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Point of Order

Volume 527: debated on Thursday 28 April 2011

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. This morning in my constituency, a group of 40 police officers arrived at a site, handcuffed one of my constituents and forcibly detained a group of them in a building on the site. They then undertook a search of the site, supposedly for materials that could be used for criminal damage. It appears that raids like this are going on across London at the moment as some form of pre-emptive strike before the royal wedding. The constituents who were detained in my area were to meet me this morning; they are from a group called Transition Heathrow. They are a group of environmentalists who took over a derelict site as part of their campaign against the third runway and have transformed that site into a market garden. It is supported by me and by a number of local councillors and local residents.

I believe that this disproportionate use of force is unacceptable, and I would urge that a Home Office Minister comes to this House to explain exactly what is happening today and what are the grounds for that action, and also contacts the Metropolitan police commissioner to explain that many of us feel that this is disproportionate and no way to celebrate this joyous wedding.

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving me advance notice of his point of order. He will understand, and the House will appreciate, that I am very loth to comment on a matter that might be, and probably is, the subject of continuing police inquiries. Moreover, it is not a procedural matter for the Chair. Nevertheless, it is a matter of extreme importance to the hon. Gentleman, and probably to a great many others besides, about which he has registered his concern in the presence of Ministers. I do not know whether a statement will be forthcoming. However, the hon. Gentleman is an extremely experienced Member. There will be ways open for him to pursue this matter through the House, and I rather imagine that he will do so.