Mental Health Bill [HL]

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:00 pm on 19th February 2007.

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Photo of Earl Howe Earl Howe Shadow Minister, Health 4:00 pm, 19th February 2007

My Lords, this has been an extremely good debate. I begin by thanking the Minister for his constructive approach to the powerful speeches made from all quarters of the House. My noble friend Lady Carnegy and the noble Lords, Lord Carlile and Lord Ramsbotham, expressed disappointment that the principles set out in the Committee amendment were not all carried over into the amendment before us.

I readily concede that today's amendment represents a compromise. That is not what I originally sought but I am enough of a realist to know that you cannot get everything that you seek first time around. However, in accepting the Minister's offer to look at a government amendment at Third Reading, I hope that he will consider all the headings in the Committee amendment, which are of great importance individually, I say again. He will recall that that amendment was based very closely on the Scottish legislation, where apparently there is no problem about possible conflict between the Act and the principles.

It is not appropriate for me to say more than that. I will, however, thank the Minister again for having looked at this issue so carefully. I reserve judgment about the government amendment until I have seen it. The point raised by the noble Lord, Lord Carlile, is extremely material in this context. However, from the Minister's description, I think that the formula he suggested will at least meet one objective: the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Adebowale, who brought home to us the importance of trust in the system on the part of those on the receiving end of compulsory detention. I look forward to further discussions with the Minister between now and the next stage of the Bill. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.