Orders of the Day — Racial and Religious Hatred Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:19 pm on 21st June 2005.

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Photo of Patrick Hall Patrick Hall Labour, Bedford 4:19 pm, 21st June 2005

I have been listening carefully to my right hon. Friend and have no doubts about his good intentions, but does he acknowledge that many people are concerned not about the intentions or the content of the Bill, but that once it is enacted it could create a climate of over-cautious opinion whereby some people would avoid democratic scrutiny, debate or criticism of religion, or indeed of the absence of religious belief? Will my right hon. Friend do what he can, both in his remarks today and in the Bill, to alleviate those legitimate concerns?