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Lord McNally: My Lords, I shall be extremely succinct. These Benches do not share the concerns voiced by the noble Baroness, Lady Buscombe, about Clause 310. We think that the indiscretions and powers contained therein are about right.

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, at this late hour I am glad to see that normal relations between the Front Benches have been resumed. We are in the critical relationship again after a period of amity that lasted all of one hour, but for which I am duly grateful.

The noble Baroness, Lady Buscombe, did lay one charge. I will not repeat all the arguments we heard in Committee. She quoted from the Committee proceedings that I had said that:

She is right; that is what I said. However, I fear that she is taking my remarks somewhat out of context. We were discussing in Committee whether Ofcom could use its general duty to further the interests of consumers to intervene in the packaging and pricing of channels. I made it quite clear that it would be difficult to see how Ofcom could justify intervening in the packaging of channels in the consumer interest without being able to show that it was not appropriate via the competition powers that Ofcom will have.

It is hard to imagine, therefore, a situation where any intervention in pricing and packaging of channels, which is the nub of the issue, would not be undertaken using Ofcom's competition powers. It therefore follows that the noble Baroness gets the result that she desires. Such an intervention would have a route of appeal to the CAT, which is the point that we were trying to establish.

I should like to be clear about what the principal effect of the amendment tabled by the noble Baroness would be and why we do not intend to accept it. The amendment stems obviously from her concern, clearly

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expressed in her speech this evening as it was in Committee, on the part of one broadcaster in particular, that if Ofcom undertakes economic regulation other than for a competition purpose—as defined in Clause 310(7) for example—under its duty in Clause 3 to promote the interests of consumers, that broadcaster would not have a route of appeal to the Competition Appeal Tribunal.

The main difference of view between that broadcaster and the Government derives from the broadcaster's understanding of economic regulation. It considers all interventions in the economic arrangements of broadcasters—for example, the packaging of channels—to be purely economic issues, whereas we consider that such issues can contain significant elements of consumer interest.

In our view, therefore, regard should be paid, when considering appeal mechanisms, to the purpose of the regulator's intervention, as well as to its effect. That is why we have made sure that interventions for a competition purpose should have a route of appeal to the CAT. The broadcaster's specific concern is that Ofcom will use its general duty,

    "to further the interests of consumers",

and to intervene in the packaging of its channels. I tried to make it clear in Committee, and I shall make another attempt this evening, that Ofcom's duty to further the interests of consumers is limited by the parameter where appropriate by promoting competition. That means that contrary to what the broadcaster fears, Ofcom cannot simply intervene in the packaging of its channels in the consumer's interests without being able to show that it was not appropriate to resolve the issue by encouraging more competition. As I said earlier, I fear that Ofcom's efforts to evaluate properly those options could result in challenge under judicial review. The noble Baroness will recognise the strength of that sanction.

I hope that I have reassured the noble Baroness sufficiently for her to consider withdrawing her amendments. I also want briefly to mention Amendment No. 172, which she graciously mentioned. I shall move it in due course. We agreed to consider an opposition amendment that sought to require Ofcom to inform any person affected of the use of the Broadcasting Act powers for a competition purpose and also to inform those affected that they may appeal to the Competition Appeal Tribunal against the intervention. We agree with the principle. That is why the amendment will be a requirement on Ofcom in that respect.

Baroness Buscombe: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his response. The hour is very late and I do not want to detain the House. I am rather disappointed

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that he did not move further in the direction that I sought on the amendments. I shall take away his response and think about it, but for now I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 169 to 171 not moved.]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 172:

    Page 273, line 42, at end insert—

"(3A) If OFCOM have decided to exercise any of their Broadcasting Act powers for a competition purpose, they must, on or before doing so, give a notification of their decision.
(3B) A notification under subsection (3A) must—
(a) be given to such persons, or published in such manner, as appears to OFCOM to be appropriate for bringing it to the attention of the persons who, in OFCOM's opinion, are likely to be affected by their decision; and
(b) must describe the rights conferred by subsection (4) on the persons affected by that decision."

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On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 173 to 176 not moved.]

[Amendment No. 177 not moved.]

Clause 311 [Review of powers exercised for competition purposes]:

[Amendments Nos. 178 to 181 not moved.]

Lord Grocott: My Lords, I beg to move that further consideration on Report be now adjourned.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

Finance Bill

Brought from the Commons; read a first time, and ordered to be printed.

        House adjourned at nineteen minutes past eleven o'clock.

1 Jul 2003 : Column GC173

Official Report of the Grand Committee on the

Extradition Bill

(Sixth Day) Tuesday, 1st July 2003.

The Committee met at half past three of the clock.

[The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Viscount Allenby of Megiddo) in the Chair.]

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Viscount Allenby of Megiddo): It may be helpful to remind your Lordships of the procedure for today's Committee stage. Except in one important aspect, our proceeding will be exactly as in a normal Committee of the Whole House. We shall go through the Bill clause by clause; noble Lords will speak standing; all noble Lords are free to attend and participate; and the proceedings will be recorded in Hansard. The one difference is that the House has agreed that there shall be no Divisions in the Grand Committee. Any issue on which agreement cannot be reached should be considered again at the Report stage when, if necessary, a Division may be called. Unless, therefore, an amendment is likely to be agreed to, it should be withdrawn.

I should explain what will happen if there is a Division in the Chamber while we are sitting. The Committee will adjourn as soon as the Division Bells are rung and will resume after 10 minutes.

Clause 40 [Withdrawal of warrant before extradition]:

Baroness Anelay of St Johns moved Amendment No. 93:

    Page 20, line 26, at end insert "by a recorded delivery letter"

The noble Baroness said: The amendment refers to Clause 40 which deals with the withdrawal of warrants before extradition has taken place. Subsection (4) states:

    "If the person is not before the judge at the time the judge orders his discharge, the judge must inform him of the order".

That is practical and straightforward. We want to qualify that by inserting at the end the words,

    "by a recorded delivery letter".

This is a most straightforward tool. It is not intended to go on the face of the Bill. We are simply using this amendment as a way of asking what means will be used by the judge to make the notification to the person that he or she has been discharged. It is important to have on record the procedure by which such notification is

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to take place. We have seen problems in practical terms in some neighbouring European countries where notification has gone astray, or at least has been alleged to have gone astray. We would be grateful if the Minister could put on record the intended process. I beg to move.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Lord Filkin): I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, for clarifying why the amendment has been deposited in those terms—to draw out a general response to the matter. As she inferred, we would be resistant on principle and in practice to the specific wording of the amendment. The principle is that it is generally a sound approach to specify the outcome that has to be achieved rather than to specify the mechanisms by which the outcome is to be achieved, both in legislation and in other walks of life. That enables one to have a variety of mechanisms that are legitimate to achieve the objective.

The practical reason, as the noble Baroness partially hinted, is that we know from personal experience that a recorded delivery letter can be signed for by anyone in the house; it does not mean that the person for whom the letter is intended will receive it. Some Members of the Committee will have experienced that recorded delivery is usually the slowest way to send a letter, as the postman invariably finds no one in and it is at least a week before one goes to the Post Office to retrieve it. I am not being flippant, but that illustrates why a specific formulation may not be the most effective one.

Therefore, in the legislation we sought to put the onus and the responsibility clearly on the district judge. The district judge has, with his support, to discharge that responsibility. He or she will not have discharged that responsibility necessarily by sending the item by recorded delivery for the reasons that I have given, but a variety of mechanisms could be used. There could be a telephone call to the office of the solicitor acting for the person, no doubt confirmed by a fax or a written letter afterwards. In many cases I envisage that that would be the fastest and securest way. I would not want to second guess the judge or to specify the range of options open to him or her. It would relate only to circumstances when the person was not in court at the time that the judge made the decision.

Nevertheless, the question is a good one. For those reasons of principle and practice, we believe that the legislation goes as far as it sensibly can by saying that the responsibility is on the judge to discharge that obligation to ensure that the person has been informed. We cannot think of a better way of doing that than making it clear that that burden rests with the judge rather than by specifying the means.

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