Boris Johnson wants to change the right of assembly in Great Britain. Opponents warn that the British House of Lords wants to resist – but probably has no chance.
London – The British government under Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to change the right of assembly with a legal reform. Critics condemn this and several other government plans as a frontal attack on democracy and the separation of powers. The British House of Lords sharply criticized the planned restrictions on the freedom to demonstrate. On Twitter, the German-British SPD politician and ex-Justice Minister Katarina Barley warned of Johnson’s plans. His plans are “terrifying”, democracy and the rule of law would be “massively dismantled”.
Boris Johnson: New law to make climate protests and anti-racism demonstrations more difficult
With the “Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill” – as the bill is called – the Johnson government wants to put climate and anti-racism protests in their place, which have made headlines in recent years. The House of Lords rejected several paragraphs in the draft of the planned new Police Act by a large majority. For example, the police can severely limit protests if they are too loud or block roads. The bill went through the last stage in the upper house on Tuesday night – and should then return to the lower house. The government is expected to largely reverse the Lords’ changes to the Commons. In the so-called ping-pong, a legal text is played back and forth between the two chambers until there is an agreement.
Boris Johnson’s new police law: Critics fear restrictions on human rights
Critics fear that the vague regulations and powers for the police could lead to the dissolution of any demo as illegal. If you can no longer protest against the government’s actions with noise on the street, “human rights are seriously called into question,” said Conservative House of Lords member John Gummer during the debate on Monday evening.
The Bishop of Leeds, Nick Baines, who also sits in the House of Lords, referred to Mahatma Ghandi and Nelson Mandela, who were honored with statues erected in the square in front of the British Parliament: their protest, Baines said, would not have taken place under the circumstances be able. “These are draconian laws that represent a wholesale attack on our democracy,” Green Party leader Jenny Jones said at Monday night’s debate. Home Secretary Priti Patel accused the opposition on Tuesday of defending “vandals and gangsters” with their resistance.
These are draconian laws that represent a wholesale attack on our democracy.”
The proposed police law is by no means the only tool critics say the Johnson administration is trying to undermine the very foundations of separation of powers and democracy. Among other things, the control of norms in the country should be severely restricted according to the will of the Tories. Justice Minister Dominic Raab wants to break the power of the judiciary to check government decisions for their legality with a judicial reform. Its Judicial Review and Courts Bill reportedly allows the government to simply ignore unwelcome court rulings.
Judicial scrutiny has been a thorn in the side of the Johnson administration since the Supreme Court declared Johnson’s parliamentary recess illegal in 2019. Johnson is currently not only criticized for his planned reforms: revelations about Corona rule violations * put British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in trouble. Among other things, a crazy dance video with a sword has now appeared.
Boris Johnson: Further legislative proposals sharply criticized
Another project envisages taking Great Britain out of the European Convention on Human Rights and thus avoiding the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. With the Nationality and Borders Bill, Home Secretary Priti Patel wants to make it almost impossible for asylum seekers who have entered the country illegally to obtain a right to stay in Great Britain.
A bill to reform the electoral law, which the government pushed through the lower house on Monday thanks to its large majority, also caused a lot of criticism. The “Elections Bill” provides for a requirement to present proof of identity to vote in general elections in order to prevent voter fraud. However, the opposition senses an attempt to influence voter turnout in favor of the Tories. In Great Britain there is no identification requirement and no identity card. As a result, less affluent voters who cannot afford to travel abroad are less likely to have a passport.
Demonstrations against Boris Johnson in front of the British Parliament
Demonstrators gathered in front of Parliament on Monday evening, demonstrating loudly against the restrictions on the right to assembly under the motto “Kill the Bill”. According to a report by the Guardian, a man named Nick Newman asked to be allowed to rename himself the “Kill the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill” in protest against the bill. The liberal naming law in Great Britain allows almost any choice of name.
Unlike other Western democracies, Britain does not have a written constitution. In principle, the foundations of democracy and the rule of law could be undermined with a simple majority. That this does not happen is left to the principle of hope – this is also called the “good chap” principle. This is based on the assumption that the majority of decision-makers will always support the principles of the rule of law and democracy. But are Boris Johnson and his Conservatives still “good chaps”? There are now doubts about that. dpa *Merkur.de is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA.