Friday, 5 December 2014

Defeat in the Lords but we keep fighting

Thank you for taking the time to use our campaign website, to contact a peer and encourage them to support Baroness Howe’s amendment to the government’s Consumer Rights Bill.  Lady Howe’s amendment required all ISPs and mobile phone operators to provide their customers a service free of adult content unless they opted in to receive it and made provision for robust age verification to guard against abuse of the system.

So many people responded that we estimate that every peer received at least one email of encouragement.  Lady Howe was delighted with the level of support that she had received and asked me to pass on her thanks.

Sadly the amendment was not carried with 65 peers voting for it with 124 voting against.

As the Government did not support the amendment, we always knew that an early vote would be crucial to success and, unfortunately, the debate went on into the evening by which time many non-government peers had gone home.

It is deeply frustrating that, at the end of the day this should come down to something as capricious as timing rather than the quality of the arguments.  There were great contributions from Lord Cormack and Lord Framlingham who both defied their Party whips and voted for the amendment.

Although disappointing we should also take encouragement from the result.  The majority of Peers spoke in favour of the amendment and in her summing up Lady Howe noted: “each time one puts pressure on the Government, it improves the situation”

The peers who voted for the amendment included Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrats and cross-benchers.  Clearly this is an issue which transcends party boundaries and shows the strength of feeling on this issue.  You can read the debate here, beginning on page 35.

Thank you once again for your support which, had timings been different, would have carried the day.  All is not yet over and we look forward to being able to write to you with the good news of statutory protection in the not too distant future.

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