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Secure Tenancies (Victims of Domestic Abuse) Bill [HL]

Volume 789: debated on Tuesday 13 March 2018

Third Reading


Moved by

My Lords, as someone who has been heavily involved in this Bill, I should like to say a few words of thanks. I thank the Bill team and the members of the noble Lord’s private office, who have been unfailingly helpful throughout the process. I suspect that they will not be too unhappy not to be seeing my emails in their inboxes any more.

I thank noble Lords around the House who have been so supportive, particularly my noble friend Lord Kennedy, but also the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, and the noble Lord, Lord Shipley. I thank too the noble Baroness, Lady Evans of Bowes Park, whose assurances during the passage of the Housing and Planning Act eventually led to this Bill. She probably had a hand in this Bill seeing the light of day. Last but not least, I thank the Minister and, at the risk of torpedoing his ministerial career, emphasise how he has been a model of an open and engaged Minister committed to making this Bill the best that it can be.

I give the final word to Women’s Aid, which has been briefing us so well at every stage of the Bill. Straight after Report, Women’s Aid emailed me to thank noble Lords for the amendments made then, saying that these had really improved the Bill and ensured that this legislation can work effectively for survivors whose housing security is at risk from an abusive relationship. Thank you. I hope that we can maintain as constructive a relationship when it comes to debating the forthcoming domestic abuse Bill.

Before the noble Lord winds up, I should like to pay tribute to my noble friend Lady Lister of Burtersett for her hard work and determination in getting this Bill here today. I thank the noble Lord, Lord Shipley, and others for their work. I also thank the noble Lord, Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth. I always enjoy our exchanges, here and outside the Chamber. He is a very good man who is sincere in what he does and I value our conversations about his work. He played a big role in getting this Bill in. We thank him very much as well.

My Lords, from these Benches, I add our thanks to the Minister for being so helpful in the passage of the Bill. It is a better Bill because of the work that was undertaken both in this Chamber and outside it. I thank the Minister for that. The House should pay tribute to the noble Baroness, Lady Lister of Burtersett, for all her hard work in explaining the background to this and thank too those advising her. We should also pay tribute to my noble friend Lady Hamwee for her hard work in pressing on this Bill.

As the Minister knows, it is one thing to enact a Bill. It is another for it to be implemented smoothly. The Minister has paid close attention to the need for adequate training by local housing authorities. He has also paid close attention to the issue that was raised at Report by the noble Lord, Lord Kennedy of Southwark, in relation to GPs charging victims of domestic abuse for the medical evidence that they need to secure a further tenancy. I am hopeful that that matter will be resolved in guidance.

Finally, to recall Second Reading and Committee, this Bill concerns only the public sector. It does not concern housing associations, which are now in the private sector. I hope that the Minister will ensure that housing associations follow the good practice that is now about to occur with the public housing stock.

My Lords, I thank very much the noble Lords who have spoken: the noble Baroness, Lady Lister of Burtersett, and the noble Lords, Lord Kennedy and Lord Shipley. I also thank the members of the Bill team. Often the civil servants do not get their due accolades, but they deserve to. Parwez Samnakay, Frances Walker, Jane Worthington, Jane Everton, Lizzie Clifford and, from my own team, Ed Clark have all worked incredibly hard, engaging with Peers, making things happen and working long hours. I am very grateful.

I pay tribute to the noble Baroness, Lady Lister, whose work this Bill largely is. It was her initiative to raise this with my noble friend Lady Evans of Bowes Park. Certainly my leader—the boss—deserves credit for making sure that this happened but it was the noble Baroness, Lady Lister, who was really pushing and has been pushing in a constructive way ever since. I pay tribute to what she has done.

I also extend thanks to the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, and to the noble Lord, Lord Kennedy. I very much enjoy our engagement. He is a model of what an opposition politician should be—if only he did not support Millwall, but nobody is perfect. I thank the noble Lord, Lord Shipley, as well for constructively engaging in this. I hope that these same key people will be there when we look at the next development in relation to domestic abuse. There is much that unites here and very little, if anything, that divides us. I look forward to that.

I also pay tribute to Women’s Aid and, indeed, to everyone working in this sector—Refuge, Imkaan and others—for the work they have done. In short, all parties and all parts of the House can take a bow with this piece of legislation, which has engaged us all in a very positive, sensible and pragmatic way. I am most grateful for that. Thank you.

Bill passed and sent to the Commons.