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Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville: My observations will be very brief. They will be familiar to a small number of people who attended a late-night debate last week. The noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, and I had a passage of arms on that occasion. When, the following day, I received an invitation to associate myself with him on the amendment, I thought that the swiftest way of burying hatchets and making the peace would be if I added my name to it. It is also true that on Thursday last week, I had to leave your Lordships' House rather earlier than I usually do and I had not read every word that had been provided as suggestions for why we should do this. In no way has that caused me to resile from supporting the noble Lord.
A principal source of my understanding of the present debate between the Newspaper Society and the Minister is in the form of quite long correspondence, which in one case is submitted by a lawyer and in the other case has, I imagine, been proof-read by a lawyer in terms of return. I was reminded in that context of correspondence I was once shown when, in the private sector, I was the chief executive officer of a small firm. I was responsible for dealing with our auditors on a global basis because they were auditing our accounts throughout the world. I was shown the correspondence between the head of our German business and the German auditors who were part of the worldwide firm which audited our accounts. I could not help feeling that it was correspondence between highly intelligent people who were not actually reading the other side's correspondence before they replied to the first lot. That is unkind in the context of the correspondence I have seen, but legal language between lawyers is not always the easiest way for the layman to understand. That is why I am so immensely reassured when I see that the noble Lord,
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Lord Borrie, is thinking of entering this debate at some stage. I genuinely think that this is a serious issue because it involves primary legislation. The sooner it is sorted out the better.
Lord Borrie: If my noble friend Lord Gordon of Strathblane were present I think he would wish to express support for the amendment. I do so in his stead, inadequate though my support is when compared with that of my noble friend, who has had such enormous experience in the media, television and radio.
I wish to associate myself with the amendment so as to demonstrate to my noble friend the Minister that there is some all-party support for what is being said. I find rather difficult Clause 19(5) and its reference to the,
It is, at the very least, obscure, but the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, has elucidated it. It is quite clear from what he said that this can well apply to newspapers and advertisements within them. If they had any distribution near to the venues of the Olympic Games, on the face of it, they would be covered, although possibly they could be exempt under Clause 20 on the existing wording. But it would be so much clearer, and everybody would understand it so much better, if the amendment to Clause 20 were passed. I hope that the Minister will look kindly upon it.
Lord Davies of Oldham: I am grateful to the Committee for emphasising that there is considerable anxiety about the provision in this clause. I hope to reassure the Committee that we intend to act effectively to deal with our obligations and the necessities for the coverage of the games. The Committee will know that the host city contract requires us to regulate advertising in the vicinity of Olympic venues. That is what this clause is designed to do. The regulations provided for in Clauses 19 and 20 allow us to comply with that requirement. The regulations will be drafted in a fair and proportionate manner in consultation with all those likely to be affected by them and will be subject to further debate in both Houses.
Clause 20(1)(c) provides for the advertising regulations to contain exceptions. The clause is deliberately general. It effectively allows the Secretary of State to determine, at the time that the regulations are madewhich is some way in the futurewhat specific exceptions are necessary, and to include them in the regulations. Amendment No. 60 takes a different approach. It seeks to specify on the face of the Bill the content of some of the exceptions. We are back to the problem of lists. If we try to set out a list of exceptions to be included on the face of the Bill, we cannot guarantee that it will be exhaustive. The best place for such a list to be set out is in the regulations,
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when we have been able to consult on these issues in detail and will be dealing with the state of the art at that time.
In another place, we have confirmed that there will be appropriate exceptions in the regulations for newspapers, magazines, television, mobile telephony and other forms of media. The noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, will recogniseI shall not use the phrases that were used in the other place as he was somewhat critical about their pristine Englishthat the problem with mobile telephony is that innovations and developments occur with such rapidity as to take our breath away. What if it were possible for the noble Lord to walk into the vicinity of the Olympic park with a mobile phone and project an 80 foot image on to a screen or billboard nearby? We might think that we needed to restrict that because the advertisement would be translated with enormous effectiveness, as if it were a billboard, from the mobile telephone of the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones. The noble Lord does not have such a mobile telephone at present and he might find it inordinately expense if one were offered to him. I merely indicate that we do not know the technology with which we will be confronted in 2012. Therefore, rather than create a list that by definition could not exhaustive and might be so limited as to leave glaring gaps that would drive a coach and horses through the intent, it is better to indicate, as we have done, that for broad categoriesnewspapers, magazines, television, radio, mobile telephony and other forms of mediawe will make exemptions, but we reserve our right to do that at a later and more precise stage when we know the nature of the technology with which we have to deal.
We have to ensure that there is sufficient power in the Bill to provide in the regulations for all necessary exceptions, including those relating to current and future forms of media. I accept the laudable points made by the noble Lord when he moved his amendment. In another place, it was recognised that the Bill would not be drawn up in a way that inhibited proper forms of expression in the media because of this constraint on advertising. But I hope that the noble Lord and other Members of the Committee will see that it is right to draw up definitive lists closer to the events rather than putting them in the Bill at this juncture.
Lord Clement-Jones: I thank the Minister for that. I very much welcome the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Brooke. Despite his discourse on lawyers and legal matters, I thought that he rather detracted from his first set of statements. I think we all agree that we are seeking greater clarity here than is the case at present. I also very much welcome what the noble Lord, Lord Borrie, said vicariously on behalf of the noble Lord, Lord Gordon.
The Minister says that the intention is to act effectively to implement the obligations to the IOC and in relation to the host city contract and so on. He said that the Government plan to do so in a fair and proportionate manner and that there will be a debate in both Houses on the regulations. I fully accept that
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that debate will take place. But the issue is about having a greater degree of certainty at this stage; that is the commercial issue for newspapers, broadcasters and others. It is not enough for the Government simply to say that it is almost certain that we will do X, Y and Z, because they may turn round and say, "We're not going to do X, Y and Z". People who have plannedthese things have to be planned commerciallyhave to know what kind of things they will be able to provide at some point in the future. I do not know quite how the Government are planning to do that. If something in the Bill were more determinative or, indeed, if there were draft regulations, then obviously there would be a greater degree of certainty.
The first of the Minister's two alibis here is the usual ministerial one of lists. The Government's refuge is often to say, "We cannot have lists of things". It is rather like the "may/shall" debateit does not really take us a great deal further when discussing the Bill. If it is appropriate to have a particular exemption in a Bill, then it should be there.
The Minister's other refuge, with which I have some sympathy, is the futuristic onethat is, we do not know what these mobile telephones will be capable of. But if you talk about what they can do now, surely that will get you through the hoop. You do not have to discourse as to whether they can throw laser beams across three miles or whatever. We are talking about the display of advertising, news clips and information on a mobile telephone; we are not talking about a display on a hoarding or something coming by electronic means from a telephone, however marvellous the particular telephone with which I happen to be equipped in a few years' time may be. The telephone that I have at the moment is not too bad but it certainly cannot do that.
The idea that somehow glaring gaps would arise if there were an exception does not wash. I ask the Minister to have a closer look at this issue to see whether more certainty and comfort can be given to the industry so that those involved can plan rather better. I do not know whether the Minister can say anything further at this stage. He certainly went further than did Mr Caborn in the other place. One would have to read Hansard to elicit this, but I think that he was rather firmer on the issue of mobile telephony and he gave a little more explanation. But I hope that in future and perhaps at the next stage of the Bill, the Minister will go further than that and will give clearer undertakings. In the mean time, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
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