BUSINESS QUESTION – PROTEST NOISE – 21 October 2004

Dr Julian Lewis: The Leader of the House will remember the point of order that I made last week about the troubles in Parliament Square -- not on the question of the permanent demonstration that has been alluded to today, which does indeed require primary legislation, but on the abusive, anti-social behaviour not only of the permanent demonstrator but of visiting demonstrators who fill the square with amplified noise, which can only serve to spoil the amenity for visitors and imperil the security of the House by distracting the police and security guards who are trying to protect us. I asked whether he would pick up the 'phone and ask the police why they are not taking action in respect of that noise, which they would take if it were occurring elsewhere. Has he made that call? If he has not, may I suggest that he ring 020-7321 7501 and ask to speak to Superintendent Peter Terry? If he does not do that, I will, and I hope that many colleagues will do so and that, in the unlikely event that the politically correct media report this, members of the public will do so as well.

[Peter Hain: I am glad that the hon. Gentleman is going to ring that number, and I wish him well. I have been involved in a lot of detailed discussions and consultations about this matter, which is difficult because of the state of the law, but it is irritating – hence the announcement that I made only moments ago.]