POINT OF ORDER – PROTEST NOISE – 23 October 2008

Dr Julian Lewis: On a point of order, Mr Speaker. On a number of occasions you have expressed your concern about the use of amplifiers by protestors in Parliament square, and we had a meeting with representatives of Westminster council on this issue some months ago. We were told that the licence for the use of loudhailers would run out at the end of January this year and that we would be informed if any application was made to renew it. Evidently no such application has been made and yet the use of the loudhailers goes on persistently, incessantly and at unreasonable volume. Will you please consider writing to Westminster council and urging it to enforce the law, irrespective of the fact that the Government will bring forward new legislation that may affect this matter in the future? That has not happened yet, but the law of the land is as it is and should be enforced.

[Mr Speaker: I promise the hon. Gentleman and the House that I will look into this matter.]

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Speaker's Statement – 28 October 2008

Mr Speaker: I have a statement to make. I have looked into the matter that was raised by the hon. Member for New Forest, East (Dr Lewis) on Thursday. The position is, as he said, that the licence for the use of loudhailers has run out, and I have caused that to be drawn to the attention of Westminster Council.

As the hon. Gentleman also said, legislation governing this matter, and the powers needed by the police to ensure the proper functioning of Parliament, are still being considered. I would expect consultation by the Government with myself and with the House authorities. I hope that the concerns of Members, staff and others who come here - in terms of both access to the building and disturbance from noise - will have been duly taken into account when the legislative proposals are put before the House.