• Friday, April 19, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Sunak cautions against ‘mob rule’ overshadowing democracy

Many British lawmakers fear for their safety

Rishi Sunak leaves number 10, Downing Street ahead of the weekly PMQ session in the House of Commons, on February 28, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

BRITAIN is descending into “mob rule” and police will do more to protect the country’s democracy, prime minister Rishi Sunak said, after the government announced extra funding to keep lawmakers safe.

Many British lawmakers have said the abuse directed at them has become more intense since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel that sparked the war in Gaza, with some fearing for their safety if they air their views on the conflict.

Last week parliament descended into chaos as tensions flared over a vote on Gaza, with the House of Commons speaker citing “frightening” threats against lawmakers for a decision to break with usual parliamentary procedure.

“There is a growing consensus that mob rule is replacing democratic rule. And we’ve got to collectively, all of us, change that urgently,” Sunak said at a meeting with police chiefs on Wednesday (28), according to remarks released by his office.

“We simply cannot allow this pattern of increasingly violent and intimidatory behaviour which is, as far as anyone can see, intended to shout down free debate and stop elected representatives doing their job. That is simply undemocratic.”

Earlier, the Home Office announced funding worth £31 million ($39m) to provide additional security for lawmakers and other officials.

Sunak said a new Democratic Policing Protocol would commit to extra patrols and make clear that protests at the homes of elected representatives should be treated as intimidatory.

It also makes clear that from now on police should take a “consistent and robust approach … to protect our democratic processes from intimidation, disruption, from subversion”, he said.

(Reuters)

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