Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Government defeated on Religious Hatred Bill

The BBC reports:

The government has suffered two shock defeats over attempts to overturn Lords changes to the controversial Racial and Religious Hatred Bill.

In a blow to Tony Blair's authority MPs voted by 288 votes to 278 to back a key Lords amendment to the bill.

Analysis of the division list showed the prime minister voted in the first division but not in the second, which was lost by one vote.

Home Secretary Charles Clarke told MPs that the bill would now become law.

Later. The ePolitix site explains exactly what the votes were about:

MPs had been expected to back the government, having already passed the proposals once.

But in a sign of the government's waning authority, and the controversial nature of the proposals, MPs voted by 288 to 278, a majority of 10, in favour of keeping a Lords amendment to restrict the offence of inciting religious hatred to threatening words and behaviour rather than a wider definition also covering insults and abuse.

In a second division MPs then voted by 283 votes to 282, a majority of one, to ensure that discussion, criticism, insult, abuse and ridicule of religion, belief or religious practice would not be an offence.

Even later. Sandra Gidley tells us whose the one extra vote for the Opposition was in the second division. Respect to Mark Oaten for turning up.

Even later still. According to Nick Robinson on the BBC News, George Galloway turned up too.

And voted with the Government.

2 comments:

Chris Black said...

Wow.
Wow.
Wow!

Valerie said...

!!!!!!!!!!!
:)))))))))))))))))

Bring on the ID cards bill...