asked the Home Secretary whether, in view of the disinclination of the London County Council to accept his advice that the legality of the use of automatic machines after the hours governing the closing of shops should be tested by a case in the High Courts, he will state what instructions it is proposed to give the Metropolitan Police in this respect in future; and what is the practice of the police authorities in the provinces with regard to the late use of these machines?
I have not yet been informed by the London County Council what action they propose to take in this matter. As the hon. Member is aware, the whole responsibility for enforcing the Shops Acts rests on the, local authorities who appoint inspectors for the purpose, and in the Metropolitan Police area all that the police are instructed to do is to report to the local authorities, if so desired, any infringements of the Acts which they may observe in the course of their ordinary duties. I have no informa- tion as to the practice in the provinces in regard to the use of these machines.