An official review is poised to recommend a legal amendment empowering the police to prohibit pro-Palestinian marches, citing their potential impact on the Jewish community. The Telegraph has the story.
Lord Walney, the Government’s independent adviser on political violence and disruption, said British Jews were facing an “emergency” because of an “explosion” in antisemitic incidents linked to the marches.
John Woodcock, a former Labour MP, was ennobled as Lord Walney in 2020. He resigned from the party to sit as an independent in 2018 amid the antisemitism scandal, and in 2021 was asked by Boris Johnson to lead a review into political violence and disruption.
Lord Walney was on the cusp of submitting his review, but following the October 7th Hamas attacks on Israel has agreed with the Home Office to update it in light of the “fallout” on British streets.
The peer told the Telegraph that he would be specifically “looking at the threshold for the police to ban a march”.
Currently, police can apply for a public procession to be banned under the Public Order Act if there is a risk of serious public disorder. But Lord Walney said the bar was set too high because it did not consider the wider impact of demonstrations on vulnerable groups.
“I think the atmosphere that’s grown in London since October 7th is showing that the current framework is not set right,” he said. “It can’t take into account the effect that these marches are having on Jewish people, and across the U.K.”
He said he was “hugely sympathetic” to an argument from the Community Security Trust that this weekend’s demonstrations should have been called off because the pro-Palestinian protests have fostered anti-Semitic incidents. …
The Telegraph understands that Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary, is sympathetic to the proposed change.
Worth reading in full.