Write to your MP - ask them to attend the debate on trespass
Last year over 134,000 people signed our 'Don't criminalise trespass' petition calling on the Government to drop their plans to do so. Now, at long last - and after repeated delays - MPs will debate the petition on Mon 19th April, 4.30pm. To speak, MPs have to register with the Speaker by Friday 16th April.
Many of you have already contacted your MPs about this the last time the debate was scheduled, before being postponed by Covid restrictions – huge thanks for everything you've already done to help on this.
But now is the last push - can you urge your MP to attend the debate and make your concerns known? Particularly if you know them to be sympathetic to this issue.
To make things easy, we've drafted an email below that you could send to your MP. Feel free to copy and paste it, or adapt it. You can check who your MP is and get their email address here.
Dear ____ MP,
As your constituent, I'm urging you to attend the Petitions Committee debate, 'Don't criminalise trespass', on Monday 19th April at 4.30pm. To speak in the debate you need to register with the Speaker by Friday 16th April.
Over 134,000 people signed the 'Don't criminalise trespass' petition last year - you can see how many of your constituents did so on this map. Now the Government has brought forward its Police, Crime, Sentencing & Courts Bill, containing measures to criminalise trespass with intent to reside in Part 4 of the Bill.
There has been a huge public outcry about the PCSC Bill's proposals, with cross-party opposition to many of the measures, including grave concerns raised by MPs on both Opposition and Government benches about the impact Part 3 of the Bill could have on freedom of speech and the right to protest. Measures to criminalise trespass contained in Part 4 of the Bill, however, have received less scrutiny from MPs, and the Petitions Committee debate on 19th April presents an opportunity to raise concerns about this.
Criminalising trespass with intent to reside would have huge impacts on the way of life of already marginalised Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities; it could criminalise rough sleeping for homeless people sleeping in vehicles; it would criminalise protest camps, which have given voice to many vital public concerns in recent years, such as the movement that successfully defeated fracking; and, because the Bill defines 'vehicle' and 'reside' so broadly, it could criminalise cyclists going wild camping, and deter people from accessing the countryside.
Scores of groups and hundreds of thousands of people share these concerns. You can read in more detail about some of the impacts the Government's proposals will have in these briefings and documents:
Briefing by Friends, Families & Travellers (FFT)
Briefing by Liberty
Letter to the Home Secretary (Jan 2021) from the Right to Roam campaign, CPRE, Friends of the Earth, FFT, Homeless Link, the Ramblers, Open Spaces Society, British Mountaineering Council, British Canoeing and Cycling UK.
Letter to the Home Secretary and Secretary of State for Justice (March 2021) signed by over 250 civil society groups and over 300,000 people, and counting.
I ask that you please attend the debate on the 19th April and raise these concerns about the Bill on my behalf as one of your constituents. Thankyou.
[your name, and please ensure you include your postcode to show you're their constituent]