Amendment 12

Part of Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill - Report (1st Day) – in the House of Lords am 5:15 pm ar 11 Mawrth 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Baroness Kidron Baroness Kidron Crossbench 5:15, 11 Mawrth 2024

My Lords, I find myself in a slightly awkward position because my name is listed in support of Amendments 23 and 24, but I find the argument of the noble Lord, Lord Lansley, incontrovertible, and maybe he should press his amendment.

On the wording, I want to put on the record the view of Which?:

“This is a legal loophole for big tech to challenge conduct requirements through lengthy, tactical, legal challenges. It would tie up CMA (i.e., taxpayer) resources and frustrate the intent of the legislation. Whilst we agree with the intent of this provision, which is to encourage innovation that will benefit consumers, it is critical that these provisions do not inadvertently give designated firms a get out of jail free card from DMU decisions” by presenting opaque consumer benefits.

I put that on the record because it is so measured in comparison with many of the emails and representations I have had, and still is absolutely categoric that this is a get out of jail card. Like the noble Lord, Lord Lansley, I do not understand why the regulator duty to be

“proportionate, accountable, consistent, transparent and targeted”,

within the context of coming to the conduct requirements and taking up any countervailing benefits at that point, is not adequate. So I will support the noble Baroness, Lady Jones, and, indeed, the noble Lord, Lord Lansley, should he change his mind in the next few minutes.

I also add my support to Amendment 60, tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Fox. I am an enthusiastic supporter of international standards. They provide for soft law and, having worked with the IEEE on a number of standards over the last few years, I see how brilliantly they work to bring disparate people together and provide practical steps for those tasked with implementation. I declare an interest in relation to the IEEE, which gives some funding to 5Rights Foundation, of which I am chair.

The point I leave with the House is that, toward the end of 2022, I had two conversations with companies that will certainly be SMS about why they were now recruiting for employees to work on standards full-time. I believe the CMA should be in the standards-writing game.