Lords defeat Tory police state bill – trade unions must now take action to bring down Johnson govt!


THE TORY government’s plan for a police state dictatorship over the trade unions and all public protest movements took a big hit yesterday when the House of Lords amended it out of existence, before sending ‘The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill’ back to the House of Commons.

It was defeated in the House of Lords on its plans to give the police new powers to stop protests in England and Wales.
Peers voted AGAINST:

  • The government’s plans to create a new offence of ‘locking on’, a tactic used by protesters to make it difficult to remove them, carrying with it a penalty of up to a year in prison;
  • Creating a new offence of obstructing the construction or maintenance of major transport works;
  • Making it an offence for a person to interfere with the use or operation of key national infrastructure, including airports, the road network, railways and newspaper printers;
  • Allowing police officers to stop and search a person or vehicle if it is suspected an offence is planned;
  • Allowing police to stop and search anyone at a protest ‘without suspicion’;
  • Allowing individuals with a history of causing serious disruption to be banned from attending protests.

Peers voted FOR new amendments to the Bill that would:

  • Scrap the power to impose conditions on protest marches judged to be too noisy;
  • Protect Parliament Square as a place to protest;
  • Require police officers to tell the truth in public inquiries;
  • Demand an urgent review into the prevalence of drink-spiking offences;
  • Restrict the imposition of tougher sentences for blocking a highway to major routes and motorways (rather than all roads);
  • Scrap the Vagrancy Act 1824, which makes it a crime to beg as well as sleep rough;
  • Make misogyny a hate crime by giving the courts the power to treat misogyny as an aggravating factor in any crime and increase sentences accordingly.

The proposals cannot become law until both Houses of Parliament are satisfied, so the Bill now faces a fierce battle between the Commons and Lords until agreement is reached – or the measure is scrapped.
Under the Bill, police chiefs, where roads and bridges are occupied, would be able to: impose a start and finish time, set noise limits and apply these rules to a demonstration by just one person.
This means a single individual could be fined up to £2,500. It would also become a crime to fail to follow restrictions protesters ‘ought’ to have known about, even if they have not received a direct order from an officer. The proposed law also includes an offence of ‘intentionally or recklessly causing public nuisance’.
In October, the government proposed changes to the Bill. These included that damage to memorials could lead to up to 10 years in prison, following the toppling of the statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol.
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper says the legislation has been ‘rushed’ and will create ‘incredibly widely-drawn’ powers, ‘for example, allowing the police to stop and search anyone in the vicinity of a protest, including passers-by, people on the way to work and peaceful protesters.’
Green Party peer Baroness Jones described the government’s plans as ‘oppressive’ and ‘plain nasty’. Peers voted to make misogyny a hate crime in England and Wales in another government defeat.
Ministers were also defeated, by 261 votes to 166, over plans to give the police new powers to stop protests in England and Wales if they are deemed to be too noisy and disruptive.
Labour’s Lord Hain called the move ‘the biggest threat to the right to dissent and the right to protest in my lifetime’ adding that it would have ‘throttled’ protests by the suffragettes.
The Lords obviously have little time for establishing a military police state, especially after the number of crimes that have been committed by serving police officers. The trade unions must now use their power to ensure that all plans for a military police state are abandoned.
They must recall the TUC to call a general strike to bring down the Tories and bring in a workers’ government that will smash the capitalist state, and nationalise the banks and the major industries and put them under workers’ management to bring in socialism. This is the only way forward!