§ 77. Sir FRANK MEYER
asked the Home Secretary whether it is his intention, prior to the introduction of the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill next Session, to cause further investigations to be made as to whether the restrictions on the sale of tobacco, sweets, ice-cream, and certain kinds of fruit, etc., in places of entertainment, restaurants, and refreshment rooms can be abolished without prejudice to the interests of the general body of shop assistants?
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
As I have pointed out in replies to recent questions, this matter forms part of the larger question of the early closing of shops, and cannot, in my opinion, be dealt with separately. I should be very glad, indeed, to get a settlement, but, as previously stated, the Government are not in a position at present to take up this question.
§ Sir F. MEYER
Is it not a fact that, owing to this Measure being passed annually under the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill, there is no adequate Parliamentary opportunity for discussion of this question, and will my right hon. Friend, in considering the future, take into account the interests of the consumer and not always the feelings of shop assistants and traders?
§ Sir W. de FRECE
Is it not a fact that these restrictions are largely avoided by the introduction of automatic machines, and is it not the case that since the introduction of these machines there has been an increase in juvenile crime?
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
That is rather a problem, I think. So far as the other question is concerned, it is quite true that there is no opportunity of discussing this question on the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill, but I have had no information that there is anything like a. majority feeling in the House requiring a change. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh"] I am always willing to consider representations from Members of this House. I did have a memorial signed by 110 Members last Session, and that was all. If there is a consensus of 834 feeling, as I said at the time, I shall be willing to appoint a Committee to go into the whole question and to advise me upon it.
§ Colonel DAY
Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether he considers it any more wrong for people to buy chocolates and cigarettes after a certain hour than to buy drinks?