HC Deb 19 February 1959 vol 600 cc520-2
15. Mr. Simmons

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, in view of the lack of evidence in his Department concerning children in clubs, he will take steps to check the evidence provided to him by the hon. Member for Brierley Hill (Mr. Simmons), and if he will make a statement.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. David Renton)

The information which the hon. Member sent my right hon. Friend, contains no evidence that children in clubs consume intoxicants and appears to reflect the division of opinion shown in this House in the debate on the hon. Member's Bill on this subject last Session.

Mr. Simmons

Is not the hon. and learned Gentleman aware that his right hon. Friend has set up a committee to inquire into juvenile drunkenness? Will he reinforce that committee by including in its membership leaders of youth clubs and Nonconformist and other social workers, because his Department appears to be very lax in obtaining the necessary information on which to come to a conclusion on the subject?

Mr. Renton

The proposed committee is to inquire into drunkenness as a whole. As I told the hon. Gentleman on previous occasions, we have no evidence of any general or serious drunkenness among children. I certainly could not, without notice, answer questions about the composition of the committee.

19. Mr. Simmons

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is aware that strip-tease acts are being performed in clubs in the Midlands and elsewhere and that children and young persons are allowed to attend these performances; and, in view of the moral objections to such attendance, if he will take steps to make it illegal.

Mr. Renton

My right hon. Friend has read the newspaper article which the hon. Member was good enough to send him, but he is not at present persuaded of the need for legislation.

Mr. Simmons

Is the Minister aware that these children and young persons can go without let or hindrance into clubs, whereas they are excluded from "pubs" and that this type of entertainment is a moral danger to these children and young persons? It is no good our condemning juvenile delinquency if we do not take steps to remove temptation out of the way of these young people.

Mr. Renton

The evidence which the hon. Member has put before us and, indeed, the evidence at our disposal does not show that children are admitted to these strip-tease clubs, with the exception of one unidentified club in the Midlands. Certainly, on the evidence we now have, it would not be right to suggest that there should be legislation in this matter.

Mr. E. L. Mallalieu

Does the hon. and learned Gentleman's information allow him to tell us where these clubs are?

Mr. Renton

I could not say that without notice.