Clause 2 — Meaning of "charitable purpose"

Part of Point of Order – in the House of Commons at 3:30 pm on 25th October 2006.

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Photo of Ed Miliband Ed Miliband Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office) 3:30 pm, 25th October 2006

If the hon. Gentleman had been a little more patient, I would have come on to some of the practical ways in which the Charity Commission deals with humanist organisations.

I shall now explain why the amendment is not only unnecessary but undesirable. The hon. Member for Oxford, West and Abingdon tried to mount a compelling argument, but I did not think that he clarified the way in which belief is defined under the Human Rights Act. Actually, it is not defined under the Human Rights Act. As I understand it, the Human Rights Act reference to belief has been relied on for cases of non-discrimination, as my hon. Friend Tom Levitt pointed out. If public resources are being made available, however, the order of magnitude is different. We would want to be assured that we were not opening up the definition, through the use of the phrase "religion or belief", to a wide and uncertain class of individuals or organisations.

I am struck by the debate in the other place, in which Lord Phillips—I do not know whether he is still in the other place—