Borough Freedom (Family Succession) Bill [HL]

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 9:28 pm on 24 April 2002.

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Photo of Baroness Buscombe Baroness Buscombe Shadow Minister (Home, Constitutional and Legal Affairs) 9:28, 24 April 2002

My Lords, I thank the noble and learned Lord, Lord Mustill, for introducing this Bill and for his very eloquent and interesting explanation of its purpose and the wrong that it seeks to remedy. In essence, it would end primogeniture so that where the son of a freeman may claim to be admitted as a freeman, the daughter of a freeman may likewise claim to be admitted. It would remove any requirement that may exist limiting admission to the freedom of persons born within a borough's boundaries. As we have heard, the Bill does not seek to reintroduce admissions by gift or purchase. Nor does it deal with honorary freemen or freemen of the City of London.

This is a simple Bill, which addresses a small point. That said, it contains an important principle in that it confronts and removes an element of unjustified sex discrimination from the Local Government Act 1972. Her Majesty's Opposition are wholly supportive of the Bill and we wish it well in what we hope will be a rapid passage both in your Lordships' House and in another place.