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Racially Motivated Crime

Volume 301: debated on Monday 24 November 1997

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What proposals he has to curb the incidence of racially motivated violence. [15790]

The lives of far too many people have been damaged or destroyed by racial violence and harassment. Labour promised in its manifesto to crack down on mindless racist thuggery, and we will do so. The crime and disorder Bill will create new offences of racial violence and harassment; it will send out a clear message that racist crime is unacceptable.

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. The figures published this morning were extremely disturbing, especially as they included only reported crimes of racial violence, and the problem is in fact much bigger. Will my hon. Friend welcome the comments of the right hon. Member for North-West Cambridgeshire (Sir B. Mawhinney) in the policing for London debate about continuing with a bipartisan approach to racially motivated violence, but agree that the right hon. Gentleman will be judged by his actions in the way in which he votes on the provisions concerning racial violence in the crime and disorder Bill, rather than by his words, because words are easy?

I agree. I hope that the new offences will have broad support in the House. I noted that the new Leader of the Opposition dissociated himself from comments about multiculturalism by the noble Lord Tebbit some weeks ago. I hope that that is a sign of a new attitude in the Tory party.

Britain is a multicultural society, and in many ways a successful one, but we still have problems of racist violence to resolve, and I invite the Conservatives to join the Liberal Democrats and the Government in backing a multicultural Britain to be proud of and in sending a clear message to all racists that if they have not yet learnt the lesson that this is a multicultural society in which we will crack down on racism, some of them will learn it from behind bars.