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Politics

Government defeated for third time in a row on attempt to ban ‘noisy’ protest

MPs will again get the chance to scrap the plans for greater police powers.

The government has been defeated for the third time in a row on its attempt to ban “noisy” protests.

The House of Lords this afternoon voted to remove a measure allowing police to ban protests deemed noisy or disruptive from the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts bill, the third time it has done so since January.

Police were granted the power to dictate the start and end time of static protests, as revealed yesterday by The Big Issue, in a concession made to the government after Labour withdrew its support for firmer resistance.

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Peers condemned the measures in the bill, with Conservative Lord Deben saying: “It is incomprehensible how you can have a law which gives the police the right to stop a protest because it might be too noisy.”

As the bill passes between the Commons and the Lords, peers argued over whether to give in or stand their ground in a process known as “ping pong.”

MPs voted on Monday to reinstate the anti-protest measures to the bill, but peers decided – against arguments to respect the opinion of the elected house – to take them out again.

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The bill has been the subject of Kill the Bill protests across the country since its introduction.

Speaking during the debate, crossbench peer Baroness Fox said the extra police powers were not necessary: “We end up with a disproportionate and unnecessary commitment by the government to deal with a non-problem.”

In the wake of the vote, human rights charity Liberty urged the public to email their MP and ask them to “bin the undemocratic measures for good” when the bill re-enters the Commons.

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