§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 3a.—(Lord Harmar-Nicholls.)
My Lords, I hope your Lordships will forgive me for speaking for a moment or two, particularly in view of the fact that the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of London, who is very deeply concerned with this matter, is not present. I just want to ask the noble Lord, Lord Harmar-Nicholls, whether he will consider what was placed before him on a previous occasion. No one has any objection whatever to the Bill that he is proposing. I have had the pleasure and privilege of talking to him about the contents of the Bill. Anyone who suggests that anyone wishes to impede the progress of this Bill is making a very grave mistake.
1421 What is at issue here is the question of what happens in respect of the vicious and highly undesirable types of performance taking place in some of the public houses. The fact that the time will now be legitimately extended may mean, and probably will mean, that unless the magistrates who know the areas well are given an opportunity of examining the position, these performances of an indecent nature wil be carried on in the early hours of the morning. This is a very serious matter from the point of view of many people in the country. I am hoping that between now and the time when this Bill reaches the other place the noble Lord will take the opportunity of discussing this matter with the Bishop of London and with other people who are concerned. A suggestion has been made that one ought to wait until all the terms of the Erroll Commission are considered. Well, those of us with any experience, large or small, of the time that elapses between a Commission making its report and all the matters in that report being fully discussed in both Houses know that that consideration may be a very long distance ahead. I am hoping that what I have suggested to the noble Lord will meet with his approval and that he will have discussions, because the matter is sure to be raised in the other place.
§ Lord HARMAR-NICHOLLS
My Lords, with your Lordships' permission, I can assure the noble Lord that this Bill is a technical Bill which is merely carrying out a very necessary tidying up procedure. On the particular points made in the past by the noble Lord, Lord Stow Hill, the noble Lord, Lord Janner, and the right reverend Prelate, I have looked at all of them and I can reassure the noble Lord that the points raised can be looked after by the Act as it now stands. The section I am wanting to withdraw from that Act has nothing whatever to do with the particular points the noble Lord and his noble friends have raised. If it will help him, I will send him a letter explaining the sections of the existing Act which give the magistrates and the authorities all the powers they need to deal with the particular points that I quite understand are disturbing the noble Lord. I will see that he has that letter in his hands before the weekend.
§ On Question, Bill read 3a, and passed, and sent to the Commons.