Control of licensing is to return to the Home Office under the new coalition Government, a senior Tory source has told the Morning Advertiser.
Rumours that the Conservatives wanted to put the Home Office, the law-and-order department, back in charge of licensing were circulating before the election. These were stoked by the party telling the MA it wanted to "rationalise" the number of departments that deal with pubs in March.
The Department for Culture, Media & Sport was put in control of licensing under Tony Blair's Government, which pushed through the Licensing Act.
The Conservatives have said they want to "overhaul" alcohol licensing and moving the brief to the Home Office could be said to signal a tougher approach.
The well-placed Conservative Party source told the MA: "The licensing brief has been taken over to the Home Office."
The claim has been supported by the fact that the licensing brief has not been allocated to any of the new DCMS ministers flagged up on the department's website.
A Home Office spokeswoman was unable to confirm the claim.