§ 3.50 p.m.
§ Order of the day for the Third Reading read.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, before I move the Third Reading of the Bill may I ask your Lordships' approval to the procedure that I suggest? What I propose is that I move the Third Reading formally and we take it formally; that I then move the Amendments, which meet points raised on the Report 304 stage; and that if the House accepts the Amendments, we then go to the Motion that the Bill do now pass, on which we can have any discussion desired of the contents of the Bill.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 3a.—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ On Question, Bill read 3a, with the Amendments.
§ Clause 7 [Betting with young persons]:
THE LORD CHANCELLOR moved to add to the clause:
(3) In paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of section seven, and in paragraph (d) of subsection (1) of section sixteen, of the Betting and Lotteries Act, 1934 (which empower the licensing authority to refuse to grant or, as the case may be, to revoke a licence in respect of any track on the ground of a conviction of the applicant for or holder of the licence, or, where the applicant or holder is a corporate body, any director or the manager thereof, for an offence under Part I of that Act) the reference to an offence under that Part of that Act shall be construed as including a reference to any offence under this section.
§ The noble and learned Viscount said: My Lords, this is a technical Amendment, consequential upon the addition of Clause 7 to the Bill in another place and to facilitate consolidation. Since the Report stage, your Lordships may care to know, the draftsman has been making a final examination of the Bill from the point of view of consolidating it with the other Statutes relating to betting, and during that examination he discovered the need for this Amendment. I beg to move.
Page 7, line 5, at end insert the said subsection.—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 28 [Interpretation]:
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
had given Notice of several Amendments dealing with review of bookmakers' licences, the first being in subsection (2), after the words "First Schedule," to insert:(including the said paragraph 25 as applied by sub-paragraph (2) of paragraph 25D of that Schedule)".305 The noble and learned Viscount said: My Lords, your Lordships will remember that on the Committee stage and again on the Report stage there was considerable discussion of two questions: one, the review of bookmakers' licences in cases where there were allegations of default, and secondly on occasions where there was a change in the structure of a bookmaking company. I promised the House that I would consider this matter again between the Report stage and the Third Reading, and the remaining Amendments on the Marshalled List are all concerned with those two issues. With your Lordships' approval I think it would be convenient to consider them together.
The substance of the Amendments is to be found in Amendment No. 10, at page 36, line 31, to insert into the First Schedule four new paragraphs, 25A, 25B, 25C and 25D. The First Schedule deals with the procedure for the grant and renewal of bookmakers' permits, among other things, and this is the appropriate part of the Bill to make provision for cancellation of a bookmaker's permit in the middle of the licensing year. The House may find it convenient first to look: at the new paragraphs 25B and 25C—the Schedule will, of course, he renumbered when the Bill is reprinted. These provide procedure whereby a bookmaker's permit can be reviewed at any time during the licensing year by the licensing authority on representations made by any person, and can be cancelled by the licensing authority on the grounds that the holder is no longer a fit and proper person to be the holder of a permit. The review is triggered off (if I may use that expression) by an application under sub-paragraph (1) of paragraph 25B made at any time to the clerk of the licensing authority requesting that the permit be cancelled; and the application will have to be in the prescribed form and manner, and must be accompanied by two copies of the statement of the grounds on which it is made, if the licensing authority decide to review the permit, one of the copies of the statement of grounds will be sent to the permit holder. An application for the cancellation of a permit can be made by any person, and so, in particular, Tattersall's Committee, the Bookmakers' Protection Association or the chief officer of police will be able to take advantage of the procedure. In the 306 case of an application made at the instigation of Tattersall's Committee, the statement of the grounds on which the application is made would normally be a statement that the holder of the permit had been declared by Tattersall's Committee to be a defaulter, with a brief statement of the reasons for this decision.
One of the difficulties which I had always in mind in connection with this scheme is that the licensing authority might be overburdened by a considerable number of complaints by members of the public, many of which might be unreasonable, or even frivolous, and some of which ought more properly to have been raised at earlier renewal proceedings or dealt with under Clause 8. For this reason, sub-paragraph (1) of paragraph 25B provides that an application should first be scrutinised by a single member of the licensing authority; that is to say, in England and Wales by a single justice and in Scotland by a single member of the licensing court. There is a precedent for such an arrangement: there is the scrutiny by a single justice in Section 18 of the Maintenance Orders Act, 1958, which relates to applications requesting that a warrant of commitment for the enforcement of a maintenance order be not issued, or, if it has been issued and executed, that to be cancelled. Of course, there is tie procedure with which your Lordships are more familiar, that one justice can still decide whether there is a prima facie case against a defendant before sending him to trial on indictment.
May I explain to your Lordships the difficulties that were in my mind on this point, and how I think this solution will meet them. The single member will have to decide whether the matters referred to in the statement of grounds are sufficiently weighty to justify a review of the permit then and there, or whether they should be left for further consideration until the permit comes up for renewal in the ordinary way. The consideration of an application by the single member will not take place in court and will not involve any call upon the holder of the permit to state his side of the matter. All the single member will have to do is to decide whether the application reveals, on its face, a sufficiently weighty complaint to justify a review in the 307 middle of the year. Obviously this would normally be the case where the bookmaker had been declared a defaulter by Tattersall's Committee. This scrutiny will thus provide a filter and secure that only substantial complaints will come before a meeting of the full licensing authority and have to be answered by the bookmaker.
If the single member of the licensing authority decides that there is a sufficiently substantial prima facie case to justify a review of the permit, then he will refer the application to the licensing authority. The permit-holder will be informed that the licensing authority will consider the application for cancellation, and he will receive a copy of the statement of the grounds for the application. The applicant will be similarly notified, so that he may appear or be represented at the hearing to support his case. Sub-paragraph (1) does not say in terms that the application is to be considered at one of the quarterly meetings of the licensing authority which, under the First Schedule, are to be held for the consideration of new applications for permits and licences, but the authority, obviously, will normally find it convenient to appoint one of those meetings as the time for the consideration of the application for cancellation. But there is nothing to prevent them from doing it at some other time if the matter is of sufficient urgency.
Sub-paragraph (2) provides for the permit-holder to be heard in person or by counsel or a solicitor, and adapts paragraph 14 and 15 of the First Schedule, which deal with various precedural matters. Sub-paragraph (3) provides that the procedure shall not, in effect, duplicate criminal, or earlier renewal, proceedings. Sub-paragraph (4) gives the grounds on which a permit may be cancelled and is comparable with paragraph 17 of the Schedule. Just as, under paragraph 17, the licensing authority may refuse an application for the grant or renewal of a permit on the ground that satisfactory evidence was produced that the applicant is not a fit and proper person, so, under sub-paragraph (4) of the new paragraph 25C, they may decide to cancel a permit on the ground that satisfactory evidence is produced that the holder is no longer a fit and proper 308 person. Paragraph 25D provides a right of appeal.
I must apologise for taking up so long on this point, but your Lordships will appreciate that I wanted you to see what I have done, and I thought it might be convenient, when the Bill goes back to another place, if I had explained the provisions at slightly greater length than otherwise I would have done. During the discussion on the Report stage on the proposed new clause dealing with a change of control of a limited company bookmaker, I said that the practical issue was a change of directorship. Paragraph 25A of the Amendment deals with this. It requires the limited company to notify such a change to the licensing authority and to the chief officer of police. If the chief officer then finds that the new director is not a fit and proper person, he will be able to make an application for cancellation of the permit under paragraph 25B, so triggering off the review procedure of paragraphs 25B and 25C.
This is not quite what the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, and my noble friend the Duke of Devonshire asked for, since they envisaged that the licensing authority might, on its own initiative, call for a review in the event of change. But the licensing authority are not an inquisitorial body and they have no information about the fitness of a new director of a limited company unless it is brought before them. The British people, including your Lordships, do not like one body being both prosecutor and judge in the same matter. This question as to fitness would normally be raised by the police who, under paragraph 25A, will be notified of the change; but there will be nothing to prevent any other person—for example, the Bookmakers' Protection Association—who happens to get to hear of the change from making an application for cancellation under paragraph 25B. If it was expedient that the police should make inquiries, the results of such inquiries could be heard as—I quote:representation made by, or by any person authorised in that behalf by"—the chief officer of police, under subparagraph (2) of paragraph 25C.
The other Amendments are consequential. If we may consider them together, I will willingly explain anything on 309 which any noble Lord is interested. Again with apologies for that lengthy speech, I beg to move Amendment No. 2.
Page 25, line 28, at end insert the said words.—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ 4.4 p.m.
§ LORD SILKIN
My Lords, the noble and learned Viscount need not have apologised for the length of his observations, because the Amendments, taken as a whole, are long and complex and were in need of a full explanation. I can assure him that they are entirely acceptable to myself, and I hope to all those who took part in the discussion which brought these Amendments into being. This indicates the advantage of perseverance. The noble and learned Viscount will remember that when an Amendment—not on these lines, but with the same object—was first moved by the noble Duke, we were told that it was quite impracticable, that it would overburden the licensing justices, and was not acceptable. Nevertheless, the noble Duke persevered and brought to his help noble Lords from this side of the House; and the combined pressure resulted in the noble and learned Viscount giving an undertaking that he would look at the matter again.
As we all know in this House, once the noble and learned Viscount gives an undertaking we are half way there, because we know that he will certainly look into the thing fully and with every desire to meet the case that has been made. I am glad to say that he has met completely the case that was made. Indeed, I would say that he has gone even further than we dared to hope. Whereas we were under the impression that the Government might go so far as to arrange that there might be a half-yearly session of the justices, it would appear now that if the justices receive a complaint and it is regarded as being worthy of consideration, it can be dealt with at any time in the course of the year. The noble and learned Viscount has already met the case of the change of directorship to the full, and we are very grateful.
May I say this in conclusion on the Amendments? They indicate the value of a full discussion in this House. A day or two ago I had occasion to make some observations about the statement 310 of a noble Lord who was in charge of a Private Bill that if we passed an Amendment that had been put on the Marshalled List, even though the majority of those who spoke on the Amendment were in favour of it, it would mean the loss of the Bill. I am sure that the House resents any suggestion of that kind. We have a duty to perform, and we are entitled to perform it without being threatened as to what might be the consequences. It might easily have been suggested that to carry out a wholesale amendment of this Bill at this late stage might result in the loss of this Bill. I am glad the Government did not take that view, but brought into being what amounts to a very drastic amendment of the structure of this Bill, and we are most grateful.
Finally, I should like to say a word of congratulation to the Parliamentary draftsman. I think that this is a most remarkable feat. Those of us who try to draft Amendments know the difficulties that confront us, and some of us are certainly in a position to watch with admiration the way in which the difficulties have been overcome in the Amendments now before us. I commend these Amendments, and should like to express my thanks to all concerned for the way in which the legitimate criticisms that were submitted from all sides of the House have been met.
THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE
My Lords, may I add my word of thanks to that of the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, and say how very grateful I am to the noble and learned Viscount for the way in which he has gone out of his way to meet our suggestions? I cannot but feel a small particle of pride that these admirable Amendments have grown from my own humble attempts on the Committee Stage. But I should like to say how deeply grateful I am to the noble and learned Viscount for all his kindness, and how much I, and all my colleagues at Tattersall's, welcome these Amendments.
§ LORD STONHAM
My Lords, I hope that the noble and learned Viscount will not get tired of the almost stock speech that I make on these occasions. I should like to add my thanks to those which have already been expressed. It has been a great pleasure to have a co-operative effort on this quite difficult and complex 311 matter. I will not go so far as my noble friend and say that the noble and learned Viscount has done more than we dared to hope, because hope always "springs eternal", but it is the case that these Amendments, which have been drafted with quite extraordinary skill, have covered every point made in the debate and, in addition, have included one or two points of which even we did not think. It is, therefore, a matter for considerable thanks and gratitude on our part, and I believe we may modestly say that together we have made some useful improvements to the Bill.
§ 4.11 p.m.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, I have only three things to say. One is to thank your Lordships for the kind remarks that have been made about myself, and the second is to say how glad I am that the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, mentioned the Parliamentary draftsmen. I do not believe we think sufficiently about them. When one considers the genesis of a Bill, and the translating of the original ideas into a Bill, one realises that their job is difficult enough; but to deal with matters which arise during the course of a Bill, and to produce Amendments to meet the very different views expressed in Parliament, is really a remarkable performance. I am glad that the occasion has been taken to mention them.
The third point—and I hope my noble friend will allow me to say this—is that the other three of us who have taken part in this debate in time past all sat in another place; and I had the privilege of sitting there with the father of the noble Duke, the Duke of Devonshire. It has given me a special pleasure to see the way in which he took his part in this Bill, and I am sure I speak for the whole House when I say that we hope he will extend the range of his activities and often do so again.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ First Schedule [Bookmakers' permits, betting agency permits and betting office licences]:
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, with your Lordships' permission I will move the remaining Amendments together, as they all deal with the same point. I beg to move.
§ Amendments moved—
§ Page 27, line 22, leave out from ("to") to second ("betting") in line 23 and insert ("a bookmaker's permit or betting agency permit or in relation to an application for the grant or renewal of a")
§ Page 28, line 2, leave out from ("to") to ("a") in line 3.
§ Page 28, line 4, after ("applicant") insert ("for or holder of the permit")
§ Page 32, line 17, at end insert ("or renewal")
§ Page 32, line 21, at end insert ("or
§ (f) has been the holder of a bookmaker's permit which has been cancelled within the immediately preceding twelve months under paragraph 25C of this Schedule").
§ Page 33, line 15, leave out from ("any") to ("which") and insert ("cancellation of a permit under the said subsection (1) or under paragraph 25C of this Schedule")
§ Page 36, line 17, leave out ("and") and insert ("(2)")
§ Page 36, line 31, at end insert—
§ ("Notification of change in directors during currency of bookmaker's permit
§ 25A. If, where the holder of a bookmaker's permit is a body corporate, any change occurs in the persons who are directors thereof or in accordance with whose directions or instructions the directors thereof are accustomed to act, the holder of the permit shall as soon as reasonably practicable after the occurrence of the change give particulars thereof in writing to the clerk to the appropriate authority and to the appropriate officer of police and if the holder of the permit fails to comply with this paragraph he shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding ten pounds.
§ Cancellation of bookmaker's permit by appropriate authority
§ 25B. If in the case of any bookmaker's permit an application is made at any time to the clerk to the appropriate authority by any person in the prescribed form and manner requesting that the permit be forfeited and cancelled and accompanied by two copies of a statement of the grounds on which the application is made, the clerk to the authority shall submit the application to any one member of the authority who, after considering the statement accompanying the application—
§ (a) if he is of opinion—
- (i) that further consideration of the matters referred to in that statement is unnecessary or inexpedient before the renewal of the permit falls to be considered; or
- (ii) that the authority would be required by virtue of sub-paragraph (3) of paragraph 25C of this Schedule to refuse the application,
§ (b) unless he is of such opinion as aforesaid, shall refer the application to the appropriate authority.
§ 25C.—(1) Where an application for the cancellation of a permit is referred to the appropriate authority under the last foregoing paragraph, the clerk to the authority shall, unless the application has been withdrawn, give to the applicant, to the holder of the permit and to the appropriate officer of police not less than twenty-one days notice in writing of the date, time and place appointed for the consideration of the application by the authority, and shall send to the holder of the permit together with that notice a copy of the applicant's statement of the grounds on which the application is made.
§ (2) Subject to the next following subparagraph, at any meeting of the appropriate authority to consider the application, the applicant and the holder of the permit shall be entitled to be heard either in person or by counsel or a solicitor; and where the applicant is a person other than the appropriate officer of police, the authority shall also hear any representations made by, or by any person authorised in that behalf by, that officer; and paragraphs 14 and 15 of this Schedule shall apply in relation to the application as they apply in relation to an application for the renewal of a permit, subject to the following modifications of the said paragraph 15, that is to say—
- (a) as if the reference therein to the applicant for renewal were a reference to the holder of the permit; and
- (b) as if the reference therein to any person who made an objection as mentioned in that paragraph were a reference to the person by whom the application under paragraph 25B of this Schedule was made.
§ (3) The appropriate authority shall refuse the application if they are satisfied that it is made on grounds which—
- (a) have been or ought properly to have been raised previously by way of objection either when the permit was granted or on an occasion when it has been renewed; or
- (b) are or have been the subject matter of proceedings for such an offence as is mentioned in subsection (1) of section eight of this Act.
§ (4) The appropriate authority shall not cancel the permit unless—
- (a) satisfactory evidence is produced that the holder is no longer a fit and proper person to hold such a permit; or
- (b) the authority are satisfied that the business to which it relates is being managed by, or carried on for the benefit of, a person other than the holder, being a person who would himself be refused the grant of such a permit either under paragraph 16 or under subparagraph (a) of paragraph 17 of this Schedule:
§ Provided that for the purposes of this subparagraph the authority shall disregard any conviction such as is mentioned in paragraph 19 of this Schedule.
§ (5) If the appropriate authority decide not to cancel the permit, they shall cause notice 314 in writing to be given to the applicant that the application is refused without prejudice to the raising of the same matters by way of objection in accordance with the provisions of this Schedule to a renewal of the permit.
§ (6) If the appropriate authority decide to forfeit and cancel the permit, the forfeiture and cancellation shall not take effect—
- (a) until the expiration of the time within which notice of an appeal under the next following paragraph may be given; nor
- (b) if such notice is duly given, until the determination or abandonment of the appeal.
§ 25D.—(1) Where the appropriate authority decide to forfeit and cancel a bookmaker's permit on an application under paragraph 25B of this Schedule, the holder of the permit may appeal against that decision to a court of quarter sessions (or in Scotland the sheriff) having jurisdiction in the authority's area, whose decision on the appeal shall be final.
§ (2) Paragraphs 22 (except sub-paragraphs (4) and (7) thereof), and 23 (or, as the case may be, sub-paragraph (1) of paragraph 25) of this Schedule shall apply for the purposes of an appeal under this paragraph against the forfeiture and cancellation of a bookmaker's permit as they apply for the purposes of an appeal against the refusal of an application for the renewal of such a permit subject to the following modifications, that is to say,—
- (a) as if any reference therein to the applicant for renewal were a reference to the holder of the permit; and
- (b) as if any reference therein to a person who opposed the application before the appropriate authority were a reference to the person by whom the application under paragraph 25B of this Schedule was made;
§ Page 37, line 73, after ("shall") insert ("unless renewed or as the case may be, further renewed,")
§ Page 37, line 14, leave out from ("or") to end of line 15 and insert ("by virtue of its cancellation under subsection (1) of section eight of this Act or under paragraph 25C of this Schedule.")—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ On Question, Amendments agreed to.
§ 4.14 p.m.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, I now come to the next stage of the Bill and rise to move that the Bill do now pass. It has been our practice on these occasions that I formally move the Motion, with the undertaking that I will deal with any points raised in the debate. I hope, therefore, that your Lordships will not think me discourteous if I follow the same procedure now. I beg to move that the Bill do now pass.
§ Moved, That the Bill do now pass.—(The Lord Chancellor.)315
§ VISCOUNT ASTOR
My Lords, as one of those who originated the debates on this Bill, I should like to congratulate Her Majesty's Government sincerely on the courage and skill with which they have tackled what must be a very thorny and controversial subject affecting the lives of millions of people in this country. I feel sure that the whole betting situation will be vastly improved by this Bill which the Government have so skilfully carried through. There are one or two points that I would make. One is that unless the Report of the Peppiatt Committee is implemented we shall not really solve the problem of getting a truly honest turf. Unless the ordinary owner can expect, by and large, to break even on his racing activities, we shall drive him always to betting. To some extent the running of horses for betting means that the public do not get such fair crack of the whip; and it means, also, that the wrong type of horse is produced. The Peppiatt Committee can be criticised for suggesting a 4 ft. plank to cover a 12 ft. gap, but we still hope that the principle will go through, and that there will be produced a sum sufficient to ensure that British racing is conducted on the cleanest possible lines.
Secondly, I hope that Her Majesty's Government will watch the situation with regard to gaming machines with great care. A person who runs a gaming machine can do two things: he can fix the odds against the person who participates, just as he wishes; and, secondly, he can send a boy round with a sack to collect what is in the "bank" as often as he likes—which could mean a large sum being collected by the person operating the machine. These facts have made such machines a great temptation to gangsters and other undesirable elements in the countries which originated them, and I hope, therefore, that they will be watched with the utmost care. Having said that, I would sincerely congratulate Her Majesty's Government on having tackled this thorny problem by this Bill which they have put through so skilfully.
§ LORD SILKIN
My Lords, I should like to associate myself with the last few words of the noble Viscount's speech. It was a difficult problem and it required a good deal of courage to embark upon it. I suppose it is the kind of measure on which a Government em- 316 barks in the first year of its life. I do not think that this or any Government would care to deal with the problem in its last year. This is a courageous attempt to drive what is admittedly an evil from the streets; and I very much hope it will have better fortune than the earlier attempt we made to drive another evil from the streets—an attempt which seems to be resulting in a much greater evil.
On the Second Reading I referred to some of the difficulties that were going to arise as a result of forcing bookmakers to carry on their business through offices, and particularly offices which have direct access from the street. As a result of some of my interest in this Bill I have had the opportunity of a good many discussions with bookmakers; and London bookmakers particularly are very fearful of the difficulty of getting offices at all. This is not so much a problem in the Provinces, where many of them already have offices. In London, they are afraid of high rents—in fact, prohibitive rents—and of the difficulty, once they get an office, of getting planning consent for change of user.
I do not know how far these difficulties are going to interfere with the carrying on of the bookmaking business. Some people might say, "So much the better", but, after all, it is a legitimate business and there is a demand for it; and, whether we like it or not, bookmakers are allowed to carry on so long as they are within the law and while people want to patronise them. As the result of the representations that have been made to me, I am somewhat fearful that things are going to be made so difficult for the bookmakers in getting proper premises in which to carry on their business that they will be forced, willy-nilly, to carry on their activities in the streets, contrary to the law. I hope that that will not be the case, but it is a fear to which I gave voice on the Second Reading of the Bill and it has certainly been confirmed by representations that have been made to me since then.
I would take this opportunity of correcting one fear that I had and to which I gave voice on the occasion of one of the Amendments—the fear that in a large factory where different bookmakers might have different agents or runners representing them conflict might arise between two runners in their competition for business. I am assured by all those 317 with whom I have had contact that that does not arise; that the bookmakers have "carved up" this factory business so that not more than one bookmaker caters for each factory and, though he may have a number of runners at the factory, there is no danger of any conflict arising between two agents. As they put it, there is honour among, bookmakers, and "dog does not eat dog."
There is one other thing that I thought might be of interest to the House; that is (from the point of view of the bookmakers) the melancholy position that theirs, they fear, is a dying business. They tell me—and all of them confirm one another—that fewer and fewer young people are going in for betting. The competition of other sources of enjoyment is so great that the people who are betting to-day are the old hands, and they are getting hardly any new recruits into this industry. In fact, one of them who has done very well indeed out of bookmaking told me that he refused to let his son go into the business because he thought there was no future in it. That may be a comfort to many of us—I hope it is—because it indicates that the new way of life does not depend upon these exiguous excitements and that people have other means of spending their excess money.
I wish this Bill every success. I hope that it will have the desired effect. If I have voiced some apprehensions, I think they are justified. But I would ask the Government to keep a very close watch on this business. I suggested that we might have periodic reports on the way things were going, and I very much hope that in the reports which the Home Office will make on this subject they will include the progress that is being made in the way of bookmakers carrying on their activities in a lawful way.
§ 4.23 p.m.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, I do not want to detain your Lordships but I should like, first of all, to thank your Lordships for all the help that you have given to my noble friend Lord Bathurst and myself since we have been dealing with this Bill in your Lordships' House. I observe and take full note of what my noble friend Lord Astor has said about the Peppiatt Report. Your Lordships will remember what both my noble friend Lord Bathurst and I said 318 on Second Reading. I will convey to my right honourable friend Mr. Butler the urgency that was expressed in the noble Viscount's speech. I should like also to assure him, with regard to gamine machines, that we shall keep watch in regard to the point that he has raised. I hope the Amendment is a move in the direction he desires, hut, none the less, we shall watch the other problem.
The noble Lord, Lord Silkin, has again put the House in his debt by the care and attention which he has given to this Bill, among so many others, and I shall bear in mind the point that he has raised about the question of offices. I will pass on to my right honourable friend and the police the question of the difficulty that he envisages, because, of course, it is essential, if our plan is going to work, that it should be successful and work in the offices. I will also bear in mind what he says about the periodic reports.
As the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, said, this is a Bill on a subject which is traditionally very difficult for the Houses of Parliament. I want to say only this. I have taken into account and have read very carefully what has been said by the various committees and organs of the Church and others on the point, but I think we all agree on these two points. First, in 1960 the position could not continue that some of the population should be able to bet with ease on the telephone and that cash betting should be driven into the realms of secrecy. Secondly, it cannot be a good thing if the law is, in part, obsolete nonsense. I am not going to say anything further or throw compliments in the matter of a Bill for which I have been responsible. But if it gets rid of those things it will have done something, and I hope that it will be found of benefit to a great many people who desire to keep the law, and also of help to the police force who have had such a difficult task in enforcing an obsolete and outmoded law. I say nothing further, except, once again, to thank all your Lordships for your kindness and help in the passage of the Bill and for the things that you have been good enough to say about my noble friend and myself who were in charge of it in your Lordships' House.
§ On Question, Bill passed, and returned to the Commons.