Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Committee (5th Day)

Part of Health and Social Care Bill – in the House of Lords at 5:00 pm on 14th November 2011.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Mawhinney Lord Mawhinney Conservative 5:00 pm, 14th November 2011

I am a just a simple Belfast boy. Archbishop of York seems pretty good to me; most of the clergy I know can only fantasise.

The timing of this debate is important in that it reinforces the message that my noble friend got the last time this was debated in this Chamber. I hope that he will tell those who tabled the amendments that they are premature. If he does, he will need to tell them that he will take away the contents of this debate and the previous one and bring back, in whatever way the Government think is appropriate, a means to attach the principle of education and training to this Bill. He knows that I hope that he will do that, but I hope that he is encouraged that I share the views expressed that this is not yet the time.

The noble Lord, Lord Owen, has addressed particularly well the element of perplexity and perhaps confusion in the NHS about the Government's intention. My noble friend and his colleagues keep going on about the Future Forum. I am sure that it is doing a fine job, and no word of criticism about it will cross my lips-except to say, as a simple Belfast boy, that in a democracy it seems to me that the role of this House is to try to persuade Ministers; it is not its role to try to persuade those who are going to try to persuade Ministers. The Future Forum may have an important role, but I would like us to discharge our role quite clearly. The noble Lord, Lord Owen, has the experience of having served in Cabinet, and I have been extremely fortunate and blessed to have had a similar experience. If my noble friend or the Secretary of State can go to the Dispatch Box and say, "I undertake that there will be legislation", and specify the Session, we will all believe him. However, if that is not possible, it adds to the importance of bringing forward at least the principle to get this issue into this Bill.

Those of us who are in favour of education and training but want to support the Government are not entirely clear whether we should be tempted by Amendments 47A, 47B or 133, and I have to say to the noble Baroness, Lady Finlay, that I am not tempted by her Amendment 199A. But at some point this House has to make a decision, so I hope that my noble friend will stand up, look the noble Lords who tabled these amendments in the eye and say, "Thank you, it's been very helpful and I've heard what you've said. I'll take it away and I'll bring something back on Report, which I hope will satisfy the whole House". In the mean time, I hope that noble Lords will not press their amendments.