Clause 3 — Functions of the Centre

Part of Health (Wales) Bill – in the House of Commons at 2:45 pm on 9th January 2003.

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Photo of Nigel Evans Nigel Evans Shadow Secretary of State for Wales 2:45 pm, 9th January 2003

I did not realise that S4C was so widely viewed in France. I am sure that it will be delighted to learn that its viewing figures, at certain peak times, may be larger in France than they are in Wales. Perhaps the French are tuning in to look at the quality of club rugby in Wales so that they can improve their game.

The amendment is clearly designed to get everyone working together. The Minister tells us to accept with blind faith that organisations are doing what the amendment suggests and that they will do that in the future. However, when we try to make the position clear in the Bill, we are told that we are handcuffing organisations and that it would be dreadful to force them to do what we are told they are doing anyway. That argument does not wash with me.

I have heard more red herrings than are in Billingsgate about what might happen if the amendment were accepted. The Minister talked about leaflets straying in the wind. Leafleting is possibly one of the most effective tools for communicating a message if the leaflets are targeted and delivered and are not thrown up on the borders in the hope that the wind is blowing in the right direction. That would be ridiculous.

The vast majority of local newspapers would not fall foul of the provisions in the amendment. They are most widely read in the area in which they are distributed. I am sure that people from England and other parts of the world subscribe to the newspaper circulated in the constituency of Mr. Williams. However, it is most widely read in its own patch, as is the case with most local newspapers.

I am not convinced by the Minister's argument. He was not at his best in the previous debate and he certainly has not been at his best in this one. He has not convinced me, so we shall press the amendment to a Division.