Shadow Justice Secretary David Lammy announced on Sunday that Labour intends to vote against the government’s proposed new policing bill, claiming that it is "poorly thought out" and introduces unnecessary controls on the right to demonstrate.
Posting on Twitter, he wrote "that it is not time to be rushing through poorly thought-out measures to impose disproportionate controls on free expression and the right to protest."
“Now is the time to unite the country and put in place long overdue protections for women against unacceptable violence, including action against domestic homicides, rape and street harassment. And we must tackle the misogynistic attitudes that underpin the abuse women face."
The policing of the vigil for Sarah Everard last night was unacceptable.— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) March 14, 2021
This is no time for the government to impose disproportionate controls on the right to protest.
Labour will vote against @pritipatel’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts bill on this basis.
Unnamed sources reported by LabourList claim that the Labour leadership originally planned to abstain on the Police, Crime, Sentencing, and Courts Bill on Tuesday. Some MPs including Richard Burgon and Jon Trickett had already said they would vote the legislation down.
Former Labour leader and now-independent MP Jeremy Corbyn also confirmed that he would also be voting against the bill.
The sudden change in direction by Labour later comes amid calls for Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Cressida Dick, as well as Home Secretary Priti Patel to resign.
Criticism has been levelled against the Metropolitan Police for their handling of a prohibited vigil in South London for Sarah Everard, who was murdered earlier this month.
I’ve covered protests of all sides which the Met police for a decade, compared to most forces around the world they are largely decent and fair. But this is bloody shocking and appalling. pic.twitter.com/ANdAw4NdFP— Vincent McAviney (@VinnyMcAv) March 13, 2021
Remains discovered in a woodland area of Ashford, Kent were confirmed to be Everard’s. A serving police officer charged with her kidnap and murder is currently in custody.
Everard was first reported missing from Clapham, London on 3 March.