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I am not going to go down that route today. The Lord Chancellor does not often grace the House with his presence on Justice Bills any more, or take part in these debates, so it is almost as though he has absented himself from the legal world entirely. We wish him good luck with his future career, whatever discipline he chooses next to address.
I take comfort from the Law Society’s belief that
“the Bill has been poorly drafted and will not prevent meritorious claims being made and won where, in any scenario, negligence and/or breach of statutory duty has been proved.”
The Opposition and, I think, the hon. and learned Member for Harborough are of the view that the Bill will be treated with disdain and polite ignorance by the courts and therefore we do not need to fret too much about it.
I do not intend to press amendments 2, 3, 4 or 6 to a vote. However, because we believe that clause 3—in its intent, if not in its execution—is a harmful, misleading and rather spiteful little clause designed to further attack provisions for health and safety at work, we will press amendment 5 to a vote. On that basis, I beg to ask leave to withdraw amendment 2.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment proposed: 5, page 1, line 9, leave out Clause 3.—(Mr Slaughter.)