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 Lord Waddington Lord Waddington Conservative 3:45 pm, 9th November 2005

My Lords, I join those who have already expressed concern about the amendments. No one who has followed the Bill's progress through the House can doubt that when legislation seeks to make discrimination or harassment unlawful very complicated issues arise. I am sure that I am not alone in worrying about an amendment dealing with such discrimination being put before the House at this late hour, and by the suggestion that the law should be changed by regulations that cannot be amended. I hope that the least we can expect from the Government is that there will be extensive consultation before regulations are brought before the House. Perhaps the matter could be dealt with in that way. Some of our fears would be alleviated if we had the opportunity to see the shape of the regulations before they are put before the House for a vote. I agree entirely with my noble friend Lady O'Cathain that one would wish to see that the regulations provided some safeguards for religious communities.