Digital Economy Bill [ Lords]

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 4:44 pm on 6th April 2010.

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Photo of Jeremy Hunt Jeremy Hunt Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport 4:44 pm, 6th April 2010

First, I should say that I am prepared to concede that some progress has been made in opening up Government data sets, but the process needs to go much further. The law needs a presumption that the public can access those data, rather than a presumption that they cannot unless there is a very good reason for them to do so; a big psychological shift needs to take place.

There is no question of our party colluding with the Government. We have examined this Bill clause by clause, and we agree with the hon. Gentleman that it could have been massively improved had this House been able to give it proper scrutiny in Committee. The Government have had plenty of opportunities to allow such scrutiny, and it is a matter of huge regret that we have not been able to provide it. This concern is shared by Mr. Watson, by my hon. Friends the Members for Maldon and East Chelmsford (Mr. Whittingdale) and for Mid-Worcestershire (Peter Luff)-the Chairs of the two Select Committees-and by many other Members in this House.

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