The Joint Select Committee on the Draft Constitutional Renewal Bill (.pdf) has issued a public call for evidence:
Given the other important areas which this Bill covers e.g. War Powers, Treaties,the Civil Service and the Attorney General etc., there is a danger that the first section of the Bill will be hurriedly glossed over, and something other than a complete repeal of the extremely controversial and unpopular Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 sections 132 to 138, which the Draft Bill appears to promise, could end up being recommended by the Committee.
This must not be allowed to happen.
11. The Draft Bill provides an opportunity to re-balance the right to protest outside Parliament against the right of Parliament to operate effectively and without hindrance. How should this balance be struck?
12. Should Parliament be treated any differently from any other part of the country in terms of managing protests? How should the legitimate expectations of Parliamentarians and Parliamentary authorities be defined? In particular, would the repeal of sections 132 to 138 of Serious Organised Crime and Police Act give rise to a need for new powers for the police or other authorities to:
(i) Ensure free access to, from and around the Parliamentary Estate and to enable Parliamentarians to discharge their roles and responsibilities,
(ii) Restrict the use of loudspeakers,
(iii) Take account of the particular security risk,
(iv) Protect Parliament Square as a world heritage site,
(v) Prevent permanent demonstrations in Parliament Square,
(vi) Ensure equal access to the right to protest.
13. Are Sessional Orders (Orders passed by Parliament which impose an obligation on the Metropolitan Police Commissioner) still an appropriate means to manage protests around Parliament?
You have less than a month until 12th June 2008 if you want to try to influence this Committee, to make sure that they do not recommend some other equally undemocratic and restrictive alternative.
GUIDANCE FOR THOSE SUBMITTING WRITTEN EVIDENCE