The Labour Government has today published its long awaited
The Good News - the abhorrent and undemocratic requirement for Prior Written Authorisation by the Police and arbitrary Restrictions on small or spontaneous demonstrations, near Parliament seems to be on its way to being repealed.
(1) Omit sections 132 to 138 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (c. 15) (which regulate demonstrations in the vicinity of Parliament).
However, do not get too excited because:
(2) Schedule 4 (which inserts new powers into Part 2 of the Public Order Act 1986 (c. 64) etc) has effect.
This amendment to the Public Order Act 1986 is even longer and just as complicated as the SOCPA legislation it replaces.
It does not spell out any of the details, as it is enabling legislation, allowing for the creation of arbitrary laws via Statutory Instrument Orders, which can only be accepted or rejected by Parliament, and not amended in any way.
The main difference seems to be the "area around Parliament", defined as no more than 250 metres in a straight line from the nearest point in Parliament Square, rather than the still current Designated Area of up to 1 kilometre (the current Designated Area does not extend as far as that in all directions).
Unlike the current Designated Area, this smaller Area around Parliament would exclude the front entrance of the Metropolitan Police HQ at New Scotland Yard to the west, the MI5 Security Service Thames House building to the south, extend only across Westminster Bridge but no further than the former Country Hall to the east, but would still cover most of Whitehall to the north, including the Whitehall and Horseguards Road entrances to Downing Street and the Whitehall entrance to the Ministry of Defence, if the full 250 metres is designated.