Tag Archives: secret

Patel plan to secretly strip people of UK citizenship is ‘offence to justice’ after court ruling

The Court of Appeal has struck down a Home Office decision to remove a British woman of her citizenship without telling her.

Home Secretary Priti Patel had tried to argue that notification had been given to D4, who has been detained in the Roj camp in Syria since January 2019, by simply placing a note on her Home Office file.

D4 was born in the UK in 1967 and had British nationality from birth, along with Pakistani nationality. The decision to strip her of British citizenship was made on December 27, 2019 but her solicitors were only informed when they wrote to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office in September 2020, asking for help in repatriating her.

The Home Office’s claim relied on regulations that had been introduced by statutory instrument, without parliamentary approval.

But the court said the British Nationality Act 1981 required written notice to be given to someone of a decision to strip them of their citizenship and only parliament could decide to alter that requirement.

Lady Justice Whipple said: “The 1981 act does not confer powers of such breadth that the home secretary can deem notice to have been given where no step at all has been taken to communicate the notice to the person concerned and the order has simply been put on the person’s Home Office file. To permit that would be to permit the statute to be subverted by secondary legislation.”

Whipple said the purpose for requirement to give notice in the 1981 act was that “the person needs to know that a decision has been made; the person is entitled to know the reasons for that decision; and the person is put on notice of their appeal rights”.

This should have serious consequences for Patel’s current plan to remove the requirement to give notice – including retrospectively – as described in Clause 9 of the Nationality and Borders Bill.

The ruling states that British justice requires a person to be told their nationality has been removed, to be given the reason for that decision, and to be told how they may appeal.

Failure to provide that information is an offence to justice.

Maya Foa, director of Reprieve, the charity representing people who suffer extreme human rights abuses (and note that this means the Home Office subject D4 to extreme abuse) said the decision confirmed that stripping a UK national of their citizenship in secret is illegal.

“But the government is already cynically attempting to circumvent the courts by using Clause 9 of the Nationality and Borders Bill to render this ruling moot, making a mockery of the rule of law.

“Ministers should change course and recognise that depriving people of their citizenship without even telling them is an affront to British principles of justice and fairness.”

And what are ministers actually doing?

They are seeking permission from the Supreme Court to appeal against the ruling. The UK’s government has nothing but contempt for the rule of law.

Source: UK unlawfully stripped woman of citizenship without telling her – court | Home Office | The Guardian

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Secret #disability #benefits report WILL be published whether #ThereseCoffey likes it or not

Therese Coffey: it seems she’s been too busy having a good time (in line with many of her Cabinet colleagues, we’ve learned) to publish a report on the quality of her work as it relates to people with disabilities who claim benefits.

Tough luck, Therese!

The Tory Work and Pensions Secretary has been sitting on a report on how claimants are affected by the way she runs disability benefits – presumably because it is damning, even though (allegedly) watered-down.

The benefits concerned are those received by people with long-term illnesses and disabilities: Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit (UC).

Well, she won’t be able to warm her backside on it for very much longer because the Commons Work and Pensions Committee, sick of waiting for her to pull her finger out, has given her an ultimatum.

It is: publish the report by January 11 or we will publish it in spite of you.

The report falls within the government’s protocol for publication so there really is no legitimate reason for any delay.

Committee chairman Stephen Timms (Labour) said:

The Secretary of State has consistently failed to give the Committee a good reason why this piece of research should not be made public. She even admits that it falls within the Government’s own protocol for publication.

The continued refusal to publish the results of the research, as promised to the participants who gave up their time, will do further damage to disabled people’s trust in the Department—which is already in short supply.

The Secretary of State now has a final opportunity to think again and publish the research. If not, the Committee is firmly agreed that we will be left with no choice but to publish the report ourselves.

Source: Coffey ordered to publish secret disability benefits report or MPs will do it for her

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Evidence shows there WAS a #DowningStreetparty – after all #BorisJohnson’s lying denials

It’s been said before: it isn’t the wrongdoing that brings down governments – it’s the cover-up.

Yesterday (December 7, 2021), ITV News screened video of Boris Johnson’s then-press secretary, Allegra Stratton, laughing and joking about a Christmas party that government representatives, MPs and ministers have sworn blind did not take place on December 18, 2020, in a press conference rehearsal that happened four days later:

So there it is. Four days after the party – and we know now that it definitely took place – Downing Street staff were rehearsing how to lie about it. Remember, nobody would even claim publicly that it had happened for almost an entire year after the time this was recorded.

After the allegations were finally made, the lies started flying thick and fast. For brevity, here’s Peter Stefanovic’s video that captures all the televised falsehoods, including Boris Johnson’s own lie:

Do you still have doubts?

If so, just run your eyes over the following, which appears to be video of Jacob Rees-Mogg, taken at the Downing Street party on December 18, 2020:

The Metropolitan Police, having refused to investigate allegations of a party earlier this week – on the basis that they don’t investigate crimes that have already happened – are apparently looking at the Stratton video and considering whether to investigate.

(It probably means they are trying to find a good reason not to. Hopefully the Rees-Mogg video will tip the balance and they’ll have to do something. Interviewing Stratton and Rees-Mogg might be a start.)

This Writer had thought no new evidence was likely to be seen yesterday beyond the revelation that a ‘secret Santa’ present-giving had taken place – meaning the party had been planned well in advance (otherwise the secret present-givers would not have had time to arrange their gifts), and had not been cancelled after London went into Tier 3 Covid-19 restrictions and all social gatherings were banned. How much more wrong could I have been?

Downing Street itself has doubled-down, continuing to insist that all relevant rules had been followed and adding that Johnson himself certainly did not attend a party.

But that doesn’t matter, because he lied about it.

And he lied while Conservative Party vice-chair Nickie Aiken was on television (BBC Politics Live) telling us all how accusations of lying were bad because they encourage people to think they can’t trust politicians. She even mentioned the Covid-19 pandemic and said she didn’t believe any member of the government would bring Parliament into disrepute:

I would like to see her on tomorrow’s Politics Live, commenting on the Stratton and Rees-Mogg clips. What does she have to say now?

Because it’s the lying that is hurtful.

Yesterday evening I watched the ITV News report on this. Anchorman Tom Bradby seemed to be so angry he couldn’t get his words out properly, and a pre-recorded insert was shown featuring members of the public, including one of the many who lost loved ones on the day of the party, reacting to it. The rage was palpable.

It should never be forgotten that 489 people died with Covid-19 on the day these Sloane Rangers and Hooray Henrys were raving it up in Downing Street – and more than 600 on the day Allegra Stratton was laughing about it in her mock press conference.

The reason people are angry is because they were laughing at us – the people who had to obey the rules while they flouted them.

Allow me to show you just a taste of that anger, from Twitter:

“Dear Allegra Stratton

“On the day you partied, my mother called me, breathless and feverish. I didn’t visit. On the day you joked, she was admitted to hospital. I didn’t visit. As you celebrated Christmas, she died without family by her side. I promise you, it wasn’t funny.”

Let’s not forget that the Metropolitan Police – the same force that initially refused to investigate allegations that people in Downing Street broke the rules – are this very week prosecuting members of the public over a house party in Ilford.

How much evidence does Cressida Dick need? She has video evidence that the party took place – including a clip from inside the event itself, and because Downing Street is guarded by police at all times she has the names of everybody who was signed into and out of the premises at the time the party happened. That should be enough to build what should be a watertight case – and now there really is no excuse not to.

So we come back to Boris Johnson – who is also in trouble now because he lied that he did not interfere in the evacuation from Afghanistan to allow a dog rescue charity to remove its animals to the UK.

There was a party. It took place at 10 Downing Street – where he lives. It was illegal. It happened when all social gatherings were banned. It involved a large amount of people who weren’t even attempting social distancing. Johnson’s then-press secretary joked about it being a “cheese and wine” event or “fictional”. And Johnson lied about it.

All of the above suggests that TV funsters Ant and Dec were right on the button when they said these words on yesterday’s edition of I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!:

He is still prime minister… for now.

But for how much longer?

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The DWP carried out dozens of secret reviews into benefit claimant deaths – and deleted them. Why? What did they show?

[Image: Black Triangle Campaign].

If you’ve got nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear, right?

In that case, what is the Department of Work and Pensions afraid of?

Since February 2012 (as far as we can be sure), it has been carrying out secret reviews into the reasons benefit claimants died – but has destroyed records of all such reviews carried out before 2016.

Why? What did they find that the DWP needed to hide?

Freedom of Information requests show that 49 reviews took place between February 2012 and autumn 2014 (all records of them have been destroyed) – and nine reviews took place between August 2014 and April 2016 (but these overlap with other periods where we know the numbers).

The reason this is cause for serious concern is that the DWP’s policies and practices have been linked to the deaths of benefit claimants – particularly those claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Personal Independence Payment (PIP) who suffered mental distress – ever since the Tories took over control of that department in 2010 (if not before).

At the time of writing it is only a day since This Site published an article highlighting the fact that more than 300 terminally-ill people have been dying every month after being denied fast-track access to benefits by the DWP.

The department has been rejecting around 100 claims per month.

The concern – as I pointed out yesterday – is that the Department for Work and Pensions intentionally harms people claiming benefits by depriving them of their payments in order to hasten their deaths.

Is that what was revealed in the now-destroyed reviews of the reasons claimants died?

Is that why the DWP shredded them?

If so, then it seems this department’s bosses – and their political leaders from 2010 onwards – have good reason to be afraid. But when will they be brought to justice?

Source: DWP admits carrying out more than 175 secret reviews into benefit deaths in nine years – Disability News Service

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Hancock LIED when he said there was never a national PPE shortage. Here’s the evidence. Now demand his resignation

Yet again: the PPE used in UK hospitals at the start of the Covid crisis is pictured bottom right. The infographic was made when the UK had hardly any personal protective equipment – but now Matt Hancock is trying to save his job by claiming there was never any shortage.

The Death Health Secretary is trying to rewrite history:

Did you hear him?

One minute and 40 seconds in: “But there wasn’t a national shortage [of personal protective equipment – PPE] at any point.”

That is simply untrue.

Here he is in April last year, saying he’d love to wave a magic wand to resolve PPE shortages:

The Tory government of the day was told in 2016/17, after Operation Cygnus, that the UK’s health service would be unable to cope with a pandemic virus infection without plentiful supplies of protective equipment for health workers… and decided that such an investment was too expensive.

This led to a situation in March 2020 when an NHS procurement chief, Alan Hoskins tweeted: “What a day, no gowns NHS Supply Chain. Rang every number escalated to NHS England, just got message back — no stock, can’t help, can send you a PPE pack. Losing the will to live, god help us all.”

The tweet was subsequently deleted, possibly under duress as even then the Tory government was trying to hide the facts. As This Writer put it on April 3 last year: “it seems doctors have been warned not to make any comments about shortages on social media, as well as avoiding talking to journalists, and NHS England has taken over media operations for many hospitals and health trusts in order to ensure that they all stay “on message”.”

On April 17 I brought public attention to the plight of nurses who had been forced to wear bin bags instead of proper protection. According to Metro,

Three nurses who wore bin bags on their shifts due to a shortage in personal protective equipment (PPE) have reportedly tested positive for coronavirus.

Just weeks ago, the nurses had shared a photo of themselves with clinical waste bags on their heads and feet as they issued a plea for proper masks, gowns and gloves at Northwick Park Hospital, in Harrow.

I wrote: “One of them had said they were all “terrified” that this might happen, knowing that colleagues had caught the disease from patients, and having treated those colleagues. They had seen what the illness does… We know what the government that failed them is going to give them: Platitudes.”

How right I was.

On April 19 I quoted a Sunday Times piece on the Johnson government’s PPE failures that showed he had sent 278,800 items of protective kit to China in February – immediately before the UK had needed it:

Downing Street admitted on February 24 — just five days before NHS chiefs warned a lack of PPE left the health service facing a “nightmare” — that the UK government had supplied 1,800 pairs of goggles and 43,000 disposable gloves, 194,000 sanitising wipes, 37,500 medical gowns and 2,500 face masks to China.

Don’t worry – it seems we may be getting some of it back. It’s just that the government isn’t sure, having lost £15 billion worth of PPE, some of which it has bought (back?) from other countries including China:

The government is not sure where billions of pounds worth of personal protective equipment (PPE) is located, the head of the National Audit Office has disclosed.

Gareth Davies, the comptroller and auditor general, said outside consultants had been brought into Whitehall to find all equipment, which is stored at different sites around the country, or is in transit from abroad.

Under questioning from the public accounts committee, Davies said: “We have been working closely with the DoH. It has commissioned consultants to advise it on first of all understanding where all the PPE that has been bought actually is. It sounds like a strange question but it is a really big issue because it is not all standing neatly in an NHS store somewhere.

“We have amounts in containers, in storage around the country, there’s some on the docks and there is some en route somewhere from China.”

On April 18 last year, I quoted a Mirror report that

NHS doctors and nurses will be asked to treat patients infected with coronavirus without full-length gowns – or re-use the ones they have, it has emerged tonight.

The Government has been under fire for weeks over the distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE), with some frontline staff warning that they have had to work in situations where they feel unsafe.

Public Health England guidelines currently state that full-length waterproof surgical gowns should by worn by medical workers to stop Covid-19 spreading into someone’s mouth or nose.

However, there has now been a U-turn advising staff to wear a flimsy plastic apron when gowns run out or not wear one at all

And Matt Hancock has the cheek to tell us now that there was never a shortage.

Here’s a tweet about PPE availability in one hospital on April 19:

The following day we learned a much-touted delivery of PPE from Turkey would last just three days. It had been previously reported that Boris Johnson had refused to join an EU scheme to provide PPE where it was needed (see the Peter Stefanovic tweet towards the top of this article).

On April 24 we found

The UK’s stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE) for use in a pandemic…  has been outsourced to a private company, Movianto, which was sold two weeks ago for $133m (£107m) by its owner, a large US healthcare group.

Two days later the Turkish shipment of PPE arrived – and proved to be just one-twelfth of the expected amount.

Later in the Covid crisis we learned that the Tories were using the emergency procurement system which bypasses the competitive tendering process and allows the government to purchase items and services direct from chosen firms, was being abused.

Tories were giving cash to their cronies in return for equipment that simply wasn’t fit to be used.

The classic example is that of Board of Trade president (and cheese queen) Liz Truss, who spent £150 million of your money on 50 million face masks for the NHS that couldn’t be used.

She had been approached for the contract by one of her long-standing friends and advisors, Andrew Mills. Oh, and apparently it was sourced through a tax haven so this guy can keep all the money.

Mills was subsequently removed from his advisory position. But Truss didn’t go anywhere.

Tory ministers “learned the lessons” from this mistake by handing a further £180 million to their cronies for PPE.

Did we get it? Doubtful.

All the way down the line the Tories have failed us.

They gave away our PPE when we needed it.

They failed to join an international scheme to provide it where it was needed.

They failed to source it themselves.

They gave money to their friends and cronies who had no experience in providing PPE, and received trash in return.

As a result, health service professionals caught Covid-19. Many of them died.

And Matt Hancock, who is on video record from last year, saying he wished he could wave a magic wand and eliminate the PPE shortage, is now telling us he shouldn’t have to resign for breaking the law by hiding contract details – because he made sure there was never a PPE shortage.

He is a LIAR.

He should resign NOW.

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Matt Hancock broke the law by keeping Covid-19 contracts with private firms secret, High Court rules

Unlawful: Matt Hancock broke the law by handing out huge amounts of money in contracts to private firms and withheld the details from the public.

The High Court has ruled that Death Health Secretary Matt Hancock “acted unlawfully” by failing to provide details of contracts with private companies to the public within the required deadline.

This meant the public had been left unable to “scrutinise contract award notices and contract provisions, ask questions about them and raise any issues with oversight bodies such as the NAO or via MPs in Parliament”.

In other words, Hancock broke the law in order to avoid being held to account for the contracts he had signed.

We should remember that we now know many of these contracts, signed under emergency regulations that allow the government to dodge normal competitive tendering procedures, went to firms run by cronies of the Tory government who could not honour them – while experts were overlooked.

So billions of pounds have gone to waste – including the £200,000 cost of the judicial review in the High Court that ruled against Hancock.

The Secretary of State had tried to claim that the proceedings, brought by the Good Law Project alongside MPs Debbie Abrahams, Caroline Lucas and Layla Moran, were not an “economic operator” and therefore did not have the necessary “standing”.

But Mr Justice Chamberlain stated that it was unrealistic to claim that economic operators would have challenged Government’s breach of the law in these circumstances.

In his ruling, the judge stated,

The Secretary of State acted unlawfully by failing to comply with the Transparency Policy.

There is now no dispute that, in a substantial number of cases, the Secretary of State breached his legal obligation to publish Contract Award Notices within 30 days of the award of contracts.

The Secretary of State spent vast quantities of public money on pandemic-related procurements during 2020. The public were entitled to see who this money was going to, what it was being spent on and how the relevant contracts were awarded.

But the loss of the case – and the forfeiture of £200k associated with it – doesn’t mean that Hancock has cleaned up his act.

A press release from the Good Law Project states: “We shouldn’t be forced to rely on litigation to keep those in power honest, but in this case it’s clear that our challenge pushed Government to comply with its legal obligations.

“Judge Chamberlain stated that the admission of breach by Government was “secured as a result of this litigation and at a late stage of it” and “I have no doubt that this claim has speeded up compliance”.

“It begs the question, if we hadn’t brought this legal challenge, what other contract details would have remained hidden from view?

This judgment, which can be found here, is a victory for all of us concerned with proper governance and proof of the power of litigation to hold Government to account.

“But there is still a long way to go before the Government’s house is in order.

“We have now written to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care detailing what needs to be done to improve procurement processes and ensure value for British taxpayers.”

These measures include:

  • Publishing the names of all companies that won contracts through the so-called “VIP lane” that prioritised firms run by friends of Tory ministers over the experts – together with the names of those who introduced them and, where successful, the amounts they were paid.
  • A commitment to recover public money from all firms that failed to meet their contractual obligations – with this condition to be determined by an independent process and not by anybody in the Tory government.
  • A commitment to commission a judge-led public inquiry into the procurement of personal protective equipment during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • And a commitment to follow the lead of other jurisdictions by publishing PPE contracts, with pricing details visible, to enable proper scrutiny.

This last measure could be extremely embarrassing considering revelations that the government has lost £15 billion worth of PPE.

If the government refuses to agree to these terms, it seems the Good Law Project has further legal challenges lined up which – if opposed by Hancock – mean the Secretary of State is likely only to end up wasting even more public money.

Source: The judgment is in – Good Law Project

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People are blaming Johnson’s government for second wave, as he introduces new Covid Gestapo

Dictator: now Boris Johnson has introduced his own Covid Gestapo to ensure we all do as he demands.

Boris Johnson seems to be introducing martial law in all but name, with the announcement of new ‘Covid martials’ to maintain social distancing in city centres.

Who will these people be? What will be their qualifications? Why should we let them bully us around? What penalties will we face if we don’t? Depending on the answers to these questions, this is the equivalent of introducing secret police to keep us all following the Tory dictator’s line. Perhaps you may think that is too strong a line to take, but that’s because you are British and will put up with almost anything.

We do all have our opinions, though – and a poll on this site shows that blameshifting attempts by Johnson and his cronies are not working.

Results so far show that 89.47 per cent of voters think Boris Johnson, Matt Hancock, Dominic Cummings and the Tory government are responsible for the new rise in Covid-19 infections. A further 9.47 per cent blame their relaxation of lockdown. That’s 98.84 per cent of respondents (although this is of course an unscientific poll).

Only three people blamed young people and one person blamed seasonal change (which is known to trigger a rise in coronavirus-style infections).

Meanwhile the number of schools that have suffered Covid outbreaks is approaching 500:

Pupils at these schools have been sent home again to self-isolate until they get the all-clear – meaning their education is suffering still more disruption and their parents are unable to go back to work; someone has to look after them.

Experts said reopening schools would push infections up.

And parents are safer staying home to look after their kids: it keeps them off public transport and out of enclosed offices and workplaces, which are known to be the best environments for the virus to spread.

Pubs, restaurants and other public places where food and drink are consumed, are also great incubators for Covid-19 – and Johnson was warned that infections would rise after he reopened them, but he reopened them anyway.

Matt Hancock has had to tell MPs that the escalation of a Covid outbreak in Bolton was fuelled by pubs.

But there are no new restrictions on pub or restaurant visits – apart from those that count everywhere: you can’t go with more than five other people who you’ll probably be seeing elsewhere in any case.

You can go into a pub on your own, that is packed with strangers. Apparently Johnson thinks you are less likely to catch Covid-19 from people you don’t know and don’t spend time with regularly than from people you do.

That is, of course, quite irrational.

So it seems to This Writer that Boris Johnson’s new rules have nothing to do with restricting the spread of Covid-19; stopping a second wave. He seems to be using that as an excuse to restrict public freedom, here in the UK.

And remember, we have no idea when – if ever – he intends to relax these restrictions – or withdraw his new secret police.

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Tory corruption: why hide results of inquiry into NHS Covid-19 deaths?

Sufferer: Did any NHS staff member realise, when the Covid cases started coming into hospitals, that they could end up occupying the same beds as the people they were treating?

Who will benefit from the decision to keep secret the findings of a government review of Covid-19 related deaths of NHS staff?

The deceased won’t; they are beyond worrying about these things.

Their families won’t; it’s in their interests to have any mistakes made public, to get justice for the deaths of their relatives.

Other NHS staff won’t; it’s in their interests to have any mistakes made public, to ensure that they are not repeated, possibly harming them.

No, the only people who will benefit from this decision are the decision-makers themselves; secrecy will hide any mistakes they made, obscuring any responsibility they may have for the deaths.

And who are the decision-makers?

Matt Hancock. Boris Johnson.

The Conservative government.

This stinks of Tory corruption.

Source: Coronavirus: Cover-up fears as reviews of Covid-19 deaths among NHS staff to be kept secret | The Independent

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It’s years past time we challenged the abusive Tory regime of secret courts

Hammering the people: some readers criticise This Site for using an image with a gavel, which is not used in UK courts – but it seems wholly appropriate when describing a secret court system designed to oppress and detain possibly-innocent victims.

Andrew Mitchell may be an arrogant Tory but he is right about this.

I remember when David Cameron first imposed secret courts on the UK. This site wrote against them.

I quoted passages from my brother, the Beast’s, blog:

“The proposal for these secret courts has been compared to the nightmare denials of justice portrayed in Kafka’s novels The Trial and The Castle. These predicted the situation that existed decades later under the Nazis and the Communists.

“During Stalin’s Terror people disappeared, taken from their homes and families by the NKVD as it then was, for trivial offences of Thoughtcrime. Simply remarking that Stalin appeared ill could and did get people arrested for being imperialist and Trotskyite spies engaged in anti-Soviet activities.

“Under the Nazis the phrase was ‘Nacht und Nebel’ – night and fog. Their disappearance into the maze of concentration camps without any statement regarding their whereabouts was deliberately calculated to inspire fear.

“Saddam Hussein operated a similar regime in Iraq. Under Hussein there were a number of laws relating to spying and national security in the Iraqi penal code, which it was illegal even to know about. These laws were invoked to detain and murder political opponents. it was for violation of these codes that the British journalist, Faisal Bazoft, was arrested and then murdered by the Iraqi regime.

“If Cameron’s proposal for such secret courts goes ahead, we will have created the type of justice system against which we fought in the Second World War, and which partly supplied the justification for the wars against Iraq.”

His proposals did go ahead. It should be noted – especially considering the current nominations to the Intelligence and Security committee that will be asked to publish the so-called “Russia Report” on that country’s interference in UK politics – that Chris Grayling was the minister who pushed them through.

So now we have a system that allows ministers to apply for special ‘closed material procedures’ (CMPs) in civil courts when it or its intelligence agencies and forces are being sued. These applications are made on the grounds that open court hearings may turn state secrets into public gossip.

But CMPs may also be employed in habeas corpus claims – the ancient law to ensure that people are not unlawfully detained – meaning UK citizens may be locked up without knowing on what basis, and without the means to contest it properly.

There is also the question of these courts hearing so-called “Investor-State Dispute Settlement” claims – in which corporations sue governments for enacting laws that reduce their profits. Public protest stopped this nation from joining a planned “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership” to stop the UK from facing such claims!

So while we may understand the government’s reasons for hiding them from us, we may rightly ask why they are taking place at all.

Applications by the government for a court to sit in secret may also be kept secret, meaning the public is prevented from learning about cases that may outrage us all.

The evidence is then kept secret – even from the defendant. The government presents evidence which the defendant can only challenge through a ‘special advocate’ with whom they are not even allowed to communicate.

Do you see how easy it would be for the government to abuse this system?

When Cameron imposed it on us in 2013, he said it would be reviewed in five years – in 2018. This review has not happened.

And the use of secret courts is escalating.

So when Andrew Mitchell demands the long-delayed review, saying these courts are being used to “hide embarrassing evidence of state wrongdoing”, Tory though he is, This Site is on his side.

The case he cites as justification for it is horrific enough:

Two weeks ago a court ruled that a legal challenge brought by two MPs and a human rights group into the involvement of British intelligence in torture and rendition must be heard in secret.

The Conservative David Davis, Labour’s Dan Jarvis and the charity Reprieve are seeking a judicial review of the government’s decision to ditch a promised judge-led inquiry into potential human rights breaches during the “war on terror”.

During an initial hearing it emerged that 15 potential cases of abuses may exist, but a court ruled in late June that a final hearing had to be held in secret for national security reasons, with even the MPs and charity not allowed to be present.

A secret review undertaken by MI6 for the then prime minister Theresa May concluded that “none of these 15 cases presents an extant and unmet investigative obligation” – a form of words that does not rule out torture or rendition involving British intelligence.

Citing the case, Mitchell argued that the government should be “independently and transparently investigating these cases”, about which little else is known, and complained it amounted to a constitutional abuse.

“Open justice is a fundamental part of the UK’s constitution and its heritage,” the backbench MP wrote. “I am concerned that the proliferation of secret courts within the legal system threatens to undermine the foundations of British justice.”

As the review was a statutory requirement – and as it seems clear that secret courts are being used inappropriately – we may also conclude that they are now being used illegally.

The Ministry of Justice says the review will take place “as soon as possible” – which could mean anytime from tomorrow, to sometime, to never.

And all the time, your Tory government continues to use a system that makes the UK as bad as Hussein’s Iraq, Communist Russia and Nazi Germany.

Source: Ex-Tory whip calls for start of delayed review into secret courts | Law | The Guardian

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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