Debates between Baroness Blackstone and Lord Stewart of Dirleton during the 2019 Parliament

Offences Against the Person Act: Section 58

Debate between Baroness Blackstone and Lord Stewart of Dirleton
Thursday 15th June 2023

(1 year, 1 month ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Stewart of Dirleton Portrait Lord Stewart of Dirleton (Con)
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I am happy to give an undertaking that the Government will work, as they continue to do, with the relevant professional bodies to which the noble Baroness referred.

Baroness Blackstone Portrait Baroness Blackstone (Lab)
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My Lords, I declare an interest as the chair of the trustees of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Healthcare professionals must be able to provide abortion care without the threat of criminal sanctions, which do not apply to any other healthcare professionals. Increasing the role of qualified nurses and midwives is extremely important, as well as removing the chilling effect caused by criminal law intervention that means that many doctors fear getting involved in abortion care due to the specific threat of criminalisation. What are the Government doing to address this?

Lord Stewart of Dirleton Portrait Lord Stewart of Dirleton (Con)
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My Lords, the professional body which the noble Baroness chairs will no doubt promulgate correct information to its members as to their standing in law in relation to these complex and sensitive matters. As I said in answer to the previous question, the Government will work with the relevant professional bodies in relation to this.

Humanist Marriages

Debate between Baroness Blackstone and Lord Stewart of Dirleton
Monday 25th April 2022

(2 years, 2 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Stewart of Dirleton Portrait Lord Stewart of Dirleton (Con)
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My Lords, precisely not. The situation is that in Scotland the rules of marriage are, as I said in an answer to another question, based on the identity of the celebrant. In England and Wales, they are based on the venue where the wedding ceremony is to take place. That is a complex matter that will take time to unpick; it is not a matter of prejudice against one group—and specifically not a matter of their not being Christians.

Baroness Blackstone Portrait Baroness Blackstone (Ind Lab)
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My Lords, nothing the Minister has said so far explains why humanists should be denied the right to a legal marriage while other religious groups have that right. Please could he explain to the House why that is the case?

Lord Stewart of Dirleton Portrait Lord Stewart of Dirleton (Con)
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My Lords, humanists advance a position as a belief system, as opposed to the simple negation of religious faith. We are advised that establishing a further category of wedding based on a belief system would be a profound change to the laws that bear on weddings. As a result, we are obliged to wait until the Law Commission has reported.