Orders of the Day — Racial and Religious Hatred Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:13 pm on 21st June 2005.

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Photo of Chris Bryant Chris Bryant Labour, Rhondda 5:13 pm, 21st June 2005

The right hon. Gentleman hangs his argument on the basis that there is a substantial difference between a faith and a race because one chooses one's faith but not one's race. I contest the argument that everyone chooses his faith. As the House of Lords report on religious offences made clear, many people in this country live in communities where they have little choice about the faith to which they adhere and are always believed by other people, because of the clothes that they wear, to belong to a particular faith. I urge the right hon. Gentleman to soften the edges of his argument about choice and faith.