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  • Three of Britain’s leading civil society organisations have rejected Lord Walney’s call for the government and other political parties to ban MPs from meeting with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) and other groups. 
  • The statement – issued by Liberty, Friends of the Earth, England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and Amnesty International UK – comes in response to Lord Walney’s recommendation that political parties instruct their MPs and elected officials to shun PSC.
  • In their joint statement the three organisations declare that “The activities of organisations like PSC are lawful, legitimate, and nonviolent, and are essential elements of our democratic system.”  


Three of Britain’s leading civil society organisations have issued a statement calling for a rejection of Lord Walney’s advice to political party leaders to ban their MPs from engaging with PSC.

The three civil society groups state that “Any suggestion that the government or political parties should ban all meetings or engagement with legal civil society organisations or sections of the electorate, is profoundly anti-democratic and sets a dangerous precedent. At a time when civil society and human rights defenders are under attack around the world, the British government should be upholding our core human rights, not seeking to remove them from those with whom it has political disagreements.”

Last week an open letter signed by nearly 50 civil society organisations including PSC, Amnesty International, Liberty, Greenpeace and Oxfam condemned the government’s announced intention to place further limits on the right to protest in specific democratic locations including MPs offices and council chambers. The letter also condemned the smearing of the movement led by PSC, which is calling for an immediate ceasefire to stop Israel’s mass killing of civilians in Gaza.

PSC is the largest organisation in Europe campaigning in support of Palestinian rights with a network of around 100 branches across Britain, and hundreds of thousands of members and supporters from a broad cross section of British society. As the statement underlines, “the scale of its recent demonstrations calling for a ceasefire show PSC is supported by a substantial body of public opinion in Britain.”

Ben Jamal, Director of PSC said,

“The recent demonstrations organised by PSC reveal a huge democratic gulf between the majority of the British population on the one hand, which opposes Israel’s violence, and most politicians on the other. Polling has consistently shown that that between two thirds and three quarters of the public supports an immediate ceasefire. Politicians should be listening to the wishes of the public and put pressure on Israel to end its murderous assault, rather than trying to shut down democratic engagement and debate.

To suggest that MPs should be banned from engaging with PSC – an organisation that speaks for a massive body of opinion on this issue – is profoundly anti-democratic.”