Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross

Douglas Ross Condemned for Backing Draconian Policing Bill

Douglas Ross (pictured) and the Scottish Tory MPs have been condemned for shamelessly backing Boris Johnson’s draconian Policing Bill – despite mounting opposition and concern from human rights and women’s groups.

The Bill – which restricts people’s right to protest and puts more focus on protecting statues than proper measures to protect women – has been criticised by Amnesty as “being rushed through.”

The group added that:

“The UK cherishes its self-image as a place of liberty which values our rights to expression and assembly.

“We mustn’t let the Government take this away.”

Meanwhile, Rights of Women, a women’s rights legal charity, warned that the Bill:

“Contains a raft of oppressive powers which crack down on our right to protest…and ignores a history of violence against women at the hands of the police.”

The Bill also potentially criminalises Gypsy and Traveller communities – a community which Douglas Ross has targeted in the past with incendiary rhetoric.

Ross previously described gypsy travellers as a “blight on our community”, and said that if he was Prime Minister for the day his number one priority would be “tougher enforcement against gypsies and travellers”.

Abbie Kirby, from the Friends, Families and Travellers group, warned that:

“Nobody should be imprisoned for the crime of having nowhere to go.”

Commenting, the SNP’s Shadow Justice Secretary Anne McLaughlin MP said:

“The Tory government’s draconian Policing Bill has rightly been criticised for its restrictive measures, failure to properly address violence and harassment against women, and the unfair targeting of communities.

“While SNP MPs voted against the flawed Bill, it speaks volumes that Douglas Ross and the Scottish Tory MPs ignored concerns from organisations and instead shamelessly followed Boris Johnson’s lead and voted in favour of it.

“Given the Tories’ Bill could target Gypsy and Traveller communities, it should come as little surprise that Douglas Ross backed the Bill given his incendiary and racist remarks to impose ‘tougher enforcement against gypsies and travellers.’

“We need steps to protect women and to protect our diverse communities, not measures that impose disproportionate restrictions.

“The SNP will continue to heed the warnings and challenge the UK government over its Policing Bill – Douglas Ross should be utterly ashamed of himself over his support for the Bill.”