MP Ian Lucas bids to ban glass in violent bars and clubs

Victims of pub violence are backing the idea but some bar owners say it would not work

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An MP is urging the compulsory use of plastic glasses and bottles in bars and clubs with a record of violence.

Wrexham MP Ian Lucas said his House of Commons motion was inspired after a constituent was injured by a glass bottle in a nightclub in the town.

Student Nicola Roberts has campaigned for alternatives to glass to be used since her face was cut open.

One leading surgeon who specialises in facial injuries called it "a very sensible public health initiative".

Start Quote

There are ways of making sure that pubs and clubs with poor record on violent incidents will not be able to use glass”

End Quote Ian Lucas Wrexham MP

"There are ways of making sure that pubs and clubs with poor record on violent incidents will not be able to use glass," said Mr Lucas.

"Nicola... a student at Leicester University, was in a nightclub in Wrexham when someone threw a bottle across the room and it smashed, cutting her face open," Mr Lucas explained.

"She had quite a few stitches to her face but happily she has recovered quite well.

"But she was motivated and raised the issue of why plastic bottles were not used in bars and clubs.

"I was moved by listening her passion on the subject so I have supported her."

Mr Lucas introduced his Plastic Glasses and Bottles (Mandatory Use) motion on Tuesday afternoon, using the 10-minute rule, a method commonly used by backbenchers to introduce legislation.

A date of 26 October was set for its second reading. The bill received an unopposed first reading but is unlikely to make further progress due to lack of parliamentary time.

He said he wanted to suggest that more action was taken to make clubs and bars use plastic bottles whenever they can to prevent similar accidents happening.

"My feeling is that there are various alternatives to glass available now," said Mr Lucas.

"They are much less dangerous. These kinds of incidents will happen with glass.

'Widespread support'


Christian Hughes

Christian Hughes, of Caernarfon, was injured seven years ago in a pub in Gwynedd

"We were out in the local pub for New Year's Eve and me and the wife now, girlfriend at the time, went from the taxi. When I came back into the room a bloke banged into me. I just turned around and he glassed me in my face.

"I've got a scar on my left eye and I'll have that for the rest of my life.

"It was someone he knew who has since apologised to him.

"He had no explanation really, he just said 'alcohol' but at the end of the day he's scarred my face forever now, hasn't he? So I'll need a lot more than an apology for the damage he has caused.

"I've got to live with the scar, but it's only a scar at the end of the day. I've still got my life haven't I?

"I've always said, even before I got glassed, they should have used plastic instead of glass in pubs. Not only for people bottling each other but if a bottle gets smashed on the dance floor and someone falls on it they are still going to cut themselves."

"We need to be ensuring that polycarbons are used instead of glass."

Mr Lucas said his motion had gained widespread support.

"It's about creating momentum and attention on the issue," he said. "I'm hopeful it will be taken on board.

His bid met the approval of Jonathan Shepherd, professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery at Cardiff University.

"This kind of ban is a very sensible public health initiative in town and city centre late night opening pubs and clubs," said Prof Shepherd, who has been involved in research on the effects of violence-related injuries treated at hospitals.

Prof Shepherd said several thousand assaults took place each year across England and Wales involving the use of glasses or bottles as a weapon.

"There are a lot of accidental injuries too," he said.

Prof Shepherd said the motion was very relevant for the kind of places such incidents happened, but added that he was not in favour of introducing a ban on the use of glass at venues with less frequency of violent incidents.

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