Clause 6 - Gaming and Game of chance

Part of Gambling Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:34 am on 11th November 2004.

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Photo of Don Foster Don Foster Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport 10:34 am, 11th November 2004

I join the hon. Member for Maldon and East Chelmsford (Mr. Whittingdale) in welcoming the proposal if it provides a breathing space so that the Government can finally decide how far they will back down on the Bill.

I have no doubt, Mr. Pike, that, like me, you are a keen viewer of ''Have I got News for You?'' You will know that that programme often has a guest publication; because I am a member of this Committee, I have looked at magazines I might not otherwise read. I draw the attention of the producers of ''Have I Got News For You?'' to the excellent magazine Coin Slot International. A recent editorial in that publication, under the heading ''Viewpoint'', stated:

''The government must be looking at the tsunami of unrest with outright despair.''

It continued:

''The ball is now in the government's court. Having been shown quite clearly that this Bill is not just unpopular, but largely derided by UK plc, some major amendments have to be a serious option.''

I entirely agree with that editorial; I made clear in Committee and on Second Reading which amendments my party wants; we hope that the additional time for the Government to consider where they are going will lead to their accepting the sort of proposals that we recommended.

Like the hon. Member for Maldon and East Chelmsford, I seek the Minister's assurance that there will be a different programme order when we return in the next sitting but one. I would also like him to give us a clear undertaking that any announcement that he makes about major changes to clause 7, or any other part of the Bill, will be made first to the Committee and to no other organisation.