HC Deb 22 July 1970 vol 804 cc520-2
19. Mr. Arthur Davidson

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will introduce legislation with regard to inertia selling; and if he will make a statement.

53. Mr. Goodhart

asked the President of the Board of Trade what is his policy in regard to the prohibition of inertia selling.

Mr. Anthony Grant

We would be as helpful as possible to any private Member who introduced a suitable Bill on this subject, based on the one considered in the last Parliament, but I can hold out no hope of Government time being available in the present Session.

Mr. Davidson

Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that there was great disappointment on both sides of the House, amongst consumers and amongst business men that the last excellent Inertia Selling Bill did not become law, which I accept was no fault of his? Will he also bear in mind that the completely bogus directory firms has begun to operate again? Why do not the Government now give time to introduce a Bill themselves to stamp out this disreputable practice and to protect the public from what is becoming a growing nuisance?

Mr. Grant

I am aware of the concern about this matter, and indeed of the excellent work which the hon. Gentleman did. I believe that his Bill, excellent though it may have been, required considerable drafting assistance, and such assistance will be available to any private Member who cares to take this up. I should not like the House to be under the impression that the bogus directory is perhaps quite so widespread, or quite so deliberate a practice as imagined. It is by no means quite so widespread. The Government will be as helpful as they can in providing the assistance of draftsmen, but we do not consider that it is a sufficient problem at the moment to justify the Government giving time in the present Session.

Mr. Speaker

Questions and answers must be brief.

Mr. Goodhart

As both sides of the House collaborated closely in the last Parliament in passing the Inertia Selling Bill through all its stages through the House, will the Government consider testing opinion in another place by seeking to introduce a Bill there?

Mr. Grant

It is always open to another place to introduce a Bill if it thinks fit, but at the moment we very much hope that someone who is successful in the Ballot in the autumn will take up the Bill.

Sir G. de Freitas

On a point of order. Mr. Speaker. In view of the unsatisfactory nature of that reply, I beg to give notice that I shall raise the subject on the Adjournment as soon as I can.