SPEAKING AHEAD OF the House of Commons debate on amendments to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill on Monday 28 February, campaigners at Christian Aid have warned MPs to stop the UK government’s “dangerous attempt to put restrictions on peaceful protest.”
Christian Aid opposes measures in the Bill that enable the Home Secretary to choose which demonstrations are legal and gives the police powers to ban protests because they are noisy or disruptive.
Christian Aid has signed a joint faith and belief letter, alongside 80 other representatives, to MPs ahead of final votes on the Policing Bill. The coalition asks MPs to support the Lords’ amendments to Part 3 of the bill.
Pete Moorey, Head of Campaigns and UK Advocacy at Christian Aid, said: “From campaigning for climate justice to calling for action on food poverty in the UK, churches and people of faith are often at the forefront of movements for change.
“To tackle extreme poverty and the injustices that cause it, we must be able to speak truth to power. But this law puts this under threat. By giving police powers to impose restrictions on protest, this Government is restricting our rights to speak out against poverty. Our voices must be heard.
“MPs should do the right thing, support the amendments from the Lords and put an end to this dangerous attempt to put restrictions on peaceful protest.”
In January 2022, the Lords defeated the Government on amendments to remove or weaken the damage that the measures already in the Bill could cause. MPs will now be asked to support them or reject them. Peers removed:
- police powers to impose noise-based restrictions on protest
- the ability of the police to place restrictions on one person protests
- greater powers to restrict peaceful assemblies
- and they added provisions for permission to be granted for protests to obstruct the vehicle access to parliament
* More information on the Bill, its progress through Parliament, and the Lords’ amendments here .
* Read the letter to MPs, signed by Christian Aid and 80 other faith and belief representatives here.
* Source: Christian Aid