Oral Answers to Questions — Sex Equality

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 7th February 1974.

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Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton Mr Willie Hamilton , Fife West 12:00 am, 7th February 1974

asked the Prime Minister if he is satisfied with the co-ordination between the Departments of Education, Employment, the Home Office and Social Services in the implementation of Government policies on equality of rights for men and women.

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

Yes, Sir. There is close and frequent consultation between the Departments concerned on implementation of the Government's policies to promote equal opportunities for men and women and to eliminate unfair discrimination on grounds of sex.

Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton Mr Willie Hamilton , Fife West

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that when the Leader of the House said that he would introduce a Bill on this matter in a matter of weeks few hon. Members believed that that would ever come about? Is the right hon. Gentleman further aware that the Leader of the House has been deceiving and depriving women all his life—[Interruption.] I withdraw the latter part of that question. Does the right hon. Gentleman recognise that he deceived women when he came to power, and that he is deceiving them as he goes out?

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

The Government published their proposals in "Equal Opportunities for Men and Women". The House will be interested to know that we received comments on the proposals from about 300 organisations and more than 1,000 individuals. There has therefore been a widespread response to the request that there should be a public debate on this matter and that views should be formulated. It is unfair to accuse my right hon. Friend of deceit. He will be introducing a Bill directly Parliament resumes.

Photo of Sir Harmar Nicholls Sir Harmar Nicholls , Peterborough

On the question of equal rights, will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that after the election the men and women of Peterborough confidently expect the Government to play fair by them and give them their proper reward for being good neighbours to London and accepting London's overspill under the new towns procedure?

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

I congratulate my hon. Friend on the ingenuity of his question in view of the Question on the Order Paper.

Photo of Mr Edward Short Mr Edward Short , Newcastle upon Tyne Central

Has the Prime Minister read the Labour Party's document on discrimination? If he has not, I shall send him a copy and he can read it in the long period of leisure ahead of him.

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

I congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on taking over the leadership of his party. The Government have put forward a very good policy and it is obvious that it has the support of the electorate.