Government to remove restrictions on Parliament protests

Bill announced in Queen's Speech will remove the need for protesters to get permission from police

The Government has confirmed that it plans to abolish restrictions on protests around Parliament.

The Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill, which was announced in yesterday's Queen's Speech, repeals provisions of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005, which says people who want to protest in Parliament Square must first get permission from the police.

In her speech, the Queen said the planned legislation would be introduced before the next general election, which must take place by early June.

Belinda Pratten, head of policy at the NCVO, is among those who campaigned for the repeal, saying government attempts to limit protests "undermined democracy".

A Financial Services and Business Bill was also announced in the speech.

The Charities Aid Foundation said it hoped the bill would be used as an opportunity to create a separate asset class for charitable savings.

This would afford greater protection for third sector organisations in the event of a bank collapse. CAF has been campaigning for the measure to be introduced since the Icelandic banking failure last year.

John Low, chief executive of CAF, said: "While we welcome increased measures to protect depositors and taxpayers, we hope the Government takes this opportunity to recognise the importance of the strength and financial confidence of the charity sector to the wider economy."


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