Touting, Hawking, Photographing, etc.

Nottinghamshire County Council Bill [Lords] (By Order) – in the House of Commons at 8:30 pm on 13th February 1983.

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Photo of Mr Andrew Bennett Mr Andrew Bennett , Stockport North 8:30 pm, 13th February 1983

I beg to move amendment No. 2, in page 8, leave out lines 29 and 30.

I am a little puzzled, because the promoters sent round a carefully prepared statement about their attitude to the Bill, and made it clear that they would accept amendment No. 5.

Mr. Brandon-Bravo:

We would not wish to press this point, under the guidance of the promoters. We will accept the amendment of the hon. Member for Denton and Reddish (Mr. Bennett).

Photo of Mr Andrew Bennett Mr Andrew Bennett , Stockport North

I find that a little puzzling because I was about to query the fact that the promoters had made it clear —

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

Is my hon. Friend aware that although the promoters have accepted the amendment there are those of us who will fight hard against it? My hon. Friend will have to deploy strong arguments to persuade me that it is a worthy amendment.

Photo of Mr Andrew Bennett Mr Andrew Bennett , Stockport North

I thank my hon. Friend for that comment. What is the promoters' attitude to this, because they sent a letter telling us that they were prepared to accept amendment No. 5, but when it comes to it, they insist on voting it down? I was asking why they had now sent a letter saying that they did not want to oppose amendment No. 2. That seems odd. They have always claimed that this is an extremely important local Bill and that they wanted the powers provided in it. Having made a great deal of fuss about the clause that deals with processions, they seem to feel that the paragraph dealing with photographs is not all that important. If it is not, why did they take the trouble to put it in the Bill in the first place? Why did they insist on putting it through all its stages? Why is it still in the Bill?

Had I not tabled this amendment, the paragraph would have remained in the Bill. It seems odd and illogical for the promoters to feel that one clause is important and yet not seem to think that this paragraph is all that important. We should work out what it does. As I understand it, the promoters are saying that no individual may stand in the street and take photographs of passers-by and then attempt to sell photographs to them. I can remember going to seaside resorts on many occasions—

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

Does my hon. Friend realise that the provision goes much further than that? The promoters are not just talking about people taking photographs, but also purporting to take them. I shall be supporting that provision strongly when my hon. Friend has sat down.

Photo of Mr Andrew Bennett Mr Andrew Bennett , Stockport North

I was trying to develop the argument. I remember going to many seaside resorts where it was fairly common to be encouraged to sit for a photograph with a monkey or some other artefact that the photographer had. Many hon. Members will be aware of the attractions of going to the seaside and being asked to stick one's head through a cut-out figure—

Mr. Bermingham:

Does my hon. Friend agree that one of the greatest nuisances at the seaside, or anywhere else, it to have what might be called freelance photographers sticking cameras in one's face to take photographs which they may or may not supply later? Does he further agree that there have been many prosecutions for obtaining by deception in pursuance of that type of activity? Does my hon. Friend further agree that although the promoters are prepared to accept the amendment, many of us feel that this is a nuisance and a mischief which should be controlled and regulated in the way suggested in the Bill?

Photo of Mr Andrew Bennett Mr Andrew Bennett , Stockport North

I was trying to describe what tends to happen. It may well be that Nottingham does not believe that it has many scenic attractions.

Photo of Dennis Skinner Dennis Skinner Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

My hon. Friend should be aware of the Goose Fair at Nottingham, which has been held for centuries. It is just the sort of place at which photographers would be found wanting to take pictures, or purporting to take pictures—I am not quite sure what the latter phrase means. There would be hundreds of such people at the Goose Fair and there might be some policemen among them also wishing to take photographs.

Photo of Mr Andrew Bennett Mr Andrew Bennett , Stockport North 9:15 pm, 13th February 1983

I am not quite sure what happens at the Goose Fair, but it would seem that there are all sorts of possibilities. It may be that the council in Nottingham does not believe that such people should be present, but it is reasonable to expect the council to set out its reasons.

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

If my hon. Friend has come here tonight not knowing what happens at the Goose Fair, why did he bother to come?

Photo of Mr Andrew Bennett Mr Andrew Bennett , Stockport North

I assure my hon. Friend that I had some hopes that he might be here and in due course enlighten me about the Goose Fair. Perhaps my hon. Friend the Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) does not know about it either.

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

My hon. Friend the Member for Bolsover would not be here if he did not.

Photo of Dennis Skinner Dennis Skinner Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

This is a very necessary part of the debate. As has already been said, there are always many photographers hanging around, sticking their cameras in front of people's noses, wanting to take photographs, and taking people's names and addresses. The Goose Fair has been held for centuries. It is a massive fair, with all the usual attractions that one finds on the pleasure beach at Blackpool. The fair is held on the outskirts of Nottingham. People travel to it from far and wide. Some of them come from counties which may or may not have legislation such as that set out in clause 6. I appreciate that we cannot debate that now because we have already dealt with it. I do not know where the name "Goose Fair" comes from—

Photo of Mr Harold Walker Mr Harold Walker , Doncaster

Order. Interventions should be brief. I cannot see anything in the Bill about Nottingham Goose Fair. Will the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) please relate his remarks to taking photographs or purporting to take them?

Photo of Dennis Skinner Dennis Skinner Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

One would assume that Nottingham, being an inland county, with no seaside resorts, would not be prone to having people hanging around, pushing cameras into people's faces and wanting to take photographs. My point is that because of the tradition that has existed in Nottingham city—not the county—for many years, there is a kind of replica of what takes place at the pleasure beach at Blackpool. The fair continues for several days, and it is in that kind of environment that photographs are taken. That is probably the cause of the relevant set of words being included in the clause.

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

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. May I draw your attention to the fact that the provision relates to "subsection (1)(a) above"? That subsection includes ground on which the Goose Fair can be held. In discussing the Goose Fair, one would need to know whether it can be held on a public off-street car park, recreation ground, garden or other park, pleasure ground or open space under the management control of a local authority".

Photo of Mr Harold Walker Mr Harold Walker , Doncaster

One should never overlook the hon. Gentleman's ingenuity, but we must get back to the amendment under discussion.

Photo of Mr Andrew Bennett Mr Andrew Bennett , Stockport North

I was trying to establish the case that at seaside resorts—and, as has now been made clear to me, in certain circumstances in Nottingham—there is the possibility of people taking advantage of a festive occasion in order to take photographs of people in the street.

Photo of Mr Stanley Thorne Mr Stanley Thorne , Preston South

We are in danger of contradicting ourselves. One of the aspects of our case against the inclusion of clause 6 was that it was likely to be an interference with individual liberty, and with the rights of people in certain circumstances, with which I am sure that you are now familiar, Mr. Deputy Speaker, quickly to express themselves about problems that have arisen. The Bill appears to be taking that right away from them.

I am concerned about the human rights of those who are photographers and those who purport to be photographers, in certain circumstances where they are seeking to ply their trade or business. I am alarmed that the hon. Member for Nottingham, South (Mr. Brandon-Bravo), who seems to be some sort of spokesman on the Bill, agrees to accept the amendment but does not say anything about the second part of the clause that he is prepared to see amended, which goes on to deal with other people whose liberties may be affected by it. I should like my hon. Friend to address himself to that aspect of his amendment.

Photo of Mr Harold Walker Mr Harold Walker , Doncaster

Order. We are getting excessively long interventions. Hon. Members should either keep their interventions brief or should seek to catch my eye if they want to speak on this matter.

Photo of Mr Andrew Bennett Mr Andrew Bennett , Stockport North

Individuals might use a camera to make a few pence taking photographs of people who are going, perhaps, to the Goose Fair, or to other occasions in Nottingham. I do not object to them plying their trade in the streets, and the Bill does not stop that. It places upon the individual the duty of applying for a licence. There is no objection if an individual is making most of his livelihood by taking photographs in the street and offering to sell the photographs. Such an individual would have no problem when applying for a licence.

If that is the promoters' case I should have some sympathy with their original intention, but I am puzzled as to why this is something that has come in a local Act rather than in national legislation. If it is legally necessary to control this business in Nottingham, why is it not necessary in most other places? It may be that it is only necessary in places with seaside resorts or Goose Fairs, but I suspect that most localities have a claim to a festival or an occasion that would attract people who try to take photographs.

I am sure that we are all conscious that this often happens late in the evening, when someone is persuaded to have their photograph taken and to part with about £5. They are given a ticket to claim their photographs. Sometimes they do not take the ticket away because there is some sleight of hand. On other occasions, although they take the ticket away, when they present it at the address on the ticket, no photographs are forthcoming. From time to time, we hear complaints about a small number of unscrupulous photographers doing such things.

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

When my hon. Friend says "late in the evening" is that a euphemism for what one calls after dinner or after taking refreshment? Is my hon. Friend saying that this covers people who are tiddly and therefore part with their money more easily? If so, will he please speak with more northern bluntness so that we can follow him?

Photo of Mr Andrew Bennett Mr Andrew Bennett , Stockport North

I thank my hon. Friend. Yes, to put it bluntly, some people are persuaded to part with £5 when they are drunk. On certain occasions, they might not want the photographs, but on other occasions they have been taken for a ride by the photographer.

That is one side of the argument, and it is a legitimate argument, why the promoters want to issue a licence in certain cases with the name and the address of the individual carrying out the trade so that someone who feels that they have been diddled in this way can make representations based on trading standards, or something else, and get redress. If there were evidence of such malpractices in Nottingham, that would be a legitimate reason for including the clause in the Bill.

However, we must look at the drafting of the clause. It does not refer only to people touting for trade in the way that I have described. I should like to hear from the promoters or from hon. Members who have had the chance to study the Bill more closely than I have what will happen if someone wishes to take photographs to produce calendars or picture postcards of Nottingham.

Subsection (8) includes an exemption for the taking of a photograph for the purpose of making it available for publication in a newspaper or periodical if the photographer is employed as such by or on behalf of the owner or publisher of a newspaper or periodical or carries on a business which consists in, or includes, selling or supplying photographs for such publication".

A person taking photographs for a daily newspaper or the local paper in Nottingham will not have to bother about registration, but a person taking photographs for a publication other than a newspaper or periodical will have to get permission. However, there are many amateur photographers who do not normally take pictures to sell either to the subject of the photograph or to newspapers, but who, if they take photographs of an accident, a fire or a demonstration, may attempt to sell them to the papers. Would such a photographer need a licence?

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

Will my hon. Friend address himself to the exemption in subsection (8)(c)? What will happen if the owner of the newspaper wants to take a photograph? Would he be prohibited? The subsection refers only to those employed by the owner.

Photo of Mr Andrew Bennett Mr Andrew Bennett , Stockport North

That raises interesting possibilities, but perhaps my hon. Friend can develop that point if he catches your eye, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

Mr. Nellist:

Is my hon. Friend aware that the Nottingham Evening Post is part of the T. Bailey Forman group, which changed its name to TBF to get round the action of the National Union of Journalists in defending its members' jobs? In the circumstances outlined by our hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Golding), if the owner, who sacked NUJ members for demonstrating for trade union rights, took photographs, he would be liable under the clause, whereas his employees would not.

Photo of Mr Andrew Bennett Mr Andrew Bennett , Stockport North

That would be an interesting development. I shall be happy to return to that later.

Photo of Mr Harold Walker Mr Harold Walker , Doncaster

Order. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will not do that and that he will stick to the amendment.

Photo of Mr Andrew Bennett Mr Andrew Bennett , Stockport North

I thought that the matter was relevant to the amendment. I seek to persuade the House that we should remove the paragraph in subsection (2)(b): photographs, or purports to photograph, any person by way of trade or business; or On reflection, perhaps I should have tabled a consequential amendment to remove subsection (8)(c) because that will have no standing if my amendment is accepted. No doubt the promoters would wish to table a third amendment to take out the clause.

9.15 pm

I wish to deal with the principal question whether it is right to license photographers who wish to take pictures in the street and, if so, whether this is done in such a way as to catch in the net only those people who do it specifically on pleasurable occasions to try to make money out of individuals, or whether the clause is drawn in such a way that it includes those people who take occasional pictures and supply them for profit or gain to the manufacturers of picture postcards, people who display them in their shop windows for sale, put them in for competition or set out to make money in any other way.

Many semi-amateur photographers ply fairly regularly for trade. A good example that annoys the professional photographer is wedding photographs. Individuals who work at a job for most of the week turn up on a Saturday afternoon sometimes to take pictures that they display at a reception in the hope of getting orders. The clause must be examined closely, because it applies to certain areas only. If an individual were taking wedding photographs within the church or church grounds, I presume that the provision would not apply. However, if, as so often happens, the individual crosses the road to the recreation ground, or stays on the grass verge, which may well make a more attractive site with the church slightly more distant, he will be covered by the clause.

In moving the amendment, my aim was to have it established by the promoters whether the provision was necessary, and one assumes that, having pressed it through all its Committee stages, they feel it is necessary, notwithstanding the letter that has been circulated at this late stage to the House. If the promoters feel that it is necessary, I wish to know whether they are satisfied that, by definition, it covers only the first group of people I described, or whether it covers other groups of people whom I am sure most hon. Members would consider should not have to go through the procedure of submission for a licence.

Photo of Dennis Skinner Dennis Skinner Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

Could I give my hon. Friend an example? The phrase that my hon. Friend wishes to replace is more dangerous than it might seem at first glance. The Nottinghamshire miners' rally is held in Bury hill park, a beautiful place. Let us suppose it were argued that photographs were being taken for a memorial edition for the Nottinghamshire miners at some future date. The demonstration sets off from Chesterfield road right up to Bury hill. Let us suppose also that people were taking photographs inside, because this is one of the greatest demonstrations, and it is free, so that any member of the public can attend. If the Nottinghamshire NUM or someone acting on its behalf decided to do a first-class job of taking photographs at the demonstration, that could be regarded as plying for trade or business and be subject to a fine of up to £200, which is just about equal to the cost of the average prosecution under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act. That is an unfortunate effect of the amendment.

Photo of Mr Harold Walker Mr Harold Walker , Doncaster

Order. Interventions must be brief.

Photo of Mr Andrew Bennett Mr Andrew Bennett , Stockport North

I should appreciate brief interventions. I should prefer, indeed, to develop my arguments further.

I appreciate the problem. It is another illustration of the difficulty about who has to apply for a licence to take pictures. How is the individual to know that he roust apply? In most parts of the country there is no such provision in force. He assumes that he can take pictures and submit them to a journal or a postcard manufacturer in the hope that he will be paid, and he commits no offence. In future, if he does it in Nottingham he will be subject to a fine.

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

Is not the answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) that such a clause will encourage street artists and painters who, to a great extent, have been driven out of business by photographers? The NUM could employ painters, as it did in the old tradition, to paint pictures of its rally.

Photo of Mr Andrew Bennett Mr Andrew Bennett , Stockport North

I do not want to be drawn too far into the traditions of the miners in this area. It is not an area about which I have a great deal of knowledge. However, I should much prefer to see painted banners than the employment of photographers.

Photo of Mr Ian Mikardo Mr Ian Mikardo , Tower Hamlets Bethnal Green and Bow

There is another aspect about which the subsection is unclear. I may add that I am in favour of the subsection and against the amendment. The subsection does not deal with films. I should have thought that if the Nottinghamshire miners wanted a record of their event, they would be more likely to make a film of it. Apparently a photographer only gets it in the neck if he takes still photographs. He is all right if he takes a moving picture. I refer hon. Members to the exemptions in subsection (8). We see there a specific reference to owner or publisher of a newspaper or periodical…supplying photographs for such publication". A photographer could take a film and supply it to a cinema without being caught by the clause. If he took a still picture, he would be. Why have not the promoters dealt with films in the same way as they have photographs?

Photo of Mr Andrew Bennett Mr Andrew Bennett , Stockport North

My hon. Friend tempts me to discuss what is and what is not a photograph. Although obviously he feels there is a clear distinction between a moving cinema picture and a still photograph, I suggest that they are both put on film. However, my hon. Friend has not drawn any distinction between film and video. Perhaps we ought not at this stage—and certainly not in my speech—go too far down that road.

Mr. Nellist:

Perhaps my hon. Friend can help me. Is it not true that a moving film is created by the movement of 25 still photographs per second? They give the impression of movement only when they are shown at 25 frames a second. In that sense, moving film and still photographs are the same.

Photo of Mr Andrew Bennett Mr Andrew Bennett , Stockport North

I thank my hon. Friend for that useful piece of information. I accept his main thesis. However I am not sure whether it is 25 pictures a second. It may be that my hon. Friend has in mind slow motion rather than normal speed. That, again, is an alleyway down which had better not stray.

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

Does my hon. Friend appreciate that there is a difference between my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, South-East (Mr. Nellist) and the Treasury Bench about whether it is 25 or 35 frames per second. Perhaps he can enlighten me about which it is.

Photo of Mr Andrew Bennett Mr Andrew Bennett , Stockport North

I am afraid that I cannot enlighten my hon. Friend. I realise that I am a great disappointment to him. He came here for enlightment, but I cannot give him an authoritative reply.

Photo of Mr James Lamond Mr James Lamond , Oldham East

It is an ingenious argument to try to prove that a moving film is a series of still photographs. What if the Nottinghamshire miners were making a video of the occasion? That is much more likely because they are extremely up to date with their equipment. As far as I know, there is no film involved in that process at all.

Photo of Mr Andrew Bennett Mr Andrew Bennett , Stockport North

I thank my hon. Friend for that intervention. He will be aware that at quite a few conferences and other similar occasions individuals have now taken the touting for photographs a stage further. They make a video recording or a tape recording of the proceedings, and at the end they offer copies for sale. It has obvious attractions. I am sure that one or two of my hon. Friends will have seen that process at conferences they have attended.

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

Does my hon. Friend know that whenever my hon. Friend the Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) or I have appeared in a film, any offer of payment has been for its suppression?

Photo of Mr Andrew Bennett Mr Andrew Bennett , Stockport North

I thank my hon. Friend for that intervention. If one is persuaded to part with money for a photograph after one has seen it, rather than in advance, one can see what one is getting for one's money. If one is persuaded to part with money for a cassette, which purports to have a video on it—or, for that matter, a tape recording—there is no way to check the quality when one buys it. One has to take it away to check it.

Before any more of my hon. Friends interrupt me, I want to come back to the argument about a gala or demonstration on behalf of the miners. The argument involves the way in which the police and, on other occasions, other groups often appear to take pictures at demonstrations — whether by way of their trade or business, I do not know. When my hon. Friends and I have raised this matter in the past, we have often been told that the police are doing it as a training exercise. Indeed, it is often implied that there were no films in their cameras, although it is difficult to convince demonstrators of that. They want to know why the films were being taken and what they will be used for. No doubt, it would be easy for the police to get a licence. But how does an individual get to see the licence and know whether the person taking the picture is licensed?

This is a difficult area, and not one that should be dealt with in a local Bill. The matter should be dealt with nationally. Taking certain photographs should be regulated by national legislation rather than by clauses in local Bills which purport to deal with local circumstances, but which in fact cover national circumstances.

One of my constant complaints against this and other county council Bills is that they give no evidence of the local problem. A common clause is put into such Bills. If it is a common clause, it should surely be introduced by the Government in a miscellaneous provisions Bill. That would be the logical way for the Government to proceed. Instead, we have all these local clauses and the promoters, in their written submissions tell us that they could not care less whether this provision is in or out. That is not the way to draw up legislation. It is not right for the promoters to tell us in the written submissions that they do not care about the clause one way or the other.

I hope that the hon. Member for Nottingham, South (Mr. Brandon-Bravo) will not just say that he is prepared to accept my amendment. I hope that he will tell us why he has changed his mind and why, until last week, it was essential to include this provision but today he has suddenly decided that circumstances have changed in Nottingham and that it can now be taken out. I hope that he will tell us how he will protect the public from people who tout for pictures, make money out of them and may or may not supply the photographs at the end, and how he will protect the genuine semi-amateur photographer who wants to take pictures from which he may get a small income. In the light of what the promoter may say, I shall decide whether to press the matter to a vote.

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

I am disappointed by the contribution of my hon. Friend the Member for Denton and Reddish (Mr. Bennett).

Photo of Mr Harold Walker Mr Harold Walker , Doncaster

Order. I have to put the Question. The Question is, That the amendment be made.

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

Mr. Deputy Speaker, I am glad that you have put the Question in that way, because it gives me the opportunity to say again how disappointed I was by the contribution of my hon. Friend the Member for Denton and Reddish. I was bitterly disappointed to hear what the promoter said. Indeed, I go further.

Mr. Brandon-Bravo:

Last time this matter was debated on 19 January, the hon. Members for Denton and Reddish (Mr. Bennett) and for Coventry, South-East (Mr. Nellist) said that it was not their wish that the Bill should fail. Therefore, I was endeavouring to facilitate things, no more than that.

Photo of Mr John Golding Mr John Golding , Newcastle-under-Lyme 9:45 pm, 13th February 1983

If the hon. Gentleman had said that clause 6 was to be removed, he would have had this Bill. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will remove the rest of the Bill. We should be interested to know whether he has decided that, in order to facilitate the Bill's passage, he will accept any amendment to delete clause 8.

Photo of Mr Harold Walker Mr Harold Walker , Doncaster

Order. We should dispose of lines 29 and 30 of clause 7 before moving on to any other clauses.

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

I would have been bitterly disappointed if the hon. Member for Nottingham, South (Mr. Brandon-Bravo) had leapt to his feet to withdraw all the clauses. I would not then have been able to present the arguments about the clause. If subsection (2)(b)(i) is deleted, subsection (8)(c) should also be deleted. The prohibition that applies to taking photographs, or purporting to take photographs, should be applied to all. It is entirely unreasonable that the sponsors should say that no one can take photographs or purport to do so unless he is employed as a photographer by a newspaper proprietor or someone in that business.

Mr. Nellist:

As my hon. Friend holds such strong views about the clause, can he explain what the phrase "purports to photograph" means?

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

I can explain what that means. When there are two Labour Members and one Conservative Member the photographer comes along and says, "I'll take a group photograph first." That is what I often call purporting to take a photograph. If the newspaper's proprietor is a Conservative, the photographer will say that he wants a photograph of the Conservative candidate with Miss World, on their own, in a corner. That is what I call taking a photograph. It is simple. My hon. Friend cannot be very experienced in the ways of local newspapers and photographers if he does not know the difference between the two.

Many is the time that I have posed for photographers only to find that they are purporting to photograph. When I toured the country as a Minister, my advice to Labour candidates was always that they should stand in the middle. If they do not stand in the middle, they will be purportedly photographed. They will be cut off. If there is a candidate at the end of a row he will be cut off. However, if he is in the middle, the photographer cannot cut him off. One has to learn the distinction between being photographed and being purportedly photographed. I have learned it the hard way.

In a sense, the clause divides on the basis not of class, religion, political philosophy or sex, but of beauty. The clause divides the ugly from the beautiful. Those who are beautiful may not object to being photographed.

I do not claim to be in that category, and I am against photographers who as a race always manage to take me speaking with my mouth open. That is the only photograph that ever appears. My hon. Friend the Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) and I do not have many things in common, but the one thing that we have in common is that we are plagued and misrepresented by photographers. Admittedly, we have had a rough deal from nature, but we have had a rougher, harder deal from photographers, which has added to that disability.

Photo of Dennis Skinner Dennis Skinner Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

I fully understand the point that my hon. Friend makes. On one occasion I attended a demonstration outside No. 10 Downing street, when the Brazilian president was on a visit, and the police were taking photographs all the time. I asked, "Don't you have enough photographs of me without taking any more?" I do not know whether that photographer was in trade or business, or whether he was selling the photographs, but I suspect that he was putting them on file. I cannot understand why they needed more photographs of me, and apparently they were hounding my hon. Friend at the same time.

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

Had I been the policeman, my answer would have been simple—"I am trying to get a good one." That at least is the justification given to me.

My hon. Friend the Member for Stockport—

Photo of Mr Andrew Bennett Mr Andrew Bennett , Stockport North

Will my hon. Friend accept that I am now the hon. Member for Denton and Reddish? Although that includes part of Stockport, it causes some confusion if I am now referred to as the hon. Member for Stockport.

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

I apologise to the hon. Member who now represents Stockport, if there is one. I apologise to my hon. Friend for getting his constituency wrong. I have often suffered from similar mistakes.

My hon. Friend talked about visits to the seaside, and referred to the cardboard cutouts through which someone pops his head and has his photograph taken as Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan or Miss World

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

Indeed. But he did not refer to the most common sight, in other places, if not in Nottinghamshire—that of a photographer with a monkey on his arm, or even more than one monkey. A great feature of working class life when I was a kid was having one's picture taken with the monkey.

The clause does not refer to monkeys, but I can understand why Nottingham would wish to control photographers who are likely to visit there with monkeys. Mention has been made of the Goose Fair. That could be turned into a monkey house if unrestricted entry was given to photographers to take or purport to take photographs of people with their monkeys.

Mr. Nellist:

The clause refers to ways to which the public commonly have access, whether or not as of right". In Nottingham, at the royal ordnance factory, Beeston, there could be a situation similar to that in Staffordshire, where the GCHQ station, according to the ordnance survey map, is supposed to be a public way of access, but where notices state that the public have no way of access. Does not the clause raise many problems about which areas will be affected by it, and about whether or riot one should have regard to access in the ordnance survey or notices that are put up by Government Departments?

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

That is a serious point. I once discovered a regional seat of government—

Photo of Mr Harold Walker Mr Harold Walker , Doncaster

Order. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will not follow that line. I find it difficult to relate it to the amendment under discussion. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will try to revert to photography.

Mr. Nellist:

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. With the greatest respect to your judgment, I hope that you caught the fact that I referred to the royal ordnance factory in Beeston in Nottinghamshire. I asked my hon. Friend how he would define the way in which the public commonly have access. I wanted him to stick to the areas of Nottinghamshire under consideration in the Bill.

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

My hon. Friend could have gone further—he could have drawn my attention to the danger of people believing that they were in an open space, and taking a photograph for trade or business, and suddenly finding that they have photographed not an open space but a royal ordnance factory or a secret Government centre. I shall not refer again, Mr. Deputy Speaker, to the way in which I found the regional seat of government.

Subsection (7)(1)(a)(i) relates to a public off-street car park". Is it reasonable that people should be debarred from taking photographs is such a place? I think that it is, but the Bill's sponsors must say what is an off-street car park. I have looked carefully through the Bill for a definition. If a car park is off a road, is it an off-street car park? If it is at the end of an avenue, is it an off-street car park? If it is at the end of a cul de sac—as it often is—is it an off-street car park? The sponsors will have to give a definition.

It is perfectly reasonable to stop photographers and those who support to take photographs from entering public off-street car parks for that purpose. If I am parking my car, the last thing I want is somebody photographing me doing that. That would be almost harassment.

Photo of Mr Andrew Bennett Mr Andrew Bennett , Stockport North

If they were taking my hon. Friend's photograph while he was parking his vehicle, would they be safe?

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

Certainly not. No one in a car park is safe when I am parking my car, as those hon. Members who park on level 2 know.

What about the recreation ground? it is reasonable to allow photographs or those purporting to take photographs for trade or business to do that unless—this point should be added to the Bill to strengthen it—people say that they want to be photographed. Many of us who visit recreation grounds do not want to be photographed. We go there for recreation, not to be plagued by photographers with monkeys or cardboard cut-outs—[Interruption] I am glad that Conservative Members are giving me such support. I hope that I am not being offensive, but when I distinguished between the beautiful and the ugly, I was not excluding Conservative Members from the latter category. I shall be glad to have the support of some of those uglies for this amendment.

The Bill refers to a pleasure ground or open space under the management and control of a local authority and to a street or esplanade, parade, promenade or way There is a distinctly Victorian ring about that.

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

An arboretum would certainly be included if it was under local authority control—

It being Ten o'clock, the debate stood adjourned.

Debate to be resumed on Thursday.