On Thursday 11th June, Sir David Amess, MP for Southend West, spoke at Business Questions and called for a debate on Sessional Orders and demonstrations near the Palace of Westminster.
Sir David said “Will my right hon. Friend find time for a debate on Sessional Orders, which determine how close to this building demonstrations can take place? Over the weekend, Winston Churchill’s statue was desecrated, a flag was burned at the Cenotaph and two wicked people threw bikes at horses. Parliament needs to act”.
Jacob Rees-Mogg replied “My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has been quite clear about these criminal acts, which are entirely unjustifiable. We are lucky in our police who, according to Sir Robert Peel’s principles of policing, police with consent. It is absolutely right that peaceful protest should be allowed. That is part of a democratic system, but people have to obey the law. That is incumbent upon all of us, but my hon. Friend will know that to ensure access to Parliament, discretion is given to constables by the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis under section 52 of the Metropolitan Police Act 1839 to “disperse all assemblies and processions of persons causing or likely to cause obstructions or disorder on any day on which Parliament is sitting”. In the past, both Houses passed Sessional Orders at the beginning of each Session, but the effectiveness of that is a matter of debate, and something where I think you and I do not necessarily share the same opinion, Mr Speaker”.
Sir Lindsay Hoyle said “If we want to make a real difference, we should add it to a Bill”.