Rowan Atkinson argues for Repeal of Section 5 of the Public Order Act

World-renowned actor and comedian, Rowan Atkinson, makes a humourous and strong case for repealing Section 5 of the Public Order act at a recent parliamentary reception.

Section 5 of the UK’s Public Order Act 1986 has several parallels with the ban on extreme pornography. They permit prosecutions of  harmless and non-threatening acts that are judged subjectively to be offensive. They introduce significant and ambiguous limits on freedom of expression, so that people cannot reasonably know whether they have committed a crime before being charged. Both seem little understood by police officers and are used in a startling wide range of circumstances that were probably not intended, or even considered as possible, by parliament. Repeal Section 5 is a campaign with an impressively wide range of supporters, from religious preachers to strident athiests, and from young and old. They are very worthy of support.