§ 17. Sir BASIL PETO
asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been called to the intervention of the cinema trade in the districts where a poll has been taken on the question of Sunday cinema opening; and whether he is prepared to extend the Municipal Elections Corrupt and Illegal Practices Act to cover polls held under the Sunday Entertainments Act?
My right hon. Friend is only aware of one case in which it has been suggested that undue influence has been exercised by the free admission of persons to a cinema on Sunday when a poll was about to be held in pursuance of the Sunday Entertainments Act, 1932. My right hon. Friend is not satisfied that any legislation is necessary. In any event it would not be practicable to deal with this matter merely by applying the provisions of the Municipal Elections Corrupt and Illegal Practices Act which relate to the election of candidates.
§ Sir B. PETO
As to undue influence, is my hon. Friend aware that at some of these places where polls have been demanded more money has been spent by outside trade organisations than is incurred by a candidate at any general election?
§ Earl WINTERTON
Is my hon. Friend aware that that statement is entirely disputed by the cinema trade?
I am not aware of the facts. I cannot imagine how anyone could estimate such expenditure either by those who oppose the opening of Sunday cinemas or by those who are in favour of it.
§ Sir B. PETO
I beg to give notice that I shall raise this question on the Adjournment, on the first occasion when the Eleven o'Clock Rule is not suspended.
§ 19. Mr. RHYS DAVIES
asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been called to the suggestion made by the Birmingham magistrates to cinema exhibitors that they might employ in cinemas persons on Sundays within the area of that city from among the staffs of cinemas who may be regularly employed for six days per week outside the city boundary where the provisions of the Sunday Entertainments Act do not apply; and whether he will circularise local authorities calling their attention to this violation of the Act?
The provisions of the Sunday Entertainments Act, 1932, regarding Sunday employment in cinemas have already been brought to the notice of licensing authorities in a circular letter issued by the Home Office; and my right hon. Friend is not aware that these provisions are being contravened in any area. He is, however, communicating with the 339 Birmingham Justices, and on the receipt of their reply he will consider whether any further action is called for on his part.
§ Mr. DAVIES
Has the hon. Gentleman's attention been called to the fact that the provisions of the Act as applied to Birmingham state that a six-day week is imperative at cinemas, but that it has been suggested by the licensing magistrates that employés outside the Birmingham area who are working six days a week elsewhere can be employed in Birmingham on the seventh day in these cinemas, and will the hon. Gentleman put a stop to the practice?