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Lord Redesdale: My Lords, I apologise to the Minister for the interruption. She mentioned that older adults might provide a service for those aged over 14 to enable them to go into clubs. However, is not that the case at present? I believe that 14 year-olds are allowed entry provided that they are accompanied by an adult.

Baroness Blackstone: Yes, my Lords, but if we are going to write that into the legislation and believe that it will provide a protection, we must be absolutely clear that it is done in a way that provides genuine protection.

We also need to focus on the question of whether allowing unaccompanied children into pubs would put them at risk of being tempted to buy alcohol. We must focus on the risk of underage drinking. Temptation implies choice, but the Bill provides no choice. It would be an offence to try to buy, to sell or to allow the consumption of alcohol. That is not presently the case,

4 Mar 2003 : Column 733

so again this is an improvement. I say this not to be defensive but simply to ensure that your Lordships are clear on what the Bill does. However, as I have said, we are alive to all the concerns expressed and we shall consider how they can be met.

I turn briefly to Amendment No. 226. I do not believe that in speaking to the amendment, the noble Baroness really wants to make it unlawful to sell alcohol to an adult in an off-licence if a child aged under 14 years is present. As drafted, the amendment would ban children of that age from such shops and convenience stores. I do not believe that that would make much sense.

I have listened carefully to noble Lords on all sides of the House. I hope that noble Lords will accept our assurances that the Bill has in place many arrangements which can protect children from harm. I hope too that they will accept that we are willing to examine what more can be done to ensure children's well-being. In the light of those assurances, I hope that the noble Baroness will withdraw her amendment until the whole issue can be properly addressed with the relevant children's organisations and the police.

4.45 p.m.

Lord Northbourne: My Lords, perhaps I may put a question for clarification to the noble Baroness before she sits down. I did not hear her mention whether any effort has been made to consult parents. Can she give an assurance that before this section of the Bill is redrafted, some effort will be made to take into account the views of parents?

Baroness Blackstone: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Northbourne, for that suggestion. Of course I shall take it away and ensure that parents' organisations are consulted.

The Earl of Sandwich: My Lords, before the noble Baroness sits down, can she respond to the powerful point made by the noble Lord, Lord Redesdale, about the responsibilities of the landlord under the terms of the Bill? Is she going to address the matter in the next group of amendments?

Baroness Blackstone: My Lords, I think that I have already said something about it in response to the noble Lord, Lord Redesdale, but the point will be addressed again when we consider the next group of amendments.

Baroness Buscombe: My Lords, I thank the Minister for her response and thank also the many noble Lords who have offered their welcome support for this important issue. I refer to the noble Lord, Lord Redesdale, who has added his name to the amendments, and the noble Lord, Lord Williamson of Horton. I hear what the noble Lord, Lord Bridges, has to say as regards the wording. I thank also my noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe, the noble Baroness, Lady Howarth of Breckland, and the noble Lord, Lord Sutherland of Houndwood. I am truly grateful for the wide support of noble Lords because

4 Mar 2003 : Column 734

this is such an important issue, one that goes way beyond politics. It is about our children and the need to protect them from harm.

The Minister is quite right; the publican has to say how he intends to protect children from harm. However, I say that that will put an enormous burden on him, which is not currently the case. A publican will have to make clear, when a licence is applied for, how he intends to protect children from harm. By instant inference, that makes it sound as though the publican has a problem with his pub. I think that that is entirely wrong.

The noble Baroness, Lady Blackstone, has said that tomorrow she intends to speak to a number of children's societies. The Government have had some two-and-a-half years to get this right. Perhaps I may quote briefly from a letter sent to me by the Children's Society:

    "In relation to this amendment, we do think that it is important to stress the fact that creating child-friendly and family-friendly environments requires a commitment to ensuring that there are benefits to be gained for children—not simply relying on the idea that children's presence will have a positive effect on adults. Children may become intimidated by the environment and behaviour around them and in the absence of a parent or carer there arise many questions about how the licensee can and should respond to them. For example, what should be the pub licensee's response to an upset unaccompanied eight year-old turning up in a bar at 11 p.m. asking to be served a soft drink? By what means might a licensee appropriately seek to remove a child from their premises, and should they just leave them outside? What, if any, is the licensee's responsibility if he or she notices a group of young teenage girls on the receiving end of seduction attempts by older men on their premises? There are many wider questions of children's interests, care and development that are not addressed by a licensing policy which presumes in favour of children's unrestricted access, and relies on licensees' discretion".

The Bill is absolutely clear. I have been a lawyer for 25 years, but I had to read and re-read the Bill when I first received it because I could not believe its intention. However, the intention is clear and backed by the Government's draft guidance notes.

Baroness Blackstone: My Lords, before the Minister sits down—

Baroness Wilcox: Not yet!

Baroness Blackstone: My Lords, I meant to say, "the noble Baroness". Perhaps I may say to the noble Baroness that I think she is being a little unfair in claiming that the Government have not thought about this over the past two-and-a-half years. A White Paper was published and a wide consultation held as a result. It did not produce the kind of concerns that we have heard around the House during this debate. Moreover, the Government consulted children's organisations. They made it clear that they thought the proposals being put in place in the Bill to protect children were adequate. Clearly more thought must be given to that in light of the concerns being expressed, but I wanted to point out that it is not quite true to say that this has not been considered by the Government for two-and-a-half years.

4 Mar 2003 : Column 735

Baroness Buscombe: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister. I accept what she has said, but it is not for us to be concerned that a meeting is taking place tomorrow. We want to accept what the Minister has said in terms of her good faith.

However, I do not believe that we can leave the issue to another place. The risk is too great. Too much is at stake, and it is about our children. I should like to test the opinion of the House.

4.49 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 221) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 184; Not-Contents, 111.

Division No. 1


Ackner, L.
Addington, L.
Alderdice, L.
Alexander of Weedon, L.
Alton of Liverpool, L.
Ampthill, L.
Anelay of St Johns, B.
Arran, E.
Avebury, L.
Baker of Dorking, L.
Barker, B.
Biffen, L.
Blackwell, L.
Blaker, L.
Blatch, B.
Bradshaw, L.
Bridgeman, V.
Bridges, L.
Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Burnham, L.
Buscombe, B.
Byford, B.
Caithness, E.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carlisle of Bucklow, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Carrington, L.
Chalker of Wallasey, B.
Chan, L.
Chorley, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Cobbold, L.
Colwyn, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L. [Teller]
Craig of Radley, L.
Craigavon, V.
Croham, L.
Cuckney, L.
Dahrendorf, L.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Denham, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Elles, B.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Elton, L.
Falkland, V.
Fearn, L.
Feldman, L.
Fookes, B.
Forsyth of Drumlean, L.
Fowler, L.
Freeman, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Garel-Jones, L.
Geraint, L.
Glentoran, L.
Goodhart, L.
Gray of Contin, L.
Greenway, L.
Hamwee, B.
Hanham, B.
Hanningfield, L.
Harris of Peckham, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Henley, L.
Higgins, L.
Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, L.
Hogg, B.
Hooper, B.
Hooson, L.
Howarth of Breckland, B.
Howe, E.
Howe of Idlicote, B.
Hunt of Wirral, L.
Hurd of Westwell, L.
Hussey of North Bradley, L.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Jopling, L.
King of Bridgwater, L.
Kirkham, L.
Laing of Dunphail, L.
Laird, L.
Lang of Monkton, L.
Listowel, E.
Liverpool, E.
Livsey of Talgarth, L.
London, Bp.
Lucas, L.
Luke, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
MacGregor of Pulham Market, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Marlesford, L.
Marsh, L.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Methuen, L.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Montrose, D.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Moynihan, L.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Naseby, L.
Newby, L.
Newton of Braintree, L.
Northbourne, L.
Northesk, E.
Northover, B.
O'Cathain, B.
O'Neill of Bengarve, B.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Patten, L.
Peel, E.
Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Pilkington of Oxenford, L.
Plumb, L.
Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.
Pym, L.
Rawlings, B.
Razzall, L.
Reay, L.
Redesdale, L. [Teller]
Rees, L.
Renfrew of Kaimsthorn, L.
Rennard, L.
Renton, L.
Renton of Mount Harry, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Rogan, L.
Roper, L.
Russell, E.
Ryder of Wensum, L.
Saatchi, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Sandberg, L.
Sandwich, E.
Seccombe, B.
Selsdon, L.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Sheppard of Didgemere, L.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Simon of Glaisdale, L.
Slim, V.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Stewartby, L.
Stodart of Leaston, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strathclyde, L.
Sutherland of Houndwood, L.
Swinfen, L.
Tebbit, L.
Thatcher, B.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Tope, L.
Tordoff, L.
Trefgarne, L.
Tugendhat, L.
Vinson, L.
Vivian, L.
Waddington, L.
Wade of Chorlton, L.
Wakeham, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Walmsley, B.
Walpole, L.
Weatherill, L.
Wigoder, L.
Wilcox, B.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Williamson of Horton, L.
Willoughby de Broke, L.
Windlesham, L.
Wolfson, L.
Wolfson of Sunningdale, L.


Acton, L.
Ahmed, L.
Alli, L.
Amos, B.
Andrews, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Bach, L.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L.
Billingham, B.
Blackstone, B.
Blood, B.
Borrie, L.
Bragg, L.
Brookman, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Burlison, L.
Campbell-Savours, L.
Carter, L.
Chandos, V.
Christopher, L.
Clark of Windermere, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cohen of Pimlico, B.
Crawley, B.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Desai, L.
Dixon, L.
Donoughue, L.
Elder, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Fyfe of Fairfield, L.
Gale, B.
Gilbert, L.
Gladwin of Clee, L.
Golding, B.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grocott, L. [Teller]
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harrison, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. (Lord Chancellor)
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jeger, B.
Jones, L.
Jordan, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Lipsey, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller]
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Mishcon, L.
Mitchell, L.
Morgan, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Nicol, B.
Parekh, L.
Patel of Blackburn, L.
Paul, L.
Pendry, L.
Peston, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Puttnam, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L.
Rooker, L.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Simon, V.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Smith of Leigh, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Varley, L.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Wedderburn of Charlton, L.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Mostyn, L. (Lord Privy Seal)
Winston, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.

Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.

4 Mar 2003 : Column 737

5 p.m.

Clause 146 [Purchase of alcohol by or on behalf of children]:

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