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PRESS RELEASE: Lambeth Green motion strongly defends our human rights

Labour dilute Green democracy motion as administration fail to protect most fundamental of human rights 

Concerned about the government’s authoritarian new Public Order Act, Green party councillors have tabled a motion calling on Lambeth Council to write to urge the Prime Minister to repeal the draconian legislation [1]. Lambeth Labour have failed to do so.

Instead, Labour have watered down the Green motion and asked for an ‘amendment’ to the Act without explaining what these amendments would be. Labour have also removed all reference to the massive overreach of police powers as displayed during the King’s coronation and diluted Green opposition to the use of live facial recognition software in Lambeth after the event saw its largest ever operation in British history.[2]

By removing all teeth from the Green motion, Labour have dismissed a chorus of human rights organisations and legal observers who all support the Green call for a repeal of this undemocratic Act. The Act grants the police increased powers that include expanding suspicionless stop and search and banning individuals from participating in protests altogether. [3]

It is a shocking display of cowardice by the Labour administration not to take the strongest stance against this attack on our democracy by the Conservative government. The legislation has already been used to arrest members of the public en masse at the King’s coronation, including arrests of journalists as well as those who had no intention of protesting at all. [4]

Green Councillor Scott Ainslie states:

"The Labour Party has aided and abetted the Conservative's crackdown on protest.

Our motion highlighted what human rights organisations have been saying since the Act’s inception - that it will erode key Human Rights provided for in the European Convention on Human Rights and is another example of a Conservative government set on criminalising and eradicating fundamental pillars of democracy. 

Labour in Parliament, the London Assembly and in Lambeth have severely failed people. 

If you believe in equality, the right to protest, freedom of expression, and are concerned about handing more powers to the Metropolitan Police Service deemed ‘institutionally racist, sexist, homophobic and broken’ by Baroness Casey, then Greens are the party for you. Not Labour.”

Green Councillor Nicole Griffiths says:

We are deeply concerned about the disproportionate impact increased stop and search powers and expansion of live facial recognition technology will have on our already overly-criminalised Black and brown communities in Lambeth. The technology, which was deployed in force at the King’s coronation, has been shown to be inaccurate over 80% of the time, and has been widely criticised as discriminatory by human rights organisations. [5]

To that end, we called upon the council to ban present and future use of live facial recognition technology in our borough. We are concerned about the obfuscatory language Labour have used to remove the clear position stated in our motion by merely asking for a suspension, not a repeal, of this Orwellian technology. This amendment demonstrates once again that they put the interests of state politics over and above  the protection of  democracy and the most vulnerable communities in Lambeth.”

Ends

[1] https://moderngov.lambeth.gov.uk/documents/s147889/Council%20Motions%2012%20July%202023.pdf 

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2023/may/03/metropolitan-police-live-facial-recognition-in-crowds-at-king-charles-coronation 

[3] https://www.libertyhumanrights.org.uk/advice_information/public-order-act-new-protest-offences/ 

[4] https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2023/may/06/head-of-uks-leading-anti-monarchy-group-arrested-at-coronation-protest [5] https://files.lbr.cloud/public/2019-11/Human%20Rights%2C%20Big%20Data%20and%20Technology%20report.pdf