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Lord Orr-Ewing: My Lords, I support the Government's new amendments. It is good that we have reached such an understanding. I was in favour of the first amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Howell, but the more I examined it the more I came to the conclusion that in both Houses flexibility is badly needed. Everything is changing in technology, in habits and in sport. Amateur sports are becoming professional, altering the amount of money that is available. The money available from the promoters of sport is important for the training of the new and young people both in our schools and in our classes.
I support the amendment, but I wonder whether we can keep the flexibility long enough to find that voluntary agreement which the various sporting authorities are now considering. It is important to have a voluntary agreement about how many highlights can be promoted. I also wonder whether primary legislation will be necessary if we need to change whatever agreement is reached, supposing the voluntary agreement does not work. If we need to change it, would it mean legislation on the highlights starting in another place? I note that the other place has changed the date of the Second Reading debate from just before Easter,
Lord Donoughue: My Lords, we wish to join in the thanks and congratulations to the Minister for providing such a positive response. The whole process has shown the House at its best, with an excellent debate, a good vote and a positive ministerial response. I look forward to another place having to read the Bill. I wonder whether the reason for the delay is that they must read five pages of new clauses which might need a little more time.
Lord Butterfield: My Lords, perhaps I may interject a few remarks about my personal support and that of many people in the educational world for the Government's decision. I admit to an interest in the British Universities Sports Association, of which I have the privilege and honour to be chairman. Our patron is Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal. We are most anxious that at no time should television squeeze sport and similar activities off the screen. It is important that young people are given encouragement, not only to carry on their intellectual work, but also to keep fit and pursue the lions, the heroes who lead them.
At the moment the association has a remarkable hero in Jonathan Edwards who last year snatched the world triple jump record during sporting events organised by students. It is important to bear in mind that not only must the young be kept interested in their intellectual life and physical development, but also that their spiritual development is encouraged. In that respect, in Jonathan Edwards we have a modest young man who proclaimed his Christianity and on one occasion made it clear that he was not prepared to compete on the Lord's Day. If we can encourage that kind of hero through the proper use of television, it will be for the general good.
I wish to make one other remark. A gentleman in the University of Pittsburg in America, Digby Baltzell, may be known indirectly to noble Lords. He is a social philosopher in America and in his thesis he invented the great word "WASP", white Anglo-Saxon Protestant. He visited the United Kingdom while I was Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University. I know him; he asked to talk to me and we had a chat. I was rather alarmed by the main theme that he wanted to put to me. He said that he was concerned because, returning to Britain, he found that the students were short of explicit role models. The role model that can come through the programmes that we can now see on sports and in other spheres will help British youth.
Lord Inglewood: My Lords, I begin by saying how pleased we are that the clauses that I have just proposed have met with your Lordships' approval. As the noble Lord, Lord Donoughue, said, we have had a good debate on the subject. Noble Lords were ahead of the Government in that respect, but we can now see a congruence in our thinking and I trust that it reflects well on both sides of the equation.
We have been asked why what we propose is so wordy. The simple answer is that when the problem was looked at in detail, the technical complications entailed in bringing about what, on the face of it, is quite a simple concept mean that in order to draft a nearly watertight, rather than "waterproof", solution, which is what the noble Lord, Lord Howell, sought, requires a great deal of text. That is why we have come forward with proposals which are so long. I dare say that if it had not been for the skill of parliamentary counsel, they would have been longer still.
Finally, I was asked about our thinking on what is included in the list. I wish to emphasise at this stage that what we have focused on is establishing an appropriate framework for dealing with listed events. Getting that satisfactorily in place must logically precede consideration of what the content of the list should be. After all, we must not forget that any consideration of the contents of the list must involve a process of consultation, as set out in the 1990 Act, which is a precondition of any change which can be made administratively at any one time. It is the case that the contents of the list have been both expanded and contracted in the course of its history.
One point that has been raised is that we should establish criteria to act as a reference point for future decisions. I have made it clear that it is a useful suggestion and we shall consider it further. Clearly, that has a bearing on what might or might not be included in the list.
The Government's position on the matter is quite straightforward. We believe that it would be inappropriate to consider any proposals to add to or subtract from the list until one has finalised the framework within which the list should be drawn up.
After Clause 1, insert the following new clause--