May 12, 2008

Joint Committee on the Draft Constitutional Renewal Bill call for evidence - are they trying to prevent the repeal of SOCPA sections 132 to 138 ?

The Joint Select Committee on the Draft Constitutional Renewal Bill (.pdf) has issued a public call for evidence:

Joint Committee on the Constitutional Renewal Bill call for evidence (.pdf)

Given the other important areas which this Bill covers e.g. War Powers, Treaties,the Civil Service and the Attorney General etc., there is a danger that the first section of the Bill will be hurriedly glossed over, and something other than a complete repeal of the extremely controversial and unpopular Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 sections 132 to 138, which the Draft Bill appears to promise, could end up being recommended by the Committee.

This must not be allowed to happen.


11. The Draft Bill provides an opportunity to re-balance the right to protest outside Parliament against the right of Parliament to operate effectively and without hindrance. How should this balance be struck?

12. Should Parliament be treated any differently from any other part of the country in terms of managing protests? How should the legitimate expectations of Parliamentarians and Parliamentary authorities be defined? In particular, would the repeal of sections 132 to 138 of Serious Organised Crime and Police Act give rise to a need for new powers for the police or other authorities to:

(i) Ensure free access to, from and around the Parliamentary Estate and to enable Parliamentarians to discharge their roles and responsibilities,
(ii) Restrict the use of loudspeakers,
(iii) Take account of the particular security risk,
(iv) Protect Parliament Square as a world heritage site,
(v) Prevent permanent demonstrations in Parliament Square,
(vi) Ensure equal access to the right to protest.

13. Are Sessional Orders (Orders passed by Parliament which impose an obligation on the Metropolitan Police Commissioner) still an appropriate means to manage protests around Parliament?

You have less than a month until 12th June 2008 if you want to try to influence this Committee, to make sure that they do not recommend some other equally undemocratic and restrictive alternative.


Continue reading "Joint Committee on the Draft Constitutional Renewal Bill call for evidence - are they trying to prevent the repeal of SOCPA sections 132 to 138 ?" »

March 27, 2008

Draft Constitutional Renewal Bill - REPEAL of SOCPA sections 132 to 138 Designated Area around Parliament Square announced

The Department of Justice , under Jack Straw, has published

The Governance of Britain - Draft Constitutional Renewal Bill (.pdf 98 pages)

The good news is that the very first section of this draft Bill would repeal the wretched sections 132 to 138 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005. Hurray !


1 Repeal of sections 132 to 138 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005

(1) Omit sections 132 to 138 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (c.15) (which regulates demonstrations in the vicinity of Parliament)

(2) In the Table in section 175(3) of that Act (transitional provision relating to offences) omit the entries relating to section 136.

(3) In paragraph 1(1) of Schedule 2 to the Noise and Statutory Nuisance Act 1993 (c.40) (which is about consents for the operation of loudspeakers) omit "or of section 137(1) of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005".

(4) Omit paragraph 64 of Schedule 6 to the Serious Crime Act 2007 (c.27)

This repeal includes the ban on loudspeakers.

The inchoate offences under the Serious Crime Act 2007 i.e. conspiracy, aiding and abetting the Organisation of an unauthorised Demonstration under SOCPA section 136 offences, will also be repealed. These are on the statute book, but not yet brought into force (they were due to come into force probably next month in April)

Essentially things revert back to the status quo ante and section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986 and section 62 of the Control of Pollution Act 1974 and section 8 of the Noise and Statutory Nuisance Act 1993 will apply to the former Designated Area, just like they do in the rest of London and to the rest of England and Wales.

These Acts do not apply to the< strong>interior public spaces of the Palace of Westminster , Portcullis House, or to the churches, theatres, cinemas, pubs clubs, bars and restaurants etc.which were caught under the SOCPA Designated Area definition of a "public place"

The Bill also changes the role of the Attorney General to that of , mostly the Director of Public Prosecutions, in deciding whether or not to go ahead with a prosecution under many bits of legislation, including the Criminal Trespass on Protected Sites section 128 of SOCPA, which is not being repealed, and which will still apply to the Palace of Westminster, Portcullis House, the north side of Downing Street and the Cabinet Office, the Ministry of Defence buildings , the Security Service MI5 and Secret Intelligence Service MI6 headquarters buildings and Buckingham Palace etc.

However, this is still only a Draft Bill, and the actual legislation might not be passed and come into force until next year.

In the meantime, the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith should rescind the Designated Area Order, which she could do with the stroke of a pen, today.

The Metropolitan Police Service and the Crown Prosecution Service should immediately drop any pending charges or prosecutions under this soon to be repealed legislation.

Ideally, there should be a Royal Pardon and a Public Apology given to those people who have been convicted under this badly conceived, badly written SOCPA section 132 legislation. Their fingerprint and DNA profiles etc. as well as those of the people who have been arrested but not charged or not convicted, should be expunged from the criminal records and intelligence databases.

January 15, 2008

Managing Protest consultation response

Here is our short response to the Home Office's Managing Protest around Parliament public consultation which closes this Thursday 17th January 2008:

  • 1) Repeal SOCPA 2005 sections 132 to 138
  • 2) No "harmonisation" with the Public Order Act 1986
  • 3) Sessional Orders must be reformed for the 21st Century
Some possible face saving options and minor amendments:
  • Option 1: Vastly reduce the size of the Section 138 Designated Area
  • Option 2: Remove the inclusion of indoor "Public Places
  • Option 3: Clarify the ambiguous extent of the Section 138 Designated Area boundary
  • Option 4: Amend Section 132 to include a clear definition of the word "demonstration"
  • Option 5: Modify the SOCPA 2005 Section 128 Protected Site Designations
  • Option 6: Remove the Security Service MI5 Thames House "steps" anomaly

Continue reading "Managing Protest consultation response" »

Reminder: Managing Protest public consultation closes this Thursday 17th January 2008

repeal-SOCPA-info_300.gif has useful background briefings for the Managing Protest around Parliament public consultation, which closes this Thursday 17th January 2008.

There is a danger that this Labour Government could use this Public Consultation to "harmonise" the laws covering static demonstrations (of which the Designated Area around Parliament Square is a special case, with the Public Order laws which restrict processions and marches on the roads generally i.e. to inflict the wretched SOCPA restrictions everywhere else in England and Wales, or to apply Public Order restrictions to one person static demonstrations everywhere

Sections 132 to 138 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 should be repealed and even the Designated / Protected site "criminal trespass" section 128 needs to be modified to exclude public areas within their perimeters e.g. Central Lobby or the Committee Rooms of the Palace of Westminster and Portcullis House, the public tourist areas of WIndsor Castle etc.

The recent amendment to SOCPA section 136 made by the Serious Crime Act 2007 should also be repealed - it seems to be aimed at suppressing websites like this Parliament Protest blog, which may give information about forthcoming protests, which may or may not be legal protests.

The Sessional Orders which rightly protect Parliament from interference through obstruction or intimidation of MPs and Peers, whilst Parliament is in session, should also be restricted, so that they cannot be abused to threaten to ban marches and demonstrations, in say, Trafalgar Square or Whitehall.

It is worth sending in even a short submission, expressing your views. by this Thursday.

See also the previous blog posting : Managing Protest Around Parliament" consulatation on SOCPA ss 132-138 Designated Area around Parliament Square.

October 25, 2007

"Managing Protest Around Parliament" consulatation on SOCPA ss 132-138 Designated Area around Parliament Square

The Government have today published a public consultation document on the notorious Sections 132 to 138 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 Designated Area around Parliament Square.

There is no question but that this legislation has significantly undermined the right to peaceful protests in central London, without providing any extra real "security", It has causied lots of headaches for the Metropolitan Police, and has increased public contempt for the Government.

The Labour politicians and civil service apparatchiki seem to be desperate for a face saving way out of the shameful, hypocritical, undemocratic mess which, for which they are to blame.

Interestingly the language in the consultation paper focuses entirely on Parliament, whilst failing to provide any justification for the current and theoretical extent of the Designated Area. The Designated Area currently also encompasses Downing Street, Whitehall, Labour party HQ, Liberal Democrat party HQ, the Metropolitan Police HQ, the Home Office, the MI5 Security Service building, and the Millennium ferris wheel on the other side of the river Thames from Parliament, none of which are directly relevant to the smooth running of Parliament, which is the supposed justification for the Sessional Orders and for SOCPA sections 132 to 138.

Managing Protest Around Parliament

The consultation paper Managing Protest around Parliament stems from a Governance of Britain green paper in which the government committed to consulting on the sections of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act covering demonstrations near Parliament.

This consultation takes another look at sections 132-138 of that act, and explores whether there is another way to address the situation that would both uphold the right to protest while also giving police the powers they need to keep the peace.

This consultation will close on 17 January 2008.

Full consultation document (360Kb .pdf): Managing Protest around Parliament

This "public consultation" does not guarantee that they will take any actual notice of the public who might choose to express their views, but it is worth going through the motions, so that they cannot claim that nobody raised any objections to the status quo.

If you do not trust this Government sufficiently (why should you ?) to send in an individual response, you are welcome to add comments here on this blog, or to send them in via anonymous or pseudo anonymous email and we will submit them anonymously alongside our own response to this public consultation.

You can use our PGP public encryption key for, if you understand how to do so.

October 14, 2007

Where is the promised review or repeal of SOCPA s132 Designated Area around Parliament Square ?

Written Answers Friday, 12 October 2007

House of Lords
Demonstrations: Parliament Square

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer (Liberal Democrat) |
asked Her Majesty's Government:

When the consultation, mentioned by the Prime Minister in his pre-Queen's Speech statement, on the provisions of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 concerning demonstrations in Parliament Square will take place.

Lord West of Spithead (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Security and Counter-terrorism), Home Office)

The consultation referred to by the noble Baroness will commence shortly.

Why, exactly, could there not have been a standard 12 week Public Consultation during the Summer Recess ?

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer has previously tabled a Private Members Bill to repeal the wretched SOCPA legislation relating to the suppression of fre 2005e speech, freedom of assembly and peaceful protest.

Lord West of Spithead is the retired senior military and intelligence officer who has been controversially appointed as the Home Office Security Minister. Whilst obviously more competent than the "not fit for purpose" Labour MPs who are Ministers at the Home Office, the fact that he has such a powerful Ministerial brief, but is not politically answerable to the electorate in any way, is another step down the slippery slope to dictatorship.

Unless and until Gordon Brown repeals this legislation, he is no different from his NuLabour predecessor Tony Blair.

July 4, 2007

Governance of Britain Green Paper: "will consult widely" on SOCPA ss 132-138 Designated Area around Parliament Square ?

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has made some headline grabbing promises about trying to restore trust in Parliament and the Government through Constitutional reforms, published in a Green Paper: The Governance of Britain (.pdf)

There is a section which promises some sort of vague "consultation" on the controversial Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 sections 132 - 138 Designated Area around Parliament Square:

Restrictions on protests around Parliament

164. The ability of citizens to campaign and protest is essential to a democracy.

No government should place unnecessary restrictions on this right. For decades the Commons sessional orders effectively prohibited demonstrations n an area around Westminster when Parliament was sitting. However, the Government is aware of the strong views expressed in reaction to the provisions on protests around Parliament introduced in sections 132-138 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005, both in terms of the principle behind these restrictions and how they have operated in practice
The current restrictions require protesters to obtain authorisation from the police before demonstrating in the vicinity of Parliament and to abide by any conditions imposed by the police on a demonstration.

165. Freedom of expression is a fundamental British value, and the right to peaceful protest has long been regarded as an important component of the liberties of British citizens. This right is also protected by Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights,29 incorporated into UK law by the Human Rights Act 1998.

166. The Government will therefore consult widely on the provisions in the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act with a view to ensuring that people’s right to protest is not subject to unnecessary restrictions. This review will need to reflect the security situation and allow the business of Parliament to proceed unhindered, but will be conducted with a presumption in favour of freedom of expression. In return, protesters will of course need to obey the law and relevant bylaws.

The devil is in the detail, and until we see exactly what is being proposed, we remain extremely suspicious of this alleged "consultation" process, given this Government's track record on ignoring the feedback from the public, and pressing on with their own agenda regardless.

June 25, 2007

Sunday Times: "Brown to allow Iraq protests"

The Sunday Times has a front page story by the usually well informed / well leaked to David Cracknell:

The Sunday Times June 24, 2007 Brown to allow Iraq protests David Cracknell Political Editor

GORDON BROWN is to make a symbolic gesture to critics of the Iraq war by allowing antiwar protesters to demonstrate and march outside parliament.

This will reverse legislation introduced by Tony Blair two years ago to restrict the rights of people to camp on Parliament Square and install banners criticising the government.

We will believe it when we see the relevant legislation repealed.

The move, one of the announcements planned for the new prime minister’s first 100 days in office, comes amid encouraging opinion polls for Brown. It will be an early sign that Brown intends to be more sympathetic to critics of the war, although it will disappoint those who have been calling for him to declare an immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

The SOCPA section 132 legislation affects all protests and undefined "demonstrations" not just anti-Iraq war ones.

The restored right to protest outside parliament will be combined with plans to bolster the protection of the Palace of Westminster and key ministries and government buildings along Whitehall. The Sunday Times has seen a memo from Sir Richard Mottram, chairman of the joint intelligence committee, outlining plans to erect barriers, walls, balustrades and bollards around Parliament Square.

If these further restrict the access of the public to lobby their Members' of Parliament, and to observe Parliamentary democracy in action, then the terrorists will have won another propaganda victory.

Brown believes the right of the public to protest and demonstrate is crucial to democracy, although he is said to be aware of MPs’ concerns that previous noisy demonstrations in Parliament Square have caused an eyesore and distracted workers in nearby buildings.

One Brown ally said last night: “The legitimate right to peaceful protests, marches and rallies does not mean the right to set up permanent eyesores in the square or the right to abuse policemen and passers-by.”


Brown’s decision to revisit the ban on protests follows his promise to restore the primacy of parliament and to give MPs more opportunities to hold the government to account, including allowing them the right to vote on any future military action.

The government introduced legislation in July 2005 banning unauthorised protests within half a mile of parliament. Brian Haw, the long-time protester, has been allowed to remain camped in the square as a court ruled that his protest had begun before the legislation came into force.

Yesterday, demonstrators took advantage of confusion over Haw’s legal situation by setting up a small antiwar camp in the square as police looked on.


One thing which has obviously not changed under Gordon Brown, is the briefing of the Sunday mainstream media with supposedly secret Government memos regarding national security, when it suits the political spin doctors to do so., in order to fly a political kite, without bothering to have a debate in Parliament about the issues involved.

December 7, 2006

Public Demonstrations (Repeals) Bill - Private Member's Bill in the House of Lords

Public Demonstrations (Repeals) Bill is a short Private Member's Bill which has been introduced (First Reading, no debate, as yet) in the House of Lords, It probably has little chance of being passed, but perhaps there might be a chance for some lobbying and debate and media publicity.

If passed, it would simply repeal the controversial Designated Area around Parliament Square, and the slightly less controversial ones around civil nuclear sites, and other Designated Sites, mostly military bases, so far, but technically any Crown property.

Public Demonstrations (Repeals) Bill [HL]

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer: My Lords, I beg to introduce a Bill to amend certain provisions of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 and other legislative restraints on public demonstrations; and for connected purposes. I beg to move that this Bill be now read a first time.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Bill read a first time, and ordered to be printed.


23 Nov 2006 : Column 432

It is well worth writing a letter or even a Christmas card, to support the Liberal Democrat Peer

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer
who has proposed this Bill:

Write (the form of address for a Baroness is "Dear Lady Miller,") to:

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer
House of Lords

Email: or


The online poll on her website is currently running 2 to 1 in favour of freedom to demonstrate peacefully without prior Police permission.

Here is the Full text of the BIll. apart from the Schedule:

Continue reading "Public Demonstrations (Repeals) Bill - Private Member's Bill in the House of Lords" »

July 11, 2006

Boris Johnson MP supports the Human Chain around the Designated Area pledge

At the other end of the political spectrum from rikki (see the previous post) is the Conservative Member of Parliament and journalist Boris Johnson.

Boris, via his "Right of Protest" blog article, is supporting the PledgeBank Human Chain Pledge:

"I will form part of a human chain around the Westminster no protest zone but only if 6,000 other people will join in."

-- Richard

Deadline to sign up by: 15th January 2007
1,053 people have signed up, 4947 more needed

May 25, 2006

Boris Johnson on the repression of freedom of speech in the SOCPA Designated Area

Boris Johnson, the Conservative MP for Henley and media personality has written about Brian Haw, Maya Evans, the Sunday tea party protests and the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 Designated Area:

Restrictions on Free Speech

May 25, 2006

Blair's crackdown on freedom is an inspiration to tyrants


I can't say I deeply regret the containment in Parliament Square of Brian Haw, the father of seven, anti-war loony who used to bellow at me on my bicycle. Call me finickety, but I thought his posters and general gubbins were a disgrace and spoiled the look of the place; and yet he also, like Eric, represented something dementedly British, and we should remember the impact he must have had on the world's television audiences as they watched the prime ministerial cavalcade sweep past.

There he was, one of the most powerful men in the world, joint toppler of Saddam, barrelling past in his tint-windowed armour-plated Blairmobile; and yet every time Blair or any of us passed by, the British state was so weirdly generous that it allowed this Haw fellow to yodel his imprecations from his ragged throne; and now his freedoms have been lessened.

In the global village, people will notice, and in a small way it will make a difference. Across the world, Britain still stands for a certain idea of liberty, a particular concept of the relationship between the citizen and the state. The tragedy is not so much that this reputation is being lost, but that we are collaborating in its destruction.


How can we urge governments to allow free speech when we round up a 25-year-old chef, Maya Evans, and prevent her from reading out the names of the Iraq war dead at the Cenotaph?

It doesn't make it much easier for British organisations to defend liberty abroad when anti-war protesters are arrested for merely eating toast and tea in Parliament Square, or when old socialists are scragged by the police and hauled from the room for heckling Jack Straw.


This plague of Labour legislation may not much affect the criminals and illegal asylum-seekers of Britain. But the laws give the likes of Mugabe the pleasure of saying, tu quoque: you are up to it as well.

Britain has something far more precious and more important to give the world than the £4.6 billion of overseas aid, and that is the idea of freedom. It is not shortages that cause famine, but tyranny. No tyrant can survive for too long in the face of a free press and a free civil society. The sad thing is that we are losing our moral authority to export our greatest asset.

It took 78 Police Officers and £7,500 to remove Brian Haw's banners from Parliament Square, according to the Metropolitan Police Authority - UPDATE now it seems it cost £27,754 !

According to David Mery, who attended this morning's meeting of the Metropolitan Police Authority, in order to ask his Question, as a member ot the public, about being falsely arrested and having his home searched, DNA and fingerprints and computer equipment taken etc. in the wake of last July's terrorist attacks, an interesting nuggets of information was revealed about the scale and cost of the Metropolitan Police operation to remove Brian Haw's banners and posters from Parliament Square on Tuesday 23rd May 2006.

"it took 78 officers – more than has been reported so far by the press – six hours at a cost of £7,500 to seize Brian Haw's placards;"

Presumably this emerged in response to a question by Jenny Jones, the Green Party Greater London Assembly member of the Metropolitan Police Authority.

It is inconceivable that there could not have been some real criminals that most of those 78 Police Officers, could and should have been dealing with instead.

UPDATE: according to the Daily Mail. the monetary figure is "only" £7,200

It emerged today that 78 officers had been involved and the operation had cost £7,200 - £3,000 on overtime and another £4,200 on transport, catering and the erection of road signs.


Commander Chris Allison, who was in charge of the operation, said not all of the 78 officers had been deployed - 24 were kept in reserve, while some of the others were evidence-gathering teams who were filming proceedings.

Only eight officers had approached Mr Haw in the first instance, he said.

Mr Haw is due to appear at Bow Street Magistrates' Court on May 30 to answer charges of breaching his conditions to demonstrate in the square.


The Sunday Telegraph has a story which claims that Sir Ian Blair misled the Metropolitan Police Authority meeting about this cost, which is apparently, a staggering £27,754 !

Sir Ian told the Metropolitan Police Authority on Thursday that the cost of removing a peace camp from Parliament Square, which involved 78 officers, was £7,200.

The following day, the issue was discussed by the Met's management board. Within hours, details of the meeting were passed to a journalist, who contacted Scotland Yard for a comment. That afternoon, Sir Ian admitted that he had misled the authority, as the true cost of dismantling the anti-war protester Brian Haw's placards, including officers' pay, was £27,754

What on earth did they waste all this public money for ?

Londoners should demand an explanation from the Metropolitan Police Service, via a complaint to their local member of the Metropolitan Police Authority about this misleading reporting, and the utter waste of public money.

January 25, 2006

No Home Office "guidance" to the Metropolitan Police regarding SOCPA Designated Area laws ?

Why has the Home Office apparently not issued any "guidance" or instructions to the Metropolitan Police regarding the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act Designated Area around Parliament Square and beyond ?

Are the NuLabour politicians trying to blame the Metroplitan Police who have the thankless task of enforcing this incompetent and repressive legislation ?

According to this Parliamentary Written Answer:

Written answers Thursday, 19 January 2006

Home Department
Serious Organised Crime and Police Act

Robert Wilson (Reading East, Con):

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance his Department has issued to the police on the implementation of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 in the vicinity of Parliament since the recent arrest and conviction of Maya Anne Evans.

Paul Goggins (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Home Office):

No guidance has been issued on the provisions of the Serious Organised Crime Act dealing with Parliament Square. Home Office officials have worked closely with the Metropolitan police on the implementation of this legislation. We do not consider that written guidance to the Commissioner is necessary. However, we keep the need for guidance under review, in the light of operational experience.

October 14, 2005

Second Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation debate on the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (Designated Area) Order 2005 is now available online

Wednesday's debate by the Second Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation regarding the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (Designated Area) Order 2005 is now available online.

The actual list of Members of Parliament who attended the Committee varies slightly from that which was published earlier:

The Committee consisted of the following Members:

Chris Mole (Lab - Ipswich) and Anne Snelgrove (Lab - South Swindon) appeared to substitute for Anne Cryer (Lab - Keighley - member of the Home Affairs Select Committee) and Dennis Macshane (Lab - Rotherham)

Chris Mole was the person who seemed to be objecting most to any loudspeakers disturbing his Parliament Square facing office, but he did not make out any case for banning them throughout the huge Designated Area.

Our previous report about who exactly voted for and against was wrong:


Cohen, Harry
Goggins, Paul
Mole, Chris
Pound, Stephen
Prosser, Gwyn
Ryan, Joan
Snelgrove, Anne
Stoate, Dr. Howard


Carmichael, Mr. Alistair
Garnier, Mr. Edward
Heath, Mr. David
Herbert, Mr. Nick
Jackson, Mr. Stewart
Jones, Mr. David
Prisk, Mr. Mark

Question accordingly agreed to.


That the Committee has considered the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (Designated Area) Order 2005 (S.I. 2005, No. 1537).

i.e. Harry Cohen (Lab - Leyton & Wanstead) did join the List of Shame and did vote with the the rest of his Labour colleagues for this disproportionate legislation.

Therefore only Mr. Robert N. Wareing (Lab - Liverpool, West Derby) had his concience troubled enough by this repressive legislation to abstain from voting.

October 12, 2005

Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation approves the Statutory Instrument setting out the Designated Area around Parliament, by 8 votes to 7.

The Standing Committee for Delegated Legislation met on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the Designated Area Statutory Instrument.

Unfortunately this Committee could, as with all such SI's only vote to Reject or Accept the Statutory Instrument as a whole, and not to amend it.

Accordingly, despite some convincing points by the Liberal Democrat David Heath, and the Conservative Edward Garnier, and even from Harry Cohen and Robert Wareing on the Labour side, when it came to a vote, the SI was approved by 8 votes to 7.

We will link to the Hansard account of the debate when it becomes available online. (now available online)

Continue reading "Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation approves the Statutory Instrument setting out the Designated Area around Parliament, by 8 votes to 7." »

October 7, 2005

Members of the Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation - who will be debating the SOCPA Designated Area Order this Wednesday 12th October 2005

Here is the list of the Members of Parliament who will be debating the controversial Designated Area Order, on this coming Wednesday 12th October 2005, at 2.30pm Committee Room 9 in the Palace of Westminster.

The Statutory Instrument which they will hopefully debate and amend sets out the overlarge area in the vicinity of Parliament Square, including, incredibly, the London Eye etc. on the other bank of the River Thames, where demonstrations, free speech and freedom of assembly are curtailed.

The Public are admitted to this meeting, on a first come first served basis, as are press and media reporters.

The Parliament Committees recorded announcement phone number - 0207 219 2033 which gives information for the next two working days, should also be consulted in case there is a last minute change of location.

Hopefully some people will be able to attend this meeting, even if it is just to buttonhole the journalists

You need at least 15 minutes beforehand to get through the security checks in the Palace of Westminster, and to walk from the public entrance to the Committee Room Corridor (right through Central Lobby to the river side of the building, then right and upstairs.

It might be possible to send a submission to the Committee as a whole, care of the Chairman.

Please contact these MPs , if you happen to be a constituent (they will ignore you otherwise):

Even if this Committee cannot repeal the Designated Area Order, they might be able to reduce its size considerably, but only if there are 3 or 4 Labour MPs (out of 10) who rebel.

Continue reading "Members of the Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation - who will be debating the SOCPA Designated Area Order this Wednesday 12th October 2005" »