New Clause 12 — Equality Act 2010: third party harassment of employees and applicants

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Attorney-General – in the House of Commons at 4:45 pm on 16th October 2012.

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Photo of John Martin McDonnell John Martin McDonnell Labour, Hayes and Harlington 4:45 pm, 16th October 2012

I do not see how it can be interpreted any differently. The argument has been made that this provision has been included in the Bill for a purpose and that it is all to do with removing restrictions on businesses so that they can be encouraged to be more enterprising and create better profits, which might somehow contribute to tackling the recession. The argument is almost that we cannot afford equality, but our argument is that we cannot afford inequality. That is exactly why we enacted that legislation in 2006. There were strong arguments about not just fairness but efficiency. If there is discrimination against people, sections and groups in society, they cannot make their contribution. That was why we made a strong economic argument for the 2006 Act.