The Tories are failing to keep our communities safe and secure as prosecutions have dropped and recorded violent crime has risen. Tackling crime and violence against women should be the focus of this Bill.
We couldn’t, in good faith, vote for a Bill that does nothing to reverse the Conservatives’ failure to address this epidemic and which imposes draconian restrictions on the right to protest.
We have called on the Government to drop its poorly thought-out proposals and instead work constructively with Labour to improve the legislation. This offer has been ignored.
Instead, Labour Lords put forward alternative, sensible measures that seek to address the inadequacies of the bill, including:
- Scraping the power to impose conditions on protest marches judged to be ‘too noisy’.
- Protecting Parliament Square as a place to protest.
- Requiring police officers to tell the truth in public inquiries.
- Demanding an urgent review into the prevalence of drink-spiking offences.
- Protecting the public from dangerous or intimidatory protests such as protests on motorways that risk lives or anti vax intimidation outside schools.
- Making misogyny a hate crime by giving the courts the power to treat misogyny as an aggravating factor in any crime and increase sentences accordingly.
- Scraping the Vagrancy Act 1824, which makes it a crime to beg as well as sleep rough.
Last night in the House of Lords, the Government suffered a whopping 14 defeats on a range of measures in the list above. I’m struggling to remember any other example in my time as your Member of Parliament that the Government has been so badly and consistently defeated on a Bill.
The Bill will soon return to the House of Commons. The Government should now listen to the Lords and think again. Labour will continue to argue for a better approach.