Licensing Hours Extensions Bill

– in the House of Commons am ar 17 Mai 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Bill, not amended in the Public Bill Committee, considered.

Third Reading

Photo of Emma Lewell-Buck Emma Lewell-Buck Llafur, South Shields 9:47, 17 Mai 2024

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

This is the first time, but I sincerely hope not the last time, that I have proposed legislation in this House that has not only enjoyed strong cross-party support throughout all stages of its passage, but strong support outside this place. There has not been a single objection to the Bill from the police, local authorities, the public or, which is to be expected, the hospitality industry. In fact, the industry has been asking for this small legislative change for some time now, and It has asked for it because it makes sense.

I want to apologise in advance that this speech is a little dull and technical, but it is important that the details of what I am proposing are made clear to the House, a point I discussed at length with Sir Christopher Chope, who I am sorry is not with us in his usual Friday slot today.

Love for our pubs is strong across all our constituencies. If there is one thing guaranteed to unite us, it is sporting and royal events. We tend to gather for these events in our local pubs, because they are the beating heart of our communities. As hon. Members will know, such events do not always take place when our pubs and hospitality venues are open, which is why the Licensing Act 2003 makes two provisions for licence extension. First, individual licensed premises can apply to their local authority for a temporary event notice. Each application costs £21 and takes a minimum of five working days to be approved, although it often takes longer. The provision is not designed for scenarios in which many venues across the country wish to extend their licensing hours at short notice and at the same time, so a second provision, under section 172 of the 2003 Act, enables licensing extensions for

“an occasion of exceptional international, national, or local significance”.

That allows the Government to make a relaxation order applicable to all premises in England and Wales, specifying the dates and times of the relaxation, which cannot exceed four days.

Such orders, which are made under section 197 of the 2003 Act, are subject to the affirmative procedure and need approval from both Houses of Parliament. Best practice is for the Home Secretary to complete a public consultation, and then for both Houses to debate the order, which can take up to six months to implement. As mentioned on Second Reading, the process has been used for the coronation of His Majesty the King, the 90th birthday and platinum jubilee of Her late Majesty, the 2011 and 2018 royal weddings, the 2014 FIFA World cup, and the Euro 2020 final in 2021.

Last summer, our whole country was immensely proud of our Lionesses reaching the women’s World cup final. As hon. Members will recall, we found out only four days before the match that our Lionesses had made the final. It was taking place on a Sunday in Sydney, and there was an 11-hour time difference. The match kicked off at 11 am, with many venues unable to serve alcohol until 11 am or 12 noon. There was no time left for them to apply to their local authority for a temporary event notice and, because Parliament was in recess, there was no mechanism for the Government to issue an extension. Our communities missed out on all the pre-match excitement and much-needed extra revenue.

Clause 1 will allow the Home Secretary or Ministers to make an extension order in similar situations without going through the costly, overly bureaucratic, time-consuming and restrictive process that exists now. Clause 2 simply states that the Bill will come into force on the day it gains Royal Assent, and will extend to England and Wales only. The Bill does not propose a change to the circumstances with which discretion may be exercised by the Home Secretary. The provisions in section 172 of the Licensing Act 2003, which relate to the length, purpose and consultation requirements of any relaxation order, will remain intact.

This is a Bill to simplify the parliamentary process, not to change the substance of the Licensing Act’s provisions. Using the negative procedure instead of the affirmative procedure does not remove parliamentarians’ voices on applications. As Members will know, the majority of statutory instruments are laid before Parliament under the negative procedure, and there is a process for objecting to them or having them annulled, both in this place and in the other place.

Next week, the Licensing Act 2003 (UEFA European Championship Licensing Hours) Order 2021 is due for debate. Like all previous extension orders of this kind, it is very likely that it will pass through both Houses unopposed. Considering the many problems that our constituents and the country are facing right now, it is a waste of precious parliamentary time to debate an uncontentious order that has such cross-party and public support.

Photo of Karen Bradley Karen Bradley Chair, Procedure Committee, Chair, Procedure Committee

I recall spending many hours as a Home Office Minister taking through statutory instruments for exactly this kind of occasion, even though nobody opposed them and everybody could see that they were very good, particularly for the hospitality industry. I declare an interest: my brother is a pub landlord and my father was before him, so I know how much such orders matter. I fully support the hon. Lady’s Bill. Does she agree that these events are exactly the kinds of times when we need to get together in the great British pub?

Photo of Emma Lewell-Buck Emma Lewell-Buck Llafur, South Shields

I thank the right hon. Member for that intervention, and I hope that her family welcome the Bill as well. Like much of our hospitality industry through covid, pubs were absolutely battered. While this Bill is small and will not apply all the time, when it does apply, the revenue that our local hospitality venues and pubs will gain from it will make a huge difference to them.

Even with my Bill, the Government fully intend to continue to plan ahead so that, wherever possible, licensing hours extension orders can be brought forward with sufficient time for public consultation and notice, as they have been for the upcoming Euros licensing order next week. This Bill has received such support because it is straightforward and sensible. I am sure that we all look forward to joining our constituents down one of our brilliant locals in celebrating the next national, sporting or royal event. I commend the Bill to the House.

Photo of Nickie Aiken Nickie Aiken Ceidwadwyr, Cities of London and Westminster 9:55, 17 Mai 2024

I congratulate Mrs Lewell-Buck on the success of her private Member’s Bill, and I am delighted to join colleagues from across the House in speaking in favour of its provisions. The United Kingdom is a nation that likes to support our national teams and our chosen football teams. For any sporting or ceremonial event, whether the Olympics, the Paralympics, the football World cup, the Euros, the Ashes, coronations or royal weddings—I could go on —when our teams, our sportspeople and our royalty are doing well, we want to support them. And where better to support them and celebrate than in our local pub or sports or social club? These are venues where we want to share our joys and woes, often with like-minded people. That is why this Bill to provide a blanket extension of licensing hours makes sense—to allow people to gather to mark an occasion of exceptional international, national or local significance.

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey Ceidwadwyr, Suffolk Coastal

My hon. Friend is absolutely right about moments of celebration in pubs. She represents the Cities of London and Westminster, and I expect that she has the most pubs in any single constituency. While it may be unfair for her to single out just one, I wonder whether there is a particular sporting occasion, or other occasion of joy, where she has—certainly—enjoyed that in a pub locally.

Photo of Nickie Aiken Nickie Aiken Ceidwadwyr, Cities of London and Westminster

There have actually been far too many to be able to name them. As my right hon. Friend says, there are so many amazing venues in my constituency. I think that, at my last count, we had 13,000 licensed premises in Westminster alone, and as a former licensing chair of Westminster Council, the largest licensing authority in the country, I can say with some authority that we have amazing licensed premises here.

As the hon. Member for South Shields says, the alternative to this Bill is to go with temporary event notices, which are used for individual businesses looking to extend their hours. I know, from my experience as a licensing chair, that those are a bureaucratic nightmare for licensing authorities—especially for a city centre such as Westminster, central Manchester, Birmingham or wherever—and the £21 charge never matches the cost of the administration of those temporary event notices. This Bill will do away with that time-consuming bureaucracy.

In practice, the blanket extension orders go unopposed, and the public are often in favour of proposed licensing hours extensions. Some 85% of respondents to the consultation were in favour of an extension for this year’s Euros, and 77% were in favour of one during the King’s coronation.

Another important point to make is that there is a massive, vital economic benefit from this Bill. Pubs and late-night venues in my constituency employ more than 22,000 people and turn over £1 billion each year; it is the No. 1 constituency for turnover, and economic value, from the hospitality industry in the UK. That is just in central London, but pubs and other venues play a vital role in the local economy of every part of the United Kingdom. The Bill will support them. We know the hospitality industry has had a tough time over the past five years.

While I welcome making the process to extend opening hours easier, it is important to remember that such extensions will see an increase in the consumption of alcohol. Sadly, often, that will result in an increase in antisocial behaviour and disturbances for residents. The extension order for the 2020 Euros final allowed for an extra 45 minutes of serving time. However, for the 2024 Euros, the Government consultation proposed extending licensing hours by two hours, meaning many pubs will close at 1 am.

I am sure everyone in the House agrees that we do not want to see a repeat of what happened during the 2020 Euros, when Trafalgar Square, in my constituency, was the scene of some very unruly behaviour, including excess drinking and revellers climbing on buildings and buses. It was an absolute nightmare. I am aware of residents’ concerns about the current licensing application for the fanzone for this year’s Champions League final, which will allow up to 20,000 people to gather in Trafalgar Square and a further 30,000 in Victoria Embankment Gardens.

Photo of Emma Lewell-Buck Emma Lewell-Buck Llafur, South Shields

I thank the hon. Member for her fulsome support for my Bill. I stress to her and to the House that there will be continued consultation with the police and local authorities, even when the regulations in the Bill are in play. We are simply changing the parliamentary process, not the process that happens outside this place. I want to give her that assurance.

Photo of Nickie Aiken Nickie Aiken Ceidwadwyr, Cities of London and Westminster

I absolutely accept that point. I just want to take the opportunity to ensure we do not forget that, in my constituency in central London, we have a massive and vital hospitality industry, which employs tens of thousands of people, but we also have residents living cheek by jowl with those premises, many of them in social housing. I visited a social housing block in Mayfair last week. People do not expect to see social housing in places like that, but we have social housing in Mayfair, Belgravia, Soho and Marylebone, and it is important we do not forget that.

The UK should take pride in hosting internationally renowned competitions, such as the Euros and the Champions League final, and make provision for those seeking to celebrate them. I understand why the Government and the Greater London Authority want to have fanzones, but I am also aware that local councillors, businesses and residents in the St James’s ward object to the licensing application for the fanzone on the basis that the venue and location are wholly unsuitable. Local residents are particularly sad because they feel that there has been a lack of consultation in the process.

I note what the hon. Member for South Shields says about the Bill being about the parliamentary process, which is why I support it. In this day and age, it is ridiculous that we have had to have the House of Commons and the other place agree to extending licensing hours for an hour, or whatever, just for one day, so I appreciate and support the changes in the Bill. However, we have to remember the knock-on effect of extended licensing on the police and local councils.

When the licensing hours were extended for the 2020 Euros, we saw huge amounts of waste and litter across the west end. Westminster City Council collected 20 tonnes of waste over 19 hours during and after the historic England versus Italy final, with the use of 20 vehicles. As ever, I take my hat off to the cleansing services of Westminster City Council: they deliver every time we have a major celebration or protest. They clean up and people would never think anything had happened. However, such events put a strain on local authority spending, particularly in Westminster, where we are not provided with extra Government funding to undertake the cleansing after those special events. Again, I know that the Metropolitan police spend a lot of time and resources putting in extra police officers to police these events.

I note what the hon. Member for South Shields said. It is crucial that police and local authorities are provided with the guidance and support they need during national celebrations and moments of national significance when licensing hours are extended. For my long-term goal, we need to make sure that residents living close to hospitality venues and those within licensed hours are considered in any extension. I absolutely accept that the consultation system is not changing under the Bill, which I welcome.

I welcome the Bill, which I see as a move to simplify the process of extending licensing hours within the parliamentary process when needed. I look forward to seeing the Bill complete its journey through this and the other place.

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey Ceidwadwyr, Suffolk Coastal 10:05, 17 Mai 2024

It is a pleasure to stand in support of the Bill on Third Reading. I commend and congratulate Mrs Lewell-Buck, who has navigated this important Bill, which, though small, will have a significant impact on the wellness and joy of people throughout England and Wales. She came into the House in a by-election in 2013 and has always made a positive impact. She has, of course, been diligent in her constituency work, but I hope she will be toasted in every pub the next time a licence is used in the way introduced by this change in law.

The Licensing Act 2003 was important legislation. The reason for that, as my hon. Friend Nickie Aiken set out, is that while we want hospitality to thrive in many ways, for people living very near a pub or other venues, those venues can have a big impact on their lives. That is why the processes that are gone through are important. I do not know the rationale for deciding, more than 20 years ago, that it was important to make this particular legislation via the affirmative resolution procedure, but it is sensible and pragmatic streamlining to switch to the negative resolution procedure.

This simple legislative change will not make bureaucracy a thing of the past; it is important that the appropriate procedures go through. However, we often think about how Parliament needs to be in touch with the challenges that people have. It may not be the greatest challenge in the world that a pub cannot open longer for a particular event, but when we try to explain to people that the reason such a change cannot be made is that Parliament is not sitting because it is having a summer break, there is an element of, “Let’s look at that again.” That is why the hon. Member for South Shields was wise to pick up and work with the Government on this modest change.

On the negative resolution procedure more broadly, within Parliament, and in particular the other House, I would say there has been an anti-negative resolutions revolution in the passing of secondary legislation. About 80% of our regulations are made through the negative route. There will be a variety of reasons as to why it is unpopular for certain aspects, partly because, if people object to those statutory instruments, although there is quite a systematic process, it is not always easy to get a particular vote on it, particularly in this House. One thing it has done is to clog up a lot of parliamentary activity, with more and more time being spent on modest pieces of legislation that really do not need further consideration, apart from the wisdom of discussions or debates that could be had outside of what is quite a formal parliamentary process. That is why I think this matters.

I appreciate that my hon. Friend the Member for Cities of London and Westminster might not want to single one pub out in her constituency. For what it is worth, I live in her constituency when I am carrying out my parliamentary duties, and I go to the White Swan on Vauxhall Bridge Road to watch sport. I think it is really good. It has a fantastic TikTok account. Don’t worry, I am not expecting a free Guinness—I would not abuse my position in that way. I had hoped to be having moments of joy this Sunday, with Liverpool winning the Premier League. Sadly, that is not going to be the case, and I expect we will end up third, but I am going to a Liverpool fans’ pub in London in the afternoon with some friends. It is that sense of community and of coming together that really matters.

Covid has had so many impacts on our country: not just the huge amount of investment that was put in, which we are now paying for across the UK, but what it did to community and the anxious generation we now have of people who interact solely on something like this phone—I am using it to look at the legislation today. For me, what is critical is not just drowning our sorrows by going to a pub, but that sense of occasion. I remember the joy of some of the sporting events I have been lucky enough to go to in person. That sort of joy can be replicated, and it need not necessarily be in a pub; it can be in a community hall or at other sorts of temporary events. However, it is vital, not only for economic reasons, but for genuine societal reasons, that we make it as straightforward as possible for Parliament to allow these things to happen. While we still have a moderate amount of regulation in recognising what licensing conditions may apply and what concerns local residents or businesses may have, I come back to my original point: this simple change, meaning that it does not matter whether Parliament is sitting, is the key element of this legislation.

I am going to be shameless and name a few more pubs in my constituency. I forgot to do so in discussing previous bits of legislation. I even served on the hon. Member for South Shields’ Bill Committee and did not do it. I cannot name them all, but I have been to every single pub in my constituency; that is the reason I won the beer parliamentarian of the year award over a decade ago, and still have the mug to prove it—though I can assure you, Mr Deputy Speaker, there is no beer in the Chamber today. But who knows? We might crack on over in the Strangers Bar if it is open later, to toast the hon. Lady’s success in getting the Bill through this House.

We undoubtedly have a lot of events in Europe coming up, but it is important to recognise our international community here in this country and people’s desire not only to watch sports here, of course, but to watch sporting events with their home teams in different parts of the world. I had better not get into too much trouble by naming loads of pubs, but—

Photo of Nickie Aiken Nickie Aiken Ceidwadwyr, Cities of London and Westminster

My right hon. Friend is making a very excellent speech. She asked me for my favourite watering hole in my constituency. I think it is only fair, surely, that she names one pub that she went to.

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey Ceidwadwyr, Suffolk Coastal

Of course there is the Felixstowe Conservative Club, which is very good in that regard, but I must admit that when I go to watch sports, I have been to the Douglas Bader in Martlesham Heath and I love going to the Anchor in Woodbridge. My first home was in a village called Westleton, where I used to go to the White Horse Inn a lot. There are just so many. Not all of them show football, and I must do better in ensuring that I get down to many more pubs in Felixstowe, where that does seem to happen.

However, I will continue to champion and go around pubs, and I now have a great excuse, with the hon. Member for South Shields’ Bill, to explain why Parliament is going to make life for our hospitality sector a lot easier. We have a great brewery and pub chain called Adnams in Southwold in my constituency. Adnams still owns a lot of pubs, some managed, some tenanted, and I hope it will take full advantage of this great opportunity. So without further ado, I am really pleased to be here on a Friday to support this legislation, I am sure the Lords will toast it as well, and I look forward to sharing a glass or two in the Strangers Bar later today.

Photo of Nigel Evans Nigel Evans Deputy Speaker (Second Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means), Chair, Restoration and Renewal Programme Board Committee, Chair, Restoration and Renewal Programme Board Committee

I am afraid the Strangers Bar is closed. I am sorry to bring such bad news, but I think the House of Lords bar may be open—you never know. I am a former president of the all-party parliamentary group on beer, so I do not think we could have a more appropriate Chair for this particular debate.

Photo of Feryal Clark Feryal Clark Shadow Minister (Crime Reduction) 10:14, 17 Mai 2024

I pay tribute to my hon. Friend Mrs Lewell-Buck for introducing this important Bill and for all her commendable work on it so far. I am sure that pubs up and down the country will be grateful for her work on the Bill if it passes.

I also pay tribute to all Members who have contributed today and at other stages, particularly Dr Coffey, as well as Nickie Aiken, whose constituency has some of the best pubs in London, of which she should be proud. Anyone here on a Friday should take a stroll through the City of London, because it is beautiful and there are some incredible gems in its tiny streets. Tourists often just wander around looking for something, and they will most likely come across those wonderful pubs.

I absolutely recognise the issues that the hon. Member for Cities of London and Westminster highlighted about the potential impact on residents of the measures. In inner-London boroughs, as she said, pubs are often close to residential areas. However, as she will know, having spent time on licensing committees, local authorities and police spend a lot of time on ensuring that licences come with conditions in order to prevent such issues.

I will acknowledge some of the wonderful pubs in my Enfield North constituency, but before I do, let me say that it has been a pleasure to see the Bill pass through this House with cross-party support. As we have heard, the Bill amends section 197 of the Licensing Act 2003, granting our hospitality sector more freedom to extend licensing hours with shorter notice, and giving the Government of the day the ability to respond to the needs of the industry. That would allow our communities to celebrate events of national significance in hospitality venues for longer, providing a welcome boost to businesses and fans.

As we have heard, when our Lionesses progressed in Australia and New Zealand to reach England’s first World cup final since 1966, there was a missed opportunity at home, where progress stalled. Pubs, bars and restaurants could open from 10 am on the day of the final, but could not serve customers until 11. Licensing hours were not extended, despite requests, because Parliament was in recess, so it was too late. Businesses missed the opportunity to serve customers early, and supporters were denied the chance to get behind their team. With England and Scotland set for the European championships, another busy summer of sport will provide a welcome boost to our hospitality sector, which has suffered so much over the past few years.

If football is to come home again this summer, we must ensure that our hospitality sector is ready to embrace it. I know that the Bill will not solve all the problems facing the industry, but it will provide the sector with the welcome boost that it is asking for. From speaking to those at the many pubs in my Enfield North constituency, including the Plough, the Wonder and the Cricketers—where I go every Sunday with my children —I know that they support the proposals in the Bill.

Let us be clear: our hospitality sector brings a huge boost to the UK economy. In 2022 alone, it generated £54 billion in tax receipts and £7 billion-worth of business investment. Clearly, what benefits our pubs benefits local communities, but the impact goes much further: a staggering 42% of tourists want to visit a pub when visiting the UK. They are a vital part of our communities, high streets and households. I know that many Members present today will share that view, yet we are currently denying pubs, bars and restaurants the full opportunity to benefit. It is clearly an opportunity, so for the reasons set out today, the Bill should progress.

The negative resolution procedure would allow an order to be debated if successfully requested by any parliamentarian, and the option of consultation would be retained, meaning that concerns will be considered, so relative safeguards are in place. It is common sense that the Bill should proceed, and I am delighted to support it and my colleague, my hon. Friend the Member for South Shields, today.

Photo of Chris Philp Chris Philp The Minister of State, Home Department 10:20, 17 Mai 2024

I start by congratulating Mrs Lewell-Buck on bringing forward this private Member’s Bill, and for the charm and expertise with which she has piloted it through the House. This is probably the shortest Bill I have ever been involved with as a Minister; I think the longest one was the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022, which ran to about 220 clauses and several hundred pages. This Bill is a model of pith and conciseness —if only every Bill were as simple.

I congratulate the hon. Lady on marshalling both sides of the House behind her Bill, and I thank the Members who have spoken today. I thank the shadow Minister, Feryal Clark, for her support; my hon. Friend Nickie Aiken for talking about the pubs in her constituency, here in the heart of London, and for bringing to bear her expertise as a former chair of licensing at Westminster City Council; and, of course, my right hon. Friend the incomparable Member for Suffolk Coastal (Dr Coffey), who brought to bear her very extensive experience in this area that she has diligently amassed over many years, across the length and breadth of the kingdom. There are few colleagues with greater or deeper expertise than my right hon. Friend when it comes to visiting pubs, which I intend as a profound compliment.

As we have heard, this Bill amends section 172 of the Licensing Act, which already makes provision for the Secretary of State to make orders relaxing licensing hours in England and Wales on occasions of exceptional international, national, or even local significance.

Photo of Chris Green Chris Green Ceidwadwyr, Bolton West

Under that definition —international, national and local significance—tomorrow is the play-off final at Wembley between Oxford United and Bolton Wanderers. Would that qualify under the changes in the Bill, and since the play-off is tomorrow, can the Minister make sure that all parts of the Bill have completed their passage by that time?

Photo of Chris Philp Chris Philp The Minister of State, Home Department

My hon. Friend will have noticed that the second and final clause of the Bill states that the Act will come into force on the day on which it is passed, but of course it has to complete its passage through the other place first, so unfortunately, I do not think that play-off final will benefit from these provisions. Whether a play-off final between such auspicious teams as Bolton Wanderers and Oxford United would qualify as an event under this Bill would be for the Home Secretary of the day to determine. In all seriousness, although the parliamentary mechanism is being changed from the affirmative resolution procedure to the negative resolution procedure, the underlying criteria are not changing; I do not think we would want to usher in a wholesale change of licensing hours through this mechanism. The threshold is quite high and it is used fairly rarely, so I would like to temper expectations. We do not expect the provisions to be used indiscriminately, although that in no way detracts from the importance of the game taking place at Wembley—obviously I wish both teams the best of luck.

These orders will benefit businesses, as we have heard, allowing them to stay open for longer when important events are taking place. As my hon. Friend the Member for Cities of London and Westminster said, it is much easier to use blanket licensing extensions than to require pubs to go through the onerous, expensive and tedious process of applying for a temporary event notice from their local authority. This approach is much better.

To give a flavour of the kind of events that might qualify for these provisions, they might include things such as His Majesty the King’s coronation last year, Her late Majesty the Queen’s 90th birthday and her platinum jubilee, the royal weddings in 2018 and 2011, and the Euros final in 2020. If anyone is wondering whether the Bill will apply to future England appearances in finals, let me say that, while that might be more in hope than expectation, we should none the less legislate in hope.

We have already heard Members set out the reasons why we should make this change, which has commanded widespread support. We have heard that such games can often arise at relatively short notice—for example, England reaching the final, which has been referred to. When Parliament is not sitting, it is obviously not possible to use the affirmative resolution procedure, although let me be clear: even with the negative resolution procedure, scrutiny is possible. Where necessary, it is possible to pray against resolutions made under the negative procedure, so if a Member feels strongly, they can obviously pray against the instrument in the normal way.

As Minister for crime and policing, I am obviously aware of how important it is to consult the police regularly and make sure that they are happy that, where we extend licensing hours, that will not cause any undue problems with public order. It is important that the Home Secretary of the day consults the police appropriately to make sure that risk is considered, but I am sure that will not stop the power being used when appropriate. As I have said, the power in section 172 of the Licensing Act 2003 has been used relatively sparingly, and that approach is not going to change. The test is an event of exceptional significance, which imposes quite a high bar.

To make just one final point, for the avoidance of doubt, this instrument applies only in England and Wales, because it amends the Licensing Act 2003, which applies only to England and Wales. Licensing is devolved in Scotland and Northern Ireland, which I assume explains why there are no Members from either Scotland or Northern Ireland joining us this morning to hear about all the pubs in the constituencies of the various Members who have spoken—in which context, I should commend the pubs in Croydon South, such as The Fox in Coulsdon and the Wattenden Arms up by Kenley airfield. [Interruption.] Of course, there is a Member from Scotland sitting right behind me, who I did not notice.

Photo of Lisa Cameron Lisa Cameron Ceidwadwyr, East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow

The Minister is making an excellent speech. I, too, give my wholehearted support to the Bill, on behalf of pubs across Scotland and in my constituency. It might not have a direct impact there, but we recognise its importance right across the United Kingdom and the important message it sends, so I thank the Minister —and remind him that I am still from Scotland.

Photo of Chris Philp Chris Philp The Minister of State, Home Department

I offer my abject and heartfelt apologies for overlooking my hon. Friend, who is sitting right behind me. She is Scotland’s only voice in Parliament today, and Scotland is all the better off for her presence here—particularly on this side of the House, where she belongs, and where she is very welcome and held in high regard and great affection.

There are many Bills to get through today, and I do not wish to test the patience of the House or colleagues by speaking for too long. I fear that the most popular words in any speech I give are the words “and finally,” so—and finally I thank once again the hon. Member for South Shields, who has piloted the Bill through Commons, and those who have spoken in support of it and served on the Bill Committee. This straightforward and simple measure will free up valuable parliamentary time, as we heard earlier, and allow the Government to respond in an agile way in what I hope is the likely event that teams from the home nations make progress in various international sporting events, meriting an extension to the licensing hours of this nation’s fine pubs. I commend the Bill to the House.

Photo of Emma Lewell-Buck Emma Lewell-Buck Llafur, South Shields 10:30, 17 Mai 2024

As I said on Second Reading, I get my love of the pub from my dad, who knows a good pint when he sees one, and from my mam, whose footsteps I followed in as an excellent barmaid. People who work in this industry deserve our support, and our communities deserve every opportunity they can get to come together for important events. I give special thanks to Nickie Aiken, who has long championed our capital’s pubs and nightlife, and to Dr Coffey, who served on the Bill Committee. I also wish that my locals would all toast me, but as she was here on Second Reading, when I listed all the cracking local pubs in South Shields, she will know that that would result in a very sore head the next day.

I have many more people to thank: the Minister, Rebecca Harris, Home Office officials, the Public Bill Office, in particular Anne-Marie Griffiths, and my invaluable senior researcher, Rebecca Natton. I also thank the British Beer and Pub Association, the Night Time Industries Association, along with its chair and hospitality champion Sacha Lord, and on the Front Bench my hon. Friend Feryal Clark. Finally, I wish to say a big “cheers” to the Government for supporting my Bill, and in commending it to the House, I say to the Minister, as I said to his colleague the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Laura Farris), that I definitely owe him, and a lot more people, a drink.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time, and passed.