OUTLAWED Labour Set to Ban Rap Singers' Gay-Hate Lyrics

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Byline: JONATHAN OLIVER

THE foulmouthed, antigay lyrics of many of rap music's biggest stars may be banned by New Labour.

A new offence of incitement to homophobic hatred is being drawn up by the Government after the murders of several gay men and a rise in other vicious attacks.

Campaigners for the new law claim some of the hate crimes have been provoked by the violent lyrics of Caribbean rappers, such as Beenie Man.

But critics claim the draconian law, which would carry a penalty of up to seven years in jail, could be used to stifle legitimate ethical debate - or even silence popular comedians.

Labour peer Lord Alli, a friend of Tony Blair, proposed in the House of Lords last week widening a current Government Bill outlawing incitement to religious hatred to include homophobic hatred as well.

Lord Alli, who is gay, said: 'If the law is extended as currently intended, it will be able to tackle hatred against me because of my religious beliefs.

It is already able to tackle hatred against me on the basis of the colour of my skin. But it will be unable to tackle hatred against me on the basis of my sexuality.

'I would like the Government to go further and give consideration to the extension of the provisions to cover gay men and lesbians through a new offence of incitement to homophobic hatred. …