Mudcat Café message #903860 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #54636   Message #903860
Posted By: The Shambles
05-Mar-03 - 06:54 AM
Thread Name: Sign a E Petition to 10 Downing St PELs
Subject: RE: Sign a E Petition to 10 Downing St PELs
Anne Perkins, political correspondent
Wednesday March 5, 2003
The Guardian


Moves to allow unaccompanied children under 14 into pubs, clubs and bars were thrown out in the Lords last night, as a cross-party alliance dealt the much-defeated licensing bill one last blow.
Despite conciliatory moves by the minister, peers rejected by 73 votes what the government insisted was merely a move to make venues more family friendly.

Tory frontbencher Lady Buscombe - a mother of three teenagers - argued it would put children at risk from the unwanted attention of older men and paedophiles.

She said it was an issue that went beyond politics. "It is about our children and it is about protection of children from harm."

The bill placed "an enormous burden" on publicans who will have to say how they will protect youngsters from harm when they apply for a licence," she added.

She warned that children's charities had told her youngsters may become "intimidated by the behaviour and environment around them, and in the absence of a parental carer there arise many questions about how the licensee can and should respond to them".

She asked how a landlord should respond "to an upset, unaccompanied eight-year-old turning up in a bar at 11pm asking to be served a soft drink".

The culture minister, Lady Blackstone, whose offer to take the proposals back for more discussion to avoid a vote was rejected, said the bill's provisions had already been widely discussed with children's charities and the police. Her suggestion of a meeting today about the clause with children's societies was also rejected.

Earlier, a bid by Kim Howells, the culture media and sport minister, to restore relations with the Musicians' Union, the bill's most outspoken critic, met with partial success.

The MU refused to endorse the bill, which brings in licensing for the first time for single performers and duos with unamplified instruments.

But they agreed to join the panel which will draw up statutory guidelines on the issuing of music licences.