Conservative MPs in the North East have been criticised for backing the “dangerous & draconian” Police Bill. In a letter to Andrew Bowie MP, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Aberdeenshire West and the North East region, Rosemary Bruce has urged the Conservative MP to “stop the dangerous and draconian Bill in its tracks”.
The letter comes in light of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill being passed on its Second Reading in the House Of Commons.
The 300 page Bill would see sweeping powers given to the Home Office to restrict the right to protest, giving police new powers to disrupt protests, marches and assemblies, make it easier to criminalise organisers and participants and increase prison sentences for them.
Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:
“These new Conservative laws to crackdown on protests are dangerous and draconian.
“The right to peaceful assembly and protest is a fundamental human right. It has always been a crucial part of our democratic society.
“These new laws are part of the Conservative Government’s anti-democratic attempts to silence any opposition to its policies. Liberal Democrats in Parliament will fiercely fight them at every step of the way.”
Rosemary Bruce, who is also an Aberdeenshire councillor said:
“Conservative MPs must put an end to this Bill, the attack on our nations protesting laws is an attack on our liberty.
“The weekend’s appalling events at the Clapham Vigil show why this Bill must be stopped in its tracks. They should force Priti Patel and Andrew Bowie to think again."
Notes to editors:
Please see letter below.
Dear Andrew Bowie MP,
I am writing to urge you to stop the dangerous and draconian Policing Bill in its tracks and vote it down at the next stage in Parliament.
Even before the Covid pandemic, too many people felt unsafe in their own homes or walking down their own streets. Now it is clearer than ever that Conservative Ministers who have been trying hard to seem tough on crime are failing to do what works to actually prevent it.
Police need the officers, resources and time to focus on preventing and solving crimes, and that young people need a positive alternative to gangs and violence.
That's why Liberal Democrats are calling for more community policing and youth services to prevent a return to the record levels of knife crime and serious violence we faced before the pandemic hit.
However, the Government has got this Bill, especially its attack on protesting, disastrously wrong.
The appalling scenes on Clapham Common at the weekend only confirm this. They must force Priti Patel to think again. How on Earth can the Government think the answer is to give the police even more powers to clamp down 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.
I, therefore, urge you to stop the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill in its track when it is next voted on in Parliament.