HC Deb 21 January 1971 vol 809 cc1259-60
17. Mr. Edward Lyons

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proposals he has to legalise pools not involving skill conducted by societies established and conducted wholly or mainly for charitable purposes in support of athletic sports or games or cultural activities or other purposes which are not those of private gain or any commercial undertaking.

Mr. Maudling

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given yesterday to a Question by the hon. Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe (Mr. Alfred Morris).—[Vol. 809, c. 301.]

Mr. Lyons

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that considerable perturbation was caused by the recent court decision which made such pools illegal? In view of the precarious finances of cricket clubs, will he ensure that something is done as quickly as possible to remedy this situation?

Mr. Maudling

If the hon. Gentleman will read the Answer given yesterday he will see that it answers his question.

Mr. Alfred Morris

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that his decision on this matter, which marches with the principle of my Private Member's Bill, will be warmly welcomed by the Spastic Society, the National Fund for Research into Crippling Diseases and many other worthy organisations? Could he confirm that he will keep closely in touch with these organisations in considering future legislation?

Mr. Maudling

Yes, certainly I will. This is a very complicated problem and it will take a little time to work it out. We thought that the right measures were announced yesterday.

Mr. Marten

In view of the considerable anxiety aroused, particularly in the Spastics Society, could the Home Secretary say, since he used in his reply the word "shortly", when he hopes the legislation will appear?

Mr. Maudling

"Shortly", I am afraid, is the only answer. As I have said, this is a complicated problem, and in the meantime the position of existing pools is preserved.

Mr. Kaufman

Would the right hon. Gentleman also bear in mind the great shadow looming over the Catholic church in my constituency because of the doubtful legal position of other games of chance on which they depend to a great extent for raising funds? Would he bear in mind that in making these legal he will be helping them in their school-building activities which are gravely under threat at the moment?

Mr. Maudling

I should be grateful if the hon. Gentleman could give me more details, perhaps in correspondence, about that problem.