Opening remarks from Tony Lloyd MP in his speech on Chope’s first Bill:
“……this Bill is essentially a retrograde, unfortunate and, in the end, quite dangerous little piece of social legislation.
Nevertheless, there is a real debate to be had on these issues. It is a debate that ought to take place from time to time, if only to remind people of two things: first, why we need the national minimum wage; and secondly, just how unsympathetic and unreconstructed parts of the parties of Government are on such issues. The hon. Member for Christchurch and one or two of his hon. Friends who are going to speak later represent a significant body of opinion, not in the nation generally, but in the Conservative party. That ought regularly to be put on record to remind my own constituents and, for example, those of the hon. Member for Shipley (Philip Davies) just what a rotten, nasty party the Conservative party can be.
Philip Davies: I would be grateful if the hon. Gentleman could get away from the insults and on to the issues. Given that the national minimum wage has clearly been such a triumph, will he tell us what the adult and youth unemployment figures in this country were when the minimum wage was introduced, and what they are now?
Tony Lloyd: Those were not insults; they were matters of fact. We can debate facts, but we should not trade insults; that would not be reasonable. Mr Deputy Speaker, I am sure that you would deplore my insulting hon. Members, and the fact that you did not call me to order suggests that the basic fact that I have just described has now been established and placed on the public record.”