Scroll down this page for
1: The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021
2: Key statements from KONPNE
3: Defend the right to protest – sign and circulate these petitions
4: Joining the dots
5: Open letter
6: At the Monument, Newcastle upon Tyne
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021
The government is still pushing through legislation that threatens our fundamental democratic rights. It gives the police sweeping new powers to restrict the location, time and noise of peaceful protests – protests could be banned because they might cause annoyance, or unease, or just be too noisy.
The right to free speech and right to assemble are basic human rights – put together they make the right to protest. They are essential in a democracy. If this Bill is passed, our right to stand up to protect the NHS will be significantly restricted.
“It appears that our Government is now not just intent on dismantling our NHS, but through this bill they are attempting to break our capacity to act to protect it” NHS Staff Voices – KONP, March 2021
Click here for the UK Parliament website, providing details of the Bill.
…..and KONP Co-Chair Tony OSullivan makes this crucial point on social media @DrTonyOSullivan :
@NHSStaffVoices opposing draconian proposals in Police, Crime, Sentencing & Courts Bill. This would’ve stopped us protesting & saving Gloucestershire community, Lewisham, Barnstable, Glenfield, Huddersfield RI, Ealing, Charing Cross, Liverpool Women’s Hospitals …
“The whole point of protest is that it does have an impact and may well cause unease or annoyance to those who do not agree with its aims. The value of our freedom to assemble peacefully and express our views is supremely important, and protected in law by the Human Rights Act 1998. The proposals in the bill are clearly a clampdown on protest with too many discretionary powers being given to the Home Secretary and the police. More than 150 groups, including human rights charities, unions and faith organisations have warned that it will have a hugely detrimental effect on civil liberties.”
to read the full statement from National KONP
Sir David King, former Government Chief Scientist, on the Police and Crime Bill 2021:
“It’s extremely worrying, as we pride ourselves in Britain on having developed a true democracy. Any democracy needs to give voice to dissent. There’s a real danger that we’re going down a pathway that leads away from democracy.” 13th April 2021; click here
Joining the dots
From Unlock Democracy
These might all sound fairly innocent –
Judicial Review and Courts Bill
Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Bill
Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill
But when you join the dots, a clear picture emerges. Put together, they make up a huge power grab by the Government and a concerted attempt to stop anyone from holding them to account.
To us – it’s clear the Government wants to be untouchable. That’s why they want to pass the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which will restrict our right to protest against their actions. It’s also why they are introducing the Judicial Review and Courts Bill, designed to make it harder for individuals to challenge unlawful decisions made by the Government and public bodies.
Can you see a pattern here?
The Government also want to sneak through the Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Bill – putting the power to call a General Election solely in the Prime Minister’s hands. The Elections Bill puts the Electoral Commission under the control of Conservative politicians as well as potentially disenfranchising millions through voter ID.
And that still isn’t everything. But it all adds up to a huge and sustained attack on our democracy that has no precedent in this country.
DEFEND THE RIGHT TO PROTEST – sign and circulate these two petitions
for more information and to sign the “Freedom of Assembly Rights” petition
for more information and to sign the UK Gov petition
** Update 2nd April 2021: Due to the large number of people who have signed the UK Gov petition, the issue is now scheduled for debate in the Commons at 6.15pm on Monday 26th April, This debate may be viewed at the youtube link here and a transcription of the debate will be available from Hansard and linked here
This open letter is co-signed by KONPNE.
The “Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill” must be defeated, as it is an attack on our rights. The Government is intent on dismantling our NHS and, through this Bill, they are now attempting to break our capacity to protect it.
At the Monument, Newcastle upon Tyne:
3rd April 2021: David McAllister speaks for North East People’s Assembly at the Kill the Bill protest in Newcastle
“The best way to defend the right to protest is to keep protesting”
17th April 2021: KONPNE members Jude Letham and John Whalley at the rally at the Monument in Newcastle upon Tyne
The Government is now not just intent on dismantling our NHS but, through the Police Bill, they are attempting to break our capacity to protect it.
It is important for KONPNE members to be at the Monument – the “Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021” must be stopped….if passed, it will have a hugely detrimental effect on freedom of speech, democracy and civil liberties
Click here for a report + photos + videos from The Chronicle
1st May 2021: Statement of support from KONPNE
Keep Our NHS Public North East send our very best wishes for a successful day of action this May Day. In our ambition for a return to a universal, publicly—funded, publicly-provided, national health service free at the point of use: we find that we have more and more reasons to protest.
Last year we had several protests about the money being poured into the disastrous SERCO “Test and Trace”, the inclusion of the NHS in the Trade Bill and migrant charging in the NHS. This year we have actions planned protesting about private on-line GP services in North Tyneside and the embedding of private companies in the new Integrated Care Systems.
As the mainstream media continues to fail the public by not informing them of continuing, creeping privatisation of the NHS, it is absolutely essential that we have the freedom to take to the streets to inform the public ourselves. In the words of the KONP NHS Staff Voices group:
“It appears that our Government is now not just intent on dismantling our NHS, but through this bill they are attempting to break our capacity to act to protect it”
Solidarity and thanks to everyone participating today.
Jude Letham Co-ordinator KONPNE
Liberty (March 2021) Briefing
The Guardian (16th March 2021) Bill that curtails ability to protest in England and Wales passes second reading
Open letter to Home Secretary from community groups and organisations (15th March 2021) Click here
Liberty (15th March 2021) Leading organisations join condemnation of Policing Bill
The Guardian (14th March 2021) New anti-protest bill raises profound concern and alarm, human rights groups say