§ LORD CLWYD rose to ask His Majesty's Government whether they are now in a position to make a statement as to the date of the introduction of the Bill relating to clubs. The noble Lord said: My Lords, this is the third time I have put this Question to the Government. I first asked the Question on November 17 last, at the beginning of the Session, when the noble Earl who then replied, Lord Fortescue, said on behalf of the Government that they fully appreciated the importance of the subject, and that it was the definite purpose to carry out the promise to introduce a Bill dealing with clubs during the present Session. Four months later, on March 8, I again put a Question as to the date of the introduction of the Bill, and I then made the suggestion that, having regard to the fact that at that stage of the Session there were greater facilities for dealing with the Bill in this House than in another place, the Bill should be introduced in this House. The noble Earl, Lord Munster, replying for the Government, said that it was the purpose of the Government to carry out their promise to introduce a Clubs Bill during the present Session, but they were not in a position to give any information as to the date of its introduction. He also undertook to convey my suggestion as to the desirability of introducing the Bill in this House to the Home Secretary. Two months have passed since that reply. I feel quite sure that the noble Earl who is going to reply himself fully realises the concern which I and a great many others feel in regard to the situation which has arisen by reason of the fact that we have reached this stage of the Session without any indication of a date being mentioned for the introduction of the Bill.
§ I am not again going over the grounds which give this measure special urgency, but I would like once more to remind the House that it is a measure recommended by a recent Licensing Commission. More than that, it has the support of the Magistrates' Association, and I would like to stress the importance of that support, because after all the Magistrates' Association represents the licensing justices, who are primarily responsible for the administration of the licensing law. The proposed legislation has also behind it, I think, a volume of support in the country which 1105 gives it an exceptional claim on the time of the House. These are the reasons why I once more, for the third time, put this Question to the Government. I would express the hope that even now at this stage of the Session the Government will be able to redeem the pledge which it has given in regard to the introduction of this Bill during the present Session. I would ask the noble Earl again to press the urgency of the matter, and also again to communicate to the Government the suggestion that the Bill should be introduced in this House.
§ THE EARL OF MUNSTER
My Lords, I regret that I am not in a position to make any full statement in answer to my noble friend's Question, but the question of the date of the introduction of the Bill relating to clubs is under consideration in connection with the Government's legislative programme, and I hope that it will be possible to make a statement directly after Whitsuntide.