Tag Archives: conduct

Labour leader Keir Starmer breached MPs’ code of conduct eight times

Keir Starmer: yet another own goal.

If you’re thinking Jeremy Corbyn would never have done this, you’re probably right:

Sir Keir Starmer has been found to have breached the MPs’ code of conduct eight times.

An inquiry into the Labour leader was opened in June by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner Kathryn Stone, relating to claims about late declaration of earnings and gifts, benefits or hospitality from UK sources.

These included a directors’ box for two people at Crystal Palace worth £720, four tickets for Watford vs Arsenal and tickets for his staff for the British Kebab awards.

Speaking at the time, Sir Keir said he was “absolutely confident” he had not broken the MPs’ code of conduct.

But the commissioner has now found the leader of the Opposition failed to register eight interests – five more than the ones alleged in the original complaint.

There’s no need to get carried away with this – the breaches are all minor and/or inadvertent, there was no deliberate intent to mislead, and they could all be corrected using the rectification procedure, by which MPs publish the details of the breaches and an apology on the House of Commons website.

But one has to wonder, if Starmer can’t even do his own housekeeping properly, how he expects to run an entire nation, if he is elected to government.

Source: Sir Keir Starmer breached MPs’ code of conduct eight times

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Child Q: is ‘lack of urgency’ minister waiting for inquiry to get police off the hook?

Kit Malthouse: does he look like he cares about anything?

Policing minister Kit Malthouse has been – rightly – slammed for repeatedly saying the Government must wait for the outcome of a police watchdog report into the traumatic strip search of a black schoolgirl.

In December 2020, police – two male, two female – were called by teachers at a secondary school in Hackney, who believed a girl was carrying drugs because they could smell cannabis.

She was subjected to what seems clearly a deliberately humiliating strip-search. She was made to strip naked, to spread her legs, to use her hands to spread her buttock cheeks and then to cough.

She was menstruating. According to family members, the police insisted that she take off the bloody pad and would not let her go to the toilet to clean up. Then they made her reuse the same pad.

No drugs were found, yet the rumour spread around the school that this perfectly innocent girl was a drug dealer.

The experience left the girl traumatised, in therapy and self-harming.

Answering an urgent question in Parliament, Malthouse condemned the “distressing” incident, saying she “could have been any one of our relatives”.

But he insisted that the government had to wait for a report into the incident, on which the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has already been working for 10 months.

He said the police officers involved had a right to “due process”, which is all well and good – but justice delayed is justice denied, and doesn’t Child Q have a right to justice?

And despite a safeguarding review into the matter producing a series of recommendations for the Government and police to act upon, Malthouse insisted there was doubt whether the police have a specific problem or a systemic problem relating to their policies and practices.

“It is the role of the independent police watchdog – the Independent Office for Police Conduct – to investigate serious matters involving the police and the IOPC has said it has been investigating the actions of the Metropolitan police in this particular case,” he said.

“We must let the IOPC conclude its work. We would, of course, expect any findings to be acted upon swiftly but it’s vital that we don’t prejudge the IOPC’s investigations or prejudice due process – so it would be wrong for me to make any comment on the case in question at this time.”

This Writer wonders whether Malthouse is simply hoping the IOPC will find a way to exonerate the officers involved (one of whom, it seems, was male – in a gross violation of police rules).

And he did not respond to a call to publish data on the number of times children are strip-searched. Why not?

Other MPs saw matters differently – not that he should not comment until the inquiry had been completed but that he should life a finger or two to bring the matter to that conclusion:

Labour MP for Eltham, Clive Efford, criticised Mr Malthouse for having a “wait and see attitude”, and said: “I feel like we’ve woken the minister from an afternoon nap to come in and make this statement”.

He added: “There’s a complete lack of urgency in his approach. It is quite clear that there are areas now where the Government can act; why isn’t the minister coming to this house to explain to us just exactly what he’s going to do, rather than this wait and see attitude?”

It seems clear that Malthouse’s fellow Tories felt no need to enact justice for Child Q. Only one Conservative MP turned up to the discussion – Jackie Doyle-Price – and her contribution was to ask what the minister would do to ensure the Metropolitan Police changes its practices.

Underlying this lack of activity there must be the same question that underlies the reasons for the humiliation and trauma of the strip-search of a menstruating teenage girl.

Is it because she is black?

Source: Child Q: Minister slammed for ‘lack of urgency’ over police strip-search of Black girl

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Tories support discrimination and division in rejecting bid to improve MPs’ behaviour

Say what you want: Boris Johnson’s Tories have stamped on a bid to make MPs conform to principles of anti-racism, inclusion, diversity and respect. What does that tell us about them?

The Conservative government has rejected a proposal to change MPs’ code of conduct in line with a principle of “respect”.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised; they seem to respect few things other than money and power.

They have rejected calls by the Commons Standards Committee that would mean MPs “should demonstrate anti-discriminatory attitudes and behaviours through the promotion of anti-racism, inclusion and diversity”.

It doesn’t actually mean they want to promote racism, exclusion and blind obedience – but it does appear to mean they won’t oppose it if MPs exhibit those traits during debates.

I wonder how long that will last, if non-Tories exploit the openings this presents?

A separate committee on Standards in Public Life has already updated the Seven Principles of Public Life – also known as the Nolan principles – to include the demand that all public officials “treat others with respect”, to counter “increasing intimidation and abuse”.

But 10 Downing Street chief of staff Steve Barclay and chief Tory whip Mark Spencer rejected the idea of incorporating this into the wider MPs code.

They said in a joint statement: “We would not want to stifle legitimate debate on politically contentious issues which are important to our democracy… This could have a chilling effect on free speech on contentious and polarised political issues.”

Expect the Tories to play on this as much as they can, just to rub it in everybody else’s faces.

Source: Tories reject move to stamp out ‘discriminatory attitudes’ in Commons as attack on MPs’ free speech

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Left-wing campaigner rejects Sunak’s energy loan. Will you?

An old friend of This Site has written to Rishi Sunak, turning down the Chancellor’s attempt to foist a £200 loan on him to pay for increased energy bills.

Keith Lindsay-Cameron (remember him from A Letter A Day to Number 10, back when David Cameron was in Downing Street?) said he was perfectly capable of managing his own poverty without having more of it pushed on him.

His letter states: “With regards to the recent news that all customers of energy companies in England will be given a £200 loan from the Government to be repaid over following years.

“I would like to state that I do not want this loan. I have not asked for this loan. I do not wish my energy company to transfer the loan to my account, nor take repayments from my account in the future, and I shall be writing to them to this effect.

“I have several reasons for this decision.

“I do not want any debt imposed upon me that I have not asked or given my consent for.

“It is a certainty that prices will continue to rise, thus creating more hardship which this imposed loan will only exacerbate.

“My chosen route to pay for energy is up front payments via Pay As You Go, I do not consent to any sum of money being added to my account that leaves me in debt for several years. I manage my poverty perfectly well without being indebted by you.

“Your government has a bitter record of forcing us into debt and hardship, whilst throwing billions of pounds at banks and corporations, I want no part of the imposition of this loan on ordinary people.”

These are very good points.

Will you be writing to reject Sunak’s plan to impose debt on you for years to come while enriching the privatised energy giants that a previous Tory government created – many of which are at least partly-owned by foreign governments?

Alternatively, you could report Sunak to the Financial Conduct Authority as he seems to be misrepresenting his squalid little loan as a “rebate” or “discount”:

Or will you just lie back and let him strip you of more self-respect?

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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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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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Met police refers itself to police watchdog over stop-and-search of athletes’ car

That was quick.

This Writer only published Vox Political‘s story about the Metropolitan police targeting black athletes Ricardo dos Santos, Bianca Williams and their three-month-old baby for a stop/search a couple of hours ago, and already the case has been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct!

If you want something to happen, get me to write about it.

But seriously…

It actually took several days and the threat of a court case for this matter to be referred to the IOPC, and This Writer is concerned that we’ll see another stitch-up.

The IOPC blotted its copy book with its whitewashing of the relationship between Boris Johnson and Jennifer Arcuri, and I fear that any investigation of this case will go the same way.

It occur to me that, if the IOPC – and the police in general – want us to accept any verdict on this, we’ll have to see all the evidence when the report comes in.

That seems the best way to ensure fairness. Don’t you agree?

The Metropolitan Police has referred itself to the police watchdog over the actions of its officers in a stop and search involving athlete Bianca Williams.

The 26-year-old Team GB sprinter was dragged from the vehicle and handcuffed in Maida Vale, West London on Saturday along with partner Ricardo dos Santos, a Portuguese 400m runner, in front of their three month-old-son.

The athlete has since accused the Met of racial profiling – telling LBC radio she believes they were stopped because the car is all black and her partner is a black man. “There is no other reason,” she added.

Source: Bianca Williams: Metropolitan Police refers itself to watchdog after stopping Team GB athlete’s car | The Independent

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Did these omissions and vaguenesses influence the Johnson-Arcuri investigation whitewash the prime minister?

Johnson and Arcuri: the IOPC report suggests information was deleted or delayed to clear the prime minister of any wrong-doing.

Records were deleted or never existed, information was delayed and officers revealed they were influenced to act a particular way in the matter of Boris Johnson’s relationship with Jennifer Arcuri, a police report has revealed.

Is this how the investigation into that relationship has been made to say there was no impropriety?

Why were records relating to this case deleted – what did they cover and when were the deletions made? We may never know, but the questions should be enough to raise suspicion.

Why were some records never made? The report by the Independent Office for Police Conduct remarks on them so it is reasonable to believe that they were necessary. Who was responsible for making these records? What information would they have provided?

Why did the third parties mentioned in the report delay providing their information? What influenced them to inconvenience the investigation and would their information have been different, had they not done so? What was the subject of the information they had been asked to provide?

Possibly most damning is the statement that officers working for Johnson and making decisions about sponsorship monies and attendance on trade missions “thought that there was a close relationship between Mr Johnson and Ms Arcuri, and this influenced their decision-making”.

Why would they have thought that? Did Johnson, or one of his aides, tell them this was the case and/or that they should give her the money/include her in the junkets?

Because that is how this looks!

The IOPC review took longer than expected due to the poor quality of information provided in the initial referral, a lack of records and delays in third parties providing information. Some of the records which would have assisted the review either never existed or have been deleted.

Director General Michael Lockwood said:“While there was no evidence that Mr Johnson influenced the payment of sponsorship monies or participation in trade missions,  there was evidence to suggest that those officers making decisions about sponsorship monies and attendance on trade missions thought that there was a close relationship between Mr Johnson and Ms Arcuri, and this influenced their decision-making. “

Our review established there was a close association between Mr Johnson and Ms Arcuri and there may have been an intimate relationship.

The GLA code of conduct which applied at the time meant that, even if the relationship was intimate, Mr Johnson had no obligation to include Ms Arcuri’s business interests in his own register of interests.

However, under the broader Nolan Principles of Public Life, our review suggests it would have been wise for Mr Johnson to have declared this as a conflict of interest, and a failure to do so could have constituted a breach of these broader principles contained within the GLA 2012 Code of Conduct.  As this does not amount to a potential criminal offence, this is now a matter for the GLA to consider.

You see, the report states that

The IOPC’s Operation Lansdowne review found no evidence indicating Mr Johnson influenced the payment of any sponsorship monies to Ms Arcuri or that he influenced or played an active part in securing her participation in trade missions.

That may be so – but if this is because evidence was destroyed and witnesses were vague, that is not enough to prove any kind of innocence.

The report ends with a list of recommendations for the Greater London Authority and London & Partners to improve their policies, procedures and record-keeping.

This would not have been necessary, had these organisations been able to provide full and frank answers to the inquiry’s questions.

It seems clear that – as This Writer stated in a previous article – the investigation has been an undeserved whitewash.

Source: No criminal investigation of Boris Johnson for misconduct in public office while Mayor of London | Independent Office for Police Conduct

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