Conservative leadership candidate Kemi Badenoch has said the online safety bill is “not in a position to become law” as the government confirmed that the final stages of the legislation have been delayed. Former minister Badenoch, who today moved into the second round of voting in the Conservative Party leadership race, said postponing the bill was the “right move”. He added that if he were successful in his bid to become leader, he would “make sure the bill doesn’t go too far.”
In response to earlier reports that the legislation had been delayed, Ms Kemi Badenoch tweeted: “This would be the right move. The bill is not in a position to become law.” Sunak and Mordaunt lead the way after first round. “If I’m elected prime minister, I’ll make sure the bill doesn’t go too far. We shouldn’t legislate to hurt feelings.” Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, who oversees the bill’s passage through Parliament, responded: “What part of the bill legislates to hurt feelings, Kemi?”
Ms Kemi Badenoch is supporting Foreign Secretary Liz Truss in the Conservative leadership contest. The purpose of the online safety bill is to legislate rules on how online platforms must deal with harmful content. The bill is currently at the reporting stage and was due for a third reading in the House of Commons next week. But handing over the trade statement to MPs on Thursday, House of Commons Leader Mark Spencer made no mention of the online security bill as part of next week’s business.
The prime minister’s official spokesman later said the bill is delayed due to parliament’s limited time in the run-up to the summer recess. “There is, as the summer break approaches, limited time,” he said. “There is a wide range of competing demands that need to be considered before the House adjourns. They include the Northern Ireland Protocol. “Part of Kemi Badenoch at that time will be spent on the vote of confidence. We’ve seen before that there are prioritization decisions that need to be made right now.” The bill is expected to be introduced in the autumn, once the new prime minister takes office, the PA news agency reported.