Speaking in Parliament last week, Wera Hobhouse stood up for the right to peacefully protest, arguing that the proposed legislation in the Police and Crime Bill would undermine "a fundamental part of every working democracy”.
Bath’s MP made her comments during a debate in Westminster Hall, where she was supporting a quarter of a million people who signed the petition to scrap the legislation, including over 1,000 of her constituents in Bath. She cited concerns published by over 700 legal scholars who argued that mass arrests at protests often lead to lower conviction rates.
After the debate Wera Hobhouse said:
“Time and again, the right to protest has been a driver for positive change. Thanks to the right to protest we have a moratorium on fracking, the UK’s anti-apartheid movement kept apartheid on the British political agenda and women achieved the right to vote. The Government should not seek to shut down that legitimate way of holding the powerful to account.
“The measure before us is a thinly veiled reaction to the climate protests that we have seen over the past few years. The climate emergency has evoked strong feelings, especially among young people. Every generation has to fight for its freedoms, and each generation faces different challenges, but a diversity of voices from all sections of our society makes our democracy stronger. Those voices should never be silenced or suppressed.”
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