§ Mr. Beggs
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what representation is being made by the United Kingdom Government to the European Union 1049W to protect the right of religious groups to appoint persons sharing the religious beliefs of the employing body; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Ms Jowell
As a member of the European Union, the United Kingdom is fully involved in the negotiations on the European Commission's proposal for a Directive on Equal Treatment in Employment and Occupation which are being taken forward in the Council of Ministers.
As the proposal is still in the process of being negotiated it is not possible to assess the precise effect it will have on the employment policies of bodies such as that mentioned in the question. However, the Government is negotiating on the basis that the text finally agreed should be clear and workable in practice and should preserve, where appropriate, existing arrangements which allow religious bodies to protect their ethos.