§ 7.6 p.m.
My Lords, I beg to move that this Report be now received.
Moved, That the Report be now received.—(Lord Harmar-Nicholls.)
§ Lord Brain moved, as an amendment to the Motion that this Report be now received, to leave out ("now") and at end insert ("this day six months").
§ The noble Lord said: My Lords, I must first offer an apology and an explanation. I apologise for missing the Committee stage of the Bill. The noble Lord, Lord Harmar-Nicholls, arranged that stage without asking me whether it was convenient. Unfortunately, I had another engagement and I was unable to be present. I would have been present if I had been able.
§ At the outset perhaps I may repeat what I said at Second Reading. I am wholly in favour of a properly drafted and debated privacy Bill and I have no time at all for the paparazzi who generate these photographs that so often cause offence. Noble Lords may quite rightly ask then why I am moving this amendment. There are three overlapping reasons. The first is to be consistent. The second is that, as a matter of principle, I do not think that this House should send a flawed Bill to another place just because it thinks it unlikely that the Bill will make any further progress at this stage in a Session in the other place. Finally, while I feel I shall be repeating some of the things I said at Second Reading, I do not consider, despite the efforts of the noble Lords, Lord Harmar-Nicholls and Lord Kilbracken, at the Committee stage, that this Bill can be amended in any way to make it comprehensible to lawyers, let alone photographers or the general public.
§ Taking these reasons in turn, I think I am being consistent in that I withdrew my Motion at Second Reading only because of the lateness of the hour—11 o'clock at night—with a thinly attended House. I had had the support of all the speakers but the noble Lord, Lord Harmar-Nicholls, himself. I had subsequently written to the noble Lord, Lord Harmar-Nicholls, inviting him not to proceed further with the Bill, and I discussed with some other Members of the House whether they would support at the Committee stage a Motion similar to this one should I decide to move it. So the noble Lord, Lord Harmar-Nicholls, and other Members of the House, will be well aware of my active opposition to this Bill.
Why do I consider this to be a flawed Bill? In my opinion, it has nothing to do with copyright. That was confirmed by the noble Lord, Lord Donoughue, at Second Reading. He said:
privacy has nothing to do with copyright"—[Official Report, 28/2/94; col. 926.]
It was also confirmed by the noble Baroness, Lady Trumpington (at col. 927):
I fully agree with the strictures of the noble Lord, Lord Brain, about the use of copyright law as a vehicle for this amending Bill".
The noble Baroness reinforced that at Committee stage by saying,
we are not convinced that this slightly piecemeal and unbalanced approach is the right one".—[Official Report, 18/4/94; col. 79.]
At the same stage (at col. 81) the noble Lord, Lord Kilbracken, said:
It also seems to me that there is nothing in this new Bill about copyright at all".
I also seek the support of the remark of the noble Lord, Lord Burnham, at Committee stage. He said (at col. 78):
Had I been present, I should have opposed the Bill.
§ I shall be brief because I have rehearsed the arguments already at Second Reading. I do not believe that this Bill is going to produce the result sought by the noble Lord, Lord Harmar-Nicholls. I have sought advice on this matter. It will be the photographer who will end up with the liability. I explained the chain of permissions and agreements at Second Reading—I shall not bore the House by repeating them—but anybody who gets copyright clearance for the use of a photograph will automatically hope to get clearance for the privacy aspect. It may be that the photographer will get vast sums of money—£50,000, £100,000 or £1 million—for his photographs; but, equally, he may be a man of straw. I do not believe that the desire of the noble Lord, Lord Harmar-Nicholls, to get at the publisher can be established in this Bill because of its link with copyright.
§ I am advised by lawyers that in the original draft of the Bill the word "intrusion" was clearly understood by them. But I believe that they were delighted at the confusion which will arise in legal cases by its replacement with "cause serious damage to". They would also have much preferred "private lives" to be replaced by "privacy". They clearly understood intrusion into privacy. They could not clearly understand how to advise anybody about "serious damage to private life".
§ I believe that one can take this from two recent points, one of which is topical today. Certain photographs have been taken on Scottish moorland. There is no difficulty in believing that they were almost certainly an intrusion into two people's privacy. I believe that the lawyers would have a field day if they had to convince a court that they were causing serious damage to these two young people's private lives. On much the same basis were some photographs which were recently well-publicised in Spain. I wonder whether they could say that they caused serious damage to that young lady's private life. They certainly intruded on her privacy. But I believe that it gets much more complicated than that.
§ I am not going to continue in much detail. I had prepared eight amendments which I would have tabled at Committee stage had I been present. I was advised that they were not entirely satisfactory. I have thought of more. The lawyers have convinced me that this Bill, so long as it is linked to copyright, cannot be made effective to prevent the kind of intrusion which I wholly agree is unacceptable. I have said that I shall be brief and I beg to move.1627
§ Moved, as an amendment to the Motion that this Report be now received, to leave out ("now") and at end insert ("this day six months").—(Lord Brain.)
§ 7.15 p.m.
§ Lord McGregor of Durris
My Lords, in supporting the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Brain, I wish to apologise for not taking part in earlier stages of this Bill because I was in hospital. I should like to add a number of other objections to those listed by the noble Lord. The first is that the Bill would provide that no photograph portraying a person recognisably and taken without his consent or knowledge, could be published without that person's consent or knowledge—conditions which many photographs published in the press could never satisfy. The subject could go to court and assert that the publication could cause serious damage to his private life and prevent publication or public exhibition or use in a broadcast or cable programme.
One of many difficulties would be the meaning to be attached to the phrase,causing serious damage to private life".Most legislators have been defeated in attempts to define privacy, but it is to be noted that the Bill of the noble Lord, Lord Harmar-Nicholls, adopts a wholly different definition of privacy from that suggested in the Lord Chancellor's consultation paper on infringement of privacy which referred to causing substantial distress, provided such distress would also have been suffered by a person of ordinary sensibilities in the circumstances of the complainant. If the court granted a quick injunction to halt the distribution of a newspaper on that ground, the consequences and financial loss to the newspaper would be extreme.
The Bill and the noble Lord, Lord Harmar-Nicholls, ignore completely the fact that the code of practice upheld by the Press Complaints Commission gives a protection and remedy for the circumstances with which the Bill seeks to deal. One of the articles in the code of practice which is enforced on newspapers relates to:Intrusions and enquiries into an individual's private life without his or her consent including the use of long-lens photography to take pictures of people on private property without their consent".Such action is contrary to the code of practice and would certainly become a breach.
In my opinion the extent of invasions of privacy have been considerably exaggerated largely because of the publicity given to the behaviour of well-known or great personages. In the past three-and-a-half years the Press Complaints Commission has received only 300 complaints of invasions of privacy against the press. Of those, three-quarters have been settled between editors and complainants to the satisfaction of the latter. The commission has received only seven complaints of invasion of privacy by photographs.
When the code and the commission were strengthened last year, the commission appointed one of its independent members, Professor Robert Pinker, to act as its privacy commissioner in order to emphasise the high importance it attaches to preventing infringements of privacy. The commissioner is presently investigating the complaint by the Palace, 1628 acting on behalf of Prince Edward, against four newspapers. The privacy commissioner is required to act speedily and is free to make such investigations as he considers necessary. He may also, of his own volition, raise any instance of infringement of privacy by the press even though there has been no complaint. He submits to his colleagues a draft adjudication which, if the infringement is considered by the commission to have been gross and calculated, may contain a recommendation that the publisher should consider disciplinary proceedings against the editor. That is a very severe occupational sanction to which the industry has agreed. Many newspapers have already assimilated the code of practice, which is enforced by the commission, into the terms of the contracts of their journalists and editors.
The Bill additionally uses the sly procedure of adding a new section to Section 85 of the existing Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988, which will have the effect of turning a very narrow personal right under Section 85 into a major extension of the legislation which will have potentially formidable financial consequences for the press. Thus the Bill, masquerading as Section 85A of the Copyright, Design and Patents Act, will be conceptually wholly different in nature and result from that Act. It is surely undesirable to use this Bill as a back-door method of altering the law of copyright in such a way that the new right of privacy can be introduced in advance of the parliamentary discussions on the consultation paper on privacy initiated by the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor, to which, unlike the noble Lord, Lord Brain, whose amendment I am supporting, I am strongly opposed.
Further objections are the broadness of the present Bill covering, as it does, any publication. It provides no defences of any kind against a charge; for example, it does not provide a public interest or implied consent defence. An implied consent defence is where consent is implied by virtue of the person or people photographed being present in a public place. Although infringement is only actionable by the subject of the photograph who is portrayed recognisably, the practical impossibility of locating appropriate individuals photographed in crowd scenes or as passersby will, in practice, prevent many newspapers in England publishing many types of photograph. In fact, our press will be reduced as a result of the Bill to the appearance of Le Monde.
§ Lord Kilbracken
My Lords, I disagree with a good deal of what the noble Lord has just said. In particular, he said that there have been only 300 complaints in the past four or four-and-a-half years, but that seems to me to be a very considerable number —about one every four days throughout the period. And, of course, in many cases, including some of the most serious ones, there have been no complaints, particularly, of course, in the case of members of the Royal Family, who I think have never complained.
I regret very much that the noble Lord, Lord Brain, has seen fit to put down this amendment at this late stage. I do not think that the noble Lord's Bill is by any 1629 means perfect, but I do think that it is very much better than nothing and I hope that, on reflection, the noble Lord may decide not to press his amendment.
§ Lord Harmar-Nicholls
My Lords, after listening to the speeches of the noble Lords, Lord Brain and Lord McGregor, I hardly recognise my own Bill. The complaints and doubts that they have expressed have nothing whatever to do with the Bill. Indeed, all the points that they raised were answered during the Second Reading and Committee stages. I do not think that we should look at the Bill from the narrow point of view to which those two speeches seemed to direct the House.
The one thing that stood out from the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Brain, was that his opening sentence contained his only important argument relating to my Bill. He said that he agreed that a privacy Bill was necessary. He and I are at one on that. He agreed that —the noble Lord shakes his head. If he did not mean that, could he tell us what he did mean?
§ Lord Brain
My Lords, I said that we needed a properly drafted and debated privacy Bill. I then went on to explain why I do not consider this Bill to be properly drafted.
§ Lord Harmar-Nicholls
My Lords, I think that we agree that a privacy Bill, properly debated and examined, should become the law of the land. We agree on that point—and that is the basis of the Bill.
The noble Lord, Lord Brain, is an expert in things to do with photography. He is the chairman of, I think, the British Photographers Liaison Committee, which is a valuable association with great experience and of great standing in the country. My Bill in no way interferes with the freedom that photographers now have—whether they be private photographers or newspaper photographers. If Parliament makes this Bill a statute, it will in no way interfere with the way in which photographers (both private and newspaper) now operate—not at all. However, what it will do—and this is the important thing—is to make redress possible for people who feel that they have been the victims of cowboys who take a distorted and contorted picture, hawk it around the world and receive, in some cases, hundreds of thousands of pounds because that distorted picture is attractive to those concerned with newspaper circulation figures. The Bill will mean that those who take such photographs run the risk that the person who feels that he or she has been damaged will be able to take the photographers to court. The court will be able to decide, first, whether that individual has been damaged and whether the picture was distorted and wrong. It will be for the court to protect people from the dangers that they now face.
I do not think that the noble Lord, Lord McGregor of Dun-is, attended the Second Reading or any of the subsequent stages of the Bill's passage when I tried to explain why the Bill has been introduced. I named the person who gave me the inspiration to prepare and introduce the Bill. I was talking with Donald Sinden, the well-known actor who takes a keen interest in world affairs as well as in his own profession. He was 1630 disturbed by certain things that had been happening and which the noble Lord, Lord McGregor, does not think are important. They do not disturb him.
Donald Sinden said, "If I write you a letter, the paper that it's written on and the envelope which it goes in belong to you, but the message still belongs to me". That is what brought me to the copyright legislation. Under the copyright legislation one preserves the message although the material upon which the message is sent belongs to the recipient. He then went on to say, "Why can't the same thing apply to photographs? If someone has libelled me by writing a 1,000-word article, I can take that article which damages me to the courts. If I can prove that I have been damaged and show that it has been done deliberately with the idea of damaging me, the court can give me compensation and the protection of an injunction against that damage being repeated".
That happens in France. The French have a privacy law. The Duchess of York hit the headlines in this country. When they tried to repeat that in France, she took the case to court under their privacy laws and received compensation of £50,000, and an injunction to stop it being repeated. I want to give the same protection to the Duchess of York, or anyone else who may have been the victim of prying cowboys whose only interest is to make a quick buck from using people's private lives to their advantage. That is all that the Bill is out to attain.
No photographers, at any level anywhere, need feel that their freedom to do what they are doing now will be infringed in any way unless a photographer has deliberately twisted the camera to damage someone else. The noble Lord, Lord Brain, quoted the noble Lord, Lord Donoughue, in support of his argument. The noble Lord, Lord Donoughue—his speech is there to be read—was ecstatic about the need for a Bill like this, but he wondered whether it went wide enough. I do not believe that it goes very wide. It is a narrow little Bill. It hardly touches the problem that we are facing.
The noble Lord, Lord McGregor, is the chairman of the Press Complaints Commission. He was defending the press. He was defending his commission. In my Bill I am interested in defending the reputation and rights of individuals who have been damaged deliberately. There would be no need for my Bill if some members of the press, whom the noble Lord was defending, did not offer fabulous sums of money to persuade people to take risks by using the camera to distort news.
What is my Bill? It is so modest that it is unbelievable. The noble Lord also quoted the Government. In their response to the Bill on Second Reading, the Government made it clear that they saw the need for some extension of our privacy laws. My noble friend Lady Trumpington who was representing the Government said that there was a move towards producing something like that. We were almost promised a privacy White Paper within the near future. That is good. I want to urge that on its way. The Bill in no way prevents the Government from doing that. Indeed I hope that the vote of the House on this amendment will show them that there is a need for it.
1631 What is the Bill? I tried to explain it symbolically. I said that it is rather like a house with a roof that is in a dreadful state and which needs replacing. But it will take a considerable time to replace the roof. My Bill fills the gap until the Government—any government—can introduce a more comprehensive privacy Bill. My Bill is the equivalent of putting a bucket under the worst of the leaks to prevent them doing more damage to the furniture and the floor covering in the meantime. It does no more than that.
In the light of all that has happened, we would not be doing our duty if we did not use this opportunity to give that protection in the interim to people who are being damaged. The noble Lord, Lord McGregor, referred to the incident relating to Prince Edward which is now hitting the newspapers. I know nothing about that. Before that the Princess of Wales went to do exercises in a private gym. Someone took the trouble to bore holes in the wall so that they could take lurid pictures and send them around the world and make all sorts of money out of them. The noble Lord has an important position as chairman of the Press Complaints Commission. If he could persuade the press to be as reticent in the way they present news and pictures today as they were before the war when the then Prince of Wales had certain problems, there might not be the same need for privacy Bills or my Private Member's Bill.
I explained why the provision was to be part of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act. I satisfied myself that there was a need to provide this type of protection for people who were being damaged unfairly. I have been about this place now for 43 years. I have taken the trouble to find out about parliamentary procedure. I tried to discover how one can do things that might be helpful. I do not want always to have to wait for the Government, whoever the government might be, to do things that are obvious. Our parliamentary procedure provides that there are such things as Private Members' Bills. A Private Member's Bill is designed to deal with some of the smaller problems that governments, for all kinds of good reasons, cannot tackle at once. That does not mean that we have always to wait for the Government to act; it does no harm to do something for ourselves occasionally.
This Private Member's Bill was designed to put the bucket under the leaking roof until the whole roof could be put right by a government Bill. How did it come about? I looked through all the statutes that I thought might be applicable. The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act lent itself for my Bill to be annexed to it to meet the need that I have just described. That is all that the Bill does. It does not interfere with the copyright legislation. It will make no difference to the application of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act. The Bill is an extension of that Act to meet a need that is clear and urgent. The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act was the obvious statute. It is like grafting onto a tree something which is not of the tree but which is capable of doing the job without interfering with the tree.
We have examined my Bill in detail. If the amendment is pressed to a Division the noble Lord, Lord Kilbracken, will be my Teller and therefore both 1632 sides of the House join together on the Bill. I wish it were the case that if the Bill passes the Report stage and Third Reading its provisions will become applicable. However, that will not be the case; the Bill must go through the same procedures in another place where it will be examined. Therefore, there is no question of something being rammed down the throat of the photographers' association of the noble Lord, Lord Brain, without all the preparation and thought that the other place can give to it, as we have tried to give to it.
But this is the beginning. The House of Lords does not have many functions and it does not have a great many powers. However, it happens to exist and it is within this House that we can set Bills such as this on their way. I know that the noble Lord, Lord Brain, is equal to myself in wishing to attain the highest standards, whether under the heading of privacy or anything else. I believe that we should let the Bill go through its stages in this House, let it go to another place and then use any influence and power that we have—whether it is through the photographers' association or the Press Complaints Commission—to influence any alteration which will remove some of the objections.
I hope that the noble Lord will not push the amendment to a vote. However, if he does, I hope that my noble friends and noble Lords on all sides of the House will see that the Bill is a helpful way of putting on the statute book a provision that is necessary. However, because of time and the problems involved, that cannot be done overnight by the usual government procedure. I hope that the noble Lord will have second thoughts and agree to act in that way. I hope that he will pursue his objections through another place, where at the end of the day the real power lies. The Bill having gone so far in this House—having had First and Second Readings and a Committee stage—I would not like it to be sabotaged in such a way that the real, genuine and valuable thoughts behind it cannot go their normal way.
It is with that hope that even at this late stage I ask the noble Lord, Lord Brain, who is a friend of mine and who I respect greatly, to see his way clear at this late stage not to interfere with the progress of the Bill, whatever might happen to it in the future.
§ Baroness Wharton
My Lords, while I have every sympathy with the noble Lord, Lord Harmar-Nicholls —and he knows that because we have spoken on numerous occasions—I can only repeat what I said in Committee. The Bill deals with the privacy of the individual and his or her ability to take action under the law. Therefore, it should be part of a privacy law and not part of the Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988.
I know that it is not the intention of the noble Lord, Lord Harmar-Nicholls, to sign the death warrant of photo-journalism but, in effect, that is what the Bill will do. Simply having to gain the permission of subjects on film—
§ Lord Harmar-Nicholls
My Lords, perhaps I may intervene. I wish to assure the noble Baroness that, having examined the consequences that will flow from the Bill with the Public Bill Office and various other 1633 sources, there is no question that it can interfere with the legitimate processes that the photographers of this country have at the present time.
§ Baroness Wharton
My Lords, I was going on to say that, because the noble Lord and I had a conversation in which he said to me that the Bill in no way interferes with legitimate photographers. They can carry on as they are. I would like to accept that, but this Bill opens the door to possible litigation. The courts could be overburdened with complainants trying to prove that they had been seriously damaged. I emphasise that they will be trying to prove that they have been seriously damaged. The great majority of photographers work for any one particular group of newspaper and/or magazines and are paid by them accordingly. But it is much easier to get an injunction against the photographer because, after all, he or she is just an individual. However, in most cases the reward for serious damage would be very little.
Why should the newspaper or periodical which publishes a picture construed as highly offensive be able to hide behind the individual who has taken the picture, which of course has no value until it is published? I believe that our anxiety is really about the paparazzi and just how we should deal with that type of photography. In trying to address the problem, the Bill inadvertently sucks in the legitimate photographers who cover all kinds of situations. Could not the Press Complaints Commission be strengthened and through it more pressure brought to bear on newspapers and magazines who pay for and publish this kind of material? After all, the fruits of this kind of photography are not in the interests of any of us and there should be a better way of preventing publication. I know that the Government are working on a press control and privacy consultation paper and I look forward to reading it. However, I hope that we can strengthen the controls that we already have and not have to resort to yet another piece of legislation.
§ 7.45 p.m.
§ Lord Burnham
My Lords, I apologise to your Lordships for missing the start of the debate. Your Lorclships have debated so succinctly today that I was caught out. However, I was present throughout the Committee stage of the Bill. On Second Reading a racing metaphor ran through the discussions. My noble friend Lord Harmar-Nicholls referred to his failures as a tipster. The Minister described herself as an old grey mare. That being the case, I cannot think what she used to be.
I believe that the racing metaphor is appropriate in several respects. I suggest that my noble friend is unwise in entering this rather modest hurdler for the Gold Cup. He may also have entered a gelding for a classic race, something for which it is not eligible. The race for which he has entered it is, of course, the Copyright, Design and Patents Act. The feeling that something must be done to defend privacy will receive universal approval in this House. However, in the words used on Second Reading, there is an inevitability that 1634 photographs will intrude upon people's privacy. As was said by the noble Lord, Lord Brain, the lawyers will have a field day with the wording,cause serious damage to".My noble friend Lord Harmar-Nicholls, in his wish to do something about privacy, may have let himself be a little run away with. The central theme of the noble Lord, Lord Brain, is that the Bill is flawed and impossible to implement. I believe that it would do little to improve the privacy of individuals. That problem is immensely difficult and far from simple.
I am among those who believe that it is important to maintain the freedom of the press and if it is humanly possible to control abuse by a voluntary code of conduct, which undoubtedly comes under the auspices of the noble Lord, Lord McGregor. The voluntary code of conduct is vital. However, in the face of the Royal photographs taken in Spain and in the light of what we learnt this morning about the Buckingham Palace complaint to the Press Complaints Commission, even I find difficulty in maintaining the principle that we must stay with that code. With regard to the Spanish pictures, there is a gleam of hope in the fact that they have not yet been published. However, I believe that no Act in British law can prevent such pictures being taken and published abroad.
Even now, the effect of restricting the freedom of a photographer to take and to market his pictures must be looked at very carefully. One of the most dangerous aspects of the Bill is that it seeks to control improper publication in the photographic field without touching upon potential abuses in other areas.
We are looking, hoping and waiting for a properly constructed Bill on privacy which will assist in this regard. But surely no part of it should be taken in isolation. There is no difference in principle between intrusion by photographs and intrusion by words; they should be treated equally with regard to privacy. A picture may have more impact but that is about all.
In Committee I underlined the importance of the ability of the press and television to publish, even if they are damned as a result of that publication, for the punishment of wickedness and vice. The Watergate case, in picture and word, is perhaps the most conspicuous example of the correct use of the power of the press to expose wrong-doing, even if it has now become something of a folk legend. However, there are many other instances. It was the ability of the late Robert Maxwell to bully the media by the use of the threat of libel that allowed him to conceal his known improper activities. They were known throughout Fleet Street, although not in the degree to which they eventually came out. However, considerable improper activities were known of for some time. That was in spite of the laws in relation to privacy and libel as they stand at the moment. To render those laws even more draconian against a photographer and against an editor or a reporter, except as part of a comprehensive whole, and without the very greatest care, would be immensely damaging in connection with prosecution for wrongdoing and with the proper conduct of affairs.
As I say, many noble Lords may doubt the will of the press to stick to the voluntary code of conduct but the 1635 wording of the amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Brain, that the Report should be received in six months' time, given its literal meaning, will give breathing space for the preparation of a comprehensive Bill on privacy which can be refined and discussed both in your Lordships' House and in another place.
§ Lord Harmar-Nicholls
My Lords, will the noble Lord concede that while the amendment refers to the Report being received in six months' time, taken literally, that means that if the amendment is carried that is the end of the Bill and we shall have to wait for whatever length of time it takes for something as good or better to be put in its place?
§ Lord Burnham
My Lords, I thank my noble friend for that comment. I would stick to the words of the noble Lord, Lord Brain, that as the Bill stands, it will be impossible to implement and that it will provide a field day for the lawyers. I support the amendment.
§ Lord Greenway
My Lords, I too apologise for not being present at the earlier stages of the Bill. I was otherwise engaged. Had I been able to be present, I should have certainly supported my noble friend Lord Brain.
The noble Lord, Lord Harmar-Nicholls, with all his practised years of parliamentary oratory, has done a splendid job in trying to support his Bill. But I am afraid that he leaves me unconvinced. I share the great anxiety of many photographers who feel that the Bill is too open-ended and, indeed, under certain circumstances, they could be caught by it. For example, what would be the position if someone quite innocently took a photograph in the street which contained, in the background, a gentleman with a lady on his arm who was not his wife, and he objected and took action under the Bill? Such circumstances are not dealt with by the Bill.
The noble Lord, Lord Harmar-Nicholls, seeks merely to restrict the activities of the so-called paparazzi. If so, the Bill should have been drafted more narrowly. Perhaps mention should be made of selling photographs which may damage for specific gain.
The noble Lord mentioned the privacy law in France which was introduced in 1985. I understand that that is also rather vaguely drafted and has given rise to not inconsiderable problems. I do not believe that we wish to repeat that.
On the infringement of privacy and how difficult it is to prove, I go on from what my noble friend Lord Brain said to say that in many cases the people who will be offended by the photographs and who will try to take action under the Bill will be the same people who would make full use of the photographs from the same photographers if it happened to suit their purpose. Many of those people thrive on publicity. We should not ignore that fact.
Finally, I agree with my noble friend Lady Wharton that machinery exists in the Press Complaints Commission. We should look much more closely at reinforcing those procedures and, if need be, come forward with a scheme for fining newspapers which 1636 publish the offending photographs. As I said at the outset, I believe that the Bill is far too vague, despite what the noble Lord says. It is much better to wait until a properly thought-out measure comes before the House.
§ 7.55 p.m.
§ On Question, Whether the said amendment shall be agreed to?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 24; Not-Contents, 13.
|Division No. 1|
|Addington, L.||Jeger, B.|
|Airedale, L.||Jenkins of Hillhead, L|
|Brain, L. [Teller.]||Lawrence, L.|
|Burnham, L.||Mackie of Benshie, L.|
|Colnbrook, L.||McGregor of Durris, L.|
|Darcy (de Knayth), B.||Monkswell, L.|
|Dean of Beswick, L.||Rea, L.|
|Dundonald, E.||Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.|
|Glenarthur, L.||Tordoff, L.|
|Greenway, L. [Teller.]||Walpole, L.|
|Grey, E.||Wharton, B.|
|HolmPatrick, L.||Williams of Crosby, B.|
|Balfour, E.||Kilbracken, L. [Teller.]|
|Denham, L.||Monson, L.|
|Hacking, L.||Norrie, L.|
|Harmar-Nicholls, L. [Teller.]||Stoddart of Swindon, L.|
|Hesketh, L.||Strange, B.|
|Howell, L.||Taylor of Blackburn, L.|
§ Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.