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Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendments Nos. 117 to 122:

    Page 339, line 3, at end insert "or other media enterprises"

    Page 339, line 12, leave out "in relation to news provision" and insert "under sections 279 and 280"

    Page 339, line 13, leave out "59(6E)" and insert "59(6A)"

    Page 339, line 14, leave out "newspaper" and insert "media"

    Page 339, line 15, leave out subsection (5).

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 402 [General interpretation]:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 123:

    Page 352, line 42, at end insert—

""purposes of public service television broadcasting in the United Kingdom" shall be construed in accordance with subsection (4) of section 262 and subsections (5) and (6) of that section shall apply for the purposes of any provision of this Act referring to such purposes as they apply for the purposes of a report under that section;"

On Question, amendment agreed to.

The Countess of Mar: My Lords, Perhaps I may ask the noble Lord the Chief Whip how long he believes the House should continue sitting.

Lord Grocott: My Lords, we shall continue until we finish, but the intervention has delayed proceedings by another 20 seconds.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 124:

    After Clause 405, insert the following new clause—

(1) This section applies if it appears to the Secretary of State that regulations under section 2 of the European Communities Act 1972 (c. 68) for giving effect to Community obligations imposed by the Communications Directives have come into force before the passing of this Act.
(2) The Secretary of State may by order—
(a) repeal any relevant provision of this Act which appears to him to be unnecessary, or to have become spent, in consequence of the regulations;
(b) make such other modifications of the relevant provisions of this Act as he considers appropriate in consequence of the regulations;
(c) revoke provision made by the regulations; and

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(d) make transitory or transitional provision in relation to anything done by or under the regulations.
(3) The Secretary of State's power under this section includes power to make consequential amendments of enactments not contained in this Act.
(4) In this section—
"the Communications Directives" means—
(a) the Access Directive, that is to say, Directive 2002/19/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on access to, and interconnection of, electronic communications networks and associated facilities;
(b) the Authorisation Directive, that is to say, Directive 2002/20/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the authorisation of electronic communications networks and services;
(c) the Framework Directive, that is to say, Directive 2002/21/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on a common regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services;
(d) the Universal Service Directive, that is to say, Directive 2002/22/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on universal service and users' rights relating to electronic communications networks and services;
"relevant provision of this Act" means a provision contained in—
(a) Part 1, 2 or 6; or
(b) Chapter 1 of Part 5.
(5) No order is to be made containing provision authorised by this section unless a draft of the order has been laid before Parliament and approved by a resolution of each House."

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I am in the unusual position of moving an amendment that I hope is unnecessary. The fact that I am moving it does not mean that the Government believe that the Bill will not receive Royal Assent before the Summer Recess, nor that the European Community directives will not be implemented through the Act and the instruments made under it. However, it would be irresponsible of us not to have a contingency plan.

The plan has been in the public domain since March. It consists of a set of regulations to be made under the European Communities Act 1972, which would enable us to fulfil our Community obligations for the interim period between 25th July and the date on which the relevant provisions of the Bill could be eventually commenced. The DTI has consulted on those interim regulations. The response to the consultation, together with the revised draft of the regulations, is about to be published.

The substance of the interim regime would be the same as the regulatory regime that will be established once the Bill is passed. But the effect of making such interim regulations would be that the regulatory framework that would exist when the Bill was passed would not be the same as that which it had been drafted to replace. That would, for example, make redundant a number of the amendments contained in Schedule 17 to the Bill and a number of the repeals and revocations contained in Schedule 19.

The power proposed in the new plans would enable the raft of technical and legal modifications that would have to be made to the Bill once enacted, as a result of the making of the interim regulations, to be effected in

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the most efficient manner. It would enable the foundation of the new regime to be shifted to the new Act with a minimum of delay.

I hope that the new clause proves unnecessary, but it would be irresponsible of the Government not to provide for the possibility. I beg to move.

The Earl of Northesk: My Lords, I am gratified by the Minister's introduction of the amendment. It is intriguing to find this curious way of getting around a problem. None the less, I am delighted that it is there. I simply ask the Minister to explain how, under this procedure, the Bill remains substantially amendable. That is how the regulations that it seeks to circumvent need to be resolved.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, however we implement the legislation, ultimately it must be done through the Bill—it must be done through primary legislation. We have the power under the European Communities Act to make interim provision. That involves certain changes in transitional provisions. However, fundamentally, we must implement the directives, and we will do so.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 407 [Short title, commencement and extent]:

Lord Fowler moved Amendment No. 125:

    Page 359, line 14, at end insert—

"( ) This Act shall cease to have effect at the expiry of five years after it receives Royal Assent, unless before that time a joint committee of both Houses of Parliament has reported on the operation of this Act, and the report has been debated in both Houses."

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I gather that there is some speculation that I may divide the House on this amendment. For the benefit of those below the gangway, I give the assurance that I will not divide the House. I hope that that improves their arrangements. For old time's sake, in the case of the former Minister for Transport, I hope that that helps him.

The point of this amendment is very simple. It may seem draconian that the Act should fall in five years, given the time and effort expended on it. It may just be that not everyone would welcome a long debate on a new Act. That fate is easily avoided by setting up a committee of both Houses to scrutinise the effects of the Act in practice and to see how it has worked out.

The aim is not to reopen old debates, but to examine whether the intention of the Bill has been realised; in other words—if I could have the Minister's attention for just 30 seconds—I propose a post-legislative scrutiny committee. The Bill has benefited enormously from pre-legislative scrutiny. Again, I pay tribute to the committee, its chairman, the noble Lord, Lord Puttnam, and my noble friend Lord Crickhowell.

I know that the business managers grumbled about the delay. Indeed, the present Leader of the Commons called the proceedings a "filibuster". I do not believe that there was a filibuster. The choice is whether you want speedy legislation or good legislation. To my

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mind, the pre-legislative scrutiny strengthened the Bill immensely. I hope that that example will be followed with other legislation.

In my experience as a Minister, some of the worst errors are made after the Bill becomes an Act, not because the Bill is not clear or that Ministers intentions have not been set out, but because those intentions have not been acted upon. Ministers move on to other departments, so they are not there to check. New Ministers and civil servants do not give the same priority as their predecessors.

I remember that when I was Social Services Secretary, my then Minister of State, John Major, gave the clearest commitment to the Standing Committee examining the social security reform Bill that the change in the position of widows, and their rights under the state earnings related pension scheme would be the subject of a publicity campaign. Ministers moved on, there was no such campaign and civil servants gave the wrong advice in leaflets. It is inconceivable that errors of that kind would take place if there had been post-legislative scrutiny.

The only argument that could be made against such a proposal is that we could have a communications Select Committee. However, my experience of Select Committees is that they are not accustomed to, nor do they want to go through, the sort of line by line examination that I have in mind. I also think that the advantage of a post-legislative scrutiny committee, which should become standard for major Bills, is that if civil servants know that the implementation of the Bill will be subject to scrutiny, their priority will be to ensure that they are meticulous in carrying out the intentions of the Bill and in fulfilling all pledges that are given.

This Bill is very long and much depends on whether Ofcom has the right powers. The Government have introduced new measures such as the plurality test, which may or may not prove significant. However, at some stage during the five years after this Bill becomes an Act, a post-legislative scrutiny committee should be set up to consider how well the legislation has worked in practice. That would be to the benefit of this House and, above all, to the benefit of the public. I beg to move.

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