Dobson takes a contrary stand on licensing reform

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Related tags: Voting

The Publican can reveal how former health secretary Frank Dobson, a fierce critic of licensing reform, has twice voted in favour of the...

The Publican can reveal how former health secretary Frank Dobson, a fierce critic of licensing reform, has twice voted in favour of the legislation.

The MP for Holborn and St Pancras defended himself to The Publican when challenged over outspoken comments on extending pub hours, which appeared in the Daily Mail.

Despite claiming he is strongly opposed to thestaggering of hours and describing the Licensing Act as "an ill-thought out measure", Mr Dobson was present during the second and third reading of the Licensing Bill in 2003, and on both occasions supported it.

Mr Dobson said: "I voted in favour because I supported various aspects of the reform, but I have never supported staggering closing times. You can never agree with something in its entirety."

After helping vote the Licensing Act through parliament, Mr Dobson then backed the Daily Mail campaign.

"I do not think the Daily Mail campaign is irresponsible," added Mr Dobson. "But I don't believe pubs will all go for 24-hour opening either. I just don't see how staggering closing will prevent the problem of binge-drinking. The reform needed a more subtle approach."

Related topics: Licensing law

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