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Labour members table motions condemning Labour’s abstentionism on SpyCops bill and praising MPs who stood up

Constituency (CLP) and branch Labour parties have begun tabling motions condemning the abstentionism of Keir Starmer’s Labour.

A motion submitted by Streatham CLP describes the damage done by the ‘Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill, condemns Starmer’s decision to whip MPs to abstain in the votes on it, thanks those MPs who ignored him and voted against it – and pledges members to campaign both against the legislation and for victims of criminal conduct by security forces:

Motion on the “SpyCops Bill”

This CLP notes:

The Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill passed its third reading in the House of Commons on 15th October 2020.

The Bill would amend Part II of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) to create a new process of ‘Criminal Conduct Authorisations’, constituting an express power for MI5, police forces and a range of other public authorities to authorise their agents and informants (“Covert Human Intelligence Sources” “CHIS”) to commit criminal offences.

This legislation would license offences, committed during cover operations, for a wide range of public authorities, from the intelligence services and the police, to the Gambling Commission and the Food Standards Agency.

Unlike comparable legislation in the USA, the Bill places no limits on the types of crimes which can be authorised, with no express prohibition on human rights violations, including murder, torture, kidnap, or sexual offences.

In placing current guidelines on a statutory footing, the Bill would give legal basis to the infiltration of trade unions, as grounds for criminal conduct would include not only ‘national security’, but also ‘preventing disorder’.

Not only does this Bill make it impossible to prosecute such crimes, it gives prior authorisation to commit them and with no judicial oversight. Such is weaker than comparable laws for phone-tapping, despite involving potentially far more harmful conduct.

That past victims of such covert operations include Pat Finucane, the Orgreave picketers, the Hillsborough victims, and multiple women who were abused as the result of state infiltration of environmental and social justice campaign groups.

The Labour Party issued a one-line whip to abstain on the third reading of the Bill. Our MP, Bell Ribeiro-Addy, opposed this Bill, along with 33 other MPs.

This CLP believes:

1. This Bill is part of a wider project by this government to wrest key scrutiny powers away from parliament and the judiciary.

2. This Bill is contrary to the rule of law.

3. This Bill has alarming and destructive implications for the development of progressive movements in the UK as well as the trade union movement in general.

4. There was no legitimate basis for abstaining on this Bill and the Labour Party’s strategy of abstention is unconscionable.

5. The prohibition against torture, sexual violence and murder on behalf of the British state must be absolute.

This CLP resolves:

1. That the Labour Party should oppose this Government’s ongoing project to place British authorities above the law.

2. To condemn the decision to abstain against Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill and call on the leadership to now unreservedly oppose it.

3. To thank the 34 Labour MPs, including our own Bell Ribeiro-Addy.

4. To publicly campaign against the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill.

5. To publicly campaign on behalf of victims of covert operations, and support the Pat Finucane Centre, the Orgreave Truth and Justice campaign, the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, and Police Spies Out of Lives in their work to expose covert criminality by the British state.

Hampstead and Kilburn tabled a letter to its MP challenging her to explain why she had abstained on a bill that will allow the government to undermine unions and blacklist their activists as well as permitting crimes up to and including murder, torture and rape by security forces and even their civilian sources:

Letter to Tulip Siddiq MP CHIS bill.

As members of The Labour party and or Trade Unions we are shocked and angered at the fact our MP Tulip Siddiq, along with the majority of the PLP abstained on and allowed the Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill, to pass through parliament with ease. This bill was opposed by 14 Trade unions and dozens of campaigning organisations, but, for reasons unclear, the vast majority of the PLP did not oppose it.

As our MP, we ask that you offer an explanation as to your decision not to vote against this abhorrent legislation. With the values of the Labour Party at stake, as well as people’s lives, we ask why on this occasion, you felt unable to defy the whip?

We are also at a loss as to why Keir Starmer, Leader of the LP and a former Human Rights barrister, has been intent on supporting this bill. We applaud the principled decision of Labour MPs who voted against the bill, such as Dan Carden MP, who resigned from his position as Shadow Financial Secretary on a matter of principle.
The “CHIS” Bill would allow state spies to commit crimes in the UK and overseas with impunity, without exempting crimes like murder, torture, and sexual offences. These extreme powers would be handed to a broad range of agencies, including MI5, the Department of Health, and even the Food Standards Agency. Many well-regarded experts on Human Rights, including those in the legal profession, have expressed their grave concerns about this bill becoming law, including Shami Chakrabarti, The Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, Liberty, and Amnesty International.

There are too many examples of blacklisted workers surveilled unionists and LP members have ended up blacklisted because undercover police officers were directed to infiltrate their organisations.

The bill enshrines in law the state’s capacity to commit these acts, making it even more difficult for victims or suspected victims of police spying such as Environmental, Animal Rights and Anti War activists, to hold the state to account.
Many others express their immense concerns such as the Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance, the Hillsborough Justice campaigns, the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign, Justice4Grenfell, Police Spies Out of Lives, The Blacklist Support Group, The Pat Finucane Centre and many more.

We understand the need to protect citizens of this country from criminal elements and that undercover work is often essential. However, the CHIS bill is a massive attack on our civil liberties. We warn against the danger of its political application, and how it can be used to undermine any opposition, as proven by the surveillance of Jeremy Corbyn MP and at least eight other Labour MPs, under the Met Police’s now disbanded ‘Special Demonstration Squad’.

Michael Mansfield QC, an eminent barrister and leading Silk in civil liberties and human rights, recently described as “The king of human rights work” by The Legal 500, has also expressed his concerns. Mansfield worked on many prominent cases, including representing families and survivors of the Hillsborough disaster, Jean Charles de Menezes, and Stephen Lawrence, all of whom were surveilled by the police or suspected of. As a result of his work on Orgreave, Hillsborough, and the Shrewsbury pickets, Mansfield stated he himself is “under no illusion as to the extent to which agencies in the state have taken an interest in me.”

In 2014, The Ellison inquiry found Scotland Yard had spied on the grieving family of Stephen Lawrence, who was murdered by a racist white gang. Both Theresa May and David Cameron described the revelations as “profoundly shocking” and, shortly after, May launched the Undercover Policing inquiry. While two convictions have been secured in relation to this murder, others involved have yet to be convicted, many closely informed on this scandal, firmly believe the decision to spy on the grieving family, has contributed to the lack of convictions for all involved: therefore a lack of justice for Stephen and the Lawrence family remains.

One child is known to be born through the common practice of spying on activists by the Met Police Special Demonstration Squad and the National Public Order Intelligence Unit.

Now an adult, descibed by some as a product of ‘state endorsed rape’ and in absolute violations of his and his mothers human rights, such as Article 8 ECHR right “to a private and family life”‘.

Both he and his mother, have endured psychological trauma, from when an undercover police officer suddenly abandoned the animal rights activist and their two year old son, to the discovery of the true nature of her ‘relationship’ with police spy Bob Lambert, the fight to find out the true identity of his father, not having a relationship with his father for most of his life, to having no choice to take the Met Police to court to ensure that they finally admit wrongdoing, make an apology and finally get all of their questions answered.

While these injustices remain, there is no peace, too often this is the case for decades after. Not only will this bill permit such injustices to continue burning, it ‘spits in the face’ of all those still awaiting some form of justice, as this bill would prevent victims of state spying and crimes, from seeking redress; by protecting those who commit authorised crimes from civil liability forever.

In the year 2020, when the message of the Black Lives Matter movement went Global after the murder of George Floyd at the hands of USA police, for many, trust in policing is already at an all time low, at home and abroad; in particular for black communities and others who are disproportionately targeted, harmed, over-policed and or spied on.

Furthermore, in making this bill law, the implications of it in practice, alongside the severe funding cuts to legal aid and legal aid services, are far reaching and will likely compound injustice, for some of the most powerless members of society.
We call on our MP and branch to work towards reflecting on the actions of the PLP, who failed to vote against this under scrutinised rushed through bill, then seek to reverse it and oppose it, under Labour policy; democratically as members.

Siddiq is understood to have excused herself from the meeting about an hour after the letter was circulated.

Other CLPs and branches around the country are preparing their own motions of condemnation, including some pledging not to campaign for any candidate who does not support the immediate repeal of the bill and condemn the abstention.

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  1. Wonderful. Labour isn’t dead yet, even with CLPs as good as suspended, members’ voices still matter.

    I don’t care who does it, but it’s good that parts of the party actually yank on the trilateral-billionaires leader’s chain.

    1. Not yanking hard enough AFAIC.

      There’s the matter of him not leading at the hungry kids debate t’other day. Or sacking ‘dissident’ MPs for not ‘toeing the line’ on a one-line whip.

      …Or just being a worse than useless shithouse in general.

  2. I wonder how many of Holborn and St. Pancras’ members will continue to support Starmer despite his position on the spycops bill?

    1. Such is the dumbing down of sensibilities and the cult of (so-called in this case) ‘celebrity’ , It wouldn’t be any surprise to me to find most of the southern jessies enamoured by the fact he’s the ‘de facto’ leader of the party and view him as some sort of standard-bearer for the area/constituency.

      And then there’s the likes of little steven and the buttplug, coming from elsewhere and banging the (fisher-price) drum for him…It’s a sad and irritating fact, but every constituency has them; indeed there’s plenty enough of them to have their constituencies well & truly boxed off, despite there being more members of a soclialist outlook in several of them, more’s the pity.

  3. This Bill is an outright total declaration of war on the left by the fascist dark forces:

    ‘This is not about foiling deadly terrorist plots, as laws and agencies already exist to do that. Instead, it will give carte blanche to the spycops to abuse citizens campaigning for social change. It specifically includes protecting ‘economic wellbeing’, which would make strikes, boycotts, blockades and pickets legitimate targets for the most serious crimes.’

  4. Any advice on how other CLPs can submit motions when all branch meetings have been suspended?

  5. MediaLens…..

    Guardian-Friendly Omissions – ‘This Land’ By Owen Jones

    ‘Corbyn’s great anti-semitism ‘scandal’ was a non-story, a fabricated non-event, a Soviet-style propaganda smear. Sufficient numbers of people wanted it to be true because they wanted to be rid of Corbyn. Everyone else bowed their heads to avoid being subject to the same career-destroying smears.’

    PS And the above passage is NOT from Owen Jones’ book!

    1. Owen Jones – one of the most over-estimated scribblers ever.
      The “great antisemitism scandal,” which he prematurely relegates to the past tense, may not be over.
      History has a way of revealing the truth in the end, and the murder of democracy is after all a massive story – a best-seller awaiting only a whistleblower or some random event.
      Joe McCarthy was reviled in his own lifetime – the many collaborators in the antisemitism scam thinking they’ve got away with it may yet be brought to justice in theirs.
      Who knows, one guilty Jew might grow a conscience – or be overcome by fear of hell – on his coronavirus deathbed and blow that whistle.

    2. Anti-Semitism in the Labour Party? What Anti-Semitism? It seems to have stopped now, how strange……just gone away?

  6. Caitlin Johnstone…..

    No Matter Who Wins, The War Machine Wins

    The way these unifying propaganda narratives operate is simple. It would never occur to rank-and-file citizens that a nation on the other side of the planet that’s pretty much just doing its own thing needs to be sanctioned, subverted and brought to heel, so the imperialist oligarchs who own the political/media class make sure everyone is fed custom-made narratives according to their own ideological echo chamber to prevent any domestic inertia from being thrown on these agendas. Once there’s sufficient agreement that Saddam/Gaddafi/Morales/Assad/Maduro/whomever must go, the campaign to subvert, sabotage and absorb that government can safely be escalated.

    So no matter who wins, the war machine wins. If it’s Trump then they continue manufacturing narratives to justify escalations against Russia, if it’s Biden (as looks very likely) they’ll sell escalations against China and Iran.

    Meanwhile normal, healthy human beings just want a world where people cooperate with each other and with their ecosystem to create a harmonious world. We don’t have to put up with a world that is dominated by sociopaths who endanger us all with armageddon weapons with the goal of planetary hegemony. There are more of us than there are of them. If we wake up to what’s going on we can absolutely turn this thing around.

    1. “There are more of us than there are of them. If we wake up to what’s going on we can absolutely turn this thing around.”

      It may not be too late to do that yet but the evidence suggests it soon will be.
      On social media, the left’s only means of mass communication, the left is already being gradually silenced.
      Despite the young being more likely to be online than watching TV, the MSM still has by far the greater influence politically. Up to now anyway.
      The ‘wake up’ has always been the difficulty – it takes a very loud noise to wake up a whole world.

  7. This what Keir Starmer said during Friday’s ‘Call Keir’ session on LBC in response to a Glasgow listeners question about Labour’s stance on the CHIS Bill.

    “As you may know, I have been a human rights advocate all my life. I’ve written textbooks on it, done cases across the world, massively developed the case law under the Human Rights Act. There is no more passionate advocate of human rights… than myself.”

    The Labour leader added that he had worked with security and intelligence services, and that in the last three years 27 terrorist plots had been brought down by undercover agents. “I know that first-hand,” he said.

    “The argument that somehow we don’t need these powers is wrong,” Starmer argued, before adding that under the legislation “nothing can be authorised if it conflicts with or breaches the Human Rights Act”.

    Starmer continued: “If you can’t authorise something that breaks the Human Rights Act, how on earth do people make the argument that you can break human rights under this bill?”

    He added: “Under the Human Rights Act, torture is completely prohibited, murder is prohibited, rape is prohibited. This argument that you could sign off torture, murder and rape is just wrong. It is not possible to do it.

    “Various government and others have tried to argue for many years that ‘surely torture under some circumstances is justified’, and the courts everywhere in the world have always said ‘no’.”

    Critics of the ‘CHIS’ bill have argued that it goes further than putting current guidance on a “statutory footing” and instead creates advance immunity from prosecution for agents who may even have incited criminal activity.

    Others, such as Labour MP Sarah Owen who stepped down from her frontbench post to oppose the bill, have raised concerns over the Human Rights Act defence as Tories are known to support repealing or “updating” the Act.

    Put to him that the SNP has taken a hard line against the so-called ‘spycops’ bill, Starmer said: “All the bill does is taking existing and put them on the face of legislation… Opposing this bill means, do you get rid of the powers? No.

    “You just put them in the shadows where there are no safeguards and no tribunal you can go to and no permission. All my life I’ve believed if the state should have power, it should be on the face of legislation.”

    1. I question this corrupt state’s right to unlimited powers when the most shameful episodes in England’s history are directly attributable to a class which wishes to exercise ever greater power, ever more corruptly.
      At least their ancestors had the excuse of ignorance.
      That fucking bitch Starmer kept his slimy mouth tight shut when Jeremy Corbyn’s and all our human rights to honest democracy were fucking hijacked by his mates with his fucking blessing.

      1. You’re well aware of the answer to that, just like everyone else is, so fuck right off and desist from trying to deliberately antagonise people by asking stupid fucking questions and pathetically attempting to exonerate the object of your obsession, you vexatious, stammer deifying, enormously wearisome weirdo.

        Seriously, you’d be flat on your back instantly if you acted the way you do on here in the real world.

        You’re every bit the same type of scum as that one called so by *rayner the other day.
        Going out of your way to aggravate people by feigning innocence on your beloveds part so you can take the moral high ground when people rightfully get irate.

        Fucking scumbag.

        *rayner may well have sold out but at least she’s retained a bit of fight, unlike that fraudulent, greasy blockheaded prick you worship, who has only ever aided the toerags.

      2. When it comes to aggravating gobshites who employ every toerag tactic under the sun – like yourself – Yes.

        What of it, knobhead?

      3. Toffee – Fortunately I can just reply with an emoji when I can’t be arsed with your silly faux ‘bad boy’ persona. Either that or just remind you again of one of your many ‘Tory Boy’ decelerations.

      4. “Did he?” Of course he did.
        But if it wasn’t clear, I was calling him a cunt, not you – you’re not doing damage because you’re not persuading anyone.
        I think Toffee gives you too much credit.

      5. David – It is far from clear what you’re accusing people of, perhaps you could clarify what you are actually accusing him of.
        ps You obviously care more about what Toffee thinks than I do.

      6. Little steven…read macs accusation again you ignoranus (sic)

        Who kept quiet whole Corbyn was attacked for being committed to human rights for palestinjans?

        But you already knew full well what he was talking about. Your obfuscation and playing dumb fools nobody…in fact you insult people’s far superior intelligence with your risible pretences and playing dumb.

      7. Toffee – Thanks for the info, at least I now know what you think David was on about.

  8. And not only do you employ toerag tactics, you openly support the toerag that has bragged of his open support of the toerags…. That’s as well as actively preventing their prosecutions in the face of the met police going on the record as saying they may have committed offences.

    So what does that make you? Because it certainly suggests you’re more sympathetic to the toerags than you are to the left.


    1. Toffee – I really don’t have a clue what you are ranting about, please try to calm yourself down and then make another attempt at expressing yourself.

      1. And, all too predictably & tediously it’s back to the worn-out “I haven’t a clue what you’re on about” shithouse trick that fools nobody, ever.

        Emojis next is it, toerag sympathiser?

        Or is your last throw of the dice gonna be the ‘tory boy’ fabrication that you’ll use against me but with your own refusal to state what the difference is betwixt the object of your obsession known as starmer and the actual Tories is?

        Without explanation or a defence on why stammer has openly bragged of supporting the Tories. Why he hasn’t opposed them each and every time but instead has sacked his own MPs for doing so…

        But you’ll call me ‘tory boy’ for noticing there’s no difference between them

        Why he never prosecuted them even when the police said they had the evidence…

        But you’ll call me tory boy for pointing out his refusal to prosecute toerags ..

        Why he dropped Brexit and turned to antisemitism to use as a weapon against the left the second he usurped the leadership…

        But you’ll call me tory boy even though you continue to champion him despite those facts

        So unless you can explain all that away convincingly, I strongly recommend you shut the fuck up

        And bearing all that in mind I think we should have a poll to decide just which of us is the REAL tory boy – don’t you?

        Is it me – for saying is be just as well off voting toerag as stammer as there’s no difference?

        Or is it you for your undying committal to the impotent supine servile serpent who’s demonstrably shown as much opposition to toerag government’s as Eric pickles has to a plate of chocolate hobnobs.?

        I think we all know the answer to that one, rat.

      2. Toffee – Well thanks for accepting my advice, your second attempt at expressing yourself is much clearer now that you’ve calmed yourself down a bit.
        At varying times I have answered all the questions you have posed above, your memory retention problems are yours not mine. As for the emojis, sometimes I consider that is the only response your comment is worthy of or it’s simply a succinct and appropriate response to yet another example of your verbose and repetitive faux rants.
        Please feel free to indulge your hubris with yet another pointless rant if you still have a need to prove something to yourself.

      3. Yeah, you just keep on playing the well-read patrician, SteveH.
        That’d play better if you didn’t occasionally make really childish spelling mistakes.
        Don’t ask – the only list I keep is of CV cases and deaths.

      4. David – You’ve no need to worry, I won’t be asking you for a list. Most people quickly grow out of correcting others spelling errors in a pathetic attempt to undermine them.
        However it is a little sad that this is apparently the best you could manage, I had expected better.

  9. Calm down! Calm down children & as one of my feminist sisters insisted…….have the courtesy to choose a piece of your own anatomy to throw insults, not of the opposite sex!

  10. I’ve written to my MP Preet Gill regarding her abstaining on the vote. Keir ‘establishment” Starmer has undermined my human rights and so has my MP in abstaining. We need to write to our MP’s and make them justify their choice to abstain. It was a choice by the way, you can and should vote against something that will effect your constituents freedom. Whoever is advising Keir, he needs to get rid of them fast.

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