History of key stages in the Campaign

20th-25th October 2005: A remarkable press conference was held at the Lords to table the amendments. The Campaign went on to urge the Lords to support the amendments at the Committee Stage on October 25th which they did by 260 contents to 111 non contents. Click on the headline to read Ben Russell of the Independent’s report‘Religious Hatred Bill thrown out by peers’. Click here to read Hansard from the Lords debate on October 25th.


20th October 2005: Click here to see a picture taken after the House of Lords Press Conference on October 20th 2005, with Lisa Appignanesi holding up the Amendments to the Religious Hatred Bill, which include the PEN Protection of Free Expression Amendment, with Lord Carey, Rowan Atkinson, Lord Hunt and Lord Lester. The final tabler of the amendments, Lord Plant, could not be present. Click here to read Rowan Atkinson’s speech on the hate bill, made in the House of Lords on October 20th.  

11th October 2005: The Religious Hatred Bill had its second reading in the Lords. There was vigorous debate, which you can read in Hansard: www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld199900/ldhansrd/pdvn/lds05/text/51011-04.htm#51011-04_head3 Click here to read excerpts from the debate in the House of Lords referencing English PEN.

1st October 2005: Click here to read the letter sent by English PEN to the House of Lords stating PEN’s position, and that of our allies, in the lead up to the debate on the Religious Hatred Bill.

October 2005: Click here to read the October News Release on English PEN’s campaign.


11th July 2005: Read the debate in Parliament on the Racial and Religious Hatred bill, along with Lisa Appignanesi’s account of the debate click here.


June 2005: English PEN’s Lisa Appignanesi asked members to continue writing to their MPs in support of the Lester amendment as the bill went to committee. You can click here to see the names of Labour MPs who have voted for amendments to the bill.


June 2005: English PEN is Urging its Members to Write to their Constituency MP


9th June 2005: Latest News Release: Government Breaks its Promise to Consult over Bill followed by an Urgent message from Lisa Appignanesi and other PEN members.

23rd May 2005: The views of Baroness Kennedy on the Incitement to Religious Hatred legislation were voiced in a speech in the House of Lords

11th May 2005: Lisa Appignanesi and other PEN members wrote to Charles Clarke urging him to continue the dialogue with faith groups and groups of no faith and explaining how the proposed legislation will affect PEN and its work. Please read the Letter from Lisa Appignanesi, Deputy President of English PEN to Charles Clarke.

26th April 2005: Charles Clarke replies on behalf of Labour and defended Labour’s views on the proposed legislation.


19th April 2005: English PEN members sent Charles Clarke a letter requesting his explanation on the letter sent to mosques recently. From English PEN’s view this looks like an attempt to exploit the religious and race card in the upcoming elections. Read the letter by clicking here.


17th April 2005: A staged reading with Harriet Walter, Paul Bhattacharjee and others at the Tricycle Theatre took place. Please see No Offence: An evening of readings and performances  for further details  


12th April 2005: Charles Clarke sent a letter to mosques in promising to bring back the legislation on incitement to hatred on religious grounds! The letter refers to the Labour Party’s Election Manifesto, which states that this remains the party’s “clear and firm intention”. For more, please read Lisa Appignanesi’s reaction, which has links to other sources, by clicking here.  

14th March 2005: The Lords’ discussed the new renamed offence incitement to religious hatred offence; click on the following link for Lisa Appignanesi’s report: The Lords Debate incitement to Religious Hatred.


8th February 2005: Following the visit to Home Office Minister Fiona Mactaggart, a letter was received which announced that the title of the proposed legislation had been changed to ‘Hatred Against Persons on Racial or Religious Grounds’. The Campaign is not reassured by the change. Here is the reply to the Minister’s letter.


28th January 2005: The OFFENCE campaign then extended its lobbying by sending a Letter to Members of the House of Lords.

25th January 2005: Following the meeting Salman Rushdie was interviewed, along with Fiona MacTaggart, on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Front Row’ on the case – click here to listen to the programme.

25th January 2005: A meeting took place between the Home Office Minister Fiona MacTaggart, Salman Rushdie and Lisa Appignanesi, Chair of the OFFENCE campaign and deputy President of English PEN, along with Rowan Atkinson, to discuss the proposed amendments to the bill. Click OFFENCE Campaign Update: Rushdie et al Meet with Fiona MacTaggart for a report on the meeting.

10th January 2005: In an open letter to Home Secretary Charles Clarke, signed by nearly 300 members of English PEN including many of this country’s most eminent writers, we expressed our concern. Click here for the Open Letter to Charles Clarke MP and the list of signatories. 

Originally posted with the url: www.englishpen.org/aboutenglishpen/campaigns/offence/keystages/

About English PEN staff

This content is published by the English PEN staff.

View all posts by English PEN staff →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *