20/01/2017 House of Commons


20/01/2017

Live coverage of the day's proceedings in the House of Commons, including debate on the general principles of the Merchant Shipping (Homosexual Conduct) Bill.


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order, order. Point of order Mr David Nutt. White bake to us that

:00:15.:00:24.

the house it in private. The question is that the house sit in

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private? As many of those who agreed, say Aye, and those who

:00:35.:00:41.

disagree say no. Division. Clear the lobby.

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The question is that the house sit in private. As many who agrees save

:02:45.:02:56.

Aye, and those who disagree say no. We have the tellers for the Ayes and

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for the nose. Would be Sergeant care to

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investigate the delay in the voting lobby?

:17:25.:20:12.

Order, order. The ayes to the right, while. The noes to the left, 40. The

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ayes to the right, one. The noes to the left, 40. So the noes habit, the

:20:25.:20:29.

noes have it. The Clerk will now proceed to read the order of the

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day. Merchant Shipping (Homosexual Conduct) Bill, second reading. Thank

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you, Mr Speaker. I beg to move that this bill be now read a second time.

:20:45.:20:53.

I'm very pleased to bring this Bill to be house for a second time

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because it completes the repeal of historic provisions which penalised

:20:59.:21:04.

homosexual activity by repealing section 1464 and 1473 of the

:21:05.:21:10.

criminal Justice and Public order act 1994. I'm proud to do so because

:21:11.:21:20.

of my commitment to justice and an opposition to unjustified

:21:21.:21:25.

discrimination. When it comes to employment in the merchant navy or

:21:26.:21:31.

anywhere rows, what matters is your ability to do the job, not your

:21:32.:21:36.

agenda, your age, your ethnicity, your religion all your sexuality. --

:21:37.:21:43.

not your gender. I know that honourable members across the House

:21:44.:21:48.

share this commitment and many will be surprised, perhaps even

:21:49.:21:53.

astonished, to learn that this anomaly still remains on the statute

:21:54.:21:59.

book. There is no place in our society today for employment

:22:00.:22:03.

discrimination on the basis of sexual -- of sexuality. That one

:22:04.:22:13.

provision applies to heterosexual individuals and 12 homosexual

:22:14.:22:23.

individuals. This involves the dismissal of an individual on the

:22:24.:22:27.

grounds of homosexual conduct. This is the last of its kind that remains

:22:28.:22:32.

are now statute book and it should be removed. The repeal of historic

:22:33.:22:39.

provisions penalising homosexual activity was a process that started

:22:40.:22:45.

with the Wolfenden report in 1957. That landmark report argued for the

:22:46.:22:51.

decriminalisation of homosexual conduct. The Wolfenden report was

:22:52.:22:56.

not universally popular at the time, attracting criticism from across the

:22:57.:23:02.

party political divide. But it wisely saw that Private, consensual

:23:03.:23:08.

sexual behaviour was not a matter for the law. And the internal

:23:09.:23:12.

debates within the Wolfenden committee were mirrored in the wider

:23:13.:23:16.

public debate at the time. This was studied as a matter of course by law

:23:17.:23:21.

students between Professor HLA Hart and Patrick Lord Devlin. That is

:23:22.:23:29.

instructive to this Bill, I believe, because it sets the entire tone for

:23:30.:23:34.

how we think about the law in the area of private sexual behaviour.

:23:35.:23:41.

Lord Devlin took the view that the enforcement of morals was a proper

:23:42.:23:45.

function or even the primary function of law. He was right to the

:23:46.:23:52.

extent that the law cannot be divorced from morality, that law has

:23:53.:23:56.

an interest in what is good and in identifying wrongs that should be

:23:57.:24:01.

dealt with in society. However, he was wrong to imagine that eventually

:24:02.:24:05.

if the majority of people in society thought that something was morally

:24:06.:24:10.

wrong then it should be illegal. HLA Hart took the view that the reality

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is more complicated than that, that there is a Private sphere where the

:24:17.:24:20.

law should not run and for the Wolfenden report, that, as a matter

:24:21.:24:24.

of principle, sexual acts between consenting adults were not in fact a

:24:25.:24:31.

matter for the law. It may initially sound as though Devlin's view is the

:24:32.:24:35.

more Conservative, but actually Hart saw that there is a distinction

:24:36.:24:40.

between the state and society and that they are not the same thing and

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that Government may protect and create the good issuance for a

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flourishing society but it does not intervene in every area unless there

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is some very good reason to do so. This is the same distinction that

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the late Mrs Thatcher grew in her misunderstood dictum that there is

:25:02.:25:04.

no such thing as society. There is no such thing as called society.

:25:05.:25:12.

That is different to the institution of family, individuals and other

:25:13.:25:18.

civic... I would be delighted to give way. I'm grateful to my

:25:19.:25:23.

honourable friend for giving way. He mentions the quotation which must be

:25:24.:25:29.

one of the most frequently referred to the late Mrs Thatcher about there

:25:30.:25:34.

being no such thing as society. I just wonder if he, as me, has ever

:25:35.:25:39.

looked up the full quote, which actually was contained in I think it

:25:40.:25:44.

was the women's weekly all women's own publication and actually sets

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out a completely different interpretation to the one that is

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usually ascribed to it. I am very grateful to my honourable friend

:25:54.:25:57.

who, of course, does correct to be misunderstanding about that quote

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and he is at the legally right and I think it was a total

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misrepresentation of what being late Mrs Thatcher was trying to say. It

:26:06.:26:09.

is also worth noting that the Wolfenden committee break new ground

:26:10.:26:15.

as the first time that openly homosexual citizens in this country

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gave evidence to a Government committee. It is perhaps evidence of

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how contentious the Wolfenden report was at the time that it took a

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further ten years before its recommendations were implemented and

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the decriminalisation took place in the sexual offences act, 1967.

:26:35.:26:40.

Other criminal Justice and Public order act 1994, the act that this

:26:41.:26:48.

bill is concerned with the day was in fact seen at the time as a

:26:49.:26:54.

liberalising act. Mainly since it reduced the age of consent for

:26:55.:27:00.

homosexual activity, in addition, sections 146 and 147 repealed the

:27:01.:27:07.

clauses in the sexual offences act 1967 which made homosexual activity

:27:08.:27:12.

within the Armed Forces and on merchant Navy vessels a criminal

:27:13.:27:18.

offence. This was however partially due to the anomaly that an

:27:19.:27:22.

individual could not be prosecuted under criminal law but could be

:27:23.:27:27.

prosecuted under service law for the same offence. However sections 1464

:27:28.:27:37.

and 1473. The sections repealed by this bill, I hope today, and

:27:38.:27:43.

subsequently, and specifically require that nothing in this bill

:27:44.:27:46.

should prevent even consensual homosexual activity to constitute

:27:47.:27:51.

grounds for dismissal. These were added to that bill following

:27:52.:27:55.

nongovernment amendments during the house rules committee stage. Those

:27:56.:28:00.

amendments were supported by peers who wish to have then policy on

:28:01.:28:05.

administrative dismissal held by the Armed Forces on the face the bill.

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Those amendments were initially resisted by the Minister at the time

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but pressed to a division which the government lost. So while the

:28:17.:28:21.

criminal penalty was taken away, the discrimination on grounds of sexual

:28:22.:28:26.

orientation, remained. And during the passage of the criminal Justice

:28:27.:28:31.

and Public order act, the anomaly that there were no equivalent

:28:32.:28:34.

provisions for heterosexual activity taking place on board a ship, for

:28:35.:28:39.

example, was pressed by some members of this house and the other place.

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Now the equivalent provisions for the Armed Forces in the criminal

:28:46.:28:50.

Justice and Public order act were struck down as a result of the

:28:51.:28:55.

European Court of Human Rights case in 2000. Smith and Grady versus the

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UK. Which held that the Armed Forces policy at the time, of investigating

:29:03.:29:08.

whether personnel were Rob homosexual orientation, or had

:29:09.:29:16.

engaged in homosexual activity and pursuing and administrative

:29:17.:29:18.

discharge as a matter of policy that was found to be the case, that case

:29:19.:29:26.

raised a number of issues related to the place of homosexual men and

:29:27.:29:32.

women in the Armed Forces. But I want to touch on one aspect in

:29:33.:29:37.

particular. Bullying. The submissions to the court during that

:29:38.:29:41.

case, argued that one reason for the Armed Forces policy at the time, was

:29:42.:29:49.

due to the threat of "Assaults on homosexuals, bullying and harassment

:29:50.:29:55.

of homosexuals, ostracism and avoidance." The EC HR responded as

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we would today by arguing that this should be dealt with robust leak, by

:30:00.:30:09.

clear codes of conduct, complaint procedures, in the same way as

:30:10.:30:12.

racial and sexual harassment or bullying. In its decision, the court

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said that the court considers it important to note, in the first

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place, the approach already adopted by the Armed Forces to deal with

:30:24.:30:28.

racial discrimination and with racial and sexual harassment and

:30:29.:30:35.

bullying. The January 1996 directive for example imposed both a strict

:30:36.:30:40.

code of conduct on every soldier, together, with disciplinary rules to

:30:41.:30:44.

deal with any inappropriate behaviour and conduct. This dual

:30:45.:30:50.

approach was supplemented, with information leaflets and training

:30:51.:30:54.

programmes, the Army emphasising the need for high standards of personal

:30:55.:31:00.

conduct and for others. Now as a result of that judgment, and the

:31:01.:31:06.

implementation of appropriate codes and procedures to tackle bullying

:31:07.:31:14.

and harassment of homosexual men and women, the Armed Forces is clearly

:31:15.:31:18.

in a different place today than the time of that case as is the merchant

:31:19.:31:23.

Navy. But while this has been a very positive development in recent

:31:24.:31:28.

years, we also need to acknowledge that homophobic bullying is still a

:31:29.:31:32.

live issue today, particularly in schools. No one should be salted,

:31:33.:31:39.

bullied or harassed as a result of their sexual orientation. And it is

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important to recognise this can be particularly damaging when it

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happens among 1's close peers in such a crucial informative

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environment. I'm pleased that the government has made 2.8 million

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available to tackle homophobic bullying. The programme by this

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additional money began in September 2016 and run to March 2019, nor to

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prevent and respond to homophobic bullying across primary and

:32:11.:32:13.

secondary schools in a sustained way. The government six initiatives

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that will deliver a whole school approaches, staff training to help

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prevent and tackle homophobic Viliame Mata. As part of the

:32:24.:32:29.

programme, that will build on the previous grant of ?2 million. I

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hope, this reaffirms that there is no place for discriminatory

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employment practice, will also display a clear signal that

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homophobic bullying and harassment are completely unacceptable. Firms

:32:47.:32:52.

which constitute the merchant Navy were not actually within the scope

:32:53.:32:57.

of the 2000 Smith and Grady against the UK legal case since they were

:32:58.:33:01.

private employers. And cases brought in respect of the European

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Convention rights are brought against governments rather than

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private individuals or entity is. Provisions relating to the merchant

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Navy were eventually superseded by the employment equality and sexual

:33:16.:33:23.

regulations 2003 which integrated into UK law, the EU equal treatment

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direct is 2000-78- EC. -- directive. The honourable gentleman is really

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setting out in great detail the background to this bill. What I

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would like to ask him though, is it the case, perhaps he can confirm

:33:45.:33:50.

that UK merchant ships are classified as residencies as well as

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workplaces, that has meant that shipowners had been able to make up

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their own rules about what is and isn't allowed to happen on board? I

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am very grateful to the honourable lady for her intervention, I will

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come onto those points later, we are very clear about this legislation

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needing to pass leaving their ambiguity. -- leaving no ambiguity.

:34:13.:34:22.

The act introduced a comprehensive and new framework which updated,

:34:23.:34:25.

simplified and strengthens the previous legislation in place. And

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created a simple framework of discrimination law which protects

:34:32.:34:35.

individuals from unfair treatment. The equality act introduced

:34:36.:34:39.

protection from discrimination to individuals in respect of protected

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characteristics. Age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and

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civil partnership, pregnancy, maternity, race and religion,

:34:50.:34:56.

belief, section sexual orientation. -- sex and sexual orientation. When

:34:57.:34:59.

the act passed, did not automatically applied to the

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shooting industry. However it did apply, in 2010. -- shipping

:35:07.:35:12.

industry. So despite the fact that the provisions repealed by this bill

:35:13.:35:19.

have been superseded it is important that they are taken off the statute

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book I believe for four reasons. I would just like to take a little

:35:24.:35:30.

time with the house this morning, to point at the principal reasons I

:35:31.:35:33.

have brought this to the house today. Firstly as I have indicated,

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it is symbolic. These provisions, are the last remaining historic

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legislation on our statute books, which penalised and directly

:35:47.:35:48.

discriminate on grounds of homosexual at. I am happy to give

:35:49.:35:57.

way. -- homosexual to. That is very important, those will argue, that

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the law has moved on, but there is that symbolism which is so important

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that we should sweep it away. The honourable gentleman makes that wise

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observation and it is critical, bad actually, this is the conclusion of

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a journey that we have been going on in this country for essentially 60

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years. By removing this legislation creating a provision that applies to

:36:29.:36:35.

all individuals, and removing this distinction, we are bypassing this

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Bill affirming that this house has a commitment to justice and equality.

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That there is no place in society for discrimination on the basis of

:36:46.:36:50.

sexual orientation. What matters in employment is the ability to do the

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job, nothing else. What matters in society, here's how you can

:36:58.:37:00.

contribute, how you can serve others. Nacho background, your race

:37:01.:37:09.

or your sexuality. Now secondly, it complete the process of repeal, of

:37:10.:37:13.

those provisions which started in the Armed Forces act last year,

:37:14.:37:20.

2016. As a result, it delivers on the commitment, that was made during

:37:21.:37:26.

the passage of that bill, to bring forward legislation that will deal

:37:27.:37:30.

with the legislation in the merchant Navy in just the same way as in the

:37:31.:37:36.

Armed Forces provisions. Thirdly, it gives free assurance, --

:37:37.:37:43.

reassurance. At the moment the individual could look up the

:37:44.:37:48.

provisions, 1994 online, and I think the alarm door confused. That it

:37:49.:37:53.

apparently allows for the dismissal of a seafarer in the merchant Navy

:37:54.:37:58.

on the grounds of homosexual on the. As I have said, though these

:37:59.:38:03.

provisions have already been superseded, that cannot be told from

:38:04.:38:08.

the initial reading of the 1994 act itself. They would already have to

:38:09.:38:13.

know about the employment equality orientation regulations of 2003 for

:38:14.:38:20.

the equality act of 2010, work on ships and hovercraft 2011. Fourthly,

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the bill will tidy up legislation. Our statute book is complex enough

:38:28.:38:31.

without the retention of the funked and superseded regulations. Apart

:38:32.:38:39.

from anything else this bill is a useful tidying up exercise to make

:38:40.:38:43.

the status of the current law regarding deployment discrimination

:38:44.:38:47.

absolutely clear. As I have explained, giving important

:38:48.:38:51.

reassurance to anyone who might be concerned about this apparent thing

:38:52.:38:56.

in our law. The bill is very straightforward. With a single

:38:57.:39:01.

clause. A single clause simply repeal sections 1464, and 1473, of

:39:02.:39:08.

the criminal Justice and Public order act. The territorial extent of

:39:09.:39:19.

the bill is throughout the UK. I am very happy to give way. Does my

:39:20.:39:24.

honourable friend agree with me that the side of the legislation has got

:39:25.:39:29.

nothing to do with how important it may be. And one line in the bill

:39:30.:39:35.

on the society than a bill that is on the society than a bill that is

:39:36.:39:43.

100 pages long. Article 50. Absolutely and I think we know what

:39:44.:39:45.

my honourable friend is referring to. I just wanted to spend a few

:39:46.:39:51.

moments talking about the territorial extent of the bill,

:39:52.:39:54.

there was some ambiguity as to whether this bill is an equalities

:39:55.:40:00.

Bill Hori Maritime bill. The reason this matters is that given the

:40:01.:40:05.

territorial extent, of the legislative consent motion could

:40:06.:40:10.

have been required. Saint honourable members will know that maritime

:40:11.:40:13.

matters are reserved whereas equalities matters are devolved. I

:40:14.:40:18.

am informed, that this bill is classified as a maritime matter, and

:40:19.:40:25.

being a reserved matter, a legislative consent motion is not

:40:26.:40:28.

required from the devolved administrations. And the Department

:40:29.:40:35.

for Transport has also signalled the compatibility of the bill with the

:40:36.:40:42.

EC HR Convention rights. So this bill mirrors the repeal of

:40:43.:40:46.

equivalent provisions relating to the Armed Forces included in the

:40:47.:40:52.

Armed Forces act 2016. And those provisions are widely welcomed in

:40:53.:40:56.

the house, and were widely welcomed during the passage of that bill. I

:40:57.:41:01.

trust that the support that those provisions received then we'll be

:41:02.:41:04.

indicative of support for this bill today. I want to anticipate the

:41:05.:41:10.

objection that the provisions in this bill could have been dealt with

:41:11.:41:15.

earlier. In fact, the Armed Forces act could not have included clauses

:41:16.:41:20.

relating to the merchant Navy, since legislation covering the merchant

:41:21.:41:25.

Navy is a transport matter, rather than a defence matter.

:41:26.:41:31.

As a result, these provisions fell outside the scope of the Armed

:41:32.:41:38.

Forces act and the ministers said during the reports stage of the

:41:39.:41:40.

Armed Forces act on the 11th of January last year that, and I quote,

:41:41.:41:46.

these provisions in no way reflect the position of today's Armed

:41:47.:41:50.

Forces. We are proud in the Department of the progress we have

:41:51.:41:55.

made since 2000 to remove policies that discriminated against

:41:56.:41:59.

homosexual men, lesbians and transgender personnel so they can

:42:00.:42:05.

serve openly in the Armed Forces. The honourable member who is

:42:06.:42:08.

understandably not in his place from Chesterfield speaking for the party

:42:09.:42:12.

opposite at the time said, and I quote, removing these provisions

:42:13.:42:15.

from the statute book is a welcome step forward so that the explicit

:42:16.:42:21.

refusal to discriminate against homosexual servicemen and women is

:42:22.:42:25.

expunged from the service book, just as it has in practice been outlawed.

:42:26.:42:29.

This is an important step forward and we welcome it very strongly.

:42:30.:42:37.

Just as the Armed Forces today does not discriminate against homosexual

:42:38.:42:40.

servicemen and women, so the merchant Navy does not do so any

:42:41.:42:46.

more and homosexual men and women make a full and valuable

:42:47.:42:49.

contribution to our shipping industry. I was very fortunate in

:42:50.:42:58.

the last parliament to take through the presumption of death now act as

:42:59.:43:02.

a Private members Bill a few years ago. At the time, I was grateful for

:43:03.:43:08.

the support and help of charities and organisations who had been

:43:09.:43:10.

lobbying on those issues for a long time. Today, in a similar way, I am

:43:11.:43:16.

very pleased that this Bill has been welcomed by and enjoys the support

:43:17.:43:20.

of key bodies representing the merchant Navy. I hope that will give

:43:21.:43:27.

us confidence today that this repeal is not something that the industry

:43:28.:43:31.

are in different too. In fact, they have warmly welcomed it. The UK

:43:32.:43:37.

chamber of shipping, the industry body for the merchant Navy, have

:43:38.:43:42.

welcomed the bill and have said, and I want to quote in the House today,

:43:43.:43:48.

the UK chamber of shipping is fundamentally opposed to any

:43:49.:43:50.

discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Whilst

:43:51.:43:56.

subsequent equality legislation has superseded it, this is a welcome

:43:57.:44:03.

move which would create welcome -- legal certainty. The RMT, the

:44:04.:44:07.

industry union, has also lent its support to the bill saying, the RMT

:44:08.:44:14.

is fundamentally opposed to all forms of work -based discrimination

:44:15.:44:18.

including on grounds of sexuality. We support all efforts to reinforce

:44:19.:44:26.

LGBT art right in the merchant Navy and Mr Glen's bill should finally

:44:27.:44:31.

end any threat of legalised persecution, particularly of gay or

:44:32.:44:36.

bisexual seafarers. We welcome this step and see that it has Government

:44:37.:44:41.

support and we urge all MPs and peers to ensure that this bill is

:44:42.:44:47.

passed into law as quickly as possible. Finally, I was also

:44:48.:44:51.

particularly pleased to receive the backing of long-standing campaigner

:44:52.:44:56.

Peter Catterall, who said in an e-mail to me it is surprising and

:44:57.:45:01.

shocking that this exemption from equality laws remains on the statute

:45:02.:45:06.

books after so many years of gay law reform. The repeal is long overdue

:45:07.:45:12.

and most welcome. So, in conclusion and in summing up, I hope that the

:45:13.:45:18.

bill will enjoy support across the House to signal our commitment to

:45:19.:45:25.

equality and justice. And to give real reassurance to individuals that

:45:26.:45:30.

no discriminatory employment practices are allowed in law, in the

:45:31.:45:37.

merchant navy or elsewhere in the United Kingdom. As I said in the

:45:38.:45:40.

beginning of my remarks, I am pleased to be able to bring this

:45:41.:45:43.

Bill to the House today and commend it to the House. Order, the question

:45:44.:45:50.

is that the bill be now read a second time. Thank you, Mr Speaker,

:45:51.:45:58.

and I am pleased to be able to contribute to this debate and I

:45:59.:46:01.

would like to thank the honourable member for Salisbury for bringing

:46:02.:46:04.

forward his Private members bill to the House this Bill relates to the

:46:05.:46:11.

repeal of aspects of sections 146 and 147 of the criminal Justice and

:46:12.:46:16.

Public order act 1994 which purport to preserve the right of the

:46:17.:46:26.

Seafarer on a UK registered merchant Navy ship. Although both sections

:46:27.:46:32.

are off no effect as a consequence of the development of other

:46:33.:46:36.

legislation, most notably the equality act of 2010, repealing the

:46:37.:46:41.

sections would prevent any potential misunderstanding, as has already

:46:42.:46:50.

been said, and doing so would tidy up the statute book. There are other

:46:51.:46:54.

good reasons for doing so which I will elaborate on in due course. It

:46:55.:47:01.

is initially to reflect on the legal background and development of the

:47:02.:47:04.

last 50 years which have created a situation whereby the repealing of

:47:05.:47:08.

aspects of the sections may be considered. Sections 146 subsection

:47:09.:47:18.

four and 147 subsection three of the act have been made obsolete as the

:47:19.:47:27.

increase in and of LGBT writes in this country over a period of time.

:47:28.:47:32.

50 years ago in section one of the sexual offences act in 1967 to

:47:33.:47:39.

criminalise homosexual acts in Private in England and Wales.

:47:40.:47:44.

However a subsection ensured that committing a homosexual act was

:47:45.:47:51.

still a -- an offence in military law and on a merchant ship. Moving

:47:52.:47:57.

forward a generation, we come to the criminal Justice and Public order

:47:58.:48:01.

act of 1994, the very act to which this bill refers. This act covered a

:48:02.:48:09.

plethora of different areas including young offenders, bail

:48:10.:48:13.

arrangements, justice, police powers, trespassing, squatters,

:48:14.:48:19.

terrorism and prisons to name just a few. Part 11 of that act also

:48:20.:48:24.

covered topics relating to homosexuality and perhaps, most

:48:25.:48:29.

notable, in section 145, which reduced the homosexual age of

:48:30.:48:35.

consent from 21 to 18. This is, of course, -- this has, of course,

:48:36.:48:44.

since been lowered to 16. Other sections of the act also removed the

:48:45.:48:51.

criminal liability which existed under the 1967 act. Sections 146 and

:48:52.:48:56.

147 which are subject to the bill before us today were added in 1994

:48:57.:49:05.

following non-government movements. -- non-government amendments. I

:49:06.:49:10.

understand the proposer of those amendments was concerned that making

:49:11.:49:13.

homosexual acts legal might mean that homosexual people could be

:49:14.:49:33.

dismissed for engaging in it. These do not have any consequence on any

:49:34.:49:37.

other measure. Indeed, the wording of 146 and 147 mean that it is

:49:38.:49:43.

possible for dismissal solely on the basis of homosexual conduct to be

:49:44.:49:47.

prevented by other legislation and Government policy. As has already

:49:48.:49:51.

been mentioned with regards to the Armed Forces, in September 1999, in

:49:52.:49:57.

the case of script -- of Smith versus the UK, the European Court of

:49:58.:50:02.

Human Rights ruled that the ban of homosexuals in the Armed Forces

:50:03.:50:07.

broke the human rights Convention which safeguards the right to

:50:08.:50:12.

privacy. Up until this point, the Ministry of Defence's position had

:50:13.:50:17.

always been that homosexuals in the military were bad for morale and

:50:18.:50:27.

were potentially open to blackmail from foreign interventions. It was

:50:28.:50:32.

thought that it was incompatible with military life because of the

:50:33.:50:37.

close conditions within which personnel have to live and work and

:50:38.:50:40.

also because their sexual behaviour could cause offence, polarise

:50:41.:50:51.

thoughts and result in difficult circumstances. As a result of the

:50:52.:50:55.

ban, dozens of servicemen were forced to leave the service every

:50:56.:50:59.

year as a result of the prejudice they encountered. Following the

:51:00.:51:02.

decision of the European Court of Human Rights, the Government lifted

:51:03.:51:07.

the ban on the 12th of January in the year 2000. With regards to the

:51:08.:51:12.

merchant Navy dismissing a member of crew on a merchant ship because of a

:51:13.:51:17.

homosexual act, that is specifically because the act was homosexual as

:51:18.:51:23.

distinct from dismissal for participating in a sexual act

:51:24.:51:26.

irrespective of sexual orientation. That would constitute sexual

:51:27.:51:32.

orientation discrimination which is contrary to part five, chapter five

:51:33.:51:40.

of the equality act 2010. In Northern Ireland, a regulation in

:51:41.:51:59.

2003 achieved the same in regards to removing discrimination against

:52:00.:52:06.

sexual orientation. Mr Speaker, over the years, both sections have been

:52:07.:52:10.

gradually amended until they have reached their present composition,

:52:11.:52:14.

whereby they only make reference to the merchant Navy. These part of

:52:15.:52:19.

those sections regarding offences relating to military discipline were

:52:20.:52:22.

repealed by the Armed Forces act 2006. All references to the Armed

:52:23.:52:27.

Forces were removed from the sections three part 14 subsection

:52:28.:52:36.

three of the Armed Forces act 2016. Part 14 subsection three originated

:52:37.:52:41.

as a consequence of an amendment to the Armed Forces Bill watch was

:52:42.:52:44.

moved during the Report Stage. It was initially thought during the arm

:52:45.:52:49.

-- early stages of the bill but it could not repeal the relevant part

:52:50.:52:53.

of 146 and 147 which related to the Armed Forces because those parts

:52:54.:52:56.

were also tied up with the merchant Navy. A subject outside the scope of

:52:57.:53:02.

the bill. The Government subsequently agreed upon decoupling

:53:03.:53:07.

beauty issues and bust dealt with the aspects of those which

:53:08.:53:11.

specifically relate to the military as part of the Armed Forces Bill,

:53:12.:53:15.

whilst stating that the aspects that dealt with the merchant Navy would

:53:16.:53:21.

be addressed as soon as possible. The bill which is the subject of

:53:22.:53:24.

this debate is thus advocating a similar approach to that applied by

:53:25.:53:27.

the Government in the Armed Forces act of 2016. Although the

:53:28.:53:34.

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for defence suggested last

:53:35.:53:36.

year that the Department for Transport intended to deal with the

:53:37.:53:40.

references to merchant Navy as soon as possible, the honourable member

:53:41.:53:44.

for Salisbury has in fact be the Department through his own Private

:53:45.:53:49.

members Bill. I am of course pleased to note that his intended -- it was

:53:50.:53:58.

the intended decision of the Government to address this as soon

:53:59.:54:00.

as possible and I welcome the comments made by the ministers in

:54:01.:54:08.

this chamber and in the Other Place. I also welcome the cross-party

:54:09.:54:13.

support that this approach has received and that of the members

:54:14.:54:19.

from Renfrewshire and East Dummett respectively. As I have previously

:54:20.:54:30.

stated, neither 1460147 ar of any legal effect due to the existence of

:54:31.:54:35.

other legislation. Both sections are indeed obsolete and in removing

:54:36.:54:39.

them, this Bill tidies up the statute book. Mr Deputy Speaker,

:54:40.:54:44.

this fact alone would of course provide ample justification for

:54:45.:54:48.

bringing forward this Bill. There are caught -- there are however

:54:49.:54:51.

other reasons for bringing this billboard which are perhaps far

:54:52.:54:59.

significant. Even know both sections which are related to are of no

:55:00.:55:04.

effect, they are ambiguous. They could be interpreted as a clear

:55:05.:55:11.

statement that being homosexual is incompatible with employment and

:55:12.:55:14.

merchant vessels and that homosexuals are unwelcome in the

:55:15.:55:17.

merchant Navy. Will my honourable friend give way? Thank you. I am a

:55:18.:55:24.

grateful to my honourable friend for giving way. He is doing a sterling

:55:25.:55:28.

job in setting up the background and the detail for this Bill. Would he

:55:29.:55:33.

agree with me though that I think it is important that we recognise that

:55:34.:55:37.

like most of society, the position of LGBT sailors has markedly

:55:38.:55:41.

improved over the last 20 years. That's not to say that I'm not

:55:42.:55:44.

supporting this Bill today, because I will be, but this is clear from

:55:45.:55:48.

the merchant Navy Code of Conduct which sets out a much more

:55:49.:55:55.

up-to-date process with regards to disciplinary and grievance processes

:55:56.:55:57.

and guidelines on preventing bullying and harassment? I'd like to

:55:58.:56:04.

thank the honourable member for her intervention. What the honourable

:56:05.:56:08.

member may not know about my past is that of course I grew up in

:56:09.:56:12.

Australia and my father was actually in the merchant Navy. I am going

:56:13.:56:17.

back many, many years, but I do know from some of the old seafaring

:56:18.:56:20.

stories that my father used to tell me when I was a much younger man

:56:21.:56:24.

that actually bullying and particularly bullying around

:56:25.:56:34.

homosexual people and by people in the Navy was absolutely rife and

:56:35.:56:38.

totally unacceptable. So, yes, I absolutely agree that the conditions

:56:39.:56:45.

for LGBT personnel on those vessels today is probably far better than it

:56:46.:56:50.

was in the days when my father was in the merchant Navy. But I dare say

:56:51.:56:56.

that this Bill will indeed make it even better for them going forward.

:56:57.:57:02.

Mr Deputy Speaker the code of conduct for the merchant Navy was

:57:03.:57:11.

approved in 2013, it was agreed between the union of rail Maritime

:57:12.:57:15.

and transport workers, the RMT, as the UK chamber of shipping and

:57:16.:57:19.

approved by the Maritime and coastguard agency. The code takes

:57:20.:57:23.

into account the rather unique situation of working on a merchant

:57:24.:57:29.

ship and the fact that seafaring is a civilian occupation which imposes

:57:30.:57:33.

on seafarers certain demands that are not found in land-based jobs.

:57:34.:57:38.

Just to take up on my honourable friend's intervention earlier as

:57:39.:57:43.

well, one of the key aspects of course of working on a merchant

:57:44.:57:46.

ship, is that you live and work together with your fellow

:57:47.:57:52.

colleagues, so that if you don't get on, if there is bullying and

:57:53.:57:57.

intimidation, it is far greater a stress for those that are on the

:57:58.:58:03.

receiving end of that bullying. Because of course the confined

:58:04.:58:07.

environment, of those very ships that they work on. Furthermore the

:58:08.:58:16.

guidance on eliminating, ship bullying is produced by the

:58:17.:58:20.

International chamber of shipping and transport workers Federation

:58:21.:58:23.

affirms the importance of eliminating discrimination in

:58:24.:58:26.

respect of employment and occupation. It goes on to state that

:58:27.:58:31.

all seafarers have the right to work without suffering harassment and

:58:32.:58:37.

bullying and outlines the serious consequences for physical and

:58:38.:58:39.

emotional health of seafarers who are subject to that very bullying.

:58:40.:58:45.

The guidance makes it explicitly clear that harassment and bullying

:58:46.:58:48.

based on a person's sexual orientation is unacceptable and said

:58:49.:58:53.

Sabah formal complaints and investigations to ensure that all

:58:54.:59:01.

incidents of homophobic Rulli in our -- are properly dealt with. It is

:59:02.:59:06.

clear that the sentiment expressed, in these two sections, is not shared

:59:07.:59:12.

by those within the shipping industry, it is incompatible with

:59:13.:59:17.

their current policies, aims and values. The potential inference of

:59:18.:59:21.

the sections as they currently stand, that being homosexual is

:59:22.:59:29.

incompatible with employment, is outdated and unhelpful. And removing

:59:30.:59:33.

these sections and any potential ambiguity should therefore be

:59:34.:59:37.

welcomed. Both the code of conduct and the guidance of eliminating

:59:38.:59:42.

shipboard harassment and bullying making it clear that LGBT people are

:59:43.:59:47.

welcome inside the merchant Navy. Any suggestion to the contrary is

:59:48.:59:52.

clearly wrong, and efforts to avoid any potential misunderstanding by

:59:53.:59:55.

removing these references from the statute book will I am sure received

:59:56.:00:03.

the support of the industry. Mr Deputy Speaker there are a number of

:00:04.:00:10.

practical reasons for removing these sections, doing so has several

:00:11.:00:13.

members have already indicated to me is also highly symbolic and in a

:00:14.:00:19.

sense it is this aspect that is arguably the most compelling reason

:00:20.:00:25.

for supporting this bill. As I outlined earlier, legislation and

:00:26.:00:28.

government policy relating to the LGBT people has changed

:00:29.:00:32.

substantially over the last 50 years however the fact that we are

:00:33.:00:35.

discussing this issue today demonstrates that there is still a

:00:36.:00:44.

way to go. Beginning with the sexual offences act 1967 that

:00:45.:00:48.

decriminalised homosexual acts, we have witnessed many important

:00:49.:00:52.

milestones in relation to LGBT writes in recent decades. Some of

:00:53.:00:56.

these such as equalising the age of consent, removing the ban on serving

:00:57.:01:02.

in the Armed Forces, and outlawing all the discrimination practices,

:01:03.:01:06.

which I have already mentioned, other measures prior to 2010 include

:01:07.:01:10.

but were not limited to the repeal of section 28 of the local

:01:11.:01:17.

government act 1988, and, the right of same-sex couples to adopt

:01:18.:01:20.

children and civil partnership legislation. Since 2010 we have seen

:01:21.:01:26.

further measures to enhance LGBT equality and a consistent desire

:01:27.:01:29.

from the government to tackle any remaining prejudice and

:01:30.:01:34.

discrimination. As my honourable friend from Salisbury has already

:01:35.:01:40.

said, ?2.8 million has been made available to tackle homophobic, by

:01:41.:01:52.

phobic and transfer obit bullying in schools in England. The government

:01:53.:01:57.

has also worked alongside LGBT organisations to combat online abuse

:01:58.:02:01.

and harassment through the launch of a website called "Stop online

:02:02.:02:08.

abuse". Sports England, have requested to ensure that the

:02:09.:02:12.

involvement of GPT people in sports receives an equal emphasis as part

:02:13.:02:17.

of their efforts to encourage wider involvement in sport to. Furthermore

:02:18.:02:22.

for those who doubt how far we have come in a relatively short period of

:02:23.:02:29.

time, it is also worth reflecting on the fact that in 2014, our Armed

:02:30.:02:36.

Forces came second in the world's first league table in the world's

:02:37.:02:42.

most LGBT friendly military in the world. This came 14 years after the

:02:43.:02:45.

band serving in the military was formerly overturned. We now have the

:02:46.:02:51.

women and equality select committee which is able to hold the government

:02:52.:02:55.

to account on its approach to these issues. We have seen the development

:02:56.:03:00.

of the worlds LGBT action plan reduced by the government and the

:03:01.:03:03.

development of a number of measures to address specific challenges that

:03:04.:03:07.

trance people face in their lives. The government has also built on the

:03:08.:03:16.

pardon of Alan Turing, by saying those convicted of consensual

:03:17.:03:19.

same-sex relationships would be formally pardoned. Through an

:03:20.:03:24.

amendment to the policing and crime Bill. However the most high-profile

:03:25.:03:28.

measure is of course the introduction of marriage for

:03:29.:03:34.

same-sex couples. Since the first same-sex marriages took place on

:03:35.:03:38.

March 2014, the latest figures for England and Wales suggest that over

:03:39.:03:42.

15,000 marriages were recorded in the 15 months after the law had

:03:43.:03:47.

changed. The total figure now of course will be somewhat higher. Mr

:03:48.:03:53.

Deputy Speaker, sadly we cannot change the events of the past, and

:03:54.:03:58.

the discrimination and prejudice that LGBT people often experienced

:03:59.:04:02.

in society. We can however change the present, we can seek to tackle

:04:03.:04:10.

discrimination and intolerance where it still exists, and we can lead by

:04:11.:04:15.

example in this house. When it comes to challenging legislation which is

:04:16.:04:19.

plainly inappropriate and inconsistent with the values which

:04:20.:04:31.

we hold today. Nor will it be remembered in the same way. However,

:04:32.:04:38.

it is symbolic, nonetheless. Its purpose is very much in keeping with

:04:39.:04:42.

our virtual legal and policy developments and the changes within

:04:43.:04:48.

society, which have radically improved LGBT writes over the last

:04:49.:04:54.

50 years. This bill, as to be seen through the prism of that changing

:04:55.:04:59.

landscape, and it is a small but important change with regards to

:05:00.:05:04.

insuring that LGBT people are protected from discrimination in the

:05:05.:05:09.

workplace. If this bill is passed Mr Deputy Speaker is no doubt be seen

:05:10.:05:13.

in years to come as part of the gradual journey into improving LGBT

:05:14.:05:19.

writes and ending the historic prejudice that LGBT people have

:05:20.:05:26.

experienced. I'm pleased to have been able to contribute to this

:05:27.:05:30.

debate today and I am pleased Mr Deputy Speaker to support this bill.

:05:31.:05:38.

Thank you Mr Deputy Speaker I am very grateful to have the

:05:39.:05:41.

opportunity to contribute to this debate, at such an early stage in

:05:42.:05:46.

the proceedings. I serve on the transport select committee, and I'm

:05:47.:05:58.

also an openly transsexual man. Let me start with the customary -- gate

:05:59.:06:09.

man. Let me congratulate him on his good fortune in securing such a high

:06:10.:06:13.

place in the private members bill. In choosing this subject, Bill, if I

:06:14.:06:21.

heard him correctly, in this speech, if this bill is successful, it will

:06:22.:06:27.

be his second. In the laws of the land. That makes him eligible for a

:06:28.:06:36.

membership of a fairly exclusive club, what a backbencher to have

:06:37.:06:40.

secured not one but two changes in the law. But we mustn't get ahead of

:06:41.:06:47.

ourselves, this is only the second reading, there are many more stages

:06:48.:06:50.

in this place and the other place to come. I do welcome the fact that

:06:51.:06:58.

both he, and my honourable friend from Calder Valley, made important

:06:59.:07:05.

points that this bill is much more than a simple tidying up exercise. I

:07:06.:07:11.

did have some concerns reading the explanatory notes to the bill, and

:07:12.:07:15.

some of the briefings that had been provided. That's the sole purpose of

:07:16.:07:23.

this bill, was just to tidy up some clumsy legal arrangements that exist

:07:24.:07:28.

from previous legislation, that is important for reasons that both are

:07:29.:07:32.

honourable friends have set out. But I am also glad, and I appreciate the

:07:33.:07:40.

wider significance of this bill. To developing the journey on LGBT

:07:41.:07:47.

issues. That we had been on for many decades. I do appreciate, that there

:07:48.:08:05.

is a clumsiness in a legal sense, from having a separately to the one

:08:06.:08:09.

in the Armed Forces and I do appreciate that it was going to be

:08:10.:08:13.

difficult to keep the dots together in a single measure. I am glad, that

:08:14.:08:18.

the sensible decision was taken but it was better to decouple them at

:08:19.:08:23.

that point and allow the welcome changes, in terms of the Armed

:08:24.:08:27.

Forces, to proceed without delay. Rather than getting into it and

:08:28.:08:35.

proceeding with the two bound together. I'm stand that point. This

:08:36.:08:41.

is as my honourable friends have said, completing a journey that has

:08:42.:08:45.

already been started, and both my rubble friends, think this is a very

:08:46.:08:51.

helpful pr cis of the changes that have happened. In decriminalising

:08:52.:08:57.

homosexuality, the steps towards equality that have happened under

:08:58.:09:02.

governments of all colours, over the last few decades. My honourable

:09:03.:09:11.

friend for Calder Valley, touched on, the same-sex marriage act. I

:09:12.:09:18.

would like to focus on that too, there is a strong parallel, between

:09:19.:09:22.

the process of arriving at that point and this bill. And if the

:09:23.:09:26.

house will indulge me I will try to explain that a little bit. When the

:09:27.:09:33.

civil partnership act was introduced, under Tony Blair's

:09:34.:09:37.

government, that was a recognition that legally, it was going to be

:09:38.:09:41.

very difficult to move straight to same-sex marriage. I think there was

:09:42.:09:47.

a wide acceptance at the time, that although that was a desirable

:09:48.:09:54.

ultimate goal, the legal difficulties, the objections from

:09:55.:09:58.

many of the churches, made it very difficult to go to that point

:09:59.:10:03.

straightaway. And I was perfectly comfortable, well I wasn't a member

:10:04.:10:06.

of the house at the time, I was perfectly comfortable with the civil

:10:07.:10:12.

partnership act. As pretty much giving the same rights to same-sex

:10:13.:10:17.

couples as heterosexual couples had under civil marriage. It was a small

:10:18.:10:25.

legal difference in the terms of the provisions, but it was about 98% the

:10:26.:10:28.

same and I thought that is good enough. On that point. It is

:10:29.:10:36.

interesting that my honourable friend focuses on the same-sex

:10:37.:10:39.

marriage act but also mentions, the civil partnership act, that changed

:10:40.:10:46.

under Tony Blair. But would we agree with me, that actually, that was

:10:47.:10:53.

prog with the most significant act, in regards to quality because for

:10:54.:10:57.

the first time, it put, those that went through civil partnership on a

:10:58.:11:03.

legal equality, putting, with the rest of married couples. I'm very

:11:04.:11:11.

grateful to my honourable friend for that point, I agree with him to that

:11:12.:11:16.

extent. It almost got us on the same footing. But there was a difference.

:11:17.:11:26.

Once the civil partnership act was enforced and hundreds of couples

:11:27.:11:34.

have taken advantage of it, the debate then started, well, should we

:11:35.:11:39.

now move to full same-sex marriage? At the same time -- at the time, I

:11:40.:11:45.

thought, do we really need to do this? Haven't we got what we wanted

:11:46.:11:48.

in practice and isn't this just going to be us indulging ourselves

:11:49.:11:55.

in a bit of a sideshow on a matter that won't really make much

:11:56.:11:57.

difference? That was my fault at the time and I think other -- that was

:11:58.:12:02.

my thought at the time and I think other colleagues felt the same. But

:12:03.:12:06.

the more I thought about it, the more I realised the importance of

:12:07.:12:11.

the move to full equality as my honourable friend has said. The

:12:12.:12:18.

reason for that is that although the Civil Partnership Act almost gave us

:12:19.:12:27.

equality, it wasn't the same. Gay people and straight people were

:12:28.:12:32.

treated differently under the law. The reason I'm mentioning this is we

:12:33.:12:39.

could argue that under the provisions of the criminal Justice

:12:40.:12:42.

and Public order act, combined with the equality act 2010, in terms of

:12:43.:12:49.

the merchant Navy, it makes it very difficult for the seafarer to be

:12:50.:12:54.

dismissed because they are homosexual or engaged in a

:12:55.:12:59.

homosexual act. Very difficult. But the discrimination existed on the

:13:00.:13:06.

statute book. And they could be a case where someone was dismissed for

:13:07.:13:11.

that. -- there could be. That is wrong. It is not just tidying up

:13:12.:13:24.

exercise. It sends out a powerful signal. It might not involve a great

:13:25.:13:30.

number of individuals. Homosexuality is not a new concept. I understand,

:13:31.:13:37.

doing some research, that there is even a special language which has

:13:38.:13:44.

been used where discreet signals could be sent out for people who

:13:45.:13:51.

might be interested. I am not fluent in the language, but thank you for

:13:52.:14:00.

your point, my honourable friend from Finchley and Golders Green. So

:14:01.:14:06.

it is not a new concept and it might not involve a great number of people

:14:07.:14:12.

but it is still discrimination. We shouldn't be ignorant of the fact

:14:13.:14:16.

that it may deter people from wanting to pursue a career on the

:14:17.:14:24.

high seas. It can cause significant psychological damage to young gay

:14:25.:14:27.

people growing up when they know that they potentially cannot pursue

:14:28.:14:33.

the vacation or profession of their choice because they are different.

:14:34.:14:39.

Both my honourable friend is from Salisbury and Calder Valley have

:14:40.:14:45.

made reference to the problem of bullying that still happens in our

:14:46.:14:50.

schools and workplaces today and there has been very welcome

:14:51.:14:52.

improvement on these matters but it still exists. And it still causes a

:14:53.:14:59.

lot of emotional and physical distress to young people growing up.

:15:00.:15:08.

Having the discrimination on this matter just adds to that. It might

:15:09.:15:13.

not be a huge thing but it is part of the same problem. And I can

:15:14.:15:21.

relate to my personal experiences will stop growing up thinking you

:15:22.:15:25.

are different is very tough, even in these more enlightened times, as you

:15:26.:15:30.

still think something is wrong with you. And you might be inhibited from

:15:31.:15:40.

pursuing that what she wanted to do. -- you wanted to do. If members are

:15:41.:15:44.

interested in reading more about this, it's not a well-known subject,

:15:45.:15:48.

but there is a growing body of evidence in psychology that is

:15:49.:15:58.

unravelling and pointing out the damage that could be done. There was

:15:59.:16:01.

a very good book written by Professor Alan Dowd called the

:16:02.:16:07.

velvet Ridge and he documents both in America and hear how lots of

:16:08.:16:13.

young people growing up, even after homosexuality has been

:16:14.:16:18.

decriminalised and we have same-sex marriage, civil partnerships and

:16:19.:16:20.

lots of the discrimination has been lots of the discrimination has been

:16:21.:16:24.

removed, you still grow up feeling different and that can cause, some

:16:25.:16:29.

people deal with it better than others, but it still causes

:16:30.:16:34.

long-term damage to a lot of people. That is why taking out

:16:35.:16:40.

discrimination in legislation is so important. It's not just a tidying

:16:41.:16:50.

up exercise. Just looking at a career that you might want to pursue

:16:51.:16:54.

and thinking that you can't is very damaging. I for a long time in my

:16:55.:17:01.

teenage years and early 20s, when I decided that politics was my

:17:02.:17:05.

passion, and this was a career that I wanted to pursue, I did think for

:17:06.:17:11.

a time, actually, I can't do it. I would live in fear of being revealed

:17:12.:17:16.

for who I was, something that was so innate in me that I can't change

:17:17.:17:22.

being gay, that's the way I was being -- born. It's as natural as

:17:23.:17:28.

being right-handed, left-handed, the colour of your hair. I felt I could

:17:29.:17:34.

not pursue a career in politics because I was so afraid that I would

:17:35.:17:38.

be cast aside or prevented from doing it, exposed, whatever, because

:17:39.:17:44.

of who I was. That was in the late 1980s, early 1990s. That is why

:17:45.:17:51.

section 28 or section two A as it was in Scotland was so damaging. It

:17:52.:17:57.

really had a detrimental effect. And this party has made an apology for

:17:58.:18:00.

it but we should not underestimate the damage it did at the time.

:18:01.:18:05.

Although it was initially introduced not as a discriminatory measure but

:18:06.:18:09.

as a measure to curb the excesses of some local authorities at the time,

:18:10.:18:14.

that was the effect it had. And I didn't feel that it was real --

:18:15.:18:21.

right for me to be dissuaded from my career choice because of that.

:18:22.:18:27.

Imagine saying to someone like Terry Wogan he couldn't be a radio

:18:28.:18:31.

broadcaster because he had an Irish accent. It's that level of

:18:32.:18:36.

ridiculousness. I got through that. It took me a long time to realise

:18:37.:18:40.

that actually I could still have this career and now it is not an

:18:41.:18:47.

issue at all. We have, I think, just this week been voted as one of the

:18:48.:18:55.

most friendly LGBT places to work for both members and staff and

:18:56.:18:59.

that's an incredible achievement of which we should be proud. So it is

:19:00.:19:05.

more than symbolism. My honourable friend is for Salisbury and

:19:06.:19:12.

Calderwood were right to say it is symbolic but it goes much deeper

:19:13.:19:18.

than that. It is not going to make the headlines today. I think there

:19:19.:19:22.

are other events happening over the pond that might be in the front

:19:23.:19:26.

pages of the news tomorrow. But that shouldn't diminish from the effects

:19:27.:19:33.

that this will have. I am looking forward as well and I hope that our

:19:34.:19:39.

merchant Nati has a very bright future -- al merchant Navy has a

:19:40.:19:42.

very bright future. In the post-Brexit world, I hope this

:19:43.:19:47.

nation will regain its seafaring traditions and be sailing goods all

:19:48.:19:52.

around the world. Hopefully lots of new free trade agreements with

:19:53.:19:55.

countries near and far and I hope that many of those goods will be

:19:56.:20:01.

transported on the high seas. In making sure we are able to do that,

:20:02.:20:05.

we need to have the best people to crew our ships. I do not want any

:20:06.:20:11.

young person who might be gay thinking, oh, that's not for me, I

:20:12.:20:17.

can't do it. I'd be bullied, I'd be discriminated against, I might be

:20:18.:20:27.

dismissed. This measure is, I think, more than symbolic. It is important

:20:28.:20:32.

for our future economic prosperity but, above all, it is another step

:20:33.:20:41.

on the journey to proper equality, another important step on breaking

:20:42.:20:46.

down those barriers, those injustices, those fears that afflict

:20:47.:20:52.

too many young people growing up. I hope what I have said today is

:20:53.:20:56.

helpful to explain the wider significance of this bill and once

:20:57.:21:01.

again I do congratulate my honourable friend for Salisbury for

:21:02.:21:07.

choosing this subject as his private members bill and I wish it every

:21:08.:21:13.

success in today's vote, if it comes to that, and that committee stage or

:21:14.:21:18.

any stages into the Other Place and I will be very proud to support it.

:21:19.:21:25.

Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker. I'll be brief, as the point I wish to

:21:26.:21:30.

make is not complicated because on their side of the House we

:21:31.:21:34.

wholeheartedly support this bill and everything it signifies and I

:21:35.:21:38.

congratulate the honourable member for Salisbury and bringing it

:21:39.:21:41.

forward. Can I also associate myself with the comments he made about

:21:42.:21:47.

bullying in general and particularly homophobic bullying in schools? They

:21:48.:21:51.

are very important points. It is a pleasure also to follow my near

:21:52.:21:55.

neighbour, the Member for Milton Keynes South and I congratulate him

:21:56.:21:58.

on a heartfelt and very powerful contribution. This bill, its

:21:59.:22:07.

intention, I think is relatively straightforward. It will repeal to

:22:08.:22:13.

conditions from the act from 1994, suggesting that it could be lawful

:22:14.:22:18.

to dismiss a seafarer for homosexual acts. As we have heard, those

:22:19.:22:22.

provisions are from another age. They are unfair, completely out of

:22:23.:22:26.

keeping with the commitment now held across this House to an inclusive,

:22:27.:22:31.

just and tolerant society and, furthermore, again as we have heard,

:22:32.:22:35.

they are out of date in terms of legislation. A similar position that

:22:36.:22:44.

suggested it would be possible to dismiss a member of the Armed Forces

:22:45.:22:47.

for a homosexual act have already been revealed as we have heard. --

:22:48.:22:54.

repealed as we have heard. They are superseded by the current equality

:22:55.:22:58.

legislation, primarily the equality act of 2010. Although that was

:22:59.:23:03.

passed before I came into this House, that is legislation that

:23:04.:23:06.

everyone on this side of the House is extremely proud of. As we have

:23:07.:23:12.

heard, this bill is symbolic but symbols do matter. We strongly

:23:13.:23:16.

believe it is important to make legislation to reflect the equal

:23:17.:23:22.

rights that have been so hard one. So, Mr Deputy Speaker, these

:23:23.:23:25.

provisions that are being removed our archaic leftovers of a time

:23:26.:23:32.

which was sadly not nearly long enough ago. We say, let this bill

:23:33.:23:37.

today be a reminder of how far we have come of increasing equality in

:23:38.:23:41.

this country but let us also remember that there is still more to

:23:42.:23:46.

do. On this day in particular, and reference has already been made to

:23:47.:23:51.

this, we must always recognise that tolerance and freedom for everyone

:23:52.:23:59.

cannot be taken for granted. Thank you very much, Mr Deputy Speaker,

:24:00.:24:02.

and can I start off by congratulating my honourable friend

:24:03.:24:07.

for Salisbury for starting the process of steering his second

:24:08.:24:10.

private members bill through the House in such a short space of time.

:24:11.:24:15.

Something that I will never be able to do, Mr Deputy Speaker. I have a

:24:16.:24:19.

feeling that if I were to introduce a Private members Bill, they would

:24:20.:24:26.

say that there should be forever and a day seven days in a week and that

:24:27.:24:33.

somebody would talk it out. I've no idea why they would feel motivated

:24:34.:24:37.

to do that but I am sure that would happen and I would understand their

:24:38.:24:42.

reasons for doing so. But obviously my honourable friend is much more

:24:43.:24:45.

popular than me and for obvious reasons and he has no such problems

:24:46.:24:50.

and I congratulate him for bringing forward this particular bill. It was

:24:51.:25:01.

not only a very powerful introduction to why he brought this

:25:02.:25:08.

be -- this bill forward but a very powerful speech and one of the

:25:09.:25:12.

points made is that this legislation cannot just be seen in isolation. It

:25:13.:25:17.

is part of the journey that has been over many years in terms of making

:25:18.:25:24.

progress on social issues generally, but in particular about gay rights,

:25:25.:25:31.

but I don't even see these things as being about gay rights, Mr Deputy

:25:32.:25:35.

Speaker, because in many respects it is about dealing with things that

:25:36.:25:37.

should never have been illegal in the first place. I sometimes fear

:25:38.:25:43.

that when we talk about gay rights, it is as if we are doing someone a

:25:44.:25:48.

favour. It is not that at all. This is all about making clear that some

:25:49.:25:51.

of these pieces of legislation should never have been enacted in

:25:52.:25:56.

the first place. But it's very easy, I guess, for us living in our age to

:25:57.:26:01.

criticise people who have gone before us in years gone by and in

:26:02.:26:06.

effect try to impose our standards on them. That is a dangerous route

:26:07.:26:11.

to go down and I don't intend to go down that route even though clearly

:26:12.:26:15.

from our perspective in this day and age these pieces of legislation

:26:16.:26:18.

should never have been there in the first place. But obviously different

:26:19.:26:21.

times, people had different views and we shouldn't be too critical

:26:22.:26:28.

because I dare say in 50, 100 years' time, there will be people in this

:26:29.:26:32.

place who will actually be criticising the laws that we have

:26:33.:26:36.

passed, saying that they were absolutely ridiculous,

:26:37.:26:38.

authoritarian, Draconian, and how on earth can we possibly have been

:26:39.:26:42.

doing those things? So it is very dangerous for us to play that

:26:43.:26:47.

particular game ourselves. I was very struck by my honourable friend

:26:48.:26:51.

for Salisbury really referencing the Wolfenden report as the starting

:26:52.:26:58.

point back in 1957, really as the starting point for his bill today.

:26:59.:27:05.

It is very good to be reminded of what an important part of our

:27:06.:27:10.

country's history that report was and Sir John Wolfenden and the 13

:27:11.:27:15.

strong committee that made those recommendations back then about how

:27:16.:27:19.

homosexuality shouldn't be a crime, how important is that was and how

:27:20.:27:23.

obvious that seems to us today but how big a deal that was back in

:27:24.:27:29.

1957. He also made clear, as I want to come onto a bit later, how the

:27:30.:27:36.

sexual offences act 1967, which many people today, virtually all of us

:27:37.:27:41.

today would criticise as a piece of legislation, was seen at the time as

:27:42.:27:46.

a liberalising measure. Again, I guess that particular piece of

:27:47.:27:49.

legislation should be seen in that particular context as well. I very

:27:50.:27:53.

much congratulate him for bringing forward this bill. My honourable

:27:54.:27:59.

friend for Calder Valley again made a very powerful speech and I was

:28:00.:28:06.

struck by his family background in the merchant Navy that he referenced

:28:07.:28:10.

during his speech and I have a feeling there will be other members

:28:11.:28:13.

who want to also say that they have family connection to the merchant

:28:14.:28:20.

Navy to and it's great to have that kind of expertise in the chamber. I

:28:21.:28:24.

was also struck by how he said that we can't change the past but we can

:28:25.:28:29.

change what happens now and what happens in the future. That is what

:28:30.:28:33.

is important that we concentrate on in this place, that we don't always

:28:34.:28:37.

go on about apologising for what has happened in the past, what we should

:28:38.:28:40.

do is take responsibility for what we can do now and what we can change

:28:41.:28:45.

for the future. I thought that was a very good point he made. I have to

:28:46.:28:50.

say, I thought my honourable friend for Milton Keynes South gave a

:28:51.:28:51.

particularly powerful speech. From a -- for a gay man, his

:28:52.:29:12.

perspective on this legislation, what it actually means to people,

:29:13.:29:16.

was very, very powerful and he talked about how this was part of a

:29:17.:29:20.

journey in terms of legislation and it should be seen in that context,

:29:21.:29:25.

rather than just in isolation by itself. I thought the most powerful

:29:26.:29:28.

message he gave in his speech was when he talked about people not

:29:29.:29:34.

being able to do the job that they wanted to do. I thought that was an

:29:35.:29:38.

incredibly powerful point and it's very easy for people to

:29:39.:29:42.

underestimate this point. Can I just say, thank goodness he did carry on

:29:43.:29:49.

to pursue his career in politics. The house at the Conservative Party

:29:50.:29:52.

are much stronger for it, so it's great that he made sure that passion

:29:53.:30:00.

continued. The sheer lunacy of somebody thinking they can't

:30:01.:30:04.

continue in a particular career simply because of their sexuality, I

:30:05.:30:08.

can't emphasise how ridiculous that concept is.

:30:09.:30:17.

The fact that it was happening to him so recently is something we

:30:18.:30:22.

should take to heart. He's absolutely right that there will

:30:23.:30:27.

have been many people no doubt he would have wanted a career in the

:30:28.:30:32.

Merchant Navy, who would have been stopped, deterred and put off from

:30:33.:30:35.

being able to pursue that career simply of legislation like this. And

:30:36.:30:41.

the impact that has had on those people's lives should not be

:30:42.:30:46.

underestimated. His speech was absolutely excellent, and I am sure

:30:47.:30:56.

my honourable friend will have noticed, it was good to be on the

:30:57.:31:02.

committee. I was also struck by the interventions from my other

:31:03.:31:09.

honourable friend, who has clearly done a lot of research into this

:31:10.:31:15.

Bill. Some of the point she made in her interventions, I was unaware of.

:31:16.:31:19.

She was making a point, there she is right on cue. She was making a point

:31:20.:31:24.

I believe in one of the interventions about ships being a

:31:25.:31:30.

residence rather than a place of work, and I hope she will have the

:31:31.:31:34.

opportunity to go into that in more detail, because it was a point I

:31:35.:31:38.

hadn't grasped in looking at this Bill, and I think clearly quite an

:31:39.:31:42.

important point and hope should be able to expand on that. I am very

:31:43.:31:48.

struck by his remarks and he clearly has a depth of knowledge. I was just

:31:49.:31:52.

wondering if he could enlighten the House about his role on the

:31:53.:31:56.

Equalities Committee and how that advances views on the subject. I am

:31:57.:32:03.

grateful to him for drawing attention to that. I'm very proud to

:32:04.:32:14.

be on that committee. I am rather touched that my candidature for that

:32:15.:32:19.

select committee was so popular that nobody even wanted to oppose me

:32:20.:32:26.

election. And that was very touching. But he is absolutely

:32:27.:32:32.

right. I believe in equality so much that I would rather the committee

:32:33.:32:35.

would just renamed the equalities committee, because, as it shadows

:32:36.:32:41.

the government's Equalities Office, that's what it should be called.

:32:42.:32:45.

That is the agenda I want to pursue on the committee. He is absolutely

:32:46.:32:50.

right. This is something that is a key part of that. We should always

:32:51.:32:55.

make clear that nobody should ever be discriminated against on the

:32:56.:33:02.

basis of their gender, on the basis of their race, religion, sexuality.

:33:03.:33:06.

All of those things should be irrelevant. We should be blind to

:33:07.:33:09.

those things. That's the agenda I want to pursue. I hope the passing

:33:10.:33:15.

of this Bill will help in pursuing that agenda. That is the journey my

:33:16.:33:20.

honourable friend from minutes and Kings, that's the journey I want to

:33:21.:33:27.

see. But we don't see things in terms of race or gender or sexuality

:33:28.:33:32.

or religion. I think this Bill is part of that particular journey.

:33:33.:33:57.

I am here to aid its passage through the house, I am certainly not there

:33:58.:34:03.

to block its passage through the House. I feel it is important to

:34:04.:34:08.

make that point clear from the outset. But I think we should say,

:34:09.:34:15.

it wouldn't be unreasonable if somebody did say that this bill is a

:34:16.:34:19.

solution looking for a problem, in the sense that we can note that it

:34:20.:34:29.

will bring about no real tangible change in the law, so to speak,

:34:30.:34:36.

because subsequent legislation has effectively made the question is

:34:37.:34:40.

unenforceable and therefore redundant already. As the briefing

:34:41.:34:52.

states, the Bill would reveal aspects of an act which suggests it

:34:53.:34:56.

would be lawful to dismiss a seed feeder for homosexual acts. The law

:34:57.:35:02.

is without effect because such a dismissal would fall foul of

:35:03.:35:07.

equalities legislation. The current Bill is therefore of symbolic value.

:35:08.:35:13.

The exclamatory notes from the government. It says the sections are

:35:14.:35:21.

no longer of any legal effect and that's the policy implications are

:35:22.:35:31.

ambiguous at best. But it basically says repealing would be symbolic and

:35:32.:35:37.

prevent misunderstanding but it wouldn't change the law. I think it

:35:38.:35:42.

was probably a slip of the tongue, but I think I heard him mention the

:35:43.:35:48.

exclamatory notes from the government, but surely this is the

:35:49.:35:58.

Private Bill? He makes a good point, but it says the notes have been

:35:59.:36:01.

prepared by the Department for Transport with the consent of our

:36:02.:36:06.

honourable friend, the member of Salisbury, in order to help inform

:36:07.:36:20.

debate on it. Yes, the Bill is from my honourable friend for Salisbury.

:36:21.:36:23.

I was making the point that the explanatory notes have been prepared

:36:24.:36:28.

by the government and obviously, the team of experts in the department,

:36:29.:36:32.

and it's fair to say that anyone producing a Private member's bill is

:36:33.:36:36.

going to need the help of the sponsoring department in order to

:36:37.:36:41.

tap into their expertise. An individual backbencher would never

:36:42.:36:45.

be able to muster that. So I don't think we should cap much about that

:36:46.:36:51.

particular point. Anyway, the aim of today is to pass the Bill that will

:36:52.:36:55.

effectively tidy up the legislative rate current -- record and remove

:36:56.:37:01.

legislation that is no longer relevant. This legislation was never

:37:02.:37:09.

relevant in my opinion and it certainly is not relevant today. To

:37:10.:37:13.

clarify the position of the law, as my friend from Milton Keynes South

:37:14.:37:19.

said, people could quite easily read the current provisions of the law

:37:20.:37:22.

and presume that is still the law. They may not actually realise that

:37:23.:37:30.

things like the Equality Act of 2010 have superseded it. Even though

:37:31.:37:33.

strictly speaking, it would make any practical difference in that sense,

:37:34.:37:38.

for those reasons, it is worth supporting. So in many respects, the

:37:39.:37:49.

Bill is straightforward and short. Both sections of the act we want to

:37:50.:37:57.

repeal reserve the right to dismiss a seafarer on a UK registered

:37:58.:38:01.

merchant Navy shipping vessel for an act of homosexuality. This is why

:38:02.:38:05.

this bill repeals those sections. These sections do not relate to

:38:06.:38:10.

criminal offences, they are just the right to dismiss a seafarer for an

:38:11.:38:17.

act of homosexuality. It is worth pointing out that interestingly, it

:38:18.:38:21.

doesn't say seafarers should be sacked for homosexual acts, but that

:38:22.:38:26.

they could be sacked for homosexual acts. That is the law we are

:38:27.:38:30.

repealing. And quite rightly so, there is no justification for the

:38:31.:38:38.

current provisions still to be on the statute book. The actual wording

:38:39.:38:43.

of the section of the 1994 act is the following, nothing contained in

:38:44.:38:49.

this section shall prevent a homosexual act with or without other

:38:50.:38:54.

acts or circumstances from constituting a ground for dismissing

:38:55.:38:57.

them member of a crew from a United Kingdom merchant ship. The other

:38:58.:39:05.

section makes identical provision with regard to Northern Ireland. The

:39:06.:39:13.

Sexual Offences Act 1967 decriminalised homosexual acts in

:39:14.:39:20.

private. The Act through section 15 also maintains that this did not

:39:21.:39:23.

prevent a homosexual like being an offence in military law, and section

:39:24.:39:28.

two maintained that homosexual acts would also remain an offence on

:39:29.:39:33.

merchant ships. To come this point at a later date, because I want to

:39:34.:39:42.

briefly touched on some case studies. Because I think it brings

:39:43.:39:49.

to light is why this Bill is important. And the problems it has

:39:50.:39:54.

caused the people in the past. It is not just abstract problems, it is

:39:55.:39:59.

caused real problems with people. But it is actually important to

:40:00.:40:02.

point out that it does actually prefer section two, because I think

:40:03.:40:08.

there's been some issue about this in the past, about a homosexual act

:40:09.:40:13.

on a merchant ship. I am going to come to back to that point later,

:40:14.:40:18.

because the interpretation of the current legislation that my

:40:19.:40:21.

honourable friend seeks to repeal, not only was it wrong in principle,

:40:22.:40:28.

I think in some cases, its practical application also stretched far

:40:29.:40:31.

beyond what is worded in the legislation. But I will come onto

:40:32.:40:38.

that bit later. That bit about section two. The criminal Justice

:40:39.:40:43.

and Public order act 1994 dealt with homosexuality. Section 145 reduced

:40:44.:40:47.

the age of consent for homosexual acts from 21 to 18 mark and section

:40:48.:40:54.

146 and 147 remove the remaining criminal liability retained in the

:40:55.:41:03.

1967 Act. The relevant sections we are seeking to repeal today where

:41:04.:41:09.

added in that particular piece of legislation. As it was discussed

:41:10.:41:18.

during the passage of the Armed Forces Bill, the Nestor said that

:41:19.:41:24.

when sections 146 and 140 71 added, it was government policy that

:41:25.:41:28.

homosexuality was incompatible with servers in the Armed Forces and

:41:29.:41:34.

therefore, members of the Armed Forces who indulged in, sexuality

:41:35.:41:35.

were dismissed. Both of these sections have been

:41:36.:41:49.

repelled over the years, leaving only the lines I mention to deal

:41:50.:41:55.

with today. Now, related sections on military discipline and those

:41:56.:41:59.

relating to the Armed Forces have been repelled by the Armed Forces

:42:00.:42:04.

Act 2006 and recently the act of 2016. As Jeremy Hanley said during

:42:05.:42:11.

the passing of the 1994 bill, it would clear I will be anom louse for

:42:12.:42:16.

the situation in the Merchant Navy to be different from the Armed

:42:17.:42:19.

Forces. That was the reason at the time for making sure this was in

:42:20.:42:23.

line with the view at the time of the Armed Forces. And yet, that is

:42:24.:42:27.

the position we're left in, it seems, that we have this that

:42:28.:42:32.

actually the Government minister back in 1994 was making the point it

:42:33.:42:37.

would be an anomaly to treat them differently. Yet, we are here trying

:42:38.:42:42.

to tidy this up. This is not new, Mr Deputy Speaker. In 1992, on 25th

:42:43.:42:51.

October, Leo Abs, said in the Commons, how absurd it is that the

:42:52.:42:56.

law can say a man on a merchant ship can have a relationship with a

:42:57.:43:00.

passenger but not with a fellow sailor without an offence being

:43:01.:43:05.

committed. Absurdities are buried in the 1967 act. That was the consensus

:43:06.:43:09.

of that time. I think he made a very good point, back then in 1982 he was

:43:10.:43:16.

making that particular point. So, this piece of legislation that my

:43:17.:43:19.

honourable friend brings forward today has been a long time coming.

:43:20.:43:24.

It seems to me. Now, with regard to a distinction

:43:25.:43:30.

between the Armed Forces and the Merchant Navy, it is somewhat

:43:31.:43:33.

curious that the whole section was not amended in one go and why there

:43:34.:43:38.

was this distinction made between the Armed Forces and the Merchant

:43:39.:43:42.

Navy. The repelling legislation for one and not the other. It is not a

:43:43.:43:47.

distinction that was made teen the two units by how this legislation

:43:48.:43:52.

affects them, but I think, as my honourable friend touched on, simply

:43:53.:43:58.

as the Merchant Navy are not part of the Armed Forces it was out of the

:43:59.:44:01.

scope of the Armed Forces Bill. That is why we need these passages and

:44:02.:44:07.

during the course of that act, the minister explained, my honourable

:44:08.:44:10.

friend for Henley, made the following intervention and said,

:44:11.:44:13.

that during the evidence section for the Select Committee on which my

:44:14.:44:19.

honourable friend was serving, Mr Humphrey Morrison from central eagle

:44:20.:44:22.

services was asked whether the two could be done together and the

:44:23.:44:29.

answer was, it could not. And the minister, the, my honourable friend

:44:30.:44:34.

for Milton Keynes North, said the issues had been decoupled and the

:44:35.:44:38.

Department for Transport were going to deal with the second bit and they

:44:39.:44:43.

would move ahead quickly. So this Private Member's Bill follows that

:44:44.:44:47.

commitment made by the Government. Some people may wish to take issue,

:44:48.:44:52.

that it should not have been left to my honourable friend to bring

:44:53.:44:57.

forward his bill and the luck of the draw we have with Private Member's

:44:58.:45:00.

Bills and all the rest of it and maybe the Government should have

:45:01.:45:03.

brought forward provisions before now to do it. I hope when the

:45:04.:45:08.

minister gets a chance to turn his arm over in this debate later on

:45:09.:45:13.

he'll be able to explain to us why the Government have left it to my

:45:14.:45:16.

honourable friend for Salisbury to do this and not actually bring this

:45:17.:45:20.

forward as a piece of Government legislation before now, which was

:45:21.:45:24.

the impression which was given by his colleagues in the Ministry of

:45:25.:45:27.

Defence at the time of that particular act being passed.

:45:28.:45:34.

Now, much has been said about this issue, but I think it is important

:45:35.:45:42.

to reflect on why homosexual grounds were grounds for dismissal in the

:45:43.:45:45.

first place, so the reasons can be viewed today in that particular

:45:46.:45:50.

content. And one of the best explanations in relation to military

:45:51.:45:54.

life I think came from my honourable friend the member for Mid Sussex in

:45:55.:45:57.

1996, when he was a Defence Minister, when he said, the current

:45:58.:46:01.

policy of excludeing homosexuals in the Armed Forces is not the result

:46:02.:46:08.

of a moral judgment. The prime concern of the Armed Forces is

:46:09.:46:12.

operational effectiveness and it deprives from a praing tis of

:46:13.:46:16.

homosexual orientation on military life. I cannot believe the services

:46:17.:46:21.

have a right to be difference but I firmly believe they have a need to

:46:22.:46:25.

be different. He went on to say, that military life is different from

:46:26.:46:29.

civilian life and actually I have to say that this was actually a

:46:30.:46:35.

cross-party view at the time. It was a view in that particular debate,

:46:36.:46:43.

made by Dr John Reed, from the Labour benches at exactly the same

:46:44.:46:48.

time. And saying that it was about service personnel required to live

:46:49.:46:54.

in extremely close proximity in shared single-sex accommodation,

:46:55.:46:57.

with less privacy and stressful conditions and the belief was those

:46:58.:47:01.

conditions with the need for absolute trust and confidence

:47:02.:47:08.

between all ranks require that the potentially disruptive influence of

:47:09.:47:11.

homosexual behaviour be excluded. That was the view at the time. I

:47:12.:47:22.

might add, Mr Deputy Speaker, General Powell, when he was the

:47:23.:47:28.

joint Chief of Staff in America, held the same view at the time. He

:47:29.:47:33.

saw it as different to race and sex. He said unlike race or gender,

:47:34.:47:39.

sexuality is manifested in behaviour. While it would be

:47:40.:47:45.

decidedly bay yas for us to decide on a racial group or sex, the same

:47:46.:47:50.

is not same for sexuality. So, as I said at the start, this was the view

:47:51.:47:56.

of the time. We consider it to be a ridiculous view to be held. I don't

:47:57.:48:02.

condone those views or understand those views, but that was the

:48:03.:48:06.

consensus of the time. Cross party, in different countries. It wasn't

:48:07.:48:09.

something that was unique. What significance on the views he

:48:10.:48:23.

describes were annunciated, expressed only 20 years ago? This is

:48:24.:48:27.

a short period in the social history of our country? My honourable friend

:48:28.:48:34.

is absolutely right. And in some respects, we should be concerned

:48:35.:48:42.

that these things were still believed in and legislated for so

:48:43.:48:46.

recently. I guess the other side of that particular coin is we should

:48:47.:48:51.

also be pleased that attitudes and views have changed so quickly as

:48:52.:49:00.

well. It cuts both ways. And so yes, my honourable friend is right. This

:49:01.:49:05.

is recent history. This is not from a long time ago. My honourable

:49:06.:49:10.

friend for Milton Keynes North made that point very powerfully himself

:49:11.:49:24.

during his speech. And actually the Lord Craig of Radley also said at

:49:25.:49:33.

the same time that the Armed Forces do not lead themselves to

:49:34.:49:38.

discrimination of freedom of discrimination. For service reasons

:49:39.:49:42.

we discriminate against certain people, whether for their level of

:49:43.:49:47.

eyesight, height and all of these things and, but it is not reasonable

:49:48.:49:52.

to insist that when it comes to sexual, that it is wrong for the

:49:53.:49:57.

Armed Forces to discrimination or wrong for them not to perceive the

:49:58.:50:04.

perceived norm. This were all views expressed recently. And it is, I'm

:50:05.:50:09.

delighted that things have moved on. I think, as we have all seen, as we

:50:10.:50:14.

have all seen, these are not academic matters, because we have

:50:15.:50:18.

seen since these things have been resolved, sing common sense has

:50:19.:50:23.

prevailed, has the effectiveness of our Armed Forces been impaired in

:50:24.:50:28.

anyway? Are our Armed Forces any less today than they were back then?

:50:29.:50:31.

Of course not. Of course they are not. They are there still - they are

:50:32.:50:36.

still the best in the world. And so, these are now not academic

:50:37.:50:42.

exercises. It has been proved to be the case these restrictions and this

:50:43.:50:45.

discrimination was completely unnecessary and pointless. As my

:50:46.:50:49.

honourable friend for Milton Keynes South said, made people who would

:50:50.:50:53.

have been excellent at a particular career deprive them of an

:50:54.:50:55.

opportunity to pursue that career. That is something we should all

:50:56.:51:02.

regret hugely and the proof has absolutely been in the pudding.

:51:03.:51:10.

It's significant and perhaps inevitable that the most widely

:51:11.:51:14.

reported spokesman of the, for people who were arguing for gay

:51:15.:51:21.

rights, Sir Ian McKellan, took the attitude he did. He said, why are

:51:22.:51:27.

ministers even asking the military. The hidden agenda of those who want

:51:28.:51:32.

to change policy, it is to steam roller the experience and the wishes

:51:33.:51:35.

of the military. And that was reported by my

:51:36.:51:40.

honourable friend for Mid Sussex when he was a minister. Now, I

:51:41.:51:44.

understand that in 1992 the Select Committee on the Armed Forces made a

:51:45.:51:47.

recommendation that the criminal law for members of the Armed Forces and

:51:48.:51:51.

the Merchant Navy should be changed to be the same as for civilians. In

:51:52.:51:55.

accepting that, the minister then responsible then said, it is not

:51:56.:52:00.

intended to alter the disciplinary climate of service life. The result

:52:01.:52:06.

was after 1992 this had not made any difference to the administrative

:52:07.:52:09.

discharge procedure which had been adopted. Nor were there any criminal

:52:10.:52:17.

prosecutions apparently either. Andvy count can borne said in 1994 I

:52:18.:52:22.

should like to cover the Merchant Navy aspects. My noble friend has

:52:23.:52:27.

expressed considerable reservations about certain clauses. The clauses

:52:28.:52:31.

provide that members of the Merchant Navy should seize to be subject to

:52:32.:52:36.

any special and additional criminal liability for homosexual acts on

:52:37.:52:42.

British merchant ships. The decision to decriminalise acts by repelling

:52:43.:52:47.

section 2 of the offences act 1967 was written in another place last

:52:48.:52:51.

December. We believe the clauses here achieve the purpose announced

:52:52.:52:57.

then and as in the case of the Armed Forces, also and equivalent Scottish

:52:58.:53:00.

and Northern Irish legislation. The basis of the decision was to bring

:53:01.:53:04.

the Merchant Navy into line with the Armed Forces. The fact the provision

:53:05.:53:12.

appear have been used very little in the Merchant Navy is some

:53:13.:53:17.

encouragement to us saidVy count Cranbourne. The shipping industry

:53:18.:53:24.

and the unions had been widely consulted and if consensus in the

:53:25.:53:28.

shipping industry was in favour of appeal. I look unlike 1967 the RMT

:53:29.:53:40.

is now clearly in favour of repeal. And the Department for Transport was

:53:41.:53:44.

taking steps in consultation with the employers and the unions to

:53:45.:53:49.

amend the Code of Conduct for the Merchant Navy and the amendments

:53:50.:53:51.

would be to make it an offence against the code to demand or

:53:52.:53:57.

illicit sexual favours from another member of the crew or to make

:53:58.:54:00.

unwelcome sexual advances to the crew. Those offences of course would

:54:01.:54:06.

apply to heterosexual and homosexual conduct and they would be subject to

:54:07.:54:11.

disciplinary sanctions provided for in the Code of Conduct. But in June

:54:12.:54:19.

1994, Lord Baldman moved a commitment in the House of Lords to

:54:20.:54:24.

ensure that it would be grounds for dismissal after it had been removed

:54:25.:54:29.

by a last-minute amendment. And he said, at the time, he was in

:54:30.:54:34.

a happy position of moving an amendment. The principal of which he

:54:35.:54:38.

believes had the support of most of the committee to say that homosexual

:54:39.:54:43.

conduct in the Armed Forces and the Merchant Navy will continue to be a

:54:44.:54:46.

ground for administrative discharge. It was no not the original

:54:47.:54:52.

intention. I have been unable to persuade the Government as best how

:54:53.:54:55.

they can be done and it was necessary and helpful if I run

:54:56.:54:58.

through the procedure if I run through at the present time. Which I

:54:59.:55:03.

will not go through today, Mr Deputy Speaker, because it is not

:55:04.:55:06.

particularly relevant. This is how we got to the situation that we are

:55:07.:55:14.

in today. And the Minister of State for the Armed Forces confirmed the

:55:15.:55:18.

Code of Conduct was amended in consultation with the unions and

:55:19.:55:23.

employ years and -- employers and that was an opportunity to enshrine

:55:24.:55:30.

in law the repel of the provisions of 15 of the Sexual Offences Act

:55:31.:55:37.

1967. And this has been under review by successive Governments. Again my

:55:38.:55:41.

honourable friend for Mid Sussex in 1996 said the High Court recommended

:55:42.:55:46.

we should review our policy in the light of changing social

:55:47.:55:50.

circumstances and of the experience of other countries where

:55:51.:55:56.

homosexuality is not a bar to service. Unfortunately, at that

:55:57.:56:03.

time, the internal review concluded that homosexuality was incompatible

:56:04.:56:11.

with service life. If forces to be retained at their operational

:56:12.:56:13.

effectiveness. This was a decision that was wrong. Clearly nothing has

:56:14.:56:18.

happened which has made any difference to our operational

:56:19.:56:19.

effectiveness. In Northern Ireland, and my

:56:20.:56:28.

honourable friend was very helpful when he pointed out that this would

:56:29.:56:32.

apply to the hall of the United Kingdom and was not a devolved

:56:33.:56:36.

matter, and perhaps he can tell us more about how that decision has

:56:37.:56:39.

been arrived at and whether or not that decision can be challenged in

:56:40.:56:43.

any way through the courts, and whether or not it may well have been

:56:44.:56:49.

one of the questions, one of the questions I would have put them is

:56:50.:56:52.

would it be worth seeking the agreement of the devolved assemblies

:56:53.:56:56.

anyway, given that I can't think any of them would object to it? Which

:56:57.:57:02.

may prevent a vexatious legal challenge on the basis of that.

:57:03.:57:08.

Perhaps the Minister can explain why it would've been so wrong just to

:57:09.:57:13.

seek the permission of the devolved administrations anyway. But in

:57:14.:57:17.

Northern Ireland, a Mr Dudgeon complained to the commission of

:57:18.:57:21.

human rights that Northern Ireland law on homosexual offences was in

:57:22.:57:27.

breach of articles eight and 18 of the European Convention On Human

:57:28.:57:35.

Rights. In 1982, it was moved that the draft order be approved. He said

:57:36.:57:41.

on that order, under article five, a homosexual act on it UK merchant

:57:42.:57:46.

Navy ship, between members of the crew will continue to be an offence

:57:47.:57:54.

as now. He also added that the two articles in question deals with the

:57:55.:58:00.

right to respect for private life and freedom from discrimination. The

:58:01.:58:05.

commission concluded that the law Northern Ireland breached this. The

:58:06.:58:08.

case was then referred to the European Court of Human Rights, who

:58:09.:58:12.

have taken into account the argument put forward by her Majesty's

:58:13.:58:15.

government that the existing law Northern Ireland was justified by

:58:16.:58:22.

the emphasis placed on religious and moral factors, and decided there was

:58:23.:58:26.

not sufficient reason that the interference with private life

:58:27.:58:30.

entailed in the present law in Northern Ireland. The court

:58:31.:58:33.

accordingly issued their judgment on the 22nd of October in 1981, that

:58:34.:58:40.

the law Northern Ireland beaches article eight of the European

:58:41.:58:44.

Convention on human rights. This was an equalisation between the

:58:45.:58:53.

countries of the UK. There was an early day motion on the subject, a

:58:54.:59:03.

Commons debate in 1984. There was an early day motion in 1993, alluding

:59:04.:59:07.

to the human side of the debate, which is what I want to turn to

:59:08.:59:13.

next. These are not just abstract points, these are things that have

:59:14.:59:17.

affected real people in their real lives, and we shouldn't

:59:18.:59:21.

underestimate the impact it is hard. There was an early day motion in

:59:22.:59:27.

1993, in which I draw your attention to one of these cases. It read, this

:59:28.:59:31.

house believes discrimination against homosexual men and lesbians

:59:32.:59:33.

serving in the Armed Forces should end. And able seaman serving abroad

:59:34.:59:42.

HMS Act of was discharged from the Navy recently purely on the basis of

:59:43.:59:46.

his homosexuality. Further notes that this case is featured in a

:59:47.:59:52.

Channel 4 Cutting-edge film transmitted that year, believes that

:59:53.:59:56.

the way this case was investigated by naval authorities contradicted

:59:57.:59:59.

the undertaking given by the Minister of State for defence in

:00:00.:00:05.

1992 and calls on her Majesty's government urgently to review the

:00:06.:00:09.

ways the royal navy and other Armed Forces deal with cases of this kind.

:00:10.:00:18.

From what I can gather from this case, the able seaman who was

:00:19.:00:22.

discharged from the Navy, my understanding is he was seen going

:00:23.:00:28.

into known gay establishments and that was the reason for his

:00:29.:00:33.

dismissal. Simply that. That he was seen going into a known the

:00:34.:00:37.

establishments, rather than actually being caught engaged in any

:00:38.:00:43.

homosexual acts and particularly, not ownership. As I made clear, the

:00:44.:00:52.

law in section two in relation to the merchant Navy maintained that a

:00:53.:00:55.

homosexual act on a merchant ship would remain an offence. Now, it

:00:56.:01:00.

strikes me that though that legislation was in itself, in my

:01:01.:01:07.

opinion, the actual application of the legislation was going way beyond

:01:08.:01:11.

what was actually down in statute of what was ever intended. Because

:01:12.:01:18.

surely, even within the laws that stood at the time, surely somebody

:01:19.:01:22.

shouldn't and could be dismissed simply for going into a known gay

:01:23.:01:27.

establishment. How on earth could that possibly be reasonable grounds

:01:28.:01:31.

for dismissal? It's absolutely ludicrous, but that's what happened

:01:32.:01:36.

to that able seaman, and I think it's an absolute travesty that he

:01:37.:01:41.

lost his career in the Royal Navy over that. I don't know what

:01:42.:01:45.

happened to him following his discharge. But I think it's an

:01:46.:01:47.

absolute disgrace that he lost his career in the Navy, serving our

:01:48.:01:55.

country, over those particular brands. It was this kind of

:01:56.:01:58.

legislation that led to the dismissal. We must ask why has this

:01:59.:02:05.

not been tackled before and addressed before? As I mentioned

:02:06.:02:14.

earlier on, the Bill would have any tangible effect on the current

:02:15.:02:18.

practices of seafarers, because the provisions have been superseded by

:02:19.:02:24.

other legislation, most notably the 2010 Equality Act. But it's

:02:25.:02:28.

interesting to note is why the legislation was not repealed during

:02:29.:02:33.

the passage of the Equality Act, because that would seem to need to

:02:34.:02:36.

have been the obvious place for this to have been actively repealed at

:02:37.:02:42.

the time. I asked the House of Commons library to confirm whether

:02:43.:02:51.

it would have been was legislation in the 2010 Equality Act or if there

:02:52.:02:54.

was a particular reason why it wasn't. They said to me that, in

:02:55.:02:57.

answer to my first question, whether the law could of been amended by the

:02:58.:03:06.

act, it could have been and it could've been in the Equalities Bill

:03:07.:03:12.

scope. So it does seem bizarre, the whole point of the Equality Act 2010

:03:13.:03:19.

was to put together lots of existing legislation and tidying it up and

:03:20.:03:23.

putting it into one piece of legislation. It seems a strange

:03:24.:03:26.

omission, that this particular bit of the legislation was passed over

:03:27.:03:32.

during the passage of that particular act. Now, I do remember

:03:33.:03:40.

that the Equality Act 2010 did go through Parliament close to the

:03:41.:03:43.

general election and it made well be one of those pieces of legislation

:03:44.:03:46.

that doesn't get the scrutiny it should do, because it is being

:03:47.:03:50.

rushed through in order to meet the deadline before the 2010 election. I

:03:51.:03:56.

will just there for a say in passing, it's why legislation goes

:03:57.:04:00.

through this Codes, however well-meaning, should be properly

:04:01.:04:04.

scrutinised, before it becomes the law. I will give way. I am very

:04:05.:04:09.

grateful to him for giving way. He has been very generous with his

:04:10.:04:15.

interventions, or allowing interventions. At this point is

:04:16.:04:19.

something we should address. He is a known sceptic about all legislation,

:04:20.:04:25.

as I understand. This illustrates his general philosophy, I think, of

:04:26.:04:29.

being very sparing in terms of legislation. We have to be thorough

:04:30.:04:35.

and we have to get it right. This suggests his general approach is the

:04:36.:04:40.

correct one. I wouldn't go so far as to say I am against all legislation.

:04:41.:04:46.

In fact, I think I did say at the start, I am supporting this

:04:47.:04:52.

particular Bill today, and when the provisions of article 50 come

:04:53.:04:56.

through, is probably likely I will be voting for them to. I would go so

:04:57.:05:02.

far to say that I'm sceptical about all legislation. I know we said we

:05:03.:05:05.

were going to have a broad debate, but I certainly don't want to enter

:05:06.:05:10.

into the debate about what bills will be supported or not supported

:05:11.:05:13.

in the future. I know he has 20 minutes that is ahead of him and I

:05:14.:05:17.

wouldn't want to add to that by discussing other areas. He was

:05:18.:05:23.

leading me astray, Mr Deputy Speaker, you're quite right in not

:05:24.:05:32.

allowing him do that. I shall see my honourable friend later to discuss

:05:33.:05:38.

the closure of Kempton Park. This mission... My point is, and it's a

:05:39.:05:42.

serious point, is that this could've been dealt with many years ago if

:05:43.:05:48.

the legislation had been scrutinised properly at the time. This mission

:05:49.:05:52.

has meant we have needed to come forward with a new bill to correct a

:05:53.:05:57.

failure to repeal something from a previous Act, which is a great

:05:58.:06:10.

shame. The Equality Act 2010 is a confirmation that this would really

:06:11.:06:22.

change anything. It came into force on the 1st of August 20 11. In the

:06:23.:06:30.

interests of time, I'm not going... I know people want to speak and I

:06:31.:06:34.

will test your patience any further by reading through the part of the

:06:35.:06:45.

Equality Act 2011, which in effect, makes these things redundant. But if

:06:46.:06:53.

you look at part five of the Equality Act, which relates to

:06:54.:06:55.

seafarers working wholly or partly in Great Britain and adjacent

:06:56.:07:02.

waters, it actually does make clear, in those regulations, but the

:07:03.:07:10.

Equality Act does apply to seafarers and stitch it is working in that

:07:11.:07:15.

environment. So I think that really effect is pretty clear. And there is

:07:16.:07:23.

actually, within those provisions, the work on regulations in 2011, it

:07:24.:07:31.

does actually, as well as the provisions, it does have an

:07:32.:07:36.

interpretation of those provisions. And in it, it makes clear it is the

:07:37.:07:44.

Equality Act 2010 that is the act that applies. It goes through what

:07:45.:07:48.

is meant by eight United Kingdom ship and a United Kingdom water, and

:07:49.:07:55.

the legal relationship with this seafarers' employment within the

:07:56.:07:58.

country. So I think that did make it clear, but I think my honourable

:07:59.:08:04.

friend for Milton Keynes South did make a pertinent point, when he said

:08:05.:08:09.

that someone who sees a legislation on the statute book may or may not

:08:10.:08:14.

know about the 2011 regulations that were introduced. How many people in

:08:15.:08:20.

here know about the Work On Ships And Hovercraft Regulation 2011? How

:08:21.:08:24.

on earth can we expect the general public, who may well have been made

:08:25.:08:30.

aware of the law that was in place, how could we expect them to know it

:08:31.:08:37.

was superseded by 2011 regulations? Is for that reason, though normally

:08:38.:08:41.

am I might have been tempted to see this as a solution looking for a

:08:42.:08:45.

problem and it's not necessarily. I will give way. I'm grateful to for

:08:46.:08:50.

giving way. Is it not further sensible to bring this Bill forward,

:08:51.:08:54.

because the courts have watered down the understanding of implied repeal,

:08:55.:09:01.

in that they have built up a hierarchy of legislation, and

:09:02.:09:04.

therefore, as the principle of implied appeal has been weakened, it

:09:05.:09:07.

is more important for legislation be passed to be clear? He has a point

:09:08.:09:18.

and I hope he will be able to give the Coast more detail in a

:09:19.:09:21.

contribution. He knows more about that than I do. My understanding,

:09:22.:09:28.

and are awful well, correct if I'm wrong, really, it is constitutional

:09:29.:09:36.

legislation that will always take precedence first, but presumably,

:09:37.:09:45.

anything that is not constitutional that came earlier will be superseded

:09:46.:09:50.

by something that came later. But my honourable friend seems to be saying

:09:51.:09:53.

that is not necessarily the case. Perhaps it like to have another bite

:09:54.:09:57.

of the cherry to inform us. The historic understanding was quite

:09:58.:10:01.

clear, that any subsequent Act implicitly repealed a previous act,

:10:02.:10:05.

but the courts have developed in recent years, particularly in

:10:06.:10:10.

relation to the EU, and understanding of the hierarchy of

:10:11.:10:12.

legislation, and they have an understanding of what acts are

:10:13.:10:19.

constitutional or not. We don't make that discrimination, all acts are at

:10:20.:10:24.

the same level. So it is just about creating certainty. I think that's a

:10:25.:10:27.

very good point that he makes. Not only does the Bill have the

:10:28.:10:34.

advantage of being symbolic and actually removing something from the

:10:35.:10:36.

statute book that to me, shouldn't have been there in the first place,

:10:37.:10:41.

I think he has made a very good case for why it may have a practical

:10:42.:10:47.

application in law. What exactly does is it certainly removes any

:10:48.:10:50.

doubt about the situation, and I think we can all agree that, and I

:10:51.:10:57.

think that has to be a good thing. Finally, because I don't want to

:10:58.:11:00.

test the patience of the Has too much, but I would just like to raise

:11:01.:11:06.

the concern of historical cases. During the debate of the Armed

:11:07.:11:13.

Forces Bill, the issue was raised of individuals being treated unfairly

:11:14.:11:17.

because of the legislation and whether something can be done

:11:18.:11:25.

regarding this. We can to anything about what happens in the past, but

:11:26.:11:28.

we can do something about what happens now and in the future. While

:11:29.:11:34.

I wholeheartedly agree with the repeal of this legislation, I would

:11:35.:11:38.

raise caution about the partitioning of historical cases. That pardoning

:11:39.:11:44.

of historical cases. But, well indeed we may get on to it

:11:45.:12:01.

again today, Mr Deputy Speaker, but I will maintain a distinction

:12:02.:12:04.

between the two pieces of legislation because there clearly is

:12:05.:12:07.

one. But my honourable friend, the member for welcomen ham made the

:12:08.:12:14.

point during the de-- Beckenhan made the point last year, and made the

:12:15.:12:18.

point, these contributions are very powerful when we are discussing

:12:19.:12:21.

these particular details. My honourable friend said he had the

:12:22.:12:26.

sad duty of discharging a man administratively from his battalion.

:12:27.:12:30.

He said, I really regretted it happening at the time, but I must

:12:31.:12:34.

urge caution about us going back in time to try and put right what was

:12:35.:12:39.

apparently right at the time, but clearly wrong. I think he put that

:12:40.:12:44.

very neatly. That was something I would agree with too. There are

:12:45.:12:49.

plenty of ugly and wrong parts of our past in this country. But we

:12:50.:12:56.

cannot rewrite what happened or impose really our beliefs on past

:12:57.:13:01.

generations just as we wouldn't want people in 100 years' time to make so

:13:02.:13:07.

much judgment on what we do today. I will give way...

:13:08.:13:11.

I thank the honourable gentleman for giving way on that point. Would he

:13:12.:13:16.

agree with me in regards of pardoning, it's not just as simple

:13:17.:13:22.

as he has outlined because in our past, when we had underage sex, for

:13:23.:13:30.

example, the aim of consent was 21 -- age of consent was 21. Today, of

:13:31.:13:34.

course it is 16. If you have and have had sex with a minor way back

:13:35.:13:40.

when with a 14-year-old, that process is still illegal today. So

:13:41.:13:43.

it is very, very hard, would he agree with me. It is very difficult

:13:44.:13:49.

to give a pardon in cases such as those?

:13:50.:13:53.

Yes, my honourable friend is absolutely right. My point is I

:13:54.:14:00.

would be inner vows about, in effect, giving pardons for what the

:14:01.:14:03.

law is today, placed on what it was then. We have to accept the law is

:14:04.:14:09.

what it was at the time. And Lord Craig of Radley said in 1994, in the

:14:10.:14:16.

House of Lords, he said, finally am I right in my concern we no longer

:14:17.:14:20.

have confidence that European law may not one day attempt to rule that

:14:21.:14:25.

discharge on the grounds of homosexuality is discriminatory and

:14:26.:14:30.

illegal, this could apply whether by court marshal or administratively

:14:31.:14:34.

and worse be made retrospective and all liable to compensation. And Bill

:14:35.:14:39.

Walker, a former colleague of ours, said in the House of Commons in

:14:40.:14:45.

1994, can my honourable friend give an assurance if existing law is

:14:46.:14:51.

changed, anyone dismissed from the service under the existing

:14:52.:14:54.

legislation cannot appeal to the European Court and receive large

:14:55.:14:57.

sums of public money? One thing which has not really come out in the

:14:58.:15:02.

debate so far, but again I hope that the minister will address this

:15:03.:15:06.

during his remarks, is that I hope we don't have a situation where if

:15:07.:15:11.

we change the law here and I say I am all for change in the law and I

:15:12.:15:15.

support this bill and will do all I can to secure its passage through

:15:16.:15:21.

the House. But I hope that we don't have any unintended consequences

:15:22.:15:25.

where we open up ourselves to some retrospective claims for

:15:26.:15:27.

compensation because we are in effect putting right today what was

:15:28.:15:31.

clearly wrong in the past and whether or not that needs to be made

:15:32.:15:34.

clear on the face of the bill, I don't know. I genuinely don't know.

:15:35.:15:41.

Perhaps the minister will reflect on that and maybe it is something that

:15:42.:15:46.

might be considered at the report stage of the bill just to make clear

:15:47.:15:50.

whether it is on the face of the bill or whether we are opening

:15:51.:15:54.

ourselves up to something which was unintended at the time. So, in

:15:55.:16:00.

conclusion, Mr Deputy Speaker, I very much congratulate my honourable

:16:01.:16:04.

friend's bill. I think for many of the reasons given, but particularly

:16:05.:16:08.

for my honourable friend for Milton Keynes South and I would advice

:16:09.:16:15.

anybody inside or outside the House to read the speech, if they did ptd

:16:16.:16:20.

hear it first time around. It made perfectly clear why this bill is one

:16:21.:16:25.

we should all support. So whether or not it is technically necessary in

:16:26.:16:30.

law or not, it's certainly a bill that should be supported. I hope it

:16:31.:16:33.

will successfully pass into law. Thank you very much, Mr Deputy

:16:34.:16:42.

Speaker. It is a pleasure to follow my honourable friend, the member for

:16:43.:16:46.

Shipley. I too congratulate my honourable friend, the member of

:16:47.:16:50.

Salisbury, for securing this incredibly important debate for

:16:51.:16:54.

being successful in the Private Member's Bill ballot. I think if I

:16:55.:16:58.

understood correctly his comments earlier and those of other

:16:59.:17:02.

colleagues, this is the second time that it looks like he's piloted a

:17:03.:17:06.

Private Member's Bill on to the statute books. No, we will not count

:17:07.:17:12.

our chickens, but hopefully in a few months or weeks that will be the

:17:13.:17:21.

case. He is truly becoming a legislative in this respect. I

:17:22.:17:25.

congratulate him for doing so. He follows in a long line of

:17:26.:17:32.

backbenchers who have piloted very important legislative developments

:17:33.:17:36.

in the arena of social policy through this House. I very much

:17:37.:17:41.

welcome his addition to this important historical trend. I want

:17:42.:17:48.

to say, in compete support of my friend, the honourable member for

:17:49.:17:52.

Shipley, how struck I was too by the contribution from the honourable

:17:53.:17:56.

member for Milton Keynes South. And the comments that he made, the

:17:57.:18:03.

way he framed them, and the personal testimony actually says better than

:18:04.:18:06.

any legal language could, why we need to be doing this today.

:18:07.:18:12.

It's a personal matter for so many people that has been swept under the

:18:13.:18:19.

carpet for so long. And even if this is a tidying up exercise, if I could

:18:20.:18:24.

use that phrase, even if it is a symbolic change to make sure

:18:25.:18:27.

different bits of our legislation aren't giving out the wrong message,

:18:28.:18:33.

that is why it is so vitally important we do it, because of that

:18:34.:18:38.

personal testimony. I absolutely echo my honourable friend, the

:18:39.:18:42.

member for Shipley, in saying if anybody outside of this place just

:18:43.:18:47.

reads one speech in this debate today, it should be the one from my

:18:48.:18:51.

honourable friend, the member for Milton Keynes South. Mr Deputy

:18:52.:18:56.

Speaker, this change, as has been said, is largely a symbolic one. It

:18:57.:19:02.

is still a vitally important one. There is an knack canism in our

:19:03.:19:07.

current legislation, which this seeks to rettyfy. That is the law as

:19:08.:19:13.

it a-- rectify, and that is the law to merchant ships. What would bill

:19:14.:19:19.

would do, to be clear, repel sections 1, 4, 6 and 1 -- 146 and

:19:20.:19:27.

147 of the bill. Certain aspects of those two sections which suggest it

:19:28.:19:31.

would be lawful to dismiss a seafarer for a homosexual act. Those

:19:32.:19:36.

sections repelled in England, Wales and Scotland and revoked in Northern

:19:37.:19:41.

Ireland, laws that criminalised homosexual acts in the Armed Forces

:19:42.:19:45.

and aboard merchant ships. However, the two particular aspects of those

:19:46.:19:49.

sections which my honourable friend's bill seeks to address today

:19:50.:19:55.

still maintained that homosexual acts could provide grounds for

:19:56.:20:00.

discharging a member of Her Majesty's Armed Forces or dismissing

:20:01.:20:03.

a member of the crew of a UK merchant ship. Now, the Armed Forces

:20:04.:20:11.

Act 2016 repeled those parts of that previous -- repelled those parts of

:20:12.:20:15.

the previous act as they maintained their hold over the navy. Her

:20:16.:20:20.

Majesty's Armed Forces. But they left in place the aspects concerning

:20:21.:20:26.

merchant ships. So, as such, we still have on the statute books in

:20:27.:20:31.

this country a piece of legislation which says, "Nothing contained in

:20:32.:20:36.

this section shall prevent a homosexual act from constituting a

:20:37.:20:39.

ground for dismissing a member of the crew of a United Kingdom

:20:40.:20:44.

merchant ship from that ship." And it is purely because we still have

:20:45.:20:48.

that wording on the statute books. Even though it has been superseded,

:20:49.:20:54.

I am so pleased to say, by the equality act of 2010, because those

:20:55.:21:00.

words still appear on our statute books, it gives rise, I am afraid,

:21:01.:21:04.

to a perception, which is the last thing we want to have as a country

:21:05.:21:11.

which has moved so far when it comes to equalising the rights of those of

:21:12.:21:17.

the LGBT community. That is why as symbolic as it might be, the change

:21:18.:21:24.

with which this bill seeks to introduce is, in my estimate, so

:21:25.:21:29.

important. Merchant ships are indeed in the unusual position of being

:21:30.:21:36.

both workplaces ands are denteds. An earlier intervention, my honourable

:21:37.:21:40.

friend, who has a habit of appearing back in her place as she is referred

:21:41.:21:45.

to, is very, very, very, clever indeed, it is a skill all members

:21:46.:21:50.

should develop, I think! But my honourable friend, the pointed out

:21:51.:22:04.

we are in this position where merchant ships are workplaces and

:22:05.:22:07.

residents. That is why we are in the position we are in. Many owners of

:22:08.:22:15.

merchant ships are able, because they are the outright owners of what

:22:16.:22:20.

can also be a residence as well as a workplace, they are able to

:22:21.:22:26.

introduce and enforce rules, regulations on those vessels, as

:22:27.:22:29.

anyone in their own home would do to a visitor. They are able to ban

:22:30.:22:36.

alcohol, for instance. They are able to ban smoking, even of merchant

:22:37.:22:41.

seamen in their own cabins, while off duty n other words. They can

:22:42.:22:47.

impose stringent restrictions on other actives, on health and safety

:22:48.:22:50.

grounds, for instance. Or merely because they feel it is the right

:22:51.:22:54.

thing they want to do in their own residence. The danger is, with this

:22:55.:23:00.

historic language on the statute bobbings, that could be -- books,

:23:01.:23:04.

that could be extended because they are views as a residence and a

:23:05.:23:09.

workplace, one fears that... One fears... ... Of course I will... One

:23:10.:23:18.

also fears there could be a vision of some merchant ship owners

:23:19.:23:21.

extending those powers to homosexual acts, which of course would be

:23:22.:23:26.

entirely inappropriate. Thank you. Perhaps I should start by saying I

:23:27.:23:33.

am not an an per rigs, this is Wendy Morton. But if anybody wants to

:23:34.:23:40.

learn the techniques of bobbing in and out of the chamber, then it is

:23:41.:23:43.

always done with the permission of the chair. Referring back to my

:23:44.:23:47.

honourable friend, the member for North Devon, on that point he was

:23:48.:23:52.

raising, would he therefore agree with me it is 50 years almost since

:23:53.:23:57.

the Sexual Offences Act, things have moved so much on, it is high time,

:23:58.:24:02.

or high tide almost we had this legislation changed and this almost

:24:03.:24:07.

anomaly regarding residences and workplaces is dealt with.

:24:08.:24:10.

I agree. Let me say for the record, I was not for one moment seeking to

:24:11.:24:18.

suggest that my honourable friend was doing anything improper or being

:24:19.:24:25.

discurious to the house in her jiggery pokery. Nothing could be

:24:26.:24:30.

further from the truth. Mr Deputy Speaker, as we have said,

:24:31.:24:35.

currently the criminal Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994

:24:36.:24:41.

exempts merchant ships from certain laws. Within UK statute we have

:24:42.:24:48.

texts which permits the firing of an individual and prohibiting of same

:24:49.:24:51.

sexual conduct. It is still there on the statute book, even though it has

:24:52.:24:56.

been superseded by subs quept legislation, as other honourable and

:24:57.:25:01.

-- subs quept legislation, as other honourable members have said it

:25:02.:25:04.

should not have been in the first place. I am glad my honourable

:25:05.:25:09.

friend is using this opportunity to remove this from our statute books.

:25:10.:25:13.

It is absolutely the right thing to do. The implications of this bill

:25:14.:25:19.

are largely symbolic because as has been mentioned the 2010 equally act,

:25:20.:25:23.

a very welcome piece of legislation, makes it absolutely clear that you

:25:24.:25:29.

cannot fire, dismiss, an individual, employee, because of their

:25:30.:25:32.

sexuality. That of course is welcome. No-one the less, it

:25:33.:25:38.

remains, in my view, incredibly important that we tidy up our

:25:39.:25:46.

statute books to remove once and for all that history... We need to

:25:47.:25:50.

ensure we send a very clear message about the direction that we are

:25:51.:25:53.

taking, which is why this legislation symbolic as it is, is

:25:54.:25:56.

still incredibly important. There have been many pieces of

:25:57.:26:06.

legislation, or for the years, symbolic and otherwise, that I've

:26:07.:26:09.

had tangible and welcome implications for the lives of our

:26:10.:26:15.

LGBT citizens. The Criminal Justice And Public Order Act, which this

:26:16.:26:26.

Bill surpasses, was only amended in 1994, but since then, we have seen

:26:27.:26:31.

the equalisation of the age of consent, the repeal of section 20

:26:32.:26:36.

eight. We have seen the ban on gay people serving in the military

:26:37.:26:41.

overturned. We have seen civil partnerships, protections against

:26:42.:26:45.

discrimination in many areas of people's lives. Adoption rights. And

:26:46.:26:51.

championed by the previous Prime Minister, we saw the introduction of

:26:52.:26:55.

same sex marriage, which is something I wholeheartedly

:26:56.:27:00.

supported. Oscar Wilde once remarked, it was only a matter of

:27:01.:27:05.

time before Oscar appeared in this debate, Oscar Wilde once remarked,

:27:06.:27:10.

yes, we will win in the end, but the rewards will be long and with

:27:11.:27:16.

monstrous martyrdoms. He said. He was right. The road for our LGBT

:27:17.:27:22.

citizens has been too long. And too many people have suffered for too

:27:23.:27:28.

long a time. But I'm sure that Oscar Wilde would be proud at the pace at

:27:29.:27:32.

which changes now actually coming. The list of changes which I

:27:33.:27:36.

mentioned a few moments ago, already in the last 15 or 20 years, has been

:27:37.:27:42.

significant and extremely welcome. And my honourable friend's Bill

:27:43.:27:48.

continues is very welcome process. It purges are statute books of

:27:49.:27:55.

pernicious clauses in historical and outdated legislation. And I think

:27:56.:27:59.

it's vitally important that that happens. Progress is being made, but

:28:00.:28:05.

we still have much to do. It is, I'm afraid, a source of regret that

:28:06.:28:09.

there still exists discrimination in our society, despite the best

:28:10.:28:15.

efforts of legislators in this place over the years, to try and put that

:28:16.:28:20.

right. There is still much work to be done. There does still exist

:28:21.:28:27.

fears among their LGBT community that there is still not 100%

:28:28.:28:33.

protection. It is indeed very difficult for any government to

:28:34.:28:37.

provide such protection, because so much of this comes down to

:28:38.:28:41.

individual attitudes, comes down to individual behaviours. I think we

:28:42.:28:46.

have a great deal of work still as a society to do, to try to ensure that

:28:47.:28:51.

people at really quite a young age are educated, I given the mixture is

:28:52.:28:59.

easy to be able to deal with issues that are of such importance to our

:29:00.:29:06.

LGBT community. There are still gaps in their understanding, very sadly.

:29:07.:29:11.

This Bill seeks to prevent dismissal on the basis of sexual orientation,

:29:12.:29:20.

which is welcome. However, one in five lesbian, gay and bisexual

:29:21.:29:24.

employees across all workplaces, still, according to the latest

:29:25.:29:28.

surveys I've seen, say they have experienced bullying in the

:29:29.:29:32.

workplace in the last five years. One in five of our LGBT community.

:29:33.:29:38.

That needs to change, and this Bill sends out the very clear message

:29:39.:29:42.

that there is yet another workplace in which we insist that that changes

:29:43.:29:48.

put into binding legislation. The other survey figure I think is worth

:29:49.:29:54.

voting is one in eight LGBT people have said they would not be

:29:55.:30:01.

confident in reporting homophobic bullying in the workplace. The fact

:30:02.:30:05.

of homophobic bullying in any workplace needs to be utterly

:30:06.:30:09.

condemned, but the fact that so many people who may be the victims of it,

:30:10.:30:14.

do not feel comfortable in reporting it, do not feel that the mechanism

:30:15.:30:20.

exists for them to report it, is simply something that we have to

:30:21.:30:24.

change. And I would echo the comments made earlier, that I was

:30:25.:30:32.

pleased earlier to see that this place, Parliament, is now in, I

:30:33.:30:38.

think, the top 30 if I remember properly, for the best employers in

:30:39.:30:42.

the country, by members of the LGBT community. That is something that

:30:43.:30:49.

the staff of the House should be extraordinarily proud. 26% of LGBT

:30:50.:30:59.

workers are not open to their colleagues about their sexual

:31:00.:31:02.

orientation, even today. This has echoes again of the comments my

:31:03.:31:11.

honourable friend, the member for Milton Keynes South, about his early

:31:12.:31:14.

career choice and that he felt at the time and how he wasn't able to

:31:15.:31:18.

be open about his sexuality. But still today, we're told that more

:31:19.:31:23.

than one in four LGBT workers feel they cannot be open with their

:31:24.:31:28.

colleagues or managers about their sexual orientation, which feeds into

:31:29.:31:31.

the comments I was making a short time ago. We have to change

:31:32.:31:35.

perceptions, we have to change and minds. And this Bill really helps to

:31:36.:31:42.

send that message through loud and clear. Even though it is largely

:31:43.:31:46.

symbolic, the fact that we're having this debate in Has today, and the

:31:47.:31:52.

fact that we are determined, as I hope we will be the result of the

:31:53.:31:59.

division, to make a symbolic change, I think it sends a clear signal that

:32:00.:32:04.

we will not allow any further discrimination, and if that is what

:32:05.:32:07.

it takes to change hearts and minds, there might have these debates in

:32:08.:32:13.

this place and let's take these, even if they are symbolic, acts, and

:32:14.:32:17.

let's make sure the are pushed forward into our statute. It is all

:32:18.:32:22.

well and good tackling the relationship between the employer

:32:23.:32:25.

and employees. That does have imported material implications for

:32:26.:32:32.

LGBT citizens and workers, but changing hearts and minds must be

:32:33.:32:40.

the main aim. Symbolic bills such as this, although limited in their

:32:41.:32:43.

legislative effect, are very important in doing so. But only with

:32:44.:32:51.

a change of opinions will individuals such as those who feel

:32:52.:32:54.

they currently have to hide their real identity in the workplace, only

:32:55.:32:59.

then will they feel confident to be open and out. Until that day, I

:33:00.:33:05.

think we cannot say that we truly have an equal society for our LGBT

:33:06.:33:11.

citizens, either in or out of the world of work. So this Bill

:33:12.:33:17.

specifically relates to the rights of LGBT employees on merchant ships,

:33:18.:33:25.

ships which, by their very nature, operate all over the world. We don't

:33:26.:33:30.

want an individual, though, to be free from discrimination on board

:33:31.:33:34.

the ship, or that of these potential discrimination when they perhaps

:33:35.:33:40.

disembark on a foreign shore. So I want to take the opportunity to see

:33:41.:33:45.

we must continue to fight for the rights of LGBT citizens and workers

:33:46.:33:51.

in other countries as well. So I think today, where there are events

:33:52.:33:56.

happening over on the other side of the Atlantic, which may knock this

:33:57.:34:01.

fine debate of the top of the news bulletins later on, as surprising as

:34:02.:34:07.

it resumed, I fear, as a former journalist, I'm just taking a hunch

:34:08.:34:11.

and guess this might be possible that it would lead the Six O'Clock

:34:12.:34:16.

News tonight. But let's do our best. On the day that President Obama

:34:17.:34:21.

leaves office in America, let's take this opportunity to pay tribute to

:34:22.:34:26.

the work he has done in advancing LGBT writes in the USA. It is not a

:34:27.:34:32.

finished job, by any means, and in many states, you can still be denied

:34:33.:34:36.

public services, you can't be dismissed from your job, simply for

:34:37.:34:44.

being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. However, President

:34:45.:34:49.

Obama leaves office after eight years, with the LGBT community in

:34:50.:34:55.

this state is more protected than its has ever been. Let us hope that

:34:56.:35:00.

nothing is done in the next four or eight years to unwind any of that

:35:01.:35:06.

good work. This Bill seeks to tidy up legislation in the UK, so that we

:35:07.:35:11.

in this country hopefully can say the same as we are unable to say

:35:12.:35:14.

about President Obama on the day he leaves office, that we have given a

:35:15.:35:20.

very clear signal, that we will not tolerate discrimination against the

:35:21.:35:23.

LGBT community, either on merchant ships or in any other workplace or

:35:24.:35:29.

in society and the country as a whole. Reference was made earlier to

:35:30.:35:36.

the European Union. I'm aware of Mr Deputy Speaker's intervention in

:35:37.:35:41.

persuading us not to go off on particular debating cul-de-sac

:35:42.:35:49.

today, but I would simply say, as we leave the European Union, we have to

:35:50.:35:53.

make sure that the progress that many of those nations have made, is

:35:54.:35:59.

continued, but we must be aware that there are some of our European

:36:00.:36:03.

neighbours, particularly in Eastern Europe, where there is more to be

:36:04.:36:10.

done in the field of understanding, of educating the citizenry there, of

:36:11.:36:15.

the attitudes towards the LGBT communities in those countries. In

:36:16.:36:21.

my view, it's absolutely the case that people have a right to be free

:36:22.:36:26.

from discrimination in employment because of their sexuality, in any

:36:27.:36:32.

nation at all. It's as important to eat young Eastern European, who,

:36:33.:36:38.

growing up, aspires to work in a merchant ship, as it is in any other

:36:39.:36:44.

country. As we leave the European Union, we must keep in mind that our

:36:45.:36:48.

farmers European partners, we will still be in Europe, if not in the

:36:49.:36:53.

union, but some of them do still have some little way to go. We must

:36:54.:36:59.

continue to advocate our values in Europe. And my honourable friend's

:37:00.:37:06.

Bill goes a long way to achieving that the sending a very clear

:37:07.:37:08.

message, which is yet another reason why I welcome it. Mr Deputy Speaker,

:37:09.:37:17.

we must also use our position within the Commonwealth, to push for even

:37:18.:37:23.

more fundamental rights for LGBT people. In far too many Commonwealth

:37:24.:37:28.

nations, regrettably, members of the LGBT communities still have to hide

:37:29.:37:33.

their identity, still have to lead lives where they pretend to be

:37:34.:37:41.

somebody who they are not. And outside of our family of

:37:42.:37:44.

Commonwealth nations, in countries across the globe, it is still a

:37:45.:37:51.

disgrace that there are places where people are criminalised, simply

:37:52.:37:55.

because of who they love. Thank goodness the UK is no longer such a

:37:56.:38:01.

country, and this Bill helps to underline that fact, which is why I

:38:02.:38:07.

welcome it. A final thoughts on the wider implications of the discussion

:38:08.:38:13.

we are having today, and the international of some of the points

:38:14.:38:17.

I seek to make. It's often said the UK to have a more muscular

:38:18.:38:26.

international development policy, that we should threaten to withdraw

:38:27.:38:31.

funding from nations where there is discrimination against LGBT people,

:38:32.:38:35.

which those nations and governments are not in our estimation, speedily

:38:36.:38:41.

enough addressing. In my view, that would not be the solution. The

:38:42.:38:45.

solution is to double down and make absolutely clear what the UK's view

:38:46.:38:50.

is of this. The key to ending discrimination is influence and is

:38:51.:38:55.

education. And our international aid budget actually has an important

:38:56.:39:00.

role in educating countries where there are some of the blues people

:39:01.:39:04.

in the world, and changing attitudes of young people through that

:39:05.:39:09.

education is vitally important. It's important to do so in international

:39:10.:39:15.

countries as well as it is in the UK. What my honourable friend's Bill

:39:16.:39:22.

does is give an incredibly powerful and important sign to young people

:39:23.:39:29.

in this country that the UK is leading the way. It's important to

:39:30.:39:33.

send that message in this country and indeed across the globe, which

:39:34.:39:38.

is why I am so pleased to be supporting his Bill today. Mr Deputy

:39:39.:39:45.

Speaker, in conclusion, we have come a long way in the UK. We are almost

:39:46.:39:53.

there, but we are not all the way there yet. There is still existing

:39:54.:40:01.

on our statute books this historical anachronism, which seems to suggest

:40:02.:40:07.

that we will allow, or that the very least, turn a blind eye to

:40:08.:40:11.

discrimination against gay people serving in the Merchant Navy. I am

:40:12.:40:17.

delighted that my honourable friend has secured this debate and will

:40:18.:40:21.

hopefully secure this Bill, to make sure that we no longer have that

:40:22.:40:27.

pernicious claws remaining in our statute books. What this Bill seeks

:40:28.:40:33.

to do is quite simply and is now less than, advance the cause of

:40:34.:40:39.

equality in our country. For that reason, I wholeheartedly welcome it

:40:40.:40:43.

and look forward to when it comes to supporting it in the future

:40:44.:40:51.

decision. -- division. It is a great pleasure to follow my honourable

:40:52.:40:56.

friend, the member for North Devon, who reminded us all this morning

:40:57.:41:03.

that while we, in this country, may have made enormous progress, I think

:41:04.:41:07.

it's fair to say that we have made enormous progress over recent years

:41:08.:41:13.

in removing discrimination. But there are still many countries

:41:14.:41:17.

around the world where that is not true, and there is much still to be

:41:18.:41:22.

done to make sure that the individuals who live in those

:41:23.:41:27.

countries enjoy the same freedoms that we have established for our

:41:28.:41:33.

citizens here in the United Kingdom. I want to congratulate the member

:41:34.:41:45.

for Salisbury for bringing in this bill today, the merchant shipping

:41:46.:41:54.

homosexual conduct bill. As we mentioned, it is his second go

:41:55.:41:59.

at this, and he's proven he's got a good track record and this is a bill

:42:00.:42:03.

that seeks to bring a recognition and acknowledge to the quality for

:42:04.:42:10.

people of different sexual orientations within the Merchant

:42:11.:42:14.

Navy and we heard some excellent speeches already during this debate.

:42:15.:42:20.

My honourable friend, the member forral der valley, told of his links

:42:21.:42:25.

to the Merchant Navy through his father. I must declare an interest

:42:26.:42:32.

along those lines in that my own brother is a member of the Merchant

:42:33.:42:37.

Navy and I suspect as we speak he will be on the high seas on board

:42:38.:42:42.

his ship. So, I just put that on the record.

:42:43.:42:50.

My honourable friend, the member for Milton Keynes South made a very

:42:51.:42:57.

powerful speech, as other members have mentioned, giving his personal

:42:58.:43:00.

view of the bill and how important measures like this is for him and

:43:01.:43:08.

the gay community in general. My honourable friend, the member for

:43:09.:43:15.

Shipley gave the House a tour deforce of the development of the

:43:16.:43:21.

legislation over the years. Now, I am not sure how lucky my

:43:22.:43:27.

honourable friend, the member for Salisbury realises he is in the fact

:43:28.:43:35.

that his bill is first in lain for -- line for debate today, this year

:43:36.:43:41.

of Private Member's Bills. I think on most year a bill this far down

:43:42.:43:48.

wouldn't be debated because there would be other bills that would be

:43:49.:43:53.

at their report stage. But as luck would have it, this year, even

:43:54.:43:59.

though he was listed as number 18 in the ballot for Private Member's

:44:00.:44:04.

Bills slots, he has, nevertheless, had some good fortune in the way the

:44:05.:44:10.

bills have fallen. Therefore he is... He has been able to bring his

:44:11.:44:17.

bill forward as the first one this morning.

:44:18.:44:22.

And before I start, I just wish to mention very briefly, very briefly

:44:23.:44:27.

indeed, in passing there is a curious link between the

:44:28.:44:30.

constituencies of my honourable friend, the member for Salisbury and

:44:31.:44:35.

my own and the Merchant Navy and it involves the her chant navy class

:44:36.:44:47.

number 350009, Shore Savile, steam locomotive, which was named after

:44:48.:44:56.

Shore Savile. It drew on British naval heritage. But at the end of

:44:57.:45:12.

its life, it finished up at Riley and Sons Limited in my constituency

:45:13.:45:17.

of Bury North. Anybody who is an expert or takes an interest in these

:45:18.:45:23.

changes and -- things and many who have a passing interest, may think

:45:24.:45:27.

they have heard of that name. I never miss a chance to give a plug

:45:28.:45:32.

from somebody from Bury. This is a chance to mention the fact that...

:45:33.:45:41.

That they, the reason why honourable members may recall having heard the

:45:42.:45:45.

name is that very recently they have been in the news for having restored

:45:46.:45:50.

the flying Scottish man, which is perhaps the most famous of all steam

:45:51.:45:58.

locomotives. Were it not for the Merchant Navy, that steam train

:45:59.:46:06.

would not have existed. So, Mr Deputy Speaker, I...

:46:07.:46:09.

THE SPEAKER: Of course I want to hear about the joys of Bury North. I

:46:10.:46:14.

want to get you back on track about what we are meant to the discussing.

:46:15.:46:23.

I say briefly in passing. With any Private Member's Bill, I think it

:46:24.:46:28.

has to be assessed against a number of criteria. And the first of these

:46:29.:46:33.

is what is the bill actually seeking to do? Is there a real purpose for

:46:34.:46:38.

the bill? And I think having looked at this, this bill is essentially

:46:39.:46:42.

all about clarity. I would like to be clear in my remarks about what

:46:43.:46:47.

this bill does and what it does not seek to do.

:46:48.:46:53.

It is quite clearly a short bill that seeks to omits 146, sub section

:46:54.:47:00.

four. And 147, sub section three of the criminal jus Criminal Justice

:47:01.:47:04.

and Public Order Act 1994, which allow the dismissal of someone from

:47:05.:47:10.

the Merchant Navy just because they have been engaging in homosexual

:47:11.:47:18.

conduct. The lesbian, gay, bisexual campaign

:47:19.:47:25.

Peter Thatchal says it is alarming it remains on the statute books,

:47:26.:47:32.

repel is long overdue and most welcome. Sub section four of the

:47:33.:47:38.

1994 extends to England, Wales and Scotland. And section 147, sub

:47:39.:47:45.

section three, is equivalent, having effect in Northern Ireland. The 1994

:47:46.:47:51.

act, the criminal jus Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994

:47:52.:47:59.

repeals section two of the Sexual Offences Act, 1967, which stated, I

:48:00.:48:04.

stress to add in the language that was used at the time, burger it and

:48:05.:48:14.

gross indecency by a member on a Merchant Navy ship. 1994 act

:48:15.:48:20.

explicitly maintained homosexual conduct could be used as a ground

:48:21.:48:27.

for dismissal. Section 146, and I quote, nothing contained in this

:48:28.:48:37.

section with other homosexual acts for constituting a ground for

:48:38.:48:40.

dismissing a member of a crew of a United Kingdom merchant ship from

:48:41.:48:44.

his -- crew from his ship. It is interesting when one looks back in

:48:45.:48:50.

Hansard at the objections which were raised against decriminalising

:48:51.:48:55.

section two of the 1967 act. During the debate in the other

:48:56.:49:07.

place, on the bill, on the 10th May the Earl of, that perceived

:49:08.:49:10.

homosexual conduct would lead to dissension among the crew and even

:49:11.:49:16.

to violence. In the book Hello Sailor, the Hidden

:49:17.:49:24.

History of Gay Life at Sea, published in 2003, it was discussed

:49:25.:49:31.

- the problem that was faced by gay crew men in the Merchant Navy. They

:49:32.:49:37.

wrote, in the 1950s, all gay men were, to an extent, part of an anti-

:49:38.:49:44.

society. This was even more apparent in the Merchant Navy, where being

:49:45.:49:49.

gay could result in dismissal or transfer. I think my honourable

:49:50.:49:57.

friend, the member for Milton Keynes South, who referred to this in

:49:58.:50:01.

passing, this was a genuine, real fear of being dismissed. It such a

:50:02.:50:09.

real and genuine fear that homosexual crew men were frightened

:50:10.:50:16.

of being discovered that they would communicate in a slang code, a form

:50:17.:50:27.

of secret code, which they called a secretive word. These are a snapshot

:50:28.:50:35.

back to different at tuts -- attitudes in a era. As the

:50:36.:50:38.

provisions remind us of what things were like back in the 1950s and I

:50:39.:50:43.

suggest they do provide evidence as to why now in the 21st century there

:50:44.:50:48.

is no place for them on the statute book.

:50:49.:50:54.

So, the next point that I look at when considering a Private Member's

:50:55.:50:58.

Bill, when one comes before the House on a Friday, is how big is the

:50:59.:51:04.

problem that the bill seeks to address? Having established there is

:51:05.:51:11.

a problem, how big is it? In respect of this bill, the question that

:51:12.:51:19.

would be asked is, how many Merchant Navy crewmen would this affect? In

:51:20.:51:30.

maritime History And Identity, published, it was observed one of

:51:31.:51:34.

the practical obstacles for shipping lines who wanted to dismiss

:51:35.:51:39.

homosexual crewmen was the demand for stewards exceeded supply and a

:51:40.:51:45.

total dismissal of gay or bisexual workers would have decimated the

:51:46.:51:51.

workforce and made ships inoperable. So, the short answer to the question

:51:52.:51:55.

of how many have even been dismissed in recent times, is I suspect,

:51:56.:51:59.

either not many or perhaps even no-one. The maritime website lists

:52:00.:52:08.

an article about this particular bill, what we are considered this

:52:09.:52:14.

morning on 6th July last year. And they said, both shipping employers

:52:15.:52:19.

and unions said they were unaware of anyone losing the job on such

:52:20.:52:24.

grounds, at leets in recent decades andvy -- at least in recent decades.

:52:25.:52:31.

And I have to confess this is not an issue, I am pleased to say this,

:52:32.:52:34.

which has not been raised with me as a constituency MP. I would be

:52:35.:52:39.

interested to know from other honourable members here this morning

:52:40.:52:43.

whether they have had experience of any constituents raising the problem

:52:44.:52:48.

with them. Perhaps this is why repelling

:52:49.:53:01.

sections has not been seen as a particularly urgent matter.

:53:02.:53:07.

Of course that is only one end of the equation, because of course that

:53:08.:53:11.

doesn't address the point that my honourable friend for Milton Keynes

:53:12.:53:16.

South made about how it may have deterred people from pursuing that

:53:17.:53:18.

career in the first place. When it comes down to how many people it has

:53:19.:53:24.

affected, it may have affect an awful lot of people who decided not

:53:25.:53:28.

to pursue a career in that industry because of this. I think my

:53:29.:53:34.

honourable friend makes a good point, that there may well be a

:53:35.:53:41.

hidden effect of this bill that we will never know how many people

:53:42.:53:47.

would be affected in that way who may be, who may have stumbled across

:53:48.:53:52.

these provisions or if they live in a sea fathering community on the

:53:53.:53:56.

coast and it is established law, it has been there for many years, say,

:53:57.:54:00.

oh, well, I wouldn't go down that road if you were that way, if you

:54:01.:54:05.

were homosexual, I wouldn't go to sea, you risk losing the job. It

:54:06.:54:12.

could put people off. So I think my honourable friend is right. Mr

:54:13.:54:18.

Deputy Speaker, this is, I just saying this is perhaps one reason

:54:19.:54:23.

why these provisions are not being seen as particularly urgent matters

:54:24.:54:28.

and it is only now that we are talking about omitting these

:54:29.:54:32.

sections in the 1994 act. So, the problem this bill is seeking to

:54:33.:54:39.

address is not one which we can ascribe particular numbers to, in

:54:40.:54:43.

terms of actual people, who have been dismissed.

:54:44.:54:49.

And the reason for that is that the provisions which we are discussing

:54:50.:54:54.

would no longer have any legal effect. But I would argue this

:54:55.:55:01.

morning that this bill seeks to address another problem which is

:55:02.:55:07.

that we should not have a potentially confusing provision on

:55:08.:55:12.

the statute book. And I think that is very important point as well as

:55:13.:55:16.

the one that my honourable friend, the member for North Devon made

:55:17.:55:20.

about sending, making it clear to the homosexual community where we

:55:21.:55:26.

are and where the law is. But I think this point about making

:55:27.:55:35.

sure that we don't have contradictory pieces of legislation

:55:36.:55:42.

on the statute book and we don't have pieces of legislation that are

:55:43.:55:47.

no longer of any validity, is one which I think we should go further

:55:48.:55:55.

on. I believe it would be sensible to have a regular practise of each

:55:56.:56:01.

success, in each successive Parliament, the Government should

:56:02.:56:04.

bring forward a tidying up consultation bill, once in efry

:56:05.:56:07.

Parliament, so that matters like this -- every Parliament, so that

:56:08.:56:10.

matters like this could be dealt with. It would give the Cabinet

:56:11.:56:15.

Office, at least once every five year, the opportunity to collate

:56:16.:56:19.

together any bits of legislation that the members had come across, or

:56:20.:56:23.

been brought to their attention by members of the public, which needed

:56:24.:56:30.

repelling and they could all be dealt with in a and repelled I don't

:56:31.:56:36.

know if it is something, whether the minister from the Department for

:56:37.:56:39.

Transport, it is not necessarily his responsibility, but perhaps we will

:56:40.:56:43.

discuss that idea with colleagues across Government and in the Cabinet

:56:44.:56:44.

Office? It is worth very briefly mentioning

:56:45.:56:55.

the Armed Forces and wired was that this particular provision was dealt

:56:56.:57:02.

with at the time that the other provisions relating to the earlier

:57:03.:57:07.

back to deal with in the Armed Forces Act of 2016, which repealed

:57:08.:57:14.

the equivalent sections of the 1994 Act. It appears that the answer to

:57:15.:57:25.

that is it was the way the Armed Forces Bill as it was at the time,

:57:26.:57:33.

had been drafted. And during the passage of that Bill, as it moved

:57:34.:57:39.

through the Bill report stage, consideration was given to whether

:57:40.:57:44.

or not it might be possible to deal with the repeal of the provisions

:57:45.:57:52.

which related to a homosexual conduct in the Armed Forces. It was

:57:53.:57:57.

actually only dealt with by government amendment moved by the

:57:58.:58:03.

Minister, my honourable friend, the member for Milton Keynes North. And

:58:04.:58:10.

he said, I am delighted to be speaking to this new clause today.

:58:11.:58:13.

It reflects the government commitment to the fair and equal

:58:14.:58:20.

treatment of lesbian, Gay, bisexual, transgender Armed Forces personnel,

:58:21.:58:24.

and it appeals to provisions regarding homosexuality in the Armed

:58:25.:58:28.

Forces, which are inconsistent with current policies and the

:58:29.:58:32.

government's discrimination policies more generally. My honourable

:58:33.:58:37.

friend, the member for Henley, specifically asked about the

:58:38.:58:42.

Merchant Navy. He said, Judy Murray evidence session for the select

:58:43.:58:47.

committee on which I serve, I asked Mr Humphrey Morrison from central

:58:48.:58:50.

legal services, whether this could be done. The answer I was given was

:58:51.:58:56.

that because it was tied up but the Merchant Navy, it could not be done.

:58:57.:59:01.

What has changed, to allow this to go forward? The minister replied, we

:59:02.:59:05.

have simply decoupled the two issues. We will be dealing with this

:59:06.:59:10.

matter in this Bill, and the Department for Transport has made it

:59:11.:59:17.

clear it intends to deal with the Merchant Navy aspect as soon as

:59:18.:59:20.

possible. I'm delighted to say we are moving ahead quickly, as we said

:59:21.:59:26.

we would. That was then, and the result of that statement is what has

:59:27.:59:31.

resulted today in my honourable friend's Bill. There was a high

:59:32.:59:42.

profile human rights case, which went to the European Court Of Human

:59:43.:59:48.

Rights,, the case of Smith and greedy against the UK in 1989. The

:59:49.:59:54.

first applicant, Jeanette Smith, was a senior aircraft person, who was

:59:55.:00:01.

dismissed from the Royal Air Force after being found to be in a

:00:02.:00:06.

relationship with another woman. I took the trouble to read through the

:00:07.:00:11.

full report of that particular case. And it is quite harrowing and

:00:12.:00:18.

disturbing, as to what happened. It must have been enormously

:00:19.:00:27.

distressing for the individual involved. Obviously, these judgments

:00:28.:00:32.

are very lengthy, but I would say that the Armed Forces at the time,

:00:33.:00:38.

in their report, said that her general assessment for trade

:00:39.:00:40.

proficiency and personal qualities were described in an internal report

:00:41.:00:47.

is very good, and yet, all from all conduct assessments, she was

:00:48.:00:52.

described as exemplary. However, because at the time, homosexuals

:00:53.:00:56.

were barred from being in the Armed Forces, she was dismissed. The

:00:57.:01:02.

second applicant, cream greedy, was a sergeant who was posted as a

:01:03.:01:08.

personnel administrator to Washington at the British defence

:01:09.:01:14.

intelligence liaison service. He was also dismissed from the royally

:01:15.:01:18.

force in 1984, after being found to be in a relationship with another

:01:19.:01:22.

man. He was described as a loyal service man. The report of the case

:01:23.:01:29.

sets out the very rigorous and intrusive investigations by which

:01:30.:01:40.

these individuals had to undergo. And the European Court Of Human

:01:41.:01:44.

Rights found that the government had breached both the applicants' rights

:01:45.:01:51.

under article eight of the right to private and family life. That case

:01:52.:01:56.

resulted in the government changing its policy and allowing homosexuals

:01:57.:02:04.

to serve in the Army, and that was reflected in the 2016 Act. What is

:02:05.:02:13.

the scope of this going before us today? One of the further questions,

:02:14.:02:20.

which I'll was like to consider when considering any Private member's

:02:21.:02:27.

Bill, is, are likely to be any unintended consequences? This was

:02:28.:02:34.

touched on by my honourable friend, the member for Shipley in his

:02:35.:02:39.

contribution. It's always worthwhile considering if there is anything in

:02:40.:02:46.

a Bill which might not at first sight be obvious. But this to say

:02:47.:02:51.

that on this occasion, this bill does not fall foul of that enquiry.

:02:52.:02:58.

I think we always need to be precise about the scope of any Bill and be

:02:59.:03:05.

clear that, in this case, supporting this Bill is about tidying up the

:03:06.:03:14.

statute book. I don't think we should, in any way, try to mislead

:03:15.:03:17.

anyone that it would have an enormous effect on their personal

:03:18.:03:21.

lives at the moment. Repealing the relevant sections of the 1994 Act

:03:22.:03:29.

will not mean that fewer people who are gay or bisexual working in the

:03:30.:03:35.

Merchant Navy, I Dismissed, Because, As Has Been Referred To Under Part

:03:36.:03:40.

Five Of The Equality Act 2010, They Already Have Protection Against Any

:03:41.:03:50.

Employer Who May Try To Dismiss Them For Having A Gay Relationship Or Be

:03:51.:03:57.

Involved In A Gay Relationship. This Act Prevents and employers

:03:58.:04:01.

discriminating against an employee, for example, by dismissing an

:04:02.:04:08.

employee on the grounds of the protected characteristic. One of

:04:09.:04:11.

these protected characteristics is sexual orientation. And the

:04:12.:04:24.

legislation from 2011 extended provisions in Equality Act 2010 to

:04:25.:04:29.

include merchant ships. Seafarers, irrespective of their nationality,

:04:30.:04:32.

working on board each UK registered ship, enjoy protections under this

:04:33.:04:37.

act. We need to stress this point, that it covers, it's not just UK

:04:38.:04:51.

nationals,. My brother is involved in the Merchant Navy, And I Know The

:04:52.:04:58.

Crew Come From All Over The World. They Have A United Nations Approach

:04:59.:05:05.

To Employment. This Bill does not make discrimination unlawful, or

:05:06.:05:14.

anyone for them it is now, but it does remove any ambiguity. It's

:05:15.:05:22.

worth noting the unusual position of ships in that they are both a

:05:23.:05:26.

workplace but also a residence for those on board. My brother spends

:05:27.:05:33.

some of his day on duty, because that's how it's referred to work, on

:05:34.:05:37.

duty, and at other times, he is free to be in cabin and relax and do

:05:38.:05:46.

other things. But it is as a result of this dual purpose approach on

:05:47.:05:51.

board ship at Seafarer operators may impose tradition is at work that

:05:52.:05:58.

extend into what otherwise might be considered a person's private life.

:05:59.:06:03.

An example could be prohibiting the consumption of alcohol, because even

:06:04.:06:08.

when off duty, presumably in rough seas, there could be an emergency

:06:09.:06:12.

situation, and crew men might be called upon at very short notice to

:06:13.:06:17.

carry out duties which would require a clear head. Although some shipping

:06:18.:06:22.

operators allowed alcohol off-duty, but state that crew must never be

:06:23.:06:28.

intoxicated at any time. And potentially breaching a requirement

:06:29.:06:31.

like this could lead to dismissal. I will give way. I just wondered

:06:32.:06:36.

whether he would agree with the honourable member for Aldridge and

:06:37.:06:45.

Brownhills, who earlier said that being on a merchant ship is not just

:06:46.:06:51.

a workplace, but also considered the person's home for much of the year

:06:52.:06:56.

as well. And the fact that they have these restrictions on their private

:06:57.:07:00.

life, as well as the working life, because they are working in a

:07:01.:07:03.

confined space, actually increases stress levels, particularly around

:07:04.:07:12.

issues where merchant seamen are bullied, maybe because they are

:07:13.:07:17.

homosexual. I think he makes a very good point. And being in a confined

:07:18.:07:25.

space for weeks, months at a time, it can increase that stress factor,

:07:26.:07:33.

I would venture to suggest. And the fact that it is a private living

:07:34.:07:37.

space is also impacting on the fact that some operators ban things like

:07:38.:07:43.

smoking on safety grounds, even though it is a private space, and

:07:44.:07:50.

their whole, which would apply in other areas. But nevertheless, even

:07:51.:07:58.

though homosexual conduct which would be perfectly lawful in love

:07:59.:08:06.

the other spheres, it's clear that this legislation would make it

:08:07.:08:14.

beyond any doubt that this would not provide any grounds for dismissal,

:08:15.:08:21.

and would protect their Seafarer, should an employer try and enforce

:08:22.:08:35.

the old rules. The problem with leaving the sections on the statute

:08:36.:08:40.

books as they are written is the explanatory notes to this Bill made

:08:41.:08:44.

clear, is it gives the impression that gay or bisexual people are not

:08:45.:08:50.

welcome in the Merchant Navy. And anybody who comes across them on the

:08:51.:08:57.

Internet or is passed down from generation to generation, it could

:08:58.:09:00.

potentially deter people from applying for jobs in the Merchant

:09:01.:09:05.

Navy. We positioning Britain as an outward, globally trading nation, it

:09:06.:09:11.

is very important we encourage people from all backgrounds and

:09:12.:09:15.

walks of life to go into trading and commercial professions. Recruiters

:09:16.:09:22.

will need skilled and capable workers, undeterred from applying.

:09:23.:09:26.

Any artificial barriers to employment that may be construed

:09:27.:09:32.

from the 1994 Act are simply very unhelpful indeed. I believe that

:09:33.:09:41.

laws should be clear and precise, so even though we are not faced with an

:09:42.:09:46.

enormous practical problem, in terms of vast numbers, it is necessary to

:09:47.:09:53.

look at the statute book to avoid confusion. It is simply good

:09:54.:10:05.

practice. The chair of the Lesbian And Gay Lawyers Association is

:10:06.:10:08.

reported in Lloyd's list as saying, the repeal of the 1994 sections

:10:09.:10:14.

creates legal certainty and sets the right side. Just one other question

:10:15.:10:19.

which I always ask when considering a private member's Bill, is the

:10:20.:10:26.

question of cost. It is an important question to ask when scrutinising a

:10:27.:10:31.

Private member's Bill on a Friday, is whether there will be any cost to

:10:32.:10:37.

the public purse. So often, where the issues are raised, but then we

:10:38.:10:41.

find out that they, the very hefty price tag attached to them. And

:10:42.:10:50.

either they require eight money resolution or ultimately, they may

:10:51.:10:55.

divert taxpayers' funds from other important calls on the public purse.

:10:56.:11:01.

But I'm pleased to say, that as the explanatory notes to this Bill make

:11:02.:11:06.

clear, there is no anticipated financial cost to the person arising

:11:07.:11:07.

from this Bill. Just one further matter, Madam

:11:08.:11:17.

Deputy Speaker, which I wanted to touch on briefly. I want to touch

:11:18.:11:24.

briefly on the second clause which deals with the commencement, the

:11:25.:11:32.

extent and short title of the bill. Klaus two subsection one of this

:11:33.:11:38.

bill, states that this act comes into force at the end of the period

:11:39.:11:41.

of two months beginning with the day on which it is pasta. On the face of

:11:42.:11:48.

it, this is a standard and routine provision. It would seem reasonable

:11:49.:11:54.

that there would be no requirement for a longer adjustment period

:11:55.:12:02.

because the Merchant Navy is already required to abide by the Equality

:12:03.:12:05.

Act 2010 and so wouldn't really have to undergo any changes to what it is

:12:06.:12:12.

already. Arguably the only changes the confirmation that the provisions

:12:13.:12:16.

of the 1994 act no longer apply and could therefore no longer be used as

:12:17.:12:20.

grounds for dismissal as indeed if they tried to do that they would be

:12:21.:12:25.

prevented or that a seafarer would have protection under equality

:12:26.:12:29.

legislation. Did I do believe there is an argument are having a shorter

:12:30.:12:35.

period, I think it's fair to say that I come having thought about

:12:36.:12:40.

this, could see no reason why those words in the middle of that sentence

:12:41.:12:46.

should not be omitted and it simply states this act comes into force on

:12:47.:12:53.

the day which it is past. I see no reason why that could not be the

:12:54.:12:56.

case in this particular, with this particular bill and perhaps that's

:12:57.:13:00.

something the lawyers and my honourable friend may wish to give a

:13:01.:13:07.

little bit of thought to be for the bill proceeds. In conclusion, Madam

:13:08.:13:13.

Deputy Speaker, as a rule, I will have no truck with purely symbolic

:13:14.:13:21.

legislation, legislation to my mind is not there to simply make gestures

:13:22.:13:26.

and I would not be supporting a bill just on that basis. But I believe

:13:27.:13:34.

this bill provides a genuine purpose because it tidies up existing

:13:35.:13:37.

legislation and provides both public and also employers with clarity on

:13:38.:13:46.

the issue it seeks to cover. It's identified an anomaly in the law and

:13:47.:13:51.

it seeks to address that. I think it's something that will make life

:13:52.:13:55.

easier for employers and employees of the Merchant Navy and it's able

:13:56.:14:01.

to step forward. I notice incidentally, I don't think this has

:14:02.:14:05.

been touched on this morning, there is a Merchant Navy day, annually, on

:14:06.:14:12.

the 3rd of September. Which many local councils including the Council

:14:13.:14:21.

which covers my own constituency, Bury Council, they participate in it

:14:22.:14:26.

and the red Ensign, the official flag of the United Kingdom Merchant

:14:27.:14:31.

Navy is flown on public buildings. The commercial seafaring operation

:14:32.:14:36.

will continue to be a crucial part of this country's global future and

:14:37.:14:43.

it is important legislation supports equality and is fit for the

:14:44.:14:50.

21st-century. This is a bill which I believe is relatively

:14:51.:14:53.

uncontroversial, it is straightforward and sensible and I

:14:54.:14:57.

believe it should be allowed to progress today. I will be supporting

:14:58.:15:02.

the bill today and I would urge members on all sides of the House to

:15:03.:15:12.

do likewise. Alan Mac. Madam Deputy Speaker, it's a great pleasure to

:15:13.:15:18.

speak on this debate on the Merchant Shipping (Homosexual Conduct) Bill

:15:19.:15:20.

and a pleasure to follow my honourable friend the Member for

:15:21.:15:24.

Bury North who gave an extensive and detailed speech which I very much

:15:25.:15:29.

enjoyed and it was good to hear about his personal and family

:15:30.:15:31.

connection to the Merchant Navy which I know is shared by my

:15:32.:15:37.

honourable friend who made a good speech earlier on. It's also a great

:15:38.:15:42.

pleasure to follow my honourable friend the Member for Milton Keynes

:15:43.:15:48.

South who though no longer is in his place, gave a moving, personal and

:15:49.:15:51.

powerful speech in support of the bill today which I very much commend

:15:52.:15:56.

and I am grateful to my honourable friend, the Member for Shipley,

:15:57.:16:01.

North Devon, they have made some important contributions in this

:16:02.:16:05.

debate and I hope very much to build on that. I also of course

:16:06.:16:09.

congratulate the honourable gentleman the Member for Cambridge

:16:10.:16:12.

for his contribution and support embodies a very important piece of

:16:13.:16:18.

legislation. Of course I congratulate my honourable friend

:16:19.:16:21.

the Member for Salisbury and South Wiltshire for bringing this

:16:22.:16:24.

important bill before the House. He has had the good fortune in the

:16:25.:16:29.

private members ballot of securing the place on a Friday so I very much

:16:30.:16:33.

congratulate him on the hard work I know he has put in to bring this

:16:34.:16:37.

bill and debate for the House and campaigning on this import and issue

:16:38.:16:41.

to update the law in connection to the Merchant Navy. I know he's a

:16:42.:16:46.

strong champion of equality and diversity, both in this House and in

:16:47.:16:50.

his own constituency, and he's been a strong advocate for equal rights

:16:51.:16:55.

in this House and outside it and I would also say I enjoyed his tics

:16:56.:17:01.

home this morning, setting out the background to his bill and the

:17:02.:17:04.

reasons for bringing it to the attention of the House and although

:17:05.:17:08.

Madam Deputy Speaker, it's only one substantive clause, it wrecked an

:17:09.:17:12.

important legal anomaly which I think actually needs to be done.

:17:13.:17:17.

It's long overdue and it is very much welcome. It sends a strong

:17:18.:17:22.

message from this House that equality is a key aspect of

:17:23.:17:26.

Britain's modern society and key aspect of our industrial bus. --

:17:27.:17:36.

practice. It repealed some erroneous provisions in a previous act and

:17:37.:17:39.

anyone investigating the log, looking through Hansard, the statute

:17:40.:17:45.

book, would avoid confusion, making sure no one misinterprets those

:17:46.:17:48.

provisions as being any way representative of the modern diverse

:17:49.:17:52.

society that Britain is today of the modern, diverse profession that the

:17:53.:17:58.

Merchant Navy is today. I congratulate all my honourable

:17:59.:18:01.

friend but there are detailed and informative speeches, bringing this

:18:02.:18:04.

topic to the attention of the House, I congratulate my honourable friend

:18:05.:18:08.

the number for Salisbury for his hard work in bringing it to the

:18:09.:18:13.

floor of the House. I want to begin by taking the House back to

:18:14.:18:17.

Christmas Eve, just over three years ago in 2013. Alan Turing, wartime

:18:18.:18:23.

code breaker was granted a posthumous pardon by Her Majesty The

:18:24.:18:27.

Queen or his criminal conviction for homosexuality. Doctor Turing was the

:18:28.:18:36.

man who helped bring an end to World War II but he killed himself after

:18:37.:18:41.

receiving a conviction in 1952. He was a scientist, innovator and a

:18:42.:18:44.

mathematician. He is widely considered to be the father of

:18:45.:18:49.

theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence. Both

:18:50.:18:54.

foundations of the fourth Industrial Revolution, a topic I know

:18:55.:18:56.

honourable members across the House will note I have been keen to bring

:18:57.:19:00.

to the attention of the House and country as a whole. Doctor Turing is

:19:01.:19:04.

widely recognised today across Britain in public life not just in

:19:05.:19:13.

this House. In Cambridge University, there is an Alan Turing room and the

:19:14.:19:18.

Alan Turing Institute is the national area for science. The UK

:19:19.:19:27.

engineering and physical sciences research Council created the Turing

:19:28.:19:31.

Institute in 2015 to answer the national need for investment in data

:19:32.:19:34.

science and research. The mission of the Centre is to make a great leads

:19:35.:19:38.

in order to change the world for the better and it's my view that my

:19:39.:19:43.

honourable friend the Member for Salisbury's bill is doing the same

:19:44.:19:46.

thing, people who work hard in the modern Merchant Navy received

:19:47.:19:50.

equality and respect they so deserve for their hard work. The Turing

:19:51.:19:56.

conviction is one of the greatest travesties in modern justice. Today,

:19:57.:20:01.

such an appalling and wrong position would be unthinkable and rightly so.

:20:02.:20:06.

Only since 2000 have gay and lesbian people being allowed to serve openly

:20:07.:20:12.

in Her Majesty is Armed Forces and discrimination on sexual orientation

:20:13.:20:14.

basis is now rightly forbidden. In fact the military act -- actively

:20:15.:20:22.

recruits gay men and women. Anyone who holds apprenticeship Ferris

:20:23.:20:26.

knows recruitment officers who come to the events and talk about the

:20:27.:20:29.

great work the armed forces do protecting us night and day at home

:20:30.:20:36.

and abroad. I know from first-hand experience the Royal Navy actively

:20:37.:20:39.

recruits in gay magazines and allows gay sailors to holes of partnerships

:20:40.:20:45.

on board ship and since 2006, to march in full naval uniform at Gay

:20:46.:20:48.

Pride parades. I saw this spirit that Schmeichel spirit of equality

:20:49.:20:54.

myself over the last 18 months when I had the pleasure and honour of

:20:55.:20:58.

participating in the Armed Forces Parliamentary scheme giving members

:20:59.:21:01.

of Parliament across all sides of the House and in both houses, the

:21:02.:21:05.

opportunity to do what I call a little bit of light experience with

:21:06.:21:09.

the Royal Navy and other armed services and I want to congratulate

:21:10.:21:14.

my honourable friend the Member for North Wiltshire for his hard work

:21:15.:21:17.

and coordinating the programme and bringing parliamentarians from all

:21:18.:21:20.

sides of the House in closer contact with the Armed Forces, in my case

:21:21.:21:24.

the Royal Navy, but also the Merchant Navy and members of the

:21:25.:21:27.

wider Armed Forces in the military and civilian family. I saw, as I

:21:28.:21:33.

said, from the defence academy in Wiltshire, a county known to my

:21:34.:21:38.

honourable friend from Salisbury, I had the opportunity to spend time

:21:39.:21:44.

with crew on passage from Cardiff to Plymouth, on the freezing shores of

:21:45.:21:47.

the Arctic in Norway training with the Royal Marines. We saw first-hand

:21:48.:21:53.

the spirit of equality that pervades the Armed Forces today and which we

:21:54.:21:58.

hope will continue to pervade all ranks of the Merchant Navy. Today's

:21:59.:22:02.

bill brought forward by my honourable friend for Salisbury has

:22:03.:22:09.

actually great relevance to my own constituency and the wider Solent

:22:10.:22:11.

region and the south coast of England. We have a proud seafaring

:22:12.:22:19.

nation and tradition in haven't and the south coast, many generations of

:22:20.:22:23.

constituents have joined the Royal Navy and the Merchant Navy.

:22:24.:22:30.

Generations of seafarers have been part of Britain's maritime past and

:22:31.:22:35.

future. -- Havant. They have sailed proudly under the red instant and

:22:36.:22:40.

helped to fuel commercial and maritime interests. Madam Deputy

:22:41.:22:45.

Speaker, from an old heritage to the age of ultramodern cargo and

:22:46.:22:48.

container ships, the shipping fleets of today which compose Britain's

:22:49.:22:54.

rattan capability, span the globe using the latest technology to have

:22:55.:22:59.

transport over 90% of the world's trade. Specially designed vessels to

:23:00.:23:05.

support the oil and gas industries, fossil carriers made for a buyer nor

:23:06.:23:09.

and other commodities are proud symbols of Britain's maritime

:23:10.:23:13.

strength and as my honourable friend the Member for Milton Keynes South

:23:14.:23:19.

said earlier, in the age of Brexit, we need to be an outward looking,

:23:20.:23:24.

global trading nation and to strengthen our connections with the

:23:25.:23:27.

world and my honourable friend for Bury North said we need to make sure

:23:28.:23:30.

that profession is accessible to people with all backgrounds and

:23:31.:23:35.

sexuality, and that is why the bill today is important sending out the

:23:36.:23:39.

right message to make sure the merchant shipping capability is open

:23:40.:23:42.

to people from all backgrounds, ethnicities, genders, racist but

:23:43.:23:48.

also all sexuality. I know Madam Deputy Speaker the work of my

:23:49.:23:52.

honourable friend on International trade is here in Portland, he

:23:53.:23:55.

mentioned free-trade agreements and we know in this House we can only do

:23:56.:23:59.

trade in the modern world at the merchant shipping fleet is fit for

:24:00.:24:03.

purpose and we can't build legal agreements with friends and partners

:24:04.:24:08.

in Europe, Asia, but America, Africa, Latin America and other

:24:09.:24:12.

parts of the world, we need to turn the paper commitment into practical

:24:13.:24:16.

reality, rich and shipping capability that this country has

:24:17.:24:19.

plays a key role in doing that. -- merchant shipping. I also want to

:24:20.:24:25.

draw attention to the fact the merchant Dave has evolved over

:24:26.:24:30.

centuries, it has changed as society has changed, as industry and society

:24:31.:24:33.

has changed, the Merchant Navy has changed and I want to draw the

:24:34.:24:39.

House's attention to its code of contact, the position of LGBT

:24:40.:24:42.

sailors, which has markedly improved over the last 20 years. It's clear

:24:43.:24:48.

from the Merchant Navy's on code of conduct which was traditionally

:24:49.:24:52.

based on disciplinary is and grievances, most of the guidelines

:24:53.:24:58.

are clear on preventing bullying and harassment which were adopted by the

:24:59.:25:03.

Merchant Navy and by our European partners and subsequently

:25:04.:25:04.

internationally at the instigation of the United Kingdom and the UK's

:25:05.:25:09.

National role in trying to change views on homosexual conduct are

:25:10.:25:13.

important and I will return to those later. I would also cite the UK's

:25:14.:25:19.

National Maritime occupational health and the committee which has

:25:20.:25:24.

published guidance for shipping companies on HIV and aids, including

:25:25.:25:28.

advice and prevention and policies for employing those living with HIV

:25:29.:25:33.

and aids. It's important we make sure the merchant shipping industry

:25:34.:25:36.

is open but makes sure those who are employing merchant sailors are

:25:37.:25:41.

cognisant and mindful of some of the specific challenges they may face on

:25:42.:25:47.

medical issues. How is it that we are here in 2017 and there is still

:25:48.:25:54.

a division on the statute book for a homosexual act of a registered

:25:55.:25:57.

Virgin may be dazzled to constitute grounds for discharging a member of

:25:58.:26:02.

a ritual may be. It makes no sense at all, I would content. And

:26:03.:26:06.

although it's been mentioned by a number of other honourable members

:26:07.:26:10.

that actually as a matter of law, it could never be applied, thanks to

:26:11.:26:15.

the provisions in the Equality Act 2010, it sends completely the wrong

:26:16.:26:19.

signals and is open to misinterpretation is my honourable

:26:20.:26:21.

friend the Member for Salisbury mentioned. It would not be right at

:26:22.:26:26.

all if anyone investigating the statute book, wanting to look into

:26:27.:26:31.

this area of law, wanting to understand the UK's legal framework

:26:32.:26:35.

for merchant shipping, in the context of trade, investment in the

:26:36.:26:38.

age of Brexit, or to find provisions that seem to purport to allow people

:26:39.:26:45.

to be dismissed from the Merchant Navy as a result of their sexuality.

:26:46.:26:50.

There are two words. But we need to completely change them to make sure

:26:51.:26:55.

the principles that are embedded in the modern armed services that are

:26:56.:26:58.

mentioned earlier in the speech are reflected in the merchant shipping

:26:59.:26:59.

fleet and registered framework. Those are principles which the whole

:27:00.:27:09.

of society is now based upon, and in this very house, we can all say with

:27:10.:27:14.

pride that the UK now has the highest number of openly LGBT

:27:15.:27:19.

parliamentarians in the world, and my honourable friend the Milton

:27:20.:27:23.

Keynes South rightly made a point of that in his speech, and he made a

:27:24.:27:26.

very personal and powerful speech as to how he is a living example of how

:27:27.:27:31.

somebody has not allowed prejudice about sexuality to stop him building

:27:32.:27:38.

a very successful career here in Parliament and elsewhere as well, so

:27:39.:27:44.

that is what we should try to repeat in the Merchant Navy fleet. I am

:27:45.:27:49.

also proud to say that this Government introduced the same sex

:27:50.:27:53.

couples act 2013 which legalised marriage for same-sex couples here

:27:54.:27:56.

in England and Wales, on the Government is very keen to continue

:27:57.:28:03.

tackling homophobia and transphobia, particularly in terms of bullying,

:28:04.:28:09.

and the Merchant Shipping (Homosexual Conduct) Bill is very

:28:10.:28:14.

much in that vein. The Government programme that runs for three years

:28:15.:28:19.

from September 20 16th of March 2019 has the objective of venting and

:28:20.:28:26.

responding to bullying across primary and secondary schools in

:28:27.:28:31.

England, and as a former school governor, I welcome the emphasis on

:28:32.:28:37.

and focus on educating our young people, not just our merchant seaman

:28:38.:28:42.

and employers, but also children, to make sure that all types of

:28:43.:28:47.

discrimination are not part of outage society, and when enter the

:28:48.:28:52.

workplace, whether in the merchant shipping fleet or any other sector,

:28:53.:28:55.

that that behaviour will not be tolerated, and we send a strong

:28:56.:29:00.

message from this House as we help my honourable friend the Member for

:29:01.:29:03.

Salisbury passes legislation, that we will not be tolerating it any

:29:04.:29:07.

more at any level, whether you are young or old. I believe that this

:29:08.:29:13.

programme actually builds on a previous ?2 million grant announced

:29:14.:29:19.

by the last government in October 2014 preventing homophobic and other

:29:20.:29:26.

bullying in schools, so I welcome that funding. It is also important

:29:27.:29:31.

to note, Madame Deputy Speaker, that the previous coalition government

:29:32.:29:36.

issued the world's first LGBT action plan in 2011, further sustaining the

:29:37.:29:42.

Government's commitment to equality, which I hope will be spread to the

:29:43.:29:44.

Merchant Navy through the words and actions of this bill. Showing

:29:45.:29:50.

further leadership on this issue, in December 2011, the Government

:29:51.:29:55.

publish the first transgender equality action plan setting out

:29:56.:29:59.

actions to address the specific challenges that trans people face in

:30:00.:30:05.

their daily lives. So I want to take this opportunity not just to talk

:30:06.:30:10.

about homosexual bullying which obviously has been a challenge for

:30:11.:30:14.

some years and is well known, but actually bullying in the trans

:30:15.:30:15.

community and also in the bike -- bi-trans community as well.

:30:16.:30:33.

Guidance was published for employers and service providers on how to

:30:34.:30:38.

sensitively deal with transgender and homosexual issues, further

:30:39.:30:41.

outlining this Government's commitment to defending the rights

:30:42.:30:45.

of the LGBT community. This government has taken steps in every

:30:46.:30:48.

area of public life from the workplace to schools to our

:30:49.:30:52.

immigration policy. The Government has taken steps to stop the

:30:53.:31:01.

deportation of asylum seekers who have come to this country because

:31:02.:31:08.

there sexuality puts them in danger. It is still legal in many -- illegal

:31:09.:31:14.

in many other countries around the world to be homosexual, with some

:31:15.:31:18.

countries still holding the death penalty, so bypassing this bill and

:31:19.:31:21.

taking to the next age, we do send out a strong message that Britain is

:31:22.:31:26.

a global leader in fight for human rights and gender and sexuality

:31:27.:31:29.

equality, which is why it is essential that we continue to show

:31:30.:31:32.

global leadership on this matter and lead the way in defending the rights

:31:33.:31:36.

of the LGBT community, whether it is an merchant shipping vessels, in the

:31:37.:31:41.

workplace, on land, in our Armed Forces, schools, areas of other

:31:42.:31:48.

civic, public and commercial life. British values such as tolerance,

:31:49.:31:52.

respect, democracy, individual liberty in the rule of law and the

:31:53.:31:57.

values that bind us together as a nation, and that is why we are

:31:58.:32:00.

promoting British values and strengthening institutions that hold

:32:01.:32:04.

them as we do, and that is what this bill can do. I am pleased that the

:32:05.:32:09.

rights that the LGBTQ ministry enjoys in this country have gone

:32:10.:32:12.

from strength to strength, and that public support for those rights has

:32:13.:32:17.

gone from strength to strength, too, as the work we have done in this

:32:18.:32:20.

House, by passing legislation similar to that opposed by my mono

:32:21.:32:25.

or friend, has raised the level of knowledge and education outside this

:32:26.:32:32.

House, and in 2004, a poll by Gallop said that 52% agreed that marriage

:32:33.:32:38.

between same-sex couples should be Raggi dies, 45% not. More recently

:32:39.:32:46.

61% of the public agreed with the statement that gay couples should

:32:47.:32:48.

have an equal right to get married, not just have civil partnerships,

:32:49.:32:52.

and only 33% disagree, so things are moving in the right direction.

:32:53.:32:57.

Support has traditionally been highest among those aged between 25

:32:58.:33:03.

and 34, where 78% agreed and 19% disagreed, and it is lowest in those

:33:04.:33:07.

over 75, so we have somewhat to do to make sure that the work we do in

:33:08.:33:12.

this House is understood and felt promulgated all sections of society

:33:13.:33:15.

regardless of their age group or background or geographic. Equality

:33:16.:33:22.

must be for everybody, not just for people from a certain age group or

:33:23.:33:27.

geographic location or industry, and as normal members have said, the

:33:28.:33:31.

Armed Forces have been in this area. We in this House have a strong track

:33:32.:33:35.

record, it was my honourable friend the Member for North Devon who raise

:33:36.:33:39.

those important statistics, and unanswerable members have talked

:33:40.:33:42.

about the work happening in other industries, and today's will from my

:33:43.:33:47.

honourable friend the Member for Salisbury will show that the

:33:48.:33:49.

Merchant Navy will be seen in the same rights. Due to the anomalous

:33:50.:33:54.

provisions in the Criminal Justice Act Public Order Act 1994, someone

:33:55.:33:58.

investigating the statute book may well be confused, so it is right

:33:59.:34:03.

that today's legislation goes for, and I will certainly be supporting

:34:04.:34:07.

it later today. Those statistics I mentioned earlier, Madame Deputy

:34:08.:34:11.

Speaker, show that public opinion has been changing fast when it comes

:34:12.:34:14.

to LGBT writes, and will continue to do so, and today's provisions put

:34:15.:34:19.

forward by my honourable friend will be in the same vein, and actually

:34:20.:34:24.

push that work forward. I also want to draw the attention of the House

:34:25.:34:29.

to the very positive reception that the equal marriage legislation has

:34:30.:34:33.

received, regardless of people's views on it or how they voted, and

:34:34.:34:37.

it was before my time in the House, there has been a change of opinion,

:34:38.:34:43.

and a lot of the provisions in that legislation have been taken up. 1409

:34:44.:34:50.

same-sex marriages were formed between same-sex couples in the

:34:51.:34:55.

period 29th of March to 30th of June 2014, 50 6% between female couples

:34:56.:35:04.

and 44% -- 56% between female couples and 44% male couples, so

:35:05.:35:10.

there has been a sea change in how the LGBTQ minute he has been viewed

:35:11.:35:14.

when new legislation comes forward to the House, and I hope that that

:35:15.:35:21.

optimistic, positive outcome will be repeated if and when my other war

:35:22.:35:27.

friend the Member for Salisbury's legislation reaches the statute book

:35:28.:35:34.

and received royal assent. I would also add that in the UK it has

:35:35.:35:38.

become the norm for people to be accepting of same-sex marriage is,

:35:39.:35:42.

to be accepting of diversity in the workplace, whether it is in the

:35:43.:35:46.

Armed Forces, on board ship, on land, on bases or any other sector,

:35:47.:35:51.

but unfortunately this has not always been the case. At the end of

:35:52.:35:55.

1984, in England and Wales, there was a staggering 1069 gay men in

:35:56.:36:01.

prison of committing homosexual acts, and in an attempt to curb

:36:02.:36:08.

these figures, Labour MP Neil and see, and Conservative peer Lord

:36:09.:36:14.

Arran, put forward proposals to change the way that UK law treated

:36:15.:36:18.

gay men through the sexual offences Bill, and thankfully that was

:36:19.:36:23.

passed, but it wasn't until 1967 that the then Labour government got

:36:24.:36:31.

while assent for the Bill on the 27th of July 1967 after what I

:36:32.:36:38.

understand was an incredibly late-night intense debate on the

:36:39.:36:40.

floor of this House. Thankfully I hope that the proposal from my

:36:41.:36:47.

honourable friend the Member for Salisbury Wote in anyway be as

:36:48.:36:49.

contentious, and it will command the support of the whole House and both

:36:50.:36:58.

houses, and a member of the Cambridge indicated that that would

:36:59.:37:02.

be so. If there were members on the opposition benches, they would be

:37:03.:37:08.

surprised to learn that the 1967 act did not extend to Scotland at the

:37:09.:37:12.

time, where all male homosexual behaviour remain illegal for another

:37:13.:37:16.

13 years after the passage of the law here in a in Wales, so I think

:37:17.:37:21.

it is a very positive step that in Scotland they are equally committed

:37:22.:37:24.

to equality, but I think the lesson to be learned there, Madame Deputy

:37:25.:37:30.

Speaker, is how the updating of our laws, the improvement of rights for

:37:31.:37:32.

the LGBT community, has not always progressed at the same pace in all

:37:33.:37:36.

nations of the United Kingdom, and it is a good signal to us all that

:37:37.:37:40.

we need to ensure that the work of this House, we are leading, and we

:37:41.:37:45.

are when it comes to make a United Kingdom law, we are at the forefront

:37:46.:37:49.

of developments across the nations and regions of the United Kingdom,

:37:50.:37:53.

and I will also add is afoot to that, it was only very recently that

:37:54.:37:57.

the people who were persecuted and prosecuted prior to 1967 actually

:37:58.:38:02.

received pardons for those convictions, it has taken around 30

:38:03.:38:05.

years for that to happen, so you can't take the brunt of the freedoms

:38:06.:38:10.

and the equality and the rights that the LGBT community enjoys, but you

:38:11.:38:16.

have to always be looking out for ways to improve that and make sure

:38:17.:38:20.

there is equality at every stage of the legislative process. I would

:38:21.:38:25.

also contain speaking in support of today's Bill for my honourable

:38:26.:38:29.

friend the member of Salisbury, because it fits very well both from

:38:30.:38:34.

a political, legislative and conceptual perspective with the UK's

:38:35.:38:40.

rich and proud tapestry of human rights and progressive legislation.

:38:41.:38:44.

It very much builds on the social progress we have seen in Britain as

:38:45.:38:51.

we have become a wealthier and more prosperous and more progressive

:38:52.:38:59.

nation. Of course we begin from 1215 when the Magna Carta was agreed, and

:39:00.:39:06.

it protected the rights of citizens, and that travels through the Bill of

:39:07.:39:10.

Rights which honourable members will no did a number of things, but

:39:11.:39:14.

certainly ensured there could be no suspension of laws without the

:39:15.:39:16.

agreement of Parliament, which is obviously a very positive step. In

:39:17.:39:21.

the 19th century, the terrible conditions but children faced lead

:39:22.:39:27.

to the factory act, the Beveridge report, the signing of the

:39:28.:39:29.

declaration of the universal human rights in 1968, and in 85 race

:39:30.:39:35.

relations act which bans discrimination on the grounds of

:39:36.:39:40.

race, further, limited by the 2010 Equality Act 2010 whole range of

:39:41.:39:43.

anti-discrimination legislation under a single act and added further

:39:44.:39:47.

protections. Madam Speaker, my honourable friend's Bill sits very

:39:48.:39:51.

cocked Dibley within that progressive pro-rights tradition

:39:52.:39:56.

that stretches back all the way to 1215 and which I hope in this New

:39:57.:40:04.

Year, as we move from the first decade of the 21st-century into a

:40:05.:40:08.

new, more progressive regime, his bill sits very comfortably with all

:40:09.:40:15.

the successes we have had in being pioneering and securing liberty,

:40:16.:40:19.

equality and the acceptance of others, and making sure that human

:40:20.:40:22.

rights is embedded alongside human responsibilities. I am proud that

:40:23.:40:29.

our country has not only been strong here at home in passing legislation,

:40:30.:40:33.

but also has been a leader at the forefront of developments on these

:40:34.:40:37.

matters abroad. It was my honourable friend the Member for North Devon

:40:38.:40:40.

who rightly said that in the Commonwealth we can take a

:40:41.:40:44.

leadership role, there is more to do through the work of the

:40:45.:40:48.

Commonwealth, and our leading role there, and also in the UN and other

:40:49.:40:52.

international forums. We can make sure that the values that we

:40:53.:40:56.

strongly adhere to in this House this country which are further today

:40:57.:41:00.

by this bill, the Merchant Shipping (Homosexual Conduct) Bill, actually

:41:01.:41:05.

affected in the legislation at culture of other countries,

:41:06.:41:08.

particularly of the Commonwealth, particularly as we seek to reach out

:41:09.:41:11.

to those countries through free trade agreements and through other

:41:12.:41:19.

cooperation in international fora, we complain important role in making

:41:20.:41:23.

sure we don't just further our commercial and political interests

:41:24.:41:26.

but also try to change the cultures of those countries which are part of

:41:27.:41:29.

the Commonwealth family of nations. Where injustice is committed, the UK

:41:30.:41:42.

will be a strong voice for equality, especially on the grounds of

:41:43.:41:46.

sexuality and race. At the same time the UK continues to be a promoter of

:41:47.:41:50.

the quality on the international stage, in public forums, I know my

:41:51.:41:55.

honourable friends in the Foreign Office, the Department of

:41:56.:41:57.

International trade and other departments nurture relationships

:41:58.:42:02.

across the globe and in private conversations make the same case. As

:42:03.:42:08.

a nation we must continue to be the beacon of progress on LGBT matters

:42:09.:42:11.

and the bill today is the next stage in all of that hard work. I believe

:42:12.:42:16.

our approach appeals to other countries, sensitive to culture and

:42:17.:42:22.

history in the same way that this bill is sensitive to ours, for the

:42:23.:42:26.

reasons I said I'd be for. We must make clear the LGBT rights are a key

:42:27.:42:32.

part of building a level playing field and progress as a society and

:42:33.:42:37.

economy appearance for square on making sure everyone can play an

:42:38.:42:42.

important and equal role in society, community and the economy, the

:42:43.:42:46.

defence of the nation, work interests, through the Merchant

:42:47.:42:50.

Navy, regardless of gender, sexuality, or any other

:42:51.:42:53.

characteristic, there must be a level playing field for all. As part

:42:54.:42:57.

of a country that works for everyone. Madam Deputy Speaker, in

:42:58.:43:02.

closing I would ask as we entered the second decade of the

:43:03.:43:05.

21st-century, equality and freedom and non-discrimination must sit at

:43:06.:43:10.

the heart of the political agenda in the United Kingdom. I believe this

:43:11.:43:15.

bill will help stamp out any remaining instances of homophobia,

:43:16.:43:20.

by phobia or trans phobia and I thought it was important to speak in

:43:21.:43:24.

this debate today, it has a strong resin -- resonance in my

:43:25.:43:32.

constituency which has a long history as a seafaring community on

:43:33.:43:36.

the south coast of England, but it will feel national debate as we

:43:37.:43:38.

recast our country in light of Brexit and I feel we must actually

:43:39.:43:44.

continue the work that the House has done over many decades and centuries

:43:45.:43:48.

to make sure Britain is a country of freedom and opportunity and we are

:43:49.:43:52.

an international beacon of equality for the LGBT community who can and

:43:53.:43:58.

should be safe and valued whatever job they do, particularly in the

:43:59.:44:02.

Merchant Navy, forever they do it. This bill as my honourable friend

:44:03.:44:08.

for Bury North says, has no cost indications, no visible on preceding

:44:09.:44:11.

consequences, is long overdue, is very welcome and actually requires

:44:12.:44:16.

removal of just a few phrases. I want to congratulate my honourable

:44:17.:44:22.

friend for once again bringing this very short but effective Bill to the

:44:23.:44:31.

floor of the House, it has my full support,, it has my support if it

:44:32.:44:36.

progresses and comes back to this has, for its remaining stages, as I

:44:37.:44:40.

said in my own remarks, this country has come a long way in the course of

:44:41.:44:44.

equality and freedom but there is more work to do and I stand for

:44:45.:44:49.

scrub behind that as somebody who understands the racial issues that

:44:50.:44:53.

this country faces. I am very much mindful of the other challenges we

:44:54.:44:57.

face as a nation, whether it's on gender equality, regional equality,

:44:58.:45:02.

income equality or other types of equality, we must be a country that

:45:03.:45:07.

has equality of opportunity but also non-discrimination at the heart of

:45:08.:45:11.

our political conduct, the national discourse, whether in the workplace,

:45:12.:45:15.

the Armed Forces, the classroom or in this House. I expressed my

:45:16.:45:20.

fulsome support for my honourable friend is built today, I hope other

:45:21.:45:24.

members across the House will join me in supporting it, I look forward

:45:25.:45:28.

to supporting it as it comes back to this House. Wendy Morton. Thank you

:45:29.:45:35.

Madam Deputy Speaker. It's an absolute pleasure to be here today.

:45:36.:45:44.

For many of us, this is often a constituency Friday, but I speak in

:45:45.:45:48.

support of this bill, the merchant shipping, sexual conduct bill. I

:45:49.:45:53.

would like to start by congratulating my honourable friend

:45:54.:45:59.

for Salisbury. -- the merchant shipping, sexual conduct Bill. He

:46:00.:46:05.

has a history of being able to bring this bill for it to the chamber. As

:46:06.:46:10.

we heard, this is his second Private Members' Bill. So he does understand

:46:11.:46:16.

the amount of work that goes in behind-the-scenes and as someone who

:46:17.:46:20.

is also trying to get a second Private Members' Bill through this

:46:21.:46:24.

place, during this Parliament, perhaps we are in a little bit of

:46:25.:46:28.

competition but fear not! I will be doing all I can to make sure his

:46:29.:46:32.

bill has a safe passage through this place. Because it really is an

:46:33.:46:39.

important piece of legislation. I'd also like to pay tribute to all

:46:40.:46:43.

those members who contributed to the debate today, in particular, I was

:46:44.:46:46.

struck by the comments made I my honourable friend the Member for

:46:47.:46:52.

Milton Keynes who brought a great personal insight into this bill,

:46:53.:47:00.

something that I think has really added to the debate today. I think

:47:01.:47:04.

we should thank him for that. I'd also like to thank my honourable

:47:05.:47:08.

friend the Member for Havant who spoke just before me, he's clearly

:47:09.:47:13.

put a lot of work into his research in this bill and he made reference

:47:14.:47:17.

to not just the shipping heritage within his own constituency, but the

:47:18.:47:24.

Armed Forces Parliamentary scheme which I myself have been involved in

:47:25.:47:27.

and other members across this House. I would now like to turn my

:47:28.:47:33.

attention to the build that we have in front of us today. And I wanted

:47:34.:47:38.

to start with a little background to the bill because after all, this is

:47:39.:47:43.

a bill that is specific to the Merchant Navy. So often in this

:47:44.:47:46.

place, we are talking about the Armed Forces, and I think maybe we

:47:47.:47:51.

are all a little guilty of forgetting that we have a Merchant

:47:52.:47:54.

Navy in this country as well. I'm also speaking as the wife of the

:47:55.:48:00.

former seafarer though from the Royal Navy, not the Merchant Navy

:48:01.:48:03.

and it was good to hear members bring experiences from their own

:48:04.:48:06.

families with connections in the Merchant Navy. I think it's

:48:07.:48:13.

important we don't forget that in wartime, Britain depended upon

:48:14.:48:17.

civilian cargo ships to import food and wrong materials as well as

:48:18.:48:20.

transport soldiers overseas and keep them supplied. The title Merchant

:48:21.:48:26.

Navy was granted by King George V after the First World War to

:48:27.:48:31.

recognise the contribution made by merchant sailors. The Merchant Navy

:48:32.:48:36.

has long played a part in the heritage and history of our country,

:48:37.:48:41.

playing its part in shaping the nation that we have today. Written's

:48:42.:48:45.

merchant fleet was the largest in the world during both world wars. In

:48:46.:48:52.

1939, a third of the world's merchant ships were British and

:48:53.:48:55.

there were some 200,000 sailors. Many emergency men came from parts

:48:56.:49:01.

of the British Empire, such as India, Hong Kong and West African

:49:02.:49:07.

countries. And women also sometimes served at sea in the Merchant Navy.

:49:08.:49:10.

I think we can see how important the Merchant Navy is and to me, this

:49:11.:49:17.

gives greater emphasis as to the importance of the bill that we are

:49:18.:49:23.

debating today. During both world wars, Germany operated a policy of

:49:24.:49:27.

unrestricted submarine warfare are sinking merchant vessels on site and

:49:28.:49:31.

by the end of the First World War, more than 3000 British flagged

:49:32.:49:38.

shipping and fishing vessels had been sunk and 15,000 emergency men

:49:39.:49:44.

had died and during the Second World War, with thousand 700 British

:49:45.:49:49.

flagships were some, more than 29,000 urgent seamen died. In

:49:50.:49:56.

putting together my contribution, I tried to put this into perspective,

:49:57.:50:00.

what contribution as urgent Navy made to our country over the course

:50:01.:50:03.

of the years and when I look at that figure of 29,000 seamen who lost

:50:04.:50:08.

their lives, that's almost half the electorate of my constituency, so

:50:09.:50:12.

that's not an insignificant number of people. And in more recent times,

:50:13.:50:19.

1982, some of us will remember the Falklands War. And the merchant ship

:50:20.:50:24.

the Atlantic and they are, which sank whilst undertow after being hit

:50:25.:50:32.

by Exocet missiles. The conveyor was registered in Liverpool, but by Swan

:50:33.:50:35.

Hunter and requisitioned during the Falklands War and the wreck site is

:50:36.:50:39.

designated under the protection of military remains act 1986. The 12

:50:40.:50:48.

men who died, the ship's master Captain Ian North was posthumous

:50:49.:50:52.

award at the distinguished service Cross and the Atlantic conveyor was

:50:53.:50:56.

the first British merchant vessel lost at sea to enemy fire since

:50:57.:51:02.

World War II. So Madam Deputy Speaker, again, this shows the

:51:03.:51:05.

importance of the Merchant Navy and that's why it's really important

:51:06.:51:10.

that we do all we can to seek the safe passage of this bill through

:51:11.:51:14.

this place so that members of the Merchant Navy or put on an equal

:51:15.:51:17.

footing to those in the Royal Navy. In this regard. In honour of the

:51:18.:51:22.

sacrifices made in the two world wars, the Merchant Navy lay wreaths

:51:23.:51:26.

of remembrance alongside the Armed Forces in the annual Remembrance Day

:51:27.:51:30.

service and following many years of lobbying to bring about official

:51:31.:51:35.

recognition of the sacrifices made I merchant seafarers in two world wars

:51:36.:51:39.

and since, Merchant Navy Day became an official day of remembrance.

:51:40.:51:44.

Today's Merchant Navy is understandably much smaller than in

:51:45.:51:47.

the days of World War I and World War II. And according to the

:51:48.:51:53.

statistics that I found in the CIA world fact book, there are now just

:51:54.:52:00.

over 500 UK registered ships in the Merchant Navy but that is still a

:52:01.:52:06.

significant number of ships, it is still a significant number of

:52:07.:52:09.

seafarers who potentially will be affected and will benefit from this

:52:10.:52:18.

bill which, she did receive Royal Assent. In my research I also found

:52:19.:52:24.

a number of notable Merchant Navy personnel. Looting, sexuality aside,

:52:25.:52:33.

I've found that Joseph Conrad joined the Merchant Navy in 1874, rising

:52:34.:52:38.

through the ranks of second made and first mate to master in 1886. He

:52:39.:52:45.

left in order to write as many of us know professionally, becoming one of

:52:46.:52:47.

the 20th centuries greatest novelist. James Cook, the British

:52:48.:52:52.

explorer, another member of the Merchant Navy. Victoria Drummond

:52:53.:53:05.

MBE, written's first -- Britain's first woman engineer in the Merchant

:53:06.:53:09.

Navy. John Masefield, who served in the Merchant Navy in the 1890s, he

:53:10.:53:15.

later became poet Laureate. And the Right Honourable John Prescott, a

:53:16.:53:22.

member of the opposition, I believe served in the Merchant Navy as a

:53:23.:53:26.

steward, then join this place and became Deputy Prime Minister under

:53:27.:53:33.

the Blair administration. What I am in Defraine to do, Madam Deputy

:53:34.:53:36.

Speaker, is set out how important the Merchant Navy is. Members of the

:53:37.:53:44.

UK Merchant Navy have been awarded that the Tory across, George Cross,

:53:45.:53:48.

George medal, distinguished service order and distinguished service

:53:49.:53:50.

Cross for their actions while serving in the Merchant Navy and

:53:51.:53:54.

members of the Merchant Navy who served in either world war received

:53:55.:54:00.

relevant to campaign medals. I would now like to turn to the issue of

:54:01.:54:08.

homosexuality in the Merchant Navy. Between 1950 and the 1980s, life at

:54:09.:54:12.

sea was one of the few opportunities for gay men to be themselves. They

:54:13.:54:16.

were able to embrace life at sea with enthusiasm and often more

:54:17.:54:23.

confidence than at home on land, often taking part in performances,

:54:24.:54:28.

crew shows, being members of the catering staff, and so on. And

:54:29.:54:34.

although men could no longer be prosecuted for gay acts after 1967

:54:35.:54:42.

when homosexuality was legalised, persecution in everyday life did not

:54:43.:54:48.

end. During this era, many gay men chose a career in the Merchant Navy

:54:49.:54:52.

because, hard to believe in many ways, it was more tolerant than in

:54:53.:54:58.

other professions. Madam Deputy Speaker, in many ways, it's also

:54:59.:55:02.

hard to believe that it was 1967 when the sexual offences received

:55:03.:55:07.

Royal Assent, amending the law in England and Wales, decriminalising

:55:08.:55:12.

homosexual acts in private between two men and here we are, almost 50

:55:13.:55:19.

years later, many of us only just, were not even born when that piece

:55:20.:55:23.

of legislation came through this place. Much has been said today

:55:24.:55:31.

about today's bill from the Member for Salisbury, being a tidy up

:55:32.:55:35.

legislation and being symbolic but I think we've also today, really

:55:36.:55:39.

started to understand that it's much more than symbolism, it's more than

:55:40.:55:44.

just tidying up registration. I believe it will mean much more to

:55:45.:55:50.

those men and women who serve in the Merchant Navy and it's about making

:55:51.:55:56.

sure that the commitment given during the Armed Forces act in 2016

:55:57.:56:01.

to address this issue, making sure that commitment is followed through.

:56:02.:56:08.

I also believe that this bill will go a long way to preventing any

:56:09.:56:11.

misunderstanding or ambiguity that may still exist. Madam Deputy

:56:12.:56:18.

Speaker, documents released by the Public Record Office reveal

:56:19.:56:22.

commanders buried a series of scandals including homosexual

:56:23.:56:25.

affairs on an aircraft carrier, transsexual prostitutes in the Far

:56:26.:56:29.

East and hundreds of men using a male brothel in Bermuda and even

:56:30.:56:34.

today, without this bill, as the law stands, I do wonder what's to stop

:56:35.:56:38.

someone investigating employment rights and coming up with the view

:56:39.:56:43.

that LGBT people are not welcome in the Merchant Navy and that's why

:56:44.:56:47.

this is really important because it will put that beyond doubt. To show

:56:48.:56:54.

that we are continuing to take this issue very seriously. The Armed

:56:55.:57:02.

Forces act 2016 and ended the Criminal Justice and Public Order

:57:03.:57:04.

Act 1994. So that a member of the Armed Forces could not be discharged

:57:05.:57:05.

or being, sexual. The MoD have insisted that they are

:57:06.:57:18.

to recruit people to level potential, irrespective of sexual

:57:19.:57:24.

orientation, and Stonewall's top 100 list of employers features are Armed

:57:25.:57:35.

Forces. The Navy followed in 2006 by the royal air force and in 2008 by

:57:36.:57:40.

the British Army. This was to promote good working conditions for

:57:41.:57:44.

all existing and potential employees and to ensure equal treatment. At

:57:45.:57:50.

London pride in 2008, all three armed services marched in uniform

:57:51.:57:53.

for the first time, but whilst the Armed Forces act 2016 addressed this

:57:54.:57:59.

historical and outstanding issue for the Armed Forces, as we have heard

:58:00.:58:04.

today, it didn't cover the Merchant Navy, which is why we are here today

:58:05.:58:12.

debating this private members bill. Madam Deputy Speaker, I now want to

:58:13.:58:15.

move on a little and touch on homosexuality in the Armed Forces

:58:16.:58:20.

just to highlight the differences between the Merchant Navy, the Royal

:58:21.:58:23.

Navy, and why this bill today really does matter, and to build on some of

:58:24.:58:28.

the points that have been made by some of my honourable friends during

:58:29.:58:34.

the course of this debate. Before 2000, openly gay people were banned

:58:35.:58:38.

from service, and those who suspected personnel of being gay had

:58:39.:58:41.

a duty to report them to the authorities. In 1999, DCH found that

:58:42.:58:47.

the Armed Forces had breached the rights of LGBT personnel by firing

:58:48.:58:53.

after discovering their personality, and the then Labour government led

:58:54.:58:57.

by Tony Blair announced that Government will reply with the

:58:58.:58:59.

ruling and would immediately lift the ban. Changes to the law came

:59:00.:59:06.

into effect from January 12 2000, and so since 2000, gay men and

:59:07.:59:10.

lesbians have been allowed to serve openly in the Armed Forces, and the

:59:11.:59:16.

UK's policy change has meant that personnel could no longer be fired

:59:17.:59:21.

me because of their sexuality. In fact, this came years before the US

:59:22.:59:27.

did the same when it repealed don't ask, don't tell in 2011. What is

:59:28.:59:34.

interesting is that back in 2008, it emerged that 58 former military

:59:35.:59:41.

staff had been paid ?3.7 million in compensation as the Armed Forces

:59:42.:59:44.

agreed that their human rights had been violated. It is also worth

:59:45.:59:51.

noticing that the Royal Navy was gripped by security panic in the

:59:52.:00:04.

60s, admirals believing that half of their forces had concealed,

:00:05.:00:09.

sexuality. As I said earlier, we talk so much more about the Royal

:00:10.:00:15.

Navy and the services in this place, so I just wanted to share one or two

:00:16.:00:21.

more facts and figures that I have managed to an Earth, which I believe

:00:22.:00:27.

further reinforce the need for us to give my honourable friend the Member

:00:28.:00:31.

for Salisbury all our support today to make sure this bill has a safe

:00:32.:00:35.

passage through the House and add all remaining stages of its journey

:00:36.:00:39.

hopefully through this place and the Other Place until it receives royal

:00:40.:00:45.

assent. Evidence shows, Madame Deputy Speaker, that as many as 1000

:00:46.:00:49.

gay men serving in the Merchant Navy supported the British effort in the

:00:50.:00:53.

Falklands War. This is no insignificant amount of people,

:00:54.:00:58.

amount of individuals, who gave of their time to serve our country. Do

:00:59.:01:09.

we not owe it, is it not uncommon -- incumbent upon us to give something

:01:10.:01:13.

back, be it symbolic, be it deeper than that. I shan't be dwelling

:01:14.:01:19.

further on the Falklands War except to say that this bill gives us the

:01:20.:01:24.

opportunity to put the Royal Navy and the Merchant Navy on an equal

:01:25.:01:27.

footing in relation to homosexuality. Thomas Cromwell,

:01:28.:01:34.

believe it or not, piloted through Parliament and act for the

:01:35.:01:41.

punishment of the vice of buggery, which doesn't seem like a

:01:42.:01:44.

Parliamentary word, but it is the correct term. In 1533, that was in

:01:45.:01:50.

the reign of Henry VIII, this was the first act of our secular law to

:01:51.:01:57.

punish, sexuality. The sentence back then was death, with the state

:01:58.:02:01.

confiscation of property, goods and chattels. Prior to this, matters

:02:02.:02:08.

concerning suddenly were dealt with by ecclesiastical law in a similarly

:02:09.:02:17.

harsh way. Then there was the offence against the Person act,

:02:18.:02:19.

which continued with the death sentence until its revision in 1831,

:02:20.:02:23.

when it was replaced with ten year life imprisonment. As I have said

:02:24.:02:29.

earlier, here we are, 50 years on from the sexual offences act, still

:02:30.:02:37.

trying to I suppose ensure an amount of equality is restored to these

:02:38.:02:42.

individuals, and to make sure that we continue as a country to move

:02:43.:02:50.

forward in terms of reducing and addressing discrimination. But in

:02:51.:02:55.

starting to draw my contribution to a close, idea to just want to turn

:02:56.:03:02.

to very briefly at the Bill itself. This is a bill to repeal section 146

:03:03.:03:08.

and 147 of the Criminal Justice Act Public Order Act 1984, a bill which

:03:09.:03:15.

would mean that someone could no longer be dismissed from a merchant

:03:16.:03:18.

ship for being gay. I believe it is a good bill. It is needed because UK

:03:19.:03:23.

merchant ships are classified as residences as well as workplaces,

:03:24.:03:27.

meaning ship owners have been able to make their own rules about what

:03:28.:03:31.

is as isn't allowed to happen on board, and I know during his

:03:32.:03:35.

contribution to the debate, my honourable friend the Member for

:03:36.:03:39.

Shipley raised this point, and so I did just want to say, as have others

:03:40.:03:48.

about this, because much has been made about the fact that merchant

:03:49.:03:55.

ships are classified as residences, but I recall when my husband is in

:03:56.:04:03.

the Royal Navy, men and women work in close confinement as well, sorry

:04:04.:04:06.

think it is right and proper that we deal with this, call it an anomaly

:04:07.:04:12.

even through this bill. This bill would mean that they could no longer

:04:13.:04:18.

include, no longer dismiss someone for being gay, and would bring the

:04:19.:04:23.

laws affecting merchant shipping in line with modern equality laws.

:04:24.:04:28.

While it is fair to say that the current sections of the 1994 act are

:04:29.:04:34.

no longer of any legal effect due to other legislation, as we have heard

:04:35.:04:39.

earlier, the Equality Act 2010, I don't think that is an excuse for

:04:40.:04:44.

not bringing forward this bill. As I keep reiterating, this bill is

:04:45.:04:49.

important, it matters and it is time we did something, it is long

:04:50.:04:52.

overdue, actually, dealing with this piece of legislation, repealing the

:04:53.:05:00.

act is symbolic, it prevents any misunderstanding, and I think it

:05:01.:05:06.

goes a long way to starting to redress this issue of inequality. I

:05:07.:05:10.

just wanted to touch, I'm very conscious that time is marching on,

:05:11.:05:14.

Madame Deputy Speaker, but I did just want to touch on the issue of

:05:15.:05:23.

LGBT equality very briefly, because the UK has a proud record in this

:05:24.:05:28.

area of promoting equality for LGBT people, including introducing

:05:29.:05:33.

marriage for same-sex people. The UK continues to be recognised as one of

:05:34.:05:37.

the most progressive in Europe for LGBT writes, and the UK has one of

:05:38.:05:45.

the world's strongest legislative frameworks to prevent and tackle

:05:46.:05:49.

discrimination. This bill builds on all that we have done through

:05:50.:05:55.

Parliament over the years, and therefore, as other members have

:05:56.:05:58.

explained, particularly the Member for Milton Keynes, so eloquently,

:05:59.:06:03.

let us get on and do all we can to make sure that we give this the safe

:06:04.:06:09.

passage that it deserves, thank you. Thank you, Madame Deputy Speaker. It

:06:10.:06:14.

seems to be becoming a habit of time following on from my honourable

:06:15.:06:16.

friend the Member for Aldridge-Brownhills who gave a very

:06:17.:06:21.

strong hand thorough background to this bill, I thought, and I want to

:06:22.:06:27.

start my remarks by congratulating the honourable member for Salisbury

:06:28.:06:30.

who is a diligent and hard-working member of this House, and we have

:06:31.:06:33.

seen demonstrated in his speech today, in the work in preparation

:06:34.:06:38.

that he has done on this bill, and I thought that he set out the case in

:06:39.:06:42.

accurately as to why this House should support the second reading of

:06:43.:06:46.

this bill this afternoon, and I come at this debate from a generation

:06:47.:06:50.

that find it very difficult to comprehend why we are in this

:06:51.:06:54.

position, why we are needing to debate a bill such as this this

:06:55.:06:57.

afternoon, because I think we are very lucky, the generation that I'm

:06:58.:07:01.

from, to have grown up in this country at a time when we have seen

:07:02.:07:07.

increasing tolerance, when we have seen increasingly cohesive

:07:08.:07:10.

communities, where we respect differences and embrace that, and we

:07:11.:07:15.

look out for one another, and we appreciate and value that in our

:07:16.:07:20.

society, and it does seem very difficult that the Criminal Justice

:07:21.:07:26.

Act Public Order Act of 1994 would CAC 40 dismissed from a Merchant

:07:27.:07:32.

Navy vessel dismissed for an actor, sexuality. -- Woodsy a -- we could

:07:33.:07:40.

see a seafarer dismissed from a Merchant Navy vessel. The equalities

:07:41.:07:46.

act means that the sections in question no longer apply in reality.

:07:47.:07:53.

One point but I thought really got to the heart of this was the point

:07:54.:07:56.

that my honourable friend the Member for Salisbury made very early on in

:07:57.:08:02.

his remarks when he said that actually, we shouldn't worry about

:08:03.:08:06.

any of those things when it comes to who we ploy. What we

:08:07.:08:24.

the best person for the job, and I think that should apply to every

:08:25.:08:32.

single walk of life, every single job that is going in this country,

:08:33.:08:42.

we should employ the best person for the job. I think my honourable

:08:43.:08:46.

friend wants to intervene. I absolutely appreciate both points

:08:47.:08:50.

that he made about how his generation cannot comprehend about

:08:51.:08:57.

some of the things that have happened in the past, and how we

:08:58.:09:09.

employ people. Would my honourable friend agree with me that we are in

:09:10.:09:33.

a very dangerous situation in our country at present when we see hate

:09:34.:09:55.

crime on the increase, we see anti-Semitism on the increase,

:09:56.:09:56.

particularly in our universities, and we have to make sure that we do

:09:57.:09:58.

everything we can to make sure that we are stamping down on those types

:09:59.:10:00.

of behaviours? I think that my honourable friend is absolutely

:10:01.:10:01.

right, this is the most tolerant country in the world. I think it

:10:02.:10:03.

must absolutely remain the most tolerant country in the world. I

:10:04.:10:04.

grew up in Northamptonshire, and in Wellingborough, where I grew up, we

:10:05.:10:05.

have cohesive communities, and people from all different

:10:06.:10:06.

backgrounds, all come together call all rub along well and look out for

:10:07.:10:09.

one another. I want to see every single community in this country

:10:10.:10:10.

like that, because where there are those differences, we need to work

:10:11.:10:12.

on that and make sure that barriers are swept away. We should stamp down

:10:13.:10:14.

on hate crime. In no walk of life in any community is that acceptable,

:10:15.:10:16.

and I think he is right to raise that issue. Having done some

:10:17.:10:18.

research, it is clear that the law is messy, and essentially, sections

:10:19.:10:19.

146 and 173 are now superfluous because of the equality at coming

:10:20.:10:21.

into force in 2010, as I alluded to earlier on, so I think where we can

:10:22.:10:23.

in this House, we should clarify the law, and we should remove any

:10:24.:10:25.

superfluous elements of it where we can. And that is where I think the

:10:26.:10:27.

Bill's explanatory notes and the policy background section is

:10:28.:10:28.

particularly effective, because what that says is that it says even

:10:29.:10:30.

though it is of no effect, the policy implication of the sections

:10:31.:10:31.

is ambiguous, and might be seen as a statement that homosexual conduct

:10:32.:10:32.

per se is incompatible with employment on merchant vessels. Such

:10:33.:10:35.

a statement is not compatible with current values and should be

:10:36.:10:40.

removed. There is also a risk that a person investigating the employment

:10:41.:10:45.

rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the Navy might

:10:46.:10:48.

come across those sections and understandably but incorrectly think

:10:49.:10:53.

that that meant that those people were not welcome in the Merchant

:10:54.:10:57.

Navy. Finally, removing the section as a general utility to tidy up the

:10:58.:11:02.

statute book. A similar approach to this bill was taken by the

:11:03.:11:05.

Government in the Armed Forces act 2016 which removed the parts of the

:11:06.:11:08.

sections which referred to the Armed Forces. During the passage of the

:11:09.:11:13.

act, the relevant Minister made the following statement. The Department

:11:14.:11:15.

of Transport has made it clear it intends to deal with the Merchant

:11:16.:11:19.

Navy aspect of the Criminal Justice Act Public Order Act as soon as

:11:20.:11:23.

possible, and they were the words of the Member for Milton Keynes North,

:11:24.:11:26.

and it goes on to say that the differing variations of this

:11:27.:11:29.

statement also made in the Lords when the issue was raised there, so

:11:30.:11:33.

I think that is effective in setting out the entire scope of this bill.

:11:34.:11:39.

Why it is required, some of the difficulties there are in relation

:11:40.:11:43.

to the current legislation, the Government's commitment to this on

:11:44.:11:45.

this previously, and what needs to be done to put that right.

:11:46.:11:51.

The build-up we help before us neatly achieves that, it is a short

:11:52.:11:58.

role but the provisions are clear. I minister plus rack remarks indicate

:11:59.:12:04.

strong government support for sentiments in this bill expressed

:12:05.:12:11.

today. I am happy for my honourable friend to intervene or the Minister

:12:12.:12:14.

to address this in his remarks later, relates to the commencement

:12:15.:12:20.

aspect of this bill, should it successfully complete all the stages

:12:21.:12:26.

and pass into law. In section 2.1, it says this act comes into force at

:12:27.:12:30.

the end of the period of two months beginning with the day on which it

:12:31.:12:35.

is past. I am interested in this. In that I don't think we should waste a

:12:36.:12:39.

moment. If this bill is passed into law and I sincerely hope that it

:12:40.:12:42.

will be, I think we should get on with it, enact these provisions as

:12:43.:12:48.

quickly as possible. It may well be there are good constitutional

:12:49.:12:50.

reasons why we can't do that immediately. But I think we should

:12:51.:12:54.

perhaps look at that and perhaps this is something that will be

:12:55.:12:58.

addressed in Bill committee to mean that the first opportunity to

:12:59.:13:01.

implement the provisions of this bill, should be seized and we should

:13:02.:13:05.

make it happen and we should lay down a marker and not waste any

:13:06.:13:10.

time. Of course. I'm extremely grateful and I'd be happy to look at

:13:11.:13:14.

that occur fully in Bill committee and I'd be happy if my honourable

:13:15.:13:16.

friend would wish to join me on that committee. I am very grateful to my

:13:17.:13:22.

honourable friend for that offer and I'd be delighted to join him on his

:13:23.:13:27.

Bill committee because I think it's important that we have members from

:13:28.:13:30.

across the House on it. I was pleased to see a number of

:13:31.:13:34.

contributions in intervention terms from members opposite earlier in

:13:35.:13:39.

this debate, in fact I thought the Member for Alan and Dean side was

:13:40.:13:42.

right to say this is a symbolic bill and perhaps he join us on the bill

:13:43.:13:46.

committee as well? I think we should look at this issue of commencement,

:13:47.:13:49.

I think that's one of the first things we should look at because as

:13:50.:13:53.

we say, I don't want to waste any time at all in resolving this issue

:13:54.:13:56.

and ironing out some of the ambiguities there are in the

:13:57.:14:01.

existing law. I'm pleased also that the honourable member for Salisbury

:14:02.:14:05.

has addressed why this matter couldn't be addressed through the

:14:06.:14:09.

Armed Forces act. I thought he said that I very clearly, it was one of

:14:10.:14:13.

the things that flagged up in my mind early on when I was beginning

:14:14.:14:16.

to do my research, why this happened been addressed as part of the Armed

:14:17.:14:20.

Forces act but I was appreciative of him setting out those very good

:14:21.:14:24.

reasons and clarifying that for the benefit of the House. And I'm also

:14:25.:14:29.

pleased to see that the industry itself has come a long way since

:14:30.:14:35.

1994. And in the course of my research, I found that a number of

:14:36.:14:40.

steps have been taken since the legalisation of the Criminal Justice

:14:41.:14:45.

and Public Order Act 1994 was drafted. I think it further evidence

:14:46.:14:49.

is why this piece of legislation that is before us today by it is

:14:50.:14:54.

required and some example is of work that had been done include the UK

:14:55.:14:59.

National Maritime occupational health and safety committee

:15:00.:15:01.

producing guidelines on preventing bullying and harassment which were

:15:02.:15:05.

adopted by the European social partners and subsequently

:15:06.:15:08.

internationally. We've also seen the Maritime and Coastguard Agency

:15:09.:15:11.

guidance, out on seafaring employment agreements which

:15:12.:15:15.

recommend including references to bullying and harassment. I think all

:15:16.:15:17.

members of this House would welcome those steps that have been taken.

:15:18.:15:23.

We've seen organically steps taken within the merchant shipping

:15:24.:15:27.

industry to put right some of the challenges and problems that there's

:15:28.:15:32.

been in the past, but that legislation in this House but I

:15:33.:15:34.

think tidying up the log will do much to add to that as well. I very

:15:35.:15:39.

much welcome this bill and I think it's fitting that we are debating

:15:40.:15:42.

this in the same week that the Speaker made his statement

:15:43.:15:47.

yesterday, in relation to the Stonewall recognition that

:15:48.:15:49.

Parliament has received as an employer. We take these matters

:15:50.:15:53.

extremely seriously in this House, I think it's important that in the

:15:54.:15:57.

paid service of this House, as well, these matters are taken seriously. I

:15:58.:16:02.

think we should set an example in the House of Commons but also in the

:16:03.:16:05.

House of Lords and across the parliamentary estate as a whole,

:16:06.:16:08.

that the country should follow and to be in the top 30, I thought was a

:16:09.:16:12.

very commendable achievement and I would congratulate everybody who's

:16:13.:16:15.

been involved in that work and it sets down an example for all of us

:16:16.:16:20.

as individual members, I think, to follow in the work that we do in our

:16:21.:16:24.

constituencies, in our parliamentary offices but also the work we do in

:16:25.:16:29.

this House and in scrutinising this legislation to make sure we get it

:16:30.:16:34.

right. There is undoubtedly recognition required for the fact

:16:35.:16:37.

that this country has come a long way in recent years and I think this

:16:38.:16:40.

is another step in the right direction. And as we've been told,

:16:41.:16:47.

by numerous speakers this afternoon, this is a step that will tidy up the

:16:48.:16:51.

lot, it will sort of complete this element of work and so it should be

:16:52.:16:56.

wholesomely welcomed. Because, as I say, for my generation, we simply do

:16:57.:17:01.

not comprehend in many respects, the sort of discrimination that this

:17:02.:17:07.

bill seeks to address. We haven't grown up in a society for that has

:17:08.:17:11.

been the case, for a we've seen that sort of discrimination happening and

:17:12.:17:14.

finally putting some of that away, putting a stop to it, is a good

:17:15.:17:19.

thing in its own right. Because I wouldn't want to see any young

:17:20.:17:22.

person in this country or anybody in this country or territory from

:17:23.:17:27.

seeking employment in the Merchant Navy on the grounds of fearing that

:17:28.:17:30.

they are going to be discriminated against or somehow treated as being

:17:31.:17:33.

different. That is totally unacceptable and doesn't sitcom to

:17:34.:17:36.

be with me at all, it wouldn't sitcom to be with any member of this

:17:37.:17:40.

House and I don't think it would sit comfortably with our constituents

:17:41.:17:44.

either. I believe that not only is this bill symbolic but I also

:17:45.:17:48.

believe it has a real purpose. As has been said previously, there are

:17:49.:17:51.

lots of bills coming forward with where the sentiment but I think this

:17:52.:17:55.

is a bill that has worried the centre and, it has a realistic

:17:56.:17:59.

purpose, and the aims of it can be achieved. -- and I hope it will

:18:00.:18:07.

command the support of the House supplement. -- and it wouldn't sit

:18:08.:18:14.

comfortably. I am happy to speak in this debate. There are a few things

:18:15.:18:20.

that I want to say that our pertinent to my honourable friend

:18:21.:18:22.

Rick Valiant and impressive attempt to bring this much-needed change in

:18:23.:18:29.

the lawn to the statute. -- my honourable friend's Valiant. He is

:18:30.:18:36.

going to bring forward a Private Members' Bill and I hope this meets

:18:37.:18:41.

with the same success that he met with on an earlier occasion and I

:18:42.:18:45.

would like to say also, I think it's particularly impressive record for

:18:46.:18:51.

one who has been in Parliament for a relatively short time to be able to

:18:52.:18:55.

introduce the sort of ground-breaking legislation onto the

:18:56.:18:59.

statute book. I wanted to just touch on a few things which many of my

:19:00.:19:02.

colleagues, my honourable friends, as mentioned in connection with

:19:03.:19:07.

homosexuality, in connection with the Merchant Navy, I think it's

:19:08.:19:12.

important to get on the record, some of the misconceptions perhaps, and

:19:13.:19:19.

also to try and move forward in a spirit of tolerance and diversity

:19:20.:19:23.

which we've all celebrated. The first thing I'd like to say is that

:19:24.:19:29.

it's not true to say that before 1533 people were being executed for

:19:30.:19:33.

homosexuality. In fact, the 1533 act which my honourable friend the

:19:34.:19:38.

Member for Aldridge and Brownhills referred to, the buggery act, was

:19:39.:19:41.

passed through this act and pioneered by Thomas Cromwell, a

:19:42.:19:46.

particular act was the first time in British history that there was a

:19:47.:19:52.

discriminatory and penal legislation, if you like, against

:19:53.:19:55.

homosexuality. And I think this is important that we get that on the

:19:56.:19:59.

record because before that date, my honourable friend suggested that

:20:00.:20:06.

matters to do with sexuality were in the jurisdiction of the

:20:07.:20:09.

ecclesiastical courts and that was broadly true. But the fact is that

:20:10.:20:13.

about 20,000 cases that people lived that, in 100 years before 1533, I

:20:14.:20:21.

think only one was relating to the crime, if you like, of sodomy and

:20:22.:20:24.

this was not something that homosexuality and issues of that

:20:25.:20:30.

kind or not something which Parliament's legislation, the law,

:20:31.:20:34.

in fact, had much to do with, before 1533. With respect to the 1533

:20:35.:20:43.

overreact, the first time this House legislated against homosexuality,

:20:44.:20:45.

this was part of Henry VIII policy, as I said Thomas Cromwell through

:20:46.:20:51.

and the fact we have to mention it through and the fact we have to

:20:52.:20:54.

mention that today is very relevant because it was actually used not

:20:55.:20:58.

simply to attack on practice in Britain, it was also used to

:20:59.:21:02.

monasteries. In fact, the buggery monasteries. In fact, the buggery

:21:03.:21:06.

act was the main vehicle if you like, through which many monks

:21:07.:21:22.

many of the abbots who were many of the abbots who were

:21:23.:21:39.

disenfranchised, this was the way in disenfranchised, this was the way

:21:40.:21:40.

which the Crown actually managed to which the Crown

:21:41.:21:42.

appropriate the monasteries and we appropriate the monasteries and we

:21:43.:21:42.

have got to bear that in mind. The point I am trying to make, a Lord of

:21:43.:21:53.

often just about discriminating often just about

:21:54.:21:54.

against minorities, it's often used against minorities, it's often

:21:55.:21:54.

as a pretext and excuse to indulge as a pretext and excuse to indulge

:21:55.:22:02.

in other forms of oppression and in fact throughout the 16th century,

:22:03.:22:18.

abbots were condemned under the abbots were

:22:19.:22:18.

buggery act. As my honourable friend buggery act. As my honourable

:22:19.:22:19.

through the centuries were executed mentioned, it a number of

:22:20.:22:19.

through the centuries were executed under this act and this

:22:20.:22:19.

the 16th century. There was a famous necessarily

:22:20.:22:20.

case in 15 31, the Earl of case in 15 31, the Earl

:22:21.:22:20.

Castlehaven was executed and all his Castlehaven was executed and all

:22:21.:22:20.

lands were confiscated by the lands were confiscated by the

:22:21.:22:21.

government of the day. It was an extraordinary case of judicial

:22:22.:22:25.

oppression and not just the Scriven nation. We wind the clock forward.

:22:26.:22:33.

But show-macro just discrimination. Many people were condemned under the

:22:34.:22:40.

buggery act which stayed on the statute right through until 1828 and

:22:41.:22:45.

I think it's fitting, many people talked about Alan Turing and others

:22:46.:22:50.

who suffered discrimination under the legal conditions of their time

:22:51.:22:56.

but it's fitting, I think, here, to I think that showed due respect to

:22:57.:23:03.

the memory of James Pratt and John Smith, who in 1835, were the last

:23:04.:23:09.

people in Britain actually to be executed for homosexuality. And it

:23:10.:23:15.

seems like a very long time ago, 182 years, but they were in fact hanged

:23:16.:23:21.

for this crime. And I think, members want to see and demonstrate the

:23:22.:23:26.

length of time and the kind of distance that we've travelled, I

:23:27.:23:28.

think it's only fitting that we pay a short tribute to people who

:23:29.:23:33.

actually lost their lives under very, very repressive legislation.

:23:34.:23:41.

Now we know that in the 19th century, the situation evolves, we

:23:42.:23:43.

had a situation particularly towards the end of the 19th century, where

:23:44.:23:50.

attitudes were changing. So in fact, in relation to homosexuality, as my

:23:51.:23:54.

honourable friend suggested, the death penalty was abolished in 1861.

:23:55.:23:59.

But that didn't actually lead onto much of an evolution in the way of

:24:00.:24:07.

attitudes. In fact, in many cases, homosexuality was seen as a kitten,

:24:08.:24:16.

on the same level as murder and other grave crimes because it was

:24:17.:24:21.

seen, the logic was seen, to be that homosexuality was a crime against

:24:22.:24:24.

nature and God, and that was where this very penal approach, very

:24:25.:24:30.

restrictive, took only an approach emerged. In fact, when you look at

:24:31.:24:35.

the provisions of the buggery act in 1533, the monks and people who had

:24:36.:24:42.

benefit of the clergy, were actually exempted from the death penalty for

:24:43.:24:45.

murder, if you were a priest and you committed murder, by mere virtue of

:24:46.:24:49.

the fact that you had benefit of the clergy you could actually avoid the

:24:50.:24:54.

death penalty for murder but under the provisions of the buggery act,

:24:55.:24:58.

if you were convicted, you could not get anything of the clergy so we

:24:59.:25:02.

were in this crazy situation, if you were a priest, you could be executed

:25:03.:25:07.

for homosexual acts, for you were exempt from execution indeed, with

:25:08.:25:12.

respect to murder. This was an entirely crazy situation. The many

:25:13.:25:18.

members have mentioned discrimination in the modern era.

:25:19.:25:23.

And the name of Alan Turing comes up a lot. The other name probably even

:25:24.:25:27.

more famous, more widely celebrated across the world and Alan Turing,

:25:28.:25:33.

that suffered under our code, if you like, was Oscar Wilde. Oscar Wilde

:25:34.:25:39.

was convicted in 1895 and served two years, I believe, in Reading jail

:25:40.:25:45.

because he had infringed the law in respect to the criminal law

:25:46.:25:50.

amendment act of 1885. That replaced, as we should know, and

:25:51.:25:53.

many of you do know, many people here know, this replaced the

:25:54.:26:01.

original, the old buggery act but also the amendments to it and the

:26:02.:26:07.

offences against the Person act of 1861 and in 1885, and amendments to

:26:08.:26:13.

this criminal law act, the criminal law amendment act, there were very

:26:14.:26:18.

stringent penalties imposed on homosexual behaviour. The real

:26:19.:26:24.

innovation in this particular piece of legislation was that it actually

:26:25.:26:33.

prohibited acts between males and it wasn't just confined to the sexual

:26:34.:26:36.

act. The buggery act is very specific in its focus on actual sex,

:26:37.:26:46.

the act of sex, whereas the amendment law of criminal, 1885 was

:26:47.:26:52.

brought in its scope and this was the act, if you like, which many

:26:53.:26:56.

people here will have read about in terms of all the famous 20th-century

:26:57.:27:05.

cases relating to homosexuality, all the crazy, to us, the crazy

:27:06.:27:11.

judgements that my honourable friend the Member for Corby, alluded to.

:27:12.:27:19.

The criminal law Amendment act was in fact the piece of legislation

:27:20.:27:23.

under which many people were condemned, most notably as we all

:27:24.:27:29.

know Alan Turing. I think the problem that we had in this criminal

:27:30.:27:33.

Law Amendment act was that shortly after the Second World War, there

:27:34.:27:37.

were, as I think my honourable friend who isn't in his place, the

:27:38.:27:48.

member Fathauer -- the Member for Havant, there were a thousand people

:27:49.:27:55.

incarcerated solely for being gay, if you consider that the prison

:27:56.:28:00.

population today is about 90,000, it seems an extraordinary waste, and I

:28:01.:28:05.

should remind the House that the prison population in the 1950s was

:28:06.:28:09.

much lower, probably about half the number. It seems extraordinary to us

:28:10.:28:16.

that as late as 1954, as many as 1000 men should have been

:28:17.:28:22.

incarcerated on the basis purely of their sexuality, and this was to us,

:28:23.:28:29.

I think rightly, an outrage. And even at the time, we have to

:28:30.:28:33.

mention, even at the time, it was sufficiently controversial and

:28:34.:28:37.

sufficiently absurd to many people but the Government of the day, the

:28:38.:28:41.

Conservative government initiated the Wolfenden report which has been

:28:42.:28:47.

long famous and did so much to change not only Government attitudes

:28:48.:28:56.

with relation to, sexuality and with relation to the criminalisation or

:28:57.:29:00.

decriminalisation of homosexual acts, it not only changed Government

:29:01.:29:05.

attitudes, it also managed to shift very considerably society's

:29:06.:29:12.

attitudes to these issues. And it was only really as a consequence of

:29:13.:29:15.

the Wolfenden report which was finally published in 1960 that I

:29:16.:29:24.

think that a lot of the journey that members and honourable friends have

:29:25.:29:29.

described, it was only then that I think much of the journey was

:29:30.:29:36.

traversed, and of course in 1967, we had the sexual offences act, which

:29:37.:29:40.

managed to decriminalise homosexuality for the first time

:29:41.:29:45.

since 1533, a period of 430 odd years, and we roughly got to the

:29:46.:29:51.

position we are in today, but there were exceptions, and this is where I

:29:52.:29:55.

think my honourable friend's contribution is so important, and

:29:56.:29:58.

what he has done effectively is introduced a bill which I think ties

:29:59.:30:02.

up many of the anomalies that have been suggested that were thrown up

:30:03.:30:12.

by this earlier history, and I only felt it necessary to touch upon

:30:13.:31:32.

various details of this history because we have got

:31:33.:31:50.

Period, and I cannot envisage further legislation going down the

:31:51.:31:56.

road, I don't think we need to have further equality for a time, I think

:31:57.:32:01.

we have reached a situation where we are well known through the world as

:32:02.:32:06.

a country for being one of incredible tolerance, and I think

:32:07.:32:09.

this marks the end is certainly of a chapter in the long evolution of

:32:10.:32:14.

legislation and equality. Finally, I just want to make two remarks with

:32:15.:32:22.

relation to the Bill and earlier remarks made by my own rubble friend

:32:23.:32:23.

the Member for Shipley. I think it was ashamed equality act

:32:24.:32:46.

did not manage to overturn the Justice and Public Order Act

:32:47.:32:50.

provisions that we were discussing from the 1994 act, it is a shame it

:32:51.:32:54.

didn't manage to address that. It was also a shame I think that the

:32:55.:32:58.

Armed Forces act last year was similarly unable to close this wide

:32:59.:33:05.

loophole in our legislation, and it is only really with the advent of my

:33:06.:33:11.

honourable friend's bill that we are managing finally to bring an end to

:33:12.:33:19.

these anomalies. Very lastly, I just want to suggest that I think it is a

:33:20.:33:26.

fantastic thing that we have had the opportunity to debate widely the

:33:27.:33:29.

circumstances of this bill, and also to pay homage to the invaluable work

:33:30.:33:42.

that courageous see men and see women have carried out in our

:33:43.:33:50.

Merchant Navy, and the Merchant Navy in the second and First World War is

:33:51.:33:55.

where the unsung hero in our heroic efforts to defeat first the Kaiser

:33:56.:33:59.

was my Germany and the Nazis in the Second World War. I think my

:34:00.:34:02.

honourable friend for Aldridge-Brownhills mentioned this

:34:03.:34:04.

in her remarks. I think the Merchant Navy has had an incredible impact,

:34:05.:34:10.

not only on the culture of our country, but also on its very

:34:11.:34:15.

livelihood, and the sacrifices that merchant seaman and women made

:34:16.:34:21.

should never be forgotten by anyone in this House, and I wanted to use

:34:22.:34:24.

the closing marks of my speech to play homage and respect to those

:34:25.:34:29.

brave men and women who have contributed so much and in many

:34:30.:34:32.

cases paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Thank you very

:34:33.:34:45.

much, Madame Deputy Speaker. I would like to thank my honourable friend

:34:46.:34:49.

for Salisbury for bringing forward a bill on this important issue, and

:34:50.:34:54.

for beating us to it, and hopefully achieving a second change of the

:34:55.:34:57.

law. I think we had a very positive debate here today, and I have been

:34:58.:35:02.

struck by speeches from right across the House, from colleagues, they

:35:03.:35:08.

have been considered, thoughtful, insightful, based upon experience,

:35:09.:35:12.

and very powerful. This is a Bill which would remove wording from the

:35:13.:35:16.

statute book which is obsolete, unnecessary and wrong, and as I

:35:17.:35:21.

shall go on to explain, the wording currently on the statute book has no

:35:22.:35:25.

effect, but it represents a historical hangover from when it was

:35:26.:35:29.

possible that a seafarer, indeed any employee, could be dismissed for

:35:30.:35:35.

being gay. That is no longer the case, however the laws that we pass

:35:36.:35:38.

in this place and that form our statute book represent in a

:35:39.:35:41.

practical way and in the signals that they send the established

:35:42.:35:47.

morals and values of our country, and it is right, therefore, that

:35:48.:35:50.

when the statute book has wording in it which is inconsistent with those

:35:51.:35:53.

values, we should change that wording, and for that reason, the

:35:54.:35:58.

Government is happy to state now formally that it supports this

:35:59.:36:03.

measure. The sea and those who work in it, our maritime sector,

:36:04.:36:09.

contribute around ?13.5 billion our economy, employ over 110,000 people,

:36:10.:36:13.

that is significant our country but not just our economy, it is

:36:14.:36:18.

important to what we are, who we are as a people, and Island race and the

:36:19.:36:22.

maritime nation. Our UK maritime social partners who represent the

:36:23.:36:27.

employers and workers are respected globally for their commitment and

:36:28.:36:33.

their drive to improve the social, working and living conditions of

:36:34.:36:37.

seafarers. Not just those of the UK, but worldwide. They work closely

:36:38.:36:42.

with governments, and we have a powerful voice. I won't go into

:36:43.:36:47.

every point of detail, but we agree on many and we listen to and respect

:36:48.:36:52.

each other. The International Labour organisation is maritime labour

:36:53.:36:57.

convention under which UK social partners were instrumental in

:36:58.:37:00.

drafting has done much for improving the conditions for seafarers, but it

:37:01.:37:05.

is not an end product, it will evolve and continue to evolve and

:37:06.:37:09.

strengthen. It's sister instrument, the working and fishing convention,

:37:10.:37:12.

will bring similar improvements for those working in the fishing sector,

:37:13.:37:19.

and again, we can expect this to evolve. I mention our proud maritime

:37:20.:37:34.

history, and I talk about these issues as being relevant to our

:37:35.:37:39.

seafarers. We do not question how our bananas or new computer or even

:37:40.:37:44.

just the bread-and-butter reaches the shelves of the shops, or how

:37:45.:37:48.

goods arrive at distribution centres to have onward transit our homes. We

:37:49.:37:53.

might not be aware of the product coming from other sides of the

:37:54.:37:57.

world, but unless we live near the coast, any consideration of the

:37:58.:38:00.

Merchant Navy or it seafarers may not be something which is top of

:38:01.:38:04.

mind for us. It does matter, and that is why this Government

:38:05.:38:08.

commissioned the Independent maritime growth study in 2014 to

:38:09.:38:12.

consider the opportunities and challenges the UK faced in

:38:13.:38:16.

maintaining its position as a leading maritime centre. It looked

:38:17.:38:21.

at all aspects of the maritime sector, and identified where action

:38:22.:38:25.

could be taken to generate growth. We have achieved much since the

:38:26.:38:28.

publication of that maritime growth study. We have put in place a solid

:38:29.:38:33.

set of structures within government, including a successful ministerial

:38:34.:38:38.

working group raised upon constructive engagement with the

:38:39.:38:41.

industry. The efforts from across the whole industry have been

:38:42.:38:45.

impressive, bringing together so many organisations, so many

:38:46.:38:48.

different bodies, offering with different objectives, many of which

:38:49.:38:53.

can seem contradictory. Yet we are working under one promotional

:38:54.:38:56.

umbrella to address all the major issues affecting the sector.

:38:57.:39:01.

However, we cannot afford to relax. We must make the best of every

:39:02.:39:05.

opportunity, and it is clear Britain's maritime sector has to be

:39:06.:39:10.

as great as it can be, greater than we imagined possible over the years.

:39:11.:39:18.

What might that mean? The Gateway to our exports and imports is through

:39:19.:39:22.

our ports, so it is not good enough just to get them off the ships, we

:39:23.:39:25.

have to get them to where they are needed, that is why the Government

:39:26.:39:37.

is investing in road and rail. Transport is a network, a network

:39:38.:39:41.

which includes the sea. Above all, we need to think about the

:39:42.:39:44.

contribution, the essential contribution made by those who work

:39:45.:39:50.

within the sector. One of the four major themes from our study is

:39:51.:39:53.

skills, and the UK rightly prides itself on producing many of the best

:39:54.:39:58.

trained officers and crew serving on ships around the world. As well as

:39:59.:40:04.

those with expertise in areas such as law, insurance, finance and the

:40:05.:40:10.

logistical skills from managing ships and ports. This is an

:40:11.:40:13.

incredible skills base that supports our whole maritime sector. The

:40:14.:40:20.

Government currently supports that with a budget for maritime training,

:40:21.:40:24.

which we are taking the opportunity to review, and we also committed to

:40:25.:40:27.

increasing the quality and quantity of apprenticeships, including within

:40:28.:40:32.

the maritime sector. The sector has a strong record of apprenticeships,

:40:33.:40:35.

and the opportunities are being developed all of the time. We want

:40:36.:40:40.

to see the number of trainees, both ratings and officers, increase. We

:40:41.:40:43.

are looking across the board of the skills and opportunities the sector

:40:44.:40:47.

needs, but the image of that sector is let down by those clauses still

:40:48.:40:52.

remaining on our statute book. What the sector needs is to create and

:40:53.:40:58.

promote a bright, forward-looking, fully inclusive sector that provides

:40:59.:41:04.

well paid, varied, fulfilling job opportunities, with real long-term

:41:05.:41:07.

career prospects. Those seeking to fill vacancies should be able to do

:41:08.:41:12.

so on merit, that is a point that has been made by several colleagues

:41:13.:41:15.

this afternoon. They should not have to think that their sexuality might

:41:16.:41:20.

be a factor. The UK has a proud record of promoting equality LGBT

:41:21.:41:25.

people, including the introduction of marriage for same-sex couples,

:41:26.:41:32.

and part of the image of the maritime sector, a sector which has

:41:33.:41:36.

done so much for the LGBT movement, is tarnished with such ludicrous and

:41:37.:41:37.

outdated clauses on the statute. We are recognised as one of the most

:41:38.:41:49.

progressive countries in Europe for LGBT writes. We have one of the

:41:50.:41:55.

world's strongest legislative frameworks to tackle discrimination,

:41:56.:41:59.

we recognise that people who work in an inclusive environment, free from

:42:00.:42:04.

discrimination, are far more likely to achieve their potential. The

:42:05.:42:06.

Equality Act 2010 protects lesbian, Equality Act 2010 protects lesbian,

:42:07.:42:13.

Gay, bisexual and transgender people and is given, harassment or

:42:14.:42:17.

victimisation in the workplace. And I'm pleased to say that the UK

:42:18.:42:24.

shipping industry is well ahead of us in discriminatory rules and

:42:25.:42:27.

practices in regard to the Tabak one community. When talking about

:42:28.:42:35.

repeal, the industry expressed surprise this hadn't happened years

:42:36.:42:38.

ago, the UK Merchant Navy code of conduct which forms the basis for

:42:39.:42:43.

disciplinary and grievance processes in many UK shipping companies has

:42:44.:42:48.

not made use of the exception allowed to the Merchant Navy for

:42:49.:42:50.

many years and uses entirely inclusive language, for example, in

:42:51.:42:56.

the paragraphs prohibiting sexual harassment. UK's National Maritime

:42:57.:43:02.

occupational health and safety committee produced guidelines on

:43:03.:43:04.

preventing bullying and harassment which were adopted by European

:43:05.:43:08.

social partners and subsequently internationally. These guidelines

:43:09.:43:13.

define harassment in the same inclusive way as you would expect in

:43:14.:43:17.

any company anywhere within our country. It has also published

:43:18.:43:21.

guidance for shipping companies on HIV and aids, including guidance on

:43:22.:43:27.

prevention -- on implementing policies. No doubt there is more to

:43:28.:43:33.

do and both I and the Department are always happy to know what we can do,

:43:34.:43:38.

we will do and that anyone who has any suggestions how we can make the

:43:39.:43:43.

Merchant Navy a more rewarding and fulfilling career, open to all,

:43:44.:43:47.

irrespective of sexual orientation, adorable always be open. But of

:43:48.:43:51.

course the situation for LGBT people as not all we spin as fair as it is

:43:52.:43:56.

now and given that, I would like to spend a moment detailing how it is

:43:57.:44:00.

that current wording of the statute book came about and in particular,

:44:01.:44:06.

colleagues may wish to have more information about the Criminal

:44:07.:44:09.

Justice and Public Order Act 1994 which this bill would amend. The

:44:10.:44:15.

criminal Justice and Public order act was an act which took a

:44:16.:44:18.

significant step forward in the gradual development of LGBT writes

:44:19.:44:21.

in the UK but which still left much to be done. The act is the last act

:44:22.:44:27.

in the UK to have a whole part entitled homosexuality and was

:44:28.:44:32.

responsible for reducing the age of wonder sexual consent from 21 down

:44:33.:44:36.

to 18. The background to the sections we are amending is as

:44:37.:44:40.

follows, homosexual acts in private had been to criminalise by section

:44:41.:44:46.

one of the sexual offences 1967 but that act left some areas in which

:44:47.:44:50.

homosexual acts could still be an offence. In particular, the act

:44:51.:44:55.

allowed that a homosexual act could still be an offence under the Army

:44:56.:45:00.

act 1955, the force act 1955 and naval discipline act 1957. It also

:45:01.:45:08.

remained it criminal to conduct a homosexual act on board and aircraft

:45:09.:45:15.

ship. It didn't extend to Scotland or Northern Ireland but similar

:45:16.:45:18.

provision was made in those jurisdictions by section 80 of the

:45:19.:45:24.

criminal Justice act Scotland, 1980 the homosexual offences Northern

:45:25.:45:30.

Ireland order, 1982. The criminal Justice and Public order act

:45:31.:45:35.

contained provisions to remove this remaining criminal liability. The

:45:36.:45:38.

government had already decided in 1993 that prosecutions should not be

:45:39.:45:43.

brought under military law for homosexual acts per se. And

:45:44.:45:48.

following this, the decision that homosexual acts in Merchant Navy

:45:49.:45:52.

should be to criminalise to was given in a written answer in the

:45:53.:45:56.

House of Commons in 1993. This appears to have been influenced by

:45:57.:45:59.

the government understanding that the provision had been very little

:46:00.:46:03.

used. These repeals were therefore accomplished by sections 146, one,

:46:04.:46:11.

two and three for England and Wales,. But sections 140 six were

:46:12.:46:24.

added following amendments in the other place. There appear to have

:46:25.:46:27.

been concerns that making homosexual conduct legal in both Armed Forces

:46:28.:46:31.

and the Merchant Navy might mean that homosexuals could not be

:46:32.:46:35.

dismissed for engaging in at or that such conduct could not be used as

:46:36.:46:38.

the basis for a prosecution under military discipline. The government

:46:39.:46:42.

at the time thought the amendment was unnecessary. As a general

:46:43.:46:46.

principle just because something is legal doesn't mean you can't be

:46:47.:46:49.

fired from your job for doing it. It's an obvious point. If you decide

:46:50.:46:53.

to watch television instead of going to work, but is not illegal but it

:46:54.:46:58.

may well result in you being fired. The government considered it could

:46:59.:47:01.

still continue to discharge people from the Armed Forces because they

:47:02.:47:05.

were homosexual, irrespective of the wording of the criminal justice and

:47:06.:47:09.

Public order act. And employers could continue to discharge on the

:47:10.:47:13.

sexual is in the Merchant Navy. Both of these situations have of course

:47:14.:47:18.

changed. And it's not possible to discharge someone because of the

:47:19.:47:21.

sexual orientation but at that time, the amendments were unnecessary.

:47:22.:47:27.

Even though this is of no current effect, we would prefer it that

:47:28.:47:30.

legislation could give no such implications. And if honourable

:47:31.:47:34.

members will allow me, I will spend a quick moment detailing how the

:47:35.:47:38.

amendments have changed and why they have no legal application today. The

:47:39.:47:43.

amendments had been progressively repealed over the years. Until the

:47:44.:47:48.

current state for the only refer to the Merchant Navy. Many parts of

:47:49.:47:57.

these, concerning military discipline were repealed by the

:47:58.:48:02.

Armed Forces act 2006. And all references to Armed Forces were

:48:03.:48:04.

removed in the Armed Forces act 2016 so what we have is a journey, a

:48:05.:48:11.

story of progress, which has left the Merchant Navy despite all of its

:48:12.:48:18.

historic achievements, for our country, as a historical hangover,

:48:19.:48:22.

one we must correct. Whilst there are protections, it is not always

:48:23.:48:28.

fair to say that the Merchant Navy's added should within themselves have

:48:29.:48:33.

been ahead, I think of the legislative picture covering them.

:48:34.:48:37.

The merchant Murphy as colleagues have said has a proud tradition of

:48:38.:48:43.

respect for the individual and the seafaring culture has contributed to

:48:44.:48:46.

the development of gay culture worldwide. Homosexuality was illegal

:48:47.:48:51.

in Britain until 1967 but only that which, it could be a different

:48:52.:48:59.

world. -- but on a voyage. Seafarers could convey insights back home. At

:49:00.:49:08.

not to say life on board was a new world for all homosexuality is and

:49:09.:49:12.

you could still lose your job and face hostility and bullying but

:49:13.:49:16.

there was still greater freedom than on land and this provided a support

:49:17.:49:23.

network. What we have before us is a bill which addresses a historic

:49:24.:49:28.

wrong, it addresses the inadequacy of legislation to keep pace with

:49:29.:49:33.

culture, the achievements and cultures within the Merchant Navy.

:49:34.:49:40.

What we have at its heart is a skilled export workforce that makes

:49:41.:49:43.

a significant contribution to our country and we need to maintain and

:49:44.:49:47.

enhance that workforce, to celebrate and promote it, the maritime sector

:49:48.:49:53.

as a whole. We can be confident of our maritime past and we should be

:49:54.:49:56.

more confident again of what we can be in the future. The Equality Act

:49:57.:50:01.

under the legislation tightly protects the rights of an

:50:02.:50:04.

individual. This bill is therefore symbolic but it also serves to

:50:05.:50:08.

remove clauses that are obsolete. Clauses that have no place to remain

:50:09.:50:13.

on the statute and reflect the attitudes of a different time. It

:50:14.:50:16.

sends a message and a message that has been so partly articulated by

:50:17.:50:20.

colleagues within this debate. The government supports this bill. John

:50:21.:50:29.

Glenn. With the leave of the House Madam Deputy Speaker I would like to

:50:30.:50:33.

say some words and thank my nine colleagues on this side of the House

:50:34.:50:38.

who have made such an effective contribution to a guy thing has been

:50:39.:50:44.

a very useful and necessarily there debate on this bill. -- to what I

:50:45.:50:55.

think. For many, it's a serious piece of legislation which completes

:50:56.:51:00.

reform, much-needed reform, removes discrimination, from the statute

:51:01.:51:04.

books. I do believe as the honourable member for Shipley said,

:51:05.:51:09.

that it is important that all legislation should receive careful

:51:10.:51:13.

and thorough scrutiny. I am grateful for the contributions of my

:51:14.:51:16.

honourable friend the Member for spells for his deep historical

:51:17.:51:25.

knowledge and also my friend, the Member for Milton Keynes Southee

:51:26.:51:29.

made such a powerful contribution. But I do not wish to detain the

:51:30.:51:36.

House any longer. And I beg to move. The question is that the bill we now

:51:37.:51:42.

read a second time. As many as are of that opinion say aye. To the

:51:43.:51:50.

contrary no. The ayes have it. The ayes have it. Personal social health

:51:51.:51:58.

and economic statutory requirement Bill, second reading. Caroline

:51:59.:52:07.

Lucas. Thank you Madam Deputy Speaker. I'm delighted to at least

:52:08.:52:10.

start speaking in support of my bill to give children an entitlement to

:52:11.:52:15.

the SHG including sex and relationship education and while I

:52:16.:52:20.

support the bill preceding mine, there is an irony that has not gone

:52:21.:52:24.

unnoticed, members have spent so many hours debating what is a wholly

:52:25.:52:27.

uncontroversial bill and I supported, but nonetheless there is

:52:28.:52:31.

an irony that my bill is about tackling discrimination and bullying

:52:32.:52:40.

around LGBT issues. It's a bill with strong party support across the

:52:41.:52:44.

House, members who have is long shown commitment and concern on this

:52:45.:52:48.

issue, including from the right honourable member from Basingstoke

:52:49.:52:52.

and the Member for Rotherham, both of him I would like to pay tribute

:52:53.:52:55.

to for their ongoing cross-party work on this issue. And the reason

:52:56.:53:00.

this bill has strong cross-party support is that people are calling

:53:01.:53:03.

for it from all quarters. It is back why it is 7% of parents, 88% of

:53:04.:53:08.

teachers, 85% of business leaders, you go you got and the PCHE

:53:09.:53:15.

Association believes schools should teach about mental health and

:53:16.:53:19.

emotional well-being, support from Royal Society is, five Select

:53:20.:53:23.

Committee chairs, three of which are Conservative chairs, five teaching

:53:24.:53:27.

unions, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Public Health

:53:28.:53:30.

England, the Childrens Commissioner, Chief Medical Officer, the National

:53:31.:53:36.

police lead for preventing child sexual exploitation, the UN

:53:37.:53:40.

committee on the rights of the child, NSPCC, Barnardos, Stonewall,

:53:41.:53:43.

end violence against women coalition, girl guiding, and many,

:53:44.:53:49.

many more. And to expand on that latter example, the Association of

:53:50.:53:55.

police... There is absolutely no way I am giving way to anyone on that

:53:56.:53:59.

side of the House that has spent so many hours filibustering a perfectly

:54:00.:54:02.

serious bill. There is no way. Thank you. To expand on the latter

:54:03.:54:08.

example, the Association of Police and Crime Commissioner is tell us

:54:09.:54:13.

that statutory status is needed because Police and Crime

:54:14.:54:15.

Commissioner is across the country... Order, order. The

:54:16.:54:20.

honourable lady must be heard. Caroline Lucas. Honourable members

:54:21.:54:27.

will recall that requests done by the police from the honourable

:54:28.:54:30.

member for Manchester last year showed 1200% increase of under 16 is

:54:31.:54:36.

sharing explicit images or text and an increasing number using the

:54:37.:54:41.

dating up tender. It's clear children are being pushed into adult

:54:42.:54:44.

territory will be they are ready and some of the most powerful calls for

:54:45.:54:48.

action, from young people themselves. The Terrence Higgins

:54:49.:54:53.

Trust report surveying young people aged 16 to 24 said that SRE was

:54:54.:54:59.

absent in many schools. Many thought it should be mandatory in all

:55:00.:55:04.

schools and over 60% perceived SRE just once a year or less, three

:55:05.:55:08.

quarters were not told about consent and half of the young people

:55:09.:55:12.

surveyed rated the SRE they received in school as poor or terrible. What

:55:13.:55:18.

we should take heart for young campaigners for statutory PCHE

:55:19.:55:21.

because they are doing great work, tremendous support from groups like

:55:22.:55:24.

girl guiding I've also had the privilege of forming links with an

:55:25.:55:28.

exciting group in my own constituency called PCHE matters.

:55:29.:55:33.

They are students from the Dorothy Stringer School in Brighton, got

:55:34.:55:38.

together under the own scheme to campaign for PCHE to be mandatory.

:55:39.:55:43.

They recognise the value of provision at school and want to

:55:44.:55:45.

ensure all students across the country have access to similar

:55:46.:55:49.

high-quality teaching and the work on PCHE is a testament to the

:55:50.:55:53.

success of the subject and the call to action comes in a context when

:55:54.:55:56.

one third of young people aged between 11 and 14 have watched

:55:57.:56:01.

online porn on a tablet or mobile phone and half of all 11-14

:56:02.:56:05.

-year-olds who had viewed pornography said it affected their

:56:06.:56:10.

relationships. SRE is needed to offset these problems with

:56:11.:56:13.

information about consent unhealthy relationships. Order, order. Debate

:56:14.:56:22.

to be resumed, what day? Friday the 24th of March. Friday the 24th of

:56:23.:56:26.

March. Railways Bill second reading. Objection taken, second reading,

:56:27.:56:46.

what day? Friday the 24th of March adjourned debate on second reading.

:56:47.:56:55.

Not moved. I beg to move this House do now adjourn. The question is that

:56:56.:57:00.

this House do now adjourn. Maria Caulfield. Thank you, Madam Deputy

:57:01.:57:07.

Speaker. I know today the world is watching political speeches of

:57:08.:57:10.

historical significance, and I hope my adjournment debate does not

:57:11.:57:14.

disappoint! I thank the House for once again allowing the issue of

:57:15.:57:19.

Southern rail to be debated in the chamber, and while many of my

:57:20.:57:22.

constituents and many people in the south-east region were pleased to

:57:23.:57:26.

hear that strikes the next week by the Aslef union have been halted and

:57:27.:57:31.

a normal service should start again on Tuesday, the fear of a normal

:57:32.:57:41.

Southern experience is filling some people with trepidation, because I

:57:42.:57:43.

normal service on the southern region for the last 18 months has

:57:44.:57:49.

been extremely poor. At times, performance has gone down to less

:57:50.:57:54.

than 40% of trains turning up in time, and the average is around 66%,

:57:55.:58:00.

and this compares to over 90% of trains by other operators, so in the

:58:01.:58:05.

southern region, we certainly suffer more than most, and it is not just

:58:06.:58:10.

late trains and cancellations, but trains are often short formed from

:58:11.:58:15.

12 carriages down to ten or eight, and there is poor customer service,

:58:16.:58:19.

we have it even had our trolley service removed on our trains to add

:58:20.:58:24.

insult to injury. Many constituents have been to see me, whether they

:58:25.:58:32.

are individuals, to share their experience of getting to work late,

:58:33.:58:35.

getting home late, risk of losing their jobs, or businesses, and I

:58:36.:58:39.

recently attended a breakfast meeting where businesses told me

:58:40.:58:42.

trade was down because no one could get to them to use their services.

:58:43.:58:49.

My four towns of Lewis, Seaford, Tollgate and New Haven, the

:58:50.:58:55.

experience is exactly the same. So my constituency more than most has

:58:56.:59:01.

suffered, we are a ten pack three only constituency, we don't have

:59:02.:59:05.

tens link or Gatwick Express, and we are raw, so there is little other

:59:06.:59:10.

transport available. Not everyone has a GP or post office, not every

:59:11.:59:15.

village has a school, so people use the trains to get to the main towns

:59:16.:59:19.

or neighbouring villages to use those services, and when there is no

:59:20.:59:24.

train, people are cut off literally from the rest of the world. I know

:59:25.:59:29.

when people come to see me, they say there are three reasons why the

:59:30.:59:33.

service has not been great. The first is the dispute, and as I said

:59:34.:59:37.

at the beginning, this is hopefully on the way to being resolved, and we

:59:38.:59:42.

are glad and praise all those involved in getting people back

:59:43.:59:46.

around the table. The second issue is Network Rail, and I know that

:59:47.:59:51.

over 50% of delays on the Southern rail network have been down to

:59:52.:59:56.

infrastructure issues, it is an old line that we have in the

:59:57.:00:00.

constituency, and across Surrey and London, and it has had lack of

:00:01.:00:06.

investment for 10-20 years, leading to recurring signal problems, point

:00:07.:00:09.

failures, track failures, and I was pleased that the Secretary of State,

:00:10.:00:15.

one of his first tasks when he came into post was to outline some

:00:16.:00:18.

initial investment into that track to deliver and hopefully stop... I

:00:19.:00:25.

will give way. I thank my honourable friend, and she is making a

:00:26.:00:29.

typically powerful case as a diligent constituency MP, but does

:00:30.:00:32.

she agree with me that whilst passengers understand that there

:00:33.:00:37.

will be service outages, what frustrates them is the lack of

:00:38.:00:40.

information, and what we need is proper coordination between the

:00:41.:00:42.

train operating companies and Network Rail in real time so that

:00:43.:00:47.

people can make alternative arrangements. I absolutely agree

:00:48.:00:51.

with my honourable friend, and that was going to be my very next point,

:00:52.:00:58.

because as well as the investment, the Secretary of State has also

:00:59.:01:00.

brought together the Rail Delivery Group to bring Network Rail and the

:01:01.:01:03.

rail operator together so that when there are problems on the tracks, it

:01:04.:01:08.

is a better experience for passengers, and they do have that

:01:09.:01:11.

better customer service and no of alternative routes. Element we all

:01:12.:01:18.

know when over nearing -- engineering works overrun, that

:01:19.:01:20.

frustration that trains are cancelled because of poor

:01:21.:01:22.

communication between Network Rail and the operator. But those two

:01:23.:01:28.

points do not take away from the lack of performance of Southern

:01:29.:01:33.

Rail, and as we move from the dispute into a normal rail services,

:01:34.:01:37.

we absolutely want a good rail service in my constituency. I thank

:01:38.:01:45.

her forgiving way of bringing this issue to the House. Her constituents

:01:46.:01:49.

and mine suffer the daily misery of the failure of Southern Rail. Would

:01:50.:01:52.

she agree with me that their performance has been so bad, they

:01:53.:01:55.

should have been stripped of their franchise, and it is a problem of

:01:56.:01:58.

the structure of the franchise but that is not been contractually

:01:59.:02:02.

possible, and would she join me in calling on the Secretary of State

:02:03.:02:06.

for Transport to look as a matter of urgency at ways in which the

:02:07.:02:10.

franchise can be stripped of the operator and handed to transport

:02:11.:02:13.

rail or another part of the public sector to run in the interim while

:02:14.:02:19.

this service can be talked to -- sorted out at a matter of urgency. I

:02:20.:02:24.

thank the Brobbel lady for her intervention, and I know the

:02:25.:02:27.

Secretary of State has put on record that once this dispute is resolved,

:02:28.:02:31.

performance has to be tackled, and I can only speak for myself personally

:02:32.:02:35.

when I say I would look at all options to make that happen, because

:02:36.:02:39.

it cannot be acceptable but going forward, 66% of train services being

:02:40.:02:44.

on time is acceptable to my constituents or any constituents

:02:45.:02:49.

across the country. I have got people who are losing their jobs or

:02:50.:02:53.

who have lost their jobs, who are moving home because of the poor

:02:54.:02:57.

performance. You have Gatwick Airport down the rail line, people

:02:58.:03:00.

miss flights, I had a young couple missed their honeymoon because of

:03:01.:03:05.

Southern Rail. And it is also getting home from work, that is also

:03:06.:03:08.

the issue. Many parents have contacted me who had to have extra

:03:09.:03:12.

childcare because they have been unable to get home in time to

:03:13.:03:16.

collect their children from school. So I agree with the honourable

:03:17.:03:21.

member opposite, because I would like the Minister to outline for me

:03:22.:03:26.

the timescale that we are now expect the performance to improve. We

:03:27.:03:31.

cannot be going on for months and months with poor performance. Before

:03:32.:03:36.

the dispute, Southern were fined ?2 million as a result of the poor

:03:37.:03:40.

performance, but even how much they earn in this contract, that is

:03:41.:03:45.

actually a drop in the ocean, so it would be helpful if the Minister

:03:46.:03:47.

could outline the timescale that he will be measuring Southern Rail in

:03:48.:03:51.

their performance going forward, and what sanctions will be imposed on

:03:52.:03:54.

them if they don't improve the service, because it isn't just about

:03:55.:03:59.

how many trains are cancelled or delayed. I have a huge number of

:04:00.:04:05.

constituents who contact me when trains failed to stop at stations,

:04:06.:04:10.

and in rural constituencies such as mine, if you don't make your stop

:04:11.:04:15.

and read the train just carries on, that is often a ten mile journey, a

:04:16.:04:19.

taxi ride home. You are dropped off at an unmanned station with no

:04:20.:04:24.

lighting, no taxi service, it is heartbreaking. So there are more

:04:25.:04:28.

issues than just the sheer cancellations and delays. We often

:04:29.:04:33.

have the experience, particularly in my constituency in Lewis, where in

:04:34.:04:39.

Hayward Heath the train will terminate no reason. Normally it

:04:40.:04:43.

would divide, if there isn't a driver or a guard, the train

:04:44.:04:46.

terminates and you are left to try to home from there. We also have the

:04:47.:04:52.

issue of short trains that are causing severe overcrowding. There

:04:53.:04:56.

should be no reason why a 12 carriage train is suddenly cut short

:04:57.:05:01.

a. And there are huge concerns about the timetable for 2018 going forward

:05:02.:05:04.

as well, because certainly in my town of Seaford there are proposals

:05:05.:05:10.

to cut the only direct services to London, and residents there are

:05:11.:05:15.

deeply concerned about that. While I welcome the Secretary of State's

:05:16.:05:18.

announcement of a month's refund on season tickets, can I highlight of

:05:19.:05:22.

the Minister that it isn't working. Not one of my constituents, and I

:05:23.:05:26.

would be surprised if anyone's, have actually heard from Southern rail.

:05:27.:05:31.

They were supposed to be contacted in January to outline how they would

:05:32.:05:34.

get their rebate, and not one of them has heard. But this goes

:05:35.:05:40.

hand-in-hand with the everyday experience of delaying the pain. The

:05:41.:05:44.

Government has tried to introduce instead of a 30 minute delay when

:05:45.:05:48.

you can claim, to reduce that 15 minutes, but time and again I hear

:05:49.:05:54.

from constituents saying that the service is not working, you have to

:05:55.:05:58.

apply online or by post, your forms are often lost, they are often

:05:59.:06:03.

challenged by Southern rail, and sewers to most do not bother doing

:06:04.:06:09.

delayed pay, so the train operator is getting off scot-free. And there

:06:10.:06:13.

is no compensation the taxes that you have to get when you're trained

:06:14.:06:18.

to turn up or it terminates, there is no compensation for the extra

:06:19.:06:20.

childcare that constituents are having to pay out for, just

:06:21.:06:23.

compensating people for the rail fare that they paid does not seen to

:06:24.:06:30.

be enough. Part of the issue is around the key card system, unlike

:06:31.:06:35.

TfL and the London zones, there is no opportunity to use a contract is

:06:36.:06:41.

-- contactless card system you have to have a key card which you can

:06:42.:06:43.

preload, is you can't spontaneously get on a train. If you haven't left

:06:44.:06:49.

enough time and the IT system hasn't coped, your ticket will not have

:06:50.:06:52.

loaded on your key card so you can't get through the barrier. It is a

:06:53.:06:58.

cumbersome, clumpy way of trying to get people to use a ticketless

:06:59.:07:01.

system, and this is part of the reason that people are not able to

:07:02.:07:05.

claim their refunds. We were promised flexible season tickets for

:07:06.:07:08.

those people like myself who travel to or three times a week, with more

:07:09.:07:13.

people working at home, the traditional season ticket is rapidly

:07:14.:07:17.

becoming out of date. A flexible season ticket was promised, Southern

:07:18.:07:23.

are still consulting on it and haven't updated on it, and I would

:07:24.:07:30.

be keen to hear an update. One of the other key is to use that I would

:07:31.:07:35.

like to outline is the experience of disabled passengers. It has been an

:07:36.:07:40.

appalling service for those who have been on bus replacement services,

:07:41.:07:44.

particularly in my towns of Seaford and Newhaven, where wheelchair

:07:45.:07:48.

passengers, the buses that have been provided have not been wheelchair

:07:49.:07:53.

accessible, and very often disabled passengers have been turned away

:07:54.:07:57.

over the last few months, unable to get onto those. Taxes have been

:07:58.:08:01.

ordered, but again, that has evolved long waits for disabled passengers,

:08:02.:08:07.

unacceptable in my belief. And even when the rail services working, you

:08:08.:08:11.

have to pre-book if you want to travel as a disabled are subject and

:08:12.:08:16.

hope that the booking that you have made actually results in station

:08:17.:08:21.

staff being there to help you. Many disabled passengers have contact me

:08:22.:08:24.

to say that when they have booked assistants, it hasn't been there at

:08:25.:08:28.

the station, and they were unable to get onto their train. And one final

:08:29.:08:33.

point on the experience of disabled passengers is that of toilets. There

:08:34.:08:38.

are no changing places toilet in my constituency. Hayward Heath, a big

:08:39.:08:43.

junction for my constituents, has had a huge upgrade, new car park,

:08:44.:08:49.

fantastic system of being able to get a lift straight onto the

:08:50.:08:52.

platform, so if you use a wheelchair, you can get direct onto

:08:53.:08:57.

the platform, but then you have no toilet facility, and that led to one

:08:58.:09:00.

of my young constituent who goes to Chailey Heritage School having to be

:09:01.:09:05.

changed on the platform because there was nowhere for her to be

:09:06.:09:13.

changed at the new also need all dancing platform, and that in this

:09:14.:09:15.

day and age is completely unacceptable. To conclude, Madame

:09:16.:09:21.

Deputy Speaker, I welcome the announcement this week, and it is a

:09:22.:09:25.

huge relief to all of us that the dispute seems to be coming to an

:09:26.:09:29.

end, but for us, this is the first step in getting an improved rail

:09:30.:09:33.

service. The experience over the last 18 months has been absolutely

:09:34.:09:37.

dreadful, and we do dread returning to a normal Southern timetable, we

:09:38.:09:42.

want a good Southern timetable, trains that turn up on time, that

:09:43.:09:47.

are not cancelled, are not delayed, don't terminate early, are

:09:48.:09:52.

accessible for all passengers, and if that doesn't happen, we want the

:09:53.:09:55.

reassurance that Southern will be taken to task and dealt with,

:09:56.:10:01.

financial penalties, or if it comes to it, a change in the franchise.

:10:02.:10:09.

Minister. Thank you very much, Madame Debbie G Speaker. I start by

:10:10.:10:12.

congratulating my honourable friend the Member for Lewis, Seaford and

:10:13.:10:16.

Newhaven on securing this debate. I know on this subject it is close to

:10:17.:10:23.

heart and her constituents' hearts, we have had ministerial

:10:24.:10:26.

correspondence on the matter, and as ever she is being a strong voice

:10:27.:10:29.

speaking up for her area, whether it has been the services the Lewis's

:10:30.:10:34.

famous Bonfire Night or replacement bus services. I understand the

:10:35.:10:40.

frustration that she and her constituents have been experiencing

:10:41.:10:45.

over the service that they have had, and I expect that GTR should be able

:10:46.:10:50.

to run a reliable and predictable service for passengers, it is an

:10:51.:10:57.

entirely reasonable expectation, so I can't imagine what it must be like

:10:58.:11:01.

to have to rely on an unpredictable service as a commuter, or somebody

:11:02.:11:04.

who needs to travel as part of their regular lives. There are two macro

:11:05.:11:10.

elements to improving the service, we have industrial relations issues

:11:11.:11:14.

and also the long-standing underlying service problem areas,

:11:15.:11:18.

and I'm will go through each, if I may. As honourable members will be

:11:19.:11:24.

away, trades unions and Southern Rail have been in dispute since

:11:25.:11:29.

April last year. This has centred on driver operated doors, and has

:11:30.:11:32.

caused significant disruption to passengers. However, moving to a way

:11:33.:11:36.

of working in which the driver controls the train doors and the

:11:37.:11:39.

second person on the train is focused upon customer service is

:11:40.:11:43.

much more passenger friendly and will allow a higher performing, more

:11:44.:11:49.

resilient rail service. The unjust industrial action arising from this

:11:50.:11:52.

dispute has been holding back GTR from delivering a modern, save and

:11:53.:11:57.

Passenger Focus railway. We want to see a railway that is fit for the

:11:58.:12:01.

future. This dispute is getting in the way of that. And although this

:12:02.:12:06.

dispute is a matter for the union and train operator to resolve, we

:12:07.:12:11.

have been doing everything we can to try to limit the impact of the

:12:12.:12:13.

strike on passengers. On strike days to cope with the

:12:14.:12:22.

overtime ban measures have been put in place to cope. Discussions have

:12:23.:12:27.

been going on behind-the-scenes. That is why I welcome the ASLEF

:12:28.:12:32.

offered to suspend industrial action and allow a new round of industrial

:12:33.:12:38.

talks taking place right now. I hope they ended success, allowing us to

:12:39.:12:42.

get on with improving services and most importantly, ending the misery

:12:43.:12:46.

that industrial action as inflict this on hundreds of thousands of

:12:47.:12:49.

passengers. However the travelling public is still subject to strikes

:12:50.:12:55.

by the RMT and I'd like to assure Honourable members here today that

:12:56.:12:58.

the train operator has contingency plans in place. An RMT strike days

:12:59.:13:03.

like next Monday the 23rd, tickets are accepted an alternative GTR

:13:04.:13:10.

roots and on other operator services and bus replacement is in place, for

:13:11.:13:15.

there is no alternative real option. In the meantime, GTR has trained a

:13:16.:13:20.

large number of office staff as contingency conductors to provide

:13:21.:13:24.

cover on non-driver only operation Southern roots and additional GTR

:13:25.:13:29.

and agency staff have been deployed to stations to help passengers. Let

:13:30.:13:35.

me turn to the issue on which the dispute is centred, driver

:13:36.:13:38.

controlled operation of the doors. Essentially driving and controlling

:13:39.:13:41.

the doors without the need for a guard. Drivers on southern have been

:13:42.:13:47.

striking against what others in GTR have been doing for years. This way

:13:48.:13:55.

of working is perfectly safe. The driver controlled operation has been

:13:56.:13:59.

operating effectively add very busy stations on the third of the UK

:14:00.:14:03.

network for more than 30 years. In fact, more than half of the trains

:14:04.:14:07.

running in Britain including all of the trains on London Underground

:14:08.:14:11.

operate with drivers in full control of the doors. Indeed more than 60%

:14:12.:14:17.

of the current GT services operate without conductors. We are investing

:14:18.:14:21.

around ?2 billion of public money in providing longer trains across the

:14:22.:14:27.

GTR network to deliver extra capacity for the travelling public

:14:28.:14:31.

to cope with increased demand for services. These trains are fully

:14:32.:14:35.

equipped with the latest technology that allows the driver to fully

:14:36.:14:39.

operate the train from the cab in line with modern practice and Ian

:14:40.:14:44.

Cross who is Her Majesty is Chief Inspector of Railways published his

:14:45.:14:50.

GTR inspection report recently and confirmed driver controlled

:14:51.:14:54.

operations on Southern is safe. The office of a limbo can to did the

:14:55.:14:58.

proposal fully meets legal requirements for safe operation so I

:14:59.:15:01.

hope with those significant voices assessing the safety and with the

:15:02.:15:06.

safe record we've had of operation of these services, the unions will

:15:07.:15:09.

now acknowledge that they have no credible argument that TCO is an

:15:10.:15:15.

unsafe method of operation. GTR has publicly stated to be no compulsory

:15:16.:15:20.

job losses until the end of the franchise in 2021 as a result of

:15:21.:15:24.

modernisation and affected conductor staff will have pay protected. The

:15:25.:15:30.

Railways, are a success. Passenger numbers are growing. More than

:15:31.:15:36.

doubling in fact, since privatisation, from 735 and in

:15:37.:15:45.

1994-5, two 1.7 billion passenger journeys in 20 16. Fantastic record.

:15:46.:15:53.

We will need more people, not fewer, to help passengers in future. These

:15:54.:15:57.

changes are about freeing up staff time to focus on customer service

:15:58.:16:02.

and helping the travelling public on board the trains. If unions insist

:16:03.:16:11.

on retaining our database of working it will be impossible to deliver the

:16:12.:16:15.

benefits or improved reliability that new technologies can bring. GTR

:16:16.:16:20.

has been clearer there'll be more staff on board trains than there are

:16:21.:16:25.

today. They are there to help passengers, to give customer

:16:26.:16:30.

assistance to individuals at an staffed stations. 99% of on-board

:16:31.:16:34.

supervisor contracts have unsigned, more than 80% of additional 100

:16:35.:16:39.

on-board supervisor is recruited have started their roles. And we

:16:40.:16:42.

hope the new talks will end months of misery and hardship that had been

:16:43.:16:47.

faced by the travelling public and the problems they had been facing

:16:48.:16:50.

articulated so powerfully by my honourable friend today. Let me

:16:51.:16:53.

address some of the underlying service problems. I'm aware, my

:16:54.:16:58.

right honourable friend the Secretary of State is acutely aware

:16:59.:17:02.

that the performance in the past has not been good enough. And has

:17:03.:17:06.

deteriorated again in recent weeks. We also need to be clear where the

:17:07.:17:14.

failure is caused. And some of this has been more to do with figures of

:17:15.:17:17.

infrastructure which is operated by Network Rail rather than failure is

:17:18.:17:23.

at GTR. The instruction for drivers not to work non-contractual overtime

:17:24.:17:29.

rest days has significantly impacted services. Nonetheless I would like

:17:30.:17:33.

to assure the House here that the Department is determined to resolve

:17:34.:17:37.

the issues as quickly as possible. Some of the issue should be

:17:38.:17:41.

addressed by the work that Chris Gibb has done has head of a new

:17:42.:17:46.

project board working with GTR, the Department for Transport and Network

:17:47.:17:50.

Rail to explore how to achieve a rapid improvement services. My

:17:51.:17:53.

honourable friend asked specifically about the timing of improvements. I

:17:54.:17:59.

will check their work and write to my honourable friend with further

:18:00.:18:07.

information on timing. It is also appropriate that GTR are held to

:18:08.:18:10.

account for the quality of the product. And the government

:18:11.:18:15.

continues to hold them to account but it's also clear that GTR

:18:16.:18:19.

masterwork was Network Rail to deliver better passenger services as

:18:20.:18:25.

soon as possible. We do monitor the performance of rail franchises

:18:26.:18:27.

closely, all of them monitored, and the franchise agreement contains

:18:28.:18:31.

clear penalties and incentives so operators are penalised for repeated

:18:32.:18:35.

poor performance in the areas they can take direct responsibility for.

:18:36.:18:40.

I will happily. I thank the Minister. It is straightforwardly

:18:41.:18:44.

the case that the measures within the franchise covering Southern

:18:45.:18:50.

Railway have not provided significant incentives or deterrents

:18:51.:18:53.

for them to improve performance, it hasn't worked and I wonder if he

:18:54.:18:55.

could provide some further comment on that. I would suggest that we

:18:56.:19:03.

know there have been significant problems up on the line but the

:19:04.:19:06.

biggest single blockage to progress and delivering them, is the gun that

:19:07.:19:11.

is being held to the head of everybody by the industrial action.

:19:12.:19:17.

The investment in new rolling stock is a huge investment which will

:19:18.:19:22.

deliver a vastly improved service, improve capacity and improve comfort

:19:23.:19:27.

on the trains. What we need to see is ?2 billion investment reaching

:19:28.:19:30.

customers as fast as possible and that's why we want all of this work

:19:31.:19:36.

to reach a resolution. Briefly. Extremely brief. I agree the

:19:37.:19:39.

industrial dispute needs to be resolved but the fact remains

:19:40.:19:42.

Southern Railway was failing long before the industrial dispute Gann.

:19:43.:19:50.

-- began. I will agree there have been operational challenges, I said

:19:51.:19:53.

that, those challenges resulted in poor performance and they predate

:19:54.:19:58.

the strike, that is clearly correct. The strike has taken them much

:19:59.:20:02.

further, compounding the underlying problems but I will go back to my

:20:03.:20:06.

point, my right honourable friend the Secretary of State has brought

:20:07.:20:09.

in this team to head a new project board ringing all the different

:20:10.:20:12.

parties together to explore how we can make a rapid improvement of

:20:13.:20:15.

services at its furry hard to do all of these things when we are seeing

:20:16.:20:20.

such huge operational, day-to-day challenges caused by strike action,

:20:21.:20:27.

but I am happy to agree with the point that the underlying problems

:20:28.:20:31.

predate, not without any doubt. In the performance monitoring of the

:20:32.:20:34.

rail franchise, under the regime, penalties have been levied against

:20:35.:20:40.

GTR and short formations and they will continue to be so. My

:20:41.:20:48.

honourable friend mentioned compensation and it is important

:20:49.:20:51.

given the current cost of rail travel and the disruption that has

:20:52.:20:54.

been caused, that's quite last month, the government announced a

:20:55.:20:58.

multi-million pound compensation package for seasonal ticket

:20:59.:21:03.

passengers to recognise the hardship of those suffering long delays,

:21:04.:21:05.

cancellations and disruption in recent months. My honourable friend

:21:06.:21:12.

mentioned that not one person in her constituency had heard about this. I

:21:13.:21:16.

understand that her constituents should have been hearing this week

:21:17.:21:20.

and I'm grateful to her for that feedback and I will take it back to

:21:21.:21:23.

the department. Could she make sure that the actual practical on the

:21:24.:21:28.

ground experience is continually fed back to me and any of my ministerial

:21:29.:21:33.

colleagues? But the point is chewed be happening and happening now. The

:21:34.:21:40.

delay repaid 15 has been introduced for Southern Passengers making it

:21:41.:21:42.

easier for them to claim compensation. The points made about

:21:43.:21:46.

disabled services are quite frankly appalling. We have known for a while

:21:47.:21:54.

that we are dealing with a Victoria and infrastructure and were trying

:21:55.:22:02.

to retrospectively install accessible friendly services, and

:22:03.:22:05.

this is work on by successive governments under all parties. The

:22:06.:22:09.

work is urgent, progress has been made. But there is a long way to go.

:22:10.:22:18.

And the experience that she mentioned someone having to be

:22:19.:22:21.

changed on a platform is obviously utterly, utterly unacceptable. The

:22:22.:22:27.

issue of improving public transport system for people with disabilities

:22:28.:22:32.

is very, very important to the department, one of my personal

:22:33.:22:37.

priorities. We will publish a six -- accessibility action plan shortly

:22:38.:22:39.

about how to improve accessibility for people with disabilities on all

:22:40.:22:43.

of public transport for first time we will include cognitive impairment

:22:44.:22:48.

and dementia within that. I expect that to be published very soon. This

:22:49.:22:55.

stretch of the network that we've been talking about today is one of

:22:56.:22:59.

the most intensively used in our country. It's in a dramatic increase

:23:00.:23:03.

in the number of journeys made over the past few years. I mentioned how

:23:04.:23:08.

the passenger growth has been absolutely dramatic across the

:23:09.:23:11.

network as a whole, this stretch has seen growth right at the top end of

:23:12.:23:16.

that spectrum. There is no doubt we need to put capacity into the

:23:17.:23:19.

services, we need to update and modernise the service. I fully

:23:20.:23:24.

recognise that strikes have been causing disruption for passengers

:23:25.:23:28.

and the current performance has been far from satisfactory, utterly not

:23:29.:23:33.

good enough. Dazzler's offer to suspend industrial action has been a

:23:34.:23:36.

step in the right direction and I hope these talks result is getting

:23:37.:23:40.

on with improving services and importantly ending the misery this

:23:41.:23:46.

industrial action has caused. -- ASLEF's. We need to get back to

:23:47.:23:51.

improving the line, delivering service up my right honourable

:23:52.:23:53.

friend and other colleagues from across the House have been right to

:23:54.:23:59.

demand from their constituents. Rail is a critical and successful

:24:00.:24:05.

industry for our country. It is a success by all measures, by growing

:24:06.:24:09.

passenger numbers, by its safety record, by levels of investment

:24:10.:24:14.

coming in from public and private. But it is also fair to say that when

:24:15.:24:18.

it fails, it highlights just how critical it is and how people depend

:24:19.:24:23.

upon it. But as white we need to work together to make the

:24:24.:24:26.

improvements my honourable friend is right to demand for her

:24:27.:24:34.

constituents. The question is that this House do not adjourn. As many

:24:35.:24:36.

as are of that opinion say aye. To the contrary no. The ayes have it.

:24:37.:24:43.

The ayes have it. Order, order!

:24:44.:24:51.

Live coverage of the day's proceedings in the House of Commons, including debate on the general principles of the Merchant Shipping (Homosexual Conduct) Bill and the Highway Works (Weekend Working and Traffic Management Measures) Bill.


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