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Queen’s Speech — Debate (2nd Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 12:41 pm on 9th May 2013.

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Photo of Baroness O'Cathain Baroness O'Cathain Chair, EU Sub Committee B - Internal Market, Infrastructure and Employment 12:41 pm, 9th May 2013

I could never have said it as well as that, but I thank my noble friend.

What is likely to be the reaction of those who have been made summarily redundant and have to rely on food banks to tide them over until they can access benefits, of those thousands of young people whom I have already described, who are living in a state of deep concern, and of pensioners holding steadfastly to values who are suffering from receiving no interest on their savings and the rising costs of energy, when they witness the Government pushing ahead on a Bill that does not address any of those areas? I will tell you what they are probably thinking: have the Government lost their reason? They must have done so to justify the emphasis on redefining marriage while all else is in an unstable and worrying state.

I believe that it is a deeply flawed Bill and a deeply concerning attack on the values of great swathes of the population. Where is the pressure coming from? Are the Government taking any notice of the widespread antipathy to the redefinition of marriage? It is a wrong Bill, and it beggars belief that the Government have wantonly decided to push it through at any time, let alone when we are in such a parlous state.

Marriage must be supported and valued, not dismantled. For the sake of the future of marriage in this country, I urge the Government to admit graciously that this has been a great mistake and drop the Bill.