HC Deb 14 May 1970 vol 801 cc1439-40
24. Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has given further consideration to the position of small bridge clubs; and if he will now take steps to mitigate the effect upon them of the recent legislation.

Mr. Elystan Morgan

I have nothing at present to add to my reply to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Bolton, West (Mr. Oakes) on 5th February.—[Vol. 795, c. 181–2.]

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that these clubs are in no way anti-social or gambling establishments, that they have great difficulty in complying with the law as at present enforced, and that the delay is causing many elderly and not very wealthy people great anxiety and hardship?

Mr. Morgan

My right hon. Friend is prepared to consider the matter sympathetically, but before legislation can be considered it is necessary to ascertain the exact extent of the problem. The English Bridge Union has collated information from its members and expects to be able to submit a report to the Home Office in about two weeks' time.

Mr. Hogg

Is it not possible that a mistake has been made? When I play bridge it is a game of chance, but when other people play bridge may it not be a game of skill?

Mr. Morgan

I will not comment on the subjective point made by the right hon. and learned Gentleman. It was intended that bridge should fall within the scope of the Act. There is no doubt that bridge generally is a game of chance. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I am advised that different conditions obtain in regard to duplicate bridge.