Home Secretary Priti Patel said it is “completely unacceptable” for the protestors to intimidate and harass children, while Sajid Javid described the protesters as “idiots” who are spreading “vicious lies”.
At a glance: 5 key points
- Following numerous reports of protestors who are opposed to the Covid vaccine demonstrating outside schools, senior politicians have criticised the protestors and called for increased powers to prevent them targeting schools
- Priti Patel said it is “completely unacceptable for children, teachers or parents to be intimidated and harassed outside their schools
- Labour are calling for a change in the law to allow councils to put in place “public spaces protection orders (PSPOs) much more quickly
- PSPOs can be used to create exclusions zones and disperse people from certain public areas, which have in the past been used to stop protestors demonstrating outside abortion clinics, however they currently take a considerable amount of time to put in place
- Asked about a recent protest in which three children were reportedly injured, Sajid Javid said the problem needs to be resolved “at a local level” with exclusion zones “or other potential action”
What’s been said?
Questioned on Sky News about protests in which three children were injured, Sajid Javid said: “These people are doing so much damage.
“First of all, here you have three children that are injured, actually physically injured, and that’s heartbreaking to see – children going about what they should be doing, going to school every day, and you’ve got, frankly, these idiots outside their school spreading vicious lies.
“It is becoming a growing problem as time goes by.”
He said there are options for tackling the problem – “in terms of whether it’s an exclusion zone, or other potential action, I think it’s got to be done at a local level”.
He added: “If you’ve injured children, that is a criminal act and I hope in that case police are able to track those people down.”
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Priti Patel said it “is completely unacceptable for children, teachers or parents to be intimidated and harassed outside their schools.”
Keir Starmer said: “It is sickening that anti-vax protesters are spreading dangerous misinformation to children in protests outside of schools.
“Labour believes the law around public spaces protection orders (PSPOs) urgently needs to be updated so that local authorities can rapidly create exclusion zones for anti-vax protests outside of schools.”