The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #55964   Message #877170
Posted By: McGrath of Harlow
28-Jan-03 - 08:58 PM
Thread Name: PELs Government v MU & lawyers
Subject: RE: PELs Government v MU & lawyers
Here's an email I've just sent to Dr Howells. (I thought I'd posted thsihere, but it doesn't seem to be here. So if it turns up inb anther thread, that's not intentional double posting):

Dear Dr Howells,
I am very puzzled by the apparent contradiction between a very clear and unequivocal pledge you made in a broadcast on 17th July 2002 and subsequent events.

In the broadcast, in conversation with Mike Harding, you promised that "as long as money isn't changing hands" sessions and singarounds in pubs without licenses which include an entertainment provision would be perfectly free to continue. "I'm very keen that we should make sure that that facility is there. There shouldn't be a problem. As long as money isn't changing hands."

When Mike Harding asked if you would make sure that under the new act English law would no longer criminalise such activities you said "Yes absolutely".

However the Bill at present seems to contains nothing that provides any such exception. It appears that musicians or singers enjoying a few tunes or songs in a corner of a bar open to other customers will be breaking the law, if there is no licence covering these activities, and so will the landlord who allows this to take place.

Would I be correct in assuming that you will ensure that the final version of the Bill does in fact guarantee the freedom of people in England and Wales to sing and make music in pubs - and for that matter other public places, such as coffee bars - even those which do not carry any licence specifically for entertainment purposes? If so I would urge you to consider including an amendment specifically stating this, rather than leave it to the brewers, landlords and courts to divine that this is the unstated intention of the Act. Otherwise this activity, which you so clearly stated you valued so highly, will be very much at risk.

Kevin McGrath