Thom Yorke, Lily Allen and more react to controversial new policing bill

"If it’s not abundantly clear to you by now that this govt doesn’t care about democracy, you’ve not been paying attention"

Thom Yorke and Lily Allen are among the musicians to have criticised the controversial new policing bill which passed its first hurdle in Parliament last night (March 16).

After being debated in the House of Commons for a second time yesterday afternoon, the new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill was voted upon at 7pm GMT.

It has now been confirmed that the bill passed by 359 votes to 263 – a majority of 96 – after it was overwhelmingly backed by Tory MPs.


The new bill proposes tougher crackdowns on public protests, including a 10-year jail sentence for defacing public statues and more powers for police to shut down peaceful protests.

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 15: Members of the public protest against the The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill assembly. CREDIT: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Labour leader Keir Starmer said ahead of the vote that his party “won’t support a Conservative Bill that doesn’t tackle violence against women and girls” – despite a number of opposition MPs backing some sections of the 307-page legislation, such as longer sentences for child murder and sex offences.

The bill has been followed closely since a peaceful vigil was held in Clapham Common for Sarah Everard, the 33-year-old woman murdered while walking home earlier this month, turned violent with clashes between peaceful protestors and police.

“Over 50% of victims of violent crime in the last 3 years are women,” Starmer tweeted. “Don’t let anyone say it is a rare occurrence. It’s a devastating reality for women and girls across the country.”



Following yesterday’s vote, Lily Allen tweeted: “I keep seeing people tweet that you can’t have a functioning democracy without the right to protest.

“If it’s not abundantly clear to you by now that this govt doesn’t care about democracy, you’ve not been paying attention.”

Earlier this week, the singer spoke of the police and CPS’ “abysmal” handling of her stalking case. “I couldn’t have felt less protected by either at the time,” she wrote. You can see her tweets below.

Elsewhere, Radiohead frontman Yorke retweeted a video of Labour MP for Tottenham David Lammy, who gave a speech on why the party voted against the new crime bill. The musician captioned the post with the quote: “…those who cause annoyance could be jailed for up to ten years…”

Nadine Shah, who posted to say “IT’S OUR RIGHT TO PROTEST”, reacted to last night’s news by sharing the popular meme depicting a young man speaking to an unimpressed girl in a nightclub.

“I’m a plain clothes police man,” its caption reads. Shah said: “Ai. Ffs.”

Nadia Whittome, Labour MP for Nottingham East, claimed the bill was “born out of [Home Secretary] Priti Patel’s fury at Black Lives Matter” and the Extinction Rebellion movement. She described the move as “our descent to authoritarianism”.

Reacting to the bill being passed yesterday evening, Whittome wrote: “This is not the end. We will resist the #PoliceCrackdownBill every step of the way. In Parliament, in the courts, in the streets.”

Sleaford Mods claimed that “the protest won’t go away”, adding: “This bill will encourage a more violent reaction from what is largely a peaceful approach to protests and vigils. Perhaps violence is the only counter action against this government.”

Mogwai‘s Stuart Braithwaite wrote: “The split screen of the UK increasing the amount of nukes and banning protests whilst the Scottish independence movement bickers over crap no one will remember in 5 years is incredibly frustrating. Eyes on the prize people. Don’t screw this up.”