HL Deb 21 February 2005 vol 669 c172WA
Lord Lester of Herne Hill

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the offence of blasphemy is compatible with the Human Rights Act 1998 and the European Convention on Human Rights. [HL1199]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Baroness Ashton of Upholland)

The Human Rights Act gave further effect in the United Kingdom to rights and freedoms guaranteed under the European Convention on Human Rights. Article 10 of the convention safeguards the right to freedom of expression, but allows for limitations to be made to the right, including "for the protection of the reputation and rights of others". If a blasphemy case were to be considered in court, the court would, as in any other case, take into account the convention rights to ensure that its decision protected the balance between freedom of expression and the rights of others.