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Lords continues line by line examination of Public Order Bill

23 November 2022

Police officer at a protest

Members of the Lords continued their detailed check of the Public Order Bill in committee stage, on Tuesday 22 November.

The Public Order Bill aims to strengthen police powers to tackle certain tactics employed by protesters. 

Line by line examination

Committee stage is the first chance for line by line examination of the bill. 

Three days of committee stage have been scheduled so far: 

  • Wednesday 16 November
  • Tuesday 22 November 
  • Tuesday 13 December*

*schedule is subject to change.

Proposed changes

Members speaking on day one of committee stage put forward amendments (PDF) (changes) to the bill to be discussed. 

These amendments covered a range of subjects, including: 

  • 'safe access' zones, protecting access to clinics for women who have made the decision to have an abortion
  • new police powers of stop and search in relation to protest, particularly in relation to women
  • harmonising the position between the territorial police forces—those covering a geographical force area—and the British Transport Police and Ministry of Defence Police. 

Catch up

Explore further information

Read background on the bill in the House of Lords Library Public Order Bill briefing.

Next steps  

Committee stage continues on Tuesday 13 December when further amendments will be discussed.  

How to follow 

What's happened so far?

Committee stage day one: Wednesday 16 November

Proposed changes

Members speaking on day one of committee stage put forward amendments (PDF) (changes) to the bill to be discussed. 

These amendments covered a range of subjects, including: 

  • burden of proof on new offences
  • possible defences for new offences
  • reducing the proposed maximum sentence for 'locking on'
  • creating a legal definition of 'serious disruption'
  • whether the first clause of the bill, creating a new offence of 'locking on' should be removed from the draft law.

Catch up

Second reading: Tuesday 1 November

Members discussed the main issues in the bill and drew attention to specific areas where they thought amendments (changes) were needed during second reading. Topics covered during the debate included: 

  • stop and search powers, including suspicionless stop and search and safeguards
  • Serious Disruption Prevention Orders and creating a legal definition of serious disruption
  • buffer zones around abortion clinics
  • the right to protest.

Members speaking

Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Conservative), Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office, opened the debate and responded on behalf of the government.

Members speaking in the debate included lawyers, senior judges and former senior police officers, including:

  • Baroness Chakrabarti (Labour), Council Member, JUSTICE
  • Viscount Hailsham (Conservative), barrister
  • Lord Hogan-Howe (Crossbench), former Metropolitan Police Commissioner
  • Lord Paddick (Liberal Democrats), Liberal Democrat spokesperson for home affairs and former Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service.

Catch up

Find out more about the issues discussed: catch up on Parliament TV or read a transcript in Lords Hansard.

Image: Adobe Stock