Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc.) Bill - Committee

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 1:15 pm on 1st February 2019.

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Photo of Lord Scriven Lord Scriven Liberal Democrat 1:15 pm, 1st February 2019

My Lords, I find this very difficult because two issues close to my heart are at the epicentre of the amendment. The two issues are about devolution. I am a devolutionist to my fingertips. I support devolution: the concept that people should be able to make decisions close to where they live and work, and to be authors of their own destiny. It is in my political DNA. I support it; I like it. But devolution in itself does not mean that I am not part of a bigger union or a bigger ecostructure, whether in respect of country or region.

I understand that, at times, I have to make decisions within a certain context. That does not mean that I want to whip this decision away from the politicians and communities of Northern Ireland. I would like them to make that decision. But the second issue for me is that I believe fundamentally in human rights and equality. I find it absolutely amazing, when the whole argument about Europe has come down to the backstop and being in one United Kingdom, that my brothers and sisters in part of the United Kingdom are denied the same rights as me. That is why I am struggling with this. I say to the noble Lord, Lord McCrea, that I respect what he says. This is done with respect. I fundamentally disagree with where he is on this issue, but I respect his desire to make that decision. However, there is a fundamental flaw—