GMB host Susanna Reid clashes with Dominic Raab in heated police debate
"Susanna, you keep interrupting me..."
The Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab appeared on Good Morning Britain this morning to discuss the policing at Sarah Everard's vigil on Saturday night.
However, Raab seemed frustrated as co-host Susanna Reid interrupted him several times as he spoke on ITV's breakfast show.
Speaking of the policing at the London vigil, the Foreign Secretary said: "I think the issue around the vigils is a really tricky one for the police. We do need to stop people mixing because it saves lives because of the pandemic. On the other hand, we’ve got a proud tradition of peaceful protest and it’s a question of balance.”
Susanna Reid probed Raab by suggesting that police may be asking what they should do in terms of the legislation surrounding mass gatherings, which was implemented during the coronavirus pandemic.
In response, Raab said: “I’m sympathetic to that argument. We have passed legislation and the reason we have passed it is to prevent more deaths from this appalling, vicious virus that we face. It’s temporary, they will be gone as soon as possible. We’ve got a proud tradition of free peaceful protest and I think the police are in a very difficult position.”
Reid then asked Raab if police were right to disperse the London vigil, but after a few seconds he said: "Susanna, you keep interrupting me... again."
'The police are getting all the flack for this' - @susannareid100
Foreign Secretary @DominicRaab defends the decision to pass legislation that has criminalised protests during the pandemic.
He says the legislation is 'temporary' and has been passed to prevent more deaths. pic.twitter.com/omHzETTxQ9
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) March 16, 2021
Raab then proceeded to talk about the importance of social distancing, before Reid expression frustration at the manner in which the Foreign Secretary appeared to be sidestepping the issue.
She said: "Look, I know you don't want me to interrupt you but I think there will be a lot of people who say it's not good enough to say 'we make the law but you know you decide how it's interpreted and how you police it.' I think people, particularly the police, want to know 'did you want them to do what they did on Saturday the night?' And under the law, arrest people who didn't leave that gathering?"
Raab responded by saying that Reid was "quite wrong about her basic point", adding that the public and the police do not want politicians interfering in individual questions about how the law is enforced.
Raab's appearance on GMB and the increased discussion around policing in the UK comes at a time when Tories are trying to push through the new Police & Crime Bill, a piece of legislation that critics say will give police sweeping powers to crack down on protests in the United Kingdom and severely hamper one of our fundamental democratic rights.
Having initially been told by Keir Starmer to abstain from voting, Labour will now vote against the new bill.