Priti Patel slams Labour for failing to back her ‘halt mob rule’ move to crack down on protests
- Priti Patel blasted Labour after it opposed a bill aiming to combat protest groups
- The Home Secretary said the party only cared ‘about the rights of the criminals’
- The new Public Order Bill would help prosecute Extinction Rebellion protestors
Priti Patel accused Labour of backing ‘mob rule’ after it opposed measures designed to combat Extinction Rebellion and other protest groups.
Obstructing the new Public Order Bill showed Labour was ‘weak on crime and weak on the causes of crime’, the Home Secretary told the Commons.
The measure would create the criminal offences of ‘interfering with key national infrastructure’, such as airports, and ‘locking on’. This tactic has been used by XR activists who attach themselves to structures, roads and vehicles.
Miss Patel added Labour ‘only seem to care about the rights of the criminals’, not the disruption caused. The Opposition has tabled an amendment setting out its objections to the Bill.
Priti Patel said Labour was supporting ‘mob rule’ after they opposed the new Public Order Bill, which would help police tackle action by protest groups like Extinction Rebellion
Miss Patel told the Commons last night: ‘Recently we’ve seen a rise in criminal disruptive and self-defeating tactics from a supremely selfish minority.
‘Their actions divert police resources away from communities where they are needed the most needed the most to prevent serious violence and neighbourhood crime, and we are seeing parts of the country grind to a halt.
‘Transport networks have been halted, printing presses have been blocked and fuel supplies have been disrupted.
‘People have been unable to get to work and go about their lives free from harassment and, shamefully, they’ve even been prevented from getting to hospital. This is reprehensible behaviour and I will not tolerate it.’
Several of the measures originally appeared in Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act – passed last month – but had to be dropped after opposition from the House of Lords, ‘egged on’ by Labour, Miss Patel said.
The law aims to tackle disruptive action by groups such as Extinction Rebellion. Priti Patel visiting the Metropolitan Police specialist training centre in Gravesend, Kent
‘Labour is weak on crime and weak on the causes of crime. They only seem to care about the rights of the criminals,’ she added.
‘Labour members, including members of the Shadow Cabinet, demand that we stopped the removal of dangerous foreign criminals.
‘They refused to support the Nationality and Borders Act, which makes it easier to remove people with no right to be here including foreign national criminals.
‘Paedophiles, murderers and rapists are still in this country because of them.
‘So it is no surprise that Labour thinks that mobs should be allowed to run riot.’
Other measures in the new Bill include the creation of serious disruption prevention orders, dubbed ‘Asbos for crusties’.
The courts will be able to impose these orders on protesters to restrict their movements – and breaching them carries up to six months’ jail and an unlimited fine.
New laws allowing extra police powers to deal with ‘static’ protests – such as deliberate blocking of motorways, bridges and other roads – were passed in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts.
But ministers have not yet completed the next steps to bring them into force.