Schedule 26 — Hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation

Part of Orders of the Day – in the House of Commons at 7:00 pm on 6th May 2008.

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Photo of Maria Eagle Maria Eagle The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice 7:00 pm, 6th May 2008

We have had a wide-ranging debate in which all the relevant issues have had an airing. That is a good thing, which I certainly welcome. I am sorry that the hon. Members for Aldershot (Mr. Howarth) and for Stone (Mr. Cash) were not in their places to hear the earlier speeches, as I do not want to repeat everything I said in my opening remarks, which would bore hon. Members who were present. I hope that those two hon. Members will forgive my not going through it all again on account of their not being present to hear the earlier arguments. I do want to respond to one or two points, however.

It is quite clear from this and earlier debates that some views on this matter are irreconcilable, but it is important to note that we have tried to listen to each other's views and deal with the various points, issues and concerns raised in the debate. I welcome the general recognition across the House that gay and lesbian people should be protected from being attacked on the basis of their sexuality and from incitement to hatred. From Second Reading through the evidence-taking in Committee, the important issues about this matter were raised and generally accepted.