Report (2nd Day)

Part of Digital Economy Bill [HL] – in the House of Lords at 4:15 pm on 3rd March 2010.

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Photo of Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer Spokesperson for the Home Office 4:15 pm, 3rd March 2010

My Lords, I first express my gratitude to my noble friend for bringing this forward in prime debating time because it is an important issue. My main concern with this whole debate is that whatever we conclude here, the other place will not be able to spend any time scrutinising what is actually an incredibly important change in the way that the internet is dealt with.

The Minister almost implied that the Government needed power in times of crisis. This is not a national crisis: this it still a matter of civil copyright infringement. Although I can see that it is important, such changes to the way that the internet is used in terms of filtering and blocking should not be undertaken without the other place having full opportunity to scrutinise them, which they will not have. Therefore, without going into the other technical ins and outs that my noble friend, the Minister and the noble Earl, Lord Erroll, talked about, for that reason alone it would be much neater at this stage to simply remove Clause 17, given that this is not a national crisis. If it becomes very urgent at some stage, the Government can introduce primary legislation that can be properly scrutinised, amended and dealt with.