Consumer Protection (Committee)

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Commerce – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16 July 1959.

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Photo of Mr Norman Dodds Mr Norman Dodds , Erith and Crayford 12:00, 16 July 1959

asked the President of the Board of Trade, in view of the need to give greater protection to the consuming public, why he has omitted to appoint to the Committee on Consumer Protection anyone with knowledge of the Co-operative movement, which is a departure from the policy followed in respect of marketing boards.

Photo of Mr David Eccles Mr David Eccles , Chippenham

This Committee of Inquiry is not intended to be composed of representatives of particular bodies. The Co-operative movement will have every opportunity to put its views before the Committee.

Photo of Mr Norman Dodds Mr Norman Dodds , Erith and Crayford

But can the right hon. Gentleman explain why four members of the Committee have fifty-seven directorships of private companies, including Bon Marché and Selfridges? Is he not aware that the Committee that had terms of reference most closely representing those of this Committee was the Hodgson Committee on Weights and Measures; and that on that Committee the Co-operative movement had two members—Mrs. Rosa Pearson and Mr. F. W. Warwick? Does he not think that it would have been at least helpful to appoint to this Committee some representative of the 13 million members of this movement, with its unrivalled knowledge?

Photo of Mr David Eccles Mr David Eccles , Chippenham

I suppose that one can compose a Committee in two ways; either by appointing people who are the representatives of particular bodies outside, or by appointing people for their own sake, having regard to their individual experience. It was the second method that I adopted.

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Lewisham South

But surely it is the case that some of the members of the Committee are associated with private interests? I do not complain about that, but is it not the case that the outstanding representative organisation for the consumers is the Co-operative movement, which has about 13 million members? Can the right hon. Gentleman say why he has deliberately, and of calculation, gone out of his way to boycott representatives of that movement from serving on the Committee?

Photo of Mr David Eccles Mr David Eccles , Chippenham

I must say to the right hon. Gentleman that I have done nothing of the kind. I have gone out of my way not to put on this body a representative of a particular association.