HC Deb 19 October 1950 vol 478 cc2217-9
34. Mr. Norman Bower

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, with a view to reducing intoxication caused by drinking against time, he will introduce legislation to remove all restrictions on the sale of alcoholic refreshments during the period of the Festival of Britain.

Mr. Ede

No, Sir.

Mr. Bower

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the temptation to put another one down before closing time is one of the most potent causes of intoxication, and that in countries where no such restrictions exist there is much less drunkenness than in this country?

Mr. Ede

No, Sir. I should think it all depended upon how many had gone down before the last one.

Mr. James Hudson

Would not my right hon. Friend accept it as a fair presumption that the type of person who can guzzle a great deal at closing time is likely to guzzle more still if closing time were extended?

Mr. Snow

Is my right hon. Friend aware that his answer to the first supplementary question was rather flippant and that there was great substance in the question put by the hon. Member for Harrow, West (Mr. Bower)? Is he further aware that in other countries where families can go into premises where intoxicating liquors are sold, there is a very much better atmosphere?

Mr. Ede

My experience abroad is limited, but I must say that I consider that the social habits of the people of this country in this matter and other matters are not to be equalled or excelled by any other nation in the world.

Mr. Shepherd

Does the right hon. Gentleman really believe that our existing licensing laws reflect the best that we can do?

Mr. Ede

Oh, no, Sir. They were drawn up by other people, before I came into office.

Mr. Eric Fletcher

In case the reply of the Home Secretary is misunderstood, may we take it that there is no evidence of intoxication caused by drinking against time?

Mr. Ede

I know of no evidence that there is any excessive drunkenness in this country from this cause.