[First answered on 20/12/22. Updated on 8/3/23]
Recent events have placed a renewed focus on the importance of free speech around the world and on the powers that the police have during protests or demonstrations. It is concerning that the UK Government is seeking to limit the important right.
It is incredible that we are debating this Bill given that many of its provisions were already rejected by Parliament during the passage of the Police Crime Sentencing and Courts Act and have been simply repacked by the Government and presented again in this Bill.
My SNP colleague Anne McLaughlin MP has been vocal during the passage of both Bills in the House of Commons and pointed out that these draconian measures that impose disproportionate restrictions on our freedom of expression and right to protest are not the answer.
Rest assured that SNP MPs in Westminster will continue to oppose these damaging measures if the Public Order Bill returns from the Lords and will press the UK Government to roll back its ongoing campaign targeting fundamental democratic rights such as the right to assembly and protest.