§ The Minister for Social Security and Disabled People (Mr. Nicholas Scott)
On Friday last, during consideration of the Civil Rights (Disabled Persons) Bill, I stated in response to a question from the hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Campbell-Savours) that my Department had played no part in the drafting of any amendments tabled by a number of my hon. Friends, and that
to the best of my knowledge, nobody in my Department has been involved in the drafting of any amendments in this area". —[Official Report, 6 May 1994; Vol. 242, c. 991.]Immediately afterwards, in response to the right hon. Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe (Mr. Morris), I drew attention to the fact that the Lord President would be replying to a question from him, which asked how many amendments had been drafted by the Office of Parliamentary Counsel. That answer confirmed that amendments tabled on 3 May had been drafted in Parliamentary Counsel's office.
My statement on Friday that my Department had not drafted any amendments was true, but, as I explained in a letter to the hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Campbell-Savours), the Department, with my authority, had been involved in their preparation. I therefore felt that I should offer this clarification of my remarks to the House as a whole.
I very much regret that by not giving a fuller explanation at the time the effect of my reply was misleading, and I offer my unreserved apologies to the House.