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Don’t let Tories use mobbing of Starmer to attack right to protest

Don't allow attacks on Keir Starmer result in protest restrictions
Issue 2791
Labour Party leader Keir Starmer.

Keir Starmer was shocked by far right and conspiracy theorist badgering. (U.S. Department of State)

A collection of conspiracy theorists, anti-vaxxers and the far right mobbed Labour leader Keir Starmer and shadow foreign secretary David Lammy on Monday. 

Some spouted conspiracy theories about a “new world order.” Others chanted “Jimmy Savile” and asked Starmer why he protected paedophiles.  Some chanted “traitor”.

Their slogans had undoubtedly been encouraged by the Boris Johnson’s claim that, when he was director of public prosecutions, Starmer failed to prosecute Saville. As so often, the Tories have boosted the far right.

So it was total hypocrisy for home Secretary Priti Patel to tweet, “All members of parliament must be able to go about their lives without fear of threats or intimidation.” Her racism has encouraged attacks against migrants and Muslims and will lead to more in the future. 

But there’s now a further danger that the attack on Starmer may serve as an opportunity to say that protests need to be further curtailed to protect MPs. It could serve as an opportunity to gain more support for the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which is close to being passed. 

Thousands of people have marched against the police bill and rightly demanded the right to protest. That includes holding noisy, confrontational, disruptive protests and the freedom to demonstrate in Parliament Square. Fighting Tory racism and the far right has to be linked to the battle for the right to protest.

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