Orders of the Day — Intoxicating Liquor (Sale to Persons Under Eighteen) Bill.

– in the House of Commons at on 9 March 1923.

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Order for Second Reading read.

Viscountess ASTOR:

I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."

This Bill is not Lady Astor's Bill. Even what people were pleased to call "Lady Astor's Bill" was not Lady Astor's Bill it was a Bill introduced into the other House by the Bishop of Oxford. I, with some others, introduced it into this House, and it was made an issue at my election as Lady Astor's Bill, but even then it was not Lady Astor's Bill. However, I won. In spite of its being thought that it had no support in the country, it had great support from the most progressive constituency in England. I have been reading that this Bill is a subtle plan of Lady Astor's. I did not know that my chief fault was subtlety; I thought I annoyed the House by my brutal frankness. I can assure hon. Members that there is nothing subtle about me; I have always taken that good old hymn Perish policy and cunning,Perish all that shuns the light;Whether winning, whether losing,Trust in God and do the right. I admit that it may seem a strange political creed, but that is the only political creed that I profess. This Bill is the result of a petition presented two years ago by Lord Bryce at the instance of the teaching profession; 116,000 teachers asked for legislation on these lines. They said that it was in the interests of the mental and moral development of adolescents. They have behind them all organised women, including The National Council of Women, the National Women Citizens' Association, the heads of some or the great public school for boys and girls, and hundreds of elementary and secondary schools. They also have behind them some of the highest medical authorities in the country. It has the support of the "Lancet," and I have personally received 700 letters in support of it from women medical practitioners alone.

The Bill deals with one of the "Four Points" on which the leaders of all the Churches are agreed. It has the support of the Archbishop of Canterbury, of Cardinal Bourne, and of all the Free Churches. The House, therefore, will see that it is in no way my Bill. I am simply the godmother, and I hope a fairy one; and all those who think it is subtle propaganda on my part should get that out of their minds. There is nothing subtle about it; it is the most unsubtle Bill in the world. I will show the House why, and what it proposes. As the law now stands, a publican can sell beer to children over 14 for consumption inside his public-house as well as to be taken away. Spirits can only be sold for consumption on licensed premises to young persona over 16. This Bill proposes to make it illegal to sell to anyone apparently under 18 any kind of intoxicant for consumption in a public-house. That is all that the Bill proposes. I have heard it so misrepresented that I should like to tell the House what it does not propose, because I know that many hon. Members think that those things are included in the Bill. This, however, is all that it proposes—to make it illegal to sell to anyone apparently under 18; and the House will notice the word "apparently." The Bill does not touch clubs. We have gone into that, and we find that many clubs discourage young persons under 18 from drinking. It is not a club problem. One hon. Member came to me and said, "I cannot support that, because it does not deal with clubs." I said, "Did one of the people who wanted this Bill tell you that?" He said, "Oh, no"; and I said, "Of course not," That is very subtle.

The Bill does not prevent young persons from fetching beer. They can still fetch dinner beer for their father or their fellow workers. The Bill does not deal with treating. Treating is a very difficult and very controversial point, and we have tried to the best of our ability to make this a non-controversial Bill. It would have been very stupid for any private Member to introduce a controversial Bill, because they would know perfectly well that they would never get it through. The teaching profession, the Churches and the medical men are not as stupid as that. We feel that we shall have done something big if we can only get this small and what I may call legitimate Bill on to the Statute Book. Why do we want the Bill? [HON. MEMBERS: "Ah, why?"] I will tell you in a minute, and I hope you will listen without pride, prejudice or partial affection. That is our prayer, and you have the chance of putting it into effect to-day. The problem of drink as it confronts grown men and women is an entirely different problem from that of youth and adolescence. Between the ages of 15 and 20 boys become men and girls become women, and everybody who is interested in youth knows that this is the most difficult time in the lives of boys or girls. After all, a mother knows that, once you have got a child over teething, your next problem is that very difficult age from 14 to 20. Every man knows that boys have instincts which they really do not quite know how to grapple with, and it takes the greatest courage on the part of those who have to deal with them, and the greatest kindness and the greatest understanding, to keep them morally straight during that very very difficult time.

The object of the Bill is to help self-control and the powers of resistance. We do not feel that we want to do anything that is going to make it more difficult for adolescence, and I do hope that all hon. Members will support that. Adolescence is a problem in both boys' and girls' life. It is no good saying that it is only girls; it is boys just as much as girls. In fact, I myself, as the mother of five sons, think that, so far as sex goes, it is absolutely as important for boys as it is for girls. We have been told that drunkenness is no problem among the young, but I was amazed the other day when the hon. and learned Member for Norwood (Mr. Greaves-Lord) put down a question. He got an answer that I am quite certain he did not expect. It said that in 1919, 2,610 boys and girls between the ages of 16 and 21 were arrested for drunkenness; in 1920, 4,063 were arrested for drunkenness; and in 1921, 2,172. If these are the figures for disorderly drunkenness we know that many thousands more must have been affected in a lesser degree. It came as a problem to a great many Members, because there is nothing in the world more tragic and more dangerous for a country than to have adolescents drinking. If alcohol is a bad stimulant for girl adolescence it is equally bad for boy adolescents. Sir James Crichton Browne, a distinguished anti-prohibitionist, says: It is during adolescence that the taste for alcohol declares itself. Then it is when so many habits are formed, that a habit of some degree of dependence on alcohol may be contracted, and it is a noteworthy fact that in nearly 90 per cent. of cases of confirmed. inebriety the addiction to drink began between fifteen and twenty-five years of age. That is the danger period. It is all very well for hon. Members to have their little personal opinions, but when it comes to dealing with a thing as big as this you have to take the opinion of people who have dealt with it from a scientific, spiritual and moral basis. Our personal opinion is not good enough in a thing as big as the problem of adolescence. Dr. Clement Dukes, late physician to Rugby School, and still the chief authority on public school health, says: It does not seem to be sufficiently realised that the animal instincts of boys are more active and stronger at the public school age than at any other time of life, while on the other hand their characters are immature and wanting in the strength necessary to withstand an enemy which approaches insidiously and attacks at their weakest point. Beer is a drug which deadens the will power and excites the animal instincts of the young. Its relation, therefore, to immorality is momentous. If hon. Members had gone into this question they would have seen that the chief medical authorities, not only in this country, but in all other countries, are at one as to the danger of any alcohol in adolescence.

Then people say why not have girls and leave out boys? I have tried to show the point of view of the medical profession about boys. The final answer is that, sex discrimination in legislation affecting morals will not be tolerated by an enlightened public conscience partly because it is unjust and partly because immorality is a joint offence which cannot be cured by dealing with one sex. [An HON. MEMBER: "No legislation will ever stop that."] All legislation tends upwards. I think the hon. Member forgets that we are trying to legislate for true freedom. St. Paul knew where true freedom lay. To he carnally minded is death, to be spiritually minded is life and peace "and I am tired of the people who think you cannot legislate to strengthen; and with youth of all things of course you can legislate and you roust legislate. We have to get on to a higher basis in our legislation, I am not asking them to do anything except to give spirit, and not spirits, a chance.

Then it is said why not deal with spirits only and leave beer out. If alcohol is bad in its scientific effect it is obviously equally bad in whatever form you take it. People often feel that they can safely drink a good deal more beer than spirits because there is less alcohol, but the result is exactly the same. If there was not alcohol in beer it would be all right for adolescents. But there is alcohol in beer. Then people say this will be very difficult of administration. If you left out spirits and left -in beer, it would make it even more difficult. Think how difficult it would be, not for the publican but for the people who are watching, for they would have to go in and not only smell but probably taste to see whether there was any beer there. As far as administration goes it would make it much easier to have a clean cut. Too much has been made of administration. The age limit already exists. This does not introduce an age limit. It only alters it. Many hon. Members agree with me that it is really easier to discriminate between a boy and girl of seventeen and eighteen than it is between thirteen and fourteen. There is no greater difference between the two ages. The publican has to do it now. We hear much of what America is doing but we never hear what the Colonies are doing about drink. The whole of our Colonies have got this. They found that the administration was not difficult. Some of them have it up to twenty-one years and all up to eighteen and not in one single case has anyone asked for a reduction of the age. Surely we ought to think of what our Colonies are doing. If they can do it, we can do it. I do not think the publican in England is more stupid than the publican in the Colonies and if they put it through we ought not to lag behind. In all European countries they are pressing for this legislation. They have already got it in Sweden, Norway, Poland, and I think in France. There is a tendency throughout the world to keep boys and girls from drinking.

Then another objection is made. It is the case of the lusty working lads. I leave Labour members to deal with that. I think it ill becomes us on these benches to talk about the hardship to the sons of miners and the rest of it when we have miners sitting on those benches who can easily speak for themselves. Suppose the Bill is a little hard on the few. There is no Bill ever passed that is not a little hard on the few. We are not legislating for the minority but for the majority. It may be a little hard on boys who have been used to drinking with other men but I am certain if they were shown what a terrible calamity it is to thousands of others they would be quite willing to give it up. After all, the people of this country are used to sacrifices and all you have to do is to put it before them as a high motive. The motive in this Bill is to protect adolescence and to remove boys and girls from the environment of the public house. I do not believe there is a man or woman in England who wants a boy or girl in the public house. I feel certain we all feel alike about that. We may use it to defeat an argument but if we look into our hearts I do not think there is a man or woman, and I am certain there is not a mother, who would not give nearly anything to keep her child out of the public house. The only organised opposition comes from the representatives of the drink trade. I do not want to put their backs up because I really want to be an angel of peace to-day. I am afraid we cannot get their support because they are fighting for their interests. You fight for your interests too. Human nature is very much alike and I am not blaming them. They arc very highly organised and skilfully represented in this House, but under the guise of freedom they would rob many a young person of the moral control which alone gives freedom. The teachers say that To allow freedom of choice too early is to make more difficult real and effective freedom. The greatest reformers that the world has ever known have always been inspired by the love of children There is no sacrifice that a mother or a father would not make for their child. If you want to get a thing through you must appeal to the fathers and mothers. Tell them that it is for the benefit of their children, not only of their children, but of everyone else's children. When I look into the eyes of a child and see the hope and the purity there, I do not know what it is, but there is something about the eyes of a child that gives me courage to stand up against the worst opposition that any woman has ever had to face. I do not mind it, because I am willing to take any kind of personal abuse and misrepresentation. After all, when we come into public life we expect it, but we do not really mind it so long as we feel that we are doing one single thing to give children a better chance.

I appeal to the House to pass this legislation to help the children and the adolescents. Boys up to 18 are children. You are all children still, in a way. We women love you, because you are children. We love you very much, but we love our own children more, and I can assure hon. Members that there is many a mother in the country praying to-day that this Bill will go through. I have received letters from all over the country. I think the Bill will go through, because it is the wish of the people of this country. If any hon. Members have any fear about this Bill weakening parental control, I ask them to go back to their constituencies, and ask the fathers and mothers there. I ask hon.. Members not to vote against a Bill the only desire of which is to protect youth, glorious, courageous, adventuresome youth, which when rightly led and guided is the most inspiring thing in the world, but when wrongly led is the most heartbreaking.

Photo of Mr Charles Crook Mr Charles Crook , East Ham North

I beg to second the Motion.

As a new Member I feel it extremely difficult to follow so able a speech, given by an angel of peace, but perhaps I have a special right to speak because I represent no teetotal interest in any way. I am, perhaps, one of those who can speak as a moderate man on this particular question. I think I dislike as much the continual cant of the extremists on one side, as I do the continual decant of extremists on the other. If I were to express my own personal predilections it would be rather more for the joyous fatalism of Omar Khyaam than for the bee in the bonnet of modern Dundee. My reason for speaking is a deeper one than that.

This Bill is called the Teachers' Bill because 116,000 teachers of all grades have signed a petition to this House asking the House to adopt this principle. I claim perhaps as great a right as anyone to speak on behalf of the teachers in this House, because I have been in an elementary school from 1868 until a year ago, as boy and teacher, and have mixed with all classes of teachers and have dealt with all types of schools. Therefore, a petition from teachers appeals to me perhaps more than it does to an ordinary Member. Why are the teachers presenting this petition and asking for this Bill to be made law. I will tell the House as far as I can. In the first place, the elementary teacher deals with his or her children up to the age of 14. Up to that age the teacher has the children under his or her control, watching them and educating them, both morally and physically, during those years, but by law at the age of 14, when the children leave the elementary schools, they are allowed t enter a public house and drink beer. That seems a. great change to the elementary teacher, from the extreme loving care up to 14 to this licence at the age of 14.

The secondary teacher has the children under his or her control from the ages of 12 to 16. These children are protected during the beer age for two years; but when they leave the secondary schools at the age of 16 they have a wider licence by law to enter a public-house and to drink spirits. Of late, there has sprung up in our profession, and amongst all kinds of people who are dealing with education generally, a new phase of discussion and a new form of inquiry. It has become patent to all who study the education question that the important years of life are the pre-natal period and the post-natal period to begin with, and, perhaps more important still, the period between the ages of 14 and 18.

There has just been published by a committee of the Board of Education a very remarkable document dealing with the curriculum of boys and girls between the ages of 14 and 18, and in that report there is some remarkable evidence with regard to the changes, physical and mental, which happen to children during those years. Take the physical changes. From the age of 14 to the age of 18, that wonderful physical change which makes a boy and a girl change to man and woman is taking place. Physiological changes are taking place in the brain, so delicate, so dangerous and so important that any harmful factor which may occur during those four years, physically, may wreck the whole future life of a boy or girl. Even more important than the physical change, there is the psychological change.

Anyone who has dealt with boys and girls up to the age of 14 and with boys and girls between the ages of 14 and 18 must know the enormous difference in outlook which comes to the boy and the girl in the four years between 14 and 18. The most marvellous change in their whole life takes place. From the wild waywardness of the boy and girl, from the happy carelessness of the boy and girl, there comes the wider vision of manhood find womanhood. In those four years physiologically and psychologically the whole future of the boy and girl is at stake. Now I am not a teetotaller, and I do not wish to be a teetotaller, but I do say that alcohol at that age is harmful both physiologically and psychologically to that boy and that girl. That is why I ask this House to protect these young people during those very dangerous, difficult and particularly vital years of their life.

I have been told in several letters that I am trying to restrict the freedom of young people in this way. Yes, I am. No nation, whatever its views may be on alcohol, can afford at this moment unrestricted alcohol, even to adults, when the lack of restriction is a danger to the State and in some cases even to the individual. Even in France, which is perhaps the freest nation in the world in regard to alcoholic matters, they have been compelled to restrict the production and sale of absinthe to their own people. Russia had to stop the sale of vodka because of the danger to its people and to the State. Sweden, Norway and Denmark havt got most restrictive measures with regard to the sale of alcohol. More than that I should like to tell my friends who are interested in the sale of liquor, that unless they themselves take more account of public opinion, if they do not lead rather than be compelled to follow in measures of this kind, they will bring England almost to the same state to which the same lack of care among the saloon keepers of America brought the United States.

Photo of Mr Walter Greaves-Lord Mr Walter Greaves-Lord , Lambeth Norwood

I beg to move to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."

I confess that I am speaking in an unaccustomed atmosphere because I certainly feel the difficulty, which I think the hon. Member for East Ham North (Mr. Crook) felt, of intervening between angels and fairy godmothers, but one may at any rate congratulate the Mover and Seconder of the Bill on their moderation and the reasonable statement of their case, and also upon the intensive propaganda by which they have managed to get the Bill supported. Personally I do not fear any of that propaganda so far as my constituency is concerned, for one very definite reason. At the very first meeting which I attended during the election I was asked whether I would support a Bill of this character, and I said at once, for reasons which I gave, that I would not support it, but if it were introduced I would oppose it. My opponents—and there were two—promised to support such a Bill. I not only mentioned the matter at that meeting, but at something like 20 or 25 subsequent meetings which I attended. I said that I would oppose a Bill of this description if introduced. I do not think that the result of those statements is one that I need trouble about very much, because on this subject, at any rate, I do not think that I need fear any real anger on the part of those whom I represent.

We have heard a great deal on questions of a medical character, and we have heard a great many very moving appeals to sentiment, but we have heard very little indeed about the actual Bill. True, it is a one-Clause Bill, but in the case of a Bill of this kind it is necessary to consider exactly what is the state of the law which you are seeking to alter and the extent to which you are seeking to alter it. Under the law, as it is at present, it is an offence to sell spirits to a young person apparently under the age of 16 for consumption on the premises. With regard to intoxicating liquor, it is only an offence if you sell, so far as intoxicating liquor other than spirits is concerned, knowingly to a young person under the age of 14. Obviously there is a very great difference between the sections, and the House should appreciate exactly what is meant by a change from "spirits" in one section to "intoxicating liquor" in the other, because the definition of intoxicating liquor is, "spirits, wine, beer, porter, cider, perry and sweets." That last is a general licensing term which covers a great many things which no one would care to drink. The important words are, "beer, porter, cider and perry." Beer is a liquor which contains more than 2 per cent. of alcohol. So the position is that we are being asked to substitute for spirits all those various kinds of intoxicating liquor, and this great change is introduced into a section which is of the widest possible character and which leaves the greatest burden on the person who has to carry on the licensed trade.

Having regard to some other things which have been said, I am entitled to make clear that, so far as I am concerned, I have no interest in the licensed trade or any connection with drink. I am dealing with this matter purely as a citizen who wants to see the law on a proper and fair basis. There is one point which the House should appreciate with regard to the word "apparently." So far as the Act which the Noble Lady is seeking to amend is concerned, the word "apparently" involves that even if a young person were over the age of 18 but appeared to be under there would be an offence committed. When Parliament was dealing with the sale of tobacco it expressly provided against that danger in the case of the tobacconist. It provided that where the word "apparently" was used in the section that deals with the sale of tobacco it should be a defence that the young person was of the age of 16 or over that age. Curiously enough, there is no similar provision in the Licensing Act, and the result is that you may have an offence committed, although in fact the person concerned is actually over the age of 18. From something which fell from the Noble Lady I rather think that that is what she desires, because, although she very carefully stated the terms of this Bill, she went a little further and said that the critical period is the period from 14 to 20. If the whole of that period is the critical period, why do not the promoters of this Bill face the matter right away and put 20 in the Bill instead! of 18? The reason is obvious. It is that next year they will come along and say that Parliament was so kind this year that the age must be raised to 20. [HON. MEMBERS: "Certainly!"] That interruption from hon. Members opposite has established the proposition that this is merely the beginning of a continuous fight until prohibition is extended a very long way.

Let us see exactly what it is that the Bill prohibits. It is true that it prohibits merely the sale to a buyer who is going to consume on the premises. I thought, and certainly have understood from the two speeches made in support of the Bill, that the whole object of it was that the drinking of any kind of alcohol was so serious in the case of young people between the ages of 14 and 18 that it, was a thing which ought to be prevented. If there is anything in their case at all that is the position. Yet the promoters of the Bill leave absolutely untouched the other section, which may lead to drinking of a far worse description than can ever take place on the premises of a public-house. [HON. MEMBERS: "What is that?"] There is one way in which it does not restrict the sale upon licensed premises. It is sometimes said that older people lead younger people astray, and if there is any real force in many of the arguments brought forward that, at any rate, is a possibility which should have been considered by the promoters of the Bill. Yet the position is that anybody over the age of 18 can take a young person under the age of 18 into a public-house and buy liquor and supply it to the young person and induce him to drink any quantity of it. I cannot understand why those who support this Bill have not the full courage to face the whole point.

With regard to that, there is a question of administration of the Bill which is of very great difficulty. No offence is committed by the licensee or by anybody else if someone other than the young person pays for the drink. But if you take the Licensing Act of 1910 you will find that there is a provision which causes or may cause a very serious hardship to licensees and a very serious annoyance to ordinary customers if this Bill were to pass. Take this position: A father takes his son or daughter to a restaurant of any character for a meal. They sit down at the table. The son and daughter may like to have a bottle of cider. The father pays for it. There is no offence committed. But there is a section of the Act of Parliament which says that the mere fact that a person is sitting down in licensed premises either about to consume or consuming intoxicating liquor—shall be evidence of the sale to the person who is consuming or is about to consume. The result is that where you have a perfectly innocent transaction of that kind you may, under this Bill, have the licensee prosecuted, on the mere evidence given that a person under the age of 18 was sitting at the luncheon table drinking a glass of cider, and unless the licensee is lucky enough to get the customer present to give evidence he has to stand the brunt of a prosecution with his own uncorroborated evidence, and in addition has to stand the serious cost of the defence where there is absolutely no justification for saying that any offence has been committed.

That seems to me to be a very serious blot on this Bill and difficulty in administration which is a matter for serious consideration. Of course, it may be said by the promoters of the Bill, "That just shows you that we are not being so inconsistent as you think, because, although we are permitting the treating of that character which goes on, we are making it so difficult that no one will be likely to dr. it." If you want to legislate do not try to bring in prohibition by annoyance but bring it in in a fair and square way. There is another point. How can anyone who is seriously interested in the cause of temperance justify a Bill which, while it prohibits a boy of the age of 17 years and 11 months from having a glass of cider in a place where certainly excessive drinking is discouraged, yet allows a young girl of 14 years and 1 day to go and buy an open pint of spirits, which she may take into the nearest by-lane and consume raw if she chooses? How can anyone justify legislation of that kind? Obviously the real intention of the promoters is to try to keep young people out of the public-house altogether. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] I am glad to listen to those cries of "hear, hear," from hon. Members opposite, and for this reason: I should have thought that hon. Members opposite would have been the last to try to stigmatize those who go into public-houses as so evil that young people cannot enter those houses without fear of contamination. Who are the people who use the public-houses? Are they not the parents of this country and the men and women of this country? Are we going to say that this country has sunk so low that the parents who go into public-houses, and, in their circumstances, are bound to go into public-houses for the reasonable refreshment that they require, are of such a disreputable character that you cannot allow a young person to go with them?

The real fault in this matter lies not in the publican and not in those who carry on the business of licensees. The real fault and the real stigma with regard to public-houses has been brought about by the ridiculous administration of our licensing law spread over a great many years. Consistently licensing justices have taken up an attitude with regard to licensed houses which has certainly threatened to reduce those houses purely to drinking dens. The real remedy is not to prohibit young people from going into public-houses. The real remedy is to so improve and alter the public-house that it may become a place into which a man can go with his wife and family and enjoy himself in a reasonable way. Once you get that position accepted by the people of this country, you will have done more to prevent excessive drinking than can ever be done by any half-hearted attempt at prohibition such as this Bill. I wish to direct attention to the position of the licensee. Notwithstanding some of the things said in the course of the Debate, we are entitled to claim that if there is one class in the community who do not desire to encourage excessive drinking, it is the licensee and the barmen. That is a perfectly fair statement to make in regard to them. It is not merely a question of their own views, because everybody knows they are strong in those views and are entitled to the same respect as the most extreme prohibitionist, but, quite apart from everything else, their whole livelihood is involved in preventing excessive drinking. I have no doubt we shall hear that the only penalty imposed in this Bill is a fine of 30s. or 40s. While that is the penalty under the Clause, everybody with any knowledge of the administration of the licensing law knows that the real penalty is the possible loss of the licence and the possible loss of livelihood.

Where you are dealing with a matter in which the penalty may be really serious, you ought to take the very greatest care to see that the offence is one of which a man cannot be lightly convicted. The Noble Lady who introduced the Bill said there were people who suggested that 12 N. it was more difficult to judge the age of a person who was between 14 and 16, than it was to judge the age of a person who was about 18. I venture quite humbly lo disagree with that view. There may be a difference between a father's and a mother's point of view with regard to deception on this matter, but I should have thought that the greater difficulty lay in ascertaining the age of those who are about 18. We know that the very changes of which the Mover and Seconder have spoken are more emphasised in their effects between the ages of 16 and 18 than between the earlier ages. As the law stands, the publican has a pretty wide margin, because he can refuse to serve anyone who is apparently young without doing injustice and without running the risk which he does run as an inn-keeper, of refusing to anyone who comes in that which he has no right to refuse, namely, reasonable refreshment. [HON. MEM PERS: "No!"] An innkeeper has no right to refuse reasonable refreshment hon. Members may think I am wrong, but they will find I am right. There would be a much easier position with regard to the administration if spirits only were prohibited in connection with these provisions and not other alcoholic liquors, for this reason, that if a publican were in any doubt, he might turn to the young man who came in to him and say, "I cannot serve you with spirits, but we have any amount of other reasonable refreshment in the house, and you can have it if you wish." In those circumstances he would avoid a great difficulty, and there will be less difficulty in administering the provisions of the Bill if it were confined to spirits instead of being extended to all intoxicating drinks. Apart from anything else, the position of a man who in the press of trade has to decide hurriedly at the risk of his whole livelihood, whether a young person is under the age of 18 or not, is extremely difficult, particularly when one knows that if you get that young person in the Police Court he may look very much younger than he did when he was in the bar of the public-house. We have heard a great deal about the teachers' manifesto. No one denies the right of teachers to speak on this matter, but I venture to think that in matters of parental control, the parents of this country have more right to speak than the teacher, many of whom have no children of their own. Further than that, I think many hon. Members will consider that matters which are really proper subjects for parental control are much better left to the parents themselves than that you should have the parents trusting to the legislature to prevent children doing those things which they as parents ought to persuade them against. I can say this, and I think I shall have the complete support of the Noble Lady the Member for the Sutton division of Plymouth (Lady Astor) in it, that the moral suasion of the parent is far better than any amount of prohibition. The Noble Lady herself has put this in words which deserve to be recorded. She has said: I hate prohibition. I have enough of the devil in me to know that when a thing. is prohibited it is the one thing I want to do.

Viscountess ASTOR:

Hear, hear This is not prohibition.

Photo of Mr Walter Greaves-Lord Mr Walter Greaves-Lord , Lambeth Norwood

At any rate I am glad to know that the Noble Lady is in agreement with me in principle.

Viscountess ASTOR:

Please quote the rest of that speech.

Photo of Mr Walter Greaves-Lord Mr Walter Greaves-Lord , Lambeth Norwood

It would not be of advantage to do so, having given that extract which is a perfect gem. I prefer to keep to that passage, which is I think entirely relevant to the point I am making. That point is that by the Bill, you are trying to make every young person between the ages of 14 and 18 inquisitive as to the inside of the public-house and very anxious to do the thing which you are trying to prohibit them from doing. Adapting the words of the Noble Lady, we all know that boys and girls have got sufficient of the devil in them to try to do even that which is prohibited by Act of Parliament. How many of us can say from personal observation that the section of the Children's Act of 1908 which prohibits the sale of tobacco to persons under the age of 16, has lessened juvenile smoking. There is the position for what it is worth. Before passing from this aspect of the question, I wish to put two points on which I think there is considerable agreement. Throughout the country, I believe there is agreement that alcoholic beverages other than spirits are really not so harmful that they cannot he given to young persons between the ages of 14 and 18. In fact, I had a letter the other day from a man who has had a great deal to do with the administration of licensing laws, not interested in the trade, but who had a great deal to do with one of the greatest experiments in State control that we have had, and the statement he made was this: if the Bill is going to deal with spirits, right; if it is going to try and say that a young man shall not have a glass of beer with a meal, my answer is that I had beer served to me at home from the time I was twelve, and that I do not feel one bit the worse for it, but, in fact, rather the better. But while there is that agreement, I think there is a further agreement. I think there is almost a unanimous opinion that the consumption of spirits by young persons is a practice to be absolutely discouraged, and I cannot help thinking, although I am moving, and intend to press, the rejection of this Bill, that if the offence were that of knowingly supplying spirits to a young person, even at the extended age of 18, there might be a degree of unanimity which would absolutely secure the passage of such a Measure, but directly you get beyond that, you are getting into an atmosphere of controversy which must absolutely destroy any chance of the Bill's success. I want to say only one thing more. This Bill, if it became law, would create absolutely impossible anomalies in the licensing laws. The next step to that would be that those who have supported this Bill would say, "The licensing law is now in such a terribly anomalous position that we must put it right by levelling it a bit further up." The result is, and the real purpose of it—I do not say it is the purpose of the Noble Lady who introduced the Bill, because she has disclaimed the Bill altogether: it is not her Bill; we know it is the Bill of other people outside, and we know perfectly well that, so far as they are concerned, this is an attempt, in the guise of protecting the young, to introduce a further extension of prohibition into the law of this country, to introduce anomalies, by reason of anomalies to introduce further prohibition, and to start a long and bitter controversy in which they will try every subtle method of preventing us exercising those liberties of which we ought to be so jealous.


I beg to second the Amendment.

I would like, if I may, to congratulate most heartily our new colleague, the hon. Member for East Ham North (Mr. Crook) on his admirable, witty, and well-delivered speech. May I also say that, while I am opposed to this Bill, I, like the hon. and learned Member for Norwood (Mr. Greaves-Lord), have no interest whatever in the drink trade, directly or indirectly, or even as a shareholder of a single share in a brewery company. My outlook on this Bill is purely the outlook of the citizen who tries to take a keen interest, just as keen an interest as the Noble Lady the Member for the Sutton Division (Viscountess Astor), who moved the Second Reading of the Bill, in the young people of this country. I believe that there is an underlying great ideal which is responsible for the introduction of this Bill. That great ideal is that the temptations which may arise from the consumption of alcoholic drink taken by the young should be avoided. I agree with that ideal, and if I thought that this Bill would help forward by one inch that object, I would support it wholeheartedly. The real effect of this Bill is not to prevent the consumption of alcoholic drink, but to prevent young persons consuming that drink under the eye of the police and the eye of licence-holders, and: compelling them, if they desire to taste that alcoholic drink, to drink it in holes and corners where there is no control at all. The object of this Bill is perfectly clear, and it is made clear in the Memorandum to the Bill, which says: The Bill does not interfere with the existing law as to the ale of intoxicating liquor for consumption off the premises. Then the only object of the Bill is to prevent young people from taking intoxicating drink on licensed premises, premises which are controlled by the law of this country, premises which are constantly under the supervision, not only of the licensee himself and his servants, but also of the police and other people. Surely this Measure, therefore, will not really reduce materially the consumption of intoxicating liquor. I do not think it is for that reason, or for any such fear, that the trade, which the Noble Lady rather jeers at, those interested in the sale of beer, object to this Bill. They object to the Bill, not because it will reduce the consumption of intoxicating drink, but because it will make the management of licensed premises very much more difficult.

Some of us think that legislation of this type puts off further and further into the future the real object of temperance reformers, namely, the improved public-house. Those of us who have travelled, and who have not always lived in this little island of ours, think that the type of restaurant, the type of beerhouse, which you get on the Continent and in South America and elsewhere, is very much better than some of the mere drinking dens which we get in our great cities. I know that one of my hon. and gallant Friends, one of the Members for Liverpool, who, I hope, will speak later, is intensely interested in this question, and he tells me that on one of the rather poorer parts of London he has been interested in starting a more Continental type of public-house, a restaurant where working men and women can go and have their meals in the evening, if the wife is tired and does not want to cook. In having their meals, they can have with their meals a cheap and decent glass of wine, beer, or, if they are over age, spirits. Surely that would be a real improvement in this country. If we could get such public-houses as we desire all over our great cities where a mother would not be ashamed to go with her children and with her husband, to listen to music, to read the papers, to drink, not necessarily intoxicating drinks, but tea, coffee, cocoa, or whatever they desired with their meals and at the same time if the husband wanted a glass of beer or a whiskey and soda, they could be together, and he could be having that while the wife was having her cup of cocoa or whatever she wanted. Our fear is that this type of legislation, the type of what might call not exactly godmotherly but grandmotherly legislation, really puts off further and further into the future any chance of getting the improved public-house. Surely one of the chief objects of this Bill is to protect young people from the immoral temptations which occur owing to having taken intoxicating drink?

In what way does this Bill help that? The Noble Lady suggests that when a young girl goes into a public-house with a young man, the young man being, of course, from the Noble Lady's point of view, always the tempter, they have a drink, which excites their feelings and as a result leads to immorality? I think there is a great deal in that point of view, but I have sufficient common sense to know that if a young man takes a young girl into a public-house with such an ulterior object in his mind, he would buy a drink for the girl, and the publican would supply it without a word. Then what use is this Bill? It is not going to prevent the young man from taking the young girl into the public-house, and giving her a drink, and then, under the excitement of the drink, leading that young girl astray. If it were made altogether impossible for a young girl to have drink on any occasion, then it would be rather different, but this is merely making it impossible for a young girl or young man to buy drink themselves and consume it, on licensed premises. My hon. and learned Friend pointed out that any boy or girl can go into a public-house and buy a bottle of whisky, and yet they are not allowed to consume a glass of port or beer in a public-house. As the Noble Lady said, those young people have sufficient devil in them to want to know—

Viscountess ASTOR:

I never said that.


I beg the Noble Lady's pardon; I am quoting her wrongly. She said she had sufficient devil in her that, if she were prohibited from anything, she had an increased anxiety to know what it was.

Viscountess ASTOR:

I never said that. When I made a speech in Manchester, about three years ago, the drink trade took out one sentence, and has misquoted it against me ever since. They never dare quote the rest of my speech.


Judging by that interruption, I think I may say, without quoting the Noble Lady, it is quite clear that she has sufficient "divil "in her—

Viscountess ASTOR:

Hear, hear!


—to make it certain that if she were prohibited from tasting anything she wanted to taste, that little bit of "divil" in her would make the desire to do it much greater. Is not that so with young men and young girls also? They are not prohibited from entering a public-house. They may go there and buy drink for consumption at home or anywhere else. Therefore, surely the tempta- tion is to go into the public-house, get the drink which they are prohibited from consuming there, and take it elsewhere to drink? My hon. Friend sitting beside me is going to give some very interesting figures of juvenile consumption of drink in that prohibited country, the United States of America. An ex-Prime Minister of one of the great States in our Dominions told me the other night that where juvenile drink was prohibited in that State, it had become a fashion, and was considered rather grand, to have a glass in one's hip pocket, known in the great Dominions and America as "a hipper." To carry a hipper is a mark of great credit among young boys in those countries, and it would become so here. Young boys would become very popular if their girl friends knew they had a "hipper of cherry brandy. There is no doubt that is the tendency of this kind of legislation. I do say, therefore, it will not do any good.

I want to speak especially about the boys. The Noble Lady said that she thought this Bill must apply to boys equally with girls. I would disagree with the Noble Lady again. She said that hon. Members who sit on the benches opposite were the only Members who had the right to speak for the working-classes. [HON:. MEMBERS: "She did not say that."] The Noble Lady seems to have changed her opinion about hon. Members opposite. I have seen her many times since this new Parliament met shaking her fist at hon. Members opposite, because she happened to differ from them on essential labour questions. [An HON. MEMBER: "She shakes it at you now."] Hon. Members opposite must allow some of us to know something about working boys. I started in a factory at six o'clock every morning when I was 15 years of age, and when I was 17 years of age I was putting electrical machinery into a colliery. The machinery broke down, with the result that my colleagues and I had to work for three days and two nights without seeing daylight. We were fed by our pals, who brought down cold tea for breakfast and sandwiches. For lunch they brought a pint of beer and sandwiches. Was it not dreadful that a boy of 17, who had worked for three days and two nights, should be given a pint of beer to drink' I am not at all sure, but I think some hon. Members, including the Noble Lady, do not know working lads of 17 as well as those of us who have been working lads ourselves, and have been brought up amongst them and associated with them.

My view of the working lad of 17 is this. He very often thinks he is a man before he is a man, and here he is made to realise that other boys, who look younger, who are not so physically well developed, are not doing such hard work, but happen to be 18, can go into a public-house after a hard day's work and have a glass of beer, yet because he happens to be 17, if he wants a glass of beer, he must send his pal inside to bring it out, so that he may drink it in the street. That is the position under this Bill. Anyone can fetch the beer for him and then he can drink it. This Bill says that he shall not drink it under a licensed roof. I think that type of legislation is stupid. My father used to call young men, when I was a boy of 17, "hobbledehoys," half men, half boys. He thought those boys were difficult to manage; so do I. I think this type of legislation will only irritate, and drive them on to wanting still more keenly what they may not have. Take another instance, of boys of 17. They have been working hard for some months and get an August Bank Holiday. They go for a long bicycle ride, perhaps riding 50 miles on a hot summer day, and stop at a public-house to have lunch. Under this Bill, because they are not 18 years of age, they must, if they take their meal in licensed premises, have nothing to drink with that meal but water, or ginger pop, or something of that nature. Surely nothing could be better for them than a good glass of British ale? I do think also that this is putting an increased burden on licence holders. They have burdens enough already. I know this will make the Noble Lady blush, but I went the other night to dine with the licensed victuallers. I was asked to respond to the toast of the Houses of Parliament. I have told this story in the smoking room and if I repeat the story those Members who heard it perhaps will forgive me.

One of the licensed victuallers proposed the toast of the Houses of Parliament. He gave us a. deal of criticism of recent legislation. He pointed out that he considered the taxation heaped on their trade was unfair. He pointed out also that he thought it was unfair that they should have to pay the same licence duty while their hours had been cut down by the action of Parliament. That does seem to be a little unfair. Then he said, most generously of course: "We are bearing this extra taxation because we realise it is due to the War, but we do ask Members of Parliament present to try to see whether they cannot spread it a little more fairly." He said that another Act that Members of Parliament, had recently passed "also seems to sonic of us to create great difficulties, seeing that you have left it to the magistrates to decide at what hours the public-houses shall close." I had to respond to the coast and to that eloquent address, and I was kindly prompted by my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon who gave me a little prayer which he suggested I should submit to the licence-holders. That little prayer was this: From all injustices of the War, and from all .Justices of the Peace, Good Lord deliver us." I think when I go next year to dine with those good fellows, the licence-holders, I shall have to give them a new prayer. I think the new prayer, if this Bill passes into law, must be as follows: From all the impossibilities of the law, and from all godmotherly legislation, Good Lord deliver us, because I really think that to ask licensed victuallers, who are only men like ourselves, to he able to detect the age of a young man, whether he is 17 or 18, and to do the same with a girl with her hair up and wearing a veil, who comes in and asks for a glass of port, is asking too much of that hard-working, honest, and excellent class of citizen.

In conclusion, I would like just to say briefly that I appreciate the high ideal of those who support this Bill. I only disagree with the Bill because I do not think it helps their ideals. If, however, the supporters of this Bill can confine the action of the Bill to the selling of spirits, "knowingly for the consumption of young persons on or off the premises," T. would support the Bill whole-heartedly. Secondly, I would support a Bill if it was confined to girls only, while the boys, the hard-working boys who swing heavy hammers in riveting work in shipyards, or work down the coal mines, or repair broken-down electrical machinery, these hard-working boys should be allowed a glass of beer, or a glass of wine, though I would prevent them getting spirits until they are one and twenty.

Photo of Mr James Brown Mr James Brown , South Ayrshire

I hope that the Noble Lady who moved the Second Reading of the Bill, and the Seconder of that Motion will not think I am treating them in any w ay in which I should not, when I say quite explicitely that I would not only support this Bill, but would go very much further. I myself do not see why it should be confined to the age of 18. Is would accept the hon. and learned Gentleman's idea of putting it up to 21. If it lay with me it would be at the old-age pension age. The hon. and learned Gentleman who moved the rejection rather prided himself on the fact that speaking against the Bill would not hurt him, in any way with his constituents, but at both recent elections I have stood out as a prohibitionist, as he would have seen if he had seen my election addresses, and that has not prevented me from coming here: my constituents will not he annoyed at my support of this Bill.

In speaking thus I think I am speaking for the great majority of my colleagues on these benches, and in saying that in spite of the last speaker we know as much of the working class conditions as he possibly can. [An HON. MEMBER: "More."] I did not go down the pit at the age of 17, but I was producing man's work at that age, and did not break any machinery and had no beer either. So that I do not see that he ought to think he is speaking for the Labour Members; or knows better than the Labour Members the different working-class conditions and what would suit working-class families. It is an insult to my party and my class to imagine that we are going to have the terrors of our working-class constituents upon our heads because we are proposing to prevent boys and girls up to the age of 18 from consuming liquor on the premises. I cannot understand why it is that so many hon. Members are so tender about the publican. I know there are many honest, decent men in the trade, but we are fighting the trade, not the men. We are not fighting the members of the trade: we are fighting the trade itself.

The commodity in which the trade deals is a bad commodity, and that is why we are fighting the trade; not the individual, but as the men who are dispensing death. It is not only on the part of hon. Members that we have opposition. We have opposition from the most unexpected quarters. Indeed the arguments that are being used go to prove the weakness of the case of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen, but I hope there are no right hon. Gentlemen in it. The public generally should know who are fighting against such a Bill as this.

I should have thought that a little Bill like this would have been welcomed by everyone, and there cannot be any controversy about a Measure of this sort. Surely every hon. Member of this House is anxious to protect the youth of our country. Why do I think that? It is because the future of our country depends upon the youth. It is to the young men and women that we are looking forward, and if we have not a good beginning there then whatever we may do later in life you cannot mend or help the injuries that have been previously committed. It is at this very period of life that the child has to be protected. Hon. Members opposite have been speaking as if youths of 17 and 18 years of age were men. Remembering my own youth I thought I was a man long before I was, but I was not any better for that, but rather worse.

I think we should protect our youth if we are to protect any class of citizens at all, because it is to them we are looking for the welfare of this great country in the future. As a matter of fact the well-to-do classes look upon their children as boys and girls for some years after they reach the age of 18 because they are afterwards sent to public schools, and we are prepared to demand that for the boys and girls of the working classes as soon as we can get public opinion behind us. I agree that we cannot legislate in front of public opinion, but we will educate public opinion and show people the usefulness and righteousness of extending the school age not only for the sake of the child but for the sake of our country. We must keep our children longer at school and more free from temptation if we wish to be able to compete with the other great nations of the earth.

It is really wonderful the arguments that are trotted out against us on this subject and they only show the poverty of the opposition. I am glad to say that not only is the Noble Lady who moved the Second Reading of this Bill a fairy godmother, but she is an angel of light, and all the agencies to which we look for guidance on this matter are in favour of this Bill. I am sure hon. Members must have been inundated with letters during the past week in regard to this question. Up to the present I do not think Scotland has been mentioned at all. On this subject the teachers have a right to be heard, and I do not know of any class who know the youth of this country better than the teachers, The teachers are whole-heartedly with us in Scotland as well as in England in support of this Measure. The people of Scotland are anxious to have this Bill passed. It goes without saying that all our Band of Hope organisations and temperance societies are in favour of it, and not only this, but the Churches are also in favour of this Measure, and that is a marked improvement. I have been flattering the Labour party that it is due to the education we have been able to give to the Churches on the Labour side that they are now moving into line with us. Not only is the United Free Church of Scotland in favour of this Measure, but this morning the Church to which I have the honour to be an office bearer have sent me a letter requesting me to be in my place to-day to support this Bill and say a word on behalf of it, because they believe not only the future of the Church rests with the youth, but also with the passing of such Measures as this.

I would remind hon. Members that during the War you laid it down that you could not send a boy to the Front under the age of 18. You then laid it down that the age of 18 was quite time enough to send a boy to kill the foes of this country, and surely the same age is reasonable to protect the youth of this country from one of the greatest temptations which they have to face. You have in favour of this Measure the testimony of the medical profession, the teaching profession is with us, and the Churches are with us in England, Scotland and Wales. Surely such a vast volume of opinion in favour of this Bill should speak swell for it, and I am hoping that hon. Members who are opposing this Measure now before the time for the Division comes will see the error of their ways, and will realize that this Bill is such a little one, and is so desirable in the interests of the country that they will offer no opposition to it at all. Some hon. Members have described this Measure as grandmotherly legislation, but I only wish we could get more grandmotherly legislation like that which is contained in this Bill.

The United States have been mentioned freely in regard to this subject, in fact they have been made a happy hunting ground for every argument against temperance reform. One would imagine that none of the evasion of which complaint has been made had ever taken place in the United States until they adopted prohibition, but even in this country evasion existed long before prohibition was proposed. It does not rest with hon. Members to always be telling us that because the citizens of the United States are able to evade the law that that is any argument why we should not have this Bill. As a matter of fact, the argument is all the other way. I do not want to hurt this Bill in any way, because it is a Measure in the right direction, and I trust that hon. Members will try and get some better arguments than those we have heard against this Bill. Let us protect our youth as long as we can. It is a popular thing to say that the youth know evil and will get to know it, but let us do everything we can to protect them against the drinking habit which is the chief evil in this country of ours. The shadows of the prison house fail early enough on the growing boys that we should give them more facilities for getting strong drink. I trust that no one will refuse us this Bill, because we believe that it will be in the interest of all classes in the community. I know that every labouring man, whatever his opinion may be about prohibition, is just as anxious to protect his child as any Member in this House. Labouring men who know the temptations to which working boys and girls are exposed, and, having full knowledge of all the conditions that beset the path of our youth, we wholeheartedly give our support to this Bill, and we hope that it will be the prelude to another Bill raising the age. If it could be raised to the legal age, it would save many of our youths from taking the first step downwards, which is always the worst step. We ask hon. Members to consider the effect even of this little Bill upon the country. It will give us a feeling of security regarding our children that when they are out of our sight they will he protected by law, and I can assure hon. Members that protection by law does ultimately lead to protection by self. It is all very well for Members to say that no nation was ever made sober by legislation. People are really made better by legislation. If the legislation be good and long continued, it must have effect. We trust that the House will give us the Second Reading of this Bill to-day in order that we may place ourselves alongside the other nations of the world and alongside our great Colonies, which, indeed, ought to be taken into account.

Photo of Vice-Admiral Sir Guy Gaunt Vice-Admiral Sir Guy Gaunt , Buckrose

Once again a new Member asks for the courtesy and sympathy of this grand old House to give him a chance. I ask it especially because I belong to a trade in which public speaking is distinctly discouraged, and, secondly, because we know that the fool of the family generally goes to sea, and I have made a living in that way. Might I make one small personal reference. My attention has been drawn to a speech made by the hon. Member for Plymouth (Viscountess Astor), who introduced this Bill, in which she referred to Admirals who are interested in liquor. I do not know at, whom the brick was thrown.

Viscountess ASTOR:

I do.

Photo of Vice-Admiral Sir Guy Gaunt Vice-Admiral Sir Guy Gaunt , Buckrose

But may I say that I am not, directly or indirectly, connected with the liquor interest in any way, and I have never had money enough to buy a share. I confess that I am in some difficulty with regard to this Bill. I think the Bill is rotten, but the object magnificent. I cannot see that we are going to get any forwarder by it. I also labour under another difficulty. I should like to say that the bon. Member for Norwood (Mr. Greaves-Lord) expressed my view on the legal aspect. I can only put the point of view of the man in the street. I am against the Bill, but not against the object of the Bill. One of the reasons I dislike the Bill is that, where it he in the Service or in ordinary family affairs, it is a very wrong thing to give an order which you cannot carry out, and I think you are going to do that here. Once you do that, you create a desire to break the law. I have been among men all my life, and I know what I am talking about. I am afraid that this Bill will only emphasise that tendency. I am afraid I am going rather a long way back, but I believe that if that original order had not been given in the Garden of Eden we should all be very much happier people to-day. I believe that if Eve had been allowed just to have the fruit or to take a bite it would have been very much better; but directly she was given a direct, order that she was not to touch it, then the scrpent came, into the game. We shall have exactly the same thing happen here. Directly we begin to try and stop this thing, we shall have somebody at every vacant plot and at every street corner waiting around to supply these young people.

I know America pretty well, and I know what I am talking about. If you go to any hotel in America you like, your bag will be taken up by the bell boy, and it will require a boot to get that boy out of your room. He is waiting around to know whether he cannot get you a bottle of what he calls the "real stuff." The sole topic to-day in America is "Where did you get your last drink," and "where are you going to get your next." I hold no brief for the licensed victualler. He is a very good class of citizen, but, if you are going to introduce this class of legislation, instead of having that good, healthy hard-working citizen, you are going to have men of straw, exactly as you had them in United States before they brought in prohibition. You are going to have these people wandering round supplying had liquor to everybody.

The Bill, I notice, talks about intoxicating liquors. It depends how you apply it. It depends how much you can hold. You can go down to the main engine of a battleship which is doing its work well, driving the ship forward, and then you can stand in the crank pit and come out as pulp and say that they are death dealing engines. They are nothing of the sort. You have got in the wrong place. I do not know whether any hon. Members remember that when the Salvation Army first started, if they were running any particular show and dealing with any particular depth of depravity, they generally got an old man on the platform and called him the horrible example. Some ten days or a fortnight ago an hon. Member on the other side referred to the emigration of boys at the age of fourteen. I think he described it as a wicked and diabolical act. I am that horrible example, for I emigrated at the age of fourteen. I started out to find out what life was like and to work for myself, and I have never been home since except to try and borrow money in which I was not successful. At the age of seventeen I worked in San Francisco, very scantily clad and certainly short of boots, and I carried kerosene tins for very small remuneration under a hot American sun in the month of August. I had to do very hard work. I worked many hours. I was a slight figure, not at all strong and muscular. It was all I could do to get water enough to keep me going; it was not a question of paying for luxuries, it was a question of paying for necessaries, and therefore I used to go into a dive and buy some beer and drink it. Years afterwards, when I was in the Fleet, I simply had to ring a bell in order to get what I liked. I was a teetotaler for many years. I am very nearly one now, but. I say there are lots of boys of the age of 17 who do want a little cider or beer to keep them going. What is the complaint of one man is not the complaint of another. I have asked a good many eminent doctors about this. They do not always disagree, and when they found out I was not consulting them for myself or anyone connected with me, I got, I think, Perfectly fair answers. I got the impression that they thought the boys did want some amount of beer or cider—something different from water. Apparently we are not all made the same on the inside.

I confess I am a little concerned that the operation of this Bill is not confined to spirits only. I should like to see prohibition of the sale of spirits to anyone under 21. I do not believe anyone under that age requires spirits. I am very, very keen on true temperance, but I must say I think if you carry a Bill of this sort you will at once create a desire among young people to get drink. They will think themselves smart if they succeed. I am continually in America. I know the country very well indeed. I believe legislation like this will lead to law breaking, and you will not get one step forwarder with the real purpose you have at heart, which is to stop boys and girls getting a liking for liquor in their early ages of life. I can give an illustration to show how far such legislation may carry one. I was walking up Maddison Avenue a little while ago with one of America's best citizens, an honourable, upright, straight man— there is none better in any part of tine world. We went into a grocer's shop, kept, I believe, by an equally honourable and upright man. While my friend was making his purchases, the head of the firm came to him and said. "How arc you off for gin?" He added. "We have some excellent gin in now at 52." The man I was with said, "I was paying 70 for mine, Are you sure it is good gin?" And the head of the firm rejoined, "Sir, our honour is involved." I cannot help thinking that if I had riot known that the hon. Member who introduced this Bill came from Plymouth, I should have had an awful feeling that this was cheap prohibition American goods foisted on an unsuspecting temperance loving community. I am trying hard to help the hon. Member with her Bill, but I am afraid that if we get this prohibition we shall turn the real temperance movement down.

Photo of Mr James Galbraith Mr James Galbraith , Surrey Eastern

I, too, rise to crave that indulgence which the House always so generously extends to one who addresses it for the first time. I have the satisfaction of realising that I can place my views on this important question before the House in a very few words. I have been struck while listening to this Debate with the strong views that are held on one side or the other by those who have spoken, and it has reminded me of the remarks made by one of Goldsmith's characters in the "Good-Natured Man"— Produce your reasons. I tell you I'm fixed and determined. Therefore, produce your reasons. When determined I always listen to reason, because it can then do no harm. I have formed my conclusions not entirely for the reasons which have been given in this Debate, and I feel that I ought to vote for the Second Reading of this Measure, although I reserve to myself full right to move such Amendments as may appear to be desirable when the Bill is in Committee. The first question which appears to me to arise for our consideration is this: has a case been made out which renders it necessary and desirable that this Measure should be passed? What has struck me very forcibly is the fact to which the hon. and learned Member for Norwood (Mr. Greaves-Lord) has referred—the intensive propaganda which has been used in favour of this Bill, while so little attention has been directed to what appears to be the real and important considerations to which we ought, to direct our attention. I have received during the past few weeks a very large number of letters and postcards begging me in pathetic and urgent terms to vote for this Measure. Some of them have told me that the safety of the Empire is at stake. Others have directed my attention to the astuteness and supreme common sense which, in spite of the disclaimer of the Noble Lady, that hon. Member possesses. But none of these letters and postcards have informed me what is the real necessity for this Bill, and it was not, in fact, until I came into this House that heard the figures which were given by the hon. Member who introduced the Bill, and which, I must say, surprised me very much. Those figures showed that there had been, during the past three or four years, a substantial number of convictions of persons under the age of 18 years with regard—

Photo of Mr Walter Greaves-Lord Mr Walter Greaves-Lord , Lambeth Norwood

May I point out to the hon. and learned Member that the figures are for persons between the ages of 16 and 21—not for persons under the age of 18?

Photo of Mr James Galbraith Mr James Galbraith , Surrey Eastern

I am obliged for the correction, but at any rate some of those figures would relate to persons under the age of 18. However that may be, I. myself have made such inquiries as I could with regard to this matter, and I am satisfied, as the result of my own personal inquiries, that there is some case—I do not mean to say a very substantial or a very strong case, but some case—that there is undesirable drinking going on by persons under the age of 18 years. For instance, information has been given me as regards one of the villages in the division for which I sit, by someone to whose opinion I should pay the very greatest. attention, and I will just read one paragraph from his letter. He says: I consider the keeping of young people under 18 years out of the public-house very important, especially for the girls. We have some in this neighbourhood who frequent public-houses far too much. Even if there is only a small ground for thinking that this Measure would prevent girls under 18 from thinking in public-houses, I say that that is a sufficient justification, to my mind, for giving to the Measure a Second Reading, even if we consider that in some respects it goes too far. It has been urged that this is interfering with the liberty of the subject, but frankly I am not very much impressed with that argument. This House has gone far beyond this in regard to legislation of this kind during the past few years, and when it is borne in mind that during the past 50 years—I think I am right in saying 50—this House has passed Measure after Measure for the purpose of protecting young persons under the age of 18 from themselves, has passed Measures regulating the hours of employment, and Measures of other kinds directed to benefiting and improving the condition of persons under the age of 18, then, so far as I am concerned, the suggestion that this legislation is interfering with the liberty of the subject does not impress me as being a very forcible objection.

I have already said that I see some objections to this Bill. In the first place, I have been much impressed by the criticism which has been addressed to the House by the hon. and learned Member for Norwood (Mr. Greaves-Lord) with regard to the word "apparently." Surely it is rather absurd—the object being to prevent persons under 18 from being served with intoxicating liquors in the way complained of—to provide that the apparent age should be the real matter to be considered. If a person who is, for instance, 25 years of age, has the appearance of being under 18, there is an offence against the Bill as it is at present drawn, whereas if a person is, say 14, and has the appearance of being over 18, there is no offence. I recollect that when I went up to Oxford, more years ago than I like to recall, there was a very eminent don of the College of which I was a member, who, at the age of 85, had the appearance of being under 17, and he remained of that appearance for a great many years. A man of that kind would be a perfect danger if this Bill were passed in its present form. It seems to me that some provision should be made in Committee which would meet that important point.

This is not a mere matter of academic interest, because I am sure the House as a whole, in considering this Measure, has no desire to be unfair to the licensed victuallers. What those who are in favour of this Measure really desire to bring about is the protection of young people under the age of 18, and I am sure there is no ulterior motive in the mind of most of those who support it. Those who are familiar with the administration of this branch of the law know that the covenants which bind licensed victuallers who carry on business in public houses are extremely severe and stringent. Those covenants provide, in the ordinary way, that a licensee's licence, and his position as tenant, shall be open to forfeiture if he does any act which may endanger the licence or render it liable to forfeiture. Therefore, if a licensee commits any act which may lead to a prosecution for an offence under any of the Licensing Acts, his whole position is imperilled. I am quite sure that the majority of hon. Members who support this Measure have no desire to place unfair burdens upon a, very deserving class of the community, and as regards that point, too, I reserve to myself full freedom when the Bill is in Committee.

One hon. Member has said that it was undesirable to legislate in advance of public opinion, and I cordially agree with and accept that remark. May I give the House one illustration of how far legislation with regard to a subject of this kind is disregarded when it is in advance of public opinion? A few years ago, before the War, while travelling in the United States of America and Canada, I came to a particular town—I will not. mention where it was—and went into a hotel there for the purpose of obtaining some dinner: and, being, as a rule, a person who drinks what is called non-intoxicating liquor, I provided myself with some of the poison which is so often sold under that name. I observed that most of the persons who were dining around me had, apparently, nothing to drink near them, but most of them had a soup plate close to them, and from time to time they took something which I thought was soup out of the soup plate. I made inquiries, and was told that what was in those soup plates was really intoxicating liquor, and that that device was considered to be a sufficient compliance with the stringent laws which at that time existed in that State. I think, therefore, that the hon. Member was quite justified in saying that it is undesirable to legislate in advance of public opinion, and it is because I hold that view that I desire to see this Bill amended in Committee, so that it may be, as I am sure the House as a whole hopes it will be, a real step in the direction of temperance reform.


It is with the greatest diffidence that I rise for the first time to address this honourable House, and I am very glad that this opportunity should come to me in connection with what I regard as a piece of really constructive legislation. The objects of this Bill has been so carefully and fully explained by the Noble Lady who introduced it, that very few further words are needed. I represent two counties in Wales, Breconshire and Radnorshire, and, judging by the large number of requests that I have received to support this Bill, I am convinced that the majority of my constituents are in sympathy with it. I do not speak as an extremist. I have no sympathy at all with the extremists. I believe in moderation in all things—in food and in drink as well as in speech. I believe in the use, and not in the abuse, of all the commodities which the Almighty has placed at the disposal of mankind. This Bill, however, only provides that boys and girls, until they have attained the age of 18, shall not obtain in a public-house intoxicating drinks. I think it desirable that that age limit should be imposed, because, until they arrive at that age, they are not, in my opinion, of sound judgment and able to form proper opinions.

It has been argued that this Bill is the prelude to the introduction of prohibition. In my opinion, it is nothing of the kind. I am opposed to prohibition. The first thing a Britisher does if you tell him he must not do a thing is to want to do it. Prohibition has been tried in America with very questionable results. A friend of mine who has just returned from there told me that prior to the introduction of prohibition there were three classes in America—the lower, the middle, and the upper class—but, since the introduction of prohibition, there are only two classes, those who still have a little and those who have a little still. I saw an American some days ago with a walking stick, which had been hollowed out, which contained spirits, and the handle of the stick was a drinking-cup. Prohibition in America has produced deceit, humbug and hypocrisy. We do not want that in this country, and I sincerely hope it will not be introduced here. I believe in free agency for every man and woman of mature age and sound judgment, and if prohibition was ever introduced in this country I should certainly hold that ample compensation from the State should be provided for every man and woman whose business was interfered with.

I recognise the rights of the individual, but I am supremely anxious that the boys and girls of our nation should be protected in their early years and they should be encouraged, both physically and morally, to prepare themselves for the battle of life, which will be hard enough in all conscience, and I am confident there is not a single Member of the House who would wish to see his own boy or girl or his brother's or sister's boys and girls between 14 and 18 spend their time in the public-house. I heard one hon. Member say he started life at 15 or 16. I started at 12½. Thank God I had a good mother! But we are anxious to protect the boys and girls who have no mothers and fathers to protect them. There are a large number of such in the world, particularly in our cities and towns, who are susceptible to temptation the consequences of which arc so far-reaching that we cannot even estimate them without a shudder. In this Bill we are only asking for the same protection and guidance for other people's children and families as we seek for our own children and families. This is not a Party question. It. is a national and an economic question, and from the point of view of the building up of the character and the physical and moral well being of the boys and girls of this country with all my heart I support the Bill and I sincerely hope the House will adopt this piece of what I regard as very constructive legislation.

Photo of Mrs Margaret Wintringham Mrs Margaret Wintringham , Louth Borough

May I congratulate the Last three Members on their maiden speeches. Though one, possibly, did not agree with them, it was very interesting to hear their point of view. This Measure, up to the present, has been considered very largely from a temperance point of view. I should like to add a few words from the welfare point of view. There are three sections of the community who are supporting the Bill—medical science, the teaching profession, and the Temperance Council of the Churches. Medical science supports it from the physical point of view, the teaching profession from the mental point of view, and the Temperance Council of the Christian Churches from the moral point of view. Medical science says, never before has it been so necessary to have a well-balanced generation as at present. Alcohol would certainly help to upset this balance. It would paralyse the critical faculties of our young people. When the War came about the great thing was to have efficiency in the people who were going to take part in it. The highest in authority acted upon the idea that intoxicating drink was not going to lead to efficiency in the nation. Kitchener's letter to the Forces contained two very strong points, and one was as to the evil of intoxicating liquor. If physical fitness was necessary then it is necessary at this time. Whenever it is a question of securing physical fitness for men in relation to sport, for instance, the boat race, it is a question of being extremely abstemious in the matter of intoxicating drink. What is true of physical efficiency is also true of mental efficiency, and that is, I think, the reason why the 115,000 teachers, in their ideas and hopes for the welfare of the children, presented this petition. They feel that they have a responsibility to the State in educating and bringing these children up, and they know, perhaps, better than anyone else in the world how this responsibility is counteracted by the allowance of intoxicating drink to young people. The Board of Education recommends—I am sorry to say it does not enforce it—the teaching of the evils of alcohol in the schools. Some of us regret very much that the continuation schools have had to be abolished. We do not want the public-house to be a rival to the continuation school. It is quite true that an unemployed girl is generally more protected by her parents, and is better looked after. An unemployed boy is very often left to roam the streets, and in that way gets into mischief through the public-house.

Many hon. Members think this is a good thing for the girl, but that it should not be passed for boys. All books on adolesence deal with both boys and girls. They never leave out the question of the boys, and they never leave out the question of the girls. You cannot have a double moral standard. Stanley Hall gives the number of young inebriates as 443 males and 55 females. That shows it is as necessary for boys as it is for girls. There is a craving for excitement at the age of adolesence, and it is just the time when restraint requires to be put on and for us to try to legislate to help these young people and make it easier to do right and harder to do wrong. The Children Act, I think, forbids smoking in the street by all children under the age of 16. It does not specify that girls should be left out. It is not conceivable that boys should be left out. It makes a point of all children, and we want this legislation to deal with the boys as well as the girls. We do not want to confine it to one sex. A point came to my notice the other day with regard to working boys under 18 years of age. In the olden days it was the usual custom to have agreements between employers and apprentices. The apprentice system has now gone out of use, but I was interested to turn up the covenants which bound the employers and the apprentices together, and if this Bill became law it would be a kind of substitution for apprenticeship. The forms of apprenticeship indenture authorised by Act of Common Council of the City of London, dated 14th March, 1889, bind apprentices according to the customs of London contain covenants not to haunt taverns or play-houses. The official apprentice indentures issued by the Board of Trade under Section 108 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, contain a covenant by the the apprentices not to frequent taverns or play-houses unless "upon his or their master's business." One feels that if it was necessary 50 years ago when apprentices were engaged that they should not be allowed to go into gaming-houses or public-houses or houses of ill fame it surely applies just as much to the present day. Generally when one is trying to bring about any kind of social reform the objection is that it is going to cost money. This is a social reform which is not going to cost the country any money; rather, it is going to save the country money. Therefore, for the first time in advocating a social reform I can say quite clearly that it is not going to cost any money. Reference has been made to the question of the fathers and mothers. I feel that if a poll were taken throughout the country to those men who stand in the capacity of fathers, brothers or husbands, as to whether girls under 18 should be kept out of the public-house, I have no doubt as to the result, and equally if the matter were put to a vote of the wives and sisters whether boys of under 18 should be kept out of the public-house, they would give their vote that this Bill should become an Act of Parliament without any delay.

Photo of Sir Arthur Benn Sir Arthur Benn , Plymouth Drake

I am anxious to express my view on this Bill. Whether one believes that every law-abiding citizen ought to be able to drink, eat and smoke whatever he likes, or whether one thinks that owing to excessive drinking our country has been so much injured that restrictive legislation is necessary, every one of us wants to see true temperance in this country. I do not believe that prohibition by legislation will ever be obtained during the present generation—

Photo of Sir Arthur Benn Sir Arthur Benn , Plymouth Drake

—but I do think that true temperance can be obtained by teaching the young people that alcohol is bad for immature physique and bad for immature brain, and that if they want to succeed in life they will shun had tobacco and avoid strong drink. I am, therefore, very strongly in favour of this Bill, and shall vote for it, hoping that the House will give it a Second Reading, and that we shall get the younger generation to see that excessive drinking is not popular. After all, it. is popular opinion shat carries the day, and if once a man fully realises that excessive drinking is very unpopular, not only with the ordinary man in the street hut with his own friends, we shall see excessive drinking, which has been decreasing year by year, still further decreasing, and we shall have true temperance in England.

Photo of Mr Edwin Scrymgeour Mr Edwin Scrymgeour , Dundee

Am I not entitled to an opportunity to express my views? I protest.

Photo of Mr Isaac Foot Mr Isaac Foot , Bodmin

I shall support the Second Reading of the Bill. I am very proud to think that my name is placed on the bail of the Bill, and that the hon. Member for the constituency in which I live has had the pleasure of introducing the Bill. As far as I can gather from the speeches made by the hon. Members who moved and seconded the rejection of the Bill, their main objection was that the Bill did not go far enough, and they gave us to understand that if the Bill were extended in one direction or another, probably their support would be forthcoming. All we can do is to invite their kind co-operation when the Bill goes to Standing Committee, and I hope that if there are any Amendments introduced for the extension of the Bill we shall find that they will give us their support.

I want to call attention to the demand that is behind the Bill, and the opposition that is manifested. So far as the demand for the Bill is concerned, I do not think it is necessary to run over the large number of associations and organisations that have brought pressure to bear in favour of the Bill, but there is one fact common to all of them, and that is their disinterestedness. There is no money interest behind the demand for this Bill. These several organisations may he mistaken, but, at any rate, they are not serving any material or money interest. I belong to some of these associations, and they have been built up not, by the large subscriptions of rich people but during many years by the pence of poor people who, in their lives and in their own homes, have seen the results of the drink evil in this country.

If that is the demand for the Bill, will hon. Members consider the opposition? There is the opposition of the liquor trade itself. The liquor trade is entitled to oppose the Bill, and I do not think any of us will complain of that. I read only a day or two ago the protest of the National Trade Defence Association, which was published in the "Morning Advertiser." Copies of that protest have been sent to most hon. Members. Of course, we do not complain of the opposition of the trade; that has always been forthcoming, ever since Demetrius, the silversmith, when he learned that his craft was in danger, the craft by which he got his wealth, stirred up the people with the cry, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians." The effort to couple national interests with trade interests will have no more complete success to-day than then.

It is the other opposition to which I wish to call attention. I have had sent to my home in Plymouth certain pamphlets issued by two associations which, I believe, are represented by officers in this House. One association is called the Freedom Association and the other the True Temperance Association. I have studied these pamphlets with more care than they deserve. Although the pamphlets come from separate organisations, it is worthy of note that both associations have their home in the same street in this city, and that, by a singular accident, both associations have their literature printed by the same firm. Generally speaking, they use the same arguments, and so far as I can see, in criticising those who support this Bill, they use the same epithets. The most common epithet which they use is "nosey parker," an epithet which was repeated in yesterday's "Morning Advertiser." As there are some hon. Members in this House associated with these associations, I should be glad if they would explain what sources of wealth there are which make possible a very widespread propaganda throughout the country. If the trade is going to fight they ought to fight under their own name. As a matter of fact, they are following the example of an early King of Israel, who said, "I will disguise myself and enter into the battle."

At present there are several Richmonds in the field. There is associated with the True Temperance Association, a Woman's True Temperance Committee. A letter appeared in the "Morning Post," I believe a few days' ago, signed by the Secretary of the Women's True Temperance Committee. Two years ago certain prominent public women in this country were induced by the high-sounding title of "True Temperance" to associate themselves for a time with this movement; but they had their suspicions, and put certain questions to the organisers of the movement. The first question was whether there was any balance sheet pub- lished, and they were told that there was no balance sheet published. The second question was whether this True Temperance Association was being financed by the trade, and they were told that it was being financed by the trade. They then, as honourable women, not wishing to be associated with what was really a fraud upon the public, immediately dissolved themselves, and I believe that only a skeleton organisation exists at the present time. Here is the reference made in one of these pamphlets to the Mover of this Bill as This foolish and stupidly drawn Section "— this is in pamphlet No. 21 issued in February by the Freedom Association"— commands the admiration of the four point fanatics to such a degree that through the Member fur the. United States they are introducing a Bill into Parliament which does certain things, As far as the Member for the United States is concerned, I am a constituent of the Noble Lady in Plymouth, a town which in fame takes no second place throughout the world, and, though I differ from the Noble Lady in many of her political views, like most of her constituents I take pride in the fact that she has been associated with the introduction of this Bill. Those people are shooting from behind hedges. The Member for the United States at any rate shows one quality in controversy which these gentlemen who are behind this organisation conspicuously lack—that is the quality of pluck and courage. If she does any fighting she always fights in the open. Here we have a strange combination of true temperance and false colours. Several suggestions are made by this organisation which is very widespread throughout the country. One of the allegations which they make is that drunkenness, apparently, is not extensive among these young persons.

One gets the assurance that the number of convictions for drunkenness is not large, but it is not a question of convictions for drunkenness. All the evidence goes to show that when a man breaks down through alcoholism in later years in most cases it was because he was brought into touch with alcohol too early in life. Let me refer to a Report by the late Sir Thomas Clouston, lecturer on mental diseases at, Edinburgh University, which is to be found in volume 11 of the British Journal of Inebriety. Having investigated 2,000 cases of insanity caused by alcoholism it was found that nine-tenths of the cases were those of young persons who had taken to drinking in excess before they were 25 years of age. No one can base his ideas of intemperance altogether on the statistics for drunkenness. Nine-tenths of the intemperance known to any social workers in this House is intemperance which never comes into His Majesty's police courts at all. How many homes are there in this country absolutely broken up through this cause where the chief constable or the police never come in at all? The incalculable misery that prevails very largely through extensive drinking in this country is an evil which can never he represented by any statistics of the Home Secretary. The other suggestion in these documents is that we must protect the home. It is said: The Statute Book is defaced with multitudes of laws for poking the bureaucratic nose between the father and the kiddies, but which is one of the most murderous acts which the legislature can perform. Not only does the State go outside its province by interfering in matters which are not its concern but it also destroys freedom by trying to kill a much more important institution than itself, that is, the family

Photo of Mr Isaac Foot Mr Isaac Foot , Bodmin

Perhaps many hon. Members have not read it. It is common in all the literature that has been sent out by the several societies which are opposing this Bill. They all insist upon the integrity of the family. I have not the age and experience of many hon. Members, but. I know that there is no evil in this country which breaks up homes more than the evil which this Bill is intended to meet. To those who use these high-sounding words of "the home "and" freedom "and" the family '' I would quote the warning given to this House by John Ruskin. He said: It is right that a false Latin quantity should excite a smile in the House of Commons, but it is wrong that a false English meaning shall not excite a frown. Let the accent of words be watched closely. Let their meaning be watched mom closely still. Words, if not watched, will do deadly work sometimes. There are masked words skulking about Europe at the present time. Those who are trying to obtain money which ought not to be obtained by the sale of alcoholic drink to children try to hide an evil practice behind high-sounding words. We should search our own hearts in this matter. I have two sons within the age covered by this Bill. There is not a Member in this House who, if he heard from the schoolmaster with whom his boy was being educated that the lad was frequenting public-houses, would receive the news with equanimity or would not look on it as tidings that would bring dismay. While I believe in parental authority, and that the greatness of this country depends very largely on the integrity of the home, it is our business to give what protection we can to those who are being robbed of the care which they ought to have very largely by the evil which it is intended to meet to-day. I hope that the Bill will go through with the approval of this House. If it is intended by those who have spoken against it to widen its scope, I am sure that they will be able to rely on our very warm co-operation.

Photo of Mr Thomas Lowth Mr Thomas Lowth , Manchester Ardwick

I desire to claim the indulgence of the House for a few minutes on what I consider to be a very important Measure. I have listened carefully to the speeches which have been delivered, and have come to the conclusion that nothing of what we may read and learn is so convincing as the experience of life. If I tell Members who are opposing this Bill I have been in business 40 years as an abstainer, and that I have been working pretty hard for over 50 years, and that I have done it all without intoxicating drink that is the experience of one's life, and my experience of intoxicating drink is that it has provided wrecks that cannot possibly be described. Men who have worked with me, and have worked not harder than me, and have wrecked themselves with drink, stand out in my mind as examples to be avoided. We can avoid such examples by training young people to abstain from drink. The Bill proves that there is a feeling in the House in favour of the protection of boys and girls. Many young men were unfit for the Army during the War. It was a matter of pride to my wife and myself that we provided five of our family who were in sufficiently good health for the Army. When you come to consider the physical condition of the people of the country, the conclusion is inevitable that strong drink does not improve health but rather makes it deteriorate.

An hon. Member opposite said that it was necessary to have drink "in order to keep going." I have indicated already that it is not necessary. If we put a little restraint on ourselves, we prove to our own satisfaction that we enjoy better health. If a man, young, middle-aged or old, applies to any insurance company for a life policy, and if he is in the liquor trade or is a user of intoxicating drinks, he is called upon to pay a premium 50 per cent. higher than the premium required of the abstainer. That shows that the insurance companies measure the matter from a medical point of view. Temperance is beneficial to us individually and beneficial to the country. I thank hon. Members for having listened to my few observations on my first attempt to address the House. I hope to have other opportunities, but not on a more important subject as affecting the welfare of the rising generation than is this subject.

Photo of Mr Frederick Banbury Mr Frederick Banbury , City of London

The hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Foot) gave as one of his reasons for supporting this Bill the fact that a certain doctor had stated that, out of 10,000 cases of insanity which he had investigated, nine-tenths arose from indulgence in intoxicating liquors under the age of twenty-five. That is not a very large number in a population of 45,000,000, but assuming that the statement was correct, what is this Bill going to do to remedy that evil? The Bill does not deal with people under the age of 25, but with people under the age of 18. If the hon. Member were logical in his conclusions he would support the Bill only on the condition that it was extended to all classes of the community. That is really what is at the bottom of this Bill. I do not say that the Mover of the Second Reading is a party to that conspiracy. I am sorry that she is not present. In some ways she is an innocent person, and I have no doubt that she has been taken in by some of the associations of people whose Bill she informed us this was. An hon. Member gave away the whole case for the Bill. He said: What I would like would be to see the age in this Bill extended to the age for the receipt at old age pensions. What that hon. Member desires is to pass this Bill as a stepping-stone to an extension of the age up to 70 years. Like other Members I have had a certain number of communications from societies and people. I have had a letter from a gentleman whom I believe to be a doctor. I have not. the pleasure of his acquaintance. He is good enough to inform me that the object of this Bill is to safeguard young people at the most critical stage in their development from the effect of alcohol, and he says that how critical this period is only those can fully appreciate who know something of the great changes taking place in young bodies and in young brains during the period of adolescence. I have also received certain printed circulars which embody this particular principle. All I can say is that the gentleman who wrote me this letter either has not read the Bill or, if he has read it has failed to understand it.

This Bill does not prevent young persons under the age of 18 from obtaining alcohol. All it does is to prevent a young person of the age of 1S from consuming alcohol in a public - house. [HON. MEMBERS: "It does not do that."] I am not sure. I am not a lawyer, but I have had some experience of Bills. This is a Bill which is what we call legislation by reference. There is nothing in the Bill which explains what the object. of it is, and you have to look up other Bills to find out actually what this Bill does. The Mover of the rejection of the Bill pointed out that there was a Section in one of the Acts which provided that if a person sat down to a meal in a restaurant and has a glass of intoxicating liquor poured out for him by someone else, it might be held that the publican was responsible because the liquor was consumed in the house. I am not sure whether that is absolutely correct or not, but the hon. and learned Gentleman gave me the impression of having carefully studied the various Acts to which this Bill alludes, and in all probability he is correct. In any case, that does not alter the fact that a young person is not protected by the Bill in the way claimed by its supporters.

Here I would like to point out to the House that even the Seconder of the Motion for the Second Reading did not know what the Bill proposes. An hon. Member said it would be possible for a young person to take alcoholic liquor, if it was bought by somebody else. The hon. Member who seconded the Motion said, "No, it was not," whereas, as a matter of fact, a young person can actually go into a public-house and buy liquor as long as he or she does not drink it on the premises. A young person can purchase as much alcoholic liquor as he or she has money to buy, and then drink it outside. That is the fact. [Interruption.] I am endeavouring to point out that the people in favour of the Bill do not know what its effects are, and this gentleman who writes to me and says that the object of the Bill is to safeguard young people at a most critical stage in their development from the effects of alcohol, does not understand that the Bill will do nothing of the sort. I mention that because I desire to emphasise that the true object of the Bill is to begin, by small instalments, to lead up to total prohibition. That was what one hon. Member, as I pointed out, had the courage to admit or did admit, whether he meant to do so or not. Let us consider whether there is any truth in the statement that if from the age of 14 and 18 a person drinks alcoholic liquor very serious results will follow. I am not quite certain as to the actual age, but I believe that from about 10 to 11 years of age I always had beer at my dinner, which I had in the middle of the day. When I was at Winchester we always had beer at dinner and supper. [An HON. MEMBER: "Look at the result!"] Well, I do not pretend to be in any better position or to have any better physical health than the ordinary person in the street or the ordinary Member of the House, but I have been 31 years in this House and I worked hard before I came into it. I am more or less advanced in age, but I do not know that I exhibit any very serious incapacity.

Viscountess ASTOR:

Oh yes, you do.

2.0 P.M.

Photo of Mr Frederick Banbury Mr Frederick Banbury , City of London

As I say, I believe I do not show any signs of disability in my ordinary health, in my intellect, or in my appearance. All my brothers who went through the same experience are more or less efficient and none of them show any signs of insanity or a tendency to drunkenness. Just think what the Bill proposes to do. When I left Winchester I was between 17 and 18, and I went to Lausanne to learn French. At Lausanne we used to row on the lake, and we used to go to Vevey, which was 12 miles away. We had lunch there and the Noble Lady the Member for the Sutton Division of Plymouth will be shocked to learn that we often had vin ordinaire and beer, and we then rowed back again and were none the worse for it. If this Bill became law a boy of 17—a cadet of Sandhurst—would be affected. Supposing he said to two or three of his fellow cadets who had been at Eton and had been in the boats, "Let us row down the river," a very healthy amusement may I point out with nothing demoralising or immoral about it. They cover 25 or 30 miles on the first day and stop at a hotel. According to this Bill they could have nothing to drink at dinner except water, and when they had lunch they could have nothing to drink but water. Could anything be more absurd and is there anything more likely to lead to people wanting to get alcohol than the fact that they cannot get it, although they are of a reasonable and proper age? I hope the House will excuse my allusions to myself and forgive me if I make one more such allusion. When I was at Winchester if I was found smoking by one of the masters I was flogged. There is an hon. and learned Gentleman opposite who was also at Winchester and who will bear me out. I also hope he will vote with me against this Bill, because I am quite certain he also drank beer at Winchester.

Photo of Mr Edward Hemmerde Mr Edward Hemmerde , Crewe

But what kind of beer? It was innocuous; it was like water.

Photo of Mr Frederick Banbury Mr Frederick Banbury , City of London

I have no connection directly or indirectly, I may say, with the brewing trade, and I am not opposing this Bill in that way, because the brewing trade has able representatives in the House, as I think the Noble Lady herself said.

Viscountess ASTOR:

Yes, but I did not mean you.

Photo of Mr Frederick Banbury Mr Frederick Banbury , City of London

Do not be sure that I am not sufficiently able to stop this Bill, but we shall see. As I said I have no connection directly or indirectly with the brewing trade and I am only taking this action because I do not believe in this sort of thing With regard to the interruptions of the hon. and learned Gentleman who says the beer was innocuous I ask, was it any less alcoholic than the beer of the present day?

Photo of Mr Edward Hemmerde Mr Edward Hemmerde , Crewe

Certainly. It was home-brewed at the college, and there was pretty little alcohol in it.

Photo of Mr Frederick Banbury Mr Frederick Banbury , City of London

It was probably more alcoholic than the beer of to-day, which I am told is so weak that it is of very little use to anybody.

Photo of Lord Eustace Percy Lord Eustace Percy , Hastings

Quite strong enough.

Photo of Mr Frederick Banbury Mr Frederick Banbury , City of London

My Noble Friend has a weak head. I was interrupted in what I was going to say about my experiences in my schooldays. As I say, if you smoked there you were flogged. If you were caught by a prefect you received a punishment which consisted in being hit with an ash stick across the shoulders, which is not a very pleasant operation for the person who receives it. What happened? I always tried to smoke at Winchester, but the moment I could smoke when I liked, after I left Winchester, I gave it up and I have not smoked since—two cigarettes after lunch and two after dinner, and you cannot call that smoking. That simply shows the perversity of human nature. If you say to a boy or a girl that they must not do a thing, it is as certain as I am standing here that they will want to do it, and the consequence of all this legislation will be that you will incite people. You choose to call them children, but let me remind the House that Lord Nelson was a post-captain at 21 and a. lieutenant, I think, at the age of about 17 or 18. Can hon. Members imagine in those great days of England that a person who was fit to command a boat's crew, as he did, and to cut. out a privateer, was not fit, when he came back, to have his glass of grog? The thing is absurd. Now we come to the legal provisions of this Bill, which says that where a boy or girl is apparently under 18 the publican is not to serve the liquor for consumption on the premises. How on earth is a publican to tell whether a girl is over or under 18?

Viscountess ASTOR:

He has to do it now, under 16. It is not changing anything, except the age. He has got to make a decision now.

Photo of Mr Frederick Banbury Mr Frederick Banbury , City of London

But 16 is a very different thing from 18; 16 for a girl is a very different thing from 18 for a. girl. I do not quite know—I am ignorant—what women have done for themselves in the last 30 years. It used to be perfectly easy to say, but at the present moment I defy anybody to say, that a woman of 45 does not look like 25, and very often a woman of 50 looks 25. It depends on the way they do their hair. And a girl of 18 very often looks 25. Over and over again that is the case, and when you come to boys, I remember when I was young that I knew boys with whiskers. In those days they used to wear whiskers, and I have known boys with whiskers at 17. I have also known young men of 21 and 22 look quite young. I did myself. I was always taken to be three or four years younger than I was. Therefore, by this Bill you are putting an almost impossible task upon the publican.

We are told that teachers want this Bill. How did England become the great country that it was? Partly from the spirit of independence, partly because we were free from all this restrictive legislation, and partly because family life was one of the strong points of the country. The father was the head of the household, and he looked after the interests of his family, and the mother stayed at home and looked after the interests of the children. Those were some of the things which led to the greatness of England, and I am sorry that we do not at the present moment carry them all out. I fail to see why the teachers should interfere. The duty of the teachers in the elementary schools ceases when the children reach the age of 14, and it is no part of their duty to run after their charges in later life, and see that they are moral. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why should they not? "]—There is no reason why they should not, and there is no particular reason why they should. As to associations, an association probably consists, we will say, of 50,000 members, who elect perhaps 20 members as a committee, and the committee sends out its views, which it says are the views of the rest of the association, who, in nine case out of ten, have never been consulted. Therefore, I hope that hon. Members will not place too much reliance on the circulars which are sent out by these various associations. We are told that in Norway, Sweden, and some Colonies—

Viscountess ASTOR:

All Colonies—all British Colonies.

Photo of Mr Frederick Banbury Mr Frederick Banbury , City of London

Then I am sorry for the Colonies. I believe that among their misfortunes they have Labour Governments, but this, at any rate, is, or has been, a great country. It is the duty of the Colonies to follow us, not for us to follow the Colonies. And why should we follow countries like Norway and Sweden? We are one of the great countries of the world, and we have shown what a small island can do as long as it remains free and unrestricted by fanatical legislation. The Noble Lady made a great point of the fact that under 21, I think it was, there had been 2,100 convictions for drunkenness—or was it under 18?

Viscountess ASTOR:

Make it 21, if you like.

Photo of Mr Frederick Banbury Mr Frederick Banbury , City of London

I said just now that the Noble Lady was innocent, but she has now admitted that she wants the age to be 21.

Viscountess ASTOR:

On a point of Order. I said that if the right hon. Baronet wants it to be 21, of course, we will accommodate him.

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

These differences of ()Pinion between the Noble Lady and the right hon. Baronet have nothing to do with a point of Order.

Photo of Mr Frederick Banbury Mr Frederick Banbury , City of London

I was saying that, under the age of 21, there were 2,100 convictions for drunkenness, but what is that in a population of 45,000,000? It is a very small proportion. I have been a magistrate for more than 20 years, and I have never had before me a single case where a boy or girl under 18 was brought up for drunkenness. My jurisdiction may have been a particularly good place.

Photo of Mr James Sexton Mr James Sexton , St Helens

As a magistrate, I have had dozens.

Photo of Mr Frederick Banbury Mr Frederick Banbury , City of London

I was only giving my own experience. I happen to be a magistrate for a district where, perhaps, by force of example, there is no drunkenness among boys and girls under 18, and that is very much the better way of bringing about the result which we all desire. Hon. Members and those members of the public who are against this legislation are just as desirous of seeing sobriety in the country as anybody else, and are as well aware of the evils of drunkenness as anybody. We know that during the last 20 or 30 years, though there has been none of this legislation, there an been a great improvement in temperance. You see far fewer drunken men and drunken women than you used to see. There was, I think, a little increase about 1919 and 1920, but that probably arose from the War, and because everybody had a great deal of money and wasted some of it in evil doing, but, as a matter of fact, during the last 20 or 30 years there has been an enormous improvement. I do not want in any kind of way to offend the susceptibilities of hon. Members opposite, but, for want of a better word, I say that in the upper classes nowadays you hardly ever see drunkenness.

Photo of Mr Frederick Banbury Mr Frederick Banbury , City of London

I will say that it does not exist. [An HON. MEMBER: "They go home in cabs at night."] I know perfectly well that when I was a young man, it was customary after dinner for the gentlemen to remain behind and drink, but, at the present time, partly owing to the introduction of coffee and cigarettes no doubt, nothing is drunk after dinner, and, probably, owing to the charm of the other sex, we generally go and join the ladies. I venture to say also—and here again I do not wish to offend the susceptibilities of hon. Gentlemen opposite—that the example which has been set by the upper classes is being followed by the other classes. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I am sorry hon. Members opposite do not agree with me there. [An HON. MEMBER: "We set the example,"] For many years I have walked home every night from this Rouse past Wellington Barracks and during the first 10 years of my Parliamentary life I used to see military police patrolling up and down in order to take home the drunken Guardsmen. I never see it now, which proves, at any rate, that among that class drunkenness has diminished, and I am not sure that it is not owing to the force of example of the officers, for much more is done by example than by pernicious legislation of this sort. I intend to vote against this Bill, and I hope that every Member in this House who is against the Bill will not be led away by any suggestions that you can amend it in Committee, and that on the Third Reading you can do something else. I have never known that manœuvre suc- ceed. Once you let a Bill get a Second Reading, it is almost inevitable that the Bill will become law, and, once it becomes law, it will be used as a stepping stone to further so-called temperance legislation.

Photo of Mr Robert Morrison Mr Robert Morrison , Tottenham North

It is exceedingly difficult for a young member of this Rouse to follow the very able entertainment with which the right hon. Baronet has just provided the House. Several of the opponents of this Bill have commenced their speeches by saying that they are in no way connected directly or indirectly with any of the trade interests concerned. May I say that I am in no way connected directly or indirectly with any temperance organisation? It seems to me that this Bill is one of the direct effects of enfranchising the women of this country. I think that had the vote not been conferred upon them, probably this Bill would not have been introduced in this House under such favourable auspices as it has been this afternoon. In my opinion, this Bill at the present time stands in far more danger of being destroyed by the zeal of its friends than by the attacks of its enemies. Some of the literature circulated in connection with this Bill seems to suggest—and here is where I differ from some of my orthodox temperance friends—that our community is divided into two classes—teetotalers on the one hand, and drunkards on the other. Before coming to this House I was, until a few months ego, earning a poor but honest livelihood as a school teacher, and I remember, not very long ago, one of the boys in my class coming to me one morning with a petition in favour of prohibition, and telling me his mother had asked him to put it before me with the request that I would sign it and get the children to sign it. I told the boy as gently as I could that I could not see my way to sign the petition. The next day he hung behind the class as if he wanted to speak to me. I asked him if he had told his mother that I was unable to sign the petition. He said, "Yes, sir." I said, "What did your mother say?" The boy replied, "She said she was sorry to hear you were a drunkard."

The picture of the healthy, happy teetotaler, and the miserable, wretched drunkard is very effective at Band of Hope gatherings and that sort of thing, but it is not true. To the Bill that was introduced the other day dealing with dangerous drugs, my hon. Friend who sits near me wished to move an Amendment, and was rather disappointed because he was not allowed, that alcohol should be regarded as a deadly poison. There are Members in this House who, no doubt, every day for years past have taken of this deadly poison, and I am bound to say that most of them appear to me to look remarkably well upon it. If many of the statements that are made were true, one would expect that it would be possible to go round and pick out all the fat, healthy, happy, well-fed Members as being teetotalers, and those with lean and hungry looks as being those who were not teetotalers. That is not the case. The hon. Member who moved the rejection of this Bill said that the teachers' opinion is of value, but the parents' opinion is of more value still. 116,000 teachers have signed a petitions in favour of this Bill. In addition to that, every Member of this House has had hundreds of letters—I am not talking about letters from organisations, but from parents—asking him to support this Bill. I doubt if a single Member of this House has had a letter from an individual asking him to vote against it.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Martin Archer-Shee Lieut-Colonel Martin Archer-Shee , Finsbury

I have only had four asking me to vote for it.

Photo of Mr Robert Morrison Mr Robert Morrison , Tottenham North

Reference has been made by several speakers to the condition of things here and on the Continent, and comparisons made. May I put this incident? While I was serving in the Army in France, being a school teacher, I took every opportunity I could when my division was back in reserve to chum up with the local French schoolmasters. There was one with whom I got particularly friendly. I used to meet him when he was coming back from school, and then we would adjourn to the local estaminet, and together have a glass of French beer. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear. hear' "] I quite agree with the cheers of hon. Members.

Photo of Mr Robert Morrison Mr Robert Morrison , Tottenham North

My friend and I would discuss educational questions. Early one evening, while we were together, to my surprise the two boys of the schoolmaster, lads of 10 or 12, who had just come out of school entered the estaminet, and the schoolmaster asked them what they would have. He treated these boys to a glass of beer. Hon. Members of this House who have had experience of French beer know that there is not the slightest danger of anybody ever getting intoxicated, though there may be considerable danger of their being drowned. To be serious, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, I should like to say that I am supporting this Bill, in. spite of the fact that some hon. Members may think my arguments are against that course. I am supporting this Bill on the simple grounds that the first duty of a community is to protect its young. In addition to that there is, to my mind, the weight of the petition signed by the 116,000 teachers. Those teachers have not signed that petition, if I know anything about them, as a stepping-stone to prohibition, as a half-way house, as the "thin edge of the wedge" or anything of that sort. So far as those teachers are concerned, I am perfectly sure that they did not sign the petition because they thought it would lead to prohibition or an instalment of it. They have simply sent the petition to the House with a view to trying to protect the young people. Hon. Members have asked, what business is it of the teachers: what have they to do with it? I suggest that I am more entitled in a matter like this to be impressed more by a petition signed by 116,000 teachers than to take notice of a letter such as I received this morning from a firm of brewers asking me to oppose the Bill. If the Bill will assist by keeping young people out of temptation until they reach the years of discretion, then, when that time comes, if they do not decide to become life-long abstainers the responsibility is theirs. At the present time the responsibility is ours, because we are making it easy for them to obtain liquor before they are old enough to use their reason.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Martin Archer-Shee Lieut-Colonel Martin Archer-Shee , Finsbury

I do not quite follow the observations of the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, although his speech was most interesting, and very amusing in portions. I do not see his reasons for supporting the Bill after having given such very excellent reasons against that course. But we have all to make up our minds to- day, and, personally, having put down a Motion to reject the Bill, I have to give reasons why I do not see why it should pass into law. I quite agree with what many hon. Members have said already, and those who said that they would be in favour of this Bill if it only referred to spirits up to the age of 18. I think one might he very much more inclined, at any rate, to give the Bill a Second Reading if that were the case. This Bill does not do that, and, further, it does not really carry out the ostensible object for which it was brought in, because the mere fact that-people can be taken into a public-house between the ages of 16 and 18 and treated to any or all sorts of liquor absolutely neutralises the value of the Bill.

I should have thought that before anything else was said in favour of the Bill, the Noble Lady who brought it in and her supporters would have given us some reason for bringing forward this Bill, and would have showed us that there had been a large increase in drunkenness amongst young people between the ages of 16 and 18. I think only one figure, or rather two, were quoted. It was said that in 1920 something like 4,000 convictions Were recorded for drunkenness between the ages of 15 and 21, while in 1921 the similarly recorded convictions was 2,173. That was a very large drop, from 1920 to 1921, and was probably owing to the fact that the War fever was dying away and people were getting back to normal conditions. But out of that 2,100 probably not more than 300 or 400 were those of children, you might call them, under 18 years of age. What is that in a population of 40,000,000? Practically nothing at all! There has not been a statistic put forward in this House to show there is any great increase of drinking amongst young men or young girls of 16 to 18, or that there is any necessity for this Bill; therefore. I am one of those who say that the less legislation we pass and the more we rely upon public opinion to keep our country a law-abiding nation as it is, the better for the country. I believe there is no country in the world that is more law-abiding or whose people love law and order more than the people of this country, I notice that the introducer of this Bill was very careful not to say anything about the United States.

Viscountess ASTOR:

The United States has nothing to do with this matter.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Martin Archer-Shee Lieut-Colonel Martin Archer-Shee , Finsbury

No, it has nothing to do with it, but the fact of prohibition has a good deal to do with the United States. Originally it was brought in there, and it is being fought for in this country very largely, in my belief, by the aid of United States money.

Viscountess ASTOR:


Photo of Lieut-Colonel Martin Archer-Shee Lieut-Colonel Martin Archer-Shee , Finsbury

There is no comparison between the statistics of crime in the two countries. Not only that, but crime in the United States has increased enormously since prohbition was brought in. In support of that statement, I can quote the report of the annual meeting of the American Bar Association. [HON. MEMBERS: "What bar?"] Not the liquor bar, but the other. That report says: The criminal situation in the United States, so far as crimes of violence are concerned, is worse than that of any other civilised country. Here there is less respect for law. While your Committee cannot obtain the exact figures, we estimate, from all available sources of information, that there were more than 9,500 murders"— "Unlawful homicides" they call them in the United States— in 1921. In 1920 there were not less than 9,000; and in no year during the past 10 years did the number fall below 8,500. In other words, during the past 10 years no less than 35,000 of our citizens have been done to death by poison, knife, or pistol. Burglaries during the past ten years have increased 1,200 per cent. Crime and lawlessness in the United States has been steadily on the increase, and out of all proportion to our growth, and there has been a steady and growing disrespect for law. Then the report goes on to say: We do not find the proportional increase in crime for 1916–22 greater than 1910–16. We have been unable to discover that crimes of violence have materially increased in France. England, or Canada during or since the War, although the effects of the War naturally must he more marked in those countries. Let me examine the statistics of New York. Certain forms of crime, murder, arson, rape, etc., are considerably up since prohibition has been in force in the United States. If you turn to the figures of lunacy, it will be found that the number of people admitted to lunatic asylums in New York in 1912 averaged 702 per million in the case of men, and 658 per million in the case of women, whereas the proportion in 1921 had gone up to 958 per million for men and 868 per million women. That change has taken place during the five years that the prohibition has been in force. We have had no statistics brought forward to prove that there is any great need for this Bill, or that there is a prevalence of drunkenness amongst people under 18 years of age. Mr. Pett Ridge spoke last week before the Discharged Prisoners Aid Society, and he stated that he was a frequent but voluntary visitor to many of those in our London prisons, and he could not bear out the contention that drink was largely the cause of crime in relation to the prisoners whom he had met. In Pentonville he said he had met only one prisoner who attributed his downfall to drink, and was in for house-breaking, and he told him that if he had been sober he would have got away.

I do not agree with the temperance argument that beer is a bad thing, because I believe it is a thoroughly good thing. Generation after generation have been brought up on beer, and they used to drink it long before tea was introduced. Something has been said about French beer being very weak, but English beer is also very weak now. I remember when we first went to France, a soldier in my regiment. wrote, "Tell uncle that the beer here is only a penny per pint, but it will cost him a sovereign to get drunk on it." I was a cadet in the "Britannia" at the age of 13, and even then the State provided us with beer and cider, and you could have more than one glass if you desired it. At the age of 15 I joined the Navy, and it is well known that every midshipman can have a wine bill of 10s. a month, and in my opinion that teaches them to be moderate. Personally, I think it is a bad thing to try and prevent people obtaining an innocent glass of beer, and you do not achieve that object by this Bill.

Consider for a moment the case of ordinary farm labourers in the country. There may be only a small ale-house with a beer licence, and these young labourers may have been working hard in the fields, and why should they not be able to get a glass of beer? After all, this Bill does not stop them, because they can buy it and drink it, outside, and it only prevents them from drinking it on the premises. It is only a natural instinct for people to drink beer together in the public-house, and instead of tending to drunkenness I believe it tends to moderation. I read in the "Times" the other day about a man, Sir George Buchanan, who was sent to the East Coast of Africa to find a harbour for the Union Government, and he passed through Zululand, and he stated that in that country the natives brought in palm wine and sold to the storekeepers at Is. 6d. per gallon and bought it back again at 2s. a gallon in order to have the pleasure of drinking it sociably with their fellow men. That shows that the Zulus have the same human instinct of wanting to enjoy their meals with each other rather than drinking solemnly by themselves. Personally, I do not know how a publican is going to tell whether a young woman is under 18 years of age, and my own view is that there are hon. Members of this House who would probably be refused a drink if this Bill became the law of the land, and I am not sure that the Noble Lady who moved the second reacting of this Bill might not be turned out.

You tell a young woman that she may marry and have babies, and yet she may not go into a public-house and pay for a glass of beer. I think it is a monstrous thing that such a Bill as this should be allowed to pass through the House of Commons. I know of an old gentleman who is over 80 years of age, and I was informed that when he was two years old he used to have a glass of beer every day and think he has had it ever since. I do not agree that beer is a bad thing for the people of this country. It is our national beverage, and. it is far better for the health of the people than drinking all sorts of sweet ginger beer. Unless there is some real proof that young people are taking to drink and becoming demoralised through it, we ought not to pass such a Measure as this, and I shall certainly vote against it.

Photo of Mr Philip Snowden Mr Philip Snowden , Colne Valley

I am very anxious that as much time as possible should he given to the opponents of this Bill and therefore I shall not speak very long. I think there will be general agreement that every speech which has been made in opposition to this Measure this afternoon has considerably helped the prospects of its passing. For several reasons I do not wish to give a silent vote in regard to this Measure. The hon. Gentleman who moved its rejection justified his attitude by stating that the course he was pursu- ing had the approval of his constituents. May I say that all the three candidates in my constituency were pledged to support a Measure like this, and therefore I claim that in supporting this Bill I am not only expressing the wishes of all those who voted for me, but also the wishes of every political party in my constituency. An hon. Member who spoke earlier in the Debate rejected the claim of the Labour party to represent the opinion of the working classes on this subject. Whatever justification there may be for that I think, at any rate, it will be admitted that the Labour party in an exceptional degree represent the organised working-class opinion of this country.

I speak this afternoon not merely as the representative of my own constituency, but I have been asked to state that the Labour party is unanimous in favour of this Bill and has passed a resolution to that effect. Referring to the argument that this is an interference with individual liberty, may I mention this interesting and significant fact. Hon. Members in all parts of the House are aware of the working-men's club movement. I am told by officials of that organisation that they do not oppose this Measure, and that, as a matter of fact, there is a rule, which, I believe, applies practically to every working-men's club, that no youth under 21 years of age is admitted to membership if intoxicating liquor is sold in the club. That, I think, disposes of the argument which has been put forward by more than one speaker in this Debate, that this Bill will be regarded by the working people of the country as an interference with individual liberty and parental responsibility. As a matter of fact, most of the arguments and statements which have been put forward in opposition to this Bill have had no relevance at, all to what is contained in the Bill. The last speaker gave some figures of crime in the United States, but, unfortunately, his figures covered a period of 12 years, and included a period of eight years during which prohibition was not in operation. If the hon. and gallant Member knows anything at all, he must be aware of the fact, which is within the knowledge of everybody who has studied international criminal statistics, that the United States of America has always had a larger percentage of criminality than any other country in the world. The hon. and gallant Member made no attempt whatever to connect these figures with prohibition. The causes are profound, although no doubt to some extent drink is a contributing factor. The hon. and gallant Member stated clearly that we had little evidence that drink was responsible for crime. The older Members on the other side of the House will remember a former colleague of theirs, Mr. Justice Salter—

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Martin Archer-Shee Lieut-Colonel Martin Archer-Shee , Finsbury

These figures of the American Bar Association for 12 years dealt with crime as a whole. The other figures referred only to the last two or three years.

Photo of Mr Philip Snowden Mr Philip Snowden , Colne Valley

I noticed that in one case the hon. and gallant Member gave figures covering 12 years, but that in the other case he was careful to omit them. Mr. Justice Salter, in his charge to the grand jury at the Leeds Assizes two years ago, said that half the crime of the country was directly due to drink and that half of the other half was indirectly due to drink. Although that has not a very direct bearing on the Bill we are discussing, I give it in the light of the statement of the hon. and gallant Gentleman. I have had hon. Members say to me in conversation during the week that they are going to vote against this Bill, because the parent ought to be able to say whether his boy or girl between the ages of 16 and 18 should have a glass of beer or wine. This Bill does not touch the right of the parent to do that in the slightest degree. I wish hon. Members would remember what the Bill really does. The Bill aims at trying to keep young people between the ages of 16 and 18 out of the public-house. I put this question to hon. Members who are opposing the Bill, and I want them to give an answer satisfactory to their conscience: Do they think it is a good thing that we should encourage boys and girls at that formulative period of life to go into the public-house?


This Bill does not stop it.

Photo of Mr Philip Snowden Mr Philip Snowden , Colne Valley

Is there any hon. Member on that side of the House who would like to see his own boy or girl go without his protection into a public-house? One might also infer from the line of argument taken by some hon. Members who have opposed this Bill that their sole objection to it was that it was not more drastic. They tell us that it does not prevent the young person from going into a public-house. Would they support the Bill if it did prevent the young person from going into the public-house? That is an old form of Parliamentary argument with which we are all familiar. It is quite impossible for a private Member's Bill to do more than touch here and there the fringe of a great question or to deal with more than one or two points of an admitted evil. The other objection raised was to the limitations of the Bill, and the fact that the evil would remain if this Bill passed into law. That is a matter for a general licensing Bill, and I hope, if ever we get a Government that is prepared to deal with licensing legislation on broad, comprehensive and democratic lines, we shall have the support of hon. Members, who have objected to this Bill because of its limited character, if they are then in the House.

I venture to submit that there has never been a Bill before this House which has had behind it such an overwhelming volume of support as is behind this Bill. When reference was made by an hon. Friend of mine to the number of communications which Members have received upon this question, there was a certain amount of jeering from some quarters of the House. Who are the people who are asking hon. Members to support this Bill? They are people who have no personal interest to serve; they are people who are actuated only by a desire to promote the moral, physical, and social welfare of the people. You have, as my hon. Friend said, practically the unanimous support of the teaching profession. I was in the House when the last Education Bill was passed, proposing to make it compulsory that children should attend school until the age of 18. Eighteen has now come to be the recognised age for prohibitive and safeguarding legislation in the interests of the young. There was a time when this House was debating the question whether children eight years of age should be allowed to work in coalmines and factories, and if hon. Members will turn to the Debates on those Bills they will find that precisely the same arguments were used against that protection for young people as have been used against this Bill. But the conscience of the community has grown, and it is now recognised that up to the age of 18 young people should be more or less under State control. You have embodied that in a hundred Acts of Parliament. Young people go to school till they are 18 years of age. If you leave the law as it stands you are going to allow them, after leaving evening school, to go into the public-house, and to leave it to the discretion of the publican to supply them with intoxicating drink. I hope hon. Members will remember that this is a very modest Measure indeed, and I hope those will not vote against it whose only objection is that it does not go far enough. It is a very small step I admit. An hon. Member criticising the figures put forward as to the number of arrests for drunkenness under 21 said there might be not more than 300 or 400 who were between the ages of 16 and 18, and he asked, "What is that?" What is it? Is it not a matter for the State to interfere where there is a possibility of 300 or 400 young people every year entering the downward course of destruction? If this Bill does no more than prevent a few hundred young people at that important period of their lives from running the dangerous risks attending the frequenting of public-houses, then I am sure that in passing it into law this House this afternoon will have spent its time well. I hope the Bill will be carried by a large majority, and I am sure, if it is, the Vote will be received throughout the length and breadth of the land, by teachers, by all interested in social welfare, and by all religious denominations, with intense gratitude.

3.0 P.M.

Photo of Sir Patrick Ford Sir Patrick Ford , Edinburgh North

I would like very much to be able to support what I think is essential in this Bill, and I hope the Noble Lady who has introduced it will meet those of us who are willing to support her in a reasonable spirit. There has been, if I may say so, a good deal of imputation of motives during this Debate. I do not want to suggest that some people are talking as if this Measure were an instalment of prohibition. I do not know if any hon. Members in this House are accepting it as such, but I do know from the nature of the communications I have received that some of the organisations outside are doing it. Still, that should not for a moment deter us from looking at the Measure on its merits. I have given this Bill very careful consideration for some time. We all know that statistics can be handled and twisted, and that scientific authorities and doctors differ. But there is very little doubt to my mind that for a young girl between the ages of 14 and 18 to have access to public-houses is a bad thing. A lot of women's organisations, I understand, support this Bill because they think that much immorality may arise and that it may he easier to achieve because of these girls having that access. I know some people have said that to amend this Measure to meet the opinions which are not so prohibitively teetotal as the opinions of many supporters of the Bill is the proper course to pursue, and that it would be well to differentiate between spirits and other intoxicants. From the point of view of morals, I am convinced that if any blackguard takes a girl to a public-house and has designs upon her virtue he will achieve his end quite as well with other forms of drink as with spirits, and therefore an Amendment in this sense would really be futile.

Having heard most of the Debate, having heard the opinions of working-class fathers, having heard the opinions of men interested in the career and welfare of boys, I am certain, if we are going to take a moderate and practical view, we must agree that for a well-grown boy of 16 a glass of beer is not so very bad. Do not be mislead by extremist views. Listen to what sensible people have to say. We are told we have 16,000 teachers and the Churches with us. We all know perfectly well how petitions are got up. I know the secretary of one of these organisations. He is an admirable man, but he is a fanatic. He is very persuasive to his members, but when they are outside they take a different view. Therefore, I" am not in the least impressed by that sort of thing. The point is that there is great danger for the girls of this country under existing legislation, and if this Bill can be amended to put that right it should not be encumbered by provisions which would constitute a hardship to many healthy well-grown boys, and at the same time put an additional and unnecessary burden upon an already heavily burdened trade, the licensing trade. I have never been ashamed of having been associated, through family connections with that trade. I believe that when it is well run it is an honest trade, entitled to consideration, yet I am prepared to see this additional burden cast upon it of calling upon the licensee to decide as to the age of these girls. Indeed, I am willing that the provision should in this respect be made more drastic if the Bill will save the girls of the country from the temptations to which they are now exposed. But the Bill will have to be very drastically amended if I, for one, am to see my way to support it on the Second Reading.

Photo of Mr Frank Lee Mr Frank Lee , Derbyshire North Eastern

It is with a little trepidation that I rise to address the House, for more than one reason. I came into this House with the smallest majority of any Member here. That is a record. Secondly, my right to remain here has not yet been decided. Since I came here, therefore, I have been pulled in two directions—first, by the idea that, as I was here, perhaps, for a short time only, I ought to make some sort of "splash while I was here, and, secondly, my modesty led me to think to myself, "Well, you ought to have your position thoroughly decided before you make any speech." The latter consideration has kept me quiet upon some questions on which I urgently wanted to speak.

This question is not one of temperance as against moderate drinking. I am not here to give a temperance lecture or an anti-temperance lecture. Suffice it to say that I have been a total abstainer all my life. I want to put this question from an unprejudiced point of view. All my life I have been connected with either day schools or Sunday schools, and it is upon the mere narrow issue of this Bill that I want to speak this afternoon. I should have thought that the Bill would have been a non-contentious Measure so far as this House was concerned. I join issue at once with the suggestion of the hon. Member who has just sat down, that there should be separate legislation for girls as against boys. Surely the day has gone by when, as regards moral issues, we make any difference between the sexes. I contend that the danger to a lad of 16 or 18 is just as great as it can be to a girl of the same age. If I had come into the House to-day intending to oppose this Bill, the very speeches that have been made in opposition to it would have led me to vote in favour of it. The Mover and Seconder of the Amendment both laid stress upon the point that we ought to go in for improved public-houses. One of them went so far as to designate them as mere drinking dens. I am not accepting that term, but I use the words that were used by the hon. Member. I would ask him whether he would like his own lad of 16 or 17 to frequent a mere drinking den?

The right hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury), in some very interesting personal reminiscences, spoke of his having been at Winchester, and he said that from his very early days he had been used to his glass of beer. Someone on this side said, "Well, look at the result." I want to put it, however, to the right hon. Baronet, that even at Winchester there were certain public houses that were out of bounds, and that, if he were known by his headmaster to have gone to those public-houses, in all probability that stick would have come across his shoulders. I do not know whether it did or not.

Photo of Mr Frank Lee Mr Frank Lee , Derbyshire North Eastern

Hon. Members who have been objecting that this Bill does not go far enough would find almost unanimous support on these benches in advocating the raising of the age, not only for consumption on but consumption off the premises; but I venture to suggest that, if we were to do that, we should be told that we were going a long way too far, that the Measure was much too drastic, and that we were interfering with the working man's right to send any one of his children to the public-house for his pint of beer. I struck me that the hon. and learned Member who moved the Amendment was very much tied up by his legal views. He seemed to be more concerned with the legal position than with advancing the interest of the boys and girls. He dwelt a great deal on the word "apparently," and spoke of the hardship to the licensee in having to decide whether boys and girls were or were not apparently under the age of 18. I would ask him whether, in his study of the law, he has not come upon that word before in other Measures? I think I could refer him, although I am only a layman, to one or two Measures in which that word is used, and very often cases come into Court, where I am sitting on the Bench, which have to be decided on that very point as to whether a person is or is not apparently of a certain age. I am convinced that the difficulty to the licensee can easily be got over. If somebody wants to tighten the phrase, or make it more explicit, I think that in Committee that can very easily be done. The right hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London said that to-day the working people of this country are following the example of the upper classes, that we are becoming more temperate. Another reason for that may be given. During all this time that we are becoming temperate, Act after Act has been passed with the ultimate issue that we are getting more temperate than we were. Although I am a total abstainer I would not vote for prohibition to-day. I believe that people have a right to a free choice. But I am anxious that we shall remove from the minds of hon. Members opposite the idea that we have some ulterior motive. We are not out for prohibition. We think that within the narrow limits of this Bill there is room for improvement in the state of the country, and if we are going to have the moral, steady, thrifty people in the future that we are wanting, people who will lead an honest, straightforward life, we ought to be training our boys and girls in these habits.

Photo of Mr Thomas Inskip Mr Thomas Inskip , Bristol Central

The few observations I shall make are made for myself alone. I understand the position the Government take up will be stated by one who is much more competent than I am to express that attitude. This is a question upon which I have given not a pledge but an expression of my opinions in the 1918 Election. I remained of the same opinion in 1922 and gave the same expression to my opinions. At the same time my opinions did not happen to be the same as those ardent advocates of what is called temperance who are in favour of local option or local veto, so I hope no one will suppose I am what in this connection is often called a fanatic upon temperance. This Bill is a modest attempt to deal with this question.

Some hon. Members have supposed that every young man or woman is under parental control. It seems to me there are roughly three classes of young persons. There are those who enjoy the discipline and wise restraint of home which most of us have enjoyed. For those it may be this legislation is not necessary, and I am sure the powers of this legislation will not be required in respect of any of those persons who are properly restrained by their parents. The next class is those who have lost one parent, or for some reason or other are not properly subject to parental control, it may be because they are not living in the same place as their parents. This Bill would, in some degree, supply that discipline which parental control might have supplied. Thirdly, there is the class of young persons who are without any parents at all. I have taken an interest for some time in a number of boys who are apprentices and inhabit a number of homes in London. Those 350 lads are certainly without any parental control. We could not dictate to them how they should employ their spare hours, but for lads of that class I believe this Bill will probably have a useful effect and will help them to avoid those temptations which may lead them at a later stage into much greater temptation.

Photo of Mr Thomas Inskip Mr Thomas Inskip , Bristol Central

Certainly many of them are over 16. They remain with us until their apprenticeship runs out or until they have reached the age of 18. It has been said that the publican will find great difficulty in distinguishing between those over and under 18. That does not impress me quite so much as it does some hon. Members. Generally speaking, I believe that customers who resort to a public-house are known to those who keep the house. Generally speaking, it will not be difficult for the publican to form an opinion as to whether a person is or is not entitled to receive the liquor. I believe that the publican will loyally put this Bill into effect if it is carried into law. I have great respect for the law-abiding nature of those who keep these licensed houses, and I do not believe for a moment in some of the criticisms made against their good faith or their attitude towards temperance as a whole. I believe that if this Clause is put into an Act of Parliament it can be reasonably administered, and I have no doubt it will be administered in a fair way by the publican. I hope that in spite of any observations which may be made in this Debate by those who are in a better position to guide the House than I am, hon. Members on this side of the House, as well as hon. Members on the benches opposite will regard this as perhaps a small Measure, but, at any rate, a useful Measure, and one that will certainly not injure the interests of any person, and may quite conceivably be a means of salvation to those who, under great temptation, are not enjoying the advantages of that control which has been so much referred to.

This Bill has been supported very largely by the teachers. I agree that the teachers have an interest, but, if I may say so, I hope that the teachers who are anxious to discourage young men from indulging in liquor which they think may be harmful will assist as far as possible in introducing and preserving in our schools that religious teaching which is likely to have much more potent and permanent influence than even the legislation to which I give my humble support to-day.

Photo of Mr Edwin Scrymgeour Mr Edwin Scrymgeour , Dundee

I rise to a point of Order. I respectfully suggest that, a I represent a point of view otherwise un-represented in this House, I should have an opportunity of doing so in this Debate. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"]

Photo of Mr John Jones Mr John Jones , West Ham Silvertown

You are not the only one.

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

The hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Scrymgeour) must allow me to perform my duties.

Photo of Mr Edwin Scrymgeour Mr Edwin Scrymgeour , Dundee

I enter my protest.

Vice-Admiral Sir REGINALD HALL:

I accept the remarks of an hon. Gentleman opposite, in which he rightly said that if this Bill only saves 300 or 400 children from drink that nobody in this House would object. I am glad to associate myself with those remarks. It is only because I do not see at the present time how this Bill if it becomes law is going to effect that object, that I rise to speak. I have been unable to understand the exact scope of the Bill. The Bill lays it down, so far as I can see, that no person under 18 may pay for liquor in licensed premises and drink it there, but on the other hand it, does not lay it down that somebody else may not pay for that liquor, which may still be consumed by the person under 18 on the licensed premises.

The House is entitled to know from the promoters of the Bill whether that is the exact position, and if that is so, I should like to know from the Solicitor-General whether under any Clause in the existing Licensing Acts, a licensee who innocently serves a meal accompanied by beer or any other liquor to a person under 18 years of age, which is paid for by somebody over 18 is liable. It is evident there is a misconception outside of this House. I, with many of us, have received the teachers petition and they are under a misapprehension which I do not think the House has noticed. It is headed: The Teachers National Petition in favour of Raising from 14 to 18 Years the Age at which Young People may be Served "—not sold—" with Intoxicating Liquors. Evidently there is some misapprehension here. It does not say that under 18 they may not be served, but that they may not be sold the liquor. They must not pay for it themselves. If this is right the House is entitled to know whether if the liquor be sold to an elder person, the elder person may not legally give it to a younger person to drink on licensed premises. I hope that before we come to a decision we may have legal opinion on that point. I can understand a Bill which prohibits young persons going on licensed premises and being served, or drinking in a public-house at all. All the speeches to-day have referred to public-houses, but the actual words of the Bill are "licensed premises." That covers every class of place, except clubs, where intoxicating liquors are sold, including trust houses and even restaurants.

If I thought that this Bill would prevent any young man taking to drink, I would vote for it, but I cannot see how it is going to do it. He can get what he wants by two suberfuges—saying that he is over 18, or getting somebody else to pay for it. We do not want this Bill to become known as the "Say 19 Bill," just as the doctors say "Say 99." Will this Bill allow young people to get drink without paying for it? Those points must be seriously considered if the Bill goes into Committee. I was brought up as a young man, and I brought up a great many young men, I am happy to say, under the old naval rule. No spirits were allowed to anybody under 18. I maintain that it was an excellent rule. We enforce it on board ship, and it is enforced in barracks as well. Young midshipmen when they come to sea are allowed to have a certain amount of beer or light wine, limited to the amount of 10s. a month, and they are only allowed a limited amount in the one day. We enforce moderation on them.

I suggest to the promoters of the Bill that Amendments in Committee on those lines would be acceptable to a very largo number of people. I may be wrong, but I think I have a right to say that there is no parent in this House who wishes his boy or girl to have spirits before reaching the age of 18 at the very least. I have never allowed my boys to have it, and I do not suppose that anyone else does so. There are numbers of hon. Members who, when they come to look into the details of this Bill, find that it falls short of the idea of protecting the young from themselves. It may be that as time goes on we shall have to legislate still further to save the young from themselves. That is on the lap of the gods. If we could get unanimity on one point it would go far towards success, because there would be the force of public opinion behind it, and on that one point we should undoubtedly do much good for the young.

The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Bridge-man):

It is my fate during the Fridays in Lent, for the mortification of the flesh, to sit here and represent Government neutrality on all these, Measures. As I have said on previous Fridays, the Government do not intend to put on their Whips for the coming Division, although they cannot promise to give any facilities for the Bill. I want to say a few words with respect to matters which affect the Home Office, and then to express my personal views, which must not be taken to represent anyone but myself. As to the difficulty or the simplicity of carrying out the provisions of the Bill, I would say that there is not very much in the argument that the Bill will create a very great difficulty. We have here only the same words as appear in the Act under which we are now living; the Bill merely repeats the old phraseology. But there is a considerable difficulty in changing the age from 16 to 18. It is far more difficult to distinguish between boys just under or just over 18, than to distinguish between boys just under or over 16 years. It would be very difficult to carry out the proposal of the Bill on that point. I am not saying that it cannot be carried out, but I doubt very much whether it can be carried out very effectively.

I would like to say a few words on the Bill from my personal point of view, as I do not want to give a silent vote on the Bill. A great deal has been said as to there being some terrible evil of insobriety growing up amongst the young people of the country, and figures have been quoted. The figures do not prove that contention at all. As far as the figures are concerned, I have the statistics as to the number of convictions for drunkenness during three years of people under the age of 21. These show that in 1919 out of a total of 48,000 convictions there were 2,600 convictions of people under 21—and consequently a very small number indeed, of persons under 18. In 1920 the number rose in both categories and there was a total of 78,000 convictions, of which 4,065 were convictions of persons under 21 years of age.

Photo of Mr James Sexton Mr James Sexton , St Helens

Because they came back from the War:

Photo of Mr William Bridgeman Mr William Bridgeman , Oswestry

I think it was because they had more to spend, but I know there are special circumstances which which we shall have to take into consideration in regard to these three years. When we come to 1921 we find the number of convictions for drunkenness, of persons under 21 was 2,174—a great deal less than in 1920—out of a total of 64,000. That goes to show that the young people of this country are becoming more temperate. It is only fair to say on their behalf that there is no proof whatever that this is a growing evil. So far from it, the figures which I have given show it is on the decrease. For my own part, I believe the young people are setting the fashion in the right direction and I would rather leave it to them. My Noble Friend who moved the Second Reading of the Bill said she hoped we should speak without pride, prejudice or partial affection. I hope I never speak with pride; I hope I shall be exonerated from any charge of speaking with prejudice—I certainly do not speak on behalf of any organisation of any kind—and as regards partial affection, if I had any in this matter, I am afraid I should be biassed in favour of the mover of the Motion. [Laughter.] Well, I merely wish to assure the House that what I have got to say is said, not from any prejudice, but from my own conviction. The whole of the Noble Lady's argument was based on this proposition—that beer was bad and unwholesome for people under 18 years of age. The vast majority of those who will be affected by this Bill are those who only want to go in and drink a glass of beer after a game of football or something of that kind and who cannot be described as consistent drinkers or excessive drinkers. I am not prepared to admit that beer is bad and unwholesome for people under 18. It is not proved and I do not believe it.

Viscountess ASTOR:

It is proved.

Photo of Mr William Bridgeman Mr William Bridgeman , Oswestry

I do not admit it. When I was in school, like, the right hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury), we were allowed beer every day for our midday meal. Somebody may say, as they said of him, "Look at the result," but I should like to point out that I did not care for it, and therefore did not drink it. I have said that I hope I do not speak with pride, and I cannot say that I was any better than my colleagues who always did drink it. Then we come to the argument that all public-houses are unfit places for anybody to go in.

Viscountess ASTOR:

Young children.

Photo of Mr William Bridgeman Mr William Bridgeman , Oswestry

People under 18. We were asked whether any of us would like to see any child of ours under 18 going into a public-house, and my answer to that would be that it would depend entirely on what public-house they went into. I have seen my own boy go into a properly conducted public-house, and I have no objection to him going there, for a glass of beer. The point is this, that where you want to reform is to reform the nature, the character, and the atmosphere of the public-house. I feel, myself, that that is the proper direction for reform, but I do not think it is correct to say that every public-house is a demoralising place for people, either over or under 18. I object to any restrictions for which a very overwhelming case has to be shown, and there is no case to show that beer is unwholesome. If the Bill were confined to spirits, I should take a very different view of it, and if it were restricted to girls, I should take a very different view. The difficulty is the old sex equality argument. If there were a case in which there was no equality of the sexes, I should have thought that this was one. Does anybody contend that a girl can drink as much beer as a boy, and not be the worse for it?

There is one more argument I should like to advance, and this is a most serious argument. I have taken a great interest all my life in the education of boys, and I have had to do with it in a good many different ways besides the education of my own. I am of opinion that their strength of character is not improved by putting on restrictions. The Noble Lady said that character is everything. I say, in reply to that, that you do not get character unless you allow them to meet these temptations and to face them and overcome them. If you coddle a boy up to 18 years of age, and keep him in leading strings, and then turn him out on the world, it will be the worse for him and result in a weaker character than if the boy had been allowed at an earlier age to go out and meet the world and do his best in it. I have more confidence in the youth of this country than anybody who, has supported this Bill seems to have. I believe they are more temperate than their predecessors and our predecessors, and I believe they are leading the way in the right direction. I would rather trust them to set the fashion for the future, and I believe the youth of this country is perfectly able to take care of itself and do the best for itself. The hon. Member for the Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) made one point. He would keep on saying that those who did not like this Bill wanted to encourage people to go into public-houses, but there is no such thing as encouraging them to go into public-houses. There has not been a word said in opposition to the Bill to encourage them, but it has been pointed out by several speakers—I do not pretend to say that I want to add to the restrictions in this Bill, or that my criticism will be in the direction of saying it does not go far enough—but it has been pointed out by several speakers how very easy it is to evade the provisions of this Bill.

I have been expressing my own personal opinion. I realise how very serious this question is, and how everybody in this House, I think, is animated by the same desire to promote temperance in the country. On the whole, we have had a very fair Debate. There have been insinuations of interest, and so on, on one side of the House and the other, but I do not think they have been serious. I hope that, whatever Vote is taken on this today, due regard will be had to allowing a sufficient amount of freedom to boys, and also to the possibility of restricting this Measure to the sale of spirits. But, for my own part, I cannot feel that this kind of legislation is legislation in the proper direction for temperance. I prefer to see legislation that would make the public-house more wholesome and give a better atmosphere, and legislation which would try to strengthen character, instead, as it seems to me, weaken it.

Photo of Mr John Simon Mr John Simon , Spen Valley

The right hon. Gentleman has just stated his personal view, and there are one or two things he has said upon which, I think, he will not resent it if I offer criticism. The Home Secretary told us, as I understand, that he would not be opposed to this Bill if it were confined to prohibiting the consumption of spirits by people below the age which the Bill mentions, and he said, further, that he would not be opposed to the Bill if it were confined in its operation to girls; but the right hon. Gentleman said that, inasmuch as this Bill also applies to boys, and also applies to beer, he thinks, in his own personal judgment, it is not calculated to develop and strengthen character. I must confess I do not understand that. Is not character strengthened by resisting a temptation to drink spirits? If the Home Secretary thinks that resisting temptation is the best way to develop character, can he imagine a better way of developing character in the young than leaving them free to buy spirits if they like?

Photo of Mr William Bridgeman Mr William Bridgeman , Oswestry

I am sure the right hon. Gentleman does not want to misrepresent me. My argument was that there was a reason for objecting to spirits, because, I think, they are unwholesome, and I do not think beer is. I do not think it has anything to do with character.

Photo of Mr John Simon Mr John Simon , Spen Valley

I thuoght the right hon. Gentleman said that character was improved by resisting temptation. Then why should you prohibit the opportunity of drinking' spirits? But my right hon. Friend thinks there is no harm in boys drinking beer. Therefore, I fail to see how character could be developed. Allow me to go a step further. The right hon. Gentleman would be in favour of a Bill which prohibited these facilities being available for girls. Do I misrepresent his argument when I say that is not because he thinks that the smallest amount of beer is bad for a girl, but it is because he knows that would afford temptation which might very easily lead to a breaking-down of character? The real truth of the matter is that you cannot in this draw a distinction between boys and girls. We must take it that on the whole the duty of the community is to protect both boys and girls from a class of temptation which is only too likely to break down their character. Certain arguments repeated this afternoon seem to me not so much to be arguments against the Bill as arguments against the law as it stands. The hon. Gentleman the Member for North East Derbyshire (Mr. Lee) and others, I think, said: "How can you expect a publican, when a young person enters his bar to know that he has reached the age of 18?" The Home Secretary just now said that he thinks it would be more difficult for the licensed victualler to apply this, Bill when 18 is the age than if it were 16. I had the curiosity to see what was the argument used in 1872, when the age of 16 was proposed as the limit. I read that an hon. Member said: If a clear rule were laid down on this subject well and good, but nothing could be more absurd than to expect that a licensed victualler should be the judge of whether a child was under 14 or under 16 years of age. Children of the same age differed very much in their apparent age, and it was well known that young Spanish ladies of 14 were more advanced than English ladies of 16. The truth is that the difficulty of applying an Act of Parliament like this involving inquiry as to a particular age applies to all legislation of this character. It no more applies to this Bill than to the previous legislation of 1872. I venture to say, though I do not know everybody will agree, that it is no more easy to distinguish between the boy or girl just as they arc under or over 16 than to draw such distinction in and around 18. If the Home Secretary had got up and told the House that in his experience of the administration of the present law the age limit was found a real obstacle to its enforcement, and had made it impracticable —if any rule that limited the age had done so—I could have understood him. He does not say that. So far as I know, the law applies and operates perfectly well to-day, although there is a limit of age prescribed. The real question is: Is there any justification for raising the age still further?

Photo of Mr Edwin Scrymgeour Mr Edwin Scrymgeour , Dundee

There is no principle in it!

Photo of Mr John Simon Mr John Simon , Spen Valley

My right hon. Friend expressed with great good humour and frankness his own personal view that the consumption of intoxicating liquor, at any rate, in the form of beer, is not bad for youth. Everyone is entitled to hold his own personal opinion, but the Home Secretary is wrong when he says that there is no evidence to the contrary. On the contrary, if you are going to pay any attention at all to really the skilled opinion of the medical profession, the opposite view is bound to prevail. [HON. MEMBERS: "It has not been proved!"] At any rate, we must do our best to see that such evidence is given. Sir Lauder Brunton, whom everyone here knows, at least by name, has laid down this proposition: It would be a very great advantage if it were possible to prevent the sale of intoxicating liquor entirely to youths under 21, and thus to prevent them making drafts upon their physiological capital just as the law already recognises that some people should be prevented from making undue draft upon their monetary resources by obtaining loans from moneylenders. That view is not the idiosyncrasy of some crank. This is the view of one of the best known and most wide-minded of the medical authorities of our time. I have several other letters. I have here a letter which was written by a very distinguished surgeon at Westminster Hospital, Mr. Arthur Evans, in which he says: The object of this Bill is to safeguard young people at a most critical stage of their development from the effects of alcohol. How critical this period is only those can fully appreciate who know something of the great changes which are taking place in young bodies and young brains during the period of adolescence. The effects of even small quantities of alcohol on a developing brain and on a young life just opening out into manhood or womanhood are fraught with such peril that they ought to be carefully studied by all lovers of the human race. There cannot be the slightest doubt that the great mass of highly skilled medical authority is in favour of the avoidance of intoxicants by adolescents. That is the view of the great body of teachers in this country, and I make bold to say that it is really the view of the great majority of parents in this country. There may be exceptions, but I do not think there is any doubt, if anyone went to parent after parent, they would tell him that they would greatly prefer that their boys and girls should avoid intoxicants altogether.

However, that is not the point of this Bill, because its main object is to discourage the creation of the habit of going to a public-house which so easily may arise unless this House sets up a proper standard for young people in the years when they are growing up. It has been said quite truly that you can get round this Bill by getting somebody else to supply your liquor and then the young people could drink it. They could also obtain it by taking the drink outside the public-house. That is equally true of the present law. Do those who oppose this Bill desire to alter the present law which says, as far as spirits are concerned, they may be bought and given to young persons or may be bought by a young person and carried outside? The only thing that this Bill does is that it takes the law as it stands and substitutes 18 years of age for 16. You have the great body of teachers in favour of this Bill, and you find the medical and physiological side strongly supporting it. Is there any parent here who would not say that he much preferred that his boys or girls should keep out of public-houses while they were over the age of 18? If that is the view which ordinary men and women take about their children, why should we not express that view in the Statute Book as a standard for young people? Something has been said about the licensed victualler. I cannot believe that the decent publican—and there are many decent publicans—really want to earn a living by selling beer to boys and girls of 15, or spirits to boys and girls of 17.


Not 15, but 17.

Photo of Mr John Simon Mr John Simon , Spen Valley

I think I am quite right; but I stand corrected if I am wrong. At present a publican can sell beer, and is bound to sell it if asked, to a boy or girl who is 15 years of age; and, I repeat, I do not believe that any decent publican really desires to make a living by doing anything of the kind. We are told that as the law stands he is bound to do it, if asked. I do not think that he would run much risk of losing his licence if he refused. But let us alter the law, so that he is not allowed to do it.

Viscountess ASTOR:

rose in her place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put," but Mr. SPEAKER withheld his assent, and declined then to put that Question.

Photo of Mr John Gretton Mr John Gretton , Burton

I have only three minutes in which to address the House. So I shall confine myself entirely to making a statement as to how this Bill is viewed by the licensed trade generally. The right hon. and learned Gentleman who has just sat down has said that no decent publican wants to make a living out of selling beer or spirits to young people. I can assure the right hon. and learned Gentleman that no living is or can be made out of that. There is no money in the Bill; it is not a question

of profits. The licensed trade is opposed to this Bill generally, because it will be most difficult to administer. It cannot be worked. The difficulty of the age is almost insuperable. It is undoubtedly true that the licence - holder is bound to serve persons to whom he is legally liable to sell. It has been argued by every speaker opposed to the Bill, including the hon. Member for Plymouth (Viscountess Astor), that the public-house is not a decent place for any person to go into. The licensed trade do not agree. Their great desire is to get rid of the present restrictions, which prevent them improving their premises and carrying on their trade in a decent manner. They believe that this Bill will not achieve the object of those who support it.

Viscountess ASTOR:

rose in her place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."

Question put, "That the Question be now put."

The House divided: Ayes, 335; Noes, 70.

Division No. 30.] AYES. [4.0 p.m.
Adams. DButton, H. S.Entwistle, Major C. F.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. WilliamBuxton, Charles (Accrington)Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)Evans, Capt. H. Arthur (Leicester, E.)
Ackins. Sir William Ryland DentCadogan, Major EdwardEvans, Ernest (Cardigan)
Ainsworth, Captain CharlesCairns, JohnFalrbairn, R. R.
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')Cape, ThomasFalconer, J.
Ammon, Charles GeorgeCayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)Fawkes, Major F. H.
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Wilfrid W.Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)Flldes, Henry
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert HenryCecil, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Hitchin)Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.
Attlee, C. R.Chadwlck, Sir Robert BurtonFord, Patrick Johnston
Austin, Sir HerbertChamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)Fraser, Major Sir Keith
Balrd, Rt. Hon. Sir John LawrenceChapman, Sir S.Furness, G. J.
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)Chapple, W. A.Galbraith, J. F. W.
Barnes, A.Charleton, H. C.George, Major G. L. (Pembroke)
Batey, JosephClarke, Sir E. C.Goff, Sir R. Park
Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)Churchman, Sir ArthurGosling, Harry
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)Clayton, G. C.Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central)
Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)Coates, Lt.-Col. NormanGray, Frank (Oxford)
Bennett, A. J. (Mansfield)Cockerlll, Brigadier-General G. K.Greenall, T.
Bennett, Sir T. J. (Sevenoaks)Collie, Sir JohnGreenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)
Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)
Berkeley, Captain ReginaldCollins, Pat (Walsall)Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)
Berry, Sir GeorgeCollison, LeviGroves, T.
Betterton, Henry B.Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)Grundy, T. W.
Birchall, Major J. DearmanCurzon, Captain viscountGuest, Hon. C. H. (Bristol, N.)
Blades, Sir George RowlandDarblshlre, C. W.Guest, J. (York, W.R., Hemswortn)
Bonwick, A.Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.Guthrie, Thomas Maule
Bowdler, W. A.Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)
Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.Davies, J. C. (Denbigh, Denbigh)Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)
Brass, Captain W.Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)Halstead, Major D.
Brlant, FrankDavison, J. E. (Smethwick)Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)
Broad, F. A.Dudgeon, Major C. RHancock, John George
Bromfleld. WilliamDuffy, T. GavanHarbord, Arthur
Brotherton, J,Duncan, C.Hardle, George D.
Brown, Brig.-Gen. Clifton (Newbury)Dunnico, H,Hartshorn, Vernon
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)Ede, James ChuterHastings, Patrick
Buckle, J.Edmonds, G.Hawke, John Anthony
Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.Edmondson, Major A. J.Hay, Captain J. P. (Cathcart)
Burgess, S.Ednam, ViscountHayes, John Henry (Edge Hill)
Burn, Colonel Sir Charles RosdewEdwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)Hemmerde, E. G.
Burnie, Mafor J. (Bootle)Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (N'castle, E)
Butler, J. R. M. (Cambridge Univ.)Emlyn-Jones, J. E. (Dorset, N.)Henderson, Sir T. (Roxburgh)
Butt, Sir AlfredEngland, Lieut.-Colonel A.Henderson, T. (Giasgow)
Hennessy. Major J. R. G.Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred MorltzSinclair, Sir A.
Herbert, Col. Hon. A. (Yeovil)Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.Singleton, J. E.
Herbert, S. (Scarborough) ..Moreing, Captain Algernon H.Sitch, Charles H.
Herrlotts, J.Morel, E. D.Skelton, A. N.
Hill, A.Morris, HaroldSmith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)
Hinds, JohnMorrison, Hugh (Wilts, Salisbury)Smith, Sir Harold (Wavertree)
Hirst, G. H.Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)Smith, T. (Pontetract)
Hodge, Rt. Hon, JohnMorrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)Snail, Harry
Hodge, Lieut.-Col. J. P. (Preston)Mosley, OswaldSnowden, Philip
Hogge, James MylesMurray, Hon. A. C. (Aberdeen)Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Hood, Sir JosephMurray, R. (Renfrew, Western)Somerville, Daniel (Barrow-in-Furness)
Horne, Sir R. S. (Glasgow, Hillhead)Nail, Major JosephSparkes, H. W.
Houlton, John PlowrightNesbitt, Robert C.Spears, Brig.-Gen. E. L.
Howard, Capt. D. (Cumberland, N.)Newbold, J. T. W.Spencer, H. H. (Bradford, S.)
Hume, G. H.Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)Spender-Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H.
Hurst, Lieut.-Colonel Gerald B.Newson, Sir Percy WilsonStanley, Lord
Hutchison, G. A. C. (Midlothian, N.)Nichol, RobertStephenson, Lieut-Colonel H. K.
Hutchison, Sir R. (Kirkcaldy)Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)Stephen, Campbell
Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.Norman, Major Rt. Hon. Sir HenryStewart, Gershorn (Wirral)
Irving, DanNorton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir JohnStewart, J. (St. Rollox)
Jarrett, G. W. S.Oliver, George HaroldStuart, Lord C. Crichton
Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)Ormsby-Gore, Hon. WilliamSueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Jenkins, W. A. (Brecon and Radnor)Paget, T. G.Sullivan, J.
John, William (Rhondda, West)Paling, W.Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.
Johnston, Thomas (Stirling)Parker, Owen (Kettering)Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)
Johnstone, Harcourt (Willesden, East)Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)Parry, Lieut.-Colonel Thomas HenryThomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)Pattinson, S. (Horncastle)Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)
Jones, R. T. (Carnarvon)Pease, William EdwinThorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)
Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)Penny, Frederick GeorgeThornton, M.
Jowett, F. W. (Bradford, East)Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)Thorpe, Captain John Henry
Jowitt, W. A. (The Hartlepools)Peto, Basil E.Tout, W. J.
Joynson-Hicks, Sir WilliamPhillipps, VivianTrevelyan, C. P
Kennedy, Captain M. s. NigelPhilipson, H. H.Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Kenyon, BarnetPonsonby, ArthurTurner, Ben
Klnloch-Cooke, Sir ClementPotts, John S.Turton, Edmund Russborough
Lamb, J. Q.Price, E. G.Twist, H.
Lansbury, GeorgePrlngle, W. M. R.Wallace, Captain E.
Lawson, John JamesRae, Sir Henry N.Wallhead, Richard C.
Leach, W.Rankin, Captain James StuartWalsh, Stephen (Lancaster, Ince)
Lee, F.Reynolds, W. G. W.Ward, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)
Lees-Smith, H. B. (Keighley)Richards, R.Waring, Major Walter
Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir p. (Chertsey)Warne. G. H.
Lewis, Thomas A.Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-SpringWatson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Linfield, F. C.Ritson, J.Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)Roberts, C. H. (Derby)Webb, Sidney
Lorimer, H. D.Roberts, Frederick O. (W. Bromwich)Wedgwood, Colonel Joslah C.
Lort-Williams, J.Roberts, Rt. Hon Sir S. (Ecclesall)Weir, L. M.
Lowth, T.Robertson, J. (Lanark, Bothwell)Westwood, J.
Lunn, WilliamRobinson, W. C. (York, Elland)White, Lt.-Col. G. D. (Southport)
M'Curdy, Rt. Hon. Charles A.Rose, Frank H.Whiteley, W.
MacDonald, J. R. (Aberavon)Rothschild, Lionel deWignall, James
Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness) |Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)
M'Entee, V. L.Russell, William (Bolton)Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
McLaren, AndrewSaklatvala, S.Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)Salter, Dr. A.Wilson, Lt.-Col. LeslieO. (P'tsm'th.S.)
Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm Sanderson, Sir Frank B.Winterton, Earl
Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.Sandon, LordWintringham, Margaret
McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)Wise, Frederick
Maklns, Brigadier-General E.Sexton, JamesWood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)
March, S.,Shakespeare, G. H.Wood, Malor M. M. (Aberdeen, c.)
Marks, Sir George CroydonShaw, Hon. Alex. (Kilmarnock)Wood, Major Sir S. Hill- (High Peas)
Marshall, Sir Arthur H.Sheffield, Sir BerkeleyWright, W.
Martin, F. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, E.) Shinwell, EmanuelYerburgh, R. D. T.
Maxton, JamesShipwright, Captain D.Young, Rt. Hon. E. H. (Norwich)
Middleton, G.Simms, Dr. John M. (CD. Down)Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Millar, J. D.Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)Simpson, J. HopeTELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Molloy, Major L. G. S.Simpson-Hinchliffe, W. A. Viscountess Astor and Mr. Foot.
Molson, Major John Elsdale
Agg-Gardner, St. lames Tynte Buckingham, Sir H.Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham
Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel MartinButler, H. M. (Leeds, North)Gould, James C.
Balfour, George (Hampstead)Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R. Gretton, Colonel John
Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.) Hall. Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)
Barnett, Major Richard W.Cobb, Sir Cyril Hall, Rr-Adml Sir W.(Llv'p'l.W.D'bs)
Becker, HarryColvin, Brig.-General Richard BealeHannon. Patrick Joseph Henry
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.Craik, Rt. Hon. sir HenryHarmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent]
Blundell, F. N.Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)Harrison, F. C.
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.Ersklne, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)Hay, Major T. W. (Norfolk, South)
Brassey, Sir LeonardForeman, Sir HenryHilder Lieut.-Colonel Frank
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William CliveGanzonl, Sir JohnHiley, Sir Ernest
Brown, Major D. C. (Hexham)Gates, PercyHohler, Gerald Fitzroy
Holbrook, Sir Arthur RichardNicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)Sanders, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert A.
Hopkins, John W. W.Nield, Sir HerbertShepperson, E. W.
Hudson, Capt. A.Pennefather, De FonblanqueStrauss, Edward Anthony
Hughes, collingwoodPerkins, Colonel E. K.Terrell, Captain R. (Oxford, Henley)
Jodrell, Sir Neville PaulPollock, Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest MurrayVaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.
Louglier, L.Raine, W.Warner, Sir T. Courtenay T,
Loyd, Arthur Thomas (Abingdon)Rawlinson, Rt. Hon. John Fredk. PeesWells, S. R.
Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.)Remer, J. R.Willey, Arthur
Manville, EdwardRemnant, Sir James
Mason, Lieut-Col. C. K.Richardson, Sir Alex. (Gravesend)TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Moore, Major-General Sir Newton J.Roberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich)Mr. Greaves-Lord and Sir George
Morden, Col. W. GrantRobertson, J. D. (Islington, W.)Hamilton,
Murchison, C. K.Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)

Question put accordingly. "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."

The House divided: Ayes, 338; Noes, 56

Division No. 31.]AYES.[4.15 p.m.
Adams, D.Colvln, Brig-General Richard Beale Herriotts, J.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. WilliamCowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities) Hill, A.
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)Crook, C. W. (East Ham, North)Hinds, John
Adkins, Sir William Ryland DentDarbishire, C. W.Hirst, G. H.
Ainsworth, Captain CharlesDavidson, Major-General Sir J. H.Hodge, Rt. Hon. John
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro")Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)Hodge, Lieut.-Col. J. P. (Preston)
Ammon, Charles GeorgeDavies, J. C. (Denbigh, Denbigh)Hogge, James Myles
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert HenryDavies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)Hood, Sir Joseph
Attlee, C. R.Davison, J. E. (Smethwlck)Horne, Sir R. S. (Glasgow, Hillhead)
Austin. Sir HerbertDudgeon, Major C. R.Howard, Capt. D. (Cumberland, N.)
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)Duffy, T. GavanHume, G. H.
Barnes, A.Duncan, C.Hurd, Percy A.
Batey, JosephDunnlco, H.Hurst, Lieut.-Colonel Gerald B.
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)Ede, James ChuterHutchison, G. A. C. (Midlothian, N.)
Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)Edmonds, G.Hutchison, Sir R. (Kirkcaldy)
Bennett, A. J. (Mansfield)Edmondson, Major A. J.Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.
Bennett, Sir T. J, (Sevenoaks)Ednam, ViscountIrving, Dan
Bentinck, Lord Henry CavendishEdwards, C (Monmouth, Bedwellty)Jarrett, G. W. S.
Berkeley, Captain ReginaldElliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)
Berry, Sir GeorgeEngland, Lieut.-Colonel A.Jenkins, W. A. (Brecon and Radnor)
Betterton, Henry B.Entwistle. Major C. F.John, William (Rhondda, West)
Birchall, Major J. DearmanErskine, James Malcolm MonteithJohnston, Thomas (Stirling)
Blades, Sir George RowlandEvans, Capt. H. Arthur (Leicester, E.)Johnstone, Harcourt (Willesden, East)
Bonwick, A.Evans, Ernest (Cardigan)Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)
Bowdler, W. A.Falrbairn, R. R.Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)
Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.Falconer, J.Jones, R. T. (Carnarvon)
Brass, Captain W.Fawkes, Major F. H.Jones, T. J. Mardy (Pontypridd)
Briant, FrankFildes, HenryJowett, F. W. (Bradford. East)
Broad, F. A.Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.Jowitt, W. A. (The Hartlepools)
Bromlleld, WilliamFord, Patrick JohnstonJoynson-Hicks, Sir William
Brotherton, J.Fraser, Major sir KeithKennedy, Captain M. S. Nigel
Brown, Major D. C. (Hexham)Furness, G. J.Kenyon, Barnet
Brown, Brig-Gen. Clifton (Newbury)Galbraith, J. F. W.Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)George, Major G. L. (Pembroke)Lamb, J. Q
Buckingham, Sir H.Goff, Sir R. ParkLansbury, George
Buckle, J.Gosling, HarryLawson, John James
Buckley, Lieut-Colonel A.Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central)Leach, W.
Burgess, S.Gray, Frank (Oxford)Lee, F.
Burn, Colonel Sir Charles RosdewGreenall, T.Lees-Smith, H. B. (Keighley)
Burnie, Major J. (Bootle)Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)
Butcher, Sir John GeorgeGrenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)Lewis, Thomas A.
Butler, J. R. M. (Cambridge Univ.)Griffiths, T, (Monmouth, Pontypool)Llnfield, F. C.
Butt, Sir AlfredGroves, T.Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)
Button, H. S.Grundy, T. w.Lowth, T.
Buxton, Charles (Accrington)Guest, Hon. C. H. (Bristol, N.)Lunn, William
Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)Guest, J. (York, W.R., Hemsworth)M'Curdy, Rt. Hon. Charles A.
Cadogan, Major EdwardGuthrie, Thomas MauleMacDonald, J. R. (Aberavon)
Calrns, JohnHall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)
Cape, ThomasHall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvll)M'Entee, V. L.
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)Halstead, Major D.McLaren, Andrew
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Hitchin)Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)
Chadwick, Sir Robert BurtonHancock, John GeorgeMacnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)Harbord, ArthurMacnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.
Chapman, Sir S.Hardie, George D.McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)
Chapple, W. A.Hartshorn, VernonMaitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-
Charleton, H. C.Hastings, PatrickMaklns, Brigadier-Generat E.
Clarke, Sir E. C.Hay, Captain J. p. (Cathcart)Manville, Edward
Churchman, Sir ArthurHayes John Henry (Edge Hill)March, S.
Clayton, G. C.Hemmerde, E. G.Margesson, H. D. R.
Coates, Lt.-Col. NormanHenderson, Rt. Hon. A. (N'castle, E.)Marks, Sir George Croydon
Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.Henderson, Sir T. (Roxburgh)Marshall, Sir Arthur H.
Collie, Sir JohnHenderson, T. (Glasgow)Martin, F. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, E.)
Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)Hennessy, Major J. R. G.Mason, Lieut.-Col. C. K.
Collins, Pat (Walsall)Herbert, Col. Hon. A, (Yeovil)Maxton, James
Collison. LeviHerbert, S. (Scarborough)Middleton, G.
Millar, J. D.Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)Sullivan, J
Mitchell, W. F. (Saffron Walden)Ritson, J.Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.
Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)Roberts, C. H. (Derby)Terrell, Captain R. (Oxford, Henley)
Molloy, Major L. G. S.Roberts, Frederick O. (W. Bromwich)Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)
Molson, Major John ElsdaleRoberts, Rt. Hon. Sir S. (Eccelsall)Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred MorltzRobertson, J. (Lanark, Bothwell)Thomson, F. C (Aberdeen, South)
Moore-Brabazon, Lieut. Col. J. T. C.Robinson, W. C. (York, Elland)Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)
Morelng, Captain Algernon H.Rose, Frank H.Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)
Morel, E. D.Rothschild. Lionel deThornton, M.
Morris, HaroldRussell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)Thorpe, Captain John Henry
Morrison, Hugh (Wilts, Salisbury)Russell, William (Bolton)Tout, W. J.
Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)Saklatvala, S,Trevelyan, C. P,
Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)Salter, Dr. A.Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Mosley, OswaldSanderson, Sir Frank B.Turner, Ben
Murray, Hon. A. C, (Aberdeen)Sandon, LordTurton, Edmund Russborough
Murray, R. (Renfrew, Western)Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)Twist, H.
Nail, Major JosephSexton, JamesWallace, Captain E.
Nesbitt, Robert C.Shakespeare, G. H.Wallhead, Richard C.
Newbold, J. T. W.Shaw, Hon. Alex. (Kilmarnock)Walsh, Stephen (Lancaster, Ince)
Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)Sheffield, Sir BerkeleyWard, Col. L. (Klngston-upon-Hull)
Newson, Sir Percy WilsonShinwell, EmanuelWaring, Major Walter
Nichol, RobertShipwright, Captain D.Warne, G. H.
Nield, Sir HerbertSimms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Norman, Major Rt. Hon. Sir HenrySimon, Rt. Hon. Sir JohnWatts-Morgan, Lt.-Col, D. (Rhondda)
Norton-Griffiths, Lieut-Col. Sir JohnSimpson, J. HopeWebb, Sidney
Oliver, George HaroldSimpson-Hinchcliffe, W. A.Wedgwood, Colonel Joslah C.
Ormsby-Gore, Hon. WilliamSinclair, Sir A.Weir, L. M.
Paget, T. G,Singleton, J. E.Westwood, J.
Paling, W.Sitch, Charles H.Wheler, Col. Granville C. H.
Parker, Owen (Kettering)Skelton, A. N.While, Lt.-Col. G. D. (Southport)
Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)Whiteley, W.
Parry, Lieut.-Colonel Thomas HenrySmith, Sir Harold (Wavertree)Wignall, James
Pattinson, S. (Horncastle)Smith, T. (Pontefract)Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)
Pease, William EdwinSnell, HarryWilliams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Pennefather, De FonblanqueSnowden, PhilipWilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Penny, Frederick GeorgeSomerville, A. A. (Windsor)Wilson, Lt.-Col. Leslie O. (P'tsm'th, S.)
Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)Somerville, Daniel (Barrow-in-Furness)Winterton, Earl
Peto, Basil E.Sparkes, H. W.Wintringham, Margaret
Phillipps, VivianSpears, Brig.-Gen. E. L.Wise, Frederick
Phillpson, H. H.Spencer, H. H. (Bradford. S.)Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)
Ponsonby, ArthurSpender-Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H.Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)
Potts, John S.Stanley, LordWood, Major Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)
Price, E. G.Stephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K.Wright, W.
Pringle, W. M. R.Stephen, CampbellYerburgh, R. D. T.
Rae, Sir Henry N.Stewart, Gershom (Wirral)Young, Rt. Hon. E. H. (Norwich)
Rankin, Captain James StuartStewart, J. (St. Rollox)Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Reynolds, W. G. W.Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-
Richards, R.Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray FraserTELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey)Sugden, Sir Wilfrid H.Viscountess Astor and Mr. Foot.
Agg-Gardner, Sir James TynteGretton, Colonel JohnMurchison, C. K.
Baird, Rt. Hon. Sir John LawrenceHall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)
Balfour, George (Hampstead)Hall, Rr-Adml Sir W.(Llv'p'l,W.D'by) Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)
Barnett, Major Richard W.Hamilton, Sir George C. (Altrincham) Pollock. Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest Murray
Becker, HarryHannon, Patrick Joseph HenryRaine, W.
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.Harrison, F. C.Rawilnson, Rt. Hon. John Fredk. Peel
Blundell, F. N.Hay, Major T. W. (Norfolk, South) Remer, J. R.
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.Hiley, Sir ErnestRemnant, Sir James
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William CliveHohler, Gerald FltzroyRoberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich)
Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.Holbrook, Sir Arthur RichardRobertson, J. D. (Islington, W.)
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)Hopkins, John W. w.Sanders, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert A.
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)Houlton, John PlowrightShepperson. E. W.
Curzon, Captain ViscountHudson, Capt. A.Strauss, Edward Anthony
Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)Hughes, CollingwoodWells, S. R.
Foreman, Sir HenryJodrell, Sir Neville PaulWilley, Arthur
Ganzoni, Sir JohnLorimer, H. D.
Gates, PercyLort-Williams, J.TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Gibbs, Colonel George AbrahamLoyd, Arthur Thomas (Abingdon)Sir F. Banbury and Lieut.-Colonel
Gould, James C.Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.)Archer-Shee
Greaves-Lord, Walter Morden, Col. W. Grant

Bill read a Second time, and committed to a Standing Committee.

The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.

Whereupon Mr. SPEAKER adjourned the House, without Question put, pursuant to Standing Order No. 3.

Adjourned at Twenty-seven Minutes after Four o'clock till Monday (12th March).