‘Spycops’ law will be used to spy on Labour, its MPs and trade unions. Why did 167 Labour MPs support it?

Another blunder: Keir Starmer’s insistence on allowing a law that would allow the government to undermine his party has created a rift between him and an ever-increasing number of his MPs.

It is already being labelled as a major rebellion against Keir Starmer’s leadership: 34 Labour MPs defying the party whip to vote against the controversial so-called ‘Spycops’ Bill that would allow government agents to commit crimes.

The real question about it, though, is: why so few?

Labour has been targeted by the so-called Establishment in the UK – probably from its beginnings as a political party. This includes espionage by the nation’s intelligence agencies.

We all know about famous incidents such as the Zinoviev Letter, which contributed to the fall of Ramsay MacDonald’s first Labour government. It was a forged communique allegedly between the government and the Communist government of Russia, written by people whose identities remain uncertain…

… but it was published by the Conservative Daily Mail, and it is widely believed that this was on the urging of the SIS – the intelligence service of the day.

Another famous issue is the MI5 file on Harold Wilson, which was opened when he first entered Parliament in 1945 and recorded his contacts with communists, KGB officers and other Russians.

It was opened because of concerns about his relationships with Eastern European businessmen. Can you imagine MI5 opening a file on Boris Johnson, over his relationships with oligarches from Russia?

Ultimately, none of the information in the file can have amounted to anything because MI5 never tried to use it to undermine him – despite his own paranoia about this in his later years.

Clearly there is a precedent for the security services – which are predominantly staffed by right-wingers – using every resource within their power to find ways of undermining the Labour Party.

And by abstaining on a Bill that allows government agents to commit crimes in order to achieve their aims, 167 Labour MPs including the party’s leader, Keir Starmer, have just handed them another such resource.

It’s undemocratic and dangerous – the kind of legislation created by a dictatorship in order to ensure, by fair means or foul, that no rival organisation can ever topple it.

But some good may come of it accidentally – the possible removal of Starmer as party leader.

Around 20 of his MPs rebelled against his demand to abstain on the Bill’s second reading. Yesterday (October 15), 34 defied his whip – including eight who resigned from front bench roles to do so:


Much of this can be attributed to Starmer’s own attitude, which suggests that he actually supports the Bill’s demand that government agents be allowed to commit any crime without fear of prosecution for it later – any crime at all, including the murder of the Tories’ political opponents:

Discontent with his lack of opposition to the worst Tory government in history is growing, and already there are rumours of a leadership challenge in 2021:


Political developments are strange; they don’t happen the way anybody expects – unless that person is very far-sighted indeed.

The Zinoviev Letter led to the fall of a Labour government – but only in a roundabout way. Labour’s vote increased in the general election; it was the collapse of the Liberal vote that allowed the Conservatives their victory.

It would be ironic if now, nearly a century after that attempt to end a socialist government, a piece of legislation that legalises espionage against the party that formed that government actually led to its re-founding as a socialist organisation once again.

That is the only comforting thought I can raise from what is, in all other respects, a disaster for democracy.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.


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One Comment

  1. Jeffrey Davies October 16, 2020 at 7:39 am - Reply

    Is stammer the spammer going to find a rocky crop hmmm

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