Disability Discrimination

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:18 pm on 17th December 2003.

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Photo of Baroness Amos Baroness Amos President of the Council, Privy Council Office, Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Lords (Privy Council Office) 3:18 pm, 17th December 2003

My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Higgins. He said that a great deal of concern had been expressed about the fact that the Bill would go through pre-legislative scrutiny. My understanding is that when my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions announced in January that we would publish a draft Disability Discrimination Bill, that announcement was widely welcomed. Those doing so included the chair of the Disability Rights Commission. I am not entirely sure what has happened between January and now to change the minds of those who welcomed such a move at that time.

The reason that we have gone down this route is that we want good scrutiny of the Bill to take place. Before a substantive Bill is brought before Parliament, we want to iron out any concerns between the different stakeholders and between the two Houses. I am very pleased that it will be a Joint Committee of both Houses.

With regard to my giving a commitment on a substantive Bill being introduced this Session, the noble Lord will be aware that I am unable to do so. We made a commitment to pre-legislative scrutiny this Session, but I cannot make any commitments in relation to future Sessions because I cannot anticipate the Queen's Speech.