HL Deb 25 April 1963 vol 248 cc1319-21

3.48 p.m.

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a second time. The Bill concerns dog racing, and as I am a director of the Greyhound Racing Association, I should like to disclose my interest. I was not, however, responsible in any way for this Bill. It started in another place as a Private Member's Bill. I have looked at all the details about it, and not one single word has been spoken on the Bill at any time in the other place—on Second Reading, in Committee or on Report. So this does not seem to be a Bill which will be very much disputed

It is quite a simple Bill. Under the Betting and Lotteries Act, 1934, dog racing was allowed to take place only on a certain number of days so that those days were statutory. If through any cause such as snow, ice, a power cut, flood or earthquake, a meeting did not take place on one of these days there was no machinery by which they could be given a substitute. One hundred and four days were allotted, and if they were unable to have dog racing on a particular day, there was no way of getting another day. In any other sport some local association would allow another day, or arrange something; but in dog racing that was impossible. If they lose a day, this Bill allows them to apply to the licensing authorities, and they can get up to four days back: that is to say, if they lose four days they can get up to four days back. So far the average has been only three, so it does not mean a great deal. All this is to be done in conjunction with, and with the agreement of, the local licensing authority. That is all there is in the Bill, and I am sure nobody could describe it as in any way mischievous. I beg to move.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(Lord Brabazon of Tara.)

3.51 p.m.


My Lords, the noble Lord Lord Brabazon of Tara, in moving the Second Reading of this Bill, has argued his case with his usual vigour, humour and persuasiveness. I have no intention of going over the same ground as he has, and, indeed, I am glad to be able to tell your Lordships that I have no need to do so, because the Government accept the principle of the Bill. As your Lordships have heard, the Bill seeks to remedy what appears to be a perfectly legitimate grievance on the part of the dog racing industry, and it does so in a practical and straightforward way. The Bill will need amendment—I think the noble Lord appreciates this—but any Amendments, so far as we can see, will be purely of a drafting nature and will not affect issues of policy at all. The Government are examining the Bill, and we shall be glad to co-operate with the noble Lord in framing any necessary Amendments. I have no wish to detain your Lordships any longer. I should just like to repeat that the Government welcome the Bill, and I hope your Lordships will give it a Second Reading.


My Lords, I should like to thank the noble Marquess very much for his promise of co-operation.

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