The Countryside Alliance has welcomed the report of the Joint Committee on the draft Constitutional Renewal Bill which calls for the removal of restrictions on protest near Parliament.
The Alliance, which has been responsible for some of the largest protests outside Parliament in recent years, and which gave evidence to the Committee, endorses the Committee's support of "the general presumption that protest must not be subject to unnecessary restrictions, particularly given the significance of Parliament Square as a place to express political views" and in particular its support for the removal of the requirement to obtain police permission in order to protest around Parliament.
Countryside Alliance Chief Executive Simon Hart commented: "The Alliance's President, Baroness Mallalieu QC, spoke for the hundreds of thousands of Alliance supporters who have marched and protested outside Parliament in defence of their way of life when she told the Committee that the inconvenience caused by demonstrations in the vicinity of Parliament was a small price to pay for the fundamental democratic right to peaceful protest.
"Today's report marks an important step towards restoring an historic freedom and we welcome the Committee's main findings. We accept that additional restrictions, which take account of the unique nature of Parliament and Parliament Square may be necessary. If these are proportionate and reasonable then they will be welcomed by police, protestors and Parliament alike. However, any attempt to restrict protest unnecessarily should be opposed. The Constitutional Renewal Bill represents a unique opportunity to restore fundamental rights to the British people."
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