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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 October 2005, 23:43 GMT 00:43 UK
Opposition bid to stop drink laws
Beer
The government says varying closing times will cut bad behaviour
The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are set to launch a last-ditch bid to block 24-hour drinking laws due to come into force on 24 November.

They hope to force votes on the timing of the laws' introduction using an obscure procedure known as "praying against a statutory instrument".

The Licensing Act specified no date, but it would normally be a formality for ministers to get one approved.

The Tories and Lib Dems fear an increase in binge drinking.

They also feel not enough has been done to reassure members of the public who have objected to longer opening hours.

'Enormous pressure'

The opposition parties hope to force votes on the timing of the laws in the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

BBC Political Correspondent Gary O'Donoghue said that in the Commons "there probably aren't sufficient Labour backbenchers prepared to support such a move to pose any significant threat to the government's majority".

But he said the government's lack of a majority in the upper house increased the threat of a defeat there.

Binge fears

"If ministers were to lose such a vote there would be enormous pressure to make substantive changes to the legislation," Gary O'Donoghue said.

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell has said violent binge-drinkers will be "severely punished".

Around two thirds of England and Wales' 190,000 licensed premises are expected to apply for extended hours.




SEE ALSO:
Opposition plan to halt drink law
11 Aug 05 |  UK Politics



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