Labour MPs support Tory bid to jail war memorial vandals for up to 10 years

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2020/06/12: A man takes a picture of a boarded up Sir Winston Churchill statue ahead of this weekends Black Lives Matters protest in fears it will be vandalised. (Photo by Dave Rushen/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Several Labour MPs have thrown their weight behind proposals from a large group of Conservative politicians to jail people caught desecrating war memorials for up to 10 years.

Reports inThe Sunday Telegraph suggested that a group of Tory MPs was putting pressure on the government to introduce strict new penalties for those who vandalise monuments.

As many as 125 Tory MPs in the Blue Collar Conservative Group have reportedly voiced their support for a new Desecration of War Memorials Bill.

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Police clash with far-right demonstrators in London
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 13: An activist argues with a police officer on Parliament Street on June 13, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. Following a social media post by the far-right activist known as Tommy Robinson, members of far-right linked groups have gathered around statues in London. Several statues in the UK have been targeted by Black Lives Matter protesters for their links to racism and the slave trade (Photo by Kate Green/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Protesters from the Democratic Football Lads Alliance clash with people taking part in a Black Lives Matter protest in Parliament Square, London.
Protesters from the Democratic Football Lads Alliance clash with people taking part in a Black Lives Matter protest in Parliament Square, London.
Police are confronted by protesters in Whitehall near Parliament Square, London, during a protest by the Democratic Football Lads Alliance against a Black Lives Matter protest.
Police are confronted by protesters in Whitehall near Parliament Square, London, during a protest by the Democratic Football Lads Alliance against a Black Lives Matter protest.
Police escort a photographer with blood on their face outside the Houses of Parliament in London, during a protest by the Democratic Football Lads Alliance against a Black Lives Matter protest.
Police escort a photographer with blood on their face outside the Houses of Parliament in London, during a protest by the Democratic Football Lads Alliance against a Black Lives Matter protest.
Members of far-right Football Lads Alliance hold a banner during a counter protest in Parliament Square, central London, Saturday, June 13, 2020. British police have imposed strict restrictions on groups planning to protest in London Saturday in a bid to avoid violent clashes between protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as far-right groups.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Members of far-right Football Lads Alliance hold a British flag in front of a protective covering surrounding the statue of former British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill in Parliament Square, central London, Saturday, June 13, 2020. British police have imposed strict restrictions on groups planning to protest in London Saturday in a bid to avoid violent clashes between protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as far-right groups.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
A member of a far-right group that climbed on a pole chants slogans along Whitehall, in central London, Saturday, June 13, 2020. British police have imposed strict restrictions on groups planning to protest in London Saturday in a bid to avoid violent clashes between protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as far-right groups.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 13: Activists from far-right linked groups chant as they face police officers in Trafalgar Square on June 13, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. Following a social media post by the far-right activist known as Tommy Robinson, members of far-right linked groups have gathered around statues in London. Several statues in the UK have been targeted by Black Lives Matter protesters for their links to racism and the slave trade. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 13: Activists from far-right linked groups face police officers in Trafalgar Square on June 13, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. Following a social media post by the far-right activist known as Tommy Robinson, members of far-right linked groups have gathered around statues in London. Several statues in the UK have been targeted by Black Lives Matter protesters for their links to racism and the slave trade. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
A masked far-right protester walks as British police officers in riot gear escort him and others away in central London, as groups gather to counter-protest against a Black Lives Matter demonstration, Saturday, June 13, 2020. British police have imposed strict restrictions on groups planning to protest in London Saturday in a bid to avoid violent clashes between protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as far-right groups.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
A far-right protester gestures towards British police officers in riot gear at Trafalgar Square in central London, as groups gather to counter-protest against a Black Lives Matter demonstration, Saturday, June 13, 2020. British police have imposed strict restrictions on groups planning to protest in London Saturday in a bid to avoid violent clashes between protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as far-right groups.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Far-right protesters gesture as they confront British police officers at Trafalgar Square in central London, during a counter-protest against a Black Lives Matter demonstration, Saturday, June 13, 2020. British police have imposed strict restrictions on groups planning to protest in London Saturday in a bid to avoid violent clashes between protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as far-right groups.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
A protester is detained by police near Westminster Abbey in London.
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Home secretary Priti Patel is said to be considering the plans alongside Robert Buckland, the justice secretary, and Suella Braverman, the attorney general.

Opposition MPs voiced their support for the proposals on Sunday after the scheme was revealed.

David Lammy, the shadow justice secretary, was asked by the BBC's Andrew Marr whether he supported fast-track prosecutions for those caught desecrating memorials.

"Well the scenes [on Saturday] were ugly and very, very threatening. And the scene involving urinating at PC Keith Palmer's memorial was utterly, utterly dispicable and must have hurt his family greatly.

"Fast-track, yes absolutely- of course speedy justice. But I would say we have a massive backlog currently in our justice system because of coronavirus. So how the government is going to do that we will certainly scrutinise."

While the shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds told Sky News' Sophy Ridge he also would back the government in creating a specific offence against damaging war memorials.

He added that he would be willing to work cross-party to support such efforts in parliament.

"I was extremely disturbed by the scenes yesterday (Saturday) which were completely and utterly unacceptable," he told the host.

"I want to say a particular word as well about that awful scene of someone urinating next to PC Keith Palmer's memorial.

"Absolutely despicable behaviour and I hope that individual is identified and brought to justice."

It comes after more than 100 people were arrested at a far-right protest in London on Saturday.

One image emerged from the protest showing a man urinating next to a memorial to PC Keith Palmer, the officer who was stabbed to death during the Westminster Bridge terrorist attack in 2017.

On Sunday it was announced that a 28-year-old man has been arrested in Essex on suspicion of outraging public decency over the incident.

Tobias Ellwood MP, gave the dying officer first aid outside the Houses of Parliament following the attack, tweeted asking for help in identifying the man - calling the image "abhorrent''.

Labour MP Jess Phillips also wrote: "The man saying this was an actual soldier for our nation who ran towards danger to try to save Keith Palmer who also served to protect our country.

"The man in the picture claims to care for our country but he is just pissing on us all."

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