Tory MP accuses peer of 'hyperbole' over anti-protest bill concerns

10 May 2022, 17:44

By Seán Hickey

The former Justice Secretary shut down a Green Party peer over her claim that government's proposed anti-protest legislation brings the UK in line with authoritarian regimes.

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Following the Queen's Speech on Tuesday morning, the government have come under fire for some of the legislation they aim to introduce over this session of Parliament.

Baroness Jenny Jones took exception to the measures government aim to introduce in the Public Order Bill, which crack down on the public's right to protest.

Read more: Crackdown on eco zealots using 'locking-on' tactics to be unveiled in Queen's Speech

After branding the proposals "antidemocratic", the Green Party peer reminded Eddie Mair that the House of Lords upheld much of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill amid concerns it would roll back basic human rights.

She hit out at the government passing bills to the upper house: "They don't read it. They don't have time. The whips just waft it through."

The Baroness defended those raising awareness against the "draconian" measures.

Read more: Eco activist attacks government's 'draconian' protest crackdown in Public Order Bill

Read more: Minister brands eco zealots 'Waitrose-card holders who can afford to pay £1k fines'

"You can't expect this sort of repressive, Russian-style legislation to go through without some protest!"

Former Justice Secretary and Conservative MP Robert Buckland took exception to the Baroness' comments, branding her concerns "hyperbole."

"If you start citing Russia and other dictatorships, you lose the argument," he claimed, adding that the Public Order Bill is "about balance, not about dictatorship."

"Come on, get real!" The agitated MP urged the Green peer.

Mr Buckland went on to defend the government's proposals, stating that "on this, I think the balance is struck fairly."

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