Digital Economy Bill [ Lords]

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 9:03 pm on 6th April 2010.

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Photo of Eric Joyce Eric Joyce Labour, Falkirk 9:03 pm, 6th April 2010

Indeed-they go to court. They get their day in court. Would we pass legislation saying, "Let's not bother with shoplifters going to court. We'll just have a tribunal that is heard by one quasi-judge, or judge, and he or she will make a decision"? Of course we would not accept that. We are talking about law-breaking, and such cases deserve to be tested in court. That is a pretty basic proposition.

My objection is no different from the one made by many other hon. Members. Pete Wishart made some very good points about people's need to earn a living, and I do not dispute for a second that powerful vested interests have argued against the Bill. However, he would not dispute that powerful interests have argued for it.

I have seen members of the Musicians' Union arguing against his position, on Twitter and elsewhere. There are not many-I think that the hon. Gentleman probably represents a majority of Musicians' Union members-but it is a fact that there are disparate views out there that we are simply not paying heed to. When we say that it is a pity that we have not had long enough to debate this Bill, people outside the Chamber will wonder why that is. Usually, a Bill like this would get 40 or 50 hours in Committee and another three or four on Third Reading. We are cutting all that back to one hour of scrutiny tomorrow, but that will not really be serious scrutiny at all.

I shall end with a political point about the Liberal Democrats. @Ironjolt joked on Twitter recently that the party was desperate to be in a three-horse race. However, given that there have been no speakers at all from the Liberal Democrat Back Benches, it is clear that it is not even able to supply the back end for a panto horse. That is a great pity for its members, but does not greatly surprise me.

I shall conclude my brief remarks by saying that the Conservatives are willing to let this flawed Bill go through so that they can correct it after the general election. That is not what I want. I want this flawed Bill to be put off until after the general election, so that the inevitable Labour Government will be able to amend it properly.

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