Shisha Lounges

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:35 pm on 5th December 2018.

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Photo of Shabana Mahmood Shabana Mahmood Labour, Birmingham, Ladywood 3:35 pm, 5th December 2018

I thank all hon. Members who have contributed to the debate, as well as the Minister for not closing his mind to the idea of a national-level response and a new licensing regime for shisha bars. I take on board what he says about requiring a high threshold to be passed before somebody’s business can be closed. Members of my family, and my friends and constituents who go to well-run shisha places and have a nice time out, will not thank me for getting their lovely venue, which they enjoy, shut down. I am not a killjoy and I am not trying to get rid of good businesses and establishments; my concern is focused on where things go wrong, and at the moment I cannot accept that we have what is needed to head off such problems before they start affecting residents in the way that many in my community have been affected. I take on board what the Minister said about thresholds that must be crossed, and we must ensure that we have fully considered all the measures currently available. I hope that on further reflection, and given that he does not have a closed mind on the matter, I will be able to persuade him and his colleagues that a licensing regime is necessary.

Normal nightclubs can become troubled premises because they attract the attention of gangs or protection rackets—we know those things happen. I take on board the Minister’s point that there is no silver bullet, but there is a whole world of activity before we get to the serious end of the spectrum that a licensing regime could take into account. I will certainly take up the Minister’s offer of a roundtable, particularly by engaging with council officials from across the country who have a wealth of knowledge on these matters.