Schedule 6

Part of Equality Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 10:30 am ar 23 Mehefin 2009.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Vera Baird Vera Baird Solicitor General, Attorney General's Office 10:30, 23 Mehefin 2009

Paragraph 2 of the schedule excludes political offices from the protection—available under clauses 46 to 48—against discrimination, harassment and victimisation. The provision ensures that essentially political matters, such as appointment to council offices or indeed to ministerial offices, do not come before a tribunal. There is a carefully drawn exclusion of specific offices in specific political settings, which include GLA offices held by the Mayor and members of the assembly. That is obviously a good thing.

The connection between election and offices in places such as the MPA is not so clear. Protection for people holding offices in such bodies will be available in any case only if the office satisfies the definition of a personal or public office for the purposes of clauses 46 to 48, or if it fits under any other provision in part 5, but it will not arise as a result of election.

The amendment would cause confusion between members of the authorities mentioned in it, some of whom are elected, although many are not. We think it would complicate the provision. In essence, the provision protects people who are elected, as opposed to those  who get to their office in some different way, and it would be unlawfully regressive if the amendment were accepted.

The hon. Lady has made her point; she has probed the issue. I hope that she now appreciates the complexity of the matter and I invite her to withdraw the amendment.