Skip to main content

Discriminatory Practices

Volume 897: debated on Saturday 16 August 1975

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Lords amendment: No. 21, in page 24, line 14, leave out "or could result".

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.

With this we are to take the following Lords amendments:

No. 22, in page 24, line 17, at end insert:
"or which would be likely to result in such an act of discrimination if the persons to whom it is applied were not all of one sex".
No. 23, in page 24, line 22, leave out "can" and insert "would".

These amendments arise from an undertaking that I gave to the hon. Member for Barkston Ash (Mr. Alison). When we discussed Clause 36 on Report, the hon. Gentleman expressed reservations about "could result" or "would be likely to result" or "can", and I gave an undertaking to consider the matter. These amendments were made in another place as a result of that consideration.

Clause 36 deals with discriminatory practices, and we are invited to consider Lords Amendments Nos. 21, 22 and 23 to that clause. I intervene only to point out that before the measure has been passed British Railways have started to remove "Ladies Only" notices from railway carriages.

I am taking the matter up with Mr. Richard Marsh. He tells me that this was done in anticipation of the Bill becoming an Act. Having further considered the matter, British Railways' solicitor has advised them that the measure is not as restrictive as they thought it was. I seek an assurance from the Minister that there is nothing under this heading of discriminatory practices that will prevent British Railways from doing what they have been doing on certain lines for a long time, and that is to provide "Ladies Only" compartments, a practice that is much valued by ladies who travel on certain lines where there have been instances of attacks on females. I hope that the Minister can give such an assurance and confirm that the solicitor to British Railways has got in right for once.

I hope that the hon. Gentleman will accept the spirit in which I reply. I should like notice of that. There is nothing in the law that prevents or compels British Railways from having "Ladies Only" compartments. The hon. Gentleman has raised a point about safety and security. Perhaps I may undertake to examine the matter and write to him about it.

Question put and agreed to.

Subsequent Lords amendments agreed to.