HC Deb 14 July 1960 vol 626 cc1582-3
19. Mr. Fletcher

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, in view of the increasing social evils resulting from the indiscriminate registration of clubs, he will now announce his proposals to prevent the existing abuses and to increase the powers of magistrates to refuse registration or re-registration.

Mr. R. A. Butler

My proposal, which I outlined in the debate on the licensing laws on 29th January, is that the law should distinguish between genuine members' clubs, which would enjoy much the same right to registration as hitherto, and proprietary clubs, which would have to apply for a justices' licence if they wished to supply drink. I am considering, in the light of subsequent consultations, the best method of giving effect to this proposal and the powers that should be given to the courts to ensure an effective measure of control. I cannot further anticipate the forward legislative programme.

Mr. Fletcher

May we take it that the Home Secretary is now aware that this problem is becoming increasingly serious and is causing a very considerable nuisance in many parts of the Metropolis and elsewhere by reason of the fact that these clubs are growing up and conducting all kinds of undesirable practices with which it is very difficult for the police to deal? May we have an assurance that the right hon. Gentleman will introduce legislation on the subject early in the next Session?

Mr. Butler

Yes, Sir; it is the present intention that such legislation shall be introduced in the next Session. It is clear to my mind that the reason for the legislation is more profound than we at first imagined, and a review of the licensing laws will give us the opportunity to clear up some very undesirable states of affairs.