Vogelenzang case on BBC’s Question Time

The case of Ben and Sharon Vogelenzang – the Christian couple charged with a crime for criticising Islam – was mentioned on the BBC’s flagship debate show last night.

Watch Fraser Nelson’s comments

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The case was compared with that of Attorney General, Baroness Scotland, who has been allowed to stay in post despite breaking the law by employing an illegal immigrant.

The Question Time panel, which included Government equalities minister Harriet Harman, was asked why Baroness Scotland has not resigned or been dismissed.

Harriet Harman replied by saying that Baroness Scotland had made an “administrative error” and should be allowed to keep her job.

But fellow panellist Fraser Nelson opposed that viewpoint. He said: “an administrative technical error. That’s what you call it when Government ministers break the law.”

He said this attitude is what drives the readers of his Sunday newspaper column “absolutely mad, because they know if they were to do something the law would come on them like a tonne of bricks.”

He then gave the example of Ben and Sharon Vogelenzang who were arrested for offending a Muslim during a discussion about religion.

He said they wouldn’t get off the hook by saying, “sorry it was a technical error, I shouldn’t have brought up the subject we were discussing”.

He added: “I don’t think the Government realises just how heavy-handed it has become with the small people while the big guys get away with anything.”

The Vogelenzangs are facing a criminal trial in December. They are alleged to have offended a Muslim by saying Mohammed was a warlord and traditional female Islamic dress is a form of bondage.

The facts of the case are disputed and the couple have pleaded not guilty to a “religiously aggravated” public order offence.

The couple’s defence is being financed by The Christian Institute’s Legal Defence Fund.

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