By: Rahul Adhikari
March 20 2023
The claims made in the viral image are false; amendments to existing laws and the introduction of new ones have been misinterpreted.
An image showing a comparison between the laws passed by the U.K. conservative party in the 2020s with rules enacted by the Nazi regime in the 1930s has been circulating on social media. Several users claimed this was similar to the German Nazi Party or the National Socialist German Workers' Party. The viral image has two columns titled U.K. Conservative Party in the 2020s and Germany Nazi Party in the 1930s, with seven claims. The picture claims that the newly passed laws, including the Policing Bill, Elections Bill, Nationality and Borders Bill, Judicial Review Bill, and Brexit Freedom, are similar to those implemented by the Nazi party. A North Warwickshire 4 Europe Facebook page shared the post on March 8, garnering three hundred likes and over six hundred shares. An iteration of this image garnered over 250 likes and 71 retweets.
The first statement claims that the U.K.'s Policing Bill has criminalized peaceful protests. However, the U.K.'s Police, Crime, Sentencing, and Courts Act 2022 (PCSC) did not criminalize protests. Still, they gave the police the power to put conditions on protests to prevent public disorder, damage to property, or severe disruption to the community's life. Cops have also been given the power to impose a timing, set a noise limit, and fine protestors up to £2,500 if they don't comply with the guidelines. Another recently introduced bill, the Public Order bill, has criminalized tactics such as "locking-on" and "tunneling," terming them "dangerous and disruptive" actions. However, this, too, does not criminalize peaceful protests.
The post also claimed that the policing bill criminalized the Gypsy, Roma, and Travelers' way of life. Part 4 of the PCSC Act 2022 states that the police can remove people residing on land without consent in or with a vehicle, causing damage, disruption, or distress. A person will not be criminalized for their mere presence on the land. The "Offence under section 60C: seizure of property etc" enables police to seize vehicles and remove other suspects' properties. The bill also notes that the police have the power to remove trespassers. Several other countries have similar laws that give police the same powers.
The third point claimed that the U.K. government took control of the Electoral Commission, made voter I.D.s mandatory, and set a guideline on election campaigns under the Elections Bill, which ended fair elections in the U.K. The Elections Act has made voter I.D.s mandatory for elections nationwide, including local polls. The law has also introduced a "strategy and policy statement" for the Electoral Commission, which the public body must consider. However, the electoral body will remain independent. Further, the amendment set a limit on the expenditure by non-party campaigners (NPC). However, these amendments do not mean that fair elections have ended in the U.K. Citizens still form the government by casting their votes.
The post claims that the Nationality and Borders Bills enable governments to strip citizenship easily. According to the bill, the Home Secretary can strip citizenship without prior notification but only in exceptional cases, with the reason being national security, including espionage and acts of terrorism, unacceptable behavior such as the "glorification" of terrorism, war crimes, and serious organized crime. However, the government has to comply with the U.N. Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness and "cannot leave anyone stateless." Further, this power has been available since 1981, and the only addition is a new clause that does not require the person to be notified.
The fifth claim states that the Judicial Review Bill will not hold the government accountable. This is false, as the clause which enables the courts to hold the executive and public bodies to account has not been changed in the amendment. According to a report published by the U.K. Parliament, the Judicial Review and Courts Bill introduced reforms to ensure the government and public authorities are subject to the law.
The claim that the government is doing away with the Human Rights Act in the Brexit Freedom Bill is also misleading. The government has published a Bill of Rights Bill which will replace the Human Rights Act of 1998 with a new framework to implement the European Convention on Human Rights. However, questions have been raised about this amendment, and Amnesty U.K. slammed the government on Twitter, stating that this bill would "weaken the U.K. tradition of equality and fairness."
The viral image states in the last point that U.K. Conservative Party blames immigrants and minorities for society's problems, similar to Nazi Party. However, this is an opinion; no evidence was provided to support the statement.
The claims in the viral post are misleading and do not provide essential context. The amendments of several laws by the Conservative Party have not proved they are similar to Germany's erstwhile Nazi party. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.