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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 Lord St John of Fawsley Lord St John of Fawsley Conservative 2:30 pm, 25th January 2005

I am most grateful to the noble Baroness. I assure her I accept entirely that she has no intention—nor would she have the power—to overturn the basis of English law. Those of us who have expressed concern about this matter are concerned that this amendment does not make clear what the basis of English law is, and does not take it sufficiently into account.

I was most grateful for the intervention of the noble Baroness, Lady Warnock, because she brought us back to the fact that—I am glad that her voice had not entirely given out because what she said was so true and so germane—what we are considering here is not merely a legal quibble but questions of relieving suffering and extending compassion. However, in order to do that one has to find the right language. May I suggest to the Minister that she include in her discussions—this is an ecumenical remark—the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Oxford, who has contributed so much not only to this issue but also to other issues in the difficult field of the relationship between moral theology and the law, and the noble and right reverend Lord, Lord Habgood, the former Primate, who has the astounding mind in this country on this issue? It would be very wise for the Government to make full use of that extraordinary instrument of clarity and intelligence.