Tag Archives: illegal

Brexiteers’ justification for breaking international law on Brexit is illiterate. Why hasn’t Braverman resigned?

Suella Braverman: She used to chair a secret group of Brexit-supporting MPs and is now Attorney General. Yes, she is as daft as she looks.

In trying to humiliate a leading Remainer – and justify its own contempt for international law – Boris Johnson and his government have made the UK a laughing-stock once again.

And our Attorney General, Suella Braverman, should be offering up her resignation. Rather than uphold the rule of law, she has sided with a government that intends to break it, turning the UK into nothing better than a rogue state.

Almost as bad, she offered as justification for this lawbreaking a Supreme Court ruling that Parliament is sovereign in domestic matters – a ruling won by Remain campaigner Gina Miller in a challenge to previous Brexit legislation.

But the same Supreme Court ruling made it clear that this does not excuse the UK government from honouring its obligations under international law.

Here’s Braverman’s statement, as exulted by Brexiteers. I’ve found a more level-headed response to it:

What is the appropriate response? This:

Perhaps. This:

Mmm… How about two in-depth Twitter threads? First this:

(After that lesson in the law, I think the Secret Barrister may be allowed to advertise a book about it.)

And then there’s this:

It is not for members of the public to challenge this.

I have a feeling that the Tory government will face serious and well-funded legal challenges both from within the UK and outside.

I am concerned that this will lead to an equally serious financial penalty – a bill that, once again, the taxpayer will have to pay.

We always end up bailing out these incompetent Tories when we should be sending them to jail instead.

Last word goes to Mark Elliott (again):

It is par for the course in a government that is as bent as a nine-bob note.

But Suella Braverman’s resignation is definitely required.

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The Tories crippled their own border controls. Don’t let them use their own stupidity to boost racism

Tories like scapegoating immigrants – and have been doing it for decades: the current fad is for claiming illegal immigration feeds modern slavery, but the underlying threat has always been that Johnny Foreigner is taking your job. It’s an old con.

This Tory hypocrisy is a little too rich for our taste.

Boris Johnson’s government is whipping up jingoism against refugees secretly crossing the Channel to get into the UK:

It seems ministers have conveniently forgotten that successive Tory governments were responsible for stripping the country of its ability to catch the people-smugglers.

Former prime minister Theresa May, during her term as Home Secretary, spent years cutting Border Force, the organisation that – we’re told – protects our borders.

I published this story in 2014 and matters have only become worse.

If it can’t manage now – and the Tories have had to appeal to the Navy for help – that’s their fault and they should own up to it.

Instead, they’re trying to turn their latest fiasco into a crusade against Johnny Foreigner sneaking onto our shores and boosting modern slavery.

How utterly vile.

I accept that it is perfectly understandable to want to keep unmonitored people out of the UK during a time of international contagion.

However:

The issue is why these people want to come to the UK at all. If we really wanted to stop them, we need to help end their reasons for leaving their own homelands.

(Obviously, making the UK an unattractive destination has failed as a strategy.)

My guess is, these people are running away from wars, and the fallout from wars, that the UK helped start under recent Tory governments.

So whichever way you turn, the finger of blame points at the Conservatives.

It leads me to ask whether this is an attempt at distraction – and if so, I’m wondering what’s so bad that the Tories are happy to expose themselves to ridicule, simply to divert attention away from it.

Source: Home Office seeks military help over migrant crossings – BBC News

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Floodgates open as 300+ disabled people issue court claim for Universal Credit cash

A landmark court ruling looks set to cost the Tory government a small fortune as people with disabilities line up to demand their lost cash.

More than 300 people are involved in this initial claim – but solicitors Leigh Day reckon more than 13,000 could be owed lost income totalling £170 per month or more.

Here are the details:

More than 300 severely disabled people have issued a claim in the High Court for lost income under the universal credit system.

The group, represented by Leigh Day solicitors, say they have each missed out on at least £170 a month since they were moved on to universal credit as the new benefits system has been rolled out across the UK.

All of the group were moved on to the system before January, 2019 and lost the severe disability premium which they had previously claimed, which left them worse off.

However, severely disabled people who have been moved on to universal credit since January 2019 have not missed out on the severe disability premium.

Instead, their universal credit claims have been managed by the Severe Disability premium Gateway system which has been put in place to ensure that severely disabled benefits claimants do not end up worse off under the universal credit system.

The claimants argue that they have suffered because of the unlawful implementation of the Universal Credit  (Transitional Provisions) 2014, the SDP Gateway Regulations, January 2019, and the Managed Migrations Regulations 2019.

They claim they have suffered discrimination under Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The current litigation appears to follow a Court of Appeal ruling on these issues – that the government not only discriminated against disabled people moving from Severe Disability Premium onto Universal Credit, but then tried to discriminate against them with the repayments.

The issue was discovered by two claimants, anonymised as TP and AR, whose disability benefits were cancelled when they moved from one local authority area to another. They were put on Universal Credit instead, with £180 per month wiped off the amount they were set to receive.

The government attempted to rectify the situation with regulations which stopped other severely disabled people from moving over to Universal Credit and provided those who had already moved over with back payments.

But in another failure of the kind that has made the Tory government notorious, the disabled men were only paid back at a rate of £80 a month, rather than the £180 that they had lost.

The Court of Appeal, in a unanimous judgment, agreed with lower courts that the Government had unlawfully discriminated against this cohort of severely disabled claimants.

This site previously reported that a pre-action protocol letter had been sent to Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey. Leigh Day solicitors have now issued the full claim, saying she failed to substantively respond to that letter.

They believe that up to 13,000 disabled people in the UK have been affected by the change and may be entitled to make a claim to retrieve lost benefit payments.

“Our clients believe that it clearly cannot be right that they find themselves £170 a month worse off under the universal credit system when other claimants have the assurance that they will not be worse off on universal credit,” said Leigh Day solicitor Ryan Bradshaw.

The claimants are asking the Work and Pensions Secretary for compensation equal to the amount of money they have lost following their transfer to Universal Credit, for their previous level of benefits to be restored and maintained until a lawful migration scheme is established, and for compensation for the stress they have been caused.

Source: Disabled benefit claimants issue claim for lost income under universal credit system

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DWP faces legal action over lost benefit cash – from no fewer than 275 people with disabilities

It seems people with disabilities are seizing the opportunity granted them by a landmark court ruling – and taking legal action against the government over lost benefit income.

Leigh Day solicitors have sent a pre-action protocol letter to Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey on behalf of no fewer than 275 former claimants of disability benefits who say changes forced on them by the government department deprived them of £170 per month – or more.

They say they lost the cash because they were moved on to Universal Credit before January 2019, when the Department for Work and Pensions introduced the Severe Disability Premium (SDP) Gateway system.

This aims to ensure that people previously entitled to the Severe Disability Premium do not end up worse off when they are transferred to Universal Credit.

The 275 claimants involved say the unlawful implementation of the Universal Credit  (Transitional Provisions) 2014, the SDP Gateway Regulations, January 2019, and the Managed Migrations Regulations 2019 mean they have suffered discrimination, as defined by Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Leigh Day solicitors reckon up to 13,000 disabled people in the UK have been affected by the change and may be entitled to make a claim to retrieve lost benefit payments.

The current litigation appears to follow a Court of Appeal ruling that the government not only discriminated against disabled people moving from Severe Disability Premium onto Universal Credit, but then tried to discriminate against them with the repayments.

The issue was discovered by two claimants, anonymised as TP and AR, whose disability benefits were cancelled when they moved from one local authority area to another. They were put on Universal Credit instead, with £180 per month wiped off the amount they were set to receive.

The government attempted to rectify the situation with regulations which stopped other severely disabled people from moving over to Universal Credit and provided those who had already moved over with back payments.

But in another failure of the kind that has made the Tory government notorious, the disabled men were only paid back at a rate of £80 a month, rather than the £180 that they had lost.

The Court of Appeal, in a unanimous judgment, agreed with lower courts that the Government had unlawfully discriminated against this cohort of severely disabled claimants.

At long last, it seems, people with disabilities have a chance to get compensation from a Tory government that has persecuted them for more than a decade.

Source: 275 severely disabled people launch legal case against DWP over lost benefit income – Welfare Weekly

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Nandy’s plan to tackle Labour anti-Semitism allegations isn’t only bad – it’s illegal

Lisa Nandy: The mouth is open but there is no sign of intelligence.

Can someone please give Labour leadership candidate Lisa Nandy’s head a shake and, when it’s cleared, show her a copy of the Data Protection Act?

Nandy has just put forward her plan to deal with allegations of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. It is imbecilic and illegal.

Here’s the gist:

The plan calls for an immediate zero-tolerance policy under a new leader, with the party fully implementing, as a minimum, any recommendations from the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), which is formally investigating Labour over allegations of antisemitism. Another instant change would be to lower the threshold for suspending members where there are “credible accusations of antisemitism, Islamophobia or other forms of racism”.

Nandy has also pledged to introduce a new and independent complaints process, saying the existing process “is not trusted to handle the wave of cases the hard-working staff team have faced because of legitimate concerns about political interference” and a factionalised process.

Another promised element would be transparency, with Nandy pledging to share information on disciplinary cases with MPs, local parties, the JLM and the media. The JLM would be brought back to carry out training on antisemitism.

We’ll put to one side the insistence on slavish obedience to the findings of an EHRC investigation that may be tainted by false evidence and allegations of bias within that organisation. Let’s look at that another day.

If Nandy wants to lower the threshold for suspending members accused of racism, she probably knows the bar is already very low. This Writer’s own membership was suspended in the basis of an article by the Campaign Against Antisemitism that was – let’s be fair – chock-full of lies.

It’s no wonder that the CAA is now under investigation by the Charity Commission over claims that it has breached rules of political impartiality that all charities must keep.

But it is Nandy’s promise to introduce an independent complaints process, and to share information on disciplinary cases with other organisations – including the media – that are illegal.

As a data controller, Labour is under an obligation to keep data on its members confidential.

That means no sharing with other organisations or individuals, except under exceptional circumstances, without the consent of the data subject.

This Writer is currently in the middle of a court case against the Labour Party over the cavalier way it disregarded its own disciplinary procedures and the Data Protection Act that was in effect at the time (the current version has more protections for data subjects).

I think my case is airtight. The breaches of law and contract are clear. I do not expect to lose.

That will be extremely embarrassing for Labour – and doubly so for any leader who imposes new rules that spit on the law.

Postscript: Oh, and Nandy’s claim to be sympathising with Jewish party members who say they’re agonising about quitting the party is all well and good – but she seems to be ignoring the fact that her planned pogrom against Labour members indicates that she supports a certain form of racism herself.

Source: ‘Make-or-break time’ on antisemitism in Labour, says Lisa Nandy | Politics | The Guardian

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Why isn’t Liz Truss in jail for illegally selling arms to a foreign country?

Liz Truss: She used to be Justice Secretary – does she now believe herself to be above the law?

Tory ‘big cheese’ Liz Truss has apologised to the Court of Appeal for “inadvertently” selling hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of military equipment to Saudi Arabia. Why isn’t she in jail?

The courts have ruled that it is illegal to sell equipment of this kind to Saudi Arabia, as it could be used to help murder innocent people in Yemen.

But Ms Truss did it anyway.

And she seems to think saying “sorry!” will get her off the hook for it.

That is not good enough.

If she is saying she did it by accident, then she is admitting that she is incompetent, and should resign her position as a government minister at once.

But we all know that ignorance of the law is no excuse, so Ms Truss should also submit herself – and all evidence relating to this matter – to the courts so her crime – because that’s what it is – may be judged and she can be ordered to serve the sentence required by the law.

Or is this merely further evidence that this Boris Johnson government considers itself to be above the law and that it only applies to plebs like the rest of us?

Source: Tory minister apologises for ‘accidentally’ approving illegal sale of military equipment to Saudi Arabia | The Independent

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Scottish judges rule prorogation unlawful. Is it a bit late for that now?

Appeal court judges in Scotland have ruled that Boris Johnson’s suspension of Parliament until mid-October is not legal.

The decision overturns a previous ruling that courts did not have the power to overturn Mr Johnson’s political decision to prorogue Parliament.

But they did not issue an injunction or interdict ordering Parliament to reconvene after the prorogation came into effect early on Tuesday morning (September 10).

Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, said the Scottish tribunal was deferring a final decision on an interdict to the UK supreme court, which will hold a three-day hearing next week.

The UK government will appeal at the UK supreme court against the latest ruling, which also contradicts a decision in BoJob’s favour by senior English judges last week.

So it seems an appeal against the Scottish judges’ ruling that prorogation is unlawful will take place at the same time – September 17 – as an appeal against the UK judges’ ruling that it isn’t.

What if both appeals succeed?

And let’s not forget that another challenge is to be heard at a court in Belfast.

Meanwhile, as the courts go through their slow deliberations, Parliament remains unable to sit; unable to get on and deal with the important issues facing the UK.

I fear that the end result will be a decision that the prorogation was unlawful – delivered after it has ended.

What good will that be?

Source: Scottish judges rule PM’s suspension of parliament is unlawful | UK news | The Guardian

EXTRA: It seems the governent has not moved to have the effect of the Scottish court’s ruling delayed until after the Supreme Court in London delivers its decision on Tuesday (September 17).

This means that the prorogation is not currently in force and Parliament may meet again.

But will it?

It seems likely that soon-to-retire Speaker John Bercow may look kindly on the possibility.

But if the Tory government refuses to take part, won’t this only complicate matters even more?

And should that worry us – or should we embrace it as the possibility of even more embarrassment for Boris Johnson?

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Latest phase of Tory ‘hostile environment’ would force charities to help deport people sleeping rough

The Conservative government has been caught trying to persecute foreigners and some of the UK’s most vulnerable people – yet again.

The scandal centres once again on the Home Office, which has been trying to pressgang homelessness charities into becoming border guards.

The plan – euphemistically titled the Rough Sleeper Support Service (RSSS) – is to get charity outreach workers to pass on the personal details of homeless people to the Home Office where, if they were found to be from foreign countries, enforcement officers would deport them.

The scheme deliberately ignores data protection and privacy laws by demanding that personal information be passed to the Home Office regardless of whether the subject gives their consent.

This breach of national and international law was imposed to make it easier to deport people. A Home Office email stated that this would be harder if individuals were allowed to withdraw consent for their information to be used in this way, as would be permitted legally.

There has been pushback from charities who have refused to agree a data-sharing deal – that breaks the law – with the Home Office and local authorities.

This Writer wonders whether charities were also being gagged with non-disclosure agreements foisted on them by the Home Office – a Conservative government trick we have encountered before.

It seems odd that the first time this atrocity came to public attention was after the human rights charity Liberty received answers to a Freedom of Information request.

And Liberty was not pleased. According to the charity’s Gracie Bradley:

“It’s disgraceful that the Home Office, local authorities, and charities are attempting to turn trusted homelessness outreach workers into border guards. Homelessness charities must refuse complicity in the hostile environment.

Bradley said referrals will likely result in immigration enforcement action.

She said ministers should be concentrating on combating the root causes of homelessness rather than targeting rough sleepers. “Consent and data protection should also be at the heart of our interactions with public institutions,” she added.

[A] Public Interest Law Centre spokesman added: “Despite its name, the new RSSS offers no ‘support’ to homeless migrants living in the UK. It is a ‘hostile environment’ measure in all but name.”

Shockingly, the Tories have been unrepentant, now that their plan has been revealed.

A Home Office spokesman actually told the Guardian: “This enables individuals to access support or assists them in leaving the UK where appropriate.”

Assists them? They can only be assisted to leave the UK if they have been asked whether they want to – and it seems perfectly clear that the Home Office does not intend to seek any such permissions.

This is yet another atrocity from the home of the “hostile environment” and Home Secretary Sajid Javid should be hauled before Parliament to explain his department’s flagrant abuse of the law.

If he fails to account for his department’s actions, then we will have yet more proof of the Conservative Party’s prejudice against anybody who isn’t rich and privileged.

Source: Secret plan to use charities to help deport rough sleepers | Politics | The Guardian

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Guest post: Why are politicians determined to honour a corrupted referendum?

This is a question that has bothered me considerably so I am delighted to host Tony O’Malley’s article asking why our political parties are determined to ignore the “lies, misrepresentations, cheating, illegality and probably criminality” of the 2016 EU referendum.

He says he understands left-wing members of the Labour Party have advocated that it is time to “move on”.

The problem is that we can’t. The whole of the UK is in stalemate over the issue.

Perhaps the reason for that is the insistence that we accept a corrupted result and “move on”, despite knowing that doing so will harm us.

Here’s Mr O’Malley [all boldings are mine]:

I have always considered myself a passionate believer in socialism, the internationalism of the Labour movement and Jeremy Corbyn.

I am also a litigation solicitor, who is now ‘retired’ due to various disabilities and health issues. In a prior career, I was a Registered General & Mental Nurse. I had been a member of the governing body of a major independent trades union & professional organisation (RCN), and I had the privilege of being the first ever elected U.K. President of the European Nursing Students Organisation. I have always fought tirelessly for justice for nurses, and especially for student nurses, as I consider them the future of a most noble profession and central to the delivery of high quality care and compassion in our renowned health service.

I voted Remain in the 2016 referendum. For me, it was an easy choice, though I did recognise that much institutional and policy reform was likely to be required if the EU, and the multiplicity of it’s constituent parts was to function better for the people of our continent, and thrive going forward. For quite some time now, I have been raising issues and queries with Jeremy Corbyn, Labour, Jennie Formby, Keir Starmer, and others. These many digital communications have sought early answers to the question of what was our party’s position with regard to the disturbing findings of the UK Electoral Commission about the running, result and supervision of the 2016 EU referendum. Sadly, I have not yet received any responses whatsoever, to any of my many attempts to engage in good faith with Labour politicians and officials who need to explain to me how political expediency now appears to have become so legitimate.

Whilst certain aspects of the actions by Leave campaign groups still remain under investigation by the National Crime Agency, there is already ample evidence in the public domain which reveals that the referendum result cannot be seen as the ‘will of the people’, because of the lies, misrepresentations, cheating, illegality and probably criminality which infested the whole sorry exercise. The courts have stated that, had the referendum not been legally constructed as being that of an ‘advisory’ referendum only, then they could have overturned the result because of the many serious concerns that have already been expressed and which would have been anathema to our long-standing principles of democracy and fair play.

David Cameron’s Conservative government really messed up when they committed, in a leaflet, to honouring the referendum result, when no such power for them to do so existed within the legal structure of the plebiscite.

In all other aspects of our society, we firmly and consistently adhere to the ancient principle that ‘cheats should not prosper’. The penalties for cheating in sport, business, academic testing and in many other areas of human endeavour, generally involve the complete loss of any advantage that the cheater obtained through their disreputable actions. In sport, for example, the winner’s medal would be forfeited if their performance could be shown to have been enhanced by illicit substances or done by any other breach of the rules. If I cheat in a college or school exam, then it should reasonably be expected that I do not receive the benefit that such cheating had given rise to! Nobody would realistically object to a race, match or other competition being re-run, or the prize being awarded to a non-cheater, if cheating was considered to have polluted the integrity of the initial event. This universal reaction is so uncontentious that it barely merits further debate.

Why is it then, when it comes to the widespread cheating and illegality that has been revealed in respect of the 2016 EU referendum, that politicians, the MSM and large sections of our civil society, can choose to close their eyes, and discard their moral compasses on the basis of shallow and temporary political expediency?

I have sadly witnessed a number of voices on the left of our political spectrum recently stating that it is time to ‘move on’ in respect of this unresolved issue. This response has shocked me to my core. If the Labour movement doesn’t stand for justice, then I’m afraid it doesn’t stand for very much!

How would the Hillsborough families, the Grenfell families, the Windrush families, the Orgreave families, the Palestinians and more, have reacted to the statement that it was ‘time to move on’, when their grievances and quest for justice remained unresolved after the long passage of time?

The truth is that it can never be acceptable to sacrifice our core beliefs, as we apparently appear to be doing in this shameful situation. Once you let that genie out of the bottle, it can can never be returned there. A precedent becomes set, that in certain circumstances we can give a nod and a wink to the flouting of the rule of law.

That abrogation of our core beliefs and principles will no doubt visit us again, and again, in forms not yet identified, but with potential unfathomable consequences for the Labour movement and our society.


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Javid admits illegal DNA tests on immigrants – what’s that about him not being racist, again?

Matt Turner, on Twitter, corrected the BBC’s news story about the DNA tests to make it more accurately reflect the facts.

The evidence is mounting up against racist Sajid Javid and his racist government.

The latest is from an internal Home Office review into the mandatory provision of DNA evidence to support immigration claims – a practice that is banned by law in the UK.

But the Home Office has demanded these DNA tests at least 449 times, under its ‘hostile environment’ policy – possibly many more times, as 1,150 Afghan nationals, including 700 family members and parents of those employed by UK government, have been relocated to the UK under a scheme targeted with mandatory DNA testing.

Mr Javid said he had set up a taskforce to deal with anybody who felt they had been unfairly treated by being subjected to this process. What will this group do – pay them fast-track compensation if they sign non-disclosure agreements, as with the Windrush generation?

He said he had already issued instructions that officials should not demand DNA evidence. Did he not do this in June, when the Labour Party revealed the problem? If not, why not?

We all know Mr Javid has racism issues. It isn’t that long since he lined up everybody in this country of Pakistani Asian descent to be targeted as potential paedophiles, due to an ill-advised tweet.

In another tweet he showed anti-Semitism, separating “decent” Jews from those who support Jeremy Corbyn.

And his denial of Islamophobia in the Conservative Party prompted a bitter row with Muslims across the UK.

This is a man with no conscience and, apparently, no understanding of the racist nature of the policies he has been allowing as Home Secretary.

He promised to end the harm done to the Windrush generation, for example – but refused to end the ‘hostile environment’ policy that caused it. And now we see it causing further harm.

The Labour Party has taken him to task, with Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott saying: “This issue was first raised by Labour in June and the Government has known for months that some immigration applicants were being compelled to provide DNA evidence to support their claims, even though that is illegal. When presented with clear cases of the Home office requiring DNA evidence, the Minister denied it happened.

“Abuses like this don’t fall from the sky. Officials at the Home Office have been carrying out the Government’s hostile environment policy, which is also what led to the Windrush scandal. People are being treated as guilty or illegal unless they can prove their innocence.

“We need a fair and robust immigration system, but the hostile environment isn’t it and the Government should end it.”

The bad news is that Sajid Javid won’t end it – because he doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with it.

Source: The Government has known for months that some immigration applicants were being compelled to provide DNA evidence, even though that is illegal – Abbott – The Labour Party

Visit our JustGiving page to help Vox Political’s Mike Sivier fight anti-Semitism libels in court


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