Letting Down the Drawbridge: Restoration of the Right to Protest At Parliament
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This article analyses the history of the prohibition of protests around Parliament under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005. This prohibited any demonstrations of one or more persons within one square kilometre of the Houses of Parliament unless permission had been obtained in writing from the police in advance. This measure both formed part of a pattern of the then Labour Government to restrict protest and increase police powers, and was symbolically important in restricting protest that was directed at politicians at a time when politicians have been very unpopular. The Government of Tony Blair had been embarrassed by a one-man protest by peace campaigner, Brian Haw. In response to sustained defiance, Mr. Blair’s successor as Labour Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, and opposition Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs pledged to remove the restrictions, but this was not acted on by Parliament until September 2011. This article argues that the original restrictions were unnecessary, and that the much narrower successor provisions could be improved by being drafted more specifically.
Reid, K. (2013) 'Letting Down the Drawbridge: Restoration of the Right to Protest At Parliament', Law, Crime and History, 3(1), pp.16-51. Available at: https://pearl.plymouth.ac.uk/handle/10026.1/8874
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