Former Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for Cardiff Central and Deputy First Minister of Wales Jenny Randerson has slammed the Conservatives for trying to push through the “dangerous & draconian” Police Bill.
The House of Lords, who will vote on the Bill tonight, is set to consider a number of amendments to the Bill before it goes back to the House of Commons.
The 300 page Bill would see sweeping powers given to the Home Office to restrict the right to protest, giving police new powers to disrupt protests, marches and assemblies, make it easier to criminalise organisers and participants and increase prison sentences for them.
This morning Baroness Camilla Cavendish, Crossbench Peer and Former Head of Policy for Number 10 under David Cameron warned that if the House of Lords does not amend the Police Bill today, “we will be sleepwalking into a police state”.
Commenting Baroness Randerson said:
“These new Conservative laws to crackdown on protests are dangerous and draconian. The right to peaceful assembly and protest is a fundamental human right. It has always been a crucial part of our democratic society.
“These new laws are part of the Conservative Government’s anti-democratic attempts to silence any opposition to its policies.
“The right to protest gave us women’s suffrage, the minimum wage, equal rights for ethnic minorities and the LGBT+ community and helped end Apartheid. This sort of legislation has no place in a mature democracy.
“Tonight Welsh Liberal Democrats and Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords will do everything in our power to work with other parties to remove the authoritarian sections of this bill.
“The right to protest is not just about the large protests you see on your TV, but also your right to protest against your local school or A&E shutting. It is essential for us all no matter where you sit on the political spectrum.
“The Conservatives must stop this Bill in its tracks, the attack on protesting laws is an attack on our liberty.”