HL Deb 25 July 1961 vol 233 cc913-98

2.49 p.m.

Amendments reported (according to Order).

Clause 2 [Grant and renewal of licences for restaurants, guest houses, etc.]:


My Lords, it may be for your Lordships' convenience if I take the first three Amendments, which are all drafting, together. The first is purely drafting; the second extends control for self-service establishments to residential licences under Part 1 of the Bill; the third defines "self-service". The object of the definition is to make it quite clear that the fact that the customer has to carry his drink from the counter to his table does not of itself bring the sale within the words "self-service methods". It also puts it beyond doubt that service by means of coin-operated automatic machines is also covered. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 5, line 35, at end insert ("or").—(Earl Bathurst.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


My Lords, this Amendment is consequential. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 5, line 36, leave out ("either of a restaurant licence or a residential and restaurant") and insert ("of any such").—(Earl Bathurst.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


My Lords, this, again, is consequential. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 5, line 38, at end insert ("that is to say, any method allowing a customer to help himself on payment or before payment").—(Earl Bathurst.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 5:

Permitted hours for licensed premises and clubs generally

5.(2) In relation to the metropolis, and to any licensing district outside the metropolis for which this subsection is adopted, subsection (1) above shall have effect with the substitution of a reference to eleven in the evening for the reference in paragraph (a) to half-past ten in the evening.


My Lords, the purpose of this Amendment is to provide some flexibility as regards the bringing into operation of the Act by the order of my right honourable friend the Secretary of State under Clause 37, subsection (5). It is contemplated that different provisions will be put into force at different dates, and the purpose of this Amendment is to make the provision about off-licence hours a separate provision so that, if that course should be considered desirable, it can be brought into force in advance of the general provision about permitted hours in licensed premises made by subsection (1). For instance, it might be considered desirable to bring the provisions with regard to off-licence premises into operation for, say, Christmas time. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 10, line 30, leave out ("Provided that"), and transpose the remainder of lines 30 to 34 to the end of line 26 on page 11 as subsection (7) of Clause 5.—(Earl Bathurst.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD MACDONALD OF GWAENYSGOR moved, in subsection (2), to omit "and to any licensing district outside the metropolis for which this subsection is adopted." The noble Lord said: My Lords, this is an Amendment that I have been asked to move on behalf of the Temperance Council of the Christian Churches. They are rather concerned that there should be anything in this Bill which is going to take into the Provinces the night life of London. I do not know much about the night life of London, but if one half of what I hear about it is true then I do not want to see it in the Provinces. It is suggested, of course, that the Provinces may desire this. I had made inquiries from quite a number of people scattered all over the United Kingdom, and I have yet to find one who desires it in the Provinces. All the Churches are against it. They do not know much about London life at night, but they know enough to try to keep it away from the rest of the country. It is solely for that purpose that I am moving this Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 10, line 35, leave out from ("metropolis") to second ("subsection") in line 36.—(Lord Macdonald of Gwaenvsgor.)


My Lords, the noble Lord and his friends and myself and my noble and learned friend who sits upon the Woolsack have a very big gulf between us in this matter. I know that nothing I say at this Despatch Box this afternoon will convince the noble Lord or his friends over this matter. It has been considered—for that is the whole point of this Bill—that a modest increase in the licensed or permitted hours of day should be agreed to, and I mentioned that, throughout the country, the ordinary man and the ordinary woman show a considerable amount of agreement upon that matter. I recognise that the noble Lord and his friends think the opposite way. I appreciate their point of view, and I want them to know how I feel for them in this matter; but I must point out to your Lordships that there is a choice before the licensing justices. The time is not fixed at 11 o'clock at night in the provinces. It can be 10.30 p.m. on every week-day throughout the year. On the other hand, it could be 11 o'clock in the evening on every week-day throughout the year if the licensing justices thought there was a demand. If they consider, for example, that there is a case for an 11 o'clock closing during the summer only, or on one or two days only in the week during the summer, then they may so decree.

The licensing justices can consider this matter only at their general annual licensing meeting, and that, as the noble Lord is aware, is catered for in Clause 13. It is a well-tried and tested system, and the procedure is fully familiar to, and understood by, all who are concerned with these licensing matters. Her Majesty's Government, after much careful consideration of the matter, and after full consultation, are satisfied that there are circumstances which arise in the provinces which would make an 11 o'clock closing reasonable. The noble Lord may claim that Her Majesty's Government are quite wrong in this view, but I think the answer to this is that if there is no need for an 11 o'clock closing in any provincial area then the licensing justices, within whose discretion this matter lies, as I have just explained, would not allow it. I ask your Lordships not to accept the noble Lord's Amendment.


My Lords, as the noble Earl anticipated, we are not in agreement with him on this matter. We have raised it before, and it is now a late stage in the discussions on this Bill; but I hope he will have noted that not all licensees, by any means, are in accord with this decision by the Government. On Committee stage I took pains to read to the Committee a letter from the licensees protesting against this very matter, because they felt that their hours were already longer than they should be. And there is this difficulty. During the discussions on this Bill I have been wondering exactly who the noble Earl has had in mind when he has talked about "the ordinary man". One would think that the ordinary man presents the picture of the whole nation wanting longer hours for the sale of liquor. I assure you that that is not the true picture of the British nation. Many people, like myself, may not be strict teetotallers, but we know the value of temperance; and there are hundreds of thousands of parents who hold the same view and who are very anxious about not too much opportunity being given to their growing-up teenagers. From that point of view, I think that this is rather a disaster.

Now what is happening? A Conservative Government with a very strong majority are putting forward as a Government measure this reform of the licensing law. It is the first time I can remember in the whole of my lifetime when a Government have put forward a revision of the licensing law as a Government measure extending hours. It is the first time I remember it. I have a good deal of sympathy with some members of the Temperance Council of the Christian Churches, who hold the view that, if there was going to be any extension at all which was to be inclusive of areas outside the metropolis, then it would have been far better to have a decision by Parliament on the whole issue, and to have a uniformity of hours which could be agreed right through the country. But, surely, in a matter like that it ought not to be left for a decision by the localities. You are now extending these hours to the whole of the area of the country outside the metropolis, and leaving the decision to all sorts of local areas.

I dare say, as the Temperance Council of the Christian Churches say, that there might have been something in this if you had fixed the latest time at, say, 10.30 for the whole of the country, and left it to the people concerned in the areas as to whether they would wish locally to have an earlier time. But you have chosen not to do that, and from that point of view, therefore, we are bound to express our great sorrow and regret at the action of the Government. We do not need to go again through all the detailed arguments about the increased possibility of accidents on the road through later hours of opening of licensed premises; but we express our very great regret, and we wish that the Government could have been capable of better action.

On Question, Amendment negatived.

Clause 7 [Operation of provisions as to permitted hours]:


My Lords, this Amendment and Nos. 8 and 36 correct an oversight in the Bill and increases the penalty for breach of permitted hours in a seamen's canteen from £30, as it is now, to £100, as it will be for breaches in other premises under this Bill. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 17, line 29, after ("1953") insert ("or section seven of the Licensing (Seamen's Canteens) Act, 1954,").—(Earl Bathurst.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


My Lords, this Amendment is consequential. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 17, line 31, leave out from ("for") to end of line 32 and insert ("in those sections)"). —(Earl Bathurst.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 8:

Special hours certificates for premises proviatng music and dancing

8.(6) The permitted hours on Saturdays under section one hundred and seventeen of the Licensing Act, 1953, shall be the same as on other week-days, and accordingly proviso (a) to subsection (2) of that section (under which on Saturdays those hours end at midnight) shall be omitted; and in that section "week-day" shall include, and be deemed always to have included, Christmas Day, when not a Sunday, and Good Friday.


My Lords, before I call Amendment No. 9, in the name of Lord Grenfell, I wonder if it would meet the convenience of your Lordships if Amendments Nos. 9, 10, 11, 12, 12A, 13, and, I think, 14A (although that is on a different point) were discussed together. Each would be put separately at the end. Would that be for the general convenience?


My Lords, I am very anxious to conserve our position on No. 11. It is quite specific in its objective. I do not mind a general discussion, but I should like to say something expressly on that Amendment.


My Lords, I am in the hands of the House. Of course, I will call all Amendments in turn afterwards, if any noble Lord wishes to challenge a Division on any of them, but I thought we might discuss the general point at the same time.

3.4 p.m.

LORD GRENFELL moved, in subsection (6), to leave out all words after "week-days" down to and including "omitted". The noble Lord said: My Lords, by leave of the House I should like to speak to Amendments Nos. 9, 10 and 13. These Amendments relate to Section 117 of the Licensing Act, 1953. On the Committee stage, the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, moved an Amendment to delete Clause 6, but that was defeated. I have given due thought to this question, and I have come to the conclusion that I would not move an Amendment to delete "Christmas Day", as after the usual religious services there appears to be no reason why people should not celebrate later that night. And I find that the question of Good Friday, as I am grateful to say, has been met by the noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor.

There is, however, a further point which I feel is of the utmost importance; that is, that Christmas Eve and Easter Eve should be taken into consideration. I have a letter from a right reverend Prelate who backs this Amendment very strongly, but unfortunately he cannot be in his place at this time. I think we must remember that not only should the general public be considered, but also the waiters and staff, who should be encouraged to close early so as to be in a fit mind to attend services on these memorable days in our Church Year. It is a small sacrifice, my Lords, on two days of the year, and I do feel that leadership from this House would be not only of great value to all Christians in this country but also a great encouragement; and I think we all agree that encouragement is needed in many places for those who minister to us in our churches. These Amendments have been a little difficult to draft, but I am advised that they do carry out my intention. If it is not so, perhaps the noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor may be able to look at them again on Third Reading. I beg to move the first Amendment standing in my name.

Amendment moved— Page 19, line 15, leave out from ("weekdays") to ("and") in line 17.—(Lord Grenfell.)


My Lords, I am extremely grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Grenfell, and the noble Lord, Lord Auckland, for the two Amendments which they have tabled on this particular point which we discussed in Committee last week. In my own view, it is an advantage to have one discussion on these Amendments but, of course, reserving our position with regard to a possible Division.

In my opinion, the Amendments put down by the noble Lord, Lord Grenfell, and those later to be moved by the Lord Chancellor, meet the position better than my own Amendment, certainly in regard to Good Friday and Maundy Thursday, which was the objective we had in mind. On the other hand, I am not satisfied with what the noble Lord, Lord Grenfell, had to say about Christmas Day. Irrespective of acceptance by your Lordships of the two Amendments moved by the noble Lord, Lord Grenfell, and the later one in the name of the Lord Chancellor, it is my view that the Amendment in the names of my noble friends and myself should be accepted, and for a particular reason. We are simply asking your Lordships to say that Christmas Day and Good Friday are not ordinary week-days, and never have been, and that it is an advantage to say so in a Statute.

Britain may no longer be a Christian country, although when it suits us apparently we still claim that it is, and certainly our system of government is based on the Christian ethic. We start every Parliamentary day with Prayers, Her Majesty is the Defender of the Faith, and therefore, in my submssion, it is impossible for Her Majesty's Government, whatever their political complexion, to declare by Statute—which is what they are doing in the Bill at the moment—that Good Friday and Christmas Day, the two most important anniversaries in Christendom, are ordinary week-days. With respect, my Lords, in our view it does not matter how the Government are committed on this; they must become uncommitted. Again, Parliament is supreme in this matter, and we ought to be able to come to a decision completely above and beyond the Party, because in my submission it would be quite impossible for us to leave this clause of the Bill as it is now, and thereafter to continue formally to accept the trappings of Christianity.

The clause as it now stands provides for special hours drinking certificates for premises poviding music and dancing on Good Friday and Christmas Day. I do not think there is any real demand for that. I said so last week, and I am still of that opinion. But if there is a demand for it, then I say that it is for us to say that that demand cannot be satisfied on those two days. However vulgarised and commercialised Christmas has become, it is still true that every man, woman and child in the country knows that that day commemorates the birth of Christ; and everyone, even the most bigoted rationalist, is on that day touched by the spirit of Christmas and of Christian brotherhood. The banks are shut, the news presses idle, land the Government just cannot order "high jinks" in the "Mayfair" and the "Rose and Crown".

I think, too, that in the Bill as it now stands the Government are completely inconsistent. In Clause 5, dealing with ordinary licensing hours, on page 10 (it is one that the noble Earl has just shifted), the Bill actually uses the words: On week-days (not being Christmas Day or Good Friday)". How is it that three clauses later in the same Bill it says: …'week-day' shall include, and be deemed always to have included, Christmas Day…and Good Friday."? To me it is extraordinary that these words should ever have been used in this Bill and still more extraordinary that on Report stage in your Lordships' House, five or six months after the Bill was introduced into Parliament, these words have never been taken out or altered. Be that as it may, in my view, it is our duty to say in this Bill that Christmas Day and Good Friday are not ordinary weekdays and never have been. Therefore, it is our duty to take these words out of the Bill, and I most earnestly ask the noble and learned Viscount and your Lordships to accept this Amendment.


My Lords, I rise to express the gratitude of many of us to the noble Lords who have moved these Amendments in order to protect the amenities of Good Friday, Easter Day and Christmas Day. The matter was fully debated on Committee stage and I think it is unnecessary for me to add anything by way of argument to what was said on that occasion. I would, however, assure the House that those of us who are anxious that these Amendments should be carried do not do so in any spirit of rigorous sabbatarianism, wishing to deprive the average citizen of his reasonable entertainment and enjoyment. It is a notable fact that these Amendments have the strong support of the Temperance Council of the Christian Churches, which is representative of all Christian communions in this country. This is not in any way a denominational issue. It is, I think, to put the matter sincerely and in a straightforward manner, a consideration to which Christian people in a Christian country are entitled. I trust, therefore, that these Amendments will be carried.

3.13 p.m.


My Lords, I should like briefly to endorse what my right reverend friend and other noble Lords have said on this matter and to say how thoroughly concerned all Christian people will be about this apparently small but very important series of Amendments. Perhaps, in one sense, it is confusing that there are several varying Amendments upon the same issue, but it is of great value to us that they are being discussed together. I am in great sympathy with the Amendment proposed now by the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, not to designate Christmas Day and Good Friday as ordinary weekdays. I think that that is a cardinal point, which should be stated, and it is not a matter of calendar definition but of something infinitely deeper than that.

On the other hand, I should not like this Amendment to seem to exclude the importance of Easter Day; therefore, I much welcome the Amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Grenfell, on that issue. It would be impossible for any Christian to separate these three days. They have different kinds of effect in people's minds. One of them, in particular, lends itself clearly to quite normal and festive rejoicings. The other two are much more days of solemnity. But all three are of a piece, and I do not see how they can be seriously separated, though two happen to fall calendar-wise on weekdays and one on a Sunday. Therefore, I hope that they will all be considered together.

Secondly, I would urge, in support of Lord Grenfell's Amendment, that the best respect and protection we can offer to the Holy Days is the evening before, even more than the succeeding evening. Strictly speaking, it is not part of the Christian observance to begin a day on the evening before, thought it is a religious observance, and it is no doubt true that on two of these days, on Christmas Day and Easter Day, the Christian observance of them will begin very early, perhaps at the first hour of the day, and many people will be drawn to their Communion in the early hours of the morning. It seems to me that the best possible and right protection of these days, therefore, is that the evening before should be preserved from any further intrusion upon it. The days themselves, of course, will conjure up different feelings in different people, but this would stand, as the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, said, as a demonstration that, whatever any individual feels, it is our desire to preserve these days and their meaning for all those who sincerely wish to observe them and for others who may otherwise be led into indifference, which surely we should deplore.

I would only add that the consideration also raised of the extra work involved for employees during these days is not something to be lightly set aside. So far as Christmas Day goes, it is the experience of all of us that there are unfortunately a number of people who cannot enter fully into the enjoyment or observance of Christmas Day because of the intense busyness to which they are subjected by other people on the day before. I hope that we shall not go on to multiply that even further by an extension into the darker hours, into the small hours, of the following morning. We owe it to them to protect them so far as we can.


My Lords, if my noble friend chooses to take this to a vote, I am prepared to vote for the Amendment, not so much to preserve the souls of people who want to go on merrymaking to the small hours of those mornings, but in consideration of those people whose duty it will be to wait upon them. In a great many cases these will be Irish maids and Roman Catholic waiters, who will undoubtedly perform their devotions next morning. It is particularly for this reason and not for the other, because I do not believe that we can make men good by passing laws, that I am prepared to vote for this Amendment.


My Lords, I should like to associate myself with the remarks of my noble friend Lord Grenfell and.particularly with those of the right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Chichester. The right place at Christmas and at Easter is at church. Many people go to church only at Christmas and at Easter. Many more, I am glad to say, especially young people, go much more frequently. In many churches, midnight Communion is held prior to Christmas Day and it seems to me to be wrong that while a solemn Communion is taking place in church, in a public.house perhaps next door there may be almost unlimited merrymaking. I do not hold with the views, although I sincerely respect them, of the temperance movement, but I do feel that Christmas Eve and Easter Eve should meet with the requirements of these Amendments. For this reason, I shall certainly vote for them.


My Lords, I should like to support the right reverend Prelates and noble Lords who have spoken in favour of one or other of these Amendments. Personally, I support all those things that tend to greater observance of the three Christian Holy Days. To my mind, this country has largely ceased to be a Christian country, and is so much the worse for it. I do not see why we Christians should be expected on our Holy Days to allow atheists and agnostics to treat them as if they were pagan holidays. That is what they have largely become, due to the commercialisation of Christmas. "So many shopping days to Christmas" is a well-known phrase, and Christmas is now largely a matter of greater profits for the big stores. And Christmas Day, unfortunately, has become an occasion when people drink, dance and conduct themselves in the sort of way which one does not wish them to conduct themselves on a Holy Day.

This may be a strange idea to many people, but it is only in the last few years that this sort of association with Christmas Day has come about; and in my view it is to be regretted. To my mind, many of our troubles in this country are due to the fact that we do not observe the Christian principles. Anything which the Government or Parliament does which in any way tends to debase the standards of our national life is to be deplored. I believe, in particular, that subsection (6), which says: in that section 'week-day' shall include, and be deemed always to have included, Christmas Day, when not a Sunday and Good Friday. is immoral and unchristian. When in this country has a week-day been deemed to include Christmas Day? Certainly in my boyhood in Wales no one deemed to include Christmas Day as a week-day; and I doubt if it was so in this country. I think it is an immoral subsection, and I hope that noble Lords will go to a Division. I certainly should not be prepared to consent to the passing of a clause of this kind.

I feel that we Christians have suffered too long under the rule of the atheists. That is what is wrong with this country to-day. All these big questions, such as we are now discussing in relation to the Common Market, Berlin and all the rest, are always considered on the lines of "What benefits me?" or "What benefits this country?" They are never considered on what we should do for the benefit of the world, of humanity, or even of our enemies. I think it would be far better for this country to try to consider what Christ would have said on the questions of Berlin, the Common Market and these other matters, and then we might get sensible answers. Those, of course, are larger questions than the one we are now considering, but this Bill brings in another sap, as it were, sapping the redoubt of Christianity; and I do not like it.

3.24 p.m.


My Lords, before I proceed to the merits of this question, I should like to make it clear that the words at the end of subsection (6) which have caused offence were not inserted to make any new departure in the law. The reference was put in to remove an ambiguity in the Consolidating Act of 1953. Before that it had been quite clear from the terms of the Licensing Act, 1949, which was introduced by the Labour Government, that when they introduced the special hours certificate this applied to Christmas Day, when not a Sunday, and to Good Friday. It was quite clear by the Labour Government's Act of 1949; it was not so clear by the Consolidating Act, and these words were put in to make clear that the position of the 1949 Act was preserved. They do not make any change in the law, and were not meant to introduce something which people have found offensive. I do not mean for one moment that we are committed for ever to what the Labour Government thought in 1949, and members of that Government are perfectly entitled to change their view and support these Amendments. But I wanted to make clear that this is not, as your Lordships might have thought from the tone of some of the speeches, some change in the law.

The Amendments that have been put forward raise, first of all, the question of Good Friday; then that of the Eve of Christmas Day and the Eve of Easter Sunday; and then of Christmas Day itself. In the debate in Committee there was a strong and practically unanimous view that the special hours certificate should not apply to Good Friday; and that is reflected in all the Amendments, as well as in the Amendments which the Government have put down. We answered that view, and now Good Friday is out and is preserved as your Lordships wanted it.

I confess that I have not found the same ease in dealing with the question of Christmas Day, and I think my noble friend Lord Grenfell feels the same difficulty as I do. I think it is a matter that we ought to consider. The Government will, of course, pay great respect to the views put forward, first of all, by the right reverend Prelates, and secondly, by those who feel strongly on this issue. But a Government have to consider the general happiness and comfort of the people of the country, and that is not an easy conspectus to make. What is desired on Point 2, if I may so call it, Good Friday having been dealt with by our own Amendments (I hope that my noble friends Lord Grenfell and Lord Auckland will correct me if I am wrong) is that there should be no extension for supper or dancing, or for both, on the Christmas Eve and the Saturday before Easter Sunday. The desire is that extensions should stop for restaurants and hotels, and for clubs that are in the same position.

I should like your Lordships to reconsider the question of Christmas Day. I think your Lordships will agree that when this matter was discussed on the Committee stage there was not the same unanimity of feeling in regard to Chrismas Day as there was in regard to Good Friday. To me, there is an essential difference, which I need not elaborate. Briefly, Good Friday is a day of sorrow, and Christmas Day is a day of joy. That leads me to the next point, of what is the position at the moment. That difference of view between Good Friday and Christmas Day has been reflected in the position adopted by authorities which deal with important sections of the country. The London County Council do not allow music and dancing licences to operate on Good Friday, but they do allow them to operate on Christmas Day. In London, the Commissioner of Police has powers in this regard, and, with the approval of successive Home Secretaries of both Parties, has allowed extension of hours, in connection with parties held on licensed premises or registered clubs which do not hold a special hours certificate, until 1 o'clock on Christmas morning.

What I want your Lordships to consider is whether that does not reflect a large section of moderate opinion. We must take social conditions as we find them. As your Lordships know, to-day, most young people, when they get married, start up in a small flat, and a much greater proportion of the population live in flats or in accommodation that does not really provide the opportunity for a party. I do not think it would be right—I know that people may disagree with this view—to do away with the opportunity of parties on Christmas Eve. It is a traditional time for people to get together and see each other, and also to enjoy themselves. I know that hard things have been said in your Lordships' House about modern youth, but I respectfully protest against the idea that when young people get together for a party they necessarily get intoxicated or abuse the drink that is served.

The more important point I think we must face is: Does this permitted extension have an effect on their going to church on Christmas morning? With all respect to your Lordships, we are on the whole, and with certain clear exceptions, an elderly assembly. We probably feel that if we stay up late, until 1 o'clock in the morning—as has been allowed by the London County Council and the Commissioner of Police—it requires the complementary rest on the next morning. But it was not always so. If your Lordships will look back an your own lives, say, for 30 years, I am sure you will agree that it was quite possible to have an enjoyable party one night and get up quite early next morning and deal with the situation of that day.


May I interrupt the noble and learned Viscount? As I understand it—I may be wrong—it is not 1 o'clock in the morning, but 3 o'clock in the Metropolitan area on Christmas Eve and Easter Eve.


My Lords, I was right up to what I was saying, because I was dealing with the position which obtains at the moment. At the moment it is 1 o'clock in the morning and, of course, if we adopt these Amendments we shall be taking away the right from going on until 1 o'clock as it exists at the moment. That is, I think, the point we must consider. We are taking away a right that exists at the moment. But, of course, the noble Lord is quite right. May I first answer my noble friend, before the noble Lord, Lord Hawke, intervenes? It would be possible under the present Bill, for the licence in London to be given until 3 o'clock. It would be for the licensing justices or the ordinary justices to say what time they thought proper, and they might well consider that the time that had been found proper in the last many years would be correct.


My Lords, I think my noble and learned friend has answered me. Do I understand that the legal position at the moment is that permission can be given to open until 3 o'clock on Christmas morning and on Easter morning, but that, in practice, permission is given only until 1 o'clock, and that this Bill reaffirms the 3 o'clock?


My noble friend Lord Hawke has nearly got it right, but not quite. The existing position is 2 o'clock, and the extension is, in fact, given only until 1 o'clock. This Bill gives permission to extend the 2 o'clock to 3 o'clock in London. What I am saying is, of course, absolutely sound in law: that that power is permissive, because the London County Council could still say that the dancing licence was available only until 1 o'clock, and the Commissioner of Police could still say that these occasional licences are available only until 1 o'clock. That would be entirely a matter for them.


They could not go beyond 2 o'clock, as the law now stands, but if we pass this clause they will be allowed to go until 3 o'clock. Is that correct?


Yes, my Lords, that is the general position.


The noble and learned Viscount is only talking about London. Is it not the case that this Bill extends the extended hours all over the country.


Until 2 o'clock. It is almost impossible even for the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, to put it absolutely accurately, because he conveyed the impression that it was 3 o'clock. It is not. It is 2 o'clock. That is, of course, another point, and I shall come to that. The point I was on was that in actual fact the authorities had chosen 1 o'clock as a proper hour, even when they could have extended it until 2 o'clock. Therefore, I think your Lordships might reasonably assume that that is the sort of extension which is desired.

The point I am putting to your Lordships is this—and it is a point which really worries me, as someone who has to think of ordinary people, and not people who: I say it without meaning to cause offence—are extremely religious. I am thinking of the ordinary person who lives in a small flat who has a party at a restaurant on Christmas Eve. Suppose they go to a film which finishes at half past ten or a quarter to eleven and they then have supper and go on and spend an hour or an hour and a half dancing until 1 o'clock, and then get up and go to church on Christmas morning. I am sorry, but I must be frank with your Lordships: I find it difficult to regard that as a heinous point of view, especially in modern social conditions, when entertaining at home is more difficult.

That is the first point. I feel great difficulty about Christmas Day, and though I should much prefer that we did not lay down the law against that I want the right reverend Prelates to realise that I have considered the Midnight Service. I think there are always many people who want to go to the Midnight Service, but I do not think that the number who go are so extensive that we ought not to think of the other people who prefer to have enjoyment on Christmas Eve and get up and go to church on Christmas morning.

My Lords, with regard to the question of Easter, as I have said we are agreed upon Good Friday, and I have put down the Amendment. I must confess, however, that I have again had difficulty over the Easter Eve, for this reason. A great number of people now take a holiday at Easter; they go away on Maundy Thursday and probably stay at a hotel or hoarding house for a long week-end, coming back to work on Tuesday morning. As the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, rightly reminded us, if they are at a hotel in the country or by the seaside it is almost bound to happen that Saturday night is the climax of their Easter holiday. You must remember that a holiday has a recreative side and there will almost certainly be some sort of dinner and dance, and so on, and here again I have found difficulty in "seeing off" the Easter holiday-maker from having what would be an evening out.

I think your Lordships will grant this of me: that, with all my shortcomings, in the last seven years I have tried, on all Bills, whatever they were, to interpret the feeling of the House and not to set my view against it, whether it was my own view or the Government view; and if the general feeling of your Lordships' House is that Easter Eve is something of which my last words have taken too light a view, I shall be perfectly prepared to ask my right honourable friend, and I am sure he will agree, to meet your Lordships on that point.

What I should very much like the House to agree to, so far as we can on these matters, and what I really suggest —and I hope your Lordships will not mistake me; I am not doing it in a bargaining way at all; it is not a matter of the slightest interest to me whether I shall be able to go and dance beyond 12 o'clock on these nights, but I feed I have a duty to the ordinary people as well as to those who are deeply religious —is this. I will have an Amendment drafted about Easter Eve, and if your Lordships all agree, and no one will be angry, it can be put down on Third Reading, so that it is in real and proper form. The Amendments put down at the moment are not effective practically but I am not going into their defects because that merely distracts one from the general subject.

So Good Friday is safe, Easter Eve is safe, but I would ask your Lordships—and I do it with great humility, and at the same time I venture to think with great humanity—to leave, at Christmas, the possibility open for those who so desire it to have a party on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. I do not want to go beyond my last, but I cannot take it as anything but a good matter that people have this intense joy on Christmas Day. I do not think it is cornmercialised. I say to the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, again, without any debating feeling, that it cannot be commercialised, because Christmas is essentially the children's time and they prevent it from becoming commercialised. On the other hand, I should like to see it possible for the old and the young to have a party if they so desire. Therefore I ask your Lordships to take that, not as a bargaining compromise, but as a recognition of different points of view, that we allow the extension at Christmas, we do not allow anything on Good Friday, and I will put down an Amendment in the appropriate form to safeguard Easter Eve. I hope your Lordships will think that that is a good general view, and I appeal to your Lordships, solely in that spirit, to support it.


My Lords, I am indeed grateful to my noble and learned friend for what he has said. I should like to make quite plain the difference between Good Friday and Christmas Day as I see it. I can speak only from the Church of England viewpoint, but on Christmas Day we have services which it is, I believe, almost the duty of all people to attend. On Christmas Day, after the normal services of religion have taken place, I believe you can go out and enjoy yourself to the whole of your extent. I am deeply grateful for what the Lord Chancellor has done regarding Good Friday and Easter Eve. I should have liked to see Christmas Eve dealt with, not as my Amendment does, which limits the hour to 12 o'clock, but, if it were possible, to make it 1 o'clock, which I think is the law, without extending the time in this Bill. However, I would leave that matter with the thought that I am deeply grateful for what I have got as the result of my Amendment and I beg leave to withdraw it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


My Lords, I am not quite sure of the position and perhaps the noble and learned Viscount will tell me whether I am right. As I understood him, the House will no doubt accept the Amendment, that in addition—


May I interrupt the noble Lord? If I added the words "or on Easter Eve to 12 a.m.", that would do it. If your Lordships will allow me to do it by manuscript Amendment I will do it now, and then there will not be any question of the matter not being done.


My Lords, would that leave out Christmas Eve?


That would be added to my Amendment; then we should have to negative Christmas Eve.


This is, in a way, rather too much like bargaining.


I really do not mean it in that way at all. I hope the noble Viscount will not think that of me.


It was a comment. My Lords, it seems to me I am in a rather difficult position. I am anxious to get reserve for the Christian thought for those people who want to go to very early service, say between midnight and 3 or 4 o'clock on Christmas Eve, and I do not think the compromise offer——although what we want to do is to accept what the Lord Chancellor offers—is as easy as that. I am not looking at it in the ordinary way. I do not want to have to forgo altogether until after Third Reading at any rate some attempt to secure the views of the people who want to be clear at the time for the very early services on Christmas Day. I am thinking now not of my own denominational view but the general view of the Temperance Council, which covers very many denominations. While I am bursting to accept what the Lord Chancellor has offered, I do not want to accept it on the basis that I am then precluded from raising the question of Christmas Eve on Third Reading.


My Lords, with the greatest respect, we are all a little bit muddled, and we appear to be out of order because the Amendment has been withdrawn and we have nothing to discuss.


I have not withdrawn No. 11.


My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Derwent, is right, as he always is, and I ought to have called another Amendment before we started the discussion. It perhaps arose from the fact that I asked the House to discuss them altogether; it makes it rather difficult. If your Lordships would allow me from the Woolsack merely to explain the position—I am not arguing anything—it might perhaps be helpful. The position, if my suggestion were followed, would be this: that my noble friends, Lord Grenfell and Lord Auckland, would not move No. 10; then the Amendment of the noble Viscount who leads the Opposition is really a matter of drafting, which I will have a look at. As I explained, it does not change the law at all; those words merely make clear the consolidation of the Act of 1949. My noble friends, Lord Grenfell and Lord Auckland, would not require to move No. 12, because it is covered by my Amendment No. 12A. I would, with the leave of the House, add my manuscript Amendment, the words "or Easter Eve" to 12A, and Lord Grenfell and Lord Auckland would then not move No. 13. Then I would add "or Easter Eve" to 14A.

That means we should have reached the position that the House had gained Good Friday and Easter Eve. The noble Viscount would be entirely free to consider whether he should put down an Amendment to-morrow on Third Reading to cover Christmas Day, or he could treat his Amendment, which would not have that effect, as the opportunity for a vote on the question of Christmas Day today, whichever he likes.


My Lords, I do not want to do that. We will accept the compromise which is suggested by the noble and learned Viscount, the Lord Chancellor, but I think we should be free to see whether we can devise something to-morrow to meet our point of view with regard to those who wish to be protected in this matter of the early hours of Christmas Day.


That is entirely for the noble Viscount; I could not stop it if I wanted to, and I do not take it amiss at all. The noble Lord, Lord Grenfell, has already said he does not move No. 10. If for the moment the noble Viscount would not move No. 11 and the noble Lord, Lord Grenfell, would not move No. 12, I would move No. 12A with the addition of "or Easter Eve" and the noble Lord, Lord Grenfell, would not move No. 13. If your Lordships approve of the procedure, while retaining complete freedom of action for the future, I will move No. 12A with the addition.

My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 12A, which has the effect of excluding Good Friday, with the addition of the words "or Easter Eve", which has the effect of precluding an extension of time for the Saturday before Easter Sunday. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 19, line 19, leave out ("and Good Friday") and insert ("but nothing in that section shall affect the permitted hours on Good Friday or shall extend beyond midnight the permitted hours on Maundy Thursday or Easter Eve.").—(The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


My Lords, may I ask the noble and learned Viscount this question? With regard to the suggestion of my noble friend, is it understood that on Third Reading we may devise another Amendment in respect of Christmas Eve or Christmas Day and we may consult with the noble and learned Viscount as to its form?


Certainly. If I may speak from the Woolsack, at that stage of the Bill it is essential that your Amendment should be effective. The Home Office and I will be only too willing to give any help so as to get an effective Amendment which will have the effect of no late hours on Christmas Day, if that is what the noble Lord wants.

EARL BATHURST moved to add to the clause:

"(9) Where under subsection (1) of section one hundred and eighteen of the Licensing Act, 1953, the special hours certificate for any premises or part of premises is revoked in consequence of a contravention of section one hundred of that Act, no special hours certificate shall be valid in relation to the premises or part in question, if it is issued on an application made earlier than two months after the date of the application or than such later time, if any (not being more than twelve months after that date) as may be specified in the order revoking the certificate."

The noble Earl said: My Lords, this Amendment relates to licensed premises or registered clubs with a special hours certificate—that is, the certificate that we have been discussing—up to two o'clock in the morning in the provinces and up to three o'clock in certain parts of London. Section 118 of the 1953 Act empowers the licensing justices (in the case of licensed premises) or the magistrates (in the case of a club) to revoke a special hours certificate if they are satisfied on application by the police that while a certificate was in force any person has been convicted of a breach of permitted hours on the premises or part of the premises to which the certificate relates.

As the law stands, there is nothing to prevent the licensed premises or registered club from applying for a fresh special hours certificate at the very next opportunity, and this Amendment is really to block a gap through which one could drive coaches and horses. It is an obvious defect that where a certificate has been revoked for the reason which I mentioned a fresh certificate can be obtained, and it may be almost at once and of right. This Amendment accordingly has the effect that where a certificate has been revoked on the ground of an established breach of permitted hours, no further certificate may be issued in respect of those premises for at least two months after the revocation or for such longer period, not exceeding twelve months, as the magistrates or the justices may specify. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 19, line 36, at end insert the said subsection.—(Earl Bathurst.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 9 [Extended hours in restaurants, etc., providing entertainment]:


My Lords, this is the last Amendment of those on which we had our previous discussion and will have added to it, by manuscript, the words "or Easter Eve". I beg to move.

Amendment moved—

Page 20, line 18, at end insert ("and (c) shall not affect the permitted hours on Good Friday, or extend beyond midnight the permitted hours on Maunday Thursday or Easter Eve.").—(The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


My Lords, this Amendment adds to the grounds on which an extended hours order may be revoked the ground that it is expedient to revoke the order…by reason of the premises having been in any respect ill-conducted". The Amendment adds to the safeguards against the abuse of the new provisions for extended hours in restaurants, et cetera, providing entertainment. In particular it will allow revocation where there have been persistent breaches of the permitted hours restrictions. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 21, line 38, at end insert ("or by reason of the premises having been in any respect ill-conducted.")—(The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

4.0 p.m.

LORD STONHAM moved, in subsection (1) (a), after "sessions" to insert: provided that if a licence has been refused by the licensing justices no further applications shall be made until a period of at least six months has elapsed since the date of such refusal". The noble Lord said: My Lords, Clause 12 sets out the new procedure regarding the grant of justices' licences, and it provides that all powers possessed by licensing justices may be exercised in any licensing session. My Amendment proposes to add the provision that where the justices have refused to grant a licence an application shall not be renewed for at least six months.

As your Lordships will know, when an application has been turned down it usually means that objections have been made. This often involves not inconsiderable expense and a good deal of trouble on the part of the objectors, and I submit that it would be unreasonable to put objectors to the cost of objecting again in a period of less than six months. The six-months limitation will also prevent courts from being overloaded with applications. Under the existing provisions it has been known for applicants to apply as many as twenty times. I hope that the Government will feel that the Bill should provide against that sort of thing, and that it would be reasonable to say that once an application has been turned down by the justices it should not be renewed for a period of at least six months. I hope, therefore, they will accept the Amendment, which I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 24, line 16 after ("sessions ") insert the said proviso.—(Lord Stonham.)


My Lords, as the noble Lard has pointed out, at present a year must elapse between applications for a new licence. Under the Bill, as again he has pointed out, applications will be allowed at transfer sessions, which will, of course, be at much more frequent intervals in the course of a year. The noble Lord believes that this may create a problem through repeated application being made, and be also said that probably objections would be laid to many of these applications. I think that the noble Lord is putting too much emphasis upon the objectors and the objections. We believe that this will be only a theoretical problem. It is true, that the minimum of five opportunities will be available to each applicant, but there is no reason to suppose that, in practice, any applicant will make persistent applications. As the noble Lord will be aware, there are pretty stringent conditions that have to be complied with under this Bill, and considerable expense devolves upon the appplicant for a licence. So I do not think that he will make a frivolous application, especially if there has earlier been a serious objection to his case.

Apart from the question whether there is need for some restriction there is a serious objection to this Amendment. There is often a good reason and a good case for an applicant making a second application as soon as maybe after the first. The justices may have had a purely technical reason for refusing his application. It may have had something to do with his manager not being a suitable person, or that the lavatories or the bar facilities in his premises were not suitiable. Those situations could all be remedied in reasonably quick time, and therefore we believe that, provided those situations have been remedied, the applicant should be free to make a fresh application. I ask the noble Lord to consider what I have said. I ask him also to consider that there are much more stringent rules under this Bill with which an applicant must comply, and above all, that there are many more grounds for objection than there have been of old. I would also ask him to bear in mind that many of the applicants may in fact make second applications in perfectly good faith, having remedied defects which existed before. I would ask the noble Lord to withdraw his Amendment.


My Lords, I think what the noble Earl has said carries a great deal of weight and has gone a long way towards convincing me. My only remaining anxiety is that it is not only the applicants who are put to considerable expense and difficulty; it is also the objectors who are put to considerable expense. There may be a case where an applicant has a lot of money, yet the objectors, who are not so well off, may be greatly inconvenienced. But there are arguments both ways—I can see that. I can only say that we shall have to try it out and see how we get on. With that, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 15 [Provisional licences]:


My Lords, this is purely a technical drafting Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved—

Page 28, line 4, at end insert— ("(8) Subsection (1) and, so far as relates to appeals against a refusal to give consent under that subsection or to declare a provisional grant final, subsection (5) above shall with any necessary modifications apply in relation to provisional grants of licences under the Licensing (Seamen's Canteens) Act, 1954.")—(Earl Bathurst.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 18 [Miscellaneous amendments as to grant of licences, proceedings and fees]:

LORD STONHAM moved, after subsection (5) to insert: () In section one hundred and seven of the Licensing Act, 1953 (which deals with special orders of exemption on special occasions) for the reference to 'on such special occasion or occasions' wherever it appears there shall be substituted a reference to 'one such special occasion or occasions or to meet a public need on any occasion as the order may specify'.

The noble Lord said: This Amendment has the object of introducing greater uniformity in the interpretation of the phrase "special occasion or occasions" in Section 107 of the Licensing Act, 1953. At present, as I understand it, some justices grant a special order of exemption when they are convinced that there is a public need, but others take the view that they should grant exemption orders only in respect of a special local event. These different interpretations cause confusion, and sometimes they lead to resentment, not only among applicants but also among members of the public, particularly when one finds different practices in adjoining licensing divisions. If this Amendment were accepted it would not alter anything in principle, but it would avoid this trouble in future. I therefore hope that the Government will agree to it. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 30, line 44, at end insert the said subsection.—(Lord Stonham.)


My Lords, I am glad that the noble Lord has drawn attention to this point because the debate on the Amendment may be helpful to licensing justices and to applicants and objectors. But I do not think that the Amendment really would deal with the situation; and I should like, if I may, to spend a little time just to show why. Section 107 of the Act of 1953, to which this Amendment relates, makes provision for the grant of a "special order of exemption"; that is, an extension of hours for the sale or supply of liquor to licensed premises or a registered club—and I quote: on such special occasion or occasions as the order may specify". Outside London the order may be granted by any two justices of the peace sitting in a magistrates' court-house. In the Metropolitan Police District, orders are granted by the Commmissioner of Police, subject to the approval of the Secretary of State.

There is no statutory definition of "special occasion", but in practice it may mean either some special function that is taking place in the licensed premises or club in question—for example, an association dinner or dance, a wedding reception, or the like—or it may be something of more general application. For instance, the Divisional Court has held that Christmas Eve or New Year's Eve may be regarded as a special occasion for the purposes of Section 107—that is the case of Devine v. Keeling (1888) 2 Times Law Reports, 692.

Accordingly, if the purpose of the Amendment is to make it clear that a special order of exemption may be granted on what might be called a special occasion of a public nature (such as Christmas or the New Year) the Amendment is not necessary. If, on the other hand, the intention is that the extension of hours may be granted, for example, at holiday resorts, just because they are holiday resorts and it is the holiday season, this goes far beyond the ambit of Section 107. The right way of meeting this point would be by an Amendment to Clause 5 to give the licensing justices additional powers to extend the hours. The Government are not satisfied that there is a case for this, and further provisions for extensions of permitted hours are unlikely to commend themselves to the House as a whole, and especially to the noble Viscount, Lord Alexander of Hillsborough, after the speech which we have heard earlier to-day.

In short, if the Amendment is designed, as I think it was, to clarify the existing law it is unnecessary; but if it is designed to extend it, as I do not think it was, it is inappropriate, and that would have to be done, as the noble Lard will appreciate, in the other way that I indicated. Therefore, I do not think that the House should accept the Amendment. But I hope that what I have said will be of some value to those engaged in this aspect of licensing.


My Lords, the intention of the Amendment was certainly aimed at clarification and not at extension. I thought that in my brief introduction to the Amendment I made that clear. I had hoped so. I am grateful to the noble and learned Viscount who replied at some length to this point. I hope that his reply will be helpful. Perhaps he will help me a little further. I know that in the latter stages of our consideration of this Bill in Committee there were about ten of your Lordships present, but our discussion apparently provoked some interest, because when I sent next morning to the Stationery Office for Hansard I was told that they were sold out. My question to the noble and learned Viscount is this: in what way is it customary, or what facilities are there, for licensing justices to pick up points of interpretation such as the noble and learned Viscount has given to us? This is not the only occasion; there have been many occasions when an Amendment has not been granted and yet, as it were, a statement of some importance has been made. I should like to know how these statements are disseminated. I will ask for leave to withdraw after the noble and learned Viscount's reply.


My Lords, may I say something before the noble and learned Viscount replies? Perhaps I ought to declare an interest, because I am one of those laymen whose functions include those of being a licensing justice. We have considerable difficulty. If I am out of order, I hope that your Lordships will give me the wink or tip, and I will immediately sit down. But we had applications in Hertfordshire on a special occasion—that was, the marriage of Princess Margaret. That is a special occasion; it is a good reason for jollification. But as an average licensing justice I would say that that special occasion was associated with a village or a township in which either party to it was associated. If it was a village or town with which there was no direct association, then there was no real reason for the extension of drinking hours on such an occasion as that. But, of course, if in fact there is a granting of an extension in one area and refusal in another, the licensing trade and a number of the members of the public feel that the local justices are not being reasonable in the matter. I think there is some reason and some justification for the plea of my noble friend Lord Stonham for uniformity, in order that different benches within the same area may show some degree of agreement about what constitutes a special occasion in this context.


My Lords, may I deal first with the point of view of the noble Lord, Lord Lindgren? I made it clear (and I have not the slightest reluctance in making it clear again) that a special occasion may be something local like an association dinner or a dance, or a wedding; or, on the other hand, it may be something of more general application. The examples that I gave from the Law Reports were Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. But if there is something which the licensing justices think could properly be regarded as being in the nature of a general holiday—for instance, the occasion the noble Lord mentioned—then they would be perfectly entitled to consider that as a special occasion. I am glad to be able to say this to the noble Lord himself: this is essentially a matter for the good sense of the justices, and, really, if they apply their good sense the field in which they can apply it is of their own choosing.

On the second point, in my periodic addresses to justices I have already stressed the important aspect of their work which our recent legislation has underlined. That is, although they do an immense amount of work in dealing with criminal cases and with domestic cases, they have now been entrusted by Parliament under the Betting and Gaming Act, as they will be under this Bill, with additional responsibilities of looking after, on the one hand, the comfort and happiness of the people in whose district they sit and, on the other, the standards which should be applied in seeking that comfort and happiness. I have impressed the importance of the fact that Parliament has deliberately chosen to give them this additional responsibility.

Not only modesty has made me refrain from sending out copies of Hansard, but also the general rule that, of course, as a matter of applying the law we look at the Act and not at the debates on which it is founded. But I should like to discuss the matter with my noble friend Lord Merthyr, who is Chairman of the Magistrates' Association, to see whether a method could be found of drawing attention to points in the debate, which, while they would not be the last word and would not be binding on any judges who happened to look at them, might be of interest to them. I will certainly try to examine that point.


My Lords, I am sure that that will be of tremendous value to justices, who are, of course, well aware that it is not a question of laying down the law—the Statute is there. But it is important to know the intentions in the mind of the noble and learned Viscount when the Bill is framed. I ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 20 [Consent not required for certain alterations to licensed premises]:


My Lords, this is a technical Amendment, dealing with seamen's canteens. I beg to move.

Amendment moved—

Page 31, line 39, at end insert— ("(4) This section shall apply in relation to a canteen licensed under the Licensing (Seamen's Canteens) Act, 1954, as it applies in relation to premises for which a justices' onlicence is in torte.")—(Earl Bathurst.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 21:

Protection of young persons

21.(5) The holder of the licence or his servant shall not knowingly deliver, nor shall the holder of the licence knowingly allow any person to deliver, to a person under eighteen intoxicating liquor sold in licensed premises for consumption off the premises, except where the delivery is made at the residence or working place of the purchaser, nor shall any person knowingly send a person under eighteen for the purpose of obtaining intoxicating liquor sold or to be sold as aforesaid from the licensed premises or other premises from which the liquor is delivered in pursuance of the sale: Provided that this subsection shall not apply where the person under eighteen is a member of the licence holder's family or his servant or apprentice and is employed as a messenger to deliver intoxicating liquor.

4.20 p.m.

LORD STONHAM moved to leave out subsection (5), and to insert instead:

"(5) Nothing in the foregoing provisions of this section shall prohibit the sale or delivery of intoxicating liquor in licensed premises for consumption off the premises—

  1. (a) at the residence or working place of the purchaser, or
  2. (b) if at the time of the sale or delivery, the licensee or his servant had reasonable grounds for believing that the intoxicating liquor was intended for consumption by a person over eighteen and not the person to whom it was sold or delivered."

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 20. I hope it is not necessary for me to declare that I have no intention of ever extending drinking facilities, and particularly of extending facilities for drinking to young persons, but I am bound to say that I find it extraordinary that the Government have so far insisted that young persons should be allowed to purchase and consume liquor in clubs and yet have refused to allow them to act as messengers for their parents in making purchases from off-licences. There is absolutely no evidence that the present law relating to purchases from off-licences has led to increased drinking by young people, and if there were I most certainly should not be moving this Amendment.

When allegations to this effect were made during the Committee stage in another place, the then Secretary of State for the Home Office, Mr. Dennis Vosper, undertook to make inquiries, and during the Report stage he gave an account of the result of the inquiries that had been made. He said that inquiries had been made from the Metropolitan Commissioner and the chief constables of Birmingham, Brighton, Hertfordshire, Liverpool, Swansea and the West Riding, and also of the clerks to the justices of Cambridge, Cardiff, Exeter, Manchester, Nottingham and Sunderland—which I would describe as a very large, very representative and, geographically speaking, comprehensive sample. As a result of that sampling, it was said that there were 1,120 cases of juvenile drunkenness in those areas, but that only 9—that is, fewer than 1 in every 120—were attributable to off-licence purchases. Mr. Vosper also said that the views of those consulted were overwhelmingly against any change in the present law, and he said he was not underestimating in saying that all these knowledgeable and highly responsible people were overwhelmingly against any change.

That makes it all the more astonishing that, having asked for and received that advice, the Government then proceeded to act in a manner completely and absolutely contrary to it. If they did not intend to be in any way guided by that advice, it seems astonishing that they decided to invite it; because on the Committee stage a new clause was moved, one of the subsections of which I now seek to delete and replace, which imposed a complete ban on off-licence sales to people under 18. I would say that no one, and certainly not the retail licensees, would wish to sell, or would knowingly sell, liquor to young people if there was a danger that it would lead to juvenile drunkenness; but if these young people are determined to obtain alcohol from an off-licence then this particular provision in the Bill will not stop them. They will ring up on the telephone and ask for it to be delivered to their home, or will ask somebody over eighteen to go and buy it for them. However, what this ban does is to impose a quite unjustified restriction on parents who wish their children to be messengers.

These youngsters, as I have said, if they wish, can go into any one of the 25,000 licensed clubs, if they are members, and drink as much as they like even though they are under eighteen. When my noble friend Lord Lindgren pointed this out, on Second Reading, the noble Earl, Lord Bathurst, said this [OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 232 (No. 103), col. 1355]: We appreciate that young people can use, and are using, clubs. But where can one draw the line between an intolerable interference with the private individual and his home and private life and what is right and proper…? I submit that it is an intolerable interference in a man's private life to say that if he sends his sixteen-year-old son to an off-licence to buy a pint of beer he may be fined £25. I understand that in some working-class districts as much as 25 per cent. of the total off-licence trade is through young messengers. They do not drink the stuff—soft drinks are their "tickle". In any case, the licensee knows the child, knows the family and knows whom the liquor is for. Who suffers if a fifteen-year-old or sixteen-year-old boy who goes to the off-licence every day to buy his grandmother her usual bottle of Guinness cannot now do so? The old lady of course.

We have had a lot said about unreasonable interference. As your Lordships know, though not a teetotaller I am a temperate drinker, and it seems to me that this one is more than a bit "over the edge". I think it is something which we ought not to allow to go through. I do not think that sufficient consideration has been given to it. The evidence collected by the Home Office itself proves conclusively that no change in the present arrangements is necessary. If there are any lingering doubts about it, however, they should be met, I submit, by the terms of the reasoned Amendment which I am submitting and which leaves it to the discretion of a licensee not to supply the young person if he thinks the liquor is not required for consumption by an adult.

It is on similar lines to the provisions about supplying cigarettes and tobacco. A tobacconist is prohibited from selling cigarettes to a young person under sixteen, but he can sell tobacco if he has reason to think that it is for an older person. I submit that my suggested Amendment would require the licensee to exercise great vigilance, and would avoid an unnecessary and arbitrary prohibition on the right of parents to use their children as messengers. I also submit that it would avoid a quite unnecessary hardship and handicap to the off-licensees. I hope that, in those circumstances, the Government will take another look at this matter, and will find the Amendment acceptable. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 32, line 21, leave out subsection (5) and insert the said new subsection.—(Lord Stonham.)


My Lords, I am rather astonished at my noble friend Lord Stonham in regard to this Amendment. How on earth is a licensee to exercise his discretion as to whether the person who comes in, probably under sixteen, is going to drink it himself or is going to take it home to his mother or father? These licensees are very busy at times, and I cannot believe that a licensee would be able to make up his mind on the spot what he should do with such a young person, Surely it is better to leave it as it is in the Bill. It is better to turn away one person wrongly—he may be a little over age—rather than to serve many who would in all probability say they got it for their mother and father and go round the nearest corner and drink it up themselves. I would ask that the Government resist this Amendment.


The noble Lord, Lord Grenfell, perhaps does not appreciate what is meant by "local". If you go to a local pub, generally speaking those who are the customers are regulars who are known to the licensee and the rest. That applies equally either to an off-licence or to the off-licence section of a public house. The average person who is likely to come to it is known to the licensee—unless, of course, there has been a change of licensee; and even then, of course, the licensee quickly gets to know. But, assuming that the licensee has been in residence for some considerable time, the customer who is sending his son or his daughter down for a couple of pints of Guinness or a couple of pints of pale ale, or whatever it may be, knows that the person sent is known to the licensee. It is the person who goes there without being known who is likely to be challenged.

I should like your Lordships to consider a change in social conditions that has taken place comparatively recently. I join my noble friend Lord Stonham in saying quite openly that I am not a teetotaller, and if I have a drink I much prefer draught beer to bottled beer. There are many like myself, but television has made a considerable impact on family life. About half-past eight or a quarter to nine, if there was not a dog for father to make an excuse to take for a walk, he would tell the truth and say to mother: "I am going down to the local". But if there is an interesting programme on, he has a couple of bottles of beer, and he drinks from the bottles of beer rather than go down to the local. Whether we like or not, that is a change of social conditions. I do not think we should put a restriction on a father asking his daughter to get him a drink. Generally speaking, fathers and daughters are in very close proximity. Sons do not take much notice of father, but take much more notice of mother; and mother takes much more notice of them. But if a father asks his daughter to go to the off-licence and get him a quartern of pale ale, or something else, I do not think we should put any restriction in the way. It is far better to leave it to the good sense of a licensee of a public-house who also has an off-licensed section, or an off-licence manager, to know his customers. He knows his district, and we can rely on him to be reasonable in regard to sales. Therefore, I am very much in favour of the Amendment which has been moved by my noble friend Lord Stonham.

4.32 p.m.


My Lords, I am most interested in what the noble Lord, Lord Lindgren, has just said, and also in what the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, has said. I cannot say that I exactly agree with their ideas about whether or not it is right for father to sit in front of the television all evening and to send his son or daughter down to collect his drinks for him; I should not like to moralise on that point at all. What I do ask noble Lords to bear in mind, however, is the different situation which will exist after this Bill has become law. All these clubs which the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, and my noble friend, Lady Ravensdale of Kedleston, are so interested in, and of which we all share their dislike—the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, said there were some 25,000 of these clubs, but I do not know whether he means that all of those are bad clubs; I doubt it; I imagine a large proportion of them are good clubs—


My Lords, I must make myself clear. I did not for one moment suggest that all the 25,000, or even a large proportion of them, were bad. What I did say, and what is the truth, is that any young person under eighteen, provided he is a member, can go into any licensed club and drink as much as he likes, but that under this Bill he cannot go to an off-licence for his father and buy a sealed bottle of beer, otherwise the licensee and the father might be fined £25, which I think is nonsense.


My Lords, I must ask the noble Lord to bear with me a little, and I think he will see that that is not quite so. These undesirable clubs, where it is true young people can, and do, go now in order to get a most undesirable drink, and large quantities of it if so minded, will be closed. If they are not closed, they will be open to police inspection if they cannot pass the rigorous tests needed for Part III of the Bill. Those clubs which will be open—and the noble Lord has just mentioned them; this is a long way from his Amendment, but I think I must mention it at this moment—and which have passed the conditions under Part III, cannot be drinking dens for all and sundry young children who happen to come along. They are private establishments run for particular reasons—it may be golf, it may be snooker, or it may be any social reason you would care to think of. It may be the working men's club, or it may be a British Legion Club. I cannot believe that this will allow all and sundry young people to come into the rooms of those clubs to have drinks. If it did so, those clubs would not pass the Part III test and would have to close. They would not get a certificate, nor would they receive a licence.

It is a very different matter if some young people happen to be members of a social club and go in to have a drink, if their parents or other members of the club allow them. True, young people can go into any off-licence and buy as much drink as they like. I ask the noble Lord to bear in mind, as I reminded him when I commenced what I had to say, that when the Bill becomes law the off-licence, if the noble Lord's Amendment is carried, would be the only legal source for all young people to obtain drink. I do not think that that would be correct.

Again, the noble Lord is asking the licensee of an off-licensed premises to undertake a pretty big burden—to know whether or not he is selling to a neighbour, as the noble Lord, Lord Lindgren, suggested, or to a young person whose parents will consume the drink which the licensee sells to the young person. I doubt whether that is fair. I should like to see that point of view, and to assure noble Lords that it could be looked after. I do not know whether my noble and learned friend who sits on the Woolsack has any different view on the matter, but I am assured that it would be impossible to frame a clause in this Bill to undertake what the noble Lord, Lord Lindgren, would like to see. So, if this Amendment is approved, it will really mean that a loophole is opened as large as life for one of these coaches and horses to drive through. My noble friend suggested that a brewer's dray could be driven through it, but what it really means is that young people would be able to get as much drink as they like by law. That is really what the noble Lord's Amendment would effect. I assure him I am sympathetic to the cases he has in mind, but I am afraid it is an inconvenience that we must ask the public, or those members of the public who send their children to an off-licence, to put up with, in view—and I am afraid it is true—of the increased number of drunkenness cases among young people. Therefore, I ask the noble Lord to withdraw his Amendment.


My Lords, I am afraid I cannot withdraw my Amendment, nor can I consider that the noble Earl, Lord Bathurst, has given me any kind of answer at all to almost any point I raised. His last words were "in view of the increased drunkenness among young people." I actually gave the facts. According to the Home Office's own evidence, only 9 cases out of 1,120 are attributable to purchases from retail off-licences. How can one argue that that is a factor in increased drunkenness? Then the noble Earl said that it would be impossible to frame a clause in this Bill to meet the position with which he has some sympathy. I mentioned another Bill where it had already been done, dealing with sales of tobacco to young people. How does the tobacconist, if be is selling pipe tobacco to a young person, know that it is for father and is not going to make the child sick? He knows from experience, and there are very few prosecutions of that kind.

On the question of permitting these sales, I would point out that the law now permits any child over fourteen to go to an off-licence and buy on behalf of an adult. The only restriction is that no unsealed liquor can be delivered to a child under fourteen; but any child can at present go to an off-licence on behalf of an adult. There is no evidence at all that this has led to juvenile drunkenness. If it had, I just would not be moving this Amendment. This is just nonsense. The noble Earl may have "Resist" on his brief, but that is not an argument for putting forward an unsound case.

As to the argument about clubs, I was only making a comparison. I did not want to interrupt the noble Earl again, but there is nothing in this Bill to say that a person under eighteen cannot be a member of a club which is going to get a registration for drink. There is nothing in the Bill, and there will not be when we are finished with it, to say that a person under eighteen cannot be brought into a club as a guest and have drink served to him. There is a provision in the Bill, to which I object and which I hope to see amended, which allows clubs to be registered even though they sell liquor to members of the public, who are not members of a club temporarily closed down or something of that sort. To talk about the barn door and wagons and horses, Which the noble Lord, Lord Brecon, mentioned sotto voce!—I have driven a whole train through the noble Lord's argument. But argument is of no avail unless it yields some result.


My Lords, I must ask the noble Lord to remember what I said at first, that all these clubs, to which the noble Lord and 'the noble Lady and my noble friend object, will 'be closed down or made impossible to operate under the system we are proposing. But what is the use of doing our best to clear up these undesirable clubs, if at the same time we let any young person who is so willed go down to an off-licence, which may be a big shop or departmental store, and buy as much liquor as he or she would like? I fully admit that the number of case's of drunkenness among young people from liquor obtained at off-licences must be very small, indeed negligible, but I do not know what the position will be when this Bill has become law. I would ask your Lordships, and particularly the noble Lord, to remember that.


My Lords, I think I should make it clear that I do not want to see drinks served to people under eighteen in clubs, and I will support my noble friend when he moves his Amendment later on. Let there be no misunderstanding on that. I am not saying that clubs which serve youngsters under eighteen, either as members or as guests, are necessarily dens of iniquity, and I do not accept from the noble Earl that they will not get registration. Clubs which are bad for other reasons will not get registration; but if the noble Earl studies the Bill he will find that there is nothing inherent in it which will prompt the magistrates to say to an applicant for registration that they will not give a licence because he has members under eighteen or will allow young people under eighteen to come in.

It has been admitted that there has been no evil so far. I would put this to the noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor. Since in open conditions there has been no evil, why is it thought that there is likely to be an evil unless we put on a restriction? Why is the industry gratuitously interfered with for no apparent purpose and in direct opposition to the advice given by eminent chief constables, chiefs of police and clerks to the justices in very large towns? I should also like to ask the noble and learned Viscount, if this Amendment is unacceptable, whether it would be possible to devise one which would make conditions even tighter—something like drinks being supplied only on written orders from parents. Would the noble and learned Viscount consider that as a possibility? It seems to me wrong not to allow parents to place an order like that.


My Lords, it is not for me to direct your Lordships any more than any other noble Lord, but we are on Report stage and while the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, is entitled to speak because it is his Amendment, I think there is good reason to say that the noble Lord, Lord Lindgren, can speak again only with leave of the House. If the noble Lord wishes to ask leave of the House, I would be the last to stop him.

The noble Lord, Lord Stonham, has appealed to me. I think he has to face the point that this was a state of the law which shocked the House of Commons. The reaction was exactly the same as that of my noble friend Lord Grenfell to this Amendment to-day. This is something which one must consider and take into account as a sample of informed public opinion—and that is putting it very low. I hope it will not be taken against me that I am putting it too low. The noble Lord realises, as his last speech shows, that his Amendment would be even more dangerous than the position for which he was ultimately arguing. His Amendment does not need a parent or grandparent. So long as a licensee knows that the drink is for any adult, that would be sufficient to get through the noble Lord's Amendment. Again, as the noble Lord also indicated, his Amendment would make the matter even worse than the present law, which prohibits a child of under fourteen from obtaining liquor except in a corked and sealed bottle. The Amendment contains no similar restriction or, indeed, anything about minimum age.

Further, there are the two points which have been made and which I think are decisive in this matter. Though the noble Lord and the noble Lord, Lord Lindgren, said that in many places the licensee would know his customers, even if that is accepted, it, still leaves a great many places where the licensees cannot possibly know the customers and cannot possibly know whether a message is an honest one from a parent or just a way of getting drink. The noble Lord said there was an analogy with tobacco, but if my recollection is correct, the law allows a person under sixteen years to buy only tobacco and does not allow him in any circumstances to buy cigarettes or cigarette paper. In other words, it is aimed at something which those under sixteen do not usually do—that is, smoke after that first trial at smoking a pipe of tobacco, which lingers in the mouth for so many years. They do not try it again for a considerable time. And they are not allowed to buy cigarettes and cigarette paper, because what is really discouraged and what the law deals with is the possibility of their smoking. This provision in the Bill was introduced as an answer to an undertaking given by my right honourable friend in another place. At any rate, it was the answer to a strong opinion in the other place, and I do not think in principle that we could accept the position of the young person being allowed to go in this way and obtain the drink as it could be obtained from off-licence premises.

I should like to hold out some hope to the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, because he has worked extremely hard on this Bill, but I am afraid I cannot. I should like him to know that the National Federation of Off-Licence Holders Association of England and Wales did not think that because we have not accepted the Amendment it is any reflection on their members. It is a problem which cannot be solved and on which there is such strong feeling that we ought not to persist in an imperfect solution.

On Question, Amendment negatived.

Clause 26:

Qualifications for registration


(7) A club shall be qualified to receive a registration certificate for any premises (whether in the first instance or by way of renewal), only if no arrangements are, or are intended to be, made— (b) for any person directly or indirectly to derive any pecuniary benefit from the supply of intoxicating liquor by or on behalf of the club to members or guests, apart from any benefit accruing to the club as a whole and apart also from any benefit which a person derives indirectly by reason of the supply giving rise or contributing to a general gain from the carrying on of the club.

(8) Subject to subsection (9) below, in determining whether a club is established and conducted in good faith as a club a magistrates' court may have regard— (d) to the nature of the premises occupied by the club.

LORD STONHAM moved, after subsection (6) to insert: () A club shall not he qualified to receive a registration certificate for any premises, if at those premises there are knowingly employed, at any time more than six 'hostesses'.

The noble Lord said: I trust that it will be for the convenience of the House if I move Amendment No. 21 and deal with No. 22 at the same time. These Amendments are submitted as alternatives, in the hope that the noble and learned Viscount on the Woolsack may perhaps like one better than the other or dislike one less than the other. Your Lordships will be aware that of these Amendments regarding employment of hostesses, one is exactly the same as that moved in Committee by my noble friend Baroness Ravensdale of Kedleston, and the other is a simpler form which has been devised because, in our view, it would protect the respectable clubs which employed genuine hostesses.

During the previous discussion on the subject the noble and learned Viscount expressed doubts that a type of establishment which employed hostesses would have the chance of being registered as a club. Since our discussion on Committee he has been kind enough to send me a copy of a letter which he sent to my noble friend Baroness Ravensdale of Kedleston indicating that, in his view, there is a danger in inserting in the Bill a provision which would seem to invite the presence of hostesses in clubs. I must frankly confess that I think there is a good deal in both these arguments, but nevertheless I think it would be best to state the present position, as I see it, and to see if there is any way of getting over this difficulty with which we should all like to deal.

The present position is that there are in the West End—I say the West End but there may be some in provincial cities; I do not know—a number of proprietorial establishments which call themselves clubs. They have nominal members who, so far as I know, have no control whatever over the club; and the membership fee is a nominal one, meaning that they pay £1 or something at the door as they go in. Examples of this sort of club are Churchill's, Murray's, the Stork, Eve's, and clubs like that. At each of these establishments there are a large number of what I call bogus hostesses, perhaps as many as 50 in a single club. It is no use pretending that they are there for the genuine purpose of acting as hostesses; they are not. They are there to sit and eat, drink and dance with the guests, to persuade them,to spend as much money as they possibly can, and for the guests to treat them, with the certainty that, if required by the guests, they must go home with them. That is the important point, or otherwise the guests would not be spending all that money.

In my view, the noble and learned Viscount was quite right in saying that under this Bill when it becomes an Act such places could not possibly be registered as clubs. That means that they will become licensed restaurants, subject to entry by the police. That is virtually the same position as exists at present. But these people are so well organised that the police will still virtually be powerless. For example, they spent nine months and a great deal of money in investigations over Churchill's Club, and fell down on it; and much the same with the Stork. If the present proprietors fail to get a licence they will simply buy up a small place which has a licence and, if they so wish, expand it.

It is only two weeks since I raised this question of bogus hostesses in your Lordships' House, and I am informed that already these people have devised a way to cheat the possible restrictions. They form a night employment agency under separate ownership, and as the girls are required the proprietor or customer will telephone to the night agency for the number of girls needed. That is why I have included in one Amendment the word "knowingly." These people are knowing enough, and our problem is to define a Statute and devise an administration which will stop them from "cocking a snook" at the law and continuing their evil work.

The noble Lord, Lord Hawke, in a discussion on a previous Amendment said, quite rightly, words to the effect that you cannot make people moral by law; and nobody would dream of trying to do that. But if you are producing a Licensing Bill, at least one should try to frame it so that it is not easy for people of the type I have described to drive a coach and horses through it and just to carry on what they want to do. The right honourable gentleman the Home Secretary said recently that unless as a nation we can introduce a greater sense of morality we shall go down as a country. You cannot introduce a sense of morality by law, but we should by law try to stop the blatant flaunting of vice. It is to that end that these Amendments are directed. They may be technically faulty or impracticable; but if that is so, I hope that before tomorrow night we can find some other means of achieving the same purpose. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 37, line 8, at end insert the said subsection.—(Lord Stonliam.)


My Lords, the Government fully understand the concern that is felt by the noble Lord, Lord Stoniham, my noble friend Baroness Ravensdale of Kedleston and the noble Viscount who leads the Opposition. In accordance with the undertaking that I gave to the Committee, I consulted my right honourable friend the Home Secretary; he obtained the views of the Commissioner of Police and the whole matter was carefully reviewed. But my consultations and those of my right honourable friend confirm the view which I expressed on the Committee stage: that an Amendment like the present one, which appears to have the effect of relating a club's prospects of registration to the number of hostesses, is unnecessary and might have unfortunate implications. Broadly, I cannot see any such prospective club getting registration, even if it is going to have a limited number of "hotesses" of the kind described by the noble Lord. The existence of the state of things which has rightly shocked the noble Lord and my noble friend Lady Ravensdale of Kedleston, is due to the ineffectiveness of the present law relating to clubs, and that law is being radically reformed by the Bill. Those clubs that are run by a proprietor, and whose real object is to make money for that proprietor by the sale of liquor, simply will not get registration, because there will be the most stringent rules as to the necessity for the control of liquor being in the hands of members of the club and the profits not going to any one person but being used for the purposes of the club.

The noble Lord, Lord Stonham, then tried to turn my flank by saying, "But if they will not get registration as a club, they will have to apply for a justices' licence as a restaurant, and then, of course, they will be liable to full police inspection, and the police will find it very difficult". The noble Lord's Amendment deals only with clubs. My point is that, if it goes out from the House of Lords that the sort of place that has either six hostesses or one per 20 seats can get registration as a club, then all the work put into Part III will go. That would be the last thing the noble Lord would want. Without being fulsome, he is one of the inspirers of Part III, as I gratefully acknowledged when I moved the Second Reading of this Bill.

There are other difficulties about enforcement. The noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, who spoke against this Amendment on the Committee stage, asked me to say on his behalf that he unfortunately had to go to a semi-official engagement, but that he remained of the same opinion. I have not dealt with any question of the difficulty of enforcement; I have dealt with it on a general matter of principle. But I want to say this to the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, and my noble friend Lady Ravensdale of Kedleston, because I know how keenly they feel. My right honourable friend will keep a close watch on the situation when the Bill comes into operation and if, in the light of subsequent experience, some further measures of control, including if need be some which may be beyond the scope of licensing legislation, should appear to be desirable and practicable, these will certainly be considered. That is going a considerable way, and no doubt the noble Lord saw that I was choosing carefully words which had been agreed between by right honourable friend and myself; so I hope, in view of that and my general explanation, the noble Lord will not press these Amendments to-day.


My Lords, I am most grateful to the noble and learned Viscount and his right honourable friend for what he has just said, which does more than I hoped to achieve, and I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

5.5 p.m.

LORD STONHAM moved, in subsection (7) (b), to leave out "club" (where that word occurs a second time) and insert "members". The noble Lord said: My Lords, I hope we can take Amendments Nos. 23 and 24 together. These two Amendments were moved in Committee, and when we discussed them the Lord Chancellor was unable to accept the view that when a proprietor owned the whole club the expression "club as a whole" means the proprietor. The Lord Chancellor held the view that, even though a proprietor owns the whole club, he cannot benefit directly or indirectly from the sale of drink. The noble and learned Viscount was good enough to say that there was no difference of purpose between us, but that the substitution of the word "members" for "club" in this subsection would create doubt regarding the meaning of the word "club" where it is used in other parts of the Bill.

My noble and learned friend Lord Denning declared that the precedents quoted by the Lord Chancellor underlined the ambiguity. My noble and learned friend pointed out the reference to "members" on the one hand, and proprietors of clubs of an entirely different nature on the other, and also that unless we make it clear that the proprietor gets nothing from the proprietary club apart from benefits accruing to members, we are leaving a loop hole. When legal experts disagree, it is quite fruitless for me as a layman to hold any opinion at all, much less to express one. It would be clearer to me if we used the word "members" instead of "club", and I cannot see that it would create confusion, as the Lord Chancellor seemed to think, in other parts of the Bill. I should like to know whether, as a result of his promised reconsideration of the matter, he now holds the view that this Amendment can be accepted. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 37, line 20, leave out ("club") and insert ("members").—(Lord Stonham.)


My Lords, as this Bill does not define "clubs", and as it presumably includes not only members' but proprietary clubs, and as the definition in law is that in a members' club the members own everything and in a proprietary club the proprietor would own everything, what is to be the position of intoxicating liquor When you have to consider the benefit accruing to the club as a whole? If it is a proprietary club, does that mean you could have benefit accruing to the proiprietor? I hope that is not the intention, and I would still suggest that it would be better to have an Amendment to make it quite clear that the proprietor gets nothing out of the sale of intoxicating liquor in a club.


My Lords, in view of the difficulties expressed, not only by the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, but by a great legal authority like my noble and learned friend Lord Denning, I have gone into this question, and much careful thought has been given to it. But we did not feel that we could depart from the position which I took up on the Committee stage, and if I elaborate the arguments which I made on the Committee stage as to the interpretation of the term in the case of a proprietary club, I should like your Lordships to have these points in mind. A club, to be qualified for registration, must have not less than 25 members (that is in Clause 26 (6) (a)); the purchase and supply of liquor must be under the control of an elective committee (that is in Clause 26 (6) (c)); and must have rules which permit all members to vote in the election of that committee subject to certain exceptions (that is in the Fifth Schedule, paragraph 2 (4)). Whatever the financial arrangements are between the members and the proprietor, there is in such a club an unincorporated association of persons, the members, distinct from the proprietor. The words "club as a whole" must therefore refer to the unincorporated association. It is impossible to find a third choice, for the abstract nature of the club in this case cannot be made concrete in any form which the court could apply in this context. To interpret a club as referring to the proprietor is to give the term here a different meaning from that which it has, for example, in Clause 26 (6) (c): so far as not managed by the club in general meeting or otherwise by the general body of the members, and is, in my view, to give an unnatural meaning to the term. If it is argued that club means the members together with the proprietor, then the words "as a whole" prevent the proprietor from taking a share which differs from that taken by each of the members.

My Lords, I apologise for the rather succinct and tightly drafted justification of my position. I hope that my noble and learned friend Lord Denning will read it, and that, if there is any difficulty, he will let me know by to-morrow afternoon, and I will consider it again. I have considered it, and in my view in the context that is the only possible construction.


My Lords, I am most grateful to the noble and learned Viscount. I assure him that, apart from the noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning, I am in the same state of bewilderment as all other noble Lords who have heard the Chancellor's exposition. I must of course be satisfied to accept what he has said, but I feel that he will have great difficulty when, in collaboration with his noble friend Lord Merthyr he tries to explain this matter to licensing magistrates. He will have great difficulty in letting them see the difference. I hope he will try very hard and if I am wrong I will accept the position. I ask your Lordships for leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

5.12 p.m.

LORD STONHAM moved in subsection (8), to add to paragraph (d): and to any other registration certificate or certificates which has or have been issued in respect of the same premises, or in respect of club premises in the same building". The noble Lord said: My Lords, subsection (8) of Clause 26 sets out considerations to which magistrates must have regard in deciding whether a club is established and conducted in good faith as a club, and I seek to add one very simple but not unimportant consideration; that a magistrate should also inquire, before granting a licence to a club, if there are any other licensed clubs in the same building. There are buildings in London which house more than one club, and magistrates should have regard to this before granting registration, otherwise by a suitable arrangement between two or more clubs the members could completely overcome licensing hours merely by moving out of one club into another in the same building. I think this is a loophole which should be closed before we part with the Bill. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 37, line 40, at end insert the said words. —(Lord Stonham.)


My Lords, I do not think that this Amendment is acceptable, and I hope that I may be able to convince the noble Lord, Lord Stonham. As he said Clause 26 (8) sets out certain matters to which a magistrates' court must have regard in determining whether a club is established and conducted in good faith. The court may have regard:

  1. "(a) to any arrangement restricting the club's freedom of purchase of intoxicating liquor; and
  2. "(b) to any provision in the rules … under which money or property of the club, or any gain arising from the carrying on of the club, is or may be applied otherwise than for the benefit of the club as a whole …; and
  3. "(c) to the arrangements for giving members proper information as to the finances …; and
  4. "(d) to the nature of the premises …"
The noble Lord, Lord Stonham, would add to that, not only premises but all the building, because a certificate or certificates have been issued in respect of similar premises in the same building.

Now, as I think your Lordships who have followed this Bill will have gathered by this time, when a club is refused renewal of its certificate the premises can be disqualified for any period up to five years. Let us assume that premises have not been disqualified —the court has considered disqualifying the premises, but has not done so—and that another club then comes along. It seems to me that that next club is entitled to have a fair consideration of its application, because, ex hypothesi, the magistrates have considered that this is not a case for disqualifying the premises in fear of new "mushroom" growth.

It might be said "Well, why not give them this provision as a pointer?" Of course, if we put this in the Statute, magistrates will be bound to consider it; and they might consider it from a quite different angle, in view of the way the Amendment is phrased. They might say that it was the feeling of Parliament that there should not be too many clubs in the same building, which is quite outside the idea of the noble Lord, as I understood it. He would not mind having—as is sometimes necessary, in the middle of an industrial town in the north, where there is a large building with, perhaps (I do not actually know of a case), a Conservative club on one floor and a Labour club on the next—clubs of varying kinds in the same building. But I feel that the courts ought to concentrate on these four points which I mentioned and not find something against a club being "guilty by association." On the other hand, they ought to be quite ready to use the powers of disqualification where they think that there is relevant danger.

The Bill already deals with the nature of the premises occupied by the club, but, of course, that is a different point—that refers to the suitability of the premises for a bona fide club and not a bogus club, and I think the noble Lord will agree that is really dealing with a different point. For these reasons I do not think we ought to put these words into the Bill. I feel that magistrates can cope with the difficulties which the noble Lord has in mind by the right use of disqualification in the appropriate case.


My Lords, I see the difficulty when a number of clubs in the same building are conducted in good faith and are first-class clubs. We all know examples of them, and my only purpose in moving this Amendment was to draw attention to the danger that in some areas several clubs will arrange their rules with the sole object of enabling members to drink from eight in the morning until the small hours the next day. If, however, the Lord Chancellor feels that the magistrates will know about it, and will disqualify one or more of the clubs I think that that will meet the position.


My Lords, is it really conceivable that there could be two clubs in the same building both applying for registration without the magistrates being aware of it? Either they will apply at the same time, in which case both applications are before the magistrates, or one applies after the other and one case has already been dealt with. I should have thought it inconceivable that the magistrates would not be aware of the existence of the other club in the same building. I do not know whether the noble and learned Viscount can explain whether it is conceivable that they might not be aware.


My Lords, I think it is extremely unlikely. It could be done only by a slip on somebody's part. Obviously they will keep in the petty sessional division a list of clubs, and it would only be per incuriam—a rather odd per incuriam— that that would happen.


The Amendment suggests merely that it should be one of the considerations in regard to the registration to which the magistrates should have regard. But I think the noble and learned Viscount has covered the point, and I ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 27:

Objections to and cancellations of registration, and disqualification of premises


(2) An objection to the issue or renewal of a registration certificate may be made on any one or more of the following grounds, that is to say,— (e) that the club premises or any of them (including premises in respect of which the club is not regfstered or seeking registration) are habitually used for an unlawful purpose, or for indecent displays, or as a resort of criminals or prostitutes, or that in any such premises there is frequent drunkenness, or there have within the preceding twelve months been illegal sales of intoxicating liquor, or persons not qualified to be supplied with intoxicating liquor there are habitually admitted for the purpose of obtaining it;

5.20 p.m.

LORD MACDONALD OF GWAENYSGOR moved, in subsection (2) (e), after "unlawful purpose" to insert: or for the supply of intoxicating, liquor to young persons unaccompanied.".

The noble Lord said: My Lords, at the Committee stage I moved an Amendment in this form: No intoxicating liquor shall be supplied at any time to any person under 18 years of age in any club to which this section applies. We had a very useful debate and there was almost unanimity in the Committee as regards what I was aiming at. I was assured by the noble Earl, Lord Bathurst, with his customary kindness, that what I had in mind would almost be achieved without my Amendment, that the good clubs would themselves see to it, and that when this Bill became law the bogus clubs would no longer exist and therefore I need not worry. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning, intervened to say that there were two types of clubs and he thought that what the noble Earl, Lord Bathurst, said was quite true of one type but not of the other. The result was that I decided to withdraw my Amendment for reconsideration.

Since then I have discussed the matter with the noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning, and the Amendment on the Order Paper is largely his handiwork. In moving it I want to make it quite clear that my desire is one expressed by my noble friend Lord Stonham earlier in the evening: to make it difficult, if not impossible, for those under eighteen to be supplied anywhere with intoxicating liquor. These debates to-night have shown quite clearly that this Bill safeguards the position to a large extent. It goes a long way to safeguard the position, but it has left this loophole—a word I use since loopholes have been referred to. A youth under eighteen cannot get any drink in an off-licence or in an on-licence. But this Bill would allow him to go to a club of any kind and secure drink.

I cannot understand why the Government object to putting this in the Bill. The new Amendment has been lifted from Part I to Part III, and I think it fits in with the purpose of the clause. I have Bone a long way to try to meet the noble Lord, and I hope he will go some of the way to try to meet my point that no one under eighteen should be served with drink in any club. Enforceability may be raised and I know the difficulties. I pay a compliment to the Government for having touched these clubs. Most Governments have for years been afraid to touch them in any shape or form, but this Government have gone into the question of clubs—not far but some way. Enforceability would not be a reason for not accepting this Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 40, line 9, after ("purpose") insert ("or for the supply of intoxicating liquor to young persons unaccompanied,").—(Lord Macdonald of Gwaenysgor.)


My Lords, may I, in support of what my noble friend Lord Macdonald of Gwaenysgor has said, say that at the Committee stage there was an Amendment proposed to put clubs on the same footing as ordinary licensed premises—no intoxicating liquor to be supplied to people under eighteen. That was rejected. For the other class of case in this Bill, concerning the new restaurant licences and guest house licences, there is a provision which protects young people unaccompanied in so far as they would habitually resort to these licensed premises; and a licence for a new restaurant or guest house can be refused if it is a place where young people go habitually unaccompanied by their parents or a grown-up. But there is no such provision as to clubs.

Throughout this Bill there is nothing in regard to clubs to restrict the supply of intoxicating liquor to young people of any age. All this Amendment proposes is to bring them into line with the new restaurant licences—namely, to say that if it is found that intoxicating liquor is habitually supplied to young people under eighteen it should be a ground for objecting to the renewal or issue of a licence. You must find a club being habitually used for the purpose of the supply of liquor to people under eighteen. I would submit that this puts no undue restriction on any legitimate club at all, or even on the club where young people can go or where their parents can buy for them occasionally. But there should be a restriction on the habitual use of clubs by young people under eighteen for getting intoxicating liquor, and I would support the Amendment.


My Lords, I also wish to support this Amendment and express the very strong hope that it may be possible for the Government to accept it. I understand the argument used in favour of allowing young people to have alcoholic liquor in clubs is that they go in with their parents and it is a family affair. That argument carries no weight with me at all. This is a semi-public place and I think it is most undesirable that young people should be able to obtain alcoholic liquor in those circumstances. We are grateful that in so many directions this Bill protects young people in this matter of consumption of alcoholic liquor. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Macdonald of Gwaenysgor, that it is a great pity there is this one loophole, and I hope the Government will accept the Amendment and make the provision which is proposed by the Amendment.


My Lords, I know again that I shall not be able to persuade the noble Lord to my way of thinking; nor, I regret to say, other noble Lords and the right reverend Prelate who have supported this Amendment. The noble Lord said there was a great deal of agreement in the Committee stage of this Bill. I must with very great respect doubt what he said on that. I put forward to your Lordships that the genuine, respectable club, is an extension of the home; and we in Her Majesty's Government do not believe that we can interfere with the rights of the individual by still further police inspection of club premises which are in fact perfectly respectable and are indeed, as I have suggested, an extension of the home. That is quite a different thing from having young people drinking in the sort of clubs that will not pass Part III of this Bill.

The noble Lord, Lord Macdonald of Gwaenysgor, and the right reverend Prelate, have compared young people going to clubs with young people going to restaurants, to the new licensed restaurants that will be included in Part I of the Bill and to other licensed premises. But that cannot be right. Young people cannot go to one of those clubs; they have to be asked in, unless, of course, they are members of that club for any legitimate purpose, such as tennis or the sports that I have mentioned. If they are members for a legitimate purpose it is doubtful that they are going to join the club purely for providing themselves with drink. I cannot believe that that would be so.

Again, supposing such a club should be set up for the purpose of providing young people with drink, I cannot believe that any licensing justices or magistrates would ever give it a licence or a certificate for its existence. So I think that there really is a particular safeguard against what the noble Lord opposite, his noble friend and the right reverend Prelate fear will happen. I cannot believe that young people going into a respectable club with their family or their friends are going to suffer a great deal from excess of alcohol. If there is any question of drunkenness, that is a ground for closing down that particular club. Does the noble Lord wish to say anything?


Only when the noble Earl has finished.


I am sorry; I thought the noble Lord wished to intervene. As the noble Lord, Lord Macdonald of Gwaenysgor, will see from his Amendment, it could be got round straight away. All the young person would have to do on going into a club would be to ask a senior member or a friend to buy him a glass of beer or a gin and tonic, or whatever he would fancy, and that sale could be made up again outside the club premises, or even inside the premises. The law just could not be enforced without punitive measures of inspection by the police, which I cannot believe that Parliament would require to be done. I only point out to the noble Lord the immediate reaction to which such an Amendment as his would give rise. I ask him to remember that all these undesirable drinking clubs where young people have now been able to go, almost at will, and obtain alcohol, will either be closed down or will be under complete police supervision, as indeed are ordinary licensed premises. That new provision will be in force when the Bill is passed. With that in mind, I ask the noble Lord whether he will consider withdrawing his Amendment.


My Lords, we are here considering the grounds upon which a licence may be withdrawn. The Amendment provides that it should be possible for the licensing magistrates to withdraw a licence from a club if the club habitually serves drinks to a person under eighteen who is unaccompanied. "Unaccompanied" is a term used in the Amendment. Therefore, will the noble Earl, in considering the merits of this Amendment, rule out that this is a young person coming to a "home" with his family in domestic circumstances? This Amendment is not designed for that sort of circumstance at all. It is designed, and is so worded, to apply only to a young person who is unaccompanied. Does the noble Earl suggest that it is wrong that we should enable the magistrates to refuse a licence if a club habitually serves an unaccompanied person under eighteen with drinks —surely not! He would deprecate that as much as any of us. So what is wrong with putting it in the Bill?

Then the noble Earl says that it will be difficult to find out; it will involve inspection and so on. But there are other provisions in the same clause to which the same objection might be made: for instance: or there have within the preceding twelve months been illegal sales of intoxicating liquor. How are the magistrates to know that, according to the noble Earl, unless they have a system of inspection? Then there is this phrase: or persons not qualified to be supplied with intoxicating liquor there are habitually admitted for the purpose of obtaining it. That could conceivably apply to persons unaccompanied under the age of eighteen, and it is not really much different. So I just cannot see why the noble Earl will not accept this Amendment.

The only thing I can think of is that we are approaching the end of the Session and do not want too many Amendments; that this Bill has to go back to another place, and so on. But if that were the reason, then we are making all these proceedings upon which we have been engaged since half-past two to-day a farce. What are we doing here if we cannot move an Amendment which is so right and is as innocuous as this particular Amendment? I beg the noble Earl to go back to his right honourable friend and to see whether an Amendment of this kind cannot be inserted in the Bill as one ground for refusing a licence.


My Lords, on the broader issue which the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, raised, I hope he has noted that two Amendments put down by noble friends of his are at any rate adopted by ourselves, and will, I think, get into the Bill.


I was putting a hypothetical case.


On this point I really think that the problem is not so easy as noble Lords who have supported the Amendment have made out, and that there is a serious point which has more than one serious reaction on the argument of my noble friend Lord Bathurst. May I take what my noble friend called the "home from home" argument and develop that just a little further? I do not think that at any rate all the supporters of the Amendment would think it wrong if, at his own home, a father allowed his son, if he wanted it, to have a glass of beer with his lunch, or a drink of shandy after playing lawn tennis although the father was not there. I think that is a reasonable thing to do and we should allow it in our own homes. The boy goes to the tennis club and his father is not there. Is he not to have a glass of shandy after three hard sets of tennis? Of course he is. And if he is on holiday and habitually plays tennis, of course the club should not be struck off because, whenever that boy during the brief warm period of the year plays three hard sets of tennis, he has a drink of shandy. That is one difficulty.


Would the noble and learned Viscount allow me to interrupt? I think it might be convenient to clear the ground as he goes along. Subsection (2) is not mandatory on the magistrates: it says simply that they may refuse. The words are: An objection to the issue or renewal of a registration certificate may be made on any one or more of the following grounds … I should have thought that, in the case the noble and learned Viscount has pointed oat, no sensible magistrates would uphold such an objection against a club.


I should also hope that no sensible person would suggest that it was a proper ground of objection. I do not see why it should be a ground of objection. Let us take the next example—of having a drink with a meal. At present, the law allows a licensee to sell beer or cider to a person of sixteen for consumption with a meal, usually in a room set apart for the service of meals, whether or not the young person is accompanied by an adult. That can be found in Section 129 (3) of the consolidating Act of 1953, and it is now re-enacted in subsection (4) of the new Clause 21, dealing with the protection of young persons, which I moved the other day. In that quite important instance of having a drink with a meal, the Amendment would be more restrictive than the present law. After all, it is a matter for the father. Why should he not allow his son to have a drink of beer or cider with his lunch? It does not seem to me that that is something which ought to be made a ground of objection to the club.

Then I think one comes to the more serious point that has been made. That is the one with which my noble friend dealt, and I think I ought just to mention it once again. It is said that we have empowered the licensing justices to refuse the grant or renewal of a restaurant licence for premises frequented by young persons not accompanied by an adult—that is in Clause (2) (b). But, my Lords, I think the difference there is that a licensed restaurant, unlike a club, is open to all. Clause 2 (3) provides for what may be quite a serious state of affairs when there is a restaurant that is open for table meals only at certain times of the day and is also frequented at the moment as a coffee bar, but afterwards will be frequented as a bar for young people where they can get liquor.

I think the difference is that in Clause 2 (3) young persons must constitute a large proportion of those resorting to the premises, whereas under the Amendment pronosed by the noble Lord, Lord Macdonald of Gwaenysgor, a club would appear to be in peril even if the number of unaccompanied young persons supplied with liquor was quite small in proportion to the total membership. So that, even if you say that my first point is bad, and if you accept the analogy of a licensed restaurant or club—which I do not—the club will still be more severely treated than formerly.

The noble Lord, Lord Silkin, made a very fair point as to enforceability. He asked: "Why is this any more difficult to enforce than anything else?"Without being able to give a logical a priori argument, it is roughly true of human affairs that if you get a situation which a considerable proportion of humanity thinks simple, then it is very difficult to enforce. That has been the experience of legislation over the centuries. I think that, on my first two points, there are a considerable number of people who would think that this is not the acme of wisdom, and therefore there is the greater difficulty of enforceability. I am very sorry, because I know the noble Lords have considered it, but these reasons are a complement to those advanced by my noble friend Lord Bathurst, and I feel that we cannot weaken on this point.


My Lords, before the question is put, I wonder whether the Government would consider one point, because I think there is some substance in this Amendment. The Amendment refers to intoxicating liquor. But could not spirits be excluded? After all, a glass of beer or glass of cider to a lad of sixteen or seventeen who is in a club unaccompanied would probably do very little harm, but if he were to drink a couple of gins or something like that, then harm could ensue. This could perhaps be considered as a compromise to the Amendment which, as I have said, has some substance in it.


The noble and learned Viscount spoke to my noble friend about the difficulties of enforcement. I quite agree with him. If it is something the public will not accept, it is almost impossible to enforce. But the Lard Chancellor has put us in an exceedingly difficult position, and so has the noble Earl, Lord Bathurst. He says that whether a boy is to have a glass of shandy or beer is for his father to decide. But his father is not allowed to decide whether the same boy can go to an off-licence and 'buy a bottle of beer for him. That is the kind of ridiculous position we are in; and the danger is that the public will think that this business about the prohibition on a boy of sixteen going as a Child messenger is utterly ridiculous. That is the difficulty, and the Government are inconsistent in this respect.

The reason I object to the serving of drinks to under-eighteens in clubs is because of my experience with young people's clubs, particularly with the New Ventures, where we have an adventurous type of youngster. We do not serve drinks or intoxicants in our clubs and we do not allow them to be brought into the clubs to be drunk there. But we have run into very considerable difficulty through youngsters, for that very reason, going up to a public house and coming back drunk, or the worse for drink. So much so that we have sometimes had to close our clubs at ten to 10

Clause 28:

Sale of intoxicating liquor by registered clubs

28.—(1) Notwithstanding anything in any enactment, where a club is registered in respect of any premises, and the rules of the club provide for the admission to the premises of persons other than members and their guests and for the sale of intoxicating liquor to them by or on behalf of the club for consumption on the premises, then subject to the following provisions of this section the authority of a licence shall not be required for such a sale, and intoxicating liquor may be supplied to those persons and their guests for consumption on the premises as it may to members and their guests.

or twenty past 10, as the case may be, just before the public houses close, because of the real troubles which arise afterwards. That is one of the reasons why the Government are quite wrong—and we very much regret it—in allowing drinks to be served to young persons in clubs. We cannot force them to accept this Amendment, but I think they are very wrong in their thinking about it.

On Question, Whether the said Amendment shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 19 Not-Contents, 62.

Amwell, L. Hawke, L. Macdonald of Gwaenysgor, L.
Burden, L. [Teller.] Kinnaird, L. Silkin, L.
Chester, L. Bp. Lindgren, L. Stonham, L. [Teller.]
Chichester, L. Bp. Listowel, E. Taylor, L.
Citrine, L. Longford, E. Williams, L.
Colwyn, L. Lucan, E. Wootton of Abinger, B.
Denning, L.
Ailwyn, L. Devonshire, D. Milverton, L.
Albemarle, E. Dundee, E. Montgomery of Alamein, V.
Allerton, L. Elliot of Harwood, B. Morley, E.
Ampthill, L. Esher, V. Newall, L.
Amulree, L. Fairfax of Cameron, L. Newton, L. [Teller.]
Ashbourne, L. Ferrier, L. Perth, E.
Auckland, L. Fortescue, E. Polwarth, L.
Bathurst, E. Fraser of Lonsdale, L. Rea, L.
Blackford, L. Goschen, V. Robins, L.
Brecon, L. Grenfell, L. Rockley, L.
Bridgeman, V. Hailsham, V. (L. President.) St. Aldwyn, E. [Teller.]
Buckinghamshire, E. Hastings, L. St. Oswald, L.
Carrick, E. Howard of Glossop, L. Salisbury, M.
Carrington, L. Iddesleigh, E. Savile, L.
Chesham, L. Kilmuir, V. (L. Chancellor.) Strang, L.
Colyton, L. Lansdowne, M. Strathcarron, L.
Conesford, L. Lloyd, L. Terrington, L.
Crathorne, L. Mancroft, L. Torrington, V.
Crookshank,V. Margesson, V. Waldegrave, E.
Denham, L. Massereene and Ferrard, V. Waleran, L.
Derwent, L. Merrivale, L.

Resolved in the negative, and Amendment disagreed to accordingly.

(3) A magistrates' court, on the issue or renewal of a registration certificate for any premises, may attach to the certificate such conditions restricting sales of intoxicating liquor on those premises as the court thinks reasonable (including conditions forbidding or restricting any alteration of the rules of the club so as to authorise sales not authorised at the time of the application to the court), and subsection (1) above shall not authorise a sale in breach of any such condition: Provided that no such condition shall be attached so as to prevent the sale of intoxicating liquor to a person admitted to the premises as being a member of another club, if— (b) both clubs exist for learned, educational or political objects of a similar nature; or

5.59 p.m.

LORD STONHAM moved, in subsection (1), to omit all words after "such a sale", and to insert instead:

"Provided that it is to a person admitted to the premises as being a member of another club and—

  1. (a) The other club is registered in respect of premises in the locality which are temporarily closed; or
  2. (b) both clubs exist for learned, educational or political objects of a similar nature; or
  3. (c) each of the clubs is primarily a club for persons who are qualified by service or past service, or by any particular service or past service, in Her Majesty's Forces and are members of an organisation established by Royal Charter and consisting wholly or mainly of such persons; or
  4. (d) each of the clubs is a working men's club which is to say a club which is, as regards its purposes, qualified for registration as a working men's club under the Friendly Societies Act, 1896, and is a registered Society within the meaning of that Act, or of the Industrial and Provident Societies Act, 1893".

The noble Lord said: My Lords, subsection (1) of Clause 28 provides that anyone can come to a club and be supplied with drink, and he can be supplied without the authority of a licence. Clubs are, in fact, excluded from any conditions restricting sales. This seems to be a remarkable clause, and I find it extraordinary that this very wide provision has not previously excited any comment, so far as I know. Because except that the profits on the sale of drink will be for the benefit of members, such clubs are nothing more nor less than public-houses, to which the police have no right of entry. I do not know whether it is in fact the Government's intention to permit such clubs, but that is the precise meaning of the "club" clause to which I have referred. Anyone can go into a club and be supplied with drink, and be supplied without the authority of a licence.

In the Explanatory Memorandum attached to the original Bill, the following appears: Clause 24"— which has now, of course, become Clause 28— makes Provision whereby a registered club will be permitted to sell liquor to non-members as well as to supply liquor to members of the club. The court will be able to impose conditions restricting such sales. A club will thus be able to extend its facilities, for example, to members of other clubs which are temporarily closed, without conferring membership on them". I thought that that last sentence was the whole justification and purpose of this clause, a purpose with which I have every possible sympathy, in that one club may, as it were, give hospitality to members of other clubs of like mind and like purpose. I think it is wholly right that a club should be able to extend its facilities to the members of other clubs in the wide categories I have listed in my Amendment, and which are in fact the same categories which appear later on in subsection (3) of the clause.

It is my submission that it is wholly wrong, and contrary to the spirit and intent of the Bill, for a registered club to be able to act as if it were an unlicensed public house and be allowed to supply all comers with alcohol. I hope the Lord Chancellor will discuss my interpretation of this particular clause and tell me whether I am right or wrong. And if I am right, I hope the Government will accept this point, because I can think of establishments for which this clause will provide an ever-open door in more ways than one, and they will he able to laugh at the rest of the Bill. Therefore, I hone the Amendment will be accented, and I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 41, line 20, leave out from ("sale") to end of line 22 and insert the said proviso.—(Lord Stonham.)


My Lords, I hope that I can reassure the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, if I may ask him to follow my reasoning, which is fairly closely-knit. Clause 28 allows a club to make provision for sales to nonmembers. There is no restriction on the provision which may be made, but—and this is the point for the noble Lord's consideration—subsection (2) allows the court to have regard to a club's sales to non-members in determining whether the club is established and conducted in good faith as a club. That is, if the club, by its rules, illogically and immeasurably extends the sale to non-members, then the court steps in and says, "You are not a bona fide club". Subsection (3) allows the court to attach to a certificate conditions restricting sales of liquor, and examples are given in the subsection. So the court can say, "We will permit you to pass examinations as to your being a bona fide club, provided you agree to and maintain these restrictions".

But at that point, the proviso to subsection (3) provides that the court is not to 'attach any condition restricting sales to the members of other clubs in the circumstances set out in paragraphs (a) to (d), which are those which the noble Lord has taken for his present Amendment. So the scheme is that you can make wide laws, but you are subject to the control of the courts. If your rules are too wide, the courts will say that you are not a bona fide club. Alternatively, in subsection (3) the court can say that you are bona fide but that they will impose restrictive conditions. We say you cannot make your restrictive conditions bar these reasonable concomitants of club life—they are indeed reasonable because the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, has adopted them in his Amendment and, therefore, they must be reasonable; at least that is so in the case of this Amendment, though I will not give him a general blanket on that ipoint—such as where the other club is registered in respect of premises temporarily closed, or where both clubs exist for the same objects or for a Service connection, or something like that. That is the way we are working it, and I hope that, even if it does not satisfy the noble Lord, I have made it clear to him.

This Amendment, which the noble Lord said was intended to restrict club sales to those clubs listed in paragraphs (a) and (d), appears Ito me in these circumstances to leave subsection (3) with no content, because paragraphs (a) to (d) of the Amendment are the same as those in the proviso to subsection (3). Therefore, it follows that any sale within the Amendment is within the 'proviso to subsection (3), and in those circumstances the court may exercise the power conferred by 'subsection (3). As I say, Clause 28 was inserted in order to authorise certain long-established practices under which one club gives hospitality to another when that club is closed, or members of political, ex-Service or working men's clubs affiliated to a central organisation are entitled, on production of a pass card, to the privileges of membership of any other club.

There is one other point, and I hope I shall be able to get the support of the noble Lord, Lord Stonham. He will realise that the old procedure that was used of making such a person a temporary or an honorary member really involved a sale, because he had no ownership in the liquor supply of the club, and therefore there could not be a supply in the legal sense—there had to be a sale. Clubs adopt various methods —as I have said, temporary membership or honorary membership—for getting round what was really not a supply at all. Now we have been honest about it. This Bill says, "We are really giving you the right to sell, but it must be restricted in these ways, and, broadly, the rules which you adopt must satisfy the justices that you are a proper club". They can attach what restrictions they like, provided they do not interfere with these well-known things which have gone on from time immemorial, and which, in my view, do not do any harm; that is to say, allowing club members to have a drink in another club when their club is closed, or allowing members of political clubs to have a drink in another political club in another part of the country when they happen to be there. The provisions of the Bill about voting rights of members prevent these practices continuing under their present disguise, and therefore the clause, as I say, recognises that a sale is allowed to continue, subject to safeguards.

I am not going to anticipate what my noble friend Lord Colville of Culross will say on Amendment No. 29, but one of our difficulties is that, if we extend too greatly the number of people who can come in, we ruin the idea of a club being a real club. We have tried to meet that difficulty and I shall have something more to say about that on the next Amendment. I hope that I have shown the noble Lord that at any rate we have a well thought out scheme for dealing with a problem that has always existed. It may not be quite so tough as he would have liked, but if the justices do their part, both in taking a high standard for the proper carrying on of a club and in imposing restrictions where they think it right, I think that their control will work. I hope that I have satisfied the noble Lord in the explanatory part, if not entirely in the policy part.


My Lords, as on several previous occasions the key to this matter is the justices. The noble and learned Viscount said that all will be well if the justices set a high standard. What the Government are doing is to say that applicants must satisfy the justices, otherwise they will not get a licence, and once they are registered, if they abuse the terms of their licences, they will have their licences taken away from them. That leaves the whole thing with the justices, and that is a tremendous responsibility. We shall see how it works out. A great deal depends on what the noble and learned Viscount and his Department do in one way or another in advising the justices. I beg leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

6.13 p.m.

LORD MERRIVALE moved, in subsection (3) (b), after "nature" to insert: or for games or sports of a similar nature, the members of both of which clubs actually participate in such games or sports; The noble Lord said: My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend Lord Colville of Culross, who unfortunately cannot be here at this moment, I beg to move the Amendment which stands in his name on the Marshalled List. I do not propose to develop to the same extent the arguments I developed on the Amendment I moved on Committee stage, because I have had very short notice in which to prepare a few notes of this Amendment.

The purpose of the Amendment is to permit the sale of intoxicating liquor to the member of one golf club, for instance, who may wish to avail himself when on holiday of the facilities provided by another club in some other area. If I understand the Bill correctly, he would have to apply for membership two days before he proposed to seek admission, if he wished to enjoy the full privileges of membership, in which case, if his application was successful, he would be entitled, under paragraph 2 (4) of the Fifth Schedule, to vote at a general meeting, and, under subparagraph (2) of the same paragraph, the general committee must be capable of summoning a general meeting on reasonable notice. Particularly in summer months, during which there may be a large number of members of clubs who may wish to avail themselves of the facilities provided by a similar club in another area, it could well be decided to call a general meeting; and if all members, whether permanent or temporary, are entitled to vote, it seems to my noble friend and me that to circularise all the members involved could put an onerous burden on the secretariat of such a club.

I would stress that the Amendment specifically mentions members who actually participate in such games or sports," so as to exclude, for instance, football supporters' clubs and similar organisations. The noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor may feel that this Amendment ranges rather widely and will embrace far too many clubs catering for an extensive selection of games and sports. I feel that it might include bridge clubs (I do not know whether it would include bingo clubs), but that is not the purpose of the Amendment. If the noble and learned Viscount is willing to accept the principle of this Amendment, maybe he could see his way to putting down an Amendment on Third Reading to enable the members of clubs whose activities are confined to healthy outdoor sports to enjoy the privileges of membership of other similar clubs without putting an undue burden on the other clubs and to enjoy the same privileges as clubs whose objects are political, learned or educational, or which have Service connections.


My Lords, if I cannot accept this Amendment, I think I can give my noble friend Lord Merrivale some real comfort in regard to it. The noble Lord will appreciate that the effect of the Amendment, in the way it is framed and in the place where he will insert it, is that a magistrates' court would not be able to attach conditions to a club's registration certificate restricting sales of intoxicating liquor so as to prevent the sale of liquor to a person admitted to the club premises as being a member of another club if both clubs exist for games or sports of a similar nature, the members of both of which clubs actually participate in such games or sports.

In other words, if I may hark back for the moment to Lord Stonham's last Amendment, this would add to the proviso which he was considering another set of clubs; and the magistrates could not restrict in regard to clubs of this nature. But I would point out to my noble friend Lord Merrivale that the magistrates are not required to restrict to the four matters set out in the proviso. I should say that it is extremely unlikely (and I think the English Golf Union are interested in this Amendment) that magistrates would put a restriction on a golf club, that someone who paid the green fee or took a daily membership (whichever method might be used) would be restricted from buying a drink. My noble friend can tell the English Golf Union that, in my opinion, that is extremely unlikely, unless there are circumstances which make the club disreputable for something quite out of the ordinary. That is the comfort that I can give to my noble friend.

The difficulty I am in is that if we begin extending these categories, where are we to stop? My noble friend has said that it is not his intention to apply this to a bridge club, a poker club or anything of that kind. But the Amendment would apply to a card-playing club, and it would mean that the magistrates' discretion to restrict would be taken away from them in regard to card-playing clubs. I do not think my noble friend would really urge that that was a tenable position. The difficulty is to find a tenable position and a proper addition.

I recognise that my noble friends Lord Merrivale and Lord Colville of Culross have gone far by introducing the concept of participation, but as I think the poet Clough said: Juxtaposition is large. But what is juxtaposition? The same applies to participation—and, in fact, it would go just as well into the same hexameter: "But what is participation"? It does raise difficulties, and I hope that my noble friend will be content with the comfort I have given him: that the magistrates are not required to restrict in other categories, and I should have thought it extremely unlikely that they would restrict the category of golf club which he has in mind. Therefore I hope he will not press the Amendment.


My Lords, I am grateful to the noble and learned Viscount. It is not my intention to press the Amendment, and it was not the intention of my noble friend Lord Colville of Culross. The question has been satisfactorily aired, and I am quite certain that it will give satisfaction to those who are interested in the subject. I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 30 [Appeal to quarter sessions]:

LORD SILKIN moved to add to subsection (3): Provided that no order for costs shall be made by virtue of this subsection against any person who does not appear at the hearing of the appeal and oppose the appeal.

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move the Amendment standing in my name. First of all, I wish to apologise to the noble and learned Viscount on the Woolsack for having put down an Amendment on the Committee stage and not having been able to be present to move it. I would also thank him for his courtesy in dealing with the Amendment fully, and offering to see me if I felt that there was any further observation that it was necessary to make. I am moving the Amendment to-day in the form in which it is down purely as an exploratory Amendment. I believe that the object I have in mind is one which the Government share—namely, that where a person objects to a licence and is successful in his objection, and then the case goes to appeal and the applicant for the licence succeeds on the appeal, the original objector should not be mulcted in costs if he does not appear on the appeal.

I believe that after the Amendment which was originally moved on my behalf on the Committee stage was withdrawn the noble and learned Viscount considered the position; and if I am right, he has put down Amendment No. 32 to meet what was my intention in putting down the original Amendment. If that is so, then my present Amendment is superfluous. If the noble and learned Viscount can give me an assurance on that, I will gladly withdraw this Amendment and express my thanks to him for having met the point which was originally intended on the Committee stage.

Amendment moved— Page 44, line 32, at end insert the said proviso.—(Lord Silkin.)


My Lords, in the words of Alice in Wonderland: This is a long and a sad tale. I must ask your Lordships to bear with me while I explain some principles of the licensing law and of costs, for I think that is essential if the position is to be clarified; and I hope that I shall be able to satisfy the noble Lord, Lord Silkin. Clause 30, to which the present Amendment is put down, provides that a club may appeal against any decision of a magistrates' court affecting the club's registration certificate, and subsection (3) of that clause provides that any objector shall be a party to the appeal. The noble Lord's Amendment provides in turn that no order for costs shall be made by quarter sessions against an objector who does not appear at the hearing of the appeal.

I know that the Law Society are interested in this matter, because they made representations about it. The vital objection to this Amendment is that it can do grave injustice to a club in the following circumstances. If an objector successfully opposes the issue of a registration certificate to a club, the magistrates' court may award costs to that objector. Then, of course, the club may appeal to quarter sessions; and if the objector, on the basis of the Amendment—not on the basis of the Bill—is not a party to the appeal and the club wins its appeal, quarter sessions finding, contrary to the court below, that the club should have been granted its certificate, then the Amendment says that the objector should not pay the costs.

If this Amendment were carried, the objector who was successful below would go away with his costs which had been given to him on the basis of a wrong decision—a decision that quarter sessions had found is wrong. That would be an injustice, because he would have got his costs on the basis of winning a case which he ultimately lost. This is really the result of inserting the provision that in the case of an application for a club being made the objector can be awarded costs. If he is awarded costs and there is an appeal and the club wins that appeal, then I think you are driven to the position that you must trust to the discretion of quarter sessions to make a proper order for costs.

In other words, if the objector has taken no part in the appeal, it would be open to quarter sessions to say, "You must repay the costs that were given to you on a basis which we found is wrong, but we will not mulct you any more "—I am only inventing what might occur. If in the application to the court below the plans had been in a certain state and had been criticised, and there had then been an alteration to the plans, and on that alteration the application had gone through, the objector might have objected to the unaltered plans, in which case the court might well make another provision with regard to his costs.

That is the position in regard to the club. The real difficulty, as I have said, is that the effects of this Amendment, in the circumstances I have stated, might be that quarter sessions, if they allowed the appeal could make no order for costs against the objector. The club would thus have succeeded in demonstrating that the objection was not made out, but only at the expense of paying the objector's costs in the court below. That is the first position, and I want, if your Lordships will allow me, because I think it is the only way in which I can explain the position properly to the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, to deal with the position under my Amendment No. 33 at the same time. That Amendment is concerned with the costs of an objector on an appeal to quarter sessions by an applicant who was unsuccessful before the licensing justices. It might be felt that the reasons which prompted the Government to propose that Amendment might apply equally in the case of clubs. But there is a vital distinction between the two cases. Licensing justices have no power to make orders as to costs, and in the case of a licensing appeal the successful objector before the licensing justices will never have had an award of costs in his favour. So the position is different from that in the case of a club, and the unfair situation which I mentioned could never arise.

Now may I deal with another point which I am told was troubling the noble Lord, Lord Silkin? I think it is convenient to deal with all these points together, if the House does not object. The noble Lord wondered whether my Amendment was confined to an appeal against a refusal to grant a licence and would not apply to an application for a renewal. If that were so, there would be great substance in the noble Lord's doubts, as it would mean that we had dealt with a case of a person who successfully objected to the grant of a licence, and we had ensured that he would not be liable for costs of a successful appeal against the refusal of the grant unless he appeared and opposed the appeal, and had not dealt with the exactly similar point arising on a successful objection to a renewal. But this is not so. The words "to grant a justices' licence" apply generally. It is one of the mysteries of licensing law because the phrase is, having regard to the provisions of the Licensing Acts, apt to cover a refusal to renew or transfer.

What is loosely termed "renewal" is defined in Section 11 (1) of the Licensing Act, 1953, as meaning the grant of a justices' licence by way of renewal of a similar licence that is in force for the premises at the date of the application. It is clear that the present Bill uses the term "grant" in this well-understood way. If the noble Lord would care to have a look at paragraph 5 (2) of the Fourth Schedule, which relates exclusively to transfer or removal, he will see that the reference is to a justices' licence granted by way of transfer or removal and in the definition provision in paragraph 7 there is a reference to a licence granted otherwise than by way of renewal, transfer or removal. So Whatever the phrase which we use in discussing licensing provisions, it is always a grant, so that will always tell.

That is the difference. In that case, the court below cannot award costs and, therefore, the applicant cannot get in the position of going to quarter sessions with an order for costs against him which cannot be dealt with, whereas in the club case he can. I hope that is relatively clear. I am sorry I have taken so long, and I hope the noble Lord will at any rate convey, not only to himself but to the Law Society, that I have done my utmost to master the point, and that I believe I have got as near an approximation to justice as one can. I apologise for taking so much of the time of the House, but it is an important point.


My Lords, the noble and learned Viscount has certainly put the position quite clearly so far as I am concerned. I fully appreciate—I think I do, at least—what he has said. But is not the real point at issue that the substance remains—namely, that it is not desirable that a person who does not appear at the hearing of an appeal and oppose the appeal should not be mulcted in costs? I do not think the noble and learned Viscount would reject that view, because he has not done so in the other case, except for the fact that he may have had his costs awarded to him and received them. In many cases he would not have done. If it is known that there is to be an appeal the costs would have been held hack. Is that not something that could be met by an Amendment to the effect that, Provided this shall not apply to costs which have been paid under an order by the original justices", or something of that sort?

We could make it clear that, while the person who objected was not to have costs awarded against him in respect of an appeal in which, although technically a party, he played no active part, that is not to prevent an order for the repayment of costs which have already been paid to him under a decision which has been subsequently reversed. Unfortunately the time is short and one has to make a decision on these things within a matter of hours, hut if one could frame an Amendment of that kind I think it would meet the view which I hold and which I think the noble and learned Viscount shares, and it would also meet the objection which he has raised to my Amendment. I wonder what the noble and learned Viscount thinks?


My Lords, if the noble Lord will allow me just to say a word, I have not looked into the rules of the position on this matter, to find out what rule making powers I have, but I had in mind that one might make a rule that if someone appeared only by placing himself in the hands of the court to deal with any outstanding order for costs, no further order could be made against him. That is one possibility, but I am afraid it would take me a little time to look into that position. I think a safeguard is that in the course which quarter session would follow they would be extremely unlikely to make an order for the costs of a quarter sessions hearing against an appellant unless his conduct below had been thoroughly irresponsible. There is always that possibility: a person who makes one irresponsible opposition about this issue and then finds on reflection that there is not so much in it after all. I will look into the rules position. The real safeguard would be that in all except that very exceptional case, I think the discretion of the quarter sessions would look after it. If I may leave it like that—I do not think I can do more than that until to-morrow—I will look into the rules position and do my best.


My Lords, if I can I will put down an Amendment similar to the one I have put down, with the proviso that it is not to prevent an order of return of costs, if the noble and learned Viscount will not feel that I am being discourteous in putting such an Amendment down, because I think it would meet the objection he has raised. Perhaps we can have a word about it to-morrow.


My Lords, I am always willing to consider it, but I cannot really hold out great hopes, because it is so difficult to lay down. As I say, an Amendment which would cover something approaching misconduct on the part of pan objector I am very willing to look at, but I do not think I can hold out any hopes at this stage. I have done my best to meet the noble Lord on the second point.


My Lords, I will see what we can do about an Amendment to-morrow. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

6.43 p.m.

LORD STONHAM moved, after Clause 33 to insert the following new clause

Powers of entry

.—(1) A constable may, for the purpose of preventing or detecting the commission of an offence against this Act, enter the premises of a proprietary club which is registered under this Part of this Act. (2) If the proprietor of such a club or any person in his employ or acting on his behalf fails to admit a constable who demands entry to premises in pursuance of this section, he shall be liable on a first conviction to a fine not exceeding five pounds, and on a subsequent conviction to a fine not exceeding ten pounds. The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move the new clause to give a police constable the right of entry to a proprietary club. I am sorry that this last Amendment in my name should come so late in the proceedings, because I regard it as the most important Amendment in respect of clubs.

When I raised a similar Amendment in Committee I put to the Lord Chancellor a direct question which in my view he did not answer, and I gave notice that I would put it again. Before doing so, however, I should like to deal with one or two points which the Lord Chancellor did make on that previous occasion. One was that the vast majority of opinion would regard the right of the police to enter a club—that is, a proprietary club—without warrant as an unjustifiable interference with private liberties. I may have overlooked it, but I cannot trace that this particular point as applying to proprietary clubs only was discussed and I should like to know when opinion on this particular matter was tried out, and with what results.

I know that there is a considerable volume of responsible opinion which regards some sacrifice of personal liberty as essential in this good cause, and that volume of opinion believes that many of the provisions of this Bill will fail in their effect because they cannot be carried out unless the police have right of entry into proprietary clubs. I would quote one authority: Mr. Thackway, Leader of the Council of the Royal Borough of Kensington, who said in a letter to The Times—I am not going to quote the whole of the letter, just one or two extracts: … there is absolutely no parallel between decently run clubs—working men's or otherwise—and the bogus drinking clubs… A large number of the latter are run by spivs, racketeers and purveyors of vice in many forms; they constitute a grave moral risk to the younger generation and a real physical danger and annoyance to the unlucky people who live in their immediate vicinity. The present powers are totally inadequate to deal with this rapidly growing problem and … the proposed new powers constitute the irreducible minimum if any real improvement is to be achieved… Any encroachment on personal freedom is anathema to my Council but surely one of the basic freedoms is the freedom to live in peace without having one's nights made hideous by the appalling anti-social behaviour of the many undesirables who frequent these clubs—behaviour which not infrequently culminates in serious physical violence… The proposed new powers do not involve the slightest risks to any bona fide club and … they are indeed a small price to pay for the eradication of the bogus drinking club with all its actual and potential evils. I should regard the Leader of Kensington Borough Council as an unimpeachable Conservative authority, and he is indeed speaking from very bitter experience, because even within my knowledge many of the clubs of that kind he refers to are in Kensington. I am perfectly well aware that this Bill, as designed, will wipe out many of the clubs to which he refers, but not others. One, in particular, which I know has defied the attempts of every possible authority, and I venture to predict that it will survive this Bill unless the constable has right of entry.

Another authority I would quote is the General Secretary of the Temperance Council of the Christian Churches, who said that in order to bring about some lessening of the plague of these unspeakable clubs the great mass of respectable clubs can endure a little inconvenience so that there may be a real bite in the efforts to rid us of those that are corrupting the community. Then the Reverend Joseph Williamson, Vicar of St. Paul's, Stepney, preached a sermon in St. Paul's in which he drew attention to these difficulties and what goes on in his parish. I have seen what goes on in his parish, and I know that what is asked for in this Amendment —and anyone knows who comes up against it—is the essential minimum if we are to stop this kind of thing.

I am sure that in clubs of the type to which I referred in Kensington, the proprietor, with the support of his faithful customers, is quite capable of getting out a nicely printed set of rules strictly in accordance with the Fifth Schedule and a magistrate will say that the rules are in order. The police might well be able to object successfully to this particular individual because they know him well, but there is nothing wrong with the premises, formerly occupied by the British Legion, a most respectable club, and all he will have to do is put a nominee in and still remain the real proprietor. The club will get a licence. He will still be the real owner and carry on business as usual unless the police have right of entry. That is the kind of thing we are up against, and that is the kind of thing which this Amendment, if accepted, would stop.

To return to the point which the noble and learned Viscount made, that it would be an intolerable interference with private liberties if a constable had a right of entry to a proprietary club, I would point out that they already have that right. Because as soon as the proprietary club is granted an extended hours licence the police constable has a right of automatic entry into the club as soon as the extended hours start. I would ask this question of the noble and learned Viscount: why is it an intolerable interference with the liberties of the subject if a police constable comes in at five minutes to midnight yet perfectly acceptable if he comes into the same club at five minutes past midnight? I think that is a fair question which should be answered.

Then I would ask this second question. If a special hours certificate is applied for, and granted, the police have a right of entry; but if the proprietor has no special hours certificate, does not apply for one, and goes on serving drinks illegally, the police cannot go in. He has a right to say "You cannot come in here without a warrant". That is directly encouraging these people not to apply for a special hours certificate. How can that possibly be justified? I would submit that it is absolutely no answer to say that the police can go before a magistrate, swear an affidavit and get a warrant. In order to do that, according to the clause of the Bill under which they are proceeding, they must be in a position to prove that the person concerned is offending habitually or frequently. That means they must go on three or four days and get evidence, very expensively and by means of a subterfuge. So it just is not an answer to say they can get a warrant.

My Lords, that is the position. If you apply for an extended hours certificate the police can come in at five minutes past twelve but not five minutes to twelve. If you do not apply for the certificate rand carry on selling drinks illegally the police cannot come in. I submit that that is nonsense. I submit that the Government should seriously consider this Amendment, because I feel that, unless it is granted, as it should be, unless those two questions can be convincingly answered, there will be a number of proprietary clubs who will be able to carry on doing expressly what this Bill is designed to prevent. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— After Clause 33, insert the said new clause. —(Lord Sionham.)


My Lords, may I add every possible support that can be expressed to this Amendment? I know that the Temperance Council of the Christian Churches feel very strongly upon this matter, and have given the matter great and careful thought. In view of the moderate way in which that Council, representing all the Churches, has expressed itself on various aspects of this Bill, I think we ought to take into serious consideration the strong feelings which have been expressed about this right of the police to enter into proprietary clubs. I know that this is a licensing Bill, and not a Bill about these undesirable clubs; and I know that as a result of this Bill a great many of these undesirable clubs will be wiped out. Nevertheless, there are a great many apprehensions about this situation regarding clubs, and it is not one that I feel we can possibly be weak about.

It was, I think, in June last year that the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, spoke in this House about the scandal of clubs; and his speech, as he has reminded us, received a resounding echo from the pulpit of St. Paul's Cathedral last Sunday. It is a most serious matter that we should tackle these undesirable, these scandalous clubs, and surely it is a very small price to pay that the police should have a right of entry into these proprietary clubs, so that if there is suspicion that things are not as they should be, they can speedily be dealt with. I therefore support the Amendment most strongly.

6.55 p.m.


My Lords, the answer to the right reverend Prelate is that we are tackling this evil. The noble Lord, Lord Macdonald of Gwaenysgor, to-day congratulated us on tackling a difficulty which no Government has had the courage to tackle for many a long year. If the object is to deal with the difficulty there are two ways of doing it. One way is to make the proprietary club a real and decent club. The other is the method of giving up any hope of doing that and relying on police inspection. We have chosen the method of trying Ito make the proprietary club, if it desires registration as a club, to be a decent place by obliging it to comply with the matters which I have mentioned already to-day.

But the important matter from this aspect is that, in order to be registered, it must he impossible for a proprietary club to be one in which the liquor is under the control of the proprietor; it must be under the control of the members of the club. That is vital, as I pointed out at the Committee stage, because it is from the sales of liquor that the proprietor makes his profits in the bad sort of club, and if you take away the power to do that then you have taken away the incentive to have a bad club. Therefore, if that is done and you have laid down the procedure by which only bona fide clubs can get registration, then there is no reason why you should single out proprietary clubs. They will then be in the same position, and the method of dealing with them will be under Clause 34 of the Bill—that is, by entry by the police on the authority of a warrant. May I remind your Lordships of the words of Clause 34: If a justice of the peace is satisfied by information on oath that there is reasonable ground for believing

  1. (a) that there is ground for cancelling … a registration certificate … and that evidence of it is to be obtained at the club premises … or
  2. (b) that intoxicating liquor is sold or supplied by or on behalf of a club in club premises for which the club does not hold a registration certificate…",
and so on.

The noble Lord, Lord Stonham, tried to put another dilemma to me, which is, in my submission, a dilemma whose horns break as soon as they are tested. He said: "Why cannot the police go in at five minutes to twelve, but if the club gets a special hours certificate they can go in after twelve o'clock?" The explanation is perfectly simple. The club is given the indulgence of a special hours certificate on condition that in the later period of the night there is police inspection. That is the condition on which special hours certificates have been given. I will not say the tortuous, but the diabolically ingenious mind of the noble Lord then puts the difficulty in another way, and he say, "Ah, but your really bad man will not apply for a special hours certificate; he will simply carry on through the night without any justification at all. "Well, he will not do it after he has been discovered doing so twice. All the time that he is open after the permitted hours he is running the risk of being struck off, or of having the registration cancelled. Therefore, I do not think that that is a very compelling matter.

But the real difference is—here I have argued the case again out of my great respect for the noble Lord and for all he has done on this Bill—that one comes again, as I said on Committee stage, to a fundamental difference of view: namely, on this basis, that provided you have got the club decent (that is the whole purpose of Part III of this Bill), then you must have reasonable standards of privacy; and it is not a reasonable standard of privacy that the police should be able to come in without warrant. On that, I am afraid the only answer is the Division Lobby. At this time who knows what the result may be? But after all, that is the great answer to all questions, and here we come to the desideratum of the criterion.


My Lords, I am most grateful to the noble and learned Viscount, but I am not going to accept his challenge to a Division, if your Lordships will allow me, mainly because this is something on which I do not wish to divide. Perhaps there is a secondary consideration, in answer to his tempting suggestion that I might win. Experience has also taught me that if I win on a Tuesday I may lose on a Wednesday. It is an experience I do not want to repeat just yet.

The noble and learned Viscount said that I was diabolically ingenious in presenting the arguments that I have presented in support of this Amendment. I have never been elevated to that extent before. But I believe that the people whose evil efforts we have to combat are in fact diabolically ingenious in the methods that they employ to evade the law. That is the situation that we are up against. There are some of us here who have looked into it and, unfortunately, know what we are talking about—I do not mean that in any disrespect; but it is the case. We know this, and we know that many sections of this Bill and their success will depend entirely on the quality and the vigilance of the service provided by the licensing justices.

I can only accept what the Lord Chancellor has said, and hope with all my heart that he is right; and that if, unfortunately, it should prove that he is wrong, then, as he suggested in replying to an earlier Amendment, we shall have to come back again and say so and together devise something to meet the situation. I am most grateful for the support of the right reverend Prelates in this matter. It has been of considerable encouragement to know that they have been ready to speak, and I believe on one occasion to vote, in support of these Amendments to which we attach such great importance. I am most grateful to them. I would now ask your Lordships' leave to withdraw this Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

7.5 p.m.

THE LORD CHANCELLOR moved, after Clause 35 to insert the following clause:

Application of Part III to miners' welfare institutes

.—(1) A miners' welfare institute may be registered under this Part of this Act as a club subject to and in accordance with subsection (2) below, and in relation to such an institute while so registered the Licensing Act, 1953, this Act, and any other enactment relating to the sale or supply of intoxicating liquor shall have effect (subject to that subsection) as if—

  1. (a) the institute were a club occupying the premises of the institute and having for members the persons from time to time enrolled as members of the institute; and
  2. (b) intoxicating liquor supplied or kept for supply by or on behalf of the trustees or managers in carrying on the institute to members or others were the liquor of the club supplied or kept for supply on behalf of the club.

(2) In relation to the registration of a miners' welfare institute in respect of any premises of the institute sections twenty-six to thirty-two of this Act shall apply as they apply in the case of a club and premises occupied by the club, except that the provisions mentioned below and so much of any other provision as refers to any provision so mentioned shall not apply, namely,—

  1. (a) in section twenty-six, subsections (6) to (9), (13) and (14); and
  2. (b) in the Sixth Schedule, sub-paragraph (c) of paragraph 5 and paragraphs 6 to 8;
and in relation to any miners' welfare institute registered under Part IX of the Licensing Act, 1953, paragraphs 1 to 3 of the Eighth Schedule to this Act shall also apply.

(3) In this section 'miners' welfare institute' means an association organised for the social well-being and recreation of persons employed in or about coal mines (or of such persons in particular): but nothing in this section shall apply in relation to a miners' welfare institute unless either—

  1. (a) it is managed by a committee or board of which not less than two-thirds consists partly of persons appointed by or on the nomination of, or appointed or elected from among persons nominated by, the National Coal Board and partly of persons appointed by or on the nomination of, or appointed or elected from among persons nominated by, an organisation or organisations representing persons so employed; or
  2. (b) the premises of the institute are held on trusts to which section two of the Recreational Charities Act, 1958, applies."

The noble and learned Viscount said: My Lords, this Amendment adapts certain provisions of Part III of the Bill to meet the special case of miners' welfare institutes. These institutes are under the auspices of the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation, of which the noble Lord, Lord Robens of Woldingham, is the present chairman. I am sorry that this Amendment is a day too early for him to be able to make his maiden speech on his day of introduction, as he might well have done. This organisation was established under the Miners' Welfare Act, 1952, as the successor to the Miners' Welfare Commission. With a few exceptions, the institutes are charitable trusts, whose status was recognised in Section 2 of the Recreational Charities Act, 1958, and are managed by committees composed of members appointed by the National Coal Board and the National Union of Mineworkers.

Nearly 200 of these institutes are registered as clubs under the Licensing Act, 1953; they are well managed and serve an important social purpose, and their charitable status ensures that no individual makes a profit out of the supply of liquor. I could go through a tong description of the Amendment and of the miners' welfare work. However, I know that it is well known to your Lordships, and I think it would be an unfair intrusion upon your time if I were to say any more. The only thing I want to say is this. Your Lordships may ask, "Why has this come so late in the Bill?" The answer to that is that there have been a great many negotiations on this matter which have taken rather longer than we thought they would. I hope your Lordships will not think that the provisions are any the worse, or do any less than fulfil a real need because they have come rather late in the Bill. I hope your Lordships will accept the new clause. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— After Clause 35, insert the said new clause. —(The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Appeals to quarter sessions.


(4) On an appeal against a refusal to grant a justices' licence, or against a decision as to conditions given on the grant of a licence, any person who appeared before the licensing justices and opposed the grant shall be respondent in addition to the licensing justices.


My Lords, this Amendment does exactly what it says in that it allows customs and excise officers to see the list free. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 60, line 5, at end insert ("and without payment by any officer of customs and excise.") —(Earl Bathurst.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

7.9 p.m.


My Lords, some of your Lordships may have heard, and others of your Lordships may have avoided hearing, the discussion between the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, and myself, on the question of costs. I assure you that in that discussion I dealt with this Amendment and explained it; so I think I can now take it shortly. I beg to move.

Amendment moved—

Page 61, line 9, at end insert— ("Provided that no order for costs shall be made by virtue of this sub-paragraph against any person who does not appear at the hearing of the appeal and oppose the appeal.")—(The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Seventh Schedule [Procedure for registration of clubs, and related matters]:

7.10 p.m.


My Lords, this Amendment and No. 35 are moved to meet Lord Burden's point that the local authorities need more time to decide whether or not to make an objection to a club application for issue or renewal of a registration certificate. It increases the time from 21 days to 28 days, and the position of an existing club is not affected in any way. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 70, line 9, leave out ("twenty-one") and insert ("twenty-eight").—(Earl Bathurst.)


On behalf of my noble friend Lord Burden, who cannot be here, I should like to express his grateful thanks to the noble Earl for moving this Amendment and meeting the point which he raised.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


My Lords, this Amendment allows a club to be heard before a magistrates' court by the chairman, the secretary or any other member of the management committee, or by any other officer of the club whom the club may duly appoint. That will obviously be a great convenience to many of the British Legion or working-men's type of clubs, where possibly the chairman or secretary is not able to be present by reason of his work or duties, and it has been generally agreed. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 70, line 28, at end insert ("by any member of the committee having the general management of the affairs of the club or by any other officer of the club duly authorised."). —(Earl Bathurst.)


My Lords, on behalf of the noble Lord, Lord Crook, I have been asked to say how grateful he is that the Government, and in particular the Lord Chancellor, has met this point, and to say also that it will give considerable satisfaction to a large number of people.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Ninth Schedule [Repeals]:


My Lords, your Lordships will be pleased to hear that this Amendment was consequential on No. 7 and deals with our old friends in the seamen's canteens. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 82, line 48, column 3, leave out ("and (4)") and insert ("(4) and (6)").—(Earl Bathurst.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.