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Extra toast to the bride and groom

BARS and pubs across the Capital could receive special 3am licences to allow revellers to drink into the night to celebrate the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Proposals which could see pub opening times extended by up to two hours on the weekend of the royal wedding in April will be presented to councillors next week.

They include an extension allowing all premises to sell alcohol into the early hours, or a policy to "look favourably" on pubs which apply for late licences on April 29 and 30. Under the same two-hour extension which runs during the Festival, nightclubs could remain open until 5am.

The issue arose after the Home Office ruled that pubs in England and Wales, where the closing time is often 11pm, could remain open for an additional two hours.

&#149 Should pubs be granted special late licences for the royal wedding? Vote here

Home Office minister James Brokenshire said the marriage was "an occasion for national celebration".

In Scotland, where pub closing times vary, each local authority must decide whether to grant late licences or not.

In Fife, where Prince William and Kate Middleton met as students at the University of St Andrews, councillors say individual premises will have to apply if they want to open longer on Friday, April 29.

In Glasgow, a one-hour extension has been granted for all bars on the day of the wedding.

Paul Waterson, of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, said he would like to see Scotland follow the English model.

He said: "The position in England is that the Secretary of State can make a decision which will be binding for unusual circumstances, which this is.

"Here, we've got no such part of the Act that allows us to do that. Every licensing board will make their own decision.

"We would obviously like the policy to be uniform throughout the country and would like to see pubs that want to open for the extra hours to do so."

Councillor Marjorie Thomas, convener of the local authority's licensing board, said: "A report on this issue will be considered by the licensing board on Monday.

"The board will be asked to consider three options: the status quo, a blanket extension of opening hours and the board giving favourable consideration to individual applications for extended opening hours."

 
 
 

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