HC Deb 04 March 2002 vol 381 cc45-6W
Mr. Jim Murphy

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on anti-semitism in the UK; and what action he has taken to combat it. [37457]

Angela Eagle

The Government are fully committed to tackling racism and anti-Semitism wherever it occurs. We have continued to strengthen our anti-discrimination laws and our criminal law to ensure that it continues to offer some of the most comprehensive protection against racism and anti-Semitism in Europe. In that regard we have introduced the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000: we are looking at ways to implement the European Union directives on race and discrimination in employment: strengthen the law on incitement to racial hatred by raising the maximum penalty to seven years' imprisonment and extending the scope to hatred directed against racial groups outside the United Kingdom and introduced religiously aggravated offences to add to the racially aggravated offences we introduced in 1998. We have asked the police and the Crown Prosecution Service to work together to pool knowledge and experience in the investigation and prosecution of race hate material.

We have also made significant changes to our laws countering the threat of terrorism, including the Terrorism Act 2000 and, in response to the events of September 11, the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001. The Government and the police continue to have a good working relationship with the Jewish community in Britain. The Government share the concern of the Jewish community that anti-Semitic incidents recorded by the community rose after September 11 but we welcome the co-operation and the experience of the Jewish community in security matters which has benefited all our communities over the last few months.

As a final example of the work that is ongoing, on 27 January 2002 the second Holocaust Memorial Day was commemorated. We established this event to educate people about and ensure that the lessons of the Holocaust are not forgotten. In doing so the day helps to counter anti-Semitism and other forms of racism and bigotry.

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