Baroness Williams of TraffordMain Page: Baroness Williams of Trafford (Conservative - Life peer)
Department Debates - View all Baroness Williams of Trafford's debates with the Home Office
I thank my noble friend for her Answer, which underlines the importance of this anniversary. Does she agree that although an immense amount has been achieved over the period of 50 years since 1967, there is more still to do, most notably, perhaps, the extension of same-sex marriage to Northern Ireland, where, as opinion polls consistently show, widespread support exists for it? Perhaps it would be appropriate today also to salute the memory of the late Lord Arran, who campaigned so tenaciously from the Liberal Benches for his reform legislation, which completed its passage through this House on 21 July 1967. He had a second Bill on the protection of badgers, which did not pass. Asked why his first Bill succeeded and the second failed, he replied cheerily, and a little irreverently, “Well, you see there aren’t many badgers in the House of Lords”.
My Lords, I join with the words of my noble ally Lord Lexden. In continuing the process of righting wrongs, will the Government exercise the power contained in Section 166 of the Policing and Crime Act 2017 and, in so doing, add to the list of homosexual-related offences for which a living person can obtain disregards and pardons, most notably the grounds of solicitation by men and importuning and public order offences? That indeed would be a cause for great celebration.
My Lords, a “bona” question, if I may be so bold. Over the last 50 years, those who sought equality for LGBT and trans citizens—they are still waiting—often had to take their cases to the European courts, and those cases were fought vociferously by both Labour and Conservative Governments. Will the Minister say whether the rights and principles of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights will be incorporated into a British Bill of Rights, or will future campaigners for equality have to work without that level of international protection?
My Lords, the progress we have made in this country is a welcome result of the 1967 Act. But a sad legacy of the criminalisation of homosexuality is of course that it is still illegal in many Commonwealth countries. Will the Minister assure the House that when we come to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, not only will the FCO and DfID work together to include everyone by supporting movements for decriminalisation, but this will be a cross-Westminster effort to ensure that we push this well up the agenda?
While I echo the sentiments expressed about Commonwealth countries, can I bring the Minister back to the UK? Will she say what the Government are doing with respect to transgender people in our prisons, where there has been a serious spate of suicides because of the way they are treated?