MPs to debate petition against protest policing bill

A parliamentary petition against legislation that has sparked protests across the UK is to be debated by MPs later this month.

Rally in Parliament Square in central London in protest against government inaction on climate change, 17 November 2018. Photo: Eddie Thornton

Nearly 250,000 people have signed the petition against the Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which seeks to give greater powers to police to control protests.

The petition urged parliament not to restrict rights to peaceful protest. It said:

“The right to peaceful assembly and protest are fundamental principles of any democracy and the proposed part of this bill that gives the police new powers to tackle disruptive peaceful protests should be removed from The Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.”

It said protests were a fundamental right and had been through UK history.

“It is how policies have been challenged and changed in the past. Without them, you are effectively saying nobody has the right to peacefully challenge anything. If people feel the need to protest then the government should listen and not be shutting down this legitimate way of people voicing their concerns and opinions. This is a dismantling of our civil liberties.”

The government responded to the petition earlier this month:

“The public order measures in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill do not erode the public’s right to protest; the Government will not be removing these measures from the Bill.”

On 16 March, Labour failed to prevent the bill getting its second reading in the House of Commons. The legislation is now waiting to go through the committee stage.

Any petition posted on the parliamentary website that gets 100,000 signatures will be considered for debate.

The debate on the protest petition is on Monday 26 April in Westminster Hall at 6.15pm. The petition will be presented by Matt Vickers, the Conservative MP for Stockton South.

Protests and petitions

There were repeated “kill the bill” protests in Bristol and other cities after the bill was published last month. A national weekend of action was held at the start of April.

Several other petitions against the bill have been published.

At the time of writing, more than 212,000 people had signed Netpol’s petition to the National Police Chiefs Council. This petition opposes the legislation and calls for a charter for freedom of assembly rights.

More than 146,000 people have signed Greenpeace’s petition, which described the policing bill as “a threat to democracy, to a safe and equal society, and to a sustainable world”.

There are more than 84,000 signatures on the Friends of the Earth petition, which urges the government to “fundamentally rethink its approach”.

Nearly 39,000 people have signed a petition to the UK government, London Mayor and the metropolitan police against increasing police powers over protests.

A further 12,500 people have signed a parliamentary petition to remove the clause in the bill against single person protests.

11 replies »

  1. It would appear that not many people have bothered to sign any of these petitions?

    Examples of other “petitions”:


    Prevent gyms closing due to a spike in Covid 19 cases
    In the event of a spike we would like you not to close gyms as a measure to stop any spread of Covid. Also for gyms to not be put in the same group as pubs in terms of risk or importance. Gyms are following strict guidelines and most members are following rules in a sober manner.

    621,442 signatures


    Exempt golf courses from the list of venues required to close due to Covid-19
    Isolation essential to the Government’s strategy for fighting coronavirus, and UK citizens must remain healthy and exercise whilst keeping adequate distance between people. The Government should allow golf courses to open so families or individuals can play golf in order to exercise safely.

    257,267 signatures


    Ban all ISIS members from returning to the UK, remove their citizenship and passports

    598,254 signatures


    If England win the world cup, the Monday should be made a bank holiday for 2018
    We need this for all those supporting England as the next day will not be pleasant for all fans

    237,396 signatures

    And so on…….

    It seems that not too many people are against the bill including myself.

    • “It seems that not too many people are against the bill including myself.”
      Or perhaps just disillusioned, Paul, with the effectiveness and reliability of petitions, given people’s unwillingness to engage or pop their heads above the parapet on matters you and I consider significant. You could perhaps start your own petition in favour of the bill, although sadly I won’t sign.

    • Jono

      Re your question – what would the world be like if the right to protest was banned?

      It would be like a few countries I have worked in, who are the peoples democratic republics of XX or wherever.

      Always good that old blighty is as it is – and the right to go to work while passing protestors is still is enshrined in law.

      Re doing whatever you are told without question – I do not see that protest is the first action to take when you disagree with an instruction. How about – er no, I do not agree with that instruction and for these reasons (or run out, grab a banner and start protesting?).

      It may be different in the services or in an emergency – (evacuate the building now – there is a fire – hang on, lets protest as we prefer to stay and burn to a crisp – power to the, er burned ones?).

      Actually is was a close relative of mine who said exactly the same thing about vaccination, and was into the term sheeples and ‘you believe everything you say in the media’. So it touched a nerve (as believing everything they say in the Guardian and the Spectator / private eye is not possible I think). Plus a catholic upbringing leads to a healthy disrespect of instruction without a factual basis.

  2. As the Bill is being debated currently, why another debate about the same?

    The arguments will be the same, the outcome will be the same. Protest will still be allowed but certain abuses of the right will be controlled. That is what happens with laws, they adjust to match change in circumstances.

    I don’t know about Paul’s human rights, but mine include reading what I like-I even read Jono! So, if some groups wish to prevent my human rights in that respect there need to be adjustments within the law, otherwise 1930s Germany all over again.

    When a left wing mayor refers to “politically illiterate” groups out to cause mayhem, with Kill the Bill as their mantra, then the result of this debate is guaranteed. All that will happen is some more politically illiterate people in Westminster will add their voices and not change the outcome.

    For those still not happy, then I suggest crowd funding to employ a certain Mr. Cameron who can lobby for you, without the need to cause mayhem. Although, I suspect the current “scrutiny” will eventually show he is not a very successful lobbyist, so then mayhem would be sadly missed. Perhaps an examination for those who wish to protest prior to the protest, so it can at least be established that they have a knowledge of what the protest is about? Sorry 1720, but it would also thin out a lot more as well.

    • I’m getting mildly fed up with your cheap jibes, Martin, in so far as I can be bothered to take your comments seriously. I think I must have said something at some stage which you have interpreted as my travelling to a demo without knowing what it was about. I can’t think what or when such a statement of mine was but it might help if you could refer me to it. I could then try and put you right. This could lead to your having to find another cheap jibe though. Sorry if that proves to be the case.

      • You can train your memory, 1720, if you so desired, but I will help you out:

        11/3/21 6.47pm-Not too long ago, your name so should be only one person responsible:

        “I attended the “second vote” Brexit demonstrations at Westminster and elsewhere last year travelling “significant distances”. This legislation would make me a criminal because I believed HMG had engineered the result by lying and I was anxious to test the result etc.etc.”

        It had to be pointed out that the excuse of your needing to do that was totally incorrect, and on that basis you did attend a demo without knowing what it was about. HMG was AGAINST Brexit, campaigned AGAINST Brexit spending tax payers money to do so, lost the referendum and the PM resigned. Next PM had campaigned (weakly) AGAINST Brexit and didn’t deliver what the people’s vote had demanded, so it took a third PM, and then a further vote (GE) to get the people’s first vote fulfilled. That is the history. You were actually demonstrating AGAINST the people’s vote, not HMG, attacking the people NOT HMG. I accept you may have not liked the result of the referendum, but that is a different matter. You may not like HMG, but that is a different matter. HMG lost the referendum, having campaigned against Brexit. That is historical fact. But, they did lie.

        No need to try and put me right. I know the history, it is you who do not and you who posted that, not me. Live with what you post, or don’t post it. If others note what you post and comment accurately that is not a jibe but just noting what you have already posted-as I have done re. HS2. You felt at the time that made a point, I felt at the time, and subsequently, it did-but again, not the point you thought it did. Since when, in France, they are apparently of a similar mind to me. So, which one of us should join a demo for HS2 or one against HS2 giving our excuse as helping the environment and which one would be correct? I am leaning my way after your alternative was found to be wanting, and to help your memory there too-new line required to increase capacity sufficiently.

        • “I attended the “second vote” Brexit demonstrations at Westminster and elsewhere last year travelling “significant distances”. This legislation would make me a criminal because I believed HMG had engineered the result by lying and I was anxious to test the result etc.etc.”
          My posting. Thank you, Martin. I found it difficult to remember having said that I attended a demo without knowing what it was about. I am relieved to know I had not ‘lost my marbles’ and that the problem was your inability to understand English. This is a great relief.
          Just to help you again. The demo was demanding a second vote. This I wanted, and this is why I attended. That’s it. Your gloss on this is complete nonsense and I suggest, not for the first time, that if you cannot argue logically and sensibly without personal abuse based either on lies or your inability to comprehend – you choose – that you cease posting. Consider this discussion, as well as that on your other hobby horse – HS2 – at an end.
          Thanks again for directing me to my posting. You’ll understand why I couldn’t find it.

          • Oh I thought you would avoid that trap, 1720, but you had to try and defend the indefensible. So, now we have denying the laws of mathematics, claiming something is bad for the environment where many others claim exactly the opposite-based upon actual data-and now not recognizing history-which should be avoided if it is only a year or so old!

            And, no, the discussion is not at an end. If you wish to cop out that is your choice, but the discussion will continue. Not least, because I flicked through channels yesterday and I came across a Westminster Committee discussing why licenses were being awarded by UK for oil and gas exploration. The reason given? Oil and gas will continue to play a significant role in UK energy provision through to 2050, and it is proven that UK sourced oil and gas is more advantageous regarding net zero than imported oil and gas!! Shock/horror. 1720, or someone else, will have to deny that some more, but will still not be able to produce any evidence based in reality to support it, then will be shocked that some notice and comment upon that, and show that it is correct.

            “Humanity really does need to pay attention to arithmetic and the laws of physics” (The late government chief scientific adviser, Prof. Sir David McKay.)

            Well, 1720, most do. Your continuing attempts to deny them just show that is indeed what a few have to resort to, so his warning receives extra emphasis. But do keep contributing, as you unwittingly support the Profs. other comment:

            “There is this appalling delusion that people have that we can take this thing (renewables) and just scale it up and if there is a slight issue of it not adding up, we can just do energy efficiency”.

            A number have asked on this site for an explanation of how this is not the case. Answers? NONE. (“Something must be done” doesn’t count.) Denying laws of arithmetic and physics? MANY.

            From my marketing background, I would suggest more focus upon the NONE bit, and avoid the MANY bit altogether. Failure to do that , and a willingness to continue the MANY bit does focus attention-but in a pretty negative way. I would not offer such advice if I believed it would be followed, and that should make you stop and think. But, I know there will be MANY bits still to come that need discussion, and that will happen.

  3. Given that promises were made that our rights would be improved, not diminished, (“all our current rights will be transferred into UK law ” etc) by those promoting Brexit, we REALLY have to make sure this government of the revolving doors is strongly held to account. Will it take more judicial reviews to protect the peope of this country? Almost certainly.

  4. Ah, there we go!

    You missed the bit about once transferred, they would be for the UK to decide whether to amend, with a view to improving. Just like the Tampon Tax. Who knows what is to follow? Maybe UK will pass a law to exclude imports of pig products from EU that are produced via systems that are not allowed in UK? Maybe a few more laws to recover the old principle of no taxation without representation? Much more worthwhile than having two debates about the same issue.

    That is why debates about Bills happen in the UK. Now that means something, previously it did not. A wise old owl told me it may take 10 years for UK politicians to be able to handle it. At the time I thought that was rather cynical, now I suspect he needed to add 5 more years.

    Judicial reviews are there to be sought. However, I suspect the reality that they will also look at the rights of EVERYONE will produce the same outcome.

    Other means of holding to account? Well, there is that coming up in May, but looking at the current attempts to speculate about certain issues that always crop up/cultivated when certain parties have internal information they will do badly, I would not rely too much upon that! But, I will wait and record whether I receive any literature from any candidate where it is not specified they will lobby for my interests. So far, none fits that category, including the one from the Greens, but it is an enjoyable exercise as there is not much more to be discerned from such documents-apart from whether the paper is recycled or not. I do, so it will be.

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