British Parliament rejects Blair's proposed anti-hate law

British Prime Minister &to=' target=_blank>Tony Blair's his government suffered an unexpected defeat Tuesday over plans to introduce a law aimed at combating religious hatred, that critics said curbed freedom of speech.

Lawmakers voted to reject proposals that would make it a criminal offense to incite religious hatred through threatening words or actions, defeating the government in two separate votes, first by 288 to 278 and in a second vote by 283 votes to 282.

Blair did not take part in the second vote _ which his government lost by one vote. He had voted during the earlier vote on the issue Tuesday night.

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