New Clause 18 — Demonstrating without authorisation in designated area
Orders of the Day — Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill — [1st Allotted Day]
Ms Caroline Flint (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (reducing organised and international crime, anti drugs co-ordination and international and European issues), Home Office; Don Valley, Labour)
Neither the hon. Gentleman nor his party has a monopoly on defending the right of free speech. I defend that right and I have protested on a number of occasions in the past—indeed, I remember a time when I was not allowed to cross the bridge because of the restrictions then in place. I repeat, we are not denying people the right to protest in the area around Parliament. We are simply saying that, while recognising people's right to protest, we have to deal with some of the problems that Members of this House have raised in good faith.