HL Deb 17 October 1986 vol 480 c1019
Lord Graham of Edmonton

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to outline legislation to change the Shops Act 1950 in the forthcoming Queen's Speech.

The Minister of State, Home Office (The Earl of Caithness)

My Lords, it would not be proper to anticipate the Queen's Speech at the forthcoming opening of Parliament.

Lord Graham of Edmonton

My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for that reply. May I ask whether he has noted reports in the press that a large retail chain has announced its intention to trade on Sundays and that many other traders are also continuing to trade on Sundays? Bearing in mind that at about this time last year, in the run-up to the Christmas shopping period, the Prime Minister announced that the law must be obeyed, will the Minister take this opportunity to issue a comparable Christmas message aimed especially at those people who believe in law enforcement except on Sundays and when it suits them?

The Earl of Caithness

My Lords, I read quite a lot of comments in the press but what I prefer to believe is what actually happens. Of course it is up to all of us to make sure that the law is obeyed and to give that advice.

Lord Sainsbury

My Lords, may I ask the Minister whether he has considered the extremely unfair position in which, for example, two do-it-yourself stores or garden centres are in competition, when one is observing the law and the other is breaking it for its own personal advantage?

The Earl of Caithness

My Lords, it would be up to the local authorities to take action if they so wished.

Lord Graham of Edmonton

My Lords, will the Minister consider urging on those who, having completely lost the argument last year, are taking initiatives at this time that there are considerations of partial deregulation? Would it be good advice to give to any campaign or organisation that they must be able to carry with them the views of consumers, shop keepers, shop workers and councils, and that any attempt to alter the law without a combination of those interests will be doomed to failure?

The Earl of Caithness

My Lords, I should also add to the list Members of Parliament.

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