Oral Answers to Questions — Shops (Hours of Closing) Act.

– in the House of Commons on 4th March 1929.

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Photo of Sir Harry Brittain Sir Harry Brittain , Acton

50.

asked the Home Secretary whether in view of the difficulties arising out of the application of provisions of the Shop Hours Act, he will consider the appointment of a Committee to inquire into the question?

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

My hon. Friend appears to overlook the circumstances in which this Act was passed. I would remind him that it was preceded by a prolonged and detailed inquiry by an exceptionally strong Committee, which included nine Members of this House and represented every section of opinion, and that, with some slight modifications, the Act of 1928 gives effect to the recommendations of this Committee, which were practically unanimous. Moreover, the provisions of the Bill were fully discussed in this House, both on the Second Reading and on the Report stage, and exhaustively examined in Standing Committee, and both in this and the other House the Bill passed its Second and Third Readings without a Division. These facts show that the Act of last Session represented the clear and considered judgment of Parliament, and it would, in my opinion, be too early, when the Act has been only a few months in operation, to reopen the whole question by a further inquiry.

Photo of Sir Harry Brittain Sir Harry Brittain , Acton

Will my right hon. Friend believe that he has given me just the answer I wanted, as there is considerable misunderstanding throughout the country as to whether D.O.R.A. is dead or not?

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

I am more than delighted that I have been able to please my hon. Friend.

Photo of Sir Frank Meyer Sir Frank Meyer , Great Yarmouth

Is it not a fact that these alleged difficulties only arise out of the fertile imagination of hysterical journalists?

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

I am very glad, indeed, personally, to have been able to give this answer, because, as my hon. Friend knows, the journalistic attacks on me have been rather heavy lately, but I think when you travel about the country you find that there is very little opposition to the Act.

Photo of Sir Harry Brittain Sir Harry Brittain , Acton

Does my right hon. Friend not agree that it has been a Godsend to the cartoonists?

Photo of Mr Frederick Macquisten Mr Frederick Macquisten , Argyll

Does my right hon. Friend not think it is as wrong for this House to interfere with the right of an individual to work as long as he likes as to compel him to use the new Prayer Book?

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

If my hon. and learned Friend had taken that objection and carried the House with him, the Act would not have been passed, but the Act was passed, both on Second Reading and on Third Reading, without a single vote against it.

Photo of Mr Frederick Macquisten Mr Frederick Macquisten , Argyll

Does my right hon. Friend not know that I used all the power I could in Committee to get him to accept the reasonable view that a man is entitled to liberty to work as long as he likes, so long as he is working for himself?

Photo of Mr George Garro-Jones Mr George Garro-Jones , Hackney South

Has the right hon. Gentleman read the remarks of the right hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mr. Davidson), and will he forward to him a copy of his reply, in the hope that it will satisfy him as well as the other hon. Members?

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

I do not know that I am called upon to answer for my right hon. colleague, but I have heard from him that his remarks were entirely misrepresented.

Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

Will these remarks also be sent to the right hon. and learned Member for Ealing (Sir H. Nield)?

Photo of Sir Herbert Nield Sir Herbert Nield , Ealing

Has my right hon. Friend any grievance against the statement that I made, that it was an unfortunate utterance at that particular moment?

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

I Hope there will never be any question of a personal grievance between my right hon. and learned Friend and myself.