Second Reading (Continued)

Part of Equality Bill – in the House of Lords at 6:04 pm on 15th December 2009.

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Photo of Lord Alli Lord Alli Labour 6:04 pm, 15th December 2009

I hope to table an amendment to frame such a debate.

I look at this Bill, and I see possibilities-the possibilities that Martin Luther King talked about in his "I have a dream" speech. You may recall he said that one day he could see,

"the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners", sitting,

"at the table of brotherhood".

I am a descendant of the sons of former slaves, and I know there are descendants of the sons of former slave owners among us. In this Chamber perhaps we can create a table of brotherhood. In this place, we do good, and we have done over the years.

Martin Luther King went on to say that he hoped that his children could live in a nation where they were judged,

"by the content of their character", and not by the colour of their skin; I would add gender, sexuality, age and disability. This Bill is all about that: being judged on the content of our characters. Judge us on who we are and the way we behave. This is an opportunity to make that dream come ever closer to reality. It is a chance to take one step in a journey together; to finish this work, in this Parliament, with a display of the same spirit I have seen over the last 11 years. It is with pride and gratitude, and with hope and great optimism, that I welcome this Bill.