A backbench Tory MP has said he will not attempt to kill off the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill on Friday.
Speaking to MRW, Philip Davies said while he was opposed to the “unacceptable” legislation, and believed it would do nothing to prevent metal theft, it would be impossible for him to “talk out” the bill at this stage.
Supporters of Richard Ottaway’s (Con) Private Member’s Bill to reform scrap trade regulation fear Davies will attempt to prolong the debate at the third reading in the Commons, preventing the legislation progressing to the Lords. They are concerned the MP will not be swayed because of his “ideological” opposition to regulation, and have said the future of the legislation is now “precarious”.
Davies and another Conservative Christopher Chope have tabled 77 amendments to the bill ahead of Friday’s third reading.
The bill, which would introduce a mandatory, council-run licensing scheme for all scrap dealers, is backed by Government, the Opposition and industry leaders.
Davies said the bill had “all sorts of problems”. He said, despite backing from Church leaders, the definition of scrap metal in the bill would not include roof lead. Supporters, however, say lead is included in the definition.
“It is building up the hopes of all sorts of people around the country that will be dashed”, Davies added.
The MP for Shipley said the only way to tackle metal theft was with tougher punishment, and he rejected claims that courts had begun handing out longer sentences that reflect the impact of metal theft.
The bill was “an absolute classic” example of a Government wanting to be “seen to be doing something”, Davies argued. “But it won’t make a blind bit of difference to metal theft”.
He confirmed he had been in discussion with scrap sector leaders. But, he said, “just because it’s a good thing for some in the industry, doesn’t mean it’s good for all the industry, or for consumers.”
“We’re not here in Parliament just to pass legislation that’s requested by the body that represents scrap metal dealers.”