Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Barbara Roche Visit

For those of you who missed Barbara Roche last week here are some photos. Barbara has just been appointed a Visiting Professor at Sunderland and was presenting a workshop on Civil Partnerships. She is a former Government Minister,and a key figure behind the drafting of the Civil Partnerships Bill. A former barrister, she was the Labour MP for Hornsey and Wood Green between 1992 and 2005. During that time she held numerous ministerial posts including: Minister for Small Firms, Department of Trade and Industry, 1997-1998; Financial Secretary to the Treasury, 1999; Minister of State, Home Office, 1999-2001; Cabinet Office, 2001-2002; Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, 2002-2003.

The workshop was a fascinating insight into the backstory to the Bill. Among one of the most interesting discussions was around the issue of 'sex' within the Bill and the academic interpretation that the lack of reference to 'sex' (e.g the absence of a lack of consummation as a ground for annulment). The true reason was one of pragmatism Barbara explained. The idea of 'consummation' just seemed outdated and after taking advice from her civil servants, it was left out. So now we know!

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