Motion

Media Bill - Report and Third Reading – in the House of Lords at 5:44 pm on 23 May 2024.

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Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay:

Moved by Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay

That the Bill do now pass.

Photo of Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)

My Lords, I am grateful to noble Lords for their understanding and flexibility today. This is my first wash-up.

Photo of Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)

Yes, I feel very clean at the end of it—thoroughly washed.

I am grateful to noble Lords who have given this Bill considerable scrutiny in pre-legislative scrutiny and during our debates on Second Reading and in Committee. As I have said throughout, it has been amended through the pre-legislative scrutiny it received. I am glad that we have been able to reflect some of our debate in Committee and amend it further. I am grateful to noble Lords for their understanding and recognition of the great support and demand that it has from the media sector, which we all cherish and which we know will play its very important part in the election campaign that is now under way. I particularly thank the noble Baroness, Lady Thornton, and the noble Lord, Lord Bassam of Brighton, on the Benches opposite and the noble Baroness, Lady Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury, and her noble friend, the noble Lord, Lord Foster of Bath, who spoke from the Front Bench for the Lib Dems. However, noble Lords from across the House have given it robust scrutiny, including today in this swifter form.

I will briefly pay tribute to my honourable friend Julia Lopez, the Minister for Media, Tourism and the Creative Industries in another place, and indeed to my right honourable friend Sir John Whittingdale, who covered her maternity leave for parts of the Bill. They have both played an important part in it. I thank my noble friend Lady Stowell of Beeston, who chairs your Lordships’ Communications and Digital Committee and has given careful consideration to this Bill and, with other members of her committee, to many of the other issues that are related to it.

I have already had the opportunity to thank the Bill team, but I repeat my thanks. They have worked particularly hard in the last 24 hours, but this is the culmination of many years’ work since the Bill was first produced in draft form and laid for pre-legislative scrutiny. I am delighted that their hard work means that we will be able to send it on its way to the statute book. It is perhaps appropriate to finish with some words from Bruce Springsteen: “Come on, let’s go tonight”.

Photo of Baroness Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury Baroness Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport)

I have not had the chance to say my thanks and I want to thank the Minister. Apart from anything else, his sense of humour throughout this has been really helpful and refreshing. His genuine passion for the DCMS has also really come through. As I said earlier, I wish this could have gone on longer. I suspect we could have got some more concessions through him. I also thank my friends on the Labour Benches and those on the Cross Benches, although they have gone. This has been a very collegiate event. Of course, I thank everyone on my Benches, although they seem not to be here—well, one of them seems to be here, and of course my noble friend Lord Addington.

Photo of Lord McNally Lord McNally Liberal Democrat

Who is this Bruce Springsteen that everybody has been talking about?

Photo of Baroness Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury Baroness Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport)

Yes, there was one little thing I wondered. The noble Lord, Lord Watson, said that he was going to have lunch. For a moment, I thought it was with Bruce Springsteen.

Photo of Baroness Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury Baroness Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport)

You were not—oh, my goodness. Anyway, as I was saying, I thank everyone, including the Government for making the Bill happen. It is hugely important for our public service broadcasters. That is enough of my thanks and I have not cried.

Photo of Lord Bassam of Brighton Lord Bassam of Brighton Shadow Spokesperson (Science, Innovation and Technology), Shadow Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport)

My Lords, I sort of gave my thanks yesterday, as I was not really sure what we would be doing today—and I was not alone. I want to thank the noble Lord, Lord Parkinson, again for his courtesy. We are extraordinarily grateful for the two amendments that he accepted, which my noble friend Lady Thornton and I were very keen to see inserted in the Bill, along with others in your Lordships’ House.

It is always a joy to work with the noble Baroness, Lady Bonham-Carter, and—from the far reaches of the back of the Lib Dem Benches—it is now an even greater pleasure to work with the noble Lord, Lord McNally. Actually, I have an anecdote about death and buses, which I am quite determined to tell, now I think about it. There is a custom in Brighton for its buses to have put on their side or their front the names of well-known local personalities who have, sadly, deceased. So well-known was the lead local government correspondent of the Argus that the bus company decided that he had died, so they put his name on the front of the bus—only to discover that he wrote a column the following week saying, “No, actually, I’m still here. You’ll have to wait”.

I thank our back office team, including Clare Scally and Grace Wright, for the work they did in making sure my noble friend Lady Thornton and I spoke words that were reasonably sensible, sane and well-researched from the Dispatch Box. I have already thanked the noble Baroness, Lady Stowell, for her contribution, and I do again. Today’s debate—passionate as ever—was focused well on an important and contentious subject. It is one that no doubt the House will return to in different guises in the future. I thank my noble friends Lord Watson and Lord Watts for their contributions. Their views are important.

With that, we wish the Bill well, as it is important. Broadcasters have been buzzing me on my email and message system, as they have been to other noble Lords, to encourage us to get this Bill over the line because it is terribly important for the future of public service broadcasting. We all want to get this right, because it is an important element of our democratic process. We know that it is a business and industry of excellence that we wish to support. With that said, I wish the Bill well on its way.

Bill passed and returned to the Commons with amendments.