Clause 5

Part of Health and Social Care Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:30 pm on 15th January 2008.

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Photo of Stephen O'Brien Stephen O'Brien Shadow Minister (Health) 12:30 pm, 15th January 2008

I am grateful to the hon. Member for Luton, North for tabling the amendments and the new clause. We heard a genuine exposition of the reasons why the force of the point carries such impact with so  many Members across the House. I pay tribute to him for being a consistent and sincere advocate of the centrality of human rights, which are core values of what we think and what we pass as law.

The hon. Gentleman will be aware that some of what his amendment would achieve was the aim of a private Member’s Bill brought in during the previous session by one of his hon. Friends. However, the Solicitor-General, the hon. and learned Member for Redcar (Vera Baird), who was then the Minister with responsibility for such matters, chose to talk it out—[Interruption.] The Government Whip continues to chunter from a sedentary position in a partisan fashion. We said at the time that we have always wanted the extraordinarily complex issues raised by the amendment to be considered in detail in Committee. I have a lot of sympathy with the hon. Member for Luton, North when he said that the Government’s response, which was effectively to park the matter until a Green Paper on rights can be produced, is insufficient.