New Clause 18 — Demonstrating without authorisation in designated area
Orders of the Day — Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill — [1st Allotted Day]
Ms Glenda Jackson (Hampstead and Highgate, Labour)
Sir Patrick Cormack spoke of the defacing of Parliament square. I have heard people say that no such demonstrations as we have seen for the past three years should be allowed in Parliament square because it is a world heritage site. It is a world heritage site not because of that rather scruffy square of grass or the statues at its corners, and it is certainly not surrounded by buildings of overwhelming architectural excellence, with the exception possibly of Westminster abbey. It is a centre that the whole world comes to visit because of what has happened in this Parliament, and certainly what happened in Westminster abbey.
This building is a symbol to the world of a democratic system whereby the rights of the individual were placed above those of, in the first instance, a sovereign, and, in the second instance, a state. Westminster abbey is the great symbol of Christianity with its call to all of us to have compassion for those who are the lowest in our esteem. We should be—
It being five and a half hours after the commencement of proceedings, Mr. Speaker put forthwith the question already proposed from the Chair, pursuant to Order [
Question put, That the clause be read a Second time:—