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Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts: My Lords, the Minister very properly spent a good deal of his speech talking about the commercial objectives of the regulations, such as screen size and algorithms. As I said, those objectives are unobjectionable. However, we are concerned about the detail. I am not clear what the Minister is going to do. The statutory instrument as formulated is incorrect.
Earlier this year, when I discovered a problem with the Police and Criminal Evidence regulations and informed the then Home Office Minister, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, the issue was much simpler: one page had been omitted during photostatting. The page was correct, but it had not been included. The authorities said that we had to start again, because the provision could not be altered. I do not think that we can take such an important detail as the height: width ratio and say, "Sorry about that, we meant width: height". We cannot amend it.
I hear what the Minister says about the other points. I look forward to seeing whether he will make changes on that basis, and to receiving his letter on the points. But I also look forward to hearing what he now proposes to do. If the example of what happened with the Police and Criminal Evidence codes is anything to go by, I do not think that the regulations can be enforced. They must be withdrawn and the process must start again. That was what the authorities in the House decided on the previous occasion. We had a new regulation and there was a further debate. On that basis, we cannot suddenly say, "We did not mean height: width; we meant width: height".
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: My Lords, the situation regarding the Police and Criminal Evidence regulations was different. It is difficult to see how one could pass regulations from which a page is missing. We would prefer to retain these regulations. We have realised that there is an error, and we will introduce amending regulations in due course.
Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts: My Lords, I understand what the Minister says. However, it is certainly not for me, and I doubt whether it is for him, to make that decision. As I understand it, the legislative process is such that one cannot amend a statutory instrument, as the Minister seeks to do. It is not an erratum slip to change the regulations in such a major way. I do not suppose that we can take the matter further todayI certainly do not know enough
Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts: My Lords, I am bound by the rules of the House. If that is the case, and if "height: width" means the same as "width: height", and such a change is not an amendment to a statutory instrument, I look forward to receiving the Minister's letter. I very much look forward to his consideration of the qualitative points that I raised about how the
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