A victory for free speech: Lords vote to axe law banning insults that had led to countless arrests of ordinary people

A victory for free speech: Lords vote to axe law banning insults that had led to countless arrests of ordinary peopleSection 5 of the Public Order Act criminalised ‘insulting’ words and behaviour But it had not defined what the term meant, leading to an abuse of the lawA move by Lord Dear, a former West Midlands chief constable, was backed by 150 votes to 54 | UPDATED: 07:49 GMT, 14 December 2012 Free speech campaigners have hailed a vote by the House of Lords to scrap a draconian law that made it a crime simply to insult someone. The controversial legislation led to countless arrests of ordinary people for making jokes and expressing opinions about religion and sexuality. An amendment to strike out the term 'insult' by Lord Dear, a crossbencher and former West Midlands chief constable, was backed by 150 votes to 54 Section 5 of the Public Order Act criminalised ‘insulting’ words and behaviour – without defining what the term meant.