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Baroness O'Cathain: My Lords, I thank the Minister for giving way. Before he turns to the second point of the noble Lord, Lord Geddes, perhaps I may refer to the first point. Can the Minister say whether any country in the world bans advertising on Formula 1 racing on its territory? I know that there are not
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, I am not in a position to provide the information to the noble Baroness but I believe that she should not focus on Formula 1. The whole point of the definition that was used in the original directive was not Formula 1. It was a more general description of how one would define global events.
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, not pigeon racing. It is not possible for me to give a long list of sports which might or might not fall within that definition. However, one of the sports that comes to mind might be world championship snooker. I know that the darts authorities believe that they have a case. However, the point is this. No decision has been made. It will be subject to consultation. What the clause before us gives to the Government, if it is passed, is the ability to differentiate. The Government's position is that they believe that there is justification in such differentiation.
In response to the noble Lord, Lord Geddes, of course I accept that smaller sports that would not fall within that definition have been concerned about the impact of the provision on them. That is why the task force was set up, in order to help the sports affected find alternative
Lord Peston: My Lords, perhaps I may interrupt my noble friend for the sake of clarification. I believe that we are a little bit at cross purposes. I had understood the transition arrangements to apply only to sports which already had tobacco sponsorship. Have I misunderstood the position? That is what I thought it meant; that they had some tobacco sponsorship and they were not going to be told, "Get rid of it this minute". Those of us who devote our lives to pigeon carrying are very upset that the noble Lord is taking such a deprecatory view of pigeon carriers, but we do not have any tobacco sponsorship. Therefore, I do not see how we fall under the provisions. The serious point is that it has to be a transitional arrangement for those who are involved already.
Lord Naseby: My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Peston, has outlined what I understand to be the situationthat there must be an existing agreement. Therefore, if there is an existing agreement, I cannot believe that the Minister has not come to the House today with a list of what the existing agreements are, rather than speculating on what might or might not happen in the future. That is not the point. What are the existing agreements which might end in 2003 or some later date? In particular, what existing agreements of a global nature, other than just Formula 1 motor racing, are to be given an extension to 2006?
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, the noble Lord completely misses the point. This is an enabling clause to allow for differentiation between different sports activities. The question of how that differentiation will be made will come as a result of the consultation. To be helpful to the House, what I sought to do was to go back to some of the principles that were enunciated by the Government when the original Bill went through the other place.
I refer my noble friend Lord Peston back to the 1998 EU directive. That provides for an extension for a further period of three years, ending not later than 1st October 2006, provided that the sums devoted to sponsorship decreased over the transitional period and that measures were taken to reduce the visibility of advertising at the events concerned.
The point is that they relate back to the original directive which was struck down as a result of legal action. In quoting from the directive, what I was seeking to do was to give the House a general indication of the Government's thinking; but not so far as to say that the consultation itself will not be an exercise in which sports can put forward their views, whichever sports they are. The Government will then make their mind up as a result of those consultation procedures.
Lord Clement-Jones: My Lords, it has been a most interesting debate. I was particularly struck by the encyclopaedic description given by the noble Lord, Geddes, of possible sports which could be covered by the clause. I was also particularly struck by the contribution of the noble Lord, Naseby, playing soft cop/hard cop all in the space of this morning! We on these Benches are of course highly principled, but I am a little suspicious of his motives in being so nice about us in respect of the amendment.
Of course I have read Servants of the People and I am sure that Andrew Rawnsley will appreciate the publicity in the course of the debate. However, I do not know that it adds anything to what we already knew.
As I explained on earlier occasions, I sympathise greatly with many of the sentiments expressed in the debate but I am afraid that I am completely unembarrassed and on these Benches we are completely unembarrassable about the fact that we want to see the Bill go forward in its current state. A Private Member must make a judgment as to whether a Bill will or will not succeed in the course of its passage through both Houses. At an early stage of the Bill,
Lord Geddes: My Lords, I believe that the noble Lord, Clement-Jones, might more accurately describe what he just said as sacrificing his own principles. I find it quite extraordinary that someone from the Liberal Democrat Front Bench should say what he has just said.
Be that as it may, I must congratulate the noble Lord, Hunt, on an incredible job of trying to defend the indefensible. It was not without interest that, other than a specific intervention from his noble friend Lord Peston, he received no support whatever from his Back Benches. Members of your Lordships' House can read into that whatever they like.
Lord Peston: My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for giving way. I am close to being out of order, but I am worried about the implication here. I am not at all concerned about the Liberal Democrats but I am concerned about the implication that those of us who have not spoken are lacking in principle or that, if the noble Lord divides the House, those of us who vote with the noble Lord, Clement-Jones, will be lacking in principle. I found that beyond the level to which the noble Lord, Lord Geddes, usually goes. I have always regarded him as one of the best Members of our House and I hope that he is not implying that the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, and, by association, myself are lacking in principle on this matter. That would be going a little too far.
Lord Geddes: My Lords, I take the noble Lord's point. To him personally perhaps I may apologise. My opening remarks were entirely addressed to the promoter of the Bill. They had nothing whatever to do with my later remarks about the lack of support that the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, has had from his own Back Benches. That had nothing to do with principle; I was talking about support.
The Minister has trotted out the Government's policy. None of us was surprised to hear it because we have heard it before. However, he made an interesting comment to, I believe, my noble friend Lady O'Cathain:
There is one answer that the Minister has not given, and the one answer that the promoter of the Bill has not given, and it relates to the business of global and non-global. Frankly, it is window-dressing. The noble Lord, Lord Peston, is right and I thank him for his remarksit is not often I speak so strongly. However, it is window-dressing.
I have heard nothing today, nothing on Report and nothing in Committee to explain why the Governmentand it is the Government and not so much the promoter of the Billare moving away from fair play and parity. That is appalling and I want to test the opinion of the House.
Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.