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Mr. Hamilton : I wish to preserve the amity of the debate and show the flexibility of which I am capable. If the hon. Gentleman suspects that the Government would not come forward with amendments that he might approve, which may diminish his enthusiasm for supporting this liberalising measure, I shall immediately do a U-turn and say that we shall recommend to my hon. Friends that they support the schedule on the basis that we shall seek to amend it in the House of Lords to correct the technical deficiencies that I mentioned a moment ago. After that illustration of verbal dexterity, I have little more to say.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Honiton (Sir P. Emery) asked why betting shops should be opened off course. The hon. Member for Livingston referred to the danger of illegal off-course betting developing. By definition, it would be unregulated and subject to greater dishonesty and criminality. We know from the experience recounted by my hon. Friend the Member for Altrincham and Sale (Sir F. Montgomery) that there were many such examples in the days when betting shops were illegal. People naturally seek the best price at which to bet, and on the day before a race a starting price would not be available which reflected the latest conditions of the course or the

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horses. Many people would leave betting until shortly before a race in the light of the latest prices being offered on the course. As the hon. Member for Livingston pointed out, if some of the big classified races were held on Sundays, the temptation for illegal betting would be almost irresistible. He would not wish that to happen, so it would be much better to treat betting shops in the same way as on-course betting. As there would be no significant risk to the public, I commend the measure to all Members of the House.

Mr. Paice : With the leave of the House, I am grateful to all hon. Members who have contributed to the debate. As I suspect we all know, the debate has shown that this issue raises considerable passion in some quarters. My hon. Friend the Member for Gedling (Mr. Mitchell), who is the Whip on this Bill, told me that his support for the measure was in inverse proportion to the length of the debate, so I shall conclude matters quickly. Rather than respond to all the individual points made by many hon. Members, which would detain the House and be unsatisfactory, I shall make just two points. First, my right hon. Friend the Member for Honiton (Sir P. Emery) and many others referred to on and off-course betting. The hon. Member for Livingston (Mr. Cook) and my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Corporate Affairs referred to the illegal betting that would spring up, particularly if major races took place on Sundays. It has also been suggested that people could bet the previous day. People always like to bet close to the time of a race. One good reason is that runners often withdraw up until the last few hours before a race, so that any bet becomes invalid. That is a sound reason why people need to bet close to the time of the race.

Secondly, I understand that feelings differ among hon. Members on both sides of the House about employee protection, but it would be inequitable to offer anything other than the same provisions as those in the Sunday Trading Bill. Some people may think that that is not enough and others may believe that it goes too far. I believe that it is a compromise on the amount of protection to which the House agreed in one context and should accept in another.

Mr. Jopling : I have no objection to racing taking place on Sundays, but if betting did not take place on Sundays, the bookmaking fraternity--I should have declared an interest as I sometimes advise one of the large bookmaking firms, although it will not be pleased with what I am about to say--would immediately change its rules and take bets on Saturdays to exclude non-runners on Sundays.

Mr. Paice : My right hon. Friend omits a serious point. When people place bets, they look at all the runners. If one runner withdraws, even if it is a horse on which they have not bet, it may throw the odds on all the others, which is why it is necessary to bet close to the time of the event.

The time is now right for the House to remove the discrimination against the racing industry. I have listened to the debate and am anxious that we should allow racing to compete with the rest of the leisure industry. I commend the new clause to the House.

Question put , That the clause be read a Second time :

The House divided : Ayes 290, Noes 189.

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Division No. 233] [5.55 pm


Ainsworth, Peter (East Surrey)

Aitken, Jonathan

Alexander, Richard

Alison, Rt Hon Michael (Selby)

Allason, Rupert (Torbay)

Allen, Graham

Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)

Ashby, David

Ashton, Joe

Aspinwall, Jack

Atkins, Robert

Atkinson, David (Bour'mouth E)

Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)

Austin-Walker, John

Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley)

Baldry, Tony

Banks, Matthew (Southport)

Banks, Robert (Harrogate)

Barron, Kevin

Batiste, Spencer

Bayley, Hugh

Beresford, Sir Paul

Bermingham, Gerald

Berry, Roger

Betts, Clive

Blair, Tony

Bonsor, Sir Nicholas

Boswell, Tim

Boyes, Roland

Brandreth, Gyles

Bright, Graham

Brooke, Rt Hon Peter

Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thorpes)

Brown, N. (N'c'tle upon Tyne E)

Browning, Mrs. Angela

Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)

Budgen, Nicholas

Burden, Richard

Burns, Simon

Butler, Peter

Byers, Stephen

Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)

Campbell-Savours, D. N.

Canavan, Dennis

Carlile, Alexander (Montgomry)

Carlisle, John (Luton North)

Carrington, Matthew

Carttiss, Michael

Chapman, Sydney

Clapham, Michael

Clappison, James

Clark, Dr David (South Shields)

Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)

Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Ruclif)

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Coe, Sebastian

Coffey, Ann

Colvin, Michael

Congdon, David

Conway, Derek

Cook, Robin (Livingston)

Coombs, Anthony (Wyre For'st)

Coombs, Simon (Swindon)

Cope, Rt Hon Sir John

Couchman, James

Cran, James

Cummings, John

Cunningham, Jim (Covy SE)

Curry, David (Skipton & Ripon)

Darling, Alistair

Davies, Bryan (Oldham C'tral)

Davis, David (Boothferry)

Deva, Nirj Joseph

Dickens, Geoffrey

Dicks, Terry

Dixon, Don

Dorrell, Stephen

Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James

Dowd, Jim

Duncan, Alan

Duncan-Smith, Iain

Durant, Sir Anthony

Elletson, Harold

Evans, David (Welwyn Hatfield)

Evans, John (St Helens N)

Evans, Nigel (Ribble Valley)

Evennett, David

Faber, David

Fabricant, Michael

Fairbairn, Sir Nicholas

Fatchett, Derek

Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)

Fishburn, Dudley

Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)

Forth, Eric

Fox, Dr Liam (Woodspring)

Fox, Sir Marcus (Shipley)

Fraser, John

French, Douglas

Gapes, Mike

Gardiner, Sir George

Garnier, Edward

Gerrard, Neil

Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John

Gill, Christopher

Gillan, Cheryl

Godsiff, Roger

Golding, Mrs Llin

Goodlad, Rt Hon Alastair

Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles

Gorman, Mrs Teresa

Gorst, John

Grant, Sir A. (Cambs SW)

Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)

Greenway, John (Ryedale)

Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)

Grylls, Sir Michael

Hague, William

Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie

Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)

Hanley, Jeremy

Hargreaves, Andrew

Haselhurst, Alan

Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy

Hawkins, Nick

Heath, Rt Hon Sir Edward

Henderson, Doug

Hendry, Charles

Heppell, John

Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael

Hill, James (Southampton Test)

Hill, Keith (Streatham)

Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas (G'tham)

Home Robertson, John

Hoon, Geoffrey

Horam, John

Hordern, Rt Hon Sir Peter

Howard, Rt Hon Michael

Howarth, Alan (Strat'rd-on-A)

Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford)

Howell, Sir Ralph (N Norfolk)

Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)

Hughes Robert G. (Harrow W)

Hunt, Rt Hon David (Wirral W)

Hunter, Andrew

Jack, Michael

Jackson, Robert (Wantage)

Janner, Greville

Jenkin, Bernard

Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey

Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)

Jones, Robert B. (W Hertfdshr)

Kennedy, Jane (Lpool Brdgn)

Key, Robert

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