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Lord Peston: My Lords—

3.45 p.m.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, if I may finish the sentence because it is a rather important sentence. I want to say to the noble Lord, Lord Puttnam, that I am willing and happy to take away the issue of how to give effect to what I know he wants by thinking again about the remit of the content board.

Lord Peston: My Lords, I am sorry to interrupt my noble friend when he is winding up, particularly given the remark that he has made. I found it most encouraging. However, for the sake of those of us who may be involved with all kinds of legislation from time to time, is he saying that we all know what "citizen" means and we all know what we want to achieve, but it happens to be the case that when legislating we are not allowed to use the word "citizen" in our Acts of Parliament? Is that what he is trying to tell us? If so, I find it mystifying, given that the word and, as he said, the objective are perfectly clear. I do not want that to get in the way of what sounded like a positive response to my noble friend.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, no, I did not say that we cannot use the word in legislation; I said that we use it frequently in legislation in the context of nationality. To introduce the word "citizen" here to mean,

as in Amendment No. 14, sounds legitimate for this Bill, but it would conflict with the undefined use of "citizen" in all other legislation where its usage is restricted to nationality. It would cause all kinds of difficulty with other legislation.

Lord Wedderburn of Charlton: My Lords, is my noble friend therefore saying that what one Parliament does with the word "citizen" binds the hands of future Parliaments in respect of a particular Bill?

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, it is not a question of one Parliament or future Parliaments—no Parliament can bind its successors—it is a matter of consistency in the usage of language in legislation.

Lord Pilkington of Oxenford: My Lords, is the Minister aware that some of us who were on the pre-legislative scrutiny committee are not wholly happy about the power of the content board and the way in which it is weakened in some way? The idea of putting in a fundamental principle is related to future workings of the content board.

I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, on his ministerial office. I am delighted to see him in his place. However, he seems to have omitted the concerns

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of the pre-legislative scrutiny committee and of the many amendments tabled in Committee about the content board. He is handing it all over to the content board.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, that is exactly why I am saying that, regarding these two amendments, we shall return to look at the remit of the content board. The intention is that there should be primary legislation—in other words that there should be government amendments at Third Reading. Without being drawn into the wider issues of the perceived weakness of the content board—and I recognise the Joint Committee's comments about that—we recognise that there needs to be some change in the remit of the content board, and that needs to be protected by primary legislation.

Lord Peyton of Yeovil: My Lords, I am concerned over two matters that were referred to by the Minister: first, the converged regulator, which is not as important as he believes, and secondly, the fact that if we use the term "citizen" we shall put a particular burden on the board of Ofcom, as opposed to the content machinery. That is welcome. I want the board to have a responsibility there.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, that is exactly what we shall take away to consider. If the noble Lord, Lord Peyton, is now questioning the concept of a converged regulator, he is going back, not just to the beginnings of the Bill, but for at least two and a half years, and questioning the basis of Ofcom itself. As soon as one recognises the concept of a converged regulator, one has also to recognise that its responsibilities to protect the interests of the community as a whole have a subset. Although all consumers are members of the community as a whole, not all members of the community as a whole are consumers of telecommunications services. For that reason, one has to cover both.

The noble Lord, Lord Currie, was fair in his description of Clause 3(1). That should be read again. It gives due weight to both of those concepts. If further protection is required, then statutory amendments to the provisions for the remit of the content board—and I hope that my noble friend Lord Puttnam will agree, and take part in discussions—will be a good way to proceed. I hope that that point will influence the House. It represents much more important concerns than any difference that there might be between the "citizen" and the community as a whole.

Lord Puttnam: My Lords, I do not wish to quibble with the Minister over words. However, the word "citizen" can define both the individual and the collective—whereas the phrase "community as a whole" could simply be a majority of the collective. They are quite different, both in law and as far as concerns Parliament.

Before making a final decision as to whether to divide the House, am I hearing a categorical affirmation from the Minister that the concerns that he

23 Jun 2003 : Column 23

has listened to during Second Reading and the whole of the Committee Stage will be met by the statutory use of the content board to enforce the intent of the present amendment?

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, the noble Lord is asking for an "absolute assurance". Nobody ever asks for an assurance from Ministers, they always ask for an "absolute assurance". A number of different views have properly been expressed in debate this afternoon and in Committee. I cannot give an absolute assurance that all of those views will be accurately and fully reflected in any changes that we make to the remit of the content board. If we put our heads together and try, we could approach that nirvana.

Lord Puttnam: My Lords, in order to strengthen the Government's will, and to take account of the fact that the issue is important—given the very strongly held views here—I beg to test the opinion of the House.

3.54 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 1) shall be agreed to?

*Their Lordships divided: Contents, 179; Not-Contents, 75.

Division No. 1


Aberdare, L.
Addington, L.
Alexander of Weedon, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Anelay of St Johns, B.
Ashcroft, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Astor, V.
Astor of Hever, L.
Avebury, L.
Barker, B.
Barnett, L.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L.
Blaker, L.
Blatch, B.
Blood, B.
Bowness, L.
Bradshaw, L.
Bragg, L.
Brookman, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Burnham, L.
Buscombe, B.
Byford, B.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Chalfont, L.
Chan, L.
Chorley, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cohen of Pimlico, B.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Craig of Radley, L.
Craigavon, V.
Crickhowell, L. [Teller]
Dahrendorf, L.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Denham, L.
Desai, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Donoughue, L.
Eden of Winton, L.
Elder, L.
Elis-Thomas, L.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Elton, L.
Erroll, E.
Evans of Watford, L.
Ezra, L.
Falkland, V.
Fearn, L.
Fookes, B.
Fowler, L.
Freeman, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Garel-Jones, L.
Gavron, L.
Geddes, L.
Glentoran, L.
Goodhart, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Gray of Contin, L.
Hamwee, B.
Hanham, B.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Hayhoe, L.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, L.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Holme of Cheltenham, L.
Howarth of Breckland, B.
Howe of Aberavon, L.
Howe of Idlicote, B.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Hurd of Westwell, L.
Hylton, L.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Jellicoe, E.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Jordan, L.
Kimball, L.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Laming, L.
Lane of Horsell, L.
Liverpool, E.
Luke, L.
Lyell, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
Maclennan of Rogart, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mallalieu, B.
Manchester, Bp.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Mitchell, L.
Monro of Langholm, L.
Monson, L.
Morgan, L.
Moser, L.
Murray of Epping Forest, L.
Newby, L.
Noakes, B.
Northbrook, L.
Northesk, E.
Northover, B.
Norton of Louth, L.
O'Cathain, B.
Oppenheim-Barnes, B.
Palmer, L.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Patel, L.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Peston, L.
Peterborough, Bp.
Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Pilkington of Oxenford, L.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Plumb, L.
Prashar, B.
Puttnam, L. [Teller]
Quinton, L.
Rawlings, B.
Razzall, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rees, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Rennard, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Rogan, L.
Roll of Ipsden, L.
Roper, L.
Russell, E.
St. John of Bletso, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Sandberg, L.
Scott of Needham Market, B.
Seccombe, B.
Selsdon, L.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Sharples, B.
Sheldon, L.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Slim, V.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Steel of Aikwood, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strathclyde, L.
Swinfen, L.
Tanlaw, L.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Tope, L.
Tordoff, L.
Trumpington, B.
Turner of Camden, B.
Vivian, L.
Waddington, L.
Wade of Chorlton, L.
Walmsley, B.
Warnock, B.
Weatherill, L.
Wedderburn of Charlton, L.
Wigoder, L.
Wilcox, B.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Williamson of Horton, L.


Acton, L.
Ahmed, L.
Andrews, B.
Bach, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Blackstone, B.
Borrie, L.
Carter, L.
Clark of Windermere, L.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
Crawley, B.
Davies of Oldham, L. [Teller]
Dixon, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L. (Lord Chancellor)
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Fyfe of Fairfield, L.
Gale, B.
Golding, B.
Goldsmith, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Gregson, L.
Grocott, L. [Teller]
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harrison, L.
Hayman, B.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Lipsey, L.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Marsh, L.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Orme, L.
Parekh, L.
Patel of Blackburn, L.
Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Radice, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Richard, L.
Rooker, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Simon, V.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Temple-Morris, L.
Uddin, B.
Warner, L.
Whitty, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L. (Lord President of the Council)
Woolmer of Leeds, L.

*[See col. 70]

Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.

23 Jun 2003 : Column 25

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