There was surprise when the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill committee was announced last week, that Mulholland was not included.
But the MP, who has frequently urged the Government to go further in its proposals to regulate the relationship between pubcos and their tied tenants, told the PMA he didn’t expect to put forward. He said this was down to both his criticisms of the Government's proposals and the membership criteria for committees, which allocates the majority of seats to the main party of Government.
He said: “It was never likely I would be on the committee as it is a much wider bill than pubs and with only space for one Lib Dem apart from the minister (Jo Swinson) that goes to the party spokesperson (Stephen Gilbert).”
He added: “Even if it had been just about pubs, whips know that I would have been putting forward amendments, so may not have asked.”
He said with the heavy Government bias inherent in the bill committee system – there are ten Conservatives on the 19-strong committee – the real work was likely to be done in the report stage, which is discussed by the whole house.
He added: “There is clearly a majority of MPs on the floor of the house who believe the Government should listen to the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee, the Federation of Small Businesses and do the job properly – by introducing the much-needed market rent only option for the tenants of the large pubcos.”
The committee is expected to meet for the first time on 14 October and will go through the bill, which contains the Government’s proposals for a pubs code, line by line.