Tag Archives: repeal

After police abused the new Public Order Act, above-the-law politicians won’t change it

A reminder: here’s Republic chief executive Graham Smith being arrested for not breaking any laws, by at least eight police officers.

There can’t be any doubt now that the big story of the Coronation weekend is the abuse of the new Public Order Act by police, to arrest and detain people who had every right to protest against a monarchy they do not want.

Graham Smith, chief executive of the anti-monarch group Republic, was jailed early on Saturday morning, on suspicion of conspiring to cause a public nuisance by disrupting the celebrations on London’s streets.

He has made it clear that neither he nor anybody else in his group had any intention to break the law.

Indeed, Republic has made it clear that it co-operated fully with the Metropolitan Police before the event even started:

Graham Smith, speaking for Republic on 3 May, said: “We have had two meetings with the Met police, and numerous phone conversations. They have repeatedly said they have no concerns about Republic’s plans.”

Mr Smith was released on Saturday but police retained his phone and luggage straps that they had claimed could have been used for “locking on” – attaching protesters to street furniture to cause disruption.

These items were returned on Monday evening, when officers admitted they were not able to find any reason to charge Mr Smith with a crime. Here are his comments:

Do you believe the claim of regret by the police? Richard Murphy, of Funding the Future, doesn’t:

I do not believe the police. Politely, they are asking us to believe in yet more fairytales if they expect us to think that these arrests were a mistake.

They announced zero tolerance of protest in advance of the coronation.

They got new powers enacted days in advance of the coronation to arrest without reason.

Republic had been completely open and honest about their intentions, I know. I get their emails. And so there was no new “intelligence” for the police to act on to justify their actions, as they and those seeking to excuse them (Ed Balls, I am looking at you) claimed. There was just a police conspiracy to appease Suella Braverman by showing zero tolerance that backfired spectacularly in both the UK and around the world.

And now they have not only had to eat humble pie, because their actions were so obviously unjustified and unjustifiable –  because not only was the protest peaceful but there was never a conspiracy that it should be anything else  – but they have now paved the way for rightful demands that use of this law be restricted until such time as it can be repealed.

The only impediment to that happening is Labour’s support for these laws – which looks most especially crass now.

I fear Mr Murphy’s hope for Labour may be forlorn. More on this below.

This morning (Tuesday, May 9), Mr Smith was interviewed by Kay Burley of Sky News, who did her level best to undermine his assertions – and he made mincemeat of her. Fair play to her for posting the clip, though!

This Writer cannot understand why Burley kept harping on about the cost of the Coronation. I had heard the £250m line too – and whether it cost that much or the more modest £100m figure that has been more widely-quoted, it’s still money that could have been put to better use in a country whose people are struggling financially because the government has sucked all the money out of it.

And she was unable to stop Mr Smith from making his point that “there was no evidence of any intent or capacity to commit any offence” and “no suggestion of wrongdoing… at all”.

While Burley was putting forward a pro-Establishment view, other journalists went very strongly the other way. Here’s Michael Crick – and I know he’s problematic too, but his words are worth hearing – on LBC:

Sadly, it doesn’t matter what the commenterati say about it; the political elite in Westminster have closed ranks to deny that anything untoward happened at all – and they certainly won’t consider revising or repealing the vague law that allowed this scandal to happen.

Here’s prime minister Rishi Sunak. First he said he supported what the police did:

“The police are operationally independent of Government, they’ll make these decisions based on what they think is best,” he told broadcasters in Hertfordshire.

“Actually I’m grateful to the police and everyone who played a part in ensuring that this weekend has gone so well, so successfully and so safely, that was an extraordinary effort by so many people and I’m grateful to them for all their hard work.”

Then he repeated his assertions to TV reporters:

It’s interesting that Sunak claimed the arrests were “operational decisions made by the police at the time”. I wonder if we can have that confirmed? I’ll try to contact the Met and see what response I get.

Meanwhile, here’s Tory MP Peter Bone, who supports his prime ministers point of view, having his derriere turned into burger meat and handed back to him by Marina Purkiss:

So much for the Tory point of view.

And what about Labour?

Lisa Nandy, on the morning media round, made it clear that her party sides with the Tories and repeated the assertion (although not in as many words) that Labour wants to be able to clamp down on protesters just as hard as the Tories appear to have done:

Even Barry Gardiner, usually excellent at presenting his party in a reasonable light, struggled in a discussion of the scandal on the BBC’s Politics Live:

And what does Labour think of Republic, and the right of anti-monarchists to be able to present their point of view?

Admittedly, party MPs have protested:

John McDonnell, the former shadow chancellor, questioned the rules this week, saying: “I can’t see that allowing local parties to participate in groups like these is going to bring down civilisation as we know it.

“A form of institutional paranoia has emerged in the higher echelons of the party’s bureaucracy which has led to a level of control-freakery in relation to the activities of local CLPs which borders on farce.”

Another MP and former shadow frontbencher, Clive Lewis, who will address anti-monarchy protesters staging a demonstration against the coronation in London on Saturday, said he had “serious misgivings” about the rule preventing affiliation with Republic, adding there was a long history of branches having relationships with democratic campaigning organisations.

Lewis said: “It feels wrong, and sits uncomfortably with me. I think a lot of people will find it problematic, even people who are going to be supportive of the coronation and the king. Many of them will also be people who believe in freedom of speech, freedom of expression and having an open, honest political debate about the future of this country.

“If you join the Labour party, you often joined because you want to make a difference to make your country better, and those are the kind of people who will want to ask questions about the kind of democracy we have.”

But Starmer seems to feel he has to act this way because it might win him some votes – despite the fact that it makes him (yet again) a hypocrite:

Labour under Keir Starmer’s leadership has attempted to underline its patriotism in order to reconnect with voters in “red wall” seats. In the past, Starmer had advocated abolishing the monarchy.

Meanwhile…

Yes, littering is indeed a crime, but it seems nobody has been punished for it.

Instead, the police concentrated their resources on persecuting people who had not broken the law at all.

It really is the big story of the weekend: supporters of the monarchy attacked, arrested, and imprisoned dozens of people on the day their icon was crowned – not for any crime, but simply for having a different point of view.


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If Labour won’t get rid of fascist Tory laws, here are some people who will [VIDEO]

Let’s start by setting out the situation: after dozens of people were arrested before the coronation under the Tories new, fascist Public Order Act, Labour’s David Lammy has said his party will not repeal that legislation if it gets to form a government.

His dismissal of demands for it, and his attitude in general, has been greeted with shock by an electorate that had been relying on Labour to actually fight Tory dictatorship, not join it:

It has left some of us asking where we could possibly turn instead.

Fortunately, a few options have presented themselves after the results of last Thursday’s local elections became clear. Several of the surprise winners appeared on the net-based Not The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday.

For example – the Green Party, exemplified by former Labour councillor Jo Bird:

So, people on the doorstep are not meekly accepting the claims of the main parties on the doorstep; they’re checking out those claims and voting on the basis of whether those claims are accurate or not. That could be a serious challenge for the Tories, whose relationship with the facts has always been unstable, but now also for Labour.

How about the former Liverpool Labour councillors who formed the Liverpool Community Independents and stood for election there? Here’s their account:

“The Labour Right can befriend you and then stab you in the back.” If that’s how they treat their fellow party members, how do you think they’ll treat ordinary voters who elect them into Parliament?

The victory also adds credibility to Lucy Williams’s claim that the Labour-run council is “incompetent”. We hear Tories attacking Labour councils on that basis, in Parliament, all the time and to have former Labour councillors elected back on that basis is damning for Starmer’s party. What’s going on there? Are these Labour councillors acting on duff orders from Starmer? Or are they complacent in their positions and can’t be bothered?

And they are already actively calling on voters to unseat the Labour MP in the constituency that includes their council area – Maria Eagle – in favour of an Independent.

Finally, former Labour activists linked up with others and formed a group called ‘Salt of the Earth’ to take 14 of 15 available seats on Winsford Town Council, in Cheshire:

“People were being patronised by Labour… It’s been crazy. There’s been a lot of smearing. It’s been really unpleasant.” Who wants to be represented by people like that?

I’m not saying this kind of unpleasantness is all that Labour has to offer; This Writer is a former Labour member and activist and I know plenty of people who are still party members and are, themselves, great human beings.

They’re all on the left wing of the party, of course.

These victories show that complacency of the kind that Lammy is displaying may well have had its day.

I certainly hope so. But what happens next is up to all of us.


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Starmer’s party has joined the fascists – it WON’T end Tory anti-protest law

David Lammy: he won’t stand up for your freedom and neither will Keir Starmer’s Labour.

Keir Starmer’s Labour Party will not reverse the Tory law that allowed police to arrest 64 people on the day of King Charles’s coronation – on suspicion that they might express anti-monarchist views in a way that other people might see.

That was the extent of their crime – if it can even be described as such. The police thought they might express a viewpoint that the State did not support, and that other people might notice.

Yes, there are claims that people were found equipped to glue themselves to street furniture in order to disrupt street activities – but this is the Metropolitan Police; it has lost all public trust or belief in its statements due to previous activities by its personnel which I do not believe I need to discuss here.

These are the police officers who arrested a group of people who are affiliated to them for handing out rape alarms to vulnerable women in Soho in the dead of night – on the pretence that they were going to set those alarms off and throw them at police horses. That shows how ridiculous their claims were.

There has been a public outcry against these draconian acts of suppression – quite rightly, because they are an expression of a fascist police state’s intent to crush any opposition to it. I put the argument in the strongest terms possible because I defy anybody to prove me wrong.

And the Starmer Party has gone full-fascist by supporting the new law.

David Lammy – who is the Shadow Foreign Secretary, bear in mind – said Starmer’s Labour would not repeal the Public Order Act, apparently because it doesn’t have time for it:

How strange. The Conservatives had time to pick apart any laws enacted by the previous Labour administration that actually helped people, during a five-year term in which they imposed unnecessary austerity on the UK that crippled the economy and invited unwanted private firms into the NHS, all while in an uneasy alliance with the Liberal Democrats.

But StarmerLabour doesn’t have time to halt the jackbooted march of fascism into this country – this nation that fought the totalitarianism that Lammy is welcoming now?

What a damning betrayal of the United Kingdom.

The Shadow Cabinet seems united in this betrayal: Shadow Minister for Public Health Andrew Gwynne told Andrew Castle on LBC that he was “all for freedom of speech” – except during the coronation, which he described as a “celebration”, “promoting British values across the world”.

So Gwynne’s idea of “British values” equates to suppression of free speech – never mind his claim that he’s “all for” freedom of speech later in the interview; he later added “but the coronation is a celebration,” and we all know that everything before the “but” is irrelevant.

Gwynne couldn’t care less about your right to oppose the coronation if you want to; his view is that it is a celebration of British values that include clamping down hard on free speech and arresting anybody who tries to express a dissenting opinion.

“Let’s wait and see what happens in the future as to whether this new law has properly curtailed people’s rights,” he said. So he considers it is “proper” for your rights to be “curtailed”.

These people give themselves away. See – and hear – for yourself:

And it’s not just protest that will get you arrested; journalists like myself could be detained for recording or filming it. Watch this, and take note of Labour Lord (yes, it seems there are still some voices of reason in that party) Prem Sikka’s comments:

In another tweet, Lord Sikka added: “Our rights were secured by protests/disobedience. Labour risks alienating its traditional voters. The country needs to jettison the toxic Tory policies, not perpetuate them.”

Also commenting on the clip, Richard Murphy of Funding the Future stated: “And Labour say they will not repeal the laws that allow our structurally racist and misogynistic (and so politically biased) police from doing this. What is happening to our democracy?”

On his website, Mr Murphy expanded on Labour’s betrayal of your universally-held human rights: “With a golden opportunity presented to him to make the news agenda and stand up for the inviolability rather than the conditionality of human rights, Lammy ducked it.

“What, after all, would a party born in the basis of protest want to do supporting the right of those who do so?

“And what, incidentally, is the “positive agenda” Labour will promote? Apparently it is growth, the cost of living and inflation. But inflation will go away anyway as it always does; Labour can do nothing about the cost of living unless it redistributes and it is already staying it will not; whilst on growth, we all know that the benefit of this will all go to those already wealthy.

“So, what is Labour for, now? I keep asking the question and still I can find no answer.”

It’s not for the unions any more – as seems clear from the following:

‘Tom London’ on Twitter also commented on the video clip: “‘Conspiracy to commit a public nuisance’ is an Orwellian phrase which can be used to cynically “justify” almost any arrest. The Tory Govt put this on the Statute Book knowing this. Starmer’s Party barely opposed. BBC and most of the rest of the media feebly nodded – or clapped.”

Other commentators, discussing the Starmer Party’s position, have universally opposed it. This is just one example:

We are left with a simple question: If Labour refuses to represent us, why should we vote for that party? Here’s Sue Jones:

There are still people in what’s left of the Labour Party who still support its founding values – like Prem Sikka (above) and Richard Burgon…

… but they are few and far between, and they are not in charge of party policy.

So there is no reason to support Keir Starmer and his cronies. Their only interest seems to be their own personal gain and their attitude to anyone who wants a country that works for everyone is that there’s nobody else to whom you can give your vote.

But is that right?

The results of last week’s local elections in England show that the electorate is becoming increasingly willing to vote with its feet, taking support away from traditional – tribal – options and handing it to parties that offer better options – or people they know they can trust.

There’s nothing to stop that happening in Westminster – especially when both StarmerLabour and the Conservatives present themselves as equally poor options.

And look what MPs can say when they’re released from the tyranny of the party whip. Here’s Claudia Webbe, who was thrown out of the Labour Party by the Starmer crowd:

It’s time for voters across the UK to take a hard look around and, if necessary, find an alternative to the elites in Westminster from among ourselves.

The corruption of the party in office – and its main rival – has gone too far for reasoned argument to halt it. The coronation day arrests and the way they were supported by Lammy and Gwynne make that perfectly clear.

So we have to find a better way.

Nobody ever achieved change by cowering at home and kowtowing to the thug with the truncheon.


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Here’s the reason Dominic Raab focuses on deportations in attack on Human Rights Act

Dominic Raab: he’s planning to strip YOU of YOUR RIGHTS, so let’s remember that he ignores the rules whenever he feels like it. Here we can see him licking his finger to turn a page, in conflict with the then-enforced rule to avoid touching our faces, and certainly not to touch things that have been handled by other people and then lick our fingers. We have let imbeciles like this impose their tyranny on us.

Remember Dominic Raab’s speech to the Tory conference, in which he promised to attack the Human Rights Act, claiming that he would remove the ability for an illegal immigrant convicted of domestic violence to avoid deportation by claiming the right to family life?

You will, of course, understand that he was using a solitary incident – that is hypothetical; it is doubtful that any court has ever allowed it to happen – to justify removing human rights from all of us.

No?

You didn’t get that from what he was saying?

If not, then here’s an expert to explain:

Of course, there’s nothing to be done about this at the moment; the Tories have a massive Parliamentary majority and the plan for this has existed for at least seven years. Worse still, Labour under Keir Starmer will never oppose the plan; he supports the removal of your rights.

The best thing you can do right now is to educate your Tory-voting friends (you’re bound to know someone, right? Otherwise, how did they win the election?) into understanding that they voted to deprive themselves of vital rights.

And those of you who are socialists need to work to rid the Labour Party of the entryists who have perverted it into the opposite of what it should be.

You still have three years before the next election, so what’s it to be? Get busy – or give up?

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#BorisJohnson wants to dictate when – and WHETHER – #elections take place – as #VoxPolitical warned you

Dictator Johnson: you put him into 10 Downing Street. Now, like all fascists, he is taking steps to ensure that you can’t get him out again.

Remember last December when This Site warned the UK electorate that Boris Johnson’s manifesto said, “We will impose an indefinite Conservative government”?

It means he planned to stay in power just as long as he wanted to, with no election unless he felt like it.

And the UK electorate ignored the warning and voted for him in what may be the last democratic election to take place in this country.

Do you think that’s overstating the case?

If so, you haven’t been paying attention.

Johnson intends to repeal the Human Rights Act and end your access to the European Convention on Human Rights – including the right to vote in elections.

No, it’s not just about making sure asylum-seekers can’t use human rights as an excuse to stay in the UK when they shouldn’t.

The plan to let Johnson dictate when – or rather, if – we have elections is the second part of this. And it seems some people, in Parliament at least, can see what’s coming:

MPs looking into the issue say there should be no return to the days when the date of the next election was a matter for the government alone.

The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee says that would give an unfair advantage to the party in power.

Under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, the next UK general election will be on Thursday, 2 May 2024 – but Mr Johnson is seeking the power to go to the country before that date if he wants to.

In fact, he isn’t. The FTP Act repealed all the other legislation on when elections take place, so getting rid of it wouldn’t be giving Johnson a choice on whether to have it sooner.

It would be giving him a choice on whether to have an election at all.

Source: Don’t give prime ministers the power to choose election date, say MPs – BBC News

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Supine Sunak set to axe ‘Facebook tax’ because he’s scared of big, nasty Donald Trump

Rishi Sunak: ‘Please don’t force us to eat your diseased chicken, Mr Trump! Look – we’ll cancel our tax on your tech companies! They can take as much money as they like from operating in our country and we won’t ask for a penny! Will that persuade you, Mr Trump? Mr Trump? Are you there..?’

Could there be a more blatant display of the UK’s newfound powerLESSness in the world?

The UK imposed a tax on tech companies like Facebook last year, expecting to bring in £500 million per year from firms that make more than £25 million each and would otherwise pay very little indeed.

But now Rishi Sunak is reportedly planning to axe it, in the hope that doing so will encourage Donald Trump not to insist on sending chlorinated chicken to the UK.

Sunak doesn’t even have the bargaining power to say he’ll do it on condition that Trump relents on his determination to foist food poisoning on the United Kingdom.

The justification to the rest of us? “Oh, it’s more trouble than it’s worth.”

I don’t know about that. £500 million is a lot of money to most of us.

The whole situation is pathetic.

The Johnson government, in the footsteps of Theresa May and David Cameron, has reduced Britain from Greatness to a state that can only be described as Little.

Source: Rishi Sunak to axe ‘Facebook tax’ on US tech giants deciding it is ‘more trouble than it’s worth’ | Daily Mail Online

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Tories refuses to abolish coronavirus law that has been wrongly used in every prosecution

When every single prosecution under new legislation is found to have been carried out unlawfully, that is poor law-making and should be repealed.

The Tory government is wasting the time of the police, the public and the courts with this silliness.

But it won’t repeal or change the Act of Parliament responsible for it.

Why not? Are these petty politicians taking delight in causing mischief for no good reason?

Who voted these clowns into a position where they could do this?

And do those voters now regret their hasty choice?

The government is refusing to repeal a “draconian” coronavirus law – despite it being used to wrongly prosecute scores of people.

The Coronavirus Act has not been used lawfully in a single criminal case since it came into force on 25 March, according to a review by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Human rights lawyers and campaigners have condemned the creation of “unnecessary” new offences, which have been used against children and vulnerable people.

They include a woman who was fined £660 for a crime she had not committed, five days after the Coronavirus Act became law. Charges have so far been withdrawn or overturned for 53 people and more cases are being reviewed.

Asked by The Independent whether it would abolish the Coronavirus Act in light of the changes and unlawful prosecutions, the Department of Health said it would not.

Source: Government refuses to abolish coronavirus law used unlawfully in every prosecution | The Independent

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An INCOMPETENT government released the London Bridge terrorist to kill again: a TORY government

How tasteless of the Tories to try to blame Labour for a tragedy that they caused.

People have died and both Home Secretary Priti Patel and prime minister Boris Johnson have tried to turn the atrocity into a political football.

For clarity: convicted terrorist Usman Khan murdered two people on London Bridge last Friday (November 29).

Both Mr Johnson (see the link below) and Ms Patel have tried to blame the fact that he was free and able to commit these murders on an early release policy which they say was imposed by a Labour government.

Both Mr Johnson and Ms Patel were telling an untruth.

Khan had been jailed under Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) – a policy imposed by Labour, but abolished by a Conservative Justice Secretary, Ken Clarke, in 2012.

It is because the Conservatives abolished IPP that Khan was able to appeal against his sentence – successfully. It was reduced to 16 years, meaning he was released on licence in December 2018.

Labour had nothing to do with it.

If you read the article (link below), you’ll see that Mr Johnson changed tack – to claim that his government could not be responsible because he has only been prime minister for 120 days. What drivel.

The UK has been under continuous Conservative rule since 2010. The same Conservative government that repealed IPP is now being run by Mr Johnson. The only differences – of cabinet members and prime minister – are cosmetic.

So don’t let Boris Johnson and his Tory cronies make a fool of you.

His government was responsible for Usman Khan’s release and as leader, he should take responsibility for it.

The fact that he is desperately trying to slither out of it is more proof of his unsuitability to govern.

Make sure he doesn’t get the chance to cause any more harm. Vote Labour on December 12.

Source: Boris Johnson blames Labour for release of London Bridge killer | UK news | The Guardian

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Homelessness: Labour will repeal law that criminalises rough sleeping

Sleeping in bins: Has this young woman been found yet? (See This Site’s previous report.)

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Housing Minister Melanie Onn have announced that the next Labour government will repeal the Vagrancy Act 1824 which criminalises begging and rough sleeping.

They say the priority should be to support, not criminalise, those who are sleeping rough or begging.

The Georgian-era legislation is unnecessary for dealing with genuine anti-social behaviour as a number of other civil measures exist, including civil injunctions and criminal behaviour orders.

The Vagrancy Act was used to bring a criminal charge nearly 3,000 times in 2016, with offences commanding a fine of up to £1,000 and leaving those convicted with a two-year criminal record.

Labour has committed to ending rough sleeping within five years of forming the next Labour Government, with a plan to reserve 8,000 homes for those with a history of rough sleeping.

Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey has already announced plans for a £100 million fund to make emergency cold weather accommodation available for every rough sleeper during winter.

Now Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said: “It should shame us all that rough sleeping has doubled in the last eight years and nearly 600 people died while homeless last year.

“Homeless people need help, not punishment.

“The next Labour government will make ending homelessness a priority. We want to build a society which doesn’t walk by on the other side when we see someone in need.”

And Melanie Onn added: “It beggars belief that we still use Georgian-era laws to criminalise some of the most vulnerable in society.

“Treating rough sleepers as criminals does not solve the underlying causes of homelessness and makes it harder for them to access support to move away from the streets.

“Rather than criminalising rough sleepers Labour would support them, with 8,000 new homes available to those with a history of rough sleeping as part of a plan to eradicate rough sleeping within five years.”

The announcement has won widespread support from the Twitter commentariat:

And Mr Corbyn expanded on his own opinion of homelessness during a visit to a Northampton project that helps homeless people:

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Back to the Victorian Age: Tories use ancient law to criminalise the homeless

What a lovely scam (if you’re rich):

  1. Use neoliberal employment and wage policies to force the workforce onto benefits.
  2. Cut the benefits so those people are forced into debt.
  3. Evict those people from their homes when they fall into rent arrears.
  4. Arrest the now-homeless people for vagrancy.
  5. Send the now-criminalised vagrants to prison.
  6. Put them to work for no wages at all and make a big pile of money.

Is that about the size of it, Tories?

It’s an outrage, and must be stopped – so will you help repeal the 1824 Vagrancy Act?

Sign the petition to repeal the Vagrancy Act here.

1824 was … the year from which current government policy on rough sleeping gets its statutory backing.

According to the 1824 Vagrancy Act, police are given powers to arrest and detain for up to three months anyone found, “lodging in any barn or outhouse, or in any deserted or unoccupied building, or in the open air, or under a tent, or in any cart or waggon, not having any visible means of subsistence”.

This in effect allows for the arrest of homeless people simply for sleeping rough.

Not only is this law still on the books despite the efforts of campaigners, it continues to be enforced even today.

In 2016/17, a Freedom of Information request reported 1,810 prosecutions under the act, and as recently as 2015 the number was more than 3,000.

Yet those are only the prosecutions, and lying behind those statistics is the constant experience of harassment with threat of arrest. Speak to rough sleepers directly and you’ll likely hear countless stories of being moved on and threatened.

Source: The politicians resurrecting a Dickensian law to make homeless people into criminals – New Statesman


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