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29 Oct 2008 : Column 985

29 Oct 2008 : Column 986

Question accordingly put, That the Bill be now read a Second time:—

The House divided: Ayes 228, Noes 14.
Division No. 303]
[6.14 pm


Ainger, Nick
Alexander, Danny
Baker, Norman
Barron, rh Mr. Kevin
Battle, rh John
Bayley, Hugh
Begg, Miss Anne
Beith, rh Sir Alan
Bellingham, Mr. Henry
Benton, Mr. Joe
Bercow, John
Betts, Mr. Clive
Blizzard, Mr. Bob
Blunt, Mr. Crispin
Borrow, Mr. David S.
Brake, Tom
Brazier, Mr. Julian
Breed, Mr. Colin
Brokenshire, James
Brooke, Annette
Brown, Lyn
Browne, Mr. Jeremy
Bruce, rh Malcolm
Bryant, Chris
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Burstow, Mr. Paul
Burt, Lorely
Butterfill, Sir John
Campbell, Mr. Gregory

Campbell, Mr. Ronnie
Carmichael, Mr. Alistair
Cawsey, Mr. Ian
Challen, Colin
Chaytor, Mr. David
Clark, Greg
Clark, Paul
Clarke, rh Mr. Tom
Clegg, rh Mr. Nick
Connarty, Michael
Corbyn, Jeremy
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Cousins, Jim
Crausby, Mr. David
Creagh, Mary
Cryer, Mrs. Ann
Cunningham, Tony
Davey, Mr. Edward
David, Mr. Wayne
Davidson, Mr. Ian
Davies, Mr. Dai
Dean, Mrs. Janet
Dismore, Mr. Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Dodds, Mr. Nigel
Donaldson, rh Mr. Jeffrey M.
Dorrell, rh Mr. Stephen
Drew, Mr. David
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs. Louise
Ellwood, Mr. Tobias
Ennis, Jeff
Farron, Tim
Featherstone, Lynne
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Foster, Mr. Don
Francis, Dr. Hywel
George, Andrew
Gerrard, Mr. Neil
Gilroy, Linda
Goggins, Paul
Goodman, Helen
Goodwill, Mr. Robert
Greenway, Mr. John
Grieve, Mr. Dominic
Grogan, Mr. John
Gwynne, Andrew
Hain, rh Mr. Peter
Hall, Mr. Mike
Hancock, Mr. Mike
Hanson, rh Mr. David
Harvey, Nick
Hayes, Mr. John
Healey, John
Heath, Mr. David
Hemming, John
Hendrick, Mr. Mark
Heppell, Mr. John
Hill, rh Keith
Hodgson, Mrs. Sharon
Holmes, Paul
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, rh Mr. George
Howell, John
Howells, Dr. Kim
Hoyle, Mr. Lindsay
Hughes, rh Beverley
Huhne, Chris
Hunter, Mark
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Jack, rh Mr. Michael
Jenkins, Mr. Brian
Johnson, Ms Diana R.
Jones, Helen
Jones, Mr. Kevan
Jones, Lynne
Jones, Mr. Martyn
Joyce, Mr. Eric
Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald
Keeley, Barbara
Keetch, Mr. Paul
Kennedy, rh Mr. Charles
Khan, Mr. Sadiq
Kramer, Susan
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Lamb, Norman
Laws, Mr. David
Lepper, David
Levitt, Tom
Lloyd, Tony
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter
Mackinlay, Andrew
Mactaggart, Fiona
Malik, Mr. Shahid
Mann, John
Marris, Rob
Marshall-Andrews, Mr. Robert
Martlew, Mr. Eric
McAvoy, rh Mr. Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCarthy, Kerry
McDonagh, Siobhain
McFadden, Mr. Pat
McFall, rh John
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
McKenna, Rosemary
Meale, Mr. Alan
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Miller, Andrew
Moffat, Anne
Mole, Chris
Morgan, Julie
Morley, rh Mr. Elliot
Moss, Mr. Malcolm

Mudie, Mr. George
Mulholland, Greg
Mullin, Mr. Chris
Murphy, rh Mr. Jim
Murphy, rh Mr. Paul
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
Norris, Dan
Olner, Mr. Bill
Öpik, Lembit
Pelling, Mr. Andrew
Pickles, Mr. Eric
Plaskitt, Mr. James
Prentice, Mr. Gordon
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Pritchard, Mark
Prosser, Gwyn
Pugh, Dr. John
Purchase, Mr. Ken
Raynsford, rh Mr. Nick
Rennie, Willie
Riordan, Mrs. Linda
Robathan, Mr. Andrew
Robertson, Hugh
Robinson, Mr. Geoffrey
Robinson, rh Mr. Peter
Rosindell, Andrew
Rowen, Paul
Russell, Bob
Ryan, rh Joan
Salter, Martin
Sanders, Mr. Adrian
Seabeck, Alison
Sharma, Mr. Virendra
Sheerman, Mr. Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Simon, Mr. Siôn
Simpson, Alan
Skinner, Mr. Dennis
Slaughter, Mr. Andy
Smith, rh Mr. Andrew
Smith, Angela E. (Basildon)
Smith, Sir Robert
Snelgrove, Anne
Soulsby, Sir Peter
Spellar, rh Mr. John
Spink, Bob
Stanley, rh Sir John
Steen, Mr. Anthony
Stoate, Dr. Howard
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Stunell, Andrew
Swayne, Mr. Desmond
Swinson, Jo
Swire, Mr. Hugo
Syms, Mr. Robert
Taylor, David
Thurso, John
Tipping, Paddy
Touhig, rh Mr. Don
Tredinnick, David
Truswell, Mr. Paul
Turner, Dr. Desmond
Walker, Mr. Charles
Waltho, Lynda
Ward, Claire
Webb, Steve
Widdecombe, rh Miss Ann
Willetts, Mr. David
Williams, Mrs. Betty
Williams, Mark
Williams, Mr. Roger
Williams, Stephen
Willis, Mr. Phil
Wills, Mr. Michael
Woodward, rh Mr. Shaun
Wright, Mr. Iain
Wright, Dr. Tony
Young, rh Sir George
Younger-Ross, Richard
Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. Dave Watts and
Mark Tami

Davies, David T.C. (Monmouth)
Davies, Philip
Evans, Mr. Nigel
Gray, Mr. James
Hands, Mr. Greg
Heathcoat-Amory, rh Mr. David
Hollobone, Mr. Philip
Hurd, Mr. Nick
Knight, rh Mr. Greg
Lilley, rh Mr. Peter
Redwood, rh Mr. John
Turner, Mr. Andrew
Tyrie, Mr. Andrew
Winterton, Ann
Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Peter Bone and
Mr. Christopher Chope
Question accordingly agreed to.
29 Oct 2008 : Column 987

29 Oct 2008 : Column 988

Bill read a Second time and committed.
29 Oct 2008 : Column 989

Canterbury City Council Bill (By Order)

Order for Second Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

6.25 pm

Mr. Julian Brazier (Canterbury) (Con): I shall be very brief, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Some months ago, we had extensive argument about the measure, so I shall say only that it is supported by all political parties in Canterbury and by local people and the local media.

The problem is that large amounts of police and council time are required to enforce the existing legislation, so in practice our 18 legitimate street traders are—

Mr. Greg Knight (East Yorkshire) (Con): Will my hon. Friend give way?

Mr. Brazier: I will not give way.

Our 18 legitimate street traders, who have paid for their licences—

Mr. Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con): Will my hon. Friend give way?

Mr. Brazier: No.

Those street traders face unfair competition from people from all over the country who have not paid for street trading licences but in practice are acting as street traders and not as pedlars. I urge the House to support the measure.

6.26 pm

Mr. Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con): I did not expect to detain the House by making a speech, but the introduction to the Bill was so short that I did not have the chance to put the point I wanted to make.

We hear yet again that the Bill is slightly different from the previous Bills we have discussed. The argument in the short introduction appeared to be that an enormous amount of police time was being used to enforce the existing rules. Can my hon. Friend the Member for Canterbury (Mr. Brazier) or another Member explain why enforcing a new Act will not require exactly the same amount of effort?

The argument is different from—

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Alan Haselhurst): Order. The hon. Gentleman has been attending debates on these proceedings long enough to realise that that is a generalised point. I have tried more than once to emphasise the distinction that the Chair has tried to make to assist the House, and which I understood the House had accepted all along. To overturn it at this stage would probably be against the wishes of the House, judging by the majorities that have been recorded.

Mr. Bone: I am grateful for that ruling, Mr. Deputy Speaker, and I apologise for straying. I was trying to make a specific point relating to the Bill, as there seemed to be a different argument, and the introduction was so brief that the position was not clear to me.

29 Oct 2008 : Column 990
6.28 pm

Philip Davies (Shipley) (Con): I shall make merely two points that are specific to Canterbury. The first is that the Bill, as I understand it, is intended to protect genuine shopkeepers selling their wares in Canterbury. In my previous career, working for Asda, I had cause to visit our store in Canterbury on many occasions—indeed, I was responsible for marketing it when it had a revamp about five or six years ago—and the House may or may not want to bear in mind the fact that I was never aware of any complaints about pedlars impinging on their business either from the manager at the Canterbury store, or anybody I came across in other shops in the locality.

My second point specific to Canterbury is that the Bill states that Canterbury council wants to regulate touting. Such a provision is not in the other Bills we have discussed thus far, but is something that Canterbury has decided to indulge in.

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee, of which I am a member, recently held an inquiry into ticket touting. I am not entirely sure why a local authority would wish unilaterally to take up the role of regulating ticket touting. As the Select Committee and the Government have made clear, it is a perfectly legitimate business.

Mr. Brazier: My hon. Friend makes a good point. The short answer is that, borough for borough, Canterbury is the busiest tourist centre in the entire country, in terms of numbers of visits per capita of local population. The truth is that we have problems with people touting for nightclubs, and with a variety of other activities. The problem is sometimes concentrated outside the cathedral, or in other places where people gather. That is why the council sought the introduction of the measure that we are discussing.

Philip Davies: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that clarification. I know that he is a great champion of his constituency, and he knows his local area better than I do—indeed, better than anybody else in the House. I certainly do not dispute his point. My point is that the provision seriously strays from those in the other Bills. If Canterbury decides to regulate touting, that will drive a coach and horses through the whole secondary ticketing market. Our Select Committee decided to hold an inquiry into the subject, and it found that it was a legitimate market. I repeat that the Government, too, found that it was a legitimate market.

It is one thing for people to sell their wares on the street, or to sell balloons outside shops, as we have heard, but tickets are quite another thing. If somebody buys a ticket to an event, it is theirs and they can do what they will with it. If they wish to sell it on to somebody else, so that that person can visit the attraction in question—the cathedral, in the case of Canterbury—that is a matter for them. I do not understand why Canterbury needs to interfere in the secondary ticket market; that seems to be a million miles away from the purpose of the other measures in the Bill.

I do not know about the issues relating to Canterbury cathedral, but if somebody buys a ticket to go to the cathedral, decides at the last minute, quite legitimately, that they cannot go, and sells the ticket on to somebody else, I do not see what business it is of the local council,
29 Oct 2008 : Column 991
or of the House for that matter. That is a completely different issue from that of pedlars. Many people, including tourists, may perfectly legitimately have bought a ticket to an event that they can no longer attend. Why on earth should they lose out because Canterbury city council has decided of its own volition that it will start sticking its nose into the secondary ticket market? I do not see the purpose of including that element in the Bill, whatever the merits of the provisions relating to peddling in Canterbury. I do not know whether they are a good or a bad thing; I am happy to listen to my hon. Friend the Member for Canterbury (Mr. Brazier) on that subject. However, it is a totally different matter when we start interfering in ticket-touting.

Mr. Bone: I went to Canterbury this year for a short holiday, and I have to say that I was not aware of a huge amount of ticket touting near the cathedral. It seems that a measure has been slipped into the Bill that makes it much more significant than the other Bills that we have discussed.

Philip Davies: My hon. Friend may be right, and in that sense, the measure may well be a solution looking for a problem.

John Bercow (Buckingham) (Con): It is always a pleasure to listen to my hon. Friend’s mellifluous tones. Tourism in Canterbury among hon. Members is obviously a growing concern, because, following on from what my hon. Friend the Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Bone) said, my wife and I have been to Canterbury to stay in a hotel on three occasions in the past 18 months. I point out to my hon. Friend the Member for Canterbury (Mr. Brazier) that I have not encountered anybody seeking to sell me a ticket, in a primary or a secondary capacity.

Philip Davies: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for having pointed that out. He is a great champion of the free market, and I am sure that he would not want to see any restriction on people buying and selling tickets if they wish to do so. If my hon. Friend did not encounter a problem, that reiterates the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Bone), who said that the Bill is a solution looking for a problem.

I have great admiration for my hon. Friend the Member for Canterbury, but I have to tell him that I found his explanation of why the legislation was required specifically for Canterbury rather unconvincing. He was talking about people having tickets for nightclubs—

Miss Ann Widdecombe (Maidstone and The Weald) (Con): Will my hon. Friend give way?

Philip Davies: Of course.

Miss Widdecombe: Can my hon. Friend enlighten me: how many times has he been to Canterbury?

Philip Davies: I would not like to answer that, given that I might well mislead the House if I gave a specific number. As I said earlier, I used to visit the Canterbury store regularly when I worked for Asda. I would say that I have visited the city on at least half a dozen to a dozen occasions— [Interruption.] Will my right hon. Friend allow me to make the point?

29 Oct 2008 : Column 992

My hon. Friend the Member for Canterbury said that people are buying tickets for nightclubs and for the cathedral. Lots of people may well buy tickets for nightclubs and for the cathedral in Canterbury; I do not doubt that for a minute. My point is that that applies to virtually every city in the country, particularly those with tourist attractions. I would venture to say that places with large sporting venues would be much more susceptible to ticket touting than Canterbury ever would be. I would have thought that Canterbury was one of the last places in the country that would want to interfere by regulating the secondary ticketing market.

Mr. Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con): Does my hon. Friend share my concern that the promoters’ statement in support of the Second Reading of these six Bills makes no mention whatever that any of the Bills contain proposals to regulate touting? Does he not think that a serious omission?

Philip Davies: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for pointing that out; I was not aware of that, as I have only recently become aware of this aspect of the Bill. It would be rather unfortunate if the House supported a Bill that specifically included the regulation of the secondary ticketing market, given that the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, on which I serve and which conducted a thorough inquiry into the issue, found that the secondary ticketing market was perfectly legitimate. Furthermore, the Office of Fair Trading has ruled that that is the case, and in answers to questions in the House the Government themselves have acknowledged that. We would be going down a slippery slope if Canterbury council decided that it would be the one council in the country to regulate the industry.

Mr. Brazier: On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. As far as I can determine, there is no reference anywhere in the Bill to secondary ticketing, although I have sat listening to my hon. Friend the Member for Shipley (Philip Davies) talking about that for some time. The Bill refers to touting for business, which is quite different.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. That is not a point of order, but a point of argument. I have listened to the hon. Member for Shipley (Philip Davies) and am wondering how far he will stretch his point. He has had a good outing so far and I hope that he will accept that he has made his point.

Philip Davies: Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I shall bear your wise words in mind and make sure that I do not stretch—

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. I hope that you will do more than that.

Philip Davies: Indeed; I will fully abide by your wise words, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I take the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Canterbury. All I will say is that the Bill is clearly badly drafted because it makes what touting is rather ambiguous. It would be foolish of us to vote on something when it appeared that we did not even know what we were voting about.

Mr. Bone: Does my hon. Friend agree that there may be a hidden issue that we have not discussed? He suggested that the Bill might be more appropriate in respect of large sporting arenas. If there were an international cricket match in Canterbury that I could go to at the
29 Oct 2008 : Column 993
last minute, I would turn up and try to buy a ticket outside the stadium. That would be impossible under the Bill.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. If that speculation were correct, I would probably find myself joining the hordes of people moving towards Canterbury, but I think that it is probably stretching the argument a little too far.

Philip Davies: In that case, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I will not respond to my hon. Friend’s point. Given your earlier comments, I will leave my argument there.

I hope that the House will reflect seriously on what the clause about regulating touting means in reality. Having listened to my hon. Friend the Member for Canterbury, I am not sure that I am any wiser what it means—to be honest, I am not sure that he is any wiser either—but it could have serious unintended consequences for the secondary ticketing market.

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