The new Home Secretary has ordered a “complete review” of the nation’s disastrous 24-hour drinking laws in a bid to curb binge-drinking.
Supermarkets are also set to be banned from selling alcohol at a loss, a new Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition document has revealed.
Labour’s all-day drinking policy has been widely blamed for an increase in drunken violence.
The review raises the prospect that the law on 24-hour drinking will either be tightened up or scrapped.
Speaking at the Police Federation conference earlier this week, Home Secretary Theresa May said: “I was in Opposition when the new laws were introduced and I argued against them precisely because of the problems we have seen.
“I argued that those were the sorts of problems that would come about but I was told that we would have a ‘café culture’. We think they have produced problems on the streets.
“There are some other issues to look at around the binge-drinking culture that has grown up. We think it is right that we do review these laws.”
Her comments come just days after a judge blamed the controversial law for fuelling drunken violence.
Judge Christopher Harvey Clark QC, who made the comment after he sentenced a former soldier for a late night drunken brawl, called for a review of the 24-hour licensing laws after he became frustrated at dealing with cases of drunken violence “almost on a daily basis”.
Judge Clark said: “Speaking as someone who has to deal with such violence, almost on a daily basis, there is far too much violence and drunkenness on the streets of Bournemouth late at night.
“It may, in part, be due to the relaxation of the licensing laws. I would hope that relaxation is reviewed in the foreseeable future.”
Supermarkets have also been accused of fuelling Britain’s binge-drinking culture by selling alcohol at below cost price.
However, this practice is set to be banned by the coalition Government.
The coalition’s new detailed programme for government, which was released yesterday, contains a pledge to “ban the sale of alcohol below cost price”.
It also commits the Government to conducting a “review of alcohol taxation and pricing to ensure it tackles binge drinking without unfairly penalizing responsible drinkers, pubs and important local industries.”
Last month it was revealed that Britons are the worst binge drinkers in Europe, and Europe leads the world in alcohol consumption.
The findings, from a survey organised by the European Commission, revealed that Britons drink more alcohol in one sitting than people in any other EU state.
The study, which interviewed 18,000 people from across the EU, also revealed that twelve per cent of Brits consume more than seven alcoholic drinks in a drinking session.