Keir Starmer has gone too far and Labour MPs know it.
That’s how This Writer reads the groundbreaking resignation from the party’s frontbench team of rising star Dan Carden.
The now-former shadow chief secretary to the Treasury has only just distinguished himself in Parliament with this speech attacking Tory corruption and cronyism, taking advantage of the Covid-19 crisis to award themselves and their businesses huge wodges of public money in return for – well, nothing:
The whole thing stinks.
This Government’s incompetence, its cronyism, its ideological obsession with outsourcing and rip-off privatisation has undermined our NHS and put lives at risk.
Time to kick the profiteers out of the system and put local public health teams in charge. pic.twitter.com/ivqRy4WgOe
— Dan Carden MP (@DanCardenMP) October 14, 2020
Now, after being told that Starmer is whipping Labour to abstain on the heinous Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill, he has announced that he will vote with his conscience – and resigned his post as a shadow minister.
He is quite right to do so. Starmer has lied repeatedly about this – or he has been wildly mistaken about what he could achieve.
First he told Labour MPs to abstain on the second reading of the Bill – allowing it to progress through Parliament when a concerted effort by all Labour MPs could have stopped it on the spot.
He told his MPs that there would be a chance to change the Bill, tightening up controls on the kind of crimes that could be committed and the circumstances in which they would be allowed. That has not happened.
And he told his MPs that they would be able to vote against the Bill if attempts to amend it failed. We see now that he is not going to allow this after all.
So Mr Carden did the honourable thing:
As a matter of conscience, I must vote against the #CHISBill tonight.
— Dan Carden MP (@DanCardenMP) October 15, 2020
Take note of the words in his letter. He states that Starmer has “settled” on his position on “legislation that sets dangerous new precedents on the rule of law and civil liberties in this country”.
He’s saying that, in effect, Starmer is supporting a law that will harm our freedom.
The letter also states that in supporting the harm that will be done to us, Starmer’s position is at odds with the vast majority of his party: “I share the deep concerns about this legislation from across the Labour Movement, human rights organisations, and so many who have suffered the abuse of state power, from blacklisted workers to the Hillsborough families and survivors.”
Mention of the Hillsborough tragedy is particularly telling: in supporting this Bill, then, Starmer is setting himself against the Hillsborough families and survivors – and everybody who supports them and their struggle for justice.
That is not a good look for a lawyer!
The Third Reading vote on the CHIS Bill is this evening (October 15).
Labour-voting members of the public will judge their MPs by whether they support Starmer, or if they choose to support justice instead.
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