Second Reading

Part of Sunday Trading (London Olympic and Paralympic Games) Bill [HL] – in the House of Lords at 9:15 pm on 24th April 2012.

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Photo of Lord Glenarthur Lord Glenarthur Conservative 9:15 pm, 24th April 2012

My Lords, I have not put my name down to speak in this debate but having taken the Sunday Trading Bill through the House of Lords in 1994, I have much sympathy with the points made by my noble friend. However, I hope that he will accept that one of the arguments that I tried to put forward when I took that Bill through, in its general sense-it was not specific to the Olympics-was that those who wish to keep Sunday special, in its broadest sense, can do so in accordance with their particular views and that the Bill should not inhibit those who wish to conduct their business in a way that allows economic vitality to exist. That is one of the major points that surrounds what is being proposed in the Bill.

I spent many hours and probably several months on it. My noble friend Lady Trumpington took it on for me and I dealt with the Bill afterwards. It was a massive piece of work which we all struggled with. We struggled with all sorts of different aspects of it: the religious side of it, the USDAW aspects of it and a whole set of different issues. However, in the end the Bill went through; it followed the Auld report, which my noble friend will remember, years before.

I do not think that this is the thin end of the wedge at all. It is a small element that would allow advantage to be taken of a particular opportunity and it need not detract at all from those who regard Sunday as a special day which should be observed. It should not be thought of as damaging for the future.