Consensus needed to pass Digital Economy Bill


Consensus needed to pass Digital Economy Bill

Ian Grant

The controversial Digital Economy Bill will not go forward without "consensus", Harriet Harman, the leader of the House said today.

MPs will still be able to suggest changes to contentious parts of the Digital Economy Bill when it goes through a committee stage before parliament rises for the election on 6 May, Harman said.

Harman said a "super-affirmative" process would provide MPs the same opportunities to propose amendments and vetoes as a traditional committee stage of a bill.

Draft regulations would also stand for 60 days after thresholds for alleged piracy and other aspects were negotiated, she said.

The bill will allow courts, directed by the secretary of state, to issue injunctions to block website and internet users that allegedly infringe copyright online.

Harman said the bill had already spent 10 days under scrutiny in the House of Lords, more time than any other bill.

Introducing the bill, culture minister Ben Bradshaw said the Lords had made more than 700 amendments.

Shadow culture secretary Jeremy Hunt called the bill a weak and dithering attempt to protect the creative industries and a catalogue of ducked decisions to strengthen the sectors it claimed to help.

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