Extent, commencement and short title

Part of Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:00 pm on 22nd January 2019.

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Photo of Barbara Keeley Barbara Keeley Shadow Minister (Mental Health and Social Care) 3:00 pm, 22nd January 2019

Absolutely, I agree with my hon. Friend. On Second Reading, I said that the Bill should be paused, while we wait for the Government’s response to the Mental Health Act review. Every time I mention this, there is a groan from the Government Benches. We should not be rushing these complex areas. Even senior judges find the interface between the two pieces of legislation very difficult. We should not be introducing legislation that will be out of date almost immediately.

The impact assessment was produced over six months ago and it is now out of date. We have no idea how much the proposals in the Bill will cost or how much they will help to reduce the backlog of applications. We are being asked to debate and vote on the Bill now, and it is difficult with a six month old, out of date impact assessment. Even in the original impact assessment, it was unclear where some of the costs came from. The Government have not adequately explained the cost of their proposals. In the last sitting, I asked a series of questions about implementation. I would be grateful if the Minister could write to me with responses to those important questions.

We have heard constantly in our debates about how things will be included in the code of practice. On the first day of Committee, the Minister said that she would supply an outline of what it will contain. We only saw that document last night. An outline of what areas will be covered does not give us the full idea of what the code will contain. To some extent, it is better than nothing, but we have no idea of the detail. We cannot be asked to agree to a new system when so much of the detail is yet to be published. We need Parliament to approve the code of practice, rather for it to be taken through in a method that is near impossible to stop. If there are problems with the code of practice, we should be examining the Bill and the code of practice side by side. We will press the amendment to the vote.