Policing Bill: Crushing defeats a huge victory for people’s rights

Liberal Democrat peers worked across the political divide tonight to defeat a number of controversial Conservative Government amendments to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

The Government had attempted to forcibly rush through anti-protest measures without the appropriate time afforded for the House of Lords to scrutinise them – and without any consideration by the House of Commons at all.

But nearly 70 Liberal Democrat Lords voted into the early hours of Tuesday the 18th to ensure the provisions were roundly defeated.

Such provisions included a potential 51 week prison sentence for chaining (attachment to objects) and a proposed new offence for obstructing major transport works.

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Home Affairs in the House of Lords, Brian Paddick, said: “This is a huge victory for people’s rights and effective policing, and a crushing defeat for this Conservative Government and their anti-democratic attempts to silence any opposition they face.

“To be able to peacefully assemble and protest is a fundamental human right. With these votes tonight, a message has been sent to the Government that their dangerous and draconian policies that aim to undermine this will be fiercely resisted.

“Some of the worst parts of this Bill – particularly the expansion of suspicionless stop and search and court-ordered bans on protests – will never see the light of day. This is a big win for British rights and freedoms.”

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