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Lord Boyce: My Lords, I share in the compliments paid to our Armed Forces for the work that they have done in Sierra Leone. It has been outstanding. Will the Minister comment on what value the future network-enabled capability would have added to that operation, if it was available, given the operation's reliance on interpersonal skills and good basic infantry skills?

Baroness Crawley: My Lords, I hope that your Lordships will forgive me, but that is quite a detailed supplementary on which I shall get back to the noble and gallant Lord.
 
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Lord Astor of Hever: My Lords, in the light of the withdrawal of the UN peacekeepers, what steps are the Government taking to monitor the situation? If trouble were to flare up again, what action would be taken?

Baroness Crawley: My Lords, the post-UN situation in Sierra Leone, about which the noble Lord, Lord Astor, asked me, involves a number of stages. As I said, we are assisting until 2010—that is the plan; obviously, it is reviewed annually—with the training of Sierra Leone's own forces, the training of armed forces to protect the external borders of Sierra Leone and the training of the police force, which will undertake much of the internal protection and security work.

Beyond that, we are also working with the African Union because, as the noble Lord will know, it has been developing the concept of standby forces, which will be made available to various of African regions. They are African forces that come under a standby unit and will be made available to five African regions. That has been developed by the African Union.

Disability Discrimination Bill

Lord Ashley of Stoke asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): My Lords, the Disability Discrimination Bill underwent pre-legislative scrutiny earlier this year. The committee reported on 27 May, and we are grateful for such a comprehensive and thoughtful contribution to the debate. We published our response in July. The timing of the introduction and Second Reading is a matter for the business managers' usual channels, but we remain on track to complete our manifesto commitment to introduce comprehensive and enforceable rights in this Parliament.

Lord Ashley of Stoke: My Lords, I welcome the statement that the Government remain on track; it will satisfy a lot of people. Millions of disabled people have been disappointed and frustrated at the delay. There are enormous amounts of discrimination out there, which leads to loss of opportunity, division, bullying and so on. I have one further fear: that the Bill may be squeezed out because of the pressure of new legislation after the Queen's Speech. Can the noble Baroness say anything helpful on that?

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: My Lords, my noble friend is absolutely right about the significance of the Bill. The regulations that this House accepted a few months back, which came into effect in October, have fully extended civil rights to disabled people in the
 
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fields of employment and services. The Bill will extend full civil rights to disabled people in the field of transport and give them full rights as active citizens. So he is absolutely right to highlight its importance.

I repeat that the progress of the Bill is a matter for the usual channels. However, I am confident that the Bill will complete its parliamentary passage before the end of the next Session and will not affect at all our expected timetable for implementation, which is what matters to disabled people.

Lord Tebbit: My Lords, would the noble Baroness be surprised to know that this is a part of Labour's manifesto that I fully support? Since, I think, that is the general attitude in the House, will it be possible to get the Second Reading in during this Session in order that we can take advantage of the carry-over provisions, which might assist in making good the pledge that the noble Baroness has just made?

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: My Lords, I am always delighted to have unexpected allies. However, the noble Lord, Lord Tebbit, is fully experienced in the ways of both Houses. He knows that the timing of legislation at First Reading and Second Reading is a matter for the usual channels.

Lord Carter: My Lords, is my noble friend aware that the Bill fulfils the criteria for carry-over laid down by the House because, as she said, it has received pre-legislative scrutiny? I appreciate that agreement must be reached on carry-over. It may help my noble friend and the House to know that, when I was the opposition spokesman on social security and disability, we co-operated with the then government by taking the Second Reading of a very important social security Bill on a Friday. So a precedent exists. The Bill will help some 10 million disabled people in the UK. I hope that the Government and the usual channels can give it the priority it deserves.

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: My Lords, I agree that we want the Bill to have the appropriate priority. I have always found the Opposition constructive and helpful—usually helpful, anyway—on this and other Bills. I look forward to having the same degree of constructiveness in our relationship on the Disability Discrimination Bill as we are currently enjoying on the Pensions Bill.

Lord Addington: My Lords, will the Government assure us that they will not only manage to get the Bill through; they will also ensure so far as possible that we have sufficient time to discuss the Bill and that that is worked into their plans? As the noble Baroness knows, the issue has aroused much interest and many diverse issues. We have been discovering new information as we go through that process.

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: My Lords, again, the number of Committee sittings is a matter for the usual channels. However, as my noble friend said, the Bill has enjoyed pre-legislative scrutiny. I hope that if such
 
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scrutiny is as valuable as we all believe it to be, it will allow for fairly rapid discussion in Committee because so much has already been explored.

Baroness Wilkins: My Lords, the transport provisions of the Bill will rely heavily on regulation powers. Can the Minister assure me that the Government will publish those regulations at the same time as the Bill?

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: My Lords, we intend to consult on the proposals of the draft regulations during the passage of the Bill. I reassure my noble friend that I expect my colleagues in the Department for Transport to make an announcement soon on that, on the refurbishment regime and on the end date, which I think is the primary concern—in other words, by what date adaptions to rail vehicles, in particular, will make them fully accessible to disabled people—and thereafter to consult further on the matter.

Human Tissue Bill

Report received.

Clause 1 [Authorisation of activities for scheduled purposes]:

Baroness Neuberger moved Amendment No. 1:


"( ) Subsection (1)(d) does not apply to the storage of relevant material for the purpose of education and training relating to research if—
(a) the material has come from the body of a living person, and
(b) the education and training relating to research falls within subsection (12).
( ) Subsection (1)(f) does not apply to the use of relevant material for the purpose of education and training relating to research if—
(a) the material has come from the body of a living person, and
(b) the education and training relating to research falls within subsection (12).
( ) Education and training relating to research falls within this section if it is to be, or is, carried out in circumstances such that the person carrying it out is not in possession, and not likely to come into possession, of information from which the person from whose body the material has come can be identified."

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, in moving this amendment, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 6, 8, 9 and 66. The effect of Amendment No. 1 and the spirit of the others would be to deal with the question of education and training relating to research on tissue taken ante mortem. The present drafting requires that consent be obtained for education and training relating to research when it does not require it for other education and training or for tissue taken ante mortem and anonymised to the researcher, where research ethics committee approval has been gained.

This causes real difficulties in the teaching of health professionals. I am not a health professional but I have spent most of my working life around health
 
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professionals and am convinced that the requirement to get consent for anonymised tissue for education and training relating to research makes it virtually impossible for clinical teachers to teach students of medicine, nursing and other health professions, and it requires to be changed.

In teaching hospitals, for instance, clinical instructors move freely from education and training relating to human health to education and training relating to research. The reason is that medicine and other health professions are increasingly evidence-based, as we would wish them to be. That evidence must come from research. As those who are teaching explain and demonstrate techniques and theories, they are bound to criss-cross from what is technically now education and training relating to human health to what is technically, or might be argued to be, education and training relating to research. That might be, for instance, looking at a slide, where one might be talking about the specific instance of a slide relating to a particular clinical condition, or how one would construct a research project looking at slides of that kind. We are likely to see among clinical instructors here confusion and considerable worry about whether people are committing a criminal offence. In education and training relating to research, it would not be usual to gain research ethics committee approval any more than one does for any other kind of education and training.

The amendment would allow education and training relating to research to proceed without consent if anonymised to the researcher and ante mortem. The noble Baroness, Lady Murphy, very powerfully made the point in Committee that we are using the concept of consent wrongly in some of the requirements in the Bill. She argued that we were talking about prospective research of the sort that one would be arguing through and testing out in a research ethics committee. This is much more about the kind of education and training that goes between techniques and ways that one might construct a trial. She was absolutely right to say that we are thinking incorrectly about that. I beg to move.


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