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Lord McNally: My Lords, I support this proposal. I do not think that it cuts across the idea of a media Select Committee. However, the idea of "Puttnam II—The Sequel" has many attractions. Next time round, I will try to work out how to get publicity in the newspapers for what I am trying to do with the Bill without every story being accompanied by the most wonderful photograph of the noble Lord, Lord Puttnam. Regardless of what the story is about or the origins of the story, newspapers still get the same wonderful picture from their libraries.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: He should grow a beard, my Lords.

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Lord McNally: My Lords, I think not.

The idea proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Fowler, gives us an opportunity. Governments that stay in office for a while lose their desire for danger, and pre-legislative scrutiny has proved a dangerous exercise. However, I believe that it brings better legislation. It has been a great exercise, although, in the corridors of Whitehall there will be those who say, "Don't try it again, or if you do, don't put somebody as assiduous as the noble Lord, Lord Puttnam, in charge of the committee". The idea of post-legislative scrutiny is one which, in one of the Government's more radical moments, they should consider favourably.

10.15 p.m.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, having heard his speech, I absolve the noble Lord, Lord Fowler, of any intention to kill the Bill after five years. He did not make that suggestion, and I am grateful for that.

This is the last Bill that wants post-legislative scrutiny. It has been a long and, some people would say, tortuous procedure. We started with the publication of the communications White Paper in December 2000; we had consultation on the White Paper; we had further consultation on media ownership in January 2002; we published the Bill in May 2002; and we had pre-legislative scrutiny under the able chairmanship of the noble Lord, Lord Puttnam. By the time that Ofcom is up and running, the process will have taken three years from start to finish.

I recognise that it is not the noble Lord's intention that we should start all over again in five years' time, but even the threat of post-legislative scrutiny of the kind that he proposes—I assume that he means it seriously; I do not think that he means it to be a paper exercise—would wreak havoc on the communications industry. The provision that he proposes would mean that everything that Ofcom did, everything that the industry did and everything that is done on behalf of consumers—all of those things—would be put into the melting-pot. It does not say anywhere in the amendment what would happen if the Government had to give effect to the post-legislative scrutiny and there had to be amendments to the Bill. None of those things is in the amendment; it is only the beginning of an idea of an amendment. It is the nucleus of an amendment, but it has not been thought through.

It is not within the Government's gift to set up committees of Parliament anyway. We could not accept the amendment even if we wanted to. I can tell the noble Lord, Lord McNally, that we are not giving up on the idea of pre-legislative scrutiny. As he knows, we have just proposed the setting up of a Joint Committee of both Houses for pre-legislative scrutiny of the gambling Bill for which I will be responsible. I look forward very much to that. We are in favour of pre-legislative scrutiny; we are not afraid of it. We recognise that there are dangers, but we think that there are huge opportunities.

In any case, there are plenty of procedures for reporting to Parliament. The Secretary of State and Ofcom must report on the carrying out of their

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functions by virtue, respectively, of Clause 387 and paragraph 12 of the schedule to the Office of Communications Act 2002. They will have to report annually. Both reports will be laid before Parliament, and the usual channels can provide for debate. It is then for Parliament to decide whether and how to scrutinise and debate the reports. I am sure that there will be plenty of interest in this Chamber and in another place, when that time comes.

I do not oppose in principle and in all circumstances the idea of post-legislative scrutiny, but we should give the industry, Ofcom and everybody concerned an opportunity to settle down and implement the provisions of the Bill. Above all, we should not introduce post-legislative scrutiny for a Bill that has already had such a degree of pre-legislative scrutiny.

Lord Fowler: My Lords, I guess that that is the nearest that I shall get to agreement with anything that I have said during the passage of the Bill, albeit in the very mild form in which the noble Lord put it at the end of his speech. I shall do as I said, and I shall not seek to divide the House.

There is a serious question to be considered by Parliament. I stand by what I said: many of the problems with legislation are due not to the drafting of an Act but to its implementation. I make no complaint about the pre-legislative scrutiny that the Bill has had. It has been a model of that. However, I guarantee that problems, issues and faults in the legislation, which none of us can forecast at the moment, will become apparent. Governments generally would be wise to think of the post-legislative stage in a way that they have not done previously.

The Minister has been almost helpful to me, and I thank him for that. As this is the last word that I shall say in the debate, I also thank him for his courtesy during the Bill's passage. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Schedule 1 [Functions transferred to OFCOM]:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 126:


    Page 361, line 10, leave out paragraph (e).

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Schedule 11 [Approval, imposition and modification of networking arrangements]:

Lord Evans of Temple Guiting moved Amendment No. 127:


    Page 406, line 37, at end insert—


"( ) Where the defaulter is a partnership constituted under the law of Scotland, the power of the court to punish the defaulter includes power to punish a member of the partnership."

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this is a minor amendment to paragraph 13 of Schedule 11 to the Bill. Under paragraph 12 of that schedule, Ofcom may by notice require a person to produce such information and documents as they consider necessary to determine for the purposes of Section 290 or that schedule whether the competition tests have been satisfied. Those information provisions are enforced

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by the contempt of court provisions in paragraph 13 of Schedule 11. The amendment reflects the special legal nature of Scottish partnerships by stating that where a defaulter—that is, a person who has failed to comply with an information notice—is a partnership constituted under the law of Scotland, the power of the court to punish the defaulter includes the power to punish a member of the partnership. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Schedule 12 [Corresponding obligations of the BBC and Welsh Authority]:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 128:


    Page 423, line 8, leave out "fair treatment of" and insert "equalisation of opportunities for"

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Schedule 13 [Financial penalties under the Broadcasting Acts]:

Lord Davies of Oldham moved Amendments Nos. 129 and 130:


    Page 433, line 2, leave out "and" and insert—


"(5B) A determination or estimate for the purposes of subsection (2A) or (5) above of the share of multiplex revenue" Page 433, line 36, leave out "and" and insert—


"(6B) A determination or estimate for the purposes of subsection (2A) or (6) above of the share of multiplex revenue"

The noble Lord said: My Lords, as probably my last contribution to this Bill from the Dispatch Box, I have been given the opportunity to make a virtuoso performance to a crowded Chamber. Accordingly, I beg to move.

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Schedule 14 [Media ownership rules]:

[Amendment No. 131 not moved.]

Schedule 15 [Amendments of Broadcasting Acts]:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 132:


    Page 447, line 15, leave out paragraph 17.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Schedule 16 [Further amendments in connection with newspaper mergers]:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendments Nos. 133 to 136:


    Page 491, line 24, leave out "59(6E)" and insert "59(6A)"


    Page 491, line 26, leave out "59(6E)" and insert "59(6A)"


    Page 491, line 28, at end insert—


"( ) After the entry relating to "Anti-competitive outcome" there shall be inserted—
"BroadcastingSection 44(8A)"

"( ) After the entry relating to "Market in the United Kingdom" there shall be inserted—
"Media public interest consideration Section 44(8)""
Page 491, leave out lines 31 and 32 and insert—
"Newspaper enterpriseSection 58A(3)""

On Question, amendments agreed to.

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Schedule 18 [Transitional Provisions]:


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