Lynne Featherstone: I give a general welcome to the Bill, but there is a lot of devil in the detail, so much careful work will be required in Committee. There seems to be consensus in the House about the problem, but not complete consensus about the cure proposed in the Bill. I have some concerns about drink banning orders because they will once again move the problem on instead of dealing with the cause. I...
Lynne Featherstone: I accept that people drink themselves silly to get to last orders, but they also do so during happy hours, so the hon. Gentleman's point does not fully explain why that happens. There should be a pause for thought about 24-hour licensing, although the extension is a good idea for those who behave in a civilised manner. The hon. Gentleman's point does not address the reason why people drink...
Lynne Featherstone: I agree with the hon. Lady that there seems to be a British malaise. Additionally, people seem to have an inability to feel the cold when inebriated because they often go round in very little clothing at such times. I understand the idea behind alcohol disorder zones because Hornsey and Wood Green has good voluntary organisations called clubwatch and pubwatch that work together to create...
Lynne Featherstone: Have the Government any plans to introduce religious self-definition alongside self-definition of race in regard to recommendation 61?
Lynne Featherstone: There are so many reasons to oppose the Bill that unfortunately I do not have time to go through them all. However, I have almost complete confidence that the costs will spiral out of control so I put my faith in that. Watching the Prime Minister equivocate about the costs yesterday was our best practical hope, because with spiralling costs comes unpopularity and the Government are sensitive...
Lynne Featherstone: If he will make a statement on the humanitarian situation in Darfur.
Lynne Featherstone: Do the Government recognise that there is now a need for peace enforcement action by the UN Security Council to provide for a substantive increase in the African Union presence in Darfur, and a stronger mandate? Without that, the situation there is so unstable and insecure that hundreds of thousands of refugees and internally displaced people will not feel safe and are unlikely to return.
Lynne Featherstone: Although we all want to see an end to the illegal employment that my hon. Friend describes, is there not a concern that the introduction of a new inspection regime and civil penalties and the documentation provided by the Home Office might discriminate against ethnic minorities being employed by risk-averse employers? I would welcome Government attention being paid to that.
Lynne Featherstone: While I appreciate what the hon. Gentleman is trying to do with this new clause, does not he agree that his argument with the Attorney-General making a judgment might apply similarly to a third party having to judge the tone and content of something?
Lynne Featherstone: The distinction between the belief and the believer depends on the person making the distinction. A good person with love in their heart will be capable of hating the belief and loving the believer. But if a person has hate in their heart, they will be unable to do so.
Lynne Featherstone: It is a great irony that the Bill will penalise those whom it seeks to protect. I have never been worried about jokes or comedians in this regard, but I am worried now. Religion is not some cosy thing that people do. It often preaches hatred and incites people to share such views, even though we might wish that it were otherwise. One of the reasons that there were 2,000 or 3,000 religious...
Lynne Featherstone: Alcohol-related deaths have risen by 18 per cent. across the country, and in some places by more than 40 per cent. Does the Minister accept that this figure is likely to rise again under the new Act?
Lynne Featherstone: Does my hon. Friend also agree that while the power is disproportionate, it could also be used in error? The authorities always say that they know when someone is guilty, but if they are to hold people for 90 days, what would they say to the Birmingham Six, the Guildford Four and Judith Ward, all of whom were accused of being terrorists, but were innocent?
Lynne Featherstone: Whether he plans to bring forward legislation on pension reform in this Parliament.
Lynne Featherstone: Given that the Minister's judgment has been so publicly brought into question in recent times, does he believe that he remains in a position to secure the consensus that he mentioned in a divided Cabinet over the urgent need radically to reform the pensions system?
Lynne Featherstone: If he will make a statement on the human rights situation in Turkey.
Lynne Featherstone: I thank the Minister for his response and we very much welcome the progress made by the Turkish Government in bringing their laws into line with international law. Given, however, that the UK currently holds the EU presidency, do the Government plan to discuss minority rights in Turkey with the Turkish Government?
Lynne Featherstone: What assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the national DNA database.
Lynne Featherstone: I thank the Minister for that answer, but I wonder whether he is aware that earlier this year figures showed that 32 per cent. of all black males in the UK were on the DNA database, but only 8 per cent. of white males. Does he recognise the growing concern about racial profiling and disproportionality in criminal investigations, and will he undertake to find out what underlies those figures?
Lynne Featherstone: It is hard to stand up against the tide of opinion in this country when it is ranged against us. It is also hard in the wake of the terrorist bombing not to react to that fear. However, I believe that the House is at its best when it keeps a cool head and does not abdicate its responsibilities. It was fear in the USA that got President Bush his second term in office. I have to say that I took...