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Prosecutions Demanded in Commons for Publishing Hate Material

A Labor Member of Parliament declared in the House of Commons today that the fact that there had been no prosecutions for publication of inciting material under the Race Relations Act proved that the law “needs new teeth to deal with this matter.”

The assertion was made by Paul Rose after he asked Attorney General Sir Elwyn Jones how many cases he had received about material alleged to contain incitement as defined in the Act and in how many cases proceedings had been started. Sir Elwyn replied that he had received 14 such cases since the Act went into effect in December, 1965 but that “in no case have proceedings been instituted.” He added inquiries into one of the cases was still continuing.

Under more questioning, Sir Elwyn said he was aware that “scurrilous material” was being circulated in Britain but that he had concluded such material did not infringe the Race Relations Act or the criminal law. The Labor bench cheered a statement from Cuentin Hogg, Home Secretary of the shadow cabinet, that “the deliberate act of arson of places of worship is a serious offense.” He added that “much of the disquiet would be removed if there were exemplary sentences imposed.”

Sir Elwyn replied that the maximum sentence was life imprisonment and that he believed the British judges were aware of the gravity of the matter.

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