Third Reading of the Police Bill: Last word

I have hated almost every minute we spent on this Bill over the days, weeks and months. I deeply regret that it will pass. I wish it had not been presented in the first place and I wish we had not been forced to let it through, but it has been historic. One of the things that has been historic is the united opposition to some of its worst parts. That is something the House can be proud of Continue reading “Third Reading of the Police Bill: Last word”

Repeal of the Vagrancy Act

The Vagrancy Act is relic of an age when being homeless was a crime, it made it a criminal offence to beg or be homeless on the street in England and Wales. The law was passed in the summer of 1824.

One of my favourite podcast interviews in the Jen’s Green Jam series was with Lord Bird, founder of the Big Issue. He spoke then about getting rid of the Vagrancy Act and afterwards, I was left wondering if it was one of those issues that had to wait for a change of government. Continue reading “Repeal of the Vagrancy Act”

Greens celebrate House of Lords defeat of draconian government ideas

The House of Lords inflicted a staggering 14 defeats on the government in one historic evening, with a further 5 government amendments being withdrawn.

The Lords seized their chance to reject most of the 18 pages of late government amendments to the Police, Crime and Sentencing Bill. This forces Ministers to either drop these proposals or bring them back in completely separate legislation at a later date. The Lords only have this power on very rare occasions because the government introduced the amendments late and by-passed scrutiny in the commons.

Continue reading “Greens celebrate House of Lords defeat of draconian government ideas”

Police Bill: Monday vote explained

Since the last General Election gave the Conservative Party an 80+ seat majority of MPs in the Commons, they have pushed through some bad legislation. When these Bills come to the Lords, it’s our job to look at them line by line and try to improve them by carefully considered amendments. Which mostly the Tory-dominated Commons immediately throw out*.

Continue reading “Police Bill: Monday vote explained”

Police Bill Report Stage Day 4

I am very concerned about the Government undermining the doctrine that police on these islands gain their authority from the consent of the governed. Overuse of stop and search powers has deeply undermined community consent in many areas of the country and there are racial and socioeconomic disparities in who gets targeted by the police. These government severe violence reduction orders will create a new suspicionless stop and search power, and once a person is issued with one of these orders they could face unlimited interference from police officers. There should not be a power for the police to search without reasonable suspicion. Continue reading “Police Bill Report Stage Day 4”

Is your British citizenship in the public interest?

We now have a two tier system of British citizenship and if the Nationality and Borders Bill is published then millions are under threat of having their rights removed “without notice” by a Minister acting “in the public interest”. You can then appeal against deportation retrospectively, i.e. once you are out the country.

A lot of people will be surprised to learn that the Government already can—and do—remove people’s right to British citizenship. That is not new, but it means there is a two-tier system of British citizenship. The change is that the Government will now be able to remove people’s citizenship without any notice or warning whatever. The term “otherwise in the public interest” is so broad a discretion as to be almost meaningless. The Secretary of State can basically choose not to give notice on a whim. Of course, because citizenship will have been revoked without any notice, any judicial review or other legal challenge will only be able to be brought retrospectively.

In summary, the Bill is a continuation of the trend by this Government to remove individuals’ rights, undermine legal safeguards and view the legal profession as the enemy within.

Recharge those batteries, then lobby on Police Bill

Have a good festive break and stay safe from whichever Covid variant is near you. Recharge those batteries because we are going to need your help defeating the 18 pages of draconian laws that the government submitted as late amendments to the Police and Crime Bill.

Continue reading “Recharge those batteries, then lobby on Police Bill”

Police Bill Report Stage Days 2&3

The last week before the Festive break had two days of Report Stage of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. The Lords have tabled hundreds of amendments to the original bill and Jenny spoke to amendments on the confiscation of mobile devices, child abuse sentences, road death sentences, mandatory minimum sentences, IPP sentences and Friday releases. The Report Stage of this bill will continue in the New Year. Continue reading “Police Bill Report Stage Days 2&3”

Lord’s debate Freedom of Speech

This debate comes after a few years of increasing suppression of civil liberties and human rights here in the UK. Freedom of speech is about engaging with all sorts of ideas, biases and creeds to make up the public discourse. As a Green, I am well aware of how important it is to talk and try to convince people about the environmental crisis—especially those in power who can actually do something about it, however little. I might regard this Government as political enemies, and as arrogant and repressive, but I think it is worth engaging and very much hope they feel it is worth engaging with Greens.

Continue reading “Lord’s debate Freedom of Speech”