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Baroness Carnegy of Lour: My Lords, with the leave of the House, I thank the Minister for giving way. The noble Baroness has said that the Government have taken the matter of domestic violence into account. Does she, with all her experience--the Minister for Women, who also has great experience in this area, is now sitting beside her--appreciate that, where there is domestic violence, the wife will sign the form, and there will be agreement. Unless it is against the law and somebody can do something about it, it will happen. Where there is domestic violence the wife will not refuse to sign; she will agree.

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: My Lords, I believe it will be very difficult to lever open a situation where the woman is so physically or emotionally battered that she colludes with her husband's violence, in the sense of signing forms that she would rather not sign. At present the woman has positively to sign the form for her partner to get the money. If she fails to sign the form or puts in her own form, she will receive WFTC.

I find it difficult to conceive how you can do more to protect a woman in that situation, on the grounds that all she has to do is to take no action and there is a presumption of enquiry and a presumption, ultimately, that the money will go to her. I honestly do not see how we can help if she signs the form, without someone knocking on the door and asking, "Did you really mean to sign it?" If the noble Baroness has any suggestions for meeting that situation, I will be very happy to hear them.

If the woman signs the form, there is no way for any agency to make a distinction between that couple and a couple living harmoniously, unless they go by gossip on the grapevine, newspaper cuttings, black eyes or police reports. I do not think that is a road we can usefully go down. If the woman does nothing, the money will ultimately go to her. In terms of protection, it seems to me that is as far as any more bureaucratic system can devise. If she is so battered in that sense, one would hope that family members would advise her, if necessary, to leave home altogether.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour: My Lords, if it were against the law for the husband to insist that his wife signs the form, in certain circumstances, the woman, having signed the form, because she is too frightened not to, could go to the citizens' advice bureau, which could look into the matter legally. If this matter is not on the face of the Bill, that could not happen. I may be wrong, but that seems to me to be the simple solution.

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: My Lords, we shall check on whether she can subsequently nullify a form which she has already signed on the grounds that she has had a change of mind. My belief is that under

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WFTC that is possible now, but I shall check. If I cannot give the noble Baroness an answer now, I shall write to her. I am hoping that your Lordships will agree that we all want this protection that we have put in place not just for the somewhat rarer cases of domestic violence, but for the wider issues of dispute and default, given that the guidance will be amended as from next year, in response to pressure from noble Lords. I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Astor, will feel able, in the light of that, to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Astor of Hever: My Lords, I thank the Minister for her response. Of course, I am happy to accept her apology on behalf of her noble friend the Lord Privy Seal. Unfortunately, I feel that the response of the Minister fails, by a wide margin, to address the real concerns of women and the professional organisations advising us with regard to domestic violence in the context of this Bill. However, the Opposition, and clearly the Liberal Democrats, take this matter extremely seriously. We are not prepared to leave the matter to chance.

Earl Russell: My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Astor, has used the name of our party. We have listened carefully to the Government's reply. What does the noble Lord think is wrong with it?

Lord Astor of Hever: My Lords, I shall come to that. Maybe I misunderstood the noble Lord's support for us earlier.

We on these Benches and the organisations who work at the coal-face of domestic violence feel very strongly that this matter must be on the face of the Bill. Accordingly, I wish to test the opinion of the House on this amendment.

4.17 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 2) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 113; Not-Contents, 153.

Division No. 1


Addison, V.
Ailsa, M.
Alton of Liverpool, L.
Archer of Weston-Super-Mare, L.
Ashbourne, L.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Belhaven and Stenton, L.
Berners, B.
Birdwood, L.
Blatch, B.
Boardman, L.
Brentford, V.
Bruntisfield, L.
Burnham, L. [Teller.]
Butterworth, L.
Cadman, L.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Carnock, L.
Carr of Hadley, L.
Charteris of Amisfield, L.
Chesham, L.
Clanwilliam, E.
Clark of Kempston, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Cowdrey of Tonbridge, L.
Cox, B.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
Davidson, V.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Dundee, E.
Ellenborough, L.
Elles, B.
Elton, L.
Ferrers, E.
Freeman, L.
Garel-Jones, L.
Geddes, L.
Gisborough, L.
Gray, L.
Hanningfield, L.
Harding of Petherton, L.
Harlech, L.
Harmar-Nicholls, L.
Harmsworth, L.
Harrowby, E.
Henley, L. [Teller.]
Higgins, L.
HolmPatrick, L.
Howe, E.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Jopling, L.
Kinnoull, E.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Knollys, V.
Lauderdale, E.
Long, V.
Lucas, L.
Lyell, L.
Lytton, E.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
McConnell, L.
Mackay of Clashfern, L.
Manton, L.
Marlesford, L.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Molyneaux of Killead, L.
Monckton of Brenchley, V.
Monro of Langholm, L.
Montgomery of Alamein, V.
Mountevans, L.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Moyne, L.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Norrie, L.
Northesk, E.
O'Cathain, B.
Oppenheim-Barnes, B.
Oxfuird, V.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Pender, L.
Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Rawlings, B.
Reay, L.
Rees, L.
Renfrew of Kaimsthorn, L.
Renwick, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Rotherwick, L.
St. Davids, V.
Sanderson of Bowden, L.
Sandford, L.
Sandys, L.
Seccombe, B.
Sharples, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Strathcarron, L.
Strathclyde, L.
Sudeley, L.
Swinfen, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Trumpington, B.
Vivian, L.
Waddington, L.
Wakeham, L.
Westbury, L.
Wharton, B.
Young, B.


Addington, L.
Ahmed, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Alli, L.
Amos, B.
Ampthill, L.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Berkeley, L.
Blackstone, B.
Blease, L.
Borrie, L.
Bragg, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Callaghan of Cardiff, L.
Calverley, L.
Carlisle, E.
Carter, L. [Teller.]
Christopher, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
Colville of Culross, V.
Crawley, B.
Currie of Marylebone, L.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Desai, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dunleath, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Watford, L.
Ewing of Kirkford, L.
Ezra, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Falkland, V.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Geraint, L.
Gilbert, L.
Gladwin of Clee, L.
Glanusk, L.
Glenamara, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grenfell, L.
Grey, E.
Hacking, L.
Hanworth, V.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Hylton-Foster, B.
Irvine of Lairg, L. [Lord Chancellor.]
Jay of Paddington, B. [Lord Privy Seal.]
Jeger, B.
Jenkins of Hillhead, L.
Judd, L.
Kennet, L.
Kinloss, Ly.
Kirkhill, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Longford, E.
Lovell-Davis, L.
McCarthy, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller.]
Mackie of Benshie, L.
McNair, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mallalieu, B.
Marsh, L.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Mishcon, L.
Molloy, L.
Monkswell, L.
Montague of Oxford, L.
Morris of Castle Morris, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Murray of Epping Forest, L.
Napier and Ettrick, L.
Nathan, L.
Newby, L.
Orme, L.
Paul, L.
Peston, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Puttnam, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Rea, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Russell, E.
Sandberg, L.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Sewel, L.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Shepherd, L.
Shore of Stepney, L.
Simon, V.
Simon of Highbury, L.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Strafford, E.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taverne, L.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Taylor of Gryfe, L.
Tenby, V.
Thomas of Macclesfield, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Thornton, B.
Thurlow, L.
Tomlinson, L.
Tordoff, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Varley, L.
Walker of Doncaster, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Weatherill, L.
Whitty, L.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

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