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.