Restrictions on Sunday Opening of Large Shops

New Clause 1 – in the House of Commons at 5:15 pm on 23rd February 1994.

Alert me about debates like this

Amendment made: No. 52, in page 3, leave out lines 10 and 11.—[Mr. Peter Lloyd.]

Photo of Sir Peter Lloyd Sir Peter Lloyd , Fareham

I beg to move amendment No. 24, in page 3, line 18, leave out `retail'.

Photo of Miss Janet Fookes Miss Janet Fookes , Plymouth Drake

With this it may be convenient to take Government amendments Nos. 25 to 34.

Photo of Sir Peter Lloyd Sir Peter Lloyd , Fareham

After another debate in Committee, and consequent on an intervention by my hon. Friend the Member for Worcester (Mr. Luff), I undertook to consider whether it was possible to ensure that outlets that combined retail and wholesale trade, such as Costco, could be restricted in respect of trading on Sunday to the same extent as outlets that engage entirely in retail sales. That is the purpose of the group of amendments.

In the Shops Act 1950 "shop" is so defined as to catch any premises where any retail trade or business is carried on. It catches wholesalers who also engage in retail trade. But the definition stretches widely. It catches certain outlets that provide services or hire out goods. It catches premises where any retail trade is carried out, however minimal and whatever the premises' main purpose.

The Shopping Hours Reform Council adopted a different approach in developing the model that the House selected and defined "shop" as any premises where there is carried on a trade or business consisting wholly or mainly of the retail sale of goods. That has advantages as it excludes hire purchase and service shops as well as buildings such as churches, where the odd postcard might be sold. It also excludes outlets where the predominant trade is wholesale, even where significant retailing takes place. The amendments seek to remedy that defect while preserving the benefits of the definition as a whole.

Amendment No. 27 amends the definition of "shop" so that it becomes premises where there is carried on a trade or business consisting wholly or mainly of the sale of goods. No distinction is drawn between wholesale and retail for that purpose. However, if we left matters there, the Bill would inadvertently bring into the net all wholesalers and suppliers irrespective of whether or not they engaged in retail trade.

Amendment No. 28, which amends paragraph 2(1) of the schedule, would prohibit large shops opening on a Sunday to serve retail customers instead of just customers. As I forewarned members of the Committee, guaranteeing that the schedule applies to mixed wholesalers and retailers, without causing further mischief to the schedule, is a complicated business. That is shown by the fact that it took no less than 11 amendments to achieve. However, in substance, all that the amendments achieve is that any large outlet engaged wholly or mainly in the sale of goods is restricted to six hours retail trade on a Sunday and has to apply to the local authority for listing so to do.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Miss Janet Fookes Miss Janet Fookes , Plymouth Drake

Before we move on to the formal amendments, I must say that I do not take kindly to the host of private conversations taking place. If hon. Members wish to engage in them, they should do so outside the Chamber.

Amendments made: No. 25, in page 3, line 18, at end insert— '"retail customer" means a person who purchases goods retail;retail sale" means any sale other than a sale for use or resale in the course of a trade or business, and references to retail purchase shall be construed accordingly'.

No. 26, in line 19, leave out `retail'.

No. 53, in page 3, line 23, at end insert `and'.

No. 27, in line 25, leave out `retail'.

No. 54, in line 25, leave out from `goods' to end of line 33.

Photo of Mr Michael Alison Mr Michael Alison , Selby

I beg to move amendment No. 1, in page 3, line 36, leave out 'sub-paragraphs (2) and (3)' and insert 'sub-paragraph (2)'.

Photo of Miss Janet Fookes Miss Janet Fookes , Plymouth Drake

With this it may be convenient to take the following amendments:

No. 2, leave out lines 44 to 46.

No. 38, in line 45, leave out from 'shop' to end of line 46 and insert—

  1. (a)in respect of any Sunday other than a Sunday specified in sub-paragraph (b) below, before 1 pm, and
  2. (b) in respect of any Sunday falling within the period in any year commencing with 27th November and ending with 24th December, before 4 pm.'.

No. 14, in line 46, at end insert 'but this sub-paragraph has effect subject to sub-paragraph (4) below.(4) The exemption conferred by sub-paragraph (3) above does not apply where the Sunday is Easter Day or Christmas Day'.

No. 3, in page 4, leave out from beginning of line 36 to end of line 2 on page 5.

No. 39, in line 38, leave out from 'Sunday' to end of line 41

No. 40, in line 43, leave out from 'notice' to 'cancel' in line 47.

No. 41, in page 5, line 1, leave out 'superseded by a subsequent notice or'.

No. 4, leave out lines 4 to 21.

No. 42, in line 7, leave out from 'shop' to end of line.

No. 43, leave out lines 15 to 21.

No. 5, leave out lines 26 to 28.

No. 6, leave out lines 29 to 35.

No. 45, in line 32, leave out 'specified in a notice under paragraph 4 above'.

Photo of Mr Michael Alison Mr Michael Alison , Selby

The effect of amendments Nos. 1 to 6 is that the broad structure of the option that the House chose last December is left in place. There is no reversion to the "type of shop" approach that the House rejected on 8 December. The amendments retain the provision that all small shops, under 3,000 sq ft or 280 sq m, should be allowed to open. They also provide for a short list of exempt shops of any size at any time on a Sunday. Importantly, they delete the provision allowing large shops to open for six hours on a Sunday—the aching tooth that I seek to extract from the gum of the Bill. That extraction greatly shortens and simplifies the Bill. We no longer need a notification scheme or rules governing precisely how and where large shops can open. The list of offences is reduced. Most of the amendments tabled in my name shorten the Bill because the provisions are no longer necessary.

The main reason for once again asking which shops should be allowed to open on Sundays is the publication and subsequent Second Reading of the Deregulation and Contracting Out Bill. That allows shops to open from Monday to Saturday for 24 hours a day if they wish to do so. Although some reference was made to the possible introduction of the provision in the Government's White Paper on the deregulation Bill which was published last October, there was no confirmation that the provision would be included before the debate on the Sunday trading options on 8 December. It is striking that, in all that long debate on 8 December, no mention was made of the possibility of full deregulation from Monday to Saturday.

Clearly, the deregulation of shop opening hours during the working week has a major impact on the main arguments used against Sunday trading. I shall list a few of the implications for full weekday deregulation on the connected issue of Sunday trading, the first of which relates to consumer convenience. Many of those who argued in favour of Sunday trading at the end of last year did so on the ground that consumers needed the extra hours to shop on Sunday owing to the pressures of their weekday commitments. It was argued that many people could not get to the shops easily between Monday and Saturday and needed them to open on Sunday. It was alleged that it was extremely inconvenient for such people that shops did not open on Sunday. If shops can open from Monday to Saturday up to 10 pm or 11 pm, instead of closing at 8 pm —or 9 pm one night a week—as under the present law, weekday deregulation will add at least an extra 11 hours on to the 67-hour shopping week of Monday to Saturday. That is a 15 per cent. increase in shopping hours and represents a much longer additional period than is offered on Sunday under the Shopping Hours Reform Council proposals. If shops open until 11 rather than 12 o'clock, it will add a further six hours and represent an increase of 20 per cent.

Photo of Michael Fabricant Michael Fabricant , Staffordshire Mid

My right hon. Friend has been my sparring partner on this issue for several months. Although I take his point about the deregulation Bill and the extra hours that will be available on weekdays, when it comes to acquiring fresh food, plants and so on does not he accept that supermarkets still need to be open on Sundays? The extra hours on weekdays will not satisfy housewives' needs for shopping on Sunday mornings and afternoons.

Photo of Mr Michael Alison Mr Michael Alison , Selby

The next paragraph in my speech will address precisely the point about supermarkets' hours of opening.

Photo of Kevin Barron Kevin Barron Shadow Spokesperson (Work and Pensions)

If the right hon. Gentleman has such misgivings about the deregulation Bill, why did he vote for it on Second Reading?

Photo of Mr Michael Alison Mr Michael Alison , Selby

I am very happy with the deregulation Bill and am not criticising it. The hon. Gentleman misunderstands me. I am merely showing that the deregulation Bill's provisions were so sweeping and beneficial that there are good grounds for the House to decide that the need for the extensive opening of large shops on Sundays has been evacuated and eviscerated. Three cheers for the deregulation Bill, precisely as a result of that provision.

Photo of Kevin Barron Kevin Barron Shadow Spokesperson (Work and Pensions)

The right hon. Gentleman makes great play of the effects of Sunday trading, especially the issue of employees. Does he think that shop employees should work until 11 or 12 at night?

Photo of Mr Michael Alison Mr Michael Alison , Selby

It is not for me but for the shops to determine the hours that they may open during the week. The hon. Gentleman has probably received, as I have, a letter from Sainsbury. He may treat it with a grain of doubt, but it says that it does not propose to open any extra hours during weekdays. That remains to be seen, but it is not for me to decide.

In the light of the deregulation Bill, it must be decided whether large shops still need to open on Sundays. We can expect major supermarket chains, such as Tesco, Sainsbury, Asda and Gateway, to open frequently in the evenings until 10 o'clock if there is public demand, which is the key point. They have expressed a great willingness to try to meet the convenience of consumers, often claiming that they earn little additional profit in doing so. If large numbers of employed women find it difficult to shop during existing opening hours, we can expect supermarket chains—this is the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Staffordshire (Mr. Fabricant) —to open late in the evening to accommodate that wish.

I ask hon. Members to bear the following point closely in mind when envisaging what will happen on Sundays. I am reliably informed that, in the United States, 34 per cent. of supermarket chains open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Over there, it is difficult to find a large supermarket that is not open until 10 or 11 pm every day of the week. If all those extra hours are available on weekdays, the argument that we need Sunday trading for the convenience of consumers, including those who use supermarkets or fresh food stores—we shall also keep smaller shops open on Sundays—loses much cf its impelling logic.

Photo of Mrs Teresa Gorman Mrs Teresa Gorman , Billericay 7:15 pm, 23rd February 1994

It is mostly women who go shopping and, as my right hon. Friend will be aware, these days most of them go to work. Will he take it from me that, if a woman has been at work all day, shopping late in the evening, particularly getting home in the dark in the winter, is extremely unattractive? Does my right hon. Friend agree that shopping in daylight hours on Sundays and being able to take one's children and, if one is lucky, one's husband to carry home the shopping, is a much more attractive arrangement for women who work?

Photo of Mr Michael Alison Mr Michael Alison , Selby

My hon. Friend will agree that even better things can be done with one's family on a Sunday than haunting the halls of supermarkets if it is possible to get one's shopping done during the week, even in the dark. I am sure that a few fluorescent lights will be brought to bear on the supermarket environment. Better pursuits, such as my hon. Friend would want to engage in with family and friends, can then be indulged in on a Sunday.

Photo of Mr John Marshall Mr John Marshall , Hendon South

My right hon. Friend seems to be producing a shopping pattern for insomniacs rather than average families. Does he accept that most people would like to shop at midday rather than midnight and that, although America has many supermarkets open on Sundays, Sunday shopping there is accompanied by much greater church attendance than in the United Kingdom?

Photo of Mr Michael Alison Mr Michael Alison , Selby

My hon. Friend's reference to church attendance is superfluous and irrelevant because people who want to go to church on Sundays will do so and will find a chance to shop at other times. He makes too big an issue of the unsurpassed, ecstatic joy of being able to shop at midday, as if shopping in daylight were a sure sign of all the possible enticements, inducements, benefits and joys that could accrue to a human being. I remind him that shopping in daylight at 12 o'clock on a particular day of the week is not what everybody lives for. People want to engage in a vast number of other activities. On Sundays, they can find plenty of things to do other than shopping if the shopping chore can be dealt with during the most convenient hours, by day or night, from Monday to Saturday. My hon. Friend's point is, therefore, not compelling.

Photo of Ian Taylor Ian Taylor , Esher

My right hon. Friend is making an interesting case. I agree that shopping, at any time, is a chore and that shopping on Sundays is not the height of family values. Will he deal with the point relating to the freedom to shop during the week? If his argument is consistent—he says that it is up to shops to decide how long to open—surely the same applies to Sundays. If people decide voluntarily to shop in the evening when that becomes possible in the light of the deregulation legislation, the demand for Sunday shopping will no longer exist and shops will therefore decide not to open. The Bill does not oblige shops, whatever their size, to open, but gives them the possibility to open if the demand from the public is persistent.

Photo of Mr Michael Alison Mr Michael Alison , Selby

Sainsbury may have written to my hon. Friend, as it has written to me, saying that following deregulation it does not propose to increase its current weekday opening hours. But it may discover that Tesco, Asda, Waitrose, or Budgen intend to stay open until 10 or 11 or 12 o'clock on weekdays. In that case, I draw an analogy with people watching a spectacle. At first they are all seated, but one stands up to get a better view and slowly everybody else stands up to get a better view. In the end, they all stand up and no one gets a better view.

The application of that little analogy is that, one after another, shops will all be forced to open on weekdays until a much later hour. One will find that if one large shop is permitted to open on Sunday, the same phenomenon that I described for weekdays will occur. One after another, shops will, of necessity and due to commercial pressures, have to open on Sunday. No one will be better off and everyone will find that Sunday has become just another day. I have attempted to give a rational response to my hon. Friend's intervention.

Photo of Mr Peter Pike Mr Peter Pike , Burnley

When Sainsbury started to open on Sundays, it said that it had entered the Sunday market only because its competitors had done so and it felt that it had to follow suit. Does not that underline the argument advanced by the right hon. Gentleman? His predictions of what will happen with late weekday opening will prove correct, despite what Sainsbury says in the letter to which he referred.

Photo of Mr Michael Alison Mr Michael Alison , Selby

I am glad to have the hon. Gentleman's endorsement of, and support for, my analysis. I am sure that he is right and that we have correctly diagnosed the pattern that will evolve.

I do not want to delay the House too long, so I shall move on to my second argument in favour of restricting the opening of large shops on Sundays. One of the major concerns expressed about allowing Sunday trading concerned its impact on small shops. If large shops open on Sundays, most small shops will have to open to compete. The owner of a small shop cannot afford to keep his shop shut when his competitors' shops are open. Even the loss of a few percentage points in market share could lead to small shops having to close. We have seen the widespread closure of small shops in the past decade. Many run close to the margins of profitability.

Opening small shops on Sundays, however, adds greatly to the stress of family life. It means that there is no longer even one day when shopkeepers can rest quietly with their families. If, under deregulation, they face competition every evening of the week, potentially until 10 or 11 pm at night, what will be left of their family lives? Many small shops will need to stay open much later in the evening to compete with larger shops.

Photo of Mr David Mitchell Mr David Mitchell , North West Hampshire

My right hon. Friend said that small shops will be forced to open on Sundays and that family life will be damaged. Perhaps he does not fully appreciate that small shops need to open on Sundays and provide a good service because supermarkets are closed. It is the economics of being able to open on Sundays that enables small shops to stay in business. My concern and, I hope, that of my right hon. Friend is that many villages will be deprived of their small shops if their trade is swamped by the supermarkets on Sundays.

Photo of Mr Michael Alison Mr Michael Alison , Selby

The purpose of my amendment is to leave in place the proposal to allow the unrestricted opening of small shops of under 3,000 sq ft. My hon. Friend's argument is well taken. Those shops will have at least one day when the competitive pressures are such as to enable them to determine for themselves where their real interest lies.

The hon. Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron) keeps returning to his bone of contention about the Deregulation and Contracting Out Bill. If he thinks that that Bill will be responsible for some of the pressures on small shops during the week, he should at least endorse the principle that keeping big shops shut on Sundays makes the best of what is, in his view, a bad world.

Photo of Mr Michael Alison Mr Michael Alison , Selby

Before I give way to the hon. Gentleman, I remind him that I supported the Tobacco Advertising Bill, which he introduced.

Photo of Kevin Barron Kevin Barron Shadow Spokesperson (Work and Pensions)

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for that support. He was advancing the argument that the Deregulation and Contracting Out Bill will impose stress because shops will be able to open 24 hours a day.

Photo of Mr Michael Alison Mr Michael Alison , Selby

If the hon. Gentleman has diagnosed stress, let him accept the remedy, prescription, pill or drug—whatever he wants to call it—that I have prescribed to reduce it. That remedy involves shutting the big shops on Sundays and giving the smaller shops a chance to catch up some of the ground. The logic of his objection to the extra stress is for him to support the proposition that big shops should not be allowed to open on Sundays.

Everyone knows that there is no potential for increased turnover from opening on Sundays. Everyone agrees that extra money will not be spent if shops open for longer hours—the butter is simply spread more thinly over the bread. The argument in favour of protecting small shops from the pressure of competition from large shops on Sundays and the pressure imposed on their family lives by having to work all hours of the day and night is doubly strengthened by the Deregulation and Contracting Out Bill and its impact on Sunday-to-Saturday trade. More than ever, those who run small shops need one day when they are free from competitive pressures and when they can have a day of rest and quiet with their families.

Similar arguments apply to the 1 million or so shopworkers who will feel additional pressure to work on a Sunday. Longer weekday working hours will mean more irregular hours away from the home and family and will make it more difficult for shopworkers to spend time with their children when they are out of school, and with the spouse or partner when he or she is home from work. If we want to protect the home lives of our citizens and encourage families to stay together, we must pay attention to the impact of longer weekday hours on shopworkers. Longer weekday hours mean that it is even more vital to protect Sundays, when they can be at home with their families.

Urban residents will also suffer from longer weekday hours. Noise, bustle and general disturbance, including parking problems, will afflict them into the evening if shops can open until 10 or 11 o'clock, or even later.

Photo of Mr James Couchman Mr James Couchman , Gillingham

My right hon. Friend said that he has received the same letter as I received from directors of Sainsbury, which said that there will not be a significant lengthening of the hours that it will open during the week. That seems likely to be the same for all the major stores. Who wants to shop between 8 pm and 11 pm or even midnight? He cannot have it both ways. He cannot say that they are not going to open, but that they will have longer hours for deliveries. He is arguing against his own case.

Photo of Mr Michael Alison Mr Michael Alison , Selby

My hon. Friend has not followed the line of my argument, which was that Sainsbury has written to me, as it has written to him, to say that it is not proposing to extend its existing hours of opening. That should be taken with a pinch of salt because it is not the wishes of the customers that will determine Sainsbury's opening hours, although I am not implying that it is an anti-social outfit. What will determine its weekday opening hours will be what Tesco, Asda, Gateway and other such shops do. It only needs one of those to extend its opening hours for all the others to extend theirs. So I am being consistent in saying that deregulation will lead to a widespread extension of opening hours for all the big shops.

I repeat my figures about supermarket chains in the United States–34 per cent. are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days in the year. That is likely to begin to apply here under deregulation and it is all the more reason for having a precinct of sanctity, quiet and peace on Sundays, with big shops closed.

Photo of Mr Terence Higgins Mr Terence Higgins , Worthing

Does my right hon. Friend agree that although Sainsbury says that it will not open in the evening, it is assuming that it will be open on Sundays? Is it not more likely to open in the evenings if it cannot open on Sundays?

Photo of Mr Michael Alison Mr Michael Alison , Selby

I cannot be dogmatic about how it will behave in the evenings. I am simply saying that, in essence, my amendment is a limited fail-safe provision that, after deregulation, big shops should not open on Sundays because they are likely to be opening much more extensively on weekdays. That fail-safe provision will at least regulate and contain the impact of big shops in so far as they affect the one day that has traditionally been a precinct day for family life, relative peace and quiet, absence of bustle, confusion, noise and the necessity to deploy all the extra services.

Photo of Peter Tapsell Peter Tapsell , Linsey East 7:30 pm, 23rd February 1994

There have been a number of critical interventions during my right hon. Friend's speech. In a constituency such as mine, with 170 villages and about six market towns, it will be the death knell of the small shopkeeper if the amendment is not carried.

Photo of Mr Michael Alison Mr Michael Alison , Selby

I am grateful for the unquestionably weighty support of my hon. Friend, whose intellectual scope and power is widely recognised in the House. My hon. Friend's intervention is such an enormous advantage to the deployment of my argument that I can almost sit down.

Photo of Mr Donald Anderson Mr Donald Anderson Shadow Solicitor General

If we interpret the Sainsbury letter at its face value, do we not see that it is not Sainsbury's intention to extend its current opening? Sainsbury has altered its position on Sunday trading because of actual and anticipated competition. In the same way, its current intention, however honest, is likely to move with the movement of trade.

Photo of Mr Michael Alison Mr Michael Alison , Selby

That is inescapable and it is why we need a statutory safe haven, a ring-fenced day in the week when small shops can open if they wish but larger shops are barred from opening by the will of the House.

Photo of Tommy Graham Tommy Graham , Renfrew West and Inverclyde

The right hon. Gentleman said that in America some shops are open for 24 hours. I recently watched some programmes on Sky television and I noticed that shopworkers in America had to ride shotgun because of the lateness of their hours in 24-hour opening shops. I worked for Rolls-Royce on the night shift and nothing was more dismal and soul destroying than to be forced to do a night shift turn and have to spend it away from the family. At least Rolls-Royce paid us a premium wage for Sundays. The right hon. Gentleman may not be aware that we were not forced to work on Sundays in Rolls-Royce, but were expected to do so if the company was under pressure. But we got at least double pay. Britain's shopworkers seem to be treated as second-class citizens who can get their Sundays only if they can bargain and put in a good bid. I hope to catch your eye later, Madam Deputy Speaker.

Photo of Miss Janet Fookes Miss Janet Fookes , Plymouth Drake

Order. The hon. Gentleman has made his speech now. That was a very long intervention.

Photo of Mr Michael Alison Mr Michael Alison , Selby

The hon. Gentleman has made a valid point and I seek to recruit his support for my amendment by saying that the aspersions that he cast on big employers such as Rolls-Royce, which he would no doubt like to direct at large shopkeepers, retail stores and big multiples, are best avoided by preventing them from opening on Sundays. By that means the difficulties of double pay are entirely avoided.

I apologise to the House for taking so long, but I thought that it was right to give way to some interventions. It is reasonable to assume that when hon. Members decided to support the Shopping Hours Reform Council option on 8 December, they had weighed the arguments and had considered the desire of some employees to work on Sundays, although I think that the number of such employees is quite small. They also considered the convenience of customers in having access to shops on Sundays and that applied especially to married women in employment, although in a recent poll well under 10 per cent. of such women wanted Sunday shopping. They will also have considered the needs of small shops to have one day without competition from larger shops, the need for shopworkers to have a day with their families and partners, and the need for urban residents for a day of peace and quiet.

Deregulation of weekday hours tilts the balance of the argument much more in the direction of keeping Sunday special. That is what makes me believe that there is an urgent need to reconsider our earlier decision to allow all shops to open for six hours every Sunday. That is why I urge all hon. Members to support amendments Nos. 1 to 6.

Photo of Mr Donald Anderson Mr Donald Anderson Shadow Solicitor General

I was delighted to add my name to the amendments moved by the right hon. Member for Selby (Mr. Alison). I almost called him my right hon. Friend, because he certainly is on this issue. I congratulate him on the way in which he spoke to his amendment. Like me, the right hon. Gentleman believes in "back to basics," which we construe as applying to a Government who are honest about their intentions and who seek, as far as they are able by legislation, to encourage family values and do not put up obstacles to the proper functioning of the family.

It is certain that one of the effects of the Bill would be to add to pressures on the family, which the right hon. Gentleman and I—and, I am confident, a substantial number of hon. Members in all parts of the House—believe to be the cornerstone of our society.

I have two reasons for supporting the amendment. First, unlike the six-hour option, the amendment represents a true and fair compromise between the interests of consumers and retailers and their staff. Secondly, I support it because of the many absurdities that are likely to be generated by the six-hour option. Those two points are closely linked. It is precisely because the six-hour option would be so difficult and expensive for local authorities to enforce and to police that it would speedily degenerate into a total deregulation.

I have argued, and shall not repeat, that in no wise is the six-hour option a compromise: it is what those who want total deregulation feel they can get at this time. There is no logical stopping point, because people will say, "If six hours, why not seven or eight?" As some hon. Members have forcefully said, even the six-hour option would need to have hours on either side for deliveries and so on. In effect, it would take up the whole of Sunday. The Shopping Hours Reform Council option was designed to be, and is, a Trojan horse designed to smuggle total deregulation into our society.

Photo of Mr Peter Pike Mr Peter Pike , Burnley

In recognition of the stores that support the Shopping Hours Reform Council and the six-hour option, and the way in which they have been prepared to break the law for a number of years, surely one can have no confidence that, if the Bill is carried in its present form, they will not try to break the law to move to eight or 10 hours, as my hon. Friend suggests.

Photo of Mr Donald Anderson Mr Donald Anderson Shadow Solicitor General

I should have thought that it was also "back to basics" not to encourage law breakers, as the Government are seeking to do in the Bill, and to protect those such as Marks and Spencer who, against their financial interests, seek to obey the law.

People in Britain do not want total deregulation and it was overwhelmingly rejected by the House on 8 December. If one were to believe the bona fide credentials of those behind the Shopping Hours Reform Council, one would also assume that they want overall liberalisation. As one can see from their unsuccessful attempts to prevent American warehouse chains entering the country, however, it is not liberalisation that they want; it is market share and their own narrow trade gain and, alas, various sections of the House appear to have fallen for that.

As a result of the SHRC option, every local authority will be forced to spend resources drawing up a detailed register of the names, addresses and opening and closing times of every large store in the area and of every large shop wishing to trade on Sundays. That in itself is a major requirement to impose on hard-pressed local authorities which, as a result of other pressures, are shedding staff. Assuming that they had done that, local authorities would then have to police the opening and closing times which would have been registered by the stores in question. Because there are no set opening or closing times—the six hours have to be within a band—the local authority would have to ensure, so far as practicable, that the stores adhered to the opening and closing times that they had set out. That is an untidy system and would impose an additional unnecessary and unwelcome burden on our local authorities.

Each local authority will be required to have a large number of inspectors, to be on patrol every Sunday—presumably premium payments will be payable to them —to ensure that the new law, as laid down by the House, is respected and enforced. I fully accept the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Burnley (Mr. Pike). What confidence can we have, in the light of the law-breaking record of those stores, that they will rigorously adhere to the opening and closing times which they will have registered with the local authority? It may well be that the hon. Member for Gillingham (Mr. Couchman) has greater faith in those stores.

Photo of Mr James Couchman Mr James Couchman , Gillingham

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving way. Can he tell me how many officers the average local district council has had on duty on Sundays seeking to enforce the Shops Act 1950 in the past 40 years? I suggest that most of them have had none.

Photo of Mr Donald Anderson Mr Donald Anderson Shadow Solicitor General

The reason why there have been none is that those local authorities knew that they did not have the backing of central Government, particularly during the past few years. Therefore, it would have been wasted effort to employ officers who had many other duties to enforce the law when there was a clear signal from the Government —by the Government's inaction—that they were not at all interested in the law being enforced and obeyed. Had there been a clear signal from the Government that in these matters, as in others, they were interested in law and order, local authorities would have responded accordingly and would have had their officers enforcing the law.

Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham , Coventry South East

Does my hon. Friend agree that over the past two or three years local authorities, particularly environmental officers who normally would enforce the trading standards laws, have been under-resourced? Does he further agree that many local authorities did not know where the Government stood on the issue? Had they pursued the court cases and had the European Court ruled differently, councillors could have been surcharged for those actions.

Photo of Mr Donald Anderson Mr Donald Anderson Shadow Solicitor General 7:45 pm, 23rd February 1994

I fully agree with my hon. Friend, save in one respect: local authorities knew only too well where the Government stood. They knew that the Government were not interested in enforcing the law.

As every lawyer knows, although the referral to the European Court of Justice was done by the High Court on the basis that there was at least a minimally arguable case, there was no serious prospect of its being agreed by the European Court of Justice because every country in Europe has its own laws on Sunday trading.

It was a delaying device. The Government prevented local authorities from enforcing the existing law during the time—and it was known that it would be a long time—that procedures would be gone through in the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. It was a deliberate collusion between the Government and the law breakers. The Minister shakes his head. I can tell him that when the matter was referred to the European Court of Justice, it was asserted that it would take more than a year. With another hat on, I do some work in the European Court of Justice and it is well known how slow its procedures are.

Immediately upon that referral to the Court, it was clear that there would be a period of uncertainty. That period of uncertainty was increased by the Government when they refused to assist local authorities who knew that at a time of financial stringency they were risking their own poll tax or council tax payers' money. I understand from one local authority that more than £250,000 would have been at risk had the case been lost. Few local authorities would have been bold enough to risk that sort of money while the Government were doing nothing to enforce the law.

Photo of Sir Peter Lloyd Sir Peter Lloyd , Fareham

Should it have been right for the Attorney-General to intervene—I do not believe it was, and that was certainly not the opinion of my right hon. and learned Friend—the hon. Gentleman is suggesting that taxpayers' money should have been put at risk in the same way as charge payers' money was. That would not be a good use of the money when the law was obscure, because the High Court had referred the matter to the European Court.

Photo of Mr Donald Anderson Mr Donald Anderson Shadow Solicitor General

The law was clear in respect of the Shops Act and the existing law, as traditionally interpreted, would have prevailed while the referral to the European Court of Justice was taking place. The Minister makes an absurd point in suggesting that there is some equivalence between a local authority risking the money of its own ratepayers because of a technicality and central Government ensuring that law and order in this case, as in others, was enforced. The Government chose to do nothing.

Photo of Sir Peter Lloyd Sir Peter Lloyd , Fareham

I am not sure whether the hon. Gentleman was saying that the law was in doubt and that that was why the local authorities could not perform their duty or that the law was quite clear. If it was, why did local authorities not pursue their duty and obtain damages at no expense to local ratepayers?

Photo of Mr Donald Anderson Mr Donald Anderson Shadow Solicitor General

Clearly, the Shops Act had been interpreted in a certain way. As a result of the referral, there was only an arguable case. There cannot have been any serious expectation on the part of those who brought the case in the first place that they would ultimately win in the European Court of Justice. There could have been no such expectation because there is such a range of practices within EC countries. If that lobby had no serious expectation of winning, what was its motive but to buy time?

Photo of Mr John Marshall Mr John Marshall , Hendon South

Is the hon. Gentleman seriously suggesting that the High Court sent that case to the European Court of Justice to buy time for retailers—that the judges of this country indulged in a legalistic facade? If so, no one believes him.

Photo of Mr Donald Anderson Mr Donald Anderson Shadow Solicitor General

The hon. Gentleman makes an absurd point. I said that the motive of those who commenced the proceedings was to buy time. The nature of our laws dictated that the issue be taken to Luxembourg. It was known from past practice that that would take a long time —during which the Government could choose to enforce or not to enforce the law. That lobby knew that the Government were sympathetic, and it was allowed to get away with it.

As the absurdities of the SHRC option are made manifest, local authorities will again be unready to enforce the law. Matters will become more and more chaotic and, as sure as night follows day, we shall slide into total deregulation.

Photo of Martin Smyth Martin Smyth , Belfast South

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that those who supported complete deregulation said that they would vote for the SHRC proposals as the way forward? That supports the hon. Gentleman's argument that, the door having been opened, it will open much wider.

Photo of Mr Donald Anderson Mr Donald Anderson Shadow Solicitor General

Of course. The Shopping Hours Reform Council knew that its option was riddled with anomalies, would cause chaos and would eventually slide in the direction that the council wanted.

Total deregulation is not wanted here or by the people of Britain, who recognise the strong case for a common day of rest and relaxation each week. They acknowledge that Sunday is the principal day of the week on which time is spent with family and friends. They know that as a result of the Bill—in which the Government are colluding—that invaluable common day off will be permanently obliterated from national life, in the same way as Good Friday. It is a one-way ratchet and there will be no going back. The effect of the SHRC option will be that Sunday will become like any other shopping, working weekday.

Total deregulation is also not wanted by small shop owners—few of whom would survive eight-hour competition from larger stores. I ask the right hon. and hon. Members in all parts of the House to consider village stores, which play a tremendous community role, and the way specialised shops in high streets throughout the country are increasingly closing down. How many family butchers are left in our high streets as a result of competition from supermarkets?

Photo of Mrs Teresa Gorman Mrs Teresa Gorman , Billericay

In my experience, many small shops have gone to the wall because of the heavy rates and, sometimes, high rents that they have to pay—rather than lack of trade.

Photo of Mr Donald Anderson Mr Donald Anderson Shadow Solicitor General

I concede that rates are a factor. I know that the hon. Lady cares about this issue, and I ask her to consider also the case of markets. There is a market in my city, and I know many of the stallholders personally. The powers given to local authorities in the Deregulation and Contracting Out Bill will create competition that may be too much for them to bear. That process of eliminating small traders such as butchers and bakers through competition from supermarkets will certainly accelerate.

Photo of Tommy Graham Tommy Graham , Renfrew West and Inverclyde

We are always being told about the wonderful Scottish experience of Sunday trading, but I assure my hon. Friend that it creates many difficulties. In my area, police have to attend areas that were once quiet on Sunday to deal with traffic congestion. There is also pressure on local government services to ensure that shopping areas are kept clean and tidy. Much cost is associated with Sunday opening. I confess that my wife shops on Sunday, although not every Sunday. My final point—

Photo of Mr Donald Anderson Mr Donald Anderson Shadow Solicitor General

After that little warm-up, I look forward with eager anticipation to my hon. Friend's speech. He spoke of his experience of Sunday trading in Scotland, and I wholly agree that the character of Sunday will be fundamentally altered.

As to the point about rates mentioned by the hon. Member for Billericay (Mrs. Gorman), I imagine that they account for a small proportion of the total costs that bear on small businesses.

Deregulation is not wanted by small traders, or by urban residents—whose peace and quiet is likely to be fundamentally changed. Neither is it wanted by the majority of 2.2 million retail workers—contrary to the assertions of those who claim to speak on behalf of those workers.

Total deregulation is not wanted by policemen and traffic wardens. It is not wanted or needed by consumers, whose requirements will be catered for more than adequately by the combination of deregulated mid-week opening hours provided for in clause 17 of the Deregulation and Contracting Out Bill.

When we first discussed the options, there was a case for ensuring greater consumer choice. That was one of the more cogent points made by those who argued against my position, but that contention has been fundamentaly altered by the deregulation Bill. Any consumer will have ample time to shop on weekday evenings; yet the Government are still determined to destroy our traditional British Sunday —which is precious to us and has many positive social effects.

I congratulate the right hon. Member for Selby on his amendments, which meet the profound wishes and good sense of the majority of the public, who do not want Sunday to be just like any other day. They fear the commercial pressures to which we yield again and again, and that much that we value in terms of small shops, the peace and quiet of a Sunday and the ability to be with one's family at least one common day a week will be destroyed —and will not be capable of being recreated.

Photo of Mrs Angela Rumbold Mrs Angela Rumbold , Mitcham and Morden

I -recall clearly the arguments that we all listened to on 8 December. Many hon. Members in the House this evening will remember that I favoured the total deregulation option. It was not the will of the House that we should have total deregulation, but I do not accept the contention of the hon. Member for Swansea, East (Mr. Anderson) that the Shopping Hours Reform Council proposal is a Trojan horse or, indeed, that it is a short cut to getting total deregulation.

I did not think that that proposal was the right one for the House to adopt and I made that abundantly clear at the time. I believe strongly that we should allow people to make for themselves the choices that they want to make. That was not the choice of the House. Having voted on 8 December for the six-hours option, I determined that I would pursue that course, for some of the reasons that the hon. Gentleman articulated. If we are to have a day that is different, the SHRC option of six hours for the larger stores gives just that difference to the day. For example, the hon. Gentleman argued that small shops would also not suffer if we had the option that my right hon. Friend the Member for Selby (Mr. Alison) has just proposed.

8 pm

Photo of Mr Alf Morris Mr Alf Morris , Manchester Wythenshawe

For the record, will the right hon. Lady define the difference between what is in the Bill and total deregulation? Will she give her definition?

Photo of Mrs Angela Rumbold Mrs Angela Rumbold , Mitcham and Morden

I was just coming to that. The Bill will allow smaller shops the freedom to open at any time that they wish on a Sunday—the protection that so many people wanted to offer to small shops against what they saw as the predatory nature of the larger stores. The larger stores, however—those of more than 3,000 sq ft —will have to choose the six hours in which they wish to open during a Sunday. That is in itself protection for those small shops.

Photo of Mrs Angela Rumbold Mrs Angela Rumbold , Mitcham and Morden

The hon. Gentleman might say that, but it is a protection, because it shows that there must be a choice.

Photo of Mr James Couchman Mr James Couchman , Gillingham

Does my right hon. Friend agree that, with the total deregulation option, there would have been no question whatever of the substantial degree of worker protection that has been written into the Bill as it presently stands?

Photo of Mrs Angela Rumbold Mrs Angela Rumbold , Mitcham and Morden

That is one reason why I wanted total deregulation; it seemed to make eminent sense.

The other point that the hon. Member for Swansea, East made was that, under the six-hour option, there will be considerable extra work for the local authorities to police the law, as it will be if that is what the House wishes. I must put it to him that the option that Keep Sunday Special made included an enormous amount of regulation and policing, to such an extent that a majority of local authorities were in agreement that that was the very last thing that they wanted introduced, because it would mean so much extra work and extra costs for them and for the people whom they would have to employ.

Photo of Mr Donald Anderson Mr Donald Anderson Shadow Solicitor General

Of course I concede that, under the Keep Sunday Special option, there would be burdens on local authorities. I do not resile from that. All that I am saying is that the so-called liberalisation of the SHRC would also entail a substantial burden on local authorities. By so doing and moving inexorably—in my judgment—to total deregulation, we will do away with our traditional Sunday, which most people value.

Photo of Mrs Angela Rumbold Mrs Angela Rumbold , Mitcham and Morden

The hon. Gentleman is entitled to his view, as, indeed, I am to mine. I do not believe that the six-hour option will impose on local authorities anything like the burdens that the Keep Sunday Special

Photo of Michael Lord Michael Lord , Suffolk Central

Will my right hon. Friend give way on that point?

Photo of Mrs Angela Rumbold Mrs Angela Rumbold , Mitcham and Morden

I shall do so, although I should like to make a little progress.

Photo of Michael Lord Michael Lord , Suffolk Central

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for giving way because I am one of those who believe that this is simply deregulation by the back door. I accept the points that were made at the time. This was looked at as a compromise, but only because there were three matters before the House and this was the one in the middle. If we had started from scratch, with a clean sheet, and asked whether we wanted shops to open on a Sunday and somebody came forward with a "compromise" that allowed shops to open for six hours in an eight-hour day, that would not have been regarded as sensible. Bearing in mind a bit of opening at the beginning of the day and a bit of opening at the end of the day over the edges, to most normal people it must look like a normal working day.

Photo of Mrs Angela Rumbold Mrs Angela Rumbold , Mitcham and Morden

I am quite surprised at my hon. Friend. I thought that the House specialised in compromise. It was incapable many times of making a clear decision one way or another, which is why I deplore the fact that we were not able to choose the total deregulation option that was before the House at the time.

I want now to come to the point that was made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Selby. He believes that the Deregulation and Contracting Out Bill will enable stores to open for six days a week at any time. Therefore, following his reasoning, that will obviate the need for shops—particularly the larger stores—to open on a Sunday.

I believe that the shopping habits of the great British public are not quite as manic as some hon. Members would like to think. I do not see millions of people rushing to the shops at every minute or hour of the day that they are open. The habits of the shopping public are normally more rational and they are more inclined to go shopping at their convenience than at that of the shops. The shops can do no more than open and offer the opportunity to their customers. It will be entirely up to customers to choose when they go shopping.

I am fairly confident that the vast majority of women who take on the responsibility of doing the weekly shop will find intensely unattractive the opportunity to go shopping at the hours of 9 pm to midnight. I say that because substantial numbers of those women work extremely hard. When they have worked, they normally go home and prepare a meal, and often do chores. The very last thing they will want to do then is get into the car or on their bicycles, or on their feet, and go down to the local supermarket to do a shop.

I must tell hon. Members who are not accustomed to shopping that it is not a leisurely or enjoyable task. It is a task which must be done, but is quite hard work, requires a certain amount of physical capacity and can be very tiring. To assume that this suggestion will be welcomed by people who want to go and do their shopping in a more rational frame of mind seems quite absurd.

Photo of Mr David Alton Mr David Alton , Liverpool Mossley Hill

There are good reasons therefore for sparing people the necessity of going through precisely those exercises on a Sunday as well.

Photo of Mrs Angela Rumbold Mrs Angela Rumbold , Mitcham and Morden

I deeply disagree. I make no bones about this. I do not want to dictate when any shop or retailer should open, but if it is possible for families to go together and do the shopping, it is infinitely better for the person on whom the burden normally falls—that is, the woman—that she should have the opportunity of having her husband, and perhaps her children, accompany her. We are not talking about the weekly shop, although I was quite incensed at some of the ways in which that shop was described. I thought it demonstrated beyond anything that I have ever heard in the House a total ignorance of the burdens that women must carry. It was also suggested that few women—indeed, people—worked on Sunday and did not work on other days.

On the whole, women work extremely hard, whether they work for their living, look after their children or simply stay at home and look after the home. If they also have to take work during the week to supplement and subsidise the family income, for whatever reason, it seems quite outrageous that we should say to them that they can work Monday to Saturday up until midnight but not on a Sunday, and that one can only do that for extra money. Many of those women choose to work on Sunday because that is the day when it is most convenient for them, to ensure that the families stay together, because their partner is then able to undertake caring for their children. Families —the element about which we argue so often in the House —are more likely to stay together in those circumstances than if the woman has to work until midnight, which is a ridiculous idea.

Photo of Mr Alf Morris Mr Alf Morris , Manchester Wythenshawe

The right hon. Lady has spoken with some feeling about the problems of shoppers. She is a former Minister of State in the Home Office and I recall that she often spoke with feeling in support of what was said by the Police Federation. Now, the federation's general secretary says: To allow Sunday to become a day which requires high levels of manpower and police resources would have a serious effect on shift systems, and there is no doubt that police officers do require Sundays off to spend with family and friends". How does the right hon. Lady respond to that?

Photo of Mrs Angela Rumbold Mrs Angela Rumbold , Mitcham and Morden

When I was at the Home Office, I had no responsibility for the police, although I had other responsibilities.

Photo of Sir Peter Lloyd Sir Peter Lloyd , Fareham

As I said earlier, the Association of Chief Police Officers has made clear its view that any extra work that would fall to it would be manageable and negligible.

Photo of Mrs Angela Rumbold Mrs Angela Rumbold , Mitcham and Morden

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend.

Let me continue with what I was saying about the importance of understanding precisely what we are being asked to consider. We are being asked to consider an alternative to what we approved in our vote on 8 December —and that alternative is posited on the fact that because larger stores may have an opportunity to open six days a week throughout the night as well as all day, we should feel able to change our minds and deny families and others the chance to shop in such stores on Sundays, even for limited periods.

I believe that it would be best to uphold our vote of 8 December and to allow customers—including families —to make up their own minds about when they wish to shop. I feel extremely confident that many will continue to do what millions do already, irrespective of the notion that everyone wishes to spend Sunday at home—often, dare I say, bored out of their minds.

Many people like to go out as a family on Sundays. They do not necessarily want to do the weekly shop; many wish to visit garden centres, take the children to buy a new pair of shoes, look at furniture or buy materials for home improvement. Who are we to deprive them of that opportunity? Who are we to say that, with total deregulation, they can engage in those activities from Monday to Saturday, between certain hours? In fact, most families do not manage to get together in their homes until between 7 and 8 pm; they will almost certainly be condemned to shop late at night. What rational family will take the children out so late, or expect a woman to go out in the dark at a time when women, and elderly people in particular, are fearful about going out?

Photo of Quentin Davies Quentin Davies , Stamford and Spalding

My right hon. Friend makes an eloquent case for deregulation. May I ask who will pay the additional costs involved? Who will pay for the extra policing, the extra parking and traffic control and the extra garbage collection costs, for example? Will it be the shops that benefit from Sunday opening, or the general public—taxpayers, business taxpayers, business rate payers and council tax payers, including those who, for reasons of conscience or otherwise, prefer not to open their shops on Sundays?

Photo of Mrs Angela Rumbold Mrs Angela Rumbold , Mitcham and Morden

Many, of course, will not open their shops on Sundays. Precisely those points, however, have been considered very carefully, both in Committee and just now by my right hon. Friend the Minister, who answered adequately and eloquently on behalf of the Police Federation. He said that ACPO and other federations had said that the extra charges that may or may not accrue—I am not at all convinced that they will —would be negligible in comparison with the importance of giving people the opportunity to behave as they choose on Sundays, rather than as we dictate.

8.15 pm

Let me make the point about safety once more, because I think that it is important. We often assume that, because shops are open late at night in summer, that is a perfectly acceptable time for families to go out. In this country, however, it is usually dark when people go out in the evening, because we cannot grasp the nettle and bring our time arrangements into line with those of our continental counterparts. That, however, is a separate point, on which I shall not elaborate.

I feel that we are in grave danger of assuming that, because a deregulation Bill is before the House, it may somehow enable people to open their shops at different times and thereby attract more customers. For reasons of safety, I do not believe that any elderly people or many women will go out late at night; certainly, no families will allow their children to go out at such times, for good and sensible reasons. Therefore, I believe that very few shops will avail themselves of the opportunity to stay open enormously late: customers simply will not want to visit them.

This evening, hon. Members are trying to put a case based on a false premise—the premise that we know when people are going to go shopping. We do not know that; what we do know is that the experience of the past few years suggests that many people enjoy shopping on Sundays, during the day. Are we to deny those people the opportunity, simply because we think that they might go shopping late at night instead? I do not think that likely, and I urge hon. Members to think very carefully before voting for the amendment. I believe that such a vote would be based on a completely false premise.

Photo of Mr David Alton Mr David Alton , Liverpool Mossley Hill

We are considering three sets of amendments. There are what might be described as the "mornings only" amendments; there is the amendment tabled by my right hon. Friend the Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith) and me, which seeks to exempt at least Christmas day, when it falls on a Sunday, and Easter Sunday; and there are the amendments to which the right hon. Member for Selby (Mr. Alison) spoke so well, which seek to limit the size and scale of shops that may open, excluding the larger shops measuring more than 3,000 sq ft. All are attempts to return us to where we were in December, when the Keep Sunday Special option was narrowly defeated.

As we now know from our debates on the Floor of the House and in Committee, the changes made since then —both in the Bill itself, and following the introduction of the Deregulation and Contracting Out Bill—and the subsequent failure to include worker protection in this Bill make it clear that the votes cast earlier by many right hon. and hon. Members were conditional on future alterations. That is why these amendments are so crucial. I hope that many hon. Members, when they come to vote, will see them as a chance to put the Bill back on the right path.

The right hon. Member for Mitcham and Morden (Dame A. Rumbold) spoke in the debate on the original Bill presented by the hon. Member for Ogmore (Mr. Powell). It seems a long time ago that we first went through the arguments, as a kind of rehearsal for the debate to come.

The right hon. Lady and I have always disagreed on this matter; there is no point in disguising that. I disagree with her for a number of reasons. She has argued for complete deregulation and I respect the way in which she has put her view, but I do not agree with it.

Enough features of our life in this country have been "deregulated". There is a need to protect and safeguard our family life, our community life, church life, town centres and small shops, and to meet the needs of the elderly and the disadvantaged. We have already conceded far too much to materialism and consumerism. There is, therefore, a moral question to be considered about the deeper values of our society. The issue that we are debating goes to the heart of those.

We need time together as families and communities. Nothing can be more important than children and their parents having time with one another, or there being time in which to visit elderly people. If all the pressures are to be placed on us on a Sunday that are placed on us every other day of the week, what chance will we have to fulfil those duties? We speak so much about our rights and our choice, but what about our responsibilities, our duties and our obligations to one another? Sunday gives us the ideal opportunity for a pause in our lives.

Photo of Martin Smyth Martin Smyth , Belfast South

The hon. Gentleman was answering the arguments of the right hon. Member for Mitcham and Morden (Dame A. Rumbold). Does he accept that, just as she was making assumptions from our point of view to try to refute the arguments of the right hon. Member for Selby (Mr. Alison), the right hon. Lady was making some strange assumptions herself—obviously not fully aware of changing patterns of night life in our cities —when she postulated that no one would want to go shopping at night? In other words, there will be an opportunity for people to shop at night and, to confirm what the hon. Gentleman was saying, we are minimizing the proper opportunities for family leisure together on the one day that is available.

Photo of Mr David Alton Mr David Alton , Liverpool Mossley Hill

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for making that argument so well. What I found strange about the right hon. Lady's case was that she argued an entirely different case on the Deregulation and Contracting Out Bill and that she and some of her hon. Friends would say that we need to have those opportunities Monday to Saturday to shop 24 hours a day, because people need to have the chance to go out at night and so on. I do not dispute that, but let us consider the present moment.

We seem to have got by perfectly well for most of this century with the shopping arrangements which we have had and, in so doing, we have protected Sunday as a special day. It was the Government's own Auld committee, appointed in 1983, that concluded: the economic effects of deregulation are likely to be small; the social effects may not be. The social effects may not be. I believe that that is true. The social effects are likely to be considerable.

If I can offer even better advice than that of the Auld committee to the right hon. Member for Mitcham and Morden, it would be the advice that Winston Churchill once gave. He said that we needed Sunday and he described it as the necessary pause in the national life and activity". He said: it is essentially the day of emancipation from the compulsion and strain of daily work". He said: it is the birthright of every British subject, a day of personal, social and spiritual opportunity, and, above all, our great heritage, and one it is our responsibility, privilege and duty to hand on, to posterity unsullied by the commercialisation which is making its mark today. If that was true 40-odd years ago, how much more true is it today, with the pressures of commercialisation and materialism that abound?

I passionately believe, therefore, that we must do more to restrict, rather than to make available, Sunday as yet another day for shopping.

I am glad that the hon. Member for Sedgefield (Mr. Blair), who speaks for the Labour party on home affairs, is here for this part of the debate, because it reminds me of what he said, quite rightly, in the book "Reclaiming the Ground": There is right and wrong. There is good and bad", and that we had to understand the difference. In that book, he and other people quoted from R. H. Tawney, when they said that expediency alone should not justify the way in which we vote on issues. I hope that he will be present with us in the Lobby later, to put some real flesh on those remarks, because he has his chance tonight to protect a very important part of our national life.

Other hon. Members will speak about the amendments that deal with "mornings only". The amendments that I want to speak to specifically are those about Christmas and Easter. If we do nothing else today, surely we should exclude from the Bill Christmas day and Easter day. Easter day especially is a day when the pressures will he on for shops to be open. We heard from the hon. Member for Swansea, East (Mr. Anderson) earlier about Good Friday and the way in which that has already disappeared as a special day. The same is true of Easter day.

I hope that amendment No. 14 will be relatively non-controversial, although I doubt it, somehow. I suspect that the hon. Member for Hendon, South (Mr. Marshall), who I know would have been sympathetic if the amendment had merely mentioned Christmas day, will not support it if it includes Easter day. I hope to be proven wrong by him later, and perhaps I have stirred him into making a few remarks about that amendment.

I strongly support the right hon. Member for Selby's amendments, which are supported by Members in all parts of the Chamber. First, I believe that they would be a boost for small business. Small stores have been especially hard hit by the recession and by the sheer corporate muscle of the big superstores. Of course there is room in the marketplace for small food shops and for large supermarkets, but they can co-exist only if small businesses are given a chance to thrive on Sunday trade.

Large stores make only 5 per cent. of their turnover on Sundays, whereas up to 25 per cent. of small shops' trade takes place on Sundays. Under the Shopping Hours Reform Council option, Sunday trading, which is crucial to small shops' survival, could be cut by half. That is one reason why people should support the right hon. Gentleman's amendment.

Secondly, there is the idea of Sunday as a different day. If those amendments are accepted, Sunday will remain different from the other days of the week. Customers who need to shop for essential foods and household goods will be able to do so, yet the free-for-all of deregulation, with the noise and the environmental cost—issues which I mentioned earlier—and the pressures on small shops to open when the employees would prefer to be with their families, will be avoided.

Thirdly, there is the issue of damage to small shops. Small convenience stores have fought hard to remain viable in the face of increasing competition from supermarkets and superstores. Late night and Sunday opening have been essential to their survival.

In the past 20 years, 50 small stores on average have gone out of business every single week. In 1950, there were 650 supermarkets of more than 2,500 sq ft, and 145,000 independent grocers. In 1992, there were 769 superstores of more than 25,000 sq ft and only 35,000 independent local stores, compared with 145,000 in 1950. That situation will be made much worse unless we provide the protection that the right hon. Member for Selby is trying to provide.

All that is borne out by the "Retail Intelligence Report" for 1993, which reported: for major multiples, business that was formerly going to neighbourhood stores is being picked up as additional business. For small stores, the SHRC option is not a six-hour option but an eight-hour option, as different superstores choose to trade at different times. As we heard from the hon. Member for Swansea, East, not only will workers have to work an hour in advance of opening and an hour at the end of opening, but they will have the travelling time involved, which will require them to work up to nine hours on a Sunday.

Fourthly, there is the issue of job losses. The London Economics survey for 1993 stated that the SHRC option would lead to about 5,000 job losses. They would come mainly from the small shops sector. That is another reason why the amendment should be supported.

Fifthly, I want to tackle the myth of freedom of choice, which the right hon. Member for Mitcham and Morden advanced. The SHRC and the right hon. Lady seek to justify their deregulatory proposals in the name of freedom of choice. That argument is superficially plausible, but in practice it is bogus.

When small stores close as a result of a superstore trading on Sundays, the freedom of choice of millions of people, including some of the most disadvantaged groups, will be much reduced. The public understand this, even if the SHRC and the right hon. Lady do not. Eighty per cent. of respondents to a National Opinion Polls poll conducted in September 1990 said that they would oppose wider Sunday opening if it would cause smaller shops to close.

There is also the issue of community life. Small shops' decline undermines the social fabric of community life. The Rural Development Commission has emphasised the importance of small shops in rural communities. When they go out of business, it is the elderly, the disabled, women at home with children, and those without transport who suffer. Community shops are highly valued by the public. In September 1992, a Countryweek survey asked villages which of their institutions was the most important. The shop came first with 50 per cent., the church second with 40 per cent., the village hall third and the pub fourth.

Deregulation would not, as so many people have argued, lead to increased profits. Even those who advocate deregulation acknowledge that Sunday trading would not increase profits. John Dowd, the managing director of Morrisons, which was reluctantly forced to open on Sundays to maintain market share, said: There is no more trade to be had. There is only one cake; to slice into seven pieces rather than the six does not make the cake bigger". Even David Quarmby, the managing director of Sainsbury, admitted: It is not particularly commercial. I mean, it is almost profit-neutral for us. Although there may be a little extra trade for the superstores which currently open under deregulation, the advantage would be wiped out as all the competitors opened on Sunday.

8.30 pm

A study by the Small Business Research Centre in Cambridge found that only 10 per cent. of firms thought that Sunday trading would boost their sales and profitability. Half of firms thought that their profitability would decline.

In summary, the small shops sector has already had a foretaste of the effects of the Shopping Hours Reform Council option, since superstores, started opening on Sundays. It has had a detrimental effect on the turnover of local shops. Superstores do not need such trade—as we heard from Sainsbury, it is profit-neutral—but for small stores and shops, Sunday trade is crucial for survival.

If the SHRC proposal became law, the effect would be felt not immediately but within three to five years, when market share would be concentrated in the hands of superstores, and local shops and high streets could have virtually disappeared.

For those reasons, I hope not only that the House will accept my amendment dealing with Easter and Christmas and the amendments that seek to limit Sunday opening to mornings only, but that the amendment proposed by the right hon. Member for Selby, which deals with the size of shops—the big and the small and the less-than-3,000 sq ft option—will commend itself to every hon. Member, irrespective of party.

Photo of Mr John Hannam Mr John Hannam , Exeter

I shall follow on from the points made by the hon. Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill (Mr. Alton) in his excellent speech. He referred to other amendments in the main group and I speak in support of amendment No. 38 and the consequential amendments which stand in my name and that of the hon. Member for York (Mr. Bayley).

The amendments are straightforward and easily understood. Their purpose is to restrict the opening hours of the larger stores to Sunday mornings with 1 pm as the closing time. If the House were to accept them, we should achieve the best compromise, and we have talked much about compromise in this debate.

The half-day opening of shops has always been a successful method of giving staff a good family break and instead of having a complicated system of registration and notices of the particular six hours during which shops intend to open on Sundays, as will happen under the present six-hour shopping day proposals, no notices are required under our proposals. In addition, registration with local authorities, would not be necessary, although one of our consequential amendments would provide for a local registration system to assist local authorities, but that could easily be dropped by the Government if they felt that it was not necessary.

In the debate on 8 December, much was made of the suggestion that a six-hour option was the "compromise" option, but, in a situation where many hon. Members might not have ideally chosen any of the three options, the six-hour option may have been selected—by a very small majority of 16 on the second vote—as merely the best of what was on offer. If Sunday trading for large shops is to be controlled by the number of hours they are permitted to open, it is legitimate for the House to consider the exact number of hours. I should like to explore first how many hours constitute a real compromise and when they might best be accommodated.

The Deregulation and Contracting Out Bill, which has been published since the crucial vote on the Sunday options, will permit shops to open without restriction between Monday and Saturday. The extension of opening hours should influence our thinking on what represents a compromise for Sunday opening. We should also identify the competing interests that have to be reconciled in arriving at the right compromise. In this case, we must consider the interest of consumers and small shops, the environment, employees, families and the general quality of life in the community.

To allow shops to open for a half day, as we used to see mid-week or Saturday afternoons, would provide a total of one-and-a-half days within the two-day weekend. I believe that that is a much better compromise than allowing shops to trade for any six hours within an eight-hour window —that is, in effect, for the larger part of a normal working day. If one adds on the time before opening and the clearing-up time, one arrives at a normal working day. Incidentally, the amendments are in line with the pre-Christmas period of extended opening of up to seven hours on the four Sundays. Of course, under the amendments all small shops would continue to be able to trade without restriction throughout the year.

For the benefit of those who are anxious to avoid a return to the 1950 Sunday shopping law, I stress that the amendment would clear up various anomalies and simplify even more than the six-hour option. The question is how half-day opening would sit with retailers and their customers.

We must remember that retail interests have driven the campaign for Sunday shopping in the name of the Shopping Hours Reform Council and they are dominated by DIY and major food retailers such as Sainsbury's, Tesco, Safeway, Asda, B and Q, Texas and Homebase, all of whom have been willing to flout the existing restrictions and laws. However, we must accept that if Sunday trading is permitted for six hours, the forces of competition will drag other retailers in their slipstream, however reluctant they may be initially to trade.

The major food companies are now big retailers of non-food goods. Sainsbury's alone sells perhaps £2 billion worth of non-food goods a year. Marks and Spencer and the John Lewis Partnership, although they believe that Sunday trading will bring no long-term benefit, have said that they will not be able to stand out indefinitely if the household names are driven by competitive forces to open. Who else will resist? What will happen to the smaller shops?

If the better compromise is half-day opening, when should it occur? As I said, morning opening and afternoon closing have precedents. The early-closing day was of great benefit to many people and is still applied through employment laws in many European countries, in Belgium, Luxembourg and Austria, for example. Some may argue that it is better to open in the afternoon on a Sunday rather than in the morning, but that is not better for the consumer; nor is it better socially.

Consumers requiring DIY items or garden equipment on Sunday would be able to buy them sooner rather than later in the day. Equally, those wanting food would be more likely to shop in the morning before the mid-day meal. The same is true for garden centres. Consumer interest clearly backs the Sunday morning opening rather than afternoon opening.

From a social point of view, limiting opening to mornings only would be far more beneficial.

Photo of Mr David Nicholson Mr David Nicholson , Taunton

I came to hear my hon. Friend because he is a neighbour, but I am a little puzzled. Some people will want to shop for food and other household goods on Sunday mornings but it would be more normal to visit a garden centre or a DIY shop, and particularly a garden centre, on Sunday afternoon. What has he to say about that?

Photo of Mr John Hannam Mr John Hannam , Exeter

I do not understand the logic of my hon. Friend's argument. One would not want to buy plants at 4 pm or 5 pm on a Sunday and have to work all through Sunday night to plant them. I have discovered that many garden centres have shop buildings consisting of less than 3,000 sq ft, so that would allow them to stay open throughout the day. Most garden centres will be able to continue trading throughout the day, anyway.

As I was saying, from the social point of view I believe that Sunday morning opening is more beneficial. In the average active hours of the typical citizen on Sunday, from 8.30 in the morning until 10.30 at night, morning shopping could occupy the first four or four and a half hours of a 14-hour day. In the remaining hours, there would be benefits for all the other interests.

Smaller shops would have a better chance of competing with larger shops, thus preserving a vital service for villages and other local communities. Residents of high streets and areas near shopping centres would have peace and quiet for a decent proportion of the day. Shop workers would be home for Sunday lunch, and would be able to spend the rest of the day with their families. From the environmental point of view, half-day opening would limit the estimated increase of 1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year that would result from widespread full Sunday trading.

The most important argument about the proposal is that the retail and, more especially, the consumer interests that have driven the campaign for Sunday opening—DIY interests, the garden centres and the food stores—should be sufficiently served by half-day opening, without dragging along in their slipstream, however unwillingly, the rest of the retail industry. That, in turn, would bring real benefits for retail employees.

Those of us with real doubts about the effectiveness of a statutory right not to work on Sunday would welcome a situation in which there would probably be sufficient genuine volunteers for Sunday work on the scale projected for Sunday morning. There would also be less of a reduction in full-time weekday employment in favour of part-time weekend employment. That reduction is a forecast trend that clearly works against the interests of breadwinners' incomes and it is expected to reduce the overall number of jobs in retailing. We have already seen evidence of it in the increase in the number of pail-time workers.

I must take account of the argument that morning opening conflicts with church services. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Selby (Mr. Alison) said earlier, the six-hour option poses the same question. However, I suspect that church leaders would regard the morning-only option as preferable to six-hour opening. Many church-going colleagues have argued that those who wish to attend morning services will continue to do so, and they are right. Services last about an hour, so there will still be plenty of time for both worship and Sunday shopping for those who wish to do both.

A dictionary definition of "compromise" is: finding an intermediate way between the conflicting causes by the modification of each". If we are to have a compromise on Sunday trading, permitting larger shops to open until 1 pm, and until 4 pm on the four Sundays before Christmas, would provide a fairer balance between retail interests and the interests, indeed the survival, of small shops, the environment, employees, families and the community as a whole.

If the amendment in the name of my right hon. Friend the Member for Selby is rejected, I hope that the House will look favourably on amendment No. 38, which would achieve all that we need to achieve in clearing up the anomalies of existing shop legislation and allow all shops to open for a decent four and a half hours on Sunday morning, giving us all at least a peaceful half day with our families.

Photo of Hugh Bayley Hugh Bayley , City of York 8:45 pm, 23rd February 1994

It is a curious irony that while the House of Lords is debating the International Year of the Family, we are debating legislation that, whichever decision we make, will have real implications for the family.

I shall speak in support of amendment No. 38 and the consequential amendments so persuasively advocated by the hon. Member for Exeter (Sir J. Hannam). I agree with his arguments and there are one or two other points that I should like to raise, too.

On Second Reading, I supported the case put forward jointly by the Keep Sunday Special campaign and Retailers for Shops Act Reform, for two principal reasons. First, it represented the only option before the House on Second Reading that I believed was genuinely concerned with, and committed to, employee protection.

Several hon. Members have advanced the case that Sunday shopping is necessary because women feel unable to shop, or unsafe shopping, outside their normal working hours during the week. I shall read the House a short extract from a letter that I received from one of my constituents, Miss Phyllis Abba, a lady now retired: I worked at Boots when we had to do most of our shopping during our dinner time and I cut out a tea-break to make it a little longer for this purpose, because when we left at 6 pm, and 1 pm on half-day closing, most of the other shops were closed too. So when people talk of needing Sunday for shopping, in these days of much greater leisure, I am not very impressed. As someone who worked in the shop trade, she found ways to shop for her needs, despite the fact that, because of her employment, she was at work during precisely the hours when shops were open.

The second reason why I supported the Keep Sunday Special and RSAR compromise on Second Reading was my belief that the key issue is whether we want retailing to go the way of small local businesses or the way of national chains. I saw the argument as one between the town centre and out-of-town shopping, between the high street and the hypermarket. I believed that it was important to protect the interests of smaller businesses, which provide a range and diversity not, by their very nature, offered by a small number of large national stores whose shops sell exactly the same products whether they are in York or in Abingdon.

My heart tells me that I ought to support the zero hours option put forward by Keep Sunday Special—and indeed I shall vote for it. But my head tells me that that proposal may not carry the day. If it is carried, the amendment in the name of the right hon. Member for Exeter and myself will fall. If and only if Keep Sunday Special is not carried will the House have an opportunity to vote for our proposal.

We propose a genuine compromise which provides a genuine half day to allow people who want or need to shop on Sunday to do so. But it would also allow shop workers and others whom Sunday shopping would require to work on Sunday the opportunity to spend at least some of Sunday—the afternoon and evening—with their families, making it different from the days of the normal working week.

Photo of Mr Douglas French Mr Douglas French , Gloucester

I support the hon. Gentleman's half-day proposals; indeed, I suggested something similar on Second Reading. But will he say what arguments he has considered on the possibility of having half-day closing on Sunday morning and half-day opening on Sunday afternoon?

Photo of Hugh Bayley Hugh Bayley , City of York

In Committee, I spoke to and supported a similar proposition, but, on reflection, I have come to the opinion that a morning rather than an afternoon Sunday opening provides a better balance between the social need for time off and the commercial needs of retailers to open shops when people would choose to use them.

I understand the conflict between morning opening and church services, but, as the right hon. Member for Selby and the hon. Member for Exeter have explained, people who want to shop as well as go to church would be able to do so under this compromise proposal which allows four and a half or five hours opening on Sunday morning.

The six-hour option put forward by the Shopping Hours Reform Council differs only by degree from the normal eight-hour shopping day. A half day, by contrast, is a step-change difference.

Photo of Mr James Couchman Mr James Couchman , Gillingham

The hon. Gentleman speaks of a normal eight-hour shopping day. Most of the large stores now open from 8 o'clock in the morning until 7 or 8 o'clock in the evening. Thus, a normal shopping day is 11 or 12 hours.

Photo of Hugh Bayley Hugh Bayley , City of York

I speak of my constituency. With the exception of Thursday and Friday, the normal hours for almost all shops are 9 am to 5 pm or 5.30 pm. It is a shopping day of about eight hours. If the hon. Member is arguing that the nature of retailing is changing in such a way that more and more shops open 12 hours, he will have to accept that the argument for Sunday opening is weakened and is getting weaker day by day. When that is coupled with the implications of the Government's deregulation legislation, which will enable and encourage shopkeepers to open more hours of the day, the argument that some people cannot shop during the week will become less and less valid.

I should like to say a word or two about employee protection. I welcome the Government's concessions in this regard, but, as we all know, real protection will be impossible to enforce by statute. In the real world of nods and winks, shop workers realise that they will progress only if they conform to the wishes of their employers. When an employer wants seven-day opening, employees will, at the very least, compromise their career prospects, and perhaps even risk their jobs, if they do not go along.

Anyone who wants a future in the retail trade will have to agree to work on Sundays, and most will agree. Work will have to come first, and families second, seven days a week rather than just six. Shop workers know that protection can be obtained only by their going to an industrial tribunal and they realise that such redress is slow, that the penalties are inadequate and that, even if the judgment goes their way, their chances of reinstatement in employment are virtually nil.

Shop workers will have seen the press reports appearing even at a time when one might have thought that the retail companies would be keeping a low profile. I refer to the period of the passage of this legislation. There have been newspaper reports of the firing of shop workers who refused to work on Sundays and of the letter to Sainsbury managers telling them that if they wanted to keep their jobs they would have to go in on Sundays.

Photo of Hugh Bayley Hugh Bayley , City of York

Of course. They would, wouldn't they?

We all know that anyone who wants a career in a major chain that opens seven days a week will have to be prepared to work on Sunday.

Photo of Martin Smyth Martin Smyth , Belfast South

Does the hon. Gentleman accept that the best form of protection would be the old Puritan idea of double time on Sunday? There is some irony in the compromise that resulted in the proposal of the hon. Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill (Mr. Alton)—I refer to amendment No. 14—with a view to protecting Christmas, which the Puritans were against. The Bill is riding roughshod over all employment traditions and practices in this nation.

Photo of Hugh Bayley Hugh Bayley , City of York

I agree that double time would be a very good thing, but—sadly—we know that that will not happen. As such protection is not available, some other protection is needed.

The House has voted for a measure of Sunday trading. This will result in people who are employed in the retail trade having to work on Sunday. The legal protection embodied in the Bill simply will not amount to real protection for most employees. Protection can be provided only by a decision of Parliament that shops are not allowed to open at certain times and that any shopkeeper opening will be breaking the law. This amendment is a compromise. It provides that all shops will be able to open on the first part of Sunday, but that only small shops will be allowed to open for the rest of the day. Under all the proposals, the latter has been agreed to.

I should like, finally, to deal with a couple of technical points. The amendment proposes what was contained in the original Retailers for Shops Act Reform and Keep Sunday Special compromise proposal at the time of the Second Reading. The compromise was that shopping should be allowed throughout the day on the four Sundays before Christmas. That is a realistic and practical proposition, and it is provided for in the compromise that I propose.

At the time of the Second Reading, the SHRC presented an eight-hour opening period as a compromise. As we discovered in Committee, the period of disruption caused by shopping will be not eight hours but, taking into account the shopping-up period, eight and a half hours.

Photo of Hugh Bayley Hugh Bayley , City of York

It is eight and a half hours. Shops will be allowed to open from 10 o'clock in the morning until 6 o'clock in the evening, and people will be able to continue shopping until 6.30. That was presented as a compromise, but it was never a genuine compromise.

This issue has divided the House deeply for far longer than the period of my membership. If hon. Members want a compromise that will allow a measure of shopping on Sunday for those to whom that is important but also provide a measure of real protection for shop workers and their families, amendment No. 38 is a way forward, and I recommend it to the House.

Photo of Mr John Marshall Mr John Marshall , Hendon South

Listening to some of the speeches tonight, I sensed that I was listening to individuals who rarely, if ever, go shopping. We have just heard a speech from the hon. Member for York (Mr. Bayley), in which he suggested that his amendment was a compromise and that supermarkets would open at 8.30 in the morning and people would rush out to shop at that time. If he went round supermarkets on Sundays, he would know that relatively few people go in before 11 o'clock in the morning.

Even if amendment No. 38, tabled by the hon. Member for York and my hon. Friend the Member for Exeter (Sir J. Hannam) were accepted, supermarkets would not open before 10 am. So the amendment provides a three-hour option. It does not seem to me that a shopping day of three hours for supermarkets can be described as a compromise.

Let hon. Members who are thinking of voting for amendment No. 38 remember that they would deprive the checkout girls at Tesco of £24 every Sunday. Instead of having a six-hour working Sunday, they would have a three-hour working Sunday. I do not believe that it is up to Members of Parliament to salve their consciences at the expense of checkout girls at Tesco, Sainsbury and Asda. Amendment No. 38 is not a compromise. It is anything but a compromise. It would cut the working day to three hours rather than six or six and a half hours.

Amendment No. 14 has been tabled by the hon. Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill (Mr. Alton). I believe that he is wrong to say that on Easter Sunday people do not want to go and shop. If people want to buy plants from a garden centre, they will frequently want to do so on Easter Sunday. The hon. Member for Lewisham, Deptford (Ms Ruddock) made that point in Committee when we were talking about Easter Sunday. I had to remind the hon. Member for Mossley Hill that Easter day was always a Sunday. He did not seem to know that.

9 pm

Photo of Mr David Alton Mr David Alton , Liverpool Mossley Hill

If the hon. Gentleman will calm down for just a moment, will he be good enough to confirm that he does not believe that there should be any exemption for either Christmas day when it falls on a Sunday or Easter day?

Photo of Mr John Marshall Mr John Marshall , Hendon South

The hon. Gentleman knows that that is not true. I specifically offered to sign an amendment if he would limit it to Christmas day when it falls on a Sunday. I said to him that it was not right to impose his restrictions on individuals who wanted to go shopping for plants, go to DIY centres or to motor around the country on Easter Sunday. That is why I was willing to agree with him on Christmas day. I acted in the spirit of compromise, but he wanted all or nothing and was not willing to give way.

Photo of Mr David Alton Mr David Alton , Liverpool Mossley Hill

The hon. Gentleman will accept, because of his deep knowledge of the calendar, that Christmas day rarely falls on a Sunday. The festival of Easter begins on the Friday before Easter. Good Friday is a good example. It was once a special day in this country. It no longer is. Will not Easter day and Christmas day go precisely the same way as Good Friday if the hon. Gentleman does not support an amendment such as mine tonight?

Photo of Mr John Marshall Mr John Marshall , Hendon South

There is no reason why. It is a defensive position for spokesmen of the Church to come to the House and say, "Unless you give us the protection of telling people that they cannot shop on Easter day and Christmas day, those days will go the way of Good Friday." It is up to the churches in this country to have a message to give to the people of this country.

I was surprised today to receive a letter from the Bishop of London. I looked for a letter from the Bishop of London before we voted last Monday. Did I get one? No. Have I ever had a letter from him on overseas aid? No. Did I receive a letter from the Bishop of London when the House dealt with the abortion measure introduced by the hon. Member for Mossley Hill? No. The only issue that seems to concern the Bishop of London is Sunday trading.

Photo of William McCrea William McCrea , Mid Ulster

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Photo of Mr John Marshall Mr John Marshall , Hendon South

The Bill does not apply to Northern Ireland, so I will not give way to Northern Irish Members. If the churches of this country had a message for the people—

Photo of Martin Smyth Martin Smyth , Belfast South

On a point of order, Mr. Morris. Will you confirm that in discussing any motion before the House we are all equal within the House and that for a Member to refuse to give way to a person who comes from another part of the Kingdom is a shame on British democracy although it may reflect the attitude of the hon. Gentleman?

Photo of Mr Michael Morris Mr Michael Morris , Northampton South

All hon. Members are indeed equal, whatever part of the United Kingdom they represent, but when an hon. Member has the Floor it is entirely up to him or her whether to give way.

Photo of William McCrea William McCrea , Mid Ulster

Further to that point of order, Mr. Morris. Will you help me? As I seemingly have no right to intervene, will I have the right to vote at the end of the debate?

Photo of Mr Michael Morris Mr Michael Morris , Northampton South

I hope that the hon. Gentleman does not expect me to guide him on that.

Photo of Mr John Marshall Mr John Marshall , Hendon South

What I was really saying was that the Bill affects certain parts of the United Kingdom and not others. Those who heard my speech last time the House discussed the Bill will know that I gave way seven times during my speech. I am happy to give way, but I ought to give priority to those whose constituents will be affected by the Bill rather than to others whose constituents will not.

Photo of Mr John Marshall Mr John Marshall , Hendon South

To show that I am a man of tolerance, I will give way to the Jack-in-the-box on the Liberal Benches.

Photo of Mr David Alton Mr David Alton , Liverpool Mossley Hill

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman, but will he correct the record? He complained a few moments ago about the Bishop of London. The Bishop of London was not the Bishop of London when the measure that I promoted was before the House. The then Bishop of London, Graham Leonard, was a considerable supporter of that Bill and spoke in favour of it in the other place.

Photo of Mr John Marshall Mr John Marshall , Hendon South

I did not think that that Bill actually reached the other place, but the then Bishop of London did not see fit to write to the then hon. Member for Hendon, South about it in any event. This is the only piece of legislation coming through the House about which I have ever had a letter from the Bishop of London. It says something about the priorities of the Church that this is the only matter on which it sees fit to write to me. I would prefer it to write to me about overseas aid or some of the other great moral issues facing us.

There are good reasons why supermarkets should be allowed to open on Sunday. First, it is what the customer wants. It is no use the hon. Member for Mossley Hill referring to opinion polls. The fact is that more housewives go shopping on a Sunday than on a Monday, a Tuesday or a Wednesday. When I went round various supermarkets last autumn I asked people why they were shopping on that particular day. They told me that it was because it was convenient. The ladies were able to persuade their husbands to go with them, and some of the husbands may have paid the bill at the end. The children were out with them. On one occasion, I saw a son of about 40 taking his 70-year-old mother shopping. He had shopped for himself on the Saturday and was shopping in a different part of London with his mother on the Sunday. The consumer wants it. The housewife wants it.

Secondly, employees want it. A large number of them work only on a Sunday. They ask us to let them keep their Sunday money because they need it. It is not right for hon. Members to salve their consciences by preventing shopworkers from earning £48.

Photo of Mr Michael Morris Mr Michael Morris , Northampton South

Order. I should be most grateful if the hon. Member for Suffolk, Central (Mr. Lord) would sit properly in the Chamber.

Photo of Mr John Marshall Mr John Marshall , Hendon South

The third reason why supermarkets should be allowed to open on Sunday is that they offer—

Photo of Hugh Bayley Hugh Bayley , City of York

Before the hon. Member makes his third point, he has said that it is wrong of those such as myself who support the compromise half-day amendment to seek to deprive Sunday shopworkers of part of their earnings. Did he not hear the hon. Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill (Mr. Alton) say that the Home Office, on its own research that it commissioned from London Economics, had found that if the Shopping Hours Reform Council's proposal went through it would cut the number of whole-time equivalent retail jobs by some 5,000? So what the hon. Gentleman is arguing for—more opening on Sunday—will redistribute jobs, not create more, and will reduce the number of jobs and therefore the number of opportunities for people who need the money to earn it by working in retailing.

Photo of Mr John Marshall Mr John Marshall , Hendon South

I do not necessarily accept that if shops open for a longer time, one will end up with fewer jobs. It does not seem very logical. As one who was for many years a professional economist, I have always known that economic forecasts were never as precise as the hon. Gentleman seeks to make them. It was always said that if one had five economists in a room one would have five different opinions, unless Lord Keynes was one of them, in which case there would be six. So I do not accept that a particular survey makes that point.

The third reason why I believe that supermarkets should be allowed to open, not for the half-day option, but for somewhat longer than the three hours proposed by the hon. Member for York, is that prices in supermarkets are substantially lower than elsewhere. I have told the House before of a visit that I made to two shops in my constituency. One was 7-Eleven, the sort of shop that the hon. Member for York would keep open all day, and the other was Food Giant, a large supermarket. The basket of goods bought from Food Giant cost £13·74; precisely the same goods from the 7-Eleven store cost £18·35—

Photo of Michael Lord Michael Lord , Suffolk Central

Which one makes the most profit?

Photo of Mr John Marshall Mr John Marshall , Hendon South

The 7-Eleven store has never been a particularly successful retailer, while Food Giant, which is part of the Gateway chain, has been relatively successful. Neither of the two stores is brilliantly profitable, but Food Giant is slightly more profitable than 7-Eleven. However, I do not think that that is relevant to the issue, which is whether the customer should have the opportunity to do whatever he or she wants to do. The question we should address is whether the pensioners of Hendon should have the chance to buy pints of milk at 25p from Food Giant or at 38p from 7-Eleven. I believe that many customers would prefer to shop at low prices rather than to be cajoled or forced into shops with goods at high prices.

Today, one or two hon. Members have talked about the cost of Sunday opening and have mentioned refuse. Everyone connected with local authorities knows that every retailer has to have a trade refuse agreement with the local authority—that is certainly true of larger retailers. The store will have to pay for any refuse around it to be collected. I know that a certain amount of refuse is created on Sunday, but it is normally created by take-away food restaurants which are not subject to opening restrictions under the Bill. It is perfectly possible for Burger King to open at almost any time on a Sunday, create refuse and not pay for it to be taken away.

Parking is a subject which frequently upsets my hon. Friend the Member for Lancaster (Dame E. Kellett-Bowman). She should recognise that the one group in society that frequently supply car parking spaces for their customers to use are supermarkets. People visiting supermarkets in my constituency park in the supermarket car park. Difficulties would arise in my constituency if supermarkets were told that they could not open and people had to shop in Golders Green road, where double parking frequently occurs. Parking problems there are a thousand times worse than outside any supermarket.

People have shown that they like Sunday shopping. Individuals like to work on Sunday, and are queuing up to do so. We should listen to the voice of the British people. We have heard the name of Churchill mentioned this evening; I should like to quote the words of Lord Randolph Churchill, who said, "Trust the people". I believe that if we trust the people we shall obtain a perfectly satisfactory compromise.

Photo of Michael Fabricant Michael Fabricant , Staffordshire Mid

I do not intend to reiterate a number of the points that have already been made today and in Committee. The same issues were raised when I had the privilege to serve on the Committee that discussed the private Bill of the hon. Member for Ogmore (Mr. Powell), the Shops (Amendment) Bill.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Selby (Mr. Alison) raised a number of interesting issues. He said that small village shops would suffer if supermarkets were allowed to open on Sundays. In Lichfield, rightly or wrongly, the supermarkets open on Sundays—Tesco and Safeway both do so—and the village shops around Lichfield are thriving. There is a market for the supermarket and there is also a market for the small corner shop—the two are not mutually exclusive.

A number of hon. Members have said that there is no demand for Sunday trading—that is incredible, and I wonder whether they have ever been shopping on a Sunday. When I listen to some hon. Members, I wonder whether they shop at all. They may have husbands, wives or even, heaven forbid, servants who shop for them. As a single man, I have to shop on a Sunday and I can tell the House that the supermarkets are full—that is not only my personal experience; research shows that 25 million people now shop regularly on Sunday. A total of 11 million people shop every Sunday, so to say that there is no demand for shopping on Sundays is ridiculous.

The option to shop only on Sunday mornings is equally ridiculous. For those of us who work hard, which includes all 651 Members of the House, Sunday is the only opportunity for a lie-in. That means getting up, perhaps listening to the omnibus edition of the Archers, gradually getting dressed at 11.15 and strolling to the shops at midday. If shops closed after midday, there would be no opportunity to shop.

Some people in Lichfield would condemn me for listening to the omnibus edition of the Archers and others would say that I should be at the cathedral, which is only 50 yards from where I live. On some Sunday mornings, I do worship at the cathedral. How could I do that if I were expected to shop at the same time on Sunday mornings? It would not be practical.

9.15 pm

Another amendment says that, as a result of deregulation, ladies and gentlemen can shop from 9 o'clock in the evening until midnight on weekdays. That is a fallacy. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham and Morden (Dame A. Rumbold) asked, what lady in her right mind living in an inner city would go out at 11 o'clock at night and push her trolley round a shop? How can that be an alternative to shopping on a Sunday?

If the amendment were passed and if Third Reading did not go through, 180,000 people who now work in supermarkets and stores on Sundays would find themselves out of a job. Is that what hon. Members on either side want? For those worried about premium pay, may I simply point out that people who work on Sundays receive on average 1·9 times the pay that they would get on a weekday.

This group of amendments does not make sense and I urge the House to reject them.

Photo of Mr James Couchman Mr James Couchman , Gillingham

I congratulate my right hon. Friend the Member for Selby (Mr. Alison) on the way in which he introduced his amendments. He made an eloquent and elegant opening speech to introduce what are, none the less, wrecking amendments. Both he and the House know that. He said that shutting large shops on Sundays would ease matters for small shops. In saying that, without that pressure, small shops would not have to open on Sundays, he revealed his true position, for he would much prefer it if no shops opened on Sundays.

My right hon. Friend's views would find some sympathy from the group OPEN which has encouraged and exhorted hon. Members, as it did in its letter to me dated 21 February in which it suggested that we should support my right hon. Friend's amendments because they would take the pressure off small shops and allow them to open on Sundays, keeping all large shops shut. It quoted evidence from a London Economics survey, which forecast that if the Bill is enacted, 5,000 jobs will be lost in the small shops sector. If that figure is correct—I do not for a moment believe that it is—it compares with the 180,000 people who now work mostly in the large shops sector, who would lose their jobs if the amendments were passed.

Those who lose their jobs will lose an income that is important to their households and would not qualify for redundancy pay. Many people who work on Sundays are students who value an opportunity to add to their grants or loans.

We have heard a lot about employee rights from opponents of Sunday shopping. I received a letter, dated 16 February, from the deputy general secretary of USDAW, Bill Connor. He states: We welcome the incorporation of an employee rights package into the Sunday Trading Bill, which was agreed on Wednesday, 9th February 1994, ensuring that Sunday working will be on a voluntary basis in the retail sector for existing and future employees. Given the level of turnover and the number of part-time workers in the industry, we particularly welcome the right of access to a tribunal without any qualifying terms.

Photo of Mrs Elaine Kellett Mrs Elaine Kellett , Lancaster

The rights of future workers, on which we lost the amendment, are not covered.

Photo of Mr James Couchman Mr James Couchman , Gillingham

I am more inclined to take the word of the deputy general secretary of USDAW. He makes it clear that those rights will exist for present and future employees and that they will have access to a tribunal without any qualifying service or number of hours worked.

Interestingly, Mr. Connor also states: If one looks specifically at premium payments, as an example, it is in the major companies with whom we have agreements that our members receive either double-time payments or some significant premium for working on a Sunday. In the smaller stores premium payments have virtually disappeared". If the amendments are passed, they would restrict the number of people who work on a Sunday who would receive premium pay.

Photo of Sir Nicholas Fairbairn Sir Nicholas Fairbairn , Perth and Kinross

We do not have any of those idiotic regulations in Scotland. How is anyone to shop on Monday if someone does not man the heating, lights and transport on Sunday? Is it not all a lot of bogus hypocrisy?

Photo of Mr James Couchman Mr James Couchman , Gillingham

I am interested in that intervention by my hon. and learned Friend. It is not the first intervention from a Scottish Member. I think that it was the hon. Member for Renfrew, West and Inverclyde (Mr. Graham) who, in a long intervention, said that his wife enjoyed shopping on Sundays. How many Scottish Members, particularly those on the Opposition Benches, will feel inclined to deprive English housewives of the right to shop in the shop of their choice on a Sunday while allowing their wives to continue to shop in whatever shop chooses to open in Scotland on Sunday?

In his letter, Mr. Connor also talks of an agreement that he and his union have reached with the major employers who make up the principal supporters of the Shopping Hours Reform Council. That agreement with Sainsbury, Tesco, Kingfisher, Boots, Dixons, Asda, Argyll, and W H Smith includes all sorts of undertakings and in it the employers reaffirm their statement … that they will continue to pay current premium rates of pay to Sunday employees … that they would only require employees to give one month's notice of their intention to opt out of Sunday work … that they would incorporate the right to opt out of Sunday work into employees' terms and conditions of employment … that they would endeavour to make the opting-out procedure as simple as possible … that where an existing shop worker opts out of Sunday work the employer will use his/her best endeavour to reschedule the employee's lost working hours elsewhere subject to the needs of the business. Interestingly, the agreement also states that if the standard working week for shop floor employees shall not exceed 39 hours … hours worked in excess of this will be paid at currently agreed rates. Because of that agreement, Mr. Connor exhorts the House to give a speedy passage to the Bill and asks us all to vote for the Third Reading.

That is an interesting letter from an erstwhile opponent of Sunday trading and the change has come about because USDAW has sensibly responded to the needs, desires and wants of its members. Many of them work in large shops which, if the amendment were passed, would be forced to close.

We must lay to rest the question of the Deregulation and Contracting Out Bill. I shall quote in full a paragraph in the letter from Mr. Nigel Matthews, the group secretary of Sainsbury, which I am sure hon. Members have received. It states: I understand that during the debate on the Sunday Trading Bill this Wednesday there may be some who will seek to link the provisions of the Deregulation Bill to Sunday trading. I would like to make Sainsbury's position clear on this issue. While we generally welcome deregulation, we would not expect to make any significant changes in our trading hours. Our trading hours reflect the needs of our customers, and we have no evidence from our current trading patterns that there is a widespread wish for people to shop extended hours on weekdays. In her excellent speech, my right hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham and Morden (Dame A. Rumbold) advanced the case for rejecting the amendments and said that few housewives will wish to shop between 8 o'clock in the evening and midnight.

Photo of Mr David Alton Mr David Alton , Liverpool Mossley Hill

By saying that he hopes that we will negative the amendments, the hon. Gentleman implies that he opposes them all. Will he confirm that he is in favour of shops opening on Christmas day when it falls on a Sunday and on Easter day, as that is one of the amendments on which we shall vote?

Photo of Mr James Couchman Mr James Couchman , Gillingham

I think that very few shops will open on Christmas day when it falls on a Sunday and that, in general, very few, apart from convenience shops which presently open, will do so on Easter day.

These wrecking amendments of whatever strand should be opposed. I include the intriguing amendment in the names of my hon. Friend the Member for Exeter (Sir J. Hannam) and the hon. Member for York (Mr. Bayley). That amendment would interest only a limited number of large shops. I suspect that it would suit the John Lewis group, which would wish to open its Waitrose supermarkets but not its major stores. That may be where the idea came from.

I was intrigued that we were offered a mornings-only option this time when on Second Reading my right hon. Friend the Member for Honiton (Sir P. Emery) offered an afternoon-only option for the opening of large shops.

If these substantial amendments are approved, they will stop many do-it-yourself stores, garden centres and supermarkets opening. That would be a tragedy for do-it-yourself stores and garden centres because it would deprive many people of the opportunity to buy the goods that they want for their leisure time on Sundays.

Photo of Mr Roger Moate Mr Roger Moate , Faversham

I apologise for not being here for part of the debate. I was here when my right hon. Friend the Member for Selby (Mr. Alison) moved his amendment and I place on record my strongest possible support for it. If by some mischance it should fall, I shall support the mornings-only option. I urge the House to take this opportunity once again to try to maintain, as far as we can in this day and age, the special qualities of our Sunday.

My hon. Friend and good neighbour the hon. Member for Gillingham (Mr. Couchman) said that these are wrecking amendments. That is nonsense and fails to understand the nature of the legislative procedures of the House. Some people in the House and outside suggest that when the House has taken one vote its will has been expressed for good and all and thereafter anybody who seeks to change or amend that decision is flouting the will of Parliament. That is nonsense and I hope that every hon. Member understands that.

The will of the House or of Parliament is tested only when legislation has passed through all its stages in both Houses and has been tested in Committee and by the resolve of the House being tested in every possible way. Our measures are law only when they receive Royal Assent. It is quite right and proper that at every stage in this House, including Third Reading, and in another place, hon. Members should seek to change the legislation in any way they can. That is exactly what we are trying to do, and rightly so, and we shall continue to do so.

I place on record again my sadness and disappointment that we did not vote to keep Sunday special. I hope that subsequent events will have persuaded enough hon. Members to take this further opportunity to prevent us from going down that sad road.

9.30 pm

Listening to some of the arguments that we have heard before—it is not right to rehearse them again today—one would feel that we are simply arguing about the checkout in Tesco in 1994. It is much more than that; we are arguing about the nature of the society that we have inherited and what we pass on to future generations. The decision that we make today on the vote and the legislation is about much more than the retail war of the 1980s and 1990s—the DIY war and the superstore war. We are making a decision that will outlast all those factors and will influence our society for 100 years to come.

When we open up Sunday trading without any regulation, although none of us can forecast what will happen tomorrow or the day after, it is a reasonable assumption that in years to come Sunday will be exactly the same as every other day of the week. That is the decision that we are taking and we should not take it lightly or throw away the opportunity to say that we wish to keep Sunday a quieter day and a special day, and to seize every opportunity to do so.

Photo of Michael Fabricant Michael Fabricant , Staffordshire Mid

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for giving way, but I do not follow his assumption that Sunday will become like any other day. That is not the case in Scotland, where Sunday trading is allowed. There are those who say that Scotland is different from England and Wales, but we heard earlier in the debate that there is no restriction on Sunday trading in many states of the United States. In many of the states of New England, where there are small shops, Sunday is still a very different day, although there is derestriction.

Photo of Mr Roger Moate Mr Roger Moate , Faversham

My hon. Friend has made that point on many occasions. It is a matter of judgment. I am talking not about Scotland, but about England and Wales; I am talking not about the United States, but about our society. We are trying to make a judgment about the shape of our society in years to come. I really cannot believe that, given the trend of events, if we open the doors to deregulated shopping, we shall not see the end of Sunday as we know it. Let us make a longer-term judgment for the future.

It is self-evident that if we have total derestriction Sunday will cease to be a special day. Whether it is next year, in 10 years' time or in the lifetime of our children or our children's children, that is the decision we are taking for our society and we should be very careful about what we are doing.

Photo of Mr David Alton Mr David Alton , Liverpool Mossley Hill

I strongly support the point that the hon. Gentleman is making and draw his attention to the evidence that the Church of Scotland Church and Nation Committee gave to the Home Secretary, which made it clear that it believes that the experiment in Scotland was not a success and was no model to be followed elsewhere.

Photo of Mr Roger Moate Mr Roger Moate , Faversham

The House is now becoming familiar with those arguments.

I wish to make one further point about small shops. The amendment moved by my right hon. Friend the Member for Selby (Mr. Alison) appeals particularly because it allows the opening of small shops and prevents the opening of very large stores, but not necessarily garden centres.

When my hon. Friends—I do not doubt their sincerity —say that they believe in maintaining small shops and defending rural post offices and then argue for total deregulation and for the high streets and the major supermarkets to be open all day Sunday, I begin to doubt their judgment. Frankly, the one major threat to the small shops are the major out-of-town centres and the large supermarkets. If we legislate, as we shall, to allow major stores to open six days a week, 24 hours a day, surely that will provide ample opportunity for shoppers to purchase goods at cheaper prices in supermarkets, if they wish.

Photo of Bob Spink Bob Spink , Castle Point

Does my hon. Friend agree that many small shops are on the brink, and that the Bill could push them beyond the brink?

Photo of Mr Roger Moate Mr Roger Moate , Faversham

My hon. Friend is right. This is a turning point for many small shopkeepers. Unrestricted Sunday opening will deliver a tremendous extra power into the hands of major retailers and large supermarkets. I cannot believe that Parliament wants that to happen. Many small shops, such as rural sub-post offices, will face a further and greater challenge. We should be trying to help those businesses, which have suffered most damage in recent years, yet no one seems anxious to help them—save those who support my right hon. Friend's amendment.

I hope that the House will take this late opportunity, seize the chance to back my right hon. Friend's amendment and send a message to the country that we will protect smaller shops, keep Sunday special and protect full-time jobs the rest of the week—albeit at the loss of some part-time jobs on Sunday.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House proceeded to a Division

Photo of Harry Cohen Harry Cohen , Leyton 9:45 pm, 23rd February 1994

(seated and covered): On a point of order, Madam Speaker. I missed the vote through no fault of my own. I came over from Millbank as soon as it was called, and arrived in good time; but there was a great logjam, and it was impossible to get through, although I pushed and shoved. May I urge you, Madam Speaker, to call off the Division and call another so that I can exercise my rights? This is very important, because many of my constituents have raised the matter with me and want me to vote on it.

Photo of Miss Betty Boothroyd Miss Betty Boothroyd Speaker of the House of Commons

The hon. Gentleman has just pointed out that he arrived on the premises, and in the precinct, in time to vote. The fact that a lot of hon. Members are milling around is not the responsibility of the Chair. Hon. Members know that there are Divisions tonight, and they should know which Lobbies they are going to go into. I have watched the clock very carefully, and I am not prepared to have a recount. I caution hon. Members that Divisions are taking place; they must know which Lobby they are going to enter, and they must be prepared to do so. That is the end of it.

Photo of Mrs Anne Campbell Mrs Anne Campbell , Cambridge

(seated and covered): Further to that point of order, Madam Speaker. I arrived on time, and it was impossible to get through the Lobby, although I was here a good two minutes before the doors were locked. My constituents, too, want me to vote consistently, as I have voted before.

Photo of Miss Betty Boothroyd Miss Betty Boothroyd Speaker of the House of Commons

The system has been functioning in the House for many years. Very seldom do Members of Parliament find it impossible to get into the Division Lobby of their choice, and I am not prepared to accept that as an excuse tonight, simply because Members of Parliament are standing around. Let me repeat that hon. Members know the way in which they will vote on these issues. The Chair has kept the Division Lobbies open for the appropriate time and hon. Members are responsible for themselves.

Photo of Mr David Alton Mr David Alton , Liverpool Mossley Hill

(seated and covered): Further to that point of order, Madam Speaker. Will you ask the Serjeant at Arms to conduct an inquiry into the way in which— [Interruption.]

Photo of Miss Betty Boothroyd Miss Betty Boothroyd Speaker of the House of Commons

Order. I must ask the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) to sit down.

Photo of Mr David Alton Mr David Alton , Liverpool Mossley Hill

(seated and covered): Once the vote has been concluded, Madam Speaker, will you ask the Serjeant at Arms to give you a report about the scenes outside the Lobby? You were not able to observe those scenes, Madam Speaker, but some of us did, and they were more reminiscent of the Portobello road than of the House of Commons. They clearly prevented some hon. Members from exercising their right to vote. We hope that you will ensure that there is no repetition of those scenes when the next vote is taken, on the exclusion of Christmas day and Easter Sunday from the provisions of the Bill, and on whether people should be able to shop on those days.

Photo of Miss Betty Boothroyd Miss Betty Boothroyd Speaker of the House of Commons

Of course, if it is necessary. Are there any more points of order?

Photo of Mr Timothy Renton Mr Timothy Renton , Mid Sussex

(seated and covered): On a point of order, Madam Speaker.

Photo of Miss Betty Boothroyd Miss Betty Boothroyd Speaker of the House of Commons

The right hon. Gentleman looks far smarter like that, if I may say so.

Photo of Mr Timothy Renton Mr Timothy Renton , Mid Sussex

(seated and covered): With the greatest respect, Madam Speaker, I have voted in the House on many occasions, over quite a few years. When I arrived in the Lobby just outside to vote just now, there was a considerable scrimmage, and it was very hard to get through to the No Lobby. People were explaining which way to go. I must say that I think that the Division should be recalled on account of the amount of pressurising and lobbying that was going on outside. I found it impossible to get through to the No Lobby.

Photo of Miss Betty Boothroyd Miss Betty Boothroyd Speaker of the House of Commons

I am very surprised indeed to hear that hon. Members did not know which way to vote and were being persuaded. I am waiting for the Tellers to deliver the figures.

Photo of Quentin Davies Quentin Davies , Stamford and Spalding

(seated and covered): Further to that point of order, Madam Speaker. I have succeeded in voting this evening, but I was just in the Dining Room when the Division began. There has been a new factor during the past few months. It is perfectly true that, for years and years, Members have managed to get into the Division Lobbies on time. There is a new factor. From 7 Millbank, where I have my office, it takes at least six minutes, even without any—

Photo of Miss Betty Boothroyd Miss Betty Boothroyd Speaker of the House of Commons

Order. I am well aware of that factor. I have in fact paced it myself.

The House having divided: Ayes 239, Noes 300.

Division No.141][9.36 pm
AYES
Abbott, Ms DianeCunningham, Jim (Covy SE)
Adams, Mrs IreneDafis, Cynog
Ainger, NickDalyell, Tam
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)Davidson, Ian
Alison, Rt Hon Michael (Selby)Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Allen, GrahamDavies, Quentin (Stamford)
Alton, DavidDavis, Terry (B'ham, H'dge H'l)
Amess, DavidDay, Stephen
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E)Dixon, Don
Arnold, Sir Thomas (Hazel Grv)Dobson, Frank
Ashton, JoeDonohoe, Brian H.
Banks, Tony (Newham NW)Dunnachie, Jimmy
Barnes, HarryDunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Battle, JohnDykes, Hugh
Bayley, HughEastham, Ken
Beckett, Rt Hon MargaretEnright, Derek
Beggs, RoyEtherington, Bill
Beith, Rt Hon A. J.Evans, John (St Helens N)
Bell, StuartEvans, Roger (Monmouth)
Benn, Rt Hon TonyEvennett, David
Bennett, Andrew F.Faulds, Andrew
Benton, JoeField, Frank (Birkenhead)
Bermingham, GeraldForman, Nigel
Berry, Dr. RogerForsythe, Clifford (Antrim S)
Blackburn, Dr John G.Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Blunkett, DavidFoulkes, George
Boateng, PaulFraser, John
Body, Sir RichardGalbraith, Sam
Bowden, AndrewGale, Roger
Boyson, Rt Hon Sir RhodesGalloway, George
Bray, Dr JeremyGapes, Mike
Burt, AlistairGarrett, John
Butterfill, JohnGodman, Dr Norman A.
Byers, StephenGodsiff, Roger
Caborn, RichardGolding, Mrs Llin
Callaghan, JimGordon, Mildred
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)Graham, Thomas
Campbell-Savours, D. N.Grant, Sir A. (Cambs SW)
Canavan, DennisGrant, Bernie (Tottenham)
Carlisle, John (Luton North)Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)
Channon, Rt Hon PaulGriffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Chisholm, MalcolmGrocott, Bruce
Churchill, MrGrylls, Sir Michael
Clapham, MichaelHain, Peter
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)Hall, Mike
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)Hannam, Sir John
Clelland, DavidHanson, David
Connarty, MichaelHardy, Peter
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)Hargreaves, Andrew
Corbett, RobinHiggins, Rt Hon Sir Terence L.
Corbyn, JeremyHinchliffe, David
Cormack, PatrickHoey, Kate
Corston, Ms JeanHome Robertson, John
Cousins, Jim Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Cox, TomHowell, Sir Ralph (N Norfolk)
Cryer, BobHughes, Roy (Newport E)
Hunter, AndrewPattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Illsley, EricPawsey, James
Jackson, Glenda (H'stead)Pendry, Tom
Jackson, Helen (Shef'ld, H)Pickthall, Colin
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)Pike, Peter L.
Jessel, TobyPorter, David (Waveney)
Johnson Smith, Sir GeoffreyPowell, Ray (Ogmore)
Johnston, Sir RussellPrentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Jones, Barry (Alyn and D'side)Prescott, John
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)Primarolo, Dawn
Jones, Ieuan Wyn (Ynys Môn)Purchase, Ken
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)Quin, Ms Joyce
Jones, Lynne (B'ham S O)Randall, Stuart
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd, SW)Raynsford, Nick
Kaufman, Rt Hon GeraldReid, Dr John
Keen, AlanRobathan, Andrew
Kellett-Bowman, Dame ElaineRobinson, Peter (Belfast E)
Khabra, Piara S.Rogers, Allan
Kilfedder, Sir JamesRooney, Terry
Kilfoyle, PeterRoss, William (E Londonderry)
Knight, Dame Jill (Bir'm E'st'n)Sainsbury, Rt Hon Tim
Lewis, TerrySheerman, Barry
Litherland, RobertSheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Livingstone, KenSimpson, Alan
Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)Skinner, Dennis
Loyden, EddieSmith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Lynne, Ms LizSmith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
McAllion, JohnSmith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
McAvoy, ThomasSmyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
McCrea, Rev WilliamSpearing, Nigel
Macdonald, CalumSpeller, John
McFall, JohnSpencer, Sir Derek
Maclennan, RobertSpink, Dr Robert
McMaster, GordonSquire, Rachel (Dunfermline W)
Madden, MaxStraw, Jack
Maginnis, KenSumberg, David
Mahon, AliceTapsell, Sir Peter
Mans, KeithTaylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester, S)Taylor, Rt Hon John D. (Strgfd)
Martin, Michael J. (Springburn)Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Martlew, EricTaylor, Sir Teddy (Southend, E)
Mates, MichaelThompson, Jack (Wansbeck)
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Dr BrianThornton, Sir Malcolm
Meacher, MichaelTownend, John (Bridlington)
Michael, AlunVaz, Keith
Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)Walker, A. Cecil (Belfast N)
Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll Bute)Walker, Rt Hon Sir Harold
Mills, IainWallace, James
Mitchell, Sir David (Hants NW)Walley, Joan
Moate, Sir RogerWardell, Gareth (Gower)
Molyneaux, Rt Hon JamesWareing, Robert N
Morley, ElliotWaterson, Nigel
Morris, Rt Hon A. (Wy'nshawe)Wicks, Malcolm
Morris, Estelle (B'ham Yardley)Wigley, Dafydd
Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Sw'n W)
Mudie, GeorgeWinnick, David
Mullin, ChrisWise, Audrey
Murphy, PaulWolfson, Mark
Neubert, Sir MichaelWray, Jimmy
Nicholson, David (Taunton)Wright, Dr Tony
Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)Young, David (Bolton SE)
Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
O'Brien, William (Normanton)Tellers for the Ayes:
Orme, Rt Hon StanleyMr. Bill Olner and
Paisley, Rev IanMr. Michael Lord.
Patchett, Terry
NOES
Ainsworth, Peter (East Surrey)Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Aitken, JonathanAustin-Walker, John
Alexander, RichardBaker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley)
Ancram, MichaelBaldry, Tony
Anderson, Ms Janet (Ros'dale)Banks, Matthew (Southport)
Arbuthnot, JamesBanks, Robert (Harrogate)
Armstrong, HilaryBarron, Kevin
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)Bates, Michael
Ashby, DavidBatiste, Spencer
Aspinwall, JackBellingham, Henry
Atkins, RobertBeresford, Sir Paul
Atkinson, David (Bour'mouth E)Betts, Clive
Blair, TonyGill, Christopher
Bonsor, Sir NicholasGillan, Cheryl
Boswell, TimGoodlad, Rt Hon Alastair
Bottomley, Peter (Eltham)Gorst, John
Bowis, JohnGreenway, John (Ryedale)
Boyes, RolandGriffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Bradley, KeithGummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn
Brandreth, GylesGunnell, John
Bright, GrahamHague, William
Brown, Gordon (Dunfermline E)Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie
Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thorpes)Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Brown, N. (N'c'tle upon Tyne E)Hampson, Dr Keith
Browning, Mrs. AngelaHanley, Jeremy
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)Harman, Ms Harriet
Budgen, NicholasHarris, David
Burden, RichardHarvey, Nick
Burns, SimonHaselhurst, Alan
Butcher, JohnHattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Butler, PeterHawksley, Warren
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)Hayes, Jerry
Carlile, Alexander (Montgomry)Heathcoat-Amory, David
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)Henderson, Doug
Carrington, MatthewHendry, Charles
Carttiss, MichaelHeppell, John
Chapman, SydneyHeseltine, Rt Hon Michael
Clappison, JamesHicks, Robert
Clark, Dr David (South Shields)Hill, James (Southampton Test)
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)Hoon, Geoffrey
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Ruclif)Horam, John
Clifton-Brown, GeoffreyHordern, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Clwyd, Mrs AnnHoward, Rt Hon Michael
Coe, SebastianHowarth, Alan (Strat'rd-on-A)
Congdon, DavidHowells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd)
Conway, DerekHughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Coombs, Simon (Swindon)Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Couchman, JamesHughes Robert G. (Harrow W)
Cran, JamesHurd, Rt Hon Douglas
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr JohnHutton, John
Currie, Mrs Edwina (S D'by'ire)Ingram, Adam
Curry, David (Skipton & Ripon)Jack, Michael
Darling, AlistairJamieson, David
Davies, Bryan (Oldham C'tral)Janner, Greville
Davis, David (Boothferry)Jenkin, Bernard
Denham, JohnJones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Devlin, TimJones, Robert B. (W Hertfdshr)
Dewar, DonaldJopling, Rt Hon Michael
Dickens, GeoffreyJowell, Tessa
Dorrell, StephenKey, Robert
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord JamesKinnock, Rt Hon Neil (Islwyn)
Dover, DenKirkhope, Timothy
Dowd, JimKirkwood, Archy
Duncan, AlanKnight, Mrs Angela (Erewash)
Duncan-Smith, IainKnight, Greg (Derby N)
Dunn, BobKnox, Sir David
Durant, Sir AnthonyKynoch, George (Kincardine)
Eagle, Ms AngelaLait, Mrs Jacqui
Eggar, TimLamont, Rt Hon Norman
Evans, David (Welwyn Hatfield)Lang, Rt Hon Ian
Evans, Nigel (Ribble Valley)Legg, Barry
Faber, DavidLeigh, Edward
Fairbairn, Sir NicholasLeighton, Ron
Fenner, Dame PeggyLennox-Boyd, Mark
Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)Lestor, Joan (Eccles)
Fisher, MarkLidington, David
Flynn, PaulLightbown, David
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Forth, EricLloyd, Rt Hon Peter (Fareham)
Foster, Don (Bath)Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
Fowler, Rt Hon Sir NormanMacGregor, Rt Hon John
Fox, Dr Liam (Woodspring)MacKay, Andrew
Fox, Sir Marcus (Shipley)Mackinlay, Andrew
Freeman, Rt Hon RogerMaclean, David
French, DouglasMcLeish, Henry
Fry, Sir PeterMcLoughlin, Patrick
Fyfe, MariaMcWilliam, John
Gardiner, Sir GeorgeMaddock, Mrs Diana
Garel-Jones, Rt Hon TristanMadel, Sir David
Garnier, EdwardMaitland, Lady Olga
Gerrard, NeilMajor, Rt Hon John
Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr JohnMalone, Gerald
Mandelson, PeterShepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Marland, PaulShore, Rt Hon Peter
Marlow, TonySims, Roger
Marshall, David (Shettleston)Skeet, Sir Trevor
Martin, David (Portsmouth S)Smith, C. (Isl'ton S & F'sbury)
Maxton, JohnSmith, Rt Hon John (M'kl'ds E)
Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir PatrickSoames, Nicholas
Meale, AlanSoley, Clive
Mellor, Rt Hon DavidSpeed, Sir Keith
Merchant, PiersSpicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Milburn, AlanSpring, Richard
Miller, AndrewSproat, Iain
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)Squire, Robin (Hornchurch)
Monro, Sir HectorStanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Montgomery, Sir FergusSteen, Anthony
Moss, MalcolmSteinberg, Gerry
Mowlam, MarjorieStephen, Michael
Nelson, AnthonyStern, Michael
Newton, Rt Hon TonyStevenson, George
Nicholls, PatrickStewart, Allan
Norris, SteveStott, Roger
O'Brien, Michael (N W'kshire)Streeter, Gary
O'Hara, EdwardSweeney, Walter
O'Neill, MartinSykes, John
Onslow, Rt Hon Sir CranleyTaylor, John M. (Solihull)
Oppenheim, PhillipTemple-Morris, Peter
Ottaway, RichardThomason, Roy
Page, RichardThompson, Sir Donald (C'er V)
Paice, JamesThompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Parry, RobertThurnham, Peter
Patnick, IrvineTownsend, Cyril D. (Bexl'yh'th)
Peacock, Mrs ElizabethTracey, Richard
Pickles, EricTrend, Michael
Pope, GregTwinn, Dr Ian
Porter, Barry (Wirral S)Tyler, Paul
Portillo, Rt Hon MichaelVaughan, Sir Gerard
Powell, William (Corby)Viggers, Peter
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lew'm E)Waldegrave, Rt Hon William
Rathbone, TimWalker, Bill (N Tayside)
Redwood, Rt Hon JohnWaller, Gary
Rendel, DavidWard, John
Richards, RodWardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Riddick, GrahamWatts, John
Rifkind, Rt Hon. MalcolmWheeler, Rt Hon Sir John
Roberts, Rt Hon Sir WynWhitney, Ray
Robertson, Raymond (Ab'd'n S)Whittingdale, John
Robinson, Geoffrey (Co'try NW)Widdecombe, Ann
Robinson, Mark (Somerton)Wiggin, Sir Jerry
Roche, Mrs. BarbaraWilletts, David
Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)Wilshire, David
Rooker, JeffWilson, Brian
Rowlands, TedWood, Timothy
Ruddock, JoanWorthington, Tony
Ryder, Rt Hon RichardYeo, Tim
Sackville, TomYoung, Rt Hon Sir George
Scott, Rt Hon Nicholas
Sedgemore, BrianTellers for the Noes:
Shaw, David (Dover)Mr. John Marshall and
Shephard, Rt Hon GillianMr. Michael Fabricant.

Question accordingly negatived.

Amendments made: No. 28, in page 3, line 37, after 'of' insert 'retail'.

No. 56, in page 3, line 39, leave out from 'below' to end of line 43 and insert 'or(b) any shop in respect of which a notice under paragraph 9(1) of Schedule 2 to this Act (shops occupied by persons observing the Jewish Sabbath) has effect'—[Mr. Peter Lloyd.]