Clause 23 — Orders

Part of Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 4:38 pm on 26th February 2013.

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Photo of James Paice James Paice Conservative, South East Cambridgeshire 4:38 pm, 26th February 2013

I add my congratulations to everyone involved from the early days, including my hon. Friend Andrew George. The Minister said that it was a great pleasure to find himself in the same Lobby as the hon. Gentleman: for me it was more of a shock. Nevertheless, it was welcome and I am delighted that the Bill will now make progress.

Many people have portrayed the Bill as supermarket knocking or bashing. I hope that it is not seen as that. Supermarkets play a fantastic role. They have brought before the consumer a great range of products that might never otherwise have been available, in a competitive environment. However, there are people within the supermarket structures, as I touched on in an earlier intervention, who are perhaps acting with excessive zeal and, I am quite certain, going outside the terms of the code. I am not at all surprised if people much higher up the management structures are not aware of what is being done lower down by those who want to make their names as competitive buyers. I hope the Bill will be sufficient to ensure that such malpractices are stamped out, because I am sure they are not what most people want to see. As I said earlier, I feel particularly strongly about the fresh produce world, where these problems are most evident.

Finally, there is a long-held cynical view that any legislation that has all-party support is by definition bad. I hope that this proves to be the exception to that rule. There is some justification for that belief about many other pieces of legislation, but I believe the House is right to have approved this one with such a massive majority over and over again, and I look forward to it fulfilling all the hopes that people have of it.