Notice of Street Processions

Part of Nottinghamshire County Council Bill [Lords] (By Order) – in the House of Commons at 7:45 pm on 13th February 1983.

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Photo of Harriet Harman Harriet Harman , Southwark Peckham 7:45 pm, 13th February 1983

To its credit, the NUM is extremely well organised and confident, knows how to deal with the police and is sure of its rights. However, there have been cases where people, who are less well-organised and do not know about demonstrations, have tried to take banners and have been told by the police—quite beyond their powers — that they are not allowed to do so. [HON. MEMBERS: "Which people?"] A CND group had just finished painting its banner and was told that it was not allowed to take it. Other such groups will not realise that they have a choice, and that this is not laid down in law. By inserting such a provision in a code of practice, the whole thing is put up for grabs.

On vehicles accompanying marches, the code of practice states that vehicles will only be permitted at the front and rear of marches, never in the main body". I have been on many large demonstrations that have marched a long distance, when it has been excellent to have a band halfway down the demonstration to keep the people at the rear in tune with what is going on. Yet this code of practice lays down, with no consultation, that vehicles will be permitted only at the front and rear of marches. That is a creeping extension of the law.