Faced with a crisis of escalating living costs, what’s the Government’s top priority for the coming months? Making it harder for people to protest. With people facing sky-high bills, poverty wages, shoddy housing, and food poverty, it’s clear there is real suffering and anger in our society after twelve years of Tory rule for the wealthy few.
Instead of changing course and doing something about this, they have tabled the Public Order Bill. This Bill tips the balance further against the need for protest and democratic expression, bringing back many of the worst features that were rejected when they passed the Policing, Crime, Courts and Sentencing Act. It is a continuation of the Government’s assault on the right to protest, criminalising people who call for the change we need and ramping up police powers to restrict demonstrations.
I tabled a reasoned amendment to throw out this legislation at Second Reading and, when this was rejected, joined my party to vote against it. Our country’s strong tradition of dissent is the reason we have the rights and freedoms we all enjoy today. But we have a Government determined to entrench the power of the very wealthiest in our society and crack down on anyone who raises their voice in opposition.