HL Deb 17 July 1928 vol 71 cc1105-6

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


My Lords, in moving that this Bill be now read a second time, I almost feel that I ought to apologise for asking your Lordships to give a Second Reading this afternoon to another Bill which applies only to Scotland. But this, perhaps, is another example of Scottish modesty. We wish to show, at any rate, that we have no desire to impose experiments upon England but to try out a measure of this kind in Scotland first and then, if it is a good measure, you will be in a position to apply it to England. This Bill was introduced about two Sessions ago in another place by Mr. Westwood, the member for Peebles and South Midlothian, but there was no time for it to go through. It was introduced again last Session by General Sir William Alexander, the member for the Central division of Glasgow, who was fortunate in the ballot. Subsequently, the Government gave approval to the Bill, through the Scottish Office. It passed through the Standing Committee, was reported without amendment and then went to the House for Third Reading.

This Bill is really a strengthening of the Betting Act of 1906. Under that Act young persons under sixteen years of age are not allowed to make bets. But there is nothing in the Act to prevent bookmakers using young persons under the age of sixteen for the purpose of conveying betting slips to other bookmakers. The object of this Bill is to penalise action of that nature. The Bill was instigated originally by the education authorities in Glasgow. It was supported by education authorities all over Scotland and by certain other bodies. So I think I can assure your Lordships that so far as Scotland is concerned they are whole-heartedly in favour of this Bill, while so far as the House of Commons is concerned it passed through all its Readings there with the consent of all Parties.

There is only one point to which I wish to draw attention. In Clause 1, subsection (2) says: The expression 'young person' means a person under the age of sixteen years (not being an officer of the Post Office acting in the course of his duty). The Bill as originally drafted did not contain the words "not being an officer of the Post Office acting in the course of his duty," but upon the Third Reading the Government asked that those words should be inserted, pointing out that bets were often sent by telegrams which were conveyed by persons under the age, of sixteen years, although those persons did not know what those telegrams contained. That particular Amendment was resisted by certain members of the Labour Party in the House of Commons, and they actually went to a Division upon the words, though really they were not objecting to the Bill itself. They showed that they did not object to the Bill by voting for the Third Reading. I do not think I need go into the measure at any greater length. I hope your Lordships will see your way to give a Second Reading to it and allow it to pass through, all its stages here as it has done in the House of Commons.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(Viscount Elibank.)

On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.