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EU: Holocaust Denial

Volume 691: debated on Friday 20 April 2007

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Lord Bassam of Brighton on 1 February (WA 74), whether they will use their veto in the Council of Ministers to ensure that Holocaust denial is not made a criminal offence in the United Kingdom. [HL2536]

The Government do not intend to make Holocaust denial a criminal offence in the United Kingdom. The Government deplore attempts to deny the Holocaust, including those views expressed in a pseudo-intellectual manner. We understand why some European countries, because of their particular histories, have expressly legislated against Holocaust denial, but successive Governments have taken the view that criminalising Holocaust denial in the UK would represent an unnecessary infringement of freedom of expression. It is of course the case that, if Holocaust denial is expressed in a way that is threatening, abusive, or insulting and incites racial hatred, or is likely to do so, then that would be unlawful under the Public Order Act 1986.