Last night MPs in the House of Commons voted to reject an amendment to the Consumer Rights Bill. As it stands, the bill "strengthens powers to investigate breaches of consumer law and would allow trading standards officers to work across local authority boundaries."

In addition, these points summarise additional details of the bill:

    "It sets out minimum quality rights for consumers in sales of goods and service contracts.

    The current regime has been criticised for being too complex and not keeping up with technological change.

    At present, people buying digital goods do not have the same protection as those buying tangible products."

(via BBC)

However, changes (amendments made by House of Lords) that would've ensured that secondary market sellers of tickets – anybody from ticket touts to secondary ticketing companies like Viagogo – do not blanket buy tickets at face value only to raise the price exponentially when re-selling them to concert-goers.

One MP backing the side "putting fans first", MP Mike Weatherly, said these words in the debate:

"Live events, whether they be sport, music or theatre, are essential not only to the British economy but also to British society. Each year, our creative industries generate more than £36 billion and employ 1.5 million people. For them to continue to be so successful it is necessary to ensure that both performers and fans get a fair deal through a transparent ticket market. Otherwise, inflated prices mean that fans will continue to pay more for tickets, and performers will lose out on revenue."

It seems like a noble cause. Add to this the backing of various agents and managers behind such acts as Arctic Monkeys and Radiohead, who signed an open letter in the Independent backing the "fans first" amendments by the House of Lords to the Consumer Rights Bill, and you have something even nobler. It'd be easy to slate MPs that rejected the changes to the bill. They also cited tickets to a Stone Roses reunion gig, originally going for £55, which rocketed to £1,000 on some sites just minutes after selling out.

But the other side of the coin is protecting the free market. There is a fair argument here, one that allows people the freedom to do as they wish with the things that they buy. As Viagogo said in a statement following rejection of the reforms, "We are pleased that common sense has prevailed and people's right to resell their own property in a free market has been protected."

Philip Davies, another MP, was worried that the amendment would push ticket touting further underground, therefore defeating the purpose of the bill in the first place. "The secondary market is good and a price cap does not work," he said. "Anybody who believes in the free market could not possibly agree with the amendment."

That all makes sense. But when it comes to those who bulk-buy tickets at face value only to sell them on at exorbitant prices, can this not be classified as a monopoly? As something that devalues the free market by taking what a lot of people would call too much, and making it a not-so-free market for others? At this point, surely the meaning of free market needs to be reassessed: if it is to be free for everybody, there needs to be some restriction on it. A free-for-all just will not work if it is to be a fair free market. Really, the debate and the amendments are the difference between FREE and FAIR – both are very different things, and the animosity between the two almost seems irreconcilable.

The Consumer Rights Bill is now in a process known as parliamentary "ping pong". BBC News, covering the debate, explained what this means. "Both Houses must agree on the final form of the bill before it can proceed to royal assent and become law. When the bill returns to the Lords, peers may try to reinstate the amendment that MPs have rejected today or they may choose to accept the will of the Commons."

It continues: "MPs are now considering a motion to extend the period of the bill's consideration by 67 days until 30 March 2015. This means that peers can potentially amend the bill again and return it to the Commons without it running out of parliamentary time."

What do you think?