Clause 1 - Sunday working: shop andbetting workers in Scotland

Part of Sunday Working (Scotland) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:45 am on 26th March 2003.

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Photo of Alistair Carmichael Alistair Carmichael Shadow Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change) 9:45 am, 26th March 2003

I think that we have reached that point in the debate when everything there is to say has been said, but not everybody has said it. In the interest of completeness, I indicate the support of the Scottish Liberal Democrat party for the Bill and I, too, commend the hon. Member for Greenock and Inverclyde for having got it to this stage.

The hon. Member for Aberdeen, North referred to the religious aspect. Although it is proper that the provisions are not solely restricted to those who have a religious objection to working on a Sunday, Scotland approaches the issue from a particular traditional and cultural perspective, as the hon. Member for Galloway and Upper Nithsdale said, and it is right that Sabbatarians, of whom there are still a substantial number north of the border, should be given this sort of protection. Their rights should be respected.

Perhaps a different procedure is followed for private Member's Bills, but the Bill does not appear to contain a declaration of compatibility with human rights legislation—such things normally come from the responsible Department. Perhaps the hon. Member for Greenock and Inverclyde or the Minister could say whether that has been considered. I have no doubt that the Bill complies with human rights legislation, but it does not contain such a declaration. I am less familiar with the Committee procedure for such Bills than the hon. Member for Greenock and Inverclyde.