Freedom of Speech: Hate Crime - Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:16 pm on 6th December 2017.

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Photo of Lord Morris of Aberavon Lord Morris of Aberavon Labour 3:16 pm, 6th December 2017

My Lords, will the Government and the prosecuting authorities always remember that freedom of speech is one of our hard-fought-for liberties? Regrettably—and for very good reasons—inroads have had to be made, but there can be unintended consequences if one does not tread extremely carefully. When I was Attorney-General it was my statutory personal responsibility to authorise some prosecutions. One was of an old lady in her 80s who repeatedly published vile anti-Semitic literature and was repeatedly jailed for disobeying the court, and got immense publicity from so doing. When I eventually decided not to prosecute, no more was heard of her.