HC Deb 06 June 1961 vol 641 cc1007-27
Mr. Fletcher

I beg to move, in page 17, line 23, to leave out subsection (6).

Mr. Speaker

I think that it would be appropriate to allow the further Amendment, in page 17, line 23, to leave out subsections (6) and (7), to be discussed with this one.

Mr. Fletcher

This Amendment is designed to leave out subsection 6. I can move it briefly, although it raises a matter of some importance which was discussed on Second Reading but which was not discussed during the Committee stage and was, I think, deliberately left over for consideration by the House on the Report stage.

Subsection (6) would so change the law that in future the permitted—

It being Ten o'clock, further consideration of the Bill, as amended, stood adjourned.

Proceedings on the Licensing Bill exempted, at this day's Sitting, from the Provisions of Standing Order No. 1 (Sittings of the House).—[Mr. Vosper.]

Bill, as amended (in the Standing Committee), further considered.

Mr. Fletcher

I was pointing out that as the law now stands, and as it has stood for a very long time, the permitted hours on Saturdays, particularly the extended hours that are available for late restaurants and night clubs, have been different from those available on other weekdays. Whereas justices have been able to grant licences for certain late night restaurants and clubs until 2 a.m. on weekdays, there has hitherto been a limit of midnight on Saturday nights. The reason has been the general feeling that a distinction should be drawn between Sunday and the other days of the week. If subsection (6) remains in the Bill, that long tradition will disappear.

It was pointed out on Second Reading that before this rather startling change in the law was adopted, it ought to be discussed at length by the House. The Minister of State expressed some surprise that there was no Amendment on the subject for consideration by the Standing Committee. As hon. Members who were on the Committee will realise, its proceedings took an extremely long time and this was one of the subjects that was deliberately left over for consideration by the House.

It is important to observe that in the Committee the hour of 2 o'clock, which has hitherto been the limit of the permitted extension for this privileged class of restaurants and clubs, was extended to 3 a.m. Certain hon. Members then suggested that there was no particular merit about 3 a.m., and that the time might equally well be 4 a.m. That being so, the question that the House now has to decide is whether it is right that these restaurants should be allowed to have licences that would enable them to remain open until 3 a.m. on Sunday mornings—which, with the extension of the half hour, would mean 3.30 a.m. on Sunday mornings.

In approaching this subject, we have to bear in mind that a large number of people feel that it is an important pant of our national life that Sunday should be treated differently from other days of the week. There is no doubt at all that it gives offence in certain quarters to think that these night clubs and restaurants should have licences extending to the very early hours of Sunday morning. Now that local option is to be permitted in Wales, these provisions, if they stand in the law of England, will automatically apply in those parts of Wales which vote for local option.

My view is that expressed by a number of hon. Members on Second Reading, namely, that no case has been made out for changing the law in this respect and that this House should have regard to the very strong feelings which obtain on this subject. Representations have been made to myself and, no doubt, to other hon. Members by the Temperance Council of Christian Churches and by other representative bodies. For the reasons given on Second Reading and subsequently, I hope that the Home Secretary will not insist on this Clause.

Mr. G. Thomas

My hon. Friend the Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher) has drawn attention to something which will concern not thousands, but, I may say without exaggeration, millions of people. This House should not underestimate the extent to which the people of these islands are church-going and chapel-going.

Mr. John Hall (Wycombe)

Ten pen cent.

Mr. Thomas

Ten per cent. of 50 million is 5 million. If the hon. Member for Wycombe (Mr. John Hall) is right in his estimate—which I have heard before, although I do not know who counted the heads—5 million people who hold the Lord's Day as a different day from others are not to be lightly brushed aside.

Since I have been in the House it has been my privilege to take part in four debates concerning the character of Sunday. I recall that the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary was in the same Lobby as myself to protect the Sabbath day, as we call Sunday. I do not wish to argue whether it is the Sabbath day, but we wished to protect Sunday and to keep it different from the rest of the week.

In the Bill a step is taken which will lead to the dissolution of Sunday. It is the first step on the road to making Sunday just the same as any other day of the week. I know enough of the party opposite, which, after all, is the Conservative Party, to know that it has among its numbers a large body of hon. Members who have a deep regard for Sunday. I have seen them in the Lobbies time after time on this question. There are right hon. and hon. Members on this side of the House who, regardless of party politics, believe that this House ought to protect those things which help our people in the highest values and which are so essential in an affluent society like ours. We are seeing enough values being trampled underfoot, enough changes taking place in our national life, and enough temptations thrown in the teeth of out young people without this House, of all places in the land, undermining those people who are seeking to protect Sunday and the best values in our national life.

We represent people of all shades of religious opinion and some who hold no religious convictions at all. We are a cross-section of the country. However, even those who have no religious convictions will surely realise that in our society today there is a grave danger of our undermining the forces which make both for strength of character and for high idealism.

All this, I find, links up with the question of Sunday itself. I am sorry that the Government are pushing this proposal in this Licensing Bill. I am hoping that many hon. Members opposite will speak on this subject, because, quite apart from the question of extended hours, the fact that such an inroad is to be made into Sunday, and that the Government will be applying this proposal, which has not applied before, in the Principality of Wales in future, is something which I hope no hon. Member will feel he can treat lightly, or treat as a joke, or consider that, because of my known views about drink itself, I am putting forward a crank's view on this question.

I am entirely confident as I speak to the House now that I have the support of millions of people outside the House in asking the Government not to make it easier for both our churches and chapels to be undermined in the witness that they are seeking to make, and not to say that the early hours of Sunday do not matter. Our fathers in this place protected Sunday. Our fathers in this place realised that it was a part of our duty and in the national interest to have this day that is sat apart, and I hope that the Minister of State will realise that deep feelings are aroused and great issues are involved in this Amendment. I hope that he will give a sympathetic reply.

Mr. William Shepherd (Cheadle)

I share the views of the hon. Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas) on the need to preserve the essential character of Sunday, and I hope that we shall never do anything in this House which seriously detracts from that concept.

At the same time, I am equally supporting the proposals in the Bill to allow the extension of drinking on Saturday nights in those places which operate under special hours certificates. Everybody in this community is entitled to his own view, and religious bodies are entitled to their views, but no religious body, or small section of a religious body, is entitled, as it has tried in the past, to dominate the view of the whole community.

The hon. Member for Cardiff, West belongs to a Methodist society, in which I was brought up, which holds a particular view about drink which is not shared by an equal number of Catholics who are just as much a pant of the Christian Church as is the Methodist Church. There are large numbers of Jews in this country, who are certainly not heavy drinkers, who would not subscribe to the idea that drink should be curtailed in this way, and they are still an essential part of a religious body.

Mr. G. Thomas

I entirely accept what the hon. Gentleman is saying, but what I have been trying to argue is not the question of drink but the question of the regard for Sunday as Sunday.

10.15 p.m.

Mr. Shepherd

If the hon. Gentleman will allow me, I will deal with that point.

If one takes the largest religious body in this country—the Anglican Church, with 20 million members, some of them more closely attached to it than others, I should imagine—it is true that a large number would not object to this increase in the facilities for consuming drink late on Saturday night.

Every religious body is entitled to its specific view, but a small minority of religious opinion is not entitled to dictate to the rest of the community. In the Bill, we are not imposing upon those people any need to partake of drink. We shall not drag them into these establishments and force the offending liquor down their reluctant throats. If they want to stay outside, they may do so. If they want to go in, they may do so.

I am surprised by the attitude of the hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher) towards the Bill. Ever since he said that he supported it, he has done all he can to damage it. The hon. Member said that it was a grave departure from our practice by allowing drink after midnight on Saturday. The hon. Member does not know the history of these establishments. It was only after 1949 that drinking in these establishments ceased at twelve o'clock on Saturday nights. Before 1949, it was the practice for drinking to go on until 4 a.m. in these establishments in the same way as on any other night in the week. Therefore, it is not a radical departure. The radical departure was the 1949 Act, which introduced the change.

If hon. Members like to look back to the conditions of those years, I do not think that they will find any more difficulty arising from the conduct of those places on Saturday nights. One of the reasons why I am so strongly in favour of making the change which the Bill introduces is that, despite the expenditure of a great deal of police time and money, it has proved utterly impossible efficiently to enforce the law as we know it. I say without hesitation that before the Bill was mooted, almost every establishment in London, with, perhaps, two or three exceptions, served drink after hours on a Saturday night. It is exceedingly difficult to refuse people drink when they are served it for the rest of the week.

The hon. Member for Islington, East said that things should be different on a Sunday from any other day. The hon. Member has missed the essential point that under the Statute things are different on a Sunday. If he was running a late-hour establishment with a special hours certificate he would not have an entitlement to open on a Sunday. The hon. Member is saying to the trade. "You must operate a four-day week". These traders, with their high expenses, have found it exceedingly difficult to operate in conditions in which Saturday night, which ought to be their best night, is no longer a good night. The penalty of not opening on a Sunday—which, apart from Wales, is not attached to any other part of the licensed trade—is in itself a sufficiently serious penalty and we ought not to add to it by making these people wait two days without running their businesses.

I turn to the social aspects. A night club or a late-night restaurant is something to which, except for, perhaps, a rather favoured section of the community, people do not go with regularity, but it is a place to which people go on occasions. If one has plenty of money and no work to do in the mornings, it is quite possible to go to one of these places on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday and have a special evening, but if one is a working man, whether earning £5,000 or £500 a year, and one has to be up in the morning to go to work, it is exceedingly difficult to do it on any day other than Saturday.

Is there any reason why the ordinary man who does a job of work should be prevented from occasionally going to one of these places on the day which suits him best? He is not interfering with religious observance. I know of people who are connected with the Church who go to these places. They are Catholic people; they are certainly connected with the Church. They are not interfering with religious observance. They are going to an establishment which is well conducted.

A visitor to such a place goes there to enjoy himself, and maybe his wife and family enjoy themselves, too. The occasion may be a birthday party or a wedding anniversary. I see no reason why those who are not so well off and have to do a job of work should be denied the opportunity on a Saturday night of enjoying themselves in the same way as more favoured people are able to do on other days of the week.

I am convinced that, on religious grounds, there is no serious objection. If some hon. Members had been living 2,000 years ago, they would have been rebuking Christ. Probably the Miracle of Canae offends them. The development of the argument against drink on religious grounds is a modern development, and we should not take it too seriously. Let us content ourselves by saying that those who take the view, as Methodists do, that we should not have drink at all, or should limit it to the greatest possible extent, are entitled to their views; but they are not entitled, through this House, to dictate to the rest of the community, who, on the whole, hold a different view of what they should think. I hope, therefore, that the House will reject the Amendment.

Mr. Ede

Yesterday I alluded to some negotiations, which the hon. Member for Cheadle (Mr. Shepherd) and I had when the 1949 Act was going through, which dealt with the issue before us. I paid tribute to the way in which he conducted those negotiations. I got into great difficulty over them myself, not from him but from people like my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas), but we who are sound Nonconformists can non-conform with one another.

We had to deal with a situation very different from that of today. We were dealing with the aftermath of the war and the problems which had arisen over the way in which night clubs and bottle parties had been conducted in the period before the war, during it, and immediately after it. I hope that the hon. Member for Cheadle will at least pay me the tribute that I legitimately tried to do my best in the situation which then existed.

In spite of what he has said about the present circumstances, I am quite certain that the enforcement of the law in this matter at the moment is a great deal easier than it was before we made the appropriate amendments in the 1949 Act to bring the existing conditions of affairs into being.

I regret that this Amendment should have been put down. I am not a Sabbatarian on the lines of my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West, and on such occasions as the Home Secretary has been in the Lobby with my hon. Friend on this issue, I am quite sure that I have not been with them. We are entitled to pay respect to people who hold definite religious views. I have been in considerable trouble with my Nonconformist friends because I have been a consistent supporter of the opening of cinemas on Sundays, but I would never vote for the opening of cinemas on Good Friday afternoons.

There are a few hours on Good Friday afternoons which do not, as far as I am concerned, contribute a special religious occasion, but to a number of very good and excellent people those hours from 3 o'clock to 6 o'clock are of special solemnity. Just as, therefore, if I go into a Moslem mosque I observe the demeanour that the good Moslem shows, so I think it would be wrong to do anything that caused offence to people who hold those hours on Good Friday afternoon as an occasion during which they undergo, year by year, a special religious experience.

I say that because I cannot be a Sabbatarian, since as I understand it the Sabbath relates to Saturday and for some reason or other the Christian Church moved this day of rest from Saturday to Sunday. I would not willingly offend anyone on Sunday who desires to go through his religious experiences and to attend his particular ceremonies, but I believe that people who feel very strongly on the matters raised by the hon. Member were prepared to make considerable concessions to other opinion in 1949. Because, no matter what the hon. Member for Cheadle may feel about it. I had to negotiate with them as well as with him

I thought that the arrangements by which during the first five days of the week people could have this form of enjoyment if they so desired was reasonable and that they did not pay a very high price for it in agreeing that they would not object to there not being an extension into Sunday morning, although Sunday morning up to three or four o'clock is not a time of any religious significance to me.

I was not brought up a Methodist. My mother believed that Methodists were not Nonconformists at all. They did not leave the Church of England; the Church of England left them, and though one should be kind to them in this world, since most of them voted Tory before nine o'clock in the morning on election days, one was not likely to meet them in the next world.

The Amendment ought not to be inserted into the Bill because I know that it offends people who feel that it is a desecration of things in which they most earnestly believe. It does not offend me, but in a great free society like ours where we have established religious toleration after many years of trying to secure uniformity I would regret it if the Government should have no regard to what we did in 1949 in their attitude towards this Amendment.

10.30 p.m.

Sir Cyril Black (Wimbledon)

I hope that my hon. Friend the Member for Cheadle (Mr. Shepherd) will forgive me if I do not become involved in the theological aspect of the matter, although I ought to say, however, that I find myself quite unable to agree with his view as to the teaching of the Scriptures and the early Church in regard to matters of this kind. If on some suitable occasion he can find the time for the exercise, I should like to take him through some of the Scriptures dealing with this matter, when I believe that I should be able to convince him of the fallacy and the unsoundness of the opinions which he has expressed.

Also, I do not want to get involved in the issue raised by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) as to the essential difference between the Jewish Sabbath and the Christian Sunday. It is perhaps sufficient for me to say on that issue that I agree with him as to the difference, and I certainly would not base any views that I would express to the House on this matter upon any analogy between the teaching affecting the Jewish Sabbath and the position with which we are confronted on this Amendment tonight.

It is interesting that my hon. Friend the Member for Cheadle, with commendable frankness, I think, made clear at any rate one of the main reasons why he felt that the Government proposal ought to be accepted. That was that under the existing limitations under which they work, people who carry on the kind of business which is dealt with by the subsection that we are considering are finding it difficult to make enough money to cover the running expenses of their establishments and to provide themselves with a reasonable profit in addition.

That admission, as I have said, is a frank one, and I think that the fact that my hon. Friend has made it is very greatly to his credit. But I think that we want to notice that the Government's proposal is not commended primarily on the basis of meeting a public demand or need. It is supported on the basis of providing a profit for a kind of establishment which, it is suggested, if this concession is not forthcoming will not be able to continue to operate profitably. So what we are considering at this moment is the choice between a reasonable observance of Sunday on the one hand and the profits of a very limited number of business people on the other, or, to put it more simply, the age-long choice between God and Mammon.

I am in favour of the Amendment—

Mr. Shepherd

Before my hon. Friend builds up a case on that false premise, might I point out that I did not say that I was supporting this proposal because these people were not making a profit? What I said was that it had proved since 1949 impossible officially to enforce the provisions relating to Saturday nights and that these premises continued to be profitable by not observing the law in general, and that it was that situation that caused me to take the view that the law ought to be suitably changed.

Sir C. Black

So the argument now is that here are proprietors who have been failing to observe the law by which they have been bound in the past, that it has been difficult to enforce the law against them, and that we should condone their former misdeeds by now making legal what has in the past been illegal. The further down the road my hon. Friend the Member for Cheadle goes the more unconvincing become his arguments and the more he confirms me in the view that the case he has addressed to the House is one which we ought without hesitation to reject.

I am in favour of the Amendment proposed by the hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher) for the very simple reason that I am, in general and in particular, against further commercialisation of Sunday, which in my view has already gone much too far in the present century. I know that is has been argued and that it will be argued again in the course of this discussion that this is only a small matter, that we are dealing here with only a small further encroachment, that it is does not really matter if certain establishments which now have to close at midnight on Saturday are to be allowed to be open till 2 o'clock on Sunday mornings in the future.

Mr. G. Thomas

3 o'clock.

Sir C. Black

Till 3 o'clock on Sunday mornings in the future.

But, of course, every encroachment upon Sunday during this century has taken that precise form and has been justified by that precise argument. We have seen in the past sixty years a radical change, and, in my submission, a change for the worse, in the general regard of the people of this country for Sunday as a day of rest and worship, and that disregard has had its effects upon very many aspects of our national life, effects which are only too evident in the life of our people today. Of course, we recognise that that radical change which has taken place over the past sixty years has not taken place as the result of any one important or drastic alteration in the law. It has taken place as a result of the progressive and almost continuous whittling down of the laws dealing with Sunday observance until we have lost a great many of the safeguards which existed sixty years ago against trading and business activities and commercialisation of Sunday.

It would be a mistake for the House to underestimate the extent of religious feeling on this matter. One of my right hon. Friends suggested that the number of people who regularly attended church and chapel in this country was about 10 per cent. of the population. That statement has been made from time to time by various people, but I would venture to think that it is probably an underestimate of the true position. Sunday worship, of course, varies very much from place to place and in one part of the country compared with another, but even if we assume that the regular church and chapel goers of this country approximate to only 10 per cent. of the total population, if we include the children and young people who attend Sunday school, which is their form of Sunday worship, the percentage must be much higher than 10 per cent. of the whole population.

It would be a very great mistake to believe that feeling in regard to and in favour of Sunday observance is merely confined to 10 per cent. of the population because there are many other people who do not regularly attend church or chapel but nevertheless have a deeply ingrained and sincerely held belief that Sunday is a special day and a different day and a day which people desecrate for secular purposes at their own peril and to their own detriment. I am quite certain that there is a very strong and a widely held measure of opinion in this country in favour of maintaining at any rate those safeguards in regard to Sunday which still exist in the law.

If one sets aside for the moment the religious argument there is, of course, also a strong social argument here. This is a point which is so often overlooked by those who argue in the way my hon. Friend the Member for Cheadle did.

Those of us who are seeking to maintain the legal safeguards in regard to Sunday are always branded, and very unfairly and inaccurately branded, as the enemies of freedom, the minority who are trying to impose their own views and their own way of life on the majority. But exactly the reverse is the case. What my hon. Friend the Member for Cheadle wants to do is to compel a number of people employed in these establishments, who at present axe able to leave their work and to return to their homes at midnight on Saturday, to work until 3 a.m. on Sunday, whether they wish to do so or not, in order to minister to the appetites and the desires of the selfish minority. We are concerned to preserve the freedom of those people to leave their employment at midnight on Saturday, which is a late enough hour for them to be expected to work, and to spend the hours after midnight in their beds as the great majority of people want to spend the hours between midnight and 3 a.m. in bed.

Mr. Shepherd

Here again, my hon. Friend is in error. These places have to be kept open to give a service to the customers, but they do bad business in the early hours of Sunday morning and the staff would be much more pleased to receive tips on substantial sums spent than to stay there receiving derisory tips.

Mr. John Parker (Dagenham)

It could also be said that they could find other jobs if they had a conscientious objection to working in these places.

Sir C. Black

The more my hon. Friend the Member for Cheadle develops his argument, the weaker his case becomes. If we accept that business is bad and is reducing between midnight on Saturday and 3 a.m. on Sunday, and will be much better if this relaxation of the law is permitted, then we must accept that in order to cater for the larger volume of business more people will be compelled to work these hours—and those people who are compelled to work in the conditions which my hon. Friend seeks to impose are having their freedom taken away from them to leave their work at midnight on Saturday and are compelled to remain at work until 3 a.m. on Sunday.

I said earlier that during this century we have seen a great decline in Sunday observance and that with that decline in Sunday observance we have also seen a decline in the religious faith and practices and beliefs of the people, because in a measure the two things go together. A very great opponent of the Christian religion said in effect that if you want to destroy Christianity you must first of all destroy the Christian Sunday.

There are people—and their number tends to grow—who are anxious to destroy Christianity, and they recognise only too well that one of the essential steps is that by degrees they should first destroy the Christian Sunday. In existing conditions anything which has the effect of lessening the regard which people have for Sunday as a day set apart for rest and worship and a day which strengthens the Christian faith and Christian practice of the nation is something which the House should reject. For those reasons I hope that the House will decide, if need be by a Division, to support the Amendment.

10.45 p.m.

Mr. Vosper

The hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher) referred to the speech of my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary on Second Reading. The words that my right hon. Friend used on that occasion, in referring to this proposal, were that he would await the reactions of hon. Members. In spite of what has been said by my hon. Friend the Member for Wimbledon (Sir C. Black), I cannot say that the reaction of hon. Members to this proposal are strongly opposed to the suggestion that special hours certificates could extend to Sunday morning. As the hon. Member for Islington, East made clear, no Amendment was tabled to this effect in Committee, though that was, I understand, the result of inadvertence. Nevertheless, there was a debate on the matter, but neither then nor on this occasion, or in the representations which one receives on a Bill of this nature, have I been convinced that the House is in general support of the views expressed by my hon. Friend the Member for Wimbledon. That does not mean that I have any less respect for the Sabbath than he has.

The hon. Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas), whose views we all respect, argued as if this was a proposal to introduce special hours certificates on Sunday itself. As my hon. Friend the Member for Cheadle (Mr. Shepherd) made quite clear, these special hours certificates cannot operate on a Sunday and there is no suggestion that they should. That day is closed to this form of entertainment.

I appreciate, of course, that the hon. Member for Cardiff, West had in mind the early hours of Sunday morning. I think it is a matter of opinion whether the early hours of Sunday morning are a time when an offence against the spirit of Sunday observance could be committed. I think most of us would take the view that, if a special hours certificate were allowed to extend into the early hours of Sunday morning, that would not be an offence against the spirit of Sunday observance. I appreciate that there are those who do not take that view.

We must face the fact that Saturday night is a popular night for a night out—a view which is shared by hon. Members of the House. It is the traditional night on which people celebrate, often on private occasions or at private dances into the early hours of Sunday morning. What is proposed is that in this limited class of establishment the same facilities for people to celebrate and enjoy themselves on a Saturday night shall not be curtailed at midnight, as they are at the moment.

I assure my hon. Friend the Member for Wimbledon that my right hon. Friend and I are not concerned with the profit motives of these places. I have no knowledge of those matters, but I have plenty of evidence that there is a widespread demand for the extension of these facilities. One knows from the public representations we have had that there has been strong pressure for this particular extension from the British Travel and Holiday Association, from the British Hotels and Restaurants Association and from the Parliamentary Committee of the Co-operative Union.

I have no doubt that in introducing this proposal we are providing for something for which there is a demand. If we can do that without offending against the spirit of Sunday observance, then we shall, I think, do something which the House would wish to support. Certainly, in the light of the discussions on the Bill, the Government see no reason to depart from their decision to introduce these proposals. Indeed, they have introduced a further Amendment to clear up any doubt about the Bill as at present drafted.

The issue of special hours certificates depends upon the issue of a music and dancing licence. A music and dancing licence must be in force before liquor can be sold in one of these establishments. If the dancing ends, then the sale of liquor must end. It is understood to be a condition of the 1780 Sunday Observance Act that a music and dancing licence shall not normally be issued for after midnight on the Saturday. Therefore, because of that condition, there is some uncertainty in the Bill as drafted. It would be perfectly permissible, as the Bill stands, without Amendment, for a special hours certificate to be granted to clubs, but in respect of public places of entertainment—which feature in these proposals—the Bill as drafted might be imperfect. The Government have introduced the other Amendment in page 17, line 40, to add a new subsection (8), in order to remove doubt.

I should make clear that it would still be possible under that Amendment for a local authority to make it a condition of a music and dancing licence that dancing should stop at midnight on the Saturday, in which case the sale of liquor would have to stop. That power would remain with the local authority.

As the Bill stands, local authorities feel that they will not be able to operate these provisions without contravening most of the conditions of the 1780 Act. That is the reason for the Government Amendment. I think that it must go with the Amendment to which the hon. Member for Islington, East has argued, and which the Government advise the House to reject.

Mr. Rees-Davies

Yesterday my right hon. Friend was good enough to say that he would look at the suggestion put forward by my noble Friend the Member for Hertford (Lord Balniel) about extending this throughout the country. I presume, therefore, that when he makes the requisite Amendment to bring that into effect it will cover this day.

Mr. Vosper

My noble Friend's rather novel idea is somewhat complicated and will require further expert drafting, but we will have regard to that point.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

I do not intend to keep the House for long, because every-think that can be said on both sides has been said. Nothing that those who oppose this idea can do will change the mind of the Government. Although this matter was dealt with at some length in Committee upstairs and the Minister was left in no doubt of the view which many of us held, by sheer inadvertence an Amendment along the lines of this Amendment was not moved. Perhaps because of that we should feel that we did not carry out the duty imposed on us by those for whom we speak but whether we moved an Amendment or not the Minister had made up his mind and nothing we could have said or done would have changed it.

On more than one occasion the right hon. Gentleman has said that he is doing this not because the Government want to do it but because there is a demand for it. I do not know where that demand comes from. I know that one or two hon. Members, such as the hon. Member for Cheadle (Mr. Shepherd), are in favour of this proposal, but there are thousands of people—in fact, I should not be surprised if there are millions of people—who do not want the liberalising measures which the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary is offering them in this Bill. The Temperance Council of the Christian Churches strongly holds that view.

I realise that it is no use speaking for too long, but the Temperance Council of the Christian Churches, and those who think along the same lines, consider that we are entering a realm which in many ways is new to the temperament and atmosphere of the people in this country. Some of us realise that a large number of people want to sit up late at night and into the early hours of the morning to enjoy intoxicating liquor.

Mr. Rees-Davies

We do not want to sit up all night tonight.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

We think that Saturday night is different from other nights, and that those who enjoy themselves on ordinary evenings should realise that once Sunday morning starts things are different.

One reason why we felt that the Government should not accede to this request was that when these provisions are put into operation all over the country parties will be breaking up, and restaurants

closing, at three o'clock in the morning, and on a Sunday morning at that, with the resultant noise of the slamming of car doors which causes so much annoyance. We felt that this should not be tolerated in a Christian country. Therefore, I hope that my hon. Friends who think as I do will carry this matter to a Division. We realise that we shall be beaten, but we think that we should register our protest in the division lobbies.

Question put, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill:—

The House divided: Ayes 156, Noes 45.

Division No. 190.] AYES [10.55 p.m.
Agnew, Sir Peter Green, Alan Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth
Aitken, W. T. Gresham Cooke, R. Pike, Miss Mervyn
Allason, James Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G. Pott, Percivall
Barter, John Gurden, Harold Pym, Francis
Bennett, F. M. (Torquay) Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.) Quennell, Miss J. M.
Berkeley, Humphry Hall, John (Wycombe) Rawlinson, Peter
Bingham, R. M. Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough) Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin
Bossom, Clive Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Rees-Davies, W. R.
Bourne-Arton, A. Hastings, Stephen Roots, William
Box, Donald Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Russell, Ronald
Boyle, Sir Edward Hendry, Forbes Seymour, Leslie
Brewis, John Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk) Shaw, M.
Brown, Alan (Tottenham) Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Shepherd, William
Browne, Percy (Torrington) Hirst, Geoffrey Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir Jocelyn
Buck, Antony Hocking, Philip N. Skeet, T. H. H.
Bullard, Denys Holland, Philip Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'rd & Chiswick)
Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (Saffron Walden) Hollingworth, John Smithers, Peter
Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) Hughes-Young, Michael Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Carr, Robert (Mitcham) Hutchison, Michael Clark Spearman, Sir Alexander
Channon, H. P. G. Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Stanley, Hon. Richard
Chichester-Clark, R. Jackson, John Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.) Kerans, Cdr. J. S. Stodart, J. A.
Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Kerr, Sir Hamilton Storey, Sir Samuel
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Kirk, Peter Studholme, Sir Henry
Cleaver, Leonard Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Sumner, Donald (Orpington)
Cole, Norman Linstead, Sir Hugh Tapsell, Peter
Cooke, Robert Litchfield, Capt. John Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)
Cooper, A. E. Longbottom, Charles Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.)
Cooper-Key, Sir Neill Loveys, Walter H. Teeling, William
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)
Corfield, F. V. Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
Costain, A. P. McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)
Critchley, Julian McLean, Neil (Inverness) Turner, Colin
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Maddan, Martin van Straubenzee, W. R.
Curran, Charles Markham, Major Sir Frank Vane, W. M. F.
Currie, G. B. H. Marten, Neil Vaughan-Morgan, Sir John
Dalkeith, Earl of Mathew, Robert (Honiton) Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
Deedes, W. F. Matthews, Gordon (Meriden) Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Digby, Simon Wingfield Mawby, Ray Walder, David
Drayson, G. B. Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Walker, Peter
du Cann, Edward Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Wall, Patrick
Duncan, Sir James Mills, Stratton Ward, Dame Irene
Elliott, R. W. (Nwcstle-upon-Tyne, N.) More, Jasper (Ludlow) Watts, James
Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Noble, Michael Webster, David
Fisher, Nigel Nugent, Sir Richard Wells, John (Maidstone)
Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) Orr Capt. L. P. S. Whitelaw, William
Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton) Page, John (Harrow, West) Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Freeth, Denzil Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale) Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Gammans, Lady Parker, John Woodhouse, C. M.
Gardner, Edward Pavitt, Laurence Woodnutt, Mark
Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham) Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)
Goodhart, Philip Peart, Frederick TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Grant-Ferris, Wg Cmdr. R. Peel, John Mr. Finlay and Mr. Gibson-Watt.
Awbery, Stan Glover, Sir Douglas Moody, A. S.
Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan) Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Owen, Will
Cordle, John Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery) Hannan, William Ross, William
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Herbison, Miss Margaret Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Davies, Ifor (Cower) Hiley, Joseph Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Hilton, A. V. Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Ede, Rt. Hon. C. Hobson, John Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Holman, Percy Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Evans, Albert Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Wainwright, Edwin
Farr, John Hynd, John (Attercliffe) Whitlock, William
Fernyhough, E. Jones, Dan (Burnley) Wilkins, W. A.
Finch, Harold Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Williams, Ll. (Abertillery)
Fletcher, Eric McKay, John (Wallsend)
Forman, J. C. Mapp, Charles TELLERS FOR THE NOES
George, LadyMeganLloyd (Crmrthn) Milne, Edward J. Sir Cyril Black and
Mr. George Thomas.

Amendment made: In page 17, line 40, at end insert: (8) Where a special hours certificate is in force for any premises or part of premises on a Saturday, nothing in the Sunday Observance Act, 1780, shall apply by reason of the provision of music and dancing there before the time to which the permitted hours on that Saturday may extend by virtue of this section.—[Mr. Vosper.]