Tag Archives: conduct

‘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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Police inquiry whitewashes Johnson’s links with Jennifer Arcuri

Johnson and Arcuri: the IOPC delayed its report into their relationship by months, even after its declared reason for doing so (local elections) was cancelled.

Well, what did we expect?

This Writer has noticed a distinct reluctance on the part of the police to investigate any alleged wrongdoings of government ministers – including and especially the prime minister – ever since I started writing politics.

George Osborne’s paddock is an example that leaps to mind, having written about it again within the past week.

It seems these people – squalid though they may be – are utterly above the law.

So there’s evidence to believe that Johnson had an intimate relationship with Ms Arcuri, then?

But the £126,000 he gave her in three separate deals was entirely appropriate?

And so were the decisions to bring her on three trade missions in 2014 and 2015?

Will the Independent Office for Police Conduct, which carried out this investigation, be taking questions on this decision and defending its findings?

Or will it just stonewall as usual and say “this is what we found, like it or lump it”?

The good news is that the arrival of this decision – several months late, and for no reason after local elections were cancelled – means other inquiries by the London Assembly and the London Mayor’s Office can now get back under way.

Perhaps these organisations will return a more believable verdict than our supposedly-impartial law guardians.

For clarity: if the police have cleared Johnson of criminal behaviour in this matter, I don’t believe a word of it.

Source: Boris Johnson will not face criminal probe into links with Jennifer Arcuri, sources say – Mirror Online

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Police watchdog has delayed Boris Johnson-Jennifer Arcuri inquiry. Corruption?

Boris Johnson and Jennifer Arcuri: What have they been up to? And why won’t the appropriate authorities investigate?

Where is the corruption investigation into Boris Johnson’s relationship with Jennifer Arcuri?

That lady’s own pronouncements in the days and weeks after the initial allegations were made should be enough to prompt an inquiry.

But nothing has happened. We have heard nothing.

It’s like the report into Russian interference in UK politics – as though someone is hoping we’ll all forget about it.

Well, we haven’t.

And the longer the delay, the more suspicious its causes – and the people responsible for them – seem.

That means people like Sol Naseem, IOPC London director, who is apparently insisting that the inquiry isn’t being delayed – just that his organisation is continuing to collect information and take legal advice.

Would that be advice on how to avoid conducting any kind of inquiry at all into apparent wrongdoing by the man who is now UK prime minister?

The police watchdog is facing accusations that it is dragging its feet on a decision about whether to investigate Boris Johnson for possible criminal misconduct over his friendship with the US businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri when he was London mayor.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) insists it has received no pressure from the government over the decision, which had been expected before last month’s general election, or its timing.

In October the IOPC indicated it would take about a month to decide whether Johnson had a case to answer. But the watchdog now says it is still conducting a “scoping exercise” on the decision. It has also continued to request new information from the mayor’s promotion agency, London and Partners (L&P), this month.

Source: Police watchdog criticised over Boris Johnson-Jennifer Arcuri inquiry delay | UK news | The Guardian

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Streeting becomes third Labour anti-Semitism witch-hunter to be accused of anti-Semitism

Accused: Wes Streeting.

Labour MP Wes Streeting, who has been vocal in his attacks on fellow party members accused of anti-Semitism, has become the third high-profile witch-hunter to receive the same treatment.

He joins Tom Watson and Margaret Hodge in having an anti-Semitism complaint aimed at him.

Here’s Skwawkbox to explain:

The Orthodox Jewish member, who asked not to be named, has made the complaint with regard to tweets and retweets by Streeting labelling Charedi Jewish member Shraga Stern as ‘homophobic’ and ‘anti-LGBT’ for his campaign to maintain sex education as a matter for the parents of Orthodox children, as well as his assertion that Orthodox Jewish values are not Labour values. The complaint includes copies of a number of social media posts.

The complaint states:

Below and attached are five antisemitic attacks,  smearing me for the one and only reason for being an Orthdox Jew and wanting to uphold Jewish tradition…

Attacks… are clearly for the reason that I intend to hold on to my Jewish traditions.

The above is original antisemitism via inciting hate against religious Jews and has caused to the killing of millions of Jews throughout the years.

I am anxious about this hostile environment and racist attacks by some individuals within the Labour party… This is extremely dangerous and needs to be dealt with as a matter of urgency.

I am hurt by all this and wonder if Labour is the neutral home for visible Jewish People.

Being attacked by an official elected Labour MP for being Jewish needs to be taken as a wake-up call and rooted out of the Labour party. Every Jew has the rights to be a Jew and all need to be treated the same at the Labour Party.

I urge the Labour Party to suspend him until the investigation is over.

Labour Party rule 2.1.8 makes it clear that: “The NEC … shall regard any incident which in their view might reasonably be seen to demonstrate hostility or prejudice based on … religion or belief … as conduct prejudicial to the Party.

As with the Watson and Hodge cases, it will be interesting to see how the party’s leaders rule on this.

Source: Jewish Labour member’s formal complaint of ‘original antisemitism’ vs Streeting | The SKWAWKBOX

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Umunna’s lie gave Theresa May a way to attack Labour. He must resign – or be forced out

Chuka Umunna.

Chuka Umunna must have been giggling behind his hand when Theresa May came out with the following at Prime Minister’s Questions. But who will have the last laugh?

It is clear that Mrs May was using Mr Umunna’s entirely false claim that the Labour Party is “institutionally racist” to attack Labour – at a time when she had no other defence against Jeremy Corbyn’s criticisms of her policies (in this case, Universal Credit).

We all know he’s responsible – and he deserves to be punished.

But Mr Umunna probably thinks he’s free as a bird; as a Labour MP, he gets to say anything he likes and get away with it – it is only Labour members who are censured according to the party rules.

Well, that’s changing.

The whole point of Theresa May’s comment about Labour MPs facing ‘no confidence’ votes is that the party’s members can now censure their MPs (and clearly she thinks this is a bad idea. Conservative Party members should note that this means she favours the ‘top-down’ view of party organisation in which the leaders decide everything and the members show blind obedience at all times).

It is well past time the MP for Streatham was reminded that he represents the Labour Party, and is bound by Labour Party rules.

Rule 2.1.8 clearly states: “No member of the Party shall engage in conduct which in the opinion of the NEC is prejudicial, or in any act which in the opinion of the NEC is grossly detrimental to the Party.”

I would say lying that the party is “institutionally racist” is prejudicial. I would say helping the Conservative prime minister to attack the Labour Party is grossly detrimental.

If you are a member of Streatham Constituency Labour Party, I would strongly urge you to call for a motion of “no confidence” in Mr Umunna, with a vote to take place at the earliest opportunity. I would suggest you call for the Labour whip to be removed from him and for him to be deselected, so that he may no longer stand as a Parliamentary candidate for the Labour Party.

If you are a Labour Party member who is not in Streatham CLP, I would urge you to email [email protected] and call for Mr Umunna’s suspension pending a full and rigorous investigation of his conduct, past and present, with a view to his possible expulsion under the rule listed above.

Be polite, but remind party officers that behaviour of the kind shown by Mr Umunna has no place in the Labour Party – or in politics.

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