My Lords, I have it in command from Her Majesty the Queen to acquaint the House that Her Majesty, having been informed of the purport of the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Bill, has consented to place her interests, so far as they are affected by the Bill, at the disposal of Parliament for the purposes of the Bill.
My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Knight, for taking through this very important piece of legislation, which provides at the very least two weeks of guaranteed time away from work for those employees who have suffered the tragedy of losing a child before that child has had the opportunity to reach adulthood.
I am grateful to the noble Lord for ensuring the rapid progress of this Bill through this House. I am conscious that, in doing so, the Bill has overtaken the progress of the Government’s response to the recent consultation, which will now be published after the Bill completes its passage through Parliament. I had hoped to be able to set out in detail the response to the government consultation. However, important work is still ongoing with this. We have had a very welcome, large and detailed number of responses to the consultation —some 1,448 in total. I was pleased to see that high level of engagement on such an issue. We need to make sure that we get this right. If taking a little extra time is what is needed to achieve this, that is the right thing to do.
However, I assure the House that, once the Bill receives Royal Assent, we will work to bring forward the necessary regulations as soon as possible with a view to laying them before the House as early as possible in 2019. That would also keep us on course for our ambition for the new right to come into force in April 2020. I hope that that commitment today will reassure the House that the Government remain committed to delivering on this manifesto commitment.
I am most grateful to the Minister for that update and for his assistance and that of his officials, led by the assiduous Shelley Torey. I thank other noble Lords for their assistance and the MPs in the other place—and, finally, to Lucy Herd for her inspiration and assiduous campaigning ever since her son Jack died eight years ago.