Votes: Public Order Bill

On 30th January 2023, the House of Lords debated amendments to the Public Order Bill (2022) in the first day of the report stage. Votes were held on amendments to the bill, in which Bishops took part:

Division 1:

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of Manchester and the Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham took part in a vote on an amendment to the bill tabled by Lord Coaker: “to insert a new clause: Meaning of ‘serious disruption.’

Lord Coaker (Lab): “Meaning of “serious disruption”(1) In this Act, “serious disruption” means disruption causing significant harm to persons, organisations or the life of the community, in particular where—(a) it may result in a significant delay to the delivery of a time-sensitive product to consumers of that product, or(b) it may result in a prolonged disruption of access to any essential goods or any essential service, including access to—(i) the supply of money, food, water, energy, or fuel,(ii) a system of communication,(iii) a place of worship,(iv) a transport facility,(v) an educational institution, or(vi) a service relating to health.(2) In subsection (1)(a), “time-sensitive product” means a product whose value or use to its consumers may be significantly reduced by a delay in the supply of the product to them.”

Member’s explanatory statement: This new Clause defines the concept of “serious disruption” for the purposes of this Bill, which is the trigger for several new offences and powers. Hansard

The amendment was agreed. Content: 243 / Not Content: 221.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of Manchester and the Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham voted Content.


Division 2:

The Bishop of Manchester took part in a vote on an amendment tabled by Lord Faulks:

Lord Faulks (Con): Clause 1, page 1, line 18, at end insert—

“(2A) The fact that the person did the act mentioned in paragraph (a) of subsection (1) as part of or in furtherance of a protest on an issue of current debate will not constitute a reasonable excuse for doing that act.”

Member’s explanatory statement: This amendment seeks to limit the scope of the reasonable excuse defence, as the ingredients of the offence themselves ensure consistent with case law that its interference with a protester’s Convention rights is proportionate. Hansard

The amendment was disagreed. Content: 221 / Not Content 224.

The Bishop of Manchester voted Not Content.


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