Police and Crime Bill will Create Toxic Legacy

Banning protest would make us more like Putin’s Russia than the UK. It would be a lasting and toxic legacy for Boris Johnson.

The former home secretary David Blunkett has said the police, crime, sentencing and courts bill risks making the UK “more like Putin’s Russia”, and that it would be a “lasting and toxic” legacy for the prime minister.

Writing in the Guardian, Blunkett, who served as home secretary under Tony Blair, has said the government’s plans to use the bill to prevent peaceful protests would “leave a bad taste in the mouths of British people who value tolerance, democracy and open debate”.

“By giving police forces sweeping discretion about how they deal with protesters, this law would drive a wedge between them [police] and the public,” he said.

“Tolerating dissent and protest is a British value, and it’s central to our democracy. It’s ironic that this bill would mean far harsher treatment for protesters in Parliament Square, where statues commemorate Mandela and Gandhi, leaders of historic disruptive, noisy and annoying protest movements now taught in British schools.”

He warned that if the bill was to pass into law unamended there would be “more ugly conflicts between the public and the police – and a police force that’s weaker for it”.

Full story at The Guardian