Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill [HL] - Committee (3rd Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:45 pm on 22nd October 2018.

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Photo of Baroness Barker Baroness Barker Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Voluntary Sector) 6:45 pm, 22nd October 2018

I have to disagree with the noble Baroness, Lady Finlay. Mark Neary had to resort to the law, not to a code of practice, to get his son out of a place where he should never have been detained. We need to have further discussions about what needs to be in the Bill and the role of regulation and the code of practice. I think she has a fundamentally wrong take on this. This is about legal protection for very vulnerable people. That sometimes has to be in a brief outline in law. It has to be stated in the Bill that a person has to be spoken to face to face. We can then go on to put a load of stuff in the code of practice about how we do that.

To pick up the point made by the noble Baroness, Lady Murphy, I think this is a terrible Bill containing huge holes and some real problems. If the Government take the tack they took last time, we may be able to improve it substantially, but we are in danger of putting one bureaucracy in place of another bureaucracy, and the only difference between the two is that there are far fewer protections for the most vulnerable people. We would be somewhat negligent to go ahead on that basis. I cannot approach the Bill in that way.