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Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: I thank all Members of the Committee who have taken the trouble to add their voices in support of the principles involved in this issue. The Minister recognises that he has no friends for the position in which he currently finds himself. Perhaps I may say to the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, that my amendment would cater for all the people he is concerned about. I am not one of those people who think that working for a European institution is treachery; nor do I think that working for private enterprise in any of its forms abroad as a British citizen is treachery. I should be very reluctant to sign up to anything which differentiated between various classes of British citizens. I have a friend--

Lord Goodhart: Does the noble Lord accept that under Section 14 of the Representation of the People Act there is differentiation between Crown servants and others?

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: Yes, indeed, the noble Lord is correct. But that probably has a long historical connection back to the days of the Empire, military serving abroad, the diplomatic corps and so on.

I have a friend who has taught English to Italians in Piacenza for the past 40 years or so. His interest in this country is as great as it was the day he left. Indeed, in order to find gossip about our mutual friends I usually have to phone Italy to receive the news about what is happening around me. Usually he is astonishingly accurate. I had better not go into what he tells me about friends. But he certainly keeps me right about who is married to whom or who is still married to whom, which is perhaps more important these days.

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I think there is general agreement which the Minister has taken on board. I am content to listen to points and have discussions about the complexities of my amendment. But I am attracted to the two principles: first, you have to establish your interest reasonably soon after you leave this country; and, secondly, you must keep up that interest year on year. There is also a third point, if I may add that. You can actually have your interest for as long as the job takes, because increasingly people are working on these posts for a very long time. I mentioned the noble Lord, Lord Burns, and there are many people who work in Europe and other parts of the world. They work away for quite a long time because it is part of their career. But they never actually lose contact with this country.

I am grateful to the Minister for listening to us attentively and carefully. I am grateful to noble Lords who have taken part. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 134 agreed to.

Lord Bach moved Amendment No. 280B:


    After Clause 134, insert the following new clause--

PRE-CONSOLIDATION AMENDMENTS

.--(1) Schedule 1 to the European Parliamentary Elections Act 1978 (system of election etc.) shall be amended as follows.
(2) In paragraph 5 (disqualification for office of Member of the European Parliament), in sub-paragraphs (4)(a) and (4A)(a), after "section 3" there shall be inserted "or 3A".
(3) In paragraph 6 (judicial proceedings as to disqualification under paragraph 5), in sub-paragraph (1)(b), after "section 3" there shall be inserted "or 3A".").

The noble Lord said: In moving Amendment No. 280B, I shall speak also to Amendment No. 325. The new clause inserted by Amendment No. 280B makes some technical adjustments to Schedule 1 to the European Parliamentary Elections Act 1978. The need for these adjustments has arisen in the process of drafting a Bill to consolidate the European Parliamentary Elections Acts of 1978, 1993 and 1999. That Bill was given a Second Reading in your Lordships' House on 15th June.

Paragraphs 5 and 6 of Schedule 1 to the 1978 Act are concerned with the disqualification of MEPS. In each case they refer to an MEP returned under Section 3 of the 1978 Act. That section is concerned with elections in Great Britain. We need to add a reference to Section 3A, which is concerned with elections in Northern Ireland. This is a small but important defect which it would be timely to correct in advance of the consolidation of the European Parliamentary Elections Acts.

To accommodate the new clause, a change to the Long Title of the Bill is needed, hence Amendment No. 325. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

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Lord Bach moved Amendment No. 280C:


    After Clause 134, insert the following new clause--

DETAILS TO APPEAR ON ELECTION MATERIAL

.--(1) No election material shall be published unless--
(a) in the case of material which is, or is contained in, such a printed document as is mentioned in subsection (3), (4) or (5), the requirements of that subsection are complied with; or
(b) in the case of any other material, any requirements falling to be complied with in relation to the material by virtue of regulations under subsection (6) are complied with.
(2) For the purposes of subsections (3) to (5) the following details are "the relevant details" in the case of any material falling within subsection (1)(a), namely--
(a) the name and address of the printer of the document;
(b) the name and address of the promoter of the material; and
(c) the name and address of any person on behalf of whom the material is being published (and who is not the promoter).
(3) Where the material is a document consisting (or consisting principally) of a single side of printed matter, the relevant details must appear on the face of the document.
(4) Where the material is a printed document other than one to which subsection (3) applies, the relevant details must appear either on the first or the last page of the document.
(5) Where the material is an advertisement contained in a newspaper or periodical--
(a) the name and address of the printer of the newspaper or periodical must appear either on its first or last page; and
(b) the relevant details specified in subsection (2)(b) and (c) must be included in the advertisement.
(6) The Secretary of State may, after consulting the Commission, by regulations make provision for and in connection with the imposition of requirements as to the inclusion in material falling within subsection (1)(b) of the following details, namely--
(a) the name and address of the promoter of the material; and
(b) the name and address of any person on behalf of whom the material is being published (and who is not the promoter).
(7) Regulations under subsection (6) may in particular specify--
(a) the manner and form in which such details must be included in any such material for the purpose of complying with any such requirement;
(b) circumstances in which--
(i) any such requirement does not have to be complied with by a person of any description specified in the regulations, or
(ii) a breach of any such requirement by a person of any description so specified is not to result in the commission of an offence under this section by that person or by a person of any other such description;
(c) circumstances in which material is, or is not, to be taken for the purposes of the regulations to be published or (as the case may be) published by a person of any description so specified.
(8) Where any material falling within subsection (1)(a) is published in contravention of subsection (1), then (subject to subsection (10))--
(a) the promoter of the material,
(b) any other person by whom the material is so published, and

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(c) the printer of the document, shall be guilty of an offence.
(9) Where any material falling within subsection (1)(b) is published in contravention of subsection (1), then (subject to regulations made by virtue of subsection (7)(b) and to subsection (10))--
(a) the promoter of the material, and
(b) any other person by whom the material is so published,
shall be guilty of an offence.
(10) It shall be a defence for a person charged with an offence under this section to prove--
(a) that the contravention of subsection (1) arose from circumstances beyond his control; and
(b) that he took all reasonable steps, and exercised all due diligence, to ensure that that contravention would not arise.
(11) In this section--
"election material" has the meaning given by section 80(2A);
"print" means print by whatever means, and "printer" shall be construed accordingly;
"the promoter", in relation to any election material, means the person causing the material to be published;
"publish" means make available to the public at large, or any section of the public, in whatever form and by whatever means.").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 280D:


    After Clause 134, insert the following new clause--

BROADCASTING OF LOCAL ITEMS DURING ELECTION PERIOD

(" . For section 93 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 there shall be substituted--
"Broadcasting of local items during election period.
93.--(1) Each broadcasting authority shall adopt a code of practice with respect to the participation of candidates at a parliamentary or local government election in items about the constituency or electoral area in question which are included in relevant services during the election period.
(2) The code for the time being adopted by a broadcasting authority under this section shall be either--
(a) a code drawn up by that authority, whether on their own or jointly with one or more other broadcasting authorities, or
(b) a code drawn up by one or more other such authorities;
and a broadcasting authority shall from time to time consider whether the code for the time being so adopted by them should be replaced by a further code falling within paragraph (a) or (b).
(3) Before drawing up a code under this section a broadcasting authority shall have regard to any views expressed by the Electoral Commission for the purposes of this subsection; and any such code may make different provision for different cases.
(4) The Independent Television Commission and the Radio Authority shall each do all that they can to secure that the code for the time being adopted by them under this section is observed in the provision of relevant services; and the British Broadcasting Corporation and Sianel Pedwar Cymru shall each observe in the provision of relevant services the code so adopted by them.
(5) For the purposes of subsection (1) "the election period", in relation to an election, means the period beginning--
(a) (if a parliamentary general election) with the date of the dissolution of Parliament or any earlier time at which Her Majesty's intention to dissolve Parliament is announced,

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(b) (if a parliamentary by-election) with the date of the issue of the writ for the election or any earlier date on which a certificate of the vacancy is notified in the London Gazette in accordance with the Recess Elections Act 1975, or
(c) (if a local government election) with the last date for publication of notice of the election,
and ending with the close of the poll.
(6) In this section--
"broadcasting authority" means the British Broadcasting Corporation, the Independent Television Commission, the Radio Authority or Sianel Pedwar Cymru;
"candidate", in relation to an election, means a candidate standing nominated at the election or included in a list of candidates submitted in connection with it;
"relevant services"--
(a) in relation to the British Broadcasting Corporation or Sianel Pedwar Cymru, means services broadcast by that body;
(b) in relation to the Independent Television Commission, means services licensed under Part I of the Broadcasting Act 1990 or Part I of the Broadcasting Act 1996; and
(c) in relation to the Radio Authority, means services licensed under Part III of the Broadcasting Act 1990 or Part II of the Broadcasting Act 1996."").

The noble Lord said: These amendments reform the out-moded restrictions on broadcasting during an election, contained in Section 93 of the Representation of the People Act 1983. The noble Baroness, Lady Fookes, spoke eloquently on this matter at Second Reading. I trust that the Government's proposals will be to her liking.

As Section 93 stands, a single candidate can effectively block coverage of local issues by agreeing not to be in a broadcast during an election period. Amendment No. 280D will replace the existing restrictions with a requirement on the broadcasting authorities to draw up a cost of practice with respect to the participation of candidates in terms of dealing with a constituency or election in question.

There would be a requirement on the broadcasting authorities to have regard to the views of the electoral commission when drawing up or reviewing their code of practice. The replacement Section 93 is, as I understand it, supported by the broadcasting authorities and by a number of opposition parties.

I think our consultation is complete on this. I am not entirely sure that that is the case. But I believe that this series of government amendments currently attracts broad support. Of course we shall continue to ensure that there is active consultation and that we have it right. I do not wish to say anything more about the detail of the amendments. They speak for themselves. I beg to move.


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