Elec. Telegraph: Lords take a sober view of all-night drinking plan for Millennium

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From the Electronic Telegraph:


ISSUE 1511, Thursday, 15 July 1999

Lords take a sober view of all-night drinking plan, By Philip Johnston, Home Affairs Editor

PLANS for round-the-clock drinking every New Year have been dropped until Millennium revellers show that they can behave themselves.

Last month the Home Office tabled a draft order to relax the licensing laws over the Millennium period, allowing pubs to open from 11am on Dec 31 until evening closing time on Jan 1. It would not be an exceptional measure, ministers said. "The same regime would have to apply on a continuing basis."

A Commons deregulation committee sanctioned the order, but its Lords equivalent refused to do so. Peers said that an extension beyond the Millennium celebrations was "inexplicable". The committee said: "We see very obvious differences between the Millennium and other New Year's Eves. There is also a powerful case for assessing the situation after the Millennium New Year's Eve.

"No one can know for sure that the Millennium celebrations will be harmless fun. If they are not, then what we have proposed should ensure that in future people can revert to celebrating a happier New Year."

In a consultation carried out by the Home Office, only 75 of more than 300 respondents supported all-night drinking every New Year. Like the peers, the police, courts and local authorities said they wanted to see what happened this New Year before a decision was made. The Lords feared that there would be "breakdowns in law and order during celebrations which are nasty, brutish and long".

The measure, which does not apply in Scotland and Northern Ireland, has now been amended to apply only to this year. The 60,000 pubs in England and Wales will be able to choose when they open and close during the 36-hour period.

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), July 14, 1999

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