Britain's House Of Lords
Votes Down Anti-Terror Bill
By Rashmeez Ahmed
Times of India

Britain's upper house of parliament has voted against provisions in a new emergency anti-terrorist bill that make incitement to religious hatred a crime.

The new law had been proposed in the wake of the September 11 terror attacks on the United States.

British Home Secretary David Blunkett has said he was setting up a special committee in a bid to convince sceptics and save the bill.

The committee would monitor the application of the law over a two-year period and propose changes to assuage fears.

But the un-elected House of Lords appeared unconvinced and threw out the provision on religious hatred with 240 votes against 141.

The bill is the first to encounter parliamentary opposition since Prime Minister Tony Blair was re-elected in June.

Blunkett had called the proposal an "act of a listening government", but acknowledged that the bill raised concerns because of its "speed and complexity".

Last week, he warned that Britain risked a terrorist attack over the Christmas period due to its support for the United States in its anti-terrorism war in Afghanistan.

But opposition Conservatives have accused Blunkett of using the terrorist threat to push through the law and strengthen police powers

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