Patel faces widening revolt over policing bill’s restrictions on protest

The home secretary, Priti Patel, is facing a growing revolt in parliament and the country over plans to restrict the fundamental right to protest, as controversial legislation that would increase police powers enters the House of Lords this week.

More than 350 organisations, including human rights groups, charities and faith bodies, have written to Patel and justice secretary Robert Buckland this weekend complaining that the measures would have a “profound impact” on freedom of expression, and represent “an attack on some of the most basic democratic rights of citizens”.

On Saturday night, former home secretary Lord Blunkett said the hugely contentious bill would leave a “toxic” mark on British society if it were to pass into law unchanged, and said he was sure that peers would table amendments to the bill in the Lords. If these succeed, MPs will be left with the choice of striking them out or accepting them and – if enough Tories join a rebellion – defeating the hardline home secretary.

Former prime minister Theresa May is one of several Tories who expressed serious reservations about the content of the bill during its Commons stages earlier this year. May, a former home secretary herself, called on Patel to consider the “fine line between popular and being populist. Our freedoms depend on it”, she said.

Share the Post: