HL Deb 06 February 1962 vol 237 cc31-6

3.53 p.m.

Order of the Day for the Third Reading read.


My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a third time. As there are Amendments to be discussed, I suggest that it may be convenient to take the motion for Third Reading formally, and that when the Amendments have been dealt with we can have a general discussion on the motion, That the Bill do now pass.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 3a.—(Lord Craigton.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Clause 4 [Permitted hours in licensed premises, registered clubs and licensed canteens]:

VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS had given Notice of two Amendment to subsection (1), the first being to leave out "six" and insert "half-past six". The noble Viscount said: My Lords, it may be remembered that on the Report stage of this Bill a certain amount of confusion arose about the length of time which your Lordships would like to allow the Scots to have for drinking on Sunday evenings. For reasons which seemed very good, not only to me but to most of the rest of your Lordships also, my noble friend the Duke of Atholl put the ending of this drinking time on Sundays at 10 o'clock. As the Bill left your Lordships after Report, this meant that on Sundays people in Scotland would have six hours in which to drink, whereas in England the time was only five and a half hours. I do not know whether my noble friend considered this as one of the advantages of his Amendment or not, but I feel that there ought to be the same length of drinking time on Sundays North of the Border as there is South. Therefore, I hope your Lordships will agree that half-past six should take the place of 6 o'clock as opening time on Sunday evenings. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 5, line 29, leave out ("six") and insert ("half past six").—(Viscount Colville of Culross.)


My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend for correcting the result of procedural confusion at the Report stage in a way that is acceptable to the Government, and I ask noble Lords to support this Amendment.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


My Lords, this Amendment merely carries on the good work started by my noble friend the Duke of Atholl and makes the closing time in restaurants and licensed hotels 10 o'clock, in the same way as restaurants, public houses and ships will now be affected by this Bill. I bee to move.

Amendment moved— Page 5, line 29, leave out ("half-past nine") and insert ("ten").—(Viscount Colville of Culross.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 6 [Restaurants in public houses may have permitted hours on Sundays in certain cases]:


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

Amendment moved— Page 9, line 3, leave out ("six") and insert ("half-past six").—(Viscount Colville of Culross.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 10 [Amendment of law relating to provisional grant of certificates]:


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

Amendment moved— Page 11, line 45, leave out ("the foregoing subsection") and insert ("subsection (1) of this section").—(Lord Craigton.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 19 [Sale of exciseable liquor on passenger vessels on Sundays]:


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

Amendment moved— Page 17, line 8, leave out ("six") and insert ("half-past six ").—(Viscount Colville of Culross.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 20 [Restriction on carriage of exciseable liquor in crates, etc., on contract carriages]:

LORD SALTOUN had given notice of his intention to move to leave out Clause 20. The noble Lord said: My Lords, on the last stage of the Bill I expressed my disagreement with the clause which is now represented as Clause 20. I therefore put down this Amendment in order to have a chance of saying what I thought. Since that time I have had discussions on the matter with St. Andrew's House, for which I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Craigton, and also discussions outside. Although I do not think anybody in your Lordships' House really likes this clause—it is not the kind of clause we like—I have come to the conclusion that the Government are perfectly right to put it in. Therefore, I beg leave of your Lordships not to move my Amendment. If any of your Lordships insist, I am afraid I shall have to move it, but I shall be in the Division Lobby against them.


My Lords, this Amendment is consequential on Clause 20. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— In the Title, line 9, after ("liquor") insert ("to restrict the carriage of exciseable liquor on public service vehicles used as contract carriages").—(Lord Craigton.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


My Lords, that concludes the Amendments, and I beg to move that the Bill do now pass. This important Bill has understandably been a source of anxiety both to myself and to my right honourable friend, and I am indeed grateful to your Lordships for the close and constructive scrutiny you have given it. On so many subjects we have had to arrive at the best possible solution through a tangle of strongly held and conflicting views. There had to be, and there has been, considerable give and take, not only on the part of your Lordships but also on the part of the Government and of my noble and learned friend Lord Guest. The whole operation, if I may be so bold as to say so, is a joint endeavour in the best traditions of your Lordships' House.

Very considerable improvements both in substance and in drafting have been made, improvements which have underlined, in relation to drink, what was said so many times, that Scotland is Scotland, England is England, and, indeed, that Wales is Wales. Gone is that peculiarly Scottish and slightly disreputable figure the "bona-fide traveller". Both the "carrot" of Sunday permitted hours and the "stick" of Clause 20 have been applied to the Scottish problem of "boozing bus parties"; order has been brought out of the permitted hours chaos; commonsense has at last prevailed in the matter of off-sales; Sunday opening for public houses has been faced up to and a decision has been reached; and the two new types of certificate will give Scottish residents and tourists the best type of improved service. On all the major problems decisions have been taken that will, I am sure, stand, and which seem to have met with the approval of the majority of Scotsmen. We all know there are still some areas of controversy of which, no doubt, more will be heard in another place; but all I should like to say to your Lordships is, once again, thank you.

Moved, That the Bill do now pass.—(Lord Craigton.)

4.2 p.m.


My Lords, in many cases the charge which is levied in Scotland against the Scottish Office is not so much the things that they do but the things that they ought to do and refrain from doing, and on this Bill I think that is the charge that I would make. As I have said already and have no intention of repeating at length, the two main recommendations of the Committee were not in fact implemented in the Bill. Thanks to the persistence of the noble Lord, Lord Ferrier, there is in the Bill a form of words which purports to do something about one of these problems, the Sunday "booze buses". I doubt very much that what is in the Bill is satisfactory, but it will at least give an opportunity in another place to look at the matter afresh and also give Members there some encouragement to put their thinking caps on in this matter. If they apply the same pressure on Ministers in another place as was applied here, we may yet accomplish something in that direction which will be satisfactory. The noble Lord, Lord Craigton, said that the matter of Sunday opening of pubs had been faced and a decision reached. That is a form of words which I should not have chosen to describe what took place, but at least it is not untrue.

I think that I should be justified on this measure in saying that I see it go on its way to another place in the hope that it may yet return to us with some improvements carried out there which we may then be in a position to accept here. As was said in the case of another Bill a short time ago, I say "Farewell" to this Bill, not necessarily "Goodbye".


My Lords, I hope that when this Bill passes its final stages Her Majesty's Government will look on it merely as the ending of phase one and now urgently begin with phase two, which should be the looking into the desirability of abolishing State management districts.


My Lords, I hope your Lordships will allow me to make two short points. The first is to deliver an apology from my noble friend Lord Ferrier, who was most anxious to be here to-day but unfortunately has been detained in Scotland. He would, however, I know, have applauded Lord Saltoun's decision not to oppose Clause 20 in this Bill, and in particular, I think your Lordships will be interested to know, because he has now had an opportunity to talk to some of the bus crews who have been subjected to this unpleasant habit of the Scottish week-end and they have been extremely glad to support the efforts that have so successfully been made to put this clause, even if it be only to some degree effective, into this Bill.

The other thing I should like to tell your Lordships is that I have heard at least from one of the proprietors of one of the reputable clubs to which I referred in connection with Clause 16 that they are not inclined to be unhappy with the compromise which has taken place over that clause. Therefore I wish this Bill well and I would support it in its passage to another place.


My Lords, before saying "Good-bye" or "Fare-well" to this Bill, as one of the people who have taken some interest in it I should like to thank my noble friend for all that he has done to meet us, so far as he has been able, and for drafting quite a few of my Amendments, which appeared in far better form than they would have done if I had drafted them myself. I should also like to support 100 per cent. every word that my noble friend Lord Forbes has said, and I hope the day will not be too far off when State management areas in Scotland, at any rate, are no more. After all, it was 31 years ago when the Committee recommended that they should be abolished, and, even by Government standards, I should have thought 31 years was quite a long time.


My Lords, I am grateful to noble Lords for what they have said; and I should like to assure my noble friend who has just sat down that we shall take note of his suggestion and of what the noble Lord, Lord Forbes, has said.

On Question, Bill passed, and sent to the Commons.