Minister on pro-Palestine march on Remembrance weekend
Suella Braverman has been urged to make sure police use new legal powers to protect the Cenotaph and Remembrance Day commemorations from the Pro-Palestinian protesters branded “a hate mob”.
With plans to hold “a million person march” for Palestine and against Israel this weekend, Tory MPs are upping the pressure on the Home Secretary and Metropolitan Police to either block the march taking place or use the new laws to stop them going anywhere near the Cenotaph.
Stoke North MP Jonathan Gullis and Bracknell MP James Sunderland, a former army colonel, put forward the Desecration of War Memorials Bill last year which eventually became law in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 (Section 50).
It means there is a legal duty to protect war memorials and that anyone found guilty of desecrating them can be sent to prison for up to 10 years.
Mr Gullis told Express.co.uk: “Every war memorial in every village, every town and every city across our country is sacred and serves to remind us of the immeasurable gratitude that we must afford to our armed forces, both past and present.
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“They stand as a great, solemn, eternal reminder of our glorious dead. We cannot bring back those lives, or erase the grief of families and communities, but the least we can do is ensure that memorials are adequately protected, with the police enforcing the laws we passed to punish those who would deface or defile them.”
In a social media post he added: “With my friend James Sunderland, we introduced the Desecration of War Memorials Bill, which the Government adopted and passed into law under the Police, Crime, Sentencing & Courts Act 2022 (Section 50). The powers are there!”
He noted: “I remember Labour mocking it & calling them ‘statues’.”
Mr Sunderland told Express.co.uk that ministers also must play their part in ensuring the protests do not go near the Cenotaph this weekend.
He said: “Due to our Desecration of War Memorials Bill, which is now in law, the Police have the powers to deal with any odious behaviour at the Cenotaph but the Government must also ensure that any protest goes nowhere near it in the first place.”
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At the time Labour opposed the measure to protect Britain’s war memorials and mocked its inclusion in the Act.
Shadow armed forces minister Luke Pollard said: “The Police Bill is a bad bill. It does more to protect statues than women and girls.”
The reminder about the legislation has come as Rishi Sunak and Ms Braverman have raised concerns about the planned protests this weekend when the nation is supposed to be remembering those who gave their lives in the two world wars and other conflicts.
But there are fears that soft policing which has allowed protesters to use anti-Semitic chants, carry Jihadi flags and display symbols glorifying Hamas’s terrorist atrocities on October 7 when more than 1,4000 Israeli citizens were murdered, 200 kidnapped and hundreds more wounded.
Ms Braverman described the anti-Israel marches made up of hard-left activists, including many from the Labour Party, antisemites and Muslim activists as “a hate mob”.
From the first weekend of protests, the Cenotaph was violated when police allowed demonstrators to build a platform on top of it draped in antisemitic banners targeting Israel.
Nigel Farage has called for the planned protests to be blocked while Reform UK leader Richard Tice has urged the Government to deploy the army and deport foreign nationals who violate Remembrance weekend.
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