POINT OF ORDER – PROTEST NOISE – 25 January 2007
Dr Julian Lewis: On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I am sure that you are aware of the recent court case that has led to yet another reversal in the attempt to limit the protest in Parliament Square. Whatever one thinks about that, there can surely be no human right to fill the Square with incessant amplified noise, which interferes with the ability of Members to do their work, and which is a distraction and danger to police who are in the front line of providing security to the House. Have you received any advice as to whether the latest court judgment entitles the protestor in the Square to recommence, as he has done, the broadcasting of amplified messages at unbearably high volume in that public place, which would not be allowed anywhere else that I can think of?
[Mr Speaker: I understand the point that the hon. Gentleman makes. It is a nuisance – I have been on demonstrations throughout my working life, and it has nothing to do with the right to demonstrate. Let me say that this is a matter for the police, as excessive noise can be a breach of the peace. I have asked the Serjeant at Arms to investigate, but it is not a matter in which I can intervene.]