Hatred Bill panders to minorities for votes, says comic

PratRowan Atkinson made the least funny speech of his career yesterday when he went to warn the House of Lords of the threat to free speech from a law banning religious hatred.

The star of Blackadder and Mr Bean spoke of the dangers of politicians pandering to minority religions for votes. An all-party group of peers is joining religious figures to oppose the Government’s Racial and Religious Hatred Bill.

“The prime motivating energy for the Bill seemed to come not from communities seeking protection from bullying by the British National Party but from individuals with a more aggressive, fundamentalist agenda,” he said.

Times, 21 October 2005