HL Deb 24 February 1986 vol 471 cc883-94

7.7 p.m.

Report received.

Lord Cameron of Lochbroom

My Lords, before the House proceeds further, it might be helpful at this time if I was to make known the Government's view on the extension of the Bill to Scotland.

As my noble friend Lord Davidson made clear at Second Reading, the Government's attitude to the principle of the Bill is one of neutrality, in keeping with the convention that issues such as those dealt with in the Bill should be left to personal conscience in the light of arguments advanced in debate. Having said that, I should also make clear that the Government take the view—whether or not Parliament decides that the changes proposed in the Bill are desirable—that it is preferable for there to be so far as possible consistency in the laws of marriage of England and of Scotland. This view is based upon the accustomed practice of keeping the laws of England and Scotland substantially compatible in respect of capacity to marry, having regard in particular to the movement of people between the two countries.

It is on account of practical considerations such as these, I would emphasise, as opposed to any departure from the convention of neutrality, that the Government undertook consultations in Scotland after the introduction of this Bill. These consultations were intended to ascertain whether, if the Bill was to be given the support of Parliament so as to change the law of marriage of England and Wales, if there was a consensus in Scotland in support of application also north of the Border. These consultations have now been concluded and indicate a general consensus among the churches and other bodies in Scotland in favour of maintaining consistency in the law of marriage between England, Wales and Scotland.

In the light of these consultations and the favourable reception which the Bill has been accorded in your Lordships' House, the Government consider that it would be appropriate and practical to extend the provisions of the Bill to Scotland. To this purpose I intend to table amendments to the Bill at Third Reading in your Lordships' house. I thought that your Lordships would wish at this time to have notice of the Government's intention in this matter.

As I indicated during the Second Reading debate on the Incest and Related Offences (Scotland) Bill, if it is to be the view of Parliament that the principle of the Marriage Bill should be supported, it will be necessary also to amend the law of incest in Scotland so as to preclude the possibility of embarrassing inconsistencies in the law of marriage and in that relating to incest. However, these considerations and other questions of detail concerning application of the Marriage Bill to Scotland may probably be discussed to greater advantage at Third Reading.

Lord Meston

My Lords, before moving on to the amendments in the Marshalled List, may I thank the noble and learned Lord for that indication? I welcome the proposed extension of this Bill, should it become law, to Scotland. I accept that the drafting involved may not be entirely straightforward. There are differences in the legislation relating to marriage in Scotland and to marriage in England. One example which comes to mind is that in England you are only expressly prohibited from marrying your grandmother. In Scotland, they felt it necessary to prevent you from marrying your great-grandmother, which says something either about the Scottish climate or Scottish caution. I know not. I am grateful for that indication from the noble and learned Lord the Lord Advocate. I would hope also, having dropped a hint at Second Reading, to repeat that hint now that perhaps it might be felt appropriate and practical to extend this Bill to Northern Ireland as well.

Clause 1 [Marriage between certain persons related by affinity not to be void]:

Lord Meston moved Amendment No. 1: Page 1, line 12, leave out ("at any time") and insert ("for any period").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, if I may, I shall speak also to the identical Amendments Nos. 10 to 15 inclusive and the consequential Amendments Nos. 5 and 18. This amendment proposes in effect a semantic change but a change which is perhaps of some importance. If I may remind your Lordships, it is a pre-condition of marriage between stepchild and step-parent under this Bill that the stepchild has never been a child of the family in the household of the step-parent who is to be married. The concept of "child of the family" is well known to the law and it is defined in this Bill in Clause 1(3).

The drafting of the Bill—and the drafting of this proposed amendment—was the product of a great deal of thought. It was realised that it was important to strike a balance between a period which is very short—indeed, too short to be a reason for preventing marriage—and a longer, but still relatively short period, which might give rise to what the law knows as a "child of the family" relationship. It is felt on further consideration that the expression "for any period" is probably preferable to the expression "at any time" in that "for any period" suggests something more substantial. It is on that basis that this modest amendment is proposed. I beg to move.

Viscount Davidson

My Lords, as your Lordships know, the Government are neutral on the main aims of the Bill; but I should like to say that so far as these amendments are concerned, we do not consider the use of the words, "for any period" in place of, "at any time" to be an improvement to the Bill. Does, for instance, "for any period" mean for "an appreciable period at any time before the younger party has reached the age of 18"; or does it mean for a "period no matter how long or short before the younger party has reached the age of 18"? If Lord Meston's intention is that a very short period of, say, no more than a week during which the couple lived as a family should not disqualify them from ever marrying, can he not perhaps specify the minimum period in the Bill rather than leave it to those who will have to interpret the Bill, if enacted, to decide what the minimum period should be? In view of the doubt about the effect of the words introduced by the amendment, perhaps the noble Lord, Lord Meston, might be prepared to consider the wording of the subsection before we come to Third Reading.

Lord Simon of Glaisdale

My Lords, it is very frequent when the Government are neutral on this type of Bill for the Government nevertheless to provide drafting assistance which a Private Member of either House very much needs. I hope that the noble Viscount will be able to say that drafting assistance in this sort of context would be available to the noble Lord, Lord Meston. If he can say that, may I respectfully suggest that the noble Lord might withdraw this amendment at this stage because it is the kind of amendment which can properly be made at Third Reading.

Lord Meston

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Viscount and to the noble and learned Lord for their observations. The difficulties which we have faced with the wording of this particular part of this Bill have not been inconsiderable. I think that they go to show that reasonable people can differ reasonably about what certain words can mean. It is important that we get it right; it is important at the end of the day that the words in the Bill are a help and not a hindrance to those who have to interpret them. Whether or not the noble Viscount is prepared to give me the indication which was suggested just now, I am nevertheless at this stage prepared to withdraw the amendment. I beg leave to withdraw this amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

7.15 p.m.

Baroness Seear moved Amendment No. 2: Page 1, line 15, after ("the") insert ("mother or").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, with the permission of the House I should like also to speak to Amendments Nos. 3 and 4. This amendment is a modification of an amendment which was put to your Lordships at Committee stage and which was lost. It was to permit marriage between father-in-law and daughter-in-law, mother-in-law and son-in-law. In bringing this back in a modified form, I would point out to your Lordships that already there are three cases for Personal Bills coming before your Lordships' House, which means that it is not a very rare matter that people in cases which are prohibited under existing law wish to get married. Of the three cases that are at present pending, only one could be dealt with if the legislation as it is at present worded passes through your Lordships' House and becomes law. That would leave two of the three pending cases to be dealt with by the procedure of a Personal Bill before your Lordships' House. This is a procedure which we all agree is very unsatisfactory.

As I understood the objection to the previous proposal, it was based on the argument that to permit marriage between father-in-law and daughter-in-law could give encouragement to erotic relationships within the family which could stimulate divorce between married partners inside the family circle. This was held by many people to be such a totally undesirable possibility that the law should prohibit it.

The amendments which I am now presenting to your Lordships' House avoid that difficulty and overcome that objection in that what is proposed is that marriage between father-in-law and daughter-in-law and mother-in-law and son-in-law should be permitted only where both the connecting spouses have died. That would mean that, before such a marriage was possible, the wife of the father-in-law and the husband of the daughter-in-law would both be dead. That being so, it seems highly improbable that the objection (of which a great deal was made last time) about the development of erotic relationships leading to divorce between married partners within the family circle could obtain if this amendment is passed. In view of the need to cut down as many cases as possible that have to use the Personal Bill procedure, I hope that your Lordships' House will feel that, as now presented, the proposal is acceptable. I beg to move.

The Lord Bishop of Birmingham

My Lords, when your Lordships were considering this Bill in Committee the noble Baroness, Lady Seear, gave what she called an olive branch to the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Chichester and the noble Lord, Lord Meston, in making the suggestion which now formally appears as an amendment. The noble Baroness said she thought that her olive branch had been rejected. Happily, that is not the case. We have now had the time for which we asked to think about this suggestion. I am glad to say that the amendment will not be opposed from this Bench.

As a matter of fact, when the Bishops consulted we found ourselves divided. There are those who would wish to oppose this amendment, preferring a complete ban on marriage of all in-laws, while others of us (and I include myself) while not over-enthusiastic about the amendment would not wish to oppose it. The reasons for our luke-warmness or opposition are not hard to seek. In the first place, in such a marriage there would be a certain confusion of family roles, since a child may find that his grandfather has overnight become his stepfather and another may find that his grandfather has overnight become his uncle. We are anxious that family roles should be confused as little as possible and we think that is important for society as a whole.

Secondly, if a husband and wife become one flesh in marriage it might seem to some that for a man to marry his daughter-in-law is rather like marrying his daughter. Thirdly, and most importantly, we are told that in other cases the distinction between terminating a marriage by death and terminating it by divorce is not recognised, so far as remarriage is concerned, in the eyes of the law. We are fearful that after a few years someone will come along and say, "If you can marry your divorced wife's sister you ought to be able to marry your divorced daughter-in-law as easily as you can marry a daughter-in-law whose husband has died". That really would endanger roles within the family and would open up possible erotic overtones of which the noble Baroness has just spoken. Indeed, I would agree not to oppose this amendment on the understanding that there is no question of that being proposed in this Bill. I hope the noble Baroness will assure us that she will be opposed to any further changes in this Bill that would facilitate marriages between a parent-in-law and a child-in-law.

Having made those three negative points, I do not wish to seem ungracious or ungenerous. Let me now be more positive and say why I would not wish to oppose it. If both the first marriages have been terminated by death—that is, in the case of the parent and the child when a widowed parent-in-law seeks to marry a widowed child-in-law—there can be no threat or damage to the relationship either of the extended family or of the two nuclear families; and as a grandparent in fact often acts as a parent towards his grandchild when his own child has died, I do not think there would be great confusion of roles. I see the force of the noble Baroness's argument, that if someone can marry his sister-in-law there is little logical ground for refusing to permit him to marry his daughter-in-law in this case.

However, I should like to add a word of warning. Let us not suppose that by agreeing to this amendment we are going to prevent all hard cases. Of course there will still be some that remain. What about a divorced parent-in-law marrying his widowed child-in-law when the parent was divorced five years before his child even got married? That would seem to me to be a hard case. Or what about the case of the child-in-law whose marriage was terminated by divorce five years before the parent-in-law became widowed? We must not think that we have got rid of all Private Bills by means of this amendment. Nevertheless, I would not wish to oppose it because there are surely some individual cases which merit our attention, such as are covered by the noble Baroness's amendment, even though in general some of us regard the good of the family in society as more important than individual cases. However, there are some, such as those covered by this amendment, which seem to be just.

Lord Denning

My Lords, may I add my support for the amendment? I am personally grateful that the right reverend Prelate is no longer opposing it. I always thought that the pass was sold, so to speak, when step-parent was allowed to marry stepchild. I gave illustrations earlier on. It seems to me that that situation is much more likely to lead to sexual rivalry than the in-law one. At all events, once the pass is sold and step-parent can marry stepchild after divorce or decease, it seems to me that, with in-laws, equally the parent-in-law ought to be able to marry the daughter-in-law, of course after the necessary divorce or decease. This amendment does not go nearly so far as that. It only operates on the decease of both parents. It seems to me that this is a very welcome amendment and I am glad that it is no longer opposed by the Bishops.

Baroness Ewart-Biggs

My Lords, if I may say just one word in support of the intention of this amendment, I too am very glad that the right reverend Prelate is now satisfied. I look forward to hearing what the Minister has to say in answer to the very complicated and confusing examples that were given by the right reverend Prelate about which he was still not too happy. As the noble Baroness, Lady Seear, has said, there are examples before us right now where in-laws do wish on different occasions to get married. There is complete proof of this and we only have the very cumbersome system of the Personal Bill to deal with it at present.

I should like just to mention that in the minority report of No Just Cause it was clearly shown that the suggestion in the amendment of the noble Baroness was supported when they said that such marriages would not be opposed by them in principle if the intervening spouse were dead (I quote what they said), for then our concern about disruption within the family circle would lose some of its immediate force". Of course that is entirely true: so I hope the Minister will see the amendment in this light and will consider it to be of practical help. The important part of it is that it will not endanger or disrupt the family circle, which is obviously the concern of all of us in regard to this Bill.

Lord Simon of Glaisdale

My Lords, the noble Baroness, Lady Seear, did not state with complete accuracy what the objection to her previous amendment in Committee was and what followed the objection to the majority report. If I may say so, I gave the example of divorce, the damage that is done and the misery that is caused over and above the normal misery that one gets when the relationship is between a father-in-law and a daughter-in-law. But I gave that only because that is the only situtation of which we have actual experience.

Here we are dealing with a world of hypothesis, and so the objection that was urged at that time really only amounts to this. The intrusion of erotic impulses into the primary family is liable to be destructive of that family and, for those who cherish the family as an institution, that is absolutely out. However, the noble Baroness rightly says that this would meet some of the cases that have been brought to our notice and that both the majority and the minority agreed that those sorts of cases should be met by a change in the law of affinity rather than by a parliamentary Private Bill.

7.30 p.m.

The noble Baroness, Lady Ewart-Biggs, quoted paragraph 274 of the minority report. I found it rather difficult to follow the committee's reasoning, because they went on after the point where the noble Baroness stopped, but I think their reasoning is this. The 1960 Marriage (Enabling) Act allows a marriage between a man and his divorced wife's sister. They said: "We do not like that." I share their dislike and I believe that the right reverend Prelate does. I see that he nods. I really had no doubt about that. The point they are making is, I think, the same as the one to which the right reverend Prelate adverted; namely, that if we allow a marriage between a father-in-law and a daughter-in-law, the mother-in-law and the son having died, we may find ourselves pressed, as we were pressed in 1960, "Why not, if one of the intervening spouses has been divorced?" That, I think, is the argument and it is a cogent argument.

I am bound to say that, weighing all the advantages, I have to take into account on the other side that the Church representatives were very weak in 1960, as they were again very weak in 1969. The disastrous Divorce Reform Act 1969, which has led to this momentous break-up of marriage which has been so frequently deplored both on this Bill and on the Shops Bill, owes much, I am bound to say, to the fact that the Bench of Bishops and other Church leaders did not step in firmly and state their objections. On the contrary, with the document Putting Asunder they, if anything, encouraged that situation.

However, having said that, and having heard the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Birmingham say that on this issue they are absolutely firm, that there is to be no extension—and I hope that the noble Baroness, Lady Seear, will be able to assure us that she, at any rate, will seek no extension—what we are left with then is the argument of the thin end of the wedge. I have never been very encouraged by that sort of argument. A very wise statesman once said: The British constitution is full of the thin ends of wedges which the good sense of the public refrains from driving home". So, although there is a danger in what the noble Baroness has said, and although she has undoubtedly proved that there is a case to be met and that this is one way of doing that, on the whole, with the perfectly firm assurance of the right reverend Prelate speaking on behalf of the Church, I myself feel that this is an amendment which should be accepted.

Viscount Davidson

My Lords, the noble Baroness, Lady Ewart-Biggs, seems to think that the Minister is expected to answer the points raised in debate, but I must remind her that this is a Private Member's Bill and that the Government's view remains one of benevolent neutrality. The Minister's job, in my view, is to express the Government's point of view.

So far as this amendment is concerned, it is a substantive point and the Government remain neutral. It is up to your Lordships to decide whether the change proposed by these amendments is in the best interests of the parties concerned and of society at large. But I must admit that we are not altogether happy with the lack of precision in the amendment, particularly in the use of the word "connected". Without in any way departing from the position of neutrality, I wish to ask the noble Baroness, Lady Seear, about the aim of these amendments.

I assume that it is that, for example, a man whose wife has died can marry their deceased son's wife, though he could not do so if his wife was living but divorced from him, or if their son was living but divorced from his wife, or both. If so, I am not sure whether the noble Baroness's amendment to line 18 would produce only this result.

For instance, it could happen that a man divorced his first wife and had a son by a second wife who then died. If the son took a wife who was connected—and I use the noble Baroness's word advisedly—in some way with his father's divorced first wife and the son then died, the noble Baroness is surely not saying that the father would have to wait for his divorced first wife's death until he could marry his deceased son's wife. Perhaps the noble Baroness would like to consider this point—if not now, before the next stage of the Bill.

Baroness Seear

My Lords, I fully admit that this may not be a perfectly drafted amendment. As has been pointed out, Private Member's Bills do not have the full help of a parliamentary draftsman. Although I really did not follow the full party list-like combinations which the noble Lord put forward, I can see that there might be some misunderstanding in the wording, though I think there is no misunderstanding at all in your Lordships' House about the intention.

The intention, as I think everybody has fully understood, is that marriage is not possible between the parties mentioned, unless the spouses in the cases of both people who propose to get married are dead. I think that is quite clear to your Lordships. If the House accepts this amendment this evening, perhaps a further amendment could be introduced at Third Reading in order to improve the drafting.

After listening to the debate this evening, I can, of course, assure the right reverend Prelates that there is no intention of extending this further, at any rate so far as this Bill is concerned. What may happen later is another matter. I very much go along with the noble and learned Lord, Lord Simon of Glaisdale, who pointed out—I have often reflected this myself—that the thin end of the wedge metaphor is a singularly unfortunate one, because it implies that all wedges more or less slip in by themselves, which is not at all my experience of wedges, and, in fact, it needs positive action to take the matter any further.

Having got this far, if your Lordships' House decide right through the future that you do not want it to go any further, no further will it go. It will not slip in unperceived. So nobody is committing himself to anything at all, except this very modest extension that, in the event of the death of both spouses, marriage will not be impossible.

I entirely accept the arguments about the importance of the family, but I sometimes think that we lose sight of what the majority report termed the "liberty to marry", which is inherent in human nature. What we are proposing is that if two people very much want to get married, and to make a good marriage and a good family, there have to be very strong reasons indeed for obstructing that wish. We all know that there are far too many unhappy marriages around. If we can further a few happy ones, we will surely have done something which is very worthwhile. I very much hope that the House will accept these amendments.

Lord Meston

My Lords, I thank my noble friend for giving fair warning of these amendments at the Committee stage. We have been able to consider them long and hard in the intervening period, and I should say now that I am prepared entirely to accept the principle of this amendment.

The problems that can be envisaged when one or both of the former spouses of the couple to be married are still alive do not exist when both intervening spouses are dead. At Committee stage perhaps time did not permit one to explain the problems, certainly as I envisage them, when both the spouses are still alive. One can take a typical example. A young couple marry. They may go to live with the parents of, say, the young husband. There may be a weak, immature, perhaps teenage daughter-in-law who may be very vulnerable to the influence of her father-in-law. There is a situation of proximity and dependency. If a relationship did develop between the young husband's wife and his father, there are two subsisting marriages which potentially would be ended by divorce.

As the noble and learned Lord, Lord Simon, said, with his great experience, and I can echo with my lesser experience, there is nothing more painful than a divorce in that kind of situation. There is a great alienation and distress. The father would divorce his son's mother to marry his son's wife. It would be worse if the young couple had produced children. The children would probably stay with their mother after the disintegration of the family which I have just suggested. The grandfather would be marrying the children's mother. The alienation and upset could well be so profound that all contact between the children and their natural father and between the children and their grandmother would be completely severed. The grandmother herself would have lost her husband and lost her daughter-in-law and may well have lost meaningful contact with her grandchildren.

Those problems in what might be described as a fairly extreme but not an unlikely example would not arise if both the intervening spouses were already dead. But nevertheless—and I am grateful to the right reverend Prelate for reminding us of this—the children would still have to adjust to the situation, and that adjustment and the need for it should not be underestimated. As I have said before, if I may remind the House, in the course of this Bill, our whole law of adoption, to take one example, strains itself to avoid the distortion of family relationships. The minority report in No Just Cause conceded that it would like to propose what my noble friend proposes in this amendment but the minority decided against. Their reasons for so doing are set out in paragraph 274, and I am bound to say that I find them questionable, both in law and in logic. It is not perhaps the strongest part of an otherwise strong and cogent report.

The "thin end of the wedge" argument has already been ventilated by your Lordships. I would not wish to add anything save to say that it took more than 50 years to extend the liberty to marry one's deceased wife's sister to the liberty to marry one's divorced wife's sister. The suggestion that there is a thin end of the wedge therefore possible in this situation I would beg to doubt. I am by no means sure that marriages between in-laws of the same generation—between brothers and sisters-in-law—are in the same category and throw up the same difficulties as marriages between in-laws of different generations.

As the noble and learned Lord, Lord Simon, has said, in this instance today the Bench of Bishops have made it quite clear that they would draw a very firm line on any further extension, but this amendment has the welcome advantage that it will mean a few less Personal Bills. It is quite right that if this situation were simply left to the Personal Bill procedure, they would almost all get through. Accordingly, I willingly support and accept the amendment, subject perhaps to certain drafting improvements at a later stage.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Baroness Seear moved Amendments Nos. 3 and 4:

Page 1, line 17, after first ("his") insert ("son or").

Page 1, line 18, at end insert ("provided that, in the case of both parties, any former spouses through whom the couple are connected are deceased.").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 2 [Marriage according to rites of Church of England or the Church in Wales]:

Lord Meston moved Amendment No. 6:

Page 2, line 16, after ("Marriage") insert ("(Prohibited Degrees of Relationship)").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, perhaps I may speak at the same time to the identical amendment, Amendment No. 8. This amendment seeks a modest and more accurate Title for the Bill. It seeks to be more accurate and to define it as the Marriage (Prohibited Degrees of Relationship) Bill, one advantage of which is that it will more clearly differentiate this Bill from the Marriage (Wales) Bill which is presently travelling through your Lordships' House. I beg to move.

Viscount Davidson

My Lords, as the noble Lord, Lord Meston, has said, this amendment seeks to make the Bill more immediately distinguishable from the Marriage (Wales) Bill, which is also going through its stages in Parliament at this time. We have no objection to the amendment.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 3 [Amendment of s.3 of Perjury Act 1911]:

Lord Meston moved Amendment No. 7:

Page 2, leave out lines 25 to 29 and insert— ("(d) with respect to a declaration made under section 16(1A) or 27B(2) of the Marriage Act 1949

  1. (i) enters a caveat under subsection (2) of the said section 16, or
  2. (ii) makes a statement mentioned in subsection (4) of the said section 27B,
which he knows to be false in a material particular,").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, the purpose of this amendment is to improve the drafting of the new offence created by Clause 3 of the Bill. It produces an offence which is more specifically delineated and removes an unnecessary reference to attempted offences which are already covered by another statute. I beg to move.

Viscount Davidson

My Lords, in our opinion this amendment provides an improved formulation of the offence set out in Clause 3. The essence of the offence lies in knowingly making a false allegation rather than in causing a particular result. If your Lordships accept that it is appropriate to create such an offence in this context, I would ask your Lordships to support the amendment.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 5 [Short title, citation, commencement and extent]:

Lord Meston moved Amendment No. 8: Page 2, line 35, after ("Marriage") insert ("(Prohibited Degrees of Relationship)").

The noble Lord said: I have already spoken to this amendment in the context of Amendment No. 6. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Meston moved Amendment No. 9: Page 2, line 36, after ("1983") insert ("and the Marriage (Wales) Act 1986").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, the Marriage (Wales) Bill has now been through all its stages in another place and has received a Second Reading in your Lordships' House. Accordingly, as I understand it, and by convention, it is now proper to refer to that legislation in this Bill. It is for that reason that Amendment No. 9 is proposed. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

In the Schedule:

[Amendments Nos. 10 to 15 not moved.]

Lord Meston moved Amendment No. 16: Page 5, line 10, after ("may") insert ("enter notice of the marriage in the marriage notice book and may").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I shall speak also to Amendment No. 17. Amendment No. 16 is a somewhat technical but necessary amendment. As drafted, the Bill in its present form might appear to short-circuit an essential pre-requirement for civil marriage; namely, the entering of notice. It is to correct that omission that both amendments are proposed. I beg to move.

Viscount Davidson

My Lords, this amendment improves the procedural arrangements under the Bill by making it clear that the superintendent registrar should have power to enter a marriage in the marriage notice book in cases where the couple seek a declaration from the High Court successfully but have not first made a declaration to the superintendent registrar himself. The Government therefore support this amendment.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Meston moved Amendment No. 17: Page 5, line 11, leave out ("notwithstanding that no") and insert ("whether or not any").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I have already spoken to this amendment. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 18 not moved.]

Baroness Hooper

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn during pleasure.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

[The Sitting was suspended from 7.52 until 8.5 p.m.]