Injunction to Protect the M25

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:20 pm on 22nd September 2021.

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Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Minister of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office) 1:20 pm, 22nd September 2021

I thank the hon. Lady for her unequivocal support for the police, which we do not always hear in this House. I am grateful to her for that. It is undoubtedly the case that the police forces affected have had to move extremely quickly to deal with these guerrilla tactics, and we are grateful to all the police officers, as always, for often putting themselves in harm’s way.

I am also pleased to hear the hon. Lady recognise that the right to protest is not an unqualified right. We all treasure it, and we all know that great advances have been made in our society because of it, but it has to be done within a framework of respecting the rights of others, and I hope we are encapsulating a better balance in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill that is currently in the other place. I hope she will review her party’s opposition to the Bill and possibly support it when it returns to this Chamber.

Finally, I hope the hon. Lady shares my extreme frustration at the damage such protests do to the cause of fighting climate change. For my own part, I have been an advocate of the hydrogen economy for well over 20 years. I chaired Hydrogen London for eight years and I fought tooth and nail to equip London with the means to transition from a combustion economy to one driven by electrochemistry. For those of us who have been at that coalface for many years, it is extremely disheartening to see people screaming in frustration and filled with negativity about the notion of climate change being a battle that we still have to win, but it also holds out an exciting future for our country.

I am pleased that we have consensus on both sides of the House and, as we deal with these protests, I hope that we can count on that consensus in the future.