Previous SectionIndexHome Page

Hugh Robertson: Time is marching on so I shall be brief. I thank the Minister for his comments in connection with amendment No. 9. In the light of his assurances, I am happy to leave the matter there.

On amendment No. 8, I wholly accept what the Minister says about LOCOG's desire to start the process of looking for sponsors early, and the fact that it needs the necessary safeguards if it is to do that. However, there are concerns in the advertising industry about the practical implications for advertising pre-clearance and copy advice. Television advertising, in particular, has long lead times. As we all know, advertisements can be 18 months in the making, and a campaign costs hundreds of thousands of pounds to produce and broadcast. There are serious and costly implications for advertisers and broadcasters if the Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre, the BACC, has given clearance to a TV advertisement before it is broadcast, and its decision is subsequently overturned by LOCOG. It could, in theory, insist that the advertisement were withdrawn, but under this legislation it could also sue for damages and take out an injunction against the advertiser.

Secondly, another, even more technical issue must be addressed before the Bill comes into effect. The committee of advertising practice, which is the code-owning body within the Advertising Standards Authority system, offers advertising copy advice on a voluntary basis in the non-broadcast media. I understand that the CAP has said that it is not in a position to give copy advice because the legislation will lie outside its self-regulatory British code of advertising, sales promotion and direct marketing, which the ASA
6 Dec 2005 : Column 829
enforces. The CAP apparently takes a similar approach to financial services advertising, the components of which are regulated entirely by the Financial Services Authority, which is a body that I remember with considerable pleasure from my time in the City.

I realise that both of those points are technical, and if the Minister undertakes to write to me I will be happy not to press them.

Mr. Caborn: We have all been reading from scripts on the final group of amendments and have been extremely well briefed by forces outside this House. I understand the concerns of some of our dear colleagues in media and advertising—although their points are highly technical, they are important.

We have framed the Bill to protect LOCOG and the Olympics, to make sure that the Olympics are not exploited by rogue elements and to maintain the freedom of the press. The hon. Member for Faversham and Mid-Kent (Hugh Robertson) knows that a dialogue is continuing with those in media and advertising. I cannot add much to what I have said already. [Hon. Members: "Hear, hear."] Some hon. Members want to leave the House sooner rather than later. I will write to hon. Members to clear up those points, which will allow them to write to those who sent them the brief, to whom I will also respond.

Mr. Don Foster: I am most grateful for the Minister's extremely brief, unhelpful response.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. The Minister has responded to his own Government amendment. The hon. Gentleman does not have the right to reply to a reply to a reply.

Amendment agreed to.

Remaining Government amendments agreed to.

Order for Third Reading read.—[Queen's Consent, on behalf of the Crown, and Prince of Wales's consent, on behalf of the Duchy of Cornwall, signified.]

8.43 pm

Mr. Caborn: I beg to move, That the Bill be read the Third time.

I shall start by thanking all the members of the Standing Committee and all hon. Members who have taken part in today's debate. The Bill has received thorough scrutiny, which has been conducted in a fair-minded fashion throughout. I am particularly grateful for the consistent support provided by the hon. Members for Faversham and Mid-Kent and for Bath. They have been quick to understand and welcome the principles behind the Bill, and they have kept me on my toes throughout.

I am also grateful for the support provided by the devolved Administrations. Hon. Members will be glad to note that on 10 November the Scottish Parliament gave its consent to those provisions in the Bill that trigger the Sewel convention, and I have taken the opportunity to place a copy of the relevant Scottish Executive memorandum, including the Sewel motion, in the Libraries of both Houses.
6 Dec 2005 : Column 830

On Third Reading, it is worth taking a step back from the detail to remind the House why we have introduced this Bill and why the Bill is so important to the success of the London Olympics. We need the Olympics to be on time and on budget, which is why we must get the ODA up and running quickly as the single body responsible for planning and construction.

It is great that we now have a dynamic leadership team in place in Jack Lemley and David Higgins. I wish them both well. They have a proven track record in delivering huge projects, and they can now get on with the preparatory work that needs to be done on the setting up of the ODA. To do the rest of the job, they need the full set of powers and functions that the Bill provides in order to plan and construct venues and facilities, to co-ordinate the transport plan, and to maintain a clean Olympic environment. Through the Bill, we are able to ensure that the ODA is fully accountable to Ministers and to Parliament.

The ODA will be at the centre of the Olympic project for the next seven years. After 2012, it will have a key role in helping to reconfigure Olympic venues and the Olympic park to ensure that the games result in real and lasting benefits for east London and for the whole United Kingdom.

Mr. Hollobone : What consideration has been given to the conjunction of the Olympic games in 2012 with, if all goes well, the diamond jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen? Given that a large number of Commonwealth countries will take part in the Olympic games, is there any way in which the two events can be joined together, as it were, better to promote the United Kingdom across the world?

Mr. Caborn: That has been mentioned in several meetings at which I have been present, although not in any great detail. I take on board what the hon. Gentleman says and will ensure that it is reported to the relevant areas to see whether we can move it forward.

The ODA, while central, is only one piece in the jigsaw. The Bill also ensures that where other organisations have key responsibilities for delivering the games, they have the legal powers that they need. For instance, the amendments we have discussed will ensure that regional development agencies, including the London Development Agency, have all the powers that they need to acquire the land required for the games, to time and to budget. The Mayor signed the host city contract on London's behalf, and the Greater London Authority will provide a significant slice of funding. The Bill provides the GLA with an Olympic power to ensure that those obligations are fulfilled and that the GLA is able to help prepare for and to manage the games.

Under the host city contract, LOCOG has a wide range of obligations to the IOC about how the games will be managed. Some of those obligations need to be reflected in the Bill, particularly the IOC's requirements on ticket touting and what it terms brand protection. Those have been among the most keenly debated parts of the Bill, especially where we are creating new intellectual property rights relating to London 2012 for LOCOG to protect. I repeat that the measures that we are taking to protect against ambush marketing are vital not only for the financial security of LOCOG and the
6 Dec 2005 : Column 831
games but for the image of the Olympics, which must not become tarnished by a commercial free-for-all. I do not think that many Members would disagree with those principles. I hope that in the course of debates in Committee and on Report I have provided full reassurance that where new restrictions are being created they will be enforced in a proportionate and targeted fashion in consultation with the advertising industry and others. We must be firm in stopping those who want to rip off the Olympics, but we will not disrupt anyone's right to make an honest living.

The quick passage of this Bill is the first milestone in the successful delivery of the 2012 games. The IOC has been particularly complimentary about the progress that we have made in getting the legislation this far this quickly. It is pleased that London has been so quick to get itself moving towards 2012. I thank the Opposition for helping us to make that happen. This is a good Bill that is better for the amendments that we have made to it. I commend it to the House.

8.48 pm

Hugh Robertson: It is exactly five months since 6 July, when we won the games bid in Singapore. I want to finish my remarks on the Bill where I started on Second Reading by congratulating all those who worked so hard to bring the Olympic games to London. I say that not because it is a nice thing to say at the end of the passage of a piece of legislation but because I genuinely mean it. I pay tribute to Lord Coe, Keith Mills and everybody involved in the bid at London 2012. I congratulate the other shareholders: the Government, particularly the Prime Minister, who did so much in the days running up to the bid, the Secretary of State and the Minister, who has dealt with the Bill as it has gone through the House; the Mayor of London; and the British Olympic Association, especially the Princess Royal, who did particularly well in Singapore and has not, in some quarters, received the thanks that she deserves.

I also hope—again, I say this very honestly—that the Minister will take back to his Department my thanks and those of my party to his civil servants, who have worked extremely hard on the bid and on the Bill as it has gone through the House.

Delivering a successful Olympic games in 2012 will not be easy, and there is no doubt that it is a considerable challenge, but the Bill's Third Reading marks a significant moment in delivery on the pledges made to the IOC in Singapore. Although the Bill is not lengthy in parliamentary terms, it is quite complex, setting up a regional development agency in the Olympic delivery authority in the first half and establishing the ground rules for the commercial media rights in the second. I am pleased that we have found so much common ground, have been able to improve the Bill, and have been able to maintain cross-party support.

As the Bill leaves our House, I have only three outstanding concerns. To be honest, I must say that not all of them relate to the Bill. First, sport as a whole must benefit from our hosting the games in 2012. I think that there is a good deal of cross-party agreement on that, but it is not yet entirely clear how it will be achieved.

I should like effort to be concentrated on three elements. Much good work has already been done on reform of the organisation of sport—I commend the
6 Dec 2005 : Column 832
Minister for that—but there is more to be done, along the lines of what has been suggested by the independent sports review. We also need the funds that are necessary to meet the British Olympic Association's objective of moving us from 10th to fourth in the medal table. There are also implications for non-Olympic sports, particularly mass-participation sports. It is feared that funds will be diverted from them to the Olympics.

Our second main concern, which has been discussed at length today, is the impact of cost overruns on the London council tax payer. Finally, there is a small issue that I fear may cause problems in the other place: the reversal of the presumption of innocence.

If the Government are prepared to offer concessions on any of those three outstanding issues, it will ease the Bill's passage. Having said that, I bid it fair passage. I thank the Minister and his civil servants for what they have done, and reaffirm my party's support for the Bill and, indeed, the games. The Olympics are the most unique historic and valuable asset in world sport. I am delighted and, like sport lovers throughout the country, not a little excited that London is to host the games in 2012.

8.52 pm

Next Section IndexHome Page