It can’t be often that the action of a single protestor has brought about a change in the law of the land, but 55-year-old Brian Haw looks likely to achieve it.
Mr Haw has spent three years in Parliament Square voicing anti-war protests through a megaphone. Londonist suspects that if he had been doing this anywhere else in England his activities would have been seen as irritating, but hardly a matter for parliamentary debate.
But the strength of Mr Haw’s voice (or, rather, the strength of his megaphone) is such that it can be heard by many MPs in their offices, and this has led a clause in the “Organised Crime Bill”, designed to maintain the right of protest in front of the House of Commons, provided that you do it quietly, that it is time-limited and you have obtained a permit.
Haw's view of the people who, in February last year, protested against the forthcoming war in Iraq was typical of his bluntness: "The marchers shouldn't have just one day out in the sunshine. They should stay until what's happening to Iraq stops and not just go back to their families and comfortable homes," he said.
The older among you might remember when it was possible to walk along Downing Street, but those days have long passed by. And now it seems the Houses of Parliament are going the same way, as the people elected to represent us become ever more distant.