Amendment 12BA

Part of Online Safety Bill - Committee (2nd Day) (Continued) – in the House of Lords at 9:15 pm on 25 April 2023.

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Photo of Lord Clement-Jones Lord Clement-Jones Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Science, Innovation and Technology) 9:15, 25 April 2023

My Lords, there is absolutely no doubt that across the Committee we all have the same intent; how we get there is the issue between us. It is probably about the construction of the Bill, rather than the duties that we are imposing.

It is a pleasure again to follow the noble Baroness, Lady Harding. If you take what my noble friend Lord Allan said about a graduated response and consistent outcomes, you then get effective regulation.

I thought that the noble Baroness, Lady Kidron, had it right. If we passed her amendments in the second group, and included the words “likely to be accessed”, Clause 11 would bite and we would find that there was consistency of outcomes for primary priority content and so on, and we would then find ourselves in much the same space. However, it depends on the primary purpose. The fear that we have is this. I would not want to see a Part 5 service that adds user-generated content then falling outside Part 5 and finding itself under Part 3, with a different set of duties.

I do not see a huge difference between Part 3 and Part 5, and it will be very interesting when we come to debate the later amendments tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Bethell, and the noble Baroness, Lady Kidron. Again, why do we not group these things together to have a sensible debate? We seem to be chunking-up things in a different way and so will have to come back to this and repeat some of what we have said. However, I look forward to the debate on those amendments, which may be a much more effective way of dealing with this than trying to marry Part 5 and Part 3.

I understand entirely the motives of the noble Baroness, Lady Ritchie, and that we want to ensure that we capture this. However, it must be the appropriate way of regulating and the appropriate way of capturing it. I like the language about consistent outcomes without unintended consequences.