Wakefield is no place for a Good Friday night out

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The Independent Online

If you have itchy feet tonight, don't head for Wakefield - the West Yorkshire city is the last place in the country to observe a Good Friday ban on dancing.

Wakefield councillors voted overwhelmingly last month to retain the prohibition of entertainment licences on Good Fridays, first introduced in 1983. The decision, which means that all the nightclubs in the city will stay closed, has been described by Brian Hazell, the council's Tory leader, as "a brilliant vote for Christianity".

The city's Labour MP, David Hinchliffe, agreed. He said: "We might be out on a limb but I am personally proud that the area takes this clear moral line. I don't think it's unreasonable to have a reminder of why we have a Good Friday to recall the crucifixion."

Many, though are less pleased with the ruling. John McLaughlin, who runs the city's Mustang Sally club, has vowed to fight it next year when, he believes, proposed legislation in the Government's White Paper on licensing reform will strengthen his case against the council.

Mr McLaughlin said: "We have a religious council. I appreciate their views but I do feel that they are not listening to the public on this occasion."

Ian Foulkes of the Local Government Association said Mr McLauglin had a good chance of success. He said: "If the White Paper on licensing reform follows the correct timetable, nightclubs will be able to challenge the law. We will be pleased when the current legislation goes - it stops the development of entertainment and leisure services which are an important part of the British economy."

Wakefield's hard-core clubbers, who are hoping that they will be able to dance the night away next Good Friday, will be taking their dancing shoes, and their money to Leeds, 10 miles away, this evening. The Majestyk nightclub has organised several coaches to transport revellers from Wakefield for the night.

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