Marco Longhi – 2022 Speech on the Public Order Bill

The speech made by Marco Longhi, the Conservative MP for Dudley North, in the House of Commons on 23 May 2022.

In 2019, the people of this country voted for a no-nonsense Government from the Conservative party, which is and always has been the party of law and order—whatever Opposition Members think.

As I have said many a time in this place, people in Dudley North are ordinary folk working hard to make a living, and we all know that that it is increasingly hard to make such a living in the current climate. I cannot understand how the privileged and entitled few think it is acceptable to prevent our carers and nurses from getting to work to care for our sick and elderly. They think it is acceptable to block a fire appliance getting to a serious fire, burning a local business to the ground or, more tragically, preventing people inside the burning building from being saved.

Paul Bristow (Peterborough) (Con)

My hon. Friend makes a powerful point. Does he think that ordinary people wanting tough measures against those who commit crime, protest and nuisance is one of the reasons why so many people abandoned the Labour party at the last election, voting Conservative for the first time, and why we have so many Conservative MPs now representing northern and midland communities?

Marco Longhi

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. It is regrettable that we have not been about to do much about police officers who seem to think it quite all right to commit acts of vandalism on statues, whether we like them or not, or to dance in the street with protesters who should not be congregating because they are breaking lockdown rules. The criminal minority who commit these acts disgust me. They have no concept of the real world and no concept of the misery that they bring to those less fortunate than them. A protest is not peaceful if it blocks key roads or interferes with key infrastructure. “Peaceful” means more than a lack of decibels. New, criminal, disruptive and self-defeating tactics carried out by a selfish minority in the name of protest are causing more serious disruption to the British public, with some parts of the country grinding to a halt, and police resources diverted from the local communities where we really need them. The disruption does not stop at simply preventing us from getting from A to B; it is worsening the cost of living crisis. What is more, blocking a road forces our constituents to go miles out of their way in their cars to get around the idiots disrupting them, which not only costs an awful lot more in fuel—money that most do not have to spend—but means more fossil fuels being burned and more pollution in our environment.

We cannot trust the Opposition to stick up for hard-working people—our constituents. The shadow Justice Secretary—the hon. Member for Croydon North (Steve Reed)—and the shadow Home Secretary both publicly say that they do not believe that people should be able to cause disruption to citizens going about their daily business, yet they consistently vote against any measures in the House to deal with just that.

Lee Anderson (Ashfield) (Con)

My hon. Friend is making some good points in a great speech. He will be aware of a prolific nuisance who wanders around Whitehall with a megaphone, rambling and speaking incoherently, usually on a Wednesday. Last Wednesday, I think, he actually exposed some disturbing parts of his body to the Prime Minister as he was passing on his way to work—disgusting scenes. Does my hon. Friend agree that the Bill should include measures to tackle that sort of nuisance behaviour?

Marco Longhi

I thank my hon. Friend for making those points. In exposing himself, that individual probably made more sense than at any time when I have heard him speaking.

Dr Kieran Mullan (Crewe and Nantwich) (Con)

Does my hon. Friend agree that everyone in the House knows that if we want to get things done, we have to knock on doors, deliver leaflets and persuade people to vote for us, and that short-cutting that by disrupting people’s lives is not acceptable? If those people want to get things done, they need to do what all of us do: go out and earn votes and change ideas and minds.

Marco Longhi

My hon. Friend is quite right. If he was also referring to the individual whom we just described, I challenged that very person to come and stand against me in Dudley North. Let us see if he has the courage to do so—or is he just a big loudmouth and a coward as well?

Dudley people want to be able to go about their business without others impinging on their ordinary lives. The Bill brings together a set of common-sense approaches. It is about that no-nonsense common sense that ordinary people want this Conservative Government to deliver. I very much thank both the Home Secretary and the Minister for Crime and Policing, who is doing his best to ensure that police officers in Dudley will deliver on these measures, using the new police station that I know he is working hard to secure for the people of Dudley North.