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 Ann Widdecombe Ann Widdecombe Conservative, Maidstone and The Weald 5:30 pm, 24th March 2009

I remind the hon. Gentleman of his reply to me.

In the Lancashire case, a couple were questioned by the police for an hour and 20 minutes. They had asked the local council whether they could distribute Christian literature alongside the council's literature on civil partnerships. There was an outcry, and Lancashire police stood their ground and said it was a proper intervention. The local council also stood its ground and said that it was a proper intervention under the law—not under this Bill—that it was then invoking. It was only when the couple sued—or commenced suing; there was a settlement—that the police and local council decided that they had got it wrong. When that is the attitude of senior police and authorities, who are responsible for implementing the law that this place passes, we sometimes need very simple, straightforward clarifications that almost hit them on the nose, so that they actually understand what Parliament intends.

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