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Commons Amendment

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:45 pm on 17th November 2004.

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Photo of Baroness Hayman Baroness Hayman Labour 4:45 pm, 17th November 2004

My Lords, the noble Earl, Lord Ferrers, made what I think was a very good Second Reading speech on a proposed Bill to set up arrangements to deal with couples and family members who live together in relationships other than marriage and civil partnerships. But inherent in that Second Reading speech was the problem inherent in the amendment proposed by the noble Baroness, Lady O'Cathain.

I urge the noble Baroness to look at the success that she has had in raising consciousness about inequalities and injustices that undoubtedly exist. What has been achieved so far should be used as the basis for taking forward a parliamentary campaign in which we can give, as legislators, proper scrutiny and consideration to the immensely complex issues involved, even in the skeleton arrangements outlined in her amendment.

I would urge that we should behave as responsible legislators in this revising Chamber. It is not responsible to try to legislate in haste and on the tailcoat of other legislation that is dealing with a specific issue on areas of complexity and importance that other parliamentarians need to consider in great detail.

The noble Earl just spoke about the Hunting Bill. It seems to me that that is a very good Baldrickian cunning plan for dealing with all sorts of related issues to different legislation. We could have an amendment on the Hunting Bill proposing that it should not come into force until the Secretary of State has brought forward a scheme to deal with factory farming or fishing or all sorts of other animal welfare issues that people think need to be addressed. We do not have time—I hope that there is not time—for anyone to take this forward as a manuscript amendment.

The withdrawal of the original amendment shows that we do not have a situation in which a Bill can simply be extended to deal with another category of cases. If we do not have that, we should not attempt to deal with it in this legislation. We should accept that a great deal has been achieved in highlighting injustices and take that forward in a separate way.