asked the Secretary of State' for the Home Department, Whether under the new Licensing Bill, in taking away the discretion of magistrates as to fixing the hours of closing, it is intended also to take away their power of extending the time under special circumstances?
, in reply, said, that he regretted that the Bill was not already in the hands of hon. Members. He believed it was to be in the Vote Office that night, where any hon. Member might procure a copy of it. It was not the intention of the Bill to prevent the granting of occasional licences, by the Justices, such as the hon. Member alluded to in his Question. The only difference was to this extent—that the occasional licences which authorized the sale on special occasions and in other than licensed premises were granted now by the Excise and countersigned by a single magistrate, whereas by the new Licensing Bill they would be less restricted than at present. Occasional licences did not at present, except in the case of a public dinner or ball, authorize any sale beyond one hour after sunset. It was proposed by the Bill to authorize the sale in these cases up to any hour not later than 10 o'clock, which the Justices might specify in the occasional licence. In the case of an occasional licence granted on the occasion of a public dinner or ball, the practice had been to specify in the licence the hour at which the licence should expire, and liquor might be sold up to any hour without restriction if the Justices so specified it in the licence. That was retained in the present Licensing Bill,