Policing bill: Plan to crack down on protests passes first Commons hurdle despite civil liberties warning

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Government plans to introduce new powers to crack down on protests have cleared the first hurdle in the Commons — despite warnings an “all-out assault” the right to demonstrate from civil liberties groups.

Following two days of debates on the contentious proposals, MPs voted by 359 to 263 to pass the police, crime, sentencing and courts bill at second reading.

The legislation, running at almost 300 pages, contains a huge range of new laws, including tougher penalties for knife carriers and killer drivers, but proposals for protests have sparked particular alarm.

The draft section on “public order” states that conditions can be imposed on demonstrations if the noise generated “may result in serious disruption to the activities of an organisation” or may “have a relevant impact on persons in the vicinity of the protest”.

It creates a new public nuisance law that would make causing “serious annoyance or inconvenience” a crime punishable by up to 10 years’ imprisonment

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