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Grocery Supply Code of Practice

Volume 516: debated on Thursday 14 October 2010

May I begin by recognising how long and hard my hon. Friend has campaigned on this issue, and indeed how successful he has been? He will know that the coalition statement commits the Government to introducing what we are now calling a groceries code adjudicator, and in our response to the consultation on 3 August, we set out how we would take that forward. I am pleased to be able to tell him that we now have approval to introduce a draft Bill this Session, and that the aim is to publish it for pre-legislative scrutiny before the end of the year.

I am very grateful to the Minister. The long-awaited code is now in place, but without an adjudicator it is like having rules for rugby without a referee. As the initiative has cross-party support and we have an extended Session, is it not possible to implement it this Session?

I very much hope that my hon. Friend will engage in the pre-legislative scrutiny of the draft Bill as actively as he did in campaigning for the code. As we have not even published the draft Bill yet, it is a little early to say when the actual Bill will be introduced or whether that will be this Session or next, but I will keep him and the House informed.