Licensing Bill [Lords]

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Mr. Moss: I associate myself and my Conservative colleagues with the Minister's remarks, especially those on your excellent chairmanship, Mr. Benton, and that of Mr. Gale—I hope that you will pass them on to him. I also thank the Clerk, Mr. Sandall, who has given me a great deal of help and guidance in the

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past few weeks and the Hansard staff who have faithfully recorded our words of wisdom and indiscretions for posterity.

It has been a good Committee. The atmosphere has been good and the Minister must take a great deal of credit for that. He has answered our questions firmly and honestly, and where he has had doubts and concerns he has promised to go away and think about them. We can ask for no more than that. My hon. Friend the Member for Cities of London and Westminster said that he has been unable to persuade the Minister about anything so far, but I advise him not to give up hope, as I expect that it will be surprising how many Government amendments that look very similar to some of the ideas and points that we have expressed suddenly appear on Report. Further consultation must take place in the intervening weeks. I will not list all the people the Minister has promised to have a chat with, but some problems can be resolved quickly and adequately if consultation takes place with the concerned bodies.

I have had considerable help from a young researcher who is studying politics. I am unsure whether she will become a politician, but it will look good on her CV if I mention her in dispatches: her name is Katherine Clifford, and I thank her for having done a terrific job for me. We have not got the power of Government behind us: I was going to refer to two men and a dog, but it would have been a bit insulting to have done so. It is a salutary lesson to try to go through such a wide-ranging Bill with so few resources.

I thank everyone who will be affected by the Bill for having helped us prepare arguments, table

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amendments and carry scrutiny to the heart of the Government's proposals. We look forward to the Bill moving on to the next stage, which will happen fairly soon. When it does, may horns be locked yet again.

Mr. Sanders: May I briefly associate myself with all the kind words that have been said about everybody present?

My hon. Friend the Member for North Devon is absent today. He is getting married on Saturday. The reception is at his home. The marriage is taking place this weekend, before the Bill is enacted and the various licences that he may have had to apply for are introduced.

I thank hon. Members for the kind way in which debate has been conducted and I thank you, Mr. Benton, for holding off a bit when I was a little late arriving this morning: that was very kind of you.

The Chairman: I will convey the Committee's thanks.

I endorse everything that has been said about the learned Clerk, the Hansard reporters and everybody who has helped the Committee. I want the hon. Member for North Devon to be assured that we will not be turning up in force at his wedding—although I kind of sensed an invitation—and would like all our best wishes for a good day and a long and happy marriage to be conveyed to him.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill, as amended, to be reported.

Committee rose at twenty minutes to Twelve o'clock.

The following Members attended the Committee:
Benton, Mr. Joe (Chairman)
Blizzard, Mr.
Crausby, Mr.
Field, Mr. Mark
Griffiths, Jane
Grogan, Mr.
Hoban, Mr.
Howells, Dr.
Jones, Mr. Kevan
Kemp, Mr.
Knight, Jim
Moss, Mr.
Sanders, Mr.
Stringer, Mr.
Turner, Mr. Andrew

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