The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament welcomes Justice Secretary Jack Straw’s announcement this afternoon. A draft bill has been published which, if passed, will both repeal the draconian regime which clamped down on protest within a kilometre of Parliament and require Parliamentary approval before military action is launched. CND cautioned that the exceptions that would require Parliament to merely be informed, but not to have to grant retrospective approval, should only be used where absolutely essential, and should not be used to bypass this welcome measure.
Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said, “We welcome the repeal of the shameful anti-democratic restrictions on freedom of protest around Parliament. That law, apart from creating a bureaucratic nightmare for police and protesters alike, has transformed the area at the heart of British democracy into a zone where quietly voicing your opinion is enough to ensure your arrest. The scrapping of this law will be welcomed by all those who value the long-established and hard won rights of the British people to protest.”
On the issue of the power to make war, she continued, “That it will no longer be possible for a Prime Minister to take the country to war based solely on his or her personal command will be greatly welcomed. We are often told that the defence of the country is the first responsibility of any government. Yet it is shocking that such a vital power has remained apart from all democratic processes. It is now essential that a vote prior to military action becomes the respected constitutional norm. The exemptions included in the draft Bill must not be used to dodge democratic scrutiny of this most serious of decisions.”
Notes to Editors:
1. For further information and interviews please contact Ben Soffa, CND’s Press Officer, on 0207 7002350 or 07968 420859
2. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is one of Europe’s biggest single-issue peace campaigns, with over 35,000 members in the UK. CND campaigns for the abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere.