Public Order

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:49 pm on 8th June 2020.

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Photo of Joanna Cherry Joanna Cherry Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice and Home Affairs), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Home Affairs) 4:49 pm, 8th June 2020

May I thank the Home Secretary for advance sight of her statement? I extend my best wishes for a full recovery to all the police officers who suffered injury during the trouble in London and pay tribute to their brave service. I also unreservedly condemn the violence and disorder that took place. However, it is important that we do not let a minority distract us from the legitimate concerns of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The desire to take to the streets to protest is understandable, and one thing that I hope we share across the House is a cherishing of our freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. The right to protest peacefully is a fundamental part of those rights. However, we are in the midst of a public health crisis. Having regard to that, the Justice Secretary in Scotland, Humza Yousaf, joined prominent anti-racism activists to urge people in Scotland to plan protests against racial injustice in a way that safeguards them and the wider public from the ongoing threat from covid-19. Protests went ahead in Glasgow and Edinburgh, but I am pleased to say that they were peaceful, and I know that the organisers and participants tried hard to maintain social distancing.

Does the Home Secretary agree that it is important that we do not let the minority who engaged in violent disorder detract from the legitimacy of the concerns of the protesters and the Black Lives Matter movement?

Does she also agree it is important that all those in public life are careful not to do or say anything that might polarise the situation, as Trump has done in America? Finally, will she use this opportunity to make a clear commitment to review all Government policies where there is evidence that they impact adversely on BAME communities? For instance, evidence shows that the no recourse to public funds policy, to which I referred earlier, clearly discriminates against black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. Will she commit not just to bringing back the Windrush report to this House, but to implementing the recommendations in that lessons learned review?