HC Deb 10 May 1994 vol 243 cc263-92
Mr. Phil Gallie (Ayr)

I beg to move amendment No. 86, in page 19, leave out lines 25 to 35.

The amendment is intended to delete clause 17 and refers basically to the situation in Scotland where off-sales are not permitted on a Sunday. The amendment, by deleting clause 17, retains that restriction, which dates back to the Licensing (Scotland) Act 1976. It is important to many people in Scotland that the situation is maintained and that Sunday represents, in some respects, a day apart from others. I supported the recent moves in England to introduce supermarket and other shop opening for limited hours on Sunday in a way that brought English law into line with Scots law. We have had that facility for many years in Scotland and, to an extent, it has been well used. If anything, it has encouraged family participation in the shopping scenario at weekends.

Before giving my support to the reform of Sunday trading in England, I spent some time in the supermarkets in my constituency before the votes on the subject. I found that there was absolutely no problem arising from the fact that they had to shut off the licensing facilities on Sunday. The public accepted that and there was no great demand for such sales. It was widely accepted that that, in part, made Sunday different. When I spoke to those who ran town centre off-licences, they again said that there was no demand.

Somewhere along the line, something has changed and I am not sure why. As far as I can detect, there has been no real lobby in Scotland for that relaxation. I am aware that a small pressure group has raised the issue, but I feel that it is not a major issue of the day in the towns and villages of Scotland. I welcome the Bill, but I believe that clause 17 is neither necessary nor desirable.

My concerns relate to under-age drinking and, in part, to those unfortunates who suffer from alcoholism. In terms of under-age drinking, I feel that there is no real problem with off-sales from pubs and hotels and, to an extent, from the small off-licences. However, when liquor gets on to the streets, much of it comes from the major stores and the supermarkets. That is not deliberate; in many instances, there is no direct sale to young people. It comes about through volume trade in the larger stores and through secondary purchases—youngsters who encourage others to buy drink for them. Problems arise, especially on Fridays and Saturdays, when youngsters take drink on to the streets and into the parks. Scots, at least, should expect one day in the week when that does not happen. Sunday should be maintained as it is.

Mr. John Maxton (Glasgow, Cathcart)

Is the hon. Gentleman therefore proposing that pubs and hotels in Scotland should not be allowed to serve drink to be consumed off the premises, as well as proposing that off-licences should not be opened? What he suggests implies that.

Mr. Gallie

If the hon. Gentleman had listened to my words a moment ago, he would have heard me say that the problems did not exist with the pubs and the hotels. The problems exist with the volume sales in the supermarkets, as I remarked.

Under-age drinking is one thing the lot of the alcoholic, which must also be considered, is another. There is a major problem here for the unfortunate individuals who drink whatever they can get their hands on. We see that with the sale of cheap, high-alcohol lagers, with fortified wines and, to an extent, with new drinks such as Buckfast. To open up the off-licences on Sunday would offer another temptation, present another problem, for people who suffer from that disease.

By going down that line, we are pushing at an open door. We have relaxed the law on Sunday trading and there is a constant push by the major superstores to seek further advantage. The time has come to say that enough is enough.

Mr. George Kynoch (Kincardine and Deeside)

Will my hon. Friend give way?

Mr. Gallie

No, I must be fairly brief. I do not have time.

We should look at our Christian heritage and our culture. We should not throw that away altogether. In Scotland, especially in the islands, we have managed to preserve Sundays. If we accept clause 17, we shall impose something on the people of Scotland which they do not want. I ask the House to support the amendment and, therefore, to reject clause 17.

Mr. George Robertson (Hamilton)

It is a rare event for me to follow the hon. Member for Ayr (Mr. Gallie) and support his amendment, although I do not necessarily accept every item in the arguments that he deployed this evening. It is all the stranger since, in the local elections last week, not many people supported the hon. Gentleman, given the loss of the three regional seats in the Ayr constituency. I fear that that is a severe warning for the future.

Mr. Peter Luff (Worcester)


Mr. Robertson

I would say in answer to that that it is extremely expensive for the hon. Member for Ayr, whose wafer-thin majority is certainly no longer there to protect him.

This is an important issue. In Committee, the Minister for Industry, who has departed, said; I recognise that there is genuine concern in Scotland about the measure."—[Official Report. Standing Committee F, 8 March 1994; c. 429.] One must ask why the measure is in the Deregulation and Contracting Out Bill, in which context it sits uneasily. It was not in the Conservative manifesto in Scotland at the election two years ago, and there has been little or no consultation about it with the public at large and little or no warning that it would appear in such a measure in this Parliament. As the hon. Member for Ayr pointed out, there is a slight suspicion that it is in response to a specific lobby that the House is being asked to legislate on this.

I must make it clear at the beginning of my remarks that for the Opposition—as, indeed, I believe for the Government—there will be a completely free vote when the amendment is pressed to a Division. My hon. Friends will not—I underline this—be asked to support the hon. Member for Ayr as he has simply tabled the amendment in order to facilitate the debate and to get the Government off the procedural hook on which they found themselves in the Standing Committee. I hope that my hon. Friends will listen to the argument that I shall deploy and, at the end of the debate, vote in favour of the hon. Gentleman's amendment and delete clause 17 from the Bill.

The law in Scotland was comprehensively changed by Parliament in 1976 following the Clayson committee report. Although the Clayson committee recommended that off-licences should be open on a Sunday, Parliament, in its wisdom in 1976 decided that that was one recommendation that it would not accept—1976 is a long time ago.

Parliament had another opportunity to consider in some detail the form of the measure that we are talking about this evening. In 1990, when the Government introduced the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Scotland) Bill, there was another opportunity to debate the measure, but once again Parliament—this is not a partisan point because opinion differed across the board, and I shall come to that in a moment—decided that there should be no change to the law as it was established in 1976. We are talking about a period of three years between Parliament making a definitive decision—it was a definitive decision—not to change the law and the Government including a clause in this Bill to change it completely.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Lord James Douglas-Hamilton)

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the provision in the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Scotland) Bill was withdrawn in 1990 owing to lack of parliamentary time, not for any other reason?

Mr. Robertson

On Second Reading in 1990, the Minister said that a great deal of time would be spent in Committee but it was not—the matter was dispensed with. Indeed, the hon. Members for Dumfries (Sir H. Monro) and for Tayside, North (Mr. Walker)—the latter is here this evening—spoke against that provision on Second Reading.

Only three years later, the Government have introduced a comprehensive change to the law based on a single clause put into wholly inappropriate legislation. I suggest that the case that was put forward in 1990 for retaining the difference between the Scottish law and the situation in England remains as valid now as it was then. Our more liberal regime in Scotland does not need any alteration, and it should not be altered until there has been a review of the way in which it has operated up to now.

Unlike the hon. Member for Ayr, I am not articulating a keep Sunday special argument in this debate, although I recognise that some who will follow my advice tonight will do so for that precise reason. Hon. Members have been written to by the Church of Scotland's board of social responsibility, which has expressed a strong view that we should oppose the Government's proposal. I could hardly say that, since earlier this evening I voted for horse racing to take place on Sunday, and I did so consciously and consistent with all my views.

10.30 pm

I do not make this recommendation this evening because I hold illiberal views on the licensing laws in Scotland. I think that the liberalisation of the law in Scotland has been beneficial. It has worked well and has eliminated some of the anti-social consequences of the pre-existing legislation. Even if I held to those arguments, the reality is that people who want to buy alcohol to consume in their own home in Scotland can do so. Although off-licences are not permitted to open for very good reasons, Parliament in 1990 and 1976 laid forth that pubs and hotels can sell alcohol.

Mr. Kynoch

The hon. Gentleman makes the point that anybody who wants to buy alcohol for consumption on Sunday in his own home can buy it from a pub, hotel or similar establishment, but the cost of the alcohol is much higher than it is in a supermarket. People can shop in a supermarket on Sunday, but when they reach the wine section the shutters are down. Does not the hon. Gentleman see an inconsistency there? Does he not accept that those who want to keep Sunday special do not have to buy their alcohol on Sunday if they do not wish to?

Mr. Robertson

First, I was not arguing for the keep Sunday special campaign in general terms in any event. Parliament decided in 1976 and in 1990 that the difference between pubs and hotels and off-licences is that there is a greater degree of control in the sale of alcohol from the licensed premises. That is distinct from the level of control that was anticipated then and that we have seen since then in off-licences and in licensed grocers. There is a major distinction. Yes, there is a price to pay. If people want to buy alcohol, they can do so, but they do so in regulated circumstances which perhaps prevent some of the excesses that were anticipated when the law was last looked at.

I ask the House to resist the change in the law because its consequences have simply not been thought through in relation to the peace and quiet of many citizens in Scotland today. I go back to some of the wise words which were expressed in 1990. My hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, South (Mr. Griffiths) in his speech in the Standing Committee brought together a number of sentiments that are worth repeating.

The hon. Member for Dumfries, who was not a Minister at the time, said on Second Reading: The provision allowing alcohol to be available at off-licences on Sundays will make control that much harder."—[Official Report, 12 June 1990; Vol. 174, c. 198.] The hon. Gentleman, who is not here this evening, is now a Scottish Office Minister. Although there is a free vote, there is no doubt some informal arrangement among those on the Government Front Bench which the Minister will explain.

The hon. Member for Tayside, North is here this evening and he may well speak for himself. I do not know whether he has changed his mind or whether he is still with us.

Mr. Bill Walker (Tayside, North)


Mr. Robertson

Let me remind the hon. Gentleman of his words in 1990 before he intervenes.

Like other hon. Members, I am concerned about supermarkets and off-licences and I hope that we can deal in detail with them in Committee."—[Official Report, 12 June 1990; Vol. 174, c. 206.]

Mr. Walker

I shall be brief. For the hon. Gentleman's benefit, I have changed my mind and I hope to explain why.

Mr. Robertson

It will be interesting to hear why the hon. Gentleman has changed his mind. He is a man of independent spirit on some occasions and we shall see whether he took an independent decision or he has changed his mind in response to any particular lobbying. I have quoted what he said in the previous debate.

In 1990, when he was Secretary of State for Scotland, the right and learned hon. Member for Edinburgh, Pentlands (Mr. Rifkind) said eventually that the opposition was so great that the Government would not pursue the matter. He has moved on to greater things in another area, and who knows what decision he will make this evening?

I believe that the law should not be changed until there has been a review of three specific points. I am not implacably opposed to the measure on principle, if on three grounds the Government can prove their case. First, some conclusions of the open-air drinking experimental byelaws upon which the Government embarked two years ago must be published and discussed. The Governme nt rightly tested the idea of a ban on open-air drinking in the centres of Motherwell, Dundee and Galashiels. It was an extremely good experiment. The Government resisted allowing any other local authority in Scotland to adopt such byelaws, even though there was considerable demand for them to do so, until the experiment had been concluded.

The Government said that the experiment could be concluded only after a sensibly long period. That period apparently has finished, but the Government have not yet published the outcome of the experiment. We should not contemplate in one clause in one Bill a substantial change in the law when the experiment that the Government themselves set up has not yet had a chance to prove itself one way or another.

The reality today is that in so many housing estates across Scotland open-air drinking is becoming the norm rather than the exception. All Members of Parliament have found that people complain bitterly about it. The problem is not confined to the centres of towns. In many cases, it is a problem on peripheral housing estates.

Mr. Bill Walker

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that I moved amendments to the Criminal Justice and Public Order Bill on open-air drinking and under-age drinking? I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman was not here to support me when I moved those amendments.

Mr. Robertson

I understand that the Government refused to accept the hon. Gentleman's amendments. We acknowledge that there is a demand for implementation of the byelaws in a large number of towns throughout Scotland. The Government have an experiment in place which they say we must allow to finish. They say that the conclusions must be published before they will allow such byelaws to be implemented. Surely to goodness the Government should not legislate until they have the results of the experiment, have published them and have had them debated. I firmly believe that that is part and parcel of the subject that we are discussing today.

The reality is that a large number of youngsters purchase alcohol, or have alcohol purchased for them, in off-licences and consume it in the streets round about. Scottish Take Home News is published as a supplement to the Scottish Licensed Trade News. It is a worthwhile publication which I have received for many years. It has a front-page headline this week about Smugglers Off Sales in Saltcoats. I am not certain whether any of my hon. Friends from Cunninghame are here this evening.

The headline is: Licensee survives local authority supervision bid. Council hits at off-sales". The story is of the licensee of an off-licence in Saltcoats who almost lost her licence as a consequence of under-age drinking outside the premises. The article says that Mrs. Eileen Scott, the proprietor of the Smugglers off-licence who had previously been fined £200 for selling drink to under-agers, says she's 'paranoid' about youngsters around her shop who still attempt to buy alcohol and who regularly bribe or threaten older people to buy it for them. The article goes on: Mrs. Scott is angry at the older men who buy alcohol for youngsters. She claims that some unemployed men in the area buy alcohol for under-age drinkers for £1. 'We have been weeding it out, but it is difficult when somebody is left in the shop and gives the alcohol to others. I have been out in the street chasing children up town and phoning the police if kids are loitering with intent'. That is only example, but it is part and parcel of the picture across Scotland.

The second matter that needs to be reviewed before such a change in the law is contemplated is the anomaly created by the fact that, under the law, people under 18 are not allowed to buy alcohol but are allowed to consume it, even on the streets. Again, the reality is that it is all too easy, even where the holder of the off-licence is law-abiding, for such individuals to purchase alcohol. Some of the drink in question is of very high strength. It includes spirits and the famous Buckfast fortified wine. It includes also new exotic beers with alcohol strengths of 9 to 11 per cent.—very close to the strength of wine—many of which are brewed in Scotland. They are very powerful, especially in some of the lethal cocktails that are consumed today.

There is something at least anomalous, and perhaps daft, about a situation in which it can be a serious criminal offence for an off-licensee to sell alcohol to, or for an adult to buy alcohol for, youngsters but those youngsters may consume it legally, even if they are causing a major problem for the surrounding area. Recently I spoke to a policeman who strongly supported the campaign on this subject in which I was involved. He said that on many occasions he had taken alcohol from youngsters and poured it down a drain but worried that, in taking away other people's property, he was himself committing a criminal offence in the course of his public service. In that respect the law is in need of careful examination in advance of any change.

The third ground for a review before legislation is passed relates to the need for an investigation by the Scottish Office into the number of off-licences that are granted. We are given the easy comparison between England and Wales, where off-licences are open on Sunday, and Scotland where, anomalously, they are not. Tradition and culture in England and Wales are, I submit, almost completely different from those in Scotland. There is a tradition of very small licensed grocers who are willing and able to sell alcohol at any time of the day or night. I seriously believe that the Government must examine carefully the facility with which grocers can secure licences and must consider whether a tough enough regime has been put in place.

As the Department of Trade and Industry has conceded, this is an important subject that gives rise to anxiety. We have an obligation to people who have some right to respite from a plague that afflicts so many for six out of every seven days. If that plague could be dealt with effectively in some other way, if the Government have a proposal in mind, if they carry out a review of the three sectors that I have suggested should be investigated and if they can satisfy us that the citizens on whose behalf we are complaining can be made content, they might, with some judiciousness, bring forward legislative change.

We are embarking on the change much too hurriedly, without sufficient examination. In doing so we do a disservice to the constituents we serve. Therefore, I ask my hon Friends to support the amendment and to eliminate clause 17.

10.45 pm
Mr. Bill Walker

I rise to oppose the amendment and I shall tell the House why.

The hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. Robertson) properly drew attention to the fact that, on Second Reading of the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 1985, I spoke against. Since then I have conducted some inquiries.

The hon. Member for Hamilton drew attention to the experiment carried out in Dundee. As a result of my inquiries into that experiment I tabled two amendments at the Report stage of the Criminal Justice Bill. My objective was to draw attention to the problem, which is not opening licensed premises, but drinking in open spaces around such premises, as the hon. Gentleman said, and—what is worse —under-age drinking.

Under-age drinking should be a criminal offence—not merely selling alcohol to people who are under age—and, more importantly, the police should have powers to deal with that offence on the spot. We are attempting to deal with a social problem and to do so by the wrong mechanism. I can explain why it is wrong with my hand on my heart because I am teetotal, so it does not matter to me what the licensing laws are.

I am concerned with my constituents, as is the hon. Member for Hamilton. Why should the distillery shops in my constituency not be able to sell their products to the many thousands of visitors who come to my constituency and who visit the distilleries? We quite properly want all those overseas visitors to acquire a taste for Scotch whisky and to buy it in quantities—as many of them do, but we want many more to do so. With exports at £2,000 million it is very important that our licensing structure recognises the importance of the Scotch whisky industry to the Scottish economy. It is vital that we deal with that narrow, but important, aspect.

It is also true to say that instead of banning things we should be liberalising, so that we can deal with the social problems, which do exist. If hon. Members had been seriously interested in the problem I would have hoped to see many more of them here. A number of hon. Members are present and I am pleased to see the hon. Member for Kilmarnock and Loudon (Mr. McKelvey), who supported me in my efforts to get the Government to deal with the real problem—a problem that exists on other days—which is people drinking in public places.

My hon. Friend the Minister said that the byelaw procedures would be encouraged—I hoped that the hon. Member for Hamilton would recognise that. I am paraphrasing, but my hon. Friend told me that the experiments had been encouraging, although there had been problems, to which I and the hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. McAllion) drew attention during the debate on my amendments. If an area is outlined and detailed and alcohol consumption is banned, there is a danger of moving the problem somewhere else.

In his reply to the debate on my amendments my hon. Friend the Minister said that other areas could also be designated and that the Government would look kindly on that. That is part of the method of dealing with the problem, but I agree with the hon. Member for Hamilton that we should have legislation that addresses the real problem—anti-social drinking at whatever age by anyone. That is no reason for not allowing the off-licences, which quite properly are in competition—I am a great believer in competition—to open on Sundays.

I disagree with my hon. Friend the Member for Ayr (Mr. Gallie) and I am probably as good a Christian as he is—at least I hope I am. I try very hard, but as with many other things, one is never as good as one would like to be. I take the view that Sunday is a day when I want to do the things that I enjoy. If I enjoy going to church, that is fine. If I enjoy doing other things, that is also fine, but I have never seen Sunday as a day on which I want to prevent others from doing what they enjoy.

I have always thought that, in Scotland, Sunday is the day when we enjoy our family life and get together. Although most of my family are teetotal, my brothers and sisters have inherited the fine Scottish habit of consuming a wee dram. They often do that on Sundays and I have never noticed any adverse effects. If they were to run out, they would want to go out and get supplies, particularly when they have barbecues on Sundays.

We should look seriously at the real problems and not try to prevent drinking through the mechanism of this legislation.

Mr. Maxton

This debate is creating some very strange alliances across the Floor of the House. My hon. Friend for Hamilton (Mr. Robertson) was supporting the hon. Member for Ayr (Mr. Gallie) and I am about to support the hon. Member for Tayside, North (Mr. Walker) and, presumably, the hon. Member for Kincardine and Deeside (Mr. Kynoch).

There have been very few occasions on which I have been in alliance with the hon. Member for Tayside, North. I have been convinced of the arguments for opening off-licences on Sundays, particularly in supermarkets, but a strange anomaly developed, which the hon. Member for Ayr did not take into account. Supermarkets were opening illegally in England, but were able to sell drink from their off-licence departments yet no action was taken against them whereas in Scotland supermarkets were opening perfectly legally—it was within the law for them to do so —but their off-licences were closed.

Although Scots were able to go into supermarkets and buy what they wanted perfectly legally, they could not buy drink as part of what was often their weekly shopping. My wife often does a full weekly shop in Safeway on a Sunday afternoon. Of course, she cannot buy a bottle of sherry, whisky or wine along with the rest of the shopping. That is absurd. It is equally absurd that hotels and pubs are perfectly able to sell drink for consumption outside their premises, while supermarkets and off-licences which may be just a couple of doors down the street from the pub or hotel cannot sell it.

As the hon. Member for Kincardine and Deeside pointed out, when people have to go into a pub or hotel to buy their drink, they pay considerably more.

It seems to me that the argument of both the hon. Member for Ayr and my hon. Friend the Member for Hamilton was about not selling drink for off-licence purposes in Scotland so that people could not drink outside or anywhere else. That is not an argument for closing off-licences and leaving pubs and hotels open.

Mr. Sam Galbraith (Strathkelvin and Bearsden)

Does my hon. Friend have information on the amount of alcohol sold for consumption outside pubs on Sundays? What would the figures be if alcohol now became available in off-licences as well? Would not there be a tremendous increase in the amount of alcohol sold once it became available in the other outlets?

Mr. Maxton

I am not sure that that would be so. I openly admit that I have no figures, but I doubt whether my hon. Friend has, either. If he can produce figures to prove his point, that is fair enough, but I doubt whether he can.

I accept the arguments which my hon. Friend the Member for Hamilton made against outside drinking and tighter controls on under-age drinking and off-licences generally and I should like to see the review that he suggests. However, those arguments apply for the six days a week on which off-licences are now open and it would not make an enormous difference if they were also open on Sundays. So although his arguments are legitimate, they are not necessarily against keeping the clause in the Bill.

Mr. George Robertson

I welcome the remarks by my hon. Friend and distinguished constituent. But are not the products sold by pubs and hotels, which can sell on the seventh day of the week, different? Although most pubs and hotels are entitled to sell alcohol, they are wary and usually do not sell Buckfast fortified wine and some other products that seem to be available in licensed grocers, with only one destination. Although I am asking for a review because a change in the law is proposed, many people who live in close proximity to off-licences and licensed grocers have at least some relief from the aggravation that they suffer on one day out of the seven.

Mr. Maxton

My hon. Friend has made his point but it is not an argument against opening off-licences on Sundays. I should have been happy to accept an amendment that would allow the opening of off-licences only in supermarkets. I put forward the idea as a possible way to deal with the problem but it was not widely accepted by other Opposition Members. It would have been a way to deal with smaller off-licences, but it was not suggested that I should table such an amendment.

I have tabled a new clause, which has not yet been debated, on putting fluoride into water in Scotland. The only argument that has been put to me against my new clause is that public opinion in Scotland is against putting fluoride into water. Evidence from all opinion polls on this issue in Scotland shows that an overwhelming majority of Scottish people favour opening off-licences in Scotland.

Reluctantly, therefore, as my hon. Friend the Member for Hamilton is my Member of Parliament, I shall be in the opposite Lobby to him tonight, voting against the amendment.

Mr. Michael J. Martin (Glasgow, Springburn)

The hon. and learned Member for Fife, North-East (Mr. Campbell) has made a good suggestion in a private conversation here in the Chamber—that more such matters should be examined by the licensing board, which consists of men and women who live in the community and know the problems close at hand.

United Distillers and Tennents breweries are in my constituency. They are both excellent employers and I want no harm done to their sales. It is all very well for hon. Members to say that they would like to buy a bottle of wine in a supermarket on a Sunday because they have run short and are having friends for dinner. But in some parts of my constituency shopping facilities have housing above them, and to enter the housing one has to go through a door situated in the centre of the shops. Because of the terrible weather that we have in Glasgow, when young people and people over a certain age buy their carry-outs and cans of super lager it is natural for them to consume them in the close mouth. It is not a question of saying, "Keep the Sabbath holy", but at least those tenants will have one day a week with a bit of peace and quiet.

11 pm

That brings me back to the argument about Sunday opening. No one ever gave a thought to the fact that most of our major cities in Scotland have tenement property, and that people in such property are being annoyed on a Sunday by drinkers urinating in the close mouth. Sometimes, because of the behaviour of those drinkers, people are ashamed to invite their friends and relatives to visit them. If they want to meet them, they do so in the town and elsewhere.

I recognise that perhaps that problem does not exist in a big supermarket complex that has received all the considerations of the planning committee and the advice of the planning officials, and where it is away from built-up areas. People who go to a supermarket to buy alcohol usually go there by car. They are not drinking and driving; they buy the alcohol, put it in the boot of the car and go home. But a few hardened drinkers gather in little congregations all over my constituency—sometimes around schools. They call them "garden parties". In fact, if we have good weather, there they are with their cans of super lager. Quite frankly, they demean the area.

If we said that we should undertake a review of under-age drinking and of the people who are abusing alcohol, it still would not address the problem, but it would go some way to doing so if we gave the local licensing authorities a chance to say, "This is an application for a licence for Sunday opening in a built-up area. What do the neighbours have to say?" The neighbours could then go to the licensing committee and say, "It is all very well for someone living in the leafy suburbs, but we live next to multi-storey flats; the off-licence is at the bottom and people will be hanging around the lifts after they have bought a drink and annoying women and elderly people."

We must admit that we are living in a society in which more and more of our aged citizens are being frightened. It is, perhaps, not the danger that they are in but the danger that they perceive themselves to be in. That adds to their insecurity. I recognise that it is a serious problem.

Are we supporting the hon. Member for Ayr (Mr. Gallie)? I pay him the compliment of saying that there is a large supermarket in the centre of the town of Ayr with a big notice telling everyone to campaign and lobby him —it uses his name—to say that the drinking laws should be changed in favour of the supermarkets. I believe that his amendment gives some consideration to his constituents and many other people who feel that, if one wants to get a carry-out—that is what it is called in Glasgow; if one wants to buy some products from the off-licence, it is called "getting your carry-out"—one can do it six days a weeks.

Mr. David Jamieson (Plymouth, Devonport)

It is the same in Plymouth.

Mr. Martin

Perhaps it is the same in Plymouth; I do not know. It can be done. I know that, when we try to control the sale of alcohol, we find ourselves involved in all sorts of ridiculous legislation. We must consider those who want a wee bit of peace and quiet on a Sunday.

Mr. Galbraith

I fear that I shall develop a reputation as a killjoy, which would amaze some former colleagues from my previous incarnation. I support the amendment —for a number of reasons, but first on the basis of the general principle that this is not the way in which to handle Scottish legislation that significantly affects the nature of Scottish society. I think that even my hon. Friends—and any Conservative Members who support Sunday opening for off licences—ought to oppose this method of introducing an important piece of Scottish legislation that should have been subject to wide consultation, considered in the Scottish Grand Committee and only then introduced in the House. It is premature and wrong.

Mr. Brian Wilson (Cunninghame, North)

May I remind my hon. Friend that the Government introduced the proposal in the considered setting of the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Scotland) Bill, enacted in 1990, but it was rejected by a Scottish Committee and went no further? They are now trying to reintroduce it in a particularly back-door way.

Mr. Galbraith

I agree. Once again Scottish legislation has been tacked on to a United Kingdom Bill at an inappropriate time, and I hope that my hon. Friends who favour Sunday opening for off-licences will none the less oppose it on that basis.

A number of matters must be considered. I make no apology for again using the "Keep Sunday Special" argument, but it need not be advanced from a Christian perspective; it can be advanced from the perspective of a society in which, for non-Christian reasons, it is considered appropriate to set aside one day when people can have a bit of peace and quiet and not be bothered by the run-of-the-mill hassles of everyday life. That is an important requirement that is at the heart of Scottish culture and society, and we should not throw it away without further consideration.

The measure will not only affect supermarkets—my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Maxton) has agreed that the position may differ there—or off-licences; it will affect licensed grocers. Together, the two constitute a problem. Licensed grocers often operate on large housing estates that may be areas of deprivation, trouble and hooliganism; they can open at 8 am on Sundays and start selling huge ranges of cheap alcohol. My hon. Friend the Member for Cathcart suggested that that was no different from pubs being open, but it is. Pubs are generally open for people to consume alcohol on the premises. I do not know the figures, but it must represent at least 95 per cent. of Sunday sales. They do not have a wide range, and alcohol is expensive. People do not generally come out of pubs with large amounts; it is drunk on the premises. That does not apply to licensed grocers, which are poorly regulated and sell other products.

Off-licences, too, are a problem in my constituency. I receive numerous complaints about off-licences' opening at 8 am, when queues of customers—often from the outer parts of my constituency—have already formed, and corner boys hang around disturbing the neighbourhood. Surely we can allow local residents one day on which they will not be troubled in such a way; surely that is not too much to ask. It is all very well for those of us like myself and my hon. Friend the Member for Cathcart who disappear elsewhere at weekends, but many others find it a disturbing time, and I hope that we can consider them.

The hon. Member for Tayside, North (Mr. Walker) claims that this can all be dealt with through byelaws banning open-air drinking. I caution hon. Members against that argument. I have no doubt that such measures would deal with the problem to some extent, and I hope that my local authorities will introduce them soon—I have already spoken to them—but we should not be deceived into believing that they would effectively eliminate it.

Let us remember that the experiment was carried out in three areas. It is in the nature of experiments that they change things and the results of an experiment are always preferable to what happens when the subsequent legislation is introduced because the police and the shopkeepers are on their toes during an experiment and everyone involved is engaged in keeping the areas under a microscope. The results are not so good once the experiment involves the general population.

The issues should be considered fully before any decision is taken. The Government are remiss in tagging this proposal on to a United Kingdom Bill. For that reason, I hope that my hon. Friends will oppose clause 17 and accept amendment No. 86.

Mr. Galloway

I, too, congratulate the hon. Member for Ayr (Mr. Gallie) on the sincere and powerful way in which he moved the amendment. The last time I agreed with him in public was in George square in Glasgow when we shared a platform during the "Save the Whale" demonstration.

I deal first with the allegation made in a number of speeches by Labour and Conservative Members that the amendment is intended to stop people in Scotland having a whale of a time on Sunday. My hon. Friend the Member for Strathkelvin and Bearsden (Mr. Galbraith) has just said that it is not necessary to sign up to the Keep Sunday Special campaign to accept that there is a certain rhythm to life on these islands, that Sunday has been a different kind of day from the rest and that many people like it and want to keep it that way, especially with regard to licensing hours. I am a lower case "keep Sunday special" man: I do not think that I fit easily the caricature of the Sabbatarian killjoy, and I am certainly not arguing from that standpoint.

As in Committee, I am tonight arguing from the standpoint that has been identified by a number of my hon. Friends. The first argument that I hope the serried ranks of my colleagues behind me will find persuasive is that we are debating what is, in effect, a constitutional outrage. The Government are trying to slip in a proposal that would materially change the rhythm of Scottish life and they are trying to do so by means of a little clause added on to a controversial United Kingdom Bill, which has absolutely nothing to do with when and where people in Scotland can and should consume alcohol. Indeed, it was voted on by a Committee where the majority was provided by English Members of Parliament who knew nothing about the arguments but were whipped to support the legislation.

If such a change is to be considered, there should be full public consultation in Scotland involving Scottish Members on a Scottish Committee. I should prefer consideration to take place in a Scottish Parliament, but, if it is to take place before there is such a thing—before the next election—it should be done properly after an informed debate in Scotland, not by this subterfuge.

Through you, Madam Deputy Speaker, I caution the Minister to be very careful in the current climate about inadvertently misleading the House. It cannot be true that the only reason why the proposal was withdrawn in 1990 was the lack of parliamentary time. My hon. Friend the Member for Hamilton (Mr. Robertson) cited the then Secretary of State's assertion that it was to be withdrawn under fire from all sides in an appropriate place—a Scottish Committee. If it is to be reintroduced, that is where it should happen. That is the first argument against the clause.

11.15 pm

My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Maxton) talked about unusual alliances, but I find myself in the usual position of disagreeing with my hon. Friend the Member for Hamilton (Mr. Robertson) in the nicest possible way. We are not talking about the Oddbins, pukka, posh wine shop in the Elysian fields of Hamilton where he lives—he has fought for those fields over the years—or, for that matter, in Byres road in my constituency. We are not talking about the person who decides to have a barbecue on a nice day and rolls up to Oddbins in the west end to stock up on Chablis or Chateauneuf du Pape.

We are talking about what is effectively a super-lager lout's charter. The problem is not in Hamilton's Elysian fields or in Byres road; the problem is in the peripheral housing estates—the deserts with windows—which were constructed by ill-advised Governments and councils in the past. People are imprisoned on those housing estates, and at the moment they have one day's relief from the problem which has been identified in the House this evening but which is worth repeating. I refer to the problem of the licensed grocery which, all too often, is owned by a shopkeeper who is not sufficiently alert to the fine print of the licensing laws—and not only the licensing laws, but this is not the place to develop that argument.

We are not talking about the posh Oddbins in the west end of Glasgow, but about barbed-wired, iron-barred licensed grocery stores in housing estates. They are usually in a parade of shops with, as my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Springburn (Mr. Martin) correctly said, people living above them and in the surrounding houses and tenement buildings. Those people have to go to the shops to buy their milk, bread and newspapers on Sundays. If this measure is passed, they will have to run the gauntlet —as they do on the other six days of the week—

Mr. Martin O'Neill (Clackmannan)

Will my hon. Friend give way?

Mr. Galloway

I will give way in a moment.

They will have to run the gauntlet of corner boys and louts who are drinking their high-octane, super-charged super-lager and cheap wine. That is the social problem that we are dealing with. We simply ask: why should people who are already suffering that six days a week, have to suffer it on a seventh day?

Mr. O'Neill

Will my hon. Friend give way?

Mr. Galloway

I will give way in a moment.

Why should they suffer that, especially when there has been no proper debate about the matter in Scotland and the measure is not being taken in the full light of informed public opinion?

Mr. O'Neill

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for giving way. I did not mean to interrupt him, but I thought that he would forget that I wanted to intervene.

I have followed his argument very carefully. The abuse which he mapped out very dramatically over the six days seems to be a result of the working of the existing licensing codes in granting licences to these grocers' shops. The answer to the problem which he has identified so accurately is to prevent the grocers from being given licences in the first place; or, alternatively, to police them far more fiercely than they are at present.

It is quite clear that there are alternative retail outlets which could provide alcoholic beverages if necessary. The sale of alcohol in this manner is wholly inappropriate in particular areas. My hon. Friend should be attacking that problem, not the Bill.

Mr. Galloway

Can my hon. Friend see that if we cannot prevent this behaviour six days a week, we have little chance of preventing it seven days a week? I am well aware that, to some extent, the current law is not being implemented properly. But we will not solve that problem by visiting it upon people on a seventh day.

People ask me: if these abuses are occurring outside off-licences, why cannot people telephone the police? In Scotstoun in my constituency if people telephone the police on a Friday or Saturday to say that there is a lout urinating outside an off-licence, they will be lucky if the police arrive the next day. There are not enough police in the areas that I am talking about. When I was in Newton Mearns the other day, I saw plenty of police on patrol, but there do not seem to be quite so many police around when one needs them on the housing estates that we are talking about. It involves a different class of criminal.

The women, children and others who have to run that gauntlet and walk past the lout with the bottle of cheap sherry in one hand, who is urinating, shouting abuse and indulging in all the other anti-social behaviour that takes place outside licensed grocers and off-licences, are saying to us, "Solve the problem for the other six days a week before you try to force it down our throats on the seventh day."

My hon. Friend the Member for Hamilton carefully set out the improvements and reforms that we would like to be made before we would agree to allowing alcohol to be sold on the seventh day. If the Government said that they had proposals to deal with the abuses and problems, and if they said it persuasively enough for us to believe them, no doubt we would drop our objection. Unlike the hon. Member for Ayr, we do not oppose in principle selling drink on a Sunday.

We are mounting the case, persuasively, I hope, that our people—working-class people in Labour constituencies —are those worst affected by the problems. We shall not solve the problems by introducing a seventh day in the week on which they will be allowed to get worse. On behalf of those people, and in support of the leadership of my hon. Friend the Member for Hamilton, I hope that the amendment will be accepted.

Mrs. Ray Michie (Argyll and Bute)

I, too, have much sympathy with the amendment and I shall certainly support it. However, I was interested to discover that the hon. Member for Ayr (Mr. Gallie) is not making any alternative suggestions. I am not sure how the Minister will react to his proposal, but I hope that it will be favourably.

I am sorry that the amendment tabled by my hon. Friends and myself was not selected for debate, because we suggested that the opening of off-licences on Sunday should come under the direction of the local licensing board. As the hon. Member for Glasgow, Springburn (Mr. Martin) suggested, board members are the people who should have the right to decide whether off-licences should open.

I believe that there is no need for off-licences to open on a Sunday. There are already plenty of outlets for the purchase of alcohol, and, as we have heard, we have enough problems already with alcohol, alcoholism, alcohol-related crimes and under-age drinking. We do not need to add to those difficulties by allowing a greater supply of alcohol, especially on a Sunday.

I am prepared to argue on behalf of the many churchgoing communities in Scotland. They will be appalled if clause 17 stands. Over the years they have seen their Sunday, which they believe is holy, and should be treated as a day of reverence and of rest, eroded. Many others, too, believe that Sunday is a special day. It is a day for the family, a day on which people can try to recover from the traumas of their lives during the rest of the week.

The hon. Member for Ayr said that he supported the Sunday Trading Bill. I did not. Although we already had deregulation in Scotland, I was aware that if it came about in England, too, many stores that did not previously open on a Sunday in England would start opening on a Sunday in Scotland. Only this afternoon, a measure was passed that will allow more gambling with betting offices being opened for off-course betting. So, on a Sunday, we shall see gambling and more alcohol, which I believe that the people of Scotland, on the whole, do not want.

Sunday is a special day and it is a day that the people of Scotland want to keep special. The hon. Member for Tayside, North (Mr. Walker) said that the tourists would not be able to buy whisky. However, they can buy whisky on every other day of the week and it will not spoil their visit to Scotland if they go there to find that we have a different day and a special type of Sunday, which we cherish and care about.

Mr. Bill Walker

I trust that the hon. Lady is not suggesting that, in Oban, it is any different from the position in Pitlochry on Sunday, where all the shops are open and all the traders are catering for the many thousands of visitors who we welcome. It seems that the hon. Lady is making allegations that just do not represent what happens in our constituencies, where we are very much for tourism. They are full of life on Sunday. It is not a day of rest. All the people working in the shops are certainly not resting.

Mrs. Michie

I referred to the fact that there are many places in many parts of Scotland where people care deeply about their Sunday. Indeed, there are many people in Pitlochry who also care about their Sunday.

Mr. George Kynoch (Kincardine and Deeside)

Will the hon. Lady give way?

Mrs. Michie

Just once.

Mr. Kynoch

With regard to those people who want to keep their Sunday different and want to have a day of rest, does not the hon. Lady agree that they can still have their day of rest? First, they do not have to open if they are a shopkeeper and, secondly, if they are a customer, they do not have to buy. There is no compulsion in the clause. It is freedom of choice.

Mrs. Michie

But that is not the reality of what happens. We have heard what happens, especially on the housing estates. What will happen in the smaller communities? I can think of one where the people will be in church and, if the betting office is open, it will be just alongside the church. In the next street, the off-licence will be open and, up the road, the big superstore will be open. What I am trying to say is that Sunday is a special day in Scotland and something that we should care about.

Every community is different. They are different in the north of Scotland in comparison to the south. I accept that. Strong views are held in some communities and perhaps less strong views in others, but by including clause 17 in the Bill, the Government will be riding roughshod over local opinion. That opinion should be reflected by community councils, local organisations, and district councils, and any action taken on that subject should be done by the licensing boards, as I have already said. I hope that the Minister will accept the amendment and perhaps consider coming back here, or in the other place, to introduce legislation under which local licensing boards have the authority to allow places to be open or shut. That would be acceptable to the majority of hon. Members and to the majority of communities in Scotland.

Mr. William McKelvey (Kilmarnock and Loudoun)

On this occasion, I do not agree with the hon. Member for Ayr (Mr. Gallie), who moved the amendment, and I also disagree with some colleagues with whom, formerly, I would have agreed. May I also declare an interest? I was a former chairman of a licensing board and had the reputation of being a liberal chairman—with a small "1" and with a big heart. My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Hillhead (Mr. Galloway), who spoke so eloquently about his passion for keeping Sunday safe, supported me in some of the liberalising measures, such as being the first area in Scotland to have pavement licences. He very much applauded that.

I am also the chairman of the all-party Scotch whisky group. It has a very serious interest in allowing premises to be open on Sunday, not so much for the sale of whisky from off-licences as for very important tourist reasons. The 100 or so distilleries that open their doors for visitors on a Sunday and allow them to see the reception areas and the museum areas, because the distilleries are part of the heritage of Scotland, find it an anomaly that, while they may provide the visitors with a free dram, which they regularly do, once those visitors to our shores have acquired an instant liking for the spirit of life, they cannot —they are somewhat disturbed by this—purchase whisky on a Sunday from the distillery. They could, of course, go to the nearest pub to buy the same drink at an inflated price. However, I have never argued that inflated prices should be paid by visitors to our shores. Tourists, especially in highland areas, add a great deal to the local economy.

11.30 pm
Mr. Galloway

We find ourselves in the very foreign relationship, as my hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock and Loudoun (Mr. McKelvey) says, of disagreeing with each other. It strikes me that, if it was so much in the distilleries' interest to seduce the visitor or to hook him on the spirit of life, they could give it away in miniatures as a kind of loss leader. Discovering that they like it so much, the tourists could buy it on Monday in great quantities.

Mr. McKelvey

The difficulty with that approach is that some of the tourists might be winging their way out of Prestwick on a Sunday evening back to their homeland.

My hon. Friend the Member for Hillhead will be interested to know that it will soon be the 500th anniversary of the discovery—or invention—of Scotch whisky. The Scotch Whisky Association has put together an up-to-date programme listing the 42 distilleries which, on a Saturday, will welcome anyone to their premises and which will give free entry in most cases. In all cases, they will give a free dram to those who wish to see how a distillery works and to understand and learn about the history of Scotch whisky, as part of our heritage. The visitors will even be allowed to purchase, perhaps on a Saturday, a bottle of whisky. It is the nonsense of the legislation—or the lack of it—to which I object.

It is crazy to say that on a Saturday, the licensed grocers or the off-licences can open and dispense their drink, but not on a Sunday. If there is a difficulty about the drinks that they are dispensing, that is something with which we must deal. The one big mystery is where the lager louts go on a Sunday. Where do the groups of people who hang about and urinate in the closes on a Saturday go on a Sunday?

I agree that all licence-holders should be very careful about what they sell on their premises. However, I have yet to come across a publican who would not give someone a carry-out provided that he had the money to pay for it. Anyone can buy a case of strong lager from the pub. He can then, presumably, hump it on his back to the nearest close where people can gather in a group, start to drink and do all the unpleasant things of which they are accused. I know that lager louts gather in groups in some housing schemes and that they create difficulties for respectable people. That problem should be dealt with instantly by the police. Authorities already have that power.

We asked the Minister about an amendment proposed by the hon. Member for Tayside, North (Mr. Walker). Through our amendment, we said that we wanted the measures that had applied in the experiment in Dundee and in other areas to be introduced elsewhere. The experiment was partially successful, certainly in central areas where a large number of lager louts had been gathering and creating abuse not only for Dundee's respectable citizens but, visitors as well. It also happens in some central areas in our capital city. In the experiment, we were able to legislate to disperse the lager louts and—I agree—in some cases simply to move them to back streets or some underground howff which they may have chosen. However, they could still be pursued if the areas were extended.

I hope that the Minister is not going back on the promise that he made at the time. At the Dispatch Box, he said that, if any authority applied for areas where drinking in public would be a criminal offence, the Scottish Office would move with alacrity to supply the means to do that.

We were also concerned that the measure might go too far. If people are having a garden party or a barbecue out in the country and a bottle of wine is produced, suddenly half a dozen detectives could swoop on them from the trees and whisk them away. That is not what is intended, but it could happen if the Government are not careful about the way in which they couch the legislation. There is no need —and there should not be a case for it—for respectable citizens to be molested by drunken louts on any of our streets. As it is an offence, the police have the right to take care of that sort of situation, and they should do so.

Are we suggesting that drunkards do not pour out of pubs on occasions, and that we do not see gangs of drunken louts, not particularly at close heads but in the main streets of Glasgow, creating difficulties for people and visitors? They are there. At certain times of the night when clubs close, there is a huge exodus of people who are high sometimes on drink and sometimes on illicit drugs. There are great difficulties in those areas and we must legislate for that.

To come out with pious nonsense and say that we must keep Sunday special in order to give a rest to people who are molested six days a week is intolerable. I do not want anyone to be molested for six days a week. I do not want them to be molested for five, four, three, two days or one day a week. I would agree with legislating along those lines. Some may argue that this is an underhanded method of finding a piece of legislation, but if one happens to agree, it is acceptable. [Interruption.] That happens in the House time after time. If legislation happens to be introduced, by whatever device, and we are in favour of it, we often find that it is acceptable. It is not a question of principle. I stand here as principled as other hon. Members, but perhaps a bit more honest than some.

Mr. Gallie

The hon. Gentleman referred to the problem of drugs on our streets. Recently, I heard him talk about the problems of alcoholism; he said that there is no real cure. Clause 17 will exacerbate the problem because it goes too far. Will the hon. Gentleman consider his position with regard to his recent comments on alcoholism and accept that it is something that cannot be cured totally?

Mr. McKelvey

I accept that the situation is not out of control. With the police acting promptly, the problem can be solved. There is absolutely no need for anyone to tolerate the sort of scenes that have been outlined in the debate. I know that the hon. Gentleman does not agree with me that town councils and local authorities should have more power, not less, as has been happening under other Government legislation. Licensing boards should have, as they once did, the power to legislate and not to grant licences where either an off-licence or a licensed grocer was selling to children, or where a public house was not being kept properly. Today, if there is evidence of under-age drinking in public houses, the licence can be taken from the publican. The publican safeguards the licence and regards it as a precious piece of property since, in effect, it is his livelihood.

It is not true that we are awash in Scotland with outlets for drink. Recent surveys have shown, incredibly, that the macho-like Scots are not—as they might imagine—the heaviest or hardest drinkers in the United Kingdom. In some parts of England and Wales, the drink consumed per capita is one and a half times what it is in Scotland.

Mr. Bill Walker

Does the hon. Gentleman remember Dundee in the days when the pubs closed at 9.30? There were enormous problems with drunkenness in the city of Dundee, which vanished when the licensing laws were changed and were made much more sensible and relaxed.

Mr. McKelvey

My hon. Friend the Member for Hillhead, who spoke so eloquently, may recall that on Friday evening, it was a great event, as a child in Atholl street in Lochee—where I lived and where my hon. Friend was born—to wait until the pubs emptied so we could line up in the streets and see the street fighting. It was not the kind of gang attacks which occur there now—it was quite artistic pugilism when the pubs emptied.

I argued at the time on the licensing board that one of the reasons why we had so much trouble at half-past nine was that those people who finished their overtime at 9 o'clock got into the pub and downed as many nips and halves as they could in a short period which knocked them squidgy. They went outside, were not their usual selves and some trouble occurred.

When we extended the licensing times, the holy Willies told us that it was hell and damnation and that the whole nation would be drunk from morning till night, and even beyond that. In fact, that has not been the case at all. First, people could not consume that amount of alcohol and remain on their feet. Secondly, there is the question of cost. People simply cannot afford to spend their money over that period of time.

Irrespective of the means by which the legislation has been introduced to the House—I should have preferred it to have been done through a proper survey—I have a strange feeling that, even if in a referendum 90 per cent. had been in favour of opening, the same opposition as we are hearing tonight would have been voiced in the Chamber for a variety of reasons.

I firmly believe that we should legislate to bring the matter into a proper balance. If the experiment were to be done, it would show that, in the long term, no additional harm would be done to our society and to the life we live in Scotland. There would certainly be no reason why life would be any worse.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

I find myself very much in sympathy with many of the points made by the hon. Member for Kilmarnock and Loudoun (Mr. McKelvey).

In response to the hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. Robertson), I shall say that my hon. Friend the Minister for Corporate Affairs made it clear in Standing Committee that, to provide an opportunity for a debate on the Floor of the House, he invited the Committee to allow the clause to remain in the Bill. He said that we could have a proper debate with as many participants as possible—in particular Scottish Members—and in circumstances where the Whips would not try to determine the outcome.

I warmly welcome the fact that this will be a free vote, certainly for every Government Member and I hope that that includes Opposition Front-Bench Members. The hon. Member for Hamilton also raised the issue of there being too many off-licences in some areas. That is, of course, entirely a matter for local licensing boards, which can refuse applications for new off-licences if they are satisfied that the granting of a licence would result in an over-provision in a particular locality.

11.45 pm

That provision was introduced in the Licensing (Scotland) Act 1976, which was piloted onto the statute book by Harry Ewing, now Lord Ewing, for the last Labour Government, whom I recall. Unlike many of my colleagues on the Front Bench, I remember what it was like to be in opposition.

Mr. Calum Macdonald (Western Isles)

If it is right that the licensing boards have a power in respect of provision, why is it not equally right that the licensing board should have the power to determine whether it is in the community's interests for an off-licence to be open on a Sunday? The Minister is familiar with my constituency. Does he honestly think that it is right that one individual can thwart and defy the wishes of an entire community such as that in the Western Isles on this matter? Would not it be more democratic for the local licensing boards to have the option?

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

The Guest committee considered whether the matter should be discretionary in its 1960 report. It recommended that, instead of the varied hours fixed by the licensing courts of the day, there should be standard permitted hours for licensed premises for the whole of Scotland. That was accepted by the Clayson committee.

Mr. Menzies Campbell (Fife, North-East)

I do not think that the Minister is giving the House the whole story. Perhaps I ought to declare an interest. I have some professional expertise in licensing matters and from time to time appear on behalf of companies and individuals who might be thought to have some pecuniary interest in the outcome of our deliberations. The Minister piloted the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Scotland) Bill through the Committee in 1990. He knows that the determination of the regular extension of permitted hours is a matter entirely within the discretion of local licensing boards. Why does he not use that as a parallel when considering the issue that has just been put to him? Why should it not be within the discretion of licensing boards in Scotland to determine whether off-sales shops should be open to reflect the different social conditions throughout Scotland?

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

As a member of the Clayson committee, the hon. and learned Member will recall that the committee recommended that there should be standard permitted hours. That provision was included in the Licensing (Scotland) Act 1962 and continued by the Licensing (Scotland) Act 1976. The crux of the matter is that it would be anomalous to introduce a specific discretion for licensing boards solely in relation to Sunday hours for off-sale premises in their areas.

The crux of the matter was referred to by the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Maxton). He made it clear that it was a striking anomaly that, whereas the off-sales sections in supermarkets and other shops have to be cordoned off, off-sales from public houses and hotels are available, although much more expensively.

As for enforcement, licensing boards have powers to suspend the licence of off-licence premises on receipt of a complaint. They rightly have those powers at present.

Mr. Macdonald

Will the Minister give way?

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

No. I have given way to the hon. Gentleman and I have many points to cover.

With regard to choice, under clause 17 licensed retailers will be able to assess the commercial opportunities for themselves. The hon. Member for Kilmarnock and Loudoun and my hon. Friend the Member for Tayside, North (Mr. Walker) properly mentioned distilleries which provide conducted visits for tourists. The distilleries would have the opportunity, if they wished to do so, to sell souvenirs of their products. That would undoubtedly be good for tourism. I have to point out again to the House that tourists businesses are the largest single employer in the whole of Scotland.

Clause 17 does not permit off-licences to trade on a Sunday morning before 12.30, having regard to the existing opening time of 12.30 for licensed premises generally. The hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Maxton) raised the issue on 27 October and I made it clear that one day it might come before the House and be put to the vote. I support the clause on the grounds that it removes an anomaly, benefits tourism and increases consumer choice.

Relevant points were made earlier about nuisance. I want to deal with the points made by the hon. Member for Glasgow, Hillhead (Mr. Galloway). Many statutory offences already exist and should be used. The hon. Gentleman gave the example of someone urinating. This is covered by the Civic Government (Scotland) Act (1982), which deals with drunken and incapable behaviour, urination in public places in circumstances that would cause annoyance and obstruction of the lawful passage of another person. The Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act (1980) includes an offence of vandalism, as well as augmenting the common law on malicious mischief, and behaviour likely to cause alarm or annoyance may constitute the common law crime of breach of the peace. All those offences attract sizeable fines or imprisonment.

I want to deal with the key issue concerning byelaws that was raised by the hon. Member for Hamilton. I agree that this is the way forward. The experiments have been successful, and we hope that local authorities will come forward with proposals. Indeed, seven are already discussing possible byelaws with the Scottish Office. I hope very much that the process will be completed successfully. The maximum penalty for breach of the byelaws is a fine of £500.

Mr. George Robertson

When does the Minister intend to publish the results of the byelaw experiment so that the rest of Scotland may share the experience of the three towns that were chosen? Have the fears about displacement of the nuisance been realised? Surely the proper way to proceed is to publish the report on what has been an ambitious, and what the Minister has just described as a successful, experiment so that the people of Scotland may themselves come to a conclusion, rather than to provide an add-on to a deregulation measure that has little or nothing to do with the problem that we know exists.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

We have already debated this issue in the context of criminal justice legislation. Although the final results of the experiment have yet to be published, the main conclusions, with guidance, have already been issued to the local authorities, and we are prepared to consider any application sympathetically. I have also mentioned the fact that licensing boards already have the relevant sanctions to withdraw or suspend a licence where there is a nuisance. The purchase by an older person of alcohol for a person under 18 is already an offence.

Mr. Galloway

The Minister is advancing the fatuous argument that all the nuisances that we have described are already offences. We realise that. But how many prosecutions does the Minister think there have been in the city of Glasgow, or anywhere else, in the past 10 years? Given the burden on the overstretched police forces, does the Minister really think that a constituent of mine phoning up to say that a lout is urinating outside an off-licence will see the arrival of police in less than four or five hours, by which time the lout has staggered off?

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

Enforcement of the law is very much a matter for the police.[Interruption.] The hon. Gentleman raised the point. His party kept the police force in Strathclyde under strength. I am glad to say that it has had a change of heart and that the police are now becoming much stronger. I can assure the House that there has been no change whatsoever in the treatment of alleged offences that come before the law enforcement agencies, which will pursue cases vigorously.

We are very concerned about under-age drinking. We encourage schools to tackle alcohol issues in the context of health and education programmes. Currently we are engaging in a poster campaign. But, more important, statutory obligations have been introduced. There is a statutory embargo on unsupervised sales by people under 18 in off-licence or wholesale premises; it is an offence for any person to buy alcohol for or to sell alcohol to a person under 18; and it is an offence for a person under 18 to buy alcohol for his own or any other person's consumption. Indeed, we have made various other changes.

Mr. Gallie

It has been pointed out that it is illegal to sell drink to young people. But it is not illegal for young people to consume drink. What does my hon. Friend intend to do about that?

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

It most certainly is illegal for a person under the age of 18 to buy alcohol for his own or any other person's consumption. I made that absolutely clear to the House, so the circumstances that the hon. Member for Hamilton mentioned may well be illegal.

Attitudes have changed. In a recent survey for the Scottish Retailers Licensing Law Reform Group, by System 3 Scotland, 63 per cent. of a sample of more than 1,000 adults were in favour of retail stores selling alcohol on Sundays and 37 per cent. said that they would be likely to buy alcohol from a licensed retailer on a Sunday. The commercial reality will simply be that off-licences will remain closed on a Sunday unless they have sufficient customers to make opening worth their while.

Mr. Macdonald


Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

I must get on.

In a letter to all Members of Parliament representing Scotland, the Scottish Consumer Council made it clear that it supports the clause because it believes that it is a sensible extension of choice to consumers, allowing them greater freedom to decide when they wish to purchase alcohol.

The introduction of the new law in 1976 did not result in any significant overall increase in alcohol consumption. A 1984 survey showed that consumption among men was virtually the same in 1984 as in 1976 and that an increase in women's drinking seemed to reflect the more relaxed attitude to their drinking.

This has been a wide-ranging debate, in which matters of principle have been debated with great passion. Members have deeply held convictions on the issue and it is right and proper that the House should decide on a free vote. For my part, I believe that clause 17 should remain part of the Bill. It removes an anomaly and extends a new freedom to retailers and—much more importantly—to consumers, who will benefit from enhanced choice and more competitive prices. People who are concerned with potential public nuisance can be reassured that a battery of statutory and common law sanctions is already available and permits the police and licensing boards to take the appropriate action against those who might act irresponsibly. The clause represents steady and sensible progress. It is a reform consistent with current social attitudes and I commend it to the House as being in keeping with the spirit of the last year of the 20th century. I ask the House to reject the amendment.

Mr. Darling

As usual, the Minister's response was not very satisfactory. It was longer than his response to the debate on extending aggravated trespass to the law of Scotland, but the content was not much better, which is a pity because, despite what he said, I agree with the conclusion that he reached.

I represent the city centre in Edinburgh and, perhaps more than some other hon. Members, I have reason to know of the problems that arise because of the abuse of alcohol. I do not see much difference between meeting someone in the street who has had far too much to drink in a pub and meeting someone who has had far too much to drink from cans bought from an off-licence. The clinch point is that it is absurd that one can buy as much drink as one wants in a pub in Scotland and that one can buy drink to take home from a pub in Scotland on a Sunday, but one cannot buy it from a supermarket or other off-licence premises. That is an anomaly that ought to be ended.

I understand the problems that exist in parts of Scotland with regard to off-licence premises. I am prepared to accept what my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Hillhead (Mr. Galloway) and others said about that. My hon. Friend must also accept that the problems in Edinburgh and its city centre tend to arise not from off-licence premises but from fully licensed premises.

My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Springburn (Mr. Martin) mentioned the fact that many licensed premises are underneath tenemental property. In fact, 90 per cent. of my constituents live in such property and most of the pubs in Edinburgh are also under such property. That is where the problems arise.

My conclusion is that the problem that we need to review is not off-licence premises in Scotland but the licensing regime. We must face up to that fact. As many hon. Members said, it is not merely a problem on Sunday, but one that goes on for six days a week. If the clause is passed, it will be a problem that we shall have to deal with all of the time.

It is high time that the House examined how the licensing laws operate. I have every sympathy with my hon. Friends who say that it is probably the wrong place and the wrong Bill to do that, but the measure is before us tonight and we have to reach a judgment. It is a free vote and we are all entitled to express our opinions according to our experience and that of our constituents. That is how it ought to be.

The licensing laws need to be examined as they are biased against the objectors—the ordinary members of the public. Licensees tend not only to have access to representation, which they can well afford, but rights of appeal; they have greater opportunities than ordinary objectors. It is high time that the balance was redressed.

12 midnight

I do not see why my constituents should have to put up with far too many late licence outlets that stay open until all hours of the morning when they also have to put up with people coming out of pubs and nightclubs late at night and causing disturbances. I have sympathy with people living next to off-licence premises where there is a problem, but we will not tackle that problem by banning everything for everyone all the time. That is a wrong response; it cannot be right as a matter of public policy.

If there are problems—my hon. Friend the Member for Hillhead has said that there are certain problems with off-licence premises—the licensing boards should be given powers to stop shops from opening. At the moment they have great difficulty because they can be challenged if they are do not operate a consistent policy.

I am prepared to let them be inconsistent; I am even prepared to do away with the normal standards of proof in some cases where there is a good suspicion that problems are occurring at certain premises, but that cannot be proved, even on the balance of probabilities. I am prepared to do that because the rights of ordinary citizens who live next door to licensed premises ought to be protected.

However, I cannot accept that it is right to ban people from buying alcohol from supermarkets on a Sunday when at the same time, on the same day of the week, we let them go to the pub and drink as much as they want or buy alcohol to take home. That cannot be right; it is inconsistent. I accept that there is a problem. Let us deal with it through the licensing regime rather than by a blanket ban.

Mr. Macdonald

I make no apology for detaining the House—or the Government Whip who seems in a hurry to conclude the debate—for a few minutes longer, not just because of the unacceptable approach, the back-door method of tackling the policy, but because the Minister failed to address one of the key points that I tried to put to him and that was made earlier by the hon. Member for Argyll and Bute (Mrs. Michie).

We are talking about the objection to the Government's proposal. It is not simply a question of public order, or the nuisance and disturbance that having off-licences open creates in certain areas. That was discussed by many hon. Members. The Minister seemed to focus his entire reply, in an unsatisfactory way, on public order, but there is a separate issue—the right of local communities to pursue, protect and defend a particular way of life and a particular set of values.

The Minister knows the Western Isles very well. He has a great love and affection for them. One of the things that he likes about the Western Isles is the particular way of life there. The Minister and the Government are proposing to take away from the community in the islands the right to shape, determine and maintain that way of life.

The Minister, in refusing any more interventions from me, was displaying a bit of a guilty conscience. He is familiar with the area. It is not just a question of freedom of choice for individuals, which is an important value, but the freedom of choice for communities. Communities should be able to pursue a culture and set of values that suit and benefit them and are attractive for others to observe and even visit. The Minister referred to the measure's value for tourism, but many tourists come to the Western Isles for the way of life there, especially the observance of the Sabbath, which is one of the major linchpins and attractions of the community in the islands.

Although the measure may not result in off-licences opening in the Western Isles, the community will no longer have a defence against that happening. How can the Minister think that it is right, in communities like those in Lewis, Stornoway or Harris, for one individual to go against the wishes of the community? It is not a question of that individual going his own way without affecting the rest of the community as others do not have to open or man the shop or buy goods there. If a shop is open and being utilised, it immediately affects the surrounding community, and the way of life is irretrievably lost.

The Minister knows the great effort that the community in the islands has made in recent years to preserve its way of life. He is also responsible for transport issues in Scotland and will know the uproar that was created when Caledonian MacBrayne proposed sailing a ferry service into Tarbert on Sundays. The outrage went extremely deep and, ultimately, Caledonian MacBrayne had to back off from its proposal. The Minister appreciates that aspect of life in the Western Isles, so why cannot he acknowledge that local communities, through their licensing board as has been suggested, should be able to exercise that key, vital say?

It is no good the Minister referring to committees and saying that that is the position with which they came up and it should be standardised throughout Scotland. I am asking for the Minister's personal view of the matter. In his heart of hearts, he cannot oppose the suggestion in the amendment that was unfortunately not selected, but that is still open for the Government to pursue later in another place.

I appeal to the Minister to think of the community that he loves to visit and consider whether it is right for it to retain that essential democratic ability to preserve its unique way of life.

Mr. Wilson

I shall be extremely brief—in case the pubs shut.

I congratulate the hon. Member for Ayr (Mr. Gallie) on introducing the amendment. This robust debate has crossed party lines. We have had serious and well-argued disagreement about the amendment within the ranks of three of the Scottish parties. It is a tribute to the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties that they have bothered to participate. There is one notable omission from the ranks on an issue that affects the lives of every Scottish citizen, for better or worse.

The fact that we are able to have this debate and, hopefully, a free vote on the matter is healthy, and I hope that the outcome is the one that I favour. The important point is that the debate has crossed party lines because every hon. Member who has participated has different experiences to reflect.

I was involved over many months with the Committee that considered the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, in which the matter was brought forward by the Government. Again, the divisions in that Bill crossed party lines. On that occasion the Government were obliged to back off because of a consensus in the Committee against the opening of off-sales premises on Sundays. The arguments that we have heard tonight were very much in the same vein.

The charge that must be levelled against the Minister is that four years have passed since that Committee sat. I remember it well because it was during the time of the previous world cup. Four years ago, we had exactly the same debate, argument and dichotomy. We are talking not about one subject—whether all licensed premises in Scotland should be able to open on a Sunday—but the fact that there is a whole range of different types of premises to which different arguments apply.

Of course it is sensible that, if one goes into a supermarket that is legally open on a Sunday, one should be able to buy a bottle of wine, or whatever. Of course it is sensible, as the hon. Member for Tayside, North (Mr. Walker) says, that if one is visiting a distillery on a tourist bus, one should be able to buy the miniatures from that distillery. But, as was argued by my hon. Friends the Members for Glasgow, Springburn (Mr. Martin), for Glasgow, Hillhead (Mr. Galloway) and for Strathkelvin and Bearsden (Mr. Galbraith), and by the hon. Member for Ayr, there is a totally qualitatively different kind of problem in many areas of Scotland.

The fact is that, on other issues that we debate, behind the facade of reasonableness of the case, other people are waiting to take advantage of something that is not at all reasonable—in areas where the facility is not wanted, the opening of off-licences from morning to night, which will be imposed on them for seven days of the week instead of six.

The charge that must be levelled against the Government is that, in four years, they have done nothing to separate those arguments and come up with something that would be acceptable to everybody in the House, and in which some discretion was permitted or in which the difference in the arguments was recognised by the legislation. All that has happened is that, four years later, through a back door, the same blanket proposal comes forward, and we are having the same arguments again tonight. Because of that, I will vote against the amendment.

Of course, if the legislation took account of the light and shade of the argument and the different circumstances that prevail, I would want there to be some Sunday off-sales in Scotland. But instead of that, the Government are trying to get through, on the basis of a reasonable approach, the unreasonable proposition that every off-sales premises in Scotland should be open. The Government have not taken account of any popular feeling. They have not taken account of the different arguments.

The arguments that the Minister adduced are perfectly good in some respects, but, as he knows—or certainly should know—they are not in others. I very much hope that the Government will learn this lesson tonight: for heaven's sake, take account of what people think. Go out and listen to the constituents who do not want this sort of thing on their doorstep seven days a week. Listen to people who want the facility, such as supermarkets, and then try to draw up some reasonably sensitive legislation that takes account of both points of view. They have failed to do so, so the amendment tabled by the hon. Member for Ayr deserves to be carried tonight.

Mr. John Home Robertson (East Lothian)

This subject revives happy memories of our late colleague, Gregor MacKenzie, the former right hon. Member for Glasgow, Rutherglen, who, I recall, enjoyed inviting his colleagues to join him in the Smoking Room from time to time for a small Christian refreshment. I certainly enjoy the produce of Belhaven brewery, or Glenkinchie distillery in East Lothian, in my home, on a Sunday from time to time, but find myself rather uncomfortably in the middle of the argument this evening.

I accept the case for relaxing absurd regulations, and would be quite happy for local licensing boards to be able to allow appropriate businesses and premises to sell alcoholic drinks on a Sunday, but I am very worried about the prospect of passing a law that would require all off-licences to be allowed to open seven days a week. I think that there is a middle way. I agree with my hon. Friends the Members for Glasgow, Springburn (Mr. Martin) and for Glasgow, Hillhead (Mr. Galloway) that allowing all off-licences to sell alcoholic drinks seven days a week could cause a serious problem in many neighbourhoods: it could constitute a diabolical imposition on residents.

12.15 am

I think that local licensing boards should be allowed discretion. The point has been raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Western Isles (Mr. Macdonald), the hon. and learned Member for Fife, North-East (Mr. Campbell) and others. It is a pity that we are not able to consider amendment No 103, tabled by the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Wallace), and I am still concerned about the prospect of the legislation being passed as it stands without such a safeguard; but it would be possible for the Government to bring the idea back in the House of Lords.

If the Minister is prepared to give an undertaking to enable local licensing boards to be given discretion by means of amendments tabled in the House of Lords, I shall be happy to leave the legislation in its present form, but in the absence of such an undertaking I feel that we have no choice but to accept the amendment; otherwise we shall end up with some very bad legislation for Scotland.

Mr. Menzies Campbell

To some extent, I have been stung into joining the debate by what I must describe as the Minister's rather inadequate response to a debate that has clearly demonstrated the considerable and legitimate anxiety felt by many people with direct experience of the consequences of the substantial change in the licensing law effected by the Licensing (Scotland) Act 1976.

To those who have argued that it is time for another review of Scottish licensing law, I can only say that I consider their argument well founded: it is more than 20 years since the Clayson committee reported, and at least 16 years since the first legislative implementation of its recommendations. Anyone with any knowledge of the way in which the licensing trade has developed in Scotland will probably appreciate that there have been substantial changes, far beyond any of those contemplated by Dr. Clayson.

One of the significant recommendations of the Clayson report which has not been acted on was that the radical solutions that it proposed should be subject to constant monitoring to ensure that the consequences of enshrining them in legislation were properly understood and evaluated. In view of that, I feel that the case for a further review is overwhelming.

Some hon. Members have drawn attention to an anomaly: it is possible to go into a public house and buy off-sales liquor, but not to go into the off-sales outlet or licensed grocer next door and perform the same transaction. That anomaly was created when we allowed public houses to sell by way of off sales on Sundays. When the issue was under discussion in 1990, while we were debating the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Scotland) Bill, a number of people expressed considerable reservations about the piecemeal way in which the Government were proceeding, and emphasised the obvious fact that an anomaly was being created. We are now being asked not to remedy the original anomaly but to compound it. The Government have presented the House with an ill-thought-out piece of legislation that does not take proper account of its consequences.

One of the most notable features of the debate has been the anxiety of individual hon. Members to argue that, given the circumstances of the communities that they represent, a blanket permission for all off-sales premises to open is inadequate. One could not but be impressed by the case advanced by the hon. Member for Western Isles (Mr. Macdonald). It is not simply that the Western Isles are different from Hillhead, north-east Fife or Dundee; the point is that there may be significant differences even within those communities. One has only to consider the constituency of Glasgow, Hillhead to realise that even within one area there are circumstances in which the opening of an off-sales premises on a Sunday might be entirely legitimate while in other circumstances it is likely to produce the adverse social effects to which the hon. Member for Glasgow, Hillhead (Mr. Galloway) referred.

The Government are failing to allow local licensing boards the opportunity to discriminate. However, they of course already allow them to discriminate in relation to the regular extension of permitted hours. When a licensing board determines permitted hours, it does not do so on a blanket basis throughout the area under its jurisdiction. Each outlet has to argue for the extension of permitted hours that it seeks, so that there already exists a substantial discretion in that regard.

There is no evidence to suggest that, having been invested with that discretion, licensing boards have exercised it unreasonably. Indeed, all the evidence points to the fact that they have been entirely conscientious and reasonable in the exercise of a substantial discretion. If the Government are prepared to trust licensing boards on the regular extension of permitted hours—sometimes extensions are sought until 4 am—why are they not prepared to invest the same trust in the same democratically elected people to determine whether, in their jurisdiction, a particular off-sales outlet should be entitled to open on a Sunday?

I fear that the Minister gave no answer to that fundamental question, and for that reason, in addition to many others advanced in the debate, I am minded to support the amendment.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 55, Noes 108.

Division No. 236] [12.21 am
Alison, Rt Hon Michael (Selby) Kilfoyle, Peter
Amess, David Kirkhope, Timothy
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Kirkwood, Archy
Barnes, Harry Lewis, Terry
Bates, Michael Llwyd, Elfyn
Beggs, Roy McAvoy, Thomas
Beith, Rt Hon A. J. Macdonald, Calum
Booth, Hartley McFall, John
Bray, Dr Jeremy McLeish, Henry
Brazier, Julian McMaster, Gordon
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE) Martin, Michael J. (Springburn)
Cohen, Harry Michael, Alun
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll Bute)
Cunningham, Jim (Covy SE) Morley, Elliot
Dalyell, Tam Neubert, Sir Michael
Davies, Quentin (Stamford) Powell, Ray (Ogmore)
Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'dge H'l) Rendel, David
Dixon, Don Robertson, George (Hamilton)
Eastham, Ken Ross, William (E Londonderry)
Elletson, Harold Salmond, Alex
Etherington, Bill Skinner, Dennis
Evans, Roger (Monmouth) Spellar, John
Foster, Rt Hon Derek Spink, Dr Robert
Galbraith, Sam Wallace, James
Galloway, George Wilson, Brian
Godman, Dr Norman A. Wray, Jimmy
Graham, Thomas
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S) Tellers for the Ayes:
Home Robertson, John Mr. Phil Gallie and
Kennedy, Charles (Ross,C&S) Mr. Jonathan Evans.
Ainsworth, Peter (East Surrey) Callaghan, Jim
Alexander, Richard Canavan, Dennis
Arbuthnot, James Chapman, Sydney
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Chisholm, Malcolm
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Baldry, Tony Coe, Sebastian
Batiste, Spencer Connarty, Michael
Betts, Clive Conway, Derek
Biffen, Rt Hon John Cook, Robin (Livingston)
Blackburn, Dr John G. Darling, Alistair
Boswell, Tim Day, Stephen
Brandreth, Gyles Devlin, Tim
Bright, Graham Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James
Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thorpes) Dover, Den
Browning, Mrs. Angela Duncan, Alan
Duncan-Smith, Iain Nelson, Anthony
Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter Newton, Rt Hon Tony
Evans, Nigel (Ribble Valley) O'Neill, Martin
Fatchett, Derek Patnick, Irvine
Fox, Dr Liam (Woodspring) Pickles, Eric
Gale, Roger Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lew'm E)
Gardiner, Sir George Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles Rathbone, Tim
Gorst, John Richards, Rod
Greenway, Harry (Ealing N) Riddick, Graham
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie Roberts, Rt Hon Sir Wyn
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Hawkins, Nick Ryder, Rt Hon Richard
Heald, Oliver Scott, Rt Hon Nicholas
Hill, Keith (Streatham) Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Sims, Roger
Hughes Robert G. (Harrow W) Spencer, Sir Derek
Hunt, Rt Hon David (Wirral W) Sproat, Iain
Illsley, Eric Squire, Robin (Hornchurch)
Ingram, Adam Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Jenkin, Bernard Steen, Anthony
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N) Strang, Dr. Gavin
Jones, Robert B. (W Hertfdshr) Sykes, John
Knapman, Roger Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Knight, Mrs Angela (Erewash) Thomason, Roy
Knight, Greg (Derby N) Thumham, Peter
Knox, Sir David Waller, Gary
Kynoch, George (Kincardine) Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Lait, Mrs Jacqui Waterson, Nigel
Lidington, David Watts, John
Lilley, Rt Hon Peter Wells, Bowen
Lloyd, Rt Hon Peter (Fareham) Whittingdale, John
McAllion, John Widdecombe, Ann
MacGregor, Rt Hon John Wiggin, Sir Jerry
McKelvey, William Wood, Timothy
Marshall, John (Hendon S) Worthington, Tony
Martin, David (Portsmouth S) Yeo, Tim
Merchant, Piers
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling) Tellers for the Noes:
Monro, Sir Hector Mr. Bill Walker and
Moonie, Dr Lewis Mr. John Maxton.

Question accordingly negatived.

Further consideration adjourned.—[Mr. Nicholas Baker.]

Bill,as amended (in the Standing Committee),to be further considered this day.