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Offence of Sending Letters etc. with Intent to Cause Distress or Anxiety

Part of Orders of the Day — Malicious Communications Bill – in the House of Commons at 11:45 am on 8th July 1988.

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Photo of Greg Knight Greg Knight , Derby North 11:45 am, 8th July 1988

The consensus that earlier settled on the House has been shaken, but I hope not shattered, by the lively debate that we have had.

I want to reply to some of the points that have been made. The hon. Member for Barking (Ms. Richardson) urged us to accept level 3. I hope that my hon. Friend the Minister has put her mind at rest about many of the points that she made. As I said in an earlier intervention, the Bill provides not for minimum sentences but the level within which the courts operate. I hope, therefore, that the hon. Lady will accept the need to increase the level from £400.

I understand why the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) could not stay until the end of the debate. We are in the middle of the blood sports season and I assume that he has left to take part in the Socialist ritual of knife-throwing—usually in the back of their leader. Before he left he said that in some cases £400 would be chicken feed. I take that to be about as much support as I will receive from the hon. Gentleman.