Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Sexual Orientation Regulations Approved by MPs (Again)

Last Night, a group of conservative MPs, lead by Ann Widdecombe, managed to force a vote on the House of Commons to again approve the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 which had already been approved in Committee on Thursday.

The MPs were quite heavily defeated in their attempt to scupper the Regulations. The House divided: Ayes 310, Noes 100.

Reading the transcript (here and here) of the debates one gets the feeling that the move by those MPs was more as a question of principal against the fact that they felt they had not been given time to air their views on the subject. They were forgetting in the process of complaining that the Tory front bench had themselves agreed to the procedures used in this instance.
Some supporters of the Regulations agreed to the fact that a debate was needed, however.

Roger Gale (North Thanet) (Con), who voted against the Regulations, asked that the Speaker "ensure that time is made available on the Easter Adjournment to debate the matter, notwithstanding the fact that the regulations will have gone through". We may expect a resurection of the controversy at that time.

A defeat is apparently expected in the Lords on Wednesday evening where it will be their Lordships' turn to vote to approve the Regulations. There is apparently a strong lobbying compaign from religious people and it seems to be working to an extend as a sross party working group of MPs has apparently been formed last night to try and find a compromise between the government and Catholic adoption agencies.

This is of course not right but I am at a loss as to what can been done to try and stop this. Suggestions on a postcard, please.

More information on last night's events here.

To read my (growing number of) previous posts on the subject, please click here or on "Sexual Orientation Regulations" in the right hand menu.

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