Orders of the Day — ISLE OF WIGHT COUNTY COUNCIL BILL (By Order)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 17th May 1971.

Alert me about debates like this

Order for consideration, as amended, read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Bill, as amended, be now considered.

Photo of Mr James Wellbeloved Mr James Wellbeloved , Erith and Crayford

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I am not certain what the procedure is likely to be. The Committee has made some Amendments. I take it that the Bill as reported from the Committee will be moved and spoken to by somebody in charge of the Bill before the main debate begins. Can you give us an indication?

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

I understand that this is not a matter for the Chair.

7.23 p.m.

Photo of Mr James Wellbeloved Mr James Wellbeloved , Erith and Crayford

It is regrettable that nobody responsible for the Bill, neither the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight (Mr. Woodnutt) nor any spokesman for the Government, who made observations on the Bill in their report to the Committee, is prepared to present the Bill to the House. Without hearing any of the arguments of those in support of the Bill, we must make our own observations immediately.

Clause 5 deals with public order and public safety. This Clause was the subject of considerable debate on Second Reading. The Government then told us that they would make their views on the Clause known to the Committee. The Government have done that. I believe that if they had made their views on Clause 5 known to the House on Second Reading it is doubtful whether the House would have given a Second Reading to a Bill containing the provisions set out therein.

The report made to the Committee by the Secretary of State for the Home Department made it clear that in the opinion of the Home Department Clause 5— Control of large overnight assemblies in the open was not a satisfactory Clause as drafted. The report called the Committee's attention to a number of matters and suggested that Amendments should be made.

The Secretary of State for the Environment supported the Secretary of State for the Home Department. The report made to the Committee by the Department of the Environment said this: "He"—that is the Secretary of State— would …deprecate the passage of legislation which might inadvertently have the effect of making a bona fide promoter, who was both able and willing to make reasonable provision for these purposes liable to unreasonable harassment. He therefore would wish to be associated with the comments on points of detail made in the report to the Committee of the Secretary of State for the Home Department. So the unique position is that the Home Department and the Department of the Environment have grave reservations about the Clause.

The Bill as amended still contains the basic provisions which were in the Bill before it went to the Committee. It still contains the very subsections to which the two Departments I have specified took exception. Clause 5(1) requires that a promoter or an occupier of land upon which a festival or an all-night assembly is to be held shall give…not less than four months' notice of his intention to do so. The report by the Home Department suggested that this figure should be reduced to three months, but the Committee saw fit not to accept that recommendation.

Photo of Mr Mark Woodnutt Mr Mark Woodnutt , Isle of Wight

The Bill has had a Second Reading, and it may interest the hon. Gentleman to know that promoters of pop festivals have said that they need at least four months in which to make all the arrangements and to do the advance publicity for these matters.

Photo of Mr James Wellbeloved Mr James Wellbeloved , Erith and Crayford

Have all those likely to wish to hold pop festivals on the Isle of Wight made such an observation? Is that observation made by an association of promoters of pop festivals or is it just one person who has made that observation? I pray in aid not the comments of one unknown and unidentified possible promoter but the observations of the Secretary of State for the Home Department, who thinks that the period should be three months.

The Clause is even more serious, in that the promoters set out to make not only the promoter but also the owner or occupier of the land liable to these penalties. It seems to be introducing a rather remarkable principle into a piece of private legislation, to make both the promoter and the owner of the land jointly responsible. How is the owner of the land, having let that land to a promoter for a specific purpose, to be held liable for any failure arising through the hirer?

Photo of Mr Thomas Price Mr Thomas Price , Westhoughton

I will try to answer that rhetorical question. The owner or occupier of the land, who is induced by the promoters of these great jamborees to accept a high fee for the purposes of housing or staging these jamborees—which may attract at least half a million people—must be held responsible pari passu and in similar manner to the promoter. Otherwise any attempt to control this in the interests of public order and sanity would break down.

Photo of Mr James Wellbeloved Mr James Wellbeloved , Erith and Crayford

That may be my hon. Friend's answer to the question, but would he apply the same principle to someone who hires a motor car? Are we to take it that the principle now enshrined in the Bill would apply then, and are we to say that the person who has hired the vehicle to someone who shows good intention, has a current driving licence and proper insurance, is to be responsible in law for any breach of the road traffic code by the hirer? Are we establishing the principle that the owner of a piece of property, whether it be a motor car or a site on the Isle of Wight, should have responsibility in law for the failure of the person to whom he hires the vehicle or site under the general law of this country?

Photo of Mr Thomas Price Mr Thomas Price , Westhoughton

If my hon. Friend is sticking his chin out and asking rhetorical questions I will answer them. There is no analogy between the hiring of a car and the hiring of a piece of land, without sanitation or provision for public order, to attract vast numbers of people. It is a completely false analogy.

Photo of Mr James Wellbeloved Mr James Wellbeloved , Erith and Crayford

If my hon. Friend is suggesting that every bona fide promoter of a festival on the Isle of Wight is not prepared to give a reasonable undertaking to a local authority, then he is taking a great deal upon himself in respect of a large number of people who regularly promote large gatherings and do conform to the law. Is it being sug- gested that, because there have been isolated cases of abuse in the Isle of Wight, because the Isle of Wight Council was possibly incompetent and could not get a reasonable undertaking with a promoter, we should put into this Bill a principle that would be unacceptable to this House and to the democratic system if it were applied to any other area of activity?

Photo of Mr John Golding Mr John Golding , Newcastle-under-Lyme

Does my hon. Friend realise that the Newcastle Rural District Council, which is in my constituency, had similar difficulties in getting assurances from the promoters of a pop festival? Is he aware that the time allowed was too short to get proper guarantees from the festival operators? Many difficulties arose after the festival had finished, mainly financial. Those of us who represent constituencies in which pop festivals have been held realise the practical problems that arise because of the lack of powers on the part of local authorities and the police to control them properly.

Photo of Mr James Wellbeloved Mr James Wellbeloved , Erith and Crayford

I accept that. No one doubts—and on Second Reading I made it clear—that I am in favour of a law which would deal with the difficulties that arise at such large gatherings. I take the view expressed in the report to the Committee by the Secretary of State for the Home Department who said: The Secretary of State understands that the type of assembly that has caused concern in the County Council's area has been the popular music festivals held there over the summer Bank Holiday period. He appreciates that such festivals may cause annoyance and nuisance to surrounding residents, but doubts whether problems of law and order"— and, if I may interpose, this is what this part of the Bill deals with, law and order—

to which such festivals may give rise are suitably dealt with by a Private Bill. He goes on to say: He has considered whether general legislation would be justified, and, on present evidence and experience, he is not satisfied that it would. The Government say that the extent of the problems to which the Isle of Wight and the area of my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Golding) have been subjected, distressing and difficult as they may be, are not matters suitable to be dealt with, in terms of the law on public safety and order, by this type of private legislation. On the evidence that the Government have received, they are not certain that there is a need for public legislation. I take issue with the Secretary of State. I believe that there is sufficient evidence, adduced by the Isle of Wight and my hon. Friend, of the need for some form of legislation. I am absolutely at one with the Government in that it should not be promoted in a private Measure—by a county council of the reputation of the Isle of Wight. This House ought not to be considering this type of legislation.

The Government have a responsibility to recognise the difficulties and to deal with them by public legislation rather than running away from the issue. What divides my hon. Friends and myself are not great issues of freedom of assembly but what is desirable in terms of the control of these assemblies. Some of my hon. Friends, because they recognise that there are difficulties, are prepared to swallow this sort of objectionable legislation. I say that they are wrong, and should be joining me in saying to the Government tonight that it is the Government's responsibility to deal with such things.

Photo of Mr Mark Woodnutt Mr Mark Woodnutt , Isle of Wight

I agree with the hon. Gentleman that there is a need for public legislation. I have been saying so for the past two years. I think we shall get it. However, if Erith and Crayford were in the same position as the Isle of Wight, expecting 200,000 people and with no method of establishing whether there were sufficient lavatories, what would the hon. Member do? Would he advise his local authority to go forward and obtain legislation?

Photo of Mr James Wellbeloved Mr James Wellbeloved , Erith and Crayford

Prior to 13th May, I would have been in some difficulty because I had a pretty incompetent local authority in the London Borough of Bexley. I can now answer the hon. Gentleman's point with absolute certainty. The present, newly-elected Council of the London Borough of Bexley—which encompasses both my constituency and that of the Prime Minister—would, I am certain, by dint of application and persuasion come to an understanding with any promoter who wished to hold such a festival in its area. Hon. Gentlemen opposite are always telling us that we should do these things not by legislation but by voluntary agreement. I agree in this case. I believe that my Council could reach an agreement with the promoter. I am not put off by that red herring.

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

Would my hon. Friend deal with the question of whether in practice there is a need even for Government legislation to control law and order at pop festivals? Will he tell me the instances in which pop festivals have contravened law and order regulations?

Photo of Mr James Wellbeloved Mr James Wellbeloved , Erith and Crayford

I do not want to get into a detailed discussion about the festival to which the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight referred on Second Reading. One thing which is certain about that festival is that the chief constables who advised the Home Secretary took a completely different view from the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight. They must have looked at the evidence because, in their advice to the Secretary of State, they made it clear that they did not believe there was any likelihood of trouble arising. In the report of the Secretary of State for the Home Department which he made to the Committee it is said: The level of crime at such festivals is low. Chief constables, whom he"— that is, the Secretary of State— has consulted, are of the opinion that the criminal law as it stands is adequate to deal with the problems that arise and that further legislation is unnecessary. The House must choose between the advice tendered to the Secretary of State and the right hon. Gentleman's recommendation to the Committee and the panic cries—because that is what they are—of the Isle of Wight County Council.

Photo of Mr Stan Orme Mr Stan Orme , Salford West

What many of us find so objectionable about this private Bill is that it tries to treat the Isle of Wight as if it was separate from the United Kingdom. Does my hon. Friend agree that it is part of the United Kingdom and therefore should be treated in no better or worse way and that the legislation which exists is adequate to cover the issue?

Photo of Mr James Wellbeloved Mr James Wellbeloved , Erith and Crayford

I would go a long way with what my hon. Friend says. However, I depart from him to this extent. Large numbers of people—far in excess of the number which the promoters would wish to come together at this type of assembly—can be drawn in because of the enthusiasm which young people have developed for this type of music.

Photo of Mr James Wellbeloved Mr James Wellbeloved , Erith and Crayford

I agree with my hon. Friend. These people should be able to have an assembly in the open provided that adequate sanitary facilities are provided.

There is legislation on the Statute Book dealing with these matters. If there were doubt about that, I am sure that the Secretary of State for the Environment and his Department, when they made their report to the Committee, would have said, "We welcome the Isle of Wight's Private Bill because the present law is not sufficient". They did not do that. There may be a need for public legislation in respect of very large gatherings. But, unfortunately, we have not had the opportunity of hearing tonight from either the Government or the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight. Neither of them was prepared to do the House the courtesy of deploying their arguments in support of the Bill. If they had done so, we might not have needed to deal with the matter in such detail as appears necessary in order to show the House and those of my hon. Friends who have expressed doubts about the case why it is necessary to oppose this piece of panic legislation.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. Richard Sharpies):

On a point of order. May I have your guidance, Mr. Deputy Speaker? I am not clear about how wide the debate can go. My understanding was that on the Report stage of a Private Bill it was possible only to discuss the Amendments which had been made in Committee. I should like to have your guidance, Mr. Deputy Speaker, because it could affect the course of the debate.

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Barking

Further to that point of order. Would it not be easier to discuss only the Amendments which have been made if the hon. Member in charge of the Bill, the hon. Member for Isle of Wight (Mr. Wood- nutt), had opened the debate by indicating what they were?

Photo of Wing Commander Sir Robert Grant-Ferris Wing Commander Sir Robert Grant-Ferris , Nantwich

It so happens that, in this consideration of the Bill, there are not any Amendments. But Erskine May is clear about how the debate should proceed. Let me read what is said in the new edition: Debate on the question for consideration of a private bill, as reported from a committee, or for its third reading, has been confined by rulings from the chair within narrower limits than the debate on second reading. Not only have attempts to raise questions of general policy been ruled out of order, but debate on the later stages has been restricted to the matters contained in the Bill".

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

Further to the point of order. Would you help me, Mr. Deputy Speaker? I appreciate that I am not as bright as some hon. Members. Provided we relate our remarks to a particular Clause and its implications, I take it that we are perfectly in order.

Photo of Wing Commander Sir Robert Grant-Ferris Wing Commander Sir Robert Grant-Ferris , Nantwich

Yes. The hon. Gentleman has stated the matter as well as Erskine May.

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Barking

Did I hear you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, say that the Bill has not been amended or that there are not any Amendments—because the Bill says, "As amended in Committee"?

Photo of Wing Commander Sir Robert Grant-Ferris Wing Commander Sir Robert Grant-Ferris , Nantwich

I am sorry if what I said was not clear. What I meant was that there were no Amendments down on Report. The Bill has been amended in Committee, and it is the Bill as amended in Committee which we are discussing.

Photo of Mr James Wellbeloved Mr James Wellbeloved , Erith and Crayford

Fortunately, like you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I acquired a copy of the new edition of Erskine May and I took the precaution of looking up the matter. I am delighted that your Ruling confirms my interpretation of Erskine May—that we are in order providing we talk about matters contained in the Bill. May I say, for the benefit of the Minister of State, that we stray out of order if we try to introduce matters not referred to in the Bill.

Subsection (2) of Clause 5, which deals with public order and public safety, provides that the Isle of Wight County Council may: serve a counter-notice on the person giving such notice, requiring him to comply with such reasonable terms or conditions as they think fit with respect to water supply and securing sanitary conditions, public order and public safety and for the prevention of nuisance". I wish to pray in aid in support of my argument the report of the Secretary of State to the Committee. It says: The Secretary of State recommends that the words 'public order' —those are the words in subsection (2)— should be deleted. He considers that the term 'nuisance' should be defined as a statutory nuisance within the meaning of the Public Health Acts". The Secretary of State, with all the advice available to him, has made a clear recommendation that the words "public order" should be removed from the Bill, and yet hon. Members opposite, I assume with the aid of the Whip which the hon. Member for Isle of Wight and others have sent out, are prepared to steamroller the Bill through as if it were an essential piece of legislation. It flies in the face of all reasonable men who believe in the right of free assembly subject to reasonable laws. It flies in the face of the recommendation which the Secretary of State made to the Committee. I hope that, bearing in mind Clause 5(2), the House will think very carefully before it allows the Bill to proceed further.

Subsection (3) of Clause 5 refers to the necessity for an occupier as well as the promoter to be liable in law for the failure of the organisers in respect of any of the provisions of the Clause. I have entered into a dispute with my hon. Friend the Member for Westhoughton (Mr. J. T. Price) about this point in the Bill. Therefore, I shall not go over those arguments in great detail, but only say again that it would be a wrong step for this House to agree to this private Member's Bill, to a departure from the general principles of law so that the responsibilities at law of a person who hires a piece of property fall upon the owner of that site or piece of machinery.

By subsection (4) the Clause goes on to lay down: If the Council have reason to believe that any assembly to be held in the county will he an assembly to which this section applies but no notice has been given to them thereof under subsection (1) of this section, by the person intending to hold the same or by the occupier…they may as soon as reasonably practicable after the intention to hold the same has come to their knowledge serve"— notice to supply information and money required.

As drafted, that subsection is so wide that, in my judgment, it is conferring upon the County Council of the Isle of Wight a right to harass any organisation which wishes to hold an overnight assembly on the Isle of Wight, whether that organisation is the Boys' Brigade, or the Boy Scouts—whatever it may be. You name the organisation, Mr. Deputy Speaker, and that Clause would give the county council the right to say, irrespective of the numbers involved or the intentions of the promoters—

Photo of Mr Mark Woodnutt Mr Mark Woodnutt , Isle of Wight

Oh, no. This applies to assemblies of more than 5,000 people. It cannot apply to the Boy Scouts.

Photo of Mr James Wellbeloved Mr James Wellbeloved , Erith and Crayford

I read out the words of the subsection because they give the county council, if it has reason to believe that an assembly proposed to be held comes within the provisions of the Clause, the right to do certain things; the Clause does not lay down any restriction. The Clause does say not more than 5,000, but all the county council has to do is to say, "It is an assembly which we believe may exceed 5,000". Whether or not it is the intention of the promoters to have more than 5,000 is completely immaterial. Under this subsection the county council will have power to harass any bona fide organisation which wishes to hold an assembly on the Isle of Wight.

Quite frankly I would make it clear to the House that I do not trust the County Council of the Isle of Wight to exercise such a wide power. I would not trust the Government to exercise such wide powers in a matter of the basic British freedom—the right of assembly. This is what the county council wants to do: it wants to have the power to harass, to stop, what it, in its own judgment, may consider to be an undesirable gathering, and it wants to have the right to require deposits of money to be laid down if it believes—as it can, under the subsection, say that it believes—that the assembly may exceed 5,000. So I say again that the Boy Scouts could come along, a group of young people not connected with any recognised youth movement could come along, and then because they wear their hair very long or they have beards, somebody on the county council can say, "This is an assembly which may exceed 5,000, and therefore we require them to put down a deposit of x amount of money." This could be a harassment which could be used by the county council and it would destroy that fundamental freedom of the right of assembly, a right which we have treasured for so long.

Photo of Mr Thomas Price Mr Thomas Price , Westhoughton

I am fascinated by this argument about people who are promoting this sort of festival being required to put down an x amount of pounds for the privilege of doing so. My hon. Friend is surely aware that the people who promote these things commercially require the customers to put down x pounds for admission at the gate, and expect to make great profits out of the festival? What is the difference? It is no use quoting this libertarian argument to me. I have been here too long to listen to this sort of stuff without protest. These festivals are not necessarily cultural. They are purely commercial. Whether the people who come to them are young or old does not matter; they have to pay at the gate; and the promoters should provide a security for costs—because they can disappear to America once a festival is over.

Photo of Mr James Wellbeloved Mr James Wellbeloved , Erith and Crayford

I have already conceded my acceptance of some need of public legislation to deal with abuses, and my hon. Friend really should not try to—I will not use the word "twist", for that would be unfair to him—misinterpret my argument as he has done. Of course commercial organisations selling tickets in advance may require the participants, the consumers, to put down a deposit, a payment in anticipation, but I beg my hon. Friend to recognise that Clause 5(4) does not deal only with public festivals but would give to the County Council of the Isle of Wight means by which it could harass any organisation or any group of young people who might wish to have an overnight gathering, whether a two-day camp, or whatever it might be, on the Isle of Wight. Subsection (4) is so widely drawn.

The Clause lays down that the promoters of an assembly coming within the terms of the Bill will be required to put down as a deposit such sums as the county council determine to be reasonable in respect of the extra expenses incurred by "any authority". Subsection (13) says: In this section 'authority' means the Council, a local authority, the police authority, the river and water authority, or any other body discharging functions in the county in pursuance of statutory powers. So a deposit is required to be put down by a promoter, whether he be an incompetent promoter of a festival which will take in people in excess of the numbers which are reasonable, or a competent promoter of a reasonable assembly. He is required to put down as a deposit a sum to cover the expenses of all those authorities, including the police authority.

What did the Secretary of State say in his report to the Committee? He took exception to this broad principle. He sought in his recommendations to leave out the "police authority" from that definition. I completely agree with that view which he took on the advice given to him. He took as an illustration a football match. If a police constable is invited to a site where a football match is to be played, the promoters have to pay for that police constable's services. Quite right and proper. If a police constable is invited to a large assembly on the Isle of Wight, it is quite right and proper that the promoters of the assembly should pay for the police constable's services.

By saying "any expense incurred by the police authority" the council is going further. The council is interested not in control but in completely stopping the right of free assembly. A policeman outside a football ground who is controlling the crowd and doing the normal duty of a police officer is paid for by the community as a whole. The Isle of Wight County Council is departing from this general principle and saying that the cost of policemen, whatever function they may be performing, shall be paid for by the promoters if the function is remotely connected with the pop festival. So a principle will be applied to the Isle of Wight which is not accepted by the Secretary of State for the Home Department as applying to the rest of the United Kingdom.

When hon. Gentlemen opposite next attend the Conservative Party conference there are likely to be many citizens demonstrating outside the Conference Hall in indignation at the things that this miserable Government have inflicted upon the nation. I will not develop this theme because I have noticed hon. Gentlemen looking at you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, for protection against the charge that I am making.

Photo of Mr Mark Woodnutt Mr Mark Woodnutt , Isle of Wight

I am not taking any notice of the last bit of nonsense, but will the hon. Gentleman read to the House the Clause which says that the Isle of Wight County Council will be able to charge the whole of the cost of the police?

Photo of Mr James Wellbeloved Mr James Wellbeloved , Erith and Crayford

Clause 5(7) reads: A person giving notice under subsection (1) of this section or information under subsection (4) thereof shall deposit with the Council by way of security the amount required by the Council under subsection (3) of this section and shall also give to the Council a bond of reasonable amount with a sufficient surety to be approved by the Council for the payment of the amount which the person giving the notice or information may be liable to pay to the Council in accordance with the provisions of subsection (6) of this section. The hon. Gentleman will see that, taking subsections (7), (3), (6), and (13) together, this hears out precisely what the Secretary of State for the Home Department said in relation to the Bill when it was before the Committee.

As there is some confusion in the hon. Gentleman's mind, I will quote what the Secretary of State for the Home Department said: The Secretary of State considers that the efficacy of voluntary arrangements should be more fully tested and he takes the view meanwhile that those provisions of subsection (2) relating to public order and the prevention of nuisance (other than statutory nuisance) are open to objection. The costs of policing a festival site are high, but if police were required to perform crowd-control duties on the site itself, the organisers would normally be required to meet the cost in accordance with the usual arrangements for policing private property. In general, however, it is accepted that, while the organisers of events (such as football matches) that attract large crowds pay for the police employed inside the grounds the police are responsible for policing public places outside. The Secretary of State sees no reason to distinguish in that respect between "pop" festivals and other large assemblies, as would appear to be intended, by the inclusion of the words 'police authority' in subsection (13). In conclusion, this Clause, which deals with public order on the Isle of Wight in respect of pop festivals, is an unjustifiable and unwarrantable incursion into the freedom of the people. The Secretary of State for the Home Department concurred generally with that judgment in his recommendations to the Committee. The Isle of Wight County Council would do much better to direct its attention to other matters of public interest in the area rather than attempt by this Bill to ensure that the County Council of the Isle of Wight shall have the power to stop any festival or gathering which it considers undesirable. This is an affront to our democratic principles, and I hope the House will reject it.

8.6 p.m.

Mr. Harold Gorden:

I do not intend to enter into argument about the Bill in any detail, or to take issue with the hon. Member for Erith and Crayford (Mr. Wellbeloved) on the merits of the individual Clauses. I am no more qualified than he is to reject the findings of the four hon. Members who adjudicated in Committee on the terms of the Bill. They did this at the request of the House of Commons and have rendered good service to the House.

The hon. Member for Erith and Crayford said that this was not a suitable Bill to bring before the House and that it should be brought by the Government and not by the Isle of Wight. The answer is that the House has given a Second Reading to a Bill which has been brought, quite properly, by the Isle of Wight County Council. It is common practice for local authorities to bring Bills before the House. It is not for the hon. Gentleman to say that it is not a proper Bill to be brought before the House when this question was properly and fully settled on Second Reading.

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Barking

I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman was present on Second Reading, but if he was not he will have read the debate in HANSARD. He will know that several hon. Members on both sides of the House—not only opponents of the Bill—said that this matter should be dealt with in a public Bill. The Minister who replied suggested vaguely that the Government would consider whether there should be a public Bill. We shall possibly hear more about this tonight from the Minister. This was felt very strongly by hon. Members who were not opposed in principle to the Bill.

Photo of Mr Harold Gurden Mr Harold Gurden , Birmingham, Selly Oak

I am saying that this matter has been settled by a Division in this House on Second Reading. Therefore, the matter is no longer at issue. In fact, it probably is not right to bring up the matter tonight.

The hon. Gentleman also mentioned, probably by accident, that this was a Private Member's Bill. It was said that my hon. Friend and a spokesman for the Government were expected to get up first to speak and accusations were made about that matter. That has nothing at all to do with it. This is not a Government Bill, it is not my hon. Friend's Bill, nor is it my Bill. It is a Bill brought by the Isle of Wight. It is beyond me why the hon. Gentleman should make such accusations.

Photo of Mr James Wellbeloved Mr James Wellbeloved , Erith and Crayford

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman does not wish to misconstrue what I have said. It is normal that when a Private Bill is promoted by a private organisation, whether by a county council or some other body, and is before the House, an hon. Member is in charge of the Bill here. The hon. Member for the Isle of Wight (Mr. Woodnutt) was in charge of the Bill on Second Reading. He has shown a great interest in the Bill and has received considerable publicity in his own area for his skill in conducting the Measure through the House. I should have thought that, as a matter of courtesy, he would have presented it again today.

Photo of Mr Harold Gurden Mr Harold Gurden , Birmingham, Selly Oak

That is absolutely wrong. My hon. Friend has no responsibility of that kind at all. The hon. Gentleman should know that. The Bill came before the House for Second Reading and was then sent to a Committee. It is not for any hon. Member here to take responsibility for the Bill when it comes back from Committee.

The House gave the Bill a Second Reading—it could have rejected it, but did not do so—and requested four of our colleagues, two from each side of the House, to consider fully every aspect of the Bill and to listen to all the evidence. The Committee apparently took all the evidence into account and its members alone are the only people qualified to know whether the Bill was properly dealt with.

Photo of Mr Harold Gurden Mr Harold Gurden , Birmingham, Selly Oak

Yes, because they heard the whole of the evidence.

Photo of Mr James Wellbeloved Mr James Wellbeloved , Erith and Crayford

And it has all been published.

Photo of Mr Harold Gurden Mr Harold Gurden , Birmingham, Selly Oak

They alone know the full facts and they adjudicated upon the matter. Those four hon. Members did a service, not to the Government or to the Opposition or to any individuals, but a service to the House. They faithfully and properly carried out that service for the House as a whole. They had no interest whatever in the promoters of the Bill or its opponents. They declared that they had no personal interest in the Bill. I suggest that before we oppose this Bill, or any other Private Bill, we should have regard to the service which those hon. Members did for the House.

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Although it is permissible to make a point en passant, it is surely hardly appropriate to continue a point to the extent that the hon. Member is doing.

Photo of Wing Commander Sir Robert Grant-Ferris Wing Commander Sir Robert Grant-Ferris , Nantwich

The hon. Member is not out of order at this stage. I will keep a particular eye upon him.

Photo of Mr Harold Gurden Mr Harold Gurden , Birmingham, Selly Oak

I am about to conclude what I have to say. My experience of private Bills is that the Members who serve on such Committees carry out their work extremely well. They must be in attendance at the Committee for the whole of its sittings, they have to study the whole of the evidence and must come to a decision in an unbiased fashion. Therefore, before the House seeks to reject or criticise the Bill, hon. Members should be mindful of the comments I have made.

8.15 p.m.

Photo of Mr Thomas Price Mr Thomas Price , Westhoughton

There are rare occasions in this House when we are in a position to discuss an important Measure on non-party lines, and this is one of them. This is an occasion on which the House is asked to endorse action already taken by a group of its Members who have considered the earlier stages of the Bill.

I must protest as mildly as I can that anybody on my side of the House seeks to suggest that because this is a county council Bill promoted by the Isle of Wight the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight (Mr. Woodnutt) in some subtle or mysterious way intervened during the Committee stage. That would be quite wrong. In fact, it displays a deplorable ignorance of Private Bill procedure in this House. One of the first disqualifications of any hon. Member for taking part in the judicial functions of a Private Bill Committee is that he has any remote personal vested interest in the subject matter of the Bill. My hon. Friend the Member for Erith and Crayford (Mr. Wellbeloved) made use in his speech of the term "Private Member's Bill", obviously wishing to convey to the House that the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight had in some way promoted this Bill, which is quite untrue. The hon. Gentleman was not allowed to function on the Bill in its judicial stages because he was disqualified by the rules of procedure in the House from so doing.

Photo of Mr James Wellbeloved Mr James Wellbeloved , Erith and Crayford

If I used the term "Private Member's Bill" it was obviously a slip of the tongue. I do not recall using that particular term. It is a Private Bill promoted by a county council to which the hon. Member on Second Reading, in the broad terms as defined in Erskine May, was the Member in charge of the Bill.

Photo of Mr Mark Woodnutt Mr Mark Woodnutt , Isle of Wight

The hon. Member for Erith and Crayford has referred to me as the Member in charge of the Bill all the way through his remarks. I am not the Member in charge. I spoke upon and introduced the Bill on Second Reading but I am not the Member in charge.

Photo of Mr Thomas Price Mr Thomas Price , Westhoughton

I do not think we need pursue that will-o'-the-wisp very far. The Bill during its important Committee stage in this House was considered by two Conservative and two Labour Members. Those hon. Members carried out their onerous duties without payment or reward, and unless there was something fundamentally wrong with the judicial procedure—

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Barking

I hope that my hon. Friend is not going quite as far as the hon. Member for Birmingham, Selly Oak (Mr. Gurden), who seems to be suggesting that, therefore, we in this House tonight have no right to utter a word or comment upon the findings of the Committee. Sometimes the House rejects the recommendations of a Select Committee.

Photo of Mr Thomas Price Mr Thomas Price , Westhoughton

I accept that fully. This is a matter for the House. If I conveyed any impression that no one had the right to make objection or criticism, I must have been using language more loosely than I do on other occasions. I do not want anyone to think that I have become so depraved as to deny the right of hon. Members of this House to criticise. However, that right is not always exercised as critically and sceptically as it should be.

The opponents of the Bill say that they agree that there are circumstances, of which this may be one, in which a public nuisance or a threat to public order may arise where the Government of the day have a responsibility, and that it should not rest with local authorities like the Isle of Wight County Council to take it upon themselves to promote private legislation to protect the interests of their ratepayers and local populations. I do not want to bowdlerise or misrepresent the argument. They say that they do not disagree in principle that something needs to be done to control vast, disorderly assemblies of large numbers of people—in one case, up to ¼ million people—but that this is such a big task that the Government should take responsibility.

If someone in the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Erith and Crayford gave three months' notice of his intention to bring in¼million people and dump them in a local public park for a musical, sporting or other cultural activity, I am sure that my hon. Friend would be equally vigorous and eloquent in his protest that bloody murder was being done in his constituency.

The argument that until we have universal application of something desirable, no pioneer would do anything is completely bogus, even from a Socialist point of view. If Manchester Corporation had not taken powers in this House many years ago to enable it to build up Manchester Airport, the second most important in England, long before the British Airports Authority, it would not have existed today. If Margaret McMillan had not started the first nursery school in Deptford and laid down the foundations of the nursery school system long before the legislators took charge of it, it is probable that we should still have been awaiting that development. So many of our great developments started in this way. If the Rochdale pioneers and Robert Owen, whose bicentenary has been celebrated this week, had not started the Rochdale Pioneers Co-operative Society, our great co-operative movement might not have been born and would not have developed in the way that we have seen. It is quite bogus to say that, however desirable a thing is, private initiative should not be taken in a pioneering spirit to create it.

Photo of Mr Kenneth Lewis Mr Kenneth Lewis , Rutland and Stamford

Perhaps I might add a more recent example to those that the hon. Gentleman has provided of ways in which a Government can be influenced. In the last Parliament, when the hon. Gentleman's party was in office, there was a Bill to lay down a reservoir in Rutland. It was a Private Bill. It was fought very hard on the Floor of the House by the hon. Member for Rutland and Stamford, with the support of a number of his hon. Friends. We nearly won the day, but not quite. However, we made such an impact on the Government that they had to proceed in a way which has taken reservoirs out of the realm of the Private Bill procedure. In the same way, my hon. Friend the Member for Isle of Wight (Mr. Woodnutt) may be a pioneer if he forces the Government to take action on the matters dealt with in this Bill.

Photo of Mr Thomas Price Mr Thomas Price , Westhoughton

The hon. Member for Rutland and Stamford (Mr. Kenneth Lewis) has succeeded in getting those facts on record. I have no doubt that that will please the people of Rutland.

This is a serious matter. It deals with a source of growing public concern, the assembly of large numbers of people without proper control. Quite apart from the merits of the Bill, which have been dissected by its critics, so long as we have a procedure under which Private Bills can be promoted and financed without cost to this House and so long as this House understands that that procedure, archaic though it may be, is an integral part of our parliamentary system, we should honour it and support those hon. Members, whoever they may be, who recommend that a certain measure is desirable in the public interest or in the interests of those who promote it.

8.26 p.m.

Photo of Mr Albert Cooper Mr Albert Cooper , Ilford South

Listening to the debate, I have been prompted to ask what are the motives behind the opposition to the Bill from the outset by the hon. Member for Erith and Crayford (Mr. Wellbeloved) and the hon. Member for Barking (Mr. Driberg). Is it that, by permitting these people to go to the Isle of Wight, they wish to protect themselves ultimately from influxes at Erith and Crayford or Barking Creek? I cannot imagine anyone wanting to go to either place.

Both hon. Members represent constituencies which are members of the Greater London Council. I challenge them both to say whether they have any idea of the powers of the Greater London Council in these matters. I assure them that the Isle of Wight is not asking for any greater powers than the Greater London Council has at the moment, without protest from either hon. Gentleman.

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Barking

Since the hon. Gentleman challenges us, may I point out that there is a slight difference between a crowded urban area and a rural area.

Photo of Mr Albert Cooper Mr Albert Cooper , Ilford South

I suggest that when we are talking about a quarter of a million or up to half a million people, it does not matter whether it is an urban or a rural area; it is a very serious problem. When we put a quarter of a million or more people on to farms where there is no proper sewage or other services for them, I suggest that the residents of the Isle of Wight are entitled to come to this House and ask for protection.

Photo of Mr Albert Cooper Mr Albert Cooper , Ilford South

I ask the hon. Member for Erith and Crayford not to interrupt me at the moment. He is a rare disciple of the right hon. Member for Huyton (Mr. Harold Wilson). He never uses one word where two will do. This evening the hon. Gentleman spoke for three quarters of an hour and told us nothing.

Photo of Mr James Wellbeloved Mr James Wellbeloved , Erith and Crayford

The hon. Gentleman put out a challenge concerning the powers held by the Greater London Council. I should be delighted to hear from him the Act, and the year, which gives the G.L.C. powers similar to those contained in Clause 5. If the hon. Gentleman will give me the details, I shall leave the Chamber and get the Act. If he is correct, my case falls. I ask him to give me, chapter and verse, the powers which he alleges the G.L.C. has.

Photo of Mr Albert Cooper Mr Albert Cooper , Ilford South

I invite the hon. Gentleman to think of what happens practically every week in this country where large numbers of people assemble. The G.L.C. has powers, which it takes, to prevent people assembling in all kinds of places. It has power to call in the police to prevent certain incidents happening. The hon. Gentleman cannot deny things of this kind. Every Sunday we have to put up with demonstrations and protests within this great city which the Greater London Council, together with the Commissioner of Police, has to try to contain.

I submit that my hon. Friend the Member for the Isle of Wight (Mr. Woodnutt), who represents his constituents in a most able manner, is entitled to ask this House that his constituency be protected from further incursions. I am sure that if this kind of thing happened in either Barking or Erith and Crayford, hon. Gentlemen representing those constituencies would be the first to protest and come to this House asking for powers to protect their constituencies. Frankly, I should be astonished and dismayed if they did not.

We are entitled to live in an orderly way in which, shall we say, convention has a place, so that people can live as undisturbed a life as possible. I remind the hon. Member for Erith and Crayford that this Bill, which he is now opposing, received its Second Reading, despite the vehement arguments and opposition of himself and his hon. Friend the Member for Barking, by a majority of 62 to 2. That is all that the opposition could muster against the Bill. Tonight, I charge them with wasting the time of this House on a Bill which they know the residents of the Isle of Wight need and have a right to demand from this House.

I have been a Member of this House for about 18 years. In that time there has always been a tradition that when a Private Bill is promoted by a local authority it generally has the acceptance of the House because the House accepts that the local authority needs those powers. The argument is heard upstairs, usually by a Committee of two or three hon. Members from either side.

I remind the hon. Member for Erith and Crayford that on Second Reading I had to give him a little lesson on Private Bill procedure, which he obviously knew nothing about. This procedure has been operated on this occasion, and it is the right procedure. A Select Committee of the House, comprising two Members of the Labour Party and two Members of the Conservative Party, has dissected the Bill, examined it, approved it, amended it where necessary, and sent it back to this Chamber for approval. I submit that in accordance with our best traditions we should accept the Select Committee's Report and give the Bill a Third Reading.

8.34 p.m.

Photo of Mr John Golding Mr John Golding , Newcastle-under-Lyme

I came to the House tonight as a supporter of the Bill, because I have experience as the Member of Parliament for a constituency which has been hit hard by a pop festival.

I was very much persuaded by the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Erith and Crayford (Mr. Wellbeloved). He did not overstate his case. He accepted, as I do, the need for public legislation to deal with the problem. The danger of passing this legislation is that it will lead to a succession of Private Bills from counties hit one way or another—

Photo of Mr Harold Gurden Mr Harold Gurden , Birmingham, Selly Oak

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I can overhear some criticism of you in the Chair. I am not sure, but I believe that it is about the selection that you have made of hon. Members to speak.

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

On a point of order. If an hon. Member makes the kind of allegation made by the hon. Member for Birmingham, Selly Oak (Mr. Gurden), surely it is incumbent upon him to charge the hon. Member concerned to repeat his statement? If the hon. Member who raises the point of order does not take that action, he ought to withdraw his remarks.

Photo of Miss Betty Harvie Anderson Miss Betty Harvie Anderson , Renfrewshire East

Order. That is not a matter for me.

Photo of Mr John Golding Mr John Golding , Newcastle-under-Lyme

You will realise, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that it is an occupational hazard I face, that of being interrupted. I hope that hon. Members will listen to the arguments, rather than bicker across the Floor of the House.

I wonder whether, by the Bill, the Isle of Wight County Council is making the situation worse for constituencies such as mine. Because of the restrictions which the promoters of the Bill are seeking to impose, pop promoters may prefer to take concerts to Keele rather than face the rigours of the administrative rules that will operate in the Isle of Wight.

I believe that there is no need for legislation of this kind for the purpose of bringing about a greater degree of public order. The pop festival that I saw did not present any problems of public order. Before the festival was held I expressed grave doubts about what might happen, but the local police assured me that they were able to control the situation. I was in fact taken around the festival by the chief superintendent, and I realised that my fears were groundless.

It is not necessary to have legislation of this kind to deal with the public order aspects of the holding of pop festivals, but there is a need to clarify the powers of local authorities. My local authority, Newcastle Rural District Council, found it very difficult to discover precisely what powers it had, and it appears that the administrative procedures are not very well defined. One argument for having four months' notice of a festival is that it gives local authorities the chance to come to grips with the problems which the holding of the festival creates. There is a case for legislation to tackle the administrative problems facing local authorities. I think, too, that there is a strong case for the inclusion of a deposit requirement.

The problem of pop festivals does not arise from the young people who attend them; in my experience they are well behaved. They are entitled to attend pop concerts, and to enjoy them in their own way. I emphasise the fact that the young people who came to Newcastle-under-Lyme were well behaved. The problem is to know how to control the promoters. I hope that my hon. Friends do not assume that talking in terms of the control of pop concerts one is automatically attacking the youngsters who attend them. On the contrary, I am attacking the promoters, because they are often people who have come together for a quick financial killing out of the youngsters.

During the pop festival that took place in my constituency, my biggest complaint arose from the exploitation of the youngsters who attended by the people who ran the refreshment bars, and so on. A deposit should be required, because promoters can be fly-by-nights. After the concert is held they can easily arrange their financial affairs so that they can liquidate their company, which may owe money to the police, local landowners, and other local people. We require legislation to control the activities of such promoters.

I oppose the Bill not because I do not believe that legislation is required but because I have been persuaded by my hon. Friend the Member for Erith and Crayford that it is probably wrong to tackle the problem by way of a Private Bill. I am also worried because the Bill does not go to the heart of the problem, namely, the control of the promoters.

8.42 p.m.

Photo of Mr Richard Sharples Mr Richard Sharples , Sutton and Cheam

It may be convenient if I intervene briefly now in order to indicate the Government's view of the Bill. This is a Private Bill, which received a Second Reading in the House. It consists of 58 Clauses and two Schedules, and deals with many different points, including such matters as power to borrow and power to make payments of superannuation.

I was the Government spokesman in the Second Reading debate, and I expressed reservations about Clauses 5, 8 and 26. After a Bill has received a Second Reading, negotiations normally take place between the promoters of the Bill—the Isle of Wight County Council in this case—and those people who may feel that the Bill needs amending in some way—Government Departments or petitioners against the Bill.

The suggestions made by the Government in respect of Clauses 8 and 26 were accepted in full by the promoters. In view of the debate which has taken place it is worth reminding the House that Clause 5 is only one of the Clauses in a Bill that involved the ratepayers of the island in considerable expenditure. The promoters have accepted the larger part of the recommendations put forward in the report on behalf of my right hon. Friend, relating to Clause 5.

The only major point outstanding is the question of the definition of "public order". The most important point accepted by the promoters related to the question of appeals. The Bill now includes a provision for appeal to the courts by a person aggrieved by any action of the county council in refusing an application, or attaching onerous conditions. This is a most important point. If the Bill is allowed to proceed further, there will be proceedings in another place, where points of detail can be discussed.

Photo of Mr Harold Gurden Mr Harold Gurden , Birmingham, Selly Oak

Does not my right hon. Friend agree with me that this is not a Government matter but a House of Commons matter and that, whatever the Government's feelings are, or could have been, this is a matter purely for the House to settle?

Photo of Mr Richard Sharples Mr Richard Sharples , Sutton and Cheam

I would entirely agree, and it is not normal for a Minister to intervene on a Private Bill, but I thought that, for the convenience of the House, it would be courteous. There is, of course, no Government responsibility for the Bill.

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Barking

The hon. Gentleman said that the report from the Home Office dealt with three Clauses about which the Government were worried and that two of the recommendations on Clauses 8 and 26, had been accepted. But Clause 5 is a very long Clause, so he may not be right to say that the greater part has been accepted.

Photo of Mr Richard Sharples Mr Richard Sharples , Sutton and Cheam

The greater part has been accepted. The report dealt, of course, with a large number of details like penalties and to a great extent those have been accepted. The point to which we attached the greatest importance was the question of appeals, which was a question of principle for the Home Office.

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

Clause 26 does not relate to public order or assembly but to the council's power to borrow money. I want to get clear what the promoters have actually agreed to.

Photo of Mr Richard Sharples Mr Richard Sharples , Sutton and Cheam

These were detailed points put forward on behalf of the Secretary of State for the Environment, and they were discussed in the normal way before the Committee. We feel that the Bill should be allowed to proceed.

8.48 p.m.

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

Hon. Members opposite have made accusations about the motives of those who oppose the Bill. It has been said that one of the reasons why my hon. Friends the Members for Barking (Mr. Driberg) and Erith and Crayford (Mr. Wellbeloved) are opposing the Bill is that their constituencies are urban and the Isle of Wight is rural, and so they need not bother about Bills of this kind. Perhaps, subconsciously at least, this is their motivation—

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

I would not like to argue that. I will be generous enough, as one who represents a rural constituency, to concede that their motivation is an abhorrence of Clause 5, which seeks to do nothing other than stop youngsters indulging in festivals of this kind.

In my constituency there is the Forest of Dean. It is a national park. Every week of the tourist season we have an enormous influx of people who want to enjoy the countryside. It is true that we have not had any pop festivals so far, but every week, starting from immediately after Easter and going on until late in the year, somewhere around September, we have an influx of visitors into the Forest of Dean and we make provision for them.

The Forest is administered by the Forestry Commission, and in all the areas of the forest there are picnic sites, camping and caravan sites and all the amenities that are required to provide for the enjoyment of the environment by all sorts of people. At least in one respect therefore, no one on the Government benches can claim that I am motivated by my urban constituency.

There has been a lot of discussion. My hon. Friend the Member for Westhoughton (Mr. J. T. Price)—I do not know whether it is "Westhowton" or "Westhorton"; it depends which side of the line across the Midlands one is. It is "horton" at the top and "howton" at the bottom.

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

Hon. Members opposite have complained about the impudence almost of hon. Members who have opposed the decision of a Committee which has considered a Bill of this kind. I have known the hon. Member for Birmingham, Selly Oak (Mr. Gurden) a long time. I understand that he was associated with Wathes, Codtell and Gurden, one of the leading milk firms in Birmingham. From my experience of the hon. Member in the discussions we have had and the type of interventions he has made, it must have been goats' milk because his contributions in the House are so trivial and so out of accord with the type of people he represents that he ought not to be here.

When the hon. Member tries to lecture me on the procedures of the House, when, in his mealy-mouthed fashion, he says, "Well, Mr. Speaker, four Members of the House have discussed this matter and we ought to concede them the right to do so", he is the last person who will lecture the House, or this side of it, and get away with it. We as a House have a perfect right to discuss—

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

I will give away presently. The hon. Member will catch it if he tries to be clever.

We have a right to discuss any Bill that has gone into Committee, and we have a right at any time to overturn the decision of the Committee. If we did not have that right, the Bill would not be before us tonight. Indeed, the procedures of the House, which allow the Bill to come back to us from the Committee, underline the inherent right of the House to reject or accept a decision of a Committee.

Photo of Mr Harold Gurden Mr Harold Gurden , Birmingham, Selly Oak

Nothing has been said tonight to deny hon. Members the right to oppose the Bill. I said that we should have regard for what four hon. Members did in Committee. They were better qualified, having listened to all the evidence, to judge the Bill.

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

When in tomorrow's OFFICIAL REPORT we read the whole tenor of the hon. Gentleman's comments, we will see that he suggested that it would be improper for the House to reject the recommendations of a Committee composed of two hon. Members from each side. If that was not the hon. Gentleman's intention—and I gather from some faintly murmured remarks from my hon. Friends that they, too, had my impression—then I can only say that I must be dimmer than I thought I was. I do not see anything wrong in our rejecting the recommendations of any selected number of hon. Members who get together in a committee to consider Bills of this kind.

My hon. Friend the Member for Westhoughton took us on a tour. We went to see the Rochdale Pioneers and Margaret McMillan, ending up at the Rutland Reservoir.

Photo of Mr Thomas Price Mr Thomas Price , Westhoughton

My hon. Friend was obviously not listening to my remarks.

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

The hon. Member for Selly Oak argued that the Government had certain reservations on Second Reading about Clauses 5, 8 and 26. I would have thought that the Government's main reservations were about Clause 5, which is extremely comprehensive and deals with every aspect of the holding of the sort of assemblies with which we are concerned. This is really a question of whether or not we should allow such assemblies to take place. Clause 5 is designed not to regulate assemblies but to ensure that festivals of this kind do not take place on the Isle of Wight in future.

Photo of Mr Mark Woodnutt Mr Mark Woodnutt , Isle of Wight

The hon. Gentleman is quite wrong in that assumption. If he reads the Clause carefully he will see that it is designed to ensure some decent control over these large events in the open and not to ban them.

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

I would not like to be unfair to the hon. Gentleman. He knows that I have a good deal of affection for him. I am only sorry that I find myself on the opposite side tonight. I accept that he firmly believes that the intention is to restrict assemblies. I shall not read out all the subsections of the Clause or go into detail, but when one looks at them together one can only conclude that the Bill's primary intention is to ensure that no further festivals of this kind take place on the Isle of Wight.

I do not object to that. I do not object to the elected people of any area taking precautions against something with which they disagree. I do not disagree with that. What worries me is that if the Isle of Wight can promote such a Bill and, in so doing, ensure that there cannot be within its territory a festival of the kind that has taken place there in the past, it is equally proper for every area of the country to promote a similar type of Bill to prohibit such assemblies. On the first principle, one can only conclude that it is not right and proper that a particular section of the community should promote Bills of this kind because it is obviously a matter of national importance.

But if the Isle of Wight has a right to promote such a Bill, and if the House allows it to go through, we may have the following situation. Another area—say, Gloucestershire County Council, my own county council—may decide that if the Isle of Wight would not tolerate such assemblies because someone on the Island thought that they were assemblies which ought not to be tolerated, the Gloucestershire County Council should take the same view and promote a Bill which, no matter how disguised, is designed to prohibit festivals of this kind. One can see that very quickly, once this psychology had been built up, all the areas of the country which were likely to attract pop festivals would adopt precisely the same attitude lest they were the recipients of, say, 150,000 or more people.

Photo of Mr Mark Woodnutt Mr Mark Woodnutt , Isle of Wight

I apologise for interrupting the hon. Gentleman again, but does he not know that the County Councils Association, of which the Gloucestershire County Council is a member, supports the Bill and has requested the Government to pass legislation in similar terms to Clause 5, and that this also has the support of all the other local authority associations?

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

Yes, that is precisely what I am frightened about, because the Gloucestershire County Council and other county councils are not, by and large, red-hot seats of Socialism. I know my county council, and when I think in terms of county councillors, with the possible exception of the Forest of Dean, I think of lieutenant-colonels, the Lord Beaufort and one or two others. I know that they are not interested in pop festivals. The Gloucestershire County Council would oppose any Bill which sought to prohibit the horse trials at Badminton or horse trials of any kind.

Photo of Mr Raymond Mawby Mr Raymond Mawby , Totnes

Does the hon. Gentleman know of any of the examples he has given which take place between midnight and 6 a.m. for a period of three hours or more?

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

After the jumping has finished at a reasonably early hour at horse trials, what takes place then is a different kettle of fish and may well be illegal, but more recently we have been more liberal about morality.

I repeat that the question is to what extent the Bill constitutes a precedent which will enable other areas to introduce similar Bills designed for the same purpose prior to the Government's taking some action, if any. The Government are composed of people who spoke about action, not words, but about the only action for which this Government are noted has been Ministers making gaffes at week ends.

The hon. Member for Isle of Wight (Mr. Woodnutt) bothers me because he confirms my fears. He says that the Gloucestershire County Council and other county councils support the purposes of the Bill and believe that it is right that the Isle of Wight should be able to prohibit pop festivals on the island. The hon. Gentleman says that other county councils hope that the Government will take action to deal with the situation at a national level.

I am not against pop festivals. More nonsense is talked about young people and those who attend pop festivals than about any other subject.

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

My hon. Friend knows how much nonsense is spoken in politics. He is an expert.

We are trying to judge youngsters using our standards. I know that when a youngster puts on the television or radio he turns the volume high and it drives me barmy. They have different decible standards but that is the only thing on which we can fault them. There is less immorality. There may be some sexual immorality, but there is less in a pop festival—

Photo of Mr Mark Woodnutt Mr Mark Woodnutt , Isle of Wight

On a point of order. This is off the point of the Bill. The Bill does not deal with long hair, morality or anything of this nature. It is concerned with public health.

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

It may be that I am out of order. The alternative to listening to me as I am performing now is for me to relate every part of my argument to Clause 5. The hon. Gentleman is tempting me to talk out the Bill—

Photo of Miss Betty Harvie Anderson Miss Betty Harvie Anderson , Renfrewshire East

The hon. Gentleman knows that there are hon. Members who wish to speak and it is the usual courtesy of the House to provide that opportunity. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will return to the Bill.

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

I do not think that you have the right to instruct me—

Photo of Miss Betty Harvie Anderson Miss Betty Harvie Anderson , Renfrewshire East

Order. The Chair was not instructing the hon. Member, as the hon. Member knows, but merely drawing attention to the fact that there is a Bill under consideration.

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

As long as you are not instructing me, as long as you are drawing my attention to what might be the courtesies of the House, I am satisfied. It is not perhaps in accordance with the traditions of this House to interrupt an hon. Member—

Photo of Miss Betty Harvie Anderson Miss Betty Harvie Anderson , Renfrewshire East

Order. I hope the hon. Gentleman is not going to criticise the Chair.

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

I am not criticising the Chair. What I am saying is that the Chair does not have absolute rights in this House and if the Chair acts in an improper way I am entitled to draw the Chair's attention to it. As to the point of order raised by the hon. Member for Isle of Wight, all I can say is that I have not strayed out of order during the debate. Every remark which I have made—and intend to make—reflects the notes that I took on every speech in the debate. The hon. Member can see that it is no orderly note-taking; it is the sort of note-taking we do in this House. If I am out of order, then at least 50 per cent. of those who preceded me have been equally out of order.

Clause 5 appears to be designed in the main to stop pop festivals. It is so designed because it is subsequent to the holding of pop festivals in the Isle of Wight.

The intention of Clause 5 is to impose onerous terms on any organiser of assemblies in the county of—according to subsection (12)— more than 5.000 people in the open which continues for a period of three hours or more between midnight and 6 o'clock the following morning. What other assemblies are held in the open and continue for a period of three hours or more between midnight and 6 o'clock the following morning"? I would never charge the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight with sponsoring the Bill, because it is essentially a Private Bill, but he has a primary interest in it. [An HON. MEMBER: "He is piloting it."] I will not accept that the hon. Gentleman is piloting it. He has a primary interest, because he has a predominant constituency interest to ensure that the Bill is passed. I do not think I am being unfair to him.

If the hon. Gentleman has a primary interest in the Bill, it presupposes that he has gone into fairly full detail about the reasons for and purposes of the Bill. It presupposes that he has discussions with his county council and that in those discussions the county council has told him why the Bill is necessary. The county council will have accepted that, as the hon. Member for the constituency, he has a primary interest in the Bill and would need to be briefed to the fullest possible extent on it.

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Barking

The hon. Member for the Isle of Wight (Mr. Woodnutt) is an alderman of the county council, so naturally lie is for the Bill.

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

That merely reinforces what I have said. If the hon. Gentleman had not been directly associated with the county council I would still have expected the county council to brief him to the fullest extent. If he is also an alderman of the county council there is a far greater responsibility on the council officials to give him an absolute and complete briefing, because any defect in the briefing would reflect on the hon. Gentleman, not only as a Member of the House, but as a member of the council. It can therefore be reasonably assumed that the hon. Gentleman has been told what is in the county council's mind concerning the Clause. It is reasonable for us to assume that, when the discussions took place, the hon. Gentleman said, "What assemblies does this part of the Clause refer to? Does it refer to the Boy Scouts? Does it refer to day trippers? Or to whom does it refer?" I am perfectly willing to give way to the hon. Gentleman now if he will indicate his desire to explain to us to what assemblies, other than pop festivals, this Clause relates. I do not think he can, because it relates to pop festivals.

Clause 5 of the Bill challenges the right of assembly of a very large section of our younger community. Although this Bill, if it is consented to, will apply to the Isle of Wight and will restrict assembly in the Isle of Wight, it can be made a precedent, as I argued earlier, for other county councils and other authorities in this country, a precedent which they can follow, so that they can seek to take powers similar to those in this Bill. Indeed, on the basis of this Bill, after its passage, the Government could say, "We have a mandate from the House to make a provision of this kind applicable at the national level." For if the House passes this Bill applicable to the Isle of Wight what purpose is there in the House refusing to agree to a similar Bill at the national level?

Photo of Mr Thomas Price Mr Thomas Price , Westhoughton

I thank my hon. Friend for giving way. This may give him a chance to get his breath back. Let me put this to my hon. Friend, whose full deployment of his arguments we are all enjoying—although we have other business, too, tonight—that I recently, in the last few days, presided over a Committee on another Private Bill dealing with another important matter—antipollution. I must not discuss the merits of that Measure now. I know that. However, this argument was deployed most forcefully on behalf of the objectors to that Bill to give powers to London to arrest pollution in this city. They said that if we gave powers to this city others might want them, but this is not an argument worthy of my hon. Friend, for, whether the Bill will or will not create a precedent, we are dealing with the merits of the Bill under procedure which the House has created and accepted, the Private Bill procedure.

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

All I can say to my hon. Friend is that I dealt with his argument about the validity or otherwise of this House dealing with this Bill tonight when he, unfortunately, had to leave the Chamber for a time.

Photo of Mr Thomas Price Mr Thomas Price , Westhoughton

I have to leave it sometimes.

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

I am not complaining. I said my hon. Friend had to leave the Chamber for some time. As to his second argument over another Bill to which he referred, I am very reluctant to enter into an argument on that, because I do not know the full circumstances about which he talked.

What I was saying was that what we have to be concerned about are the implications of Clause 5 of this Bill. It is a dangerous precedent to set and a dangerous weapon to give to the Government. If the Bill goes through, the Government may decide that these powers can be given to other local authorities, and this would mean that no pop festivals could be held in the country.

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

The hon. Gentleman may say that it is nonsense, but I invite him to examine the arguments in the OFFICIAL REPORT tomorrow.

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

The hon. Gentleman has just walked into the Chamber—he has just come back from the bar no doubt. No argument has been advanced tonight by any hon. Member on the Government side to justify the abolition of pop festivals, as Clause 5 will do.

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

The hon. Gentleman can repeat in his parrot-like fashion the word "nonsense", but he has not yet sought to address the House on this Bill in which he has a primary interest. I am one of the later speakers in the debate, and the hon. Gentleman has not sought to intervene—

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

I have repeatedly challenged the hon. Member to tell us what is in the mind of the Isle of Wight County Council. A few minutes ago I dealt with subsection (12) and asked him to tell me what other assemblies are referred to in Clause 5(12).

Photo of Mr Mark Woodnutt Mr Mark Woodnutt , Isle of Wight

If the hon. Gentleman sits down in time I will deal with it.

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

The hon. Gentleman should know that I will sit down in my own time. He has intervened time and time again, as will be seen in HANSARD tomorrow. I am concerned about the principle enshrined in Clause 5. If the hon. Gentleman can convince me that the Bill is not designed to deal with the pop festival, I shall quite likely change my mind, even at this stage. I ask the hon. Gentleman to tell me what assembly other than pop festivals are referred to in Clause 5? The hon. Gentleman does not respond, because he knows, as we all know, that the Bill is designed solely to stop pop festivals.

Photo of Mr Raymond Mawby Mr Raymond Mawby , Totnes

It is not. The hon. Gentleman should read the Clause.

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

Will someone take the hon. Member out?

We in this country have the weird idea that the youngsters are immoral and peculiar, and that because they have long hair and beards they are to be despised. It is the guilt complex of the hon. Gentleman that motivates Bills of this kind. I say that again and again and again.

Photo of Mr John Wells Mr John Wells , Maidstone

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I have been out wandering round the House and when I came back the hon. Gentleman was making exactly the same remarks as he was making when I went out the first time. It seems to me that the hon. Member's remarks have reached the point of tedious repetition.

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

I am sure that the hon. Member for Gloucestershire, West (Mr. Loughlin) will bear that point in mind. There are the provisions of Standing Order No. 22.

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

With great deference to you, Mr. Speaker, if I have been guilty of tedious repetition while you have been in the Chair, I am willing to sit down immediately.

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

The hon. Gentleman made the threat a moment ago that he was going to say something again and again and again.

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

Yes, Mr. Speaker, I said "again and again and again". That is not a threat to repeat it time out of number. It is simply an expression which I thought that you understood.

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

I am happy to give way if the hon. Member for Hendon, North (Mr. Gorst) wishes to intervene.

Photo of Mr John Gorst Mr John Gorst , Hendon North

I thought the hon. Gentleman wanted to hear what my hon. Friend the Member for the Isle of Wight (Mr. Woodnutt) had to say.

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

I return to the point that I was on when interrupted by the hon. Member for Maidstone (Mr. John Wells). I say that this Bill is designed to attack the youngsters. If we have a Bill of this kind, including Clause 5, applicable to the Isle of Wight, and then other areas take powers—

Photo of Mr Mark Woodnutt Mr Mark Woodnutt , Isle of Wight

On a point of order. Mr. Speaker. I have listened to this particular sentence being repeated no fewer than six times. I appeal to you, Mr. Speaker, to call the hon. Gentleman to order.

Photo of Mr James Wellbeloved Mr James Wellbeloved , Erith and Crayford

Further to that point of order. Mr. Speaker. I have sat here through the whole of my hon. Friend's speech and I do not share the view that has been put to you in a point of order that my hon. Friend has repeated himself. On the contrary, he has used a number of varying arguments against the Bill, and I hope that you will take my point of view into account as much as that put forward by the hon. Gentleman opposite.

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

In fact, I shall be very considerably guided by the view of Mr. Deputy Speaker, who also gave me her opinion about these matters. The House is a fairly tolerant place and the hon. Gentleman has had quite a long run. I hope he will bring his remarks to a conclusion so that the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight (Mr. Woodnutt) can speak.

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

If I had not been interrupted, Mr. Speaker, I would have finished 10 minutes ago. I was talking about the youngsters being decent and moral, and I had almost finished. All I want to say is that the Bill is designed against youngsters, and I do not believe one can have a Bill of this kind without interfering with the fundamental freedom and liberty of a large section of our community.

9.34 p.m.

Photo of Mr Mark Woodnutt Mr Mark Woodnutt , Isle of Wight

I will not waste the time of the House by repeating my Second Reading speech, which was on 19th March and is reported in the OFFICIAL REPORT, columns 1789–95. If the hon. Member for Gloucestershire, West (Mr. Loughlin) had read that speech, he would have had a better understanding of what the Bill is about. It is a complete nonsense to say that this Bill seeks to ban pop. He threw out a challenge "If it is not pop, what is it?" Of course it involves pop. This matter has arisen, as I explained on Second Reading, because we have had three pop festivals in the Isle of Wight, the last of which was attended by some 200,000 people. All this Bill sets out to do is to exercise some control. It seeks to lay down rules by which the promoters of such festivals will have to abide.

I was grateful for the intervention of one hon. Member opposite who said that this was aimed at the promoters, and not at the young. The hon. Member for Gloucestershire, West (Mr. Loughlin) has just talked about morals, long hair, sex and drugs. On Second Reading the hon. Member for Barking (Mr. Driberg) called us all "youth haters". Both hon. Gentlemen are talking absolute poppycock. The Bill has nothing to do with drugs. It has nothing to do with morals. It lays down rules whereby the people who promote these enormous festivals for private profit are made to provide the proper facilities for the young.

The Bill is designed for the young. It aims to see that they are protected from the kind of people who ran the Isle of Wight festival last year with inadequate facilities. It is to ensure that they get the right facilities.

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Barking

The hon. Gentleman will recall that on Second Reading when I made that perhaps exaggerated remark about hatred of the youth, it was provoked by the tremendous chorus of approval of hon. Members opposite. Although the hon. Gentleman said that the Bill was not intended to kill pop festivals altogether, when I said that it would have that effect, great shouts of "Hear, hear" and "Good" came from the benches opposite.

Photo of Mr Mark Woodnutt Mr Mark Woodnutt , Isle of Wight

I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman was provoked. I know that he was being interrupted. In any event, he referred to us as "haters of youth". In fact, in promoting the Bill the Isle of Wight County Council is aiming at protecting youth, as well as the local residents.

It is quite useless hon. Members talking about the Forest of Dean. Everything is laid on there, and it is a regular place where amenities are provided. However, when the events which we are discussing are promoted, a farm is taken over and there is no provision for lavatories, water supplies and so on. Something has to be done to make sure that the promoters spend some of the vast sums that they receive in ticket money—£3,£4 and£5 a ticket—on providing the right facilities.

Hon. Gentlemen opposite has said that these powers are unprecedented, and they asked why the Isle of Wight should have them. We are dealing with an unprecedented situation. It is a new development in our society when vast numbers of people live in the open for several days and nights on end. When I went to the pop festival last year and walked past the inadequate latrines, there was a river of effluent flowing right across the field, into which everyone had to walk. That is the sort of thing that the Bill is aimed to prevent.

I assure the House that the Bill is not to ban pop. It is unworthy of the hon. Member for Gloucestershire, West to say that it is. It is not to ban pop festivals. It is to give the local authority power to control them. That is why we have suggested that the fines should be so large, though they have been reduced by the Committee. At the moment, in the public health regulations there are various rules which the local authority can apply. However, the fines are a derisory£10 a day. A person who is seeking profit by promoting pop will not worry about£10 fine if he does not provide the lavatories and other facilities required by the local authority.

I said that I did not intend to bore the House with a repetition of my Second Reading speech. However, I should point out that the support that the hon. Member for Barking and the hon. Member for Erith and Crayford (Mr. Well-beloved) have can be judged by the fact that on Second Reading, which they ran through until nearly 3 o'clock on a Friday morning, they were beaten by 63 votes to 2. Following that, a Committee of this House made up of two hon. Members from each side spent three sittings considering the Bill and were unanimous in their decision. In addition, several hon. Members on the Benches opposite have signed the unofficial whip which I sent round, and have promised me their support. Moreover, Lord Blyton, an ex-Labour Member, who is held in affection by hon. Members on both sides, has undertaken to steer the Bill through the other place if it is supported by hon. Members opposite.

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Barking

He will be in charge of it.

Photo of Mr Mark Woodnutt Mr Mark Woodnutt , Isle of Wight

In my experience, this House has always been most sympathetic to the individual problems of individual constituencies and Members of Parliament. I hope that tonight it will not fail to send the Bill onwards to its Third Reading.

9.40 p.m.

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Barking

We were extremely interested to learn that Lord Blyton, for whom we all have affection, as the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight (Mr. Woodnutt) said, is to steer the Bill through the other place, or as much of the other place as he can command.

There are different procedures in the other place. The hon. Gentleman is not "in charge" of the Bill here. Although he introduced it, he is not "piloting" it; nor, I take it, is he "steering" it. Lord Blyton is steering it through another place. It is possible that he may meet some opposition there, because a number of noble lords, and even gracious dukes, open their extensive grounds and houses to the public and have even provided accommodation for pop festivals. Therefore, it would be interesting to listen to the debates on the Bill in another place.

The hon. Gentleman in his concluding speech, which was as he said it would be brisk and brief, and creditably so, spoke of a "river of effluent" which he saw pouring through the Isle of Wight at the last pop festival. It sounds a little like Mrs. Whitehouse on the B.B.C., and it is just about as exaggerated. If there had been a serious river of effluent, I am sure that the medical officer of health for the island would have taken a serious view of it. As we know, the medical officer of health said that the health risks had been greatly exaggerated. I am told that the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight said on television that he had never yet agreed with the medical officer of health for the island on anything.

Photo of Mr Mark Woodnutt Mr Mark Woodnutt , Isle of Wight

I must put the hon. Gentleman right. The gentleman to whom he is referring is not the medical officer of health for the island; he is the medical officer of health for the rural district council.

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Barking

I am obliged for that correction, but I do not see that it affects the argument, because he is presumably a qualified doctor. I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman is also a qualified doctor. At any rate, a qualified doctor would not say that the health risks had been greatly exaggerated if, in his qualified opinion, they had not been.

Photo of Mr James Wellbeloved Mr James Wellbeloved , Erith and Crayford

My hon. Friend will appreciate that, what is more important, the medical officer of health for the area in which the festival is held, who is charged with the duty of protecting public health, took this view. He is not just a general medical practitioner; he is a medical officer of health skilled in public health administration who took that view.

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Barking

I am obliged to my hon. Friend. Until the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight corrected me, I had confused the two medical officers of health, but do I take it that there was no great public dispute between them?

Photo of Mr Mark Woodnutt Mr Mark Woodnutt , Isle of Wight

The medical officer of health for the rural district council said what the hon. Gentleman has indicated, but most of the doctors on the Isle of Wight thoroughly disagree with him.

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Barking

Did they do so publicly?

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Barking

I will not pursue the point.

Photo of Mr John Gorst Mr John Gorst , Hendon North

It would be a great help, now that this confusion has arisen, if the hon. Gentleman could clarify one thing about the tenor of his argument. Is he saying that there was not sufficient pollution, effluent, rubbish, or whatever it is that 200,000 stampeding people create, to justify precautionary measures being taken as proposed in the Bill?

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Barking

I think that precautionary measures were taken last year. Otherwise there might have been some health risk. But we are assured by one medical officer of health that the health risk was greatly exaggerated—exaggerated by those who are, no doubt, using that as an argument against the festival. That is the main point.

There is then the other point raised by the hon. Gentleman and touched upon by my hon. Friend the Member for Westhoughton (Mr. J. T. Price). I have no brief to speak for the promoters of the festival, but it appears to be a very wicked thing that they should be what is called "commercial". The evil of the profit motive crept into the hon. Member's speech. I am sure that the Isle of Wight and the hon. Member himself are not against all commercial interests and all exercise of the profit motive. I am sure they are not against the capitalist system and the commercial society in which we live.

Photo of Mr Leslie Huckfield Mr Leslie Huckfield , Nuneaton

That point has been concerning several of my hon Friends and myself. When the hon. Member talked about the evil of the profit motive he might have referred to something that appeared in newspapers in his area, about something called Bern-bridge Harbour, in which, I understand, he has some interest himself.

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Barking

I shall not go into that question, because it is not strictly relevant to the Bill. I am grateful to my hon. Friend for mentioning it, but not for introducing it at this point. It is an important matter, but another matter.

As for being commercial, that is part of the society in which we live; it applies to every place of entertainment—to every theatre and cinema in the land. Let us hear no more humbug about the wickedness of promoters being commercial and seeking to make great profits. They do not seem to have been very clever profit makers, because they lost a lot of money last year. They were not so clever as are some hon. Members opposite in making their financial arrangements.

When the hon. Member says that the Bill is designed for the protection rather than the restriction of youth I must take issue with him. I shall not repeat my reason, because I do not want to be guilty of tedious repetition. It is the reason I gave when I interrupted the hon. Member's speech. There was a tremendous clamour from his hon. Friends when I said that this might make it impossible to have another pop festival in the Isle of Wight. There was a great roar of "Hear, hear"—fairly late at night, of course.

One hon. Member had the impertinence and effrontery to talk about the motives of my hon. Friend the Member for Erith and Crayford (Mr. Wellbeloved) and myself. It is strictly out of order—and the hon. Member would have been reminded of that fact if he had pursued that line—to impute any dishonourable motive to hon. Members in this House. It is not a dishonourable motive to take care of one's constituency interests, and the hon. Member therefore was not imputing a dishonourable motive but he was imputing a very foolish motive in not realising that the difference between an urban area and a rural area is that in an urban area, with a few relatively small parks, there simply would not be room to accommodate a pop festival of 200,000 people.

It appears that in the Isle of Wight, which is a mainly rural area, there are many plots of land, fields, and so on, which have been considered for this year's festival—as I gather from the newspapers. I do not know which has been booked, if any has. Obviously, there is infinitely more room in a rural area to hold that sort of crowd. I like the amenities of our countryside as much as any hon. Member, but it is a matter of simple common sense that a country site can accommodate a pop festival, whereas an over-populated urban site cannot.

As I said on Second Reading, our real motives are, primarily, concern for the right of assembly. This is one point at which I slightly disagree with my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucestershire, West (Mr. Loughlin), through whose comprehensive speech we all sat with great interest. He asked what possible crowd of more than 5,000 people could go to the Isle of Wight for this purpose. The danger seems to be to the whole right of assembly, not only for pop festivals. It could be a political assembly which was distasteful to the Isle of Wight County Council as at present constituted.

A few years ago, when the great marches from Aldermaston were in progress at Easter, lasting a good many days, in fine weather, many of the people

taking part would sleep out of doors, or sometimes in halls—

Photo of Mr John Gorst Mr John Gorst , Hendon North

Which politician could command an audience of 200,000?

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Barking

I doubt whether either the hon. Member or I could do that—

Photo of Mr Leslie Huckfield Mr Leslie Huckfield , Nuneaton

He could on commercial radio.

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Barking

My hon. Friend says that the hon. Gentleman could do so on commercial radio. I think that he is—

Photo of Mr Mark Woodnutt Mr Mark Woodnutt , Isle of Wight

rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.

Question put, That the Question be now put:—

The House divided: Ayes 155, Noes 43.

Division No. 366.]AYES[9.52 p.m.
Adley, RobertGrant, George (Morpeth)Monks, Mrs. Connie
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth)Green, AlanMonro, Hector
Astor, JohnGrieve, PercyMore, Jasper
Atkins, HumphreyGriffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)Gummer, SelwynMorgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.
Berry, Hn, AnthonyGurden, HaroldMorrison, Charles (Devizes)
Biffen, JohnHall, John (Wycombe)Mudd, David
Boardman, H. (Leigh)Hall-Davis, A. G. F.Nabarro, Sir Gerald
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.)Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)Neave, Airey
Boscawen, RobertHannam, John (ExeterNicholls, Sir Harmar
Braine, BernardHarrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)Normanton, Tom
Bray, RonaldHawkins, PaulOsborn, John
Brinton, Sir TattonHayhoe, BarneyOwen, Idris (Stockport, N.)
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)Hicks, RobertPage, Graham (Crosby)
Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N & M)Hiley, JosephPeel, John
Butler, Adam (Bosworth)Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.)Percival, Ian
Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.)Hill, James (Southampton, Test)Pink, R. Bonner
Chapman, SydneyHolt, Miss MaryPrice, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Chataway, Rt. Hn. ChristopherHornsby-Smith, Rt. Hn. Dame PatriciaPym, Rt. Hn. Francis
Clark, William (Surrey, E.)Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.)Redmond, Robert
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)Hughes, Mark (Durham)Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)
Clegg, WalterHutchison, Michael ClarkRees, Peter (Dover)
Cooke, RobertIremonger, T. L.Rees-Davies, W. R.
Cooper, A. E.James, DavidRhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Cordle, JohnJennings, J. C. (Burton)Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Critchley, JulianJohnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)
Crouch, DavidKellett, Mrs. ElaineRoberts, Wyn (Conway)
Curran, CharlesKershaw, AnthonyRossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj.-Gen. JamesKilfedder, JamesRussell, Sir Ronald
Dean, PaulKing, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)Sharples, Richard
Dodds-Parker, DouglasKinsey, J. R.Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)Knox, DavidShelton, William (Clapham)
Emery, PeterLangford-Holt, Sir JohnSimeons, Charles
Evans, FredLeadbitter, TedSinclair, Sir George
Eyre, ReginaldLegge-Bourke, Sir HarrySoref, Harold
Farr, JohnLe Marchant, SpencerSpeed, Keith
Fenner, Mrs. PeggyLloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)Spence, John
Fidler, MichaelLongden, GilbertStanbrook, Ivor
Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)Luce, R. N.Stewart-Smith, D. G. (Belper)
Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton)MacArthur, IanStoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.
Fortescue, TimMcLaren, MartinStuttaford, Dr. Tom
Galpern, Sir MyerMcMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)Sutcliffe, John
Garrett, W. E.Maddan, MartinTaylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Ginsburg, DavidMather, CarolTaylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Goodhew, VictorMaxwell-Hyslop, R. J.Temple, John M.
Gorst, JohnMeyer, Sir AnthonyThomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)
Gourlay, HarryMitchell, Lt.-Col. C. (Aberdeenshire, W)Tilney, John
Cower, RaymondMoate, RogerTugendhat, Christopher
Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)Molyneaux, Jamesvan Straubenzee, W. R.
Waddington, DavidWiggin, JerryTELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Ward, Dame IreneWilkinson, JohnMr. Ray Mawby and
Weatherill, BernardWoof, RobertMr. Mark Woodnutt
Wells, John (Maidstone)younger, Hn. George
NOES
Barnett, JoelHardy, PeterMorris, Charles R. (Openshaw)
Blenkinsop, ArthurHealey, Rt. Hn. DenisOrme, Stanley
Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles)Hooson, EmlynOswald, Thomas
Clark, David (Colne Valley)Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)
Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.)John, BrynmorRhodes, Geoffrey
Dalyell, TamJones, Dan (Burnley)Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.)Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)Spriggs, Leslie
Dempsey, JamesKaufman, GeraldVarley, Eric G.
Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.)Kerr, RussellWalker, Harold (Doncaster)
Driberg, TomLamond, JamesWells, William (Walsall, N.)
Fernyhough, Rt. Hn. E.Lawson, GeorgeWilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Fraser, John (Norwood)Loughlin, Charles
Golding, JohnMeacher, MichaelTELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.Milne, Edward (Blyth)Mr. Leslie Huckfield and
Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)Morgan, Elystan (Cardinganshire)Mr. James Wellbeloved.
Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill)Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)
Question put accordingly and agreed to.
Bill considered accordingly; to be read the Third time.