HC Deb 11 July 1962 vol 662 cc1474-8

Amendment made:In page 33, line 58, at end add:—

8 & 9 Eliz. 2. c. 60.
The Betting and Gaming Act, 1960.
In section twenty-six, in subsection (1), the Words "and in any condition contained in any certificate granted under the Licensing (Scotland) Act, 1959".

—[Mr. Brooman-White.]

10.4 p.m.

Mr. J. Maclay

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

The Bill has pursued a very interesting course since its origin in the Scottish Office once it was thrown on the tender mercies of both Houses of Parliament. I should like to thank most profoundly my right hon. and learned Friend the Lord Advocate and my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary for the most effective way in which they have handled what is by no means a simple Bill, but is, in fact, a very complex Bill. I should also like to thank, with real sincerity, all hon. Members who served on the Committee which dealt with the Bill. On a Bill which raises very strong feelings they have exercised a very reasonable degree of restraint in expressing the views they wished to express.

I do not think that the House would want me to make a long speech on the Bill now. It is a useful addition to the Statute Book, because it carries forward the licensing laws for Scotland, though not the whole way, because more will have to be done about licensing in Scotland. I commend it to the House as one which serves a very useful purpose.

10.5 p.m.

Sir M. Galpern

In view of what the Secretary of State has said in approbation of the Bill, I must express my disagreement with him. The Bill will not be welcomed in Scotland. The Government have missed a great opportunity to modernise conditions in Scotland. All that they have done is to gladden the hearts of the people who sell liquor in Scotland and elsewhere. They have introduced new restaurant and hotel certificates, and have made provision for Sunday drinking in public houses which have restaurants—something that the Scottish people have not asked for.

At the end of the day those members of the Government who have been responsible for introducing this revision of Scottish licensing law will regret it. The general body of Scottish opinion is not voiced by vested interests. In Committee and in the House the Government have yielded far too readily to vested interests, which are concerned purely with the exploitation of the sale of drink to young people. I have been told by someone who is actively engaged in the licensed trade in England that since the passing of the English Licensing Bill his firm has been unable to cope with the tremendous increase in demand for its products. The vast majority of the Scottish people are anxious to see some enlightenment in our way of living, but not by the means adopted by the Government, through the agency of the Bill.

The Scottish Tourist Board is trying to attract people to visit our country. We have been told that one aim of the Bill was to provide reasonable facilities for tourists, and to enable them to enjoy the scenery with heightened appreciation. All that will happen is that in future the Tourist Board will be able to spend money advertising the beauties of Scotland and saying, on its posters, "Come to Scotland. We have the finest drinking facilities that can be obtained anywhere"—and now, thanks to the Secretary of State's statement this afternoon—"Visit our ancient monuments—our disused mines."

10.7 p.m.

Miss Herbison

For once the Secretary of State judged correctly the atmosphere of the House When he said that he did not think that we would wish him to say much at this stage. I am sure that most of us did not, because we feel that the Bill is still full of great pitfalls for unwary young people, and that the Government have given way to pressure both from their own back benchers and from outside interests. As a result, one of the most important matters, concerning registered clubs, is left in such a state that the recommendations of the Guest Committee upon it have been entirely reversed.

Having listened to our discussions today, particularly those following the statement made by the Secretary of State earlier, I wish that the right hon. Gentleman and the Under-Secretary of State had, during the past months, tried to improve our economic position in Scotland instead of giving their precious time and thought to this Measure. In my constituency, people will not be listening to the wireless at 10.45 this evening or watching television to find out what happened to this Bill in Parliament today. In the homes of many of my constituents and the homes of thousands of others in Scotland today people are sick at heart wondering what their future and their families' future will be.

Mr. Tam Dalyell (West Lothian)

Hear, hear.

Miss Herbison

For eleven years, the Government have had their priorities all wrong. In the working out of the Bill, their priorities again have been wrong. Like my constituents, I am sick at heart tonight thinking of what is happening to good, decent Scottish people.

10.11 p.m.

Mr. Ross

I echo the words of my hon. Friend the Member for Lanarkshire, North (Miss Herbison). When this Bill first came before us, it had considerable support in Scotland. Many of us welcomed the fact that we were to get rid of quite a lot of anomalies in our licensing laws. Does the Secretary of State think that it is a better Bill now than it was when it began its passage through Parliament? I do not know what the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Lord Advocate, who shines in these moments when he is sitting on the Front Bench far more than when he is on his feet giving us legal advice, is grousing and grumbling about just now, but I can tell him that his Bill gravely disappoints me.

I had hoped to give the Bill wholehearted approval at this stage. I cannot. I shall not divide the House against it. I think that I have made my position clear throughout. We have missed an opportunity of examining this whole subject in the light of the problems which we shall face in the next five or ten years with the new facilities which will be available.

Like my hon. Friend the Member for Lanarkshire, North, I feel that we would have done far better to devote our time to considering the problem of closing pits rather than opening the "pubs" and other licensed premises. The Secretary of State, instead of sitting here listening and doing nothing about the problems which undoubtedly will arise, ought to have been interviewing the Prime Minister and demanding action in the industrial scene in Scoltand.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

Order. That is going beyond what is in order on the Third Reading.

10.13 p.m.

Mr. Hannan

I am greatly disappointed with the Bill as it now leaves the House. At the beginning, many thousands of citizens who have been striving to provide better social conditions and trying to instruct their young people in the finer qualities and ways of life, when consulted about the Bill gave way on several points in order that they could safeguard others which they held very dear. One, of course, was that the public houses of Scotland should not be opened further. They gave way on off-licences. They gave way on several other proposals so that reasonable agreement could be reached on other matters in the Bill.

The Bill was regarded by people in the Churches and elsewhere as one which had gone as far as possible to meet their wishes. However, I fear that they have been let down very badly because, as my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Shettleston (Sir M. Galpern) said, under this Bill drinking will be more prevalent in Scotland than ever before. I believe that many people have been deceived because the granting of restaurant and restricted licences will introduce by the backdoor the practice of drinking on Sundays. In the weeks ahead greater opportunities will be sought for licences, special licences and the rest. I regret that the Government saw fit to reject our very good proposition on dance halls.

I add my personal protest that the Government have, for some years, spent so much time on betting and gambling Bills——

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman must keep to what is in order on the Third Reading.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed, with Amendments.