HC Deb 09 November 1972 vol 845 cc1170-1
8. Mr. Sydney Chapman

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will seek to amend those parts of the Sunday Entertainment Act and the Sunday Observance Act as necessary for Sunday, 31st December, 1972, so that public dances, concerts and cabarets and other public functions may be unaffected.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. David Lane)

My right hon. Friend has no proposals for legislation on this matter, about which a number of differing views may be held.

Mr. Chapman

I appreciate that point of view, and I wish in no way to be responsible for the further commercialising of Sunday, but does not my hon. Friend agree that many people find it niggling, petty and irritating in the extreme that they cannot hold New Year's Eve celebrations as they would normally do this year, simply because next New Year's Eve falls on a Sunday? Bearing in mind, in particular, that people will wish to celebrate our going into Europe, does not my hon. Friend agree that it is important that public functions should not be discriminated against and that, for example, one should be allowed to wear fancy dress at a public function on that day?

Mr. Lane

I know that there is a good deal of public dissatisfaction about this matter, but I am aware also that it is an exceedingly controversial one. I am sure that my hon. Friend realises that it would be quite impracticable, anyway, to legislate at this range for next New Year's Eve. It may be that the whole question of the law relating to Sunday will interest one of the hon. Members whose names have come high in the Ballot for Private Members' Bills.