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Code rights in respect of land connected to leased premises

Part of Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Bill – in the House of Commons at 3:00 pm on 10th March 2020.

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Photo of John Redwood John Redwood Conservative, Wokingham 3:00 pm, 10th March 2020

I agree. I have supported my right hon. and hon. Friends and I have not wished to bore the House by repeating all their excellent arguments, but of course the fact that the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand and Australia are all of one view does matter. I happen to think they are right, but even if they are wrong, sometimes we have to go along with wrong thoughts by our allies and friends—I know that only too well, trying to live in the Conservative party—in order to make things work. There has to be give and take, and I am sure that any other political party with an honest MP would agree that it has exactly the same issues. Before Labour Members get too conceited, I have to say that I have noticed even more extreme issues in the Labour party. It is important that there is give and take.

I happen to think our allies are right, but I want to stress the wider point that in this vision of a more prosperous Britain, we are going to have more skilled people. That must mean we have a bigger role to play in the technologies of today and tomorrow, and those are surely the crucially important digital and data communications technologies. I repeat my challenge to the Minister. We have heard from people who know about these things that this technology already exists among our allies and in safe countries today, so we have an opportunity to buy from them.

The Government and the commercial sector in the United Kingdom are about to commit enormous resource into putting 5G into our country. This is going to be a massive investment programme, and in this situation, money talks. I have no idea who will win the competitions. I do not have preferred vendors that I want to win the competitions, but I do know that I do not want high-risk vendors winning them. Surely this new Government, wanting to level up and wanting to strengthen technology and training, can use this commercial money and state money to better effect. Let us bring forth those providers now and get rid of those high-risk providers as soon as possible.