5.There are existing offences in Part 3 of the 1986 Act against stirring up racial hatred. The Act creates new offences of stirring up hatred against persons on religious grounds by inserting a new Part 3A into the 1986 Act. The Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Bill in 2001 and the Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill in the 2004-05 session included provisions which aimed to extend the existing offences in Part 3 of the 1986 Act so that they would also apply to the stirring up of religious hatred but they were not proceeded with to enactment in either case. This Act takes a different approach in that it creates a new part to the 1986 Act rather than extending the existing offences in Part 3 of the Act.
6.The matter was considered by the House of Lords Select Committee on Religious Offences in England and Wales under the chairmanship of Viscount Colville of Culross, which reported in April 2003 (HL 95). The Committee made no formal recommendations.
7.The Committee’s Report and the Government's response (Cm 6091, December 2003) were debated in the House of Lords on 22 April 2004 (Hansard col. 443- 480).