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Mr. Redwood: Is the Minister saying that under the definition that he prefers The Times clearly is not dominant?

Mr. McCartney: The right hon. Gentleman is trying to be far too clever by half, as is his nature. I set out clearly what the Bill does, which is to provide a legal framework to deal with abuse of dominance in the marketplace, including predatory pricing. Whether someone is abusing the marketplace through predatory pricing is a matter for evidence, which should be taken properly by the competition authorities.

If the right hon. Gentleman has any bottle and if he thinks that the Government's policy is correct, he should go through the Lobby and support us on that basis. I assume that he will not do so, not because he wants to curry favour with News International, but because he believes that the Government's policies in that area are far too tough. He wants to be weak on competition policy and to allow abuses of dominance on occasions. Throughout the passage of the Bill, he has been at great pains to find ways out of dealing with those types of abuses in the marketplace. It is no surprise to me, even at this late hour, that he is still attempting in a few weasel words to place the Government in an unfavourable position. Once again, he has failed spectacularly--well, that got that out of the way.

New clause 1 introduces a press diversity prohibition and is similar to the clause that was thrown out in Committee. The earlier clause was wholly unworkable. I am glad to say that the supporters of new clause 1 have half met the criticisms that I made in Committee. They could have met my criticisms fully by withdrawing the proposed clause altogether. They have replaced the earlier threshold of a substantial degree of market power with the Fair Trading Act 1973 threshold, broadly at 25 per cent. of market share. I have already explained that there is no justification for a lower threshold to apply solely in the newspaper sector.

We said that the previous clause was too wide ranging and that any conduct--legitimate or illegitimate--may reduce the diversity of national newspapers by reducing competition. Now it is suggested that the concept of

8 Jul 1998 : Column 1166

anti-competitive behaviour should be built in. That might be an improvement, but I have yet to hear a proper justification for applying tests to the newspaper market that are different from the tests in the economy at large. If conduct is anti-competitive and constitutes an abuse, it should be dealt with, whatever the sector. That is what the Bill does, and I urge the House to reject the amendments.

Mr. Radice: I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment proposed: No. 8, in page 10, leave out lines 40 and 41 and insert


'"dominant position" means--
(a) in relation to the national newspaper market, a substantial degree of market power, and
(b) in relation to all other markets, a dominant position within the United Kingdom; and'.--[Mr. Mullin.]

Question put, That the amendment be made:--

The House divided: Ayes 68, Noes 301.

Division No. 331
[9.29 pm


AYES


Abbott, Ms Diane
Allan, Richard
Austin, John
Baker, Norman
Beggs, Roy
Beith, Rt Hon A J
Benn, Rt Hon Tony
Best, Harold
Brake, Tom
Brand, Dr Peter
Breed, Colin
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)
Burnett, John
Burstow, Paul
Campbell, Menzies (NE Fife)
Canavan, Dennis
Chidgey, David
Clwyd, Ann
Cohen, Harry
Corbyn, Jeremy
Cotter, Brian
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Donaldson, Jeffrey
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Ewing, Mrs Margaret
Fearn, Ronnie
Flynn, Paul
Foster, Don (Bath)
George, Andrew (St Ives)
Godman, Dr Norman A
Gorrie, Donald
Hancock, Mike
Harris, Dr Evan
Harvey, Nick
Hopkins, Kelvin
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak)
Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Keetch, Paul
Kirkwood, Archy
Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Livingstone, Ken
Livsey, Richard
Llwyd, Elfyn
McAllion, John
McDonnell, John
Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute)
Moore, Michael
Mullin, Chris
Oaten, Mark
Öpik, Lembit
Rendel, David
Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Sanders, Adrian
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Swinney, John
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Tyler, Paul
Wallace, James
Webb, Steve
Wigley, Rt Hon Dafydd
Willis, Phil
Winnick, David
Wise, Audrey
Wood, Mike
Wyatt, Derek

Tellers for the Ayes:


Mr. Andrew F. Bennett and
Mr. Neil Gerrard.


NOES


Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)
Alexander, Douglas
Allen, Graham
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale)
Armstrong, Ms Hilary
Ashton, Joe
Atherton, Ms Candy
Atkins, Charlotte
Banks, Tony
Barron, Kevin
Battle, John
Bayley, Hugh
Beard, Nigel
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Bell, Stuart (Middlesbrough)
Benton, Joe
Bermingham, Gerald
Betts, Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blizzard, Bob
Blunkett, Rt Hon David
Boateng, Paul
Borrow, David
Bradley, Keith (Withington)
Brinton, Mrs Helen
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Browne, Desmond
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Butler, Mrs Christine
Byers, Stephen
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell-Savours, Dale
Caplin, Ivor
Casale, Roger
Caton, Martin
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Chaytor, David
Chisholm, Malcolm
Church, Ms Judith
Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, Charles (Norwich S)
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clelland, David
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Colman, Tony
Cooper, Yvette
Corbett, Robin
Corston, Ms Jean
Cousins, Jim
Cranston, Ross
Crausby, David
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cunliffe, Lawrence
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr John
(Copeland)
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Curtis-Thomas, Mrs Claire
Darling, Rt Hon Alistair
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Davidson, Ian
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Davies, Rt Hon Ron (Caerphilly)
Dawson, Hilton
Dean, Mrs Janet
Denham, John
Dewar, Rt Hon Donald
Dismore, Andrew
Dobson, Rt Hon Frank
Donohoe, Brian H
Doran, Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drew, David
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Edwards, Huw
Ennis, Jeff
Etherington, Bill
Fatchett, Derek
Field, Rt Hon Frank
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Fitzsimons, Lorna
Flint, Caroline
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Foster, Michael J (Worcester)
Foulkes, George
Galbraith, Sam
Gapes, Mike
Gardiner, Barry
Gibson, Dr Ian
Gilroy, Mrs Linda
Godsiff, Roger
Goggins, Paul
Golding, Mrs Llin
Gordon, Mrs Eileen
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grocott, Bruce
Grogan, John
Gunnell, John
Hain, Peter
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Hanson, David
Heal, Mrs Sylvia
Healey, John
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Hesford, Stephen
Hewitt, Ms Patricia
Hill, Keith
Hodge, Ms Margaret
Hoey, Kate
Home Robertson, John
Hoon, Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Howarth, Alan (Newport E)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Howells, Dr Kim
Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hurst, Alan
Hutton, John
Iddon, Dr Brian
Illsley, Eric
Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead)
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)
Johnson, Miss Melanie
(Welwyn Hatfield)
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Jones, Mrs Fiona (Newark)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Ms Jenny
(Wolverh'ton SW)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Jowell, Ms Tessa
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Keeble, Ms Sally
Kemp, Fraser
Kidney, David
Kilfoyle, Peter
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green)
Kumar, Dr Ashok
Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Lepper, David
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Lock, David
Love, Andrew
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCafferty, Ms Chris
McCartney, Ian (Makerfield)
McDonagh, Siobhain
Macdonald, Calum
McFall, John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKenna, Mrs Rosemary
McNulty, Tony
McWalter, Tony
McWilliam, John
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Mallaber, Judy
Mandelson, Peter
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Martlew, Eric
Meacher, Rt Hon Michael
Merron, Gillian
Michael, Alun
Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)
Milburn, Alan
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Austin
Moffatt, Laura
Moran, Ms Margaret
Morgan, Rhodri (Cardiff W)
Morley, Elliot
Morris, Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley)
Morris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon)
Mudie, George
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Murphy, Paul (Torfaen)
Naysmith, Dr Doug
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
O'Hara, Eddie
Olner, Bill
Organ, Mrs Diana
Osborne, Ms Sandra
Palmer, Dr Nick
Pearson, Ian
Pendry, Tom
Perham, Ms Linda
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter L
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Pond, Chris
Pope, Greg
Pound, Stephen
Powell, Sir Raymond
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Primarolo, Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Quin, Ms Joyce
Quinn, Lawrie
Radice, Giles
Rapson, Syd
Raynsford, Nick
Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)
Robertson, Rt Hon George
(Hamilton S)
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rogers, Allan
Rooker, Jeff
Rooney, Terry
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Rowlands, Ted
Roy, Frank
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Ms Joan
Ryan, Ms Joan
Salter, Martin
Savidge, Malcolm
Sedgemore, Brian
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Barry
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S)
Smith, Miss Geraldine
(Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Snape, Peter
Soley, Clive
Southworth, Ms Helen
Spellar, John
Squire, Ms Rachel
Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Stevenson, George
Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr Howard
Stott, Roger
Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Straw, Rt Hon Jack
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann
(Dewsbury)
Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Temple-Morris, Peter
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Timms, Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mark
Touhig, Don
Trickett, Jon
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Vaz, Keith
Vis, Dr Rudi
Walley, Ms Joan
Ward, Ms Claire
Watts, David
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Wilson, Brian
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Worthington, Tony
Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, Dr Tony (Cannock)

Tellers for the Noes:


Jane Kennedy and
Mr. David Jamieson.

Question accordingly negatived.

8 Jul 1998 : Column 1168

Schedule 3

8 Jul 1998 : Column 1169

General Exclusions

Mr. Nigel Griffiths: I beg to move amendment No. 69, in page 53, line 38, leave out 'which'.


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