Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Earl Russell: Could the Minister go so far as to report this discussion to his right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions?

Lord Rooker: Certainly. The fact that the amendment was tabled and the remarks in favour of it will certainly be drawn attention to. The issue has entered the government machine, so it will certainly be drawn to the attention of my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

Baroness Hamwee: I hope that the Minister will explain that the proposal is not a matter of local authorities discriminating, but of setting best practice, which is very much the atmosphere of local government legislation. It involves facilitating people who have anything to bring to the party to be able to do it, and encouraging them.

Discrimination can take all sorts of forms, some of which do not fall within generally accepted definitions of discrimination. Simply not going out of one's way to help those with a disability to overcome it and contribute what they have to contribute in my view often means that, as a society made up of different communities, we fail to make use of what is available to us. I am thinking not of overt discrimination but of failing to be imaginative and to encourage all members of the community to take part in local government—which, in my view, badly needs fresh blood.

On Amendments Nos. 221A and 221B, I am more reassured on the Minister's second point about numbers than I am about the fact that co-optees are optional. Once the arrangement is in place, it would take a brave local authority to undo it, and I would not particularly want to encourage them to do that. The point that he makes about numbers is a good one. If they cannot do the arithmetic, they may get themselves into other trouble too. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 221B not moved.]

Clause 116 agreed to.

Baroness Blatch: It is now just 7.29 p.m. and we are about to start on a controversial amendment. Is it appropriate to do so when we have another day tomorrow to consider the Bill?

Lord Rooker: I am not prepared to move to adjourn the Committee before the due time because it will be held against me that I did not make full use of all the time available.

Baroness Blatch: The noble Lord did so on the last occasion the Committee met.

23 Jun 2003 : Column GC57

Lord Rooker: We must wait until 7.30 p.m.

Baroness Hanham: This is practically an example of filibustering. Would the noble Lord like to take us through the remaining 30 seconds?

Lord Rooker: I have a little Latin to quote to the Committee—is it Latin or French? The lawyers will tell me—to accompany my comment that this may be a convenient moment for the Committee to adjourn. I have heard the words sine die, but that means "don't ask me", whereas in reality I am adjourning the Committee until tomorrow afternoon.

23 Jun 2003 : Column GC58

I apologise in advance for the fact that I shall not be present. The Government will be led by my noble friend Lord Bassam, ably assisted by my noble friend Lord Evans.

Baroness Hanham: I should draw the attention of the noble Lord to the fact that the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor has recommended that, in legal courts, the term sine die should no longer be used because no one understands what it means.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Murton of Lindisfarne): The Committee stands adjourned until tomorrow at 3.30 p.m.

        The Committee adjourned at half past seven o'clock.

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page