wants to take over his business. It is a further encroachment upon liberty, and it is not necessary to bring all new towns 335 under State management as the only means of solving the licensing problem which will exist. Although the Bill is a small one, it is a step in the insidious advance of nationalisation, and we are resisting this further grab by the State, for that is what it is, and in doing so we are conscious that we have the support of a growing multitude of people in this country who are awakening to the dangers, both to our economy and to our liberty, inherent in the steady advance of nationalisation of which this Bill is a part.
§ 7.9 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Ede)
We have had an interesting and, for the greater part of the time, I think I may not unjustly say a lighthearted Debate on this Bill. In fact, the right hon. and learned Member for West Derby (Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe) rather surprised me by the sprightliness of his approach to most of the problems. Indeed, when we consider his performance today, we realise that it was not in satire but in justice that the hon. Member for Wood Green (Mr. Baxter) once alluded to the "Gaiety Girls" of the Front Opposition Bench. His rousing plea for democracy for the customer in the licensed trade was one that we all welcomed. We regard this Measure as one of the means of promoting it in the places where the Bill will be applied. The right hon. and learned Gentleman said that in the new towns, if you do not like the beer in the house to which you have gone, you cannot go round the corner and get a can of the beer which you do like. Is he so sure that if I had accepted the proposals of the brewers with regard to the new towns, there would have been more than one brewer in a new town? If he is, I wish he had been present at the interview. It would have been illuminating to him.
I think we have had in the anti-climax of this Debate this afternoon the best comment on the campaign which was waged against this Bill when it was first introduced. I think that the country and even the Opposition are at last beginning to see this matter in its true perspective. I was asked by the hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter), what is the common factor which justifies applying the State management scheme to all the new 336 towns? The common factor is that they are all new towns where this facility, with others, has to be planned, and we think it is as well that with a common factor we should have a common policy.
I want to ask a question of the hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames, who had some slight controversy with my hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham (Mr. Braddock) in one of the red herrings which have been drawn across the trail of this Debate this afternoon. Did he know of the second sentence read by my hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham before my hon. Friend read it out today?
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
If the right hon. Gentleman is really anxious to know, the answer to the question he put is. "No."
§ Mr. Marlowe
I would not like to get cross with the right hon. Gentleman about this, but I challenge his recollection that he ever saw a document headed "The Brewers' Society."
§ Mr. Ede
Yes, in relation to this matter. After all, quotations were read out from time to time and when one hon. Member lost his papers and could not find them, another hon. Member just handed the document up to him. That cannot be challenged and anyone who was there knows that it is so. What happened in that case? Let us be quite clear on what happened. A letter was sent by an employee of a brewer to my hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham, in whom I take some kind of paternal interest because 26 years ago I was the Member for Mitcham.
Mr. McKie (Galloway)
After last night?
§ Mr. Ede
Yes. After all, there is more interest in one sheep which is found than in ninety-nine which have never strayed. The employee of the brewer wrote to my 337 hon. Friend, who sent a reply. It was handed to the brewer, who extracted one sentence from its context and ignored the second sentence which was read out this afternoon by my hon. Friend and which made it quite clear that he understood exactly what the controversy was about. I give that as an example of the way in which the campaign was very carefully conducted so as to procure certain quotations which hon. Members opposite gave in all good faith, not knowing that they had been given only the part of the document which suited the case of the person who supplied them with the quotation.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
Can the right hon. Gentleman give the House, in this case which he has cited, any words which qualify the clear meaning of the words which were quoted by me?
§ Mr. Ede
I am within the recollection of a large number of hon. Members who were here when the quotation was read, and, with all respect to the correspondent of my hon. Friend, I did not commit to memory the words which he read out.
The House has had presented to it this afternoon very varying pictures of my own attitude towards this subject. According to some people, in some parts of the Bill I am the model of enlightenment, but in other parts of the Bill, according to my hon. Friend the Member for West Ealing (Mr. J. Hudson) I am in some way or other connected with Henry VIII.
§ Mr. Ede
I would not make that claim. Again, I am represented as a most Machiavellian person who has all sorts of sinister provisions for the people of this country hidden in this very simple Measure. The fact is that the reason for this Bill is the one which I have already given, that in the planning of the new towns it is desirable that there should be available from the start a clearly-thought-out plan commending itself to as wide a range of interests inside the town as is possible. For that reason we have provided in the Bill for the advisory committees. In one of his lighter 338 moments the right hon. and learned Member for West Derby said that these represented a country governess from whom Whitehall might play truant at will. May I say that I do not regard that as the picture at all? It is true that I have some professional interest in governesses, and, for a start, they are very difficult people from whom to play truant.
I want the advisory committees to have as wide a power as possible and, to show that that is genuine, I intend to answer a question put to me by my hon. Friend the Member for West Ealing. I propose under the Bill to reconstitute the State Management Council and to include in it representatives of the various advisory committees. I cannot promise that every advisory committee will have a representative on the State Management Council for, in the course of time, that might make the State Management Council so unwieldy a body as to be incapable of functioning effectively, but I have met the chairmen of the development corporations on this matter and I am glad to say that I have secured their agreement, which was very willingly given, to the proposal that the larger ones should have at least one representative on the State Management Council and that the smaller ones should be grouped so that those having fairly similar interests would be able to select a person to represent them on the council.
§ Earl Winterton (Horsham)
As my constituents may be affected by this matter, and as I have not spoken on the Bill, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman if any steps have been taken by these chairmen to consult the people who, after all, are affected—the residents of the existing towns?
§ Mr. Ede
—they did consult the development corporations before they gave me the final answer which I have just mentioned; and I think that that shows that the advisory committees will, in fact, in future have a very vital part to play in the development of the licence system in these towns, and that it will ensure that their views will be properly represented.
§ Mr. Orr-Ewing
I asked a question on Second Reading on exactly this issue. I asked whether members of the State Management Council were to be members of the local advisory committees. The right hon. Gentleman's answer at that time was that they would not be. The right hon. Gentleman now, I gather, has completely reversed that decision. I want to get the point clear, and that is why I ask this question.
§ Mr. Ede
Really, the hon. Member has served on the Committee upstairs, and he knows that throughout all stages of this Bill I have been receptive of any idea that has been put forward from any part of the Committee or of the House. That is the rule I endeavour to follow on every Bill which it is my duty to present to the House. Where in the course of discussion I have come to the conclusion that it is desirable that a change should be made, even if it means a reversal, I have always endeavoured not to be so cowardly as to decline to make an Amendment which I am convinced by the arguments ought to be made to any Measure for which I am responsible. I am bound to say that I have profited during the course of the Bill from suggestions made by hon. Friends behind me and by hon. Members on the other side of the House, and testimony to that effect has been given by hon. Members opposite during the Debate today. I do feel now that it is desirable that the State management districts shall have an opportunity of participating on the State Management Council in the development of this Measure in the various towns with which they will be concerned.
The right hon. and learned Member for West Derby alluded to the fact that this Bill was concerned with Scotland, and he raised a protest, as a Scotsman who has come south of the Border, at the fact that Scotland is dealt with in this Bill. Let me point out that, contrary to what he said, that for 100 years Scotland has had a separate licensing history, the three last licensing Acts, the Licensing Act, 1921, the Intoxicating Liquor Act, 1923, and the Licensing (Permitted Hours) Act, 1934, have been United Kingdom Measures. So I think it is desirable that where we can we should have United Kingdom Measures on this matter. We are not breaking fresh ground, but are following the most recent precedents, when we deal with England 340 and Wales and Scotland in the same Measure. I cannot follow why it should be thought necessary, as was suggested by the right hon. and learned Gentleman, that there should be a separate Scottish Bill for this matter, because really we are dealing with the same problem in the two countries of adjusting the licensing system to the new towns.
I want to deal, in the few moments left to me, with some of the statements made by my hon. Friends the Members for West Ealing and Rossendale (Mr. Walker). I am in this peculiar position with regard to this Bill, that if all the people in the country had the same habits in this matter as I have, no single Clause of the Bill would be necessary. It does enable me, I hope, to take in some respects a completely objective view of the whole matter. I really regret that my hon. Friend the Member for West Ealing finds it difficult to adopt a similar, detached attitude when viewing what he and I may regard, perhaps, as the failings, and not quite understandable appetites, of some of our fellow human beings.
Whether we like it or not, the problem of the licensed trade in London, and particularly in the City of Westminster, is a difficult problem which has baffled successive holders of my office over a very long period, and has from time to time led to very considerable corruption in the police force, and the lowering of respect for the law, which is always a serious social evil. I have endeavoured to find in the Bill some way of dealing with this problem. It recognises the hard facts of the situation, but enables the reasonable and natural desires of sections of the population to be met, without infringing on the liberty of anyone else, and at the same time ensures that there shall be adequate and appropriate supervision of the places to which these facilities are granted.
It is an experiment, but it is one which, I know, will be watched very carefully. It is one, I believe, that can be made to operate successfully, and that can be operated without some of those very awkward pieces of camouflage which, at the moment, have to be used to cover up, either the business as conducted, or the way in which it is investigated. By ensuring that all these places shall be open to the police—a thing that, quite frankly, I did not expect the clubs to 341 agree to—I have secured a very considerable extension of any power of control that has hitherto existed, and that will very largely remove all the difficulties that have occurred in previous instances of dealing with the adequate control of those places.
The hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Walkden) asked me about the persons employed there. Under this Bill the people there will be under the Control of Meals Order. They will also be under the Catering Wages Order. Everyone here who is connected with a workmen's club knows the problems that are being created in the workmen's clubs by the requirements with regard to wages and hours of labour that the Catering Wages Orders are imposing on those who run those clubs. Here again, I think the people for whom the hon. Member spoke will find that the people employed in those places will find that this Measure gives them safeguards which they previously did not enjoy, for these places will be registered clubs. The fact that they have to make provision for substantial meals being served will draw attention to the kind of employees who may be expected to be found there.
There are one or two other quite small amendments which are made in the law, to one of which the hon. Member for
§ Doncaster also alluded. That is the provision with regard to the wholesale wine licence which has in the past been used for carrying on a retail business. He asked what would happen to the six-bottle shop. The existing six-bottle shop will be regarded as an applicant for a renewal at the first brewster sessions after the Act is passed, but the renewal will only be of the licence which it already holds. The six-bottle licence will not be reduced to a single-bottle licence except by the express action of the licensing justices concerned, so any improvement from the point of view of the vendor in the licence will have to be a matter for the consideration of the justices.
§ We have had this Bill before the House for several months. I want to conclude my remarks by thanking all the Members of the House who have participated in the discussions upstairs or on the Floor of the House for the help they have given me. I am quite certain that, as with so many other Measures, we shall find in 20 years' time perhaps the Conservative Party standing up vigorously to protect this Measure from some proposal to improve on it.
§ Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes. 305; Noes, 187.345
|Division No. 143.]||AYES||[7.32 p.m.|
|Adams, Richard (Balham)||Brooks, T. J. (Rothwall)||Delargy, H. J.|
|Albu, A. H.||Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Diamond, J.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V.||Brown, George (Belper)||Dobbie, W.|
|Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)||Brown, T. J. (Ince)||Dodds, N. N.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Bruce, Maj. D. W. T.||Donovan, T.|
|Alpass, J. H.||Burden, T. W.||Driberg, T. E. N.|
|Anderson, A. (Motherwell)||Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.)||Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Callaghan, James||Dye, S.|
|Attewell, H. C.||Carmichael, James||Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Champion, A. J.||Edelman, M.|
|Austin, H. Lewis||Chater, D.||Edwards, Rt. Hon. Sir C. (Bedwellty)|
|Awbery, S. S.||Chetwynd, G. R.||Edwards, John (Blackburn)|
|Ayles, W. H.||Cluse, W. S.||Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)|
|Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B.||Cobb, F. A.||Evans, E. (Lowestoft)|
|Bacon, Miss A.||Cocks, F. S.||Evans, John (Ogmore)|
|Baird, J.||Collick, P.||Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)|
|Balfour, A.||Collins, V. J.||Ewart, R.|
|Barslow, P. G.||Colman, Miss G. M.||Fairhurst, F.|
|Barton, C.||Cook, T. F.||Farthing, W. J.|
|Battley, J. R.||Cooper, G.||Fernyhough, E.|
|Bechervaise, A. E.||Corlett, Dr. J.||Field, Capt. W. J.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Cove, W. G.||Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)|
|Benson, G.||Crawley, A.||Follick, M.|
|Berry, H.||Crossman, R. H. S.||Foot, M. M.|
|Beswick, F.||Daggar, G.||Forman, J. C.|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Daines, P.||Freeman, J. (Watford)|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.|
|Binns, J.||Davies, Edward (Burslem)||Gibbins, J.|
|Blackburn, A. R.||Davies, Ernest (Enfield)||Gilzean, A.|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Davies, Harold (Leek)||Glanville, J. E. (Consett)|
|Blyton, W. R.||Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S. W.)||Gooch, E. G.|
|Bowden, Fig. Offr. H. W.||Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)||Goodrich, H. E.|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl. Exch'ge)||Deer, G.||Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)|
|Braddock, T. (Mitcham)||de Freitas, Geoffrey||Grenfell, D. R.|
|Grey, C. F.||Mainwaring, W. H.||Simmons, C. J.|
|Grierson, E.||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield)||Skeffington-Lodge, T. C.|
|Griffiths, W. D. (Moss Side)||Mann, Mrs. J.||Skinnard, F. W.|
|Guest, Dr. L. Haden||Manning, Mrs L. (Epping)||Smith, C. (Colchester)|
|Gunter, R. J.||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke)|
|Haire, John E. (Wycombe)||Mathers, Rt. Hon. George||Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)|
|Hale, Leslie||Medland, H. M.||Smith, S. H. (Hull, S. W.)|
|Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil||Mellish, R. J.||Snow, J. W.|
|Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.||Messer, F.||Solley, L. J.|
|Hannan, W. (Maryhill)||Middleton, Mrs. L.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Hardman, D. R.||Mikardo, Ian||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Hardy, E. A.||Millington, Wing-Comdr. E. R.||Sparks, J. A.|
|Harrison, J.||Mitchison, G. R.||Steele, T.|
|Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Kingswinford)||Monslow, W.||Stokes, R. R.|
|Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)||Moody, A. S.||Stubbs, A. E.|
|Herbison, Miss M.||Morgan, Dr. H. B.||Swingler, S.|
|Hewitson, Capt M.||Morley, R.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Hobson, C. R.||Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)||Symonds, A. L.|
|Holman, P.||Morrison, Rt. Hn. H. (Lewisham, E.)||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)||Mort, D. L.||Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)|
|Horabin, T. L.||Murray, J. D.||Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)|
|Houghton, A. L. N. D.||Nally, W.||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Hoy, J.||Naylor, T. E.||Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)|
|Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr)||Neal, H. (Claycross)||Thomas, John R. (Dover)|
|Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N)||Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Hughes, H. D. (W'lverh'pton W.)||Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford)||Timmons, J.|
|Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)||Noel-Baker, Rt Hon. P. J. (Derby)||Titterington, M. F.|
|Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Oldfield, W. H.||Tolley, L.|
|Irving, W. J. (Tottenham, N.)||Oliver, G. H.||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Janner, B.||Orbach, M.||Ungoed-Thomas, L.|
|Jay, D. P. T.||Paget, R. T.||Usborne, Henry|
|Jeger, G. (Winchester)||Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth)||Vernon, Maj. W. F.|
|Jenkins, R. H.||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Viant, S. P.|
|John, W.||Pargiter, G. A.||Walkdon, E.|
|Johnston, Douglas||Parker, J.||Wallace, G. D. (Chislechurst)|
|Jones, Rt. Hon. A. C. (Shipley)||Parkin, B. T.||Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)|
|Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow)||Paton, Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe)||Watkins, T. E.|
|Keenan, W.||Paton, J. (Norwich)||Watson, W. M.|
|Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Pearson, A.||Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)|
|King, E. M.||Pearl, T. F.||Weitzman, D.|
|Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E.||Popplewell, E.||Wells, P. L. (Faversham)|
|Kinley, J.||Porter, E. (Warrington)||Wells, W. T. (Walsall)|
|Kirby, B. V.||Porter, G. (Leeds)||West, D. G.|
|Kirkwood, Rt. Hon. D.||Price, M. Philips||Wheatley, Rt. Hn. J. T. (Edinb'gh, E.)|
|Lawson, Rt. Hon. J. J.||Proctor, W. T.||White, H. (Derbyshire, N. E.)|
|Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)||Pryde, D. J.||Whiteley, Rt, Hon. W.|
|Leonard, W.||Pursey, Comdr. H.||Wigg, George|
|Leslie, J. R.||Randall, H. E.||Wilcock, Group-Capt. C. A. B.|
|Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)||Ranger, J.||Wilkes, L.|
|Lewis, J. (Bolton)||Rankin, J.||Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)|
|Lewis, T. (Southampton)||Rees-Williams, D. R.||Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)|
|Lindgren, G. S.||Reid, T. (Swindon)||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.||Ridealgh, Mrs. M.||Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)|
|Logan, D. G.||Robens, A.||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Longden, F.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Lyne, A. W.||Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)||Williams, W. R. (Heston)|
|McAdam, W.||Robinson, K. (St. Pancras)||Willis, E.|
|McAllister, G.||Rogers, G. H. R.||Wills, Mrs. E. A.|
|McEntee, V. La T.||Ross, William (Kilmarnock)||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|McGhee, H. G.||Royle, C.||Woods, G. S.|
|McGovern, J.||Scollan, T.||Wyatt, W.|
|McKay, J. (Wallsend)||Scott-Elliot, W.||Yates, V. F.|
|Mackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N. W.)||Sharp Granville||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|McKinlay, A. S.||Shawcross, C. N. (Widnes)||Younger, Hon. Kenneth|
|Maclean, N. (Govan)||Shawcross, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (St. Helens)|
|MacMitlan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Shurmer, P.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Silverman, J. (Erdington)||Mr. Collindridge and Mr. Wilkins.|
|Macpherson, T. (Romford)||Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)|
|Agnew, Cmdr. P. G.||Bowen, R.||Channon, H.|
|Aitken, Hon. Max||Bower, N.||Clarke, Col, R. S.|
|Amory, D. Heathcoat||Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Clifton-Brown, Lt-Col. G.|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R.||Bracken, Rt. Hon. Brendan||Cole, T. L.|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G.||Conant, Maj. R. J. E.|
|Barlow, Sir J.||Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W.||Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow)|
|Baxter, A. B.||Brown, W. J. (Rugby)||Crookshank, Capt. Rt Hon. H. F. C.|
|Beamish, Maj. T. V. H.||Bullock, Capt. M.||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.|
|Bennett, Sir P.||Butcher, H. W.||Crowder, Capt. John F.|
|Birch, Nigel||Byers, Frank||Cuthbert, W. N.|
|Boles, Lt.-Col, D. C. (Wells)||Carson, E.||Davidson, Viscountess|
|Boothby, R.||Challen, C.||Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)|
|De la Bere, R.||Langford-Holt, J.||Prescott, Stanley|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.||Raikes, H. V.|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Rayner, Brig. R.|
|Donner, P. W.||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Reed, Sir S. (Aylesbury)|
|Dower, Col. A. V. G. (Penrith)||Lindsay, M. (Solihull)||Renton, D.|
|Drayson, G. B.||Linstead, H. N.||Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth)|
|Dugdale, Maj. Sir T. (Richmond)||Lipson, D. L.||Roberts, H. (Handsworth)|
|Duthie, W. S.||Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral)||Roberts, P. G. (Ecclesall)|
|Eccles, D. M.||Low, A. R. W.||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Eden, Rt. Hon. A.||Lucas, Major Sir J.||Ropner, Col. L.|
|Elliot, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon Walter||Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.||Ross, Sir R. D. (Londonderry)|
|Erroll, F. J.||MacAndrew, Col. Sir C.||Sanderson, Sir F.|
|Fleming, Sqn.-Ldr. E. L.||McCallum, Maj. D.||Savory, Prof. D. L.|
|Foster, J. G. (Northwich)||McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.||Scott, Lord W.|
|Fox, Sir G.||Macdonald, Sir P. (I. of Wight)||Shephard, S. (Newark)|
|Fraser, H. C. P. (Stone)||McFarlane, C. S.||Shepherd, W. S. (Bucktow)|
|Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale)||Mackeson, Brig. H. R.||Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir W.|
|Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir D. P. M.||McKie, J. H. (Galloway)||Smith, E. P. (Ashford)|
|Gage, C.||Maclay, Hon. J. S.||Smithers, Sir W.|
|Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollok)||Maclean, F. H. R. (Lancaster)||Snadden, W. M.|
|Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)||Spence, H. R.|
|Gammans, L. D.||Macpherson, N. (Dumfries)||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Gates, Maj. E. E.||Maitland, Comdr. J. W.||Strauss, Henry (English Universities)|
|Glyn, Sir R.||Manningham-Buller, R. E.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray)|
|Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Studholme, H. G.|
|Gridley, Sir A.||Marples, A. E.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Grimston, R. V.||Marsden, Capt. A.||Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (P'dd't'n, S.)|
|Hannon, Sir P. (Moseley)||Marshall, D. (Bodmin)||Teeling, William|
|Harden, J. R. E.||Marshall, S. H. (Sutton)||Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge)||Maude, J. C.||Thorneycroft, G. E. P. (Monmouth)|
|Harris, F. W. (Croydon, N.)||Medlicott, Brigadier F.||Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.|
|Harvey, Air-Comdre, A. V.||Mellor, Sir J.||Thorp, Brigadier R. A. F.|
|Haughton, S. G.||Molson, A. H. E.||Touche, G. C.|
|Head, Brig. A. H.||Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir T.||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir C.||Morris, Hopkin (Carmarthen)||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Morrison, Rt. Hn. W. S. (Cirencester)||Wakefield, Sir W. W.|
|Hogg, Hon. Q.||Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.||Walker-Smith, D.|
|Hollis, M. C.||Mullan, Lt. C. H.||Ward, Hon. G. R.|
|Holmes, Sir J. Stanley (Harwich)||Neill, Sir William (Belfast, N.)||Wheatley, Colonel M. J. (Dorset, E.)|
|Hope, Lord J.||Neven-Spence, Sir B.||White, Sir D. (Fareham)|
|Howard, Hon. A.||Nicholson, G.||White, J. B. (Canterbury)|
|Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)||Nield, B. (Chester)||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|Hulbert, Wing-Cdr. N. J.||Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Hutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)||Nutting, Anthony||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Hutchison, Col. J. R. (Glasgow, C.)||Odey, G. W.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Jeffreys, General Sir G.||O'Neill, Rt. Hon Sir H.||York, C.|
|Jennings, R.||Orr-Ewing, I. L.||Young, Sir A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.||Peake, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Kerr, Sir J. Graham||Peto, Brig. C. H. M.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Kingsmill, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Pickthorn, K.||Mr. Buchan-Hepburn and|
|Lambert, Hon. G.||Ponsonby, Col. C. E.||Mr. Drewe.|
|Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Poole, O. B. S. (Oswestry)|
Question put, and agreed to.