Work and Families Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:15 pm on 25th April 2006.

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Photo of Baroness Miller of Hendon Baroness Miller of Hendon Shadow Minister, Trade & Industry 5:15 pm, 25th April 2006

My Lords, first, I thank both noble Baronesses who supported the amendment. I say to the Minister, who suggested that I might not be very happy with his reply, that I am not sure he will be happy with my response to it. I shall have to read Hansard carefully to be absolutely certain, but I think that he said something to the effect that employers would not be particularly happy and they would find it complicated if they got notification from the mother that their employee was the father. That is quite contrary to what those who have briefed me have said. I will take to them what the Minister said, and I will bring this back again at Third Reading.

Given that the consultations will finish after the Bill has passed and the regulations will come in even later, we are having to pass this Bill at a very early stage, which is not the correct way of doing things; even more so with a Bill that had a Grand Committee stage when we could not divide. The first opportunity to explore it properly is Report stage, which would be the normal time when we would divide rather than go to Third Reading. However, in these circumstances, I want to take away what the Minister said. I absolutely reserve the right to bring this back at Third Reading, because it is unsatisfactory. The consultations are not finished, and the regulations will not come until later.

I heard exactly what the noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley, said about fraud, but I refer her to the Sunday Times article of 26 March. I am really surprised, given that it says,

"Ministers have been forced to", that the noble Lord has not consulted Meg Munn. I would have thought that he would have done so, so that we could have had a definitive answer. We all know that newspapers do sometimes get things incorrect. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.