HC Deb 19 June 1961 vol 642 cc959-1011

3.55 p.m.

Mrs. Harriet Slater (Stoke-on-Trent, North)

I beg to move, in page 30, line 43 at the end to insert: and there shall be no supply of intoxicating liquor to any person under eighteen years of age in any club to which this section applies One of the most important problems which confronts all social workers in youth services and organisations interested in the welfare of young people is how to direct young people into leading useful, law-abiding lives. Speaking to a group of Conservative women last week, the Home Secretary said that the difficult period for young people was the time after they left school at the age of 15 until they were 18. I know that he was referring to crime and adolescent delinquency, but one cannot help feeling that adolescent delinquency is closely allied to adolescents acquiring the taste for alcohol. Therefore, the Home Secretary's statement can be applied to protecting our young folk from acquiring the taste for alcohol. It is because of that that we seek to ensure that clubs will have the responsibility of seeing that no young people under 18 are served with alcohol.

If any evidence is required that that is advisable, one has only to consider the evidence given by social workers like the Salvation Army and youth leaders in all kinds of youth undertakings, that young people can get liquor in clubs. One needs no evidence other than that of the people to whom I have just referred about the adverse effects of alcohol on young people.

I am concerned that young girls under 18 should not be able to obtain alcohol. Many young girls are able to acquire the taste for alcohol, with all its adverse effects, in all kinds of clubs. I regret that in Committee the Minister of State, Home Office, the right hon. Member for Runcorn (Mr. Vosper), put up the case that because a parent sometimes offers a girl a sherry at home he sees no reason why the girl should not be able to get sherry or other forms of alcohol in her tennis club, or in any other club to which she belongs.

The case of a girl being offered a sherry at home is different from that of being offered a sherry in the atmosphere of a club. The parent takes the responsibility there. The young person is in the home, with all the restraining influence that a good home ought to have. But when that young person goes into a club and is allowed to have a drink, all kinds of other pressures are exerted. The parent is not there to say that only one sherry shall be given. More and more drink can be acquired in that atmosphere.

The Amendment merely seeks to apply to clubs the same sort of responsibility which public houses have at present. We all have a moral responsibility not to put any temptation in the way of young people under the age of 18 years which could in any way lead them astray. Under no circumstances should young boys or girls be served with alcohol in any club or public house. Once that happens they are placed in an extremely difficult situation.

We are aware of the pressure which clubs have brought to bear on Members since the Bill was introduced, and that pressure has been well organised. I want to make it clear that the Amendment does not introduce any new application of the law. Clubs will still not be open to police inspection except through a representation to a magistrate and the issue of a warrant. The Amendment is purely in the interests of young people, and I cannot see why clubs should not take on this added responsibility.

4.0 p.m.

Mr. Eric Johnson (Manchester, Blackley)

I appreciate the good intentions of the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, North (Mrs. Slater) but I think that she is mistaken in her belief that the Amendment will achieve her purpose. I hope that my right hon. Friend will see fit to resist it. First, it is unnecessary, and, secondly, it is rather undesirable. It is unnecessary because the overwhelming majority of clubs which would be allowed to sell liquor under the Bill already have a minimum age limit of 18 years for membership.

Mr. R. J. Mellish (Bermondsey)

That is probaby correct, but there is no statutory provision. A boy of 16 or even 14 years of age could become a member as the law now stands. Is it not purely a matter of chance? It is a question of the way the club is run.

Mr. Johnson

I can speak only for those clubs which I know. Young people under 18 years of age cannot be members of Conservative clubs, and I believe that the majority of larger clubs in London have a lower age limit of 18. In cases where a member has to be elected it is highly improbable that members under 18 would be accepted.

I would also hope that those clubs where young people go in large numbers would be prevented from becomings registered in the same way that Clause 2 (4) prevent restaurants from obtaining licences if they are largely frequented by young people. I know that there are many licensed sports clubs and similar clubs to which young people can go and play golf, or tennis, where they might be able to go into the bar and have a drink, but I cannot think that that will do a great deal of harm.

The ordinary person who joins such a club to play games is not likely, after playing those games, to want to drink anything more intoxicating than shandy, or perhaps beer and cider. I cannot believe that that would give him a taste for alcohol later in life, or do him any real harm. We do not wish to inflict upon sports clubs a mass of rules and regulations which now apply to licensed premises.

Furthermore, what the hon. Lady has in mind is defeated by another Clause. Although, under Section 126 of the Licensing Act, 1953, a person under the age of 14 cannot be in the bar of licensed premises during permitted hours—and no one quarrels with that—and under Clause 17 (8) a person under 18 may not consume intoxicating liquor in a bar on licensed premises. Under Clause 18 (1) not only can children go into a bar. They can, if over 16, consume beer, porter, cider, or perry with a meal taken at the bar, if it is being used for the purpose of providing table meals and not exclusively for serving drink.

If a young person can obtain a drink of cider with his meal—and I suggest to the hon. Lady that some forms of cider, like Pomagne or hard cider are considerably more intoxicating than beer—he should be allowed to drink shandy after a game of tennis, golf, or some other form of exercise. We would be imposing an impossible task on the stewards of clubs if we agreed to the Amendment, although I agree that a difficult task is imposed on licensees, who have to decide whether a young person is 16, 17½, or 18 years of age.

The Amendment is undesirable, in that it will defeat its own object. It is general experience that to prohibit something immediately makes people want it. Nothing did more to encourage young people in the United States to drink than the introduction of prohibition. I was there during a good deal of the prohibition years, and I know that, before prohibition, although some young people would never have thought of having a drink when they went to a dance or anything of that kind, after prohibition no young girl would go with her young man to a dance unless he had a bottle of gin with him. The same thing could happen here.

I believe that clubs will take their own initiative to discourage young people coming in to drink. We do not want any more of this rather grandmotherly legislation—and I mean no disrespect when I say that. We want rather less of it. The Amendment is unnecessary and undesirable. It will do more harm than good, and I hope that my hon. Friend will advise the House not to accept it and that the House will see fit to take his advice.

Mr. Glenvil Hall (Colne Valley)

I think that the hon. Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. E. Johnson) has proved too much. At the beginning of his speech he stated that the majority of clubs did not admit people as members 'until they were 18 years of age.

Mr. E. Johnson

I did make an exception of sports clubs. Perhaps I did not make myself clear, but that was what I meant.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

I accept what the hon. Gentleman says, but surely it makes no difference. If some clubs admit as members people who are below the age of 18, and others bar them, it is still obvious that if this is a desirable Amendment it should be accepted. On the hon. Gentleman's own showing there are some clubs which admit members below the age of 18.

I support this Amendment because it is common sense. In the Licensing Act of 1953 there is a prohibition on the holder of an on-licence from serving a young person under 18 years of age with intoxicating liquor. When we discussed an earlier part of the Bill the Minister of State agreed that he would insert into the Bill at a later stage a similar prohibition in respect of off-licences. Now the position is that neither the licensees of on-licences or off-licences can supply anyone who is below the age of 18 with intoxicating liquor. The only question which arises is whether clubs are in such a different position that they should be exempted.

The point was made by the hon. Member for Blackley and referred to by my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, North (Mrs. Slater), that it may be difficult in certain circumstances to know whether the law is being broken in some clubs. That cannot be helped. Short of giving the police the right to enter and inspect them without a warrant, we shall have to accept the fact that in some clubs it might possibly be that young people under 18 are supplied with intoxicating liquor. But if this prohibition was in the Bill, most clubs would abide by the law and see to it that no young people got intoxicating liquor.

The reason why some of us desire this prohibition is we think that 18 is young enough for a person to begin to acquire a taste for alcohol. Particularly young women, who may, when under the influence of strong drink, not be as responsible for their actions as otherwise they would be. There are temptations, particularly in certain clubs, which this prohibition would help people to avoid.

When the Minister of State met a deputation from the Temperance Council of the Christian Churches recently, he stated that it might be possible for a young girl to have a glass of sherry in her own home, even though she were under the age of 18. That is true. But home conditions are different from the conditions to be found in clubs. Very often, in a club it is considered the grown-up thing to take liquor. If this prohibition were applied, it would obviate a temptation to which I am sure that the Minister would not like to see young people exposed.

The hon. Member for Blackley referred to certain parts of the Licensing Act, 1953, and said that under certain circumstances perry and cider could be taken by young persons with food. That is true. But, in addition, and in the same Act, there is a prohibition on the supply of liquor to young persons under 18. All we ask is that the prohibition which applies to on-licence holders, and is to apply to off-licence holders, should be extended to clubs. It is a tidy, reasonable and sensible thing to do and I hope that the Minister will accept the Amendment.

4.15 p.m.

Mr. Victor Goodhew (St. Albans)

I hope that my right hon. Friend and the House will not accept this Amendment. It appears to me that it is designed to impose on the private lives of people something which has been restricted to public places. No one has yet drawn a distinction between the genuine club and a public house. We have been told that it would be a neat and tidy arrangement to apply this prohibition to clubs, because it already applies to on-licences and may be applied to off-licences.

Surely clubs are a different matter. Already, we have taken steps in the Bill to deal with the "phoney" club, the sort of club people think of when they discuss adolescent delinquency and drunkenness. Now we are considering the normal, private club, where the members regard themselves as being in a private place. If we are proposing to interfere to the extent suggested in this Amendment, and place a prohibition on the habits and behaviour of members in private clubs, we shall be getting close to the point where we may begin to start to interfere with what they do in their own homes.

Clubs are not like public houses. People cannot just wander into them because they would like a drink and because, although they are under 18 years of age, they may get one. A person who is under 18, or of any other age, cannot, if lie is not a member of a club, enter the club premises without being escorted by a member. This is where we return to the question of personal responsibility. Sometimes I think that Members of Parliament go too far when they imagine that they can legislate for the responsibility of individuals.

I should regret it if a father, who might be playing golf with his son aged 17½, could not offer his son a glass of shandy or a lager at the end of the game. The same applies to parents who may be playing tennis with a son or daughter aged 16½ or 17, and who may find that they cannot let their children have a glass of lager.

During the Committee stage I referred to an occasion when I took my 16-yearold son out to dinner. I allowed him to drink a glass of lager with his meal. Some hon. Members might think that a terrible crime, but I do not think it was. I do not think it gave the boy a taste for alcohol, but rather that it helped to teach him to drink in a civilised way. I know very well that if I told him that he must not smoke, he would go off quietly behind the scenes and do so. As was pointed out by my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. E. Johnson), prohibition is one sure way to making people decide that they will do heir utmost to act contrary to the restrictions imposed on them.

This would usurp the rights to parents. If I allow my son to drink a glass of lager, or if, when on the Continent, a glass of vin rosé, I think that I have the right to decide whether I am doing something which is right or terribly wrong. It ought not to be decided by this House or by anybody else. If we propose to consider these sort of details we shall get to the stage where people's lives will be ruled by Parliament to an unnecessary extent. Already there are safeguards under Clause 21 to deal with clubs about which there could be objection because they were conducted in a disorderly manner.

That would apply to places about which the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, North (Mrs. Slater) was thinking when she referred to young girls having too much to drink and behaving badly as a result. There is also the opportunity, if any such premises are used for frequent drunkenness, to make objection. It seems to me that there are reasonable safeguards to prevent abuse.

We would be making a very grave error to regard this sort of Amendment as something which should be passed by the House. I regard a club as a very private place where I am responsible for my own behaviour. If I take my own youngsters there I am responsible for their behaviour as well. I hope that by setting them a good example I shall teach them how to behave when I am not there with them. I hope that the House will feel that this is an Amendment which should be resisted.

Mr. G. H. Oliver (Ilkeston)

The hon. Member for St. Albans (Mr. Goodhew) seemed to suggest by what he said that there is something about drinking in a club when under the age of 18 which is vastly different from drinking in a public house when under 18. It is not a question of how the place is conducted. We know that these places are conducted very well. During the long discussions we had in Committee about many working-men's clubs and such places, there was no allegation that they were conducted other than in the most appropriate and proper manner, but we took the trouble to fix the age at 18 for allowing anyone to drink in a public house. We did that for a specific purpose. The Committee must have thought that 18 was quite young enough for people to become familiar with alcoholic beverages.

We may have been right or wrong, but, having come to that conclusion in respect of a youth in a "pub", can we have a different mode of reasoning when we speak of a youth in a club?

Mr. Goodhew

I think that we can, for this very good reason. If a youth goes into a public house he is not there with a responsible parent; he is not a member of a club and he can behave as he wishes. It is an entirely different matter when he goes into a club with a parent, or with a person who, invariably, is older and wiser than he. Surely that is another matter.

Mr. Oliver

What the responsibility has to do with the inculcating of drinking habits at 18 I do not know. Either it is good or it is not good. I am not altogether opposed to it, but, as the Committee fixed the age at 18 for young people drinking in public houses, I think that we must come to the same conclusion in the case of clubs. If it is so pernicious for young people to drink in public houses under that age, we must come to the same conclusion about drinking anywhere, in clubs or otherwise.

Mr. Goodhew


Mr. Oliver

I know what the hon. Member would say.

Mr. A. Bourne-Arton (Darlington) rose

Mr. Oliver

I also know what the hon. Member for Darlington (Mr. Bourne Arton) would say.

They would say that in a club a distinction can be drawn. In a club, one is in private premises. It is a kind of transferring oneself from one's home. We would not permit anyone to come in and challenge us in our homes. But is a club a home? Is there a substitution for a home in any kind of club, however palatial it may be? There are all the restrictions in a club which one does not have in one's home.

Parents are not very much concerned about their children drinking when under the age of 18 in their homes, but we must not forget that youngsters who go into clubs may not have parents so devoted as the hon. Member for St. Albans.

Mr. Mellish

Devoted to lager.

Mr. Oliver

The point I want to emphasise is that we cannot do this without feeling that we are hypocrites in talking about restricting drinking to over the age of 18 in a public house and ignoring the age in any other place where drink can be obtained.

I think that hon. Members know my views about alcoholic drink. I do not take the temperance point of view, but I see the reasonableness of this proposal. No one is challenging the position of clubs. I should oppose anyone saying that young people should not be members of clubs. If there is a tennis club, a golf club, or any club where young people in particular foregather, must that club be granted a licence? There can be some with all the "clubbiness" which a club can provide without it being absolutely necessary, when youths of 16 or 17 are members, for the club to be entitled to make an application for, or to receive, a licence to sell intoxicating liquor.

When the Minister of State replies, I want him to apply himself to this one point: why should we be prepared to put the age for drinking in a public house at 18 and why should it not be equally applicable to any other place where drink can be obtained? That is the point I am concerned about, because I feel we may be a little inconsistent and hypocritical.

Mr. W. R. Rees-Davies (Isle of Thanet)

This debate has evolved along one point; is a "pub" the same as a club? I wish to develop one or two principal reasons which, I hope, will show that they are quite different not only in spirit and in constitution, but in management, in supervision and in the purposes for which they both operate. But the matter does not rest there. There is one good reason why, in any event, this Amendment would be unsuitable. It is wholly unenforceable unless we give the police and others the right of entry to enforce it.

In Committee and again on Report it has been re-emphasised that a club is a private place We were all lobbyed very hard—that was unnecessary in my case, because I happen to hold these views anyway—that it was quite wrong for the police to have the right of supervision and entry into clubs. Nothing brings the law into greater contempt than unenforceable laws, laws which most people, or, at any rate, the majority, think ought not to have been brought in anyway. This would bring the law into greater contempt for a large proportion of people feel that youths under 18 should be entitled to have a drink if they are with someone who can supervise them.

I am sure that I can say without fear of contradiction that the police do not want this power, and would be horrified if they were given it. They would find it extremely difficult to know what to do. I cannot think that it would be likely to receive the warm support of any of those who are concerned with the major sporting clubs of this country.

4.30 p.m.

Concerning enforceability, we have to bear in mind the existence of all the rugby clubs, all the cricket, tennis, squash and swimming clubs and, even more so, those which are a hotch-potch of all of them. At Ranelagh, for example, there is polo, tennis, squash, swimming, dancing and everything going on with the family there as a whole, from children aged 5, at one end, to old gentlemen in their 70s, having their last games of tennis, at the other end. The place is, of course, licensed. The unfortunate stewards and servants, who not only serve in the bars, but have to go around the premises generally, would have to determine which of the young ladies were under 18, a task which, in the modern age, is quite impossible, such are the statistics of today.

When I was 17½, and taking my beer, which I used to have every morning when I went on to bowl for my school—I had a special exemption—anybody who looked at me then thought that I was 22 years of age. Therefore, such a proposal would be unenforceable not only from the police point of view, but from the viewpoint of all those concerned with the management of the club.

Mr. Mellish

If the hon. Member contends that it could not be enforced, how does he think that subsection (2) could be enforced? It states plainly that alcohol shall not be supplied except to a member in person". If the age restriction is unenforceable, how can the decision about whether a person is a member be enforced?

Mr. Rees-Davies

Those at the club usually know who is a member. If they do not know the member, the difficulty is that the supply is to a member but that the person who drinks it is a guest who is under the age of 18.

Mr. Mellish

How is it to be enforced?

Mr. Rees-Davies

If a supply is given to non-members the matter is easily enforceable, because it is possible to determine who is the non-member, which is done by observation. In the case of those under the age of 18, however, observation is always a difficult matter.

The nub of the argument is the question of the difference between a "pub" and a club. There is a complete and absolute difference. They are diametrically opposite. First, a "pub" is a place which is bound to supply the public with alcohol. Secondly, it exists for one purpose alone, which is to supply alcohol—it is true in suitable surroundings, but it is there for the supply of alcohol. Thirdly, therefore, a person attending being under 18 would be able to attend in his own right.

When Parliament wrote the age of 18 into the Bill it did not write it in because 18 was regarded as the age under which a person should not take drink. It wrote in the age of 18 as being a reasonable age at which we should arrive at the determination on the supply of drink to young persons in public. [An HON. MEMBER: "It is the same thing."] No, it is not. That is the heart of the argument.

I take the view, which I strongly hold, that alcohol is something which should not suddenly be supplied to a young person in bulk for the first time. That is to say, I believe that one should be gradually brought up to its consumption. Just as one is brought up to an appreciation of the fine arts, one should be brought up to an appreciation of good food, and so one should be brought up to an appreciation of good drink. That is the essence of it.

I do not want to see all the young men suddenly, at the age of their 18th birthday, going for a "booze-up" in the local public house because they are now 18 and allowed to drink beer. I want to see them starting to drink beer in their own homes, or in their school, if they are fortunate enough to be able to get it in a public school at 18 or 16. I believe that a young man should start having a little beer when he is about 16 or 17. Then, when he is 18, he has been educated gradually to alcohol, which will have no effect and, therefore, he will continue to lead a normal, sober life.

So is it true with wine. Wine is a slowly and gradually acquired taste. I have always been sufficiently vain to think that I have some knowledge of this most desirable beverage. I would not he able to enjoy it pleasantly, and, I hope, satisfactorily, as part of the generally good life that I lead, unless my father had been fortunate enough to start me on wine at 15 or 16 at home—and, of course, in a club. When I went with him to his club, a well-known one in St. James's, I always had a glass of wine at 16 or 17. That club was a private place. The second main difference is that when one goes to a club, there is always somebody supervising. It is a place for the community life. When those under 18 go, they are subject to supervision.

There is yet another difference. Clubs are not set up normally for the purpose of serving alcohol. They are set up for the purposes for which they are set up, if I may be somewhat diffuse on the subject. Therefore, if it is a cricket club, I cannot imagine anything more difficult and unenforceable than this proposal at the local village match, where there will be several boys of 16 or 17 and most of them will be over that age. If it is to be said that they cannot have one of the drinks of their elders, there would be a terrible row. I should have been extremely angry if I had been excluded from my beer when I was 17. I am sure that hon. Members who think of this matter will recognise that there are real difficulties in it.

There is a fourth major difference. Clubs almost throughout, and even the "spiv" ones, do not want to encourage, and do not encourage, those under 18. That is to say, the clubs for members who are under 18 years of age are almost entirely sporting clubs, the tennis clubs and swimming clubs and organisations of that kind, where one finds members who are under the age of 18. For other purposes, however, they are not members of a club. Therefore, it seems to me quite wrong that we should try to shut them out from becoming members of a club.

The undesirable clubs, on which we have closed the loopholes in other parts of the Bill, do not want youngsters under the age of 18. They are a nuisance to them. They do not have the money that the proprietary clubs particularly want to get in substance and there is little or no evidence that the undesirable clubs seek those under 18. Normally, there is a provision against membership or admission against those under 18, in any event.

I hope I have shown that, in addition to the reasons given by my hon. Friend the Member for St. Albans (Mr. Good-hew) and my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. E. Johnson), there is a very large number of reasons for showing not only as to their constitution but for various other reasons, that a club and a "pub" are diametrically opposed.

When it is said that a club and a "pub" are the same, a much closer analogy can be drawn between the club and the private home than between a club and a "pub". It is largely for that reason that the analogy cannot be drawn. Even if it could be drawn, I hope that I will carry a great number of hon. Members with me in saying that the gradual education to alcohol will prevent alcoholism, but that suddenly to throw alcohol open at 18 years of age to all youth and sundry after prohibiting it in earlier life may well lead to the very alcoholism that it is desired to prevent.

Mr. Eric Fletcher (Islington, East)

It is always a joy to hear from the hon. Member for the Isle of Thanet (Mr. Rees-Davies) a panegyric on the advantages of alcohol. I take it that he wishes the House to regard him as a shining example of taking to alcohol at the earliest possible age. That, however, is not the general view of the House and that is not the object of the Bill.

It is true that the Bill is in a large measure a liberalising enactment, but throughout our discussions in Committee Home Office spokesmen and hon. Members from this side were careful to emphasise that one of its salient objects is the protection of the young, to try to protect young persons from unnecessary indulgence or unnecessary opportunities of indulging in alcohol.

Unlike the hon. Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. E. Johnson), I regard the Amendment as both necessary and desirable. It is necessary because, without it, the provisions of the Bill would be anomalous. It is necessary because, unles it is made, there will be no protection against young persons under the age of 18 drinking alcohol in clubs. It is desirable for reasons which I will attempt to state

The hon. Member for the Isle of Thanet based much of his argument on the fact that one cannot equate clubs with "pubs". I accept that. Equally, one cannot equate clubs with a private house. What may be done in an isolated case in the home, when children under the age of 18 are under parental control, is properly a matter for parental responsibility. But, on the question whether opportunities should be provided for children under the age of 18 to drink alcohol, clubs are more analogous to "pubs" than to private houses, because large numbers of people congregate in clubs, as they do in "pubs", but this does not happen in private houses. Temptations to youth to drink are much greater when there are large numbers of people gathered together than they obviously are in the domestic privacy of one's personal home.

Clubs vary in degree. When legislating for clubs we must have regard not only to political clubs, working-men's clubs and sporting clubs, but to all clubs. Just as we are laying down a general maxim that alcohol should not be served to persons under the age of 18 in public houses, and just as we are rightly making special provisions for a lower age limit in restaurants where young people are served with meals and accompanied by parents, so, in dealing with clubs, we must remember that there is the opportunity in pubs, just as there is in "pubs", to drink without meals.

This is true whether they are workingmen's clubs, which are frequented by apprentices under the age of 18, or whether they are tennis or golf clubs. The majority of people frequenting many tennis clubs are under 'the age of 18, or about that age.

Therefore, for the reasons so admirably stated by my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, North (Mrs. Slater), in the interests of generally discouraging young people from partaking of alcohol it would be a good thing to lay it down in the Bill as a maxim, as we do in the case of "pubs", that young people under the age of 18 should not be provided with alcoholic liquor in clubs.

Mr. Rees-Davies

Will the hon. Gentleman answer this straight question? Does he take the view that under the age of 18 there should be no drinking of alcohol at all, but that young persons over the age of 18 can go full steam ahead? Does he discount altogether my argument that there should be a gradual upbringing to alcohol, with some being taken at 17, perhaps in clubs, and then young persons coming on to it at 18?.

Mr. Fletcher

That argument is completely unrealistic. It obviously cannot be laid down in an Act of Parliament that people can have half a pint of beer while they are 17 and a pint of beer when they are over 18. These maxims are no doubt very useful for general moral guidance to adolescents on how best to grow up enjoying or avoiding alcohol, but we cannot legislate in that detail.

We should say that, in general, the law does not expect people having licences to sell alcohol in public houses or people running registered clubs, and, therefore, being able without licences to supply liquor to their members, to supply liquor to people under the age of 18. That should be the general principle, recognised by the House and laid down in the Bill.

If it is accepted, the only remaining point is the question of enforceability. I do not agree with the hon. Member for the Isle of Thanet that in this context it is completely wrong to say what the House thinks ought to be said merely because there may be instances in which the law will be evaded. I concede that there may be instances, but if it is recognised as a general principle that 18 is the appropriate age—after all, some age must be fixed—the tendency in all honest, regular and well-conducted clubs will be to observe that rule.

There are provisions to deal with clubs formed merely for the purpose of irregularity. It will strengthen the hands of social workers and others interested in running clubs and enforcing the law if it is prescribed and they have the sanction of an Act of Parliament to refuse to sell alcohol to people under the age of 18. For all these reasons, I hope that the Minister of State will accept the Amendment.

4.5 p.m.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. Dennis Vosper)

The hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher) said that one of the aims of the Bill is to protect the young. The Government are certainly concerned about the effects of alcohol on young people, but it is important to keep this problem in perspective.

As I said when replying for the Government on Second Reading, 1.5 per cent of the convictions for drunkenness last year related to persons under the age of 18. I mention this fact because the hon. Lady the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, North (Mrs. Slater) seems to associate drinking in young people with crime. The proportion of crime committed by people under 18 is over 30 per cent. In that sense, the amount of drunkenness amongst young persons under the age of 18 is not large.

Nevertheless, the Bill recognises the importance of this problem in several ways. In Clause 2 (4), provision is made against the grant of restaurant and residential licences to premises where the majority of customers are young people. The penalties for supplying drink to persons under the age of 18 in public houses have been increased. For the first time it has been made an offence for young persons under the age of 18 to consume alcohol in a public house. In an earlier debate on Report I agreed that, although the evidence I gave the House was against it, we should do something about the supply of alcohol at off-licence premises to people under this age.

Therefore, I can quite see the argument that we should go even a step further and accept the Amendment. Indeed, I said on Second Reading that throughout the Bill the Government would keep this issue in mind and would consider everything that has been said. In Committee, the right hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Glenvil Hall) moved an Amendment in somewhat wider terms, but the ensuing debate was not very different from that which has taken place today. His Amendment was fairly heavily defeated.

The arguments advanced then and today are these. Clubs are a potential source of drunkenness amongst young people. Therefore, we should avoid this risk and, despite the inconvenience caused, should prohibit the supply of drinks to persons under the age of 18. I think that the whole issue turns on what one understands by the term "a club" and whether one regards a club as more akin to a public house or more akin to a private place. It is upon that argument that this issue must be decided.

Part III of the Bill seeks to curtail the activities of those clubs which, I think, are very much in the minds of hon. Members who support the Amendment, namely, drinking clubs. The whole object of Part III is to curtail or limit the activities of that type of club. The attitude of licensing legislation towards clubs has throughout the century been very different from the approach adopted towards the public house. The club has been regarded, and is so regarded under the Bill, as a place where people with common interests associate together, and do so in private. My hon. Friend the Member for St. Albans (Mr. Goodhew) was so right to emphasise the word "privacy" here.

I take issue with the hon. Member for Islington, East when he says that the genuine club is something more akin to a "pub" than to a private home. That is certainly not been the concept of the registered club under the several licensing Measures of this century, and that is why the club has the privilege of registration—a privilege which is retained under the Therefore, if we accepted this Amendment, we should be thinking not in terms of the drinking clubs in parts of London, which are rightly so much in the minds of hon. Members—and we hope to put an end to them—but in terms of the golf club, the tennis club, the British Legion club, the working-men's clubs, the apprentices' clubs, and other clubs of that kind. I ask the House to have those clubs in mind when deciding whether those under 18 years of age should be prohibited in this way.

The issue on which the House must come to a conclusion is: is it right to differentiate between the home and the club? If so, should not those hon. Members who support the Amendment seek to go still further and prohibit the consumption of alcohol by all persons under 18? With due respect to the hon. Lady the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, North (Mrs. Slater), who shakes her head, I think that that is the logical conclusion of what she seeks here to do. To do anything short of that—

Mrs. Slater

But is not the difference rather wider than that? As my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher) has pointed out, there is no connection between the home and the club; the home is purely a private place, but the club is more than a private place. Surely the issue is not whether the club is not like a "pub", but whether, in any public place of any kind, it is right or wrong that any young person under 18 should be able to buy alcohol.

Mr. Vosper

The hon. Lady referred to a "public place", but a club is a private place—and that is the point I am seeking to make. If one analyses the sources of drink amongst young people, one finds that the bottle party organised privately may be a much greater source of trouble than the club. I can understand the hon. Lady's view. I think that it might be in her mind—and I would not blame her—to stop any possible cause of drunkenness among young people, in which case she should seek to prohibit consumption completely, but to draw the line at the club, which is a private place is, I think, drawing it at the wrong place.

It must be a matter of opinion and dispute whether, in fact, the 17-year-old girl whom the hon. Lady has quoted should be allowed a glass of sherry in the tennis club, or whether my hon. Friend the Member for St. Albans should take his son to his club and give him a glass of shandy—[HON. MEMBERS: "Lager".] Yes, I am sorry, lager—at 16 years of age. That must be a matter of opinion, but all the evidence I have received on this, and all the views expressed to me, do not lead me to believe that we should legislate to prevent that sort of thing happening, which would be the effect of accepting this Amendment.

If, in fact, the hon. Lady is right, and the arguments that I have advanced in principle against it are wrong, the Amendment is still not very acceptable. No penalties are attached to it, the offence of consumption is not mentioned and, of course, it is even now permissible for young persons over 16 to consume cider or perry with a meal, so that the Amendment goes even further than the existing law in respect of licensed premises.

I would advise the House that, in principle, this Amendment is not acceptable. In her concluding remarks the hon. Lady, possibly appealing to club interests, said that this Amendment would not entail any further police inspection. If so, how will it be enforced? I know of no way of enforcing this prohibition without a greater degree of police intervention and inspection than is now provided in the Bill. I do not argue that one must go the whole way with police inspection, but, if her Amendment were to be accepted, some greater provision than now exists in the Bill would be necessary if the Measure were not to become a dead letter.

The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley thought that there were cases where the law could not be enforced, but the last thing we want to do now is to put on the Statute Book something that is not enforceable. If it is to be enforceable, there must be a greater degree of police inspection than is now provided for—

Mr. Mellish

Then how does the right hon. Gentleman propose to enforce subsection (2)?

Mr. Vosper

Clause 19 relates to sales off the premises for non-members—

Mr. Mellish

No, it states that intoxicating liquor shall be sold on club premises only to those who are members of that club.

Mr. Vosper

The police do not find it very difficult to enforce the provisions relating to sale or supply to non-members. I do not say that they could not enforce this provision, but I certainly argue that one would have to write into the Bill greater powers than it now provides—

Mr. Glenvil Hall

We made a special point of this. The police cannot be there every day, and we admit it that it might just be possible to contravene the law. Nevertheless, the sanction would be there. Tennis clubs, for example, are very public there is nothing closed about a tennis club, and anybody would know that a person under 18 should not be supplied with intoxicating liquor.

Mr. Vosper

I realised that the hon. Gentleman was asking me to enact something that was not capable of complete enforcement. That, I must decline to do, because one of the primary objects of the Bill is to put on the Statute Book an enforceable piece of legislation.

I should like the hon. Lady and the right hon. Gentleman, and all those who support the Amendment, to know that the Government have not treated this proposal lightly. Both prior to this discussion, and earlier, we have given it full consideration to make certain that we were right in the principle that we have adopted; and to see whether there was any way of meeting the intention of the Amendment without contravening any of what I believe to be the rights and privileges of the club. Among the various reasons given in Clause 21, for which a club may be struck off, subsection (2, e) states that it may be struck off where there is frequent drunkenness. Obviously, if a club is to be a continual source of drunkenness among young people there are already sufficient grounds in the Bill to refuse registration.

I have examined the Clause to see whether it could be strengthened by some reference to young people, but I have come to the conclusion that any attempts to strengthen it would, in fact, have the opposite effect. As I say, I do not want the House to think that this is something that we have made up our minds in advance not to consider. It has been considered, but I believe that the proposed interference with the rights of club members is understood by the House and the country. The Bill seeks to curtail the activities of the drinking club, which the sponsors of the Amendment have in mind, but even if, in principle, one thought the Amendment right, I have to say again that it remains unenforceable without a greater degree of police entry and police inspection.

I believe that the Bill already has great safeguards in respect of young people and clubs, and that we should enact it as it stands and see how it works before embarking on the idea contained in this Amendment.

Mr. Mellish

The hon. Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. E. Johnson) was the first Conservative Member to oppose this Amendment, and he gave as his reason the fact that he himself was a frequenter of Conservative clubs. I think that his experience of those clubs must have come rather late in life because I gather that the hon. Member was a Liberal for many years—

Mr. E. Johnson

But not necessarily an abstainer.

Mr. Mellish

Then he was obviously a very odd Liberal.

The hon. Member thought that because most good clubs already observe this sort of rule—the Conservative clubs, the Labour clubs, the working-men's clubs, and so on—it was unnecessary to write in something that the vast majority of good clubs were already doing. I do not deny that that is right. I think that most good clubs make a rule that nobody under the age of 18 shall be admitted as a member.

5.0 p.m.

I think that most clubs, even the sort of clubs that the hon. Member for the Isle of Thanet (Mr. Rees-Davies) frequented in his youth, would have some objection to selling double gins to little girls of eight years old. There are certain limits in this matter. The question is how to define those limits. I do not think that the Minister has really made out the case that one can equate the home with the club in the way that he thinks one can. It is not at all like that.

I might say that there are some homes in Britain where a pale substance called methylated spirit is drunk. One would not say that clubs should sell such a commodity. I know that there are such homes in Britain, if they can be called homes. But we are talking about decent homes and decent clubs.

We are seeking to legislate against the sort of clubs that abuse the position. The laws are not made for the purpose of protecting people against the good clubs or licensed premises. We know that the vast majority of the people who operate licensed premises are first-class people doing a good job. The same applies to the people running the majority of clubs. But we have to lay down some standards in order to make certain that the other type of club does not abuse the position. That is the intention behind the Amendment.

My hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, North (Mrs. Slater) knows my views generally about having a drink. I think that it is a very fine pastime provided that it is not done too often and that one does not drink too much. At any rate, I enjoy it while I am doing it. I do not understand the attitude of the Minister in the matter. In the earlier stages he was most expressive about it. He wanted to see a liberalising of our licensing laws, but, at the same time, he was keen to ensure that there would be no abuse as far as young people were concerned.

Talking in the House today is rather like it was when talking in Committee upstairs, except that we now have a better looking Chairman. The conditions are almost exactly the same. The Home Secretary is missing, as he was upstairs. I do not know where he is, but he is not present today when we are debating this important matter. We have the same kind of glamour as before on the Government Front Bench. In fact, today's debate is almost an exact repeat of where we came in on the debate in Committee upstairs.

It has already been established that 18 is the right age to fix in any Statute dealing with drinking. I shall support the Amendment because I think it right to do so. I do not think that the attempt to equate the home with the club is a fair one. I believe that the vast majority of working-men's clubs—at any rate, those in my constituency, where we have two of them—favour this type of legislation and do not sell intoxicating liquor to anyone under the age of 18.

Mr. E. Johnson

Would not the hon. Gentleman agree that clubs of that sort could seek to bring in a byelaw to stop the serving of intoxicating drinks to people under the age of 18 and that such a byelaw could be enforced by the committees of the clubs?

Mr. Mellish

I am saying that the legislation which we introduce is not designed for the purpose of dealing with the decent clubs. It never was. The decent clubs will carry on as before. Such legislation is introduced to deal with the tiny minority of clubs which serve drinks to anyone and everyone, including the hon. Member for the Isle of Thanet.

Mr. William Blyton (Houghton-le-Spring)

I was astounded to hear the hon. Member for the Isle of Thanet (Mr. Rees-Davies) say that at the age of 16½ he liked his beer and could get it.

Mrs. Slater

At school.

Mr. Blyton

My mother was horrified when she knew that I was drinking at the age of 24. I had a very rough time for a long time until she became reconciled to the fact that I intended to continue to drink.

The question of flexibility has been argued in connection with the Amendment. This has been a rule in the working-men's clubs in the North for the forty years that I have been a member of the working-men's club movement. No club in the North will serve a drink to anyone under 18 years of age or accept anyone for membership of the club under that age. It is true that they extend to those under the 18 years of age their educational facilities and, may be, use of their libraries, but the provision of intoxicants in the clubs to people under 18 years of age has been barred all the time that I have been a member of the movement.

I am entirely against Part III of the Bill. I think that it is wrong to interfere with the working-men's clubs in order to deal with the vice clubs in London. That matter should be dealt with by separate legislation. However, that is by the way. I do not think that the working-men's club movement would have any objection at all to the Amendment, because the management committees of the clubs are composed of responsible people. They run the clubs and look after the welfare of their members. They give instructions to their stewards as to the way in which the clubs should be conducted. They are there to see that the clubs are properly conducted, and, as I have said, in all the years that I have been connected with the movement this rule has been rigidly enforced in working-men's clubs both in Durham and Northumberland.

I see no reason at all why the Minister should not incorporate this Amendment in the Bill. If it is incorporated, it will then give legal standing to something which has been the practice for many years. I hope that the Minister will reconsider the matter, because I do not want to see young lads and young girls of under 18 years of age drinking intoxicating liquor, whether it be in a cricket club, a sports club or a badminton club. I believe that 18 years of age is an early enough age at which to give them legal sanction to drink intoxicating liquor.

I am by no means an angel myself. I have been drinking for a long time, but the fact remains that, according to the figure of 1.5 per cent. which the Minister gave, drinking among young people is still too high. I do not want to see children under 18 years of age—because they are only children—taking intoxicating liquor and, maybe, emulating those youngsters who went to Calais this week and took the place by storm due to drinking the wines about which we have heard so much today.

I appeal to the Minister not to interfere with the working-men's clubs. They are private places. We ought to say to the committees of those clubs, "You have carried on by yourselves for eighteen years." We should then strengthen the Bill in this respect and lay upon the clubs the statutory obligation not to serve any person under the age of 18 with intoxicating liquor.

Mr. Ede (South Shields)

I think that the whole case against the Amendment was given away by the hon. Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. E. Johnson) when he asked my hon. Friend the Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish) the question he did. The insertion of the Amendment in the Bill would reinforce the influence of the committee of the club. If the Amendment were inserted in the Bill the committee of a club, if it objected to young people under 18 years of age littering up the place and going there to drink, could point to the Statute and say that this was the general opinion of the country.

With regard to the public school mentioned by the hon. Member for the Isle of Thanet (Mr. Rees-Davies), I, as the governor of two public schools, think that I should have to recommend the redrafting of the prospectus of the school or alter the biography of the hon. Member. I think that there ought to be at least one paragraph stating, "Send your boy to this school and he will be steadily introduced to the habit of drinking intoxicating liquor."

Mr. Rees-Davies

Apart from this question of beer and skittles for boys aged 16, when the right hon. Gentleman was Home Secretary did he not receive the advice that it would be unenforceable to have a provision of this kind, and has not that been the general view of the police during the past ten or fifteen years?

Mr. Ede

I understand that the Daily Telegraph objects to my referring to what advice I received from the Civil Service when I was Home Secretary. In this connection, while I make no apology for what I said the other day, I should proceed on the lines of what I personally believe. I have never heard the police say that they could not enforce anything if it was enacted into law. It becomes their duty and they would not say that it is unenforceable. But, of course, the hon. Member for the Isle of Thanet speaks for so many sections of the underworld—[Interruption.]—and when he undertook to speak for the police I was relieved to find that he also mixes in respectable company.

I urge hon. Members to realise that the committees of clubs are responsible for the general atmosphere that prevails in their clubs. It is their principal duty to do that, and to insert this Amendment in the Bill would reinforce their capacity to deal with what the majority of members of clubs object to—and I speak as one who has been a member of a working-man's club for sixty years—and the taking of alcohol by young people under 18 is one of their objections. They try to prevent that, and this Amendment would reinforce their power to maintain the kind of standards they wish to see in their clubs.

Mr. Ray Mawby (Totnes)

I was rather taken with the argument adduced by the hon. Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish). He raised an extremely valid point when he said that the good clubs, the well-run ones, try to conform to very high standards. Hon. Members will be aware that many of these clubs have rules to make certain that, if young people are admitted, they are properly conducted and there is no possible way of them obtaining intoxicating liquor.

I can appreciate the enforcement problem raised by the Minister, but I urge him to remember that there are, after all, many other points affecting clubs which are also difficult to enforce. In this connection, before the police can prove an offence, they must convince a magistrate that it was right and proper for them to have been allowed to enter the club premises. This is one of the things the police must do in order that cases of breach of the law by clubs can be brought to the courts.

The line that has been taken in this Bill—of protecting young people up to the age of 18 from obtaining intoxicants—forces me to the point of agreeing with the Minister that we should try to aim at seeing that no person under 18 in any circumstances, whether at home or elsewhere, can obtain intoxicating liquor. I suppose that is an extremely difficult thing to do. Nevertheless, this is a Licensing Bill and surely we should be able to make clubs realise—not so much the genuine ones but those clubs this Bill is trying to get at; those that are not so good that it is wrong to allow youngsters under 18 to obtain intoxicating liquor.

5.15 p.m.

Mr. James Griffiths (Llanelly)

I join in the appeal to the Minister of State that he should reconsider this matter. We had an interesting time when the Bill was in Standing Committee with the different views that were put forward, but, eventually, all hon. Members of the Committee became deeply concerned about the increase in drunkenness among young people. In the various provisions of the Bill we examined whether we could do something to deal with what we all regard as this very serious problem.

We have already made provision regarding public houses, and the Minister of State has agreed to consider what should be done about off-licences. He has, in this connection, promised that something will be done about this between now and the time the Bill reaches the other place. The House has been impressed by the statements of hon. Members who have long experience of clubs and who have indicated the worthy practices of the best clubs. But we should try to bring the worst of them up to the standards of the best. In doing that, we shall inflict no damage or hardship on clubs generally, for what we desire is already being done by the best clubs.

I hope, therefore, that since the Minister of State has agreed to consider this matter carefully, since he has made provision in the Bill regarding public houses and since he has agreed to do something about off-licences, he will now reconsider this matter between now and the time the Bill reaches another place, for we should leave no steps untaken that could possibly be taken to deal with the problem of the growth of drinking among young people.

Sir Douglas Glover (Ormskirk)

I did not intend to join in this debate, but I very much sympathise with the views expressed by hon. Members.

I agree that in the case of 95 per cent. of the clubs this Amendment will make little or no difference. It must be remembered, however, that once there has been a debate in this House on a Bill such as this—a Licensing Bill—the situation in these clubs will never be what it was before the Bill came before the House. The reason is that we have discussed the old tradition of the well-established clubs and it has been pointed out that they do not intend that young people under 18 should take intoxicating liquor. Is it not obvious that that view will be somewhat whittled down by the very fact that we have had this debate? Will not the committees of these clubs be faced with the argument that hon. Members of the House of Commons have debated this question of young persons under the age of 18 not being supplied with intoxicating liquor, but that words to that effect have not been incorporated in the Bill?

Without wishing to use this in a party way, may I take as an example Conservative clubs, about which I know a good deal more than the other types of clubs? The position might arise where one Conservative club is persuaded to abrogate its long-standing rule of not allowing drinking by persons under 16. Immediately that Conservative club has allowed that concession, pressure might be brought on the other clubs to fall in line and also to make a reduction in the minimum age at which they will allow drinking. Thus, over a period of five to ten years, the minimum age limit at which people may drink—not necessarily to excess—may be very much reduced from what it originally was.

Although the club system has worked well in the past and although the great majority of clubs have never had any real difficulty with this problem, the mere fact that Parliament has had this debate on a Licensing Bill alters the whole situation and, while I will not say that I am sufficiently strong in my views to vote on this issue, I hope that the Minister will consider this point, because I believe that it is one of some substance

Mr. Iorwerth Thomas (Rhondda, West)

Like the hon. Member for Ormskirk (Sir D. Glover), I also plead with the Minister of State to give this matter his serious consideration, After all, there must have been some social purpose or some moral reason why, in the general provisions of licensing, we have the condition laid on the licensee of an inn that he shall not serve a person under the age of 18. There must have been some moral cause for the existence of that provision. The licensee is prohibited by law from serving a person under 18.

It is only right, therefore, that hon. Members should consider just what is the alternative for a lad under 18 who wants to have a drink. He can become a member of a club. About 95 per cent. of working-men's clubs prohibit the sale of alcoholic drinks to any person under the age of 18. But let us assume that 5 per cent. of those clubs permit it. Is it fair to the other 95 per cent. who enforce this prohibition to allow this minority to have that latitude and advantage?

There is another very important point. The Minister has consistently referred to the intentions of this Bill with respect to the registration of clubs. He has been very apologetic all along because, in order to get at the bogus clubs, he has had to include the well-conducted clubs within the provisions of this Bill, and on more than one occasion he has expressed deep regret at having had to do this. But unless he accepts this Amendment he will be increasing the dangers of the bogus clubs, because young people who become members of such clubs can be supplied with drinks. Therefore, the rejection of this Amendment will not only undermine the existing licensing laws applicable to public houses but also will enable a lad who has been refused a drink in a public house to become a member of a bogus club.

There are not many bogus clubs in the provinces. They are usually found in the large cities. That is where the evil lies. In large cities people lead such impersonal lives. There are 10 million people in London most of whom are strangers to each other, and boys can become members of bogus clubs unknown to their parents. If the Minister has been serious about the point that he has made that the Government want to have strict supervision and control of bogus clubs, their freedom can be limited by the acceptance of this Amendment prohibiting the sale of alcoholic drink to persons under 18 wherever they are. Therefore, I think that matter should weigh very heavily with the Minister if he wants to abolish this new social menace and evil which is arising in bogus clubs.

Unless this Amendment is accepted, we shall drive these people to those undesirable places, the paradise of the underworld, about which we have heard so much today.

Mr. Marcus Lipton (Brixton)

All the arguments that I have heard against the Amendment have reinforced me in the conviction that I did the right thing in adding my name to those of other hon. Members who support it.

I am willing to believe that the Minister of State has come to this decision of his own volition. I say that for this reason. I cannot imagine that there is any reputable organisation or volume of opinion in this country which has brought any pressure to bear upon the right hon. Gentleman to resist this Amendment. I am sure that no organisation in the licensed trade or any reputable organisation of clubs has put forward any demand to the Government to resist the inclusion of this Amendment in the Bill. Therefore, I say that the right hon. Gentleman has come to this decision on purely doctrinaire considerations.

In this connection I want to reinforce a point that was made by my hon. Friend the Member for Rhondda, West (Mr. Iorwerth Thomas). I want to utter this solemn warning to the right hon. Gentleman, knowing what I do of conditions in London. The immediate effect of turning down this Amendment and of allowing this Bill to go on to the Statute Book in its present form would be—and there is big money to be made out of it—that some shady promoters would start drinking clubs in London where the maximum age for admission to the club would be 18. It would be quite legal. Think of the financial possibilities if such a club were established.

As hon. Members opposite have pointed out, the discussion of this Amendment has thrown a searchlight on to a very dangerous and serious possibility which would arise if the Bill were allowed to go through in its present form. I urge the right hon. Gentleman to think twice. I know that the law is difficult to enforce on scallywags who are determined to evade it. There is the law which prohibits the sale of cigarettes to children, and yet children buy cigarettes pretending that they have been sent to buy them for their parents, and on leaving the shop they smoke the cigarettes themselves. We know that these things happen, but that is no argument for saying that because the law is infringed in some cases it ought not to be on the Statute Book.

If the Minister does not accept the Amendment, there are dangerous possibilities in a metropolis like London. I beg him to think again and to accept as valid the arguments that have been adduced in support of the Amendment. There is not a reputable club in this country which has made any request to be allowed to sell drink to persons under the age of 18. Even the tennis clubs and other clubs, to which the hon. Member for the Isle of Thanet (Mr. Rees-Davies) referred, would not dream of submitting a request to the Home Secretary to be allowed to sell drink to people under 18. The demand just does not exist in any legitimate form. That is why it is of the utmost importance that we should take advantage of this, the last opportunity, of remedying what will be discovered very soon to be a very dangerous situation in the existing law.

Mr. Roderic Bowen (Cardigan)

In common with many other Members, I urge the Minister to reconsider his attitude. I do not want to repeat all the arguments which have been advanced in favour of the Amendment, with which I gladly associate myself.

Very few arguments have been advanced in opposition to the Amendment, and I propose to deal with one or two of them. But before doing so I should like to say that I think it is generally conceded in all quarters of the House that a very large number—in fact, the majority—of reputable and well-run clubs in the country already prohibit the supply of intoxicating liquor to those under the age of 18. I have not heard any hon. Member yet suggest that that is a rule to be deprecated. It is a rule which has the general approval of all hon. Members. It is certainly a rule which clubs can make within their discretion, and I do not think that anyone would suggest that it is a discretion badly exercised. In the circumstances, why should not what is already recognised as a useful social provision be incorporated in this licensing legislation?

The only argument put with any real force against it is based on the difficulty of enforcement. Several provisions of the Bill will not be very easy to enforce, and the provision suggested in the Amendment is in no different category from many others relating to clubs.

The Minister suggested that there was no penalty provided in relation to the Amendment. I submit that the penalty is clearly laid down by Clause 19 (2) and that would apply equally to the Amendment if it were accepted. I do not think that that point need trouble us very much. I want the Minister to accept the principle behind the Amendment. If he does he will help those engaged in social work among young people and those who wish that the rule generally accepted in many clubs already should be placed on the Statute Book and made obligatory on all.

5.30 p.m.

Mr. Charles Royle (Salford, West)

I apologise for not having heard a great deal of the debate. I was prevented from being present this is really what brings me to my feet—because for most of the day I have been engaged on magisterial duties. One of the concerns of the bench of which I am a member is the thuggery particularly among young people which goes on in the town. There is no doubt that in almost every case where young people just under 18 or round about that age have found themselves in the nasty position of having assaulted other people, the offences have occurred after they have had access to drink. Time and time again, in the magistrates' courts, when young people are accused of vicious actions, it is shown that they have been led to those actions because of irresponsibility as a result of drink. I assure the House that this is something which greatly concerns magistrates throughout the country. It is found everywhere. I am convinced that the cause of a great deal of crime among young people can he traced to drinking.

It was my privilege to introduce and, ultimately, to see put on the Statute Book a small Bill in these terms relating not to clubs but to occasional licences. At that time, some of us felt that what applied to public houses should apply to any place where drink is sold. We were concerned to close the gaps. In the light of my experience, I thought that occasional licences were providing opportunities for young people under 18 to obtain alcoholic drink which they could not obtain in public houses. Almost without debate, the House gave me that Bill which became an Act of Parliament. No objections were raised to it. From both sides of the House the view was expressed that it was a very desirable Measure. Now, we have this one gap left. It should be closed.

It is all very well for the hon. Member for the Isle of Thanet (Mr. Rees-Davies) and for representatives of the Home Office to talk about clubs as being the home of the people. It is a bad home which allows children under 18 to have access to drink. I submit that in most cases what I have said is true, and in a club there is not even the control which there is in the home. The care is not taken.

Most of the clubs in this country render some sort of social service to the community, but it is very dangerous to sell intoxicating liquor to children under 18. I am quite sure that, if the public houses are closed to young people for the sale of liquor, and if the occasional licences are closed to them too, the opportunity should be taken to prevent clubs leading young people into very much worse crime as a result of indulgence in intoxicating liquor.

What has been said in the House today from both sides has shown that this is a very valuable Amendment. Even at this stage, I beg the Home Office to accept it. The hon. and learned Member for Cardigan (Mr. Bowen) explained the point about penalties. There is no difficulty there. I am sure that the promoters of the Amendment would be very happy to accept any words which the Home Office suggested provided that the principle were accepted. I make a final appeal, based largely on the experience to which I referred in my opening sentences, that the Amendment should be accepted.

Sir Cyril Black (Wimbledon)

I add my appeal to the many which have been made from both sides of the House to my right hon. Friend to think again very carefully and seriously about the issues involved in the Amendment. It would be a mistake for my right hon. Friend to underestimate the strength and sincerity of the feeling which exists on this matter not only in the House of Commons but in the country. I believe that there is an overwhelming body of public opinion which looks with concern upon the incidence of drinking and drunkenness among young people and which favours any reasonable measure such as this Amendment is, in my view, to deal with what is becoming a growing social evil.

Hon. Members will recall that in the last Parliament I obtained the unopposed leave of the House under the Ten-Minute Rule to introduce a Bill which dealt with the very subject matter of the Amendment. Not only did I obtain unopposed leave to introduce the Bill but, according to my recollection, I obtained an unopposed Second Reading for the Bill and the Bill made considerable progress in Committee, a Committee of the whole House, although, unfortunately, there was not Parliamentary time to enable all stages of the Bill to be completed. As is so often the fate of Bills introduced under the Ten-Minute Rule, my Bill died at the end of the Session. However, Parliament gave unopposed approval to legislation on the lines of the Amendment. On any free expression of opinion in this Parliament, I believe that a majority of hon. Members on both sides would be in favour of the same principle.

This is an Amendment to which all the Churches attach great importance, and I am sure that it would receive overwhelming support from social workers and youth workers in general. Let us not overlook the fact that in the past three or four years the convictions of young people for drunkenness have doubled. If the Bill would not perhaps do an enormous lot to deal with that situation, and if the Amendment would be difficult of enforcement, at any rate, the acceptance of the Amendment by the Government and this House would be a clear indication of the view of this House that there is at the present time an increasing evil, and an evil on which this House ought to take action.

Mr. Sydney Silverman (Nelson and Colne)

So many serious and obviously sincere speeches have been made in support of the Amendment, and especially by hon. Friends of mine with whom I do not like to be in disagreement, that I make the few short remarks which I propose to make with some diffidence.

I am bound to say that I could not support the Amendment. I think that it is misconceived, unnecessary and unenforceable. I should like to begin by saying that, listening to some of the speeches that have been made, one would suppose that this House was being invited to change the law in order to increase the facilities for drinking by young people in clubs or elsewhere. That is not so. [Interruption.] I apologise if I misunderstood any of the speeches, but that is the effect they left on my mind, and it may be that it is the effect left on other minds. If we are now all in agreement that that is not so, to that extent the air will have been cleared.

There Is no proposal before the House to increase the facilities for drinking by young people, either in clubs or anywhere else. If that is clear, and it is therefore clear that the change in the law that is being proposed is a change to withdraw facilities that are now enjoyed, it is not unfair to say that the onus of justifying the withdrawal of those facilities lies upon those making the proposal. I quite understand that hon. Friends of mine would not be in support of it unless they thought that that onus had been discharged. I am on my feet because I do not think it has been.

Mr. J. Griffiths

I appreciate what my hon. Friend says. I made a very short speech, but if my hon. Friend refers to the consideration of the Bill in Committee, he will find that we were all deeply concerned about the figures which the Minister gave of the increase in drinking, and particularly convictions of young people for drunkenness. We therefore considered in this Bill in several respects whether it was our responsibility to try to check that trend by legislation. We therefore provided an age-limit for licensed premises, and the Minister promised to consider an age-limit for off-licences. Therefore, we are not introducing a new principle, but a principle which was accepted in Committee.

5.45 p.m.

Mr. Silverman

I assure my right hon. Friend that I knew all that before, and I quite appreciate that my hon. Friends would not have made the speeches which I have heard—very impressive speeches very many of them—unless they had felt that this was a necessary reform. I am sorry that they have not convinced me, and I am now explaining to the House why, in my opinion, the case has not been made.

The first point made and admitted on all sides is that in the great majority of clubs, the position is entirely satisfactory, so that there is no necessity, regarding the operation of most clubs, for the change. Then it is said that while all that may be very true, there is a variety of ill-managed clubs which are devoted to exploiting the weaknesses of human beings, and especially the weaknesses of the young, and that we need this amendment of the law in order to prevent that. Undoubtedly, there are clubs of that nature. There are bad clubs or ill-regulated clubs, and there are clubs which are merely an excuse for the evasion of the licensing laws, but we shall not be able to control those clubs by this kind of Amendment. I should have thought that that was abundantly clear.

Then, it was said, in the last speech that I heard, that there had been a great increase in the number of convictions for drunkenness among young people over the past few years. The hon. Member for Wimbledon (Sir C. Black) himself went on to concede that it was not due to mismanagement or to the abuse of these facilities in clubs. He did not put it in so many words, but what he did say in so many words was that, if it were passed, the Amendment would not have very much bearing on that increase in intoxication among young people. I think that the hon. Gentleman is quite right, and that we all agree with him.

Finally, I come to my hon. Friend the Member for Brixton (Mr. Lipton), whose speech brought me to my feet. I think that it is possible to exaggerate most things, but that to erect this on to the melodramatic level on which my hon. Friend put it is really a reductio ad absurdum of the case for the Amendment. There is not a lot of interest in drinking among young people, and people who think there is are very much more out of touch with the trend of thinking and social habits of young people in our time than is recognised. When it comes to juvenile delinquency, everybody who knows anything at all about the subject knows that it arises, far more even than in clubs or pubs, in coffee bars and milk bars, where there is no age limit and where there is no time limit. I think that we all know that in a number of the most sensational crimes of violence in recent years, the association, the gangsters' haunt, was the coffee bar or milk bar, and certainly not a well-conducted club.

It seems to me that shall not have any compensating advantage if we pass the Amendment or interfere with the present position. The case has not been made out, except a sentimental one, and I do not use the word in any offensive sense—I mean the sentiment against the consumption of alcohol by young people; a very valuable one, which we all share—but it is carrying it to an unnecessary length in seeking to alter the law for any of the reasons given here. I do not myself see that if the law were amended in this way—and, of course, it would have to be enforced, and I do not agree with those who say that it would be unenforceable altogether—it would be enforceable at a price, and only at the price of giving the police the right of entry into clubs far in excess of the rights which they have now.

Unless a very strong case necessitates it, or overwhelming social desirability, I think that it would be a mistake, and I see no positive, practical advantage in this Amendment, if it were made law, that would justify the further infringement of liberties and the further extension of police rights necessary to enforce it.

Sir Frank Soskice (Newport)

I hope that the Minister will reconsider the views he has expressed. I should like at the end of this fairly long and very full and valuable debate to try to sum up the views of the House as they seem to me and to try to evaluate them. I think that all hon. Members who have spoken, with the exception of three, have pressed the Minister to accept the spirit of this Amendment.

To take the third and last opponent, my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman), he starts from this position. He says, "Exactly how do we discharge the onus of interfering further with the existing liberty on the part of a person under the age of 18 to obtain drinks in registered clubs?" I should seek to discharge the onus in this way. I should say that Parliament and the people of this country for years back have accepted that it is appropriate in the case of licensed premises. That is done in Section 129 of the Licensing Act, 1953. During our debates on this Bill the Minister has accepted in principle that it should apply to off-licence premises.

Several hon. Members who have wide experience of the practice in clubs have stated that in general the committees of clubs accept that persons under the age of 18, if they are allowed to membership at all, ought not to be allowed to buy alcoholic refreshment in the clubs. That is a very broad consensus of opinion, and it has been reflected by the fact that in this House all but three hon. Members out of the many who have made speeches on the subject, and speeches of great sincerity, based on considerable experience, have all accepted the principle of this Amendment.

I should have thought that the general view of the public—and that, after all, is a very important factor in the answer to this problem—is that, on the whole, it is undesirable that persons under the age of 18 should have—if I may have the Minister's attention; it does not look very likely to me that I am going to get it—easy and ready access to the purchase of alcoholic refreshment.

I do not think most of us would object to a young man of 17 having a glass of sherry, particularly if he consumes it under the eagle eye of his papa, but when they are congregated in the club I should have thought that the position was rather different. I accept the point that the club is not in any real sense a public place; it is a private gathering of club members; but, nevertheless, there is not the same degree of parental supervision as there is in a well-conducted home.

Therefore, if I may offer my answer to the question how to discharge the onus, I would say that Parliament has accepted it in the case of licensed premises; it has been accepted by the Minister as a result of the expressions of view in this House in the case of off-license premises; the great majority of committees of clubs which are, as it were, in the front line of the matter, from their experience in the conduct of the individual clubs with which they are concerned, have accepted that it is reasonable. I would hazard a guess that if we walk along any street in this country and ask, "What is your view?" nine out of ten would say, "It is a bad thing that a person under the age of 18 should readily be able to buy in clubs any amount of alcoholic refreshment." So I would say that there is a strong case for the acceptance in principle of this Amendment and that the onus is absolutely discharged.

What is said on the other side? On the other side it is said that this would be difficult to enforce. The Minister must have in mind that throughout the Bill there is a large number of prohibitions on what is to take place inside clubs. There are restrictions with regard to hours during which alcoholic refreshment may be sold in clubs. There are provisions which enable the police, on a warrant, if it is thought that there is evidence which would justify revocation of the licence, to go in. I really do not understand why any further powers should be requisite. The police, if there is ground to think there is an infringement of the existing law, now go in. It has always been the case. I do not see why these powers they now have should not be adequate in the case of this additional restriction, if it is accepted.

I would add this additional point. It is in a sense somewhat invidious on the committees of clubs which are well run, if they, as it were, voluntarily impose this restriction—if they think it necessary in the light of their experience of clubs—and if they see next door or in the next street that there is a club which does not have the restriction. It imposes a very invidious burden upon them if they have to justify to their club members, or at any rate those club members who are less ruly in spirit, the reason why they seek to impose upon their club members a restriction which is not imposed on others. I should have thought it desirable to assist them and to remove that disadvantage under which they must suffer if the law is to remain unchanged.

I feel that there is a point in the consideration which the hon. Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. E. Johnson) put before the House. It is, perhaps, rather unreasonable that the young man and the young woman of 17 who have been playing tennis should not be allowed to have a glass of shandy in their tennis club when they have done. I should have thought that the exception could have been made by following the model of Section 129 of the Licensing Act, 1953, that is to say, by providing that although alcoholic liquor must not be served to persons under the age of 18 nevertheless things like shandy and beer and cider and other—shall I say, innocuous, if that is the appropriate expression—[Laughter.]—I never thought that the list which I gave of innocuous drinks would evoke either so much mirth or so much opposition.

However, the list can be suitably truncated by eliminating from it those alcoholic drinks which are considered to be so noxious in their effect. I myself have in the country in the hot sun found that if one takes a glass of cider it may have a rather potent effect upon one's reactions, as strong beer, I have no doubt, will also. However, if it is thought that there should be, as it were, some leeway, some elbow room, provided for the consumption after a strenuous game of some innocuous or un-noxious alcoholic beverage it can be done on the model of Section 129—Section 129 of the Licensing Act, 1953, if the right hon. and learned Gentleman is looking for it.

Broadly speaking, I would say that the Minister has not given proper consideration to this. I mean, that, though I am sure he has considered it properly, I think that his reasoning has not carried us very far. I think in the first place that he has misunderstood the mood of the House and the country on this. The fact that he has not received representations is not, I think, an end of the matter. I think that there is a great deal of feeling about this. I have received letters—I think other hon. Members have received letters—about it. I think that the Minister has misinterpreted the mood. Then I think that his argument that it would be difficult to enforce can be equally applied to any of the other prohibitions in the conduct of the internal affairs of clubs, and I do not think that it would need any further police powers, which are already contained in the Bill and which have been always given to our law on the conduct of private clubs.

I think that the reasons which the Minister gave are found, on examination, not to be really sound, and I hope that he will say that he will reconsider this matter. He has been very reasonable throughout the course of the Bill in paying very careful attention to the views expressed, and I hope that he will on this occasion. If he does not, I hope that my hon. Friends will take the view of the House by pressing the Amendment to a Division.

6.0 p.m.

The Solicitor-General (Sir Jocelyn Simon)

I intervene only in deference to the speech of the right hon. and learned Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice) and the other forceful and able speeches made in favour of the Amendment. I do so with all the more temerity because, in my view, the real case against the Amendment has been stated not only cogently but conclusively by the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman).

Mrs. Slater

Thoroughly illogical.

The Solicitor-General

The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne represents the view of the House and of the country at large very much more than the run of the debate might have suggested. There are two possible extreme views about drinking by people under 18 years of age. The one is that there should be a complete prohibition on any person under 18 taking any alcoholic drink at all. The other is that there should be complete freedom for any young person to consume what he likes. Neither view has been urged in the debate, although the first view was the logical conclusion of many of the points and indeed of the phrases used in favour of the Amendment.

The hon. Member for Salford (Mr. C. Royle), for example, said that access should be forbidden. The logic was in favour of the first view, and according to that there should be no drinking in the home because that is a source of evil, and there should be no drinking of cider or perry with a meal by a person under 18. But the case has been argued on the basis that neither of those extreme views should prevail and that we should try to find a way between them.

The question therefore is where we should draw the line. Neither view can be put forward in an assembly of this sort, because it is too extreme. Where we draw the line is determined by two considerations. The first is the consideration of privacy and the second is the consideration of enforceability. I do not want to say much more about privacy. The case has been argued that it is possible to say that a club is more akin to a "pub" than to a home; but, nevertheless, the club is rightly regarded by club members as a private place and its privacy ought to be respected.

The real consideration against the Amendment, however, is on the point of enforceability. I disagree with the right hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede), with all his experience, when he says that he had never heard the police say that they could not enforce any provision contained in the law. We have had many recent examples of occasions where police have been unable to enforce the law. Recent examples which will be in the minds of hon. Members were the provisions governing street bookmaking. The police could not enforce the law and this had the serious result that the law was flaunted and brought into disrepute.

Mr. Mellish

That is a different matter to enforcing the law. The fact was that the law was being broken frequently, but there was no difficulty about enforcing it.

The Solicitor-General

I shall be dealing precisely with that point. I would emphasise that the law in that case was flaunted with impunity. Serious as may be the evil of young persons drinking too much, the evil of their seeing the law flaunted with impunity and, in some cases, with public approbation, is far more serious. That is what would happen if we tried to write into the Bill the provisions in the Amendment.

The hon. Member for Houghton-le-Spring (Mr. Blyton) mentioned workingmen's clubs. It is true that many of them have a byelaw on this subject. One whole group has a byelaw which forbids the sale of drink and, indeed, I believe, forbids membership by people under 18. But another big group has no such provision, presumably 'because the clubs do not wish it to apply. In that case, if the Amendment were adopted, it would mean that the law might be broken in such premises with the general approbation of the members present. It would be thought unreasonable by many people that a boy just approaching 18 and doing a man's work could not be served. This would mean that not only could the police not enforce the law, but they would not know that it was being broken, because it would be broken with approbation. I repeat that nothing would be worse for young people than to see such a system prevail.

In the cases to which the right hon. and learned Member for Newport drew attention, the police will generally obtain information if the law is being broken. For example, they would see people coming out of the club after hours. The case which the hon. Member for Bermondsey mentioned under Clause 19 (2) is that of consumption off the premises, but I am sure that the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne is right when he says that if we want to make this provision in the Amendment enforceable it can only be done at the cost of greater police powers over the clubs, and I do not believe for a moment that the clubs or the public would wish to see that.

Mr. W. T. Proctor (Eccles)

Does the Solicitor-General not think that if the Amendment were passed as an enactment by the House of Commons it would be easy for club members to make sure that it was enforced? It would require only one member to draw attention to the fact that the law was being broken without necessarily calling in the police.

The Solicitor-General

If one club member was willing to inform on his fellow-members it could be enforced, but hon. Members might think of his position if he were the only one and the others disapproved. Hon. Members might also think of sports clubs. Would we really secure a general consensus of opinion among them in favour of a provision of this sort? It is, therefore, partly on the ground of privacy, but mainly on the ground of enforceability that we resist the Amendment. We are seeking in this Measure to provide that the law shall be brought into consonance with public opinion so that it may be enforced. I cannot advise the House to accept the Amendment.

Mr. Mellish

Is the logic of what the Solicitor-General is saying that he sees no objection to clubs serving children of 11 years of age with drink? Will he answer?

The Solicitor-General

I will gladly answer. That certainly does not follow in logic or reason from what I have said.

Mr. F. H. Hayman (Falmouth and Camborne)

This is the first time that I have intervened in debate on the Bill, but I feel strongly about this Amendment and about the attitude adopted towards it by the Solicitor-General and my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman). I can think of more than one club in the countryside and in small country towns where drink could be taken on the premises and consumed in privacy, but not in the privacy of the home. That can and does happen. I ask my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) whether Bentley and Craig were drinking alcoholic liquor before Craig murdered the policeman?

Mr. S. Silverman

I understand not.

Mr. Hayman

I accept that, but I suggest that there are many acts of violence of that kind for which young people under the age of 18 are responsible and who, at the time, have their inhibitions relaxed because of liquor.

Mr. Leslie Hale (Oldham, West)

My hon. Friend mentioned the case of Bentley and Craig. It is unfortunate that these cases are mentioned. Will my hon. Friend remember that the lad to whom he referred—he is out of prison, or is about to be released to start life afresh—was 15 at the time of the murder and was, therefore, one of the persons to whom the sale of drink was prohibited under the existing law?

Mr. Hayman

That is all the more reason for writing into the Bill a provision that clubs shall not sell to young people under 18 liquor which can be taken off the premises.

My hon. Friend the Member for Salford, West (Mr. C. Royle) is a leading member of the Magistrates' Association and speaks with great authority on magistrates' courts. He emphasised the concern of magistrates about the increase in crimes of violence committed by people under 18. Surely it cannot be wrong to write into the Bill something which would be crystal clear to any layman. I speak as a layman, and I get a little tired of the legal dispositions which try to show that there is nothing wrong with the present position. Both the right hon. Gentleman and the right hon. and learned Gentleman know from their experience in the Home Office that crimes of violence among young people have increased considerably in recent years. We are all concerned about this

increase, and I hope that the House will not be misled by arguments about the rights and privacy of clubs.

Many of my hon. Friends who are members of clubs, heave spoken in support of the Amendment from the point of view of the clubs, but we must legislate to deal with the minority of clubs which will serve liquor without restraint to youngsters and thus help to debase them and the society in which we live.

Question put: That those words be there inserted in the Bill:—

The House divided: Ayes 114, Noes 221.

Division No. 205.] AYES [6.13 p.m.
Ainsley, William Henderson, John (Cathcart) Proctor, W. T.
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Herbison, Miss Margaret Redhead, E. C.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Hilton, A. V. Reid, William
Bacon, Miss Alice Holman, Percy Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Bence, Cyril Hoy, James H. Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Benson, Sir George Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Robertson, John (Paisley)
Black, Sir Cyril Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Ross, William
Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan) Hunter, A. E. Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Boyden, James Hynd, H. (Accrington) Short, Edward
Brockway, A. Fenner Jenkins, Roy (Stechford) Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech (Wakefield) Skeffington, Arthur
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Kelley, Richard Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)
Castle, Mrs. Barbara Kenyon, Clifford Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)
Chetwynd, George Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Snow, Julian
Cordle, John King, Dr. Horace Sorensen, R. W.
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Lawson, George Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery) Lee, Frederick (Newton) Spriggs, Leslie
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Lipton, Marcus Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
de Freitas, Geoffrey McAdden, Stephen Stones, William
Diamond, John McKay, John (Wallsend) Stross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)
Dodds, Norman McLeavy, Frank Symonds, J. B.
Ede, Rt. Hon. C. Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Edelman, Maurice Manuel, A. C. Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Evans, Albert Marsh, Richard Thomas, lorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Fernyhough, E. Mason, Roy Wainwright, Edwin
Finch, Harold Mayhew, Christopher Warbey, William
Fletcher, Eric Mellish, R. J. Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) Mendelson, J. J. Whitlock, William
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Morris, John Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B
Galpern, Sir Myer Moyle, Arthur Wilkins, W. A.
Ginsburg, David Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.) Willey, Frederick
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Oliver, G. H. Williams, Ll. (Abertillery)
Crimond, J. Oram, A. E. Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Gunter, Ray Owen, Will Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Pavitt, Laurence Woof, Robert
Hamilton, William (West Fife) Peart, Frederick Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Hannan, William Pentland, Norman
Hayman, F. H. Popplewell, Ernest TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Henderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Rwly Regis) Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Mr. Charles Boyle and Mr. Blyton
Agnew, Sir Peter Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)
Allason, James Boyle, Sir Edward Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)
Arbuthnot, John Braine, Bernard Cleaver, Leonard
Atkins, Humphrey Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter Cooper, A. E.
Barber, Anthony Brooman-White, R. Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.
Barlow, Sir John Brown, Alan (Tottenham) Corfield, F. V.
Barter, John Browne, Percy (Torrington) Costain, A. P.
Batsford, Brian Buck, Antony Coulson, J. M.
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Bullard, Denys Courtney, Cdr. Anthony
Bell, Ronald Burden, F. A. Critchley, Julian
Berkeley, Humphry Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (Saffron Walden) Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver
Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald Campbell, Sir David (Belfast, S.) Crowder, F. P.
Biggs-Davison, John Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) Cunningham, Knox
Bishop, F. P. Cary, Sir Robert Curran, Charles
Bossom, Clive Channon, H. P. G. d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry
Bourne-Arton, A. Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.) Deedes, W. F.
de Ferranti, Basil Jackson, John Ramsden, James
Digby, Simon wingfield James, David Rawlinson, Peter
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M. Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin
Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Rees-Davies, W. R.
Eden, John Johnson Smith, Geoffrey Renton, David
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Kerr, Sir Hamilton Ridley, Hon. Nicholas
Elliott, R. W. (Nwcstle-upon-Tyne, N.) Kirk, Peter Ridsdale, Julian
Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Kitson, Timothy Rippon, Geoffrey
Errington, Sir Eric Lagden, Godfrey Robertson, Sir David
Farey-Jones, F. W. Leather, E. H. C. Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Farr, John Leburn, Gilmour Roots, William
Fell, Anthony Lilley, F. J. P. Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Finlay, Graeme Lindsay, Martin Seymour, Leslie
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Linstead, Sir Hugh Shaw, M.
Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton) Lichfield, Capt. John Shepherd, William
Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D. Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfield) Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir Jocelyn
Gammans, Lady Longden, Gilbert Skeet, T. H. H.
Gardner, Edward Loveys, Walter H. Smith, Dudley (Br'ntfrd & Chiswick)
Glover, Sir Douglas Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Smithers, Peter
Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham) MacArthur, Ian Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)
Goodhart, Philip McLaren, Martin Spearman, Sir Alexander
Goodhew, Victor Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Bute & N. Ayrs.) Stanley, Hon. Richard
Grant, Rt. Hon. William McMaster, Stanley R. Stevens, Geoffrey
Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. Markham, Major Sir Frank Stodart, J. A.
Green, Alan Marples, Rt. Hon. Ernest Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm
Cresham Cooke, R. Marshall, Douglas Storey, Sir Samuel
Grimston, Sir Robert Marten, Neil Studholme, Sir Henry
Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G. Mathew, Robert (Honiton) Sumner, Donald (Orpington)
Gurden, Harold Matthews, Gordon (Meriden) Tapsell, Peter
Hall, John (Wycombe) Mawby, Ray Teeling, William
Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough) Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Temple, John M.
Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N. W.) Mills, Stratton Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret
Harris, Reader (Heston) More, Jasper (Ludlow) Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Harrison, Brian (Maldon) Morrison, John Thomas, Peter (Conway)
Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)
Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd) Nabarro, Gerald Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) Nicholson, Sir Godfrey Turten, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Hastings, Stephen Noble, Michael van Straubenzee, W. R.
Hay, John Nugent, Sir Richard Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
Heath, Rt. Hon. Edward Page, Graham (Crosby) Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Henderson-Stewart, Sir James Parker, John Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)
Hiley, Joseph Partridge, E. Walder, David
Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton) Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe) Walker, Peter
Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk) Peel, John Ward, Dame Irene
Hirst, Geoffrey Percival, Ian Wells, John (Maidstone)
Holland, Philip Peyton, John Whitelaw, William
Hollingworth, John Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord John Pike, Miss Mervyn Wiliams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Hopkins, Alan Pilkington, Sir Richard Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Hornby, R. P. Pitman, Sir James Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Patricia Pitt, Miss Edith Woodnutt, Mark
Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives) Pott, Percivall Woollam, John
Howard, John (Southampton, Test) Prior, J. M. L. Worsley, Marcus
Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Hughes-Young, Michael Profumo, Rt. Hon. John
Hulbert, Sir Norman Proudfoot, Wilfred TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Hutchison, Michael Clark Pym, Francis Mr. Gibson-Watt and
Iremonger, T. L. Quennell, Miss J. M. Mr. Chichester-Clark
Mr. Vosper

I beg to move, in page 31, in line 20, at the end to insert: (5) Nothing in section seventy-seven of the Licensing Act, 1953 (which relates to the Carlisle district), shall restrict the supply of intoxicating liquor by or on behalf of a club at club premises in respect of which the club is registered or at any such premises or place as mentioned in subsection (3) above. This gives expression to a discussion which we had in Committee, when hon. Members asked that the Home Secretary's veto in respect of clubs in the Carlisle State Management District should no longer apply. I explained that the Home Secretary did not exercise his veto in respect of clubs but that I thought it reasonable, in view of the new proposals

in Part III of the Bill, that we should give legislative effect to what we carry out administratively. My hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle (Dr. D. Johnson) withdrew his Amendment then on my undertaking that I would move an Amendment on Report.

Mr. Fletcher

I have no doubt that the hon. Member for Carlisle (Dr. D. Johnson), who is not here, will welcome this Amendment, but I am not sure that it will equally find favour with everyone on this side of the House, because, as some of my hon. Friends said in Committee, we are naturally rather suspicious about any Amendment proposed from the benches opposite which appears to invade the principle enshrined in what is generally known as the Carlisle scheme, which introduced, experimentally and successfully, a measure of State control in a limited area over licensed premises in Carlisle.

I have not been to Carlisle myself, but the information reaching me is that the experiment has worked extremely well and that there is no popular feeling in Carlisle desirous of making a change. Therefore, the question for this House, in considering this Bill, is whether there is any reason why we should make any inroads in the principle that is working so well there. The right hon. Gentleman did not attempt to explain why the Bill should not stand as drawn and why, in future, clubs which come under the provisions of the Bill should not, in addition to obtaining any necessary local permission, also obtain the sanction of the Home Secretary. It is difficult to explain how otherwise the Home Secretary will be able to exercise that general supervision over conditions in Carlisle, which was the whole object and purpose of the Carlisle experiment.

I should have thought that if the Home Secretary's jurisdiction under Part III is removed from clubs in Carlisle, this would seriously affect the validity of the experiment being tried out there. For these reasons, I think that the House would probably wish to hear some further explanation before this Amendment is accepted.

Mr. Vosper

I did not give a fuller explanation because all this Amendment does is to draft correctly an

Amendment which the Standing Committee accepted in principle at an earlier stage. I then said that the Home Secretary has not normally exercised his veto, which he has under Section 77 of the 1953 Act, in respect of clubs for many years. But my hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle (Dr. D. Johnson) pressed, through his Amendment, that we should give legislative effect to what we do administratively. That is what this Amendment, and a later one, do.

In view of the stricter requirements under Part III which are imposed on clubs, it seems unreasonable that the Home Secretary shall also be required to give his permission for the establishment of registered clubs in Carlisle. The powers under Part III are so much more effective than the powers under the 1953 Act that there should be no need for the Home Secretary to exercise his own powers as well. In fact, for a large number of years he has not sought to administer his veto and any reputable club seeking to be established in Carlisle has not met with opposition from him. This has nothing to do with restaurants or residential premises but is solely concerned with registered clubs which have, for a number of years, been established if the justices are so agreeable.

Mr. Fletcher

I rise again, by leave of the House, to say that there is a question of principle involved here and I think that some of my right hon. and hon. Friends will wish to test the matter in the Division Lobby.

Question put, That those words be inserted in the Bill:

The House divided: Ayes 219, Noes 87.

Division No. 206.] AYES [6.28 p.m.
Agnew, Sir Peter Brown, Alan (Tottenham) Courtney, Cdr. Anthony
Allason, James Browne, Percy (Torrington) Critchley, Julian
Arbuthnot, John Buck, Antony Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver
Atkins, Humphrey Bullard, Denys Cunningham, Knox
Berber, Anthony Burden, F. A. Curran, Charles
Barlow, Sir John Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (Saffron Walden) d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry
Barter, John Campbell, Sir David (Belfast, S.) Deedes, W. F.
Batsford, Brian Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) de Ferranti, Basil
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Carr, Compton (Barons Court) Digby, Simon Wingfield
Bell, Ronald Cary, Sir Robert Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M.
Berkeley, Humphry Channon, H. P. G. du Cann, Edward
Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald Chichester-Clark, R. Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David
Biggs-Davison, John Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.) Eden, John
Bishop, F. P. Cleaver, Leonard Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)
Black, Sir Cyril Cole, Norman Elliott, R. W. (Nwcstle-upon-Tyne, N.)
Bossom, Clive Cooper, A. E. Emery, Peter
Bourne-Arton, A. Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John Cordle, John Errington, Sir Eric
Boyle, Sir Edward Corfield, F. V. Farey-Jones, F. W.
Braine, Bernard Costain, A. P. Farr, John
Brooman-White, R. Coulson, J. M. Finlay, Graeme
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Leburn, Gilmour Renton, David
Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton) Lilley, F. J. P. Ridley, Hon. Nicholas
Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D. Lindsay, Martin Ridsdale, Julian
Cammans, Lady Linstead, Sir Hugh Rippon, Geoffrey
Gardner, Edward Litchfield, Capt. John Robertson, Sir D. (C'thn's & s'th'ld)
Glover, Sir Douglas Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfield) Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Glyn, Or, Alan (Clapham) Longden, Gilbert Roots, William
Goodhart, Philip Loveys, Walter H. Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Goodhew, Victor Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Seymour, Leslie
Grant, Rt, Hon. William McAdden, Stephen Shaw, M.
Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. MacArthur, Ian Shepherd, William
Green, Alan McLaren, Martin Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir Jocelyn
Gresham Cooke, R. Maclean, SirFitzroy (Bute & N. Ayrs.) Skeet, T. H. H.
Grimond, J. McMaster, Stanley R. Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'rd & Chiswick)
Grimston, Sir Robert Markham, Major Sir Frank Smithers, Peter
Grosvenor. Lt.-Col. R. G. Marples, Rt. Hon. Ernest Spearman, Sir Alexander
Gurden, Harold Marshall, Douglas Stanley, Hon. Richard
Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough) Marten, Neil Stevens, Geoffrey
Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N. W.) Mathew, Robert (Honiton) Stodart, J. A.
Harris, Reader (Heston) Matthews, Gordon (Meriden) Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcoln
Harrison, Brian (Maldon) Mawby, Ray Storey, Sir Samuel
Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Studholme, Sir Henry
Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd) Mills, Stratum Sumner, Donald (Orpington)
Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) More, Jasper (Ludlow) Tapsell, Peter
Hastings, Stephen Morrison, John Teeling, William
Hay, John Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles Temple, John M.
Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Nabarro, Gerald Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret
Henderson, John (Cathcart) Nicholson, Sir Godfrey Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Henderson-Stewart, Sir James Noble, Michael Thomas, Peter (Conway)
Hiley, Joseph Nugent, Sir Richard Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)
Hill, Or. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton) Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
Hirst, Geoffrey Page, Graham (Crosby) Turner, Colin
Holland, Philip Partridge, E. Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord John Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe) van Straubenzee, W. R.
Hopkins, Alan Peel, John Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Hornby, R. P. Percival, Ian Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Patricia Peyton, John Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives) Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)
Howard, John (Southampton, Test) Pike, Miss Mervyn Walder, David
Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John Pilkington, Sir Richard Ward, Dame Irene
Hughes-Young, Michael Pitman, Sir James Wells, John (Maidstone)
Hulbert, Sir Norman Pitt, Miss Edith Whitelaw, William
Hutchison, Michael Clark Pott, Percivall Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
Iremonger, T. L. Prior, J. M. L. Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Jackson, John Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
James, David Profumo, Rt. Hon. John Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Proudfoot, Wilfred Woodnutt, Mark
Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Pym, Francis Woollam, John
Johnson Smith, Geoffrey Quennell, Miss J. M. Worsley, Marcus
Kerr, Sir Hamilton Ramsden, James Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Kirk, Peter Rawlinson, Peter
Kitson, Timothy Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Leather, E. H. C. Rees-Davies, W. R. Mr. Gibson-Watt and
Mr. J. E. B. Hill.
Ainsley, William Hannan, William Parker, John
Bacon, Miss Alice Hayman, F. H. Pavitt, Laurence
Bence, Cyril Henderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Rwly Regis) Popplewell, Ernest
Benson, Sir George Herbison, Miss Margaret Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Hilton, A. V. Proctor, W. T.
Bowden, Herbert W. (Leics, S. W.) Holman, Percy Randall, Harry
Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan) Howell, Charles A. (Perry Bar) Redhead, E. C.
Boyden, James Hoy, James H. Reid, William
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Ross, William
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Royle, Charles (Salford, West)
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Hunter, A. E. Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Dodds, Norman Hynd, H. (Accrington) Short, Edward
Ede, Rt. Hon. C. Janner, Sir Barnett Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Edelman, Maurice Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Evans, Albert Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech (Wake field) Skeffington, Arthur
Fernyhough, E. Kenyon, Clifford Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)
Fletcher, Eric King, Dr. Horace Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)
Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) Lee, Frederick (Newton) Snow, Julian
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Lipton, Marcus Sorensen, R. W.
Galpern, Sir Myer McKay, John (Wallsend) Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Ginsburg, David Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Spriggs, Leslie
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Marsh, Richard Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Gunter, Ray Noel-Baker Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.) Stones, William
Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.) Oram, A. E. Sylvester, George
Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Owen, Will Symonds, J. B.
Hamilton, William (West Fife) Paget, R. T. Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Taylor, John (West Lothian) Williams, Ll. (Abertillery)
Wells, Percy (Favertham) Williams, W. R. (Openshaw) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Whitlock, William Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.) Mr. Goronwy Roberts and
Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B. Woof, Robert Mr. Morris.
Wilkins, W. A. Yates, Victor (Ladywood)