Key measures of bill to limit protest tactics defeated in House of Lords


Proposed legislation aimed at curbing tactics used by protest groups has suffered eight defeats in the House of Lords.

Peers rejected key measures of the controversial public order bill, including ditching a measure to let police exercise stop and search without suspicion to tackle disruptive demonstrations.

In other setbacks for the government during the bill’s passage through the upper chamber, peers backed restrictions on the use of protest banning orders and removed a provision that would have allowed the sanction to be imposed against people who had not been convicted of any offence.

A separate government attempt aimed at cracking down on disruption caused by protesters slow marching was also rejected by peers. However, as the measure was only introduced when the bill reached the Lords, it cannot return as it was not in the original legislation passed by MPs.

The string of defeats sets the stage for a showdown between the Lords and the Commons over the proposed law, known as parliamentary ping-pong where the bill passes between the two houses.

The draft legislation is aimed at curbing some tactics used by groups such as Just Stop Oil, Insulate Britain and Extinction Rebellion, which have included blocking roads, but opponents have argued it can be dealt with under existing laws.

Speaking at the bill’s third reading before it is sent back to the Commons, Andrew Sharpe, a Home Office minister, said: “I must express the government’s disappointment at the removal of some very important measures, the aim of which was to support the police in better responding to the sort of disruption which has been impacting the public going about their daily lives.”

He added: “Blocking motorways and slow walking in roads delays our life-saving emergency services, stops people getting to work and drains police resources, and the British people are rightly fed up with it.”

Labour peer Vernon Coaker said: “I want to emphasise that the debates here and the changes made reflect a genuine attempt to address where the line should be drawn between the right to protest and the right of others to go about their daily lives.

“It was not about those supporting a law-abiding majority and those putting the rights of protesters first.”