The Police Bill has now completed its process in the House of Lords, with new amendments added by the government. It will return to the Commons in January 2022.
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill poses a dire threat to the right to protest and campaign, including the rights of workers and trade unions; to human rights in the criminal justice system; and to people suffering discrimination and oppression, particularly Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.
The new amendments from the government would bring in jail sentences of up to 51 weeks for offences like obstructing a highway. These are aimed at environmental protesters, and could also hit trade-union battles.
This bill sits alongside a raft of other authoritarian, anti-democratic legislation – on the right to vote, immigration, judicial reviews – and threats to even further restrict the right to strike.
The Bill will be returning to the House of Commons in January 2022. The labour movement must speak up vocally and mobilise its weight to defeat or at least mitigate it. We resolve to promote and mobilise for protests against this bill.
We call for withdrawal of the Bill and for repeal of other earlier restrictions on the right to protest, including all anti-trade union laws.
We call on the trade union and Labour Party leaderships to speak out, sound the alarm and call people onto the streets.
If the bill passes we call for unions and Labour Parties to stand in solidarity with those prosecuted and to help fund legal defences.