Advertisement
Politics

Police to gain powers to dictate protest times, as Lords expected to concede on policing bill

The government has been accused of seeking ‘Russian-style sanctions on protest and liberty’.

Police are set to be given the power to impose start and end times on protests they believe could cause serious disruption, The Big Issue has learned, with the House of Lords due to make a concession on the government’s policing bill tomorrow.

Peers had been resisting the government’s plans to give police the power to ban disruptive assemblies, but after MPs put the measures back in for a second time this week, Labour withdrew its support for a move to scrap the powers.

Instead, Lib Dem peer Lord Brian Paddick is planning to put forward a move to give police the power to impose start and end times on assemblies, with Labour’s support for the compromise.

Paddick, a former police officer, told The Big Issue: “Labour told us they weren’t prepared to support simply maintaining our current position, so there had to be a shift.

“The new amendment would allow the police, if they felt that the meeting was going to be disruptive to local people, to set the start and end time for the meeting. 

He added: “They can already specify where the meeting takes place. It’s a minor change but necessary in order to ensure that it goes back to the commons.”

Advertisement
Advertisement

Labour will continue fighting the government on its plans to allow police to ban disruptive processions, The Big Issue understands, in the hope of extracting concessions from the government.

That push is separate to Paddick’s Lib Dem-led fight, which concerns assemblies and meetings.

Discussions were still underway on Wednesday, as peers hoped to ensure police would not be able to unreasonably change the day a protest was held.

The Police, Crime, Sentencing, and Courts bill has caused controversy and concern, with its plans to grant police the power to ban and impose conditions on protests for causing “serious disruption” or making too much noise.

The bill sparked widespread “Kill the Bill” protests across the country, with activists coming out in their thousands to defend the right to protest.

The government’s first attempt to introduce the measures was defeated in the Lords in January, during a session where 14 defeats were inflicted by opposition peers.

However, MPs have twice voted to put the powers back in the bill – with the bill going between the two houses in a process known as “ping pong”.

The votes of Labour’s peers have so far been crucial in imposing defeats on the government in the Lords.

But with time running out for the bill to pass, peers must decide whether to dig in with resistance or to offer concessions.

Green Party peer Baroness Jenny Jones said the number of contentious bills passing through the Lords was a cause for concern, and could mean anti-protest measures do not get proper scrutiny.

She told The Big Issue: “It’s been very hard to concentrate on the supposedly smaller bills, so the government’s getting away with Russian-style sanctions on protest and liberty.”

Peers will vote tomorrow on whether to continue trying to scrap the bill’s anti-protest measures.

Advertisement

Support your local vendor

Want to buy a copy of the magazine? We have over 1,200 Big Issue vendors in the UK. Each vendor buys a copy of the mag for £1.50 and sells it for £3, keeping the difference. Visit our interactive map to find your nearest vendor and support them today!

Recommended for you

Read All
Will Boris Johnson resign?
Partygate

Will Boris Johnson resign?

Dame Margaret Beckett: 'I hope I've helped the women who have come after me'
Letter to my Younger Self

Dame Margaret Beckett: 'I hope I've helped the women who have come after me'

Keir Starmer: What Labour leader could learn from Neil Kinnock to capitalise on Boris Johnson’s woes
Politics

Keir Starmer: What Labour leader could learn from Neil Kinnock to capitalise on Boris Johnson’s woes

Exclusive: Government has spent £1.5m on art for official buildings since start of pandemic
Politics

Exclusive: Government has spent £1.5m on art for official buildings since start of pandemic

Most Popular

Read All
Thousands march in London to protest low pay and rising cost of living
1.

Thousands march in London to protest low pay and rising cost of living

Prince William: 'Why I wanted to work with The Big Issue'
2.

Prince William: 'Why I wanted to work with The Big Issue'

Margaret Beckett: 'People think Boris Johnson would be a good laugh in the pub. He'd be late and not get a round in'
3.

Margaret Beckett: 'People think Boris Johnson would be a good laugh in the pub. He'd be late and not get a round in'

What really happened when Prince William sold The Big Issue
4.

What really happened when Prince William sold The Big Issue

Keep up to date with The Big Issue. The leading voice on life, politics, culture and social activism direct to your inbox.