Liquor Traffic (State Management).

Oral Answers to Questions — Ireland. – in the House of Commons on 18th May 1922.

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Photo of Colonel Sir Arthur Holbrook Colonel Sir Arthur Holbrook , Basingstoke

17.

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that members of the State Management Council recently visited Maryport, near Carlisle, with the view to purchasing 29 licensed houses in West Cumberland not at present under State control; that the owners refused to sell; and that, during the period when the supply of alcoholic liquors was restricted, State control houses at Maryport were supplied with liquor far in excess of their ration, while private houses were strictly confined to their ration; and when it is proposed to stop this State competition with private enterprise?

Photo of Mr Edward Shortt Mr Edward Shortt , Newcastle upon Tyne West

Certain members of the Council visited Maryport and discussed the question of purchase with certain owners. The latter were unwilling to sell. As I told the House, there is no present intention of making any further purchases. I know of no foundation for the allegations contained in the third part of the question. It is not proposed to end the State Management Scheme.

Photo of Colonel Sir Arthur Holbrook Colonel Sir Arthur Holbrook , Basingstoke

Will the right hon. Gentleman make inquiries? Is he aware that I have been on the spot?

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Wilfrid Ashley Lieut-Colonel Wilfrid Ashley , Fylde

Is it not a fact that a distinct pledge was given to the House that there should be no extension of this State control, and, in view of that pledge, how is it that negotiations have been taking place since?

Photo of Mr Edward Shortt Mr Edward Shortt , Newcastle upon Tyne West

Because the negotiations were before the pledge.

Photo of Mr John Gretton Mr John Gretton , Burton

Will the right hon. Gentleman say by what authority these gentlemen have been negotiating for the purchase of these 29 houses?

Photo of Mr Edward Shortt Mr Edward Shortt , Newcastle upon Tyne West

Yes, Sir. The functions of the Central Control (Liquor) Board have been transferred to the Home Office.

Photo of Mr Rupert Gwynne Mr Rupert Gwynne , Eastbourne

Would it not have been better if the right hon. Gentleman had stated, when he gave the pledge, that the negotiations were going on'?

Photo of Mr Edward Shortt Mr Edward Shortt , Newcastle upon Tyne West

The question was not asked of me. It was common knowledge.

Photo of Mr Rupert Gwynne Mr Rupert Gwynne , Eastbourne

Does not the right hors. Gentleman realise that when he makes a pledge the House takes it as a pledge, and not that something is being done behind it?

Photo of Mr Edward Shortt Mr Edward Shortt , Newcastle upon Tyne West

There has been nothing done behind the pledge. The negotiations were in existence, then the Schedule came out, the pledge was given, and nothing further was done.

Sir J. D. REES:

Would not all these difficulties be solved if the right hon. Gentleman went. out of the beer business?