Mudcat Café message #908142 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #56271   Message #908142
Posted By: The Shambles
12-Mar-03 - 08:45 AM
Thread Name: PEL's: News Blackout!
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
Anne Perkins, political correspondent
Wednesday March 12, 2003
The Guardian

Liberal Democrat and Tory peers blasted a hole through the government's controversial licensing bill last night, forcing an amendment exempting all small premises from licensing for performances of live music.

Peers, backed by the Musicians' Union, have inflicted nine defeats on the legislation, which liberalises drinking hours but extends the scope of licences to include all live performances.

Last night's defeat by 150 votes to 120 would mean that smaller pubs and restaurants would be able to offer live entertainment as long as their capacity was below 250 people and the entertainment finished by 11.30pm.

The Lib Dem peer Lord Redesdale, a champion of folk music who has spearheaded the assault on the bill, said: "This is not just pandering to the Musicians' Union. We believe it will lead to the renaissance of live music."

He was backed by the Tory peer, bandleader and union member Lord Colwyn.

But Lord McIntosh, for the government, called the amendment drastic and said it would exempt "huge swaths" of entertainment from all licensing, and could result in children under 18 being allowed to watch sex films.

After the vote a Department for Culture, Media and Sport spokesman attacked the opposition, saying: "They have voted for eight-year-olds to watch the unexpurgated Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

"They have voted to remove the rights of the police to step in if an unsuitable person tried to lure in children by setting up a disco. This is a disaster for kids and will do nothing for live music into the bargain."