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European Union (Withdrawal) Bill - Report (3rd Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:00 pm on 25th April 2018.

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Photo of Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws Chair, EU Justice Sub-Committee, Chair, EU Justice Sub-Committee 6:00 pm, 25th April 2018

As always, the noble Baroness speaks very warm words, and I am sure the intentions are honourable. But I am concerned, as are others in this House, that this is one of those issues that will be of second order. This is always what happens to women’s issues, such as violence against women and the experience of women. It goes far down the agenda when it comes to the reality of something like trade and other serious matters. This is serious too, so it is regrettable that we are getting only warm words.

I know that the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary have been great speakers on the subject of dealing with violence against women, so it is particularly disappointing that amendments being addressed to matters which they have made their own special concerns are being dealt with so dismissively. It is not taking the issue seriously enough, and it is serious. I had hoped that there would at least have been a promise to come back and put before the House something soon after leaving Europe to say how it was going, and what was happening on this front. That is a disappointment, I must say. I would have thought that it would have been possible before the end of this year, and before we get to the actual crunch time, that the Minister would call a meeting of interested parties to consider where we are now, and what the way forward is looking like, so that we could have a clearer sense of that. The women in this country might feel very disappointed if this is not dealt with in a negotiated outcome.

I will not press the amendments just now, and I do not intend tabling them again before the House, but I want to say forcefully that I hope and expect to hear word from the Minister before the end of the year indicating that there will be a meeting for us to gather together those who are concerned about these issues, to consider what is being presented as the way forward and to see whether that is adequate.

Amendment 37 withdrawn.