Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Lord Davies of Oldham: I turn, first, to the closing comments of the noble Lord, Lord Phillips. I shall certainly write to him as I believe that my immediate answer to the point that he raised will probably be inadequate. The concept behind an "audience", or possibly a paying audience, is rather more objective than where parents go along to see, and support, their children. They do form an audience because they are watching, but their participation in the event is not quite that of the public audience, which we are seeking to identify and safeguard in relation to these issues. The noble Lord may consider that response to be less than precise and I shall write to him before the next stage of the Bill.

In relation to the general matter of the martial arts, as the noble Baroness, Lady Buscombe, rightly identified, we know that boxing and wrestling and their audiences present a significant issue with regard to public safety. As the noble Baroness said, the relationship between wrestling and its audience is particularly engaging, and its showmanship can engage the audience very directly. But, as has been known for many decades, boxing also engages passions. From time to time, boxing bouts have aroused as much vigour in the audience as in those participating in the ring—in some cases, rather more than occurs in the ring.

In this measure we are seeking to ensure that boxing and wrestling fall within the necessary requirements of licensing. However, I am having some difficulty in accepting the noble Baroness's depiction of the martial arts. I am not sure that I am totally familiar with every single one of them, but I do not believe that martial arts normally set out to engage the audience in quite the same way as do wrestling or boxing.

Lord Addington: Does the noble Lord agree that boxing is growing in popularity but that it is very under-regulated at present? The noble Baroness is correct in that.

Lord Skelmersdale: Would it help the Minister to take up my suggestion of using the expression "contact sports", which would cover all these matters?

Lord Davies of Oldham: That is, of course, a helpful suggestion. The noble Lord is always helpful. But this is a deregulation measure. We are not looking for additional elements to bring within the framework of the regulation. The Opposition Front Benches are raising an issue about martial arts which we believe has occasioned very little public discourse. We have received no representations from the sport. No one who has attended martial arts performances has said, "By heavens, do you know just how dangerous or what a threat to public health this is?". We have received no representations on the matter. If noble Lords have received some, no doubt they will convey them to us.

At present, the martial arts are a fairly limited sport in terms of public presentation. They are conducted within a framework which gives us no cause for

12 Dec 2002 : Column 392

anxiety. Therefore, I resist the amendments on the grounds that I am not seeking to include sports, activities or pursuits but am seeking simply to continue with our process of deregulation.

Baroness Buscombe: I am very disappointed with the Minister's response. While we would not look for ways to include other sports just for the fun of it, we have a serious purpose in tabling these amendments. As I said, the martial arts can attract audiences where there will be a possibility of violence, and perhaps considerable violence where drink is involved. In some ways, martial arts may be seen as a minority sport. In that case, it is hard for us to understand—perhaps that is the reasoning—why sports such as wrestling and boxing should be included but martial arts excluded. There seems to be discrimination in favour of minority sports, such as the martial arts.

It is not our purpose to add regulation where it is not necessary. Indeed, as I shall say when we debate the next amendment, our concern is that the Government are regulating where it is entirely unnecessary, including areas such as carol singing. There is seriousness in our purpose. As Her Majesty's Opposition it is important for us to show all those individuals and organisations who are watching closely the passage of the Bill our will and our wish carefully to scrutinise it. We need to show the outside world that we are serious in our purpose. On that basis I should like to test the opinion of the Committee.

4.10 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 10) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 59; Not-Contents, 93.

Division No. 1


Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Astor of Hever, L.
Blatch, B.
Brightman, L.
Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Buscombe, B.
Caithness, E.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Chorley, L.
Cobbold, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L. [Teller]
Craig of Radley, L.
Craigavon, V.
Croham, L.
Cumberlege, B.
Denham, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Dundee, E.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Elton, L.
Ferrers, E.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Garel-Jones, L.
Hanham, B.
Hayhoe, L.
Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, L.
Howe, E.
Howe of Aberavon, L.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Liverpool, E.
Luke, L.
Lyell, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
Mancroft, L.
Marlesford, L.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Monson, L.
Naseby, L.
Noakes, B.
O'Cathain, B.
Oppenheim-Barnes, B.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Perry of Southwark, B.
Plumb, L.
Renton, L.
Ryder of Wensum, L.
Seccombe, B. [Teller]
Selsdon, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Strange, B.
Tenby, V.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Trumpington, B.
Wakeham, L.
Weatherill, L.
Wilcox, B.
Williamson of Horton, L.


Addington, L.
Ahmed, L.
Alderdice, L.
Ampthill, L.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Avebury, L.
Barker, B.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Billingham, B.
Blackstone, B.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Campbell-Savours, L.
Carter, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Crawley, B.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Desai, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Eatwell, L.
Elder, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Falkland, V.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Goldsmith, L.
Goodhart, L.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Greaves, L.
Grenfell, L.
Grocott, L. [Teller]
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Holme of Cheltenham, L.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. (Lord Chancellor)
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jeger, B.
Jordan, L.
Judd, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Livsey of Talgarth, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller]
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Mishcon, L.
Morgan, L.
Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.
Pendry, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Razzall, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Rennard, L.
Rogers of Riverside, L.
Rooker, L.
Roper, L.
Russell-Johnston, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Sewel, L.
Simon, V.
Taverne, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Thornton, B.
Tope, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Walmsley, B.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L. (Lord Privy Seal)

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

12 Dec 2002 : Column 393

4.20 p.m.

Baroness Buscombe moved Amendment No. 11:

    Page 109, line 13, leave out paragraph (e).

The noble Baroness said: There has already been much talk today about exceptions to the definition of "regulated entertainment". Amendment No. 11 draws attention to yet another area where the categories seem to be so broad as to verge on the ridiculous. On page 109, line 13, we learn that entertainment includes,

    "a performance of live music".

12 Dec 2002 : Column 394

I wonder whether any noble Lords have had the pleasure of watching their children sing in a school nativity play? That activity would, in future, be licensable. It appears that we would also need a licence to go carol singing. Such an all-encompassing definition as the one that is offered in paragraph (e) demands greater clarification. I am sure that there are keen musicians up and down the country who fear that the Bill, as it stands, will force restrictions on activities which they see as a basic human right. I beg to move.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: When we started our consideration of Schedule 1, I hope that I made clear the basis on which Schedule 1 is drafted. The principle is that the first concern should be for public safety and the avoidance of public nuisance. In the licensing objectives, there is also the prevention of crime and disorder and the prevention of harm to children. They should be included in the appropriate places. But I hope that at that stage I explained that if one is concerned with public safety and with the avoidance of public nuisance, it does not make much difference, as regards music, whether it is live or recorded.

Recorded music can be quiet and cause few problems to anyone. Live music, on the other hand, can be extremely loud and offensive to some people. Anyone who has been to the Wembley Arena or to the Glastonbury Festival surely would not say that they, being live music, should be exempt from the licensing procedures. Indeed—I hope the Committee will not mind my saying so—anyone who has been to a State banquet will have heard the bagpipers going around the table twice very loudly indeed. That is all right in St George's Hall and in Buckingham Palace, but it would not be much fun if one lived next door.

What we are concerned with is the public safety and avoidance of public nuisance aspects.

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page