Independent – Blair’s no-show causes defeat on hatred Bill: Tony Blair was humiliated in the Commons last night when he failed to cast the vote that would have saved his Government from defeat over plans to create a new offence of incitement to religious hatred. Official voting records showed Mr Blair did not enter the voting lobbies as MPs backed a string of safeguards designed to water down the Racial and Religious Hatred Bill by a majority of just one. Jubilant opposition MPs cried “resign” as they inflicted the two shock defeats on the Bill, only the second and third time Mr Blair has lost a vote in the Commons.
Guardian – Government suffers chaotic double defeat over bill to combat religious hatred : Though the racial and religious hatred bill came from Charles Clarke’s Home Office team, and some MPs predicted that chief whip, Hilary Armstrong will today offer her resignation, Tony Blair contributed personally to the defeat by missing the night’s second key vote – which was lost by just one vote, his own.
1. Hillary is toast.
2. Galloway. Feline whip. Ho-ho.
3. Sorry, even after that awful joke, I can’t hold this in any longer; He lost by one vote… his own! Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!
4. The line being trotted out by Downing St on the radio this morning (it has yet to reach the press) is that those who opposed this bill sought primarily to damage the government, rather than to protect free speech. Now, I would argue that bringing this government to heel through any democratic means possible is a positive boon to free speech, but this is not the time for such arguments. No, the time for such arguments is when those voted against this bill appear in court… The government maintains that these people have voted along strategic lines as a form of protest (or, if you prefer, ‘demonstration’). Further, they have done so at the very centre of Westminster and almost certainly haven’t acquired the necessary papers. Therefore, they should be arrested under Section 132 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005. Immediately, please.
*Should not be taken as legal advice.