RISHI Sunak insisted it was right the police had extra powers to arrest protesters after he was slated in Parliament for officers detaining republican demonstrators during the coronation.

SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn challenged the Prime Minister on the Tories’ new Public Order Bill, which includes a 12-month prison sentence for protesters who block roads and a six-month jail term or unlimited fine for anyone who locks on to others, a building, or an object in England and Wales.

Six Republic campaigners were arrested at the weekend under the fresh legislation before the Metropolitan Police expressed “regret” over its actions. It was thought luggage tags being used to hold placards together might be used as “lock on devices”.

Flynn asked the PM if he would expect to be arrested by police if he had placards in his "Land Rover" boot which said “Save our Non-Doms” – referencing Sunak’s wife’s non-domicile status which allowed her to save millions of pounds in tax on dividends collected from her family’s IT empire.

He said the right to protest is a “fundamental right” in a democracy, but felt Sunak was suggesting people could protest but only on the PM's terms.

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Flynn told the House: “What we’re talking about here is the nurses' strike, doctors' strike, firefighters' protest and the republicans' protest. They do so because it’s a fundamental right in a democracy.

“So is the Prime Minister saying that moving forward you can have your rights but only on his terms?”

Sunak replied: “It’s right the police have extra powers. People will see every day on TV their lives being disrupted.

"They’re not able to get to school and hospital appointments. They should be able to do that and the police should have powers to stop those preventing that from happening.”

During the exchange, Sunak was also told off by the Speaker for trying to deflect attention away from himself and onto Labour leader Keir Starmer when he said: “I guess the question for both of us [him and Flynn] is, what does the honourable leader of the opposition think about this because it’s hard to keep up?”

Sunak was referring to comments made by Starmer yesterday where he said it was “early days” for the bill and has no plans to repeal it if his party forms a government after General Election.

Elsewhere during the session Scottish LibDem MP Jamie Stone asked if the UK Government would step in and work with the Scottish Government on its controversial Highly Marine Protected Areas (HPMAs) proposal.

The move would ban fishing in swathes of Scotland’s seas.

Invoking the dramatic moment Fergus Ewing tore up the Scottish Government’s consultation paper last week on HPMAs, Stone said: “The Prime Minister may well have seen the astonishing sight of a former Scottish Government minister standing up in the chamber of the Scottish Parliament and tearing up – literally ripping into pieces – the Scottish Government’s Highly Protected Marine Areas proposal.

“This proposal is deeply controversial all over Scotland and has even led to it being compared with a second Highland Clearances. Is this not now the time for the UK Government to step in and work with the devolved…”

At this point Stone was jeered by SNP MPs – with one shouting, “There you have it”.

Sunak described Stone as a “passionate champion” and said he was right to highlight concerns raised by fishing communities.

He added: "I would encourage the SNP Government to continue working with the Scottish fishing industry and coastal communities to understand their concerns. 

"And as we've seen them recently U-turn on other poor-thought-out decisions, hopefully they can re-look at this one too."

The UK Government was also questioned during the session about Norwegian oil giant Equinor’s plans to develop the Rosebank oil field, which lies west of the Shetland Islands.

The International Energy Agency has previously said there must be no new investment in oil and gas if the world is to become net zero by 2050.

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Green MP Caroline Lucas referred to when Sunak once said his daughter was a “climate change champion” and asked him if he backed the plans, would he be able to “look her in the eye” and say “he had done everything to give her and other young people a liveable future?”

He replied: “As the independent committee for climate change has acknowledged, we will need fossil fuels for the next few decades as we transition to a greener future.

“During that period it makes no sense to not invest in the resources we have here at home, to import foreign fossil fuels, not create jobs here, and import them at twice the carbon emissions as our local resources. IT’s an economically illiterate policy, but that’s what you get from the Green Party.”