HC Deb 09 April 1984 vol 58 c137

Lords amendment: No. 36, in page 11, line 7, at end insert— (1A) An order under subsection (1) above shall not come into operation until after the end of the period of 28 days beginning with—

  1. (a) the day on which copies of the order, and of the licence to which section 8 above applies, are laid before each House of Parliament; or
  2. (b) if such copies are so laid on different days, the last of those days."

Mr. Kenneth Baker

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.

This is an important amendment. It was introduced in another place to meet what the Government felt was a legitimate concern about the role of Parliament in respect of the major licences to be issued under the Bill, and in particular the licence for BT. We accepted the view that Parliament should not stand aside and that there should be arrangements that allowed parliamentary scrutiny of that important licence, while preserving the independence of the Director General in carrying out his regulatory functions and the flexibility of the licence modification procedures—two features which are at the heart of the regulatory regime. This amendment to clause 9 is designed to meet these two objectives.

The effect of this amendment is to ensure that any order made by the Secretary of State under clause 9 for the purposes of designating as a PTO and operator, authorized to run his system by a licence to which clause 8 applies, must be laid before Parliament for at least 28 days before it can come into effect. This means that the privileges and powers that follow from PTO status will not be available to BT until the order takes effect at the end of this 28-day period. The amendment also provides that the order cannot come into effect until at least 28 days after the licence to which the order relates has been laid before Parliament.

Lords amendment No. 36 agreed to.

It being one and a half hours after the commencement of proceedings on the motion relating to the Telecommunications Bill (Allocation of Time), MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER proceeded, pursuant to the order of this day, to put forthwith the Question necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded at that hour.

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