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Part of Armed Forces (Service Complaints and Financial Assistance) Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 6:00 pm on 9th March 2015.

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Photo of Philip Davies Philip Davies Conservative, Shipley 6:00 pm, 9th March 2015

My right hon. Friend makes a good point. The Minister argued that two years was very short. In two years’ time, the whole industry could have upped sticks and gone abroad. It may well be that my two-year sunset clause is too long. I will happily be chastised for that, but I thought it was important that we put a line in the sand. I thought that two years would give us a reasonable time to see how the legislation worked with different tournaments and different music events. It is ample time for people to consider the effects. If those people who are in favour of the Lords amendments are so confident in their arguments, they have nothing to fear from a sunset clause. If everything is fine and dandy and none of my fears comes to fruition, the Government will happily reintroduce the legislation and it will sail through because it has been shown to have worked. They do not like the sunset clause because they know that the point I am making is the real agenda behind this Bill, and they do not want to be rumbled.

Once the Bill is on the statute book, the Government think that that will be it and nobody will bother or have the courage to revisit it, and I suspect that they are right. That is why I have tabled my amendment. I understand that there may be some difficulty in having a vote on it, even though it is sensible, and I am sorry that the Government have refused to accept it. This is an unfair and unnecessary intrusion into the free market. Who knows what consequences will flow from this legislation? I shall urge my colleagues to do what they have done twice in recent times already, and vote down the Lords amendment. I shall be interested to see how many of my colleagues vote for something that they have happily voted against in recent weeks and how, as a general election is coming, they will justify their action to their constituents. I shall happily be able to tell my constituents that I stuck to my guns, that I did not change my mind and that that is why I do not want to be in coalition with these wishy-washy Liberal Democrats any more.