The Equality Bill has passed the final stage in Parliament and will now become law.
Last night, MPs approved the new equality legislation and all its amendments without a vote.
There were fears that MPs could be forced to throw out amendments made in the House of Lords in order to reach agreement as the Bill entered the ‘wash-up’ phase yesterday, after prime minister Gordon Brown called an election.
Anthony Lester, a Liberal Democrat peer and human rights lawyer, previously told Personnel Today that he was concerned the Conservatives could use a wash-up process to “hold the Bill to ransom”, but the Tories last night welcomed the Bill as it stood.
The decision by MPs to send the Bill for Royal Assent means amendments made in the House of Lords – including the ban on pre-employment health questionnaires and protection against discrimination for pregnant schoolgirls and young mothers – have now been accepted.
Royal Assent is the last stage of the Bill, and after gaining royal approval the Equality Bill will become an Act of Parliament.
The Equality Bill is designed to combine existing anti-discrimination legislation into one single equality Act. The new legislation is expected to come into force in the autumn.