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Lord Mackay of Drumadoon: My Lords, before the noble and learned Lord passes from that point, will he agree with me quite explicitly that the proposition he has just articulated is inconsistent with the terms of the Church of Scotland Act 1921? There is therefore an inconsistency between an Act of Parliament passed by this Parliament in 1921 and a Bill which the noble and learned Lord is inviting this Parliament to pass; and yet he is not prepared to address the inconsistencies here and now as the Church wishes him to do.

The Lord Chancellor: My Lords, the particular question whether the Church of Scotland and its courts should be exempted from the Bill will arise specifically for debate before your Lordships on Amendments Nos. 7 and 21 standing in the name of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Mackay of Drumadoon; and the arguments specific to the Church of Scotland will be comprehensively dealt with by my noble and learned friend the Lord Advocate.

I add only one further point. In so far as the amendment reaches the courts of the Church of England, it does not achieve its aim of securing an exemption. That is because the jurisdiction of those courts was created by Parliament in the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure of 1963.

For all those reasons, and for the reasons that I gave in debate on the first group of amendments, I invite the noble Baroness to withdraw her amendments. If she does not do so, I invite the House to reject them.

Baroness Young: My Lords, we have had a good debate. I thank those many noble Lords from all parts of the House who have supported me.

I entirely support the amendments moved by my noble and learned friend Lord Mackay of Drumadoon. I have spoken to Dr. MacDonald of the Free Churches

5 Feb 1998 : Column 787

in Scotland. I believe that my noble and learned friend has not had a satisfactory answer to the important point he made at the end of his speech.

I wish to reply to two specific points. The noble Earl, Lord Russell--I always enjoy his speeches and on a number of occasions I have agreed with him--said that I had not defined religion. He will recall--if my memory serves me correctly, he was present during the debates on the 1988 and 1996 education Acts--that Parliament has defined religion. I have simply taken the same words. Therefore to say that Parliament has not defined it, and that we might be lumbered with first and second class religions is, if I may say so, a mistake on his part. It is a very unusual mistake, but on that issue I think it is a mistake.

Perhaps I may say this to the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor. I think that he has not realised why we are worried. We are worried, first, because he did not consult the Churches. I live in a part of the world where I am surrounded by atheists, humanists, agnostics and groups of people whom I might well call cheerful pagans, but they do not ignore the Church completely. They may not agree with it but they do not ignore it.

This is a serious point. I feel that it is a slight-- I hope that it is not an intended one--that the Churches were not consulted and were not referred to in the White Paper. We live in a society based on a Judaeo-Christian belief; and we are concerned that the Churches were not consulted.

I much appreciate the full statement that the noble and learned Lord has made. However, I am not satisfied by the assurances that he has given. Let us take employment rights, to which he referred. I recognise that the convention does not contain employment rights. But what he said was carefully worded. I am quite sure that he knows full well that the convention will affect the interpretation of existing employment legislation. Indeed, every judge will have various laws to consider--UK employment law; the EU employment law; and now convention obligations under the Bill. Under Clause 3 existing legislation must be interpreted so far as it is possible to do so in a way that is compatible with the convention. That is the point. He cannot give us an assurance as to what will happen in the future in relation to employment law concerning charities and matters of conscience.

The noble and learned Lord went on to say, "I do not believe that any of those dreadful things that you talk about will happen. But of course if they came to pass Parliament could legislate". Small experience of Private Members' legislation indicates that that it is not an easy proposition. There is also consideration of government time. I think that the noble and learned Lord's statement is completely unrealistic. So, far from reassuring me, the noble and learned Lord has worried me further. That is--I am surprised that anybody can find this matter funny at all. It is a very

5 Feb 1998 : Column 788

serious worry. That is why I have raised the issue on three occasions. I wish to test the feeling of the House.

6.40 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 3) shall be agreed to?

*Their Lordships divided: Contents, 168; Not-Contents, 131.

Division No. 2


Aberdare, L.
Ailesbury, M.
Alton of Liverpool, L.
Ampthill, L.
Anelay of St. Johns, B.
Annaly, L.
Ashbourne, L.
Belhaven and Stenton, L.
Beloff, L.
Belstead, L.
Berners, B.
Biddulph, L.
Birdwood, L.
Birmingham, Bp.
Blaker, L.
Blatch, B.
Boardman, L.
Brabazon of Tara, L.
Braine of Wheatley, L.
Bridgeman, V.
Brigstocke, B.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Buckinghamshire, E.
Burnham, L. [Teller.]
Butterworth, L.
Byford, B.
Cadman, L.
Caithness, E.
Caldecote, V.
Calverley, L.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Carnock, L.
Charteris of Amisfield, L.
Chesham, L.
Chichester, Bp.
Clifford of Chudleigh, L.
Cockfield, L.
Coleraine, L.
Coleridge, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Cox, B.
Craig of Radley, L.
Cranborne, V.
Crickhowell, L.
Cumberlege, B.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Eden of Winton, L.
Ellenborough, L.
Elles, B.
Elton, L.
Falkland, V.
Fitt, L.
Fookes, B.
Gage, V.
Gainsborough, E.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Grantley, L.
Halsbury, E.
Hamilton of Dalzell, L.
Harding of Petherton, L.
Harmsworth, L.
Harris of High Cross, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Hemphill, L.
Henley, L.
Holderness, L.
HolmPatrick, L.
Hooper, B.
Howe, E.
Hylton, L.
Hylton-Foster, B.
Inchcape, E.
Jakobovits, L.
James of Holland Park, B.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Kenilworth, L.
Kenyon, L.
Kinloss, Ly.
Kinnoull, E.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Lauderdale, E.
Leicester, Bp.
Leigh, L.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Liverpool, E.
Lloyd of Berwick, L.
London, Bp.
Long, V.
Lucas of Chilworth, L.
Luke, L.
Lyell, L.
McConnell, L.
Mackay of Drumadoon, L.
Macleod of Borve, B.
Malmesbury, E.
Marlesford, L.
Massereene and Ferrard, V.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Mersey, V.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Milverton, L.
Molyneaux of Killead, L.
Monckton of Brenchley, V.
Monson, L.
Montgomery of Alamein, V.
Mottistone, L.
Mountevans, L.
Munster, E.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Nelson, E.
Norrie, L.
Northbourne, L.
Northesk, E.
Norton, L.
O'Cathain, B.
Onslow of Woking, L.
Oxford, Bp.
Oxfuird, V.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Patten, L.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Pender, L.
Perth, E.
Pilkington of Oxenford, L.
Platt of Writtle, B.
Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.
Rankeillour, L.
Rawlings, B.
Rawlinson of Ewell, L.
Reading, M.
Renton, L.
Renton of Mount Harry, L.
Renwick, L.
Ripon, Bp.
Robertson of Oakridge, L.
Rochester, L.
Romney, E.
Rotherwick, L.
Rowallan, L.
Ryder of Warsaw, B.
St. John of Fawsley, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Seccombe, B.
Selborne, E.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Simon of Glaisdale, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Southwell, Bp.
Stallard, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strange, B.
Strathclyde, L. [Teller.]
Sudeley, L.
Swinfen, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Trumpington, B.
Ullswater, V.
Vivian, L.
Wakeham, L.
Waterford, M.
Weatherill, L.
Wharton, B.
Wilcox, B.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Young, B.


Ackner, L.
Acton, L.
Addington, L.
Amos, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Berkeley, L.
Blackstone, B.
Borrie, L.
Bridge of Harwich, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Burlison, L.
Carlisle, E.
Carter, L. [Teller.]
Chandos, V.
Cledwyn of Penrhos, L.
Colville of Culross, V.
Craigavon, V.
Currie of Marylebone, L.
Dahrendorf, L.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Desai, L.
Dholakia, L.
Diamond, L.
Dixon, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Eatwell, L.
Ezra, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Gallacher, L.
Gilbert, L.
Gladwin of Clee, L.
Goodhart, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Grenfell, L.
Hamwee, B.
Hanworth, V.
Hardie, L.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hoffmann, L.
Hollick, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Holme of Cheltenham, L.
Howell, L.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. [Lord Chancellor.]
Jacobs, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Jenkins of Putney, L.
Judd, L.
Kennedy of The Shaws, B.
Kirkwood, L.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Levy, L.
Lockwood, B.
Ludford, B.
McCarthy, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller.]
McNair, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mallalieu, B.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Meston, L.
Methuen, L.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Mishcon, L.
Molloy, L.
Monkswell, L.
Montague of Oxford, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Murray of Epping Forest, L.
Newby, L.
Nicholson of Winterbourne, B.
Nicol, B.
Orme, L.
Peston, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Puttnam, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Rea, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Renwick of Clifton, L.
Richard, L. [Lord Privy Seal.]
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Rogers of Riverside, L.
Russell, E.
Sandberg, L.
Sandwich, E.
Serota, B.
Shore of Stepney, L.
Simon, V.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Taverne, L.
Thomas of Macclesfield, L.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Tope, L.
Tordoff, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Walker of Doncaster, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Wedderburn of Charlton, L.
Whitty, L.
Wigoder, L.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Young of Old Scone, B.

5 Feb 1998 : Column 790

[*The Tellers for the Not-Contents reported 130 names. The Clerks recorded 129 names.]

Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.

6.51 p.m.

Clause 2 [Interpretation of Convention rights]:

[Amendments Nos. 4 and 5 not moved.]

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