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 Of course, because citizenship will have been revoked without any notice, any judicial review or other legal challenge will only be able to be brought retrospectively.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.

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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.

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Final days of Police Bill Committee Stage

If you make protests impossible to perform legally, criminalise non-violent direct action, abolish or restrict the ability of citizens to challenge the Government in court through judicial reviews, turn people against lawyers, gerrymander the election boundaries and dish out cash in the way that looks best for Conservative MPs, that is deep, dark politics. Many of us here are not particularly political and perhaps do not see the dangers inherent in what the Government are doing. It all seems like a calculated ploy to turn all the cards in favour of an unaccountable Government that cannot be challenged in the courts, at the ballot box or on the streets. 

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Police Bill Day 9 of 7

We are world leading in the awful way in which we treat children. At 10, we have the lowest age in Europe for criminal responsibility – far below the suggestion from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child of a minimum appropriate age of 14. That is the average across European countries, but even China and Russia – where the UK rightly often has cause to point out human rights abuses – have higher ages of criminal responsibility than we do. Continue reading “Police Bill Day 9 of 7”

Government by-pass MPs on new policing laws

Pages of new amendments to the Police, Crime and Sentencing Bill have been submitted by the government as the legislation is half way through the Lords Committee stage. The new laws target “locking-on” and other forms of nonviolent protest, as well as giving police officers the ability to stop and search without suspicion.

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Police Bill day 8 of Committee Stage in Lords

We have abysmal conditions in many jails and they are not the place for a pregnant woman. The Howard League for Penal Reform has highlighted the fact that pregnant women in prison are routinely denied access to suitable maternity care and that babies have died as a result. Women in prison should receive at a minimum the same standard of maternity services as women outside. When we punish these women in prison, we also punish their babies, and that cannot be right. Getting this right will change the lives of prisoners and families, and have an impact for generations. Continue reading “Police Bill day 8 of Committee Stage in Lords”

Police Bill day 7 of Committee Stage in Lords

Mandatory prison sentences could lead to a repeat of what happens in the USA with their obscene rates of incarceration: nearly 1% of the American population is in prison or jail, and this is very racially unbalanced. It is easy for the Government to increase prison sentences and set mandatory minimum sentences; it is much more difficult, but more important, to deliver real rehabilitation and diversion so that people do not reoffend and we do not take up huge amounts of taxpayers’ money keeping them in prison. Continue reading “Police Bill day 7 of Committee Stage in Lords”

Police Bill – Day 5 of Committee Stage in the Lords

I had to laugh when I saw the amendments on duty of candour, because you sort of assume you can expect a duty of candour for the police; it really should not have to be emphasised in the way that it has been here.

As regards the criminalisation of trespass, it is wonderful to see such a huge coalition of Peers tabling amendments and speaking on this issue. I imagine that Gypsy and Roma Travellers, peaceful protesters, van-lifers, wild campers and anyone else threatened by this proposed legislation will be glad to see the opposition that is coalescing in this House. Far from criminalising trespass, we should be opening up more land for access to the public and enhancing our enjoyment of our magnificent countryside. This is a nasty section of the Bill, it is discriminatory and dangerous, we should remove these clauses completely.

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