Clause 44

Part of Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee am 3:15 pm ar 13 Gorffennaf 2006.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Maria Miller Maria Miller Shadow Minister (Education) 3:15, 13 Gorffennaf 2006

I am pleased with the Minister’s reply. I was rather surprised when I first read the clause to find that all expectant and nursing mothers were classified as vulnerable adults. It struck me as a retrograde, sexist and insulting way of categorising women who are pregnant or nursing.

Having been pregnant three times—perhaps other female Members have been pregnant—I was surprised that the Minister should allow the Bill to include such a provision. Times have moved on since the days when it was thought that women were fragile and in need of  special attention purely because they were pregnant. I hope that I can draw on the support of other women in the room on that matter.

I was unaware that the Government had noticed that rather large mistake, so I raised the issue with the National Childbirth Trust, which does much excellent work in that area. It was rather shocked; it clearly had not been consulted. I understand that, at that point, it contacted the Department, which may have led to the Government amendments. I acknowledge the fact that it was clearly a drafting error, but given that the Bill has been so long in the drafting, it is concerning that such a sizeable mistake could have been make. I am glad that the Government have seen the error of their ways. I am glad not to have to move the Opposition amendment.