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Leaving the EU: Hate Crime

Volume 628: debated on Thursday 14 September 2017

6. What assessment he has made of the potential effect of the UK leaving the EU on the level of prosecutions for hate crime towards EU citizens. (900859)

The Crown Prosecution Service does not disaggregate its data by victims’ nationalities, but it has a strong record in tackling racially and religiously aggravated hate crime. In 2015-16, there were just over 13,000 prosecutions for this type of hate crime. That was 84% of total hate-crime prosecutions, showing a 1.9% increase on the previous year.

I am grateful for that response, but what I really need to know is what steps the Solicitor General will take to reassure my constituents, who tell me of increased hate crime directed at EU citizens. Local organisations that tackle hate crime, such as SARI—Stand Against Racism & Inequality—tell me the same thing. What will he be doing to reassure my constituents that their safety is valued and that the law will protect them?

The hon. Lady is right to say that all parts of our community deserve protection from the law. Only a few weeks ago, I was glad to take part in a hate-crime awareness campaign, which was launched alongside the CPS’s publication of new, revised guidelines, which particularly emphasise the scourge of online hate crime. I assure her residents and, indeed, those in my constituency that when such crimes are perpetrated, no effort will be spared in detecting the perpetrators and dealing with those crimes, because there is a clear public interest in doing so.

In relation to crime, and bearing in mind the Government’s insistence on excluding the EU charter of fundamental rights, does the Solicitor General agree that it is wrong for them to allow what the Law Society of Scotland called

“the potential for the erosion of human rights”,

despite different parts of the UK having voted to remain in the EU?

I do not see an erosion in human rights. The Government are absolutely committed to our membership of the European convention. The charter of fundamental rights does not add anything substantive to UK human rights law, and the underlying principles of EU law will, of course, be brought into our domestic law by virtue of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. The hon. Gentleman can reassure his constituents that the Government are utterly committed to rooting out hate crime wherever it exists.