Clause 5

Part of Health and Social Care Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:45 pm on 15th January 2008.

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Photo of Ben Bradshaw Ben Bradshaw Minister of State (Regional Affairs) (South West), The Minister of State, Department of Health 12:45 pm, 15th January 2008

Again, I shall happily and categorically clarify that later, but I imagine that amendments address the need for consistency throughout the United Kingdom, not the substance to which the hon. Gentleman referred.

The Government’s other fundamental problem with the approach of my hon. Friend the Member for Luton, North to the amendment is, as he acknowledged, that public authority goes much wider than just care homes. We are working closely with the Ministry of Justice to find a more comprehensive and sustainable solution to the problem. As my hon. Friend acknowledged, the Ministry is committed to addressing the issue and is bringing forward consultation on the Bill of rights and responsibilities. It will draw on the wide range of expertise in that process in a genuine spirit of consultation. I am sure that both he and other Committee members will want to take an active part in that consultation.

I have some difficulty with the Conservative party’s approach. I thought that its commitment to the Human Rights Act was at best lukewarm, and there was a suggestion some time ago that it would get rid of the Act, but again that may have changed.

In response to my hon. Friend, I hope that he will understand that while I have great sympathy with the motivation behind his amendments, we do not believe that in this context they are the right way of achieving the aim that we all share: protection of people, particularly vulnerable people, in all care homes, including private care homes. In that spirit, I ask him to reflect, and to withdraw his amendment.