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LONDON OLYMPIC GAMES AND PARALYMPIC GAMES BILL (PROGRAMME) (NO. 2)

Motion made, and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 83A(6) (Programme motions),

Question agreed to.


 
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London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Bill

Lords amendments considered.

Clause 20


Regulations: supplemental

Lords amendment: No. 1.

6.15 pm

The Minister for Sport (Mr. Richard Caborn): I beg to move, That this House agrees with the Lords in the said amendment.

Madam Deputy Speaker (Sylvia Heal): With this we may discuss Lords amendments Nos. 2 to 10.

Mr. Caborn: I shall be advising the House to accept all the amendments made in the other place. They were all tabled by the Government, following some high-quality debate and strongly made points on both sides of the House.

The Bill has benefited from broad cross-party support throughout its passage. We improved the Bill in this House and can improve it further today by accepting the amendments made in the other place. I genuinely thank Opposition parties for their broad support and I thank Members for their positive engagement with the Bill, which has helped to prepare it for Royal Assent just nine months after Jacques Rogge, the president of the International Olympic Committee, opened that envelope—with some difficulty—in Singapore last July and said that wonderful word "London".

Since then, we have been getting on with the preparatory work. We have started the Olympic park, and key personnel are already in place in both the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games and the Olympic Delivery Authority. I am delighted that this important Bill has progressed so swiftly.

Amendments Nos. 1 to 10 all relate to the people whom the Secretary of State must consult when making regulations under clause 19, which will control advertising in the vicinity of games venues, and under clause 26, which will control street trading in the vicinity of venues.

Mr. Andy Reed (Loughborough) (Lab/Co-op): Does my right hon. Friend agree that the success of the Commonwealth games means that it is even more important that we get those provisions right, because there will obviously be much more media and advertising interest in making the Olympics a success? Will he congratulate all those who have won medals so far, especially Loughborough, which seems to be fifth in the medal table?

Mr. Caborn: I could not agree more—[Interruption.] My hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West (Kevin Brennan) tells me that Welsh swimmers are doing incredibly well, too. I realise that I am digressing, Madam Deputy Speaker, but I am sure that you, like me, welcome the fantastic performance of our team in Melbourne and hope that it continues until the end of
 
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the week. It is nice to see headlines in the Australian press that we whacked the Australians in the swimming pool as well.

As Members will recall, this House debated advertising and it was debated again at length in the other place. The debate focused on whether we should put a requirement on the face of the Bill for the Secretary of State to consult the advertising industry and anyone else likely to be affected directly by the regulations under clauses 19 and 26. Members will remember that I gave unequivocal assurances that the advertising industry would be consulted. Those assurances were echoed in the other place. However, Members will be aware that we have been very much in listening mode during the Bill's passage and, as a result, I am pleased that the Government brought forward an amendment in the other place, which addresses the concerns of Members and the industry, and gives a statutory basis to the commitments that I have already given.

I draw Members' attention to the fact that the amendments address the comments made by the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee in its report on the Bill of 15 December. The Committee commented on the need for organisations representing those affected by either the advertising or street trading regulations to be consulted. The amendments mean that representatives will be consulted where interested persons are affected by the regulations.

I shall deal briefly with the detail of the amendments. Amendment No. 3 ensures that the advertising industry, and anyone else who may be affected by the regulations that will control advertising in the vicinity of games venues, will be consulted as the regulations are being drawn up. Amendment No. 8 ensures that those likely to be affected by regulations under clause 26, controlling street trading in the vicinity of venues, will similarly be consulted.

The remaining amendments in the group make minor and consequential changes, and I commend them to the House.

Hugh Robertson (Faversham and Mid-Kent) (Con): I, for one, am extremely encouraged that we are all here. On Third Reading, I said that, although the Bill is not lengthy in parliamentary terms, it is, in fact, quite complex—setting up a de facto regional development agency in the Olympic delivery authority in its first half and establishing the ground rules of the marketing of the commercial media rights in the second. The Minister agreed about that then and looked at me, possibly a little ruefully, over the Dispatch Box. Indeed, subsequent events have proved that right. Given the fact that these are difficult and technical issues, I am delighted that they have been ironed out during the parliamentary process and that the Bill is back with us tonight.

The time interval between winning the bid on 6 July and the first publication of the Bill on 14 July was extraordinarily short, even allowing for the fact that much of the preparatory work had obviously been done. Given the Bill's technical nature, which I have already acknowledged, it is a very considerable achievement on behalf of all those responsible for drafting the Bill—LOCOG, the British Olympic Association and, of course, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport—that the list of amendments is so short. May I therefore
 
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genuinely ask the Minister—I mean this absolutely seriously—to pass on my thanks to all those who were involved?

In the other place, my noble Friend Lord Glentoran said:

Fabulous, is it not? I wholly agree. The process of parliamentary scrutiny has genuinely made this a better Bill. I am told that the Sydney games needed four Bills, and I suspect that, as the games progress, a number of other issues will benefit from parliamentary scrutiny. I hope therefore that the Government will be encouraged by their experience with the Bill and that, as a result, they will involve Parliament closely, as the process develops. That is crucial to maintain the cross-party consensus that has characterised both the bid and the Bill.

All four groups of amendments before us tonight were introduced as a result of concerns first raised in Committee and subsequently by our Front-Bench spokesman in the other place, and I should like to record my thanks to Lord Glentoran for the part that he played. Unsurprisingly, all four groups of amendments therefore enjoy my support.

This the first group of amendments mandates the Secretary of State to consult the relevant industry bodies before regulations on advertising and street trading are drawn up. The Minister agreed to that principle in Committee, but it will now be given statutory force. Clearly, it is eminently sensible to involve the industry closely at every stage and for that requirement to have statutory force, and we all want consultation, rather than prescription, to characterise the delivery of the games. This group of amendments, therefore, has our full support.


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