Religious Offences Press Notice

IMMEDIATE

TUESDAY 28 MAY 2002

LORDS TO PROBE RELIGIOUS OFFENCES AND BLASPHEMY LAWS

The newly appointed House of Lords Select Committee on Religious Offences will be considering and reporting on the law relating to religious offences.

The Committee is calling for evidence on two main issues:

  • Should existing religious offences (notably blasphemy) be amended or abolished?

  • Should a new criminal offence of incitement to religious hatred be created and, if so, how should the offence be defined?

The Committee hopes that a wide range of religious and human rights groups and any other interested organisations or individuals will provide written submissions (which must be received no later than 8 July 2002).

Representatives from the Home Office are due to give evidence to the Committee on 12 June.

NOTES FOR EDITORS:

1. As part of the inquiry the Committee will examine Lord Avebury's Religious Offences Bill (HL Bill 39 53/1). Available via www.parliament.uk/House of Lords/House of Lords publications on the internet/Public Bills/Religious Offences Bill [HL].

2. The members of the all-party Committee are:

Lord Avebury Earl of Mar and Kellie

Lord Bhatia Baroness Massey of Darwen

Lord Clarke of Hampstead Baroness Perry of Southwark

Viscount Colville of Culross (Chairman) Bishop of Portsmouth

Lord Grabiner Baroness Richardson of Calow

Lord Griffiths of Fforestfach Baroness Wilcox

EVIDENCE AND HOW TO SUBMIT IT

3. Short submissions are preferred. Any submission longer than two sides should include a summary. Paragraphs should be numbered. Evidence should be signed and dated, with a note of the author's name and status, which should indicate whether the evidence is submitted on an individual or corporate basis.

4. Additional copies are not required, but where an electronic version is available it would be helpful if it could be e-mailed to the Clerk. Evidence becomes the property of the Committee, and may be published by the Committee. Those submitting evidence may publicise it themselves but in so doing must indicate that it was prepared for the Committee.

5. Evidence should be sent to:

The Clerk of the Select Committee on Religious Offences

Committee Office

House of Lords

London

SW1A 0PW e-mail: [email protected]

Further information from:

Ian Mackley, Committee Clerk: Tel: 020 7219 5208.