This is a dark day for our democracy. The right to peaceful protest is a fundamental human right. If the pernicious Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which has just passed its second reading, becomes law, Patel and the police will be able to decide that a procession or assembly would give rise to the entirely undefined concept of ‘serious unease’ and make it unlawful and criminalise the participants. Furthermore, Patel will be able to use statutory instruments to add further provisions without any recourse to parliament at all. It’s intimidation. It’s authoritarianism. It’s anti-democratic. Shame on all those who voted for it. We must hope that the Lords kick it out.
A future article will look at the bill and its potential consequences in more detail.