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Column 182

reject it, because it is a serious breach of the principle that we agreed a few months ago and it would be wrong to breach that principle.

I genuinely believe that if we pass the amendment we will be asked in 12 months' time to put superstores such as Sainsbury and Tesco in the same bracket, and then some other store a year later. The result will be total deregulation and all that that means, which is what I feared was many people's ultimate objective.

People will be able to do the shopping that they want to do during the six- hour period on a Sunday between 10 am and 4 pm. If they want to go to Sainsbury, Tesco or whatever the store happens to be--perhaps Pioneer, the Co-op superstore in my constituency, which opens on a Sunday--or to do some gardening or DIY, most people will be able to ensure that they go to the garden centre or DIY store between 10 am and 4 pm. Those stores will not lose any money if the amendment is rejected. If the trade is there, they will get it. It will merely mean that people have to shop between 10 am and 6 pm. [Hon. Members :-- "Four!"] I am sorry and thank my hon. Friends for correcting me ; it was a slip of the tongue. People will be able to organise their day and ensure that they get the plants that they want to plant or the piece of furniture that they want to put together. That is perfectly reasonable and, therefore, we should reject the Lords amendment.

Mr. Michael Alison (Selby) : The hon. Member for Lewisham, Deptford (Ms Ruddock), who spoke for the Opposition, ended her speech with a reference to a letter that she had received from a group of stores or shops. In my brief contribution, I shall echo that precedent by referring to a letter that I received from my friend Stephen May, who is one of the directors of the John Lewis Partnership.

I have no interest to declare in that partnership, other than that of being a fairly regular customer, but my friend makes an important point in recording that the John Lewis Partnership was certainly not an advocate of the six-hour option, but heard the House's judgment that it wanted something clear and simple. Lords amendment No. 9 would wreck that clarity and simplicity. It abandons the simple distinction between deregulation for small shops and six hours' trading for large shops by allowing large DIY stores and large garden centres to trade when they like. It introduces what I feel is grossly unfair competition in respect of the huge volume of non- DIY or gardening goods which those types of outlets can sell.

7.30 pm

The simple point which I want to leave with my colleagues is the extent to which the competition is unfair, and this is not a trivial matter. The sales of non-DIY goods in DIY businesses are more than the sales of all merchandise sold in John Lewis department stores, Debenhams or Argos. It would mean that a washing machine could be sold by a Comet section within a B and Q, but not in a Currys, and a carpet could be sold in Texas, but not in a carpet store. If amendment No. 9 stands, we shall be plunged back into anomalies, with shops pretending to be one thing when they are actually another and loopholes being exploited for commercial advantage. The law would be unclear as well as unfair, and clarity and fairness were certainly two of the major objectives which were secured and aimed at by the six-hour option that the House has adopted. I hope very much that the attempt to moderate, modify or change the

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system with the clear and reasonably fair principle with which the Bill left the House will not now be undermined by the acceptance of the Lords amendment No. 9.

Mr. Couchman : I have listened carefully to the arguments from the hon. Members for Ogmore (Mr. Powell) and for Burnley (Mr. Pike), and for once I find myself in agreement with them.

It is worth offering to the House the view of the chairman of the Shopping Hours Reform Council, Baroness Jay. She believes that, as the proposers of the six-hour option, the council does not support any changes which threaten that compromise. The Bill as drafted achieved a successful and careful balance between the concerns of consumers, citizens and employees, and she states that that balance was difficult to construct.

While Baroness Jay believes that there may be room for some adjustments--I think she probably means the issues that were settled in the previous group of amendments--she states that the council cannot support exemptions that may damage its integrity and standing.

The six-hour option first saw the light of day in my name in a private Member's Bill which was introduced on the Order Paper on the same day as the Bill of the hon. Member for Ogmore. It is impossible for me to support amendment No. 9. I regret very much the fact that small garden centres in particular have found themselves tangled up in the amendment with the big do-it-yourself shops. I was under absolutely no doubt that the owners of the big do-it-yourself stores, recognising that total deregulation would not find favour with the House, were content to accept the six-hour option. I regret that we have been faced with this amendment at all, and I for one will seek to disagree with the Lords.

Question put, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment :

The House divided : Ayes 160, Noes 293.

Division No. 270] [7.33 pm


Aitken, Jonathan

Allason, Rupert (Torbay)

Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)

Arnold, Sir Thomas (Hazel Grv)

Ashby, David

Aspinwall, Jack

Atkins, Robert

Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)

Austin-Walker, John

Baldry, Tony

Beresford, Sir Paul

Betts, Clive

Biffen, Rt Hon John

Bonsor, Sir Nicholas

Bottomley, Peter (Eltham)

Bottomley, Rt Hon Virginia

Boyes, Roland

Brandreth, Gyles

Bright, Graham

Browning, Mrs. Angela

Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)

Budgen, Nicholas

Butler, Peter

Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)

Cann, Jamie

Carlisle, Sir Kenneth (Lincoln)

Carttiss, Michael

Cash, William

Chidgey, David

Clappison, James

Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Ruclif)

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Coe, Sebastian

Colvin, Michael

Conway, Derek

Coombs, Anthony (Wyre For'st)

Coombs, Simon (Swindon)

Currie, Mrs Edwina (S D'by'ire)

Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)

Davis, David (Boothferry)

Deva, Nirj Joseph

Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James

Duncan, Alan

Duncan-Smith, Iain

Eggar, Tim

Elletson, Harold

Evans, David (Welwyn Hatfield)

Evans, Nigel (Ribble Valley)

Faber, David

Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)

Flynn, Paul

Fox, Dr Liam (Woodspring)

Fraser, John

French, Douglas

Gardiner, Sir George

Garnier, Edward

Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John

Gillan, Cheryl

Goodlad, Rt Hon Alastair

Gorman, Mrs Teresa

Gorst, Sir John

Greenway, John (Ryedale)

Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie

Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)

Column 184

Hargreaves, Andrew

Haselhurst, Alan

Hawkins, Nick

Hawksley, Warren

Hayes, Jerry

Heathcoat-Amory, David

Henderson, Doug

Hicks, Robert

Hodge, Margaret

Horam, John

Howarth, Alan (Strat'rd-on-A)

Hughes Robert G. (Harrow W)

Jack, Michael

Jenkin, Bernard

Jones, Lynne (B'ham S O)

Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)

Jones, Robert B. (W Hertfdshr)

Key, Robert

Kirkwood, Archy

Knight, Greg (Derby N)

Knox, Sir David

Kynoch, George (Kincardine)

Lait, Mrs Jacqui

Lang, Rt Hon Ian

Lawrence, Sir Ivan

Legg, Barry

Leigh, Edward

Lennox-Boyd, Mark

Lidington, David

Luff, Peter

Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas

MacKay, Andrew

McLoughlin, Patrick

McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick

Madel, Sir David

Malone, Gerald

Marland, Paul

Maxton, John

Moate, Sir Roger

Monro, Sir Hector

Montgomery, Sir Fergus

Moonie, Dr Lewis

Morley, Elliot

Morris, Estelle (B'ham Yardley)

Moss, Malcolm

Mowlam, Marjorie

Nelson, Anthony

Newton, Rt Hon Tony

Nicholls, Patrick

O'Neill, Martin

Oppenheim, Phillip

Ottaway, Richard

Page, Richard

Pickles, Eric

Portillo, Rt Hon Michael

Redwood, Rt Hon John

Rendel, David

Renton, Rt Hon Tim

Richards, Rod

Riddick, Graham

Robinson, Mark (Somerton)

Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)

Rooker, Jeff

Rumbold, Rt Hon Dame Angela

Ryder, Rt Hon Richard

Sackville, Tom

Scott, Rt Hon Nicholas

Shaw, David (Dover)

Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)

Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)

Sims, Roger

Skeet, Sir Trevor

Soames, Nicholas

Sproat, Iain

Stern, Michael

Stewart, Allan

Strang, Dr. Gavin

Sykes, John

Taylor, John M. (Solihull)

Temple-Morris, Peter

Thompson, Sir Donald (C'er V)

Thurnham, Peter

Townsend, Cyril D. (Bexl'yh'th)

Trend, Michael

Twinn, Dr Ian

Vaughan, Sir Gerard

Viggers, Peter

Waldegrave, Rt Hon William

Walker, Bill (N Tayside)

Ward, John

Waterson, Nigel

Watts, John

Wells, Bowen

Wheeler, Rt Hon Sir John

Whitney, Ray

Willetts, David

Tellers for the Ayes :

Mr. Michael Fabricant and

Mr. Michael Brown.


Abbott, Ms Diane

Adams, Mrs Irene

Ainsworth, Peter (East Surrey)

Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)

Alison, Rt Hon Michael (Selby)

Allen, Graham

Amess, David

Anderson, Donald (Swansea E)

Anderson, Ms Janet (Ros'dale)

Arbuthnot, James

Ashton, Joe

Baker, Nicholas (Dorset North)

Banks, Matthew (Southport)

Barnes, Harry

Barron, Kevin

Bates, Michael

Battle, John

Bayley, Hugh

Beckett, Rt Hon Margaret

Beith, Rt Hon A. J.

Bendall, Vivian

Benn, Rt Hon Tony

Bennett, Andrew F.

Benton, Joe

Bermingham, Gerald

Blackburn, Dr John G.

Blair, Tony

Blunkett, David

Boateng, Paul

Body, Sir Richard

Booth, Hartley

Boswell, Tim

Boyson, Rt Hon Sir Rhodes

Bradley, Keith

Bray, Dr Jeremy

Brazier, Julian

Brown, N. (N'c'tle upon Tyne E)

Burns, Simon

Byers, Stephen

Callaghan, Jim

Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)

Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)

Carlile, Alexander (Montgomry)

Carrington, Matthew

Channon, Rt Hon Paul

Chapman, Sydney

Chisholm, Malcolm

Church, Judith

Churchill, Mr

Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)

Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)

Clelland, David

Cook, Frank (Stockton N)

Cook, Robin (Livingston)

Cope, Rt Hon Sir John

Corbett, Robin

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