Clause 102 - Objection to notice by the police
Licensing Bill [Lords]
Dr Kim Howells (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Culture, Media & Sport; Pontypridd, Labour)
I do not believe that the Bill gives such people any room to circumvent the law, and I believe that the police know their patch. The vast majority of events that do not wish to have a premises licence will benefit, as I have said. That is why we have kept to light-touch provisions, and why we think that time limits should be tight.
The hon. Gentleman has heard representations from the police that the time limits should be extended. I have come under no pressure of that sort, but I understand the point. Work expands to fill the time available. I am told that that is Parkinson's law—Parkinson as an American professor of psychology in the 1950s. I thought that I had invented that idea, but it says here in my briefing note, ''You didn't invent it.'' Anyway, it is a pretty good rule.
Amendment No. 373 would require the licensing authority to decide whether to issue a counter notice within 48, rather than 24, hours of the event, following a hearing to consider a police objection. Similarly, amendment No. 377 would require a counter notice issued because the limit on the number of temporary events notices had been exceeded to be given within 48, rather than 24, hours of the event.
As I have explained, the time limits have to be extremely tight. If we are to allow maximum flexibility to those giving temporary event notices, we have to let the notices be given pretty late in the day. Despite their best intentions, not all voluntary and charitable groups will be particularly well organised; however, those that are can be expected to give notice well in advance of the 10-day limit.