Amendment 292E

Part of Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill - Committee (10th Day) (Continued) – in the House of Lords at 11:00 pm on 22 November 2021.

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Photo of Baroness Stowell of Beeston Baroness Stowell of Beeston Non-affiliated 11:00, 22 November 2021

My Lords, I am very grateful to my noble friend the Minister and to all noble Lords who have spoken today. First, in response to my noble friend’s last couple of points, of course I will withdraw this amendment, and I am grateful to her for agreeing to the meeting requested by the Catholic Union and for including in that meeting a Minister from the Department of Health and Social Care. Having been requested, it is important that that meeting goes ahead and provides an opportunity for a discussion on these issues from that single perspective. As she has already said, it is very encouraging that Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Dame Cressida Dick have initiated this working group to look at the issues arising from the events of that tragic day.

The debate this evening has been remarkable. I have found it quite moving. I was very unsure about tabling this amendment, if I am honest. I hesitated quite a bit about it, and then after I had tabled it, even with the support of the noble Baroness, Lady Masham, I kept thinking, “Oh God, is this the right thing to do?”, but I thought it was important that we had an opportunity to debate these matters. As I said earlier in my opening remarks, I genuinely felt that it was important for us to stand up and say, “This is important”, rather than just accept it as something that happened and move on.

The result of that seems to have been noble Lords expressing views and raising points that I had not even thought about and elevating the importance of this issue. In addition to what the Minister has already agreed to, it would be proper for her to give further thought to how we can explore its importance even more. I think it was the noble Lord, Lord Coaker, who suggested that the Government facilitate the dialogue between the various different religious faiths. As the right reverend Prelate, to whom I hope I did justice to at the beginning, said, this is not just about the Catholic faith but about how we address some of these bigger issues, which really do need to be considered. As a society, we have to make sure that the things that are really important to us as human beings and to our cohesiveness as communities are recognised and given the attention and weight that they deserve by those of us in positions of power to make these things happen.

Again, I am grateful to all noble Lords and I look forward to sitting down with the Minister and the representatives of the Catholic Union. Until then, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 292E withdrawn.