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Mr. Don Foster: The group under consideration comprises a string of different amendments and I am the only hon. Member whose name is appended to each. The Minister and the hon. Member for Faversham and Mid-Kent (Hugh Robertson) can therefore rest assured that I support the amendments that they tabled.

Amendment No. 2 is crucial because it was made clear at the outset that one of the central goals that we wanted to achieve in the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics was

That is a quote from the candidate file. An important factor will be the ability of voluntary and community organisations and sports clubs to capitalise on the
 
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games. We know of many examples of organisations that will use the Olympics as a vehicle for promoting voluntary action. They include the Waltham Forest volunteer centre, which plans to use the Olympics as a catalyst for expansion. Many organisations, such as the Stratford athletics and cycling club, will use them for increasing participation in sport. It is therefore crucial to ensure that we have regard to the desirability of promoting the interests of voluntary and community organisations and sports clubs.

The Minister will not be surprised that I support Government amendments Nos. 19 and 20 because they are the same as those that I tabled in Committee. By withdrawing them, I gave the Minister the opportunity to bring them back and claim the credit. I welcome the fact that he has stuck to his commitment. They may not appear especially important since they simply change the word "may" to "shall", but they are none the less significant because it is clear that, for example, in advertising A-frames, it is important to have regard to amenity and public safety. As I pointed out in Committee, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is especially hot on those matters and insists that amenity and public safety are taken into account when local authorities and others decide whether to accept outdoor advertising and signs. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has produced a guidance note on that, so I was anxious to follow that Department's instructions in the case of the Olympics. The Minister assured us that he would consider that. He has done so and I am delighted that he has agreed that the matter is crucial.

Amendment No. 4 is equally critical. As the hon. Member for Faversham and Mid-Kent pointed out, clause 18 describes the regulations that govern advertising in the vicinity of the London Olympic events. It gives the Secretary of State power to place restrictions on the physical locations of advertising about the games. However, in its current form, the measure does not provide a definitive start date by which the regulations come into effect. Many people therefore believed that it was important to include a clear date.

We all accepted the need both to include regulations because that was part of the host city contract and to agree on when they would begin. The hon. Member for Faversham and Mid-Kent did not point out that, when we debated the matter in Committee, the Minister told us on 18 October that any regulations under clause 18 would not apply for longer than the Olympics period. That is from four weeks before the Olympic games to five days after the end of the Paralympic games. We were then told, interestingly;

The Minister added


 
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For some of us, it is rather difficult to check whether what the Minister said was entirely accurate. The technical manuals are somewhat different to get hold of. They seem to be locked away in safes to which only very few people have access. [Interruption.] The Minister says from a sedentary position that we must trust him and that he got that right. When I wrote to the Minister, along with the hon. Member for Faversham and Mid-Kent, I pointed out that we had managed to get hold of the code to the safe and that we had examined what the manuals said. The manuals say that the IOC requires host countries to apply restrictions on the physical location of advertising only for a maximum of two weeks before the Olympic games, not four.

I was grateful that having written to the Minister, he graciously acceded to the slight error that he had made. In the letter that we received of 30 November, he said:

He repeated the phrase:

That was the position earlier, but if it is to be two weeks that will not be gold-plating.

Given that the Minister has written in a letter precisely what he intends to do, it seems not unreasonable on this occasion for him to accept the amendments. They would simply put into the Bill what the Minister, somewhat belatedly, has accepted would be the right way forward. I look forward to the Minister's positive response to the amendments. I note that he points to his brief, which seems to indicate that we might be in for some success.

I hope that we shall also have some success with the other amendments. Amendment No. 5 represents an attempt to ensure that a range of media should receive appropriate exemption from legislation regarding advertising in the vicinity of the games. The hon. Member for Faversham and Mid-Kent has made exactly the right point—there have been one or two exemptions but the scope should be widened. What would it be like for a member of the public to be reading a newspaper while standing in the vicinity of an Olympic event? Someone could be looking over that person's shoulder or, even worse, given that television cameras would be able to view it, someone could look through a television camera and see an advertisement in that newspaper. We are deeply concerned about this, and the scope of the exemptions needs to be extended to include newspapers.

What about someone who is holding out his mobile phone and on it, as is sadly the case these days, there are advertising images? That could be in contravention of advertising rules. What about someone who is listening to their portable radio? Let us say that it is on a commercial channel and an advertisement appears on it? Clearly, that could be a breach of the rules unless we have the right exemptions in respect of advertising within the vicinity of an Olympic event. That is what the amendment seeks to achieve.

Amendments Nos. 6 and 7 relate to similar issues but focus on the consultation that will take place. It is surely right and proper that we have guarantees set out in the Bill about who will be consulted about the regulations,
 
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because a number of bodies must be consulted. A list appears in the Bill, but, sadly, all the people whom we think should appear are not included.. The Minister thought that we were on to quite a jolly good idea. In Committee, Madam Deputy Speaker—I am sorry that you were not able to join us in these exciting events—the Minister said:

We already have a list of bodies that are to be consulted, but the advertising industry is not on that list. The Minister has said that it would be foolish not to include it in the list of consultees, so it would be extremely strange if the Minister did not accept a modest amendment to include that industry in the list in the Bill. That is equally true of those people who have to vet advertisements. In particular, television advertisements must be prepared a long time in advance, so we need to be sure that those who are responsible for vetting such advertisements will be consulted. That is why amendment No. 7 refers to those who have a relevant responsibility for regulating the advertising industry. I hope that the Minister will be prepared to accept the amendment.

7.15 pm

I hope also that the amendment will provide the Minister with an opportunity to say a little more to those who are responsible for preparing advertising and for clearing advertising about what he has in mind with time scales. The Minister has had detailed consultations with representatives of the industry, which I know they have welcomed. They have reminded him repeatedly of the long time scale that is needed, very often, to prepare advertisements. Some advertisements that the industry might be using in 18 months' time will already be in preparation. The industry needs to know when those advertisements might fall foul of the regulations once they come into force. It is crucial that those concerned are consulted. It is crucial also that they be given an assurance that the regulations will not come into effect in the immediate future. Every one of the amendments in this group is worthy of support by the Minister and by the House, and I hope that they will be given that support.


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