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Mr. Michael Connarty (Falkirk, East): Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Is it the same point of order?

Mr. Connarty: No, it is not the same point of order. I have not been in the House for as long as my hon. Friend the Member for Ogmore (Sir R. Powell) and I have travelled down from Scotland today because I am interested in the next Bill on the Order Paper. I heard our Front-Bench spokesman say that we do not oppose the drug misuse Bill and there will therefore be no attempt to block it--it will have the House's support. Is there any way in which we can move procedurally to curtail the debate on this Bill to give us time to debate the next Bill, for which I have travelled from Scotland--

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. The hon. Gentleman is simply trying to pre-empt my discretion. I have already ruled on that matter. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman knows the rules of the House.

Mr. Sackville: Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. As I was saying, a club that brings its security staff--

Mr. Connarty: Will the Minister give way?

Mr. Sackville: No, I shall not give way.

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If a club that is vulnerable to local drug dealers brings its security staff from another part of the country, it is taking positive action to ensure that there is no collusion between security staff and local drug dealers. As they come from a different area, they do not know each other. That is an important part of the policy of a club that appears to be as close as we have to a model because it does not tolerate the organised supply of drugs.

Secondly, that establishment maintains close contact with the local police. I understand that it sometimes has plain-clothes police officers on the premises, and that fact is probably well known to people who would like to carry on drug-dealing activities in the club. Its policy is to follow up every single offence that is discovered.

The important point is that, despite all that, the club is hugely successful and in great demand. As far as I know, it is full on most Friday and Saturday nights at least, and that cannot be explained just by its location and the fact that it has good marketing. Some of its appeal may be that people who go there are not assailed by drug dealers the moment that they walk into the place, and that is an attraction to some people, contrary to what is sometimes said about those clubs. So there is an example. A club can bar all organised sales of drugs and be very successful, and that is what is behind the Bill. The Bill is aimed at clubs that do not take such measures and I am afraid that there are a large number of those.

One of the motivating factors behind the Home Secretary's original interest--expressed in his speech at Bournemouth--in legislating in this way, and his delight that my hon. Friend the Member for Milton Keynes, South-West has introduced such a Bill, was the example of the Ministry of Sound and other clubs, which proved to us that such an establishment can be run without the drug dealers being in charge.

I was glad that my hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge (Sir M. Shersby) also welcomed the Bill. He said that we should proceed with the model conditions of licensing, which, apart from the security aspects that the Bill deals with, should include the provision of water and other safety measures. Those do not condone drug use at clubs but are sensible measures for the welfare of young people within clubs. I hope that we shall introduce those soon, as they complement the Bill. He also mentioned regulation of the security industry, particularly bouncers. I am glad to remind him that a circular recently went out for consultation on regulation of the security industry, particularly vetting for criminal records. Part of that document referred to the very question of bouncers in clubs and I hope that it will be decided that those should be included.

All the voluntary schemes that already exist--various hon. Members have already referred to them--are welcomed but we still need some kind of national scheme to ensure that all clubs come into line.

I also compliment my hon. Friend the Member for Welwyn Hatfield (Mr. Evans), who is not in his place. He made several points in support of the Bill and said that we must adopt a no-nonsense attitude to drugs. I would not like to comment on whether that approach should include introducing the death penalty for possession of drugs, as he suggested. However, he is moving in the right direction by saying that we cannot condone drug taking. Some people suggest that perhaps drugs do not pose a major problem and that those caught breaking the law in

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that regard should not be charged with an offence. That is a dangerous path to tread and it will send the wrong messages to young people.

My hon. Friend the Member for Romford(Sir M. Neubert) raised several important points. He mentioned various nightclubs in his constituency and referred to recent drug-related shootings and other acts of violence at clubs. That is one of the by-products of allowing clubs to remain magnets for drugs. However, I stress that there will be such violence only if club managers allow it to occur. If they make it clear that drug dealing in or near clubs will not be tolerated, criminals will have no reason to threaten each other or fight over ownership of the pitch.

I think that my hon. Friend will agree that the Bill is designed partly to address that problem. Drugs not only damage young people's bodies and lives but bring violence in their wake. For example, some alarming incidents in recent years have revolved around the right to supply drugs to a particular establishment.

As usual, my hon. Friend the Member for Colchester, North (Mr. Jenkin) represented the voice of common sense. Importantly, he welcomed the Bill from his position as a parent. Very few of those who favour legalising drugs or who are unconcerned about the drugs problem are parents of young children. All parents are terrified about what may happen and, as my hon. Friend said, we must argue strongly against a permissive line on drugs or calls for legalisation.

The hon. Member for Newport, West (Mr. Flynn) made a number of comments which, taken alone, may sound fairly sensible. He referred to the alcohol problem in this country and to accidents with pharmaceutical drugs, such as overdoses of paracetamol and other legal pharmaceutical products. However, those facts should not confuse our message to young people that illegal drugs are dangerous and must be avoided. We must be careful not to confuse that message. I am cautious about the hon. Gentleman's remarks, although they contained a perverse logic.

The hon. Gentleman mentioned that few deaths could be attributed directly to Ecstasy, pointing out that they were due to overheating, water intoxication of the brain and so on. However, that is only one step away from saying that we should not worry about Ecstasy--that is what it sounds like to the man in the street. The hon. Gentleman must decide whether he favours legalisation of Ecstasy. I hope that he does not.

Mr. Flynn: The Minister referred to what I said about the dangers, the special perils, of Ecstasy. Will he address the question why there have been virtually no Ecstasy deaths in other countries--one in Holland, where 1 million people have taken it, and none in other countries? It is a particularly British phenomenon because of overheating and people taking excess water to cool down. That is the real problem. That is what we should address, and we should not take the line that the Minister is taking. The Bill will not reduce harm.

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Mr. Sackville: I am afraid that there are Ecstasy deaths in this country that originate from the fact that it has been supplied and taken.

Mr. David Shaw: It is an absurd argument to say that it is the fault not of the drug that is being taken but of the things that people do after taking it. If they did not take the drug, it would not matter what they did.

Mr. Sackville: I thank my hon. Friend for reinforcing the point that I think I was making: the fact that Ecstasy is being supplied--particularly in clubs, although it could be supplied elsewhere--is at the heart of this. At the same time, we need to ensure that people in clubs do not die from other problems. Those deaths are, generally speaking, Ecstasy-related, so I find the argument of the hon. Member for Newport, West extremely dangerous, and ask him to try to clarify what his attitudes to drugs really are.

The hon. Gentleman mentioned drugs that are diverted from clubs and sold on the street. Well, so be it. Disruption of drug supply is a key target of all police forces. It is a valuable objective. We cannot necessarily defeat drug supply, but the more we disrupt it, the more we make it difficult and dangerous; that is an end in itself.

The hon. Member for Knowsley, North (Mr. Howarth) made a number of sensible points with which I could not in any way disagree. I welcome the fact that he condemned legalisation. He also said that, in addition to this measure, we need a scheme to regulate doorkeepers. I hope that, as a result of the consultations that are taking place, we shall see a scheme by which the vetting of criminal records in particular will form part of the regulation of the security industry, including bouncers and other security staff at clubs.

I can give the hon. Gentleman the assurance that he seeks that, if the Bill becomes law, as I hope that it will, it will be accompanied by guidelines from the Home Office as to how it should operate, which I hope will provide some assurance to people who believe that the Bill is too strong.

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