UK Politics

Hairdresser registration call defeated in the Commons

A bid to force all hairdressers to register by law with a professional body has been blocked in the Commons.

Former salon owner and Tory MP David Morris warned harmful chemicals used by some hairdressers can cause serious injury - even death.

He wants hairdressers to be registered in the same way as doctors and dentists and for rogue salons to be struck off.

His bill to create a register has the backing of the industry's official body, but it has been defeated by MPs.

Mr Morris, who ran salons in Wigan and Bolton before becoming an MP, told the Commons a bride-to-be recently suffered burns to her scalp.

'Horror stories'

Her hair "snapped off" and her face "puffed up to twice its size" after she booked in for a straightening and dyeing ahead of her wedding.

"The poor girl had to marry in a wig one week later."

"I was a hairdresser for 28 years I was known as Mr Fixit and believe you me I saw some horror stories," said the MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale.

"I saw women coming into my salon with their hair sky blue pink - that's if it was still on their head.

"When you have a psychological problem where your hair turns a funny colour, snaps off, has burns, you don't know where to go to."

Out of an estimated 250,000 hairdressers in Britain, just 6,000 are registered with the British Hairdressing Council (BHC).

In order to register under BHC rules, hairdressers must have a City and Guilds or an NVQ level 2 qualification in hairdressing.

A BHC spokeswoman said: "We are absolutely in favour of the bill."

But another Tory MP, David Nuttall said the status quo was "perfectly appropriate" and registration would not stop "tragic accidents" occurring.

"There is no demand for it," he said. "I have not had a single inquiry about this since I was elected."

"We do not want to criminalise hairdressers simply for not having a licence."

Mr Morris's Ten Minute Rule Bill - The Hairdressers Registration (Amendment) Bill - was defeated in a vote by by 67 votes to 63, a majority four.

Speaking later, he said: "It is very unusual for a Ten Minute Rule Bill to go to division. The House of Commons was clearly divided. I hope that now I have drawn attention to the regulation of the hairdressing industry this important issue will continue to be debated."

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