Religious hate bill changes urged

A coalition of politicians, writers and artists is trying to persuade ministers to accept changes made by peers to the Racial and Religious Hatred Bill. The bill will return to the Commons on Tuesday after being substantially amended in the House of Lords.

BBC News, 30 January 2006

See also “Atkinson in last-gasp bid to bury religious hate bill”, Observer, 29 January 2006

Needless to say, these democrats are not worried about the clause in the government’s amendment that recognises the right to incite hatred against religion, which could strengthen the hand of the BNP. Rather, they support the Lords amendment that would restrict the offence of inciting religious hatred to “threatening” words and behaviour and would moreover require the prosecution to prove intent – which would, of course, destroy the possibility of ever securing a conviction.