HC Deb 15 May 2000 vol 350 cc78-128

As amended, further considered.

7 pm

Mr. John McDonnell (Hayes and Harlington)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I gave notice of my point of order earlier today. It relates back to previous points of order that I raised about the Bill's compliance with the Human Rights Act 1998. On 24 January, I said that we should be advised of the compliance of private Bills with the Act, section 19 of which states that when the Government introduce a Bill, the Minister responsible must state on the Bill its compliance with the Act. Madam Speaker made it clear that that did not apply to private Bills.

During that debate, I asked how Members of the House could be advised on that legal matter of compliance with the Act and thus with the European convention on human rights. In an intervention, the right hon. Member for Cities of London and Westminster (Mr. Brooke)—one of the Bill's sponsors—argued that the sponsors had sought legal advice and were satisfied that the measure complied with the Act and with the ECHR. However, they have not published that legal opinion, so—

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Michael Lord)

Order. I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving the Chair notice of his point of order. I am well aware of the point he makes. However, he too will be aware that the matter has already been well aired and that it is not one on which the Chair can rule this evening. We should now deal with the amendments that he has tabled.

Mr. McDonnell

Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

There is not much to add to that point of order.

Mr. McDonnell

I should like to clarify one point, Mr. Deputy Speaker. During that previous debate, it was asserted that the non-intervention of the Attorney-General on the matter was evidence of the compliance of the measure with the Human Rights Act. I want to clarify that non-intervention—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman is now starting to do what I said that we could not do this evening. Those are matters for the debate, not for a ruling from the Chair. I should be grateful if the hon. Gentleman would deal with his amendments.

Mr. McDonnell

May I—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

I have dealt with the point of order. I want to move on to amendment No. 3.

  1. Clause 2
    1. cc78-119
    2. INTERPRETATION 21,780 words
    3. c119
    5. c119
    7. cc120-8
    8. Age Discrimination (NHS) 4,902 words
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