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Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I understand that there are varied and differing views on the current state of the negotiations and on what Europe sees as a viable and desirable outcome. It is important to understand the deal that is on offer. The draft deal would end the current restrictive Bermuda II agreement, which severely constrains UK/US services. For the first time, it would allow UK airlines to fly to any point in the United States, rather than to the current restricted list of destinations, and it would end all limits on frequencies and fares. It would also end the current restriction on access to Heathrow to just two UK and two US carriers and it would allow UK airlines to fly to the US from any other European

14 Mar 2007 : Column 738

member state. So the deal that is on offer, which is under discussion, takes us forward some way. The points made by my noble friend are all important elements of the continuing discussions.

Lord Stoddart of Swindon: My Lords, is this an agreement that the United Kingdom can opt out of or is it the sort of agreement that requires a qualified majority vote? If it does not, are the Government prepared to use their veto if the terms of the agreement do not suit airlines, airports and the British public generally?

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, the noble Lord will know that this is a complex procedure, but it is fair to say that decisions such as this are normally taken by consensus within the Council, and the Government will be looking to proceed on the basis of political consensus. The draft agreement has been prepared as a mixed agreement; in other words, it is an agreement to which both the Community and the individual member states are party. As the agreement is mixed, it will come into force only after it has been approved by the Community and ratified by all member states.

Learning Disability: NHS Healthcare

3.23 pm

Lord Rix asked Her Majesty’s Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): My Lords, it is good to see the noble Lord back in his place.

Noble Lords: Hear, hear!

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, the Government are shocked and saddened to read of the deaths of the six individuals highlighted in the Mencap report. Every person with a learning disability should be treated with care, dignity and respect. In response to the publication of the report, the Secretary of State for Health has confirmed that there will be an independent inquiry in order to learn lessons and ensure that change happens.

Lord Rix: My Lords, I thank the Minister for that response. However, does he recall that the 2001 White Paper, Valuing People, promised to explore the feasibility of a confidential inquiry into mortality among learning-disabled people? A report on that has never been made. Am I to take it that the Secretary of State’s promised inquiry, which, according to the Independent, would examine the six cases and look at any potential implications for care practice nationally, will do as thorough a job as the one that we were vaguely promised all of six years ago?

14 Mar 2007 : Column 739

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, the exact terms of reference of the inquiry have yet to be decided and will be announced in due course. I would expect that, in addition to looking at the tragic events identified by Mencap, the inquiry will want to examine lessons for local government and the NHS as a whole. Clearly, as part of that, identification of the scale of the problem would be very important.

Lord Ashley of Stoke: My Lords, any response from the Government to the report needs to be strong, positive and imbued with a sense of urgency. If the people referred to in the Mencap report are receiving the worst healthcare, even though they have the worst health, that is a totally unacceptable situation, which we cannot allow to go on. Frankly, we do not need an inquiry. The facts are known. Why are the Government messing about like this? They should get on with it and prevent discrimination against these people. This is really shocking.

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, it is important to hold an inquiry to get to the bottom of the tragic and disturbing cases identified by Mencap. I agree with my noble friend that that should not be a reason for inhibiting the necessary development of better training, better provision of services and better understanding of the issues raised. I can assure him that the actions that are being taken—an audit of current learning disability services in the statutory sector, focusing on the development, training and understanding of staff—will go on and will not wait for the inquiry.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch: My Lords, do the Government still agree that village communities are extremely cost and care effective for people with intellectual impairment or learning disabilities and are very much wanted by their families? If the Government still agree with that, will they in future encourage such communities, in which this kind of tragedy does not occur, instead of continuing to allow local authorities to phase them out?

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, those are matters for local decision. I understand the point made by the noble Lord; I have debated it with him. I know the value that many people with learning disabilities and their relatives place on those centres. The inquiry report relates to healthcare given to people with learning disabilities in NHS hospitals. It has identified a major problem with the diagnosis and the lack of treatment. It is very important that we focus on that problem.

Lord Patel: My Lords, does the Minister accept that there is ignorance among many healthcare professionals of learning disability, which leads to their failure to involve patients’ families and carers? Is that an issue that needs to be addressed if the healthcare of people with learning disabilities is to improve?

14 Mar 2007 : Column 740

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: Yes, my Lords, that is a clear message from the work that Mencap has done and from the published report, as well as from survey work and work by the Disability Rights Commission. There is no doubt that we need to give much more education and training to NHS staff. However, there are pockets of good practice; for example, some primary care trusts have appointed liaison nurses to work in hospitals as specialists in learning disability. That is an excellent way in which to inform and to encourage staff to give people with learning disabilities the healthcare treatment that they need and deserve.

Baroness Neuberger: My Lords, I am sure that the Minister is aware of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation report, Responding to the Pain Experiences of People with a Learning Difficulty and Dementia, which came out last year. It highlighted a generalised but concerning belief that people with a learning disability have a high pain threshold. Given the debates that have taken place in your Lordships’ House in the past month, what can the Government do as regards guidance about pain issues, particularly in palliative care, for people with learning disabilities?

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, that is a very interesting point. I certainly agree with the noble Baroness that, if that were the case, it would be shocking and completely unjustified. She will know that an end-of-life strategy is being developed. I shall ensure that her comment is referred to the people developing that strategy.

Baroness Gardner of Parkes: My Lords, does the Minister agree that the problem is wider than just these tragic cases that we have heard about? Many people are just inarticulate and are not understood or treated properly by the health service. Will the inquiry look into the whole width of the thing, and not just be limited to this very small number of identified tragic cases?

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, I certainly agree with the noble Baroness that communication problems are one of the main sources of complaints made against the NHS and other healthcare providers. Clearly, the concern about improving communication skills and understanding relates to all staff in the NHS. The NHS has made considerable progress in recent years in developing advocacy and in encouraging staff to understand the needs of their patients, but clearly we must do more in the future.

House of Lords (Amendment) Bill [HL]

3.30 pm

Lord Avebury: My Lords, I beg to introduce a Bill to amend the House of Lords Act 1999. I beg to move that this Bill be now read a first time.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Bill read a first time, and ordered to be printed.

14 Mar 2007 : Column 741

House of Lords Bill [HL]

Lord Steel of Aikwood: My Lords, I beg to introduce a Bill to make provision for the appointment of a commission to make recommendations to the Crown for the creation of life peerages; to restrict membership of the House of Lords by virtue of hereditary peerage; to make provision for permanent leave of absence from the House of Lords; to make provision for the expulsion of Members of the House of Lords in specified circumstances; and for connected purposes. I beg to move that this Bill be now read a first time.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Bill read a first time, and ordered to be printed.

Statistics and Registration Service Bill

Brought from the Commons; read a first time, and ordered to be printed.

Policing (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Northern Ireland) Order 2007

Lord Rooker: My Lords, I beg to move the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper.

Moved, That the draft order laid before the House on 7 March be approved.—(Lord Rooker.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Decommissioning of Fishing Vessels Scheme 2007

Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007

Environmental Offences (Use of Fixed Penalty Receipts) Regulations 2007

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): My Lords, I beg to move the Motions standing in my name on the Order Paper.

Moved, That the draft scheme and regulations laid before the House on 31 January and 8 February be approved. 8th and 9th Reports from the Statutory Instruments Committee, Considered in Grand Committee on 7 March.—(Lord Rooker.)

On Question, Motions agreed to.

House of Lords: Reform

3.32 pm

The Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs and Lord Chancellor (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): My Lords, I beg to move that this House is of the opinion that a reformed House of Lords should be fully appointed.

14 Mar 2007 : Column 742

Moved, That this House is of the opinion that a reformed House of Lords should be fully appointed.—(Lord Falconer of Thoroton.)

On Question, Whether the said Motion shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 361; Not-Contents, 121.

Division No. 1


Adams of Craigielea, B.
Ahmed, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Alli, L.
Ampthill, L.
Anderson of Swansea, L.
Andrews, B.
Anelay of St Johns, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Armstrong of Ilminster, L.
Arran, E.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Bach, L.
Bagri, L.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Bell, L.
Berkeley, L.
Best, L.
Biffen, L.
Bilimoria, L.
Billingham, B.
Bilston, L.
Birt, L.
Blackwell, L.
Blaker, L.
Bledisloe, V.
Boothroyd, B.
Borrie, L.
Boston of Faversham, L.
Bottomley of Nettlestone, B.
Bowness, L.
Boyce, L.
Bradley, L.
Bradshaw, L.
Bramall, L.
Brennan, L.
Brittan of Spennithorne, L.
Broers, L.
Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L.
Brookman, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Browne of Belmont, L.
Bruce-Lockhart, L.
Burns, L.
Buscombe, B.
Butler of Brockwell, L.
Butler-Sloss, B.
Byford, B.
Caithness, E.
Cameron of Dillington, L.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carlile of Berriew, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Carrington, L.
Carter of Coles, L.
Chadlington, L.
Chelmsford, Bp.
Chorley, L.
Christopher, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Clyde, L.
Cobbold, L.
Colwyn, L.
Condon, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Corston, B.
Cox, B.
Craig of Radley, L.
Craigavon, V.
Crickhowell, L.
Crisp, L.
Croham, L.
Cumberlege, B.
Cunningham of Felling, L.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
De Mauley, L.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Dear, L.
Deech, B.
Donoughue, L.
D'Souza, B.
Dundee, E.
Dunn, B.
Eames, L.
Eccles, V.
Eccles of Moulton, B.
Eden of Winton, L.
Elder, L.
Elles, B.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Elton, L.
Emerton, B.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Falkland, V.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Feldman, L.
Ferrers, E.
Finlay of Llandaff, B.
Flather, B.
Fookes, B.
Forsyth of Drumlean, L.
Foster of Bishop Auckland, L.
Foulkes of Cumnock, L.
Fowler, L.
Freeman, L.
Freyberg, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Garel-Jones, L.
Geddes, L.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Glasgow, E.
Glenarthur, L.
Glentoran, L.
Golding, B.
Goodlad, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Goschen, V.
Gould of Potternewton, B.

14 Mar 2007 : Column 743

Grantchester, L.
Greengross, B.
Greenway, L.
Gregson, L.
Griffiths of Burry Port, L.
Griffiths of Fforestfach, L.
Grocott, L.
Habgood, L.
Hamilton of Epsom, L.
Hanham, B.
Hannay of Chiswick, L.
Hanningfield, L.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Harris of Peckham, L.
Hart of Chilton, L.
Haworth, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Higgins, L.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Home, E.
Howarth of Breckland, B.
Howarth of Newport, L.
Howe, E.
Howe of Aberavon, L.
Howe of Idlicote, B.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hylton, L.
Inge, L.
Inglewood, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L.
James of Blackheath, L.
James of Holland Park, B.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Jones, L.
Jopling, L.
Jordan, L.
Kalms, L.
Kerr of Kinlochard, L.
Kilclooney, L.
Kimball, L.
King of Bridgwater, L.
Kingsmill, B.
Kirkham, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Laing of Dunphail, L.
Lamont of Lerwick, L.
Lane of Horsell, L.
Lawson of Blaby, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Leach of Fairford, L.
Lee of Trafford, L.
Levene of Portsoken, L.
Lewis of Newnham, L.
Lipsey, L.
Listowel, E.
Liverpool, E.
Lloyd-Webber, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
London, Bp.
Low of Dalston, L.
Lucas, L.
Luce, L.
Luke, L.
Lyell, L.
McAlpine of West Green, L.
McCluskey, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
MacGregor of Pulham Market, L.
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
Maginnis of Drumglass, L.
Mallalieu, B.
Mar, C.
Marland, L.
Marlesford, L.
Marsh, L.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Massey of Darwen, B. [Teller]
Mawhinney, L.
Maxton, L.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Methuen, L.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Molyneaux of Killead, L.
Monson, L.
Montrose, D.
Moonie, L.
Moore of Lower Marsh, L.
Moran, L.
Morgan of Drefelin, B.
Morgan of Huyton, B.
Morris of Aberavon, L.
Morris of Bolton, B.
Morrow, L.
Moser, L.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Naseby, L.
Neill of Bladen, L.
Newton of Braintree, L.
Noakes, B.
Northbourne, L.
Northbrook, L.
Northesk, E.
Norton of Louth, L. [Teller]
O'Cathain, B.
O'Neill of Bengarve, B.
O'Neill of Clackmannan, L.
Paisley of St George's, B.
Palmer, L.
Palumbo, L.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Parkinson, L.
Patel, L.
Patel of Blackburn, L.
Patten, L.
Paul, L.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Pendry, L.
Perry of Southwark, B.
Pilkington of Oxenford, L.
Platt of Writtle, B.
Plumb, L.
Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.
Prashar, B.
Prosser, B.
Puttnam, L.
Quinton, L.
Quirk, L.
Radice, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Ramsbotham, L.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Rawlings, B.
Reay, L.
Rees, L.
Rees of Ludlow, L.
Rees-Mogg, L.
Rix, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Rochester, Bp.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.

14 Mar 2007 : Column 744

Rogan, L.
Rooker, L.
Rosser, L.
Rosslyn, E.
Rotherwick, L.
Rowe-Beddoe, L.
Royall of Blaisdon, B.
Russell-Johnston, L.
Ryder of Wensum, L.
Saatchi, L.
St John of Fawsley, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Sandberg, L.
Sandwich, E.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Seccombe, B.
Selsdon, L.
Sharples, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Sheikh, L.
Sheldon, L.
Shephard of Northwold, B.
Sheppard of Didgemere, L.
Shrewsbury, E.
Simon, V.
Skelmersdale, L.
Slim, V.
Slynn of Hadley, L.
Snape, L.
Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Southwell and Nottingham, Bp.
Steel of Aikwood, L.
Steinberg, L.
Stevens of Kirkwhelpington, L.
Stewartby, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Sutherland of Houndwood, L.
Swinfen, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Tanlaw, L.
Taverne, L.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Taylor of Bolton, B.
Taylor of Holbeach, L.
Tebbit, L.
Temple-Morris, L.
Tenby, V.
Thatcher, B.
Thomas of Swynnerton, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Tombs, L.
Tomlinson, L.
Tordoff, L.
Trenchard, V.
Trimble, L.
Trumpington, B.
Truscott, L.
Tunnicliffe, L.
Turnberg, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Ullswater, V.
Varley, L.
Verma, B.
Vinson, L.
Waddington, L.
Wade of Chorlton, L.
Wakeham, L.
Walpole, L.
Walton of Detchant, L.
Warnock, B.
Watson of Richmond, L.
Waverley, V.
Wedderburn of Charlton, L.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williamson of Horton, L.
Willoughby de Broke, L.
Windlesham, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.
Wright of Richmond, L.
York, Abp.
Young of Norwood Green, L.
Young of Old Scone, B.


Addington, L.
Adonis, L.
Alton of Liverpool, L.
Amos, B. [Lord President.]
Avebury, L.
Baker of Dorking, L.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L.
Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury, B.
Brett, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Burnett, L.
Campbell-Savours, L.
Chandos, V.
Chidgey, L.
Clark of Windermere, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Cotter, L.
Courtown, E.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dearing, L.
Desai, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Dubs, L. [Teller]
Dykes, L.
Elis-Thomas, L.
Elystan-Morgan, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L. [Lord Chancellor.]
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Fyfe of Fairfield, L.
Gale, B.
Garden, L.
Goodhart, L.
Gould of Brookwood, L.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Greaves, L.
Hamwee, B.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Haskel, L.
Haskins, L.
Hattersley, L.
Henig, B.
Henley, L.
Hogg, B.
Hollick, L.
Holme of Cheltenham, L.
Hooson, L.
Howard of Rising, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Hunt of Wirral, L.
Jay of Ewelme, L.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Jones of Cheltenham, L.
Jones of Whitchurch, B.
Kirkwood of Kirkhope, L.
Leitch, L.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Livsey of Talgarth, L.

14 Mar 2007 : Column 745

Lloyd of Berwick, L.
Ludford, B.
Lyell of Markyate, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
Maclennan of Rogart, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mancroft, L.
Mar and Kellie, E.
May of Oxford, L.
Meacher, B.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Mitchell, L.
Montgomery of Alamein, V.
Morgan, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Moynihan, L.
Neuberger of Abbotsbury, L.
Northover, B.
Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.
Ouseley, L.
Owen, L.
Parekh, L.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Prior, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Quin, B.
Razzall, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rennard, L.
Renton of Mount Harry, L.
Richard, L.
Roberts of Llandudno, L.
Robertson of Port Ellen, L.
Roper, L.
Sawyer, L.
Scott of Needham Market, B.
Selborne, E.
Shutt of Greetland, L. [Teller]
Smith of Clifton, L.
Soley, L.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Strathclyde, L.
Teverson, L.
Thomas of Macclesfield, L.
Thomas of Winchester, B.
Thornton, B.
Tope, L.
Triesman, L.
Turnbull, L.
Turner of Ecchinswell, L.
Tyler, L.
Uddin, B.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Walmsley, B.
Warner, L.
Watson of Invergowrie, L.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Wilson of Tillyorn, L.

Resolved in the affirmative, and Motion agreed to accordingly.

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