Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Government gives itself the power to arrest MPs in Westminster.

I am sure that there is an innocent explanation for this, but for the life of me I cannot think of it. Lifted wholesale from PJC Journal,
Home Office Minister Tony McNulty has signed Statutory Instrument 2007 No. 930 - The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (Designated Sites under Section 128) Order 2007 which comes into force on 1st June 2007.

This "designates" some more sites, under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 Section 128
Most controversially this now "designates" the entire Palace of Westminster and Portcullis House office buildings, crucially, even the formerly public access areas such the Central Lobby or the Committee Rooms.

It is intolerable for any Police officer and / or the Attorney General to have the power of arrest and prosecution on a charge which could lead to up to 51 weeks in prison in these particular areas, threatening and chilling the democratic right of constituents to meet and lobby their Members of Parliament, or to listen to the proceedings of Select Committees etc.

Now it appears that you can be arrested, on the whim of a Police officer or the instruction of a Minister of State, inside Parliament both under Section 128 and Section 132 of the Act.

Adolf Hitler did that in 1934 to the Reichstag. Just before he arranged for Police and Gestapo to arrest Opposition parties. (note: SOCPA does NOT exclude MP’s from its powers).

Strangely, the new list of 'designated areas' also now includes the Royal homes. This itself has sinister undertones if Dictatorship is on the agenda.

Just as Adolf Hitler had the Gestapo, a political police force, so the Home Secretary has the SOCA. Note that unlike the Police Forces in the UK, and the Armed forces who swear allegiance to the Crown, SOCA is responsible ONLY to the Home Secretary.

Schedule 1, section 20 of the Serious and Organised Crime Agency Act 2005

20 SOCA is not to be regarded-
(a) as the servant or agent of the Crown, or

(b) as enjoying any status, immunity or privilege of the Crown; and SOCA's property is not to be regarded as property of, or property held on behalf of, the Crown.

Now, as someone pointed out, a British dictatorship would not need to pass any new laws, just proscute those on the statute book. It appears that we have a new one to add to the list.


Umbongo said...

To be fair, the "designated sites" under S128 are only designated in respect of trespass: presumably, although MPs are not exempt, it would be difficult to prove that they were actually trespassing at the Palace of Westminster. On the face of it this is a move to get rid of possibly troublesome members of the public who could - horrors - wish to embarrass MPs.

OTOH since the police can (literally) arrest you for any offence in this free country of ours, arresting an MP will not be difficult: s/he will not be guilty of trespass but, in the short term, s/he can be intimidated or removed from the scene (ie Parliament) on the spurious pretext of trespass.

Nice! Thanks for making me even more depressed - particularly so, since I am not aware that any member of the "opposition" has brought this to parliamentary or public attention.

Elaib said...

Take your point, sorry about upsetting you