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 Mr Nigel Lawson Mr Nigel Lawson , Blaby 12:00 am, 8th July 1976

I have heard nothing tonight to support that contention.

The hon. Member for Penistone drew attention to the discrepancy between the relatively cursory examination of the Sex Discrimination Bill and the rather more detailed scrutiny of this Bill. I think that was a fair point, but the way in which he dealt with his argument was somewhat puzzling. He became confused between that distinguished eighteenth-century philosopher, Jean Jacques Rousseau—who, incidentally, invented the social contract, a phrase borrowed but so often distorted in its use by the Labour Party—and that third-rate Marxist existentialist, Jean-Paul Sartre. That did not help the course of our deliberations. One of the dicta of Sartre was that hell is other people. That may be what the Home Secretary is thinking tonight. Indeed, it may be what some of us think when confronted with the hon. Member for Penistone.

The dictum to which the hon. Gentleman alluded was a different one. Sartre said that to attack somebody on the grounds of race was particularly wicked because, unlike political affiliation, it could not be changed. But Clause 12 has nothing to do with attacking anybody at all.