Results 541–560 of 823 for speaker:Robert Walter

Public Bill Committee: Adoption and Children Bill: Clause 47 - Applications for adoption (29 Nov 2001)

Robert Walter: What has emerged from the debate is the fact that all of us on both sides of the argument are concerned about putting the primary interests and welfare of the child foremost. We must take into account the fact that this is a judgment that society is making on what is the most suitable environment for nurturing children who have been put into the care of local authority or put forward for...

Public Bill Committee: Adoption and Children Bill: Clause 47 - Applications for adoption (29 Nov 2001)

Robert Walter: The difference is that I am concerned, on child welfare grounds, about putting a child into a relationship of that nature. In terms of a family relationship, it would be totally alien, particularly to a young child. I was about to say that I have been consistent on this matter and that it was on such a basis that I voted against lowering the age of consent. I do not believe that we should be...

Public Bill Committee: Adoption and Children Bill: Clause 47 - Applications for adoption (29 Nov 2001)

Robert Walter: No, I intended no disrespect to our respective wives. We have to accept the world as it is. There are hundreds and thousands of men and women across the country who are living together in stable family relationships. We would do a disservice to children if we ignored that fact.

Public Bill Committee: Adoption and Children Bill: Clause 41 - Child to live with adopters before application (29 Nov 2001)

Robert Walter: I was not—at least, I hope that I was not—suggesting that one size fits all. I had hoped that the amendments would convey to the Minister that a certain minimum time should be common across all cases. I hoped that good practice would probably indicate an appropriate time in particular cases, rather than prescriptive time limits being imposed that could lead to delay. In a quest for...

Public Bill Committee: Adoption and Children Bill: Clause 41 - Child to live with adopters before application (29 Nov 2001)

Robert Walter: The Minister is correct; I am looking for simplicity by wanting 13 weeks, but that would be a minimum. I would expect that the courts would take account of the other matters when considering whether to make an adoption order. If the court felt that enough time had not elapsed, and I am sure that the adoption agency would have come to the same conclusion, more time would be required. I suggest...

Public Bill Committee: Adoption and Children Bill: Clause 41 - Child to live with adopters before application (29 Nov 2001)

Robert Walter: The Minister may be moving on to this, but let me give an example of what might be regarded as an agency case: the prospective adoptive parents might be the child's foster parents. They would not qualify for the 10-week period under the Bill; they would have to wait six months. There is surely a discrepancy in that regard.

Public Bill Committee: Adoption and Children Bill: Clause 41 - Child to live with adopters before application (29 Nov 2001)

Robert Walter: I beg to move amendment No. 25, in page 25, line 20, leave out `ten' and insert `thirteen'.

Public Bill Committee: Adoption and Children Bill: Clause 41 - Child to live with adopters before application (29 Nov 2001)

Robert Walter: I hope that there will be no confusion over these amendments, because they seek to remove confusion. I was perturbed to read the clause, because as a reasonably intelligent Member of Parliament, I found it peculiar that different time factors related to different forms of prospective adopters. If I find that confusing and muddling, heaven knows how prospective adopters might find it,...

Public Bill Committee: Adoption and Children Bill: Clause 18 - PLACING CHILDREN WITH PARENTAL CONSENT (29 Nov 2001)

Robert Walter: Is the Minister not aware that, in evidence laid before the Committee, the Adoption Law Reform Group asked that as part of proceedings the child, subject to his or her age, should have to consent, or refuse to consent, to the adoption? Several important bodies have been involved in the sittings: the Association of Directors of Social Services, the British Agencies for Adoption and Fostering,...

Public Bill Committee: Adoption and Children Bill: Clause 18 - Placing children with parental consent (27 Nov 2001)

Robert Walter: I am now a little more confused. Is the Minister saying that the unmarried, natural father of the child has rights, but that a stepfather who adopts a child does not?

Public Bill Committee: Adoption and Children Bill: Clause 18 - Placing children with parental consent (27 Nov 2001)

Robert Walter: The amendment is not dissimilar to one tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Huntingdon but it is obviously in the context of this clause. This is an important amendment because it introduces the words ``with reference having been made to the expressed wishes of the child himself''. Unfortunately when we were considering the amendment tabled by my hon. Friend for Huntingdon this morning, I...

Public Bill Committee: Adoption and Children Bill: Clause 1 - Considerations applying to (27 Nov 2001)

Robert Walter: I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment. Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Public Bill Committee: Adoption and Children Bill: Clause 1 - Considerations applying to (27 Nov 2001)

Robert Walter: We have had a useful debate. I hope that both sides can agree that this is a question not of political correctness but of what is best for the interests of the child. Heaven forbid that we get bogged down in debates about what is politically correct, or what that term means. I am often accused of being politically correct because of my views on anti-discrimination measures.

Public Bill Committee: Adoption and Children Bill: Clause 1 - Considerations applying to (27 Nov 2001)

Robert Walter: When we reach new clause 2, I hope that we will talk at length about whether that is politically correct. I will talk now about the amendment to clause 1 and I will answer some points that have been raised. I am sympathetic to the point made by the hon. Member for Romsey about whether the fact that a child had been baptised into the Christian faith should be a factor. I come back to the...

Public Bill Committee: Adoption and Children Bill: Clause 1 - Considerations applying to (27 Nov 2001)

Robert Walter: Will the Minister confirm that she used the term ``checklist'' intentionally? I used it in my speech and was surprised that she used it. Is she suggesting that adoption agencies use a checklist of factors?

Public Bill Committee: Adoption and Children Bill: Clause 1 - Considerations applying to the exercise of powers (27 Nov 2001)

Robert Walter: I thank the hon. Lady for her intervention because she has made my point for me. If we were to leave the matter at clause 1(4), especially paragraph (d), I would be content. My problem is that subsection (5), which is much more prescriptive, has been added. If, as the hon. Lady has pointed out, we are simply considering ``the child's age, sex, background and any of the child's characteristics...

Public Bill Committee: Adoption and Children Bill: Clause 1 - Considerations applying to the exercise of powers (27 Nov 2001)

Robert Walter: I did not say that at all. If a child has a particular religious background—a baptism would obviously be a significant event in such a background—that should be taken into account. However, it does not necessarily need to be on a checklist that the adoption agency considers. I challenge the hon. Lady to produce statistics on the number of very young children who have been baptised or been...

Public Bill Committee: Adoption and Children Bill: Clause 1 - Considerations applying to the exercise of powers (27 Nov 2001)

Robert Walter: I thank my hon. Friend for his intervention. His point was made differently from the way that I made mine but it was made effectively none the less. If children are entering a new environment with new adoptive parents, we should not make them carry a badge—a badge of religious persuasion—that may not be suitable as they go through life. In fact, being baptised into one part of the...

Public Bill Committee: Adoption and Children Bill: Clause 1 - Considerations applying to the exercise of powers (27 Nov 2001)

Robert Walter: I have the record of my hon. Friend's comments in the Select Committee in April open in front of me. I have no doubt that we will hear from him again as we debate the amendments. I do not want to detain the Committee too much longer, but we are concerned about the interests of the child. The adoption of a younger child should not be delayed because of time spent investigating its supposed...

Public Bill Committee: Adoption and Children Bill: Clause 1 - Considerations applying to the exercise of powers (27 Nov 2001)

Robert Walter: My reasons for tabling the amendment are those of all Members of Parliament: we represent our constituents and, in doing so, we want to do what is best for children.


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