Commons peace protester wins case

By Nigel Morris Political Correspondent
Wednesday 04 December 2013 02:22

An anti-war demonstrator yesterday won his battle to continue a one-man protest on the pavement opposite the House of Commons. For 16 months, Brian Haw has staged a 24-hour-a-day vigil in his self-styled "peace camp" in Parliament Square.

Westminster council took him to court, claiming he was causing an obstruction because his possessions spilled over on to the pavement by 2 feet. But Mr Justice Gray, in the High Court, ruled the obstruction was not unreasonable and refused to grant the council an injunction against Mr Haw.

He said Mr Haw's right to exercise freedom of speech had been a significant factor in reaching his conclusion.

The peace campaigner has already won support from high-profile figures including the former MP Tony Benn and the former CND leader Bruce Kent, who have sworn statements to defend his right to protest against war.

After leaving court yesterday, Mr Haw, 53, from Redditch, Worcestershire, hugged and prayed with two Buddhist monks who had mounted a vigil at London's Law Courts during the case.The council was refused leave to appeal, but can still apply directly to the Court of Appeal.

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