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‘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.

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Starmer’s whip cracks and his MPs start walking away from legalisation of crimes like rape by government agents

Bungler: perhaps Keir Starmer thought his decision to support a law that allows government agents to murder, torture and rape people with no fear of prosecution was a show of power. All it will do is turn more people away from the hollow shell he has made of the Labour Party.

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:

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:

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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Fury as Starmer asks Labour to abstain on Bill allowing government agents to commit crimes like murder, torture and rape

Keir Starmer: he’s not left-wing but he’s definitely sinister.

Why is a former human rights lawyer like Keir Starmer asking Labour MPs to let the Tories pass a law that will allow their agents to commit crimes that trample all over our human rights?

The crimes that will be allowed are bad enough – the Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill is also known as the ‘Licence to Kill’ Bill. Also allowed would be torture and sex crimes including rape.

But it will also be impossible to mitigate the worst aspects of the Bill with the Human Rights Act, because the Tories stated 11 months ago that, as the state would not be the “instigator” of the crimes, it could not be held responsible for them.

Starmer, a former human rights lawyer, has reportedly convinced some Labour MPs that this is not the case. He must know that this isn’t true.

So why does he want to give government agents – including people from the Environment Agency and the Financial Conduct Authority – a licence for torture, rape and murder?

As This Site documented last week, Starmer already whipped Labour to abstain on the second reading of the Bill.

We were told this was in order to create a chance to modify the legislation, tightening restrictions on using the powers it creates.

This no longer seems to be the case: he is now suggesting that Labour should abstain once again – and let the Bill pass without opposition – if no amendments are made.

As you may imagine, there has been more than a little opposition to this:

But on the same day this information was released, Starmer called a press conference in which he changed his policy on Covid-19 and demanded a “circuit-break” lockdown, across England, for two or three weeks – creating a huge amount of fuss among the media and the public.

Do you think he was trying to hide something?

Source: Keir Starmer facing major rebellion after saying Labour should abstain on ‘Licence to Kill’ bill even if unamended | Evolve Politics

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Brexit: Your Tory MPs have betrayed UK agriculture after promising not to

Chicken: if this one was of the US chlorine-washed variety, do you think Boris Johnson would be soiling his hands with it?

We knew that Tory promises were no good, didn’t we? So we did 14 million people vote for them last December?

I’ve never found an answer for that one.

The usual old chestnut that “the other side were worse” is plainly wrong. Labour’s offer – and leader – was a vast improvement on Johnson and his rabble, as anybody can see.

They can certainly see it now, anyway.

Today’s scandal is that Brexit will now cause a flood of cheap food imports into the UK that will destroy our farming industry and poison our people.

Tories: you voted for this. Brexiters: you voted for this. Indeed, many farmers voted for this.

Here’s what they promised:

But (as Si Anderson puts it in earthy terms above), yesterday evening’s (October 12) vote in Parliament ensures that the Tories will be able to compromise those protections, just to get a deal with the United States:

Farmers and food campaigners were defeated on Monday night in their attempts to enshrine high food safety and animal welfare practices in British law.

Several prominent backbench Tory MPs rebelled against the government to vote for amendments to the agriculture bill that would have given legal status to the standards, but the rebels were too few to overcome the government’s 80-seat majority and the key amendment fell by 332 votes to 279 after an often impassioned debate.

The government argued that giving current standards legal status was unnecessary as ministers had already committed to ensuring that UK food standards would be kept in any post-Brexit trade agreements.

However, critics fear that the lack of a legally binding commitment in the agriculture bill will allow future imports of sub-standard food that will undercut British produce and expose consumers to risk.

Be honest; given Johnson’s record of u-turning on his promises, this means chlorinated chicken for dinner. It will be cheap at the shop, but it will cost us our entire agriculture industry.

And that is what Boris Johnson intended from the start – before the 2016 referendum, even – it seems.

Here’s what we’ll be getting:

Boris Johnson and his cronies won’t be getting chlorine-washed chicken, of course – they’ll be able to afford the higher-quality meats. But you will be in danger.

Opponents of Brexit have taken the opportunity to remind us all of Boris Johnson’s words in 2016 – so we can remind him at the appropriate time…

… not that it will make a difference. He does what he likes. You voted for that, Tories. You voted for it, Brexiters.

Here’s how it’s panning out:

Just to rub salt into the wound, it seems support for remaining in the EU is rocketing, with 57 per cent of the nation now in favour of it.

What a shame. After three years of fighting over it (up to the election in 2019), that debate is over. The Brexiters got what they wanted and you have been shafted. Nobody currently in power will do anything to reverse the decision.

Still, there remain a few optimists who think there will be recourse to law if harm can be shown as a result of this decision:

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Tory ministers are above the law.

The police and CPS actively avoid investigating any allegations of crime or wrongdoing by our elected government.

And Dominic Cummings could go on a murder spree in Barnard Castle and he would still walk free at the end of it.

But you can bet that a lot more people will suffer because of last night’s decision by Parliament to poison our farming industry, and our people.

Source: MPs reject calls by campaigners to enshrine food safety in UK law | Politics | The Guardian

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If Starmer hadn’t whipped Labour to abstain on #spycops bill, this support for murder, torture & sex crimes would have been defeated

Keir Starmer: he probably thought he was being smart but all he really did was get it wrong again.

Well, isn’t this interesting?

The tweet isn’t quite correct; only 20 MPs voted against the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill that would authorise people from the Financial Conduct Authority (for example) to commit crimes up to and including murder, rape and torture in the course of an investigation – and they were all from the Labour Party.

But only 182 Tories voted for it.

If Keir Starmer had not whipped Labour MPs to abstain – and take note that exactly 182 of them did – then this endorsement of crime by a criminal government would have been stopped in its tracks.

Defenders of the Bill have claimed it isn’t as bad as some of us are saying – that spies working for the various government agencies would need approval to commit crimes before carrying out the acts for which the planned law would grant them immunity.

But the safeguards against abuse are said to be “very vague and very broad” and, as I mentioned in a previous article, there is the issue of “mission creep”: agents will end up committing ever-more-extreme crimes because they are told to do so on the spur of a moment, creating precedents to stretch what is permissible until it covers anything at all.

Take note: Starmer used to be a human rights lawyer.

But he just gave an insult to human rights a free pass to the next stage of becoming law.

And his supporters are trying to flood the social media with claims that he is a good thing. #StarmerOutstanding, they say.

He is outstanding. He is an outstanding threat to the well-being of you, me and everybody we know.

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The UK’s criminal government is authorising undercover cops to commit sex crimes – and Starmer is supporting it

Keir Starmer: in abstaining on the Bill to give government agents carte blanche to commit crimes including murder, torture and rape, he is supporting the commission of those crimes. The perpetrators will be protected from prosecution by the law.

In one sense, it was only to be expected: a criminal government authorises its enforcers to commit criminal acts.

So the Johnson government – an international criminal due to the Internal Market Bill that is currently going through the House of Lords like a dose of salts – is authorising its spies to commit crimes as part of their duties.

These crimes include murder, torture, and sexual offences:

According to the BBC,

the legislation would explicitly authorise MI5, the police, the National Crime Agency and other agencies that use informants or undercover agents to commit a specific crime as part of an operation.

Security officials will not say which crimes are authorised, on grounds that this may give away the identities of undercover agents to terrorists and other serious criminals.

So the sky is the limit and the legislation offers the UK’s secret police a licence to do anything they like, to anybody.

Yes, the legislation does require MI5 officers and others to show the crime is “necessary and proportionate”, but what happens when they encounter what’s known as “mission creep”?

The definition of “necessary and proportionate” will stretch over time to encompass anything, laying it open to corruption – and agents may find themselves committing ever-more-extreme crimes because they are told to do so on the spur of a moment.

Home Office minister James Brokenshire said the legislation would “help keep our country safe”, but he did not elaborate on whose country he meant, or who it would be kept safe from.

Both Labour and Conservative MPs have expressed opposition to the Bill as it currently stands, saying the safeguards were “very vague and very broad” and must be strengthened.

But Labour’s leadership said it would not oppose the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill at its second reading on October 5.

This has led to further claims that current Labour leader Keir Starmer is nothing more than a closet Conservative, forcing party members to accept acts that are directly opposed to their principles as he supports the Johnson government time and time again – and his MPs support him.

Only 20 Labour MPs defied his order to abstain on the Bill’s second reading, including former leader Jeremy Corbyn and former shadow chancellor John McDonnell, and others including Ian Lavery, who tweeted this:

Note the hashtag #spycops – others include #LabStainers and #NoOpposition, with #StarmerOut being the most popular (although it is also infested with supporters of ‘Sir Keith’ who are trying to stifle the views of the majority).

Here are a few examples of the #StarmerOut tweets, to show the strength of feeling about this:

Supporters of Starmer say he is acting strategically in order to demonstrate that Johnson and his ministers have nobody to blame for their mistakes but themselves. This is a trap for Labour.

Having abstained from voting on this Bill, Starmer and his followers in the Labour Party have said they accept the necessity of agents of the Financial Conduct Authority committing rape (to put forward an extreme example).

Are their supporters seriously trying to tell us this won’t come back and bite them?

There is only one reasonable response to legislation that authorises government agents to commit crimes – especially extreme crimes such as those contemplated here, and that is opposition.

But opposition is not in Keir Starmer’s vocabulary.

Let’s have a leadership challenge. He has to go.

And if he isn’t ousted this time, let’s have another challenge, and another, until he is. He has turned Labour into a travesty.

Source: MPs back bill to authorise MI5 and police crimes – BBC News

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Tory Hoare branded a ‘coward’ for plan to abstain on Bill that threatens peace in Northern Ireland

Should it say or should it go? “Northern Ireland voted to stay in the European Union, and the Good Friday Agreement demands that its border with the Republic of Ireland be kept open. Brexit would make that impossible without the conditions in the EU Withdrawal Agreement that provide the province with a special status. But the Internal Market Bill illegally overwrites those conditions.” Isn’t Boris Johnson pushing NI towards re-integration with the Republic?

The Conservative chairman of the Commons Northern Ireland select committee is currently taking a drubbing on Twitter after he announced he will abstain on the Third Reading of the Internal Market Bill that threatens the peace there, rather than opposing it outright.

Simon Hoare tweeted that information from the US Congress that its members would not permit any free trade agreements with the United Kingdom. He seemed to believe that this was justification for him to abstain, rather than oppose the Bill that breaks international law by overruling the EU Withdrawal Agreement on trade borders around NI.

Northern Ireland voted to stay in the European Union, and the Good Friday Agreement demands that its border with the Republic of Ireland be kept open. Brexit would make that impossible without the conditions in the EU Withdrawal Agreement that provide the province with a special status. But the Internal Market Bill illegally overwrites those conditions.

In abstaining on the Bill, Hoare is effectively saying that he does not want to express an opinion on it – even though he knows it will be harmful to peace in Northern Ireland, and to the Union. It is the position of a coward who is afraid to take a stand when his bosses do the wrong thing.

Even if he really didn’t know that, he is being told it in no uncertain terms:

If he does abstain, Spineless Simon should be ashamed to call himself a human being.

I wonder how many Conservatives will follow his example – doing just enough to salve their miniscule consciences without actually stopping the Bill?

Abstention means allowing Boris Johnson to break international law.

And it means an end to peace in Northern Ireland.

When violence breaks out again, after Johnson does whatever he’s planning to do to the Northern Ireland border, Simon Hoare and all other Tory abstainers will be responsible.

But then we know from past experience that Tories are perfectly comfortable to sit in Parliament with blood dripping from their hands.

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How long until Gove’s ‘safety net’ that breaks international law becomes ‘the right thing to do’?

Michael Gove: This Site has better pictures but the Spitting Image dummy reflects his shifty personality so well that it is hard to find an excuse not to use it.

Michael Gove is living evidence that you can get further by talking nonsense constantly than by rational behaviour.

He has just said that talks on implementing the EU withdrawal agreement are at a “healthy stage”.

That’s odd, when the EU side is that the UK’s negotiating position is still “far apart from what the EU can accept”.

The issue is the Internal Markets Bill – or at least those parts of it that override the EU withdrawal agreement where it concerns customs borders in Northern Ireland.

The European Commission’s Maros Sefcovic… said there was a “window of opportunity” to come to an agreement on the Northern Ireland protocol, but added that was “rapidly closing”.

And that’s what Gove calls a “healthy stage”!

Mr Sefcovic says the EU wants the UK to remove the “contentious parts” of the bill by the end of September – that’s Wednesday.

He said the EU would “not be shy” in using “legal remedies” written into the withdrawal agreement to address any “violations”.

What do you reckon the chances are that the EU will have to use those remedies – and that when it happens, Gove and the other Tories will say the EU is to blame for the failure of the Withdrawal Agreement?

Source: Michael Gove: Brexit provisions to stay in Internal Market Bill – BBC News

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Braverman’s disgrace is Johnson’s shame: attorney-general defends law-breaking with nationalistic nonsense

Suella Braverman: her latest appearance in the Commons made her look like a child showing off in front of her elders.

Suella Braverman has once again provided ample evidence to support her removal from the post of Attorney-General.

See if you can watch her ridiculous response to Labour’s shadow solicitor general Ellie Reeves without feeling the bile rise:

All Ms Reeves did was to ask what Braverman had done to defend the rule of law, considering that the Johnson government intends to break it – at an international level – with its Internal Markets Bill.

So why did Braverman start her answer by accusing Reeves of being “emotional”? Was she just throwing a dead cat on the table at the start, because she knew she didn’t have anything to say for herself?

Braverman went on to say that the Bill “protects our country and it safeguards the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”, which is saying the same thing twice without explaining why.

Then she appealed to patriotism – the refuge of the jingoistic airhead. There is nothing patriotic about breaking the law. Quite the opposite, in fact.

“How can she call herself an MP,” demanded Braverman, “and at the same time vote against a Bill that defends the unity of our country…”

It doesn’t.

“… maintains peace in Northern Ireland…”

It won’t.

“… and enables the United Kingdom… to thrive.”

It can’t.

The breach of international law means other countries will not trust the UK and will not want to do business here. Already the US Congress has indicated that it will not support a free trade agreement with the UK if the Internal Markets Bill is approved.

And the body language defies belief. Methinks the lady doth protest too much, as Shakespeare once wrote.

Reeves’s response was restrained, under the circumstances.

Others have been less so:

The SNP’s justice spokesperson went further than Ellie Reeves – he called for Braverman’s resignation over the plan to breach international law.

In response, she actually said it was lawful to break the law. See for yourself:

It isn’t.

It might be possible to do it – to pass a law that makes a breach of international law inevitable – but that doesn’t mean that it is permissible to do so.

Stuart C McDonald is therefore entirely correct: Braverman should resign.

She won’t – but she should. The fact that she is in that post at all is a shows Boris Johnson’s contempt for the law.

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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Keir Starmer’s Labour is unpopular – because he supports war crimes and sacks people who don’t?

Sacked: Nadia Whittome.

… And actually briefs a right-wing, fake-news blog site about the sacking before telling the person he has sacked, too.

Classy moves, Sir Keir!

So it’s true. As first reported on the Skwawkbox blog late yesterday (September 23), Labour leader Keir Starmer has sacked Nadia Whittome, Beth Winter and Olivia Blake from positions as Parliamentary Private Secretaries because they voted against the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill 2019-21.

They were objecting to provisions in the Bill that would protect soldiers from prosecution if they participate in acts of torture while on duty overseas.

It will come as no surprise that the Conservative government relishes the idea of UK soldiers torturing Johnny (and Janey) Foreigner.

Starmer’s decision to abstain on the Bill (a U-turn from a previous position in which Labour would have opposed it) was, as Skwawkbox pointed out, reminiscent of the abstention on a Welfare Bill ordered by Harriet Harman years ago – that fuelled support for Jeremy Corbyn in the 2015 leadership contest.

In all, 19 Labour MPs voted against the Bill:

The other 16 – including Mr Corbyn, John McDonnell, Diane Abbott, Richard Burgon, Ian Lavery and the previously-sacked Rebecca Long-Bailey – were all backbenchers.

The public response has not just been critical of Starmer for supporting the Bill and for the sackings…

… but also for the fact that he briefed right-wing trash blog Guido Fawkes on what he had done before he bothered to tell her, so it could say she couldn’t resign properly:

Labour has form on briefing members of the so-called press about action taken against members. When This Writer’s party membership was suspended on fake charges of anti-Semitism, I found out about it from a reporter for the Western Mail, who phoned me up a day before I was notified by email.

From this we may infer that the people in charge of the party’s disciplinary procedures at the time were right-wing factionalists and not supporters of then-leader Jeremy Corbyn. Or so it seems to me.

All this comes on top of reports that Labour under Starmer is less likeable now, compared to when Corbyn was in charge.

Here’s (and I apologise for this) the Daily Express:

A new Ipsos MORI poll has found in November 2019, under the leadership of Mr Corbyn, the likeability of the Labour was 49 percent.

Just 10 months later, and five months since Sir Keir took over the leadership, the figure has fallen to 38 percent.

The poll did show support for Starmer himself was higher than that for Corbyn ever reached – possibly because Starmer has support from rags like The Express? – but this was before the latest scandal.

Starmer’s letdowns are becoming legendary: he sacked Rebecca Long-Bailey under a false claim (it seems clear now that she opposed his plan to support Boris Johnson in reopening them too soon. She was right and he was wrong); he called the Black Lives Matter movement a “moment” after having a publicity photo taken to profess support for it; he betrayed the many party members who (like me) have been falsely accused of anti-Semitism; and he betrayed nine of the 10 pledges he made in his leadership election campaign.

He may be popular among a general public that is being spoonfed propaganda by a right-wing press that wants to keep a “safe pair of hands” – meaning a member of the Establishment who won’t rock the boat – in charge of the main Opposition Party.

But some of us know better – including increasingly-disillusioned Labour members.

Source: Keir starmer news: Labour Party’s likeability plummets lower than when Corbyn was leader | Politics | News | Express.co.uk

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