Clause 17 — Extension of existing disclosure powers
Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Bill
Mr David Blunkett (Home Secretary; Sheffield, Brightside, Labour)
There is every reason to continue encouraging those who are prepared to co-operate to do so. I repeat that my remarks were based not on concern about people's disagreement but on the triumphalism surrounding that disagreement. I intend to conclude, because I want people to have the chance—[Interruption.] It is no good the Conservatives or Liberal Democrats immediately offering their co-operation, if that is what they are doing, and then criticising me for being taken aback at their tone. That is all.
If we want co-operation, let us seek it. I shall conclude on that point—[Interruption.] I am not bitter at all; we have achieved a lot. We have achieved consensus on a range of measures—including the aggravated offence in relation to religion associated with race hate. That will be extremely important in its own right in achieving security and safety, as well as sending a message to people. I do not want people of any faith to believe that tonight Parliament turned down their protection. That is important—whether or not we disagree.
Although it is late, I want to finish on a positive note. During recent days, we have received substantial co-operation from the Conservative home affairs team. I am grateful to them for that. A responsible attitude has been shown today by Conservative Front-Bench Members, and I am grateful to them. As I said yesterday evening at about 11.30, I hope that that will be emulated by the Liberal Democrats when these provisions return to the House of Lords—for it is not words that we seek, but genuine co-operation in establishing that Parliament can secure a safer and better future for the British people.