§ Madam Speaker
Before we embark on the Second Reading of the Disability Discrimination Bill, the House may wish to know how I view the position of the Civil Rights (Disabled Persons) Bill presented by the hon. Member for Derbyshire, North-East (Mr. Barnes), which is due to receive its Second Reading on Friday 10 February.
Obviously the question arises as to whether the private Member's Bill can properly proceed once a decision has been reached on today's Bill. "Erskine May" states on pages 468 to 469:There is no rule or custom which restrains the presentation of two or more bills relating to the same subject, and containing similar provisions. But if a decision of the House has already been taken on one such Bill, for example, if the Bill has been given or refused a second reading, the other is not proceeded with if it contains substantially the same provisions".The Disability Discrimination Bill and the Civil Rights (Disabled Persons) Bill clearly overlap in many respects, but in many respects they are incompatible and they cannot be said to contain substantially the same provisions. To the extent that their provisions differ and are incompatible, the House may at some stage have a choice to make between them. I do not consider that it would be right for me as Speaker to prevent the House from proceeding with the Second Reading of the Bill presented by the hon. Member for Derbyshire, North-East if it wishes to do so, even if the Government's Bill has previously been given a Second Reading.