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Designation of SOCA Staff as persons having power of Constable etc

Amendment made: No. 67, in page 23, line 37, at end insert—
'(4A) But a person may not be designated as a person having the powers mentioned in any of paragraphs (a) to (c) of subsection (1) unless the Director General is satisfied that that person—
(a) is capable of effectively exercising the powers that would be exercisable by virtue of the designation,

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(b) has received adequate training in respect of the exercise of those powers, and
(c) is otherwise a suitable person to exercise those powers.'—[Caroline Flint.]

Clause 42

Delegation of power to Designate

Amendment made: No. 68, in page 24, line 9, leave out
'the power to make designations'

and insert 'his functions'.—[Caroline Flint.]

New Clause 18

Demonstrating without authorisation in designated area

'(1) Any person who—
(a) organises a demonstration in a public place in the designated area, or
(b) takes part in a demonstration in a public place in the designated area, or
(c) carries on a demonstration by himself in a public place in the designated area,
is guilty of an offence if, when the demonstration starts, authorisation for the demonstration has not been given under section (Authorisation of demonstrations in designated area)(2).
(2) It is a defence for a person accused of an offence under subsection (1) to show that he reasonably believed that authorisation had been given.
(3) Subsection (1) does not apply if the demonstration is—
(a) a public procession of which notice is required to be given under subsection (1) of section 11 of the Public Order Act 1986 (c. 64), or of which (by virtue of subsection (2) of that section) notice is not required to be given, or
(b) a public procession for the purposes of section 12 or 13 of that Act.
(4) Subsection (1) also does not apply in relation to any conduct which is lawful under section 220 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (c. 52).
(5) If subsection (1) does not apply by virtue of subsection (3) or (4), nothing in sections (Notice of demonstrations in designated area) to (Offences under sections (Demonstrating without authorisation in designated area) to (Supplementary directions): penalties) applies either.
(6) Section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986 (c. 64) (imposition of conditions on public assemblies) does not apply in relation to a public assembly which is also a demonstration for the purposes of this section.
(7) In this section and in sections (Notice of demonstrations in designated area) to (Loudpeakers in designated area)—
(a) "the designated area" means the area specified in an order under section (The designated area),
(b) "public place" means any highway or any place to which at the material time the public or any section of the public has access, on payment or otherwise, as of right or by virtue of express or implied permission,
(c) references to any person organising a demonstration include a person participating in its organisation,
(d) references to any person organising a demonstration do not include a person carrying on a demonstration by himself,
(e) references to any person or persons taking part in a demonstration (except in subsection (1) of this section) include a person carrying on a demonstration by himself.'.—[Caroline Flint.]

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Brought up, and read the First time.

Caroline Flint: I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

Madam Deputy Speaker: With this we may take the following:

Government new clause 19—Notice of demonstrations in designated area.

Government new clause 20—Authorisation of demonstrations in designated area.

Government new clause 21—Supplementary directions.

Government new clause 22—Offences under sections (Demonstrating without authorisation in designated area) to (Supplementary directions): penalties.

Government new clause 23—Loudspeakers in designated area.

Government new clause 24—The designated area.

Government amendment No. 1

Amendment No. 2, in clause 128, page 92, line 27, at end insert 'or'.

Amendment No. 3, in page 92, line 28, leave out from 'Parliament' to end of line 30.

Amendment No. 134, in page 92, line 30, at end insert—

Amendment No. 4, in page 93, line 4, after 'officers', insert

Amendment No. 5, in page 93, line 23, leave out 'one kilometre' and insert '100 metres'

Amendment No. 135, in page 93, line 23, leave out 'one kilometre' and insert '200 yards'.

Government amendment No. 6,

Government amendment No. 168.

Caroline Flint: These new clauses are a response to the Procedure Committee which, in its report on Sessional Orders and Resolutions, considered in detail the legislation governing protests and demonstrations in Parliament square, which have given rise to a great deal of discussion and concern among Members of the House, as well as staff.

Following the concerns expressed in Committee about clause 128, particularly subsection (2)(c), the Home Secretary and I reconsidered how best to implement the Procedure Committee's report. We need specific legislation that recognises the unique position of Parliament and its surroundings. The Government recognise that existing legislation has not provided the police with all the powers they need to control all protests and demonstrations around Parliament. That was demonstrated clearly during our debate on the ways in which local authorities, the police and others have tried unsuccessfully to use the law to deal with particular problems.

Government new clauses 18 to 22, which would replace clauses 128 and 129, require all demonstrations that are planned to take place in the designated area to
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be notified to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner six days in advance. That follows the requirement in the Public Order Act 1986 for all marches to be notified in advance. The precise area will be defined in secondary legislation.

Following our discussions in Committee, we decided that it was important to have a clear process in line with current precedent on processions to provide greater certainty on what we intend to achieve and greater consistency for people applying to hold demonstrations.

Mr. Grieve: Let me say at the outset that the Government's proposals this evening appear to be much better than those that we considered in Committee, but does the Minister understand that one of the anxieties that remain is the potential geographical scope of the order? I appreciate that it is to be dealt with by means of secondary legislation, but what we pass here becomes rather important. The Minister knows my view that 1 km is much too great a distance. Would it not be possible for her to give an assurance during the course of the debate that we can at least amend the provision in another place, so that the distance is restricted to no more than 200 m from Parliament square?

Caroline Flint: I shall deal with the geographical issue later in my speech, and the hon. Gentleman might wish to return to it in his.

Jeremy Corbyn (Islington, North) (Lab): My intervention is on the same subject. I, like many others I am sure, am concerned about restricting the right of free speech and demonstration. Why on earth should many public buildings in this area be included, as well as Trafalgar square, which is a traditional place of protest and demonstration? The Minister should think carefully about removing rights that are enshrined in our history.

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