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Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: I wonder whether I can help the noble Lord. In the letter to the noble Earl, Lord Howe, I simply confirmed that statements given by government Ministers during the passage of the previous Bill in the other place still stand.
Lord Naseby: I am most grateful to the Minister for pointing out what the letter states. Perhaps the Minister can recallI cannotwhether the Government defined what they regard as not constituting an advertisement when that Bill was discussed. Did the Government ever define that? I see from a shaking of heads that it has not yet been defined. However, what is clear is that at some point the Government were of the mind that certain things did not constitute advertisements. That is crystal clear. That stake is in the ground.
Lord Peston: The noble Lord is new to our Chamber and I appreciate that he does not fully understand our traditions. However, it is not customary to speak at such inordinate length on an amendment of this kind. It is customary in this Chamber to speak to the point. I have sat here patiently. The noble Lord looks as if he will continue speaking for quite a while. I just feel it would help him if he knew a little more about how this Chamber typically operates.
Lord Naseby: The noble Lord is entitled to his view.
Lord Peston: I am not expressing my view; I am expressing what we all recognise as part of the great traditions of this great House of Parliament, which is not to speak at inordinate length. If the noble Lord followed the example of his noble friend on the Front Bench, who was succinct and to the point, he would understand how we typically behave in this House.
Lord Naseby: I am most grateful to the noble Lord for his view, to which I shall obviously listen. I have already covered one amendment and I do not think
Lord Marsh: I apologise for intervening when I have not been here throughout the noble Lord's speech, although I heard him start. I shall say only that, considering the traditions of the House, I was dumbfounded when I came back and found him still talking to the same amendment.
Lord Naseby: With the greatest respect, I am not talking to the same amendment. I started with Amendment No. 3 and I am now on Amendment No. 4. The two could not be more different. I am sorry if the noble Lord missed the fact that there were two amendments.
I was just finishing. At the same time, the Minister confirmed that certain things were not regarded by the Government as advertisements. The list in the amendment would help the House to produce a Bill to establish exactly what is not an advertisement.
Lord Monson: In defence of the noble Lord, Lord Naseby, he has been speaking to two separate amendments. I wonder whether he was consulted about the grouping. I was not consulted and I am pleased that Amendment No. 5 has been degrouped. The noble Lord has a right to speak fully on Amendment No. 3 and Amendment No. 4. Why should he not do so?
Lord Skelmersdale: I must confess that I feel that I have been witnessing the activities of two rather soporific goats. That may be because I have a filthy cold, so I shall curtail my remarks as much as I can.
I am confused. On the one side, we have the Explanatory Notes, which say simply that "advertising" is to have its natural meaning. Bangthat is it; advertising is advertising, full stop. On the other hand, the amendments would broaden the definition. I tend to go along with my noble friends who have tabled the amendments, because of the Medicines Act 1968, which I am sure that the Minister, and possibly even the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, have engraved on their hearts. That Act provides a perfectly good definition of what is and is
Lord Skelmersdale: In that case I shall not be so inhibited.
Lord Lucas: If anyone thought that smoking causes shortness of breath, I think that they will be disabused today.
I advise my noble friend Lord Naseby not to pursue his Amendment No. 8, which is in this group, because it would permit web marketing by the use of what is known as affiliates, which would drive a coach and horses through the Bill. I am sure that that is not his intention and I wish to persuade him that it would be inappropriate to proceed with the amendment.
Lord Filkin: I am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Noakes, for her careful explanation of her amendment and the tone of her presentation. She has attempted to define what should count as an advertisement. The Government do not believe that that would be helpful or sensible.
"Advertisement" should be allowed to carry its natural meaning. It is usual for words to bear their natural meaning in legislation. To seek to qualify them risks creating loopholes.
The principle of the Bill, which we shall return to on a number of occasions, is to set out a broad offence and then provide defences or exemptions as appropriate. The Government's view is that legislation should not provide a comprehensive list of every detailed type of advertisement that might be possible.
The decision to let "advertising" have its natural meaning is consistent with the normal principles of drafting UK legislation. This is domestic legislation, not European legislation, so it should follow British and UK principles rather than European practices. I am sure that many of your Lordships would concur with that.
The Bill does not attempt to interfere with the normal business of tobacco companies. Promoting their business by printing their name on a letterhead that is used for individual communication is not the mischief covered by the Bill.
The provisions on brand sharing would enable the Government to consult on the regulations to be made under Clause 11. The regulations would provide the clarity that is naturally sought.
Baroness Noakes: Will the Minister clarify what he has just said? He said that the Government do not intend letterheads and the like to be included, but he also said that that would be covered by the brand sharing clause. How could the brand sharing clause be used to cover examples relating simply to the name of a company on a letterhead, not its association with any other product?
Lord Filkin: I am sorry that I have perhaps not been as clear as I should have been. The two points were separate. There is no intention of interfering with the normal business of companies. Promoting their business by printing their name on a letterhead that is used for individual communications is not the mischief covered by the Bill.
Baroness Noakes: I am sorry to ask the Minister to give way again. If that is the Government's intention, why will they not accept a specific amendment to that effect? As I tried to explain earlier, it is possible that the use of a name could be deemed to be promoting a tobacco product. I believe that companies deserve the clarity, or the certainty, of knowing that using their own names could not possibly lead to problems in that regard.
Lord Filkin: I do not believe that it would be either wise or sensible to do so. The noble Baroness, Lady Noakes, has a point in that there are circumstances in which a company, by using its name allegedly in the promotion of its normal business activities, could have the effect of promoting tobacco consumption. Therefore, we do not believe that it is right to seek to go so far as has been proposed.
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