Kris Brown, Liberal Democrat candidate for Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner on Thursday 6th May, has written to Southport’s Conservative MP, Damien Moore, to vote against the controversial policing bill in Parliament.
Liberal Democrat councillor Kris Brown, said:
“The Conservatives’ plans to crackdown on protests are dangerous and draconian.
“The appalling scenes on Clapham Common at the weekend only confirm this. I urge Damien Moore to convince Priti Patel to think again.
“The Met got it badly wrong in Clapham. A peaceful vigil highlighting violence against women ended in scenes of manhandled women. How on Earth can the Government think the answer is to give the police even more powers to clampdown on protests?
“The right to peaceful assembly and protest is a fundamental human right, and has always been a crucial part of our democratic society.
“These new laws undermine that right. They are part of the Conservative Government’s anti-democratic attempts to silence any opposition to its policies, and the Liberal Democrats will fiercely resist them.”
The text of the letter can be found below:
Damien Moore MP
4 Post Office Avenue,
14th March 2021
I am writing to you to express my concerns about the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill and that you consider voting against its passage.
This bill contains unacceptable restrictions on the right to protest. These include:
- Allowing restrictions to be imposed on protests that could create noise, disrupt an organisation or cause nearby people “serious unease alarm or distress”. This gives the police the reason to shut down a protest on the basis of just one person’s response - Section 54 (2) and (3)
- Allowing the police to intervene in a protest to prevent “impact”, despite this being the very purpose of a protest - Section 54 (2)
- Allows prosecutions where protests “ought to know” of restrictions in place rather than requiring the police to inform and engage unaware protestors prior to making arrests - Section 56 (5)
- Allows for a maximum sentence of 10 years for causing “serious annoyance” - Section 59
Among these provisions and numerous other draconian measures, restricting people’s civil liberties, are provisions for the Secretary of State to “make provision about the meaning” of “serious disruption”. This allows the Secretary of State to impose their will, under the pretext of interpretation of the law, and avoid parliamentary scrutiny.
This bill comes mere days after the suppression of a protest that drew condemnation from across the political spectrum. Voting for this bill on Monday expresses a belief that the police should have more powers to act in that way and indeed to go further.
This is a time at which we should be debating how we can make women feel safer on the streets of this country. It is completely unacceptable that we are now debating the very right to protest: a fundamental principle of liberal democracy.
These measures are a shameful threat to the right to protest. I urge you to vote against this bill.
Councillor Kris Brown
Liberal Democrat Candidate for Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner