Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill [Lords]

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:35 pm on 18th December 2018.

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Photo of Gareth Snell Gareth Snell Labour/Co-operative, Stoke-on-Trent Central 6:35 pm, 18th December 2018

I am sorry, but I cannot give way.

My other area of concern is the independence of advocates. I am fortunate to have a family who can speak up if a relative were ever in such a situation, but there are countless people across the country who do not have somebody who can stand up for their best interest and represent what might be right for them. The Bill contains no provision properly to strengthen the independent advocacy rights and make them robust so that everybody who might be subject to the liberty protection safeguards is able to be represented and have their views considered, which is important. [Interruption.] The Minister is nodding, and I would welcome it if she could offer some sort of guidance and further clarity on how the Bill will deliver that. From where I sit, from what I have read and from the evidence given to me by social workers, there are several holes in the Bill that do not stand up to scrutiny.

I suspect the Bill will get its Second Reading, and I hope several of those holes will be identified and considered in Committee. At the moment, my fear is that the Bill is well intentioned but simply does not bear scrutiny. There is therefore a potential for exploitative people to take advantage of vulnerable people and, as a Parliament, we must make sure to address that.