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Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, I am grateful, as always, to the noble Lord, Lord King of Bridgwater. He will remember that it was on the initiative of the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, that I sent a letter on behalf of the whole House to the Senate of the United States, immediately after 11th September. I know that it was well received. I will do as the noble Lord suggests and relate the message through my noble friend Lady Amos, who is in her place next to me. We shall see to that.

The issue of tourism does require a difficult balancing act. As it happens, I know Bali, having spent an extremely happy holiday there. One can see how important tourism is as one pays what are, in our context, relatively small sums to people whose daily life depends on it. I agree that, if one of the long-term consequences were to be economic collapse, it would be a firm victory for those who caused such wicked consequences.

Mayor Giuliani said that people in New York should go out and shop, go out and spend, go to the theatre and make New York what it was. We can learn from that.

Lord Lea of Crondall: My Lords, I do not intend to detract from the need to reinforce the war against terrorism. However, I must refer to the point made by the noble Baroness, Lady Williams of Crosby, about the training of fundamentalists, the lack of education and the way that, even in a democracy such as Pakistan is becoming, fundamentalists are winning increasing support. There are millions of hearts and minds that are not with us.

Does my noble and learned friend agree that, side by side with reinforcing the war against terrorism, we must consider what we must do in Yemen, Egypt, Pakistan, Indonesia, in parts of Africa and elsewhere to win over those hearts and minds? The incidents take place against a background in which—it is painful to say—millions are not with us.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, what my noble friend says is absolutely right. I tried to accept that in the propositions advanced by the noble Baroness. I can reassure my noble friend and the whole House that the Government's policy, through DfID and the FCO, is to stress the important factor that our aid must go in significant part to education, to take up the noble Baroness's point. So I do not dissent from what my noble friend said—although in the all countries he mentioned the problems are not uniform; they need to be dealt with in a subtle and discriminating way.

Lord Marlesford: My Lords, does the Minister agree that, in its wickedness and lack of discrimination, this terrible act compares all too closely with the Omagh bomb of August 1998? By a horrible coincidence, it compares also in terms of the number of United

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Kingdom citizens killed. At Omagh, 28 were killed, including a pregnant woman and two small children; the figure in this case is apparently 30.

The Minister referred to the need to protect this country. I for one believe that the arrangements for immigration and passport control in this country leave a great deal to be desired. I have given details, but as yet have received no reply from the Home Office. I should like to have the opportunity at some stage of talking to the noble and learned Lord privately.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, I am not privy to the correspondence between the noble Lord and the Home Office. I can say truthfully and conscientiously that I try to reply to letters by return. If it takes more than a week, I regard that as a personal disgrace. I am more than happy to speak privately to the noble Lord.

As I said earlier, terror has an appetite which is both insatiable and irrational. I draw the noble Lord's parallel between Omagh and this incident. It is the slaughter of the innocents to make an allegedly political point. It is monstrous. We should be careful not to say in the press that "no one has claimed responsibility". I prefer the phrase: "No one has admitted these crimes".

Enterprise Bill

5.12 p.m.

Consideration of amendments on Report resumed on Clause 1.

[Amendment No. 3 not moved.]

Schedule 1 [The Office of Fair Trading]:

Lord Hunt of Wirral moved Amendments Nos. 4 and 5:

    Page 195, line 5, after "chairman," insert "a chief executive,"

    Page 195, line 7, after "chairman" insert "and the chief executive"

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Lord Graham of Edmonton moved Amendment No. 6:

    Page 195, line 8, at end insert—

"( ) The chairman and members shall be broadly representative of interests in the area of responsibility of the OFT."

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving this amendment, I shall speak also to Amendment No. 7, which relates to line 8 on page 195. It reads:

    "Members shall be appointed on the basis of their expertise in areas of responsibility of the OFT and such expertise shall not disqualify them on the grounds of conflict of interest".

I begin by declaring marginal interests: I continue to have active links with the Co-operative Movement and with the British Retail Consortium, with both of which I have had useful consultations.

In striking at this aspect of the Bill, perhaps I may say how pleased I was to be present for the earlier debate when Members on all sides of the House spoke clearly and with authority. They did the Bill proud—I

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do not refer to the result of the vote, but to the intelligence that they brought to the debate from their experience elsewhere. I was delighted to be present.

These matters were raised at an earlier stage. I simply want to remind the Minister that I welcome the main thrust of the reform of the OFT; namely, its transformation into a board, the requirements for an annual plan and its new remit for promoting the benefits of competition for consumers and the economy.

These amendments take up an idea introduced in earlier amendments by the noble Lord, Lord Hunt. They support the Bill, but attempt to shape or re-shape its provisions by obtaining from the Minister intelligence and advice on what he and his colleagues have in mind as regards those who will carry out its provisions.

The noble Lord, Lord Hunt, posed the 64,000 dollar question: who regulates the regulators? It is no good saying after the event that we ought to have done such and such; or the Minister saying, "If only you had only mentioned this, I could have taken it into account". The purpose of my amendments is to seek assurances from the Minister that the thrust of what I seek is taken care of in the Bill in general—in which case he will no doubt be kind enough to point that out to me.

I should be interested in hearing from the Minister how, for example, the process of selecting the members will take place. The noble Lord, Lord Hunt—that is the third and last time that I shall mention him in this debate—drew attention to the advertisement that had appeared giving some indication, but that is not sufficient to satisfy me.

The Minister is aware of my strong connection with the Co-operative Movement, which is a consumer movement. I am naturally interested in hearing from him the steps that he and his colleagues have in mind to ensure that those who have wide experience of consumer matters will be considered. I do not mean opening the drawer of the great and the good, pulling out names and saying that it is the turn of this or that person. I should like to hear what he has in mind in terms of trawling over the wide range of people—north and south, male and female, black and white—who are prominent in the consumer movement. A great deal of legislation comes to us these days from Brussels. Do the Minister and his colleagues have the European dimension in mind when considering who will serve on boards?

We should not be looking for people who are "experts" or even "authorities" in these matters. I am always prepared, when reading a list of people who are to serve on a committee, not to know any of them. Then, when I look into their credentials, I am pleasantly surprised to see how well qualified they are, even to my untutored mind. Within the confines of the Bill, the Minister has a great deal to offer to us. I beg to move.

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: My Lords, I shall speak to Amendments Nos. 17 to 21. These amendments respond to points made by noble Lords in Committee

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and fulfil commitments I made to agree to consider these points further. I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 6 and 7.

Amendments Nos. 17 and 18 require the OFT to publish a summary of its rules and procedures for dealing with conflicts of interest. The OFT is already required to consult the Secretary of State when drawing up these rules and procedures. The publication of a summary of them under this amendment will ensure transparency in how the OFT conducts itself in this important area. The amendments are in response to an amendment tabled in Committee by the noble Lord, Lord Kingsland, the noble Baroness, Lady Miller, and the noble Lord, Lord Hunt.

Amendments Nos. 19 and 20 require the OFT to lay the proposals for its annual plan, as well as the final version, before Parliament and to hold a public consultation on the proposals at least two months before the final version is published. This removes the discretion that the OFT currently has under the Bill to consult such persons "as it considers appropriate", and, I hope, satisfies noble Lords' concerns that the OFT should consult widely on the plan. These amendments respond to an amendment by the noble Lords, Lord Kingsland and Lord Hunt, and the noble Baroness, Lady Miller, in Committee.

Amendment No. 21 provides additional requirements for the content of the OFT's annual report. Noble Lords expressed concern in Committee that more detail should be placed on the face of the Bill. The amendment provides for significant new requirements covering the main activities and investigations over the year, the allocation of financial resources and enforcement practices and performance. This last requirement would include, for example, an assessment of how OFT has complied with the Enforcement Concordat, which I believe will be welcomed by business. This amendment responds to amendments tabled by my noble friend Lord Graham, the noble Lords, Lord Kingsland, Lord Hunt, Lord Razzall and Lord Sharman, and the noble Baroness, Lady Miller, in Committee.

Amendments Nos. 6 and 7, tabled by my noble friend Lord Graham, seek to ensure that the OFT board is made up of people who are representative of the key areas of OFT responsibility and that such people will not be disqualified from taking up board appointments on grounds of conflict of interest. We will be holding a fair and open competition for non-executive board posts in accordance with Nolan procedures. In answer to the points made by my noble friend, I hope very much that this will not consist of the great and the good but of people who can bring some real skills to this area.

The range of skills and qualities that we are looking for may mean that some members of the board will be drawn from, for example, competition, consumer or business backgrounds, and it is to be hoped that some will have experience of European matters. Our aim is to appoint the best candidates, not to have quotas or de facto appointments representing certain interests. Although board members are likely to have other

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outside interests, they will be appointed to the board in their own right, not as representatives of a particular interest. Their role on the board will be to see that the OFT takes the right strategic decisions to fulfil its functions effectively and to achieve its goal of making markets work for consumers.

We want to appoint the best people to give the OFT a strong and strategic board with a balance of skills, expertise and abilities. Experience of, for example, general management or strategic skills will be as valuable to the board as a wide-ranging and in-depth experience of competition and consumer issues, but not every candidate need necessarily have all these qualities, skills and expertise in all these areas.

I reassure my noble friend that candidates with backgrounds relevant to OFT's responsibility will not automatically be disqualified from taking up board appointments on grounds of conflict of interests. Provided that they comply with the OFT rules and procedures on conflicts of interest, which I mentioned, there is no need for them to be disqualified. It is unnecessary to set this out on the face of the Bill. If noble Lords agree with the amendments that I am moving in this group, the Bill will be clear that OFT will have published rules and procedures for dealing with conflicts of interest, and board members will have to act in accordance with these or face removal by the Secretary of State. I do not think that there is any need to add anything more to the Bill. In view of these arguments, I hope that my noble friend will feel able to withdraw his amendments.

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