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Point of Order

Volume 731: debated on Monday 24 April 2023

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I apologise that I have not given you notice of this point of order, which follows on from Work and Pensions questions, at which I asked the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work why it has been 12 months since the Equality and Human Rights Commission issued a section 23 agreement to the Department for Work and Pensions for breaches and discrimination against disabled claimants. This shows that the Government have been unlawful, yet we still have not had a reply and an agreement has not been reached. How can I get the Government to produce a reply that complies with the Equality Act 2010 and restores confidence that the Act will be followed by all organisations, including this Government?

I thank the hon. Lady for her point of order. She did not say what response the Minister gave during questions; she might like to do so.

The Minister said exactly the same thing that Ministers, including the Secretary of State, have said to me over the past 12 months: “It is being looked into. We are meeting with them.” There has been no clarity about when that agreement will be completed, which gives licence to any business or organisation—to anyone—to break the law, because the Government are not following their own laws.

I thank the hon. Lady for that clarification. She is a very experienced Member of this House, and I am sure that she will be aware of the various routes that she can continue to pursue, whether through oral or written questions. In the meantime, she has made clear her disquiet about the amount of time it is taking for this to be responded to. I look to the Treasury Bench; the Whip, the hon. Member for North Cornwall (Scott Mann), is nodding his head, so I am sure he is going to feed back the fact that the hon. Lady has raised this issue, and I am sure she will continue to do so. She will, I am sure, have an opportunity later this week to raise it again—in business questions, perhaps—but we will feed back that it has been a matter of some concern.