Home Office looks at law change to silence Stop Brexit Man once and for all
Steve Bray accepts Lee Anderson boxing match in February
The Home Office is reportedly looking at changing the law to silence the activist known as ‘Stop Brexit Man’ once and for all.
The infamously noisy protester blasts out loud music outside the Houses of Parliament for up to eight hours at a time. The activist – real name Steve Bray – has been using a sound system to torment MPs and civil servants with pop songs played at 90 decibels.
These often break into TV broadcasts, and have so infuriated politicians that Conservative Party deputy chairman Lee Anderson has called on Westminster Council to act.
Anderson said: “If he [Bray] rocked up to their offices with his music blaring out, they would move him on.”
Reports say that one possible tactic is to issue a Community Protection Notice that involves a written warning followed by a £100 on-the-spot fine or prosecution if breached. However, for this, Labour-run Westminster Council would need to be persuaded that Mr Bray’s activities were not a genuine political protest.
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His actions have so far been deemed by council staff to be protected by human rights law, although a former minister has said he could easily be dealt with under existing laws.
An MP added: “It’s not a genuine political protest – he’s just trying to making a living from being a public nuisance.”
Civil servants are reportedly looking at proposals to tighten Section 79 of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 that allows police officers to impose conditions on one-man protests if they believe “that the noise generated by the person carrying on the protest may result in serious disruption to the activities of an organisation which are carried on in the vicinity of the protest”.
But the Metropolitan Police has not used the powers despite Mr Bray setting up his sound system close to Parliament every Wednesday to coincide with Prime Minister’s Questions.
It is reported that police do not think the noise his protest makes reached the threshold for an offence under the act. The Home Office is considering amending the act so that ‘serious disruption’ can include a cumulative effect from weeks of noise rather than just a one-off, reports the Daily Mail.
Mr Bray often harangues Conservative backbenchers and ministers, chasing them down the street and filming them as they walk through Westminster.
When Boris Johnson gave his farewell speech outside No 10, Mr Bray tried to drown him out by playing the Benny Hill theme tune and a parody of the pop song Bye Bye Baby.
Mr Bray regularly clashes with Mr Anderson and earlier this year reported him to the police for supposedly swiping his distinctive top hat, although he was told that no crime had been committed.
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police told the Mail: “This is an area of considerable protest, and where that reaches beyond the boundaries of what is reasonable, we will take appropriate action.”
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