Part of Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill - Third Reading – in the House of Lords am 4:15 pm ar 26 Mawrth 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Baroness Stowell of Beeston Baroness Stowell of Beeston Chair, Communications and Digital Committee, Chair, Communications and Digital Committee 4:15, 26 Mawrth 2024

I hesitate to rise, because I realise I am probably testing the patience of the House, having already spoken in Third Reading. I just wanted to say a couple of things.

I thank my noble friends Lord Camrose and Lord Offord on the Front Bench for their work on this Bill. As they will know, this is legislation for which the Communications and Digital Committee has been calling for several years—it started under the chairmanship of my predecessor, my noble friend Lord Gilbert. It is something that I have been pleased to take a very active involvement in, and I am very pleased to support it passing.

As we think about what this Bill is trying to achieve and why, it is worth also remembering why we in the UK are forging a different path from the ones that Europe and the US are on. In the last few days, we have seen the US DoJ launch a major anti-trust lawsuit against Apple. In the EU, the Commission is taking serious measures against some of the big tech firms to make them comply with the spirit and letter of its new Digital Markets Act. Both situations have an ominous sense of being exactly the kind of lengthy legal battles that favour big tech, which we are trying to avoid.

The House has rightly voted on a number of measures to try to ensure that our regulation can work as it is meant to, in a timely, proportionate and less confrontational manner. That is what the Government are seeking to do with this legislation.

As the Bill leaves here and enters its final stage, I emphasise two measures from among the amendments passed by this House. First, the deadline for the Secretary of State to approve CMA guidance is key in keeping things on track and avoiding concerning delays. Secondly, if the Government and the Commons cannot accept the amendments to revert the appeals process on fines back to JR standard, I hope that my noble friends within government will consider putting a clarification in the Bill that the appeals process on fines cannot be changed in ways that undermine the JR standard or open up avenues for more expansive and protracted legal challenge.

That aside, I am grateful to the Government for bringing forward this important legislation. It will mark out our regulatory regime as different from those in other parts of the world that are having such a big impact—and not necessarily in good ways.