Clause 23 — Orders

Part of Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 4:36 pm on 26th February 2013.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Albert Owen Albert Owen Labour, Ynys Môn 4:36 pm, 26th February 2013

It is a pleasure to follow Mr Spencer. The Minister was right to congratulate those he named in his speech, but he was wrong to say that my private Member’s Bill fell on deaf ears. It fell on some deaf ears among the Liberal Democrats, some in the Conservative party and, yes, some in my party. But I was able to build a consensus on the issue. The reason it did not reach the statute book—as you will recall, Mr Deputy Speaker, as someone who was on the Committee for its very quick single sitting—was that occupational hazard for Members of Parliament known as a general election. But before the election we were able to get all three parties—and some minority parties—to put it into their manifestos. So whoever became the Government would have taken the issue forward.

On Second Reading, I said that the Minister would go down in the folklore of the grocery industry for introducing the Bill. We needed a proper adjudicator. The code had been in place for some time, and nobody argued the need for it, but we had to argue the need for a referee. I single out Andrew George for his opposition to what was happening at the time. I worked closely with him on my private Member’s Bill, which he sponsored. Indeed, we had sponsors from the entire country.

The Bill is good for consumers, good for producers and good for supermarkets. The supermarkets will come to terms with it in the future and will wonder what the fuss was all about. The adjudicator will be fair, independent and give us all confidence in the future. I do not have time to go on, but I want to thank everyone involved, including my hon. Friend Ian Murray and others. This is a proud day for the whole industry and we can be proud that we have reached consensus and that the adjudicator will be put in place with the necessary tools to do the job.