Deferred Divisions

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:28 pm on 28th March 2007.

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Photo of Richard Caborn Richard Caborn Minister of State (Sport), Department for Culture, Media & Sport 6:28 pm, 28th March 2007

I thank my hon. Friends and Opposition Members for their contributions. Many of my hon. Friends at least addressed the order that we are considering. My hon. Friends the Members for Barnsley, East and Mexborough (Jeff Ennis) and for Great Yarmouth (Mr. Wright), who served on the Joint Scrutiny Committee, made valid contributions, as did Mr. Greenway, who ably chaired that Committee. Indeed, he guided much of our debate in the Standing Committee. Opposition Members' speeches sounded more like those delivered on Second Reading of the Gambling Bill—tomorrow's Hansard will certainly show that to be true of the speech by Mr. Foster.

I should point out to the hon. Member for North Devon—[Hon. Members: "East Devon."] I am sorry, I did not mean to inflict anyone on North Devon. I should remind the hon. Member for East Devon that the Gambling Bill reached the statute book in April 2005 —[ Interruption. ] Well, I did not know from his contribution whether the hon. Gentleman understood that the Bill had reached the statute book in 2005. It will become fully operational on 1 September this year, which is why the Executive will have the powers to intervene in internet gambling, which we did not have —[ Interruption. ] No, that is not the subject of the debate, but at the heart of the Gambling Act was the need to protect the vulnerable —[ Interruption. ] I am answering the claims made by the hon. Gentleman. The aims were to keep gambling crime free and allow fair betting. For the first time, those aims were on the face of a Bill on gambling.

Why did we set up the casino advisory panel? Some Members have very short memories. I remember Opposition Members accusing the Deputy Prime Minister of fixing the decision and claiming that the dome would be the super-casino. I remember the hon. Member for East Devon saying in the House that the Deputy Prime Minister, following his visit to the United States, was fixing the decision. My hon. Friend Mr. Marsden was accused of fixing, as was I, and my hon. Friend and I never met the panel so that we could never be accused of influencing it. The panel was given clear terms of reference.

When members of the public are called on to serve in public office, to attack their integrity is—