Equality Bill [HL]

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:15 pm on 9th November 2005.

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Photo of Baroness Ashton of Upholland Baroness Ashton of Upholland Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Constitutional Affairs) 3:15 pm, 9th November 2005

My Lords, as my noble friend Lord Morgan will know from earlier stages of the Bill, one thing I am keen to avoid is ending up with our having to ensure that we have covered every single group covered by the commission in every aspect of the Bill. The noble Lord, Lord Lester of Herne Hill, made it clear that the job of the commission is to work to protect effectively some of the most vulnerable groups in society. I am always anxious to avoid giving an impression in legislation that, because we have not written everybody else in, they are somehow not covered.

I was searching, working hard with very committed officials, for somewhere in the Bill where I could make the point without running the risk that I have just outlined. I cannot find it. These amendments do not work technically. I have made my commitments and believe that the noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley, will be comfortable with them because they are as strong as any commitment one will ever get from the Government. They are genuine commitments and I hope, on that basis, the noble Baroness will feel able to withdraw her amendment.