Last night, we voted until 1am on crucial aspects of the Police Crime Sentencing and Courts Bill.
This Bill strikes at the very heart of our democracy and freedom to protest. I voted down these dangerous and authoritarian measures. Throughout history, protest has been a vital way for oppressed communities to stand up against injustice. Yet as people are dying in Ukraine for what they believe in, the UK Government is bringing in measures to restrict protest and to silence voices. We must fight for our hard won rights.
Conservative MPs voted to reinstate protest restrictions to the Bill after they were removed by the Lords in a string of battles of amendments. The Bill now enables Police to have more powers to impose conditions on non-violent protests judged “too noisy”.
Conservative MPs also shamefully rejected to make misogyny a hate crime in England and Wales and continue to turn a blind eye to the hatred that fuels violence against women and girls. The move would have required police forces to record if crimes were motivated by gender hatred. This was yet another missed opportunity.
Time and time again this Government has failed to protect victims. A government Minister’s comments this week that it would only bring forward a law to criminalise sexual assault on a public transport, catcalling and inappropriate behaviour if a review proves it is needed shows tackling violence against women and girls and putting victims at the heart of our justice system really isn’t a priority for them.