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Video Recordings Bill

Volume 503: debated on Wednesday 6 January 2010

Considered in Committee (Order, this day)

[Sir Michael Lord in the Chair]

Clause 1

Repeal and revival of provisions of the Video Recordings Act 1984

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

If the House will permit me, I will omit, in these circumstances, the usual courtesies attached to the beginning of a Committee stage, and move straight on to speak to the clause, which is at the heart of the Bill.

The purpose of the clause, as stated in subsection (1)(a), is to repeal all the provisions of the Video Recordings Act 1984, which should have been notified to the European Commission in 1984. Subsection (1)(b) then immediately revives all those provisions, which have now been notified to the European Commission. As a result, it makes them enforceable again in law. The Bill and the 1984 Act were formally notified to the Commission in accordance with the technical standards and regulations directive, and it is necessary for the 1984 Act to be repealed and revived in this way to ensure that all its provisions are fully enforceable again. The failure to notify the 1984 Act was a procedural error under the terms of the directive. The purpose of the Bill is to correct the procedural irregularities arising from that omission and to restore the important public protections that the 1984 Act contains and that the public have come to expect regarding the sale of videos and DVDs.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 1 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 2

Short title, commencement and extent

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Clause 2 merely sets out the short title, commencement and territorial extent of the Bill.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 2 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.


Transitional provision

Question proposed, That the schedule be the schedule to the Bill.

The schedule sets out the transitional provisions whereby a bridge is built between the 1984 Act spanning the lacuna of the time when the Act has not been enforceable, and into the future, when the status quo ante is restored. It also ensures that all consequent legislation and administration is kept in balance with the new legislation and the previous Act.

Question put and agreed to.

Schedule accordingly agreed to.

The Deputy Speaker resumed the Chair.

Bill reported, without amendment.

Third Reading

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker—[Interruption.] Understandably, I am being ribbed from sedentary positions by Opposition Members about what I might say about the Bill on Third Reading, given that we have considered it in so many stages so recently.

Will the Minister use this opportunity to answer the questions asked on Second Reading in respect of advice and support being given to local authorities?

I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman for that; I did fail to answer that question, although not intentionally. Considerable advice and support are being given to local authorities. The Crown Prosecution Service has produced comprehensive guidance on all the relevant issues for local and trading standards administrations, and we are confident that that guidance will equip them to deal with the situation appropriately.

This Third Reading is a conclusion to the Bill. I need only repeat my gratitude to Members on both sides of the House, and particularly to the Opposition parties, which have supported us wholeheartedly as we have used this procedure to get the measure through the House very quickly. We have done that to restore the safeguards for people of all ages, but young people in particular, so that they are not harmed and outraged by the unscrupulous sale of offensive and inappropriate material.

In conclusion, as the Bill moves to the other place, I add a plea to Members there: debate on this Bill is not the appropriate time for discussion of the Digital Economy Bill, or even the detailed provisions of the Video Recordings Act 1984. This is an emergency, fast-track measure that, by its nature, could not be fast-tracked if it were amended. [Interruption.] The hon. Member for Maldon and East Chelmsford (Mr. Whittingdale) looks quizzical. In case he was “quizzicaling” at me, I should say that if the Bill were amended it would have to be renotified in draft again, and that would take another three months.

We need to do this quickly. We are grateful for the support that we have had across the House in getting it done quickly. I commend the Bill to the other place in that same spirit of urgency and seriousness.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed.