Schedule 26 — Hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation

Part of Orders of the Day – in the House of Commons at 8:45 pm on 6th May 2008.

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Photo of Ann Widdecombe Ann Widdecombe Conservative, Maidstone and The Weald 8:45 pm, 6th May 2008

No—I think that the abolition of the blasphemy laws is a levelling down.

I rather take exception to the Minister's comment, much expanded on in 22 minutes of waffle from the Liberal Front Bench, that the unique protection of Christianity is somehow—I use her own word—discriminatory. We have an established Church, and when I asked whether the Government wanted to abolish it, the Minister shook her head. If we call such protection discrimination, there is already discrimination built into our law. If we have an established Church, we need laws that reflect that. It is right that we keep that last legal hurdle and that people know that it is there. I am not suggesting, and no one with any common sense would do so, that it is an absolute protection against blasphemy—the Springer case proved that it is not. Nevertheless, it is there and it acts as some sort of small brake. I fear that if it is taken away, the inevitable result will be a huge outpouring of what we consider blasphemy, directed particularly against the Christian faith.