New Clause 11 — Guidance on offences that involve hatred on grounds of sexual orientation

Part of Pension Credit and Personal Expense Allowance (Duty of Consultation and Review) – in the House of Commons at 5:15 pm on 24th March 2009.

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Photo of Bridget Prentice Bridget Prentice Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Ministry of Justice 5:15 pm, 24th March 2009

The hon. Gentleman, as always, puts the argument so eloquently that I simply endorse what he says.

It was again evident from the debate that there are strong and divided views about where the correct balance lies. I remind the House, however, that the offence covers only behaviour that is threatening and is intended to stir up hatred. I think all Members will agree that that type of behaviour cannot be acceptable under any circumstances. It should not be protected by freedom of speech, and any provision that implies otherwise should not be on the statute book. That is why I invite the House to reject amendment 1.

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