New Clause 18 — Demonstrating without authorisation in designated area

Part of Orders of the Day — Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill — [1st Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 9:45 pm on 7th February 2005.

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Photo of Dominic Grieve Dominic Grieve Shadow Attorney General 9:45 pm, 7th February 2005

The hon. Gentleman makes a valid point. When the measure was originally framed, I shared that view strongly. Speaking for myself, I could accept the idea of a regulatory framework to prevent excesses in Parliament square. I am focusing on my anxieties, which are about the commissioner, the ludicrous, unacceptable time for notification and the designated area, which I mentioned earlier.

There is no need for a designated area of 1 km around Parliament square. I heartily agree with the comments of Kate Hoey that the distance should be expressed in miles or yards. Frankly, we do not need miles—yards are sufficient. My right hon. Friend Mr. Forth tabled an amendment that would provide for an area of 200 yd. That is eminently sensible.

That brings me to my final point. All the amendments that hon. Members have tabled are redundant because the moment we vote on the clauses, all possibility of further amendment falls. That shows how ludicrous it is to consider those matters on Report. I require concrete assurances. I shall either abstain or vote against the new clauses. I shall abstain if I have a concrete assurance that the deficiencies will be adequately remedied; otherwise, with regret, I shall have to vote against at least some of the new clauses.