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Lord Henderson of Brompton: My Lords, before the noble Lord sits down, I asked him specifically whether he would kindly refer my anecdote to the top brass in Whitehall.

Lord Henley: My Lords, I apologise. Obviously I shall pass it on to my colleagues in the Ministry of Defence and they will ensure that it is passed on to the appropriate authorities there. I give my noble friend (if I may call him so) my assurance of that.

10.9 p.m.

Baroness Turner of Camden: My Lords, I thank noble Lords who have contributed to the interesting debate this evening. I am glad to say that in the main the speeches made in the debate have mostly been supportive of the Bill. I am grateful to noble Lords who contributed their considerable expertise to the debate. Not unsurprisingly, I suppose, my views remain as they were when I first introduced the Bill this evening. I am grateful to the Minister for once again reiterating the Government's view that they are against discrimination and they believe that it should be opposed by all people of goodwill. Apparently they believe, as they did last time round, that persuasion is enough to accomplish what we all want.

I do not believe that. As I said earlier when I introduced the Bill, it is my belief that the law can change behaviour. We have had to have legislation in the past to do away with discrimination on other grounds: of disability, gender and race. There is no reason why we should not add another piece of

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legislation to that which we have already, designed to prevent discrimination against vulnerable people. And of course we are talking about people who are extremely vulnerable.

As to the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Monson, I agree with my noble friend Lord Rea that most of what he said did not really affect this Bill. It is essentially an employment Bill. It is about discrimination in employment against people because of sexual orientation. We have made that absolutely clear. All those who spoke in support of the Bill acknowledged that.

And that is the situation in regard to the Armed Forces. My own position on the Armed Forces is quite clear: I am opposed to discrimination and I am opposed to the Government's recent pronouncements in that regard. But that matter is being dealt with through the European Court of Human Rights. There is every possibility, or so I am informed, that the issue may be raised in the other place as a result of an amendment to the Armed Forces Bill. So there will no doubt be an opportunity to discuss it.

I share the views expressed by the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, in regard to the Armed Forces. During the war, quite obviously there must have been people of homosexual orientation in the services, as a result of

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conscription. Quite clearly there were homosexuals who were extremely brave. Certainly I remember my late husband, who was himself a war hero, telling me that one of the pilots in his squadron had been homosexual--an extraordinarily brave man, who was shot down and killed. My husband had every respect for him and for the fact that though he was homosexual and different from the others, nevertheless everybody worked together because they were conscious of the common danger. I really do find the Government's attitude in these matters quite unacceptable.

However, as I said earlier, this is an employment Bill. It is concerned with public and private employment. The issue of the Armed Forces will no doubt be with us again, either as a result of moves being made in another place or as a result of a reference to the European Court of Human Rights.

I have very little further to say, except that I wish to pursue this Bill. Again I thank those who participated in this interesting and extremely supportive debate. I simply ask the House to give my Bill a Second Reading. I commend it to the House.

On Question, Bill read a second time, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.

        House adjourned at thirteen minutes past ten o'clock.

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Official Report of the Committee on the

Deer (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill [H.L.]

Wednesday, 6th March 1996.

The Committee met in the Moses Room at half past three of the clock.

[The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Brougham and Vaux) in the Chair.]

Clause 4 [Marauding deer]:

Lady Saltoun of Abernethy moved Amendment No. 33:

    "Page 3, line 33, after ("authorisation") insert (", and after making all reasonable efforts to consult the landowner and occupier of the land in question or their agents or servants,")

The noble Lady said: In moving this amendment I wish to speak also to Amendments Nos. 52, 54 to 56, 60 to 63, 67, 68, 72 and 74. When the Select Committee met in Edinburgh I asked the chairman of the Red Deer Commission why only the occupier was to be notified or authorised and not the owner. He replied that one of the big problems was that owners lived in the south of England. They were on their deer forests for only three weeks of the year and were very hard to reach in an emergency. Their factors often lived a long way from the scene of action.

That is very often the case, but by no means always. I can think of many large deer forests where the factor lives and works on the estate. Everyone knows who he is and his telephone number. I can even think of some where the owner lives on the estate. However, there is someone who is always on the estate except when he is away on his annual holiday, and that is the stalker. He is probably the best qualified person to do any shooting required, with the minimum of suffering to the beasts involved, especially if it is at night.

The amendments are not designed to prevent the commission acting unless it has the consent of the owner. They are merely designed to ensure that some attempt is made to consult the owner, factor or stalker about the problem and to give them the chance to do the job themselves. Probably only a telephone call followed by a fax would be necessary. There can be few, if any, stalkers nowadays who do not have a telephone and most factors have faxes as well. Scarcely any delay need be involved, except of course at the weekend. I do not believe that the deer commission works at weekends any more than anyone else.

In the case of Clause 4 I think and hope that the amendment is unnecessary because the clause only replaces subsection (1) of Section 6 of the 1959 Act. Subsections (2) to (8) still stand and I believe that subsections (2) and (3) cover the point. Clause 7 is a completely different matter. It is a new clause and has no mitigating subsections of the 1959 Act. I beg to move.

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The Earl of Mar and Kellie: If the Minister is considering taking Amendment No. 33 on board, I am very worried about the wording and the use of the word "servants". It gave me an apoplectic moment when I first saw the word. However, when I looked through the 1959 Act, I found that I was due another apoplectic moment on discovering that even the Red Deer Commission has servants. It reminds me of the trial of Lady Chatterley's Lover where the QC said that it was not a suitable book for anyone, let alone his servant, to read. Even in 1962 that terminology was past its sell-by date. We have enough problems getting incoming landowners to recognise and accept the conventions of landowning in Scotland without continuing to use the word "servant". Surely "staff" would be the most appropriate broad term. It has two merits: it is better for the image of landowning in Scotland, and it has a less detrimental effect on the recruitment of estate staff. Few of them can enjoy living with the charade of subservience. Will the noble Earl assure us that when the Act comes up for consolidation such terminology will be altered?

Lady Saltoun of Abernethy: I have to tell my noble kinsman that the word was only put in because it mirrors the wording in the 1959 Act. Whether it will be possible to put in something that the noble Earl will find slightly less offensive, I do not know; I am not very good at legal terminology. Although it slightly worried me at the time we put it in, I do not think that prospective stalkers read the Act before considering whether to apply for a job.

The Earl of Mar and Kellie: May I reply to my noble kinsman - if that is the correct terminology? While enjoying my second apoplectic moment, I noted that the 1959 Act was full of references to staff as "servants", so I began to understand why the amendment was written in the way that it was.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch: Whatever terminology is eventually chosen for these amendments, I support them. I would have thought it crazy for any future commission to try to carry out some of the activities that are envisaged by these clauses without consulting the stalker. I can think of no better way of infuriating the stalker and many of his friends locally than for this kind of activity to be envisaged without involving him fully. Once again, I would not want to be part of the raiding party if the local stalker had not been fully advised. Therefore, I support the amendments.

Lord Glenarthur: I, too, wish briefly to support the amendments. The important words are "reasonable efforts". I quite understand that it will not be possible in every case, but those concerned should certainly make their very best efforts to consult. I very much endorse the amendments.

Lord Mackie of Benshie: I am a little doubtful about this, quite apart from the wording which is a nice touch. I should have thought that "agent" was enough to discuss. It is all very well to put in a word like "servants" that goes right down the scale, but elsewhere in the Bill there is considerable provision for consultation with the owner. We are talking about an

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emergency situation as such, and obviously the commission would try to get hold of the factor, but how far down the scale should one go? Obviously the stalker knows, but it is not his responsibility. If one cannot get hold of the factor or agent--call him what you will--one should proceed. The term is too wide, and if we stick it in all over the Bill it will give a wrong impression.

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