§ Order read for resuming adjourned debate on Amendment to Question [28th November], That the Bill be now read a Second time.
§ Which Amendment was to leave out "now" and at the end of the Question to add: "upon this day six months."
§ Question again proposed, That "now" stand part of the Question.
§ Mr. Francis Noel-Baker (Swindon)
On a point of order. May I ask whether it is your intention, Mr. Speaker, to call the Amendment standing in my name and the names of my hon. Friends?
[That this House declines to proceed further with a Bill which, while it provides for increased penalties for offences in connection with the supply of intoxicating liquor to persons under the age of eighteen years, makes no provision for restraining costly advertising campaigns by brewers and distillers specifically designed to increase the consumption of intoxicating liquor by young persons, until a full inquiry has been made into the advertising of intoxicating liquor.]
§ Mr. Speaker
I am obliged to the hon. Member. It is probably useful for me to say that that Amendment is not selected.
§ 3.35 p.m.
§ The Joint Under-Secretary of State For the Home Department (Mr. David Renton)
My right hon. Friend the Minister of State, to give him the designation which he has so recently acquired and so richly deserved, will wind up the debate today and will deal with the points raised yesterday on Parts I and II of the Bill and also with further matters which may arise today. Meanwhile, I hope that it will be convenient if I deal with the provisions in Part III, which are concerned with clubs, and in doing so I will answer questions about clubs which were put yesterday.
Our new and rather stringent proposals for clubs were yesterday unanimously acclaimed by all hon. Members who spoke about them, including three right hon. Members opposite, as well as my hon. Friend the Member for Cheadle 204 (Mr. Shepherd), who has given so much attention to these problems.
I am sure that everyone who heard his speech yesterday greatly admired the way in which the right hon. and learned Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice) managed to square his puritan idealism with his affluent libertarianism. He, like other right hon. and hon. Members who spoke, pointed out that the Working Men's Club and Institute Union, the British Legion and the Association of Conservative Clubs had expressed anxiety lest our desire to control undesirable clubs should place a difficult and irksome burden on the respectable clubs; in particular, as the right hon. and learned Gentleman said, when it is intended to open a new club in premises which, because no income is yet forthcoming, are not as ideal as they might be.
I listened with sympathy to the right hon. and learned Gentleman on this subject, as, I am sure, all hon. Members who, like myself, from time to time resort to working men's clubs, British Legion clubs and, in our case, Conservative clubs, are bound to do. I hope to reassure the right hon. and learned Gentleman and the clubs' organisations that in Part III of the Bill we shall not be making it difficult for respectable clubs to carry on, or start up. The old-established clubs, those which are at least twenty-five years old, are given a special advantage in the Seventh Schedule, because their first application for registration after the transitional period will be treated as though it is a renewal.
As has been pointed out, registration under the present law is a mere formality. Not only can no objection be made to it, but magistrates have no duty to check the bona fides of a club, or even the accuracy of the particulars given in support of the application. Indeed, it is almost as easy to get a licence to sell drink in a club as it is to get a dog licence—and it is a good bit cheaper to get the licence for a club.
It is true, as the right hon. and learned Member for Newport pointed out yesterday, that a magistrates' court can hear certain complaints about the conduct of a club under the present law, and, if those complaints are proved, the club can be struck off the register. But in practice that procedure is of little use, because the club can start up again in 205 new premises. If the magistrates happen to have disqualified the premises—which they do not always do—then the club can start up elsewhere in other premises.
The present law is, therefore, completely ineffective, and we all know that many bogus clubs have been formed which are little more than unlicensed drinking dens for undesirables—and there is no control at all over the kind of premises in which they can operate. As a result, many wretched and insanitary basements have been used. These clubs are not only socially bad, but compete unfairly with the licensed premises, which, as we heard yesterday, are sometimes a very strenuous business for a publican to keep going.
In Part III of the Bill we make an important distinction in principle between ordinary sales for commercial profit, on the one hand, and the supply of drink to a member of a genuine club for consumption by himself or his guest, on the other. That distinction, in theory, underlies even the present law, but, in practice, has become submerged. In public houses, liquor is sold to the public, and the publican must have a justices' licence because no one may sell intoxicating liquor without a licence. In a genuine members' club, however, the liquor is owned by the members jointly, and when a member obtains a drink and pays for it he is simply using his right, as one of the joint owners, to draw on the common stock.
Strictly speaking, there is, therefore, no sale of liquor at all and the law does not, and, we think, should not, require a genuine members' club to hold an intoxicating liquor licence, any more than it requires such a licence for members of the same household who are sharing out among themselves the contents of their wine cellar.
It seems to be generally agreed that a proprietary club in which the owner makes profit from buying stocks of liquor and selling it to members at a profit, should, therefore, not have the privilege of registration as a club, but we feel that it should have the opportunity of applying for a justices' licence if it can overcome any objections that may be made to the application. We give this opportunity in Clause 24, under which any club can apply for and obtain a justices' licence. On that occasion, 206 however, the justices would have a wide discretion to grant or to refuse the application, or to attach conditions to the licence.
Genuine members' clubs, whether partly proprietary or not, are treated in the Bill more favourably, although they will have to satisfy the justices that they comply with the requirements of Clause 17, which my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary outlined yesterday. If they succeed in doing this, the justices will be obliged to allow registration, unless there is an objection under Clause 18, which, of course, the court would then have to consider in the light of what is laid down in that Clause.
Clause 17 lays down qualifications which must be proved before the club can be given a registration certificate. We do not consider that any of these are unreasonable requirements for legislation. Indeed, under the present law, the absence of nearly any one of them is a ground for striking the club off the register. If those requirements are proved, and there are no objections, the magistrates must grant a certificate of registration, but if there are objections the position is different. Objections may be made by the police, the local authority or, to use the exact words in Clause 18, which may turn out to be important:… by any person affected by reason of his occupation of or interest in other premises;Those are fairly wide words, and the grounds of objection are also fairly widely drawn. Under paragraphs (a), (b) or (c) of Clause 18 (2), the magistrates, having heard the objection, are obliged to refuse the application for registration or renewal if it does not give adequate information as required by the Act, or if the premises are not suitable and convenient, or if the club does not satisfy the requirements, that have already been put before the House, about membership and arrangements for supply of drink.
If, however, the objection is based on any of the grounds in paragraphs (d) or (e) of Clause 18 (2), the magistrates have a discretion to refuse registration or renewal. It is a discretion which they will have to exercise according to the evidence given by the objectors, and the 207 explanation and any evidence offered by the applicant. Among the grounds of objection is that the club is habitually used as a resort for criminals. It may interest the House to know that some clubs which are largely patronised by criminals are at present free to operate quite easily if they are careful to observe the present law. They do so and they are resorts of criminals.
Another ground for objection is that the premises are habitually used for indecent displays. The House will wish me to consider the exact position which will arise on that. This provision will enable the magistrates to refuse registration or renewal to clubs where indecent striptease shows take place. It will be for the magistrates to decide, in the circumstances of each case, whether or not the show is indecent. If they do so decide, they will then have a discretion to say whether or not registration or renewal, as the case may be, should be refused.
Power is also given in the Bill—though not so widely as the scope of objection—to the police and the local authority to complain in writing against a club for cancellation of its registration certificate. That can be done at any time and not merely when waiting for renewal. They may do so on the same grounds as the grounds of objection mentioned in paragraphs (c), (d) or (e) of Clause 18 (2). If the complaint is proved, the court has no discretion, but is obliged to cancel the registration.
We need to bear in mind that the court has different powers on these different occasions. That is to say, when hearing an application without an objection, when hearing an objection, and when hearing a complaint.
§ Mr. Marcus Lipton (Brixton)
Could the hon. and learned Gentleman clear up one point before he proceeds? If somebody wants to open a club in, say, a residential area, how will the people in the immediate neighbourhood know beforehand that an application to register a club is to be made?
§ Mr. Renton
There will be provision for giving publication of applications as there are in many other circumstances under the law. Without notice, I cannot pinpoint the provision, or the power to 208 make it, but I will have the point looked into for the hon. Member.
Yesterday, the right hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Glenvil Hall) asked about the right of entry by police into clubs, and my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary invited his attention to Clause 23. My right hon. Friend has asked me also to draw attention to Clause 22, under which the police may inspect premises after the application for initial registration has been made and before it is heard by the justices, so that the justices may be provided with an up-to-date report on the premises.
The right hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede), who gave us notice yesterday that he would not be able to be present at the debate today, urged the clubs organisations to volunteer to submit to entry by the police without a warrant. That is a very interesting suggestion. It will be interesting to see what transpires as a result of his initiative.
The right hon. Member for Colne Valley said there was a gap in the Bill because there was nothing done to prevent young people from drinking in clubs. The right hon. Gentleman made a valid point, because there is a gap, but it is a very controversial matter. The right hon. Gentleman may remember that twice in the last Parliament there was a Private Members' Bill which attempted to impose a lower age limit for drinking in clubs, but neither Bill got very far because of the opposition to the proposals.
Another useful suggestion was made by the right hon. Member for South Shields about this matter. He said that clubs should be encouraged to make a rule of their own not to admit young people under 18 to membership. We should not discourage the making of such a rule.
§ Mr. Renton
As I say, this is a very controversial matter and there are divided opinions upon it. No doubt it is a subject which will be explored during the Committee stage proceedings. I shall be surprised if it is not.
My hon. Friends the Members for Ealing, South (Mr. Batsford) and Cheadle both considered that the provisions of 209 Part III of the Bill relating to registered clubs—this is a very important matter—might be defeated by the ease of obtaining restaurant licences under the provision in Part I. We do not think that will happen, and I will explain why. Restaurant licences will not be had just for the asking. First, the premises have to be suitable. They must be… structurally adapted and bona fide used, or intended to be used, for the purpose of habitually providing substantial refreshment…That appears in Clause 1 (2, a).
Secondly, the applicant must be a fit and proper person.
Thirdly, the licensing justices may refuse an application under Clause 2 (3) because a large proportion of those resorting to the premises are, "young persons unaccompanied" who are not provided with substantial refreshments on the premises. "Young persons unaccompanied" means someone under 18 not accompanied and paid for by a parent or someone of full age.
The other point that it is relevant to consider on this question is how easily or otherwise restaurant licences may be obtained. That was referred to in a number of speeches made during yesterday's debate and the question was asked: what is a meal? The meals to be provided must be left to the interpretation by the courts in the light of the provisions in Clause 1 (2) which require that the refreshment shall be substantial. The words "substantial refreshment" have been used since the Licensing Act of 1921, and the courts are accustomed to them. But they will have to interpret them in the light of our new proposals in the Bill. For these reasons we do not anticipate the wholesale granting of refreshment licences to people whether they be club owners or other people, who do not deserve to have them.
§ Mr. Walter Edwards (Stepney)
On the question of substantial meals and applications to obtain licences, I think that it is correct that the Bill lays down that an application for a licence shall not be refused by the magistrates. Surely this is not to be so wide, as the hon. and learned Member says, that it is to be left to the courts to decide what is a substantial meal. Who can decide what is a substantial meal? I do not know 210 what that means; it depends on how hungry a person is. Surely we want something which is clearer.
§ Mr. Renton
This is a detailed point and, as I say, it is one which must be left to the interpretation of the courts in the light of the circumstances placed before them. But the courts will not be able to grant licences unless the requirements of Clauses 1 and 2 are satisfied. As the hon. Gentleman says, it is true that if the requirements are satisfied the licence must be granted, but they are matters of some substance which have to be proved to the satisfaction of the court. In view of the experience which there has been in leaving the courts to decide matters of this kind, I do not think that the licensing justices will experience very much difficulty in finding their way through these provisions. But this, again, is a matter which might very well be explored in Committee.
§ Mr. W. Edwards
In London, licensing justices have never had to deal with anything of this kind. They have merely had to deal with the ordinary application from the licensee of a public house. They have never had any experience in judging what is a substantial meal.
§ Mr. Renton
With respect to the hon. Gentleman, they have had this experience since the Licensing Act of 1921; and, of course, in relation to supper licences, where a similar point arises.
We think that the proposals relating to clubs will put a good many unsavoury establishments out of business. They are places which abuse and disgrace the name of "club" and it will be to the advantage of respectable clubs to have these rather stringent provisions, as undoubtedly it will also be to the benefit of the community as a whole.
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall (Colne Valley)
Yesterday I put a question and asked that an answer might be given today by the Minister. According to my reading of the Bill, although I may be wrong, its provisions will not bite on unsavoury clubs which do not apply for a licence. There are many which have come into existence since the Street Offences Act. They deal with striptease, sex and things of that kind, and are most undesirable. If this Bill does not touch them, may we expect from the Home Secretary at 211 some future time—the sooner the better—a Bill to deal with that kind of club?
§ 3.59 p.m.
§ Mr. Eric Fletcher (Islington, East)
The hon. and learned Gentleman the Joint Under-Secretary of State has dealt almost exclusively with the provisions contained in Part III of that Bill. I do not think that anyone will complain about that. We are grateful to him for the careful analysis he has given of how the Government contemplate that the provisions in that part of the Bill will work. In doing so, the hon and learned Gentleman revealed that there will be a good many difficulties in applying the provisions. He has been right to concentrate on Part III. So far as I am concerned, and I think that it is equally true of some other hon. Members, were it not for the provisions in Part III I should have great difficulty in supporting the Second Reading of this Measure.
After considerable reflection, it is my intention to support the Bill. I listened yesterday to the speech of the hon. Member for Wimbledon (Sir C. Black), and various hon. Members on this side of the House, all of whom are specially concerned with the evils which may flow from certain provisions in Parts I and II of the Bill. It is my hope that during the Committee stage proceedings we shall be able to amend those parts and make substantial improvements to them.
Part III, which deals with clubs, seems to me to be the main justification for the Bill. There is the admitted, recognised and growing evil of the large number of bogus clubs that have grown up in recent years, which, as the hon. and learned Gentleman said, are really nothing more than sordid drinking dens and seminaries of vice. Therefore, in examining Part III, we have to consider whether it satisfies two tests. First, whether the provisions go too far, in the sense of handicapping, prejudicing or embarrassing genuine bona fide clubs, and, as the hon. and learned Gentleman recognised, the provisions in the Bill are fairly Draconian; and, secondly, 212 whether the Bill goes far enough in stamping out the evil at which it is directed.
Like other hon. Members, I have had representations from the Working Men's Club and Institute Union. Personally, I do not think that that body need feel apprehensive about the provisions of the Bill, because, as the Bill stands, the police have no right of admission to clubs without a warrant. At one time, the Club and Institute Union thought that clubs would be liable to police inspection at any time. I hope that the Government will give consideration to the proposal made by my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) yesterday, and that even if the police have no right of admission into clubs without a warrant, they will be given sufficient encouragement to enable them to detect and intervene at an early stage in the case of any doubtful club that survives after the passage of the Bill.
I now want to say a word or two about a point which my right hon. Friend the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Glenvil Hall) raised, which is one that disturbs me a great deal. It is whether these provisions in Part III go far enough. I think that the Home Secretary has some doubts about that, because, in answer to a Question of mine, on 14th July, he said:… 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."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 14th July, 1960; Vol. 626, c. 1583.]Yesterday, the hon. Member for Wimbledon read a very impressive letter from the Temperance Council of the Christian Churches, which has the distinguished patronage of so many Churches. I thought that the hon. Gentleman overstated his arguments and spoilt his case. We must remember that the provisions of the Bill do not cover the whole of the evil with which we are concerned. It is not all crime that stems from alcohol; it is not all vice that stems from alcohol. There are temperate criminals in the same way as there are temperate prostitutes, and the Bill will do nothing to deal with non-alcoholic clubs and non-alcoholic cafés. We should bear that in mind.
I had a letter recently from the Islington Association for Moral Welfare, 213 which is very much concerned with this question, drawing my attention to the fact that there is in Islington an increasing number of small, dirty, cafés, which are open all night and which are to be found in many of the main thoroughfares of Islington. They frequently change their names. They are frequently raided by the police and open up under another name. Reputable workers in Islington are ready to testify that these cafés, which are open all night, are resorts for prostitution, dope peddling, the procuring of abortion, and in some cases as brothels. Therefore, we must not be too complacent about what this Bill can achieve. I thought it right to enter that caveat at the outset.
Having done so, I should like to pass from the provisions of Part III to indicate my approach to the provisions of Parts I and II, dealing with the proposed new licences and with the question of permitted hours.
§ Mr. W. R. Rees-Davies (Isle of Thanet)
In view of the difficulty which the hon. Gentleman has just raised, will he look at Clause 18 (2, e)? The difficulty which arises is that the Bill enters—does it not?—into the field which is not that of drink, but, perhaps, is a different point. The Clause states:the club premises or any of them (including premises in respect of which the club is not registered or seeking registration) are habitually used for an unlawful purpose, or for indecent displays.Is not the hon. Gentleman advocating, and rightly, that we should deal with this in another Measure and not in a licensing Bill?
§ Mr. Fletcher
I think that the hon. Gentleman's intervention was intended to be helpful. I do not mind whether it is done in this Measure or in some other Measure. Unfortunately, I am not responsible for the introduction of the Government's legislation. That is the responsibility of the Home Secretary.
I am merely pointing out that there are certain limitations in Part III of the Bill, and I am urging the Government to take notice of the point and to indicate that they are prepared to deal with this wider problem, which has become such a great social menace. I do not mind whether it is in this Bill or in another, but I hope that the 214 Minister of State will tell us that it has not escaped the attention of the Government.
May I now pass to Parts I and II of the Bill and say, by way of preliminary observation, that in so far as there are certain provisions in the Bill which are aimed at removing anomalies chiefly to assist the tourist trade, I personally welcome them. I do not want to spend very much time on them, but, for example, it has always seemed to me to be an absurd anomaly, and one that is greatly resented both by overseas visitors and those who entertain them, that whereas a resident in an hotel or any other licensed premises can buy himself a drink at any time, within or without permitted hours, he cannot buy a drink for a non-resident guest. This anomaly is being removed by Clause 7 (4).
I do not share the fears of the hon. Member for Wokingham (Mr. van Straubenzee), who thought that this Clause would be capable of very considerable abuse by the rugby club of which he is either a member or a patron, I am not sure which. I hope, in any event, that the provisions in the Bill will be sufficiently stringent to enable the police and the licensing magistrate to deal with any cases of attempted evasion of the kind to which he referred.
I welcome the tendency to remove restrictions on the times at which drinks can be served with a meal in hotels and restaurants. There is a complete distinction between the necessity for having regulated hours during which alcohol can be consumed in public houses and the case for having any restrictions on the service of drinks with meals in hotels or restaurants. It seems to me anomalous that the time at which a meal is taken should be governed by the licensing laws.
I think that most medical experts are agreed that there is very much greater harm caused to the human system by inordinate drinking, if one does nothing but drink, as compared with taking alcoholic refreshment while eating at the same time. Therefore, I think that this particular relaxation is a liberalising provision and is on the right lines. If people, for various reasons, cannot have lunch before 3 o'clock in the afternoon, they should have the same facilities for having drinks with their meals as have 215 people who have lunch at an earlier hour of the day.
Personally, I do not oppose the removal of the restrictions on the hours at which alcoholic beverages may be sold at off-licences. That has always appeared to me to be an anomaly, and it does not seem to me that the reasons which apply for strict licensing laws at licensed premises have any application to off-licences. There never has been, and there never could be, any restriction on the times at which one has a drink in one's own home. If one wants to buy a bottle of beer to take home to drink while eating a piece of bread and cheese, I think one should be able to buy a bottle of beer at the same time as one buys a loaf of bread and a piece of cheese. On that ground, I believe that this irritating anomaly on the sale of intoxicants at off-licences is being properly removed.
I am not at all happy about the provisions of Part I, which introduce the new restaurant and hotel licences. When we had our debate in January in which the Home Secretary spoke, I was sympathetic with his conception, now embodied in the Bill, that a distinction should be drawn between the licence of a restaurant or a hotel or a boarding house, on the one hand, and the licence of a public house, on the other, but on looking at the Bill it seems to me to go much too far, and very much further than the Home Secretary indicated in January.
May I give an illustration? Let us consider the licence for restaurants and guest houses. In January, the Home Secretary, when talking about the grant of licences to bona fide restaurants or hotels, saidThe grant of a licence would be subject to the condition that drinks would be sold only with a meal."—,[OFFICIAL REPORT, 29th January, 1960; Vol. 616, c. 563–4.]I approved of that at the time, but if hon. Members look at Clause 1 (3, b)they will see that if a person obtains a residential licence—parenthetically, may I observe that anybody who satisfies certain not very difficult conditions will be able to obtain a residential licence as of right—then in that boarding house intoxicating liquor can be sold for consumption by the person who buys it, or by his friends who are entertained by him, either on the premises or with a meal supplied at but to be consumed off the premises.
216 In other words, where a person gets a licence—and thousands of them may be granted as of right—he will be entitled to buy a drink at any time, with or without a meal and also—I do not understand the necessity for this—to buy intoxicants and take them away with a meal for consumption off the premises.
§ Mr. Ronald Bell (Buckinghamshire, South)
I think that the hon. Member is probably not saying what he means. He said that anyone who got a licence would be able to buy a drink in those circumstances. I do not think that he meant the person who gets the licence could buy a drink, but the person who lives on the premises could buy a drink.
§ Mr. Fletcher
I am obliged to the hon. Member for that verbal correction. May I restate what I was trying to say.
Under the Bill an unlimited number of boarding-house keepers will in future be able to obtain residential licences—and I will come to the scope of that provision in a moment. Where they are obtainable, the persons residing there will be able to buy drinks at any time, with or without a meal, and will be able to take drinks away with a meal. I do not know whether that was intended. If so, then it is very different from what the Home Secretary said in our debate in January.
I mention the point because it has been brought forcibly to my notice by the Islington and District Christian Citizenship Council, which writes:The fact that proprietors of boarding houses will be able to demand a licence under which residents and their guests may be served with intoxicants apart from meals appears to us dangerous in the extreme.If anyone thinks that this is an imaginary grievance may I point out that the fear that in the future at any boarding house the residents will be able to buy drinks at any time for themselves and their visitors is already causing alarm.
I will read a letter which I received from a constituent yesterday. She writes:Regarding the introduction of drink into boarding houses, do not you think that this would make them very precarious places in which to reside? Anyone seeking accommodation would have to be very careful, especially women. The accommodation problem, in London especially, is bad enough without being made worse. At present, I am in a boarding house. There are twenty or more 217 residents—only two of us women—and I do not feel that it would be a fit place in which to stay if drink were introduced.This is a real fear. [Laughter.] It is no use laughing about it. If we are to turn all boarding houses into places in which beer and other intoxicants can be served at any time, with or without a meal, it will change the nature of the boarding houses as they are recognised in London at present. I do not know whether the Home Secretary intends the Bill to operate in this way. If he does, it is quite different from what he said in January and very different from what is advocated in the publication with which he is familiar.
§ Mr. Denzil Freeth (Basingstoke)
Is it not a fact that at the moment the fellow inhabitants of any boarding house may buy bottles of drink and take them into the boarding house to consume them there at their leisure? Is it not also a fact that if the proprietress does not wish drink to be served in her boarding house, she need not apply for a licence?
§ Mr. Fletcher
The hon. Member can make his own speech. The point which he makes may be relevant, but there is a great distinction between having a stock of intoxicants in a boarding house and people taking in an occasional bottle of beer.
May we see how far this extends? Some of my hon. Friends put questions about it yesterday. I want to see not only how far the residential licence extends, but how far the restaurant licence extends. Every keeper of an ordinary boarding house, without regard to the size of the boarding house or the number of bedrooms which are let, will in future be able to apply for a residential licence. The only qualification is that there should be adequate sitting accommodation in a room not used for sleeping accommodation. That is quite reasonable, and I imagine that many boarding houses will be able to comply with that requirement. Does it mean that every keeper of a boarding house in Blackpool, Brighton, or any other watering place will be able to apply for a licence regardless of how many other people have previously made 218 such applications? If that is the intention, it will transform the nature of those places as they have hitherto been known. We should know whether that is the intention.
Again, is it seriously intended that a restaurant licence can be obtained by anybody who supplies a meal or substantial refreshments however those words may be interpreted? Literally, as I read the Bill, it means that every tea room, every coffee bar, every place where a meal is served, if the applicant is bona fide and the premises are suitable, and provided that it is not a youth hostel which is patronised chiefly by children, will in future be able to get a licence. Every Lyons' teashop, every A.B.C. tea-shop, every cafe, including those in Islington, provided that they can prove that they are respectable, will be able to get a licence.
What about the shops and the stores which serve meals as a growing part of their business, such as Woolworths and Marks and Spencer. Many of them have snack bars. Will they all be eligible for an alcoholic licence? Is it seriously intended that, without restriction, at any place at which meals are served it will also be possible to obtain a licence to serve alcohol? We should know definitely whether that is the Government's intention.
May I indicate my own approach to the main problem? In so far as the consumption of alcohol with a meal is desirable in preference to unlimited drinking in public houses as a substitute for a meal, I welcome this provision in the Bill and am in favour of some encouragement to the provision of alcohol in some places where it cannot be obtained now, but it seems to me that the Bill goes much too far, and I hope that in Committee we shall be able to introduce many restrictions on the number of licences which otherwise will be obtainable as of right. For instance, in respect of boarding houses I think that there should be some minimum number of residents or provision of residential accommodation before a licence can be obtained.
I turn to the provisions of Part II, which deal with the licensing hours. I am entirely opposed, personally, to the provision to extend the Sunday opening 219 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. My experience is that there is no demand for any such change in the law. It is opposed by licensees and their staff, by sabbatarians and by womenfolk generally. I think that it will produce social inconveniences. It will serve no useful purpose. I hope that as a result of protests which have been made from both sides of the House, and elsewhere, the Home Secretary will bow to the advice which he is getting and drop this proposal. I think that in his opening speech he indicated that he would.
Secondly, I share the views expressed by my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields about granting any extension of licences in the early hours of a Sunday morning. We should have regard to the profound conviction, not only of sabbatarians but of others, about the distinction between Sunday and the other days of the week. This is a fundamental feature of our national life. It has a long heritage and is deeply-rooted. I do not think that we should deliberately do anything in the licensing laws to disturb what has become an accepted and valuable provision for distinguishing Sunday from the other days of the week, and I very much hope, personally, that the Home Secretary will have second thoughts on this subject.
Thirdly, may I indicate my views about the proposals for an extra quarter of an hour for drinking? It seems to me totally unnecessary, and I do not believe that it will work in practice. Everybody knows that when closing time comes there must be a short interval of time, a period of tolerance of a few minutes, between the time the last drink is served and when the person leaves the public house. Every policeman is familiar with the problems and realises that from time to time there are difficult customers who linger too long in the public house and can be persuaded to leave only with some difficulty. But that has always existed, and if we give an extra quarter of an hour between the time the drink is served and the time people must leave we shall only postpone the time for dealing with this problem, it will encourage a lot of drinks to be bought just before closing time, and the same problem will arise at closing time. This proposal must, in my opinion, tend to encourage unnecessary drinking.
§ Mr. R. J. Mellish (Bermondsey)
As we on this side are talking personally, and there is no party line, may I ask my hon. Friend whether he agrees that it is, however, a little unfair that if, at the end of the quarter of an hour's latitude for drinking, an offence is nevertheless committed, and the police come in and make an arrest and there is a charge, it is only the publican who is penalised and pays? What about the customer having to pay? This would stop a lot of the trouble.
§ Mr. Fletcher
It is always a great pleasure for me to agree with my hon. Friend, particularly on an occasion like this, when he can speak with so much authority and experience. I have no doubt that the point which he has just made will be noted by the Home Secretary and his right hon. Friend the Minister of State.
§ Mr. David Griffiths (Rother Valley)
What my hon. Friend is suggesting is not altogether realistic. By the existing law, nobody is safe. It is permissible for a licensee or a barman to pull a pint of beer at 10 o'clock and less than a minute later he has to say, "Drink your beer up, please. Time. Outside." How can it be done in the time? The quarter of an hour is an allowance and wail provide clarity which did not exist before. Formerly, there was bewilderment both for the licensee and for the police.
§ Mr. Fletcher
It is obvious that opinions on this subject differ violently. I have no doubt that we shall be able to ventilate them further. I have only ventured to give my opinion. Having listened to the objections, however, it seems to me that if there is any validity in the remark which my hon. Friend has just made it is an argument for giving, perhaps, a few minutes' extension, but not a quarter of an hour. His argument might well be one for giving just five minutes or so for drinking up.
However we resolve this problem of the quarter of an hour, we must realise that, taken in conjunction with the other provisions of the Bill for extending the permitted hours, the extra fifteen minutes will considerably increase the length of hours in any day on which publicans and their staffs have to work. Some of my hon. Friends, including my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice), have made the 221 point that in considering the reasonable convenience of the public we must not overlook that, with the additional quarter of an hour later at night, the closing time will, in some places, be very nearly the time when the last bus goes. This will cause considerable inconvenience to those who work in public houses.
On the question of permitted hours, I realise the dilemma about the demands for uniformity, on the one hand, and flexibility, on the other, to provide for legitimate and local variations in customs. Listening to the speech of the Home Secretary, it seemed to me that in advocating the case for uniformity his main argument for was to try to deal with the problem of "pub-crawling" motorists and the dangers which they cause. That may be a valid argument or it may be exaggerated. I should like to know the statistics. It would be interesting to know whether any substantial proportion of the convictions of motorists for drinking are due to the fact that motorists have gone from one "pub" to another in circumstances in which there has been a different closing time on two different sides of a boundary. Taking the whole range of motoring offences and those due to drink, I very much doubt whether a sizable proportion were due to the habits of the "pub-crawling" motorist.
If that is the argument of the Home Secretary, however, I would point out that the Bill does not secure uniformity. Permission is being given to provincial licensees to extend the time to 10.30 or 11 p.m. and, moreover, if the closing hour outside London is 10.30 and in London it is 11 o'clock, this problem of chasing from one district to another will still continue around the periphery of London. Therefore, if the only substantial argument in favour of the extended licensing hours is a desire for tidiness and uniformity, I should regard it as insubstantial and as being outweighed by the argument that there should be no increase in the permitted hours unless there is clear public demand for such an increase. As far as I am aware, there has been no such demand.
Like every other Member of the House, I am very much concerned with the growing carnage on the roads. Last Christmas, the casualty figures reached a record. We are approaching another 222 Christmas and I have no doubt that there will be another fearful toll of carnage on the roads this year. After last Christmas, we thought that the Minister of Transport was somewhat complacent about those fatalities over Christmas last year as being due to alcohol.
It is important to put on record that later evidence has shown that the Minister of Transport was mistaken. Here again, I quote from a document which will appeal to all right hon. and hon. Members opposite. So far as there was any correspondence between the fatalities on the roads last Christmas and drink, the first report, issued in January, 1960, gave police estimates of the causes of about one-third of the deaths and showed drink as the cause in only 1 per cent. of them. After the Road Research Laboratory had checked every fatal accident during the Christmas period, however, its report, issued in June, showed that in 56 per cent. of the accidents one or more of the persons involved had been drinking.
I do not submit that the licensing laws should be so drawn as to deal primarily with the problem of the drunken motorist and the casualties on the roads—I believe that to be a matter for the criminal law. I believe that the public conscience is becoming increasingly shocked and appalled at the mounting loss of life and injuries on the roads, but I suggest that the right remedy for that is more severe penalties, and the certainty of more severe penalties, including the deprivation of driving licences where these offences take place and convictions result.
I have already spoken too long. I conclude by saying that with some hesitation I propose to support the Bill on Second Reading. I do so in the knowledge that it is opposed on Christian and moral grounds by leaders of the Churches, to whose views I pay great respect. I support the Bill in the belief that Part III is valuable and that the remainder can be substantially modified in Committee. Unless it is so modified, I shall reserve my attitude to the Bill on Third Reading.
§ 4.36 p.m.
§ Sir Robert Cary (Manchester, Withington)
I agree wholeheartedly with what the hon. Member for Islington, East 223 (Mr. Fletcher) said in the first part of his speech about clubs. I endorse every sentiment that the hon. Member expressed, as, indeed, I agree with him wholeheartedly in what he had to say about the original proposal that the hours on Sunday should be extended from 2 o'clock until 3 o'clock.
It is on the problem of clubs that Manchester, like Islington, has its rash of indecent, immodest, improper clubs which ought to be swept away from our society. The stories that one hears about some of these establishments are deplorable. They are sinking to levels which, perhaps, are unknown in this country. There is a suspicion that to some extent this trend has been fostered by and flows from the Street Offences Act. Hon. Members may recall that when Questions have been put to my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary in sequel to that Act, when clubs have been advertised and have boasted of their notoriety and infamy, my right hon. Friend has always given the same answer, that he was aware that that Act might cause new problems but that it has, in fact, been highly successful because it has driven the women off the streets.
It is concerning that aspect and Part III of the Bill, to which the whole House will have been grateful to my hon. and learned Friend the Under-Secretary for directing his speech today, that I still feel troubled. I agree with the sentiment expressed yesterday by the right hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede). I would have been inclined to take the civic risk of giving the police power of entry. I know that in many quarters there is a fundamental objection to conferring powers upon the police and I am aware of the argument that the police should be slightly under-powered rather than over-powered. That is an ancient objection. We are dealing, however, with completely new social conditions. They are quite deplorable.
I want to be quite frank with the House. Some months ago I was so distressed by some of the stories which I heard about the happenings in the city which I am privileged to represent that I thought that I ought to make a personal reconnaissance. I could not do this in the beginning myself. I had to 224 have a pilot. I was taken to a club. It seemed to me very opulent and prosperous. It seemed to be full of people who were rather well-to-do. There was a good band and a small stage, and I suppose that, technically, it could have been described as "decent". I found it, however, extremely dull and boring.
Perhaps there is no great social offence, but behind the rather better-known façade—all hon. Members are familiar with the sort of establishment abroad—there is the most vicious and pernicious small mobile club growing up in which, I am certain, the most unwanted and despicable things are happening.
The Manchester Corporation was so concerned that the Watch Committee, in a circular which was issued recently, stated:The Watch Committee are of the opinion that if any system of licensing or registration of clubs were to be introduced in the future, it should be administered by the Council and not by the Justices of the Peace, and that any legislation which may be introduced in the future to deal with registered clubs should: (a) give powers to chief officers of police to authorise in writing selected police officers to enter and inspect all or any registered clubs; (b) enable the police or other persons to oppose licensing or registration on the grounds of undesirability"—that is enshrined in the Bill—and (c) make provision for notice of any application for licensing or registration to be publishedThe preciseness of the recommendation in (a), giving the police the authority, through selected officers, to enter, does not exist in the Bill.
The Report of the Royal Commission on Licensing, which was made in 1932 against a rather different social background from that which the hon. Member for Islington, East and myself have in mind, recommended thatthe right of entry to registered clubs should be conferred on the police but should be exercisable only by suitable officers acting on the written authorisation given expressly for the occasion by a Chief Constable or a Deputy appointed by him for the purpose.I agree with the sentiment expressed by the right hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Glenvil Hall) in his speech yesterday, and in the question which he put to my hon. and learned Friend the Joint Under-Secretary of State today. If this Bill, in its tactical operation, fails to deal with the poisonous, monstrous 225 and undesirable element of which we are becoming increasingly aware, then I hope that we shall have as quickly as possible a small separate Bill to deal with it.
I now turn briefly to what the hon. Member for Islington, East said about the proposed extension of Sunday opening. The present hours of Sunday opening are exact and should remain untouched. In this House we try to reflect the outlook and views of our constituents. But the licensees and their staff are also our constituents, and we must speak equally for them and for their point of view. It is sometimes almost 3 o'clock or even after 3 o'clock when the publicans and their staffs in my constituency get any food on Sundays. A licensed house is an expensive establishment to enter, but it is also a most expensive establishment to keep up. There is the expense of furnishing, attractions and lighting. The extension of closing time on Sunday is a form of trespass or desecration. The Sabbath Day has a place in our thinking. We may carry it rather lightly in moving about, but it has a deep and profound effect within our own family circle.
I am happy about the observance of Sunday. It is a right and proper break. I would not put any greater burden on licensees and their staffs by adding to their hours. People will get fifteen minutes' drinking-up time. I agree with the hon. Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish) that closing time is a very great problem in running a licensed establishment. A man who orders a drink a minute before closing time is compelled under the famous age-old cry of "Time, gentlemen, please" to swallow it. In view of the proposed extension called drinking-up time I do not think that we need extend Sunday hours in any way.
I turn now to a subject which has not been mentioned. Hon. Members on both sides have been circularised about this matter and direct representations have been made to my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for the Home Department. Here I must declare an indirect interest as chairman of Lancashire United Transport. My neighbouring operators, the great Ribble Transport Company, with which I share many routes, is entering a special pleading, bath to the Home Office and to hon. 226 Members, concerning its great Standerwick coaches, which travel the roads day and night. Many hon. Members who leave the House on Thursdays to catch the midnight train to the North see the enormous Standerwick coaches at Euston. They are beautifully equipped. Each has a host or hostess to look after the passengers. However, they cannot travel at more than 30 miles per hour except on the motorways. They average 25 miles an hour. Their fares are almost half the rail fares.
Many finer vehicles than those which exist are on the drawing boards. Like aeroplanes and ships, I think that they ought to have facilities for serving intoxicating drinks. Like aeroplanes, they are equipped with a host or hostess to serve the tea, coffee and sandwiches. It is possible to get a drink on an aeroplane from Manchester to Glasgow, or from London to Manchester. It is a little hard on road service operators that they should not have exactly the same facilities on long-distance coach journeys, particularly at night.
I congratulate my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary on the clear and cogent way he introduced this complicated Bill to the House. Technically, the debate on the Bill began yesterday on Second Reading. In fact, the debate began in January when there was a Private Member's Motion debate on licensing and the steps which may be required to do something about the existing laws. In my opinion, the Bill is a most successful attempt by the Government to cope with the new conditions which confront the country. I hope that those who are in favour of the Bill—and there are many of them on both sides of the House—will do what they can to improve it in Committee.
§ 4.50 p.m.
§ Mr. Clement Davies (Montgomery)
Never in my now very long experience of this House have I known a Bill which so completely and thoroughly deserved the description that it resembles the curate's egg. The right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary found it completely palatable, but the right hon. and learned Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice), while prepared to swallow bits of it, found other bits nauseating and almost revolting. Even the Home Secretary and 227 the Minister of Housing and Local Government are not so enthusiastic about it.
I gathered from the Home Secretary and from, if I may so describe him for the purpose of this Bill, the Minister for Wales that they are prepared to throw bits of it away in Committee and, indeed, will be glad to get rid of them. It is an extraordinary situation. Even the hon. Member for Manchester, Withington (Sir R. Cary) hoped that in Committee Amendments will be introduced to improve the Bill.
There is one Clause which can be amended only in one way, and that is by withdrawing it completely from the Bill. It is incapable of amendment. It raises the most serious issue in the Bill, a constitutional issue. The other Clauses concern day-to-day matters, but Clause 6 raises a completely new constitutional issue. I respect and admire the right hon. Gentleman the Minister for Wales. I have watched him with admiration proceed towards greater responsibility in his party. He is a good debater and a clear speaker. However, never have I heard him so hesitant and ill at ease as he was last night. In his reference to his grandfather, the great preacher, Dr. Stopford Brooke, whom many of us remember, it seemed that he wondered what that great man would have had to say about his grandson introducing a Bill which, in effect, desecrates the Sabbath of the Nonconformist Church in Wales.
I wonder Where the right hon. Gentleman obtained the advice to introduce Clause 6 in the Bill. We listened carefully to what he had to say last night. Time and again suggestions have been made to me that the question of closing interferes with the tourist industry in Wales and that far more people would come to our beautifull Wales and to the Welsh seaside resorts if the public houses were open on Sundays. But, as the right hon Gentleman knows—indeed, he referred to it last night—the object of the Welsh Tourist Board is to push and advertise the tourist trade in order to bring people from across the border to enjoy our scenery, hills, valleys and coastal beauty. He had to admit, though, that they refrained from making a single suggestion to him.
Then there is the Council for Wales. I have never regarded that as being truly 228 representative of Wales. It is a nominated body, and I do not like nominated bodies—I like to have elected bodies in control. That Council has been chosen to advise the Minister. What did the Minister tell us? He said that he had heard the individual views of its members, but that the members refrained from giving—and the right hon. Gentleman apparently refrained from even asking for—a collective, considered opinion as to what should be done in Wales. I know that the members of the Council are responsible people, and are drawn from various parts of Wales, but they are not like Welsh Members of Parliament or Welsh councillors. They are not elected by the people; they are chosen by the Minister.
When the Council for Wales was first suggested by the right hon. Gentleman who has now gone to another place under the name of Lord Morrison, I called it a new form of Soviet. Nevertheless, the Council is there, and could be consulted. The only consultation that the Minister had consisted of listening to individual opinions. That is not the way to ascertain the views of Wales.
I take pride in having been born in Wales. As far as I know—and the memory of man runneth not to the contrary—my ancestors from time immemorial have been born and brought up in Wales. We people of Wales have our own view of life. We have our own methods of description. We have our own language. We have our own customs and traditions.
We have been proud of the fact that in 1881 we had a special Act of our own. That Act was brought in as a result of a request coming from throughout Wales at that time. We have been proud of that Measure because it represented to us what we thought was necessary to maintain the sanctity of the Sabbath. We rarely use the Welsh word for Sunday. Rarely do we say Dydd Sul. To us, that day is sacred, and it is the word Sabbath that we use—the great Biblical word.
Without a doubt, the Sabbath has a distinctive position every week throughout the year and throughout Wales. That was why there was this tremendous call. Undoubtedly, before that Act was passed, drunkenness was rampant in Wales on every day of the week, but 229 especially on the Sunday. It was not then felt that a Bill for complete prohibition should be brought forward, but the Welsh people were anxious about their Sundays.
What is so interesting is that this Bill, which will undermine the Act, is brought in by the Government, but the Bill in 1880—which passed through this House to a point, was then defeated on a technicality and then brought in again in 1881—was brought in by a private Member. It is a Private Member's Act.
Every hon. Member representing a Welsh constituency, with the one exception of a noble Viscount who, by mistake, was elected for Carmarthen—and even he did not dare to oppose it—strongly supported it, as did the other Conservative Member who represented one part of Wales. I am proud to think that that other Conservative Member was not like the noble Viscount, but was of Welsh descent. He could claim Welsh descent for over a thousand years—he was one of the famous Williams Wynn family. He joined with his other Welsh colleagues and said that the Measure was needed. The Bill was commended to and accepted by this House, and it has been the law of our land ever since.
I was educated at home, and I think that I can claim that I knew every family within twenty miles of my home. Although I had to leave my country and come to London as long as fifty-seven years ago, I have remained in close attachment to my own country, and my knowledge of it, instead of being lessened, has been increased because of the honour the Welsh people have done me in asking me time and again to undertake duties on behalf of my country.
I can claim that I know every county, every town, every district—almost every village. I need that knowledge to understand the Welsh outlook and point of view. Having that knowledge, I know quite well, when a matter is raised, what will be the reaction of my people towards it. One cannot get that knowledge by casual visits. One cannot get it just by inquiring here and there. One has to be steeped in the country. That is why, amongst other things, I have been asking now for a very long time, as have many of my countrymen, that we should have the right to legislate for ourselves within the boundaries of Wales.
230 All that being so, I am entitled to ask what evidence there is of a real desire in Wales that this Act of ours should now be undermined in this way. And why is it being done in this way? The only suggestion made by the Home Secretary and by the Minister for Welsh Affairs was that they were about to introduce a Licensing Bill, and that, inevitably, the question would then be raised, "What about Wales?" They said that some answer would have to be given to that question.
I suggest to them that a fairer and better way would have been to bring in a separate, individual Bill to deal with this subject. They could then so easily have turned the answer on any one of us, and have said, "The hon. Member can wait; another Bill is coming in which will deal with that very matter." That would have been the right way to do it, and we could then have challenged it.
What is more, it would then have had to be referred to the new Committee that has been established by the right hon. Gentlemen themselves. It is true that the request for that Committee came from us, but they made it possible for us. Why have they dodged that? There is no doubt that it is a dodge. The position is even much worse than that. They could have put this provision in as a separate part of this very Bill. Because our Committee has, apparently, been formed on the example of Scotland, Clause 6 would have been referred to that Committee, and the Government would then have had the views of the Welsh Members of Parliament who are entitled to speak on behalf of the people of Wales.
I do not remember being told of any innkeeper complaining of any injustice—no complaint even that there was Sunday closing. The fact is that the innkeepers welcome Sunday closing. It has been a day of rest for them. I can even claim that the proportion of innkeepers and their wives and families in Wales who attend a religious service on that day is probably far higher than it is in any other part of Britain. They welcome that opportunity.
There is another matter. Many of these inns have not very much custom, and we all know that to maintain their families in better circumstances our 231 Welsh innkeepers go out to work every day. That puts a very much bigger burden on their wives, but this Bill, together with the Amendments that will come in under Part III, will put a bigger burden on those wives. Although the custom is small, many of the houses are very old, very big, very uncomfortable, and tremendously difficult for the innkeeper's wife to run. It is now proposed to put a bigger burden on her. Am I to be told that this extra burden will be welcomed by the innkeepers and their wives? To say so is sheer nonsense.
We heard no complaint about Sunday closing until after the First World War. Then, and then only, did we begin to hear grumbles. Even then they were not complaining so much that they had to close on Sunday as of the unfair competition they were having from clubs. That was the complaint. There were not many complaints in the early years after the First World War, but they were increasing in the 1930s and after 1945 we kept on hearing them.
I am sure that the experience of my colleagues from Wales is that one question is often asked of us at our meetings. During the last election it was put to me quite half a dozen times. I was asked, "Would you be in favour of repealing the Act of 1881?" Always, the answer that came from me was, "No". Although an audience of that kind is composed of electors of all political parties I am amazed at the welcome that that answer receives. I usually know the man who puts it to me. Sometimes he is an innkeeper, and I say to him, "I know what is the matter—it is the unfair competition from the clubs." The answer is always, "Yes". And I tell him that I should like to put the same restrictions on the clubs as there are on the innkeepers.
Do hon. Members realise the tremendous burden that is put upon what is known as the common innkeeper? The word "common" does not, in that context, carry its usual meaning. It is the common innkeeper who holds himself out as being ready to provide accommodation and refreshment. From time immemorial there has been put upon him an obligation that is not put on any other man. He must never lock his door. He must always be at the beck 232 and call of anyone who calls at any hour of the day or night. It is the common law of England that if anyone wants refreshment the innkeeper has to provide it. If anyone wants accommodation, and the innkeeper has a room and a bed to spare, he has to give it. What is more, he dare not discriminate between one man and another. If he does that, he commits a crime.
During the war and in the following years when it was difficult to cater for people, I, as chairman of the quarter sessions in my own county, had to deal with two innkeepers who had refused to provide refreshment. One had refused to do so at 8 o'clock in the evening and the other had refused at midday. I fined the man who refused it at 8 o'clock in the evening, having promised on the telephone that he could and would provide it, £100 and made him pay all the costs. All told, it probably cost him £300 or £400. In the second case, I am sure that it cost the innkeeper anything up to £100. These men were under the impression that they could keep their doors closed except during the actual hours when they were allowed to serve drink.
What is more, the innkeeper has to apply for his licence, and I can assure the House that anyone applying for a licence in Wales can be perfectly sure that he will be opposed. That is a very good thing. He has to produce all his evidence and show that he is a fit and proper person to be given a licence. His case comes up again for review at the brewsters' session, and, what is more, a policeman can enter his premises at any hour of the day or night without warning. Rightly, I think, Parliament has laid it down that nobody under 18 years of age may serve or be served with a drink in a public house.
Let us consider the clubs. A few people gather together, find 5s. each and that is all that is needed to start a club. Anyone under 18 years of age may serve or be served with drink and no questions are asked. No policeman can enter the premises unless he has a warrant, and that state of affairs is to be continued under this Bill.
Occasionally, I really do not understand the attitude and mentality of the Home Secretary. Nobody, apparently, is more anxious than he to deal with crime and 233 punishment, to deal with juvenile delinquency, to ensure that juvenile delinquents should not be thrashed or anything like that, or is more anxious to reform them. When the right hon. Gentleman introduced the Criminal Justice Bill, a week or so ago, I suggested that it was time that he looked at the other side of the picture.
What can we do to prevent young people giving way to temptation which will lead them into crime? Once they have entered upon a life of crime the right hon. Gentleman will have to try to reform them. Why does not the right hon. Gentleman stop persons of under 18 years of age either serving or being served with drink in clubs?
§ Mr. D. Griffiths
Surely the right hon. and learned Gentleman is aware that under the Working Men's Club and Institute Union, which is registered by the Registrar of Friendly Societies, it is not possible—and I do not know of a single instance where this has happened—for anyone under 18 years of age to become a member. In many of the clubs and institutes it is not possible for anyone under 21 years of age to become a member.
§ Mr. Davies
That is quite right, but there are clubs and clubs. There are those which are not established by the friendly societies. I would like the law of the land to be the same for everyone, so that in that way we could look after our young people.
Although there are sections of Part III of the Bill which I welcome, I feel, nevertheless, that this is such a serious constitutional matter, and one which so seriously affects the views and attitudes of the people of Wales, that I am left no alternative but to vote against the Bill and to do all I can to prevent it becoming law.
§ 5.14 p.m.
§ Mr. John Farr (Harborough)
During yesterday's debate a good deal of time was spent in connection with specific conditions relating to Wales. My constituency is many miles from Wales. If I may, as an Englishman, give a little advice to my Welsh friends—having in the past received a considerable amount of advice from them—I would say that I can imagine nothing fairer than the 234 terms laid down in Clause 6 providing for a ballot in the county or county boroughs concerned.
§ Mr. James Griffiths (Llanelly)
Would the hon. Gentleman apply the same reasoning to his constituents and to England?
§ Mr. Farr
I most certainly would on any matter with which they were concerned.
As far as Wales is concerned, I think that the only democratic way out of the matter is to do what is recommended in Clause 6. However, be that as it may, I want to deal more generally with the Bill and to leave my Welsh friends to their arguments later.
Generally speaking, I welcome the Bill. Although, a little later in my speech, I shall have some criticisms to make of it, on the whole I welcome the Bill as one that will tend to minimise or reduce the restrictions at present placed on the licensed trade. It is really extraordinary that fifty years ago the restrictions imposed on drinking in this country were far less onerous than they are today. Who can deny that during those fifty years our civilisation has advanced considerably?
I welcome the intention in the Bill to require off-licences to open during normal shop hours and to make liquor available for purchase by anyone in a shop. I have four criticisms to make of the Bill. The first is about the suggested system for on-licence hours. I think that it would be far fairer if we had the same hours throughout the country. Why should Londoners receive an extra hour or half-hour in which to drink? The Bill recommends the abolition of special hours certificates for London only and to extend that system throughout the country. I cannot see why throughout the country, including London, we cannot have an opening time of nine and a half hours in the summer and eight and a half hours in the winter, excluding Sundays.
One further suggestion I wish to make about opening times. I should like to see more responsibility given to the landlord and to the drinking public as adult people. I should like to see a landlord able to open for the permitted 235 hours at any time during the 24 hours and to see the hours displayed on a registration board over the entrance to each hotel or inn.
§ Mr. Herbert Butler (Hackney, Central)
When the hon. Gentleman talks about the "landlord", who does he mean—the licensee or the brewer?
§ Mr. Farr
I think that the hon. Gentleman will find that the landlord is the gentleman, or lady, whose name appears on the board over the door as one enters the public house.
As I was saying, I should like to see the hours of opening displayed on a registration board at the front of a hotel. This would serve two purposes. In the first place, it would enable the landlord, who, after all, knows best the requirements of his district as far as refreshment is concerned, to open at the time best suited to meet the needs of the people he serves. For instance, in London, or in any other big city, there are many working men who would like to take a drink when they finish work at 5.30 p.m. Again, on some of the big housing estates in the suburbs many public houses have very few customers before 7 p.m. In many a big hotel one can see the landlord and his staff standing idle before that hour.
§ Mr. John Hall (Wycombe)
Would not my hon. Friend's suggestion mean that for a fairly limited period it might be possible for people to drink for 24 hours?
§ Mr. Farr
I fully agree with my hon. Friend, but, as my hon. Friend the Member for The Wrekin (Mr. W. Yates) said yesterday, one can do that at any time either by going to his house or to my house and drinking round the clock. It is immaterial whether one does it in a public place—although I think it preferable for it to be done under proper and suitable conditions—or whether it is done in the home of my hon. Friend, in my home or in the home of anyone else.
§ Mr. Farr
I am sorry. I cannot give way again.
The second point I want to deal with is concerned with clubs and the suggestion 236 in the Bill that off-licences should be granted to them. I am a fully paid up member of a workingmen's club in my constituency, the Kibworth Beauchamp Workingmen's Club, and I think it quite contrary to the spirit of club life for members to purchase liquor at a club in order to drink it off the premises.
If there is a pigeon fanciers' club or a club of that nature, the real point about belonging to it is to be able to join together to compare notes about the pigeon racing and enjoy one another's company and interests. To my mind, those interests cease when the members leave the premises which they have entered on joining the club. I cannot see any necessity for clubs to possess off-licences in competition with other off-licence premises. I should remind the House that there are to be extended hours for the sale of liquor at off-licences as a result of this Bill. I cannot see the necessity for clubs to supply liquor by off-licence sales.
The third point with which I find fault on reading the Bill is in connection with magistrates and their financial interest when on the bench. I know very well the great difficulty which many magistrates have had in the past, and still have, in dealing with a case even when they have not a financial interest in it, but merely when they are friends of an applicant or a company concerned. They have considerable difficulty in preserving a strictly impartial and correct judgment. It is wrong to include in the Bill the provision that if magistrates possess only a limited financial interest in a brewery company concerned they may be permitted to adjudicate a case.
It would be far safer and fairer, not only to the licensed trade, but to the magistrates, who are often placed in a difficult and invidious position, if they were not permitted to adjudicate in such cases. If they are to be so permitted, I suggest that there should be provision for an objection to be lodged against a magistrate or magistrates concerned by any party feeling aggrieved or dealt with harshly by the adjudication.
My next point is in connection with responsibility of licensees and those who, however unwittingly, serve children or young persons under 18. I agree that those landlords should be penalised, 237 but I think that far too much emphasis is placed on the landlord being at fault and far too little emphasis on the punishment which should be accorded to the culprit. This is in line with the very similar case of the racehorse trainer. In my opinion, unfairly and unjustly, he is held responsible for any case of doping in his stable. Whether he knows about it or not, his licence goes. Where the landlord serves the child or person concerned under 18, he is liable to a penalty of up to £50 and forfeiture of his licence. The big difference between these two cases is that in nine cases out of ten the landlord knows the culprit, the person who has received the liquor, unlike the trainer who does not know who actually stuck the needle into the horse. That person can be dealt with severely.
Generally, I wish to reinforce the remarks I heard yesterday and today about the need to stamp out and control some of the very dubious clubs which have sprung up recently especially in London. I have noticed that these clubs have become more prolific since the Street Offences Act came into force. There is no doubt that in many of these clubs a great deal of custom is sought for prostitution. It is being driven off the streets into these clubs. Possibly an interesting example is that at half-past one the other night I was driving down Curzon Street and saw a notice in large neon lights, "French taught here". A drawn-back curtain showed several women there. That is another example of how vice is being driven underground, although in that case it was not a club but private premises.
In general, I welcome the Bill. I feel that it is a step, however small, towards reducing the many restrictions which hamper the licensed trade and towards recognising that in the eye of the public the landlord is a responsible person. He is a grown man, anxious to preserve his good name, and not merely concerned with selling as much alcoholic liquor as possible.
§ 5.26 p.m.
§ Mr. G. H. R. Rogers (Kensington, North)
The last time that I was fortunate enough to catch your eye, Mr. Speaker, I told the House that I would make a brief speech and then I made a 238 rather lengthy one. I hope that I shall not repeat that error. I want to confine myself to speaking for a short time, because many other hon. Members wish to take part in the debate.
I propose to make a virtue of my discretion and not to cross swords with the Welsh, as did the hon. Member for Hanborough (Mr. Farr). They are a distinctive and peculiar people and it is only natural that their views on this subject should be as distinctive and peculiar as they are on some other matters. It is well known that we English are much more broad-minded and tolerant. Usually, the most restive horse needs the tightest rein. I often feel that the Welsh are so afraid of sin because, like Oscar Wilde, they can resist anything except temptation.
I must confess that I was fascinated by some of the arguments which their spokesmen put forward in the debate yesterday. This attempt on the part of the Government to add an hour or so to drinking hours seems to bring into the minds of some of its opponents a vision of hordes of would-be alcoholics only waiting for the Government to give licences so that they may dash into the "pubs", or stay in them longer and get hopelessly drunk. That was precisely the sort of argument which was used by the advocates of capital punishment who, strangely enough, said that if we abolished capital punishment there would be a great many people, not now murderers, who would be murderers when that restriction was removed.
It is a perfectly false argument. Too often in this House we deal with effects and not with causes. The reason why people are alcoholics or drink a lot is not that licensing hours finish at any particular time, but because of social causes. In Australia, the "pubs" close at 6 p.m., but they have many cases of drunkenness there. That is one of their problems.
I do not want to be reminiscent, but when I was a boy drunkenness was very common in the district where I lived. I remember how too often on Saturday nights I went to sleep to the sound of breaking windows, screaming voices and rowing in the streets which were a regular feature of poor working-class life forty or fifty years ago. But it did not spring from the fact that the "pubs" 239 were open. It sprang from people's desire to escape from the sordid boredom and hopelessness of existence in those days of unemployment, poverty and illiteracy. The fact is that the higher the social life of the people the more moderate their behaviour in relation to drink and to the other sins which afflict the human race.
§ Mr. Cyril Osborne (Louth)
Is the hon. Member suggesting that the richer people are the less likely they are to get drunk? If he is, he is talking utter nonsense.
§ Mr. Rogers
I would not know the proportion of the rich who get drunk. If I may quote Oscar Wilde again, hon. Members wil recall that when he was told that drink was the curse of the working classes he said that work was the curse of the drinking classes. I would not know whether hon. Members opposite and their friends suffer from lack of work.
Nevertheless, speaking from my own experience in this matter, and from my own youthful life, I believe that the reason why there was so much drunkenness then was social. It had nothing to do with the time that the "pubs" remained open. I therefore do not believe that there are many people who will get drunk merely because the "pubs" are open for an hour or so extra. If someone wants to be an alcoholic and wants to get drunk he can do that quite comfortably now in the time that the "pubs" are open.
Generally, I welcome this liberalisation of the attitude towards drinking. We tend to be far too paternal towards our people. We like at times to impose our views, our restrictions and our inhibitions on the rest of the population. I think that today with the increasing responsibility of our people we can afford relaxation in matters of this kind.
The illustration was given in the course of yesterday's debate of people rushing from one "pub" to another because in a certain district the "pubs" closed half an hour later. We know that this is true in some cases, but generally the great majority of people go into our English "pubs" because they like the social atmosphere. They have cronies there and like to mix with them, but I regret to say that it is typical of the whole of our people that we make laws 240 that punish the majority because of the minority. It is wrong, but too often we have to do it.
I want to confine my remaining remarks to the subject of clubs. As the House knows, clubs have been one of the chief causes of trouble in my constituency, which is known by the quite false name of "Notting Hill". During the last year or two, seventy or eighty clubs in North Kensington have been closed down under existing laws. Yet they still proliferate in fairly large numbers. The closing-down has been largely the result of the work of an extremely active police force in my area who have done very good work. If the Bill is to be effective it will depend upon an efficient and adequate police force and I hope that the present tendency towards increasing the number of police in the Metropolitan area will have good results. If there were adequate police forces in areas like mine a great many of the present abuses of the law would be prevented.
If I were Home Secretary, I would abolish all proprietary clubs. Where drinks were required in country clubs they could be provided under the law giving power to restaurants to serve drinks with meals, or in some other way. I would be quite ruthless about clubs. I do not think that the great majority of proprietary clubs serve any useful purpose except to make profit for the people concerned. In my experience, if drinks are removed from clubs it does not pay to run them. It is the drink trade that brings money to the proprietor. The appropriate Clause in Part III, if properly applied, will eliminate this social sore.
Most of the other examples of clubs that give trouble have been given. I will, therefore, not worry the House with them, but a new device has sprung up in London. It is called a party and not a club. This party takes place at different addresses each time. People pay admission to the party and the organiser buys a large quantity of drinks which he sells to visitors to the party. The organiser never applies for a licence.
It is not easy to call the police or anybody else to catch the organisers, because these parties appear, on the surface, to be the normal Saturday night parties of certain sections of the population. In one street in my constituency 241 three of these parties were held one Saturday night. The organisers had a juke box and guitars and another musical instrument the name of which escapes me at the moment. The whole street was filled with cacophony from dusk until the following dawn and no one in the area could get any sleep at all.
The people who sell drinks to clubs without a licence, such as the wholesalers or the brewers, ought to be punished. So far, I have not seen any case where they have been punished. If anyone orders drinks from a wholesaler, the seller is not to know whether the drinks are for a party or for resale, but, clearly, if I go to a wholesaler every week, and order hundreds of pounds' worth of drink, he ought to realise that I do not need it for personal consumption. Steps ought to be taken to punish the people who sell these drinks.
I welcome the provisions in the Bill which deal with clubs. They are overdue. We have had no experience hitherto of this kind of activity and, therefore, we have no laws to deal with it. Although I have not the analytical mind of a lawyer, as far as I can see there is little wrong with Part III. By means of these provisions we shall catch most of the people whom we want to catch and the details in these matters can be dealt with in Committee. I object to the extension of the Sunday lunchtime hours, as do most people, but, generally, I think that the Government have done a good job with the Bill and I propose to support it.
§ 5.39 p.m.
§ Lord Balniel (Hertford)
I am sure that we have all listened with great interest and, during his preliminary remarks, with amusement to the speech of the hon. Member for Notting Hill. [Laughter.] I beg pardon. That was the way he described himself. I should have described him as the hon. Member for Kensington, North (Mr. G. H. R. Rogers). If I do not wish to follow him directly in his remarks it is largely because I agree with almost everything that he has said.
The hon. Member said that he would not cross swords with his Welsh colleagues. Perhaps that was a very wise attitude to take. I do not wish to cross swords with Welsh colleagues in the House, but I should like to refer to 242 Clause 6, which deals with local option for Wales.
Before I do so, I would like to congratulate my right hon. Friend on introducing a Bill which, undoubtedly—and I think that this is fairly generally agreed—will bring about a long overdue reform of our licensing laws. If it is not presumptious to say so, I think that my right hon. Friend has shown considerable determination in tackling this rather tangled legislation which is so well protected by the deeply entrenched prejudices and principles of individuals and of vested interests. Perhaps the minimum reward which my right hon. Friend has a right to expect is that one of the new licensed premises which are being built to meet the social needs of today will emulate the example of an earlier Mr. Butler, who took the word "nowhere", reversed it, and used it as a title for his book, "Erewhort". Perhaps one of the "pubs" could take the word "Bar", reverse it, and use it as a title for the premises and call itself "Rab's Bar".
I would like to begin by welcoming the general theme of the Bill, liberalising as it does the licensing laws and leaving the individual a wider measure of freedom in which to conduct his own life by his own standards of self-respect instead of being narrowly circumscribed by the law of the land. This theme, which runs throughout the Bill, is entirely consistent with the philosophies and policies which we have advocated from this side time and again.
It is, of course, a controversial Bill, and there are some who say that it goes too far. But there are equally many who contend that it is really rather a timid little mouse, that the extension of the boundaries of freedom undertaken by my right hon. Friend are anæmic, insignificant, and perhaps over-cautious. I do not agree. I believe that what the public want today is a change in our licensing laws, but not their demolition. [An HON. MEMBER: "And a change of Government."] The recent parade of new Conservative hon. Members into the House is an adequate answer to that intervention.
What the public want is not the demolition of the licensing laws. They wish to see the licensing laws brought up to date. They wish to see them purged of their anomalies. They wish 243 to see them liberalised so that the individual is not affected by the irksome restrictions which affect him at the moment. They wish to see a fairer balance between the licensed and supervised premises and the unlicensed and unsupervised clubs. This is what the Bill largely sets out to achieve.
A number of Clauses in the Bill are designed to deal with anomalies. I think that it is perhaps easier to deal with these anomalies in Committee, but I am a little surprised that my right hon. Friend has left so many of the most blatant anomalies untouched. It is a pity that he has not been more thoroughgoing in eliminating unnecessary anomalies. After all, it is only if we give the licensed premises allure and glamour and enable them to provide entertainment and a congenial setting for a family outing, that the clubs which have proliferated and which are such an undesirable feature of society today will die away.
I do not want to go into the anomalies, but perhaps I might give one example as one of many which hon. Members could quote. Under the existing licensing law it is necessary that a billiard table in a licensed premises shall be covered over on a Sunday. I think that I am right in saying, also, that it is necessary that the room in which the billiard table is situated shall be shut and not used for any purposes. This extraordinary provision remains under the Bill in our licensing law.
In Victorian times people used to look at the legs of pianos and think that they were something indecent or improper, and in the interests of propriety and decency they used to cover the legs of a piano with a skirt. Does my right hon. Friend see something improper in the top of a billiard table? What other conceivable reason can he have for requiring us still to cover a billiard table on a Sunday?
That is one of many anomalies which one can call to mind, but I would like to turn to one of the principles of the Bill. In particular, I would like to turn to this controversial Clause, Clause 6, dealing with Sunday opening and local option. I regard the restrictions on Sunday opening in Wales as ludicrous. They are redolent of an age which is past. They belong to the year 1881 when Gladstone 244 was Prime Minister of this country and Britain was engaged in fighting the Zulu war. They belong to a time when prohibition was in force in the United States of America. With the greatest respect, these laws tend to verge on the hypocritical.
We in this House know that 60 per cent. of the entire adult Welsh male population belong to clubs.
§ Mr. Goronwy Roberts (Caernarvon)
We have heard that figure quoted before, and I have asked hon. Members to quote the source of their information. Can the noble Lord quote the source of his information?
§ Lord Balniel
My figure is taken from Dr. Scott's study of Sunday opening in Wales, and his source was the official figures given by the Constabulary in Wales.
§ Lord Balniel
I cannot see that that is relevant, unless the hon. Gentleman is implying that Dr. Scott distorted his facts for certain purposes. These figures have been provided by the Constabulary of Wales, and by the chief constables of the various counties of Wales, and I have no reason to believe that they are not correct.
My information is that 60 per cent. of the entire adult male population of Wales belong to clubs. The number of persons is in the region of 553,000 and I think that it is reasonable to assume that many of them belong to these clubs so that they can avoid the restrictions of Sunday opening in Wales. In addition, we know that there has been a far greater growth of clubs in Wales than in England. Also, we know that in spite of all these restrictions on the sale of drink on Sundays in Wales, 10 per cent. of all the alcohol sold in Wales is sold on a Sunday.
Whilst I disagree with the restrictions on Sunday opening in Wales and this kind of dual morality which has grown up whereby supervised licensed premises close but unsupervised clubs where children of five can be given whisky and gin are allowed to flourish on Sundays, I say frankly that I equally disagree with the proposal of my right hon. Friend for dealing with this matter by 245 local option. I disagree with him both on constitutional grounds and on the ground of the merits of local option.
In the Bill we are laying down a definitive licensing law for all England. Parliament, and English, Welsh and Scottish hon. Members, are laying down permitted hours for all England, for all the widely varied communities ranging from the borders down to Cornwall. We are laying down licensing laws for persons of all religious persuasions. We are laying down licensing laws for persons living in the smallest rural communities, and in the largest industrial towns—but for Wales we say, "No, we cannot decide. We will not even allow the 40 Welsh Members of the House to decide the law in their own country. Instead, we must do it by local referendum."
I think that in a way we are shuffling off our responsibilities in this House as lawmakers. We are shuffling them off on to the shoulders of local communities. Incidentally, we are strengthening a precedent which is almost certain to be called against us on many another social-moral issue. Almost certainly this is not the last occasion when the cry of "local option" in dealing with a difficult social problem will be made.
I would much have preferred my right hon. Friend either to have called on Parliament to legislate for England and Wales together, or to have remitted the matter, which, after all, concerns only Wales, to a Committee of Welsh Members of this House. But apart from the constitutional issues which are involved, and perhaps they are better advocated by Welsh Members than by myself, surely it is unwise to return to a system which is generally discredited. It is a return to a system which is at this very moment under critical examination in Scotland by Lord Guest's Committee. It is a return to a system which was examined by the Royal Commission on Licensing in 1931 and was specifically rejected by the Royal Commission.
The Report of that Royal Commission said, in paragraph 438:Many of the arguments"—that is, the arguments in favour of local option—are not peculiar to the liquor question but find root in a general faith in the merits of decision by local referendum.246 Here I would interpolate that I cannot believe that there are many hon. Members who believe that a general referendum is a better method of governing than governing by the elected representatives in Parliament or the elected representatives on local authorities.
The Report goes on:Into these arguments we do not think it necessary to enter. It is, however, contended that questions relating to the sale of intoxicants are specially suited for local decision by popular vote. We do not accept this contention.The decision to introduce local option into Wales is bound to result in anomalies between one area and another as one area votes in favour of Sunday opening and the next door area votes against it.
Perhaps I might be allowed to quote from a letter which appeared in The Times recently. It said:It would be a miracle if seventeen local options produced a uniform result. Failing this, the demonstration of disagreement, especially if the provision for reopening the question every seven years is enacted, would sharpen what Sir David"—Sir David Llewellyn—calls 'the cutting edge of difference', not necessarily between North and South, or between 'Welsh' Wales and the rest, but between 'wet' and 'dry' areas.We cannot legislate in the expectation of a miracle, the more especially as the writer of that letter is in a better position to judge as to the likelihood of a miracle than any of us. He was the Archbishop of Wales, and he wrote that letter only the other day. From the content of his letter, I think that we can reasonably assume that the Archbishop of Wales is not optimistic of the possibility of a miracle on Sunday observance occurring under these local option polls.
We are introducing into Wales a problem which we have had in Scotland, the problem of the bona fide traveller. Surely we have difficulties enough with the bona fide traveller in Scotland. Yet what we are proposing to introduce into Wales is what has once been described as "the mala fide traveller with a bona fide thirst".
The arguments against local option seem to me to be absolutely overwhelming. We are creating all the difficulties and all the dangers which will arise from persons travelling from one area to another by train, bus or car in search of a 247 drink on a Sunday. The decision of one area to go dry does not have an impact only on its own members, because it is a cause of inconvenience to all the areas which surround the county borough or county which goes dry. If the voting is in any way at all close, what we are doing is to start a running campaign for the next seven years to overthrow the decision which has been reached, whichever way it has gone. In connection with a subject which can give rise to emotion as the subject of drink can do, I cannot believe that this is good for Wales.
In conclusion—and I will not refer to the other provisions of the Bill because of the lack of time and the anxiety of other hon. Members to speak—I would ask my right hon. Friend to look once again at the Clause which, in my opinion, is bad constitutional legislation and introduces a system into the licensing laws which has already been generally discredited.
§ 5.57 p.m.
§ Mr. Walter Edwards (Stepney)
It is not my intention to follow the noble Lord the Member for Hertford (Lord Balniel) in dealing with the Welsh situation, and certainly not to make a speech of a nationwide character. I want to deal with the people living in the East End of London, and I may be the only hon. Member from that part of the country sitting in the House tonight who is fortunate enough to catch Mr. Speaker's eye.
The Gracious Speech at the beginning of the Session stated that the Government would deal vigorously with our licensing laws and introduce a Bill to remedy all the anomalies. Seeing that, I said to myself, "For the second time since I have been in the House I can support a Tory Home Secretary." The last time I supported the present Home Secretary was when the Street Offences Bill was before us. I am sure that Measure has done all that it set out to do. It has cleaned the streets of London of the prostitutes who used to hang about. If the prostitutes have gone into clubs, at all events young children cannot see them from the streets.
I had hoped that the present Bill would be as useful as the Street Offences Act, but I am extremely disappointed about it. I would ask the House to realise what the Home Secretary said yesterday, that 248 this is the first time since 1902—fiftyeight years ago—that the club laws of the country have been dealt with by the House. That means that it is certainly likely, and possible, that we shall have entered the next century before the matter is considered again. That emphasises the importance of this occasion. We have to consider not only what is to happen during the present generation but also what will happen during the following generation and generations after that in connection with the licensing laws in respect of licensed houses, clubs, restaurants and cafés. It is because I do not think the Home Secretary has fully considered the effects which the Measure will have in the years to come that I call it a disappointing Bill.
There is nothing really startling in the hours situation under the Bill, but I suggest that, if we are to make a change by legislation, we should by all means make some sensible change and not the change which is being made in this way. I think that I am voicing the opinion of the vast majority of people in East London who like a glass of beer when I say that they are quite satisfied with the present hours. They do not want another quarter of an hour tacked on, for that will serve no useful purpose. Although there is a variation here and there, I suggest that it would have been far better to leave the arrangements in London as they are rather than to insert provisions in a Bill of this description which completely take away the rights of the licensing justices to fix hours.
I am one of those who think that it would be far better if it could be left to the local justices to fix the drinking hours in accordance with the desires of the local people rather than to fix them by Statute. At the moment the provision is for "pubs" to stay open until 11 o'clock at night, although no trade may be coming in after 10 o'clock. According to the Bill, if the publican does not want to keep open he may close. However, many publicans in London are the tied servants of the brewers, and if the brewer finds that his servant is not opening when he might, it is clear that that servant will have to find some other form of employment. Therefore, there is no absolute freedom for a man to keep his public house open or to close it. Also, if the man is the 249 licensee of his own public house, he has to watch the competition of the fellow next door, and, if he closes before the fellow next door, it is possible that he may lose what little trade he has already because he does not open his public house for all the extra hours which may be permitted. For that reason, I do not think that the hours need be stated in the Bill at all.
There is also the rather vexed question of Sunday opening. I am referring not to Wales but to Sunday opening in England. Here again, it is being said that the public houses should remain open till 3 o'clock—the hour fixed by Statute. It appears that the vast majority of hon. Members, and, I think, the vast majority of people outside the House, are not desirous of having that extra hour on a Sunday. Actually, I think that in the vast majority of places the mid-day time is from 12 to 2 o'clock. It may interest some hon. Members to know that in the City of London the public houses do not close until 2.30 on Sunday. That is in the constituency which Mr. Speaker represents. I think that is the only area of London where the public houses do not close till 2.30. Consequently, if the Bill is to state that public houses must close at 2 o'clock, the poor people in the City of London will lose half an hour of drinking time. However, that will not make a lot of difference. But I still think that to fix the hours by Statute is not the best way to deal with the matter.
§ Mr. W. R. Rees-Davies (Isle of Thanet)
Surely the hon. Member will admit that if he had his way and there were a choice of hours by the applicant, subject to the discretion of the bench as the hon. Member is suggesting, one could still have a four-hours' closure. The City could still have its public houses open from 12 to 2.30 on Sunday, and they could then open four hours later at 6.30 until 10. Surely it could be done that way. One could still have the same hours without the 3 o'clock closing. Therefore, the hon. Gentleman would have his way and the City would have its way. Surely that is right.
§ Mr. Edwards
What I am trying to impress upon the House is that there is no need to change the present system. The present system in the West End on 250 Sunday is that the hours of opening are from 12 noon to 2 o'clock, while in the City of London, adjacent to it, the hours of opening are from 12.30 to 2.30 p.m. In either place, two hours' drinking time is available. I think that we can leave it to the good sense of the licensing justices to decide what the hour should be, once the maximum hours have been laid down. I do not think that that part of the Bill will produce much benefit.
However, I am concerned mainly with clubs, cafés and restaurants. The position about the clubs appears to be slightly improved. I come from a district where we have had much trouble with clubs. Not so long ago, a person was murdered in a club in my constituency, but quite apart from people being murdered—if they like to kill each other, that is their business, so long as they do not kill anybody else—these clubs are a confounded nuisance to the people who live in the area.
In my constituency they were springing up long before the Street Offences Act came into force—I must make that quite clear. Since the end of the war, these clubs have been able to provide easy money, and in the main the people who are running them are those who have British passports but who were not born in Britain. They are the people who are causing untold misery to families living in the area who do not want to use the clubs.
I would have liked the provisions about clubs to have been much stronger, because I repeat that this may be a Measure to last for fifty years or so. One of the things which should have to be decided is whether there is any need for a club. As it is, any person in London who can get hold of premises, even next door to an existing club, need only go to a magistrate and present a list of twenty-five names and a fee of 5s. and open a club.
That cannot be done with a public house. Opening licensed premises in London requires the consent of the planning authorities, but clubs are allowed to open without any regard to the need for them or whether they will serve the public good in any way. With a longterm Measure of this sort, much more serious thought should have been given to that aspect of the matter.
251 Licensed premises have always been liable to police supervision and police entry and I am sure that the fact that the police have a right of entry into licensed houses has made a tremendous difference to those premises. Such a right keeps people on their toes and makes them think twice about any misbehaviour. It is one of the best safeguards which can be applied to the sale of alcoholic liquor.
A licensee may have three or four drunks on his premises and he might get a bottle across his head if he tried to deal with them, but if the police suddenly arrive, the drunks are out of the premises before they know where they are, and sometimes people may even think twice before getting into that state. Why cannot we have such a provision with clubs? What is wrong with the police being allowed to enter clubs in the same way as they can enter licensed premises?
§ Mr. D. Griffiths
There is a distinction between a public house and a working man's club, or the Churchill, or any other club of repute. A club is on private property and is paid for by subscriptions, and all its members participate in its management. It does not operate for private profit. But a public house is open to the general public and operated on a profit-making basis.
§ Mr. Edwards
I am not saying that working men's clubs are not run decently. I am speaking not of the clubs in the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley (Mr. D. Griffiths) but of those in my constituency. I hope that my hon. Friend will be able to make his own case. Even granting what my hon. Friend says, who will be afraid of a policeman entering the premises if the club is being run properly? What have the club members to be afraid of? What is good for one kind of place which is selling intoxicating liquor is good for all. That is the bad part of the provisions about clubs, and this is a good opportunity lost.
I want now to deal with cafés, and I remind hon. Members that there is all the difference in the world between a café in the East End and a café in the West End of London. A restaurant in the West End of London is a place where 252 people can go and take their friends and families and be proud so to do. But in some parts of London, in the famous Cable Street area in my constituency, for example, the cafés are completely different.
Many of the cafés which are now open will meet the requirements of the Bill. The true owners will find a nominee who will appear to be the owner. Unfortunately, as with clubs, the true owners are people with British passports who were not born in Britain, and with them there are layabouts of the same origin.
These premises are not what we know as restaurants. They are cheap cafés which one used to be able to find all over the world on the docksides of places like Hong Kong. It will not take long for them to be able to supply meals. I am concerned about the fact that there is no definition of a substantial meal, and if the Bill leaves the House without the term "substantial meal" being defined, licensing justices will not know whether they ought to grant a licence or not. Every member of every bench wants guidance on that issue and does not want to be left to his own discretion, because it would be a shocking mistake if licences were granted when they ought not to be granted.
Within a distance of 200 yards in a street in my constituency there are now six public houses and more than that number of cafés, old places, old shops which have been made into cafés. It appears to me that the Bill will permit those cafes to qualify for a licence. Are we to have six public houses and eight or nine licensed cafés in a distance of 200 yards? What could be more menacing? Although in those cafés at present only tea and coffee are consumed—at least, that is supposed to be the case—there are more fights there than in the public houses in Stepney, because of the type of people who frequent those cafés.
I cannot vote for a Bill which contains such provisions for dealing with cafés. I think that if cafés or restaurants are to have a licence to sell alcohol they should show that there is some sort of need and there should be some sort of right of police entry in the same way as there is with the premises of licensed victuallers.
I am sorry to have taken so much time but, in view of these most unsatisfactory 253 provisions, and because it will have to last for the next forty or fifty years, I cannot give the Bill my support.
§ 6.16 p.m.
§ Mr. Cyril Osborne (Louth)
I entirely agree with what the hon. Member for Stepney (Mr. W. Edwards) said about cafés and "pubs". If there is one reason more than another which would make me vote against the Bill, it is the hon. Member's plea on that issue. The Bill has been damned by faint praise from both sides of the House. Many hon. Members have said that they support it, with reservations, but they hope to cut its throat in Committee. I intend to vote against it tonight because I think that, on balance, it will do more harm than good. I shall detain the House for only five minutes and I hope to state my case in that time.
I am old enough to remember the awful evils of drink before the 1914–18 war when the "pubs" closed only between one in the morning and five in the morning. I lived in a mining district and I remember as a boy seeing the terrible evils of unrestricted drinking hours on the women and children of the district in which I was brought up. I say God save England from returning to conditions anything like those.
I would remind the House that it took the very grave conditions of a war, in the year 1917, to get the first modern restrictions imposed on this trade. I am against the Bill because, while I agree that drink may be a good servant, I believe that it is always and inevitably—and I repeat inevitably—a bad master, and I believe that the Bill will make that bad master an evil tyrant.
Secondly, as a businessman and as a big employer of labour, I believe that all of us in the country are spending too much money on drink at the present time—far more than we can reasonably afford. I am against this Bill because I believe that it will tend to increase the amount which we are spending. I want to warn hon. Members on both sides of the House that I believe we are in for a period of bad trade in this country. It is only just starting—and there will not be flush money to spend on drink. Instead of putting more temptation in the way of people we ought to take it away.
254 Thirdly, I believe that the aim of all social legislation should be to protect the weaker brethren from their own weakness. It has always been accepted in a modern society that the strong-minded should accept restrictions on their liberty in order to help the weaker-minded brethren. I believe that this Bill will put more temptation in the way of the weaker-minded brethren, and that those on both sides of this House who feel so strongly that drink is no real temptation to them ought to accept the restrictions in order to help those who are not as lucky as they are.
Fourthly, there are the awful traffic tragedies, the deaths and the horrible accidents on the roads. The number of motor vehicles will inevitably increase as the years go by. Faster and stronger machines will be put on the roads. Let hon. Members remember that many accidents can be traced to drink. I believe that this Bill will increase that terrible evil. It will put greater opportunities in the way of men who drink and who drive the machines. I appeal on that issue.
I regret that the extra quarter of an hour—
§ Mr. Osborne
The hon. Member has interrupted enough. I want to get on with my speech. I have only five minutes. I regret that the extra quarter of an hour for that "extra one for the road" could spell death for innocent men, women and children, and I am against that.
Fifthly, as the hon. Member for Stepney (Mr. W. Edwards) said, clubs and cafés will multiply. I call my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary's attention to an article in the Observer last Sunday, entitled, "That Old Devil, Drink." It said:Spirit-drinking in France is to be curbed … Statistics tell a horrible tale. There are 22,000 deaths from alcoholism a year, from wine as well as spirits; children have died, raving. Nearly 40 per cent. of road accidents and over 50 per cent. of criminal offences are caused by drink. Half the inmates of the asylums are alcoholics.That is in France, yet we in this country through this Bill are to increase the number of places where drink can 255 be obtained. The Observer article went on:There is one café for 180 people in France. Licences for these are to be restricted, made dearer or ended; the ration in future is to be one for 3,000.We are going the opposite way. I cannot understand such a high-minded and fine man as my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary giving his consent to a Bill of this nature.
Lastly, the extra hour on Sunday is opposed by everyone in the trade. One licensee in my constituency wrote to me:The great majority of people in the trade are painfully aware that already there is insufficient trade to fill the existing hours, and it has been so for some eight years or more. In other words, the proposed new hours can only result in increased operating costs, without any increase in revenue, which will inevitably be passed on to the consuming public. I cannot seriously believe that the brewers would absorb them, and the average publican certainly could not do so.It is for these deeply felt reasons that I must vote against the Bill. I hope that the House will forgive me for saying this final word, which I hope is not out of place, but the one thing that Christian men everywhere pray is,Lead us not into temptation.This Bill will do exactly that. For that reason, I shall vote against it.
§ 6.25 p.m.
§ Mr. Goronwy Roberts (Caernarvon)
I never thought that the time would come in this House when I would receive more cheer from Wimbledon than from the Rhondda Valley, but that has happened on this occasion in this interesting and sometimes rather odd debate. I was particularly impressed by the speeches of my hon. Friend the Member for Stepney (Mr. W. Edwards) and the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. C. Osborne). I want to commend the hon. Member for Louth on his courage in deciding to vote against the Bill although the Government have not seen fit, as they should have done, to grant a free vote on a matter of this kind.
I hope that the House will reject the Bill. It is not only a bad Bill but a dangerous one. Its inevitable effect will be greatly to increase facilities for drinking and, therefore, for drunkenness. There has been a good deal of talk about personal liberty and personal choice. If that really were the issue in the Bill, it 256 would lead to at least one or two promoters of the Bill demanding that the existing restrictions on the sale of drink should be removed—at least the restrictions over and above those already applying to ordinary merchandise.
Of course, nobody has said that, for the simple reason that historically this House and the country have been agreed for at least 100 years that drink is a different commodity from any other and that it carries with it definite dangers for the individual and for society. At least since the 1860s it has been the broad good sense of the House and of the people who elect it that there should be quite stringent and increasing restrictions on the sale and availability of strong drink, and only the most compelling reasons should persuade us today to reverse this policy. Yet that is what the Bill is doing.
It departs from the principle of restriction which by and large has served this country well, and has certainly served Wales well, and it adopts another one of extension and encouragement on a large, if not a revolutionary, scale. We are asked to adopt the very system which today has France writhing in the clutches of the drink trade.
Many of us are familiar with the conditions in France in the 1920s and the 1930s. I was a student there in the 1930s and saw how this free trade in drink, this extension of its availability, developed, and how that great nation became a neurotic, uncertain, stricken country which in war and peace was unable to measure up to its responsibilities. Today, the President of France is trying, as M. Mendes-France unsuccessfully tried to do before him, to bring in the most drastic restrictions—far more drastic than any contained in our legislation on this matter before this Bill came forward.
I agree with the hon. Member for Louth that it is quite extraordinary and wholly irresponsible of the Government to bring forward a brewers' charter of this kind at a time when our nearest neighbour is trying to undo the results of the very system which the Bill proposes to introduce into this country.
§ Mr. William Yates (The Wrekin)
Many of the hon. Member's hon. Friends keep on saying that the brewers want this 257 legislation and that this is a brewers' charter. Can I assure him that this is not so? From the managing director of The Wrekin Brewery I have received the following statement:We are not in favour of extending opening hours for licensed premises on Sunday from 2 to 3 p.m.This is not a brewers' charter.
§ Mr. Roberts
Can the hon. Member assure me that he has a message from the Brewer's Association saying that it is against all the contents of this Bill? The point is that the Bill extends facilities for drinking, and I regard it as a response by the Tory Government to their major paymaster, the Brewers' Association. I know of no other substantial body of opinion, certainly not in Wales, which has asked for this. But I will deal with Wales later on.
Many hon. Members have mentioned the problem of increased drunkenness among young people. On both sides of the House there are hon. Members who have devoted much of their time to doing all they can for youth clubs and for young people generally. Those of us who are familiar with the habits and inclinations of teen-agers and young persons know that they are not naturally inclined towards drink. They either drift into it or are encouraged by older people to take it. There is no natural appetite for strong drink among teenagers except very exceptionally. What young people want always is a place to get together, with good lighting and music, perhaps dancing, and reasonably priced, normal refreshment. They almost never demand that these facilities should also include the provision of drink.
If this Bill becomes law, a terrible responsibility will rest on the promoters. There may be entire towns in this country without a single non-licensed place of public refreshment and one can imagine the scores and hundreds of young people in their leisure hours, especially on Sundays, walking about seeking a place in which to sit and talk with each other and having to use one of a number of licensed premises.
Our youth will not have to seek temptation; it will be pushed at them, and put on the table before them. They 258 will be surrounded by it. The principle of expansion has been adopted in the Bill when the entire experience of the civilised world is in favour not of expansion but of restriction. Someone mentioned that in Australia they were grappling with the drink problem, although there the permitted hours did not extend beyond 6 o'clock. But if the evidence of the whole of the Australian continent be considered, one would be forced to the conclusion that the trend of Governmental action is certainly not towards extension and expansion but to-wards restriction.
§ Mrs. Harriet Slater (Stoke-on-Trent, North)
Is it not true that when in New South Wales they increased the licensing hours the number of convicted persons rose to the astonishing figure of 83,000 out of a total population of 3,500,000?
§ Mr. Roberts
My hon. Friend anticipates me. I was just about to quote that figure. The figure for convictions for drunkenness in New South Wales after the inception of the new permitted hours, as explained by my hon. Friend, rose to over 80,000, although the population is only one-twelfth of that of this country.
We have heard a good deal of criticism of the temperance movement and of the Nonconformist conscience. I wish to say two things about the Nonconformist conscience. It is shared by a good many people outside the Nonconformist Churches and in the past this country—as my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) so wonderfully expressed for us last night—has benefited greatly in sanity, sobriety and social reform from the work and influence of people who were often jeered at as being possessed of a Nonconformist conscience. The right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) said today exactly what we feel about the sanctity of the Sabbath. I was sorry to hear my hon. Friend the Member for Rhondda, West (Mr. Iorwerth Thomas) yesterday say some rather cruel things about the attitude of those people in Wales who take their stand on the work of the Churches and who are opposed to the Bill. I only hope that my hon. Friend will reconsider some of the things he said. I thought that at times his speech was a veritable cocktail of abuse and absurdity.
259 I protest against the suggestion that people who are opposed to the Bill are imbued with hypocrisy. There are in the Bill—I will not say an example of hypocrisy because it is not a word to use in ordinary discussion—a great many examples of inconsistency. Where is the consistency, for instance, in demanding in the name of democracy that in the counties and the county boroughs the people of Wales should vote on the question of Sunday opening of public houses while leaving the position of the clubs exactly as it is?
§ Mr. Iorwerth Thomas (Rhondda, West)
Do I understand my hon. Friend to say that he would like to have a referendum on local option in Wales on the future closing of clubs?
§ Mr. Roberts
Speaking for myself—[HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."]—I will answer; wait for it. Speaking for myself, and for a great many people in Wales, I would say that we should like local option, if the Government insist upon it, to include the question not only of the opening of public houses on Sundays but also that of the clubs. I am not alone in that feeling—certainly not.
Finally, the Bill certainly contains an affront and an injustice to the people of Wales and their representatives in the House. The noble Lord the Member for Hertford (Lord Balniel), I think, brilliantly exposed the dangers and inanities of the Welsh proposals if they go through in their present form. I hope that the Government will listen to one of their own supporters who pleaded so strongly that the Welsh Members of this House should deal with a purely Welsh problem and question. The Government are guilty of dealing with whatever problem there is in Wales, not by facing it squarely but by a descreditable manoeuvre, not in order to solve the problem but to get round it. That, to me, is a cowardly way.
There is intense indignation among people of all parties, and of none, in the Principality about the sickening technique which the Minister for Welsh Affairs and his confederates on the Government Front Bench have adopted in seeking, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly rightly said, to undermine an Act which has brought great blessings to Wales and out of which great advantages, both moral and material, have accrued.
260 Let me say this to English and Scottish Members. We Members from Wales number thirty-six, and we operate under very grave difficulty. Whenever a Welsh question is raised in the House we have to do our best to fight it on behalf of our constituents well knowing that nearly 600 votes—often those which are whipped in during the last couple of minutes before 10 o'clock—will submerge us. I appeal to fair-minded hon. Members of all parties on both sides of the House, English, Scottish, and Welsh, to bring pressure on the Government—they can do it—to take out of this Bill the Welsh Clause and its related Schedule and to remit it to a Standing Committee of Welsh Members. There is provision in the Standing Orders for this to be done quite simply if the will is there to do it. I am sure that when we have considered it and when, as it must, it comes back to the full authority of the House, hon. Members will agree that we shall have done our duty as Welsh Members in regard to a prescriptively Welsh question with competence and honour.
§ 6.40 p.m.
§ Mr. Edward Gardner (Billericay)
I was very interested to hear the hon. Member for Caernarvon (Mr. G. Roberts) refer to the danger which drink has for the young. That is a subject to which we cannot devote too much attention. I appreciate that anyone who speaks against proposals to increase the opportunities for the sale and consumption of alcoholic drinks runs the risk of being regarded as an intolerant teetotaller. I know that I am not a teetotaller, and I hope that I am not intolerant, but I do see in this Bill two dangers, one to young people and the other to road users. My complaint—and it is something which I hope can be put right in Committee—is not about what is in the Bill at the moment, but about what has been left out by way of safeguards.
I do not think that this House can dissociate the deplorable rise in the crime rate among the young from the melancholy figures which show the increase in drunkenness among the young. I am not for a moment suggesting or attempting to suggest that in the main our young people are not able to look 261 after themselves and to behave and discipline themselves as well as any young people can; but there is a minority who, for lack of background, lack of upbringing, lack of parental control and for many other reasons, have not the ability in themselves to look after themselves.
It is a fact at the moment, and I regard it personally as a particularly disturbing fact, that the crime rate among people under 21 years of age is three times the crime rate of adult, and the figures appear to be rising annually. The number of proved offences of drunkenness among young people under 21 in 1953—and I think these figures have already been bandied about, but I do not apologise for repeating them—was 3,029. In 1959, that figure had risen to 6,577. For young people under the age of 18, the figure in 1955 was 669 cases of proved offences of drunkenness, and in 1959 that figure had risen to 1,008.
No one who has been in our courts of criminal law for more than a day can fail to have noticed the number of young people who appear in the dock accused of serious offences who either say or have said on their behalf as an excuse for the reason why they committed the crime—though I confess that frequently one feels that it is not by any means a complete explanation or the full excuse—that they have had too much to drink.
There was a case of murder about two months ago Which was tried at the Central Criminal Court and concerned four young men. The youngest was under 17, and one of the four young men, a man by the name of Forsyth, was 18 years old. He, with the other three, was found guilty of the murder of a young man whom they had assaulted on a footpath in Hounslow in order that they could rob him.
I think that perhaps the most poignant piece of evidence that Forsyth gave at his trial, in an attempt to explain why he had kicked a man to death as he confessed he had, was because that night he had had a considerable quantity of beer mixed with spirits, and had felt, as he put it in his own vernacular phrase, "a bit garrotty", which meant wild or ferocious. I put this to hon. Members because there is in this Bill, indeed, in the main proposals of the present Bill, the suggestion that a restaurant, unless 262 it falls within the proviso set out in the Bill, should be given a licence, and the justices, except on certain evidence or facts, should not be able to refuse such a restaurant licence.
We all know that one of the most innocent and, in the main, agreeable meeting places for the young these days is what is known as the espresso bar and the coffee bar. I ask my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary to consider putting into the Bill in clear language, so that the definition can be applied easily and fully, a Clause which will automatically exclude coffee bans from the grant of this form of licence.
I say that because, although I realise that in Clause 2 (3, b) it is laid down that one of the reasons why the licensing justices can refuse to grant an application of this kind is that a large proportion of the persons habitually resorting to the premises are young persons, as we all know, in a city like London or in large towns, many of these coffee bars are resorted to during the day by business people. Statistically, it would be possible to say that a large proportion of the customers were in fact adult people, whereas these coffee bars are used at night by young people. I, therefore, ask that these premises should be excluded from the provisions of the Bill.
May I now turn very briefly to the vexed question of the possible effect upon road users of certain proposals in the Bill? I am concerned with only one aspect. It is clearly the Government's intention, which I am sure the House as a whole applauds, to ensure the greatest and maximum safety on the roads. We now have splendid motorways on which a high degree of concentration is required from drivers who go at speeds far in excess of those at which they would travel on ordinary and normal roads.
As I see it, the danger of the Bill is that, subject to planning permission, it would be possible to build restaurants along the new motorways and to give licences to them under Clause 1 of the Bill, thereby enabling motorists to pull up at restaurants and drink while travelling on the motorway. I cannot see this as anything but a dangerous proposal, and I believe that, if motorists wish to drink while driving, they should travel on the ordinary roads and not upon roads where a special degree of skill is called for.
263 May I also urge upon my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary the possibility of including in the Bill provisions to make it necessary for publicans, that is, public houses generally, to serve some meals or some substantial food with drinks, particularly in the evening? One can go into almost any public house which does not have a restaurant attached to it and have the greatest difficulty in buying anything other than a packet of chips or, perhaps, eating a few nuts from a plate. I ask that it should be possible for people to obtain food when they go into a public house at about this time of night, perhaps on their way home from work, perhaps not having eaten since their lunch. They drink on an empty stomach and are likely to be much more affected by alcohol than if they had had a sandwich. It should be required that public houses should serve sandwiches, for example, to their customers at night.
Although I shall vote for the Second Reading of the Bill, in the hope that the matters which I have put before the House will be dealt with in Committee, there is one point, in particular, which disturbs me. In those parts of Essex which I know best there are many publicans who keep small public houses. Many of them do so without any other help than that which their wives can give them. I know the many hours of work which they put in, and I also know that, generally, they get very little profit from a working week of 70 to 75 hours. I know one or two of those public houses in which a man and his wife work those long hours and expect to earn on average about £6 a week over the year. When they want a day off they must pay someone to take over the public house for them. This reduces their profits and makes life commercially impossible.
They argue that the extra hour will have no effect on the profits of the public house, and that they will get no more customers, but that people will come in later and drink the same amount. On the other hand, although the Bill allows them to close at the present closing time, they say that they dare not close before the full time allowed or they would be in danger of losing trade to their competitors. I am sure that the Home Secretary has the interests of those people in 264 mind and that the House will not forget them when the provisions of the Bill are considered in Committee.
§ 6.52 p.m.
§ Mr. David Griffiths (Rother Valley)
Like many hon. Members on both sides of the House, I rise with some timidity to suggest that the Home Secretary, the Minister of State and the Under-Secretary of State and their officials have done a very good job in introducing this Measure on a subject which has been contentious in both major political parties in this country for over half a century. I will not allow emotion to run away with me, as I am afraid far too many hon. Members have; I welcome the Bill because I consider that there is much good in it, although there are, on the other hand, many dangers which would be dealt with in Committee.
Much comment has been made about the danger on the roads. It is true that there is danger on the roads, but the main danger has been principally between 10 p.m. and midnight. That has arisen from the irregular licensing hours in various parts of the country, particularly in industrial areas. One licensing authority may close the public houses at 10 p.m. while an adjacent authority closes them at 10.30 p.m. We see the road hogs driving from one area to another to get an extra drink or two. This is unfair to the landlords or licensees who have to close at 10 p.m. and causes discomfort for the landlord and his regular customers in the adjacent area. I therefore welcome the decision in the Bill on the unification of hours.
I am sorry that my hon. Friend the Member for Stepney (Mr. W. Edwards) is not here. He does not want the extension of hours. I can understand that. Perhaps I may use a phrase which was used by the chairman of a bench of magistrates on which I sat many years ago. He used to say, "If they cannot get sufficient beer before 10 o'clock they are gluttons". A similar remark applies to London when 11 p.m. is the closing hour, except for residential hotels.
I particularly appreciate the important part played by the Home Secretary in the provision of an extra quarter of an hour. I will be brief about this, because, although there are many points on the Bill with which I should like to deal, 265 I hope to have the opportunity of sitting in the Committee and of moving Amendments to improve the Bill. Anybody who knows anything at all about the licensing laws knows the ridiculous situation which arises in various areas where the licensees and the police have a different interpretation of what is "a reasonable time" after 10 p.m. or 10.30 p.m., whichever it may be. Some of my hon. Friends have talked about the seriousness of the extra fifteen minutes. In my opinion this provision is a necessary safeguard which the Home Secretary has introduced to give the landlord an opportunity to get people out of the public houses within a clear-cut, specified time.
The argument has been adduced that this will mean an extra half-hour per evening. It will mean nothing of the kind. Reasonably-minded people will drink up and leave in normal circumstances. The barman, the licensee or the waiter will be gradually collecting the glasses. They will not have to wait until the last minute, as hitherto, until people have been kicked out of the public houses.
Hon. Members have talked about the huge amount of extra money which will be spent on drink as a result of the Bill. That is a stupid and fallacious argument. The hon. Member for Louth (Mr. C. Osborne) unfortunately is not here, but I would ask him and my hon. Friend the Member for Caernarvon (Mr. G. Roberts) where the Chancellor would get his money, without increasing their taxes, if money were not spent on drink. Nevertheless, I agree that too much money is spent on drink. I am very disturbed about the number of criminal cases, particularly among young people, and I will do anything to eliminate these, as will every other hon. Member. There are two factors which most hon. Members have ignored and which would eliminate some of these crimes, however—to try to get better parental control and more discipline in the schools. We should then not have the crime and delinquency which we have at present. Many people have placed the blame on drink—
§ Mr. Griffiths
I can tell my hon. Friend that quite easily as a non-teacher to a teacher. Teachers should be much firmer than they are. I have not been a teacher but for many years I have been going into schools and seeing them at work or supposed to be at work. There is not as much discipline in schools as there should be—and I am not alluding to particular cases.
I do not want to be too controversial. My Welsh friends must make no charge against me, because I have a Welsh name, although I am accused of forsaking the Principality. I have just as great a desire for that Christian doctrine as they have, but I do not want their modesty to run away with them. I heard an hon. Member—who is not here to defend himself, as I wish he were—say on television last Sunday night that it is not true that visitors complain when they go to Wales because they cannot get a drink on a Sunday, but I tell him that it is true. Visitors from England go to Wales to see the beauty, it is true, but they like to have a drink. My Welsh friends do not realise how much they are doing to create bogus drinking and to foster bogus clubs with the attitude which they are adopting. It would be much better and more realistic if they were to adopt a different attitude.
I do not agree with the suggestion for a plebiscite. If the Government are to legislate for England and Wales, then Parliament is entitled to legislate in all aspects. I have a strong feeling that Wales could be playing a greater part for the benefit of her own people. In my view they should grow up and live in the twentieth century, not the dark ages of the eighteenth century.
§ 7.1 p.m.
§ Mr. F. M. Bennett (Torquay)
First, I wish to commend the hon. Member for Rother Valley (Mr. D. Griffiths) on the complete sincerity and the brevity of his speech—his brevity in fairness to others. I should also like to say something which has no reference to him. It is a pity that hon. Members on both sides of the House who oppose the Bill, and whose sincerity and integrity we all accept, have begun their speeches too often by accusing those who take another line as being agents of the brewers' charter. Sincerity should cut both ways. I have no connection with the brewers, and, as far as I know, I have not even received any 267 representations about the Bill from a brewery.
There are several reasons, in particular, why I approve of the Bill, but before concluding my remarks with those reasons I want to make one or two comments on an aspect which has not so far been raised—the usefulness of the Bill to the tourist trade outside London. In Torquay, which is one of the most attractive places in this country from the point of view of foreign and home visitors alike, and where there is a very high standard of hotels, there have been a number of restrictions—which the Bill sweeps away—which in the past have proved very irksome. In a district such as Torquay, and other seaside and holiday resorts, there is generally a large genuinely residential population in hotels, and the present position is very annoying to them, when their friends visit them from other parts of England but cannot get into the same hotel. Sometimes when they see members of their own families for the first time for a year or six months they cannot even buy them a drink with a meal in the hotel in which they live as if it were their own house.
It is not only in London that people on holiday, either from abroad or from this country, wish to enjoy themselves, to dance, to see a cabaret and to do something a little different from the ordinary run of their lives. Up to now it has been difficult for the special late licences obtained in London to be granted to a place of genuine entertainment outside London, and that is a point being dealt with in the Bill which I particularly support.
On the question of clubs, I agree with everyone who has spoken and I have found among all who have approached me a general contentment and favour that at long last measures are to be taken to bring clubs more into line with licensed premises. I agree with the hon. Member for Rother Valley that many of these clubs would not have developed in the way they have if all Governments had been more honest and dealt with this whole situation long ago. However, better late than never.
The vexed question of the hours of Sunday opening is the only subject on which I have received any strong representations. No one seems to care for 268 the afternoon proposed extension to 3 o'clock. Perhaps in Committee we can change that. I have one reservation to make. While abolishing that proposal, would it be possible to permit people having a meal in a restaurant to go on with their lunch after 2 o'clock and to have drink provided so long as it is a genuine meal? The reason why people object to the extension after 2 o'clock would not affect having drinks with a genuine meal.
Another item which I think affects most outside London at the moment is the fact that a member of a Conservative club or a Labour working man's club when he goes on holiday to the seaside and wants to meet friends in a similar club has to go through the bogus formality of paying a shilling or so in order to become a member of the club. I do not know whether by this Bill that can be swept away and provision made that if in his home town he is a bona fide member of a club he will be able to enter on holiday an affiliated club or one of a similar nature to his own without the device of having to become a temporary member.
Turning to more general matters, I agree wholeheartedly with what the hon. Member for Rother Valley said about the fifteen-minute limit. The fantasy that has been suggested that this will lead to people ordering three double scotches at one minute to ten has no reality. If one wants three double scotches it would be more sensible and incidentally much cheaper to buy a half-bottle to take away. Alternatively, any such hypothetical affluent people could have their three double scotches earlier in the evening, have time for three more and not leave it until the closing time came to do so.
Another piece of hypocrisy which will be cleared away is that publicans' clocks which are now five or seven minutes faster than other clocks can in future be kept at the right time. The publican has an impossible task in having to make people gulp down their drinks under the present system. For a country like ours to have to resort to fiddling about with clocks in order to conform with the law of the land is wrong, and the sooner we get rid of that the better.
Turning to what I am afraid is a more controversial note so far as Wales is 269 concerned, in my election addresses and certainly in pledges I have given before elections I have said when Welsh bodies of various sorts have asked whether I would support a Government which varied drinking hours in Wales that as the law as to that was brought in so long ago at the wish of the Welsh people it should not be removed without direct recourse to the Welsh people. Hence, there would have been a great difficulty for me if the Government had followed any other line than to allow the Welsh people to make their decision. On how it is reached I have no strong feelings. If it is to be an overall vote in Wales I would not quarrel with that, but as one whose family home is in North Wales I could not devise a quicker way of getting the Nonconformist Welsh way of life abolished than by having an overall vote in Wales including the industrial south. I say to hon. Members opposite who want the position in rural Wales to remain as it is at the moment that they would be well advised to follow the system which gives the best chance of seeing their ideas succeed.
During the course of the debate the idea of the continuance of clubs on Sundays in Wales has been raised. I would have no objection to it if the Government said, "Let the Welsh people decide that they want the clubs as well as "pubs" on Sundays or, vice versa, neither." My view is that we could not get a more certain way of making quite sure that the people would vote for Sunday opening for the "pubs"; but it is for those Welsh hon. Members with strong feelings to decide how best they should direct their aims.
We are not repealing the 1881 Act which yesterday we were accused of doing, but are, in fact, giving the Welsh the opportunity to repeal it or not as they desire. For people in the world outside, even in the most primitive parts of Africa, hon. Members—particularly those on the benches opposite—clamour for the principle of one man, one vote. It seems odd that when it comes to a question of their own constituencies they find themselves rather reluctant to allow to their own electors the privilege which they wish to extend elsewhere in the world. If all the Nonconformists are opposed to this matter and all the other people who are alleged to oppose it in Wales, do oppose it, if public opinion is 270 against it and if there is no demand for it as we have been told for two days, then I cannot understand why hon. Members from Welsh constituencies do not want these polls to take place in order to prove how decisively wrong the Government are in thinking that there is readiness for this change. It is impossible for hon. Members to have it both ways. They know perfectly well that they do not think that their constituents would agree with them.
§ Mr. John Morris (Aberavon)
Surely the hon. Member realises that if this proposal is carried through it will result in ridiculous and illogical differences between each county and county borough in Wales?
§ Mr. Bennett
If the hon. Member feels that and would rather that the test of public opinion were taken over the whole of Wales, I personally would have no objection. I think that because of the different characteristics in Wales the regional method would be fairer, and in any case there is just as much motoring between England and Wales as there may be between different districts in Wales.
I favour the Bill because it will remedy a lot of petty restrictions and anomalies which should have been removed long ago and will do away with devices and little rackets which are undignified and do not befit this nation as a whole. If I am on the Committee which deals with the Bill I shall, of course, have detailed reservations to make, but I welcome the Bill as a whole and wish it well.
§ 7.12 p.m.
§ Mr. Francis Noel-Baker (Swindon)
I do not propose to follow the hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. Bennett) in discussing the situation in Wales, except to say that I thought that the noble Lord the hon. Member for Hertford (Lord Balniel) made an unanswerable case against that part of the Bill and that I hope very much that the Government will take his advice.
I was particularly interested in the speeches of the hon. Member for Billericay (Mr. Gardner) and the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. C. Osborne) and to some extent I want to follow what they said. In the hope that they may be prepared to go some way with me in my strong feelings about one part of 271 the Bill, I shall try to deal with a very controversial topic in as unprovocative a way as I can. Yesterday, the Home Secretary referred to Clause 14, which increases existing penalties—and increases them quite sharply—for offences in connection with the supply of intoxicating liquor to young persons. It is to that Clause that I wish to refer in order to draw attention to what I believe to be a perverse and illogical situation which will prevail unless the Bill is strengthened.
A number of my hon. Friends and a number of people outside think that there is already something perverse and illogical in the thinking of the Government about drinking by young people. They strongly suspect that this perverseness and illogicality is not entirely unconnected with pressure from brewers, distillers and advertising agents, many of whom are powerfully represented on their own back benches. We can visualise the agonising dilemma facing the Home Secretary and his colleagues at the Home Office when they struggle with the effect of alcohol on the growing problems of vice and crime, murderous driving and teen-age delinquency, on the one hand, and the blandishments of some of their supporters in the distilling, brewing and advertising businesses, on the other. There is a long and impressive list of hon. Members opposite so connected. I shall not go through it, but it is a long and powerful list.
In this Bill it seems to us that it is the brewers, the distillers and the advertising men who have won the battle for the Home Secretary's attention and a number of hon. Members have referred to the Bill as "a brewers' Bill". Nowhere in the 56 pages of the Bill is there any provision to deal with the immensely costly advertising campaigns for alcoholic drinks and, in particular, to deal with the deliberate, calculated and very skilful propaganda with which the brewers and distillers specifically aim to increase the consumption of alcohol by young people.
Yesterday the Home Secretary, when introducing the Bill, said:we have not overlooked the unhappy fact that drunkenness among young persons has been on the increase in recent years".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 28th November, 1960; Vol. 631, c. 42.]272 A number of hon. Members, including the hon. Member for Billericay today and the hon. Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas) yesterday, gave figures of the alarming increase in drunkenness among young people. Obviously, the Home Secretary, with his police reports and contacts with probation officers, and so on, is in a position to know very much more about this problem than the rest of us.
The right hon. Gentleman must also be aware that it is young people, earning relatively high wages and with relatively few regular financial obligations, who have rapidly become much the biggest and richest potential market for a large range of cheap expendable consumer goods, including drinks. It has recently been estimated that there are 4,200,000 working teen-agers who are disposing, between them, of roughly £17 million a week of uncommitted spending power—a total of £850 million a year. The temptation to brewers, distillers and advertising agents to direct a major part of their advertising campaigns at that market is very strong indeed. Available statistics show quite clearly that they are doing so, and I believe that they will go on doing so unless and until the threat or the fact of legislation restrains them.
Perhaps, at this stage, I ought to explain that I am not personally a teetotaller, although my family had close connections with the temperance movement for many years and my grandfather, when a Member of this House, was very active in it. I think that that right hon. Gentleman would not have approved when I tell the House that I enjoy a pint of beer and sometimes a glass of wine, or stout, although I must admit—[Interruption.]
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
I would not drink it if I did not enjoy it. I am grateful to the hon. Member, because he encourages me to say that my enjoyment when I drink stout is spoiled by the thought that I aim adding to the revenue of the noble Lord, Lord Boyd of Merton and his colleagues by assisting them to spend, as they did last year, up to £1 million on advertising which tells me something which I believe to be entirely untrue, that 273 their product is good for me. That is a statement which I believe to be as misleading as any which the noble Lord made when he was in this House.
The difference is that when he was in this House we were able to contradict and refute what he said, whereas the general public has no such opportunity to refute his claims on the hoardings. Indeed, I am told that if I put up a poster saying that his product is bad for me, I should find myself facing a legal action. That is one of the differences between advertising and politics which advertisers frequently overlook.
I am not a teetotaller and, generally, I support the Bill, but I am concerned, as a number of hon. Members have shown themselves to be, with the growth of crime and violence, including violence with vehicles on the road, by young, people. I also happen to be associated with a number of hon. Members on both sides of the House, with a public-spirited new consumers' organisation, the Advertising Inquiry Committee, which has recently published a first-rate, objective, independent piece of research into advertising by brewers and distillers in Great Britain.
This pamphlet is called "Advertising Alcohol". It is published by the Advertising Inquiry Committee, of 49, Cresswell Place, S.W.10. Copies of it can be obtained from the Christian, Economic and Social Research Foundation at 12, Caxton Street, S.W.1, at a cost of 7s. 6d. I am delighted to have the opportunity of advertising in the House this pamphlet and the Advertising Inquiry Committee which published it. If my hon. Friend on the Front Bench would be kind enough to help me, perhaps he would pass a copy of it to the Ministers closely concerned with the Bill. I am sure that its contents would do them and their officials a great deal of good.
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
Not free copies, but if the hon. Gentleman likes to send 7s. 6d. to the address which I mentioned, no doubt he will get a copy by return of post.
This report, which is an entirely independent and objective piece of research, shows that in 1957, the latest date for 274 which complete figures are available, no less than £40 million were spent on alcoholic drink by young people. It is thought that there has been a sharp increase in that figure since then. This £40 million relates to a minority of the young people popularly described as teenagers, that is to say, unmarried men and women between the ages of 15 and 25.
The report states that less than 40 per cent. of boys and 10 per cent. of girls in these age groups take alcohol as often as once a week. But—and this is the point of these statistics—of the minority of these boys and girls who do, each spends very much more on alcoholic drink than the average adult.
I contend that the brewers and distillers and their advertising agents have been and are deliberately spending millions of pounds to increase the proportions of those teen-age drinkers and to encourage more boys than 40 per cent. and more girls than 10 per cent. to drink alcohol and to make those who drink it drink more. This is the inescapable conclusion of anyone reading the report to which I have referred and it is also the conclusion which anyone, however unsophisticated he may be, must reach on looking at the advertising campaigns on the hoardings, on television and in the Press conducted by the brewers and distillers and their agents—brewers and distillers on the boardings and in the Press but not distillers on television. Here I should like to ask a question which I hope the Minister who replies will answer. Why is advertising by distillers kept off commercial television, but is yet given free reign in the Press and on the posters? Is it fit for the general public? If so, why is it unfit for the television viewer?
In 1959, between £16 and £18 million were spent on advertising alcoholic drinks of all kinds. In the Press drink was advertised more expensively than any other commodity except one. At £4,700,000, it was exceeded only by the advertising of medicinal products. It was 75 per cent. higher than the expenditure on Press display advertising for tobacco and cigarettes. It was double the expenditure on advertising household soaps and detergents and nearly four times the amount spent on advertising petrol in the newspapers.
275 The distillers do not advertise on television, but the brewers and makers of other alcoholic drinks, such as wines, cider and perry, spent £2,325,000, on television advertising last year, well over one-eighth of the total estimated expenditure. If the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of State, who does not seem to have been listening to what I have said, cares to look at his television screen this week he will see in the commercial programmes an orgy of new drink advertising designed to cash in on Christmas.
On posters the drink trade, especially the brewers, is estimated to have spent between £31 and £4 million in 1959. This is more than the sum spent on television but less than the sum spent on advertising in the Press. It spent another £4 million or so on other forms of advertising—such as publicity material, point of sale and displays. These are enormous sums spent by the brewers and distillers and their advertising agents to try to make more people consume more alcoholic drinks and, in particular, to make more young people drink more alcohol and to acquire a taste for it at an early age.
On beer advertising, which makes up a quite large proportion of the total spent on advertising alcoholic drink, although the consumption of beer is declining compared with other drinks, as, incidentally, is the attendance in "pubs," the Advertising Inquiry Committee makes these comments:The majority of teenagers must represent a tempting prospect for the brewers anxious to increase the number of people who drink beer. Indeed, it is possible to discern a distinct attempt to bring these young people into the beer drinking circle.The report then discusses the ways in which this is done and says that advertising has been seeking to widen the circle of drinkers to include more women and young people by encouraging the idea that to drink a pint of beer, tot of whisk, a nip of gin or a glass of wine is the natural thing to do.Drink advertisements"—it adds—deliberately cultivate the idea that it is necessary to indulge to be in the swim.On page 24, the Report states:The attempt to capture the teenager's support to boost beer sales is obviously regarded by the trade as a permissible commercial tactic. But it must be set against the 276 disturbing evidence that juvenile drunkenness is increasing.What sort of appeal does brewers' advertising make to young people? Let me give a few examples from very many which could be cited, some of which are mentioned in the report. There is a William Younger's poster showing a group of young and old people enjoying their beer which carries the following punning message:Join the Younger set. A Younger taste is a taste for life".That slogan is typical of a good deal of the material put out on behalf of the brewers by their advertising agents. The most clear and consistent attempt to capture the teen-age market, including women, is the campaign launched earlier this year by Messrs. Ind Coope for a drink called Graham's Skol Lager devised by that firm's advertising agents, Messrs. Dolan, Ducker Whitcombe and Steward. No doubt hon. Members have seen thousands of the posters and Press display advertisements put out as part of this campaign showing a young teenage boy and girl consuming quantities of this rather clammy fluid.
If there is any doubt about the age group to which these advertisements are specifically designed to appeal, it is dispelled by another advertisement put out by the same firm through the same advertising agents which occupies the whole of the front page of the Morning Advertiser, which is the licensed trades' daily publication, on 31st May last. It was dominated by those two familiar youngsters, the girl with the pony tail hair-do and the rather unprepossessing young man. It read:The boy and girl shown below will be appearing throughout June in the biggest advertising campaign Britain has ever seen for any lager. A £325,000 campaign that is changing the taste of Britain. Newspapers magazines, posters and television—all the power of modern publicity and advertising is making this a boom year. …This is obviously and is admitted to be, an appeal to teen-agers. If one talks privately to the advertising agents, they will say, "These are the people we are going for. They have the money, and, if we are to keep our businesses going, they are the people whose custom we must attract".
I could cite many other examples of such brewers' advertising aimed as part of a specific—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. No doubt one can, but I am waiting for that part of the hon. Gentleman's argument which relates reasonably to the Bill.
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
I should have thought, Mr. Speaker, that my argument was entirely related to the Bill. I am saying that I find it difficult to support a Bill which, whereas it increases the penalties for supplying intoxicating liquor to young people, does nothing to restrain those business interests which are tending in the opposite direction. I cannot support the Bill until it is strengthened in that respect.
As I have said, I could cite many examples of brewers' advertising of that kind. I do not propose to do so, but I must add that this appeal to teen-agers is not specifically limited to brewers' advertising. Scotch whisky distillers, alarmed by the fact that for the last two years their sales have remained static whilst their advertising appropriations have doubled, are now intensifying their appeal to what they call—and here I quote from the Advertisers' Weekly of 28th October—the moods and attitudes of the younger marketIn the same way, gin distillers have been what they call "broadening their appeal", particularly in their advertising aimed at young women. Cider and perry advertising has been growing very rapidly. It amounted to well over £800,000 last year. It has been making a particularly aggressive attack on the teen-age market.
I cite only one example. It concerns the advertising campaign for a highly alcoholic drink, a perry made by a firm called Showerings, whose advertising agents are Messrs. Masius and Ferguson, which is marketed under the name of Babycham. The advertising for this drink, which cost well over £500,000 last year, is perhaps top of all for blatant appeal to young people. Its advertisements always carry the picture of a young girl saying, "I'd love a Babycham". Incidentally, her appearance has been getting steadily younger as the campaign has progressed. I invite the Minister of State, or the Home Secretary, if he does not yet believe that these campaigns are specifically aimed at teenagers, to have a look at the campaign 278 conducted by Masius and Ferguson on behalf of this drink.
On 28th December last year an advertisement in the Morning Advertiser made it plain that this campaign was aimed mainly at young women. It quoted the landlord of the Airport Hotel, at Cambridge, to this effect:I'm very pleased with Babycham's popularity with the wives and younger girls …I do not propose to cite any further examples—although there are many of them and I appreciate that they are not very palatable to some hon. Members—to substantiate the claim that a deliberate campaign is being waged to increase the consumption of alcoholic liquor by young people. I ask any hon. Member who has any doubt to look at the facts contained in the report which I mentioned earlier.
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
In their attitude to teenage drinking and, in particular, in their complacency to these huge expensive advertising campaigns, the Government have shown a kind of schizophrenia. On the one hand. Ministers wring Choir hands about teen-age drunkenness and crime and step up penalties for dealing with it, as they do in Clause 14. On the other hand, they sit smiling complacently while millions of pounds are spent to increase the consumption of drink by the very same boys and girls. There is a parallel for this in the complacent way in which the Government encourage tobacco manufacturers to spend millions of pounds to boost teenage smoking—for example, on the unprincipled, cynical, and morbid "People love Players" campaign—
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
I was only trying to say that there is a parallel between these morbid and cynical campaigns—
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
I bow to your Ruling, of course, Mr. Speaker.
I conclude by saying that often when one makes the kind of points that I have tried to make here the tobacco and drink 279 advertisers will very often reply, "That is all very well, you may be right, but, after all, what we are doing is perfectly legal. If there is anything wrong with it, it is up to the Government to stop us doing it."
That, of course, is precisely the point I have tried to move today. Until schizophrenic Ministers strengthen this Bill to end the scandalous advertising campaigns conducted by brewers, distillers and their advertising agents, and bring them under restraint at least as firm as that exercised in Scandinavia, Canada and the United States, then, although I agree with very many of the provisions of this Measure, I shall not be able to support it.
§ 7.40 p.m.
§ Dr. Donald Johnson (Carlisle)
I am sure that the hon. Member for Swindon (Mr. F. Noel-Baker) will understand if I do not follow him into the ramifications of advertising, and so on. We have heard a good deal during this debate of one licensing minority cause that has been put by various hon. Members for Welsh constituencies, and I am extremely grateful now to catch your eye, Mr. Speaker, as it enables me to put the point of view of an even smaller minority interest existing in my constituency of Carlisle and its surrounding districts.
For us in Carlisle, one of the Bill's principal faults is one of omission; it does not mention us or the Carlisle State Management Scheme. I understand, however, that we do come within the terms of the Bill, and we hope, therefore, that our situation will be considered, and that suitable Amendments may be made later so that we, too, can advance with my right hon. Friend into the latter part of the twentieth century and not stay in the conditions of 1916, as we have done for the last forty years.
As much has been both written and spoken by myself and others about the scheme in Carlisle, I shall not, in view of the time, go into a great deal of detail. It can be fairly said, in summary, that the scheme is a relic of the teetotal enthusiasm that swept the country in the early years of this century. Whatever may be one's views about the consumption of alcohol, the scheme in its present form—and I do not criticise its practical 280 working, but merely speak of it as a social experiment—no longer serves any serious social purpose.
My right hon. Friends on the Front Bench make incantations about disinterested management still going on in the Carlisle scheme, but if that still had any meaning it bas been dispelled by their actions, which have shown that if any of my right hon. Friend's managers have been too disinterested in producing profits they have had the sack in just the same way as any in private industry. That being so, we cannot really take the disinterested management idea very seriously.
Certain things have happened as a result of the experiment, even though they are somewhat different from what was originally intended in 1916. One of the relics is that we are subject to a sort of Home Office colonialism in our licensing affairs. Perhaps I should have brought with me today an assegai like that other member of my profession, Dr. Banda, to demonstrate in some such colourful way as has he that we in Carlisle are a colony of the Home Office in the licensing sphere.
Secondly, and rather surprisingly, the scheme treats us to a beer of exceptionally high specific gravity. That beer is, of course, much more palatable to us than our licensing arrangements, though one cannot but remark that this is a rather strange outcome of the teetotal experiment. None the less, the beer is there, and the beer is popular. I am only too glad to admit that.
Other aspects of the scheme are not so popular in Carlisle. In particular, we have had protests from our licensing justices, who have resented the arrangements under which they have had to work. Not only do the "pubs" come under the scheme, but the clubs and restaurants come under it as well. The complications came to a head in the recent case of the Eden Restaurant, in Carlisle. The restaurant's application was first brought to the justices, who granted it. It was then brought to my right hon. Friend's Advisory Committee, which turned it down. The justices were thereby put in the humiliating and absurd position that, had the applicants started to serve drinks, the very justices who had in the first place granted the licence would have had to have fined 281 the proprietor £100 had he been summoned before them—truly, a Gilbertian situation.
In particular, Part I of the Bill intensifies this position to the extreme—unless, of course, we get the Bill amended. What will happen with the restaurants and eating establishments in Carlisle? Is it the intention that they will all have to apply to the Home Secretary, and to his Advisory Committee for their licences? I submit that, from every point of view, that Committee is a most unsuitable body for that purpose. It sits in secret and it does not give its reasons for its decisions. All these undemocratic absurdities are connected with it, and will make the scheme unworkable under Part I as opposed to the open working of the justices.
The first thing that we ask for, therefore, is that Part I should be completely outside the present Carlisle arrangement, and that the licensing should be done by the licensing justices. Secondly, I and my friends in Carlisle feel that there is no purpose whatsoever in continuing the present monopoly in its existing form. The right hon. and learned Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice) spoke about liberty and individual choice. In Carlisle, there is no liberty and individual choice of brands of beer, no variety or consumers' choice. I realise that there are difficulties in making alterations, but I shall not go into them because of the time.
I submit to my right hon. Friend that something can be done. We might have more leases to produce competition between tenants of houses, and a degree of private enterprise. We might open new licences to competition. For example, we have not had a new hotel built in Carlisle for fifty years, and it is now put forward that we should have a new one. Very well, let us have competition between the State and the private interests as to who is to run that hotel, when it is built, and have the licence for it.
I will pay my right hon. Friend, and his officials in Carlisle the compliment that they are now—although perhaps, it was not the case four or five years ago when we started criticising this scheme—in a highly-competitive position in our city. Let us have that competition, making it open to whatever interest 282 wishes to build us a new hotel, which is very badly needed for the potential tourist trade.
I think that I have covered the Carlisle position as completely as possible in the time. In a previous debate, we welcomed the Home Secretary's interest in these matters, and his promise to consult us. We hope that the Minister of State will be able to visit us, and hear all interests concerned before the further stages of the Bill are reached.
I have given one of my qualifications for intervening in this debate, and I can claim another. I believe that I am one of the few hon. Members who have actually been licensees of premises. I was in that position some years ago, though I no longer have any interest of any kind in the licensed trade. Having been in that position, I have listened with very great interest to the various comments made by hon. Members, and have agreed with a great many of them. I have agreed with what I have heard about the dangers of the extension of hours, and so forth. In particular, I concur in what has been said about the extra Sunday hour. I hope that my right hon. Friend will drop that proposal at an early stage in response to the views that have been advanced.
Further, I think that ten minutes is perhaps quite long enough for finishing-up time. After all, fifteen minutes would give time to order another drink, and then the consumer would need another few minutes to finish up that one, and so it would go on. The result is really an extension of the permitted hours. I hope, however, that we shall have an opportunity during further stages of the Bill to discuss all these matters more fully.
§ 7.50 p.m.
§ Mr. J. Idwal Jones (Wrexham)
I am very pleased to see the Minister for Welsh Affairs in his place, because I want to make a very serious and, possibly, final appeal in this debate. I listened to his speech last night with very great attention and interest and I have read his speech today in HANSARD, but I still feel very unconvinced. He agreed that there was a deep feeling in Wales that our Sunday Closing Act should continue, and that tampering with the present law in Wales was an affront to the Christian faith there.
283 If the Minister agrees with that proposition, as he says he does, will he not further agree that that, of itself, should be a consideration of major importance? He says that these views deserve the greatest respect and that he attaches great importance to them. He further agreed that a change in a 79-year-old custom must cause great offence to those people who regard this matter as one of moral faith. He said:In my view, they deserve our special respect on that account."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 28th Nov., 1960; Vol. 631, c. 150.]The Minister was very lavish with his respects, but I have to tell him that we require something more than respect. Respect can be very cheap and respect without deeds, like faith without works, is dead. While condescending to pay their respects, the Government, with one single Clause, have deprived us of the opportunity to report to the House the considered opinions of the elected Members of the Principality.
The Minister for Welsh Affairs also said that there was nothing wrong in Parliament taking a new look at this question in the light of changes which seventy-nine years have brought about. We do not object to a new look if it is a new look in the open light of day. What we object to is the pretence of a new look in this hole-and-corner fashion. This is not the first time that a new look has been taken, for the 1881 Act is not one of those which has lain forgotten among the dusty Statutes of the past. It has been looked at several times, but this is the first new look which virtually destroys it. On each previous occasion the Act has been confirmed and no attempt has been made to repeal it.
The Act was first confirmed in 1921 when by an Act of Parliament the provisions of the 1881 Act were extended to Monmouthshire. It is true that was nearly forty years ago, but this was also confirmed by the Licensing Act, 1953, just seven years ago, and that by an Administration in which present Ministers held high office. Section 111 of the 1953 Act states:There shall be no permitted hours on any Sunday in licensed premises in Wales and Monmouthshire.This matter has also been examined by the Royal Commission which reported in 1931 and which was the last Royal 284 Commission to examine it. The Minister for Welsh Affairs said last night:It seemed to the Government inconceivable that any committee of inquiry could possibly produce a unanimous report that would be helpful to Parliament …"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 28th November, 1960; Vol. 631, c. 152.]Do the Government seriously contend that no body of fair and objectively-minded people could be found to provide a report which could be helpful to Parliament? We had such a body in 1931. Is it the case that what was possible in 1931 is impossible in 1960? Have we arrived at that sorry pass?
The 1931 Royal Commission on Licensing stated in paragraph 542 of its Report:We feel ourselves, however, compelled to consider whether in opinion and in sentiment in regard to licensing policy, Wales differs materially from England. We think that there can be no doubt that it does.The Report states further in paragraph 547:We are satisfied that the Sunday closing of licensed premises should be maintained.It is true that that was thirty years ago, but this was confirmed as late as 1953 by an Act of Parliament introduced by an Administration similar to the present one.
Here we find the Government now anxious to have a new look at this question, but afraid to have a new official inquiry. We are compelled to ask, "Why this sudden change of front? Why has Clause 6 to be introduced into the Measure now, and without further inquiry?" We are entitled to know, but up to now, despite the plethora of words which fell from the Minister's lips yesterday, we still do not know the answer to that question.
Since the Minister for Welsh Affairs is not forthcoming, we are entitled to probe the matter further. Was there a national demand for the Clause? If so, where is the evidence? If the right hon. Gentleman does not produce the evidence, we might suggest some of the pressures that have been brought to bear. These, according to circumstantial evidence, are pretty obvious. It is generally believed that the drink trade is not ungenerous in its financial support to the Conservative Party. This is the circumstantial evidence. If this is not true, and if there is no ground for that 285 suspicion, it is up to the Government to say so openly. But I will move from that piece of circumstantial evidence to factual evidence.
We know that a conference was held at Llandrindod Wells of the Conservative and Unionist Council of Wales and Monmouthshire on 23rd April last. This Conference decided in favour of Sunday opening. This was confirmed by the Executive Council of the Wales and Monmouthshire Conservative Association on 2nd July, and before the end of the year that resolution is implemented without inquiry of any kind and this miserable Clause is included in the Bill. If this anachronistic group—this foreign body in the Welsh body politic—was not the deciding factor, we are entitled to know who and what was the deciding factor.
A further question which I should like to have answered is whether the Clause has met with universal approval in Wales. I know that the Archbishop of Wales addressed the Council and stated his views. His views are very well known. He has a right to them and a right to express them, but I want to impress upon the Minister that he has no right to conclude that the Archbishop of Wales speaks for and represents the whole religious outlook of the Prinicipality.
But even the Archbishop of Wales, the one and only head of a religious body in Wales who may be favourably disposed to the Clause, stated in conference:If the Home Office inquiry was set up into the question of Sunday opening, the Church in Wales would be asked for its views. At present I do not feel that they can properly give their views.Even the only religious body which is likely to support Clause 6 is not at present in a position to say so definitely, but what is a fact is that the Ministers… rush in where angels fear to tread.Wales is essentially a Nonconformist country and whatever the Minister for Welsh Affairs may claim—and I liked hearing him refer last night to his grandfather, because I had great respect for that gentleman whose books helped me considerably in my younger days—I cannot see a trace of understanding of Welsh Nonconformity in the right hon. 286 Gentleman. I do not find fault, because I do not expect him to be able to understand the real meaning of Welsh Nonconformity.
If there is any greatness in the Principality of Wales and any greatness belonging to our people, that greatness is almost exclusively the product of her Nonconformity. It may strike some people as odd, but the fact is that Wales never had a Puritan movement. When Puritanism approached Wales it approached it in the more advanced form of Nonconformity. It is from there that modern Wales sprang—from the days of Cromwell to the end of the Methodist Revival. We have no right to flout the great tradition and custom established in Wales by Nonconformity. It is our lifeblood. It is our inspiration. It has inspired us in the past and it will inspire us in the future.
We have a right to expect the Minister for Welsh Affairs and the Home Secretary to listen to our appeal, because our appeal should not be in vain. The Minister has been wrongly advised. I am sorry that the Home Secretary is not here, because this will be a very sad day in the life of our Principality, and all the sadder because this Measure has been introduced by a Minister whom we all regard as an enlightened Minister in home affairs. He has been wrongly advised, and if he is not prepared to withdraw Clause 6 at this late hour the lustre of his fame will be tarnished, and with the years it will assume a sickening colour which really he does not deserve but which will cling to his name in the Principality for all time.
§ 8.2 p.m.
§ Mr. Marcus Worsley (Keighley)
My hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle (Dr. D. Johnson) said that he was one of the few hon. Members who had held a licence. I am another, or at least I had a protection order, which is roughly equivalent and I still have an interest in a small residential country hotel. I have no connection with any brewery, and this makes it easier for me to say how much I resent the remarks which have been made on many occasions by hon. Gentlemen who described the Bill as perhaps a brewers' charter or a brewers' ramp. I am sorry that the hon. Member for Wrexham (Mr. Idwal Jones) lent himself 287 in his sincere speech to that kind of phraseology. To accuse my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary of being the type of man who would allow pressure of this sort to influence him in an important social measure is a disgraceful insinuation.
This House is properly concerned with temperance, and I would remind the House that the word "temperance" does not mean abstinence. It means moderation. In the past, the House has used various means to ensure that our drinking habits and our arrangements for drinking, are exercised with moderation. We shall not make people better by passing laws in this House. We cannot do that. That is a matter for the Churches.
§ Mr. Worsley
We can help by seeing that the arrangements for drinking are of an orderly and decent nature. What is essential is that these arrangements should seem to reasonable men to be reasonable arrangements.
There is no question but that some of the arrangements at present in force are not thought by reasonable men to be reasonable arrangements. I hesitate to launch myself into the stormy waters of the West, but among unreasonable arrangements is surely the arrangement for Sunday drinking in Wales. When people find that arrangements are unreasonable in a certain respect they get round the law, and the fact that Sunday drinking in clubs in Wales is done on such a large scale is surely one of the ways in which this is done.
It seems to me that there are three weapons which the House has chosen to properly control the drink trade. First, the imposition of a high rate of tax. I am aware that the Bill is not concerned with this, but I think that it is worth saying, in passing, that were there not a high rate of tax on drink in this country the problem would be different. In France, to which reference has frequently been made during the debate, there is not this additional control through high tax. However, I will not pursue that for fear of getting out of order.
288 The second great weapon is that of licensing itself. Long before the House concerned itself with social Measures, Governments used the vehicle of licensing to control the trade. This has been done for many years. I think that one of the great tests one should put when examining the Bill is to see how it supports the principle of licensing. As I said a moment or two ago, if people think that things are unreasonably arranged they will do unreasonable things, and one of the great features of the last forty years or so has been the immense increase in the number of clubs. The number has trebled. A great deal of this has been an evasion of the licensing principle.
This is not something which started as a result of the Street Offences Act, which was passed at the end of the last Session of Parliament. This is an old problem and one which, as a new Member of the House I say with some temerity, the House should have had the courage to tackle years ago. The Bill greatly strengthens the licensing principle, but I think that when the Bill is considered in Committee it will be possible to strengthen it still further.
A great deal of Part III of the Bill is concerned with greater control of clubs. These clubs do a lot of good for the community. Nevertheless, I am aware, as I am sure most hon. Members are, that it is not only in proprietary clubs that offences are committed against the licensing hours. I cannot see why we should not place upon them the same conditions as are placed on licensed premises, because only in that way can we support the "pub" in the great task of enforcing the licensing system, which is to see that drinking is carried on in an orderly manner.
One of the extraordinary anomalies of the present arrangements is that very often a club is open for half an hour longer than the "pub" a door or two away. I cannot see why the hours should not be the same for both places. If we are to have licensing hours, the same rules should apply to both premises. I look on the club movement as the co-operative side of this industry, as it were. It has an important part to play, but I do not see how one can place the main emphasis on the licensing principle as the 289 way of bringing about temperance or controlling the supply of drink in this country and then deliberately give preference to another system in the way of hours for drinking.
Several hon. Members referred to the way in which young people may be served in clubs but not in "pubs". I understand that there is a similar lack of control if these places are used for prostitution. I think that in Committee we should carefully consider how these provisions affect the licensing principle. I believe that the criterion to be used is that the two systems, side by side, should equally, and without preference one over the other, be allowed to exist in fair competition.
Hon. Gentlemen—particularly hon. Gentlemen opposite—who have talked about the Bill as permitting a great extension in the hours for the supply of drink, and as if there would be an enormous increase in the consumption of drink and of drunkenness, should remember that one of its most important aspects, an aspect which should excite their support, is that it reinforces the licensing principle, which is one of the most important of the principles upon which our drink laws have been founded. In doing that, it should increase sobriety and good order in this industry rather than increase the insobriety.
§ 8.11 p.m.
§ Mr. Ifor Davies (Gower)
It is a remarkable coincidence that this is the second time that I have followed the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Worsley) in debate. On the last occasion I had the pleasure of following him when he made his maiden speech, and it gave me particular pleasure to congratulate him. I must take a different course tonight. While I can congratulate him upon his delivery and manner, I cannot follow him in supporting the Bill. Indeed, I admire his courage in attempting to discuss Clause 6, which has been so controversial and has led to the revelation in the debate of so many different opinions. It is on Clause 6 that I wish to address the House. It has been a revealing experience to sit through two days of this debate listening to some very long speeches and a few short ones. I propose to make my speech brief and 290 to confine my remarks to Clause 6, which deals particularly with Wales.
I want to refer to two criticisms which have been expressed. One criticism was expressed by my hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley (Mr. D. Griffiths). He criticised the emotion which has been aroused. Speaking as a Welshman, I admit freely that Welsh people are sometimes criticised for their emotion, and if by chance any emotion should creep into my voice as I discuss the Clause I shall not apologise for it.
Another point of criticism was made by my hon. Friend the Member for Rhondda, West (Mr. Iorwerth Thomas) who last night asked why so much fury had been aroused over a pint of beer. The fury is not about the pint of beer. My hon. Friend missed the point. If he or any hon. Member wishes to drink a pint of beer, he is welcome to do so. The fury which has been aroused in our hearts in Wales is about the attempt to desecrate the Sabbath day, as we know it, and our way of life. My hon. Friend is welcome to drink his pint of beer from Monday to Saturday, but when it comes to breaking in on our traditional way of life, then we have the right to raise our voices.
I was glad to hear what was said by the noble Lord the Member for Hertford (Lord Balniel), and I congratulate him upon joining us in criticising the Clause which refuses to give the Welsh Members the right to discuss the matter. Indeed, the noble Lord went further and repeated what my right hon. Friends the Members for South Shields (Mr. Ede) and Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) so forcibly said yesterday. He repeated that it was the business of the House of Commons to legislate. We make the laws, and we demand the right to made decisions in the House of Commons. I welcome very much indeed the insistence that there has been in the debate on that issue.
What is the great problem which is posed in this debate? Throughout the debate there has been a great cry from the benches opposite, and, indeed, by Ministers, for freedom for Wales. There has been an appeal to give Wales freedom in this matter. What do the Government mean by "freedom"? Man is a social being, and "freedom" is a relative term. It is no limitation upon a man's freedom 291 that he has not the power to do something when he has no desire to do it. I say that with respect to those people who argue for this freedom of choice on Sunday although they admit that they themselves will not be affected by it.
It is interesting to note that even Dr. Scott's report sponsored by the Sunday Opening Council for Wales is conscious of the fact that there are certain limitations even to "freedom". Here I quote from the document sponsored by that organisation:The concept of liberty in our democracy emphasises that freedom should not be curtailed, unless this is necessary to protect the rights of others. This constitutional principle normally is disregarded only when there are ulterior and very cogent grounds for doing so.That is an admission that there are limitations. I contend that there are very cogent grounds indeed for not providing a freedom of choice in regard to Sunday opening. The truth is that there is not a demand for Sunday opening in Wales except for an agitation which has been promoted and sustained. I will not name the organisation, for that might offend hon. Members opposite who have defended this issue. However, the organisation which I have mentioned is among those concerned.
I go further and ask the House to believe—I was glad of the words of the Minister for Welsh Affairs last night in paying respect to our convictions—that Sunday opening would very deeply offend a very great mass of Welsh people. It is my job tonight—I am glad of the opportunity—to reflect to the House the opinion of the mass of people whom I represent who would be offended, and to stress the need for Sabbath observance. Indeed, I have been very glad to hear this stressed by many hon. Members. A note has been struck from all benches. Even hon. Members opposite have been pleading with the Government not to interfere and not to encroach on the Sabbath day.
That appeal has been very plainly made. To stress the need for Sabbath observance is not a killjoy attitude. I enjoy life as much as anybody, and I am no spoilsport, but in no part of the world has religion such an abiding and powerful influence over the habits and lives of the people as it has in Wales. The Welsh Sunday is a potent influence in the life of the nation, and it will be 292 a sorry day if the Welsh people see the destruction of this essential aspect of their traditional way of life.
Therefore, why should the Government produce in this Bill this threat to the traditional Welsh Sabbath? Perhaps the motives of the Government may be found in the pamphlet issued by the Sunday Opening Council. There are some questions and answers on the third page of the pamphlet. The Council asks:What effect has Sunday closing on the licensed premises?The answer is:Evidence reveals that the economy of licensed premises in Wales and Monmouthshire is seriously weakened because they are not permitted to open on Sundays.So that is the argument for licensed premises. It is a very powerful one for the economy of licensed premises, but is it sufficiently important to justify this Bill?
Another question is:What is the effect of Sunday closing on tourism?I shall not repeat many of the arguments used in answer to this. I will merely quote the words of the Chairman of the Welsh Tourist Board in the Western Mail on 11th November. This is what he said:The traditional Welsh Sunday has a certain valuable tourist attraction, not a disadvantage.Another question in this pamphlet is:What is public opinion on the question?What we are told is:The rapid growth in membership of clubs and the righer proportion of drinking at weekends in these establishments suggests that a very large section of the public wants Sunday opening for Wales.That is the Council's opinion. I have received no requests from anybody for me as a Member of the House to make that statement, but I have received numerous letters from constituents and organisations asking me to make the plea that I am making. We heard last night a statement that the trade unions in Wales are asking for the Bill. I have received no letter from any trade union branch. I have received a covering letter from the Sunday Opening Council enclosing copies of letters which it has sent out and the replies to them, but no letter has been sent direct to me.
Yesterday the Home Secretary stated, in column 34 of the OFFICIAL REPORT, 293 that the purpose of the Bill was to suit the general interest. But the Bill will not be in the general interests of the Welsh people. In particular, it will not be in the general interests of the young people. We heard a remarkable speech tonight devoted practically entirely to the effect on young people of the increase in drunkenness. I will not elaborate that but will merely point to its relevance to Wales. I have figures relating to cases of drunkenness of young people under 18 in the county of Glamorgan. The figure for 1959 was 387, compared with 24 the previous year. Those figures speak for themselves.
I commend to the Government paragraph 542 of the Report of the Royal Commission on Licensing (England and Wales), 1929–31, which says:We feel ourselves … compelled to consider whether, in opinion and sentiment in regard to licensing policy, Wales differs materially from England. We think there can be no doubt that it does.I repeat in the presence of the Minister for Welsh Affairs that I believe that Wales, in opinion and sentiment, still differs materially from England in this matter. I ask the Government, therefore, before the Bill proceeds to its further stages, to hesitate before providing an opportunity for the Welsh Sabbath to be damaged under the false cloak of freedom.
§ 8.24 p.m.
§ Mr. W. R. Rees-Davies (Isle of Thanet)
It would not be right for me not to make a short reply not only to the hon. Member for Gower (Mr. I. Davies), but to all the other Welsh Members who have spoken from the benches opposite, having regard to the rather special position in which I find myself. I am the only Welshman who is a Member of this House who, being a Member of Parliament and being a Welshman, has had a father and grandfather representing Wales for many years. I had the proud privilege of being asked to play cricket for the County of Glamorgan, which I did not take up only because, unfortunately, the war started. I have always had a long and close connection with Wales and although I am now the Member for the Isle of Thanet, I have a large number of Welsh miners in my constituency.
294 I appreciate the principles of Nonconformity and I can understand, although I do not agree with it, what appears to ordinary British people to be the completely inconsistent attitude, that the Welsh Nonconformists are against the Sunday opening of public houses even though they know full well that there is widespread abuse in the clubs throughout Wales and that there has been a very large increase in Sunday drinking.
This is almost the last line in the thread of trying to maintain the battle of nonconformity. I am sorry that I do not agree and, if there is support for it, I shall support any proposal which appears to commend itself to the Committee considering the Bill to delete Clause 6, for the purpose of ensuring conformity of practice in Britain.
I shall do that for several reasons. Today, there is a totally different majority in Wales from what there was in 1931. That is the first reason. I accept the argument of the hon. Member for Rhondda, West (Mr. Iorwerth Thomas) rather than that of the right hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) on that matter. I think that if it were asked to express a view, the overwhelming majority of the trade union movement would express that view. Those who are in favour of deleting Clause 6 and referring the matter to a Standing Committee might win if there had to be an open vote cast by everybody in Wales, but the result is lost to them, as they well know, if there is a secret ballot.
Let us for a moment consider the ludicrous situation in which Wales could find itself if, on Sundays, there were large bus loads of people going from a dry county to a wet county. It is perfectly clear that if one looks at the valleys of Wales and the boundaries one will find the different counties which are wet and dry, and it is equally true that, if one takes down the somewhat hypocritical veil, the South will vote solid for booze and the North, after a close battle, may possibly be able to retain a dry county.
I do not want to see a local Welsh drinking election which, incidentally, the English will pay to watch, and I do not want to see the picture of the proprietors of the clubs in Wales getting together a fighting fund for the money-bags of the 295 Baptists. To my mind, that is an unhappy picture for Wales and I do not believe it to be in the best interests of the Welsh.
I am sorry that I cannot share the view that the matter must be referred to Welsh Members of Parliament, because many of us over the years have interested ourselves in many Welsh institutions. There are well-known rugby and cricket clubs and many other things in Wales which the Welsh, who happen to remain Welsh wherever they are throughout the world, feel that they are entitled to judge even when away from the Principality. Speaking for myself and, I think, for many foreign Welshmen, while I understand and sympathise with the views of Nonconformity, I feel that, on balance, there is such an overwhelming majority view, particularly among the younger element in Wales, that this is a right Measure and that we cannot wait for another hundred years.
It would not be right to make this change through a Private Member's Bill and I do not believe that any inquiry among hon. Members or people in guilds, or other special bodies of that kind, would assist this Minister in reaching a determination. I apprehend that if the Minister likes to go among the very wide range of people who are in touch with him, as he has done, he can get the general feeling. I go so far as to say that the Welsh newspapers, the Welsh Mail and others who spoke to me at the time of the Welsh Victuallers' Conference in my constituency, expressed the view—they may be wrong—that there is an overwhelming opinion in favour of having the "pubs" open on Sundays.
There is and always has been a case for no drinking in Wales on a Sunday, clubs or otherwise, and that is a much stronger case to put, but there is no case whatever for all the clubs remaining open and the "pubs" remaining closed. If I had been an advocate fighting their cause—I am not—I would have tried to turn the clock back and I would have said that there should be no drinking in Wales on Sunday. That is what Nonconformity wants and here is the vehicle for it, but it is not for me to give advice on that matter.
Leaving the question of Wales, I regard the Bill as unimaginative. I congratulate Her Majesty's Government on 296 introducing it and I want to nail the insinuations that it has anything to do with the brewers or the licensed trade. I am in very close touch with the trade and I was happy to be the guest of honour at the Licensed Victuallers' Conference recently and I know the views of the trade. I spoke at the luncheon on Monday of the Home and South Counties Branch and I have spoken to and discussed every question relating to the Bill with the chairman of the Brewers' Society, the deputy-Chairman and other interests involved. I understand the case of the Caterers' Association, with whom I have discussed it, and I have spent the last six months, since we got through 26 sittings of the Betting and Gaming Bill, devoting my attention to this Bill, and I have had many discussions with my right hon. Friends about it. I, for one, have certainly been fighting for it.
However, it is nothing more or less than the Home Secretary's responsibility, and those in the Conservative Party know that it is part of our policy to bring up to date the social legislation of our time. It is merely a continuation of the betting and gaming legislation, and I hope that this reform will go on into Sunday observance—I had better duck before the brickbats come—and from Sunday observance into shops legislation and all the legislation which will get rid of the Victoriana of our time and bring our legislation up to date to meet modern needs.
I happen to be the secretary of the all-party committee in the House which is concerned with the tourist industry, and that committee and the new chairman and the erstwhile chairman of the British Holidays and Travel Association and the Association of Health and Pleasure Resorts have all been urging upon the Government the necessity for licensing laws to meet modern needs. I cannot think of three men in this country whom it would be harder for the brewers to get at than the Home Secretary, my right hon. Friend the Minister of State and my hon. and learned Friend the Joint Under-Secretary.
They would be rather hard pushed if they thought they could change the views of these men, with their probity and integrity, by trying to get them to pass something which was in the slightest 297 degree against their consciences. Some of us have tried to change them to our views, and did not find it very easy. It is clap-trap to suggest that brewers have anything to do with the pressure behind the Bill.
The pressure has come from the public, from the Conservative Party, with its ideas of meeting the changing times—what we may or may not disagree about is another matter—from the tourist resorts, from those who run hotels, and from a myriad of other people. A good deal of it comes from hon. Members as well.
The heart of this Bill has not yet been properly or fully discussed. We have had a lot of Nonconformity—and that is right; we have heard a lot about Wales, and we have heard my hon. Friend the Member for Wimbledon (Sir C. Black). The pith of the Bill starts with Part II, which should be Part I. It lays down from Whitehall the permitted hours for licensed premises. I want to see the hours chosen from the town hall.
In our Tory philosophy we prefer the town hall to Whitehall. I believe that the man in the "local" knows best, that he, coupled with the man on the licensing bench, should choose the hours best suited to his locality. I submit that before this Bill is very much older the battle on the issue of hours will often be on that question. I believe that the totality of hours should be laid down by the Government. I would have laid down fewer hours; I think that nine is enough rather than nine and a half, but I shall not oppose that figure in the slightest. Whatever the House decides as a fair number of hours, I am content to accept.
I want to see differing hours and flexibility instead of inflexibility. In the ordinary country areas, the "pub" could remain open until, say, 10 or 10.30 p.m. from Monday to Thursday. I urge my right hon. Friend the Minister of State, when he goes to Runcorn this weekend, to find out whether his constituents do not share my view rather than his. I suggest that both publicans and customers in his constituency would like the "pub" open to 10 or 10.30 p.m. from Monday to Thursday, but on Friday until 11.30 p.m. and certainly until 11.30 p.m. or perhaps midnight on Saturday.
298 That could all be done by giving to the "pub" exactly the same discretion as we are giving to the club. I very much favour putting "pub" and club on parity. The "pub" is subject to the discretion of the licensing bench and the club can choose its hours. Why should not the publican also do so?
This is a drink Bill. It is not a motoring Bill, and it is not a Miss Strip or Miss Tease Bill, though it is true that my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary is there with his rod to chastise the naughty, and there is no doubt that he is willing to use it on Miss Strip and Miss Tease, and it has also been swishing about in the Welsh counties and elsewhere. I am in favour of control of the clubs and I believe that a proper system should be laid down. We shall have to look at that when we get to Part III, and see whether it is the right vehicle to deal with the question. I mention that only in passing, however.
I return now to discuss Part II. None of us wants 3 o'clock closing on Sunday. Nobody in the country wants 3 o'clock closing, except in Chelsea, and there is no reason why Chelsea should not have it if it wishes to take its six hours in this way. The figures in the Bill are 12 o'clock to 3 o'clock and 7 o'clock to 10 o'clock. By a simple Amendment we could keep to six hours and still have a four-hour break in the afternoon. We could have from 12 o'clock to 2 o'clock and from 6 o'clock to 10 o'clock, or perhaps 10.30 p.m., as on weekdays.
In this way we would protect the churches in the morning, with matins until 12 o'clock, nor would customers ruin the roast beef, which would make the women happy. You could open the "pubs" until 10 o'clock. [An HON. MEMBER: "All right for the brewers."] The brewers will be happy and, what is more important, the man in the street will be happy, and you will be happy in your locality.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Major Sir William Anstruther-Gray)
Order. I hope that the hon. Member will bear in mind that he is addressing the Chair in all that he says.
§ Mr. Rees-Davies
I am sure that you will be happy, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, even if some of my hon. Friends will not be happy in such circumstances; but I apologise.
299 My approach to the Bill is completely objective. I have no personal reasons of any kind for my approach—purely a deep knowledge gained from my practice in the licensing laws, with all its responsibilities. I am trying to approach this matter without any preconceived notions. I believe that chosen licensing hours are right and I want to meet the criticism of them, which is that there will be different hours of closing in different parts of the country, and so there would. It is said that it might lead to "pub crawling" for the motorist, but I do not believe that. Part of the "pub crawling" which causes offence at present is where there are two neighbouring constituencies or boroughs or two neighbouring areas which have sharply different closing times—10.30 in Chelsea and 11 o'clock in Knightsbridge, for example, or 10.30 in one county and 11 o'clock just over the border.
Under this system where chosen hours apply they would be dealt with by licensing benches and it is equally essential that there should be something which is not at present contained in the Bill, that is, a right to appeal to quarter sessions. By introducing that right we could not only first get the discretion of the bench, but we should get one coherent and complementary plan for the whole of a county. Once there were one or two appeals, quarter sessions would set the pattern for the whole of the area. In that way I believe that we should have laid down a plan in the country and that they would be sensible enough to do that from knowledge of local arrangements.
What we want, broadly speaking, are different hours for the week within the total number of hours. Why should we always think that we in Parliament, or the gentlemen in Whitehall, know best? I believe that in this matter we have very different conditions. In the Isle of Thanet we are barbaric compared with some of the people in Wales, but we are modern and up to date, as we believe, in the sense that we want to have different hours. The position there is that in the summer, in the high season, the licensees of public houses will desire that their premises remain open in the evenings until 11.30 p.m. each week night throughout August and will obtain permission to do so from the local bench.
300 In the winter I am sure that the public houses will not stay open after 10.30 any night of the week and some nights they will probably be closed by 9 o'clock or 9.30 because there is no business. So one can see that conditions in some seaside areas are nowhere near the terms of the Bill. It is no good offering conditions in which there is closing at 10.30 in the country.
Apart from anything else, we object to the attitude that we in the provinces are not quite grown up whereas in London they are, and are entitled to have a later hour. I do not believe that it is right that the people in the provinces should be sent to bed an hour earlier than the others. It comes back to the same question, the one real question, which is—this is the real point of that part of the Bill—do we or do we not believe in chosen hours'and local choice, or do we think that we need any longer to have the old system of permitted hours?
Why did not the Government put it the other way round? I believe that they did not do so because it would have been too much of a break with tradition and Victoriana. The only other argument was the idea that it might lead to "pub crawling". I hope that in full debate we shall show cleanly that that would not arise. But even if it did, one's experience of drunken driving is so infinitesimal compared with the millions of people who drink that this is not the vehicle for dealing with questions involving road traffic. This is a drink Bill and nothing more. The proper Bill in which to deal with such matters is the one which is about to be introduced and which, as I understand it, will deal with breathalisers and goodness knows what.
I wish to turn to Part I of the Bill. It has been admitted that the tourist industry is third in the "batting order" in this country. Within the next three years it will be first. I know it is not often referred to, but 1½ million tourists come to this country and the numbers are rising fast. Those who have recently been to America and the Commonwealth know that there are very many tourists that we shall get from the Commonwealth and from America within the next new years. New measures are coming in fast. Hotels are being modernised, restaurants are improving, 301 the catering colleges are infinitely better and first-class chefs are coming along; and it is only rational and proper that there should be improvements to the hotel industry and for those who work and serve in restaurants.
If they can show that the premises are architecturally sound and proper, that they are people of sound and proper character to carry them on, and if, in fact, they are under proper and adequate supervision, I see no reason why it should not work for the benefit of the brewing industry and for the benefit of our country.
I want to give one reason why I think that the small café owners will not seek a licence, which I do not think has been mentioned and I do not believe to be known already. The fact is that at present their staffs and themselves do not come under the wages councils. They are not at the moment subject to having to pay those wages, but the moment they apply for the requisite catering licence under Clause 1 they will find themselves having to pay quite a bit more. They will, therefore, have the practical consideration whether it is worth their while to seek a drink licence. I do not believe that many of them will do so.
There are today a large and growing number of organisations of cafes which deliberately do not want drink and never will. I refer to the enormous increase in the coffee bars and milk bars throughout the country. These provide mainly opportunities for youth to meet, and a large number of young people, whatever may be their susceptibilities to advertising, do not want drink and do not care anything about drink. I believe that we shall find a very large number of these institutions continuing without seeking a licence for alcohol at all.
Therefore, I cordially support Part I of the Bill, save for one thing, and that is Clause 3. This introduces a novel concept of justice, which I do not like and which I do not believe to be right. It is the concept of justice that if, for example, and these are the words of the Bill, one harbours a thief or runs a brothel one is brought up, convicted and sentenced for that offence, and will then find that one loses one's licence under this Clause. I do not believe that we ought to have a system of double 302 punishments. I am not sure that that is right. I think it is right that the question of the character of the individual is one of the matters which automatically must be considered on renewal, and to that extent, it could be done, but I do not at the moment see that it is necessary to include that Clause.
Turning to Part III, there are two matters with which I wish to deal. This Part itself is complex, and, frankly, I do not as yet understand some of its provisions. I do not myself appreciate the full legal content of it. I do not want to see the end of the really first-class clubs. In London at present, there are certain institutions of value to the tourist industry and of particular value to the members of those clubs. To take one by way of example, a well-known club which I have no doubt many hon. Members of this House know, because it is the most famous club in the world, and certainly in England or the whole of Europe—the Four Hundred, in Leicester Square. This is a proprietary club which is also an exclusive club, and a club to which very large numbers of the wealthier tourists coming into this country very much like to be invited.
§ Mr. Rees-Davies
That is a very fair point, and that is what I am arguing. I am arguing that we have an increasing dollar gap and that we want more tourist trade. If we want to close that dollar gap, the quickest way is to bring in 2 million more tourists. It could be closed much more quickly that way than by any other recommendation made to the Government. Therefore, I am advocating that we should consider our foreign guests when they come here, and we should make it attractive for them.
I am saying that clubs like the Milroy and the Four Hundred are important to the tourist trade, even though they do derive profit from their liquor sales. I want to devise a system whereby that type of club, which is excellent, can operate. It may be possible to get a restaurant licence which is satisfactory, but I want to know whether if somebody gets a licence under Part I, he can make himself into a club by reserving the right of entry only to those particular premises. If he could do that 303 under Part I, it might overcome some of the difficulties. I want to see whether well-known luncheon clubs in the City, which are proprietary clubs and which are attended by a large number of overseas visitors, can operate as proprietary clubs, make a profit and continue as heretofore.
§ Mr. Rees-Davies
I must conclude my speech, and, therefore, I will not give way to the hon. Lady.
In Clause 18, we come to Miss Strip and Miss Tease and to indecent display, which will be forbidden. I am in favour of forbidding and outlawing indecent display. What I want to find out is: who will decide what is an indecent display? I am sorry, but I am not prepared to accept the view of Superintendent Bloggins as to what constitutes an indecent display. He may have one view and I may have another. Under the Bill, we do not even get his view. Under the Bill Superintendent Bloggins goes with Detective-Sergeant So-and-So, no doubt, to Raymond's Revue Bar in the West End, an establishment conducted as a strip club. He goes in and has a look. According to his upbringing, he then turns up before the magistrates and says whether, in his opinion, this is or is not an indecent display.
The magistrates will then have to consider the case, but they will not be able to look at the indecent display because the young lady who was stripping three weeks before will no doubt have gone back to Paris by this time and will no longer be engaged in her artifices. There will, therefore, be no opportunity for the bench to see whether it is an indecent display. The only evidence will be that of an officer, second-hand. I, as counsel, would certainly object to it and say that if it were not hearsay it was what one might call see-say.
This is a profoundly unsatisfactory Clause. If the House feels that displays are going on in the West End or the East End of London, or any other city, which are vulgar or indecent displays, then the proper way to deal with them is to say that there must be a censorship, as there is of films, and there must be some provision whereby people can see the displays and then provide proper 304 evidence on the subject. In this case that is not done. Not only do they prevent the registration of a club for drinks, but there is a provision whereby any other premises for which a registration is not being sought are to be prohibited, too.
I see the ingenuity of mind of those in the Home Office trying to work it out, but those who have to administer and enforce the law are not only the police; there are also those who have to go to the courts. I see from the smile on the face of my hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General that some of my winged observations are finding their mark, although no doubt in due course we shall hear some reason for this provision.
I have spoken at some length, and I will conclude with these few observadons. I am convinced that the country welcomes the fact that this Measure is being discussed, and I am satisfied that we can with great ease deal with the five main criticisms advanced before we reach the end of the Committee stage. The first is 3 p.m. Sunday closing, which can be dealt with easily. The second is the inflexibility of permitted hours within the same total number of hours, and we can certainly deal with that. The third is the drinking-up time; if this is reduced to ten minutes it will meet the point, because a little time is needed, but fifteen minutes seems too long. The next is the question of the proper conduct of clubs. Such a provision will end most of these drinking clubs, which will never be able to satisfy the conditions laid down in the Schedules, by which they must conduct themselves properly. That will knock out all the small, mushroom clubs and put an end to them once and for all.
In addition to those questions, we shall look at the generalities of the Bill and possibly the separate question of Wales, which will arise as the Bill is considered. It will be discussed as a Parliamentary Bill. It will be passed in that form, successfully and of benefit to the nation.
§ 8.57 p.m.
§ Mr. G. R. Mitchison (Kettering)
I start with a few words on history. In 1830 we are told, after the passing of the Duke of Wellington's Act, the sovereign 305 people were "in a beastly state". There were no licensing laws at that time. It was not the presence or absence of licensing laws which had that effect. It was the fact that the sovereign people had suffered from the Industrial Revolution and the conditions of the early nineteenth century. This was even before the Reform Bill. If we persist in treating the sovereign people of today as if they were the sovereign people of 1830, we shall have forgotten the history of the nineteenth century, not to mention that of the twentieth century.
A little later, in 1897, Sir Wilfred Lawson, then a Member of this House, wrote a little poem on the fact that the Speaker's coach was being drawn by Mr. Whitbread's dray horses. I shall not trouble the House with the whale of the poem, but it began like this:'Tis beer, as is to statesmen known,Supports the Altar and the Throne.'Twas beer this Parliament returnedAnd the great Tory Triumph earned.I do not know how far that is out of date. Probably it would be better if we substituted steel nowadays—we may have moved on a little. I doubt whether, in fact, the connection between the Tory Party and the brewers, close as it has always been and close as it still is no doubt, has quite the importance it had at the end of the nineteenth century.
I am speaking, as everyone on this side of the House has been speaking, entirely for myself. I am a little puzzled as to how this Bill began. We are told that it was because of popular demand and the wishes of the Conservative Party, but I wonder if that is the case. I looked at what the Home Secretary said in introducing the Bill. He told us very carefully that before the Bill was prepared he had consulted the trade. We expected that. It did not surprise us in the least. We did not know which approached the other, but that the two met and talked about it could almost go without saying. What was curious about it was that it was not until after the Bill was printed that he consulted the people who work in public houses and clubs, managers, stewards, people who wash up dishes and the like, who at present have a very hard week's work.
Listening to this very interesting debate, I have been struck by the comparative rarity of reference to those 306 people. They are very much affected by any change in licensing hours and an extension of an hour or half an hour a day reacts on them. There is not the least doubt that when we look at what they have to do, as my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice) explained, we see that they have a very hard week's work already. When we look at what they are paid—which is easy to find in an order made by the appropriate wages council dealing with their wages on a weekly basis, depending, it is true, on the number of hours they work—we find that it does not deal in the least with that number of hours.
The consequence is that in respect of the length of their working week they are left to a trade which is dominated by brewing interests nowadays and which has not in the past shown any excessive kindness to the people who work for it. If we are going to extend permitted hours, we must do something about the working conditions of the people in the trade. It is not right that in order to extend hours by half an hour or an hour we should make people who already look as if they were overworked work even longer. They may get a little better pay for it, but that is not the right way to do this sort of thing.
I agree with what my right hon. and learned Friend said, that these people are not well organised. They have some organisation, but they are not in a strong position to protest if they resent the treatment given to them over wages and conditions. That falls in a little with the point about uniformity of hours. It is said that if we have hours which are not uniform, people, particularly those with motor cars, will be going from one "pub" to another across the hour boundary, as it were, and stretching their drinking time in that way and driving in a state of insobriety. I have a good deal of sympathy with people who say that primarily this is rather a matter for a road safety Bill than for a Licensing Bill.
On the other hand, I notice that the Bill by no means cures the evil. There will always be a boundary along the area outside the Metropolis, other boundaries between places where justices in the provinces have given the extra half hour and places where they have 307 not and, above all, there will be boundaries in Wales. We have certainly not succeeded in reaching the goal of uniformity, although no doubt we have got further towards it. I share the personal view, which has already been expressed on both sides of the House, that there are very considerable local differences in this matter. I can assure hon. Members, although they probably know it already from their own experience, that the life of a country publican nowadays is by no means easy. Whether he is the manager or tenant, he is "hadden doon" by the brewers to a considerable extent.
He does not make much money. Very often he does not make enough to live on in a small village "pub" and has to take some other occupation. We have to be careful about obliging someone in that position to keep his house open for longer hours. I am not saying that there may not be a case for it, but I have a great deal of sympathy for the plea which has been made that up to a point local justices are the best judges. Indeed, that is recognised in the Bill.
Since I have mentioned Wales, perhaps I had better say what I have to say about it. Again I am speaking personally, but with really deep feeling. I am not a teetotaller. I do not believe that the purpose of licensing laws is to make people virtuous by Act of Parliament. It is not possible to do it that way. I do not believe that the extension of hours will result in an immensely increased volume of drunkenness or, indeed, so far as I can judge, in a substantial increase. I know that in parts of the world other than France and New South Wales there are practically no licensing laws, and they get along without them. In this country they are a matter of history. There are good reasons for them, but I certainly do not take the view that we ought to abolish drink altogether or that we should approach the matter by the way we draft the licensing laws.
However, Sunday closing in Wales is a Welsh question. I think that it is wrong and unfair for hon. Members opposite to say, as they have said, that there is hypocrisy about this and that it is out of date. [Interruption.] It may be that some of my hon. Friends have said it as well. I still think that it is wrong. This is a Welsh question. Welsh Members 308 have been returned to this House by their fellow Welshmen. The question of Sunday closing in Wales is not unimportant and it has played a very considerable part in Welsh life. I think that it is wrong and impertinent unnecessarily to interfere with a Welsh decision in this matter. The Government say, "We recognise that. That is why we have introduced the local option". We then have to consider what "local option" means in this context.
I agree with what my hon. Friends have said and with what the hon. Member for Hertford (Lord Balniel) said in what I thought—and I hope that I shall not do his reputation any harm by saying this—was a very good speech. I agree that local option is not the right way of deciding these matters. I think that the Minister for Welsh Affairs should decide them. He is also Minister for Housing and Local Government. He has got into the habit of hiding behind local authorities. He has done it time and time again in local government matters, and here he is sheltering behind the Welsh counties and county boroughs.
The right thing which the right hon. Gentleman and the Government should have done would have been to bring in, on a matter which profoundly concerns the Welsh people, a separate Bill for Wales, as was done in 1881. They would have saved themselves a frightful lot of trouble and they would have dealt with the matter in a way which, whatever the result, would have been far more satisfactory to the Welsh. I do not know why they did not do it. I should have thought, having had a few Great Britain Bills involving some Scots who resented not having a separate Scottish Bill, that they might have realised that the only way to deal with our dominant and outlying kingdoms, if I may so call them, was to treat them separately. The Scots put in their White Papers, "Wha' daur meddle wi' me?" They write it in Latin to make it harder to understand. I do not know the appropriate Welsh, but the same principle applies. Why not bring in a separate Welsh Bill? If the Government could not have done so, why stand on this business about sending it to the Welsh Committee?
Let us consider what happened. There was the Teachers (Superannuation) Bill and the Government sent it to a Committee upstairs. When it got there—whether 309 it was the result of the way the Scots behaved themselves, I do not know—part of it was taken out and sent to the Scottish Committee. Who moved the Resolution in the terms of the Resolution which is on the Order Paper now? It was the Home Secretary himself. He knows all about it. The Resolution went through happily and the Scots dealt with the matter. I should have thought that a man of his great experience and great Parliamentary craft and skill in dealing with people would have realised that Mr. Gladstone was right in 1881 when he said, "You must treat the Welsh as a nation on their own".
Still speaking only for myself, I turn to two other points in the Bill which disturb me. I have mentioned the permitted hours. I cannot believe that the restaurant provision is in the right form. I think that the question of licences for restaurants is far more critical than it is in the case of residential establishments. I think that my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice) hit the point, as he usually does. There will certainly be a very considerable increase in licences. Restaurant licences, on any showing, will add to the number quite a bit. Have we enough police to supervise what goes on in restaurants and do we want them to spend their day in this fashion?
The present definition is extremely wide. Perhaps it would not cover a whelk stall, because one cannot sit down, but it would cover Lyons' establishments and a whole host of other places which might not at first wish to provide glasses of beer but which, then, in a competitive spirit, would find themselves obliged to take out a licence, thus providing the necessity for supervision. While one appreciates the sense of extending the restaurant provisions a little, what is proposed in the Bill is altogether too wide. If the provision is left in, it will make the restaurant licence the important part of licensing rather than the public house or other form of licence. It is as bad as that, and we shall have to look at this very carefully in Committee and limit the generality of what is there.
I have mentioned the permitted hours, I have mentioned the restaurants, and I now come to the clubs. Everyone in the House recognises that the vast majority of clubs are well run. There is a little 310 difference, perhaps, in different parts of the country, but I know all the working men's clubs in my constituency and every one of them is excellently run I have never seen any serious drunkenness of any sort there. They are clubs in the proper sense. People go to them, and talk in them. There is a bit too much housey-housey nowadays, but I dare say that they will get out of that soon. In any case, as far as I know, that is not a matter for this Bill.
We all know, also, that there are exceptions. Everybody admits that. The Working Men's Club and Institute Union admits that there are clubs, particularly in the larger towns, that are thoroughly undesirable. I have not the intimate acquaintance with them that the hon. Member for the Isle of Thanet (Mr. Rees-Davies) appears to have, and I do not entirely share his views about Sergeant Bloggins and indecent displays. Some things are rather like the elephant; they are quite easy to recognise and a bit difficult to define.
We recognise that these places exist, but I can see the Government's difficulty here. It is a real difficulty, but I hope that we can find means of relieving the well run clubs—which are in the vast majority—of any further burden imposed by Part III. I do not mean that we should totally relieve them, but that we should relieve them as far as possible.
I say at once that they have an exaggerated idea of what the burden is. I do not think that it is as serious as all that. The well conducted club will get along quite nicely. I imagine that the Carlton Club will have to renew its registration every year, and it might find a little difficulty. But a really impartial club should have no difficulty in the matter, and the working men's clubs—though not the Conservative clubs—are really free from politics and will have no trouble at all.
To speak seriously, I am sure that the House would wish as far as possible not to visit the sins of the minority of misclubs, if one may so call them—and I do not talk of the two ladies with whom the hon. Member for the Isle of Thanet seems so familiar—on the other and decently conducted clubs.
I mention another very small point because, in a way, it is typical of the sort of thing that we shall have to look for in 311 Committee—and this is very much a Bill for close examination in Committee. It is proposed to extend off-licence hours. These off-licence places sell tobacco as well as drink. The Gowers Report recommended that they should not be allowed extended hours for the sale of tobacco even if they had an extension for the sale of drink. That problem is still the same one, but it has become a little more acute with the changes in the Bill. That is the kind of thing that one has to look for, and it is really analogous with the point, in a way, about the hours of people working in this industry.
I have not spoken for very long. I hope that I have not inconvenienced the right hon. Gentleman who is to reply, but I would end by saying this to him. I have some grave personal doubts about the Bill. I am not sure how serious the demand for it is. It is all very well to talk of a public demand, but there are public demands both ways in this connection. I do not believe that the people working in the industry—the managers of the "pubs", the stewards of the clubs, and all the other people—really want this extension. I think that they rather dislike it. I suppose that the brewers want it, but I am not even quite sure about that. It can be best defended as a relaxation of controls in the belief that at present they go rather beyond what is required, and beyond what the public think right.
Therefore, I do not finish very enthusiastically. I do not like the effect of these permitted hours on the people whom I have already mentioned. I dislike the restaurant provisions because I think that they go too far. But I think that I finally come down in favour of the Bill on the club point. We must do something about the type of club that has been indicated. For that reason, and also to a limited extent because I think that some relaxation is possible in other respects, I shall, on the whole, support the Bill, though I feel quite certain that it needs very careful examination in Committee. Like my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede), I feel that I cannot pledge myself as to what I shall do when the Bill comes out Of Committee. If some of its present deficiencies have not been met, I would feel inclined to vote against it. However, 312 I feel encouraged by the Home Secretary's attitude. He appeared willing to meet complaints in Committee.
I have one last word. It is really very foolish indeed to treat the Welsh as they are being treated in this Bill. It is wrong constitutionally, as the hon. Member for Hertford indicated, to let the decision rest on local option. It is wrong as a matter of respect for other people's opinions, for the difference, if hon. Members like, between a Celt and an Anglo-Saxon, between a Welsh Nonconformist and some others of us. For all those reasons, it is wrong to put this kind of provision into the middle of an English Bill and to give the Welsh Members of the House no chance of separate consideration of it.
§ 9.20 p.m.
§ The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. Dennis Vosper)
If my calculations are correct, I am the thirty-eighth Member to take part in the debate. I should have liked to have been the fortieth but nevertheless I congratulate hon. and right hon. Members on enabling so many hon. Members to take part in a debate which affects every constituency in England and Wales.
Last Session, as you will remember, Mr. Speaker, I had a little to do with the Betting and Gaming Act. In that case I think that it could be said that we were venturing into the unknown, but with licensing Measures it is a well-known fact that anyone who ventures into this field must anticipate a wealth of conflicting advice and criticism from all quarters. This debate has proved no exception. Nevertheless, I should like to thank the right hon. and learned Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice), the hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher) and the hon. and learned Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison) for the fact that they have supported the Bill, albeit with qualifications, and all other hon. and right hon. Members who have given support to the Bill or to parts of it.
I think that it would be for the convenience of the House if I followed the Bill in its three Parts as did my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, but in the first place I should like to deal with what I think have been the three issues underlying the whole debate. Hon. Members who during the last few days have been written to by churches, besieged by 313 licensed victuallers or advised by the Press may have wondered in the long run whether the Bill was worth all the trouble and whether the Government need have introduced a Measure at all. The answer must be in the affirmative, for a number of reasons.
First, in this Parliament, as the House knows, we have a mandate to revise our social laws and the licensing Acts must occupy a high place in that field. Secondly, although special Measures have been introduced in recent years, as for instance the 1949 Act, there has been no major revision of the licensing laws for forty years. This alone surely provides a case for re-examination. Thirdly, and I do not think that this can be denied, social conditions and our hours of work and leisure have changed considerably during these forty years, and it is highly desirable that our licensing laws should conform to these changes. Fourthly, we have become a very mobile nation and licensing laws which were applicable after the First World War are not necessarily so today. Fifthly, I think that hon. Members are agreed that certain parts of the licensing law have become open to abuse, and it is right that we should correct this to make certain that the law is enforceable and that the penalties are appropriate.
All these are more than sufficient to justify action. I hope that in that sense I can carry with me even my hon. Friend the Member for Louth (Mr. C. Osborne) who said that he would oppose the Bill. I hope that he will at least agree that it was time that we revised the licensing laws. My hon. Friend the Member for Wimbledon (Sir C. Black) and the right hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Glenvil Hall) have said that this is not the time, when there is an increase in drunkenness, for a measure of liberalisation, and that point of view was taken by several hon. Members today and yesterday.
I should like to say a few words about this issue of whether drunkenness has increased. It all depends upon the year with which one starts. That is the case with all sorts of statistics. If I make my comparisons with 1920 it is simply because that was when there was the last major revision of licensing law. In 1920 the proportion of convictions for drunkenness for every 10,000 of the population was 25.46. In 1959, the last 314 year for which I have figures, it was 14.26.
It is true, as my hon. Friend the Member for Wimbledon said, that there has been an increase, though not a great increase, in recent years, particularly among young people. My hon. Friend and other hon. Members drew attention to this trend. Much as one regrets this trend, I think that when my hon. Friend said that there had been a doubling of the rise in drunkenness among young people he had forgotten that there has been a considerable increase in population in this age group. The figures show that there has been a rise in convictions among people under 18 from 1.2 per cent. of the total number of convictions in 1955 to 1.5 per cent. in 1959. It is a slight proportionate increase, but it is nevertheless one which must concern us.
I was also interested to see, as other hon. Members must have seen, a survey sent out by one of the banks earlier this week which shows that we now drink 3.8 pints of beer per adult each week compared with 4 pints in 1938, twenty years ago. That survey also shows that there has been a similar decline in the drinking of whisky, sherry and port, although not of gin.
I make this point for what it is worth, and it seems to me that in his speech the hon. Member for Swindon (Mr. F. Noel-Baker) corroborated this trend. I submit that the figures relating to the trends of drunkenness, and the amount of drinking, justify the retention of control over the places and hours of sale, but do not make a case for the retention of artificial restrictions which may well incite people to drink more than they would under freer conditions.
I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Billericay (Mr. Gardner) that there is a case for doing everything we can to protect the interests of young people, and if in Committee we can take any moves in that direction they will receive my support.
There is also a case, surely, for taking as militant action as we can against what have come to be known as drinking dens which have become a serious menace to the inn or public house.
My hon. Friend the Member for Cheadle (Mr. Shepherd), and my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, South 315 (Mr. Batsford), made the point, which was not contested, that longer hours for drinking do not necessarily mean more drinking or more drunkenness. I think that in the twenty-four hours that have elapsed since the debate started my hon. Friends and hon. Gentlemen opposite have not had time to try out the suggestion that if one drinks slowly enough one can never get drunk, but the point I want to make here is that, taking the Bill as a whole, I strongly resist the suggestion which has been made that it is a mandate for increased drunkenness.
What the Bill does, surely, is to redistribute the places and hours of drinking, which may well have a sobering as well as a sensible effect. As my right hon. Friend said in introducing the Bill, it is an attempt to strike a balance between the restraints which are still necessary to prevent abuse, on the one hand, and to meet the legitimate demand for freedom of individual choice and behaviour in a responsible society, on the other. The Bill is a balance. My right hon. Friend and I accept that, and it contains plenty of examples both of prevention of abuse and liberalisation.
This leads me to what I think has been the third general issue, and that is one of consultation. The hon. and learned Member for Kettering rather surprised me by saying that the Government did not consult the licensed victuallers until the Bill was published. I met the licensed victuallers in mid-September in a very long session and discussed all the points in the Bill. There have been consultations with everybody who is in any way interested in the Bill, and I have met them all personally. The initiative in this respect was taken by the Government over a year ago, and not by the trade interests. It is perfectly true that the Brewers' Society went to the Home Office at the invitation of the Home Office after the initial proposals had been circulated by my right hon. Friend in the latter months of 1959.
§ Mr. Mitchison
What I had in mind was this. My hon. Friends asked the Home Secretary whether he took into account the extra hours the staff would be expected to work, and whether there would be transport to take them home in the evening. The answer was, "That is another of the considerations which 316 have been drawn to our attention since the Bill was printed". The subject to which I was referring does not seem to have been called to the attention of the right hon. Gentleman until after the Bill was printed.
§ Mr. Vosper
I think that may be so, but I had an unlimited session with the licensed victuallers and they were free to raise any points that they liked. But it is natural that after the publication of the Bill further issues like that should come to light.
It is obvious that the various interests which have points of view to express on the Bill represent widely diverging points of view, and it would be quite impossible to reconcile all these different points of view in one Bill. It is inevitable, therefore, that some of these interests must be disappointed in the sense that all their views have not been accepted, but this would have been quite impossible in a Bill intended, as my right hon. Friend said in introducing it, as a Bill to represent the public interest and not any particular interest.
I have read the letter from the Council of Churches, and I appreciate what it has said. I was a little disappointed that it did not give greater credit for what I believe to be the exceptionally strong measures which have been introduced to deal with the drinking club, a proposal which, as the hon. and learned Member for Kettering knows, has aroused opposition from one of the genuine club organisations.
Many hon. Members on both sides of the House have been approached during the last few days by licensed victuallers who feel that the Bill does not give them the protection they desire. I have said that I have consulted them and will do so once again if it is any help to them. The Bill, in fact, contains many points which arise from recommendations which the licensed victuallers have made in recent months. I can cite, for example, Clause 7, most of which is a licensed victuallers' Clause. Then there is the extension of occasional licences and the relaxation of music and dancing licences. I do not think that the licensed victuallers are particularly opposed to Part III of the Bill, which tightens up the provisions relating to clubs.
I am prepared to look again in the light of the debate at any further things 317 that may be done to help the life of the licensed victualler. Many right hon. and hon. Members, including the hon. and learned Member for Kettering, have referred to the arduous life of the licensee and his wife. My right hon. Friend and I fully accept this. It applies particularly to the small country public houses where little or no help can be made available. The difficulty is that, while we have as much regard to this point as possible, the licensing law is not necessarily a trade protection measure or one concerned solely with the hours and conditions of work of people in public houses.
The Bill, as one or two hon. Members have said in recent speeches is introduced mainly in the interests of the public and the consumer and my only complaint about the debate is that, possibly, the consumer's voice has not been heard quite as frequently as I would desire. I was glad to hear my hon. Friends the Members for Torquay (Mr. F. M. Bennett) and the Isle of Thanet (Mr. Rees-Davies) refer to the tourist industry, which again must have some say in this measure.
As my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Epsom (Mr. Rawlinson) said, it is from the public generally that the demand for the reform contained in the Bill comes, and I have in mind here the consumer, not only in his capacity as a drinker but as one who may complain about the activities of his neighbour if he carries this practice to excess. The hon. Member for Dagenham (Mr. Parker) yesterday made this point most clearly.
With those three issues in mind, I turn to the three Parts of the Bill, taking first of all Part I. The hon. Member for Islington, East, in his analysis of the Bill this afternoon, was quite correct in his assumption that this provides a very great measure of liberalisation. I would not wish to disagree with his interpretation of the Bill. He seemed to think that the residential provisions were, possibly, the more dangerous, while his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kettering thought that the restaurant provisions were the more dangerous. It is, of course, a radical change, as my right hon. Friend said yesterday. However, it is one which in general, I think, 318 has commanded support, even if qualified, and one which, understandably, has been criticised in this debate by both licensed victuallers and temperance interests—a somewhat unusual alliance.
My right hon. Friend, in opening the debate, gave the reasons for this innovation, but, in answer to the criticisms which have been made about Part I, I would say that it does not necessarily follow that the person who is now able to drink more freely with his meals or in his residence, as he will be if these proposals become law, will automatically increase his total drinking. Indeed, if the figures over the last twenty years are correct, he will not do so, and if he does not do so, surely it is much more desirable, speaking from the point of view of temperance interests, that the drinking should take place in these surroundings—that is, with his meal or at his place of residence—than as a separate exercise in a public house.
I will also deal with the rather difficult practice, which must be familiar to all hon. Members on both sides of the House, of making people club bar members for the purpose of complying with the law, a practice which surely ought to be brought into the open. I should also like to point out to those who are concerned with these provisions—this is obvious, but perhaps it should be stated—that these premises will be fully open to inspection by the police and that any abuse will be followed by disqualification.
My hon. and learned Friend the Under-Secretary of State, who spoke earlier today, has already dealt with some of the specific fears expressed about these provisions. I think I should again say that in their wording much of the provisions closely follow Section 104 of the Licensing Act, 1953, which provides for the grant of supper licences. The justices will be required, in considering an application for a restaurant licence, to be satisfied that the premises are structurally adapted and used, or intended to be used, for the purpose of habitually providing substantial refreshment. These provisions have been operated for many years in respect of supper licences and it is not within my knowledge that the licensing justices have had that difficulty of interpretation which has been suggested during the debate.
319 These provisions—and this deals with a fear expressed by many hon. Members—should rule out places which serve merely light snacks which could not be said to be substantial refreshment. The hon. and learned Member for Kettering said that in Committee perhaps we could limit what I think he called the generality of these provisions. I would say that if we can provide further safeguards without destroying the value of this proposal, we shall be most happy to examine them in Committee.
Part II of the Bill has produced the greatest diversity of opinion in the debate, despite the fact that, with the exception of Clause 6, it brings about the least change, as the hon. Member for Stepney (Mr. W. Edwards) said. The chief arguments on this part of the Bill are those between uniform hours and local variation, on the one hand, and on the number of hours, on the other.
As my hon. Friend the Member for the Isle of Thanet said, the biggest debate has probably been about whether we shall have uniform hours or local variations. Opinion on that issue has always been equally divided and has certainly been divided throughout the two days we have debated his issue. My right hon. Friend gave the reasons why the Government favoured uniform hours, certainly at closing time, as being more in accord with the needs of the times. Uniformity of closing hours has obvious advantages and, indeed, one or two of my hon. Friends have suggested that even the extension of half an hour is an unfortunate move away from what is otherwise the right approach. On the other hand, certain parts of the country, particularly the holiday resorts, will wish to have the chance of remaining open until 11 p.m.
Perhaps the House does not appreciate that, under the existing law, two out of every three of the licensing benches have opted in favour of the extra half-hour and public houses in those areas close at 10.30 p.m., but it does not in the least follow that anything like the same proportion will necessarily opt for the additional extension to 11 p.m.
For those who still feel that the closing hour is too late, I direct the attention of the House to Clause 7 (8) which 320 declares the statutory right to close early. I know that it is argued that licensees will be afraid to take advantage of this provision on the ground that they will lose custom, but surely that is a matter for them to sort out and not one for legislation. [HON. MEMBERS: "It is the brewers."] I am coming to the brewers, but the view has been expressed by the licensees, that, brewers' agreements or not, they will still be afraid to close early in case the man on the other side of the road remains open. I maintain that that is not a matter for legislation, although it remains a fact that it might not be possible because of brewers' agreements.
I do not want to intervene between landlord and tenant, but I am satisfied—and I say this advisedly—that the brewers and the licensees will be able to come to some amicable arrangement regarding the closing of public houses if there is no public requirement for them to remain open. A further strengthening of the legislation would not be impossible, and it may well be that in Committee Amendments to this effect will be proposed, but I think that there is much to be said for this being achieved through trade negotiation, possibly followed by some declaration to this effect.
We then come to the other major question, that of the number of hours, and concern about the increase has been expressed. In the debate almost as many different views about the number of hours have been expressed as there have been speakers. However, I am not yet of the opinion that the hours mentioned in the Bill are more than the public requires. However, as my right hon. Friend said, further consideration can be given to this matter in Committee.
I should now like to refer to drinking up. Anyone who reads the Morning Advertiser, and I do each morning, knows that for many months the trade has been divided about whether drinking up is a good thing or not. The House must agree that the present law about this must be wrong, in that the consumer can order a drink at half a minute to 10 or even ten seconds to 10 o'clock, and then has either to gulp it down, which must be bad, or go on drinking after hours and break the law. We must consider that 321 and it seems sensible to provide some margin. I was interested in the suggestion of my hon. Friend the Member for Wokingham (Mr. van Straubenzee) and that of my hon. Friend the Member for the Isle of Thanet that it might be ten minutes or even less, but some margin ought still to be provided.
Most criticism in this part of the Bill has been levelled at the extra hour on Sunday afternoons. Perhaps hon. Members are not fully aware of the reason for proposing the change in the Bill. Apart from the fact that there was some logic in following the increase for weekdays, the extra hour covers the arrangement for late meals on Sunday afternoon, a point about which many hotel keepers, at least, had shown some concern.
Nevertheless, we recognise the weight of opinion against this proposal and we will certainly reconsider the position, but in doing so it may well be necessary to make other arrangements for drinks with Sunday lunches. I think that it is not altogether appreciated that under the present law public houses can be open for any two hours on a Sunday between 12 noon and 3 p.m. and, if the licensing justices make no decision about this, and in some cases they do not, those hours can be 12.30 to 2.30 p.m. Therefore, the change proposed is not so radical but, as I have said, we would certainly re-examine this. It would be necessary to make some compensating change for late lunches.
Finally, as my hon. Friend the Member for the Isle of Thanet said, the trade itself, both the brewers and the licensed victuallers, would, I think, prefer a system of local variation, possibly extending down to local option by the licensee himself. This was powerfully advocated in several speeches. But, while I agree that there may well be a need to give some expression of view. I do not think that it makes adequate allowance for the problems which must arise as a result of different hours in adjacent areas.
One hon. Member at least accused my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary of wanting the best of both worlds in this respect, but, having listened to thirty-seven speeches, I think that the House itself wants the best of both worlds in that it likes the uniform procedure but still wants local variation. I do not 322 believe, therefore, that this debate has reached a firm conclusion yet on that most difficult issue.
I am reluctant to say anything about Clause 6, because my right hon. Friend the Minister for Welsh Affairs dealt with this last night, but there are perhaps two points which I should make, as the Welsh debate has continued today. The first goes back to what the hon. Member for Merioneth (Mr. T. W. Jones) said—that this was a brewers' Bill, and that they had instigated it. I want to place on record that in no way has this proposal in Clause 6 been initiated by the Brewers' Association. Although it did discuss it with the Home Office, this issue has never been raised, with my right hon. Friend or me, nor have we received a deputation, or been asked to receive one, from the Welsh Sunday Opening Council—nor have the licensed victuallers themselves pressed it upon us.
I have lived for forty-four years on the borders of Wales. I go there every week, if I can, and I am unhappy if there comes a week in which I do not go there. I do not think that any hon. Member who has spoken in this debate can deny that there is a demand for Sunday opening in Wales. It is to give expression to that demand that the Government decided to introduce Clause 6.
§ Mr. Morris
The right hon. Gentleman said earlier that this Government had a mandate for social legislation, and that that included licensing legislation. Is he suggesting that the Government have a mandate to end Welsh Sunday closing? If so, when was that mandate obtained?
§ Mr. Vosper
If the Government had no mandate for this, perhaps my noble Friend the Member for Hertford (Lord Balniel) was right in speaking of an outright appeal. In Wales the choice has been made for local option. My right hon. Friend the Minister for Welsh Affairs dealt with the reasons for that in his speech last night.
It has been suggested by the hon. and learned Member for Kettering that we should have a separate Welsh Bill on this issue, but if he will examine the Licensing Act, 1953, he will find that the provision for Wales, Section 111, is dealt with not even as a separate part of a comprehensive licensing Bill. I accept 323 that it was a consolidation Measure, but it would be difficult to take one provision out of this Bill in a general review of the licensing laws. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary is not convinced that any change can be made in this provision.
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
Will the right hon. Gentleman deal with the point, which has not yet been adequately dealt with, that it is possible for this House, if it carried a Motion which I have put on the Order Paper, to give Welsh Members an opportunity to consider this? Why have the Government refused us that right and opportunity?
§ Mr. Vosper
That point was dealt with. I was sitting beside my right hon. Friend the Minister for Welsh Affairs when he dealt with it. It would not help our discussion if I merely repeated what he said.
I was about to say something about off-licensing, which is a not unimportant part of the Bill. In general, there has been support for the provision that off-licence holders should now be able to choose their hours to suit public demand. People who desire to drink in their own homes will do so whatever the hours, and we see no point in irritating them in the process.
Several speeches have also been addressed to the provision for special-hours certificates and their extension to the rest of the country. In general, that proposal has received support. My hon. Friend the Member for Cheadle wanted the hours extended to 3 a.m., while the right hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) wanted a limitation to midnight on Saturday. These are points which may be considered further in Committee.
There has also been some debate about penalties, and some criticism of their proposed increases. I submit, particularly to those who have opposed the general provisions of the Bill, that the increases in penalties are no less than are necessary if we are concerned to prevent the abuse which may otherwise arise. This particularly applies to the penalties for selling drink to young persons. It must be for hon. Members, in Committee at a later stage, to decide if any further adjustments should be made—whether there should be, for instance, an increase, which has been 324 suggested by some hon. Members, in the penalties inflicted on young persons for consuming.
In the Bill the penalty on young persons is already increased from £1 to £5. It may well be that provision should be made for a further increase. I make it clear—and this is important to those who represent licensed victuallers and their interests—that the word "knowingly" which appears in Section 129 of the Licensing Act, 1953, has not been dropped in this Measure, and that this important defence will still be available to the licensee. The hon. Member for Wokingham in particular requested this assurance. My hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. E. Johnson), in an intervention, asked about the offender with a licence under Clause 14 (5). It was intended that this should not apply to the licence as a whole, that a protection order should be obtained, but as the Bill is drafted this does not apply and it will be necessary to meet this point during the Committee stage.
My hon. and learned Friend the Joint Under-Secretary dealt with Part III of the Bill which is legally difficult, and I do not wish to confuse the lucidity of his explanation. But I should like to make it clear that there has been a considerable change in this part of the Bill since the proposals were published at the beginning of the year and the reputable proprietary club should be able to register under the proposals. Nevertheless, the proposals should be strict enough to eliminate the drinking club or bogus club and fair enough to allow in the genuine and reputable members' club. I agree with the hon. and learned Member for Kettering that the Working Men's Club and Institute Union which is apprehensive about the proposals should have nothing to fear.
We have added to the proposals—possibly enough attention has not been given to the point—a very important and much desired Clause to allow objection to be made to a club on a variety of grounds. Some hon. Members have asked for the addition of police powers of entry. That is under consideration, but it has generally been held that police entry into clubs cannot be reconciled with the concept of club life. I doubt if hon. Members when considering this matter further would want to invoke this 325 additional power. In any case, I believe that those who will have the duty of enforcing the law will find that the very substantial new powers which the Bill gives will go a long way to meet the situation.
The right hon. Member for Colne Valley and several hon. Members said that we have taken no notice of the representations that young people should not be allowed to drink in clubs. That is not true. We have considered this at great length and have taken note of the fact that the House of Commons has rejected that proposal twice in the postwar period. If the mood of the House has changed and it wishes to legislate against the consumption of drink by young persons in clubs, we should be happy to consider this during the Committee stage.
Several hon. Members, including the hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher) said that the Bill would cover only clubs where alcohol was sold. That is correct. This is a licensing Measure and any club or cafe which does not purvey alcohol will not be included within its provisions. Nevertheless, this will clear up a great problem and nuisance about the sale of alcohol. I am advised that if we prohibit the sale of alcohol by the methods contained in the Bill we shall largely deal with the problem which is causing so much concern. If there is still a residual problem it can be dealt with by legislation other than licensing legislation.
I have not attempted to deal with a variety of detailed points which were raised in respect of other parts of the Bill. My hon. Friend the Member for Cheadle, wanted credit to be made available in restaurants and clubs. Credit can be made available in restaurants, but I doubt if the House would wish to make credit available in the club or public house. My hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Withington (Sir R. Cary) referred to the Ribble Omnibus Company and an application to sell alcohol on long-distance coaches. The application has only just been received and I should like to tell the House that, ever since, I personally have received a stream of letters protesting against it. I think that would need a little further time for consideration.
326 My noble Friend the Member for Hertford raised the well-known issue of the billiards table on Sundays. I am well aware of this issue, but I think that we have run into enough trouble about Sundays already without legislating in this respect. If he wishes to pursue the matter during the Committee stage, I should be perfectly happy to look at it. He also told me that there are many other anomalies remaining unsolved in this Bill. If there are, I hope that he will bring them up during the Committee stage or submit them to me personally, as part of the purpose of this Bill is to get rid of anomalies.
My hon. Friend the Member for the Isle of Thanet disliked the application of this Bill to indecent and strip-tease displays on Sundays. I think that the time has come when we have to legislate urgently in respect of these premises, and I submit that the proposals contained in the Bill are no less than are required. Although I will examine his arguments at a later stage, I believe that the provisions we have made will be sufficient to cope with a problem that has grown very rapidly in recent months. The hon. Member for Swindon referred to a pamphlet advertising alcoholic liquor, a copy of which he gave me. The least I can do is to promise to read it.
Lastly, there has been reference to road safety. All of us must be concerned with this problem. In drafting the Bill we have been in constant touch with my right hon Friend the Minister of Transport. [HON. MEMBERS: "Where is he?"] As the House knows, a Bill dealing with road safety is in course of preparation and will be published as soon as possible. The Government considered that the right way of tackling this problem of accidents due to driving while under the influence of drink is by a combination of road traffic taw and the good sense of road users, and not by preventing licensed premises from serving customers at certain hours.
In conclusion, I think that it must be accepted that much of this Bill is a Committee Bill. Many of the points raised have not found a place in my limited reply. Between now and the Committee stage, we shall consider all the suggestions which have been made, but I suggest that it is probably in regard to Part II that there remains the greatest room for manœuvre. I realise, too, that 327 while parts of the Bill find favour with all hon. Members—and I think I can say that—there are those who find certain Clauses unacceptable.
Nevertheless, I ask the House tonight to give a Second Reading to a Bill which
§ contains these proposals, which after all, are designed to make good sense of another of our social laws.
§ Question put, That "now" stand part of the Question:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 301, Noes 69.329
|Division No. 16.]||AYES||[9.59 p.m.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Donnelly, Desmond||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)|
|Aitken, W. T.||Doughty, Charles||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)|
|Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.)||Drayson, G. B.||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)|
|Allason, James||Driberg, Tom||Johnson Smith, Geoffrey|
|Alport, Rt. Hon. C. J. M.||du Cann, Edward||Jones, Dan (Burnley)|
|Ashton, Sir Hubert||Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Duncan, Sir James||Joseph, Sir Keith|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Kaberry, Sir Donald|
|Baird, John||Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Kerans, Cdr. J. S.|
|Balniel, Lord||Elliott, R. W. (Newcastle-on-Tyne, N.)||Kerr, Sir Hamilton|
|Barlow, Sir John||Emery, Peter||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.|
|Barter, John||Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||Kimball, Marcus|
|Batsford, Brian||Errington, Sir Eric||Kitson, Timothy|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley (Southgate)||Farey-Jones, f. W.||Lagden, Godfrey|
|Beamish, Col. Tufton||Farr, John||Lancaster, Col. C. G.|
|Bell, Ronald (S. Bucks.)||Finch, Harold||Leather, E. H. C.|
|Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Finlay, Graeme||Leavey, J. A.|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm)||Fisher, Nigel||Leburn, Gilmour|
|Berkeley, Humphry||Fletcher, Eric||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)|
|Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald (Toxteth)||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry|
|Bldgood, John C.||Foot, Dingle (Ipswich)||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Lilley, F. J. P.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Forrest, George||Lindsay, Martin|
|Bossom, Clive||Foster, John||Linstead, Sir Hugh|
|Bowles, Frank||Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)||Litchfield, Capt. John|
|Box, Donald||Freeth, Denzil||Longbottom, Charles|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John||Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D.||Longden, Gilbert|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Gardner, Edward||Loveys, Walter H.|
|Brewis, John||Gibson-Watt, David||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Glover, Sir Douglas||MacArthur, Ian|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham)||McInnes, James|
|Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry||Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)||McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||McLean, Neil (Inverness)|
|Browne, Percy (Torrington)||Gough, Frederick||MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)|
|Bullard, Denys||Gower, Raymond||McMaster, Stanley R.|
|Bullus, Wing Commander Eric||Grant, Rt. Hon. William (Woodside)||Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Gram-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich)||Maddan, Martin|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Green, Alan||Maginnis, John E.|
|Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (Saffron Walden)||Gresham Cooke, R.||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)|
|Callaghan, dames||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.|
|Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Grimond, J.||Mapp, Charles|
|Carr, Compton (Barons Court)||Grimston, Sir Robert||Markham, Major Sir Frank|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Curden, Harold||Marlowe, Anthony|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Marshall, Douglas|
|Chataway, Christopher||Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)||Marten, Neil|
|Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.)||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Mawby, Ray|
|Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)||Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.|
|Cleaver, Leonard||Hastings, Stephen||Mendelson, J. J.|
|Cooke, Robert||Hay, John|
|Cooper, A. E.||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Mills, Stratton|
|Cooper-Key, Sir Neill||Hendry, Forbes||Mitchison, G. R.|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Hicks Beach, Maj. W.||Molson, Rt. Hon. Hugh|
|Corfield, F. V.||Hiley, Joseph||Montgomery, Fergus|
|Costain, A. P.||Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)||More, Jasper (Ludlow)|
|Coulson, J. M.||Hirst, Geoffrey||Morgan, William|
|Courtney, Cdr. Anthony||Hobson, John||Morrison, John|
|Critchley, Julian||Hocking, Philip N.||Mort, D. L.|
|Crosland, Anthony||Holland, Philip||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Hollingworth, John||Nabarro, Gerald|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Holt, Arthur||Neal, Harold|
|Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Hopkins, Alan||Neave, Airey|
|Cunningham, Knox||Houghton, Douglas||Nicholls, Sir Harmar|
|Curran, Charles||Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Noble, Michael|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives)||Oakshott, Sir Hendrie|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Hughes-Young, Michael||Orr-Ewing, C. Ian|
|Dance, James||Hulbert, Sir Norman||Osborn, John (Hallam)|
|Davies, C. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Hurd, Sir Anthony||Padley, W. E.|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Page, John (Harrow, west)|
|Deedes, W. F.||Iremonger, T. L.||Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)|
|Deer, George||Jackson, John||Parker, John (Dagenham)|
|de Ferranti, Basil||Jenkins, Robert (Duiwlch)||Parkin, B. T. (Paddington, N.)|
|Delargy, Hugh||Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)||Partridge, E.|
|Pavitt, Laurence||Shaw, M.||Thorpe, Jeremy|
|Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)||Shepherd, William||Turner, Colin|
|Peart, Frederick||Simon, Sir Jocelyn||van Straubenzee, w. R.|
|Peel, John||Skeet, T. H. H.||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Percival, Ian||Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)||Vickers, Miss Joan|
|Peyton, John||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank||Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis|
|Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth||Spearman, Sir Alexander||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)|
|Pike, Miss Mervyn||Speir, Rupert||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir Derek|
|Pilkington, Capt. Richard||Stanley, Hon. Richard||Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)|
|Pitt, Miss Edith||Stevens, Geoffrey||Watts, James|
|Pott, Percivall||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)||Webster, David|
|Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch||Stodart, J. A.||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Price, H. A. (Lewisham, W.)||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm||Whitelaw, William|
|Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho||Storey, Sir Samuel||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.|
|Proudfoot, Wilfred||Studholme, Sir Henry||Williams, Dudley (Exeter)|
|Quennell, Miss J. M.||Summers, Sir Spencer (Aylesbury)||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Ramsden, James||Sumner, Donald (Orpington)||Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Rawlinson, Peter||Talbot, John E.||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin||Tapsell, Peter||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Rees, Hugh||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Rees-Davies, W. R.||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)||Woodhouse, C. M.|
|Renton, David||Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.)||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Ridley, Hon. Nicholas||Teeling, William||Worsley, Marcus|
|Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)||Temple, John M.||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.)||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|Roots, William||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Scott-Hopkins, James||Thomas, Peter (Conway)||Mr. E. Wakefield and Mr. Bryan.|
|Sharples, Richard||Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|Ainsley, William||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Randall, Harry|
|Awbery, Stan||Hall, Rt. Hon, Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Redhead, E. C.|
|Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.)||Hannan, William||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Beaney, Alan||Hayman, F. H.||Ross, William|
|Bence, Cyril (Dunbartonshire, E.)||Herbison, Miss Margaret||Short, Edward|
|Blackburn, F.||Hilton, A. V.||Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)|
|Blyton, William||Howell, Charles A.||Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)|
|Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan)||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Small, William|
|Boyden, James||Hunter, A. E.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Jones, J. Idwal (Wresnam)||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Brown, Alan (Tottenham)||Jones, T. W (Merioneth)||Stonehouse, John|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Kelley, Richard||Stones, William|
|Cliffe, Michael||Kenyon, Clifford||Stross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)|
|Collick, Percy||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Symonds, J. B.|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)||MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles)||Wade, Donald|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Whitlock, William|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Milne, E. J.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Edwards, Walter (Stepney)||Morris, John||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Evans, Albert||Moyle, Arthur||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Forman, J. c.||Osborne, Cyril (Louth)||Winterbottom, R. E.|
|Galpern, Sir Myer||Owen, Will||Yates, Victor (Ladywood)|
|George, Lady Megan Lloyd||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)|
|Gooch, E. G.||Probert, Arthur||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Grey, Charles||Proctor, W. T.||Mr. G. Thomas and Mr. Watkins.|
§ Bill read a Second time.
§ Motion made, and Question put, That the Bill be committed to a Committee of the whole House.—[Mr. J. Griffiths.]330
§ The House divided: Ayes 96, Noes 251.333
|Division No. 17.]||AYES||[10.11 p.m.|
|Ainsley, William||Delargy, Hugh||Hayman, F. H.|
|Awbery, Stan||Donnelly, Desmond||Harbison, Miss Margaret|
|Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.)||Driberg, Tom||Hilton, A. V.|
|Beaney, Alan||Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Holt, Arthur|
|Bence, Cyril (Dunbartonshire, E.)||Edwards, Walter (Stepney)||Houghton, Douglas|
|Boyden, James||Evans, Albert||Howell, Charles A.|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Finch, Harold||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Foot, Dingle (Ipswich)||Hunter, A. E.|
|Brown, Alan (Tottenham)||Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Forman, J. C.||Jones, Dan (Burnley)|
|Callaghan, James||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Jones, jack (Rotherham)|
|Cliffe, Michael||Galpern, Sir Myer||Jones, J, Idwal (Wrexham)|
|Collick, Percy||George, Lady Megan Lloyd||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Gooch, E. G.||Kelley, Richard|
|Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Grey, Charles||Kenyon, Clifford|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannoek)|
|Davies, C. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Grimond, J.||McInnes, James|
|Davies Ifor (Gower)||Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||McKay, John (Wallsend)|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Hannan, William||MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles)|
|Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Rankin, John||Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)|
|Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Redhead, E. C.||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Manuel, A. C.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)||Thorpe, Jeremy|
|Mapp, Charles||Ross, William||Wade, Donald|
|Milne, E. J.||Short, Edward||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Mitchison, G. R.||Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)||Whitlock, William|
|Morris, John||Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)||Wilkins, W A.|
|Moyle, Arthur||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Neal, Harold||Sorensen, R. W.||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)||Storehouse, John||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Pearson, Arthur (Pontyprldd)||Stones, William||Yates, Victor (Ladywood)|
|Probert, Arthur||Stross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)|
|Proctor, W. T.||Symonds, J. B.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Randall, Harry||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)||Mr. Bowen and Mr. Watkins.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||Linstead, Sir Hugh|
|Aitken, W. T.||Errington, Sir Erie||Litchfield, Capt. John|
|Allason, James||Farey-Jones, F. W.||Longbottom Charles|
|Alport, Rt. Hon. C. J. M.||Farr, John||Longden, Gilbert|
|Ashton, Sir Hubert||Finlay, Graeme||Loveys, Walter H.|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Fisher, Nigel||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh|
|Baird, John||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||MacArthur, Ian|
|Balniel, Lord||Forrest, George||McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia|
|Barlow, Sir John||Foster, John||McLean, Neil (Inverness)|
|Barter, John||Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)||MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)|
|Batsford, Brian||Freeth, Denzil||McMaster, Stanley R.|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley (Southgate)||Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D.||Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)|
|Beamish, Col. Tufton||Gardner, Edward||Maddan, Martin|
|Bell, Ronald (S. Bucks.)||Gibson-Watt, David||Maginnis, John E.|
|Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Glover, Sir Douglas||Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm)||Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham)||Markham, Major Sir Frank|
|Berkeley, Humphry||Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)||Marlowe, Anthony|
|Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald (Toxteth)||Gough, Frederick||Marshall, Douglas|
|Bidgood, John C.||Gower, Raymond||Marten, Neil|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Grant, Rt. Hon. William (Woodside)||Mawby, Ray|
|Bishop, F. P.||Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich)||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.|
|Blackburn, F.||Gresham Cooke, R.||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.|
|Bossom, Clive||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Mills, Stratum|
|Bowles, Frank||Grimston, Sir Robert||Molson, Rt. Hon. Hugh|
|Box, Donald||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Montgomery, Fergus|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John||Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)||More, Jasper (Ludlow)|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Morgan, William|
|Brewis, John||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)||Morrison, John|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles|
|Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry||Hastings, Stephen||Nabarro, Gerald|
|Browne, Percy (Torrington)||Hay, John||Neave, Airey|
|Bullard, Denys||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Nicholls, Sir Harmar|
|Bullus, Wing Commander Eric||Hendry, Forbes||Noble, Michael|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Hicks Beach, Maj. W.||Oakshott, Sir Hendrie|
|Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (Saffron Walden)||Hiley, Joseph||Orr-Ewing, C. Ian|
|Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)||Osborn, John (Hallam)|
|Carr, Compton (Barons Court)||Hobson, John||Page, John (Harrow, West)|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Hooking, Philip N.||Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Holland, Philip||Parker, John (Dagenham)|
|Chataway, Christopher||Hollingworth, John||Partridge, E.|
|Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.)||Hopkins, Alan||Pavitt, Laurence|
|Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)||Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)||Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives)||Peel, John|
|Cleaver, Leonard||Hughes-Young, Michael||Percival, Ian|
|Cooke, Robert||Hulbert, Sir Norman||Peyton, John|
|Cooper, A. E.||Hurd, Sir Anthony||Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth|
|Cooper-Key, Sir Neill||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Cordle, John||Iremonger, T. L.||Pilkington, Capt. Richard|
|Corfield, F. V.||Jackson, John||Pitt, Miss Edith|
|Coulson, J. M.||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Pott, Percivall|
|Courtney, Cdr. Anthony||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch|
|Critchley, Julian||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Price, H. A. (Lewisham, W.)|
|Crosland, Anthony||Johnson Smith, Geoffrey||Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho|
|Crosthwaite-Evre, Col. O. E.||Joseph, Sir Keith||Proudfoot, Wilfred|
|Cunningham, Knox||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Curran, Charles||Kerans, Cdr. J. S.||Ramaden, James|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Rawlinson, peter|
|Dance, James||Kimball, Marcus||Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Kitson, Timothy||Rees, Hugh|
|Deedes, W. F.||Lagden, Godfrey||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|de Ferranti, Basil||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Renton, David|
|Doughty, Charles||Leather, E. H. C.||Ridley, Hon. Nicholas|
|Drayson, G. B.||Leavey, J, A.||Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)|
|du Cann, Edward||Leburn, Gilmour||Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Duncan, Sir James||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Roots, William|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Elliott, R. W. (Newcastle-on-Tyne, N.)||Lilley, F. J. P.||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Emery, Peter||Lindsay, Martin||Sharples, Richard|
|Shaw, M.||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)||Webster, David|
|Shepherd, William||Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N)||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Simon, Sir Jocelyn||Teeling, William||Whitelaw, William|
|Skeet, T. H. H.||Temple, John M.||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.|
|Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)||Thatoher, Mrs. Margaret||Williams, Dudley (Exeter)|
|Spearman, Sir Alexander||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Speir, Rupert||Thomas, Peter (Conway)||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Stanley, Hon Richard||Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)||Turner, Colin||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Stodart, J. A.||van Straubenzee, W. R.||Woodhouse, C. M.|
|Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm||Vane, W. M. F.||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Storey, Sir Samuel||Vickers, Miss Joan||Worsley, Marcus|
|Studholme, Sir Henry||Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|Summers, Sir Spencer (Aylesbury)||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)|
|Sumner, Donald (Orpington)||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir Derek||TELLERS FOR THE NOES|
|Talbot, John E.||Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)||Mr. E. Wakefield and Mr. Brvan|
|Tapsell, Peter||Watts, James|
§ Bill committed to a Standing Committee pursuant to Standing Order No. 38 (Committal of Bills).