Stirling MP to Vote Against Tory Policing Bill


Categories: Policing and Justice, UK Government (Westminster)

‘Wrong thing to do at the wrong time’

Stirling SNP MP Alyn Smith will this week vote against the Tory Police, Crime, Sentencing, and Courts Bill, calling it the “wrong thing to do at the wrong time.”

The UK government Bill seeks to:

  • Give more powers to police to clamp down on protests.
  • Introduce a 10 year prison sentence for defacing a statue.
  • Introduce severe restrictions on gypsy/travellers and those living a nomadic lifestyle.

The Bill has been criticised by campaign groups for seeking to infringe on civil liberties and democratic rights.

Alyn Smith said:

‘This is absolutely the wrong thing to do at the wrong time. The right to protest is an important part of a democracy. Yes, sometimes those protests can get out of hand and the individuals involved in unruly behaviour should be held accountable, but what this Bill seeks to do goes far beyond that and stinks of clamping down on dissent.

‘A person standing in the street, with a sign, using a megaphone to communicate their views might now find themselves with a £2,500 fine. Even those who disagree with what said-protestor is saying would see this as an outrage on basic civil liberties.

‘The Bill has also, rightly in my view, been criticised for offering more protection against statues being defaced than it does for the safety of women. This suggests a seriously misguided focus that will do nothing to address the much larger threat of violence against women.

‘In normal circumstances, I would seek to work across the political divide to constructively amend and make better proposed legislation. However, the starting point of this Bill shows that it is rotten to the core. Therefore myself and my SNP colleagues will be voting against it, and I call on other parties to do the same.’