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Clause 3

Establishment of market

9.18 pm

Mr. Squire : I beg to move amendment No. 1, in page 2, line 13, leave out 80' and insert 50'.

The first thing that I want to bring to the attention of the House is self- evident : that amendments can be moved to private legislation. It may be that some hon. Members were under the impression that it was not so. In recent weeks there has been considerable discussion about this matter in the context of other measures. As my hon. Friend the Member for Upminster (Sir N. Bonsor) said, it is open to the House on Report to amend what was done in Committee. I stress that hon. Members are not bound by the Bill. This is a very important amendment. It seeks to reduce from 80 to 50 the number of pitches for which the Bill provides. In a sense, it is a probing amendment. As I was not privy to the Committee's detailed discussions, I have no way of knowing how the figure of 80 was arrived at. Perhaps it was estimated that the total yield from a site of 80 pitches would justify the existence of the market. Is it perhaps that and a little bit more, which is my own view? Is it considerably more than would be reasonable? Is it perhaps--we had some discussion on this in our previous debate--related to the market traders or to the market owners? Does it emerge from a minimum range of different types of stall? The Bill simply states that there shall be 80 sites, but we have no idea of the mix of those stalls. Many hon. Members will have markets in their constituencies and will recognise that there is a considerable difference between a market that may be 90 per cent. food and the impact that that has on existing shops or, as in this case, on an existing market, and a market that is more evenly distributed between different types of stall. We do not know the answer in this case. We must guess. What we know is that this is a precedent. As has been said, it is doing what the House and successive Governments for nearly 100 years have refused to do--that is, to change the charter under which markets operate.

That is why 80 looks a large number to me. We are creating a precedent and we should be going more gently. I do not know the size of markets elsewhere. I have no evidence on that and invite hon. Members who have markets in their constituencies to intervene and to give me their view, because I am not sure. We know the size of the Romford market--it has 300 pitches--but at this stage we know nothing more than that 80 is the number that the Bill requires.

Mr. Dennis Skinner (Bolsover) : There are markets and markets. They are all over the place. There is one called the Common Market, and the hon. Gentleman supports that. He comes here, pottering about and wanting to stop this market because it affects his constituents, yet the Common Market has affected more of his constituents than the Bill ever will. I am here to listen to what the hon. Gentleman has to say and because I am interested in street traders. Indeed, I dealt with that matter the other week on a private Member's Bill. The London Local Authorities Bill will

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affect the hon. Gentleman's market as well. It will result in the traders in his market being picked up by local government officials, especially if it is a Tory authority--is it a Tory authority?

Mr. Squire : Most of the authorities in the south-east are Tory.

Mr. Peter Snape (West Bromwich, East) : Just say yes.

Mr. Skinner : Well, if that is the case, the hon. Gentleman's traders will be treated just like Lady Porter is treating the Westminster street traders, not a hop, step or a jump from here--

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Paul Dean) : Order. The hon. Gentleman is making an intervention, which is already long. He is trying to tempt the hon. Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Squire) to talk about different markets. I am sure that he will not do that.

Mr. Skinner : I am trying to draw a parallel between the London Local Authorities Bill which dealt with 32 London authorities including this area, but not the City of London. That means that the hon. Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Squire) has a problem not only with this Bill, but one over and above it, and because of the Bill that went through the House the other week. I think that you were in the Chair, Mr. Deputy Speaker, for at least part of that debate, so you know the problem. I am simply saying that the hon. Gentleman wants to be absolutely clear because he has a double-edged problem. He should concentrate on that in the next few minutes--or more.

Mr. Squire : I am enormously grateful to the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) who has, indeed, given me a major and double-edged problem. I seek some support across the Chamber and I sense that a semblance of support is growing. If I were to be distracted--as you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, quite rightly say that I should not be--into considering matters relating to another market, clearly I might lose that support as well as antagonising you and that would be double bad news for me.

The hon. Member for Bolsover originally asked me about markets and mentioned what we might term a very common market. I am talking about a very uncommon market because, as the earlier debate showed, we are talking about something that breaks a precedent of over 100 years. Almost half of the right hon. and hon. Members in the House have at least one market town in their constituencies and-or an open market. They must be aware that the provisions of the Bill, which affect only the London boroughs of Redbridge and Havering, could easily be taken to affect every market in the country.

To return to the number of stalls, which is the subject of the amendment, I do not know what the mix of market stalls will be. Nobody knows. All that we know is that the market will be open six days a week and will have 80 pitches. That is an awful lot of trading. Without knowing the impact that the market will have, should we not proceed more cautiously? The amendment that I and my hon. Friend the Member for Upminster (Sir N. Bonsor) have tabled would allow 50 pitches. That would be a more reasonable number. It would still allow a range of goods, food and whatever else the market will specialise in to be sold.

If we are now agreed on the compensation terms, presumably it would cost less in compensation to have 50

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pitches, if, as I am led to believe, the market will be profitable. I and several other people who have examined the Bill consider that 80 pitches is excessive. I do not wish to delay the House too long. I suggest that the Bill be amended and the number of pitches reduced to 50.

Mr. Thorne : The figure of 80 was put before the Opposed Private Bill Committee. In its wisdom it decided that that was the right figure. My hon. Friend is entitled to his view, but I am afraid that that was not the view of the Committee. It will be perfectly possible to object to the figure if the Bill proceeds to another place, where it will also be examined by a Committee. The Committee of this House believed that the figure of 80 was right. I believe that was the correct decision.

Mr. Squire : The House deserves a little more explanation of how the figure was arrived at. I can only put some of the questions about it. It is important that the House is aware of the reasoning behind the decision of the Committee. We should not simply accept it.

Mr. Thorne : The figure of 80 was arrived at in the same way as the figure of 600 was arrived at for Romford. It was decided to have 600 pitches at Romford because that was the number of stalls that could be fitted into the market when the cattle market was taken away. The figure of 80 at Redbridge is the number of stalls that can be fitted on to the site that I described previously.

Question put, That the amendment be made :--

The House divided : Ayes 19, Noes 44.

Division No. 64] [9.27 pm


Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE)

Beith, A. J.

Colvin, Michael

Cryer, Bob

Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)

Evans, John (St Helens N)

Golding, Mrs Llin

Gregory, Conal

Haynes, Frank

Irvine, Michael

McKay, Allen (Barnsley West)

Meale, Alan

Nellist, Dave

Neubert, Michael

Pike, Peter L.

Powell, Ray (Ogmore)

Spearing, Nigel

Wareing, Robert N.

Wells, Bowen

Tellers for the Ayes :

Mr. Robin Squire and

Mr. Dennis Skinner.


Amess, David

Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)

Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N)

Bendall, Vivian

Boswell, Tim

Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's)

Browne, John (Winchester)

Carlile, Alex (Mont'g)

Carlisle, John, (Luton N)

Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)

Chapman, Sydney

Coombs, Simon (Swindon)

Cormack, Patrick

Durant, Tony

Fearn, Ronald

Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)

Fookes, Dame Janet

Forth, Eric

Fox, Sir Marcus

Garel-Jones, Tristan

Hague, William

Harris, David

Hawkins, Christopher

Jack, Michael

Janman, Tim

Kilfedder, James

King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)

Lawrence, Ivan

Maclean, David

Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick

Nicholls, Patrick

Page, Richard

Paice, James

Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey

Summerson, Hugo

Taylor, John M (Solihull)

Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)

Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)

Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)

Thorne, Neil

Thurnham, Peter

Widdecombe, Ann

Wilshire, David

Wood, Timothy

Tellers for the Noes :

Mr Nicholas Bennett and

Mr. James Arbuthnot.

Question accordingly negatived.

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Mr. Squire : I beg to move amendment No. 2, in page 2, leave out lines 17 and 18 and insert--

(2) A market established under this section may be held on such days of the week as the Council may determine, including Sunday.' Mr. Deputy Speaker : With this we shall discuss the following amendments : No. 3, in page 2, line 18, at end insert

save that the market shall not be held on more than two days a week'.

No. 4, in page 2, line 18, at end insert

save that the market shall not be held on more than one day a week'.

Mr. Squire : I feel rather like a one-man band because of the unavoidable departure of my hon. Friend the Member for Upminster (Sir N. Bonsor)--who began our opposition to the Bill in such a distinguished manner--and the continuing required silence of my hon. Friend the Member for Romford (Mr. Neubert) because he is a member of the Treasury Bench.

I remind the House and any new arrivals that the markets in Havering impose a duty upon me, as a residual Member for Havering, to put the arguments. These key amendments are intended to determine precisely on how many and on which days of the week the proposed new market in Redbridge will open.

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