MPs Legislate to Ban Protests

Last night not a single MP opposed new legislation banning gatherings of more than six people, with all rule breakers now liable to be fined. Labour MPs who have spent the last fortnight encouraging mass attendance of Black Lives Matter protests didn’t turn up to voice their opposition, let alone vote against the statutory instrument (SI). Not even Barry Gardiner voted against the legislation, implying he would want to fine himself for attending protest rallies

Protests were already illegal, with last night’s SI reforming the original lockdown legislation to ban gatherings of six-or-more, meaning Labour MPs did have the option to avoid hypocrisy by voting to allow the right to protest. Civil liberty activists may find small crumbs of comfort from a sunset clause within the legislation that means the law will expire by September 26, 2020. Many will be questioning whether the clampdown on civil liberties is too little, too late, given we’ve already seen a month of mass gatherings at beaches, VE-Day parties and Black Lives Matter rallies. It may at least mean Sir Winston can now come out of his box…

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