Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:53 pm on 5th April 2005.

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Photo of Peter Hain Peter Hain Chair, Modernisation of the House of Commons Committee, The Secretary of State for Wales, Leader of the House of Commons and Lord Privy Seal 12:53 pm, 5th April 2005

I understand the point that the hon. Gentleman makes. I was not suggesting in any way that he—or any other hon. Member—was seeking to turn his back on the Muslim community. [Hon. Members: "Yes, you were."] What I was saying was that the Muslim community—in particular its most respected voice, the Muslim Council of Britain—wants that legislation and that offence to exist, to give Muslims the extra protection that they do not enjoy at the moment. They are virtually alone as a group in not enjoying that protection. The hon. Gentleman, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats must confront the fact that they are denying the Muslim community's representatives the opportunity to get the protection for which they have asked, and which we as a Government are still willing to deliver if the Opposition will co-operate.