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3 MPs step down from front bench – because Starmer wouldn’t let them vote against torture

Only 18 Labour MPs vote against Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill 2019-21

3 MPs have resigned – it’s not clear yet whether they were told to do so by Keir Starmer or be sacked – in order to vote against a bill that would protect soldiers from prosecution if they commit torture overseas.

Nadia Whittome, Beth Winter and Olivia Blake have resigned from positions as Parliamentary Private Secretaries – the most junior front-bench role – in order to vote against the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill 2019-21.

Starmer whipped his MPs to abstain on the bill, in a move reminiscent of the abstention on the Welfare Bill ordered by Harriet Harman that helped drive the massive vote for Jeremy Corbyn in the 2015 leadership contest.

The 18 MPs who voted against the bill.

Jeremy Corbyn tweeted today:

I have grave concerns that, as it stands, the #OverseasOperationBill the House of Commons is discussing today defies and undermines international law.

Corbyn also tabled an amendment that the bill:

violates essential rule of law principles such as judicial and prosecutorial independence and the absolute and effective prohibition of torture

15 backbench Labour MPs, most on the left of the party, also voted against the bill, which if passed will represent the Tories yet again awarding themselves the right to breach international law, as the Geneva Convention bans torture and other acts that the bill would make non-prosecutable.

Another cowardly and shameful episode in the history of ‘centrist’ Labour.

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9 comments

  1. Absolute scum – the only reason not to vote against torture is if you think you might want to authorise it (or more likely turn a blind eye to it in a plausibly deniable kind of a way) yourself at some time in the future.
    Worse than scum.

  2. Starmer has stated that he wants the Labour Party to be be ‘Patriotic’, to stand up for Britain & British interests, particularly in the middle east aka oil. Soldiers are the politician’s muscle & must not be prosecuted for war crimes. Just gimmie some truth! Clear blue water between Jeremy Corbyn & himself.

  3. If only these 19 MPs, like minded councillors, supporting trade unions and the thousands of real socialists were to leave the tainted Labour brand and Herald the beginnings of a new left movement. Thousands of us now politically homeless and a hundred thousand or so still in the party would be the foot soldiers and the membership ready and willing to get some real opposition to the 3 neo liberal parties.

    1. Well said, Richard Kilbride- though that only 19 Labour MPs voted against this Bill is illustrative of the extraordinary weakness of the PLP Left – after four years of the (now kaput) huge ‘Corbyn Left Surge’, the building of a a once 40,000 strong Momentum movement, but not a single treacherous saboteur Right Labour MP deselected in all that time !

      You are quite right that if the tiny, and actually currently politically irrelevant, group of Left Labour MP’s had the guts to split from Starmer’s now utterly neoliberal, pro Nato, pro US Imperialism, new NuLabour Party to form a new radical Left Party it could have a hundred thousand members within weeks . But they never will, will they ? Let’s be honest. The PLP Left are all far too comfortable continuing to draw down their huge MP salaries plus expenses (to sendrtheir kids to posh private schools, like Diane Abbott) – and winning cred points from the wider Left by doing the , what is completely risk-free posturing – by voting against this pernicious Bill. They should of course vote against the Bill – but by staying comfortably inside the NuLabour Party they show that, sadly they are all just really Left poseurs, not serious radical Left socialists. Resigning from the Party and forcing a by-election , and re-standing for a new radical Left Party in their constituencies (and facing a huge poisonous all MSM campaign to unseat them) , is far to risky (of their potentially lifelong continued MP salaries as Labour MPs), for these people to jump ship – after, in some cases, 40 years of comfortable Left MP posturing. Anyone expecting, Jeremy, McDonnell, Abbott, Lavery, Trickett, et al to help form a new Left Party now that Labour is returned permanently to being Her Majesty’s very, very, very, loyal, deeply jingoistic, Reserve Party of UK capitalism and the privatising , Austerity-driven neoliberal status quo, will be waiting a long time.

      1. 200,000 or more and within days not weeks I’d say – many of the ‘Corbyn surge’, like me, have only given up on Labour – we haven’t by any means given up.
        We’re still here and still looking for honest representation.
        The new ‘leadership’ should be considering what might happen if disaffection grows and turns into something else.

  4. A whole pile of Conservative figures have spoken out against this but too much for Starmer.

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