Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:15 pm on 24th July 2000.

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Photo of Lord Alli Lord Alli Labour 7:15 pm, 24th July 2000

My Lords, I do not accept that at all. I hope when the Minister replies that he will certainly affirm that that is not the case.

This is a Bill about local authorities; it is not an education Bill. As every Member of the House knows, we have had that debate. Tonight we have real choices to make about what kind of House this is. Having achieved our aims, do we continue to wreck this legislation or, having concluded our constitutional duty, do we allow the repeal of Section 28 to proceed? We have agreed that marriage and family life are cornerstones of our society. Let us now put away the dogma. Our objectives have been achieved. Let us now extend to others the tolerance and understanding that we try to give to each other in this House. Let us now agree that the time for Section 28 is past. Let us remove from our statute book a piece of gesture politics. I ask your Lordships to vote for the repeal of Section 28, but if noble Lords cannot do so, I ask them to abstain.