Campaign news

Parliament Square Law is too Restrictive

29th October 2014

Parliament Square Law is too Restrictive

Letter to the Guardian

The appalling treatment of protesters occupying Parliament Square last week (Occupy protesters forced to hand over pizza boxes and tarpaulin, 24 October, calls for an urgent review of current legislation governing protest there. For 10 days, until Sunday, Occupy Democracy campaigners hosted a daily programme of assemblies and workshops outside parliament to address what they say is “a huge democratic deficit” in Britain today. Using the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 (PRSRA), which bans any “structure designed for staying” along with any “amplified sound”, police responded by kettling protesters and confiscating a wide range of items including umbrellas and sleeping bags which protesters were using to keep dry and warm. More than 40 people were arrested for the most trivial things, including sitting on a piece of tarpaulin and attempting to provide food and water to a protester who remained in the square after it was cordoned off with metal fences.

The PRSRA was introduced following widespread criticism of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005, which outlawed “unauthorised” assemblies in the Westminster area. This criticism included the comments of the 2009 Joint Committee on Human Rights which stated that “no sanction should apply to those who choose not to notify the police of their intention to protest solely by reason of that choice”. Initially designed to evict Brian Haw’s peace camp, the first protester to be convicted under the PRSRA legislation was anti-war campaigner Maya Evans for reading aloud by the Cenotaph the names of soldiers who had died in the Iraq war.

When the PRSRA was introduced, the government claimed its intention was not to ban protest in Parliament Square. In practice, however, the legislation has given police enormous powers of discretion to restrict protest in the area and effectively criminalise any form of protest called in the spirit of the Occupy movement.

There can be no place for legislation which imposes so many constraints on the form a protest takes as to render it ineffective and which responds to those protesting at the current priorities and policies of government, by simply having them removed from view.

John McDonnell MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Hannah Dee Defend the Right to Protest, Jules Carey Human rights lawyer, Bindmans LLP,Jenny Jones Deputy chair of London assembly’s police and crime committee, Raj Chada Hodge Jones & Allen LLP, Lydia DagostinoKellys Solicitors, Michael Oswald Bhatt Murphy Solicitors, Natalie Sedacca Solicitor, Lochlinn Parker Deighton Pierce Glynn, Alex GaskDoughty Street Chambers, Simon Pook Robert Lizar Solicitors,Professor Bill Bowring Professor of law, Birkbeck, University of London, Dr Nadine El-Enany School of law, Birkbeck, University of London, Professor Adam Gearey School of law, Birkbeck, University of London

Bookmark and Share


By Ian Hodson It’s great news that a mainstream political party has recognised the importance of taking positive action to raise pay. Since 2008, politicians from all parties along with many in the media, have pushed the narrative that society will somehow improve by imposing austerity and blaming minority groups for the state of the country’s finances. Sadly, many have fallen for this deception and the ‘look over there’ politics that has rose to prominence since the Conservatives returned to power in 2010. [continue...]

Folkestone United – coming together to support migrants Bridget Chapman, Folkestone United, reports [continue...]

No Witch-Hunts In The GMB, Reinstate Keith Henderson (The Online Petition) Keith Henderson Essex LRC member and former Regional Organiser of the GMB Union was dismissed from the GMB last December, Keith has always believed that the real reason for his dismissal was because of his socialist beliefs and the manifestation of his beliefs. [continue...]

Please see our Labour Briefing Website here: [continue...]

The LRC is supporting a broad alliance of campaign groups and trade unions against the proposals in the Welfare Reform Bill (currently before Parliament) and putting forward our alternative based on social justice and welfare for all. [continue...]

Across the country working people are losing their jobs and their homes. Meanwhile the bankers who plunged us into this crisis have been bailed out with billions of pounds of our money. It’s time to fight back. Their Crisis Not Ours! is the LRC’s campaign to bring together workers, pensioners, the unemployed, students, those facing repossession and all those suffering because of an economic crisis that has been imposed on us. The campaign is supporting the demands of the People’s Charter. [continue...]

Rail bosses are using the recession as an excuse to attack jobs and conditions and cut back on services and essential rail works, and hike rail fares - as LEAP research suggested they would. Thousands of jobs are being threatened or have been lost. At the same time rail fat cats are raking in big profits and bonuses on the back of the most expensive fares in Europe. Make no mistake: as the recession worsens so will the attack on rail workers and rail services. [continue...]

The campaign calling on the Government to abandon its plans for privatisation of Royal Mail. The Government has introduced the Postal Services Bill to part-privatise the Royal Mail. With our affiliate union CWU we are fighting to Keep the Post Public! [continue...]

The campaign to demand the Government funds improvements to all existing council housing, and to start building first class council homes to address housing need. For more information see Defend Council Housing website. [continue...]

Campaign news


Find us on Facebook Follow LRCinfo on Twitter

Corbyn for 2020:


Subscribe to Labour Briefing

Labour Briefing