The Policing Bill
This Government’s authoritarianism is on full display in the Police, Crime, Sentencing & Courts Bill, which is making its way through Parliament. Most worrying is the proposal to restrict the right to peaceful protest, handing huge powers to the Home Secretary and the police to ban protests which are too ‘noisy’ or cause ‘serious disruption’ with the police or ministers able to determine what that means. This is a dangerous assault on a fundamental civil liberty – the sort of crackdown that we would condemn if it was happening in another country – and I supported an amendment to throw it out. My speech in the debate on the Bill is .
I wrote about my concerns in my , and I raised the right to peacefully protest with the Prime Minister at Prime Minister’s Questions. Our exchange is .
Challenging the Home Secretary over policing of Sarah Everard vigil
I wrote in my last newsletter about my concerns over the policing of vigils for Sarah Everard. I raised these concerns with the Home Secretary in Parliament, saying that handing over more powers to the police, as she proposes in the Policing Bill, when they so badly misjudged the policing of the vigils, would be both foolish and dangerous. You can see our exchange .
I joined more than 50 other MPs and peers in writing to the Prime Minister on the specific steps he should take to end the scourge of male violence against women. He is proposing more CCTV and streetlights, which go nothing like far enough. We need deep-rooted economic and social change.
I’m also following up complaints about the disproportionate tactics used by police at the local vigil in Brighton.
Another sign of the Government’s increasing lurch to the right is the plan to tear up the laws on asylum and turn its back on vulnerable people by dumping them in third countries while their asylum claims are processed – a proposal which is not only inhumane, it’s impractical and will prove wildly expensive.
The proposals will also make it almost impossible for people who arrive in boats across the Channel to successfully claim asylum, and have rightly been condemned by the UN, the Red Cross and other organisations working with refugees. People who come to the UK in small boats do so because there are no other options for them. It should not disqualify them from being granted refugee status. Instead, the Government should introduce safe and legal routes.
I was a guest on the BBC’s Politics Live programme where we discussed the proposals – you can see my comments .
The Government’s Integrated Review
The Government unveiled its Integrated Review, outlining its vision for the UK in the world in the decades to come. Despite the Prime Minister saying that the climate crisis is the Number 1 priority, there was nothing in the review which addresses this – just billions of pounds on more nuclear warheads which break the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and is likely to fuel a new nuclear arms race. I asked the Prime Minister how this was supposed to make us safer – needless to say I didn’t get an answer. Our exchange is .
The Grenfell fire tragedy exposed the dangerous condition of many high-rise blocks because they were covered in flammable cladding. This problem has been created by decades of deregulation and the Government is rightly meeting the costs of rectifying this for buildings over 18 metres. But that doesn’t help people living in less high-rise buildings, nor does it help people facing fire safety issues which aren’t linked to cladding – like inadequate internal fire ‘barriers’ which is the case for many apartment blocks in Brighton.
I voted for amendments to the Fire Safety Bill to try to close these loopholes, but the amendments were defeated because the overwhelming majority of Tory MPs voted with the Government. The Bill will now go back to the House of Lords and the fight to get justice for leaseholders, whatever their fire risk is, goes on.
Voting against the Coronavirus Act
On Parliament’s last day before the Easter recess, MPs were asked to vote on extending the Coronavirus Act, the emergency legislation that was introduced at the start of the pandemic. Its powers are draconian, giving the Government powers to close our borders, suspend elections and ban protests, with no scrutiny. Police and immigration officials have wide-ranging powers under the Act too. At the beginning of the pandemic, I voted for the Act because the evidence I had seen on the emerging public health emergency warranted it.
But I am worried by the way the Government has used the powers in the Act to go way beyond what is required and to avoid being held to account. I was one of a very few MPs who voted against its renewal last September, and I did so again last week because I don’t think there continues to be a justification for these powers. Instead I am supporting the Protect Everyone Bill being championed by the NGO Liberty - more here.
The Climate & Ecological Emergency Bill
Huge thanks to everyone who took part in the day of action to promote the Climate & Ecological Emergency Bill, which I introduced in Parliament last September. There were banner drops, videos posted on social media and so many creative and imaginative ways of asking MPs to back the bill. It now has the support of more than 100 cross-party MPs and I hope more will sign up after Friday’s day of action.
Brighton schools and the ‘Misplaced 62’
the city are rated as good. I know that journey time is a particular concern for many, and I’ve contacted the Council to urge them to do all they can to support ways of simplifying and shortening travel times.
Help our Kelp
I was delighted to see that more than 100 square miles of seabed off the Sussex coast is being closed to damaging trawl fishing to help kelp forests recover. Over the years, we’ve lost 95% of the kelp forests which are so important for marine ecosystems, local sustainable fisheries and the fight against climate change. to the Help Our Kelp Partnership for everything they’ve done to achieve this.
The Covid vaccine rollout
I’m delighted to have now joined the 30 million people in our country who’ve had a Covid vaccine. The staff and volunteers at the Brighton Centre were amazing – it was brilliantly efficient and very inspiring to see people coming together to make this happen. Thank you to all of them.
I’m pleased to learn that unpaid carers in England who are the primary carer of someone who is clinically vulnerable can now register for a vaccine using the National Booking Service or by calling 119. There’s more information on the .
If you are a local resident and need help with case work or to find out more about my activities locally please do contact me at the office of: Caroline Lucas MP, Brighton Media Centre 15-17 Middle Street, Brighton BN1 1AL. Tel: 01273 201 130. Email: [email protected]
I hold regular surgeries across the constituency. If you would like to book an appointment at a forthcoming surgery please call Liz Collis on 01273 201130. She coordinates my constituency office and is able to help with most local enquiries.
If you would like to know about my parliamentary work please get in touch at the House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA. Tel: 020 7219 7025. Email: [email protected]
You can also keep up to date with my news on:
My Website: www.carolinelucas.com
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