BUSINESS QUESTION -- ANTI-WAR PROTEST NOISE – 27 May 2004

Dr Julian Lewis: It is now more than four months since I raised on a point of order the question of the volume of noise from the permanent demonstration in Parliament Square. In response, Mr. Speaker, you expressed sympathy with my point and the Leader of the House said that he would try to deal with the matter as quickly as possible. In fact, the volume of noise continues unabated. It is not relevant that there was a court case that allowed the protest to continue -- that was not related to the volume of noise -- and we must consider that the Police, who have the duty of being in the front line of any sort of attack that might be made on the House from outside, are being constantly distracted and disturbed by this incessant noise. The Police say that it is a matter for the Council, and the Council says that it is a matter for the Police. Why cannot the Police cross the road and remove the amplification equipment once and for all?

[The Leader of the House of Commons (Mr Peter Hain): Mr Speaker, I know that you feel equally strongly about this matter because you have told me so in no uncertain terms. The hon. Gentleman will be aware that the Government are anxious to deal with the situation, which is why we responded as we did recently to the Procedure Committee report. Action will follow, after consultation with the Home Secretary and the Police, to sort the situation out.]