Kerry McCarthy Labour MP for Bristol East
I’m currently on the Committee for the Government’s latest attempt to restrict people’s right to protest, the Public Order Bill. This Bill includes that the Government tried to include in its controversial Police Crime Sentencing and Courts Bill, but failed to get through the House of Lords. I am deeply concerned by how undemocratic some of the provisions are, and jumped at the chance to serve on the Bill committee so that I can scrutinise the legislation in depth. During our session on Thursday we heard from a representative of HS2 Limited, who claimed without much evidence that creating more criminal offences – such as ‘going equipped for tunnelling’ – could act as a deterrent to protestors. I asked whether this is actually the case as some protestors set out with the specific intention of getting arrested. I also pointed out that the more unreasonable the measures that are introduced, the more likely we are to see protestors acquitted by a jury, as we saw in the case of the Colston Four.
Watch clip here.