‘Mental Capacity Bill lacks adequate safeguards to protect most vulnerable’ says Steve McCabe MP

During the Third Reading of the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill, Birmingham Selly Oak MP, Steve McCabe raised concerns that the Bill fails to provide sufficient safeguards for the vulnerable people it is supposed to be protecting.

Steve McCabe MP also served on the Committee Stage of the Bill and raised serious concerns about the conflict of interest that arises from giving care home managers the power to recommend residents be deprived of their liberty while requiring treatment or supervision. The Government is now proposing that people can be detained for up to three years without a review.


During the Committee stage of the Bill Steve tabled several amendments designed to highlight the importance of placing wellbeing and safeguards for the individual at the heart of the Bill. The Government refused to accept any amendments during the Committee stage but made a few modest amendments before the Third Reading. However major concerns remain over a possible conflict of interest in the role of the Care Home Manager, the length of time a person can be detained and the lack of access to an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate.


On the day of the final stages of the Bill, the Government decided to put down two statements which swallowed up the time that should have been available to discuss the Bill. This meant that less than two hours was provided to discuss a Bill which has serious implications for the loss of liberty for some of the most vulnerable members of our society.


The purpose of the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill is to update the process by which an individual who lacks the capacity to make proper decisions may be deprived of their liberty deprived for the purposes of care or treatment.


Steve McCabe MP said:

“This Bill should have been a chance to strike a better balance between protecting the liberties of vulnerable people and ensuring they are able to access the care they need. Sadly, the Government seems to be more concerned with saving money and cutting corners than with providing safeguards for the people this Bill is supposed to protect.


“From the limited access to advocacy, to the excessive power of care home managers and lengthy detention periods, it is clear this piece of legislation is not fit for purpose.”

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Steve McCabe

Steve McCabe is the Labour MP for Birmingham, Selly Oak, and has been an MP continuously since 1 May 1997.

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