Qualifying Bodies

Part of Clause 12 – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 8th July 1976.

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Photo of Nicholas Winterton Nicholas Winterton , Macclesfield 12:00 am, 8th July 1976

I shall heed your warning, Mr. Deputy Speaker, and I shall come to the amendment. It seeks to delete the two words "or facilitates". I fully support the amendment because it reduces the scope of this legislation and, therefore, is indeed a useful amendment.

My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Beaconsfield mentioned two organisations that would be affected by the provision—namely, the Pony Club and the Jockey Club. Indeed, it is true that other sporting clubs will be affected. It is appalling to think that such organisations will be subject to this oppressive legislation. I believe that these provisions are irrelevant and unnecessary.

If my understanding of the clause is correct, it means that any authority or body which confers an authorisation or qualification in certain respects will be discriminating against a person if it jeopardises his livelihood. This will happen when there is evidence that tends to show that he or she, or any employee or agent, has practised unlawful discrimination. What a hotch-potch it all is. In my view, this provision will be an informer's charter. Indeed, the clause contains the ingredients of "1984". It could so easily turn friend against friend and citizen against citizen. In the end, nobody will trust his neighbour. For that reason, the amendment is of considerable benefit to the country in trying to improve what is an outrageous Bill.

I have no time for race relations legislation, but I appreciate that in this debate we are trying to improve the Bill. I do not believe that the purpose for which the Government are promoting the Bill would be in any way damaged by omitting these two words. I hope that the Home Secretary, who is now present, will comment on the situation. Indeed, I hope that the Government will agree to accept the amendment.