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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Lucky fourteen

At last some good news as the House of Lords has delivered a major rebuff to the government by amending significant clauses in their Police Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

The Guardian reports that amongst the changes was a vote to make misogyny a hate crime in England and Wales. The law change would enable judges to impose stronger penalties if prejudice against women is proved to be the motivation, and would also require the police to record whether crimes were motivated by a hatred of someone’s sex or gender.

They add that the vote came during a debate in the House of Lords on the Police Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, in which the government lost 14 divisions, including plans to make people locking themselves on to objects punishable by up to 51 weeks’ imprisonment, suspicion-less stop-and-search and introduction of “serious disruption prevention orders” against protesters.

Peers also voted to block proposals to give police new powers to stop noisy and disruptive protests in England and Wales, with Green peer Jenny Jones calling the plans “oppressive” and “plain nasty”. Four other amendments including one aiming to protect Parliament Square as a place to protest, one that would require police officers to tell the truth in public inquiries, and one demanding an inquiry into the prevalence of drink-spiking offences were also passed.
The onus is now on the government to think again about these changes and hopefully concede defeat on them. If that doesnt happen then it is important that the Lords remain resolute in their opposition. The irony that an unelected body is now our main bulwark against measures to undermine democracy and individual rights should not be lost on us.
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