Gedling MP Tom Randall has said he will vote for a new bill that includes a crackdown on “disruptive” protests, which is going through Parliament tonight.
The controversial Police, Courts, Sentencing and Crimes Bill will boost police powers, allowing them to tackle “so-called static protests” such as the Extinction Rebellion protests that brought parts of Nottingham to a standstill, by “imposing start and finish times” and “maximum noise limits”.
The government says the proposed legislation will allow the police to take a “more proactive approach” to managing “highly disruptive” protests that are deemed to cause a public disturbance.
The 307-page bill also gives officers more powers for tackling unauthorised encampments which interfere with the ability to use the land.
Stop and search powers could also be boosted if plans for serious violence reduction orders get the go ahead. This would mean it would be easier for police to carry out checks on individuals who have been convicted of carrying a knife before.
But critics fear it could be used to curtail the rights of people to protest.
Labour has said it will vote against the bill at its second reading.
Although they support several measures in the bill, Labour argue it will impose disproportionate controls on free expression and the right to protest.
Mr Randall today posted a video outlining his reasons for backing the new bill.
He said: “I will be bill that ensures stronger sentences for child murders, rapists, violent offenders, dangerous drivers, child abusers, burglars, drug dealers, knife carriers and those who desecrate our memorials.
“I know that unauthorised encampments can cause a great deal of stress and inconvenience, as I saw in Colwick a little while ago, as well as disruption and damage. This Bill will give the police the power to seize vehicles and arrest or fine trespassers who attempt to reside on private and public land without permission.
“The Labour Party will be voting against those stronger sentences. It will also be voting against increased sentences for those who assault our emergency service workers.This Conservative Government is working to keep our communities safe by reforming our justice system so that everyone can live their lives free from the fear of crime.”
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer yesterday defended his decision to ask party members to vote agains the bill.
He said: “It says lots of things about statues and almost nothing about protecting women and girls, and particularly dealing with violence against women and girls.
“This is a crime, police, sentencing and court bill, it should be the vehicle for addressing it. And there is nothing meaningful in it.”