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 5:30 pm on 24th March 2009.

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Photo of Bridget Prentice Bridget Prentice Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Ministry of Justice 5:30 pm, 24th March 2009

I have to reject the hon. Gentleman's argument, because the word "threatening", in this context, has to have its normal English meaning. We do not think that it is right to stretch that to include words or behaviour that it would not naturally cover, because it would muddy the waters. I am concerned that if we were to go down the road he suggests in new clause 37, those who make such allegations could shift their grounds to similar but equally damaging allegations—for example, saying that gay people are responsible for HIV/AIDS. Although I understand the concerns that he is trying to address, I do not think that the new clause is the way to address them. I therefore hope that he will not press it to a Division, but will join us in the Lobby to reject amendment 1.

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