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Mental Capacity Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:30 pm on 25th January 2005.

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Photo of Baroness Carnegy of Lour Baroness Carnegy of Lour Conservative 2:30 pm, 25th January 2005

I did not take part in the Second Reading debate but I have listened to the discussion today with enormous interest. I have been very impressed by the quality of thinking behind what all noble Lords have said.

I should like to say something very simple. I am not a professional in any of the fields that have been mentioned—indeed, I am not a professional at all—but, like so many noble Lords, I have had experience of being in the situation we are talking about with a member of my own family and I cannot help being somewhat influenced by that.

I very much agreed with the noble and right reverend Lord, Lord Habgood, when he said, after a period of debate, that we seem to be becoming mired in complexity; that the whole discussion was becoming very complex and was apparently insoluble. We have to be careful about that. I rather longed for the day when we might have gone back to an advance directive not being legally enforceable because that would solve many problems, but I suspect that we are past that stage.

The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of St Albans said what I would like to say, which is that Amendment No. 1 seems to, I think he said, "skew" the effect of the Bill too much from where it is after many years of public discussion and contemplation and of trying to find a way of getting close to the centre of the argument where consensus on a legal framework might be found.

I feel that Amendment No. 1 cannot be accepted. I look forward particularly to hearing what the Minister has to say about Amendment No. 13 in the light of the important questions asked by the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Oxford.