Page last updated at 13:15 GMT, Sunday, 19 July 2009 14:15 UK

Cameron wants peace camp removed

Brian Haw
Brian Haw won a court battle to protest in the square

A Tory government would attempt to remove the long standing peace camp in Parliament Square, David Cameron says.

Anti-war campaigner Brian Haw has been camping opposite Parliament since 2001, surrounded by banners and placards.

He has been joined in the square by other protesters over the years - most recently a large group of Tamils.

The Tory leader said he was in favour of free speech but the square had been turned into a "pretty poor place" and it was time to say "enough is enough".

Mr Haw initially set up his camp in protest at sanctions against Iraq and then over the war itself but there is no indication his protest is coming to an end, despite the withdrawal of British troops in Iraq.

The father-of-seven has successfully resisted repeated attempts to remove him by Westminster City Council in London and by the government.


Several peace protesters were evicted from the square in August 2007 by the Greater London Authority to "prevent it becoming an illegal campsite", after reports that homeless people were sleeping there.

But Mr Haw from Redditch, Worcestershire, was allowed to stay.

Earlier that year he won a legal battle to remain in place due to a drafting error in a new law banning unauthorised protests in Westminster, but was ordered to restrict his banners and placard display to a three-metre area.

But the peace camp has sparked complaints from MPs and peers on all sides that it is too noisy and an eyesore.

Mr Cameron today told Sky News' Sunday Live a future Tory government would take steps to have it removed.

He said: "I am all in favour of free speech and the right to demonstrate and the right to protest.

"But I think there are moments when our Parliament Square does look like a pretty poor place, with shanty town tents and the rest of it.

"I am all for demonstrations, but my argument is `Enough is enough'."

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