POINT OF ORDER – PROTEST NOISE – 15 January 2009

Dr Julian Lewis: On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. I am sorry to have to return to the subject of the noise from Parliament Square's amplified protests, but you will remember Mr Speaker's statement on the matter on 28 October. He said then that he hoped to be consulted by the Government about hon. Members' concerns about access and especially about abuse from amplified noise in Parliament Square.

If you, Mr Deputy Speaker, were in New Palace Yard yesterday evening, you could not have failed to notice that the protestors in Parliament Square appear to have been given new equipment. It made the noise deafening for people well inside the Parliamentary premises, so one can well imagine what it must have been like for the police and security officers near the gates who have to protect the premises.

Westminster Council has admitted that its permission to make broadcasts from the square ran out almost a year ago; yet, in anticipation of a statement from the Government, it has done nothing about it. Ministers told me in November that such a statement would be made imminently, but do you know whether Mr Speaker has been consulted or given any indication of when this absurd and abusive state of affairs will be brought to an end?

[Mr Deputy Speaker (Sir Alan Haselhurst): I am indeed sorry that the hon. Member has had need to raise the matter again. I suppose that the short answer to him is that Mr Speaker is still hoping to get a response from Westminster City Council. I can assure him that Mr. Speaker will not let the matter go.]