Kerry McCarthy Labour MP for Bristol East
The Government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will take away people’s rights to protest whilst doing nothing to protect women from harassment, abuse and violence.
It’s a Bill in which statues matter more than women, introducing a sentence of up to ten years for defacing a memorial, compared to a minimum five year sentence for rape.
In my speech (which was highlighted by the Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/…/bill-that-curtails…), I drew a contrast between the way Bristol responded to the toppling of Colston’s statue, seeking to bring Bristolians back together after the protests, to the Government’s stoking of social and cultural anxieties to win votes.
Whether it is Black Lives Matter, Reclaim the Streets, the school climate strikes or just someone who wants to pay tribute to a murdered woman by lighting a candle and holding a vigil – this Bill makes us all collateral in the Government’s trumped-up “war on woke”.
Despite Labour opposition, last night Tory MPs voted for the Bill at Second Reading, meaning it will now progress to Committee stage. Labour MPs will continue doing everything we can to remove the most harmful elements from the Bill, whilst seeking to strengthen its protections for victims of crime.
Watch my speech here.