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Blasphemy

Volume 669: debated on Thursday 24 February 2005

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether, having regard to the judgment of the Supreme Court of Ireland in

Corway v. Independent Newspapers (Ireland) Limited (1999) IR 485, that permission should not be given to institute a criminal prosecution for blasphemy in view of the uncertain state of the law relating to that offence, they consider that the common law offence of blasphemy to be obsolete and unenforceable in the United Kingdom. [HL1200)]

The Government do not consider the Irish Supreme Court case of Conway v. Independent Newspapers (Ireland) Limited means that the common law offence of blasphemy is obsolete and unenforceable in the United Kingdom. The Irish case concerns the status of the Irish common law offence of blasphemy. The Irish Supreme Court found that it was not clear what the elements of the blasphemy offence are in Irish law, in light of the Irish Constitution, and so agreed that the Irish High Court was right not to authorise a private blasphemy prosecution.We will however continue to keep the blasphemy laws in England and Wales under review.

asked Her Majesty's Government:Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Scotland of Asthal on S February (

WA 98), what is the relevant link between the benefits of the new provision against incitement to religious hated and the issue of whether the blasphemy laws should be repealed. [HL1339]

The Government do not consider that the benefits of the new provision on incitement to religious hatred and the issue of whether blasphemy should be repealed are linked.