Orders of the Day — Civil Partnership Bill [Lords]

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:38 pm on 12th October 2004.

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Photo of Ann Widdecombe Ann Widdecombe Conservative, Maidstone and The Weald 3:38 pm, 12th October 2004

I hope that the hon. Gentleman and hon. Lady will forgive me, but I am under some time pressure—[Hon. Members: "There is no time limit on speeches."] The pressure does not arise from any time limit, as I am about to explain.

If we want to keep marriage unique we should vote against this Bill. That is not to say that I do not recognise that the law contains certain unkindnesses that could and should be addressed in other ways. However, when we address them we should not restrict our efforts to one group, and certainly no effort in that regard should take the form of this Bill.

Madam Deputy Speaker, may I apologise to the House for the fact that I will not be present for the wind-up speeches? In case anybody accuses me of wimping out, I sincerely hoped that I would be able to get back for the vote but I have an urgent and completely unavoidable engagement which, owing to circumstances beyond my control, is now imminent. I apologise for that: when I asked to speak in the debate, it was certainly not my intention to miss the vote. However, I wanted to be able to make a clear statement of the fact that I believe in the uniqueness of marriage. I am prepared to address injustices, but not through aping marriage.