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Schedule to Be Inserted as Schedule Aa1 to the Mental Capacity Act 2005

Part of Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 6:54 pm on 12th February 2019.

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Photo of Barbara Keeley Barbara Keeley Shadow Minister (Mental Health and Social Care) 6:54 pm, 12th February 2019

I do not have time, I am afraid.

The Government have consistently tried to push the Bill through as fast as they can, with minimal consultation. It should be clear that stakeholders are united in thinking this a poor piece of legislation, and on many issues the Government have failed to address their concerns. On Second Reading in the House of Lords we heard the Bill described by Baroness Barker as

“one of the worst pieces of legislation ever brought before this House.”—[Official Report, House of Lords, 11 December 2018;
Vol. 794, c. 1247.]

The Bill may have improved slightly, but there has been too little progress for us to support its becoming law. It would enshrine a fundamental conflict of interest and weaken the current safeguards of people without capacity.

It was clear from the start that the Bill was intended to shift the costs of authorising deprivation of liberty away from the state and on to private providers. This matter is too important for us to pass a Bill that we know will not work properly simply because Government budget cuts have created a problem. The Government chose to continue to cut local council budgets; as a result of that lack of resourcing, tens of thousands of people are being deprived of their liberty without authorisation. Letting the backlog build up was a political choice, but this Bill is not a solution. It will not adequately protect people’s human rights, and replacing one bad system with another will not be progress. If the Government were serious about protecting people’s liberty, Ministers would have paused the Bill, which we called on them again today to do, and given local authorities the resources they need to address the backlog. They could then have given this matter the time, consultation and consideration it needs before beginning a new Bill that does not weaken the protections that vulnerable people rely on.

I thank members of the Public Bill Committee, our excellent Whip, all the hon. Members who contributed to this shortened debate tonight and, particularly, the Clerk to the Committee. I urge right hon. and hon. Members to join us in voting against this flawed piece of proposed legislation that undermines the human rights of vulnerable people who lack capacity.

Question put, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

The House divided:

Ayes 299, Noes 241.