HC Deb 06 June 1989 vol 154 cc79-118

Order for Second Reading read.

7.8 pm

Mr. Neil Thorne (Ilford, South)

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

It is my pleasure to introduce the Second Reading of the Bill. It is said that: It would be of public and local advantage to provide for the establishment of a further market in the part of the borough known as Ilford notwithstanding the infringement or non-compliance thereby with any rule of law or enactment: Many towns already have local markets but Ilford in the London borough of Redbridge is prevented from doing so because of the existence of other markets nearby. The purpose of the Bill is to give the right to establish a market that most other boroughs already have. In the neighbouring borough of Havering, which includes Romford, in 1247, in the reign of Henry III, a royal writ was issued establishing a market. The council today holds markets everywhere in Romford on every Wednesday throughout the year. Havering council claims the legal fiction of a "lost modern grant", which enables it to hold a market at Romford on Saturdays throughout the year. Havering also holds a statutory Food Act market on Fridays throughout the year at Romford. Thus Havering council holds three markets on premier trading days of the week and, because two of its markets—the Wednesday and Saturday markets—enjoy the benefit of protection under the common law, no other market may be established within a distance of 6¾ miles from Romford.

Mr. Dennis Skinner (Bolsover)

Is the hon. Gentleman trying to tell us that, as a good old-fashioned Tory, he does not agree with market forces, and that somehow or other he wants those markets protected, or is it that he is a good old-fashioned Tory, but that this knighted Tory, the hon. Member for Upminster (Sir N. Bonsor), is not interested in market forces? I want to get this clear, because this could be a long evening. I want to know which is the Thatcherite and which is the Heathite. Will the hon. Gentleman explain before we go any further?

Mr. Thorne

The hon. Gentleman, as usual, has put his finger on a very interesting point. I assure him that I believe in the free market. My hon. Friend the Member for Upminster (Sir N. Bonsor) will no doubt try to catch your eye, Mr. Deputy Speaker, and explain his position later.

Because the markets on Wednesday and Saturday enjoy the benefit of protection under the common law, no other market may be established within a distance of 6¾ miles from Romford. The 6¾ miles represent the 13th century jurist Bracton's concept of one third the Roman dieta. The Roman thought was that one could travel 20 miles in a day. Therefore, to travel to a market should take a third of a day, one should spend a third of a day at the market and another third going back, which would allow one to travel 6¾ miles in each direction. That is the basis on which this present custom continues.

Ilford lies within the 6¾ mile radius and the Ilford town centre, which is the main shopping centre of the Redbridge local authority area, is therefore deprived of its statutory powers by that ancient common law right. It now wishes to establish a market of its own.

In this increasingly sophisticated economy, we find that more and more people expect to shop in a wide variety of shops. They want value, choice and diversity. In order to do that properly, we find that a lot of traders expect to have a market nearby. It was not so long ago that markets tended to be rather scruffy and untidy, but that is now in the past. The majority of markets are high quality, well-designed areas, where one can expect to buy exotic fruits and vegetables at the one end of the spectrum and antiques and craftwork at the other.

Mr. Skinner

What about monocles?

Mr. Thorne

They probably sell those too.

These markets actually encourage conventional retail trade and they are, therefore, welcomed by conventional traders, whereas in the past markets were generally considered to be derogatory and most ordinary traders preferred that they should not be permitted to run side by side with conventional shops.

An efficient and well-run market has become an essential part of any well-developed shopping centre and Redbridge council, having put in a bypass, now wishes to take full advantage of modern shopping methods. A new shopping centre is being developed by the pension funds of some insurance companies. Substantial sums are being invested on behalf of pensioners in that area. Those companies and the shopkeepers locally are very anxious that there should be an open-air market in the Ilford area. The present proposal is that a market shall be permitted within one mile of Ilford town centre.

The traders' association and the local chamber of trade have given this matter full support, and in the past couple of weeks they have been at some pains to obtain signatures to a petition. More than 6,500 people have already signed the petition in favour of such a market.

Mr. Kevin Barron (Rother Valley)

How many people from Romford have signed the petition for that market?

Mr. Thorne

I have not examined the petition to see how many people from Romford have signed it, but, if the House allows me to speak later, I shall endeavour to make a rough calculation and tell the hon. Gentleman.

The question of the 6¾ miles has already been referred to in a recent case by the Vice-Chancellor of the Chancery Division of the High Court as archaic. I believe that the majority of people would consider such an arbitrary distance now to be quite archaic.

As the hon. Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron) has suggested, there may be some people with vested interests who would be against such a proposal and would oppose it, especially those from the Romford area. However, I assure him that that is not universal. Many people in Romford support the opportunity of market facilities being provided in the area. If the hon. Gentleman is interested and looks at a map of the markets in the region, he will see that there is an acute shortage of markets in that part of London. One of the reasons that the London borough of Redbridge is promoting the Bill is to ensure that that to some extent is put right.

Mr. Skinner

Vested interests is a serious matter. The hon. Gentleman has said that about 6,000 have signed in favour of the project. My experience is that, when markets have been proposed—in all parts of the country really—there have been local shopkeepers who have not been very keen on the idea. I know that in Derbyshire there have been several instances where initially—sometimes it has changed—shopkeepers have opposed it. Is the hon. Gentleman telling us that none of the local shopkeepers were saying that they were a bit worried about the market? I would be intrigued if there were none. Will the hon. Gentleman tell us the position of the local shopkeepers?

Mr. Thorne

As I said before, the chamber of trade and the local shopkeepers have indicated that they are in favour. They find that an open-air market, especially one of modest size, encourages trade because it encourages people to come to the local area. Well run markets are an encouragement. The tatty old markets that one used to find in the past, which were upsetting to local shopkeepers, are now out and we can expect shopkeepers in future to view open-air markets in a different light. I am certainly not saying that every single shopkeeper in Ilford is in favour, but I have not had my attention drawn to any who have indicated dissent, whereas I have had confirmation from the chamber of trade and others that they are very much in favour. After all, it was the chamber of trade that set out to raise the petition, and it has now collected 6,500 signatures. That was its own idea. I believe, therefore, that the whole tempo is changing in that regard. I hope that that will be the case in other parts of the country, too, in future.

Some of the objections from Havering are technical and some financial, based on the idea that the Romford market will he damaged by a market in Ilford. Romford market has provision for 600 spaces and 300 traders work there, with an average of two stalls per trader. That substantial market has been in existence for more than 600 years, so it is well-established.

Mr. Martin Redmond (Don Valley)

The hon. Gentlman said that there are 600 pitches at Romford. Why are 300 empty? If there is such a demand for market stalls, one would have thought that market traders would be only too pleased to go to Romford market.

Mr. Thorne

Forgive me, but I obviously did not explain myself well. There is provision for 600 stalls at Romford. There are 300 traders and, on average, they have two stalls each. Some have only one and others have three. The proposal for Ilford is to site the market on an existing car park, with provision for between 50 and 60 stalls, and there would be a new multi-storey car park. We are talking about an entirely different scale, perhaps only I0 per cent. of the spaces available at Romford market.

Any problems should be resolved by an opposed Bill Committee, which is the correct place to argue these matters. I suggest that the Bill should be given the general approval of the House and it would be up to members of the opposed Bill Committee to decide whether the arguments were fair and correct.

As to whatever harm would be done to Romford, the Bill promises compensation for losses to the franchise of Romford's market. That is a generous offer. It is strange that a firm such as Sainsbury's can happily open a store within 6 miles of another major store, such as Tesco, and not have to offer compensation, whereas Redbridge is offering compensation to Romford if loss is proved.

Redbridge has received 250 applications for the 60 possible sites, which shows the ready demand that exists.

Mr. Redmond

The hon. Gentleman says that compensation has been put on the table, which means that compensation will be paid if there is a loss of business. Will he elaborate a little? What is the ceiling and for how many years will the offer be on the table?

Mr. Thorne

Any compensation would have to be agreed by valuers. This aspect would have to be considereed by the opposed Bill Committee because it is technical. It would be necessary for the valuers of the two local authorities to get together to decide on a reasonable and satisfactory formula, and it would be wrong for me to pre-empt what they might decide. The timing would be hammered out by the opposed Bill Committee.

Mr. Redmond

I accept that the valuers would toss around ideas on the amount of money that would be lost. Given my experience, I am always a little sceptical about Bills leaving this place and going into Committee if I am not totally convinced about the merits of the arguments.

Mr. Thorne

I shall consider that matter further and, if given the opportunity, try to respond to it later. The technical details would be hammered out in the opposed Bill Committee, but at this stage 1 can say that after six months the valuers would establish whether there had been any major change. That would be a reasonable period in which to see whether there had been an adverse effect. The matter would have to be agreed between the valuers and it would be wrong for me to pre-empt their negotiations.

Sir Nicholas Bonsor (Upminster)

I shall raise this matter later if I have the good fortune to catch your eye, Mr. Deputy Speaker, but I want to give my hon. Friend the chance to deal with it. Under the Bill a claim must be submitted within three months of the legislation being passed. Is my hon. Friend conceding that the wording is wrong and that the Committee should amend it?

Mr. Thorne

I can confirm that the date is negotiable. I understand that that period has already been proposed by the respective local authorities.

Sir Nicholas Bonsor

indicated dissent.

Mr. Thorne

If it has not been formally proposed, I can give my hon. Friend that assurance now.

Redbridge is keen to give its shoppers a complete spectrum of shopping facilities. The shopping system has changed considerably in recent years, let alone over the past 600. We should look towards what is required in today's age. When Romford market was first used, a large part was devoted to cattle and sheep trading. I remember that not so long ago livestock occupied a substantial part of the market, but the market has changed. The places that were occupied by cattle pens are now occupied by smart market stalls. Romford market clearly needed to change, and Redbridge wishes to be able to change as well.

Mr. Barron

The hon. Gentleman has made some good points about the period during which the market has been in its position. Given that in 1247 the authorities prevented the market from being put in the place where the hon. Gentleman wishes it to go, has he been in touch with the Crown who issued the writ in the first place to ask Her Majesty whether she believes that her subjects should be treated in the same way now? That point should have been pursued before the Bill was considered by the House.

Mr. Thorne

This is the right and proper forum for deciding the future of a market in Redbridge. That is why the London borough of Redbridge has come to the House to seek approval.

It is important in this day and age, when rents and rates for accommodation are ever on the increase, that we should give people the opportunity to start trading and a market stall is an extremely effective and efficient way of doing so. That opportunity should be available throughout the country so that large numbers of people have the opportunity to start a small business. There is no better way of starting a small shop. The examples of this include British Home Stores and Marks and Spencer, and the many other shops that started as market stalls. We should allow that. I certainly hope that the House will agree and, therefore, give the Bill a Second Reading.

7.30 pm
Mr. Harry Cohen (Leyton)

I do not wish to speak at great length. I spoke for two hours 40 minutes on the recent City of London (Various Powers) Bill before I was cut short by a closure. That was the longest speech in the Session so far, and I do not intend to repeat that.

Mr. Skinner

I was present then, and my hon. Friend the Member for Leyton (Mr. Cohen) gave a bravura performance, but there was one weakness. The Secretary of State for the Environment was trying to pinch part of the forest in my hon. Friend's constituency. That was made abundantly clear, but we did not ascertain the amount of land in question. One weakness of my hon. Friend's contribution was that he seemed unable to tell me the kind of trees involved. Could my hon. Friend remedy that today?

Madam Deputy Speaker (Miss Betty Boothroyd)

Order. I am sure that the hon. Member for Leyton (Mr. Cohen) will not respond to that intervention. We are concerned only with the market development.

Mr. Cohen

I certainly shall not respond to my hon. Friend's intervention, although trees were involved. In the other debate the Minister for Roads and Traffic suggested that it was scrubland. There are trees all over the place. However, I do not want to go on about trees because we are talking about a market, which is different. In that other debate I was just warming up, but I do not have the opportunity here to get to the substance of what I was on about. My hon. Friend the Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) was right: forest land was being stolen from my constituency.

The two Bills share a common feature and it is the reason why I objected to both of them. I looked at all the private Bills at the beginning of this Session and was concerned about a number, but objected to only two because they had local implications. One was the City of London (Various Powers) Bill to steal my forest land, which has still not been given back, and I shall take that further. The M11 link road scheme also worried me. This Bill worries me because Redbridge has had by far the better deal on roads from the Department of Transport than my borough, Waltham Forest. I am talking not merely about building roads, because we could do without that, but how those roads are built and the environmental effects involved.

In the other debate I suggested that there should be a linear park through Leyton which would provide environmental beauty to the area instead of the environmental monstrosity of the Department of Transport's plan. Redbridge has the money for roads. The Department of Transport has been biased.

Mr. Vivian Bendall (Ilford, North)

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that most of the roads that serve Redbridge were financed by the Greater London council, not the Department of Transport?

Mr. Cohen

The hon. Gentleman makes a super point for me to use later. I hate to give away my speech so early, but one of my arguments is that there should be a strategic planning authority for London, just like the GLC. Clearly, as he has praised the GLC, the hon. Gentleman will come to my support when I make that point. He is obviously saying that the GLC helped with roads in his area, and I am pleased. It also helped in my area, and it was only under the Department of Transport that we had such a rotten deal from the Minister for Roads and Traffic, the husband of the Under-Secretary of State for the Environment.

It is ironic that we have had such a rotten deal on the environment. I have a lot of time for the Under-Secretary. Will she kick her husband in bed one evening and say, "I'm a Minister for the Environment, you are the Minister for Roads, will you give Leyton a bit of a good environment?" I know that a Minister's life is a hard life.

Mr. Skinner

I am not having that.

Mr. Cohen

The Minister for Roads and Transport said that he had visited my area and did not understand the questions asked of him on that visit.

Mr. Skinner

He has a chauffeur-driven car.

Madam Deputy Speaker

Order. I am sure that the hon. Member for Leyton (Mr. Cohen) will come to the question of the market. I should like to hear what he has to say about the scope of the Bill.

Mr. Cohen

This is fundamental to the point that I want to make. Redbridge has received money for roads and has had a better deal from the Department of Transport than has Leyton and Waltham Forest. When the market is built, it will be served by roads; a number of roads are already in place. The source of my objection and deep concern was that the money would go to Redbridge. Perhaps it would not do so immediately because some roads are there already, but, in future, Redbridge might get the roads money that should go to Leyton for a better environment along the M11 link road, which is being used to steal our forest.

Madam Deputy Speaker

Order. The Bill has one objective only—the establishment of a market. It has nothing to do with roads leading from Leyton.

Mr. Cohen

I absolutely agree that it deals with the establishment of a market, but people have to get to a market to shop.

Mr. Skinner

The nub of the matter is that there will have to be roads. The point was well put by the hon. Member for Ilford, South (Mr. Thorne) who said that there used to be a cattle market. Obviously, people then travelled over lanes and fields, but we are not living in that age now and we are talking about markets served by roads. We cannot discuss this properly without considering the general environmental background, which means the infrastructure, roads and everything else, and that could affect my hon. Friend's constituency. All these roads lead to Leyton.

Mr. Cohen

The problem is that the roads lead to Leyton, but when they reach it they do not find the good environment or the greenness that goes with it. Therefore, the Leyton people suffer.

The source of my concern was that the road network around the market for Ilford would be improved and Redbridge would get the money again. That is serious because it has political implications. Certainly, in my area there is a feeling that, when it comes to environmental improvements, Conservative boroughs get the money from the Conservative Government We have only to look at the Channel tunnel to see that Conservative areas have a special deal, while Labour areas are left to rot by the Tory Government. That is political bias, and it is not the way in which markets and the roads around them should be planned.

Mr. Redmond

Strategic planning is, I believe, an important element of how the proposed market fits into the overall picture. Perhaps there should be an authority to look at London as a whole. I remember my hon. Friend speaking one evening in the Chamber about the proposal to move Spitalfields market: he was worried about the loss of character that the move would entail. Markets cannot retain the character that they have possessed for many years if they are moved from one place to another. I do not know London as well as my hon. Friend, but I feel that we should examine the sites of such markets throughout the city.

Let me echo my hon. Friend's remarks to the Minister. Last time we discussed a private Bill we faced someone far less attractive, and it is well worth our while to be here this evening.

Mr. Cohen

I shall not go into the Spitalfields issue tonight, as I have already made my views clear. My hon. Friend is, however, right to say that a strategic planning authority for London is needed to consider the implications of the building of markets and the roads around them. Parliament has not the necessary localised knowledge. This is not Parliament's job; we have plenty of other serious issues to address. Today we have heard statements on China and on the NATO conference, but we should have debated those issues. Those are the real issues for the Parliament of today, rather than the question of some regional market—although it may be important to local people. The market seems to be the cause of an internecine battle between the authorities of Redbridge and Romford which should be sorted out at local level by a strategic planning authority like the old GLC.

Mr. James Arbuthnot (Wanstead and Woodford)

I believe that I am the only Member present this evening who was also present for the entire two hours and 40 minutes of the hon. Gentleman's speech on the City of London (Various Powers) Bill. If he really feels that we should not be debating this matter, the solution lies in his hands. I wonder whether his speech this evening will last as long.

The hon. Gentleman expressed concern about the political bias that might be evident. Will he confirm that Labour-controlled Waltham Forest district council has no objection to the Bill?

Mr. Cohen

That was one of the things that put my back up. I objected to the Bill because of the road implications to which I have referred. Like any hon. Member who objects to legislation on such grounds, not knowing all the implications for my constituency—shopping implications, for instance—I expected the promoters to discuss them with me at an early stage. I see that the hon. Member for Ilford, South (Mr. Thorne) is getting het up. Let me be fair: he arranged for the chief executive and the borough solicitor to come and discuss the matter with me last week. It was very late in the day, but I was grateful. Part of the purpose of my speech is to put on record some of the assurances that they gave about the roads not affecting Leyton adversely—or so they claimed.

For months on end, not a word came from the Bill's promoters in response to my legitimate concern expressed in the form of an objection. Then I received a letter of literally three lines from the agent for the borough council, which said, "Why are you objecting? Your council does not object." The hon. Member for Wanstead and Woodford (Mr. Arbuthnot) made the same point. I was deeply insulted. I sent back a very curt postcard saying, "My council does not always speak for Leyton. Members of Parliament have the right to speak for their areas as well." It was rude of the agent not even to bother to find out why I was concerned about the Bill.

In answer to the hon. Gentleman's other point, I certainly do not intend to speak for two hours and 40 minutes this evening. Nevertheless, I have important and legitimate points to make. Leyton, after all, is a neighbour of Redbridge. We have a football team called Leytonstone and Ilford: it used to be called Leytonstone before it merged with Ilford. I fear that you are a little anxious, Madam Deputy Speaker, but one of the team's problems is that it now has no ground and has been thrown out of the league.

Madam Deputy Speaker

Order. Can we get back to markets rather than discussing football teams?

Mr. Cohen

Perhaps the team could play on the ground where the market would be.

Mr. Eric Illsley (Barnsley, Central)

My hon. Friend has raised an interesting point. Would the market be held on football match days? That could complicate matters. I hope that my hon. Friend can also tell us whether the recently promoted Leyton Orient could play in the same area.

Mr. Cohen

Leyton Orient play in Brisbane road, Leyton. At the weekend I saw them play magnificently and win promotion to the third division. I should like to place on record my congratulations—

Madam Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman is now straying a long way from the subject. I am sure that he is competent enough to return to the subject of the market at Redbridge.

Mr. Cohen

I mentioned Leytonstone and Ilford merely to show the local connection. The two areas are close enough for the football team to cover both of them.

A London strategic planning authority would resolve conflicts between areas such as Ilford and Redbridge, and dealing with the question of markets would be one of its functions. I am not a great supporter of ancient charters being cast in iron for ever, such as the one that states that no market should be set up within 6¾ miles of another, which was drawn up by Henry III. I think it daft, however, that we have to depend on Parliament for such a provision to be waived. Parliament's time should not be wasted; such disputes should be sorted out by a strategic planning authority.

Mr. Bendall

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that even in the days of the GLC a Bill would have been needed?

Mr. Cohen

Yes, but the conflict would have been sorted out long before now. Because the GLC would have performed that function, we might well have been in a position to scrap the private Bill procedure in such cases and thus save hon. Members' time. Getting rid of that ancient charter could set a precedent in other areas where authorities want to build markets to which the charter would apply. We could be flooded with private Bills aimed at getting round the procedure. There could be an element of corruption. The market is financed by the Prudential and by Norwich Union to the extent of hundreds of millions of pounds. With the involvement of big business in such markets there is scope for corruption through bribing right hon. and hon. Members to push through private Bills, while that procedure operates.

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett (Denton and Reddish)

As I understand legislation, compensation will be paid for Romford market as a result of the new market at Redbridge. However, markets compete not only with each other but with shopkeepers. Surely there should be a balance between compensation paid to other markets and to shopkeepers who will lose out by the development of Redbridge market, because shopkeepers pay rates whereas stallholders do not. The private Bill procedure is inappropriate when the matter should form part of strategic shopping plan for the whole of London. The lack of such a plan will cause chaos, with many different shopping centres competing with one another and with resources not being properly used.

Mr. Cohen

My hon. Friend makes an excellent point. A strategic authority would devise such a plan. My hon. Friend is also right about small shopkeepers losing out and not receiving compensation. If they want to make representations under the private Bill procedure, they must incur enormous expense. They may feel that the matter is cut and dried anyway, so there is little point. However, they would have incurred no expense in contacting their GLC councillor or a strategic authority for shops policy.

Under the expensive private Bill procedure, the democratic right to object is being placed beyond the bounds of people who have genuine cause for complaint, and who might receive compensation if they did. Perhaps one should not compare that situation with the recent events in China, which are of course horrendous, but in China too there is a struggle for democracy. The small shopkeepers are crushed not by tanks, thank goodness, but by the expensive and stupid private Bill procedure. It is in that way that their democratic rights are crushed.

Mr. Skinner

My hon. Friend makes an important point about strategic planning and says that we should not hang around here talking about a matter that concerns his constituency and that it should be dealt with by a body such as the old Greater London council. I envisage that under a strategic authority there could be different types of market for different types of area. There could be a flea market in Finchley, a dead sheep market in the Foreign Secretary's constituency, and puppet markets in the constituency of every Cabinet Minister.

Madam Deputy Speaker

Meanwhile, the debate should return to the subject of the market in Redbridge.

Mr Cohen

I recall my hon. Friend's remarkable comments about the Prime Minister cutting jelly babies in half to ensure that customers did not get any extra weight. There have been cuts ever since, but fewer cuts in Tory Redbridge than in Leyton, which has greater need for extra resources, including markets. Again we see the party political bias to which I referred earlier.

My hon. Friend the Member for Don Valley (Mr. Redmond) made a good point concerning Spitalfields market. The local communities make it possible for markets to make big profits. My hon. Friend rightly said that some of those profits should be returned to those local communities. Under the private Bill procedure, that cannot happen. Local communities are being robbed of enjoying an element of the profits that markets make.

The strategic authority, as well as devising better policies for shopping centres and for markets, could devise better policies for roads. Leyton would have had a much better deal over the M11 link road had a strategic authority been involved rather than the Department of Transport. My major concern is that the roads money from that Department will be soaked up in Redbridge market rather than go to Leyton to offset the effects of the road that the Department is blasting through the area.

Mr. Bob Cryer (Bradford, South)

As to planning access to markets, one of the problems confronting many local authorities, and one that the Bill may not take into account, is that the European Community is trying to force through, with the agreement of the Minister for Roads and Traffic, 40-tonne lorries instead of the present maximum of 38 tonnes. Clearly, any local authority must consider that serious departure from existing regulations before presenting any Bill to the House in which road access is a factor.

Madam Deputy Speaker

Order. I am sure that the hon. Member for Leyton (Mr. Cohen) will not wish to respond to a matter that is not within the scope of the Bill.

Mr. Cohen

That is perfectly true, Madam Deputy Speaker, except that road access is relevant to many markets. I agree with my hon. Friend that it is horrendous that the Government have again given in to the Common Market and to big business interests. If Redbridge market develops and grows bigger, it may have to be served by larger lorries. In those circumstances, the road network serving the market may not be suitable. Redbridge will then tell the Department of Transport, "Give us the money. The heavy lorries have destroyed the roads around here. We have a market here and we deserve that money." Again, that will put the kibosh on Leyton and on extra money to counter the adverse environmental effects of the new link road. Leyton has already been robbed of its forests by the Government and of money to improve the environment. Now we shall get stuffed up again by 40-tonne lorries because money for new roads will be given only to Redbridge.

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett

Can my hon. Friend say what consultations there have been between the boroughs involved and the police authorities about policing the market? In some areas .a substantial volume of goods shoplifted from ordinary shops ends up on market stalls.

Mr. Cohen

I have not received any specific information from the supporters of the Bill, but my hon. Friend makes a fair point and perhaps the Bill's sponsor will be able to answer it. I do not really like the black economy in which street markets operate, but if they can get goods off the back of a lorry, to use the colloquial term, that probably has a beneficial effect because good quality goods can be sold cheap to people who are being hammered by Government policies, by high inflation, and by unemployment. Therefore, I can sympathise with that aspect of the black economy. I detest the other side of the black economy whereby the rich find all the loopholes and rake in millions of pounds.

I am not particularly worried about the black economy. One can get a blooming good bargain in some of the markets in east London. I recommend that my hon. Friend goes down there and gets a few bargains. The other day I came to the House in a suit that cost me only a fiver. It is a wonderful fit. Brick lane market is superb for second-hand clothes.

Mr. Cryer

The next time my hon. Friend buys a suit, will he make sure that it is made in the United Kingdom and that the wool comes from Bradford?

Mr. Cohen

My hon. Friend is right. I am sure that the local markets sell suits made with wool from Bradford. The suit that I bought in Brick lane market for a fiver is a thorn-proof suit. Believe it or not, I saw a Government Minister on "Wogan" and as he sat down he flashed the label of his thorn-proof suit, so I did not know whether my suit once belonged to a Government Minister, but working-class people can get access to thorn-proof suits via markets and the black economy.

My key point concerns the road network. I am very glad that the hon. Member for Ilford, South set up a meeting last week with Mr. Price, the chief executive, and Mr. Bassett, the director of administration and legal services. They were most helpful. They gave me a verbal assurance that no new roads or road improvements are planned.

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett

My hon. Friend should have got it in writing.

Mr. Cohen

I need to be absolutely convinced about that and I hope that the sponsor of the Bill will refer to it. If at any time, even under a Labour Government, Redbridge tried to fool a Labour Government by saying that it had a market and needed money for its roads, it should be on record that the borough has stated that it does not need the money and has not planned any expansion in the road network and that it should not be given priority. Leyton should get priority as the Government have stolen our forest and we have had the worst possible deal from the M11 link road with very poor environmental effect.

Mr. George J. Buckley (Hemsworth)

My hon. Friend stressed the necessity of increasing road services to the proposed market. I am not sufficiently local to know whether he is justified in making that point, but if more expenditure is necessary to improve the road services to the site of the market that would generate the need for more car parking to accommodate the increased traffic that will be generated by the establishment of the market. Is my hon. Friend convinced that there is adequate car parking in the locality to accommodate the anticipated increase in traffic?

Mr. Cohen

I am not totally convinced that there will be sufficient car parking space as that will depend on the size of the market. Mr. Price was kind enough to give me a leaflet on Redbridge that refers to the market for Ilford and the Bill. The leaflet states: And work has started on a new shopping mall to provide some 100 shops, department store, food court and parking for 1,200 cars. This is due to open in 1991. I do not know whether 1,200 car parking spaces will be sufficient, but clearly Redbridge has thought about it. The leaflet also talks about the road network and stales that: the A406—South Woodford to Barking Relief Road—opened in 1987. So Redbridge already has those flash new roads. That emphasises my point that the money has already gone to Redbridge at the expense of Leyton and it would be quite horrendous if it received any more money.

I want to place it clearly on record that if Redbridge gets the market it should not get any more money for roads and that Leyton should be the first priority ahead of Redbridge. That point has to be rammed in, and that is why I object to the Bill.

Mr. Redmond

I do not know whether my hon. Friend had a meeting at the proposed site with the people whom he mentioned. He spoke about the verbal promise that he received. I would be slightly sceptical about accepting such a promise, as we do not know what the future will hold, especially if the market can expand. I am not quite sure where the site is, but perhaps my hon. Friend can inform me whether future expansion could take place by knocking down a few buildings. There is certainly some demolition taking place at Spitalfields market. The Bill talks about 60 or 80 sites, and I am not sure whether that could be increased to 100, 200 or 300. If the market expands, money will be required to ensure that local services meet the increased capacity. However, I do not know the area and would be grateful if my hon. Friend could help.

Mr. Cohen

There is always a danger of expansion. The Bill deals with the market stalls and, as far as I can see, the site appears to be quite limited. However, the enclosed mall and the food court to which I referred could spread and the parking problem could increase as could the pressure for roads to service the area.

Mr. Cryer

Does my hon. Friend accept that assurances are given by all sorts of people at various times as a matter of convenience to them? One certain way in which those assurances can be made hard and fast is by incorporating a clause or an amendment in the Bill. I wonder whether the chief executive would be prepared to say that he would incorporate into the Bill an amendment to make it a cast-iron guarantee which could be changed only by the Bill being amended in Parliament?

Mr. Cohen

I welcome my hon. Friend's intervention. I am always grateful to hon. Members with much greater experience of such procedures, and the private Bill procedure is certainly archaic. I am very grateful to my hon. Friend for that suggestion; I had not thought of it. I would welcome a clause in the Bill making it clear that the priority for roads money should go not to Redbridge but to Leyton. I hope that the sponsor of the Bill, or even the Minister, will agree to such an amendment because Leyton certainly has had a bad deal.

My hon. Friend the Member for Denton and Reddish (Mr. Bennett) said that I should have got a written assurance from the chief executive about no new roads being needed. Mr. Price came to see me only at the end of last week so there has not been an opportunity for that. Mr. Price has served the London borough of Redbridge for a long time and I take him at his word, and he gave me that assurance and I have put it on record tonight. Mr. Price speaks not for himself but for Redbridge and its honour would also be at stake.

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett

Does my hon. Friend agree that it is an abuse of the private Bill procedure for the promoters not to explore every opportunity to negotiate with anyone who has his name down in a block and to give assurances so that there is no need for a debate in the House? Hon. Members would prefer to debate some of the momentous events happening throughout the world rather than give time to private Bills. The tradition in the House is that, wherever possible, the promoters negotiate to avoid the need for a Second Reading debate, which again takes up hon. Members' time, and the possibility of amendments being moved on Third Reading.

Mr. Cohen

I made my objections to the Bill clear at the beginning of the Session, but I do not oppose it as strongly as I opposed the City of London (Various Powers) Bill whereby forest land was stolen and not replaced. I could have gone on all night protesting about that. I am concerned about how the road network will affect Leyton.

Mr. Cryer

Does my hon. Friend accept that sometimes people of integrity give assurances but that one chief executive can be replaced by another? The only way in which an assurance given in perfect faith and utmost honesty will stand the test of time is for it to be written on the face of the Bill. A new chief executive could legitimately say, "Nothing said by a previous office holder can bind me." The promoters should redraw the Bill so that an assurance can appear on the face of it.

Mr. Cohen

I hope that the promoters will take my hon. Friend's point on board. Given the limited time that was available, I could only assume that the chief executive was a man of honour and that he spoke for Redbridge. My only purpose in speaking is to place on record the fact that the chief executive gave me a cast-iron assurance.

Any money for roads should not be given to build a market. There are already prior claims on that money in Leyton, which has been done down by the Government, especially by the husband of the Under-Secretary of State for the Environment. She should be concerned about the environment and should kick him out of bed one evening and say "Leyton should be given the money ahead of Redbridge."

Mr. Redmond

I am a little concerned about the faith that my hon. Friend is placing in the word of the chief executive, who no doubt is an honourable man whose word is his bond. However, chief executives come and go. In a short period, Doncaster has had two chief executives. A new chief executive may argue, "My predecessor should have said this or that." Hon. Members have experience of officers saying things that bind the passage of a Bill. An authority should include in the Bill any undertaking that it gives to an hon. Member.

Mr. Cohen

I bow to my hon. Friend's experience. Under the appalling private Bill procedure, I was consulted very late, but I look to the promoters to include on Third Reading the assurance that was given to me.

Mr. Skinner

That is a bit late.

Mr. Cohen

I know that it is a bit late, but that may be a solution if Redbridge does not want to go to the expense of withdrawing the Bill. I am clearly not in a position to table such a clause.

Mr. Cryer

Redrafting this part of the Bill would be the best way to proceed. It occurred to me while my hon. Friend was making his useful comments that under local government reorganisation—which can occur at any time under this Government, who are reorganising everything in sight to make it more difficult for ordinary people—if something is included in the Bill, which then becomes an Act, any successor organisation is obliged to take over the responsibility of the previous local government authority. An assurance from a chief executive of an authority that has disappeared or merged into another local authority is worthless, no matter how decent or honest the man or woman was who gave it. I urge my hon. Friend to consider the possibility of redrafting this part of the Bill to incorporate the assurance that he was given, because that is the only way it will stand the test of time.

Mr. Cohen

I take my hon. Friend's point, which has thrown me into a dilemma. I was given an assurance in good faith and I am prepared to believe it. Mr. Price is clearly an honourable man, and I merely wanted to get the assurance on the record.

Mr. Illsley

I should like my hon. Friend to bear in mind the example about which Labour Members have been speaking. In 1986, the Government abolished South Yorkshire county council, and any assurances given by it were made worthless. Local authority powers devolved to the district authorities of Doncaster, Sheffield, Rotherham and Barnsley. If that were to happen in London, the district authority might disagree with the policy of the previous authority, thereby scuppering any assurance given to my hon. Friend. Parliament is being asked to approve a Bill to give power to a local authority, but it should incorporate concrete assurances in the Bill.

Mr. Cohen

My hon. Friend has added to my concern. He has experience of assurances becoming worthless.

While my hon. Friend was speaking, I thought of a way round the problem. It would be best if the Minister said, "I am pleased to say to the hon. Member for Leyton that the Government can get round the problem and Parliament can get on and discuss the important issues of the day. We shall give Leyton all the money that it needs for its roads and environment as a result of the M 11 link road to prevent any squabbling." After all, we need to improve the environment on that link road. Leyton needs more parks, forests and open space. The Department of Transport sold some that we had. Many people along that route are about to be made homeless and they deserve to be treated well by the Government.

The way out of the problem would be for Conservatives to help each other. The Government can help Redbridge to get the Bill through without incorporating a new clause if they put up the money for Leyton.

Mr. Skinner

I am a bit worried now. My hon. Friend has been making the point at length that he is a bit worried about undertakings given in a short meeting that he had last week, telling us, I think, that he had serious reservations about the market proposed in the Bill. Is my hon. Friend now saying that if he can get for Leyton what he did not get on the City of London (Various Powers) Bill he is prepared to have another look at the matter? I hope that he will clear up that important matter.

Mr. Cohen

I would not have objected to the Bill if I had thought that Leyton would not he adversely affected. If the money is put up for Leyton's roads and environment, I have no objection if, in a few years' time, a bit more money goes to Redbridge's roads. We shall have had ours in Leyton. I hope that my hon. Friend understands that point.

Mr. Skinner

It sounds mercenary to me.

Mr. Cohen

I can be a hit mercenary when I am fighting for my constituents, especially when they are being done down day after day by the Government. They have to rely on their markets to buy suits for £5, cheap food and towels from the Londonderry hotel. There are towels from the Londonderry hotel in markets throughout Britain and no doubt they will be found in this market.

Mr. Cryer

Many Opposition Members feel that the Government have abused the private Bill procedure by putting forward what is essentially Government legislation in the form of private Bills. For the Minister to intervene and say that a grant will be made to my hon. Friend's constituency, as my hon. Friend is suggesting, would be a further abuse of the private Bill procedure. I hope that my hon. Friend will re-examine the position. The best way to proceed would be to incorporate in the Bill the sort of assurance that he has sought and obtained from the chief executive rather than to rely on the Government intervening with offers of money. As my hon. Friend knows, Goverment money can carry many conditions and difficulties and he might find himself wishing that the Bill had been altered instead.

Mr. Cohen

My hon. Friend is doing a good job in persuading me, but I would take the money for my constituents. If the Minister said that we could have the money for parks and open spaces and for the families who would be made homeless, I would take it, even though my hon. Friend makes excellent constitutional points. The private Bill procedure is bankrupt anyway, and community profits do not go to the community, so I would take the money.

Mr. Skinner

Even if it was in ecus?

Mr. Cohen

Yes, because we have an excellent Member of the European Parliament, Alf Lomas, who might well be able to get them changed on his trips to the Common Market. He does great work in the local area. However, I shall not go further along that route.

I said that I would not speak for long, and I want to start to conclude.

Sir Nicholas Bonsor

Before the hon. Gentleman does so, I may be able to assist him on the procedure that we shall be going through later. I fear that my hon. Friend the Minister is unlikely to give the hon. Gentleman the money that he wants and there is a faint possibility that when we divide later we may fail to throw the Bill out at this stage, regrettable though that will be. However, the private Bill procedure allows Leyton to make representations to the private Bill Committee, when the point that the hon. Gentleman has made so forcefully could be put. At that stage, four of our colleagues will have the right to write that condition into the Bill. Should they do so, Redbridge council will be bound by it. Therefore, the hon. Gentleman should consider inviting his local authority to make representations to the Committee should it be necessary.

Mr. Cohen

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that helpful advice. I shall take it on board and ask my local authority to make those representations. Nevertheless, the Minister should put up the money for Leyton, because it is such a good cause and has been done down so often, and it would ease the Bill's passage.

Another area of concern was that when the M11 link road goes through Leytonstone high road should have the opportunity to be pedestrianised. The Bill relates to part of Redbridge being pedestrianised. Again, Redbridge is getting that first, or rather being the only one to get it, taking priority over Leyton which really needs it.

When the M11 goes through, Leytonstone high road could be pedestrianised, enhancing Leytonstone's shopping opportunities. We do not want Redbridge to have built up its market to such an extent that it stifles Leytonstone at birth and ruins its opportunities for pedestrianisation and the environmental improvements that would flow from that.

Mr. Price and Mr. Bassett of Redbridge referred to the theory of concentric shopping circles. I do not know whether my hon. Friends know about that. Basically, it boils down to some planner drawing a circle around one market and then around another further down the road. Anyone who lives in between the two circles or in the area where the circles overlap might go to either market—

Mr. Skinner

They would get dizzy.

Mr. Cohen

They would spend double the money.

I am not an expert on that new-fangled theory, but I should like Leytonstone to have its shopping facilities improved and to be pedestrianised so that we can draw a nice big circle around Leytonstone and improve the prosperity of my constituency. I would be worried if Redbridge took away that opportunity and ruined Leytonstone's prospects.

Mr. Illsley

My hon. Friend refers to the theory of concentric circles which involves a circle being drawn around one market and then another, leaving an area in between. Does not the royal charter put a protective circle around the market to prevent another market from being placed there? Therefore, is not the concentric circle argument a little confusing?

Mr. Cohen

I recall Mr. Price and Mr. Bassett saying that communications had improved dramatically since the time of Henry III, when the distance to a market was thought to involve a third of the day getting there, a third of the day shopping and a third of the day getting home, and I suppose that that comes into the 6¾ mile measurement.

We do not want markets springing up in close proximity to each other, with authorities competing unnecessarily and wastefully. The result will be markets going broke. We have seen that happen in other spheres, where local authorities have spent loads of money on advertising simply to compete with each other.

Sir Nicholas Bonsor

I am intrigued by the concentric circle argument. Did Mr. Price tell the hon. Gentleman what he thought about the idea of having concentric circles within one circle? It is proposed that the Ilford circle should occur within the Romford circle. That does not seem to make economic sense.

Mr. Cohen

I agree, and it cannot make sense to have the concentric circles on top of each other. That brings me back to the need for a strategic planning authority, and it brings me to my final point, which is to oppose the idea of having markets virtually on top of each other. In that situation more markets will spring up and they will all go broke.

Mr. Cryer

Does my hon. Friend agree that the original example, dating from 1247, provides an argument for having proper strategic planning? Will my hon. Friend develop the concept of strategic planning, which is essential if we are to make the best use of resources?

Mr. Cohen

I do not want to delay the House by going down that path, remembering that I have been careful strictly to address the issues concerning the market. My hon. Friend makes an important point about strategic planning because it must make sense to optimise resources, otherwise waste results. We do not want many markets in certain areas and none in rural and semi-rural areas, with those living in distant areas having to travel for miles to get their Londonderry hotel towels.

Mr. Barron

If my hon. Friend agrees that the 13th century example mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford, South (Mr. Cryer) represented one of the earliest forms of strategic planning, may I ask him to develop the point that it represented wide-ranging foresight on the part of those concerned in relation to housing?

Mr. Cohen

My hon. Friend is right, and the point he makes proves how important it is to have strategic planning in London and elsewhere, including Bradford. Any plan involving shopping areas must have housing in mind. Indeed, transport—not forgetting public transport—roads and all other forms of planning must be taken into account at the same time.

The trouble with the policies of the Government, including their use of the private Bill procedure, is that all of those considerations are the subject of chaos. They are left to market forces. They plan nothing in a co-ordinated way, and that leads to enormous waste.

Mr. Cryer

My hon. Friend might care to reflect on the way in which some authorities will spend large sums of money establishing markets, with good facilities and so on, while others will spend less. If this is left to market forces, some local authorities will find that their markets become less successful as competitor markets become more profitable. Ratepayers' money will have been spent on facilities, for stallholders and the public, which serve no useful purpose. Indeed, councillors might face being surcharged because of that waste of ratepayers' money.

Mr. Cohen

My hon. Friend makes the point so well that I need not enlarge on it, except to remind the House that part of that expenditure will be on advertising. Once markets are so close—such as Romford and Ilford—that competition is enormous, but local authorities will spend ratepayers' money on advertising, competing against each other, in a chaotic way. The money will, no doubt, go to Saatchi and Saatchi, who will laugh all the way to the bank—

Mr. Barron

And from Saatchi and Saatchi to the Conservative party.

Mr. Cohen

—yes, and on to Tory party funds. That money could have been spent on housing.

Mr. Illsley

I will not delay my hon. Friend because a number of hon. Members wish to take part in the debate, and I hope to have an opportunity later to comment on the royal charter that was awarded to my constituency. The document to which my hon. Friend referred showed that Ilford town centre will have a new shopping mall in addition to a new market. He pointed out that ratepayers' money will be spent on advertising if the market becomes run down.

In my constituency, part of a market was moved to become part of a market complex and shopping centre. The result was that the market competed with the shopping precinct, and the profits of both declined. Eventually the local authority was involved in heavy expense to improve the shopping mall and the market centre simply to re-establish the position that existed prior to the amalgamation. Does my hon. Friend agree that, in the case we are discussing, competition between the market and the shopping complex will lead the authorities into incurring considerable expense?

Mr. Cohen

That is another example of an intervention making the point. I need not add to what my hon. Friend said. It is another reason for having a strategic planning authority.

I shall resume my seat, having spoken about the road network and the need for the money about which we are speaking not to be spent on a market but to come to Leyton for the benefit of the people of the area.

8.38 pm
Sir Nicholas Bonsor (Upminster)

The hon. Member for Leyton (Mr. Cohen) will forgive me if I do not follow him down the roads of Leyton. I am grateful for the modest and short intervention that he made in the debate, in which he concisely made important points in favour of his constituency. I have no doubt that those matters will be pursued further if the Bill proceeds to another stage.

I have known my hon. Friend the Member for Ilford, South (Mr. Thorne) for a long time. We have served together on various Select Committees on Defence, and it is sad for me to be against him on this measure. He will forgive me for not being able to vote with him, in the light of the appalling shortcomings of the Bill which he has had the misfortune to present to the House. I say that because the measure is full of flaws in terms of detail and construction.

On the face of it, it is a simple little Bill which appears to be harmless in asking for a market in Ilford. That would be the case if it were something that was taken in a vacuum, but in order to judge the merits of this Bill we have to do two things. First, we have to recognise the background against which it is being brought forward. The Romford market has been operating for something like 742 years and this Bill is in direct abrogation of the rights which the Romford market traders have enjoyed for the whole of that period. Secondly, we have to look at the detail of the Bill to see if in its construction it is a fair Bill and puts its case across adequately.

The key to that can be found in paragraph (2) on page 1, which reads: It would be of public and local advantage to provide for the establishment of a further market in the part of the borough known as Ilford notwithstanding the infringement or non-compliance thereby with any rule of law or enactment". It cannot be very often that a Bill comes before the House announcing at the outset that it intends to flout existing laws and go against existing enactments to the detriment of people other than those for whom the Bill is being promoted. I therefore, to a degree, commend the honesty of the Bill in admitting at the outset that that is its purpose.

Not content with doing that, the Bill is even more explicit in clause 3, which sets out what the Bill is attempting to achieve. It reads: The Council may—

  1. (1) establish a market within a distance of one mile from the town hall; and
  2. (2) authorise, on such terms (whether financial or otherwise) as they think fit the establishment by others of a market within a distance of one mile from the town hall;".
So immediately we have a difference between what the Bill is seeking to achieve and that which perhaps its promoters would imagine people to perceive. They are not asking for one market in Ilford; they are asking for the right to set up two markets in competition with the one which exists in Romford.

The Bill goes on in that same clause to say: notwithstanding that the holding of such a market would interfere with any rights, powers or privileges enjoyed in respect of a market held by any other person. That really is extraordinary and it is even more extraordinary because one has to take into account that it is couched in terms which beg the question whether it would interfere with any such rights. And the fact is that it demonstrably and on the face of the Bill is in direct conflict with such rights. I will come back to that point when I examine the terms of the Bill a little more closely.

I would like to take the House through the remaining clauses so that we have a complete picture of what is being put forward tonight.

Mr. Barron

Subsection (2) of clause 3 in fact says that it is asking for the right not to set up other markets owned by a London borough council but to set up markets owned by other people, who normally, as I understand the private Bill procedure, would have to do exactly what this council is doing at the present time—that is, make direct representations to set up a market within the area.

Sir Nicholas Bonsor

The hon. Gentleman makes a very good point and I bow to his great knowledge of the private Bill procedure. It is extraordinary that the Redbridge borough council should be trying to take upon itself the right to make such appointments not merely to itself, but to others, for their own financial gain, which would normally not be feasible without coming back to the House.

Mr. Barron

Not only that, but they are doing exactly as the hon. Member says without anybody having to come back to the House in future in terms of further developments in that area. It is the House that is losing out and not just the borough council.

Sir Nicholas Bonsor

That is quite right and it is a very important point. The House has to be very careful when allowing powers to be taken from it and delegated to others. I do not believe in delegating such powers without keeping a residual authority within the House to look at again and amend whatever we may see being done under the provisions that we have approved. In this instance we would not have any further power as the House of Commons to take another look at a Redbridge market being set up by that council in a way of which we might thoroughly disapprove, nor would we have any say in who was adminstering such a market.

Clause 4 deals with compensation. My hon. Friend the Member for Ilford, South has been good enough to admit that this clause is inadequate. None the less, it would be doing the problems less than justice if the House did not look closely at what is proposed. We are not looking here at a draft, a Green Paper, something that has been put to the House for consideration in outline; we are looking at detailed proposals that are being put forward with the recommendation that they should pass into law.

If we pass this now, on Second Reading, we shall have no further powers under the private Bill procedure, unless amendments are made in the private Bill Committee, to look at this again on Report. That is something which is unique to the private Bill procedure, which makes it all the more important that matters are not lightly glossed over. Notwithstanding the undertaking that my hon. Friend has given that this can be looked at later, it may well be that it will not be and that we shall not be able to find an acceptable compromise solution later. There is a danger that if we failed to find such a solution by compromise or by procedures within the private Bill Committee this House, constituted as it is tonight, would not have a further chance of looking at the Bill.

Mr. Barron

The hon. Member makes a very good point. He will know that a private Bill is going through Parliament at the present time which has not just local but national importance because of this very point. The Associated British Ports (No. 2) Bill came back to the House unamended and dozens of hon. Members were very concerned indeed about its implications, yet we do not have the right to amend that Bill.

Sir Nicholas Bonsor

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will forgive me if I restrict my remarks to what we are considering tonight. Certainly in regard to this Bill there is a danger that this could happen and that gives me grounds for concern.

Under clause 4 it is proposed that: If by virtue of the enactment of this Act, the value of the right conferred by statute or by Royal Charter to hold an existing market is diminished, the person in whom that right is vested shall be entitled to compensation from the Council as set out in subsection (2) below or as otherwise agreed with the Council save that a local authority within the meaning of section 72 of the Act of 1984 shall not be entitled to any compensation in respect of any rights, powers or privileges which they enjoy by reason only of the fact that they have established a market within their own district in the circumstances set out in subsection (3) of section 50 of the Act of 1984. That is deeply significant in the context of this discussion because, as I will explain a little later, that clause does not cover the circumstances in which Romford market operates. Therefore it does not offer compensation to Romford borough council under its present terms.

Mr. Redmond

What has been said about the Bill being unamended in Committee is very important. The clause to which the hon. Member has referred talks about the local authority within the meaning of section 72 of the 1984 Act. I am sure that the hon. Member is aware that local government is going through tremendous changes and I do not see that stopping within the next couple of years. So any Acts affecting local government can be deleted, amended or whatever, and this will have a direct impact on what is stated in this section.

Sir Nicholas Bonsor

The hon. Gentleman is quite right to be concerned about that. There are procedures whereby such new Bills try to amend or take into account existing legislation to which they refer. One of my more arduous and less enjoyable jobs in the House is to serve on the Committee considering the consolidation of Bills. As the hon. Gentleman knows, that involves looking very closely at new Bills which take into account old legislation and consolidate it. We have to be extremely careful that when that is done no change of law takes place inadvertently through the new wording.

There are procedures whereby the danger that the hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. Redmond) fears can be averted, but it is a danger that needs to be watched for whenever new legislation is brought forward. The meaning of "the Council" under section 72 of the Food Act 1984, which I confess that I have not read, may or may not be too narrow in terms of those who have the powers to hold local markets. That is another matter to which we should turn our attention if further opportunity arises.

Subsections 4(2) and 4(3) deal with the measure of compensation. Again, I ask the House to pay attention to this because I have strong objections to it. They say:

  1. "(a) The measure of compensation shall be the capitalised value of the estimated loss of income to the claimant from persons trading at his market resulting from the continuance or establishment of a market under this Act.
  2. (b) Compensation under this section shall carry interest from the expiry of six weeks from the date on which the claim is received by the Council.
3. Except as otherwise be agreed by the Council, compensation under this section shall not be payable except upon a claim made in writing to the Council within three months of the commencement of this Act. I know that my hon. Friend the Member for Ilford, South has admitted that that is an appallingly inadequate time in which compensation can be assessed, but I ask the House to consider how anybody could bring such a proposal before the House in the first place. It shows an appalling lack of regard for those who trade in Romford market and an almost arrogant disregard for the need to give adequate compensation when old, established rights are being taken away. That is certainly not in line with anything that this Government would like to see done. I very much hope that my hon. Friend the Minister will be able to distance herself from any such proposal, if she wishes to say anything about it now.

The timing of such compensation must be flexible and should be taken from a date at which such damage could conceivably be assessed. To say that the damage can be assessed within three months of the Act being passed, which will be before Redbridge market starts trading anyway, is ludicrous. Even supposing that Redbridge market can manage to start trading in that period, it will take a year or two before the impact of that market is fully felt at Romford. What will my hon. Friend the Member for Ilford, South say later to that, if he has the opportunity, as I hope that he will? What proposal will he be able to make that will adequately cover the point of giving properly assessed compensation at the right time to the council?

It is not, of course, only the council, or primarily the council in many instances, which will be the loser. The losers will be the 300-odd traders who have their market stalls in Romford. They have been established there for a long time and the Bill contains no proposal that compensation should be payable to them.

Mr. Barron

The hon. Gentleman has made the case that I was going to put. It is highly questionable whether the issue of compensation resulting from new retail outlets can be assessed at all, whether it involves a new market or a new shopping mall, which I understand that the town of Ilford will have in the next few years. The whole concept of compensation for the loss of retail trading is not well planned. There have been no major legal judgments on which an assessment could be based. Clause 4 is perhaps a sop, as is the proposal about compensation claims having to be made within three months. That is especially the case under the private Bill procedure. This Bill could go into Committee and two hon. Members could send it back unamended. It would then have to go through with the major defects that the hon. Gentleman has pointed out.

Sir Nicholas Bonsor

That is wholly correct. The Bill could go through with those defects and it would be appalling and unjust if it were to do so. Even if the Bill is amended, it is difficult, I agree, to assess compensation for the loss of retail trade. I am not aware of any great precedents for that, certainly not in the big world outside market trading. There is no previous history of such compensation within market trading because no previous Act has gone against existing rights under part III of the 1984 Act, or any similar rights before that. I may be wrong about that, but, to my knowledge, this matter has not arisen before. Clause 4 is an odd and inadequate clause. As presently drafted, it gives no compensation either to Romford council or to the traders who will lose out and it is, therefore, in the context of the Bill, wholly irrelevant and can be seen only as a red herring.

When I intervened earlier in the speech of the hon. Member for Leyton he said that there had been talk about a compromise on this point. I understand from my local authority that two compromises were offered of which that was one, but that they were offered on wholly unacceptable terms—namely, that the council should undertake not to oppose the Bill on Second Reading. The understanding was that if the Bill was opposed on Second Reading, the offers of compromise would be withdrawn. Like the hon. Member for Leyton, I am here not as a preacher for my local council, but to represent my constituents. I find it odd, therefore, that Redbridge council should seek to put such terms on any compromise it may seriously have proposed. If it was serious about putting forward a compromise, it should not have been on terms that the local authority should try to gag local members of Parliament and prevent them from properly representing their constituents. That should not be encouraged by this House and should it prove to have been the case we shall have to ensure that it does not happen again. The compensation clause is, therefore, quite irrelevant to the Bill and the House should disregard it when deciding on whether the Bill should go through this stage.

Clause 5 says: A market established under this Act shall be deemed to have been established by the Council under Section 50 of the Act of 1984. I want to make a technical point on that. I may be wrong as I am not a draftsman, but it seems to be an appallingly badly drafted Bill. It makes the claim that a market established under it should be established as follows: 50.—(1) The council of a district may—

  1. (a) establish a market within their district;
  2. (b) acquire by agreement (but not otherwise), either by purchase or on lease, the whole or any part of an existing market undertaking within their district, and any rights enjoyed by any person within their district in respect of a market and of tolls,
and, in either case, may provide—
  1. (i) a market place with convenient approaches to it;
  2. (ii) a market house and other buildings convenient for the holding of a market.
(2) A market shall not be established in pursuance of this section so as to interfere with any rights, powers or privileges enjoyed within the district in respect of a market by any person, without that person's consent. That is what section 50 of the 1984 Act says.

How can the promoters of the Bill purport to set up a market under the terms of that Act when in clause 3 of the Bill and elsewhere they propose precisely to set up a market without the consent of the people whose rights will be thus abrogated? This an appallingly bad clause in an appallingly bad Bill, which should be thrown out at this stage. If Redbridge really wants legislation passed, it should bring back a properly drafted Bill and have proper discussions with other concerned local authorities, rather than attempting to obtain such discussions by means that I would consider to be dubious. We could then re-examine the whole question.

Perhaps I may deal with the locus standi of Romford council, the borough of Havering and the three Members of Parliament who represent the area. As my hon. Friend the Member for Ilford, South said, we in Romford have enjoyed our own markets for 742 years, which must make Romford one of the oldest established and most continual trading markets in the country. The market was originally set up under a writ issued by Henry III in 1247, under which he gave the right of a market in the Royal Manor of Havering-atte-Bower, which continues as the Romford market today. That market was the one which meets on Wednesday.

Romford also has the right to hold markets on Fridays and Saturdays. The Saturday market arises from what is called a "lost modern grant". For the benefit of those of my hon. Friends who are not lawyers, and indeed for the benefit of some who are—even as a lawyer, I confess that I had to ask someone exactly what it meant—a "lost modern grant" is, in fact, a lost old grant. No one knows how the right was acquired because it was acquired so long ago and because it has been enjoyed continuously for so long, but the legal fiction is that at some stage someone granted the right. The "lost modern grant" is the basis on which the market is held. The rights of a market held under lost modern grant are as great as those of a market held under original writ. The Friday market is operated by Havering borough in exercise of its powers under part III of the Food Act 1984—on which Ilford and Redbridge so wrongly attempt to base their market operations.

We in Romford have the right to hold markets on three days of the week. That is significant. It means that we are not talking about taking away the rights of market traders who trade in Romford one day of the week and somewhere else the next. We are talking about taking away the rights to an exclusive area which have been enjoyed for a very long time by about 300 traders trading there three days a week. I suspect that those traders base a large part of their livelihood upon their operations in Romford market. The House must think carefully, therefore, before doing anything to undermine the security of their operations in Romford by passing a Bill in direct contravention of the arrangements that have pertained in our area for so long and in direct contravention of anything that has been done in this line before. I am advised that all other new markets set up under the 1984 Act have scrupulously observed the limits and boundaries of other markets that have been operating in the vicinity. We are not talking about following precedent or doing something that is normal in the course of market trading, negotiation and dialogue. We are talking about doing something that has never been done before. One would certainly not guess that from the way in which the Bill has been presented to the House.

I hope that we shall throw the Bill back where it came from and that, in due course, we shall have a chance to negotiate the position with Redbridge and perhaps find some way in which Romford could properly consent to a change in the present structure. If we do not give that consent—if that consent is not forthcoming for proper reasons—it would be wrong for the House to override the rights of the local borough of Havering in this way.

Mr. Barron

The hon. Gentleman says that the Bill should be withdrawn and that the London borough of Redbridge should hold proper discussions. The third paragraph of a letter signed by the chief executive of Redbridge says that major concessions have been discussed between the two local authorities. Does the hon. Gentleman know of any such concessions and, if so, does he know whether his local authority is satisfied with them? The letter seems to suggest that it is.

Sir Nicholas Bonsor

One thing that I certainly do know is that my local authority is not satisfied with the Bill as drafted, nor has it agreed any of the compromises that it was invited to agree. As I said earlier, the terms in which that invitation was expressed were wholly and rightly unacceptable to the local authority, and, indeed, undeliverable by it. Whatever the local authority may have said to me, I would in any case have taken whatever view I considered to be right in the interests of my constituents. I know that there were negotiations and that at some stage the local authority agreed some of the points, but it certainly did not agree to the Bill in its present form or to the compromises mentioned earlier.

I am concerned that the interests of my constituents, the local traders and those who have enjoyed the facilities of Romford market for so long will be gravely endangered if this Bill is allowed to reach the statute book. I hope that when we vote in about an hour's time the House will take the view that the Bill should not be sent upstairs to Committee.

When I intervened in the speech of the hon. Member for Leyton I said that I was afraid that there would not be any acceptable new clauses or amendments during Committee that would allow the Bill to return to the Floor of the House for further discussion on Report. That must be seriously considered because, unlike the usual procedure for Bills, there will be no further opportunity—other than for the four hon. Members who will consider the Bill upstairs in Committee—to consider possible compromises that would enable those of us who represent the interests of Romford—

Mr. Skinner

If Mr. Speaker accepts a closure motion, even though there are still a number of hon. Members wishing to speak, the hon. Gentleman should have a word with his hon. Friends because two of the four hon. Members who will consider the Bill upstairs will represent the majority—if there is a majority in favour tonight—and it is important that they are distanced from the arguments. Our recent experience of certain private Bills, such as the Associated British Ports (No. 2) Bill, is that hon. Members were not allowed to table amendments on what, under the normal Bill procedure, would have been Report stage.

Neither the hon. Gentleman nor I want the Bill to proceed to its next stage. I am certainly not happy about the private Bill procedure. The hon. Gentleman should use his best endeavours with his hon. Friends, including those in favour of planned, strategic organisation of markets as opposed to market forces—there may not be many of those in the Tory party, but there are certainly more now than there used to be—to ensure that there are two hon. Members on the Committee who will allow justifiable amendments so that the House can have another bite at the cherry on Report.

Sir Nicholas Bonsor

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will forgive me if I do not follow his general points, although I agree that it is highly desirable that there should be people of an independent mind—and I am sure that there will be—who will properly and closely consider whatever is put before them. As the hon. Gentleman suggested, the judgment of two, three or four Members of Parliament resulting in a final decision is very different from a full discussion in the House with all hon. Members able to make their points on the relevant amendments.

If the Bill proceeds to its next stage, it is important that those appointed to serve on the Committee read what has been said during this debate and take on board the fact that not by any stretch of the imagination could the Bill be said to have the support of those hon. Members present tonight.

I wish to deal with three generalisations that have arisen during the debate. The first is what the catchment area should be around the market. My hon. Friend the Member for Ilford, South informed us that the distance of 6⅔ miles dates from Roman rule. I know that the market dates from Henry III, but the catchment area obviously dates back a lot further than that. I do not follow the logic of what he tries to persuade us, which is to the effect that because the distance was 6⅔ miles in the days when people could not get about, it should now be much smaller when people can get about more easily. I would have thought that the logic was the reverse and that, in order to protect the trade and the interests of those who live in the vicinity, such a radius might be extended rather than made smaller.

The second point is about whether it is an unfair restraint of trade for Romford to say that it has had the right for so long and that it should preserve it, never mind the interests of Redbridge. I am prepared to make that point because it can be raised legitimately as an argument against me. I reject the logic of that because we have 300 traders trading in Romford and we cannot sensibly talk about restraint of trade when 300 people are competing with each other.

Sometimes my party gets in a muddle on this. I think that we could draw a parallel between my hon. Friend the Member for Ilford, South and the policy of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission on brewers. It does not seem to be compatible with Conservative philosophy that people who have built up their businesses over many years—200 years in the case of some brewers and by tradition at least 200 years for some of the family interests that have traded regularly at Romford—should lose their business, with no compensation being offered. I was very glad to hear some Opposition Members voicing similar opinions.

Mr. Barron

I do not know whether Opposition Members would go all the way with the hon. Gentleman on compensation for the brewing industry which makes the biggest contribution to Conservative party funds.

Sir Nicholas Bonsor

I understand that that might be a reason for Opposition Members not to go along the same road as me, but I am sure that they would have other and better reasons, were they to take an opposite line. I am sure that they would not allow narrow party political bias to override their natural desire to look after the public interest.

My hon. Friend the Member for Ilford, South referred in his opening remarks to the applications that he has had. He told the House that he has had 240 applications for stalls at Redbridge. [Interruption.] That is the very point; the sedentary intervention asks how many of those have come from Romford. I too should like to know that. Perhaps my hon. Friend can tell me how many of the applications are from people who already have stalls in Romford market.

It may be that all that we will do, should the Bill go through, is to move the trade down the road from where it is well established. Even if that does not happen, the historical justification for the laws that have been in force for nearly 800 years is that there is only a limited amount of business to be done in these areas. If we are to have an efficient service in the public interest and if we are to look after consumers and safeguard the livelihood of the traders, we must have safeguards such as exist under the writ of Henry III.

I invite the House to throw the Bill out at this stage. Should there unfortunately be inadequate numbers listening at the moment to hear what the argument is about, I hope that at a later stage hon. Members will read the debate and make their own judgment.

9.13 pm
Ms. Joan Walley (Stoke-on-Trent, North)

The longer I listen to the debate, the more convinced I am that the many objections that we have heard to the Bill are justified. We have heard of the many detrimental effects that the Bill would have not just on street traders in Romford but on the local shopkeepers in the communities where markets exist. Such points make Opposition Members very concerned about the Bill. It must also be said that there are strong objections, not least because it sets a precedent. If we really are talking in the absence of total strategic planning, which was a point well highlighted during the earlier stage of the debate, we shall make even more problems for ourselves in local government.

We have heard that there are flaws in the Bill. As a relatively new Member of the House, I do not consider myself as being someone who is as learned in parliamentary procedure as many of my hon. Friends, but, even so, it is clear to me from what has been said that there are flaws. The problems that would ensue, if the Bill went to Committee and we were not able to make amendments to it, should be considered when we vote later.

We have heard from the hon. Member for Ilford, South (Mr. Thorne), in whose constituency the proposed market lies, that it would be to local and public advantage. I would like to ask him to whose local and public advantage he referred. Was he referring to the developers and the large retailers, who will presumably, as a result of market forces, be taking profits from the new development and from the shopping precinct which is being developed, or to the stallholders, and the local people, who will probably find it inconvenient to go into Ilford to shop in the proposed new market? Many comments have been made about the lack of proper provision for highways, for transport and for all the other planning matters that should be taken on board when considering the Bill.

From conversations that I have had with elected members in Redbridge, I know that the planners have not even been able to arrange for bus stops to work properly. I have heard stories of 13 buses stopping at the same bus stop. I do not have any confidence, therefore, that the necessary considerations have been taken on board. Various aspects, especially the fact that there is no strategic planning that could reconcile the conflicting views and pressures, lead the Opposition to oppose the Bill.

Unlike the rest of the country, it must be said that the south-east has never benefited to any great extent from the municipal reforms that provided for the building and operating of so many excellent indoor markets, with all the proper facilities of fair, healthy, hygienic and safe trading. I believe that in our discussions so far on markets, whether indoor or outdoor, we have not shown any concern about the whole infrastructure which goes into supporting a market, such as the cleansing operations. Instead the south-east and even urbanised areas of London have suffered from a crude and opportunistic free-for-all. In what was known as inner London, the late-lamented Greater London council managed to control street trading and similar markets by means of its general powers, which were enforced by the boroughs. In outer London the historic town centres, of which Kingston and Romford are good examples, had the long-established market rights dating back to time immemorial about which we have heard so much this evening.

We have before us what is in all repects a grubby little Bill, which is designed to upset the pattern of history in the interests—I have to say it—of commercial opportunism.

I understand from the sponsors of the Bill that they have seen fit to allocate £50,000 and £4,000 a month plus expenses for their lobbyists. Their proposal is obviously not so simple and clear-cut as it seems, or as the hon. Members supporting the Bill would have us believe. We were told that the petition had 6,000 signatures. I understand that many people did not institute the petition of their own accord. They signed their names when the major retailers thought that it would be in their commercial interest to get the petition under way.

I take great exception to the comments about tatty old markets which, we have been told, are out of date and have no place in modern market policies. Any former councillor who has been involved in local government knows that the operation of retail markets is not merely a matter of providing some space for a few traders. There are complicated implications for all local shopping facilities —parking, cleansing, hygiene, consumer safety and regulation.

I do not know whether the Minister intends to contribute to the debate. I noted a recent report in The Independent of her visit to the Lambeth Walk street market. I am sure that she has had ample opportunity during the Vauxhall by-election campaign to see for herself how the once thriving street market in Lambeth Walk has been laid to waste by developers and the competition of other shopping centres. That factor must be taken on board.

The Bill will allow Redbridge council to set up a market in Ilford or, to be more precise, will allow private interests to do so, with the blessing of their friends on the council. I listened carefully to the hon. Member for Upminster (Sir N. Bonsor) and I wonder whether he has misinterpreted clause 3(2). Is that subsection all about setting up two markets or does it enable the council to invest in the market and then ensure that it is quickly privatized, which means that we are talking about one market? I say that with some trepidation because the council is spilt on this issue.

Anyone who has done his or her homework will know that it is not a matter of bringing before the House a Bill that has the full support of the large Conservative majority on the council. My information is that at least one third of the Conservative councillors do not support it—hardly a portent of success or widespread support within the community. Hon. Members who said that they felt bound to speak on behalf of their constituents should not necessarily be judged by council decisions. I am sorry that there are not a large number of hon. Members present to make it clear that this proposal does not have the 100 per cent. support of the Conservative majority on Redbridge council.

I can, however, well understand why multiple retailers and Ilford developers want the attraction of choice and interest for shoppers in one of those up-market markets about which we have heard. Unfortunately, this is bound to detract from support for small retailers trying to get a foothold in the economy. Many people and many small shops near the existing market stand to lose much if the Bill is passed.

The Bill's sponsors need to be alerted to the fact that the demise of small shops will reduce the business rate income —an important point which has not been noted. In inner London and the east end, there are many streets and shops where business income has been greatly reduced. The introduction of a substantial six-day week market in the centre of Ilford is also bound to create a loss of trade, not only to places such as Romford, but to the local shopping centres and markets of Redbridge and its adjoining boroughs.

I have a letter from the National Market Traders Federation. We must take into account the concern that some of us have for those who trade in the Romford markets. The letter states: The traders are opposed to new markets, as they have built up their businesses under strict rules and procedures. When they first attended Romford market they had to stand in the casual queue with no certainty of getting a stall. As they progressed up the list by regular attendance they gained a stall every week but not in the same place. After a period of up to eight years on the casual list they finally obtained a regular stall and further service on the market allowed them to transfer to better stalls as they became vacant. That is the practice by which markets all over the country have become established, and the process by which traders have built up their livelihood. We should think carefully about removing their livelihoods when the clauses in the Bill which deal with compensation are, as the hon. Member for Upminster said, grossly inadequate.

The federation also brought to my attention the fact that Romford, in common with other well-run markets, has strict conditions attached to the trader's 'licence' which restricts traders as to what they can sell and they are also required to trade in a responsible manner. Anyone who is familiar with local markets will be aware of that. I am concerned about the proposal contained in clause 3(2) which could hand over the responsibility of running the markets to private developers.

As the federation states: Private operators are not always responsible in the way that they run their markets and do not enforce strict trading practices to protect the shopping public and a 'bad' market at Ilford could reflect badly on the responsible traders at Romford. That is an important point, which is worth making.

The Bill is not specific about the site of Ilford market. I understand that a site has been earmarked already. I stand to be corrected on that, but I understand that the site is within one mile from the town hall. As usual of late, the site is, at present, a car park. Hon. Members will therefore ask how a loss of parking spaces can be reconciled with the hope, expressed earlier, for an increase in shoppers. We must also question the provisions of other related matters.

I have a copy of a letter from David C. Humble and Company, independent financial advisers, who wrote to the director of land management of Redbridge council, objecting in the strongest possible terms to a planning proposal which is, I understand, currently under consideration and which would take away one existing car park to make way for a large scale office development. The company is expressing concern about the status quo and the lack of car parking facilities in Ilford. If we are to lose that car park, we should be concerned about the loss of a car park which is to be the very site of the market.

We must also question the provisions for proper food hygiene, refuse storage and disposal, storage of barrows and stores. Anybody who knows anything about street markets, especially if they have been local councillors, knows of the many complaints about street traders who infringe on the amount of space and parking space available and the times when it is possible to deliver to market stalls. Even traders' vehicles will occupy a substantial area of car parking which is, at present, available to shoppers. I wonder whether these detailed items have been taken into account.

We are talking about two issues: whether we are setting a national precedent and whether there are special circumstances in which we should not support the Bill. I submit that the problems that I have mentioned, coupled with the difficult access to the site, constitute a strong case against the Bill.

Opposition Members might be more inclined to support the Bill if it provided for a well-thought-out scheme with some evidence of the strategic planning of which we heard so much from my hon. Friend the Member for Leyton (Mr. Cohen), relevant to shopping in east London and to all the environmental and planning implications. As far as I can see, the Bill merely offers those who live or work in the area the prospect of traffic chaos, dirt, disruption and widespread adverse effects for shoppers as well as established market traders. The Bill —which Redbridge council no doubt sees as a model of late 20th-century enterprise—is no more than a grubby piece of opportunism from the flog-it-off, get-rich-quick school of politics.

Mr. Barron

The free market.

Ms. Walley

The free market, indeed.

I have learnt not to expect any concern for the environment or the health and safety of the public from such people, but in this instance they have exceeded themselves by not even caring about the effects on other traders or the wider interests of shoppers. That is reflected in the number of technical flaws in the Bill.

I am grateful to hon. Members on both sides of the House, and others, who have pointed out to me that the Bill's enactment would represent a major departure from a nationwide policy of many years' standing. Regardless of the position in Redbridge, the Opposition are anxious to avoid the creation of a precedent that would allow the Conservative car park groups to exploit similar opportunities in constituencies all over the country, many of which have excellent retail markets established by people who knew what municipal improvement and initiative really meant. How sad and how significant that, instead of organising strategic planning for London and for councillors who look to the future health and welfare of their boroughs, the House must now spend its time considering a Bill whose sole purpose is to maximise the commercial value of a car park.

9.31 pm
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Mrs. Virginia Bottomley)

It may be helpful if I give a brief explanation of the Government's view. It is, of course, for my hon. Friend the Member for Ilford, South (Mr. Thorne) to respond to the detail of the debate, but it can fairly be said that, whatever the outcome, many of us will wish to take the opportunity of visiting the Romford charter market. A number of hon. Members were not aware that the market is 742 years old. My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Armed Forces, the hon. Member for Romford (Mr. Neubert), has been present throughout the debate but, because of his ministerial status, has been unable to participate. No doubt we shall be visiting his constituency to see the market.

Long-established charter rights such as this can be set aside only by Act of Parliament, and it is for Redbridge to persuade Parliament that the powers that it seeks are justified. It is traditional for the Government to take a neutral stance on private Bills, and tonight's Bill is no exception to that rule. The Government have considered its content and have no objections in principle to the powers sought by the council. The Department has raised no observations; we take the view that the issues raised in relation to markets and existing market rights are local matters in which the Government do not wish to intervene.

There is one petition against the Bill, and the petitioner will have an opportunity to present his objections to the Select Committee. The Committee will be in a much better position than we are tonight to examine the issues in detail, and will have the added advantage of hearing expert evidence—not that I wish to suggest that many of tonight's contributions have not been expert in their various ways.

I hope that the Bill will be given a Second Reading and allowed to proceed to Committee in the conventional way for detailed consideration.

9.34 pm
Mr. Martin Redmond (Don Valley)

I am grateful to you for calling me, Mr. Speaker. I have been in the Chamber since seven o'clock this evening, apart from nipping out to do some photocopying, and have endured the no-smoking rule that applies in it. I am glad to have this opportunity to speak briefly, because I certainly intend to allow the sponsor of the Bill to answer some of the points raised this evening.

I take exception to a remark made earlier by a Conservative Member who has now left the Chamber to the effect that if one is a Labour Member of Parliament serving a constituency having a Labour-controlled local authority, one should not make any remarks that are contrary to that local authority's wishes—and that the same applies to Conservatives. I have an excellent relationship with my own local authority, but we disagree from time to time on one or two issues.

The Minister stated that the Government have no preference either way but that the Bill should be given a Second Reading, and that anyone who intends opposing it will leave disappointed when the votes are counted. It is obvious from previous debates that private Bills which have the Government's support and which are the subject of Government whipping enjoy a majority vote in favour of them.

The Bill represents the thin end of the wedge. It cannot be considered in isolation. If the Bill receives a Second Reading it will have a domino effect on other markets throughout the country, which will come under fire from people out to make a fast buck and a quick profit—and to hell with long-term planning. Doncaster could find itself in such a situation. It has a historic market on the site of the old Roman road. I do not doubt for one moment that the existing market at Romford provides similar excellent facilities. Doncaster market offers fresh fruit, vegetables and fish, haberdashery, and other goods. It is protected by the rule that does not permit another market nearer than 6⅔ miles. If that rule were waived, it would have a tremendous effect on Doncaster market. That is one of the reasons why I am very concerned about getting shot of the royal writ to which the Bill refers.

Under the Bill, the only thing that is certain is that the old royal writ will disappear and that another market will be established nearer than 6⅔ miles away from Romford. The Bill makes no mention of improved commerce or of any other positive element. It is no use people arguing that the Bill will not have a knock-on effect in other areas, because that will be the case once a precedent is set in this Chamber.

Reference has been made to good strategic planning. If a bad planning decision is made, future generations will have to live with it. There are examples in Yorkshire and in other parts of the country of that happening, where subsequent generations have faced a host of problems as a consequence of someone making an adverse planning decision.

In Doncaster we have an excellent market and an abattoir which serves farmers for miles around. Quite rightly, the local authority seeks to protect the market. There are also other markets outside the 6⅔ miles. The market at Mexborough is an excellent little market and should certainly be protected. Unfortunately, within our avaricious society many car boot sales have been springing up throughout my area, causing all sorts of problems for local residents becauses the increased traffic does nothing to enhance local villages. The towns in my constituency have suffered many problems due to car boot sales.

I want to allow time for the sponsor of the Bill to respond to the debate, but I should mention briefly the petition which carries 6,500 signatures. A few weeks ago I handed in to 10 Downing street a petition against the poll tax and that had many more signatures, but I do not suppose that the Prime Minister even saw that petition and if she did I am sure that she took no notice of it. The petition to which the hon. Gentleman referred is, therefore, of no concern because the people who signed it want the market and intend to exploit it and profit from it, but no doubt there is also a petition from those who do not want the market within than 6⅔ miles.

I hope that the House will reject the Bill as it upsets the fundamental principle of the distance of 6⅔ miles. There is enough greed in society without the House endorsing more greed. I have examined the promotional leaflet that Redbridge council has handed out. There certainly seems to be a large number of car parks. Perhaps Redbridge should have planned more stores and other premises that attract business. The borough council appears to be more concerned with car parks, and perhaps it will have too many car parks without sufficient cars to fill them. That emphasises that good planning is needed to ensure that everything is orderly in future.

The Bill causes great concern. I am not satisfied that certain things will not happen if the Bill is given a Second Reading. I am not quite sure about the safety factor. It would appear from the promotional leaflet that the market stalls will be under a viaduct. The sponsor will probably correct me, but occasionally we get bad weather and I would hate to be a customer of one of those stalls when an articulated lorry went over the top of the market. It has been said that the market was hemmed in and that there could be no expansion for the 68 stalls. Although the map does not give all the finer details, if I had a few million pounds and wanted to add another 60, 80 or 100 stalls, I could certainly find room to do so. Therefore, the hon. Member for Upminster (Sir N. Bonsor) who spoke against the Bill had every right to be concerned. We do not want people chasing a cake that is becoming smaller and ending up with no living at all. We have a duty to protect the existing market stalls that are there by royal charter. I hope that the hon. Member for Ilford, South will allay my fears about the possible knock-on effects of the Bill. People outside are waiting to move in to exploit certain circumstances.

Doncaster is a first-class market town. People enjoy visiting it because of its compactness. When I was on the local authority, it used to wish that a certain organisation was in Timbuktu. I must admit that I was a bit of a philistine at that time, but markets have changed, and those that have built up over the centuries have charm and character. No matter how clean and tidy a new market is, it will not have the character and flavour of a centuries-old market. I hope that the hon. Member for Ilford, South will think again and will withdraw the Bill until such time as the points made by hon. Members can be satisfied.

9.45 pm
Mr. Thorne

With the leave of the House, I shall try to answer as many questions as I can. The hon. Member for Leyton (Mr. Cohen) was concerned that the Bill would circumvent the planning process. I reassure him that it must still go through the normal planning procedure.

As the hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. Redmond) said, the market is partly under a road. It would therefore be quite unsuitable for a football pitch, as was suggested earlier. I shall return to the points made by the hon. Member for Don Valley later.

The strategic plan for Redbridge, which was introduced in 1980, included provision for a market. It was therefore very much on the cards when the Greater London council was in existence. I have no reason to suppose that if that authority had been in existence it would have objected to its promotion now.

Retailers are in favour of the market. I have not been approached by any retailer who is not in favour of it. Local traders and the local chamber of trade were responsible for the petition. It is not a parliamentary petition but merely an expression of support for the Bill. It is not couched in parliamentary terms, so it will not therefore be put in the Bag. I was not a party to it, but if I had been I would have offered certain advice. Local traders and the local chamber of trade did it on their own initiative, and in the time available they did very well.

Rates and competition with shopkeepers were mentioned. These are taken into account by the level of charges for a market stall. Rent for stalls will be paid to the local authority, and this will benefit ratepayers.

Mr. Ian McCartney (Makerfield)

The hon. Gentleman makes an interesting point about rents being paid to the local authority. In the foreseeable future, a substantial part of those rents will be used to offset the capital costs of construction and development work. In reality, for a considerable period thereafter, there will be no significant benefit to the ratepayers of the borough.

Mr. Thorne

I do not agree. A shop must be fitted and equipped, and inevitably there is a contribution towards the costs of constructing a market stall. I do not foresee that being a major proportion of the cost. The ratepayers' investment will be well worth while.

The police were consulted. A car park which will take 1,400 cars is now under construction and that will more than make up for the 60 car places which will be displaced by the development.

The hon. Member for Leyton spent a considerable time expressing concern about the availability of funds for roads in his area. He was given an assurance by Mr. Price, the chief executive of the London borough of Redbridge, that there are no plans to spend further money on roads in Ilford town centre in the foreseeable future. Mr. Price cannot bind his successors or the council into the distant future, but there is no question that Ilford town centre will in any way be competing for funds now with the London borough of Waltham Forest for Leyton and Leytonstone.

My hon. Friend the Member for Upminster (Sir N. Bonsor) expressed concern about the number of markets and compensation. I have already given an undertaking that compensation will be calculated six months from the time at which the market is opened, not six months from the Bill being enacted.

Mr. Barron

Is there any legal precedent for people being compensated for the loss of retail trade? Has the relevant clause, on which I have so far been unable to speak, any precedent in law?

Mr. Thorne

Not that I know of. The compensation is payable to the London borough of Havering. It is there to compensate for any effect that there might be on its market, about which it was concerned.

My hon. Friend the Member for Upminster mentioned negotiation between local authorities. As I understand it, there has been a singular lack of negotiation or response to negotiation from his local authority. His remarks this evening have gone further than any previous negotiations in that regard. If the Bill receives its Second Reading tonight, as I hope that it will, there will be an opportunity for further negotiation. That is what should happen before the matter reaches an opposed Bill Committee. I am sure that Redbridge will want to obtain as much agreement as possible.

I have every confidence that the four hon. Members appointed to an opposed Bill Committee would view the matter in an unbiased way. I have served on such Committees myself in the past and I well remember the undertaking that has to be given. I have always been extremely impressed by the way in which Opposition Members have looked at such matters in an impartial way and have done their best, together with Conservative Members, to reach a proper and fair decision.

I have explained in some detail how the figure of 6⅔ miles was arrived at. The proposed market will be 5¼ miles away and that seems to me to be a fair distance. I believe that it will have no effect upon the market in Romford. As I have said, there were 250 applications. A survey has been carried out by some experts, G. L. Hearn and Partners, who expressed the opinion that the effect on Romford market would be negligible, and I believe that that is correct.

I am sorry that the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, North (Ms. Walley) expressed such a negative attitude to the Bill. As I said earlier, it is important to give people an opportunity to start in business. It would be wrong to stop people fulfilling the entirely laudable aim of trading on their own from a market stall when they cannot afford the expense of a shop. Marks and Spencer and British Home Stores started in just that way.

It has been said that the Bill has many flaws. I do not accept that the measure is in any major way different from the majority of Bills that come before the House. Corrections must often be made, and the Committee is the correct place for them to be made.

Reference was made to the question of food hygiene. The stalls will be subject to the same regulations as the stalls that at present exist in the Romford market.

The hon. Member for Don Valley wondered whether petitions were of any value. I disagree with him wholeheartedly on that issue. I believe that petitions have a valuable role to play as an expression of opinion. I am sure that due note was taken of the petition that he presented.

Mr. Redmond

I am pleased to hear that. I hope that when, in the not too distant future, I present another petition, I will be able to count on the hon. Gentleman's support.

Mr. Thorne

As I say, due note is taken of petitions, even though we do not always get the result we would like. I am convinced that it is worth putting in a petition on all occasions as an expression of opinion.

My answer to remarks that were made about the question of greed is that this land is owned by the local authority. Thus, what is proposed will benefit the ratepayers as a whole.

I cannot say what safety factors exist in connection with vehicles crossing the bridge which goes over the railway. That was designed and paid for by the GLC, and I am sure that the GLC looked carefully into the question of safety at the relevant time.

I was asked about the number of people who had signed the Romford petition. I counted over 100 names with addresses in Romford in the time available to me. I regard that as significant. There were a number of others from East Ham and elsewhere.

This is a modest Bill. It proposes a site within one mile of Ilford town centre, which is well built up. Only a small number of sites are available there. A modest number of stalls could be sited on this piece of land. I cannot see how it can be claimed that that would have an adverse effect on Romford market.

I have received a letter from a Mrs. Norris who lives in Romford. It was addressed to the public relations officer of the London borough of Redbridge. She writes: Dear Sir, I read in our local paper that Romford market stallholders are going to complain about your wanting to open a market. I feel that these stallholders have got a damned cheek, when I am told that many of them go to other markets on 'no market' day here. You should look into this, and when the Redbridge Bill is read in the House, somebody who is able should have their say for the people of Redbridge and the east London side of Romford. Hope you succeed. Yours truly. That lady has the right idea. She believes that there should be competition and a full opportunity for people to have the chance of a wide variety of trading. I therefore urge the House to give the Bill a Second reading.

9.58 pm
Mr. Kevin Barron (Bother Valley)

I do not wish to delay the House and I must at the outset declare that I do not have a constituency interest in the issue, although I have a passing interest in the number of private Bills that come before the House. My comments will, therefore, go somewhat wider that the subject matter of the Bill.

Mr. Thorne

rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.

Question put, That the Question be now put:—

The House divided: Ayes 174, Noes 92.

Division No. 222] [9.59 pm
Alexander, Richard Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Grist, Ian
Alton, David Ground, Patrick
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn
Ashby, David Hague, William
Aspinwall, Jack Hamilton, Hon Archie (Epsom)
Atkins, Robert Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley) Hampson, Dr Keith
Beith, A. J. Hannam, John
Bellingham, Henry Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)
Bendall, Vivian Harris, David
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke) Haselhurst, Alan
Benyon, W. Hawkins, Christopher
Bevan, David Gilroy Hayward, Robert
Blackburn, Dr John G. Heathcoat-Amory, David
Boscawen, Hon Robert Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael
Boswell, Tim Hind, Kenneth
Bottomley, Peter Hordern, Sir Peter
Bottomley, Mrs Virginia Howard, Michael
Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A)
Brazier, Julian Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)
Bright, Graham Howells, Geraint
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W)
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Hunt, David (Wirral W)
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Irvine, Michael
Carttiss, Michael Jack, Michael
Chapman, Sydney Jackson, Robert
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S) Janman, Tim
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest) Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Cope, Rt Hon John Jopling, Rt Hon Michael
Cormack, Patrick Kennedy, Charles
Crowther, Stan Key, Robert
Curry, David Kilfedder, James
Davis, David (Boothferry) King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)
Dorrell, Stephen Kirkhope, Timothy
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Kirkwood, Archy
Durant, Tony Knapman, Roger
Fallon, Michael Knight, Greg (Derby North)
Favell, Tony Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)
Fearn, Ronald Knowles, Michael
Field, Barry (Isle of Wight) Lamont, Rt Hon Norman
Fishburn, John Dudley Lang, Ian
Fookes, Dame Janet Lawrence, Ivan
Forth, Eric Lee, John (Pendle)
Franks, Cecil Lightbown, David
Freeman, Roger Lilley, Peter
French, Douglas Livsey, Richard
Garel-Jones, Tristan Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)
Gill, Christopher Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Glyn, Dr Alan Macfarlane, Sir Neil
Gow, Ian MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire)
Grant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW) Maclean, David
Greenway, Harry (Ealing N) McLoughlin, Patrick
Greenway, John (Ryedale) McNair-Wilson, Sir Michael
Gregory, Conal Major, Rt Hon John
Griffiths, Sir Eldon (Bury St E') Marshall, John (Hendon S)
Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Ryder, Richard
Maude, Hon Francis Sackville, Hon Tom
Michie, Mrs Ray (Arg'l & Bute) Sainsbury, Hon Tim
Mills, Iain Shaw, David (Dover)
Miscampbell, Norman Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling) Skeet, Sir Trevor
Mitchell, Sir David Speller, Tony
Moate, Roger Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Montgomery, Sir Fergus Steel, Rt Hon David
Moore, Rt Hon John Stradling Thomas, Sir John
Morrison, Sir Charles Summerson, Hugo
Moss, Malcolm Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Moynihan, Hon Colin Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Mudd, David Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Nicholls, Patrick Thornton, Malcolm
Nicholson, David (Taunton) Thurnham, Peter
Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley Townend, John (Bridlington)
Page, Richard Trotter, Neville
Paice, James Twinn, Dr Ian
Parkinson, Rt Hon Cecil Waddington, Rt Hon David
Patnick, Irvine Wallace, James
Patten, Chris (Bath) Waller, Gary
Pawsey, James Warren, Kenneth
Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth Wheeler, John
Porter, David (Waveney) Widdecombe, Ann
Portillo, Michael Wood, Timothy
Price, Sir David Woodcock, Dr. Mike
Raison, Rt Hon Timothy Young, Sir George (Acton)
Redwood, John Younger, Rt Hon George
Riddick, Graham
Roe, Mrs Marion Tellers for the Ayes:
Rost, Peter Mr. James Arbuthnot and
Rumbold, Mrs Angela Mr. Tim Devlin.
Adams, Allen (Paisley N) Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W)
Armstrong, Hilary Lamond, James
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE) Leadbitter, Ted
Barron, Kevin Lewis, Terry
Battle, John Loyden, Eddie
Bermingham, Gerald Macdonald, Calum A.
Bidwell, Sydney McFall, John
Blunkett, David McKay, Allen (Barnsley West)
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Mahon, Mrs Alice
Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E) Malins, Humfrey
Buckley, George J. Marek, Dr John
Caborn, Richard Martin, David (Portsmouth S)
Callaghan, Jim Meacher, Michael
Campbell-Savours, D. N. Meale, Alan
Canavan, Dennis Michael, Alun
Carrington, Matthew Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W) Miller, Sir Hal
Clay, Bob Moonie, Dr Lewis
Clelland, David Nellist, Dave
Cohen, Harry Neubert, Michael
Cook, Frank (Stockton N) Norris, Steve
Cousins, Jim Patchett, Terry
Cryer, Bob Pike, Peter L.
Cunliffe, Lawrence Powell, Ray (Ogmore)
Dalyell, Tam Redmond, Martin
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) Richardson, Jo
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'I) Rogers, Allan
Dixon, Don Rowlands, Ted
Duffy, A. E. P. Skinner, Dennis
Eadie, Alexander Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Eastham, Ken Smith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury)
Evans, John (St Helens N) Steinberg, Gerry
Flynn, Paul Stott, Roger
Foot, Rt Hon Michael Strang, Gavin
Foster, Derek Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Garrett, John (Norwich South) Turner, Dennis
Godman, Dr Norman A. Vaz, Keith
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S) Walley, Joan
Haynes, Frank Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Hinchliffe, David Wareing, Robert N.
Home Robertson, John Welsh, Michael (Doncaster N)
Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd) Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)
Hughes, John (Coventry NE) Winnick, David
Illsley, Eric Winterton, Mrs Ann
Jones, Barry (Atyn & Deeside) Wise, Mrs Audrey
Worthington, Tony Tellers for the Noes:
Young, David (Bolton SE) Mr. Richard Shepherd and
Mr. Ian McCartney.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Question put accordingly, That the Bill be now read a Second time:—

The House divided: Ayes 157, Noes 88.

Division No. 223] [10.14 pm
Alexander, Richard Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W)
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Hunt, David (Wirral W)
Alton, David Irvine, Michael
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Jack, Michael
Aspinwall, Jack Jackson, Robert
Atkins, Robert Janman, Tim
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley) Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Beith, A. J. Jopling, Rt Hon Michael
Bellingham, Henry Kennedy, Charles
Bendall, Vivian Key, Robert
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke) Kilfedder, James
Bevan, David Gilroy Kirkhope, Timothy
Blackburn, Dr John G. Kirkwood, Archy
Boscawen, Hon Robert Knapman, Roger
Boswell, Tim Knight, Greg (Derby North)
Bottomley, Peter Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)
Bottomley, Mrs Virginia Knowles, Michael
Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard Lang, Ian
Brazier, Julian Lawrence, Ivan
Bright, Graham Lee, John (Pendle)
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Lightbown, David
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Lilley, Peter
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Livsey, Richard
Chapman, Sydney Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S) Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest) Macfarlane, Sir Neil
Cope, Rt Hon John MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire)
Cormack, Patrick Maclean, David
Curry, David McLoughlin, Patrick
Dorrell, Stephen McNair-Wilson, Sir Michael
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Major, Rt Hon John
Durant, Tony Marshall, John (Hendon S)
Evennett, David Maude, Hon Francis
Fallon, Michael Mills, Iain
Fearn, Ronald Miscampbell, Norman
Field, Barry (Isle of Wight) Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Fookes, Dame Janet Mitchell, Sir David
Forman, Nigel Moate, Roger
Forth, Eric Montgomery, Sir Fergus
Franks, Cecil Moore, Rt Hon John
Freeman, Roger Morrison, Sir Charles
French, Douglas Moss, Malcolm
Garel-Jones, Tristan Moynihan, Hon Colin
Gill, Christopher Mudd, David
Gow, Ian Nelson, Anthony
Grant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW) Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Greenway, Harry (Ealing N) Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)
Greenway, John (Ryedale) Paice, James
Gregory, Conal Parkinson, Rt Hon Cecil
Griffiths, Sir Eldon (Bury St E') Patnick, Irvine
Ground, Patrick Patten, Chris (Bath)
Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn Pawsey, James
Hamilton, Hon Archie (Epsom) Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) Portillo, Michael
Hampson, Dr Keith Price, Sir David
Hannam, John Raison, Rt Hon Timothy
Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn) Redwood, John
Harris, David Riddick, Graham
Hawkins, Christopher Roe, Mrs Marion
Hayward, Robert Rost, Peter
Heathcoat-Amory, David Rumbold, Mrs Angela
Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael Sainsbury, Hon Tim
Hind, Kenneth Shaw, David (Dover)
Hordern, Sir Peter Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Howard, Michael Skeet, Sir Trevor
Howarth, Alan (Strafd-on-A) Speller, Tony
Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd) Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Howells, Geraint Steel, Rt Hon David
Stradling Thomas, Sir John Waller, Gary
Sumberg, David Warren, Kenneth
Summerson, Hugo Wheeler, John
Taylor, Matthew (Truro) Widdecombe, Ann
Thorne, Neil Wood, Timothy
Thornton, Malcolm Woodcock, Dr. Mike
Thurnham, Peter Young, Sir George (Acton)
Townend, John (Bridlington) Younger, Rt Hon George
Trippier, David
Trotter, Neville Tellers for the Ayes:
Twinn, Dr Ian Mr. James Arbuthnot and
Waddington, Rt Hon David Mr. Tim Devlin.
Wallace, James
Adams, Allen (Paisley N) Cousins, Jim
Armstrong, Hilary Cryer, Bob
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE) Cunliffe, Lawrence
Barron, Kevin Dalyell, Tam
Battle, John Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'I)
Bell, Stuart Dixon, Don
Bermingham, Gerald Duffy, A. E. P.
Bidwell, Sydney Eadie, Alexander
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Eastham, Ken
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich) Evans, John (St Helens N)
Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E) Flynn, Paul
Buckley, George J. Foot, Rt Hon Michael
Caborn, Richard Foster, Derek
Callaghan, Jim Fraser, John
Campbell-Savours, D. N. Garrett, John (Norwich South)
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) Godman, Dr Norman A.
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W) Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Clay, Bob Hanley, Jeremy
Cohen, Harry Haynes, Frank
Cook, Frank (Stockton N) Hinchliffe, David
Home Robertson, John Powell, Ray (Ogmore)
Hughes, John (Coventry NE) Redmond, Martin
Illsley, Eric Richardson, Jo
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside) Rowlands, Ted
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W) Ruddock, Joan
Lamond, James Skinner, Dennis
Lewis, Terry Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Loyden, Eddie Smith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury)
McCartney, Ian Smith, J. P. (Vale of Glam)
Macdonald, Calum A. Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
McFall, John Steinberg, Gerry
McKay, Allen (Barnsley West) Strang, Gavin
Mahon, Mrs Alice Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Malins, Humfrey Vaz, Keith
Martin, David (Portsmouth S) Walley, Joan
Meacher, Michael Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Meale, Alan Wareing, Robert N.
Michael, Alun Welsh, Michael (Doncaster N)
Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley) Winnick, David
Moonie, Dr Lewis Wise, Mrs Audrey
Nellist, Dave Young, David (Bolton SE)
Neubert, Michael
Norris, Steve Tellers for the Noes:
Patchett, Terry Mr. Richard Shepherd and
Pike, Peter L. Mrs. Ann Winterton.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Bill read a Second time and committed.