Equality Bill [HL]

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:45 pm on 9th November 2005.

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Photo of Baroness Lockwood Baroness Lockwood Labour 3:45 pm, 9th November 2005

My Lords, I fully support these amendments. I am a little surprised at the way in which the debate is going. Perhaps I should not be surprised, because the kind of thing that is being said now is the kind of thing that has been said every time non-discriminatory legislation goes through Parliament. Fears are raised which are found to be groundless. Arguments are put forward that do not stand up to scrutiny. When an Act is placed on the statute book, we behave in a sensible way in interpreting the legislation. There is understanding that, initially, there might be a few difficulties in coming to terms with some of the minutiae. But we get over those problems. This issue has been before Parliament on a number of occasions, even before this Bill. It has been raised at every stage of the Bill's passage, and there has been ample opportunity to discuss the basic principles and some of the implications arising from it. After previous discussions in the Chamber and consultations with the Government we have come up with a series of fair amendments that meet all the objections. They will work in a practical way when the Bill is given Royal Assent.