Lib Dems take part in Kill the Bill protests around country

Lib Dems across the country joined protests across the country against the Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. Protests too place in London, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and Plymouth, as well as a lot of smaller towns. The protests come ahead of a critical vote tomorrow in the House of Lords on amendments introduced in the Lords in November which greatly increase the authority of police to control protests including an increase in stop and search powers.

On Friday, Labour Lords belatedly said they will oppose the protest clauses. With the Lib Dems, Greens and independents opposing the restriction of the rights to protest, the amendments are likely to fall. As they were introduced in the Lords, they cannot be sent on to the Commons if peers vote against them.

Protest in Shrewsbury Quarry

Shropshire Lib Dem councillor for Meole, Bernie Bentick told the Shropshire Star:

This type of restriction on the ability to protest was seen at its worst in the 1930s in Germany and an attack on democracy by the current, disgraced, Conservative Cabinet.

Welsh Lib Dem Spokesperson for Montgomeryshire, Alison Alexander also spoke to the Shropshire Star:

There is a balance to be struck between the inconvenience protesters cause to the public and the value of protest to society. This Bill fails dismally to strike the correct balance.

That’s not just the view of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, that’s the view of former Prime Minister Theresa May, of Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights and of 109 Professors of Law from top UK universities.

The restrictions to protest are excessive, the penalties are excessive and the powers the Bill grants to the Home Secretary are wholly unacceptable in a healthy democracy. It is not just about the large protests you see on your TV, but also more local protests like those to save your local school or A&E being shut.

We must not allow hard won rights to be taken away and we must not be silenced.

Last month, Brian Paddick said on LDV that he thought this Bill was the most illiberal and authoritarian piece of legislation he had ever seen, highlighting some of the other awful measures it contains:

The new legislation allows the Home Secretary to force local authorities and other public bodies to hand over sensitive, personal information to the police, even against the informed judgement of professionals on the ground.  Liberal Democrats in the Lords will vote against this further extension of centralised power over local decision-making.

Part of the truly illiberal Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill that is not getting much publicity is a new duty on public bodies to give information to the police, so the cops can try to arrest their way out of the problem of serious violence.  What we actually need is a truly multi-agency, public health approach, where enforcement is only one part of the solution.  For example, when I went to Scotland I met a young father, whose partner committed suicide, who realised their son would grow-up without either of his parents if he did not turn away from violence, and with support, he has done just that.

Protest in Newtown

* Andy Boddington is a Lib Dem councillor in Shropshire. He blogs at andybodders.co.uk. He is Thursday editor of Lib Dem Voice.

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3 Comments

  • Tristan Ward 16th Jan '22 - 6:40pm

    Am I the only one who dislikes the “Kill the Bill” epithet because of the implication of incitement to murder a policeman?

  • Jason Connor 16th Jan '22 - 7:33pm

    Tristan I would agree with you and am glad you have posted this. The slogan fills me with despair and horror especially in view of the number of assaults on police officers. I also feel the word ‘kill’ used in this sense and this type of language has the wrong connotations when you think of gender based violence and hate crime.

  • David Garlick 17th Jan '22 - 5:19pm

    This is a phrase that has been commonly used over many years as protests are made which are design to stop a ‘bill’ going through. I had not, and never have, made the connection to the Police nickname in the way suggested. I am not aware of the nickname the ‘bill’ or ‘the old bill’ still being in common parlance? A thought provoking thought though… What would we say instead?

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