HC Deb 26 January 1960 vol 616 cc68-9
The Solicitor-General

I beg to move, in page 4, line 6, to leave out "for" and to insert: and the period during which it is so exhibited is or includes". This is a drafting Amendment which is designed to meet some doubts that were expressed by the hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) and the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Swingler) when we discussed Clause 4 in Committee. Those hon. Members who were on the Committee will remember that I ventured to advise the Committee that, on my reading of the Clause, it was only, in any event, a minimum period which was laid down. The hon. Lady and the hon. Gentleman pressed me, if that were so, to make it clear beyond any doubt at all. I under-look to reconsider the matter in that light before Report stage. It is in an attempt, and I hope a successful attempt, to meet that point that we have put down this Amendment.

Mrs. White

I am very glad indeed that the Solicitor-General has thought fit to make some amendment to what appeared to us to be the most obscure wording of the Clause. Even now, I must confess that it is not crystal clear to me. I have taken the advice of the trade, and particularly of the Exhibitors' Association, who are most closely concerned with this matter, and they tell me that it is now clear to them. That being so, I think we have met the object of the exercise. I have a note here from the secretary of the Cinematograph Exhibitors' Association, in which he says: The proposed Government Amendment to Clause 4 appears to us to be a very desirable one, as if the Clause is left in an inelastic form it could well defeat its own object. In other words, if the Clause remains unamended, in the opinion of the exhibitors it will defeat its own object.

I think that we were more than justified in the fairly long discussion which we had in Committee in pressing upon the Government the need for some amendment to the wording of what seemed to us a most obscure sentence. Therefore, as that matter has been clarified in the eyes of the trade, and as they feel that we are now to have a more suitable and elastic form of words which meets their needs, I think that we should accept the Amendment to this Clause, and be thankful that we have made one little improvement in the Bill.

Amendment agreed to.