Skip to main content

Licensing Act 2003 (Royal Wedding Licensing Hours) Order 2018

Volume 790: debated on Tuesday 1 May 2018

Motion to Approve

Moved by

My Lords, I move on to something which I hope all noble Lords will feel very cheerful about supporting. This order makes provision to relax licensing arrangements and allow licensed premises to extend their opening hours on Friday 18 and Saturday 19 May, from 11 pm until 1 am the following mornings, to mark the occasion of the royal wedding.

On Saturday 19 May, His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales will celebrate his wedding to Ms Meghan Markle. I am sure that noble Lords will agree with the Government that this is a nationally significant event, for which people will want to come together to celebrate. Section 172 of the Licensing Act 2003 allows the Secretary of State to make a licensing hours order to allow licensed premises to open for specified, extended hours on occasions of exceptional international, national or local significance. Licensing hours have previously been extended for Her Majesty the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations in 2016, the FIFA World Cup in 2014, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 and the royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in 2011.

The extension will apply to premises licences and club premises certificates in England and Wales, which license the sale of alcohol for consumption on the premises. These premises will be allowed to remain open without having to notify the licensing authority and police via a temporary event notice, as would normally be the case. Premises licensed to provide regulated entertainment will be able to do so until 1 am on the nights covered by the order, even where those premises are not licensed to sell alcohol. This includes, for example, venues holding music events or dances as well as theatres and cinemas.

Premises which sell alcohol for consumption off the premises, such as off-licences and supermarkets, are not covered by the order. Premises which provide late-night refreshment—the supply of hot food or hot drinks to the public between the hours of 11 pm and 5 am—but do not sell alcohol for consumption on the premises will not be covered by the order; such premises will only be able to provide late-night refreshment until 1 am if their existing licence already permits this.

The order has the same terms as the equivalent orders relating to the celebrations for the Queen’s 90th birthday in 2016, the Diamond Jubilee in 2012 and the royal wedding in 2011. The relaxation is for a limited period and we believe that this is appropriate to celebrate an occasion of this sort. I hope noble Lords will agree with the Government that the licensing hours order is an appropriate use of the powers conferred on the Home Secretary by the Licensing Act 2003.

My Lords, the Minister should be congratulated on bringing forward a very cheerful order. I fully support her proposals. The impact assessment is very helpful and the evidence base is exceptionally helpful. I did not know that there were 155,000 licensed premises in our nation. One learns that a TEN is a temporary events notice and that it costs £21; and that an LHO is a licensing hours order. The department has clearly worked very hard to present this set of papers, which, as orders go, is very informative, ahead of the usual run of matters. Of course, it relates to a very cheerful event; surely a royal wedding is a splendid reason for a celebration, whether it is in the pub, the club or the restaurant. It is a very cheerful reason for having a better time than usual. One can only wish His Royal Highness and his charming fiancée all the very best.

My Lords, we welcome these orders. Can the Minister tell us why there is not an extension to the opening hours on the day of the wedding, bearing in mind that most licensed premises are only allowed to sell alcohol from 11 o’clock in the morning? The wedding does not start until 12 o’clock. Does she not feel that it would, perhaps, have been a good idea to allow early opening on the wedding day? Of course, there will be differences of opinion around the House as to whether people should be up drinking until 1 o’clock in the morning the day before a wedding, but bearing in mind that this has become a custom and that it is a similar order to those for the other events outlined by the Minister, we are happy to support these regulations.

My Lords, the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on Saturday 19 May promises to be a wonderful occasion and an opportunity for the whole country to celebrate. We all wish the happy couple a long and wonderful life together. I welcome the announcement that during the celebration period, the licensing hours will be extended. I declare my interest as vice-chair of the All-Party Beer Group and a member of CAMRA. I support responsible drinking and understand the value of a good local pub.

I very much support the order before us, but I did notice that on the impact assessment, reference was made to the 2014 World Cup. I remember the debate in the Moses Room on this; the noble Lord, Lord Gardiner of Kimble, responded. At that time, I thought that the impact assessment was very mean-spirited, because it recommended that the opening hours be extended only for the first round, as there was little prospect of England getting beyond the first stage of the competition. I hope that the Government will be a little more optimistic this time and keep it under review for the contest taking place in June and July this year. I am very happy to agree to the order in front of us today.

I thank the noble Lord, Lord Jones, for starting us off on such a positive note, and for his support for the order. I join him in wishing the royal couple many years of happiness together.

The noble Lord, Lord Paddick, questioned why we could not extend the opening hours. The hours are put in place not only to provide for people enjoying themselves but to be proportionate in breaking up the length of time people can spend drinking. I recall that when my daughter got married, I was quite strict about people drinking before the wedding ceremony, just because of the usual things that might break out after heavy drinking. However, we think this is a proportionate response to the royal wedding.

That was a very amusing anecdote about the 2014 World Cup, and I note the noble Lord’s interest.

Motion agreed.