Equality Act Regulations

Oral Answers to Questions — Church Commissioners – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 16th April 2007.

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Photo of Peter Bone Peter Bone Conservative, Wellingborough 2:30 pm, 16th April 2007

What recent discussions the commissioners have had on the likely effect of the implementation of the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 on parish ministries in areas of need.

Photo of Stuart Bell Stuart Bell Second Church Estates Commissioner

The Archbishops Council has been giving careful consideration to the effect of the regulations and will be producing general advice. [Interruption.]

Photo of Michael Martin Michael Martin Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission

Order. It is unfair to the hon. Gentleman for hon. Members to make so much noise. I ask them to be quiet. There are only a few minutes to go.

Photo of Peter Bone Peter Bone Conservative, Wellingborough

I appreciate the hon. Gentleman's reply, but does he agree that it would have been better if there had been more discussion about those regulations and Members of this House had been allowed to speak on them before the decision was made?

Photo of Stuart Bell Stuart Bell Second Church Estates Commissioner

That is of course a matter for the House authorities, not for me. I would, however, say that the regulations contain a set of exceptions for religious organisations, broadly equivalent to those in the Equality Act 2006, and it is for individual parishes to decide whether to take advantage of those exceptions.