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 Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn Labour, Islington North 9:45 pm, 7th February 2005

I will be brief as we have six minutes left.

I ask all hon. Members to think of whence they came. We are all elected to the House to represent people. We have the great privilege of having the opportunity to speak in this Chamber. The people of this country have every right to protest, to march, to meet and to demand.

Are we seriously saying that, because one person, Brian Haw, has been outside for three years, we will sweep away the right that has existed for centuries for people to come to the House, without seeking permission from anyone, to express their view? If these amendments are passed, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner will decide who is fit to demonstrate and who is not. It puts a great burden on him and it will make it impossible for any person to come here in an act of spontaneity to demonstrate against a decision that the Government or House are about to take.