HL Deb 19 June 2003 vol 649 cc903-5

1 Clause 1, page 1, line 13, leave out "for consumption on the premises where the supply takes place"

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 1. I speak also to Amendments Nos. 24 to 31, 33, 34, 85 and 86.

I must begin by making it clear to the House that, although we are debating the principle of off-sales from clubs, noble Lords will note that Amendments Nos. 27, 29, 33, 34, 85 and 86 contain references to the mandatory conditions relating to the showing of films, the principle of which we will debate in a later group.

On Report in this House, my noble friend Lord Evans of Parkside moved an amendment designed to remove the Bill's prohibition on the supply of alcohol by or on behalf of a club to or to the order of a member of the club for consumption off the premises. The Government resisted that amendment, but we agreed to meet my noble friend to discuss the issue further, and he graciously agreed to withdraw the amendment.

Following our meeting and further consultation with the clubs movement, we moved these amendments in Committee in another place. The Bill now, therefore, allows clubs to make off-sales to their members, though not to their members' guests. Registered members' clubs under existing law, which will become qualifying clubs under the Bill, include political clubs—Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative—working men's clubs, ex-services clubs and the Royal British Legion, clubs for certain professions and activities, miners' institutes and many sports clubs. Such clubs enjoy a different status to premises that operate under justices' licences and will, under the Bill, operate under premises licences, because they have a particular role to play as meeting-places in the community. The clubs are, however, limited in their activities. Alcohol can be supplied only to members and guests and not to the general public.

Registered clubs are permitted by current law to supply alcohol to their members for consumption off the premises. It is likely that that was included for clarification purposes, as the provision by a club of its own alcohol to its members for their personal purposes outside the club would not be a licensable activity. The Bill, as originally drafted, made no provision for the supply of alcohol to members for consumption off the premises because it was decided that such supplies had little to do with clubs' traditional role as a meeting-place in the community. However, following further consultation with the Committee of Registered Clubs Association, we have taken the view that, as members of clubs already own the alcohol stock between them, it would be churlish to deny them the right to take alcohol home. Allowing them to do so poses no significant risk to the achievement of the licensing objectives.

The House will note that Amendment No. 31 sets certain conditions relating to club premises certificates authorising off-sales from qualifying clubs. A club premises certificate may not authorise the supply of alcohol for consumption off the premises, unless it also authorises supply to members for consumption on those premises and that a club premises certificate authorising the supply of alcohol for consumption off the premises must include three conditions. The conditions are: first, the supply must be made at a time when the premises are open for the purpose of supplying alcohol, in accordance with the club premises certificate, to members of the club for consumption on the premises; secondly, any alcohol supplied for consumption off the premises must be in a sealed container; and, thirdly, any supply of alcohol for consumption off the premises must be made to a member of the club in person.

I hope that the House will agree that, with those conditions in place, there is no good reason to prevent qualifying clubs supplying alcohol to their members for consumption off the premises.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 1.—(Lord McIntosh of Haringey.)

Lord Evans of Parkside

My Lords, I thank my noble friend for accepting the spirit of the amendment that I moved on Report. I also thank Ministers for their courtesy in meeting me and representatives of the various club organisations. We are grateful for what my noble friend has done on behalf of all the club organisations in Great Britain.

Baroness Buscombe

My Lords, we support the amendments, and we are grateful for them.

On Question, Motion agreed to.