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I, and I think the committee, profoundly disagree with the noble Lord’s well rehearsed point about the role of Parliament. No one is arguing, as the response says, for parliamentary control. However, we are arguing for parliamentary scrutiny. We are talking about £3 billion of licence fee money, which has been provided by the public. As the noble Lord, Lord Maxton, rightly said, the only legitimate representatives of the public in this respect are Members of Parliament—to a lesser extent those in this House, but Parliament generally. Decisions on the charter and the licence fee taken by the department and the BBC are open to all kinds of objections. The idea of public support of the Government—not just this Government—being a determinant factor here is slightly ludicrous.

I do not really think that it can be seriously argued that, whatever else, the BBC Trust is the answer to the democratic deficit. I do not see how that can even be put forward as an argument. It is not a democratic body; no one elects it. That comes back to the point that the noble Lord, Lord Maxton, and others have made on its democratic legitimacy. The BBC Trust is and can be a regulator, but I do not see how it can be asked to fill the democratic deficit that undoubtedly exists.

We have had our debate. I am grateful to the Minister. It will come as no surprise to him that we will want to come back to these issues and we will be debating and investigating new issues over the coming months.

On Question, Motion agreed to.


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