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Baroness Anelay of St Johns: My Lords, I am grateful to all noble Lords who have spoken and who have given us the benefit of their great experience in these matters. Perhaps I may begin by remarking that when the Minister thought that I might have confessed that I thought that my amendments were not appropriate to the Bill, the concession I made was that amendments would not have been appropriate to make a transfer of regulatory powers under the Bill. My amendments certainly do not seek to do that.

Of course I am disappointed by the view expressed by the noble Viscount, Lord Falkland, but I hope that I shall not be disappointed by him in the future. He pointed out that he felt that it was not the right time or place to table my amendments. I have to disagree with him on that point. To that end, I am grateful to my noble friend Lord Crickhowell for his response when he said that if Ofcom does not expect fully to regulate the BBC now, it simply will not organise itself in such a way that it will be able to undertake those tasks effectively.

In courtesy, at this point I should refer briefly to the amendment tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Gordon of Strathblane. I deliberately did not refer to it in the course of my opening remarks in order to give the Minister an opportunity to respond before I added any comment of my own. I certainly support the objective behind the noble Lord's amendment. I did not choose the same route because I felt that in so doing I would be sending a signal that I was seeking to try to wind up the Board of Governors of the BBC. I felt that if I put the board on the same basis as the definition in the clause, it might appear that I expected to see the board

22 Nov 2001 : Column 1259

come to an end once the communications Bill makes the transfer of regulations. That is certainly not the case as regards the BBC Board of Governors.

I believe that Ofcom will be at the forefront of developing regulatory policy across the entire media sector. For that reason, given that the BBC is one of our national champions, it simply cannot afford to sit outside Ofcom; that is, affected by its decisions but without having a chance to take part fully in that process. I think that Ofcom needs to work with the BBC from now on, and that that should be made clear to the organisation. The Minister has attempted, most charmingly, to reassure me on this point, but I fear that her words will simply have reassured the BBC that in the future no change will be made to the Government's position as a result of the conclusions of the White Paper. Thus there really is no incentive for the BBC to work towards a position where it could be fully regulated by Ofcom, if that proves to be Parliament's wish in the main Bill.

I remain convinced that unless the amendments I have tabled are put on to the face of the Bill, Parliament's ability to act freely and in an unimpaired way in the communications Bill will be a problem. I do not believe that I am jumping the gun with my amendment. I simply do not want us to shoot Ofcom in the foot. I wish to test the opinion of the House.

4.24 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 7) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 73; Not-Contents, 144.

Division No. 1


Alexander of Weedon, L.
Ampthill, L.
Anelay of St Johns, B.
Biffen, L.
Blackwell, L.
Bowness, L.
Bridgeman, V.
Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Byford, B.
Caithness, E.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Campbell of Croy, L.
Carlisle of Bucklow, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Clark of Kempston, L.
Colwyn, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L. [Teller]
Cox, B.
Crickhowell, L.
Dundee, E.
Eden of Winton, L.
Elles, B.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Elton, L.
Ferrers, E.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Hanham, B.
Haslam, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Henley, L.
Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, L.
Hooper, B.
Howe, E.
Howe of Aberavon, L.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Hunt of Wirral, L.
Hurd of Westwell, L.
Luke, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
Marlesford, L.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Molyneaux of Killead, L.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Moynihan, L.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Noakes, B.
Northesk, E.
Oxfuird, V.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Pilkington of Oxenford, L.
Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.
Rawlings, B.
Renton, L.
Renton of Mount Harry, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Rotherwick, L.
St John of Fawsley, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Seccombe, B. [Teller]
Selsdon, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Strathclyde, L.
Taylor of Warwick, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Vivian, L.
Wakeham, L.
Warnock, B.
Wilcox, B.


Addington, L.
Ahmed, L.
Alderdice, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Alli, L.
Andrews, B.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Bach, L.
Barker, B.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L.
Bhatia, L.
Billingham, B.
Blackstone, B.
Borrie, L.
Boston of Faversham, L.
Bradshaw, L.
Bragg, L.
Brett, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Burlison, L.
Campbell-Savours, L.
Carter, L. [Teller]
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Cohen of Pimlico, B.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
Craig of Radley, L.
Crawley, B.
Currie of Marylebone, L.
David, B.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Elder, L.
Evans of Watford, L.
Falkland, V.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Filkin, L.
Fitt, L.
Gale, B.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Gladwin of Clee, L.
Golding, B.
Goldsmith, L.
Goodhart, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Greaves, L.
Grenfell, L.
Grocott, L.
Habgood, L.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harrison, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. (Lord Chancellor)
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jones, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Levy, L.
Lipsey, L.
Lockwood, B.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller]
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Maclennan of Rogart, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mallalieu, B.
Methuen, L.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Mishcon, L.
Mitchell, L.
Morgan, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Moser, L.
Murray of Epping Forest, L.
Newby, L.
Nicol, B.
Northbourne, L.
Northover, B.
O'Neill of Bengarve, B.
Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.
Paul, L.
Pendry, L.
Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Rea, L.
Redesdale, L.
Richard, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Rooker, L.
Roper, L.
Russell, E.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Sewel, L.
Sharman, L.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Sheldon, L.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Simon, V.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Stallard, L.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taverne, L.
Temple-Morris, L.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Tomlinson, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Walmsley, B.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Weatherill, L.
Whitty, L.
Wigoder, L.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L. (Lord Privy Seal)
Woolmer of Leeds, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

22 Nov 2001 : Column 1261

4.36 p.m.

Lord Pilkington of Oxenford moved Amendment No. 10:

    Page 2, line 38, at end insert—

"( ) In fulfilment of the function relating to relevant proposals about regulation set out in subsection (1), OFCOM shall have regard to the need to establish an independent communications ombudsman service for investigating complaints by members of the public about invasion of their privacy or unfair treatment by any body or individual which it is proposed will be regulated by OFCOM."

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I begin by apologising for bringing forward this amendment at a late stage. When your Lordships reached this stage of the Bill in Committee, I had a medical appointment, and nowadays one does not surrender a medical appointment even to speak in your Lordships' House.

It may seem to many noble Lords a narrow point, but complaints regarding unfairness and infringement of privacy arouse a great deal of passion and can have considerable effects on the individuals or companies concerned. Such complaints were considered by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission, of which I was the chairman for four years, and subsequently from 1996 by the Broadcasting Standards Council.

In hearing complaints, both the Broadcasting Complaints Commission and the Broadcasting Standards Council acted in a quasi-judicial capacity—a very important point to note—and were therefore subject to judicial review. Broadcasters and complainants often regarded their appearance before those bodies as an alternative or even a prelude to legal remedies in the courts, such as, for example, a libel action. During my time—

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