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Lord Archer of Weston-Super-Mare: My Lords, it has now become obvious that we shall have just one question for the people of London on the referendum paper, and I accept that, although I believe that the Liberal Benches and the Conservative Benches won the argument even if they lost the vote. Would the Minister be kind enough to confirm that no government money will be spent on a "Yes" campaign, when both opposition parties did not approve of the question to be put to the people of London?

4.15 p.m.

Lord Dahrendorf: My Lords, while I agree entirely with my noble friends Lord Russell and Lady Hamwee on the quality of the reasons given by the other place, and that that is an important deficiency in the debate which we are having, I am of course one on these Benches who, from the beginning, was not in favour of the amendment which we are discussing.

For the sake of clarification and to do perhaps a little better than others in other places who are looking for reasons, perhaps I may say once again that my basic motive is a view of what representative government is about. I believe that it is about government taking the initiative, and Parliament debating and deciding at the end of the day. That is a view which does not make me a natural supporter of referendums in general. I still find it difficult to find a sensible place for referendums in the process of representative government.

If there is such a place, it is probably the one which the Government have chosen in this case, because it does not detract from our ability in Parliament to debate whatever legislation comes forward, if indeed the Government conclude that the results of the referendum enable them to go forward with legislation. It is such a motive which has led me to support throughout the notion that the government initiative should go further than just asking open-ended questions; should indicate the direction in which the Government propose to go; and I therefore find it easy to support the line taken by the Minister, and will also find it easy to take an active part in the "Yes" campaign.

Lord Davies of Coity: My Lords, I listened with interest to what the noble Earl, Lord Russell, said about this being a revising Chamber, and to the noble Lord, Lord Archer, making the point that the argument was won on those Benches, and yet we are moving forward in the way that the Government propose. Let me remind this House that both this House and another place are representative of the British people. The British people took a decision on 1st May last year when a manifesto was presented to them. The Government now propose to act in line with the commitment that they gave the British people, and they were elected to do exactly that.

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This place must recognise that at the end of the day it is the British people who decide what happens in this country.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour: My Lords, those are bold words, but a moment might come when the Government will begin to learn from the mistakes they have made since 1st May. The people of Scotland are becoming increasingly astonished to find the detailed problems involved in what they voted for in their pre-legislative referendum. Anyone who reads the Scottish press will understand that. Perhaps that is what will happen in London. I do not know. The Government should begin to learn about this type of thing.

Baroness Hayman: My Lords, I shall, first, respond to the questions that were asked during this short but interesting debate. The noble Earl, Lord Russell, was kind enough to give me notice, but it was such brief notice that I am afraid that I shall have to write to him with the information that he requires in respect of dealing with amendments in another place, if he will forgive me for that.

I can give the noble Lord, Lord Archer of Weston-Super-Mare, the assurance for which he asks. I have made it clear on other occasions that no government money will be spent on a "Yes" campaign. We have always been explicit that we shall be spending money on an information campaign--I believe that that has been welcomed throughout the House--to inform people about the proposals, the nature of the referendum, and the details of what is being put before them. There will be no public funding for either a "Yes" or a "No" campaign.

The noble Earl, Lord Russell, spoke about a revising Chamber. He accused me of honesty in saying that the bones of the proposal were not up for consideration. If he reads the Official Report he will see that I intended to say that the bones were not up for consideration in terms of putting the question in the referendum. The referendum is to be on the proposal. The consultation will deal with the detail which will go around the bones. I do not suggest that the bones of any government policy or piece of legislation are not up for consideration and debate within Parliament, because that would be inappropriate. However, as I have said many times, we owe it to the people of London to be explicit and clear about what we are proposing. As suggested by the noble Lord, Lord Dahrendorf, we must be responsible.

Comments were made about the Government's response to the two questions. The suggestion was made that that might not be in line with the proposals that we are putting forward because we consider them to be the best form of government for London. I find that suggestion strange. It was said again today that the Government would not be bound by the outcome of the referendum. The outcome might show that 80 per cent. of the people wanted a mayor, but 20 per cent. wanted an assembly; or that 70 per cent. of the people wanted an assembly, but only 45 per cent. wanted a mayor. It was said that although we would have to think about such an outcome we would not be bound by it. It was said that such an outcome "would not commit" the

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Government. That is not good governance. The people of London need to know what will be the outcome of their vote. The outcome will be the Government taking the proposals forward or dropping them. That is clear.

The noble Lord, Lord Bowness, spoke of the challenge set in the early days of debate in another place about whether two appropriate questions could be formulated. That challenge was set on the basis that the Government were not opposed to the number of questions, but that there were tests. The tests were whether there could be two questions which gave clarity, did not propose unworkable options and were able to provide a clear mandate. Those are the underlying reasons for deciding to have one question. We are not committed to one question rather than two, but we are committed to putting forward only workable options. We do not want to provide a false prospectus for people voting in the referendum. We want to achieve a clear mandate for the Government. I believe that the only way to do that is to return to the original question as proposed in the schedule. I hope that in the debates in your Lordships' House the reasoning behind that has been explained from the Dispatch Box and I urge the House not to insist on its amendments.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

LORDS AMENDMENT

3

In the Schedule, page 6, leave out lines 3 to 7 and insert:


("The Government propose the establishment of a Greater London Authority made up of an elected assembly and a separately elected mayor, both to be elected by Londoners.
Question 1: Are you in favour of an elected assembly?
Put a cross (X) in one box:
YES
NO

Question 2: Are you in favour of an elected mayor?
Put a cross (X) in one box:
YES
NO ")

The Commons disagreed to this amendment for the following reason--
3A

Because the question asked in the referendum should be in the form set out in the Schedule to the Bill.

Baroness Hayman: My Lords, I spoke to this amendment during the debate on Amendment No. 20. I beg to move that the House do not insist on their Amendment No. 3 to which the Commons have disagreed for the reason numbered 3A.

Moved, That the House do not insist on their Amendment No. 3 to which the Commons have disagreed for the reason numbered 3A.--(Baroness Hayman.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

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Competition Bill [H.L.]

4.24 p.m.

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Simon of Highbury): My Lords, I beg to move that the Bill be now further considered on Report.

Moved, That the Bill be further considered on Report.--(Lord Simon of Highbury.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Clause 26 [Powers when conducting investigations]:

Lord Haskel moved Amendment No. 84:


Page 13, line 14, leave out from ("Director") to end of line 15.

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I spoke to this amendment on the first day of Report. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie moved Amendment No. 85:


Page 13, line 15, at end insert ("which--
(a) identifies the specified document;
(b) specifies the conduct which is being investigated;
(c) specifies the Director's grounds for considering that the specified document relates to a matter which is relevant to that investigation; and
(d) states that a person on whom the notice has been served has the right, and shall be afforded reasonable time, to seek legal advice before complying with the notice.").

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 85, I shall speak to a number of other amendments, but, in view of the Minister's Amendment No. 86, for which I am grateful, not to Amendment No. 88.

The purpose of this group of amendments is to ensure that those who are to be subject to investigation will be aware, first, of the purpose of the investigation and, secondly, the penalties to which they might be subject if non-compliance follows. That will assist them in establishing whether the documents requested are necessary to the investigation. It will have the added advantage of preventing fishing expeditions by investigating officers.

The requirement in the amendment that the purpose of the investigation should be stated exists in the corresponding powers of the European Commission where it has authority to request information. At EU level, the question of whether a document is necessary to an investigation is subject to review by the European Court. In our view, a similar safeguard should exist in the United Kingdom.

The group of amendments also contains a proposal that persons subject to an investigation should be given an opportunity to obtain legal advice. At first sight, that might not seem necessary. However, I am sure that the Minister appreciates that, under Clause 41, in the event of non-compliance by an individual criminal sanctions might follow. That is a serious matter for individuals who otherwise might have had no contact with the criminal law. We believe that in this complicated area

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of the law it is desirable that they should at least have the opportunity of taking their own legal advice and of discovering their rights and obligations.

A further amendment proposes that the written authorisation referred to should state the purpose for which the investigation is being made and the penalties for failing to comply with the request. A number of the amendments cover the issue of legal advice, but the broad proposition is that the investigation when it starts is not a criminal investigation. It is an investigation for competition law purposes, which is perfectly reasonable. However, at a later stage of the proceedings an individual might find himself subject to legal sanctions. We believe that the powers in the Bill are insufficient and there are insufficient safeguards for the individual. I beg to move.


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