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Jack Straw conceded defeat in attempts to scrap the so-called “free speech” amendment in the law on homophobic hatred after the Lords defeated the government to uphold the provision.

The defeat came despite the junior justice minister Lord Bach calling for the will of the Commons to be respected. MPs rejected the measure earlier this week, but time has run out in the parliamentary session and Straw said the government would not force a fresh vote on the issue. A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said: “It is with considerable disappointment, therefore, that the government has agreed not to remove the ‘freedom of expression’ section.” The Coroners and Justice Act later gained Royal Assent.

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