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Peers voted 245-213 in favour of an amendment to scrap clause 29 of the bill in its entirety [Image: Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA].

Peers voted 245-213 in favour of an amendment to scrap clause 29 of the bill in its entirety [Image: Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA].


This is not over – the Conservative Government could choose to re-insert the relevant clause when the Children and Social Work Bill moves back to the House of Commons, triggering the prospect of “ping-pong” between the two houses.

But here’s the thing: There really is no demonstrable need to change the law. What the Tories were planning to do was strip children of their legal protections, and that – in a country where allegations of paedophilia in children’s homes are rife – is unacceptable.

In fact, I would say it is unforgiveable.

The lack of any reasonable argument in favour of this measure suggests, to me, that somebody has demanded it of Tory ministers. The question now is whether they have enough influence to demand that it be re-inserted into the Bill, despite the clear opposition to it.

And what conclusions may we draw if it does indeed re-appear?

The government has suffered a defeat in the House of Lords over plans to allow councils to opt out of legal obligations to vulnerable children.

The crossbencher Lord Ramsbotham successfully moved an amendment to delete a prominent clause of the children and social work bill designed to give ministers extensive powers to sidestep children’s legal rights built up over decades.

The government argued that council social services departments were over-regulated and that proposed powers in clause 29 of the bill would free them to drive “innovation” in social work practice and make services more efficient.

But peers, who voted 245-213 in favour of an amendment to scrap the clause in its entirety, said ministers had failed to “win hearts and minds” and make a persuasive case for why the powers to strip away children’s rights were needed.

Source: Lords defeat government over child protection proposals | Society | The Guardian

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