House of Lords Drops Amendment to Outlaw Incitement to Hatred

An amendment to the Public Order bill to make uttering or publishing of words constituting an incitement to hatred on grounds of religion, race, or color, a criminal offense, was proposed and withdrawn today during consideration of the bill in committee in the House of Lords.

The amendment was offered by Lord Walston, who said he could not understand how Britain could seek to guide other nations when not only racial discrimination, but actual incitement to racial hatred, was permitted to go unchecked in the country. The bill would strengthen existing provisions of the Public Order act, but it does not specifically make incitement to religious or racial hatred a criminal offense.

Lord Chancellor Dilhorne, speaking against the amendment, asserted that its approval would make a criminal offense of any words used in private conversation which were held to constitute an offense.

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