Kill The Bill protesters gather at Westfield London
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On Monday evening, the House of Lords rejected key parts of the UK Government’s bill which sparked “Kill the Bill” protests in cities around the country. The Bill, which is currently in its ‘Report’ stage, was dissected by Peers during the session.
New powers turned down by the unelected chamber included allowing police officers to stop and search anyone at a protest “without suspicion” for items used to prevent a person being moved.
The Lords rejected the measures last night, with the Government losing fourteen votes.
Labour peer Lord Adonis has now gloated about voting against the controversial Bill as the debate ran late into Monday night.
Lord Adonis tweeted: “Spending all evening – and maybe a large part of the night – voting in the House of Lords against Johnson and Priti Patel’s draconian legislation to curb the right to peaceful protest.”
The Government also wanted to see those with a history of causing serious disruption to be banned from attending certain protests by the courts.
It came with a proposal to make it an offence for a person to disrupt the operations of key infrastructure, such as airports and newspaper printers.
In a separate defeat, peers backed restricting tougher sentences for people who block a highway.
They instead revised the new law so it only covers major routes and motorways rather than all roads, as the Government had pushed for.
The proposed legislation will now be sent back to the Commons, and cannot be passed until both houses agree.
Peers were highly critical not only of the measures included in the bill, but that they were introduced after it had already gone through the Commons.
The measures would allow for “sweeping, significant and further controversial powers”, Lord Richard Rosser said.
He added: “We cannot support any of these last-minute, rushed and ill-thought-through broad powers.”
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Baroness Jones, a Green Party peer, commented: “These are draconian laws that are a wider assault on our democracy.”
Meanwhile, Lord Carlile, a crossbench peer and barrister, said: “The dilution of without-suspicion stop and search powers is a menacing and dangerous measure.”
Lord Rosser, a home affairs spokesperson for the Labour Party, branded it an “outrageous way to legislate”.
This defeat comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing mounting calls to resign following the “Partygate” scandals.
Ian Dunt, a columnist for the i newspaper and political journalist, commented today (Tuesday): “Absolutely savage night for the Government in the Lords last night.
“The policing bill being effectively torn up and thrown back at it.”
He added: “It is being defeated by an extraordinary coalition of people – from the far left to the centre, socialists and liberals, campaign groups and lawyers, protestors and Lords.
“It’s a beautiful sight to behold.
“The main section of the bill will go back to the Commons and will probably eventually pass.
“This is because the so-called libertarian right has not shown any real opposition to it.
“But the new amendments, which Patel sneakily added after the bill left the Commons, including protest Asbos and the like, look dead in the water because of their late addition.”
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