§ Mr. GRANVILLE
(by Private Notice) asked the Home Secretary whether he is in a position to make any statement with reference to the Sunday Performances (Regulation) Bill?
Sir H. SAMUEL
The Standing Committee to which the Sunday Performances (Regulation) Bill was referred has made substantial progress in its consideration of the Clauses, and a number 520 of Amendments have been dealt with. It is doubtful, however, whether the Bill, when it returns to the House for the Report stage and Third Reading, will be regarded as substantially non-controversial. If not, in accordance with the general policy announced by the Government, it would not be possible, in present circumstances, to proceed with it. I am advised, however, that if no legislative action is taken, the London County Council, and other authorities concerned, could not postpone indefinitely the enforcement of the law, as declared by the Courts, and would be obliged to require the closing of the cinemas which are now open on Sundays, on certain conditions, in London and elsewhere. The Government has to take into account the opinion of Parliament, as expressed on the Second Reading of the Bill in the House of Commons, that this is not desired. They would therefore be prepared, if the present Bill is still regarded as controversial, to introduce a short Bill designed only to preserve the status quo for a period of one year, if they could be assured that this course would, in the general opinion of the House, be the best means of dealing with the situation. In that case, if the present Bill were withdrawn, the points at issue would be left in abeyance until Parliament was better able than now to give its attention to the problems which they present.
§ Mr. MORRIS
Is it not possible, for the period of one year contemplated by the Bill, to enforce the law as it stands?
Sir H. SAMUEL
The opinion of the House, expressed by a majority on Second Reading, was that some action should be taken in the matter.