HC Deb 13 April 1956 vol 551 cc621-37

Amendment made: In page 6, line 38, at end insert: (2) Any reference in this Act to any enactment is a reference thereto as amended by or under any subsequent enactment.—[Mr. Deedes.]

2.59 p.m.

Mr. Ernest Davies

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

We have now reached what I hope will be the last stage of the Bill in the House. We had a full day's debate when the Bill received an unopposed Second Reading. We have had nearly a full day's debate today on Report, after two days in Committee. Therefore, I do not feel that the House needs to spend much time on further discussion now.

I should like briefly to express thanks for the support given to the promoters of the Bill by the Home Office. During the Second Reading debate the predecessor of the present Joint Under-Secretary made a generous offer to the supporters of the Bill, namely, that the draftsmen would give all the help required to make it fit to appear on the Statute Book. That help has been given generously, and on behalf of myself and my colleagues I thank the Department, which has come to our assistance. I wish also to express appreciation to a former hon. Member of this House, Mr. Geoffrey Bing, whose presence here we miss, and who assisted me in the original drafting of the Bill.

I make no great claims for this Measure. I do not think that it completely lays the ghost of Henry VIII, thought it might restrict him in respect of the haunts which he frequents. At least it keeps him away from the church hall and, even more important, from the women's institutes. Also, it will enable the local priest in future to run lotteries and to raise funds for his church organ without having a guilty conscience. And, perhaps unfortunately, it will allow the local Tory constituency parties to raise money for their insidious Tory propaganda. I do not suggest for a moment that we, on this side of the House, are at all interested in raising money for our political objects by this means.

The Bill has not been greatly amended during its passage except today by one Amendment which has increased the permitted total proceeds of a lottery from £500 to £750 and, by another, by which permitted expenses have been raised to 10 per cent. from 7½ per cent., which was in itself an increase from the 5 per cent. at which permitted expenses stood originally. Apart from those two major changes, however, only minor Amendments have been made.

The Bill has two main objects. The first is simply to legalise the small lotteries run for sporting, cultural or similar purposes, to make legal those lotteries which have the genuine purpose of raising money for deserving objects.

Its second purpose is to make legal small card games, particularly the whist drive. I am sure that the House will agree, therefore, that no great social harm can result from this Measure. For instance, I do not think that any home has been ruined by people engaging in small lotteries or that the absence of a housewife at a whist drive has broken up her home.

When a private Member embarks upon the introduction of a Bill of this nature he finds out how complex and complicated is the law, and how easy it is for him to burn his fingers. If this Bill reaches the Statute Book, I suggest that in conjunction with the Bill of my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Park (Mr. Mulley), for whose assistance I have been grateful, as much as possible has been done to reform the betting, gaming and lottery laws as can be done by private Members.

Therefore, I suggest that the Government must honour their undertaking to bring before the House at the earliest opportunity a comprehensive consolidating Measure for overhauling the out-of-date laws which govern betting, lotteries and gaming today. They are complex, they are complicated, and many of them make a lot of nonsense. In fact, reading through the ancient Statutes makes the account of the Mad Hatter's tea party appear almost sane.

The Bill has endeavoured to overcome those difficulties which the Royal Commission foresaw would result from trying to legalise small lotteries and whist drives. I think we have done so in the case of the small lotteries by limiting the proceeds to £750. Even the larger amount is not sufficient to open the way to lotteries on a national scale and to large-scale gambling. I do not think that any hon. Member will believe otherwise. I am sure that the restrictions imposed are adequate to prevent abuse of lotteries.

I hope that these will be my last words on the Bill, for I trust that the Government will facilitate as much as possible the passage of the Measure in another place, and that any Amendments which may be made there will not require further consideration in this House. I hope that the House will now find it possible to give the Bill an unopposed Third Reading, just as it gave it an unopposed Second Reading.

3.6 p.m.

Mr. Mulley

I beg to second the Motion.

I want to do what my hon. Friend the Member for Enfield, East (Mr. Ernest Davies), the promoter of the Bill, could not do, and that is to pay a tribute to him for the way in which he has handled the Bill throughout its stages. The Bill started well by having success in our own House of Commons lottery, but a great deal of its progress has depended upon the patience and skill shown by my hon. Friend.

My hon. Friend assessed the position of a private Member a little too low when he said that there were very great limitations on what a private Member can do. We know that that is so, but my hon. Friend's achievement with the Bill, although it may be only a temporary stage in the overall revision of our gambling laws that we hope the Government will carry out, will provide in many quarters relief from the difficulties in which charitable and other organisations find themselves. I hope that the House will now send the Bill forward so that it may shortly become law.

3.8 p.m.

Sir I. Fraser

In anticipation of the Bill obtaining a Third Reading, unopposed, I hope, I should like to offer my congratulations, and those of a great many hon. Members who cannot be called to speak at this late hour, to the hon. Member for Enfield, East (Mr. Ernest Davies), the hon. Member for Sheffield, Park (Mr. Mulley), my hon. Friend the Member for Aldershot (Sir E. Errington), and other hon. Members who have helped bring the Bill to its present stage.

It is an interesting fact that an hon. Member should get more letters about a small Bill of this kind from his constituents than about many important matters of State which fall to be considered and decided by the House. I have not had many, but I have had a few from both sides. Many things happen in this House about which one hears nothing at all from one's constituents. In this instance, curiously enough, religious bodies, which I will not name, have written to me, some hoping that I would oppose the Measure and others hoping that I would support it.

An hon. Member finds himself in the curious position of either evading his duty of being somewhere else, or of being here and having to make up his mind on the basis of his conscience and capacity to think and judge, and always remembering that he is a representative. I suppose that where an hon. Member has no strong conscientious view of his own on a matter he will be guided very largely by the views of his constituents. It is the sort of case in which an hon. Member can exercise his representative function to the largest possible extent.

I myself—I speak of myself as probably an example of a great many other hon. Members—have no strong conscientious feelings about the matter one way or the other. I should be a very great humbug if I were to oppose the Measure. I now have a bet with a colleague that I will catch more salmon than he will between now and the end of September. Along with colleagues on both sides of the House, I have frequently paid 2d. or 1s. to have a stake in a cake, pig, goose, or a bottle of whisky and from time to time I have bet on a race. I cannot believe that these things are so wrong or so wicked that they are likely to break up homes, or upset the morals of our people. It is all a matter of moderation and reasonableness. It is because the Bill makes legal the ordinary and decent things and the healthy customs which are commonplace among us that it should have a Third Reading.

I doubt whether much more than that needs to be said. I am glad that young people under the age of 16 have now been inhibited from selling tickets, because it is undesirable that they should be used to any great extent in the selling of tickets for substantial and organised sweepstakes of £500, £600, or £700. However, that my own grandchild, who is aged 10, or anyone else's grandchild, should be stopped from selling a 2d. ticket at a church bazaar for a cake, seems to be foolish. I suppose that we can hope that, in the good old British way, this is one of the minor anomalies which will not be noticed by the police.

To those of my constituents who have written to me sincerely and genuinely thinking that this is a grave matter, I should like to say that I take most earnest note of their representations. I respect their view, but I do not share it. On the contrary, one is acting in a more widely representative capacity and I am at the same time following my own bent when I say "Good luck" to those who want to have a minor flutter.

3.12 p.m.

Mr. Deedes

I intervene very briefly to add my congratulations to the hon. Member for Enfield, East (Mr. Ernest Davies) and to acknowledge the very kind words he used about the assistance given by the Home Department. I intervene for only one reason. He referred to the wider implications of the law now that he has finished with his Bill. As the subject has been raised more than once today, perhaps I should say that the main subject matter of the Royal Commission's Report quite neatly divided itself into four different subjects: bookmaking, gaming, lotteries, and pool betting.

The hon. Member for Sheffield, Park (Mr. Mulley) dealt with pool betting in one Measure and the hon. Member for Enfield, East has now dealt with lotteries. He feels that the limit of endeavour by private Members has been reached. I hope that we have shown that we accept that point of view by the assurances I have given and which I should reiterate, that the law of gaming and the question of bookmaking generally are to be the subject of legislation in the near future. I should emphasise that in view of the state at which we leave the law with the passage of this Bill.

3.13 p.m.

Mr. Black

I do not want to detain the House for more than two or three minutes. I certainly want to take the opportunity, along with other Members, of congratulating the hon. Member for Enfield, East (Mr. Ernest Davies) on the result which he is about to achieve, although hon. Members will understand that that result is one on which I do not look with any pleasure or satisfaction. He has piloted the Bill with a very considerable degree of skill and persuasiveness, and even those of us who cannot agree with most of the arguments which he has addressed to the House and Committee, can nevertheless, with consistency, pay a tribute to him for the way he has handled the Bill.

I think that I have made my position on this matter clear at various stages of the Bill. I dislike the Bill, and I am sorry that it is likely to become an Act, but at any rate it has been improved in two or three significant details during its passage through its various stages. In particular, the Bill has been greatly improved by the Amendment which the House has seen fit to accept today prohibiting the sale of tickets by young persons of under 16 years of age. That, I think we all agree, has been a notable addition to the provisions of the Bill.

In two smaller particulars it has been improved—by the necessity for the statement of accounts to be audited before presentation to the local authority, and also by the provision, which was inserted in Committee, that an organisation can have only one lottery at a time and cannot have a number of concurrent lotteries being conducted at one and the same point of time by the same promoters and on behalf of the same organisation. In those three respects the Bill has been improved, and to that extent, I suppose that those of us who dislike it should feel a measure of satisfaction.

I regret that the Measure is likely to reach the Statute Book. It does not accord with the recommendations of the Royal Commission, and I should have preferred the subject of lotteries to have been dealt with in a much more comprehensive manner when the Government bring in the much larger Measure which we are told is in contemplation, and which will, of course, deal with greater issues.

Having said that, it appears clear that a majority of hon. Members feel more in support of the Bill than I personally find myself; and in those circumstances, as a good democrat, I think it would be wrong for me, by any further measure that might be open to me, to hinder or to block further its passage.

3.17 p.m.

Mr. Harold Wilson (Huyton)

I intervene briefly for one or two specific purposes. First, I should like to join with all other hon. Members in congratulating my hon. Friend the Member for Enfield, East (Mr. Ernest Davies) not only on his initiative in choosing this subject for a clarification of part of the statute law, but on the manner in which he has piloted the Bill through the successive stages of its passage through the House. I join with him in expressing thanks to the Home Office for the valuable help it gave. After leaving the House, on Second Reading, quite free to take a decision in principle, the Department was then extremely helpful during the subsequent stages of the Bill.

I think, also, that I should be speaking for many hon. Members on both sides of the House, and, I am sure, for my hon. Friend the Member for Enfield East, if I were to say how much those of us who support the Bill have welcomed the attitude of the hon. Member for Wimbledon (Mr. Black) and other hon. Members. I express appreciation of the very helpful and reasonable way in which the hon. Member for Wimbledon has just addressed the House.

We are well aware that a considerable number of hon. Members, chiefly those who like myself, are Nonconformists, have opposed the principle of this Measure. In my own case, for reasons which I indicated on Second Reading, I support the Bill, but, of course, we all recognised that there are some quite strong views held by those who are opposed to it. I am sure that the whole House will agree that those who have opposed it have opposed it constructively and have been extremely helpful and reasonable.

The main reason why I support the Bill rather stems from the argument which took place across the Floor of the House between the hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, East (Sir R. Boothby) and my hon. Friend the Member for Barking (Mr. Hastings). The hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, East, liked small lotteries, medium lotteries, and, best of all, big lotteries. My hon. Friend the Member for Barking did not like any of them, and he liked the big ones least of all. I am between the two. I see very little harm in small lotteries, but the bigger the lottery, the bigger the element of gambling, the more suspicious I become

Sir R. Boothby

The right hon. Gentleman will do so when he is Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Mr. Wilson

That is extremely hypothetical. Although I have no doubt that the party on this side of the House will nominate the next Chancellor, it would be wrong to speculate about who will hold that position.

I should be going wide of the terms of this Bill were I to refer to other forms of gambling, such as speculation on the commodity markets and elsewhere. The problem that this Bill sets out to remedy is that the law has become unenforceable. When laws become unenforceable, and are held in derision, it is the clear duty of Parliament to alter them and to correct the position so that the laws can be enforced and the police are not faced with the kind of problems with which they have been faced over the past year or two.

That gives me an opportunity to correct an impression I gave when referring to this point during the debate on Second Reading, when I said, referring to the activities of the police and the Roman Catholic Church: I notice that the police have also been active in closing pools run by the Orange Lodges and the rest."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 25th November, 1955; Vol. 546, c. 1858.] This has led to protests from the Grand Master of England of the Loyal Orange Institute of England. He tells me that the Orange Institute is opposed to all pools and lotteries and, also, that the two cases I had in mind, those of the Loyalist Pool in Belfast and the Star Pool in Liverpool, have no connection with the Orange Movement; and that the Movement is not associated directly or indirectly with either of them. I must accept that statement made by the Grand Master and I welcome this opportunity to put the matter right, even at the risk of being ruled out of order.

The third point I wish to make refers to Clause 5 of the Bill, which makes certain Amendments regarding the Finance (No. 2) Act, 1947. It clarifies the position regarding the Betting and Lotteries Act, 1934, so far as pools are concerned. I notice that the Government resisted that particular change in the law, but I wish to warn the House that many of the lotteries about which hon. Members have been concerned in the passage of this Bill may be in danger as a result of assessment for Income Tax on their profits. This point is partly taken up in the Clause, but not completely, and if any of the promoters of these pools, whether run for charitable purposes, political purposes or for anything else, should suddenly find themselves assessed—as one or two have been recently—for Income Tax at 9s. in the £ on their takings for the previous six years, it may well be that the desires of Parliament as represented by this Bill will be frustrated.

To suggest any remedy for this situation would be to go outside the terms of the Bill, and it would be out of order for me to do so during this Third Reading debate. But I thought it right to make clear to the House that this particular Amendment of the Finance Act in Clause 5 does not do what I am sure the whole House would wish to do. I may add that I have brought this to the attention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who has told me, with a remarkable lack of originality, that he cannot anticipate his Budget statement. But I hope that it will be dealt with in the next Finance Bill.

Speaking for myself and, I am sure, for a number of my hon. Friends, I would say that we welcome this Bill and the fact that it has made so much progress. We hope that it will receive a Third Reading without opposition and we associate ourselves with all that has been said about my hon. Friend the Member for Enfield, East and those closely connected with him in all the work they have done in bringing this Bill to its present stage.

3.24 p.m.

Mr. Rees-Davies

There are two or three points which I should like to make, having regard to future legislation. The pith of this matter was put by the right hon. Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson) when he said that we have to legislate in these matters because the law is unenforceable and has been brought into contempt. That is clearly the background to this admirable Measure promoted by the hon. Member for Enfield, East (Mr. Ernest Davies), to whom I, too, wish to express my congratulations.

In the matter of lotteries we have virtually completed what is necessary in order to arrive at a satisfactory position regarding small lotteries. The only remaining issue in that field for the future is the highly speculative and difficult question of State lotteries. We believe that the present field, which is, after all, the main purpose of the promoter of this Bill, is to tie up lotteries in a satisfactory way.

The matter does not rest there. Equally unenforceable and equally troublesome in the future will be the question of the small card or gaming party. Although I did not press my Amendment dealing with "Housey-housey", "Bingo" or "Tombola" to a Division, it really is no answer to the question for the Royal Commission to say that it was unable to devise a method to incorporate these games and therefore did nothing about them. I want to make it quite plain that if the Royal Commission cannot do anything in the matter, I and my colleagues certainly can. We shall revert to this matter and fight it during the course of Government legislation.

I believe that we can find a satisfactory solution to ensure that the ordinary small game, subject to the limit of a few shillings and pence, can be played in this country in the same way as whist can now be played. When whist was outlawed in the Isle of Thanet a matter of a few months ago by the Deputy-Chief Constable nothing, I can assure the House, caused greater mental anguish in my constituency than the fact that the old ladies there could not have their game. I received over three hundred letters, some of them really heartbreaking. It is some satisfaction, I am sure, to my hon. Friend the Member for Wimbledon (Mr. Black) that these old ladies belonged to all denominations. They were quite upset at the thought that they could not play the game.

A great benefaction has been bestowed on these old ladies, living in what I call the retired constituencies, by Clause 4 of the Bill. If Clause 4 can be extended in due course, as I believe it can, to cover similar games in the British Legion and working men's institutes it will be very welcome, because I think they deserve to have similar treatment. When Government legislation is brought forward in the future it must cover these cases. It is no argument to say that the Government cannot meet the point because their Parliamentary draftsmen are not good enough. If they are not good enough, then we will table our own Clause and try to effect this purpose.

Further, at the moment we are going to be left with the anomaly that whereas we can play whist in the village or church hall we shall not be able to play it on licensed premises. I quite agree with the Minister that this is not the Bill in which to deal with licensed premises. But it is really a ludicrous situation that in the most comfortable hotels in the country people cannot play whist, but can do so in the village hall.

We shall have to tackle and look into this question of small card and gaming parties. I believe that this is the first Government in history that is going to meet the real domestic need of legislation not only in this field of gaming, but in regard to sex offences, prostitution, licensing and other matters. These are serious matters affecting the domestic lives of the people. I hope that we can couple our congratulations both to the Home Office and also to the promoter of this Bill in the hope that the Bill will be the forerunner of legislation in the domestic field bringing the greatest benefit to the people of this country.

3.29 p.m.

Mr. Mellish

I join with the hon. Member for the Isle of Thanet (Mr. Rees-Davies) in thanking my hon. Friend the Member for Enfield, East (Mr. Ernest Davies) for promoting the Bill. I hope that the old ladies of the Isle of Thanet will remember that it was a Labour Member who promoted the Bill, and that at the next Election we might get their support. I realise that in the Isle of Thanet we should need a lot of old ladies to do that for us.

There is one matter I wish to put on record. I say to the hon. Member for Wimbledon (Mr. Black), with every respect, that there has been throughout this Bill some criticism or comment made with regard to the fact that one of the churches—the Catholic Church—was very anxious for this Bill to become law. It ill-becomes any hon. Member of this House to criticise that Church for the stand which it takes, because it is a fact that this House imposes on that Church the restriction of having to find 50 per cent. of the money for every school which it has established. The result is that the Church is in debt at the moment to the extent of about £60 million, and it has to levy from every one of its members who goes to its Church 1s. a week and, on top of that, find other ways of getting the money.

That Church takes the view that small lotteries create no great harm, and that they are not an iniquitous evil, because, obviously, if they were, the Church would not support them. It says that there is nothing wrong in these and other churches all over the country promoting small lotteries, many of which have now been closed down.

The Bill makes it possible for them to run these lotteries. I know that they will be most grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Enfield, East, who has done a great service in promoting this Bill. The House of Commons ought really to remember that it is because of certain restrictions which have been placed on the Catholic Church that it supports this Bill, and for that and no other reason. I say to the hon. Member for Wimbledon that if he or any of his hon. Friends could devise ways and means of promoting legislation to ensure that gambling as a whole could be entirely abolished in this country, I and my hon. Friends who support the same faith as I do would be only too willing to join them.

Mr. Black

The hon. Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish) has referred to me twice in connection with what he has been saying, and I should like to make one point quite clear to him. I have at no time in the course of the discussions on this matter said anything that has been critical of the action of any church whatsoever. I am quite certain that if the hon. Member will study everything that I have said, he will not find a word of criticism about any church in connection with this matter. All that I have endeavoured to do is to rebut the kind of general charge of inconsistency which has been made towards those churches which dislike the Bill and which it has been said have been engaging in lotteries. Anything that I have said has been directly simply to rebutting that unfair allegation. I have said nothing critical of any church.

Mr. Mellish

If I have imputed to the hon. Gentleman something personal, I will willingly withdraw it. I was making a general statement. I know his personal views, and I was explaining why I, who do not hold the same religious views as he does, take the entirely opposite view. We regard these lotteries as a means of getting money which we have to find because of the policy which Parliament imposes. If the hon. Member could think of any other way of getting the money, I should be glad to know of it, because this is a very irksome and burdensome business.

I believe that the Bill makes it possible for ordinary people to have a small gamble without causing any hardship, and I bitterly resent those who get up and talk about what a shocking thing gambling is and who never refer to the Stock Exchange and suggest wiping that out. There is gambling on the Stock Exchange, but that is not regarded as gambling. The moment we talk about a bet of any kind, a hideous background is raised behind it. One feels ashamed to become associated with those whom some regard as committing a great evil, and one feels that one is being put in the category of being an un-Christian sort of person.

I think it is time that the betting laws were cleared up. Everyone knows that the police have a shocking job in trying to control these lotteries. Promoters state on the tickets, "For sale to members only," believing that that will save them from any trouble with the law, but that is not always the case. I have spoken to policemen in many parts of the country about this. They have said that they have a shocking job trying to control and look after the decent people as distinct from those whom they regard as "spivs." We owe a great debt to my hon. Friend the Member for Enfield, East for promoting this Private Member's Bill and to the support which has been given by the Joint Under-Secretary.

I am looking forward to the time when the present Government will be replaced, but let us give credit where it is due. On two occasions in regard to this matter the Government have shown that they are prepared to do something worth while. We are all looking forward now to new legislation on gambling. If the Home Office takes the same progressive view that it has taken on this Measure, and as it took on the Bill introduced by my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Park (Mr. Mulley), we shall have gone a long way towards clearly up a great many anomalies in this country.

3.35 p.m.

Sir R. Boothby

I wish to add, not a speech, but a footnote, largely prompted by a leading article in The Times on the subject of Private Members' Bills which gave the impression that Private Members' Bills, with the single exception of Sir Alan Herbert's Divorce (Law Reform) Bill, had been of little use or value. I have sat in this House for thirty-one years, and have seen a great many Private Members' Bills of great significance and importance. Fortunately, I have not got the list with me for it would take a considerable time to read all the titles of Private Members' Bills which have had a marked effect on the lives of all the people in the country.

I would say to the hon. Member for Enfield, East (Mr. Ernest Davies) that very few of them will have a more definite impact on the ordinary lives of ordinary people than the Bill which he has introduced. The Bill will have an immediate effect on the humdrum lives of ordinary people who do not hit the headlines, and that is extremely important. When the hon. Member claimed that under his guidance, and—I may say—inspiration, the House had taken the reform of the gambling laws as far as it could be taken without direct Government action, I do not think he was overstating the case.

I think that we have now taken the reform of the gambling laws right to the point where the buck must be passed fairly and squarely to the Government. It is a matter for satisfaction to hon. Members on both sides of the House that the Government have shown no disposition to shirk that responsibility. They have taken it on their shoulders and, as the hon. Member for Sheffield, Park (Mr. Mulley) said, we shall look forward very much to the comprehensive legislation which must be produced.

Meanwhile, as against The Times, I would say that the hon. Member for Enfield, East has been instrumental in getting through all stages in the House a Bill which will make a great difference to the lives of a great many people, which will clarify the law to a large extent and stop quite a lot of quite unnecessary crime—or what would be crime if the chief constable decided to take action in the matter. I most sincerely and warmly congratulate the hon. Member on a very useful piece of work.

3.37 p.m.

Lieut.-Colonel Marcus Lipton (Brixton)

I welcome the Bill as much as does any hon. Member who has spoken. It certainly helps to remove some of the haphazard stupidities which have cluttered up the Statute Book and which make criminals of quite ordinary, innocent people.

One small doubt, however, remains in my mind. It relates to whist drives. In London and other large towns whist drives are organised on a commercial basis with the knowledge of the police—and, presumably, with the approval of the Home Office, because there have not been any prosecutions of promoters of such functions for a considerable time. The doubt in my mind is whether, as a result of the Bill, in the case of commercial whist drives we may be making something definitely illegal which the Home Office and the police have allowed to continue for many years.

Those commercial whist drives are not organised on a gigantic scale. I do not suppose they provide any large number of people with a very remunerative livelihood. On the other hand, they do provide much innocent amusement to old people in large urban areas, who may not belong to any particular organisation I hope that the Home Office, the Government or the police will not take advantage of the greater precision provided in this House Bill to make something definitely illegal which has been allowed for some years past.

Subject to that one observation, I should like to associate myself with all those who have contributed to bringing the Bill to the stage which it has now reached. I hope that their efforts will be crowned with success when, in the not too distant future, the Bill reaches the Statute Book.

3.41 p.m.

Sir E. Errington

I should like to say one word, and it is literally only one word. [HON. MEMBERS: "The hon. Member has said it."] I think perhaps there will not be very much more.

I wish to pay my tribute to the promoter of the Bill in the sense that he has succeeded where I failed. I believe that, as a result of efforts which have been made and changes which have been introduced, we shall have a Bill which will make possible the enforcement of the law for the first time in our history.

3.42 p.m.

Mr. Holmes

Very briefly also, I want to make one or two points. First, although I have been in opposition to him, I would like to say that my hon. Friend the Member for Enfield, East (Mr. Ernest Davies) has shown a fair-minded approach. I will go with him this far and say that by bringing forward this Private Member's Bill he has focussed attention on the Royal Commission on Betting, Lotteries and Gaming, and, as a result of that, he has done good in other directions.

I did hope that even at this late stage the House would not give a Third Reading to the Bill, but I know that is a forlorn hope. There are some of us none the less who have deep feelings on fundamental standards. I am certainly not a killjoy; I have as great a zest for life as any man. In many and varied activities I get a great deal out of life, and I have no need to resort to gambling, lotteries, or anything of that sort.

My fear is that this Bill is opening the door wide, particularly to young people, and encouraging them to try to get something for nothing. Something for nothing is a dangerous aim in our moral life. I know it has been said that we have done our little best and secured some improvement in the Bill. We have not got all we wanted, but we are satisfied to have made some improvement. I again compliment my honourable Friend the Member for Enfield, East for the fair-mindedness he has shown, and for the attention he has focussed on the work of the Royal Commission.

Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed.