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
Submissions should aim to be no more than 3,000 words and a summary is helpful.
We welcome submissions that cover particular aspects of the Committee's inquiry as well as those that cover the Draft Bill more widely. Annexes may be submitted, but will not necessarily be published. Relevant material prepared for other purposes (such as reports or submissions to other inquiries and consultations) may be submitted to the Committee for information, but will not be printed. Witnesses who submit written evidence may be invited to give oral evidence to the Committee if time allows.
Submissions should be sent electronically (in Word) and in hard copy. Evidence should be clearly printed or typed on single sides of A4 paper, unstapled, and should be set out in numbered paragraphs. If drawings or charts are included, they should be in black-and-white and of camera-ready quality. The hard copy submission should be signed and dated, together with a note of the author's name and status and whether the evidence is submitted on an individual or corporate basis.
Please ensure that you include relevant contact details. These will be removed before publication.
Evidence and inquiries should be addressed to:
Clerk to the Joint Committee on the Draft Constitutional Renewal Bill
House of Lords
London SW1A 0PW
email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: 020 7219 8675; Fax: 020 7219 4931
The deadline for submitting written evidence is 12 June
Once submitted, evidence submitted becomes the property of the Committee, and may be published. Witnesses may publicise their written evidence themselves, but in doing so should indicate that it was prepared for the Committee.
You can follow the inquiry via the Committee web pages, accessed from
This is a public call for evidence.
You are welcome to bring it to the attention of other groups and individuals who may not have received a copy directly.