HC Deb 04 December 1947 vol 445 cc541-3
4. Mr. E. P. Smith

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why Scotland Yard intervened to stop the Christmas Draw in aid of the funds of the County of London Branch of the British Red Cross Society.

Mr. Ede

The draw was illegal and rendered the promoters liable to proceedings under the Betting and Lotteries Act, 1934. The Commissioner of Police decided that the case could properly be dealt with by way of warning on condition that the draw was abandoned.

Mr. E. P. Smith

Does not the right hon. Gentleman realise that, in these times, when there are so many undetected serious crimes, the time of the police could be more valuably spent in other directions; and, furthermore, is he aware that I have in my hand here a rather touching photograph published this year by the "Leicester Mercury" showing police cadets lining up to buy tickets for a prize draw at the Leicester Police and Special Constables' dance?

Mr. Ede

They are not within the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Police, and I can only hope that the advertisement which the hon. Gentleman has given to their activities will warn them off breaches of the law in future. With regard to the first part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question, it is the duty of the police to see that the law is enforced, and I think that, on this occasion, they acted with propriety.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

In view of the interest shown by the Metropolitan Police in the legality of Christmas draws, will they investigate the legality of a Christmas draw which is, at the moment, being organised by the West Fulham Labour Party, and a ticket for which—though I am glad to say I have not paid for it—I hold in my hand?

Mr. Ede

I would advise the hon. Gentleman to be careful in walking about with an incriminating document in his possession.

Mr. Janner

In view of the absurd position that has been created in consequence of the legal situation with regard to draws generally, and the fact that nobody in the country really observes the law in this particular regard whenever it comes to a question of charity, is it not about time that this particular matter was remedied by some kind of legislation?

Mr. Ede

I have the ambition of dealing, at some time, with the laws relating to gaming and similar matters, but I would not like to give a date.

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