Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page


Division No. 3

CONTENTS

Ackner, L.
Ahmed, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Ampthill, L.
Armstrong of Ilminster, L.
Arran, E.
Attlee, E.
Bagri, L.
Blackwell, L.
Blaker, L.
Boothroyd, B.
Boyce, L.
Brennan, L.
Bridgeman, V.
Bridges, L.
Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L.
Brookeborough, V.
Brookman, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Byford, B.
Caithness, E.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Chalfont, L.
Chan, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Cobbold, L.
Cockfield, L.
Coe, L.
Colville of Culross, V.
Colwyn, L.
Cooke of Islandreagh, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Courtown, E.
Cox, B.
Craig of Radley, L.
Cuckney, L.
Davies of Coity, L.
Dearing, L.
Denham, L.
Dixon, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dundee, E.
Elles, B.
Emerton, B.
Erroll, E.
Feldman, L.
Finlay of Llandaff, B.
Fitt, L.
Fowler, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Glentoran, L.
Goschen, V.
Gray of Contin, L.
Greenway, L.
Griffiths of Fforestfach, L.
Harris of High Cross, L.
Harris of Peckham, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Henley, L.
Home, E.
Hooson, L.
Howe, E.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Hunt of Wirral, L.
Hussey of North Bradley, L.
Jauncey of Tullichettle, L.
Jopling, L.
Kimball, L.
Kingsland, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Laird, L.
Lindsay, E.
Liverpool, E.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Lucas, L.
Luke, L.
Lyell, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
Mackay of Clashfern, L.
Maginnis of Drumglass, L.
Marlesford, L.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Molyneaux of Killead, L.
Monson, L.
Montrose, D.
Moran, L.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Moynihan, L.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Newton of Braintree, L.
Northbrook, L.
Northesk, E.
O'Cathain, B. [Teller]
Onslow, E.
Oppenheim-Barnes, B.
Palmer, L. [Teller]
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Pilkington of Oxenford, L.
Platt of Writtle, B.
Plumb, L.
Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.
Quinton, L.
Rawlinson of Ewell, L.
Reay, L.
Rees, L.
Rees-Mogg, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Rotherwick, L.
St. John of Bletso, L.
Sanderson of Bowden, L.
Seccombe, B.
Selborne, E.
Selsdon, L.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Shrewsbury, E.
Simon of Glaisdale, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Stewartby, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strange, B.
Strathclyde, L.
Swinfen, L.
Tebbit, L.
Tenby, V.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Tombs, L.
Trefgarne, L.
Trumpington, B.
Vinson, L.
Waddington, L.
Wade of Chorlton, L.
Wakeham, L.
Walker of Worcester, L.
Walpole, L.
Weatherill, L.
Williamson of Horton, L.
Willoughby de Broke, L.
Windlesham, L.
Wolfson, L.

NOT-CONTENTS

Acton, L.
Addington, L.
Alli, L.
Amos, B. (Lord President)
Andrews, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Bach, L.
Barker, B.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Berkeley, L.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L.
Bhatia, L.
Billingham, B.
Blackstone, B.
Borrie, L.
Bragg, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Burlison, L.
Campbell-Savours, L.
Carter, L.
Chandos, V.
Christopher, L.
Clark of Windermere, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cohen of Pimlico, B.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
Crawley, B.
David, B.
Davies of Oldham, L. [Teller]
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Desai, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dubs, L.
Elder, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Ezra, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Fookes, B.
Gavron, L.
Goldsmith, L.
Goodhart, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grantchester, L.
Greengross, B.
Grocott, L. [Teller]
Hamwee, B.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Harrison, L.
Haskins, L.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howarth of Breckland, B.
Howe of Idlicote, B.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Chesterton, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jeger, B.
Jones, L.
Judd, L.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Layard, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Lipsey, L.
Lockwood, B.
McAlpine of West Green, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
Manchester, Bp.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Marsh, L.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Mishcon, L.
Mitchell, L.
Morgan, L.
Murray of Epping Forest, L.
Newby, L.
Newcastle, Bp.
Northover, B.
Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.
Ouseley, L.
Parekh, L.
Patel, L.
Patel of Blackburn, L.
Pendry, L.
Peston, L.
Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Prys-Davies, L.
Puttnam, L.
Radice, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Rennard, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Roper, L.
Russell-Johnston, L.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Sandwich, E.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Scott of Needham Market, B.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Sheldon, L.
Simon, V.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Smith of Leigh, L.
Stern, B.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Temple-Morris, L.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thornton, B.
Tomlinson, L.
Triesman, L.
Turnberg, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Walmsley, B.
Warner, L.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Winston, L.
Worcester, Bp.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

10 Feb 2004 : Column 1080

5.45 p.m.

Clause 22 [Prohibition on disclosure of information]:

Lord Marlesford moved Amendment No. 4.


    Leave out Clause 22.

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I am relieved that my amendment is less intellectually complicated and certainly less philosophically challenging than the discussions that we have had. Therefore, I hope that I can speak reasonably briefly to it. The amendment seeks to remove Clause 22 from the Bill. To do so would have no effect on the general purpose of the Bill, which is to give official recognition to those who have changed gender. Indeed, I, like other noble Lords, have great sympathy for those who suffer from the medical condition known as gender dysphoria.

Clause 22 makes it a criminal offence for certain categories of people to reveal that a person has changed gender. I believe that Parliament should be wary of creating additional criminal offences; there are quite enough already. Each additional offence, before it is passed, should be subjected to certain, rather obvious, tests. First, is it necessary? Secondly, would it achieve the purpose stated? Thirdly, is it enforceable? Fourthly, do the law enforcement agencies have sufficient resources to enforce it?

I do not believe that Clause 22 is necessary. Those people who come across information on gender change in their official capacities, whether, for example, they be medical people or civil servants, are already bound by ethical conventions, professional rules and laws of confidentiality. No doctor or nurse gossips about his or her patients. Civil servants are bound by the Official Secrets Acts 1911 and 1989. Last

10 Feb 2004 : Column 1081

week, when we had a brief discussion on this amendment, which I did not then move, the Minister, the noble Baroness, Lady Hollis of Heigham, said:


    "Respect for a person's private life means that we must alleviate some of the dangers of humiliation, embarrassment and harassment . . . being reminded of the original gender, being confronted by it regularly, having others knowing that you suffer from the medical condition and knowing that they might be talking about it is [not] conducive to feeling secure".—[Official Report, 3/2/04; col. 665.]

That is absolutely true. Indeed, it applies to many medical conditions, especially sexual or psychological conditions.

Clause 22 does not deal with that. The Minister, the noble Lord, Lord Filkin, very kindly wrote to me yesterday to explain:


    "Clause 22 only applies when information is acquired in 'an official capacity'. No doubt this does mean that gossip and rumour about a person's gender history can continue and is not unlawful when it is conducted by people who have acquired the information in a private capacity . . . The state should not, for the most part, seek to interfere in the content of conversations that take place between friends and neighbours, in coffee shops and living rooms. Any such prohibition would also be almost impossible to police and it would be very difficult to gather enough evidence for the purposes of a trial".

Quite so. The clause does not cover malicious gossip, but it does cover a wide range of people, other than civil servants, who might have totally legitimate reasons for needing to know. It covers anyone involved as an employer, or prospective employer, in the slightly quaint words, anybody involved in "the conduct of business".

If we were talking about employment law on the grounds of gender, as we have heard from the noble Lord, Lord Lester, and from other noble Lords, we already have legislation to protect from discrimination. In his letter the noble Lord, Lord Filkin, tells me that this clause is required by Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Article 8 merely states:


    "Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence",

and then goes on to list exemptions from that right. If we were to legislate to enact the very general provisions of Article 8, almost every Bill would need a Clause 22. Clause 22 does not provide privacy protection where it could be needed, but offers it where it is already provided for. In cases in which anyone might wish to enforce the provision, it would difficult to prove the case, and would use considerable resources that are scarce and needed for the protection of people from real crimes. Such resources would probably be used for little purpose.

With the best intentions, the Government have got themselves into several muddles over this Bill. Indeed, I suspect that they wish that they had tackled the need, which I accept, for official recognition of gender change by a much simpler administrative action. By removing Clause 22, the Bill would fulfil its intention and be a much better one. I beg to move.


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page