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Mr. Maclennan: The Minister's reply was rather disappointing, on more than one count. First, he sought to distinguish between the Government's approach in respect of the clauses that dealt with the Churches and the press. Those undoubtedly put a gloss on convention rights and how they were to be enforced in this country, to secure a greater clarity where some powerful interests in the land felt that their interests were at risk.

The Churches had loud voices. The people whom I am seeking to protect in new clause 10, which is modelled on the Government's new clause, do not have such loud voices. They are the disabled, the aged and minorities with differences of sexual orientation. They are not powerful interests. Their interests need the clarity that the Government have been eager to bring in for the Churches and the press.

Secondly, the argument is that this is not an attempt to widen the protections for these groups in any way other than already provided for by the European convention. As I made plain in my initial remarks, it is not to provide a new protection against discrimination at work because that is not covered by the convention. It is designed simply to ensure that access to the protections that the Government claim are in their mind is not debarred because the status of those groups is not specifically mentioned in article 14.

I was glad that the Minister said that it was common sense that the categories were not closed. If we could rely entirely on the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights and the European Commission of Human Rights on this matter, I should be happy to accept his invitation to let it go at that. However, in all the cases that have been considered, the matter has not been concluded. Our courts are not assisted by being pointed to the European courts. They will have to make up their own minds if the matter arises.

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The right hon. Gentleman makes my point. He seeks to change the substance of the convention rather than merely clarify things. He is dissatisfied with the way in which the courts proceed and, therefore, seeks to change the substance. He is going beyond anything that we have agreed to do in the Bill so far.

Mr. Maclennan: That is a misinterpretation of what I said. What I am saying is that the courts in Strasbourg have not found it necessary to reach a conclusion on these

2 Jul 1998 : Column 570

matters. In several cases, they have decided the issue under another article, although the article 14 rights have been raised. The matter has not been concluded.

The Government claim to be anxious--I do not dispute it--to protect these categories of people against discrimination. As they have subscribed to the Amsterdam treaty provisions, which explicitly mention the appropriateness of European Union member countries offering the protection of our law to those who are disabled or elderly or who might be discriminated against on grounds of sexual orientation, it is perverse not to take this opportunity to put the matter beyond doubt. For that reason, I shall seek to divide the Committee.

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time:--

The Committee divided: Ayes 18, Noes 234.

Division No. 326
[6.57 pm


AYES


Allan, Richard
Ballard, Jackie
Brand, Dr Peter
Burnett, John
Cable, Dr Vincent
Chidgey, David
Corbyn, Jeremy
Harris, Dr Evan
Harvey, Nick
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Livsey, Richard
Maclennan, Rt Hon Robert
Öpik, Lembit
Rendel, David
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Tonge, Dr Jenny

Tellers for the Ayes:


Mr. Andrew Stunell and
Mr. David Heath.


NOES


Ainger, Nick
Alexander, Douglas
Allen, Graham
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E)
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale)
Armstrong, Ms Hilary
Ashton, Joe
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, John
Banks, Tony
Battle, John
Beard, Nigel
Bennett, Andrew F
Bermingham, Gerald
Berry, Roger
Betts, Clive
Blears, Ms Hazel
Blizzard, Bob
Boateng, Paul
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brinton, Mrs Helen
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Cann, Jamie
Casale, Roger
Cawsey, Ian
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Chaytor, David
Chisholm, Malcolm
Clapham, Michael
Clark, Dr Lynda
(Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, Charles (Norwich S)
Clwyd, Ann
Coffey, Ms Ann
Coleman, Iain
Connarty, Michael
Corbett, Robin
Cousins, Jim
Cranston, Ross
Crausby, David
Cummings, John
Cunliffe, Lawrence
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Dalyell, Tam
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H)
Dawson, Hilton
Dean, Mrs Janet
Dobbin, Jim
Doran, Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drew, David
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Ennis, Jeff
Field, Rt Hon Frank
Fisher, Mark
Fitzsimons, Lorna
Flint, Caroline
Flynn, Paul
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Foster, Michael J (Worcester)
Gapes, Mike
Gibson, Dr Ian
Gilroy, Mrs Linda
Godman, Dr Norman A
Goggins, Paul
Gordon, Mrs Eileen
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grocott, Bruce
Grogan, John
Hain, Peter
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hanson, David
Heal, Mrs Sylvia
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Hewitt, Ms Patricia
Hill, Keith
Hinchliffe, David
Hoey, Kate
Hoon, Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Howarth, Alan (Newport E)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Hoyle, Lindsay
Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Hutton, John
Iddon, Dr Brian
Illsley, Eric
Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead)
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jamieson, David
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Miss Melanie
(Welwyn Hatfield)
Jones, Mrs Fiona (Newark)
Jones, Ms Jenny
(Wolverh'ton SW)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak)
Jowell, Ms Tessa
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth)
Kemp, Fraser
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
Khabra, Piara S
Kilfoyle, Peter
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green)
Kumar, Dr Ashok
Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Lawrence, Ms Jackie
Laxton, Bob
Lepper, David
Leslie, Christopher
Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Liddell, Mrs Helen
Linton, Martin
Livingstone, Ken
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Lock, David
Love, Andrew
McAllion, John
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCafferty, Ms Chris
McDonagh, Siobhain
McDonnell, John
McFall, John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McKenna, Mrs Rosemary
Mackinlay, Andrew
McNulty, Tony
MacShane, Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
Mallaber, Judy
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Martlew, Eric
Meacher, Rt Hon Michael
Meale, Alan
Merron, Gillian
Milburn, Alan
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Austin
Moffatt, Laura
Moran, Ms Margaret
Morgan, Rhodri (Cardiff W)
Mullin, Chris
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
Olner, Bill
Palmer, Dr Nick
Pearson, Ian
Pendry, Tom
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter L
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Pope, Greg
Powell, Sir Raymond
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Quin, Ms Joyce
Quinn, Lawrie
Rammell, Bill
Rapson, Syd
Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)
Reid, Dr John (Hamilton N)
Rooker, Jeff
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Roy, Frank
Ruddock, Ms Joan
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Ryan, Ms Joan
Salter, Martin
Sawford, Phil
Sedgemore, Brian
Sheerman, Barry
Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Southworth, Ms Helen
Spellar, John
Squire, Ms Rachel
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr Howard
Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann
(Dewsbury)
Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Timms, Stephen
Touhig, Don
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
Vis, Dr Rudi
Wareing, Robert N
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, Rt Hon Alan
(Swansea W)
Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Wills, Michael
Winnick, David
Wood, Mike
Worthington, Tony
Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, Dr Tony (Cannock)

Tellers for the Noes:


Mr. David Clelland and
Mr. Robert Ainsworth.

Question accordingly negatived.

2 Jul 1998 : Column 572

Schedule 1

The Articles

Amendment made: No. 112, in page 19, line 23, at end insert--


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