Public Order Bill clauses defeated in House of Lords

A protestor records on his phone while a police officer looks on during a protest - public order bill going through the House of Lords
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The Public Order Bill has hit a snag in the House of Lords as the Tories try to push it through government. The bill is currently in its final reading. However, in a win for activists the House of Lords has voted to defeat clause 11, which concerns giving police powers to stop and search without suspicion:

Ministers were also defeated in wanting to shut down “disruptive” protests. This involves people who are walking slowly as a form of protest, or people who block roads. Famously, Just Stop Oil, Extinction Rebellion, and more have used these forms of protest to great effect.

Read on...

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Heavy defeat

As Sky News reported, the objections from the Lords made for a “bruising” series of defeats:

In total, the government suffered six defeats on the second day of the bill’s bruising report stage.

Activists and organisations took to Twitter to celebrate the defeats:

Journalist Clive Simpson called it a “victory” for civil rights:

Human rights organisation Liberty also celebrated online:

Liberty has long campaigned against both the Policing Act and the Public Order Bill. The group explained how the Tories have put parts of the Policing Act they couldn’t get parliament to pass into the Public Order Bill:

Thanks to an enormous national movement against it, the House of Lords stripped some of the worst anti-protest proposals out of the Policing Act before it became law.

But the Government is now resurrecting its rejected plans with the Public Order Bill.

What’s next for the Public Order Bill?

The defeats in these two areas – stop and search powers, and disruptive protests – are certainly cause to celebrate. However, it’s galling that we’ve had to rely on the unelected and undemocratic Lords to see it through. The fact that the stop and search clause even made it to the Lords is a disgrace. We already know that stop and search disproportionately targets Black people. As the Canary’s Sophia Purdy-Moore wrote:

We don’t need another woolly report to understand the disproportionate harm caused by stop and search. We already know that that police in England and Wales disproportionately stop and search Black people compared to the general population. And that they’re more likely to use force against Black people…Stop and search, and policing in general, does not prevent crime. It doesn’t protect communities, and it only serves to traumatise and criminalise the most marginalised people in society.

The defeated amendments will go back to the House of Commons for consideration by MPs. That means this fight to defend our right to protest is far from over. It’s worth recognising, too, that activist organisations and protestors are the ones preserving democracy and dissent – not politicians.

Featured image by Unsplash/James Eade

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  • Show Comments
    1. As Airlane hinted, Jacob, there is more chance that Starmeroid marry Julian Assange and go join Hamas than he would EVER oppose surveillance and police powers.

      Good on the Lords – once again the unelected Lords are more concerned with the population than the barely elected an heavily gerrymandered ‘democratic’ Commons.

      Curiously, as we can also see from China, sometimes the unelected do a far better job than those the billionaire corporate media elect.

      Sorry – I meant the voters, of course.

      BTW Canary, one thing worth noting in future such reports, and it is quite important – we all get, the kind of people who read the Canary because we are aligned with its values, that ethnic minorites are targeted by the police state. We get that. But what you SHOULD also add, is that the white poor are also targets.

      Don’t turn this into a Ethnic issue, without mentioning Class. Because the poor, just as in the US, are targets no matter their melatonin content, or religion.

      Add them to list of victims. And mean it, too.

      If we do not stand together, they will turn us against each other.

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