Amateur Photographer is reporting that more than a third of MPs have now backed Austin Mitchell’s parliamentary Early Day Motion (EDM) petition on the right to take pictures in public places unchallenged by officials, winning cross-party support from 231 of the 646 elected members.
Last week Home Secretary Jacqui Smith responded to the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) following reports of police filming photographers and journalists during demonstrations and protests. However, her reply is being seen as giving the ‘green light’ to police officers imposing unacceptable restrictions on the rights of photographers. The Home Secretary wrote:
‘… Decisions may be made locally to restrict or monitor photography in reasonable circumstances. That is an operational decision for the officers involved based on the individual circumstances of each situation.’
Austin Mitchell plans to raise the issue directly with Home Office Minister Tony McNulty, however it now seems unlikely that this will take place before Parliament’s summer break.