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Mental Capacity Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:30 pm on 1st February 2005.

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Photo of Baroness Knight of Collingtree Baroness Knight of Collingtree Conservative 6:30 pm, 1st February 2005

I am most grateful for that point. In my experience, during discussions outside this Chamber but within this House with people who are in some way impaired, I was very pleased to find that quite a number of them do not lack capacity.

I am not in any way against research. I am trying to say that one must never make use of a person who cannot give consent. In connection with that, European legislation makes it clear that the interests of the patient always—I repeat, always—prevail over those of science and society. It is that that I am so anxious to preserve. I wish we could—perhaps we may—look at the numbers of people who might agree when it is explained to them. Those people can grasp a situation. Many of them want to help. I would not be against using them at all.

My major concern is that it is wrong to use people who are incapable of saying "yes", just because they are there and have a certain condition. That is what is behind this amendment. If I withdraw this amendment, perhaps we may return to my great concern on this matter and try to seek better protection and another way of doing it.