Skip to main content

Olympic Symbol Etc (Protection) Bill

Volume 253: debated on Friday 3 February 1995

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Order for Second Reading read.

12.20 pm

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

The Bill seeks simply to protect the Olympic symbol and the Olympic words from unauthorised commercial exploitation. It has all-party support. Perhaps it would be appropriate to spell out the names of those who are supporting me in the Bill. They include my right hon. Friend the Member for Worthing (Sir T. Higgins), who, of course, is respected and renowned for his sporting ability in the past and for his on-going interest in sport; my hon. Friend the Member for Falmouth and Camborne (Mr. Coe)—I need not describe his exploits, ability and the achievements that he has notched up, not only on his own behalf but on behalf of the United Kingdom, and his tally of medals, including Olympic medals, is something of which everybody can be proud; my hon. Friends the Members for Wyre Forest (Mr. Coombs) and for Twickenham (Mr. Jessel); the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton (Mr. Kaufman), who has been a distinguished Minister and Opposition spokesman and currently heads the Select Committee on National Heritage; the hon. Member for Stalybridge and Hyde (Mr. Pendry), who has established a fine reputation for his interest in sport, who supports a wide range of sport and speaks with considerable knowledge; the hon. Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Ashton), an outspoken and robust advocate of sport who has done great credit to himself, his constituency and the sports for which he speaks: the hon Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Maxton); the hon. Member for Vauxhall (Ms Hoey), who has held the position of Opposition spokesman for sport and is highly respected and regarded; the hon. and learned Member for Fife, North-East (Mr. Campbell), who represents the Liberal Democrats, has given the Bill his warm support and acts as a sponsor; and our hon. Friend the Member for Belfast, South (Rev. Martin Smyth), who brings a genuine all-party image to and support for the Bill.

In short, the Bill will enable the Secretary of State to grant the British Olympic Association an exclusive licence to exploit the Olympic symbols commercially, thus giving statutory force to the common law rights of the BOA. As our national Olympic committee, the BOA is responsible, as most hon. Members will be aware, for all aspects of the British team at the Olympic games, such as organising transport and providing accommodation, the necessary kit and back-up support. That in itself is an increasingly expensive exercise.

Its role now, however, is much wider, as it also provides extensive services to potential British competitors of all Olympic sports. Those services are aimed at ensuring that the team—we all want this—is as well prepared as possible for international competition, and are acknowledged by the governing bodies of the sport in question to be vital for our top competitors.

As the BOA receives no Government funds, its ability to provide and maintain the existing levels of service to competitors depends, as we are clearly aware, on its ability to raise sponsorship. If we are to maintain and improve British international performances through expenditure of the commercial income available through Olympic sponsorship, statutory protection from unauthorised commercial exploitation is vital.

Such protection would give sponsors—who will, I believe, provide a great deal of money—the comfort of knowing that they have a legally protected right. Thus, control of any authorised use would be very much easier. It is an unfortunate fact that such unauthorised use has become increasingly prevalent and poses a serious threat to the BOA's fund-raising ability and so to the future of British sport.

At this point it may be worth quoting a sentence from a letter that I have received from Craig Reedie, the chairman of the BOA. He says:
"The Bill has the unanimous backing of the sporting community and I hope that, given its uncontentious nature, it will receive your support."
I have also received a letter from Gavin Stewart, chairman of the BOA's Competitors' Council. He is a well-respected and renowned international rower. In his letter, copies of which may have gone to many hon. Members, he says:
"The ability to maintain existing levels of service to top British competitors depends increasingly on the ability to generate income through commercial exploitation of the Olympic Symbols. The protection which this Bill would offer is vital in order to ensure that Britain's top competitors are not deprived of the benefits of the revenue which this commercial exploitation can produce."
It is interesting that Mr. Stewart sends out with his letter a list. It was written on behalf of the governing bodies of Olympic sports, all of which are listed and all of which support the Bill. I am almost tempted to read out all of them, because it is so comprehensive, and it shows the wide support for the Bill. [HoN. MEMBERS: "Go on!"] I will succumb to the temptation. The list comprises the Grand National Archery Society; the British Athletic Federation; the British Badminton Olympic Committee, the British Baseball Federation; the British and Irish Basketball Federation; the British Bobsleigh Association: the British Amateur Boxing Association; the British Canoe Union; the British Curling Association; the British Cycling Federation; the British Equestrian Federation; the Amateur Fencing Association; the Football Association; the British Amateur Gymnastics Association; the British Handball Association; the Great Britain Olympic Hockey Board; the British Ice Hockey Association; the National Ice Skating Association of the United Kingdom; the British Judo Association; the Lawn Tennis Association; the Great Britain Luge Association; the Modern Pentathlon Association of Great Britain; the Amateur Rowing Association; the British Ski Federation; the National Softball Federation; the Amateur Swimming Federation of Great Britain; the British Olympic Table Tennis Committee; the Great Britain Target Shooting Federation; the British Volleyball Federation; the British Amateur Weightlifters' Association; the British Amateur Wrestling Association; and the Royal Yachting Association. That is an extremely comprehensive list.

The hon. Gentleman has not read out the name of the British Amateur Rugby League Association. Does that mean that it is opposed to the Bill?

I am happy to say that I do not believe that it is. I received the list from the British Olympic Association and, although I confess it does not include the British Amateur Rugby League Association, I am confident that, although that organisation is not directly affected by the legislation, its members would unanimously support the Bill.

The United Kingdom is one of the few countries that do not give statutory protection to the olympic symbol. As the BOA is one of the few national Olympic committees that does not receive Government funds, British sportsmen and women operate at a significant disadvantage compared with their counterparts from the countries against which they compete.

The Bill has no negative revenue implications for the Treasury and I hope that the House agrees that it is neither complicated nor controversial. As I emphasised, it has total cross-party support, as is evidenced by my 11 co-sponsors. It has the support of the Department of National Heritage, Her Majesty's Opposition and the Labour party spokesman on sport, and the minority parties. As I sought to show, it also has the unanimous backing of the sporting community. I am delighted to introduce the Bill.

I strongly support the measure but may I ask my hon. Friend about clause 4—[interruption.] It may cause a little trouble, as that clause often does. Clause 4 provides an exemption to the infringement provision and suggests that certain kinds of work should not be covered. It says that, if

"a dramatic work, a musical work, an artistic work, a sound recording, a film, a broadcast and a cable programme"
infringes the association right, the infringement would not be actionable. What is the thinking behind that? A film that uses the Olympic symbol would probably be a big-money production from which the association could get some useful revenue, so what is the point of the exemption?

I have always been told that it is unwise to give way. I suspect that I may be unable to give my hon. Friend the full answer that he requires. When my hon. Friend the Minister makes the Government's contribution, he may wish to comment on the matter. The widespread legal advice on which the Bill has been framed may marginally limit its scope. Clauses 2 to 4 specify the rights conferred by the Olympic association's rights and what amounts to infringement, and deal with the limits of those rights. There was a danger that, if the Bill went too wide, it risked hybridity. I hope that that is a satisfactory answer.

I simply wish to offer my hon. Friend some help in answering the question posed by my hon. Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, North (Mr. Heald). My hon. Friend referred to the apparent anomaly in clause 4(2), which mentions

"descriptions of work referred to in subsection (1)(a) above are a literary work, a dramatic work, a musical work, an artistic work, a sound recording, a film, a broadcast and a cable programme".
Could it be that the sound reason for excluding such activities is that there may often be an incidental reference to or pointing to the Olympic symbol in a sound recording or broadcast? Surely it would be unjust to include such references, and I am sure that my hon. Friend would not wish injustice to occur. It would not be fair for such incidental reproduction to be caught by the provisions of this otherwise highly sensible Bill.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his extremely supportive and helpful comments on the Bill. Clearly, I do not want the Bill to range so far that it will be difficult to implement and monitor it. My hon. Friend's point is correct. Clearly, there may be many occasions when incidental references will be made and it could create a legal minefield were the Bill's scope to be as wide as my hon. Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, North (Mr. Heald) wanted.

I am delighted to be introducing the Bill. It is always a pleasure to introduce a Bill that has support across the House.

Before my hon. Friend finishes his speech, could he deal with two issues that arise from my reading of the Bill, which I broadly support? I welcome the fact that my hon. Friend is introducing the Bill, but does it apply to Northern Ireland? If not, why not?

Secondly, what is the Bill's single market dimension? What is the efficacy of legislating on a purely national basis now that we have a single market in this area? What is to prevent goods with the Olympic logo from being produced elsewhere in the single market, imported into this country and sold on the principle that anything that can be legally sold anywhere in the single market can be legally sold everywhere in the single market? Can my hon. Friend reassure me on that point?

In answer to the first part of my hon. Friend's question I refer him to clauses 10 and 11, which deal with forfeiture in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. The Bill relates to all parts of the United Kingdom.

As my hon. Friend says, the matter is also covered in another part of the Bill.

On the issue of the European Community, mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Stamford and Spalding (Mr. Davies), I can only say, as I did earlier, that the British Olympic Association is one of the few national Olympic committees that does not receive Government funds and does not have exclusive use of the Olympic logo within its country. It is my understanding that legislation on the subject is already in place in other countries of the European Community.

I stress the point that I made earlier—I have taken lengthy and good legal advice. Clearly, the Bill's draftsmen have been considering such matters, and I believe that we are covered. I do not want to introduce into the debate any matters relating to subsidiarity, because I would be unnecessarily widening the scope of the debate.

I am delighted to be introducing the Bill. It will support the BOA and our athletes, improve our potential Olympic competitors and ensure that money raised from Olympic sponsorship is spent in the way that it should be—on sport and in nurturing the next generation of sportsmen and sportswomen.

I emphasise that, if we are to be at the top of the league in international sport, we need resources with which to train our athletes from a very young age. That is a major objective of the British Olympic Association. Clearly, the more resources it has and the more extensive training it can provide, the better the results achieved by the nation in international events.

Such a development can only assist in restoring our sporting fortunes and in returning our nation's competitors to the pinnacle of sporting excellence for which we are renowned. I am happy to commend the Second Reading of the Bill to the House.

12.40 pm

I congratulate the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton) on his success in the ballot and on the excellent way in which he has presented the Olympic Symbol etc. (Protection) Bill. As he said, the Bill commands the full support of the Opposition as well as the wide-ranging support of hon. Members. He named many hon. Members on both sides of the House who support the Bill, but I will mention just two of them.

The whole House will recognise that my hon. Friend the Member for Stalybridge and Hyde (Mr. Pendry)—the Opposition shadow spokesman in this area—has played a prominent role in our country's sporting life. I know that the Bill is very dear to his heart, and it is fitting that the hon. Gentleman paid tribute to him.

The hon. Gentleman also mentioned the hon. Member for Falmouth and Camborne (Mr. Coe), to whore I referred earlier in today's proceedings. In addition to the national and international honours that he has gained on behalf of this country, he is also my parliamentary pair, and I know that he appreciates the importance of that assignment.

In discussing the Olympic symbol, we are also examining the importance of sport. On the day that we are discussing the future of sport under the terms of the Bill, it is appropriate that we remember the life of the late Fred Perry. He made an important contribution to sport in this century and he was the last British winner of the Wimbledon men's singles final. It is appropriate to his memory that we discuss this subject today.

This long overdue Bill is designed to protect the commercial rights of the British Olympic Association. It is correct to point out that similar legislation exists in most other countries, including the United States of America and Australia. The British Olympic Association, which has primary responsibility for funding our Olympic teams, receives no direct Government funding and it cannot bid for lottery money because of its particular revenue status. Therefore, it is important that the Bill enjoys a speedy passage through Parliament.

Clause 10 almost goes back to our earlier debate on the confiscation of the proceeds of crime. The Bill makes provision for
"the forfeiture of certain goods, material or articles which come into the possession of any person … in connection with the investigation or prosecution of a relevant offence".
It is absolutely right to include such a clause. Far too many spivs are making money from sport, taking money that is rightly the preserve of the BOA and that should be returned to sport.

My hon. Friend the Member for Stalybridge and Hyde has written to the Prime Minister about matters contained in the Bill, pressing him to introduce appropriate legislation in Government time. Nevertheless, we are delighted that the hon. Member for Macclesfield has introduced a Bill that will have wide-ranging effects on investment in sport. We warmly welcome it.

12.45 pm

I welcome the Bill and pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton) for introducing it. It could have no more doughty fighter on its behalf. My hon. Friend has assembled a huge team of all-party supporters, and the welcome that his Bill received from the hon. Member for Hornsey and Wood Green (Mrs. Roche) proves how well he did his behind-the-scenes homework on preparing the Bill for its Second Reading.

The Olympic games are special to Britain because of our national achievements but they are also special also internationally. They have a proud history and are a sign of the comity of nations and of international co-operation of a unique kind. For that reason, I particularly agree that the signs, mottos and words associated with the games should enjoy unique dignity and protection. That might be called censorship by some people, but to the extent that censorship is involved, it is right that those items should receive special protection. It is important also that their commercial exploitation benefits athletes and others connected with the games rather than only commercial interests.

That is particularly true given the history of the games. I make no apology for referring to that history briefly. Although the games are of ancient origin, it is not entirely clear where they were first held. By the end of the 6th century BC, at least four Greek sporting festivals known as the classical games had achieved major importance. The most significant were the games held at Olympia. The others were the Pythian, Nemean and Isthmian games held at Delphi, Nemea and Corinth respectively.

Similar festivals developed to the point where the Olympic games in particular became famous throughout the Greek world. There are records of champions at Olympia going back as far as 726 BC, when it was recorded that there was just one event—the stade. [Interruption.] I am informed by my hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Staffordshire (Mr. Fabricant) of a different pronunciation from an older generation—[HoN. MEMBERS: "Oh!"]—or a newer one. I would never suggest that my hon. Friend is from anything but the newest and latest generation. He is definitely with it.

Subsequently, other races were added. Of most importance and interest to the House perhaps is the 1,500 metres, which developed by the year 724 BC—the race in which, in modern times, my hon. Friend the Member for Falmouth and Camborne (Mr. Coe) excelled and Britain, as the middle-distance running centre of the world, has made such a reputation.

Does not my hon. Friend agree that the event of most relevance to the House was the pankration—a form of no-holds-barred wrestling?

I am grateful to my hon. Friend, although I recall that, although the fighting was no holds barred, and kicking and hitting were allowed, biting and gouging of eyes were strictly forbidden. So a certain discipline did prevail, even though Madam Speaker might not have approved of it.

On a slightly more serious note, does my hon. Friend agree that one of the problems emerging in the Olympic games at that time—regrettably, all too familiar to us—resulted in the Olympic committee having to meet on a number of occasions to discuss the use of drugs by certain athletes? In particular, the Spartan team was accused of including drugs in its diet. Does my hon. Friend agree that it is highly regrettable that the problem has persisted in the games to the present day? Our hon. Friend the Member for Falmouth and Camborne (Mr. Coe) has long been associated with attempts to combat drugs through his association with the games.

I was coming to some of the more serious issues surrounding the games. I certainly agree that there is nothing new under the sun, and that there were problems with drugs even in those early years. It is a cause of sadness that those who wish to excel will sometimes let down themselves and others by resorting to drugs.

I too pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Falmouth and Camborne, who has taken a clear view on this subject—that there should be no excuses, and that people found after tests to have taken drugs should not be allowed to get away with it by using some of the excuses that we so often hear. They should incur a lengthy ban.

It was in the Roman period that the games effectively came to an end, because the Romans regarded athletics with contempt and were not prepared to allow the Olympics to continue. Nevertheless, by the year 200 AD the games had had a proud continuous history from 776 BC. It was that history which, in the Victorian period, inspired Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who was the father of the modern Olympics. In a moving speech made in Paris in 1892, he said:
"Let us export our oarsmen, our runners, our fencers into other lands. That is the true Free Trade of the future; and the day it is introduced into Europe the cause of Peace will have received a new and strong ally. It inspires me to touch upon another step I now propose, and in it I shall ask that the help you have given me hitherto you will extend again, so that together we may attempt to realise, upon a basis suitable to the conditions of our modern life, the splendid and beneficent task of reviving the Olympic games."
From that moment in 1892, the baron fought hard at conference after conference to establish the Olympic games. In 1894 a meeting of Sports Ministers in Paris voted unanimously in favour of revival, and the congress was then able to set up the first modern Olympic games in April 1896.

It is perhaps worth remembering that the games have been held ever since then, through periods of immense international difficulty, wars and the worst threats to civilisation that we have known. The Olympic movement continued and brought together peoples of all countries.

Would my hon. Friend care to speculate on the poignancy of the fact that Baron de Coubertin made that speech just 22 years after the seige of Paris during the Franco-Prussian war? When he described sport as the

"free trade of the future",
he seemed to have a vision that the Olympic movement might be the precursor of the European Union of today.

I note that some colleagues are surprised at that idea. The baron certainly believed that Europe need not be divided and that its future should have co-operation at its centre. I do not think that he would have gone as far as to suggest a federal destiny for Europe, although I am sure that he would have welcomed the co-operation between nation states that we now have.

The baron was extremely eager that there should be agreement. He was convinced—

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The hon. Member for Hertfordshire, North (Mr. Heald) and many of his hon. Friends are reading from a prepared text. Bearing in mind the importance of ensuing Bills, we are clearly facing a filibuster. I suggest, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that Conservative Members send a copy of their prepared text upstairs to Hansard and that we then get on with a proper Bill.

I assure the hon. Member for St. Helens, South (Mr. Bermingham) that so far there has been nothing out of order. Anything out of order would have been ruled out of order.

Without lingering too long on the point made by the hon. Member for St. Helens, South (Mr. Bermingham), which you ruled out of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I make it clear that my notes are hand written. I accept that I have been reading, but it is a passage from the history of the Olympics with which I am anxious to deal. I do not have a prepared text. I have only an extract from the "Encyclopedia Britannica". It is relevant, I think, to what we are discussing. I am glad to have your support, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

The baron was convinced that the downfall of the ancient Olympic games had been caused by outside influences that undermined the spirit of the games. For that reason he was anxious that the International Olympic Committee and its members should be regarded as ambassadors of their national sports organisations, not delegates to the committee, and that they might not accept from the Government of each country or any organisation or individual instructions that in any way affected their independence.

It is a fact that the Olympic movement has that independence, which has been its strength. The Bill seeks to protect the symbols, the motto and the words associated with the Olympic games, which means that we are considering a measure that will help the British Olympic movement and the international movement. That context is important.

In moving from the history—

Before my hon. Friend moves on from the history of the new Olympic games, and for that matter the ancient games, will he take up what my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton) was saying about the Olympic symbol, the interlinked rings? When did the rings become an integral part of the Olympic movement? Was the symbol used in Greek and Roman times? I ask these questions out of interest and curiosity.

Order. The history lesson is interesting, and it could probably be said to be relevant to the Bill. However, the hon. Member for Hertfordshire, North is rather stretching it. It would be advantageous to the debate if we dealt with the Bill.

I am grateful, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I was not going to take the route suggested by my hon. Friend the Member for Harborough (Mr. Garnier). I merely say that the answer is 1914.

The scheme of the Bill is that the British Olympic Association will have a right to the symbols, the motto and the words associated with the Olympic movement. That right will be in statutory form. It would be an infringement of that right without the consent of the proprietor—the association—to use these representations for all purposes except those set out in clause 4, which provides that the
"right is not infringed by use of a controlled representation where—
(a) the use"—
is in a work as described in subsection (2), and the work is not one whose purpose is, or whose purposes include, the "advertising or other promotion" of goods or services.

The descriptions of works referred to are
"a literary work, a dramatic work, a musical work, an artistic work, a sound recording, a film, a broadcast and a cable programme, within the meaning of the"
1988 Act. All those forms of work are likely to be produced by commercial concerns. For example, a literary work is published for reward and a dramatic or musical work is presented to the public for reward.

Given that the Bill has two main purposes—to uphold the dignity of the symbols and signs of the movement and to ensure that their commercial exploitation is in the interests of athletes and those connected with the games—it is difficult to understand the justification for excluding a literary work that relies on the movements motto or symbols or the word "Olympic". The use of the motto, symbol or word should be the subject of a payment to the British Olympic Association to enable it to capitalise on its valuable intellectual property.

The same is true of a dramatic or musical work if the symbol is to be used. If Andrew Lloyd Webber produces a show, possibly something along the lines of "Chariots of Fire" with music, why should he not pay our athletes through the association a sum to reflect the commercial advantages that he is gaining from using the association's symbol?

It is important that we should uphold the dignity of the games. As a barrister who prosecuted in obscenity cases—the hon. Member for St. Helens, South may have had similar experiences—I saw many works that were alleged to be obscene but which were often described as "artistic", and artistic works are among those exempted in clause 4. Although such works might be "artistic", I do not believe that they are the sort of material that the Olympic movement would wish to be using its symbol, motto or the words "Olympic" or "Olympian". There should be an element of censorship, even in the case of an artistic work.

I am following my hon. Friend's comments with great interest. He will be aware that one of the sponsors of the Bill is the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton (Mr. Kaufman), who is the Chairman of the Select Committee on National Heritage. I note that five members of that Committee are sponsoring the Bill.

My hon. Friend may be interested to know that, at th:is very moment, the Committee is looking into the future of the British film industry. He mentioned "Chariots of Fire" which was a huge success. It was, however, a low-budget movie. If my hon. Friend's suggestion that fees should be paid for the use of the symbol—whether it were used as an integral or incidental part of a film—were adopted, would it not inhibit still further the production of British films?

My hon. Friend raises an interesting issue, but I am not sure that I should follow it up. If the symbol is to be used, a payment, however small, should be made. In the case of low-budget films, the association might feel that it was able to levy only a small charge, but there is no reason why it should not exploit part of its commercial heritage. It is a question not only of commercial advantage but of censorship that the Olympic symbol should not be used willy-nilly in any production in a way that the founders of the movement and those who carry the torch today would not wish. I support the Bill, but I believe that that issue gives rise to legitimate concern.

I intervene to assist the House and—I hope—my hon. Friend, who is making a most interesting speech. The British Olympic Association has been closely involved with the drafting of the Bill. I appreciate that my hon. Friend is seeking to increase the amount of available sponsorship, but the British Olympic Association is very happy with the Bill, believing that to extend it further would create grave problems in policing and in other ways.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. Perhaps he wants to consider his point with the Olympic movement, but I do not see it as a bar to supporting the Bill. However, I hope that my hon. Friend is willing to look into the matter.

I am concerned that my hon. Friend is falling into error. If he looks at clause 4, sub-section 2, about which he has been expounding, and applies his mind to, for example, films which incidentally catch in the background an advertisement or a copyright symbol of a well-known household product, drink or foodstuff, is it right and just that the Olympic movement, to which my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield referred, should be more favoured, especially when it does not advocate such practice, than the makers of household products, which would not be able to claim damages for breaches of copyright were their logos or other copyright property to appear incidentally in a dramatic or musical work and the like?

I obviously understand my hon. Friend's point and his concern, but the Olympics are rather different from other products advertised on hoardings and elsewhere. The Olympics has a special place in Britain and internationally, so the association should have that special right to consent, if it wishes, to films which display its banner in the background, but only if it feels that the film suits the Olympic movement and its dignity and if it receives a commercial reward.

The costs of sending an athletics team abroad to contest the Olympics are huge and the costs of staging the Olympics run into hundreds of millions of pounds. There should be special provision in this unique case.

Does my hon. Friend agree that there is no comparison between the use of the Olympic symbol and the word and the placement, if one may call it that, of certain product names? Is it not the case that certain manufacturers pay film companies and television production companies to place their product names in the viewer's line of sight?

My hon. Friend makes a telling point. Indeed, the method that he describes is one of the ways in which the Olympics is financed. Certainly, I know that in America the Olympic symbol was marketed to great effect before the Los Angeles Olympics.

Schools show films which depict the Olympics and the successes of athletes such as my hon. Friend the Member for Falmouth and Camborne and CD-roms are coming on stream which contain the entire history of the Olympics, so it would be wrong if the costs of producing such films, videos and CD-roms were so high that schools could not afford them. I do not think that the British Olympic Association would want to make a profit, but it would want proper recognition in films and other artistic representations and some payment, however small, for being a unique body with unique interests. I hope that I have not detained the House for too long.

1.8 pm

I will not detain the House for long, but I want to refer to one or two of the points made by my hon. Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, North (Mr. Heald) in relation to the history of the Olympic games. Although the Olympic games are a very ancient institution, the current games are a relatively recent revival. As we have heard, the Olympic symbol was not invented until 1914. It is a relatively modern occurrence.

I do not want to strike a discordant note. However, we are proposing to give a Second Reading to a Bill which will give something unique to the British Olympic Association—a right of property to the Olympic symbol, "Olympiad", "Olympic" and the other words covered in the Bill. Those words are common currency, but the Bill proposes to give them a special status, to the possible disadvantage of people who already use them.

I am not a lawyer and, as I am surrounded by hon. and learned Members, I tread carefully in these matters. I am concerned about clause 2(4) and whether it protects people who have used in their company names the words covered in the Bill. Clause 2(4) states:
"This section shall not have effect to permit the doing of anything which would otherwise be liable to be prevented by virtue of a right".
I am concerned about that, because I do not know what "a right" is in that respect.

Will the Bill affect commerce and the people who have used the words covered in the Bill for many years? In that respect, I think of Olympic Airways. The Bill could cause that airline problems because I am not sure whether, according to the definitions in the Bill, Olympic Airways has a right to its name. Clauses 5 and 6 refer to the Trade Marks Act 1994, but I am not certain whether the airline would gain any comfort from that.

The London business telephone directory reveals that the use of words like "Olympic" and "Olympiad" is widespread. I am concerned that the Bill will affect many of the people who trade under those names. The London business telephone directory has entries for Olympia Cars and Olympia Butchers of Blythe road. I am sure that it is an excellent establishment.

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. One could go through the telephone directory until the cows come home, but that will not stop people exporting veal calves. That is what the next Bill is all about and that is what the hon. Gentleman is trying to stop.

We are not debating the next Bill: we are debating the Olympic Symbol etc. (Protection) Bill, as the hon. Gentleman is perfectly aware. His point of order is an abuse of the House.

Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. If I have abused the House, I apologise.

The hon. Member for St. Helens, South (Mr. Bermingham) may think that I am abusing the House, but he does not trade as the Olympia Butchers of Blythe road, W14. The Bill could have a serious impact on the ability of that company to trade properly. I stand to be corrected by my hon. and learned Friends who know much more about the law than I do, but I wonder whether such companies will be exempt under the terms of the Bill. As I understand the Bill, I do not think that those firms can claim to have a right to continue to use those names.

Olympic Airways may have its name as a registered trade mark. However, would smaller companies like Olympia Delicacies, doner kebab manufacturer, have bothered to register official trade names? Would such company names be "a right", as set out in the Bill? What about Olympia Flowers, a west London florist, and Olympia Pizza? Surely those companies have not registered their names as a trade mark. Would they be put out of business as a result of the Bill?

Earlier, we debated the Road Traffic (New Drivers) Bill which may put young pizza delivery drivers at risk of losing their licences and having to resit the driving test. Will the Bill remove the right of Olympia Pizza to trade? I should welcome some assurances from my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton) that little businesses such as Olympic Bloodstock Ltd., Olympic Bus, Olympic Cars, Olympic Cash and Carry, Olympic Electronics, Olympic Estates and so on will not be prejudiced in their ability to earn a living by anything that he does this day.

Will my hon. Friend address clauses 15 and 16? He will find that the margin notes refer to:

"Remedy for groundless threats of infringement proceedings."
Clause 14 refers to
"Power to give directions to proprietor."
That power is given to the Secretary of State. Will my hon. Friend address those clauses and then consider 'whether his points about such shops are as good as he originally thought that they were?

Giving way to lawyers is always a dangerous pastime. I am grateful for my hon. Friend's points. I read clauses 14 and 15. I was not certain whether they posed a greater threat to the ability of Olympia Butchers of Blythe road to continue, to be honest. That is why we need assurances from my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield. If we get around to discussing it in Committee, we shall be able to examine the Bill more carefully to ensure that it does not prejudice anybody by giving the British Olympic Association a unique advantage.

I have looked at the scope of the Bill, and I note that it 'covers the five interlocking rings, the words "Citius, altius, fortius" and other words. I wonder whether my hon. Friend is relieved that it does not cover the Olympic torch. I am not sure how that would affect the Conservative party's symbol.

My hon. Friend is very astute. I am sure that my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield would not wish to do anything to prejudice the use of the Olympic torch on Conservative party literature. Again, there might be concern from Smith square at some import of the Bill.

I now refer in more detail to the Trade Marks Act 1994. In looking for some comfort in it, I wondered whether the definitions of trade marks do not already cover the Olympic sign.

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will tell me how important he regards the Bill to be. Perhaps he would compare it with the fact that, in my area of Warwickshire and in Coventry, six people have died as a result of the veal export trade. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will compare the importance of some hon. Members wanting to make points on that matter with his views on talking out the Bill and reading the telephone directory.

Order. That intervention has nothing to do with the Bill. The Chair will decide what is in order. So far, what I have heard has been in order—otherwise, it would have been ruled out of order.

Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The Bill is important because it raises important points of principle. The hon. Member for Warwickshire, North (Mr. 0' Brien) might not be interested in the livelihood of businesses, but I happen to be so. It is wrong of the hon. Gentleman to accuse me of speaking on the Bill without caring about other matters. It is nonsense to suggest that.

I heard what the hon. Gentleman said from a sedentary position. I shall continue my speech, so that we can examine some clauses in detail.

In relation to the Trade Marks Act, I was about to mention international protection of the Olympic sign. Surely that is covered by the Paris convention of 1883. My hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield talked about international protection, but as this country is a signatory to the Paris convention of 1883, there might be no need for the Bill because we are already covered.

In making this intervention, I shall make a plea to the House. The debate so far has been constructive and extremely helpful. It has dealit exclusively with the matters before the House. The Bill has support right across the House, and is widely supported outside. My hon. Friend the Member for Hexham (Mr. Atkinson) is looking at the nitty-gritty of the Bill, and he is quite right that the 1883 legislation covers the matter internationally. However, it does not cover the matter within the United Kingdom.

We have been extremely careful in drafting the Bill, and we have been in consultation with the Department of National Heritage and, naturally, with the Treasury. We have taken the best possible advice, and the scope of the Bill is as it is because we do not want to do some of the: things which my hon. Friend the Member for Hexham has implied in his remarks. Commercial interests have been consulted, and they are happy with the Bill. The British Olympic Association is happy with the scope of the Bill.

I hope that, in his probing of the Bill—he has an absolute right to do that—my hon. Friend the Member for Hexham will not perhaps destroy the Bill by being rather too negative in his approach.

I assure my hon. Friend that I would not wish to impede the process of the Bill, because it deserves further, and more detailed, discussions.

The inquiry which I was making on the matter was that it would be fine for a company such as Olympic Airways, which has established that as its title. Small shops and businesses, however, may not be taken account of in the provisions. Often a company trades under a different name from the sign on its board, and such companies could well be caught in this legislation.

Has my hon. Friend made an analysis of the number of Greek restaurants in the United Kingdom with a title including the name Olympic?

I assure my hon. Friend that there must be thousands of such restaurants. My hon. Friend has put his finger on a main point. The words "Olympic", "Olympius" and "Olympus" belong to the Greek people. They are not the exclusive property of the British Olympic Association. When the Olympic games were revived during the 19th century, those words and the symbol were adopted.

From the moment that the Bill becomes law, a Greek restaurant owner wishing to name his restaurant the Olympic would—I dare say—be unable to do so. He could then be said to be infringing the copyright of one of the names covered in the Bill. The words form part of the heritage and culture of the Greeks. Many Greek Cypriots in this country run businesses and have affection for those words. "Olympic Pizza" gives the idea of speed, fitness and people delivering pizzas on motorbikes.

I take my hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Staffordshire's point absolutely. The words are common currency. If the Bill were in any way to stop people using that title—as a Greek or Greek Cypriot person should be entitled to do—when opening up a business, it would require amendment. It is as simple as that.

If it is properly examined, the Bill can be made to work. We must talk it through carefully, and I am sorry if Opposition Members do not think that we should do that. I believe that it is right to get legislation in the House correct, and not to put into law matters which are incorrect. There are many issues today of national and international importance, but the House is perfectly entitled to discuss things of smaller importance. We should be reminded of shopkeepers and restaurateurs and consider the Bill carefully. Therefore, we must have further detailed discussions about the Bill before it becomes law.

1.24 pm

I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton) not only on gaining a well-placed position in the ballot for private Member's Bills but on the subject that he selected as his Bill. It is important, as I will explain, both for positive and negative reasons.

The House will be familiar with the magnificent equestrian figure of my hon. Friend, who tried to tempt me into the sporting field on a visit to the west Falklands some years ago, where we set out one morning to try to improve our equestrian skills—he sitting magnificently on a horse, and me clinging to it in a way I had never done for a quarter of a century previously.

I assure my hon. Friend that it was a different horse. Perhaps if it had been the same horse, I would not have suffered the fall I did—my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield knew how to check a horse's girth and to ensure that the horse was not puffed up. I did not make that check and in due course took quite a tumble for my lack of sporting experience. I know that my hon. Friend is highly qualified to speak on sporting measures.

The Bill is welcome for negative as well as positive reasons. I believe that it will improve the quality of the goods to which the Olympic symbol is attached. We all know that, at great international events, great sporting events and events of varying descriptions, for example, relating to the royal family, a vast array of some pretty tacky goods are circulated for the tourists, visitors and the public to purchase.

As the hon. Member for Hornsey and Wood Green (Mrs. Roche), the Opposition spokesman, said in her usual elegant way, they are produced by spivs. Be they produced by spivs or wide boys, it is a diversion of the resources of the sportsgoing public that profits made from the sale of such hallmarked items goes to spivs and wide-boys rather than to the sporting endeavours. For that reason, I think that the Bill will be a valuable addition to the statute book, when it reaches it.

On the positive side, the Bill is of great value to formalise and to protect the symbol properly in its uses. If in the process it raises money for the development of sporting activities, it is only too valuable. In the past, I have been involved in the organising of contingents to international scout jamborees. That does not compare in expertise and skills to the preparation of contingents to the Olympics. They are immensely expensive, particularly if one thinks about the vast costs involved in sending not only the teams but the supporting teams, which are ever-more complex in this modern day and age. The equipment that needs to be sent must be kept to a very high standard and be at the point of absolute perfection when our sportsmen and women take part. It costs a vast amount.

One of the principal advantages of the Bill is that that money can be properly applied to support a good British team to go to the Olympics. If it can additionally cause funds to be gained and filtered down to the training of our young people in sports, across the wide range of sports involved in the Olympics, it must be an advantage, because I think that we do not do better in international sports because we do not catch our young at an early enough age to get them skilled in the various sports involved in the Olympics.

The Bill is particularly relevant to Britain. My hon. Friend the Member for Stamford and Spalding (Mr. Davies) referred to other countries in Europe and to the international scene. We are not discussing legislation that goes beyond the borders of the United Kingdom. We are discussing what happens here. When we send teams abroad to the Olympics, as we have since 1948, we deal with goods produced in this country to commemorate the Olympics being held far from these shores.

London, this great capital city of ours, hosted the Olympics in the early days of 1908 and came to the Olympic movement's rescue in 1948 in staging the revival Olympics. We are all too familiar with the agonies of the bid to bring the next Olympics to Manchester. I hope that Manchester, London and other cities will work towards bringing the Olympics here in the future. So doing will require vast sums of money, which is why the Bill is highly relevant in gathering together the money necessary to present an Olympic games of the standard required by the Olympics movement and expected by the House.

The Bill is particularly relevant to the House because a small, select band of hon. Members have played a great part in previous Olympics. Between 1931 and 1943, the hon. Member for Peterborough was Lord Burghley, who won a gold medal in the 400 metre hurdles at the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam. After 1943, he moved up the Corridor, where he succeeded as the sixth Marquess of Exeter. Also along the Corridor is another Olympic participant, in rifle shooting—Lord Swansea. You, Mr. Deputy Speaker, may recall from your early days in the House the then hon. Member for Chichester, Chris Chataway, who had an excellent record in the 5,000 metre race many years ago. We are honoured to have with us the hon. Member for Falmouth and Camborne (Mr. Coe), who has many Olympic records to his credit.

I hope that we shall shortly consider the Bill's detailed clauses and requirements. My hon. Friend the Member for Hexham (Mr. Atkinson) raised a valid concern. The names mentioned in the Bill, such as "Olympics" and "Olympian", are, by their nature, not exclusive to that magnificent sporting contest but are used by many organisations, including, as my hon. Friend the Member for Hexham (Mr. Atkinson) said, a pizza parlour and the Greek airline.

In reading through the Bill, I was interested to note that clause 15 provides a remedy for groundless threats of infringement proceedings. If the House gives organisations certain rights and responsibilities to control the use of the Olympic symbol, it is incumbent on the House to ensure that such rights are not abused.

I strongly support the Bill because it will be of immense value in adding further fire power to this country's sporting excellence. Let us hope that, in future years, as a result of resources brought forth by the Bill, British teams will give even better performances at the Olympics than they have in the past.

1.33 pm

I shall be brief, because I have no motive other than to strongly support the Bill. Before the hon. Member for St. Helens, South (Mr. Bermingham) has apoplexy, I assure him that I, too, want the House to put an end to the live export of animals, which I strongly deprecate. Nevertheless, we are now here to discuss the important Olympic Symbol etc. (Protection) Bill, which has been presented not before time.

Few ideals have enthused the whole world so consistently throughout this century as that of the Olympics. The Olympics sum up some of the highest human ideals and deserve special protection. Those ideals are of excellence, competition, team spirit, brotherhood of man and international co-operation on a peaceful and positive basis. That is why it is so important that we should, to the best of our ability, protect the Olympic games and the Olympic movement from commercial exploitation in a world where the pressures are increasingly intense.

Therefore, I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton) on introducing the Bill and, I hope, on enabling measures to be passed that will protect the games from commercial exploitation and take us back to the original spirit of the games alluded to earlier. It was not mentioned that, apart from the commercial pressures, another major difference between the games then and now was that all the competitors were naked and only one female was allowed to participate—the high priestess Demeter, who seems to have been absent from more recent Olympic games.

The United Kingdom is rare in not already giving proper protection to Olympic trademarks. The Bill puts right a long-standing anomaly and provides protection, not just to the symbols, but to other elements associated with the Olympic movement. The Bill has a positive as well as a negative—protective—side. It will enable sponsorship for athletes to be collected by the British Olympic Committee by the licensing and use of symbols related to the Olympic games. That is particularly important in this country, where there is no Government support, which is, in itself, quite unusual in the international context.

Trademarks are an important part of commerce; they are an important symbol of human activity in the modern world. They are more than just symbols, they represent ideals and, in the popular imagination, they are linked to whatever they represent. I can give no better example than that of Cartier. People often buy a product exclusively because it bears the symbol and trademark of a specific manufacturer or trader equated with high quality.

I mentioned the name of Cartier because, throughout the world, many people attempt to copy the symbol illicitly in order to sell the product at more than its value would otherwise be. That will apply to the Olympics if the symbol remains unprotected. I do not want that to happen—I want the Olympic games to be properly protected in this country as they are elsewhere. I want the British Olympic Committee to use the facility to raise sponsorship to support our athletes and our contributions to future Olympics. For those reasons, I strongly support and welcome the Bill, and hope that it passes through the House swiftly.

1.37 pm

I shall be brief, as was the hon. Member for Beckenham (Mr. Merchant), unlike his colleagues, who made extremely lengthy, verbose and pointless speeches.

I do not mean to be unkind—I can easily read the Bill. We do not pass retrospective legislation, so anyone called Olympic or Olympia is protected and will not be hurt by the legislation. If clauses 17 and 18 mean what they say, a person who makes a frivolous objection because someone has chosen to use Olympic or Olympia as his or her name will be caught by the law. Therefore, anyone with such a name does not need to worry.

As for the history lesson from the Government, a parliamentary private secretary, the hon. Member for Hertfordshire, North (Mr. Heald), gave us some wonderful information which was totally useless and pointless. I should be grateful if he would give me the briefing document so that I can read it to see what bits were missed out.

The Bill is long overdue and I congratulate the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton) on introducing it. The Bill will do a lot of good and it will help many people in the future. It may even create jobs; indeed, if we move on to the next Bill, we may create still more jobs. I welcome the Bill.

1.40 pm

I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton) on his good fortune in winning the ballot and introducing the Olympic Symbol etc. (Protection) Bill. Like the hon. Member for St. Helens, South (Mr. Bermingham), I wish to move on to the next Bill on the Order Paper, the Protection of Calves (Export) Bill, on which I shall speak in support. I hope, therefore, that my hon. Friend will not view it as a discourtesy to him or to his Bill if my contribution to this debate is shorter than I would have liked it to be.

I put on record my support for sport. It is immensely important not just for our young people but for all of us—particularly parliamentarians, who have so little opportunity for physical exercise. It is important that our young people should be taught from the very earliest age how to look after their physical as well as their mental health. Those who are at the pinnacle of sporting achievement—our Olympic sportsmen and sportswomen—set a fine example in that regard.

I pay tribute to the work of the Sports Council and I am very grateful that, even in times of financial stringency, the Government have been able to support it with public funds. However, the level of funding is not enough. As the economy continues to improve, I hope that my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor will find more money for the Sports Council.

In the interim, I see no reason why additional funds should not be found for the British Olympic Association from commercial sources. I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield on his ingenuity in discovering a source from which the British Olympic Association may derive funding—the commercial use of the Olympic symbol and name.

Sport is important not only in terms of our physical health and well-being but as a source of national pride. We are justifiably proud of the achievements of our Olympic sportsmen and women. I pay tribute to my right hon. Friend the Member for Worthing (Sir T. Higgins)—whose constituency my own surrounds—who was a very distinguished Olympic athlete.

I conclude by illustrating to the House the importance of sport as a source of national pride. That fact was summed up only a few days ago by the headline in one of our newspapers which read, "Strewth! We beat the Aussies."

1.42 pm

Like the hon. Member for St. Helens, South (Mr. Bermingham) and my hon. Friend the Member for Shoreham (Mr. Stephen), I shall be brief. I support the Olympic Symbol etc. (Protection) Bill totally, and I wish to raise two points to which reference has not been made in the debate so far.

First, the Bill is very welcome, but I fear that it may also be too late. The British Olympic Association has pressed for legislation of this nature for some years. When it first requested such legislation, there was a reasonable chance that the action it sought—a trademark infringement action in order to protect its use and exploitation of the Olympic symbol—would work.

In the past few years, however, there have been some attacks on that legal principle. I believe that the American organisers of the soccer World cup had great difficulty protecting the World cup symbol and sponsorships from deliberate, and often massive, infringements by international companies. Although this legislation is welcome, I hope that its promoter, my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton), will review with the Minister, the Government's Law Officers and the British Olympic Association the extent to which it can be made watertight. I fear that there are very strong and highly lucrative reasons for people to try to upset the Bill as soon as it passes into law.

Secondly, the Bill is one leg of a two-legged animal. As my hon. Friend said in introducing it, the Bill parallels powers that are already available in many other countries. Equally, many other countries have the power to claim tax relief for expenditure by sponsors and by Olympic associations in raising money for their teams. Such a power is not available in the United Kingdom.

For years, in Finance Bill and other debates, the Government have been pressed to give the tax relief that other countries find essential. Together with the hon. Member for Stalybridge and Hyde (Mr. Pendry), on an all-party basis I sought a meeting with a Treasury Minister on that concession. In view of what I am about to say, I shall not name him because he might immediately be sacked from the Cabinet, of which he is now a member. He said, "I am in favour in principle, but what chance do I have when the entire Cabinet pays obeisance to only one sport—cricket?"

We did not manage to secure that tax relief, but I hope that the interest generated by my hon. Friend's Bill will provide another chance. My hon. Friend, whose reputation for not entirely toeing the Government line is well known, may consider pursuing the issue in debates on future Finance Bills, as many others and I have done in the past. I wish the Bill well. I just wish that it had come earlier.

1.45 pm

My hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton) mentioned that his Bill has all-party support. The signatories to it range from senior parliamentarians, such as my right hon. Friend the Member for Worthing (Sir T. Higgins), to the hon. Member for Vauxhall (Ms Hoey)—who is my Member of Parliament in London, and who, until not long ago, was shadow junior Minister for sport. The hon. and learned Member for Fife, North-East (Mr. Campbell) competed in the Olympics, as did my hon. Friend the Member for Falmouth and Camborne (Mr. Coe).

I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield on his good fortune in winning a high place in the ballot. He presented his Bill well, and it has the support of right hon. and hon. Members on both sides of the House. The article in The House Magazine dated 23 January succinctly describes the purposes of his Bill, so I shall not detain the House by repeating his words.

My hon. Friend's Bill is supported by not only Back Benchers but the Government. On 12 December 1994, my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for National Heritage welcomed the announcement by my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield of his intention to introduce a Bill to protect the commercial use of Olympic symbols. The Department acknowledged that it would allow the British Olympic Association exclusive rights to market the use of the Olympic rings and emblem, the motto "Citius, altius, fortius" and the words "Olympic", "Olympian" and "Olympiad".

My hon. Friend the Minister said:
"I fully support these measures to be introduced by Nicholas Winterton to protect the Olympic symbols. They will be of significant benefit to British athletes, and have been widely backed by sporting organisations and commercial businesses.
The proposed legislation will give the British Olympic Association exclusive rights to market the Olympic symbols. This will enable them to raise extra money through commercial royalties, which will be used to help elite sport. Athletes hoping to attend the next Olympic Games in Atlanta will be among the first to benefit."
The Bill has been given the overwhelming support of the House, and I am happy to count myself among those who have risen to speak in support of my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield. I should like to allay some of the fears raised by my hon. Friends the Members for Hexham (Mr. Atkinson) and for Hertfordshire, North (Mr. Heald).

My hon. Friend the Member for Hexham was worried about shops and businesses that used the words "Olympic" or "Olympiad" in their logos. I hope that I an not trespassing here on territory that my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield intends to cover. Clause 4(4) states:
"In the case of a representation of a protected word, the Olympics association right is not infringed by use which is not such as ordinarily to create an association with—
  • (a) the Olympic games or the Olympic movement, or
  • (b) a quality ordinarily associated with the Olympic games or the Olympic movement."
  • I can fully appreciate that, on first reading that clause, members of the public might be confused, but careful study of the Bill puts it beyond doubt that pizza shops, butchers shops and even Olympic Airways would not be caught by it—so I draw that to their attention.

    I hope that my hon. Friend's Bill will be given a fair wind and will soon pass into law.

    1.51 pm

    I shall try to be brief, so that we can get on. I congratulate the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton) on his Bill. My party is delighted to have among its members a well-known Olympian, my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Fife, North-East (Mr. Campbell), who, in his day, led the British Olympic team to some effect.

    Perhaps many hon. Members share my view that sport has generally been rather poorly treated, so any attempts, such as the one in the Bill, to improve its status and to give it a leg up are most welcome. It needs investment particularly. The Bill is likely to benefit sport in that respect.

    I understand that we are trying to protect the Olympic symbol and words from unauthorised commercial exploitation, and that the Bill gives the Secretary of State the right to grant the British Olympic Association the exclusive licence to exploit the symbols in question—an important step forward.

    The United Kingdom is one of the few nations not to give statutory protection to the Olympic symbols. The BOA is one of the few Olympic committees not to receive Government funds. On both these fronts, I believe that the Bill will prove beneficial.

    I agree with the hon. Member for Macclesfield that the Bill will give British sportsmen and women great encouragement, in the knowledge that Parliament wants them to go out and compete successfully on behalf of their country.

    We must remove anything that disadvantages our Olympic movement, and that is why I welcome the Bill. The BOA does not benefit from Government funds; its ability to sustain the service that it gives to competitors depends chiefly on private sponsorship. It is, therefore, very important that we give the association the chance to use these protected symbols to generate sponsorship funds that will enable it to continue its important role. That role is to promote sport in our country.

    On behalf of the Liberal Democrat party, I welcome the Bill, and wish it every success in its remaining stages.

    1.54 pm

    I shall briefly speak in support of the Bill, which was so ably and robustly introduced by my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton). I shall not speak for long, primarily because it is important that we debate the Protection of Calves (Export) Bill. I look forward to hearing what the hon. Member for Carlisle (Mr. Martlew) has to say. My second reason for not speaking at length is that I am suffering from a pretty bad cold. I would riot be able to speak for very long, even if I wanted to do so.

    I know that my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield has, among his supporters, five members of the Select Committee on the National Heritage. Although my name does not appear in the list of supporters, as a member of that Select Committee I wish very much to give my support to the Bill, which on the whole is an excellent measure.

    My hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham (Mr. Merchant) talked about the Olympic spirit. I agree that that spirit or ideal is to be admired. It would be fallacious, however, if we were to say that it has always been achieved. I remind hon. Members of the nadir that it reached in 1936, with the racist Berlin Olympics. We spoke earlier of the use of the Olympic symbol in films. What could have been more perverse than the Leni Riefenstahl film, "Triumph of the Will", which purported to suggest that the Olympic games somehow supported the Nazi idea of racism? I remind hon. Members of the various boycotts, including of the Los Angeles and Moscow games. We all remember, of course, the massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich games.

    Last Friday, I attended a Cambridge Union debate. It had nothing to do with sport, but I met an historian from Cambridge university who proposed an interesting thesis. He suggested that, in 100, 200 or 300 years' time, Britain would be remembered for two great achievements. He discounted the British empire and scientific achievements, but thought that Britain would be remembered for the spread of the English language and the creation of so many sports that are played throughout the world.

    Although we have invented international games such as football and tennis, we have not shown an ability to win them. It is primarily for that reason that I support the Bill. I am aware that in my constituency there are inadequate sums available for the training and travel of athletes who could reach international status.

    An athlete called Spencer Duval recently won the British cross-country championships. I hope that he will be taking part in the Olympic games in 1996. I know his family well because, apart from any other reason, his father, Derrick Duval, is the chairman of my local Conservative association. Spencer has had to train in the United States and the United Kingdom. He needs sponsorship, which he is given to some extent. It is clear that the difficulties that he faces are shared by other athletes in the United Kingdom.

    Relatively small countries such as the former East Germany experienced success in capturing Olympic awards. That tells us that it is possible, when money is available and there is sufficient will, to become a world leader in international sports. At present, apart perhaps from athletics, Britain is far from a world leader in sports, despite the fact that many sports that are played at the Olympic games were first developed in the United Kingdom.

    I support the Bill. I believe that it will help to create additional moneys for the training of British athletes. I hope that the moneys will be used wisely and I should be interested to know whether my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield has had any information from the British Olympic Association as to how they will be used. Are we going to set up training camps—if that is the correct term—for British athletes to enable them to start winning the gold, silver and bronze medals that Britain deserves to win at the Olympic games? I wish the Bill well and commend it to the House.

    1.59 pm

    I begin by congratulating my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton) on his tremendous hard work, diligence and persistence. The impressive list of right hon. and hon. Members who are supporting him is a tribute to his hard work and the contents of this important Bill.

    I shall first give a few background details of the Bill, with which the House should be familiar and which it is important to place on the record, and then deal with some of the points that have been made.

    Parliament will be aware of the historic significance and resonance of the Olympic symbols, the five interlocking Olympic rings, the motto of the Olympic movement, citius, altius, fortius, and the terms "Olympic", "Olympian" and "Olympiad" in world sport. No property exists in the Olympic symbol and its associated terms which, used on their own, are in the public domain and no persons have any copyright or other tangible or intangible commercial property in the symbols per se, although they may have property in an original work, design or trade mark incorporating the symbols.

    It is thus possible for anyone to use the unadorned symbols on their own. Applications to register a trademark or design containing the symbols are accepted if they are part of a wider design and not passed off as goods or services that might be used in or associated with the Olympic games.

    The British Olympic Association is responsible for promoting the Olympic movement in the United Kingdom. It is a company limited by guarantee, established in accordance with the principles of the Olympic charter and its constitution is approved by the International Olympic Committee. The BOA owns and licenses trademarks that incorporate the Olympic rings together with the representation of the Union Jack. Companies sponsoring the British Olympic team, for example, are given the right to use the trademark for marketing purposes. None of the marks, however, has the same impact or marketability as the instantly recognisable five-ring symbol and associated terms.

    The properties associated with the five-ring symbol and associated terms derive entirely from their association with the Olympic movement. The Government support the Bill, which would ensure that the benefit of the commercial use of the properties should be restricted to businesses responsible for supporting the Olympic movement and the British Olympic team.

    The extra funding derived from the marketing rights to the Olympic symbols in the United Kingdom will enable the BOA, which depends entirely on the private sector for funding, to develop further sporting excellence in Britain and help ensure the continuing success of British participants in the Olympic games.

    The debate about protecting the Olympic symbols in the United Kingdom dates back to 1981 when the Nairobi treaty, under the auspices of the World Intellectual Property Organisation—a United Nations agency—vested the rights of the Olympic symbols in the International Olympic Committee. The Government have not signed the treaty and are reluctant to do so, as they consider it more appropriate for United Kingdom legislation to vest the rights in a United Kingdom body.

    That is accepted by the International Olympic Committee and, in addition to conferring the benefits already described, the proposed legislation would honour a commitment made by the Government to the international Olympic Committee in the course of the unsuccessful Manchester Olympic bid to regulate the use of Olympic symbols in the United Kingdom. I am grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield, because, if the Bill is passed, he will have enabled the British Government to fulfil their pledge.

    I am sure that we would all agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield that the British Olympic team should be as well prepared as possible. He also said, quite accurately, that the British Olympic Association does not receive any Government funding. Indeed, it does not even receive resources such as free accommodation. Other bodies associated with elite athletes, such as the Sports Aid Foundation, receive accommodation free from the Sports Council.

    It is worth reminding the House that although, as I think the hon. Member for Hornsey and Wood Green (Mrs. Roche) said, it is not possible for the BOA to claim lottery funding for individual athletes, which would breach the revenue regulations of the lottery, the BOA is perfectly able to apply for lottery funding for a project, which could be mainly capital in nature, but have a revenue tail that may, in some way, be used to help our athletes. Therefore, although the form of words used my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield was entirely accurate, it is perhaps useful to remind the BOA and other organisations interested in the Olympics that, in certain circumstances, they may gain access to lottery funds.

    The main point of the Bill, as my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield explained so well, is that the BOA will receive funds for the licensing of the Olympic symbols and associated words, which it will be able to use to support our athletes. It is absolutely vital to support, protect and guarantee the protection of the symbols to enable the BOA to help athletes.

    I am sure that, you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, will be interested to hear that the British Amateur Rugby League Association had not been asked whether it would support the Bill. I am also sure, as my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield said, that it would have supported the Bill had it been asked. You, Mr. Deputy Speaker, may also like to know that last night I was told that rugby league may figure in the Sydney Olympics in 2000. If it were true, I am sure that both of us would look to forward rugby league, the most popular form of football in Sydney, being played there.

    My hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield said in his able speech that the Bill had the strong support of the Department of National Heritage, which is true. We very much hope that the House will give the Bill a Second Reading.

    My hon. Friend was asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Stamford and Spalding (Mr. Davies) whether the Bill applied to Northern Ireland. As my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield said, it does indeed apply to Northern Ireland. Incidentally, the Government are about to set up a United Kingdom Sports Council that covers the whole of the United Kingdom and, for the first. time, Northern Ireland will be part of such a body.

    Rather curiously—I know not for what reason—Northern Ireland is not part of the current Sports Council in Great Britain. Northern Ireland will not only be covered by my hon. Friend's Bill, but will be part of what I hope will be an extremely important body for the promotion of sport in this country.

    The hon. Member for Hornsey and Wood Green paid a generous tribute, which we would all wish to join, to the late Fred Perry. I believe that Mr. Perry's father was a Labour Member of Parliament, which the hon. Lady refrained from mentioning. Fred Perry was a great British sportsman and it is fitting that the House of Commons should pay tribute to him. The hon. Lady asked whether the British Olympic Association could claim lottery funding for individual athletes, and no doubt she will read Hansard for the answer.

    My hon. Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, North (Mr. Heald) gave an extremely interesting history of the Olympic movement, which I will read later to catch up on any of the historical details that I might have missed. He said that some might claim—although he would not—that the Bill might be regarded as censorship because it stopped others from using the Olympic symbol. However, as my hon. Friend said, it is important to emphasise that it should not be regarded as censorship. It involves the protection of a legitimate symbol and it is akin to trade marks. No one would suggest that trade marks legislation was censorship. It is important to understand that the strong purpose of the Bill is to provide funds for our athletes.

    Like everyone, I am in favour of the Bill. I have just returned to the Chamber having checked the definition of infringement. The Minister will be aware that there is often great controversy about the Olympics. For example, I seem to recall that campaigners against the Moscow Olympics wore printed tee-shirts that carried the Olympic symbol and the words, "Don't go to Moscow." Would such a genuine expression of political opinion or the use of the Olympic symbol in a controversial cartoon leave people open to prosecution?

    The hon. Gentleman makes an important point. No doubt it is a matter that lawyers would like to consider. However, as neither the hon. Gentleman nor I am a lawyer, I share the expression on his face. That point can be answered in more detail in Committee. I would have thought that there would be a case to answer although frivolous cases, as the hon. Gentleman will be aware from his study of the Bill, have a remedy.

    I want to intervene quickly to help the House, and the hon. Member for Brent, East (Mr. Livingstone) in particular. The legislation seeks to stop commercial exploitation. As the promoter of the Bill, I believe that where people produce something for a specific campaign, they would continue to have the right to do so, but if they sought to make lots of money, that would be a complication. Knowing the hon. Member for Brent, East as I do, I suspect that he is involved more in campaigns than in commercial exploitation.

    I dare say that that is roughly right. However, we have all known good campaigns that have fallen into the hands of people who wanted to make money out of them. In those circumstances, the use of tee-shirts referred to by the hon. Member for Brent, East (Mr. Livingstone) could fall foul of the Bill. However, we can pursue that matter at greater length on another occasion.

    My hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, North-West (Mr. Stern), in another scholarly intervention on the already scholarly speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield, referred to the Spartans using drugs at one of the early Olympics. I was not aware of that. I would be very interested to learn—although not now—exactly what drugs were used in those days.

    My hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, North-West raised an extremely important point about drugs, and to few sports are they more important than to the Olympic games. Government agencies, through the Sports Council and the sports councils in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, spend more than £900,000 a year on combating drugs. The British Government are absolutely determined to stamp out cheating through the use of drugs in international sport. The methods we use are respected around the world. When I was in Australia last week, I visited the Australian sports drugs agency, where people told me how much they admired our attempt to stamp out drugs in the Olympics and other sports.

    My hon. Friend the Member for Hexham (Mr. Atkinson) made a point that exercised several hon. Members. He asked whether the use of the words "Olympic" and "Olympian" or the use of the symbol in matters of general trade is banned by the Bill? He referred very fairly to several businesses, including pizza parlours, butchers, garages and restaurants which have called themselves "Olympic". It is not the intention of the Bill to ban such genuine commercial use of the word "Olympic". Those who have been using the word "Olympic" or the symbol for years past will not be banned by the Bill. It is important that the point that my hon. Friend rightly made is answered authoritatively.

    My hon. Friend the Member for Gravesham (Mr. Arnold) made the important point that one consequence of the Bill will be not only to raise money for the British Olympic Association that can be used to fund British athletes at the Olympic Games—that is clearly the main point of the Bill, and hon. Members have supported it—but, as a by-blow, to help to guarantee that goods associated with the Olympics and that have the Olympic symbol on them will be of reasonably high quality.

    The hon. Member for Hornsey and Wood Green used the word "spivs". We do not want the Olympic games to be associated with such a trade, nor do we want tacky goods. The BOA will have to license the use of symbols to those who wish to use them to promote their goods. The BOA will ensure that its goods or services are of a suitably high standard. That is another extremely important benefit of the Bill.

    My hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham (Mr. Merchant) referred to Cartier watches and having the name "Cartier" put on other watches, and how that defrauded Cartier of money. I am sure that that is correct. The Bill would prevent exactly such cheating.

    My hon. Friend the Member for Shoreham (Mr. Stephen), in his brief intervention, talked about the great importance of support for sport in general for young people. He will know that we have recently restructured sports councils. As I mentioned in passing, we are about to set up a United Kingdom Sports Council, and we are about to set up an English sports council. It is an oddity—we have never before had an English or United Kingdom sports council.

    The particularly relevant point is that we have specifically said that a place will be specifically reserved on the United Kingdom and English sports councils for somebody representing Olympic sport. We will obviously reserve places for non-Olympic amateur sport—for professional sport. I hope that the House will agree that that shows the importance that we place on Olympic sport and that it supports and complements the debate.

    My hon. Friend the Member for Shoreham also said that he approved any method by which a legitimate increase in funding by commercial methods could be brought about. The Bill is clearly such a method. The national lottery allows us to add further support to our Olympic challenges—if we can find ways to obtain lottery funds for capital projects to help our Olympic athletes, I am sure that it will be possible to do just that.

    Such lottery funding will be able to work hand in hand with the money that will arise from use of the Olympic symbols. My hon. Friend the Member for Shoreham rightly pointed to the tremendous surge in national pride when our athletes do well, whether at cricket, as my hon. Friend mentioned, or in the Olympic Games. To achieve those victories, of course, we must ensure that our athletes are properly supported, and the Bill certainly makes an important start in providing that support.

    I note that the Minister has now spoken for 20 minutes, and that a number of his colleagues—including the hon. Member for Hertfordshire, North (Mr. Heald), the parliamentary private secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food—spoke at length. Will the Minister tell us whether he also intends to talk out this Bill?

    What an extraordinary intervention. Of course I have no intention of doing so. I have made it clear that I support the Bill. Many hon. Members have sat through the entire debate on the Bill, and to be respectful to them and to the House I shall answer every speech that has been made. There were a number of speeches to which, although I will not take too long, I intend to reply courteously.

    My hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, North-West said that, although he supported the Bill, it was a Bill too late. I hope that he is wrong. I take his point that, during the World cup, there were a number of what might seem to the layman as alleged abuses of the copyright of World cup symbols. Companies will have learnt from the way in which they felt cheated when, having paid good fees to become sponsors of the World cup, they found that competitors in their own market sector were finding a way of muscling their way in. I very much hope that the Bill will help to make matters better, and that we will not see that sort of thing in the forthcoming Olympic games.

    My hon. Friend the Member for Harborough (Mr. Garnier) quoted my press release of 12 December, which correctly stated that I was strongly in favour of the measure. The Department of National Heritage and the Government are strongly in favour of the Bill. My hon. Friend also confirmed—in a more legalistic way—the entire accuracy of the fact that shops, butchers, pizza parlours and restaurants should not be worried by the measure.

    The hon. Member for Eastleigh (Mr. Chidgey) spoke for the Liberal Democrats in the regrettable absence of the former great Olympic athlete, his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Fife, North-East (Mr. Campbell). The hon. Gentleman gave his support to the Bill. My hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Staffordshire (Mr. Fabricant), speaking as a member of the National Heritage Select Committee, also gave his support.

    I do not think that anybody in the House felt that the Bill should not be supported, although one or two hon. Members felt that points might arise later in Committee that will be worth going into. With those few brief words of general support for the Bill, I commend it to the House.

    2.22 pm

    With permission, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I shall respond briefly to the debate. I thank all those, on both sides of the House, who have spoken in favour of the Bill. I do not want to name those hon. Members, because it would take too long.

    I hope that the concerns that my hon. Friends the Members for Hexham (Mr. Atkinson) and for Hertfordshire, North (Mr. Heald) expressed were dealt with, not only by the ministerial response and one of my interventions but by the helpful advice given by my hon. Friend the Member for Harborough (Mr. Garnier).

    I welcome the House's support, especially that of the hon. Members for Hornsey and Wood Green (Mrs. Roche) and for Eastleigh (Mr. Chidgey). It is tremendous to have such positive support, and I commend the Bill to the House.

    Question put and agreed to.

    Bill accordingly read a Second time.

    Question put, That the Bill be committed to a Committee of the whole House:—

    The House proceeded to a Division:

    (seated and covered): On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I seek your guidance on whether there is any way in which time can be found today for hon. Members who wish to support the Protection of Calves (Export) Bill to speak.

    (seated and covered): On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is it in order for hon. Members who participated in the debate, but did not express their opposition to the Olympic Symbol etc. (Protection) Bill, to call a vote to waste time and interfere with other hon. Members when the whole House is anxious to deal with the next Bill in the time remaining?

    (seated and covered): Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. You will note that a Minister said that the Government support the Bill, yet a parliamentary private secretary has gone through the Noes Lobby. I think that that should be noted.

    The House having divided: Ayes 48, Noes 0.

    Division No. 63]

    [2.24 pm


    Ashdown, Rt Hon PaddyLivingstone, Ken
    Barnes, HarryMcAllion, John
    Barron, KevinMackinlay, Andrew
    Bermingham, GeraldMacShane, Denis
    Boateng, PaulMaddock, Diana
    Brown, N (N'c'tle upon Tyne E)Maginnis, Ken
    Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)Martlew, Eric
    Chidgey, DavidMiller, Andrew
    Clwyd, Mrs AnnMorley, Elliot
    Cohen, HarryO'Brien, Mike (N W'kshire)
    Cox, TomO'Hara, Edward
    Dowd, JimRobathan, Andrew
    Field, Frank (Birkenhead)Roche, Mrs Barbara
    Foster, Don (Bath)Sedgemore, Brian
    Gapes, MikeSkinner, Dennis
    Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)Spearing, Nigel
    Harvey, NickStephen, Michael
    Higgins, Rt Hon Sir TerenceStern, Michael
    Hill, Keith (Streatham)Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
    Hoey, KateTyler, Paul
    Janner, GrevilleWilliams, Rt Hon Alan (SW'n W)
    Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)Young, David (Bolton SE)
    Keen, Alan
    Kirkwood, Archy

    Tellers for the Ayes:

    Lawrence, Sir Ivan

    Mr. Nicholas Winterton and

    Leigh, Edward

    Mr. Piers Merchant.



    Tellers for the Noes:

    Mr. Peter Atkinson and

    Mr. Michael Fabricant

    Question accordingly agreed to.
    Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House do immediately resolve itself into a Committee on the Bill.— [Mr. Nicholas Winterton.]