B1495 – Freedom of Speech Bill 2019 Watch

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Saracen's Fez
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What is this thread about?
This is a bill in the Model House of Commons (MHoC). It's a piece of proposed legislation that is currently being debated, and there's a good chance that the House will later vote on whether to pass it into TSR law. All are welcome and encouraged to ask questions about the bill's content and join in the debate – you don't have to be in a party or be an MP to do so.

What is the MHoC?
It's a political role-playing game where we pretend to be the House of Commons, and it's been going since 2005. We have formed parties, we have elections twice a year, and we debate bills and motions just like the real-life parliament. If you want to know more about how the MHoC works, your first port of call is the user manual. If you'd like to get involved and possibly join a party, you want the welcome thread.


B1495 – Freedom of Speech Bill 2019, TSR Libertarian Party
Freedom of Speech Bill 2019

A Bill to amend the Public Order Act 1986 in order to protect the right to Freedom of Speech.

BE IT ENACTED by The Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Commons in this present Parliament assembled, in accordance with the provisions of the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

1.Amendments
(1) Section 4 of the Public Order Act 1986 is hereby repealed.
(2) Section 4A of the Public Order Act 1986 is hereby repealed.
(3) Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 is hereby repealed.
(4) Part 3 of the Public Order Act 1986 is hereby repealed.
(5) Part 3A of the Public Order Act 1986 is hereby repealed.

2.Short title, Commencement, Extent
(1) This act may be cited as the Freedom of Speech Act 2019
(2) This act comes into force upon on royal assent
(3) This act extends to the United Kingdom

Notes
You can find the Public Order Act 1986 here and the Football (Offences) Act 1991 here.

The case for the passing of this bill is a simple one: Freedom of Speech is the brick that preserves democracy. In societies where it is taken away or merely taken for granted, we see the rights of its citizens and the way in which those societies function collapse. In our own, we are beginning to see this, as outlined in a recent letter to The Spectator:

Those concerned over the ever-increasing limitation to free speech so aptly reported in Lionel Shriver’s recent article (‘The young oppress their future selves’, 21 October) might have their anxieties doubled having read the Crown Prosecution Service’s Public statement on prosecuting racist and religious hate crime from August this year:

‘We have agreed with the police a shared definition. This is wider than the legal definition [previously agreed]… to ensure that we capture all relevant cases:

‘Any incident/crime which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s race or religion or perceived race or religion … the presence of any such motivation or hostility will mean it is more likely that a prosecution is required.’

It is difficult to believe that Parliament when it passed the original Race Relations Act, meant freedom of speech to be curtailed in such a Draconian manner. Has the CPS exceeded its remit? Orwell must be spinning in his tomb.

Indeed, it is the works of Orwell that have been perceived for many years as an example as to why this apprehension to what was for many years the most treasured freedom in our own society can be so damaging. Yet, it has been ignored and forgotten, and in the midst of this growing shift in opinion, we can see the state slowly moving its hands towards the extra powers it can gain, just as depicted many years ago. Let us stand up against the mistakes that have been warned against, and let us be a beacon of freedom and civil liberties for the rest of the world.
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barnetlad
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No. Perhaps you find the abuse directed at some Jewish members of the Labour Party to be acceptable (to give one example), but I and probably most reasonable people would not. If mental health is to be considered as important as physical health, then the extension of your argument would be that some forms of violence should not be criminal offences either.
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SoggyCabbages
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Nay, it's dangerous to allow everything to be said. Socities with speech restrictions can still be democracies.
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tengentoppa
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The notes would benefit from less airy-fairy loud man in the pub stuff and more explanation of why those sections are particularly damaging. The article plug and the apparently obligatory nod to Orwell aren’t strictly necessary.
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Saunders16
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No, if you want to ensure that violent speech is prosecuted and merely offensive speech is not, then remove references to 'offensive' speech in hate speech law and provide exemptions for comments that are intended as comedic or satiric.

However, genuinely abusive speech towards individuals and harassment should be treated as a crime. Let's not go back to the days where people could just spew vitriol at minorities without any legal consequences. We ought to do better than that as a society.
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Connor27
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Fantastic to see one MHoC Party being brave enough to stand up for freedom of speech and the enlightenment values that this country is built on; even better when that party is my own!

I urge all members to vote aye on this Bill to reject the Road to Serfdom supported by members of the Labour and (unfortunately) Conservative Parties.
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I would be happy to support this, but I’m afraid you’re repealing the wrong pieces of legislation. Change it to pieces of legislation which actually block free speech rather than Public Order offences which are simply banning harassment and I’ll vote for it.
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Saunders16
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(Original post by JMR2019.)
I would be happy to support this, but I’m afraid you’re repealing the wrong pieces of legislation. Change it to pieces of legislation which actually block free speech rather than Public Order offences which are simply banning harassment and I’ll vote for it.
It would be the first change in a year and a half to this. It was submitted by me when I led the Libers and debated in November 2017.
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Mr T 999
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(Original post by Saunders16)
It would be the first change in a year and a half to this. It was submitted by me when I led the Libers and debated in November 2017.
Why you voting against a bill which you wrote?

We only resubmitted this as its a manifesto pledge tbh.
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Mr T 999
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(Original post by JMR2019.)
I would be happy to support this, but I’m afraid you’re repealing the wrong pieces of legislation. Change it to pieces of legislation which actually block free speech rather than Public Order offences which are simply banning harassment and I’ll vote for it.
Which legislation?
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Saunders16
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(Original post by Mr T 999)
Why you voting against a bill which you wrote?

We only resubmitted this as its a manifesto pledge tbh.
I think it targets the wrong issues, in hindsight. I proposed an alternative and if this fails, I will hope to work with you on it.
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Rakas21
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Abstain.

Although i fully support the philosophy behind this bill and may vote for an amended bill at second reading, the notes currently do not explain what the relevant sections of the public order act actually do meaning that as things stand the bill is not yet fully developed.

- Short answer, outline the exact repeals in the notes and why we should vote for each one of those. At second reading, that will make the bill votable.
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This bill is in cessation.
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This bill has been withdrawn.
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