FORMER LIB DEM DEPUTY CHAIR FACES ASSAULT & BATTERY CHARGES

  • Peaceful protester charged with “assault and battery” of a GLA Heritage Warden
  • Defendant holding “Arrest Nick Clegg for Selling Stolen Peerages” sign when arrested
  • Calls for an end to “cash for peerages”

The Crown Prosecution Service will proceed with the trial of Donnachadh McCarthy, arrested during Occupy Demoracy’s occupation of Parliament Square in December. The trial starts on Friday 14th August at Westminster Magistrates Court.

McCarthy, author of “The Prostitute State”, former Deputy Chair of the Lib Dems and supporter of Occupy Democracy, was arrested after “bumping into” the GLA Heritage Warden who was lunging at another protester who had just jumped over the fence surrounding the square.

Parliament Square had been fenced off on the weekend of 20-21st December 2014 as Occupy Democracy’s third occupation took place. Protesters breached the low level fencing on Saturday evening in order to exert their right to protest outside the Houses of Parliament. The police responded by circling the protesters in an operation involving around 100 officers with a double kettle and the threat of arrests while occupiers continued their programme of talks and discussions.

Private security wardens working for London Mayor Boris Johnson had been dangerously pushing protesters back over the fencing that the GLA had erected around the square to prevent the protest from taking place.

At the time of his arrest [1] McCarthy had been giving an interview whilst wearing a tarpaulin covered with the slogan “ARREST NICK CLEGG FOR SELLING STOLEN PEERAGES”.

McCarthy said: 

“It is hugely symbolic of the failure of Britain’s democracy that the person seeking the arrest of the then Deputy Prime Minister for selling peerages, is the person arrested whilst peacefully protesting at Occupy Democracy.” [2]

Elaborating on the scandal of Liberal Democrat party peerage nominations, he continued:

“Nearly 20 years ago, when as a member of the Lib Dems national executive, I was astonished at the rich corporate donors, corporate lobbyists and corporate directors whom I did not even know were members of the party, would suddenly be appointed by the leadership to be Lib Dem peers in the House of Lords, with the power to pass legislation on all our behalfs for life!

Even Lord Bew, chair of the Commission on Standards in Public Life stated in response to my formal complaint that he agreed that the system of party donors becoming peers raised suspicions and that the party funding system was corrosive and lacked integrity. But he added that as the political parties had refused to address this lack of integrity, that there was nothing further his committee could do.

So having exhausted all political and procedural means at my disposal, I was left with nothing but my democractic right to protest, which is why I ended up standing there with that banner.” 

Occupy Democracy is a social movement for democracy free from corporate control that works for people and planet. Our core demands include:

  • a citizen-led constitutional convention
  • the introduction of proportional representation so that everyone’s vote counts
  • reform of funding of political parties to stop corporations and lobbyists having so much influence over election campaigns
  • severing the ties between government and corporations (by not allowing MPs to have second jobs, ending corporate secondment, closing the “revolving door” between government and corporations and cleaning up corporate lobbying)

ENDS

Notes for editors:

[1] Footage of arrest: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPjBzt_kD8Q

[2] https://occupydemocracy.org.uk/2014/12/23/occupydemocracys-third-occupation-of-parliament-square-links-escalating-homeless-and-housing-crises-with-our-broken-democracy/

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