Gaming Editor Louis Wright reports on Sunak’s stance on protests and the preservation of British democracy

Gaming Editor | ( ̶T̶e̶m̶p̶) Lead Developer | MA Film & Television Research & Production | BSc Computer Science | BurnFM Deputy Station Manager | Generally Epic

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has spoken to police chiefs nationwide about the increased risk that protests pose to British democracy.

Stating that there is a ‘growing consensus that mob rule is replacing democratic rule’, the Prime Minister’s comments and £31 million investment into protecting MPs come after protests have taken place outside of the houses of MPs.

Sunak describes these protests as being ‘intended to shut down free debate and stop elected representatives doing their job […] that is simply undemocratic’. 

This comes after there was debate about the democratic process within the House of Commons when Speaker of the House Sir Lindsay Hoyle decided that the House would first vote on Labour’s amendment to the SNP’s motion for a ceasefire in Gaza before the actual motion itself. This decision was made due to the Speaker’s belief of the risk of safety the initial proposal could face MPs with.

Sunak describes these protests as being ‘intended to shut down free debate and stop elected representatives doing their job […] that is simply undemocratic’

As Sunak has described, there have been a range of protests in recent years, for a variety of causes, that have directly impacted the homes and lives of MPs. In August of 2023, Rishi Sunak’s home saw protests outside of it with members of Just Stop Oil covering his mansion in black fabric, representative of oil that the government invests in. Prior to this, Jo Cox and David Amess were both MPs that were victims of fatal stabbings in 2016 and 2021 respectively. 

However, these incidents were not as a result of group protest but rather the actions of radicalised individuals; Tom Southerden, Amnesty International UK’s Law and Human Rights Director, speaking to the BBC said ‘Talk of ‘mob rule’ wildly exaggerates the issue and risks delegitimising the rights of peaceful protest’.

A representative from University of Birmingham’s Amnesty International, when asked for comment, echoed this statement, calling the comments ‘absurd’ and stressing there is ‘a reason people are protesting’.

‘It is fundamental to democracy to have the right to protest and describing it as mob rule is dangerous. It encourages the anti-protest laws that we have been seeing be pushed by the Conservative government in previous years.’

Sunak’s comment follows on from the Police, Crime, Sentencing, and Courts Act passed in 2022 which gave the police more power to control the location, times, and noise levels of protests.

Sunak’s investment into protecting MPs and discussions with police chiefs could potentially see benefits in preventing more incidents of MPs being murdered, however this comes at the risk of eroding the human rights of the British public in their right to express their voice.

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