Digital Economy Bill [ Lords]

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 9:11 pm on 6th April 2010.

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Photo of Adam Afriyie Adam Afriyie Shadow Minister (Science and Innovation) 9:11 pm, 6th April 2010

My blood is pumping, but it was pumping before the hon. Gentleman's words of encouragement. I assure him again that Conservative Members will do our utmost to ensure that those aspects of the Bill that have not been correctly considered do not go through. We will not move from that position because this is not about party politics or electioneering; it is about ensuring that this country has the legislation that it requires. My hon. Friend the shadow Secretary of State gave the further commitment that we completely reserve the right to revisit any measures that might go through the House this side of the election. From my and my party's perspective, it is quite clear that we need an update of intellectual property law and copyright law, so we are committed to carrying that out. We will do our utmost to allow through the bits of legislation regarding which we think that there is time to make corrections, if they are needed. The hon. Member for West Bromwich, East said that there are unpalatable truths to deal with. I can assure him that an incoming Conservative Government would take the bull by the horns.

My right hon. Friend Mr. Redwood gave an experienced and considered exposition of the dangers of the hasty treatment of legislation, and of the lack of scrutiny. He pointed out that even on Second Reading, there were about 11 themes in the Bill that needed to be discussed. Contributions from around the Chamber have touched on many of those themes, but we have not dealt with them in as much detail as we should have done.

John Robertson actually agrees with the Conservative policy that we should consider opening up and enabling access to the ducts. We go further and say that that should apply also to the sewers and any other medium through which cable can be run and digital transmission can take place. We do not see that the only tool available to a Government is draconian legislation forcing measures through by the centre. We recognise that we have had a thriving and booming mobile phone sector and cable sector in the absence of the type of measures that the Government seem to wish to take.

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