Bishop Paul speaks on the Public Order Bill
The Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, Bishop Paul Williams has challenged the government in a debate on the Public Order Bill.
The controversial proposed legislation is passing through the House of Lords. It make provisions for new offences relating to public order, to stop and search powers and to police functions relating to public order.
In the debate on the Committee stage of the proposed legislation, Bishop Paul supported an amendment asked the government to define more clearly what would constitute ‘serious disruption to the life of the community’.
“Providing a clear statutory definition of this is something which I strongly support,” he told the House. “It will give clearer guidelines to the police as to what is and is not acceptable, as well as to those wishing to engage in lawful protests, and provide much needed democratic oversight of the bill.”
Bishop Paul also supported the amendment specifying the Church as an ‘essential service to the community’. He said, “I am very pleased that this amendment enshrines freedom of religion or belief in a central part of the bill. Churches are public buildings…essential places for people to worship and nourish their faith and for all who are seeking spiritual comfort and hope.”