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Manslaughter Bill could fail

The Government faces a race against time as the House of Lords again voted against its Corporate Manslaughter Bill yesterday. The Lords voted by 183 to 145, a majority of 38, for a call by former prisons chief inspector Lord Ramsbotham (pictured) to change the legislation. The Lords is demanding that deaths in prison and police custody should come within the scope of new laws on corporate manslaughter. The deadline for the bill’s enactment is July 19. Rod Pettigrew, head of commercial and legal at the HVCA said: “It would be a great shame if the legislation failed on a point that has no relation to our industry. A lot of work has gone into it and it strikes the right balance. “The bill is running out of time, there is less than a month left. And it will fail unless a compromise is reached or unless the Ministers use the Parliament Act to force the legislation through. This measure, however, is not used very often.” David Bergman, executive director of the Centre for Corporate Accountability, made an appeal to Lord Ramsbotham to drop his opposition. Mr Bergman said he did not object to the substance of Lord Ramsbotham’s objection, but felt it could wreck what otherwise is a good bill. “At this stage we strongly believe that if members of the House of Lords insist on the death in custody amendments, the Bill seriously risks failing, and with it the hopes of families bereaved after work related deaths who have campaigned for it for so long,” he said.