HC Deb 17 November 1966 vol 736 cc618-9
22. Mr. St. John-Stevas

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the Government will initiate legislation to give effect to recommendations in the Home Department booklet, "Retail Trading Hours".

Miss Bacon

The proposals in this document were put forward as a basis of discussion, and it was stated in the introduction that the Government were in no sense committed to them. There is no prospect of legislation in this Session.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

Has the right hon. Lady never heard that the way to hell is paved with good intentions? Can she not use her influence and her charm to get some Parliamentary time for this and other necessary Parliamentary reforms?

Miss Bacon

It is not only a question of Parliamentary time in relation to this subject. There is the important question of what such a Bill would be if we decided to produce one. As the hon. Member knows, there is no consensus of opinion on this matter. From the replies received it was shown that there is strong support for greater restrictions and equally strong support for the removal of all restrictions. Perhaps I should add that some years ago I was a member of the Gowers Committee on the Shops Acts and I know that there are difficulties inherent in this problem.