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Labor peers oppose amendments to Policing and Crime Bill | House of Lords

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Labor members of the House of Lords are to oppose last-minute amendments to the Policing and Crime Bill, which rights campaigners have described as ‘a dangerous power grab’, in a move that could completely kill the proposals.

In a discreet announcement on the LabourLordsUK Twitter account, on Friday before noon, the party said it would “oppose the late addition of protest clauses” to the bill, a reference to 18 pages of amendments introduced by the government in November.

Unlike the rest of the bill, however, where the Lords can simply send amendments back to the Commons for reconsideration, because the last amendments were introduced in the Lords, they will fall if the peers vote against them.

Labor’s decision to oppose sections of the Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill means that together with the Greens, Liberal Democrats and some independents, there will be enough votes to overturn the government.

This comes after intensive lobbying. The Liberal and Green Democrat peers have already said they will oppose the amendments and called on Labor to do the same, a call echoed by civil rights groups Liberty and Big Brother Watch, and environmental groups including Greenpeace and Extinction Rebellion.

The Guardian contacted Labor for clarification on the announcement on Friday evening, but was unable to immediately obtain further comment from the party.

Lady Jenny Jones, the Green party’s counterpart, said she welcomed Labor’s support for what she described as a “critical time for opposition to this increasingly authoritarian government”.

“These are Belarusian-style laws, but the Lords can stop them if we can motivate enough peers to stick with us through Monday’s night sitting and vote for core democratic values,” she said. “It’s no way to run a country, but a lot will depend on the stamina and I bring my sleeping bag.”

The late amendments, which focus on new powers to control protests, came before the Lords on the day nine protesters in Insulate Britain were sent to jail for breaching injunctions banning roadblock action.

Among them were new lockdown offenses, where protesters attach themselves to objects or each other to make it harder for police to remove them, being equipped to lock down, deliberately obstructing the freeway and of obstruction of major transportation works, all with a potential 51 weeks in prison.

They would also strengthen police stop and search powers, with reasonable grounds extended to include items intended for use in disruptive protests and new orders to allow stop and search without suspicion around protests. .

They would also introduce asbo-style “serious disruption prevention orders” that would allow authorities to ban named individuals from taking part in protests or even using the internet to encourage others to do so.

Labor said they did not intend to oppose all the measures. According to the announcement, the party will try to amend rather than vote against the roadblock clause in order to restrict its scope to the “strategic road network”.

Critics fear that this leaves the government with the option of backtracking on those clauses in the Commons.

The Home Office has been contacted for comment.



Labor peers oppose amendments to Policing and Crime Bill | House of Lords

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