On 15th December 2014, the Archbishop of York, the Most Revd and Rt Hon. John Sentamu, spoke during the Report Stage of the Government’s Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill. He asked the Minister whether the legislation was the right tool for encouraging social action and volunteering in communities. He also voted in a division of the House, on Lord Lloyd’s amendment to remove Clause 2 (“Social Action”) from the Bill. The amendment was not accepted.
The Archbishop of York: My Lords, I am puzzled. Will the noble Lord tell us whether it is ever worthy to use a statute as a means of giving assurance? I thought that a statute was to state the law, not to assure somebody somewhere. That would be okay. It would be an amazing way of—you know what I mean.
Lord Faulks: I think I know what the most reverend Primate means. With respect, as I said on a previous occasion, describing a statute as sending a message is too simplistic a way of explaining what we do in Parliament. We do not legislate in a vacuum. For example, we identify particular issues, whether they are modern slavery or revenge porn, which became part of an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill. We pass laws which serve the purpose of clarifying the law but they also reflect what people in society think we ought to be doing in Parliament. I rely on what my noble friend Lord Hodgson said about the desire for neighbours to be unshackled. We need more volunteers; we need people to be unshackled. This law may make a modest contribution and I ask the noble and learned Lord to withdraw his amendment.
Division on Amendment 1 – Removal of Clause 2
Crossbench Peer Lord Lloyd of Berwick moved amendment 1, to leave out clause 2. The Clause states that:
“The court must have regard to whether the alleged negligence or breach of
statutory duty occurred when the person was acting for the benefit of society
or any of its members.”
The Archbishop of York voted ‘content’. No bishop voted ‘not content.’
There were: Contents: 77 | Not Contents: 222 | Result: Government Win