§ 14 Mrs. Mahon
What recent representations he has received on tackling incidents of racial violence. 
§ Mr. Mike O'Brien
We have received 118 responses to the Home Office consultation document on racial violence and harassment. They indicated wide-ranging support for the Government's proposals in the Crime and Disorder Bill to introduce new offences of racially aggravated violence and harassment.
§ Mrs. Mahon
I assure my hon. Friend that almost everyone welcomes the new proposals. However, will he inform the House when the Stephen Lawrence inquiry will begin? He will be aware that many people—especially those who want to see an end to violence and murder—will follow that inquiry closely.
§ Mr. O'Brien
The public hearings for the Lawrence inquiry are likely to begin in February. Like my hon. Friend, we are very concerned about the growth in racist crime and violence of which one of the worst manifestations was the murder of Stephen Lawrence. That is why one of the Government's first acts in the Home Office was to arrange a judicial inquiry into that matter. We also hope to secure cross-party support for the measures in the Crime and Disorder Bill to tackle racist crime.
The lives of far too many people are damaged and destroyed by racial harassment and violence, and the Government are determined to crack down on mindless bigotry and thuggery. Some racist criminals may have to learn their lessons behind bars.