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The Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill (Bill 003 of 2023-24) is a Government Bill. It was first introduced during the 2022-23 session, on 25 April 2023, as Bill 294 of 2022-23. The Bill was carried over under standing order No. 80A. It was re-introduced during the 2023-24 session on 8 November 2023.

This briefing was published in the last session and refers to the Bill under its 2022-23 title. The remaining stages of the Bill are scheduled for 20 November 2023.

This briefing covers the second reading debate and committee stage of Parts 1 and 2 (including Schedules 1 to 12) of the Bill, on digital markets and competition. Separate briefings cover the Bill’s consumer protection and other measures (Parts 3 to 6 and Schedules 13 to 26 of the Bill) and background to the Bill which are available from the Library briefing page Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill 2022-23.

The Bill

Part 1 of the Bill would create a new pro-competition regime for digital markets. This would include giving the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) the power to designate businesses with strategic market status (SMS) and to impose binding codes of conduct on these businesses.

Part 2 of the Bill would reform aspects of competition law by amending existing UK law on merger control, market inquiries and the cartel offence.

Commons second reading debate

The Bill received its second reading in the House of Commons on 17 May 2023. It was passed without division, with Members across the House supportive of the principles of the Bill.

Commons public bill committee

Commons Committee stage comprised 14 sessions including oral evidence and line-by-line scrutiny between 13 June and 11 July 2023.

The Government made technical and clarifying amendments to the Bill which were supported by the Opposition and passed without division. Labour tabled a number of amendments to Part 1 of the Bill focussing on transparency and scrutiny which were defeated on division.

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