Home Secretary Suella Braverman has unveiled plans to clamp down on protestors causing disruption across the UK. The measures have been drawn up in a new bill which will be put to MP’s in the House of Commons next week.
Ms Braverman has long been opposed to the protests carried out by groups such as Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion. At the Conservative Party conference earlier this month she said there was "not a human right to vandalise property".
What measures are in the bill?
According to the Home Office, proposals of the new legislation include introducing 12 month prison sentences for people interfering with infrastructure such as oil refineries and the railways.
“Locking-on” or having the intention to “lock-on” to anything including other people, objects or buildings to cause “serious disruption” could see individuals imprisoned for six months or hit with an unlimited fine.
If the bill is voted in by MP’s, a new criminal office of tunnelling to cause serious disruption will also be created. This will carry a maximum penalty of three years’ imprisonment as well as the potential for an unlimited fine. An offence of going equipped to tunnel will also be created.
What Ms Braverman has said about the protests
Ms Braverman said: “I will not bend to protestors attempting to hold the British public to ransom. Preventing our emergency services from reaching those who desperately need them is indefensible, hideously selfish and in no way in the public interest.
“This serious and dangerous disruption, let alone the vandalism, is not a freedom of expression, nor a human right. It must stop.”
She added: "The police need strengthened and tougher powers to match the rise in self-defeating protest tactics and that’s what the Public Order Bill will do."