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UK bends booze laws for royal wedding

2011-01-12 16:38
 
London - Britons celebrating the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton will be allowed to toast the happy couple in pubs into the early hours, under government plans announced on Wednesday.

Ministers are proposing keeping the bars open for an extra two hours past the standard 23:00 closing time on the wedding day - April 29 - and the following night.

The plans use powers that enable the home secretary to relax pub opening hours "to mark occasions of 'exceptional international, national or local significance'", crime prevention minister James Brokenshire told parliament.

‘Great news’

The plans are subject to a two-week public consultation by the Home Office interior ministry.

They would allow alcohol to be sold in pubs and clubs, and will also permit live and recorded music, dancing, plays and films until 01:00.

"The royal wedding is a time of national celebration and we want everyone to be able to participate," Brokenshire said.

"We recognise that people may want to extend their festivities to mark this important occasion which is why we intend to allow pubs, bars, community and village halls and other licensed venues to be able to open later."

Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association hailed the plans as "great news".

Public holiday

"It is really good to see the government recognising that this is a brilliant opportunity for us all to get together in the pub, to celebrate a great national event," she said.

"With state-of-the art television, great food and hospitality, pubs will be right at the heart of the royal wedding celebrations, and are the perfect place to enjoy the day."

The plans would apply in England and Wales - Scotland and Northern Ireland set their own legislation on alcohol sales.

William, the second in line to the throne, and Middleton announced their engagement in November after a seven-year romance that began at university.

The wedding, at Westminster Abbey in London, is set to be Britain's biggest royal wedding since William's parents, Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, married in 1981.

April 29 has been made a public holiday throughout the kingdom.

Prime Minister David Cameron told parliament Wednesday he would look at making it easier for people to close roads and hold street parties.


- AFP

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