Leaving the Eu: Mobile Roaming Charges

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:47 am on 7th February 2019.

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Photo of Jeremy Wright Jeremy Wright The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport 10:47 am, 7th February 2019

The hon. Lady accuses us of attempting to hide the matter, but, as I said, the Government intend to conduct a debate on the statutory instrument using the affirmative procedure. That does not represent hiding. The provision will appear in all the normal processes of the House, and the House will have the chance to discuss what should be done through that Delegated Legislation Committee.

As for whether 15% of mobile phone customers will inevitably pay roaming charges, that is not quite what I said. I said that mobile network operators that cover 85% of consumers have said that they have no plans to introduce roaming charges. It does not follow that the operators covering the other 15% have specifically said that they do. They may have said nothing at all.

Turning to Northern Ireland, I said that there is a legitimate concern about inadvertent roaming, and there are measures that can be taken. Those measures are already reflected in the EU regulation, the key parts of which that we can replicate we seek to replicate. We will ask operators to do all that they can to prevent inadvertent roaming, and there are several ways in which they might do so. Exactly how they do so will of course be a matter for them.

Finally, I suppose that I should give SNP Members some credit. At least they are clear about what they think of Brexit. They do not want it, and I understand that. Unfortunately for them, however, the people of the United Kingdom, voting as the United Kingdom, decided in the majority that they wanted to leave the European Union. This Government intend to honour their decision, as Parliament said that it would, but there are consequences to a no-deal exit from the European Union that the Government seek to mitigate, and this is one of the instruments by which we seek to do so.