Secondary Ticketing

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 1:14 pm on 13th March 2012.

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Photo of Hugh Robertson Hugh Robertson Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) (Sport and the Olympics) 1:14 pm, 13th March 2012

The short answer, following on from the meeting that my hon. Friend had with the Secretary of State a month or so ago, is that we are very much waiting for the industry to come back to us. It will not surprise my hon. Friend or the hon. Member for Washington and Sunderland West, who are assiduous campaigners on the issue, to know that every time that they campaign there is a counterblast from the other side—the secondary ticketing organisations, which do not want legislation for a number of reasons. Every time the matter is highlighted, we inevitably get a blast from the other side; but, as I say, we are keeping everything under review. We would like to explore the point made by another of my hon. Friends about whether the internet can be used more effectively to provide extra protection before we move to legislation.

Where does all that leave us? Personally, I have an open mind, but it is worth recording that the previous Government asked the Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport to conduct an inquiry. The Committee included a wide range of different views but concluded, in about 2009, that there was no need for legislation at that stage. The previous Government also considered the matter and came back to it a number of times, because I think that it was a manifesto commitment of the new Labour Government back in 1997, as acknowledged by a number of my predecessors, with whom I have discussed the subject. They thought that the argument could be cut either way and that extra evidence would be needed to prove that large-scale criminality was taking place as a result of secondary ticketing.

The current Government have agreed with that approach until now, but I have an open mind. Purely in my own opinion, the moment that the security services or the police say that the activity is becoming a proxy for large-scale criminal activity and that large amounts of money are being laundered through the system, the case for legislation will become much easier to make. At the moment, the Government are satisfied to follow the recommendations of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee and the approach of the previous Government, and not to advocate a more general ban.