AN ex-Labour MSP has said David Lammy is “living in cloud cuckoo land” if he thinks not repealing anti-protest legislation rushed through by the Tories will win Labour an election.

Neil Findlay, who was a Labour MSP for 10 years, has blasted his party after Lammy said they would not reverse the Public Order Bill if they were to form a government after the next General Election.

Ex-Labour member and current SNP MP Tommy Sheppard has also criticised the move, saying it shows a party that was once about reform and change has now become “the mass party of the establishment”.

Current Labour MSP Monica Lennon encouraged party members to make their voices heard on the issue, as she insisted the way to win an election was “by being bold and progressive”.

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What is the Public Order Bill?

The bill, which was rushed through Westminster ahead of the King’s coronation but does not apply to Scotland, will include a 12-month prison sentence for protesters who block roads and a six-month jail term or unlimited fine for anyone who locks on to others, a building, or an object. Police are also permitted to stop protesters they suspect are out to cause “disruption”.

Lammy, the party’s foreign office spokesperson, told LBC it would take up “too much parliamentary time” to repeal the law and Labour can’t come into office “picking through all the Conservative legislation and repealing it”.

His comments have sparked uproar with voters wondering why they should put an X next to a Labour candidate if the party is going to leave damaging Tory policies in place.

Reaction in Scotland

Findlay said the right to protest is an “intrinsic part of any democratic society” and insisted it would be daft for any Labour government to suggest they won’t go back on it.

The National: David Lammy said it would take up too much parliamentary time to repeal the anti-protest legislationDavid Lammy said it would take up too much parliamentary time to repeal the anti-protest legislation (Image: PA)

He told The National: “David Lammy’s comments were woeful. Lammy should read the history of the party he is a leading member of. 

“The right to protest is an intrinsic part of any democratic society and has been exercised by socialists, trade unionists and campaign groups for hundreds of years.

“To say an incoming Labour Government wouldn’t unpick the worst Tory legislation is frankly daft.

“It is the duty of any incoming government to get rid of the rubbish passed by its predecessor. If this the approach he thinks will win an election - he is living in cloud cuckoo land.”

Findlay has been highly critical of his party in recent years having previously slammed a “poisonous” culture among Labour MSPs with their “hard Unionist” agenda.

Lennon, who has been a Labour MSP since 2016, said her party should be offering a progressive agenda in order to achieve a comfortable majority and encouraged members to make their voices heard if they are unhappy with Lammy’s stance.

She said: “There is a process for deciding the Labour manifesto for the next election and party members should make their voices heard.

“Many people will rightly expect a Labour government to act differently from the Tories who have curtailed the right to protest and the right to strike.

The National:

“It is through offering bold and progressive change that Labour will attract support and achieve the comfortable majority needed to govern with confidence.”

Over the weekend, dozens of people were arrested for protesting against the King’s crowning including Graham Smith, the chief executive of anti-monarchy group Republic.

Sheppard, who was assistant general secretary of Scottish Labour under John Smith, said Labour could easily “snatch defeat from the jaws of victory” if they continue with their “lack of ambition”.

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He told The National: “I think it’s sad really that a party that was founded as a great mass party of reform and change has become the mass party of the establishment.

“This is further evidence that the lack of ambition in the Labour party to change anything is deeply uninspiring and a fragile edifice on which to build a campaign for government.

“The only reason Labour are ahead in the polls is because people want change and if Labour keep saying they are not going to change anything, they could easily snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.”