HC Deb 23 January 1978 vol 942 cc965-6
42. Mr. Canavan

asked the Attorney-General whether he will arrange to meet the Chairman of the Commission on Racial Equality to discuss the implications of the recent judgment of Judge McKinnon acquitting Mr. Kingsley Read.

The Attorney-General (Mr. S. C. Silkin)

I met Mr. David Lane for that purpose on 11th January.

Mr. Canavan

Did my right hon. and learned Friend discuss with the Chairman of the Commission on Racial Equality whether the Race Relations Act 1976 is strong enough to convict pedlars of racial hatred such as Mr. Kingsley Read? Does my right hon. and learned Friend agree that the Tories do nothing to help in the cause of racial harmony in this country by defending people such as Judge McKinnon, by refusing to take part in an all-party campaign against racialism, and by mounting instead their own campaign to bash the immigrants, just like the National Front?

The Attorney-General

We discussed a number of matters arising out of the Kingsley Read case. Among other things, I assured Mr. David Lane of my continuing intention to enforce firmly the anti-incitement provisions of the Public Order Act and to authorise prosecutions in appropriate cases. As to the efficacy of the amendment to that law under the recent legislation, we shall have to judge that as cases come forward.

I must leave it to the Conservative Party to answer the second part of my hon. Friend's supplementary question.

Mr. Adley

Hon. Members opposite are making a great deal of fuss about Judge McKinnon, but we do not appear to have had any reaction from them about the deplorable and disgraceful comment of the Foreign Secretary in Brussels. In relation to the European Assembly Elections Bill, he said that Britain was not the nigger in the woodpile. Is not that deplorable?

The Attorney-General

If the hon, Member really wants a sensible reply, I suggest that he should put down a Question to the Foreign Secretary.