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Promises to repeal SOCPA come to nothing - so far

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 12:32 pm    Post subject: Promises to repeal SOCPA come to nothing - so far Reply with quote

I've just received this from Mark Barrett via freeassembly-owner@lists.riseup.net

I thought you would be interested in the following exchange in the House of Lords the other day. I wonder if you and all the others who suffered will get an apology and compensation. Don't hold your breath!

My Lords, we announced our intention to repeal the current provisions covering demonstrations around Parliament in March 2008 as part of the programme of constitutional renewal. As I informed the noble Baroness in my Written Answer of 15 January, we remain strongly committed to constitutional renewal and our aim is to bring a Bill forward as soon as parliamentary time allows. We expect that to be later this Session.

*Add your comment*< http://www.theyworkforyou.com/user/prompt/?ret=%2Flords%2F%3Fgid%3D200 9-03-16a.1.2#addcomment >

*Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer* < http://www.theyworkforyou.com/peer/?m=100427 > (Liberal Democrat) Link to this< http://www.theyworkforyou.com/lords/?gid=2009-03-16a.1.3 >| Hansard source < http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200809/ldhansrd/text/90316- 0001.htm#0903167000003 >

My Lords, I thank the Minister<http://www.theyworkforyou.com/glossary/?gl=35>for that reply, but we are still waiting for anything to happen that makes protest take the place that it should have in our democracy. Does the Minister <http://www.theyworkforyou.com/glossary/?gl=35> realise that in the mean time it has become an incredible ordeal to protest? Not only is your name taken and your number plate recognised but if you refuse to give your name your credit card will be asked for, and if you obstruct the police you will of course then be up on a charge. This is criminalising protest. Will the Minister <http://www.theyworkforyou.com/glossary/?gl=35> ensure that the guidance from the Home Office <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_Office> and the actions of the police move in the opposite direction so that we never see another Kingsnorth policed as it was, with climate protesters being treated as they were?

*Add your comment* < http://www.theyworkforyou.com/user/prompt/?ret=%2Flords%2F%3Fgid%3D200 9-03-16a.1.3#addcomment >

Lord West of Spithead < http://www.theyworkforyou.com/peer/?m=100956 >
(Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Security and Counter-terrorism), Home Office; Labour) Link to this < http://www.theyworkforyou.com/lords/?gid=2009-03-16a.1.4 > | Hansard source < http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200809/ldhansrd/text/90316- 0001.htm#0903167000004 >

My Lords, I understand the frustration about this issue and there is no
doubt that the overwhelming majority< http://www.theyworkforyou.com/glossary/?gl=37 >of the responses we had when we asked for them were for this measure to be totally repealed. However, the Joint Committee< http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joint_Committee >raised a number of other things to be looked at, which we are doing. We want to ensure that we have a sensible package in the Bill when it is introduced. With regard to Kingsnorth, I would need to look at that and consider exactly what was said there before I made any response about it.

*Add your comment*< http://www.theyworkforyou.com/user/prompt/?ret=%2Flords%2F%3Fgid%3D200 9-03-16a.1.4#addcomment >

Lord Skelmersdale < http://www.theyworkforyou.com/peer/?m=100597> (Shadow Minister, Work & Pensions; Conservative) Link to this<http://www.theyworkforyou.com/lords/?gid=2009-03-16a.1.5 >| Hansard source< http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200809/ldhansrd/text/90316- 0001.htm#0903167000005 >

My Lords, will the Bill that the Minister< http://www.theyworkforyou.com/glossary/?gl=35 >has just announced is coming have retrospective effect?

*Add your comment*< http://www.theyworkforyou.com/user/prompt/?ret=%2Flords%2F%3Fgid%3D200 9-03-16a.1.5#addcomment >

Lord West of Spithead < http://www.theyworkforyou.com/peer/?m=100956 > (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Security and Counter-terrorism), Home Office; Labour) Link to this < http://www.theyworkforyou.com/lords/?gid=2009-03-16a.1.6> | Hansard source <http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200809/ldhansrd/text/90316 -0001.htm#0903167000006 >

My Lords, so far as I understand, there will be nothing retrospective in it.

*Add your comment*< http://www.theyworkforyou.com/user/prompt/?ret=%2Flords%2F%3Fgid%3D200 9-03-16a.1.6#addcomment >
Lord Corbett of Castle Vale < http://www.theyworkforyou.com/peer/?m=100144 > (Labour) Link to this < http://www.theyworkforyou.com/lords/?gid=2009-03-16a.1.7 > | Hansard source< http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200809/ldhansrd/text/90316- 0001.htm#0903167000007 >

My Lords, can the Minister < http://www.theyworkforyou.com/glossary/?gl=35 > give the House an assurance that the police will do everything they can to facilitate peaceful protest during the coming G20 summit rather than obstructing it and praying in aid terrorism laws<http://www.theyworkforyou.com/glossary/?gl=38>that were not introduced for that purpose?

*Add your comment*< http://www.theyworkforyou.com/user/prompt/?ret=%2Flords%2F%3Fgid%3D200 9-03-16a.1.7#addcomment >

Lord West of Spithead < http://www.theyworkforyou.com/peer/?m=100956 > (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Security and Counter-terrorism), Home Office; Labour) Link to this < http://www.theyworkforyou.com/lords/?gid=2009-03-16a.1.8 > | Hansard source< http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200809/ldhansrd/text/90316- 0001.htm#0903167000008 >

My Lords, I am sure that that is exactly how the police will behave. This whole issue is interesting. I was struck by Lord Justice Laws <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord_Justice_Laws>'s judgment in the case regarding Aldermaston. This quotation is not overlong, and it is worth repeating:

"Rights worth having are unruly things. Demonstrations and protests are liable to be a nuisance. They are liable to be inconvenient and tiresome, or at least perceived as such by others who are out of sympathy with them. Sometimes they are wrong-headed and misconceived".

To paraphrase him, he said that demonstrations are, however, important for our democracy and that they should go ahead.

*Add your comment*< http://www.theyworkforyou.com/user/prompt/?ret=%2Flords%2F%3Fgid%3D200 9-03-16a.1.8#addcomment > Lord Pannick < http://www.theyworkforyou.com/peer/?m=100984> (Crossbench) Link to this < http://www.theyworkforyou.com/lords/?gid=2009-03-16a.1.9 > | Hansard source< http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200809/ldhansrd/text/90316- 0001.htm#0903167000009 >

My Lords, is the Minister < http://www.theyworkforyou.com/glossary/?gl=35 >aware that the Secretary of State < http://www.theyworkforyou.com/glossary/?gl=23 > for Justice told your Lordships' Constitution Committee on 28 January that he recognised that the restrictions on free speech in and around Parliament—let us not forget that restrictions apply to a distance of one kilometre from Parliament—are widely regarded as "rather oppressive", and were "inappropriately" included in the 2005 Act? Does the Minister< http://www.theyworkforyou.com/glossary/?gl=35 >agree that the Government should learn a lesson from this episode and listen more carefully in the future when noble Lords tell them that their legislative proposals are an unnecessary or disproportionate restriction on freedom of expression?

*Add your comment*< http://www.theyworkforyou.com/user/prompt/?ret=%2Flords%2F%3Fgid%3D200 9-03-16a.1.9#addcomment > Lord West of Spithead < http://www.theyworkforyou.com/peer/?m=100956 > (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Security and Counter-terrorism), Home Office; Labour) Link to this < http://www.theyworkforyou.com/lords/?gid=2009-03-16a.3.0 > | Hansard source< http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200809/ldhansrd/text/90316- 0001.htm#0903167000010 >

My Lords, as I said before, the Government are quite unequivocal about the fact that they intend to repeal these provisions, and we see that they were wrong. Certainly, speaking for myself, I constantly listen very carefully to what is said in this House, and I make sure that statements in the House are taken account of when we look at legislation.

*Add your comment*< http://www.theyworkforyou.com/user/prompt/?ret=%2Flords%2F%3Fgid%3D200 9-03-16a.3.0#addcomment >

Baroness Falkner of Margravine< http://www.theyworkforyou.com/peer/?m=100782> (Liberal Democrat) Link to this < http://www.theyworkforyou.com/lords/?gid=2009-03-16a.3.1 >| Hansard source< http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200809/ldhansrd/text/90316- 0001.htm#0903167000011 >

My Lords, despite the Government's complacency—it is a year now since it was announced that the provisions would be repealed—how many people have been denied the right to protest in and around Parliament in the one-kilometre radius since the law came into effect? Can the Minister< http://www.theyworkforyou.com/glossary/?gl=35 >give us those figures?

*Add your comment*< http://www.theyworkforyou.com/user/prompt/?ret=%2Flords%2F%3Fgid%3D200 9-03-16a.3.1#addcomment >

Lord West of Spithead < http://www.theyworkforyou.com/peer/?m=100956 > (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Security and Counter-terrorism), Home Office; Labour) Link to this < http://www.theyworkforyou.com/lords/?gid=2009-03-16a.3.2 > | Hansard source < http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200809/ldhansrd/text/90316- 0001.htm#0903167000012 >

My Lords, we are not complacent about this at all. As I say, we are moving forward with this. We have listened to what was said. I think that the way it was brought in was wrong. It was brought in for very good reasons; people thought it would help because there are issues of access to the House, security and noise, but it was clearly a very blunt, heavy-handed instrument. It was not right and we have recognised that. We will repeal it and we are working very hard to do that. I am afraid that I do not have the actual numbers at my fingertips, but I shall get back to the noble Baronessin writing on those"
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wow Surprised
'Come and see the violence inherent in the system.
Help, help, I'm being repressed!'

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 1:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a bunch of crooks - here's my favourite bits

Q40 John Austin: You have reaffirmed the government's intention of repealing sections 132 to 138 of SOCPA. In earlier evidence, the government have said to us that this was a matter of constitutional renewal and it was not because of the government's feelings that there was a compliance problem on human rights grounds. I notice, unless I have missed it, that the Constitutional Renewal Bill is not in the Queen's Speech this year. If you are going to do it as part of constitutional renewal, when do you expect to bring in the repeal of 132 to 138 of SOCPA?

Mr Coaker: We expect that to come in this session. We think it is an important part of the constitutional renewal and in the response that you will have seen to the document in managing protests around Parliament there was general recognition in the responses that we had to that that it was unpopular.

Q41 John Austin: Which Bill will it be part of?

Mr Coaker: The Constitutional Renewal Bill.

Q42 Chairman: That is not happening.

Mr Papaleontiou: The programme of constitutional renewal was referenced in the Queen's Speech. We will be taking forward measures which will be addressed.

Q43 Chairman: It is somewhere towards the back end of the queue. Why can you not take it as part of the Law Reform Bill?

Mr Coaker: My understanding was that we were changing this with respect to the SOCPA clauses and we were amending those in this session of Parliament. I will go back to the Department and clarify that. I have been briefed to say that to the Committee. That was my understanding as well but I will go back and clarify that with the Department and write to the Committee to make sure that I am not misinforming you.

Q44 Chairman: That is helpful but if it looks as though the Constitutional Renewal Bill is going to be at the back of the queue for the parliamentary year, we may need to carry the Bill into the next year, which may mean it gets alongside of the General Election, that is not very helpful. It is a relatively minor reform in terms of drafting so I will put it to you again: we know there is going to be a Law Reform Bill. Why can it not be part of that? I ask it in a rhetorical way.

Mr Coaker: I cannot answer that

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