Digital Economy Bill [ Lords]

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 5:26 pm on 6th April 2010.

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Photo of Don Foster Don Foster Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport 5:26 pm, 6th April 2010

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for raising that point, and that is why I want to outline these three additional things that must be done. The first phase of the process is that Ofcom must draw up the initial obligations code. If the Bill is passed as it stands, it will be required to do that within six months, or in any period of time determined by the Secretary of State, so the time period could be very short or incredibly long. We believe that the six-month proposal is inappropriate, not least because in addition to the initial consultation, the preparation of the draft code, the consultation on the draft and the issuing of the final code, there must be three months' consultation with the European Union. All that cannot be done in just six months, so we propose the longer time period of nine months. However, given that there is urgency that action is taken-we cannot delay for ever-we propose deleting the Secretary of State's power to determine any length of time.

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