§ 31. Mr. Canavan
To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what recent discussions he has had about legislation to deal with the problem of domestic violence. 
Mr. John M. Taylor
I have had a number of discussions with colleagues and others. It is not, however, my practice to disclose consultations with other members of the Government.
§ Mr. Canavan
In view of a report that the Lord Chancellor recently met a group of Tory Back Benchers, who apparently tried to pressurise him into diluting or dropping legislation to stop domestic violence, may we have an absolute assurance that the legislation will give top priority to the protection of victims of domestic violence, rather than give in to the prejudices of a few unrepresentative Tory right wingers?
I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will understand that I do not accept his question in exactly those terms. The truth, stripped of some of the more exciting passages of his question, is that at a late stage in its progress and close to Prorogation, a Bill that had been seen to be uncontroversial attracted controversy. It has been brought back so that it can be debated on the Floor of the House—here it is.
§ Lady Olga Maitland
Does my hon. Friend agree that at no time during our meeting with the Lord Chancellor and his Department did my colleagues or I apply pressure for any dilution of measures to help the victims of domestic violence? Will he confirm that our concerns were that the Bill's provisions would result in co-habitees being given the same rights as married people—a matter about which we have grave concerns?
I did not hear all of my hon. Friend's question clearly, but as a consequence of the meeting to which she referred, other considerations and advice from other quarters, four amendments have been tabled to what was the Family Homes and Domestic Violence Bill. The first proposes a general instruction to courts that when they are considering making any occupational order in favour of a co-habitant, they must consider the fact that the co-habitant has not entered into the same commitment as a married person. I will not give a litany of all four amendments this afternoon, but I will be very surprised if that amendment does not commend itself to my hon. Friends who are concerned with these matters.