Tag Archives: whip

‘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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Johnson threatens to remove Tory whip from MPs voting against his Brexit Bill. Deja vu?

Dominic Grieve: here’s a former Attorney General from whom Boris Johnson removed the Conservative whip. Now Geoffrey Cox is facing the same – along with any other Tory MPs who may defy Johnson’s plan to u-turn against his previous policy, breaking international law in the process.

It is indeed reminiscent of last year – but back then, Boris Johnson was trying to coerce his colleagues into voting to uphold his EU Withdrawal Agreement. Now he’s trying to coerce them into voting against it.

What a vacillating political vacuum he is.

He’s gambling on enough of the 2019 Parliamentary intake being so stupid that they think loyalty to their leader is more valuable than loyalty to the law. It isn’t.

The fact is that anybody voting to break international law will have a stain on their reputation for the rest of their life. It will seriously harm their career but Johnson won’t tell them that because he’s too busy forcing them to give him what he wants.

So when Downing Street does this…

… the correct response (and I’m amazed that I’m using this person to present the argument) is this:

I wonder how many of Johnson’s 363 MPs (he is the 364th) actually realise this?

The situation has created contradiction after contradiction:

Plus, of course, if he starts expelling his own MPs, Johnson will make his own position weaker; he won’t have as large a majority in the House of Commons and he will have betrayed the trust of his ministers and backbenchers, who may reasonably expect him to take account of their concerns rather than threatening them.

But in all honesty, it may be too much to ask for enough Tories to defy Johnson’s tyrannical whip.

It would need a minimum of 47 Tories to rebel, and I think they’re too easily-herded.

So this seems likely:

That’s only a stop-gap solution, of course. The Lords cannot stop a Bill becoming law – especially in the face of government with a large Commons majority.

But if they delay it, other developments may render it moot. Trade negotiations are ongoing, and so is the debate within the Conservative Party.

The result of the first vote – today, September 14 – may determine the pattern of future events.

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Tories knew about Elphicke’s sex crimes before he was charged – and did nothing. Why weren’t they arrested as accessories?

Charlie Elphicke: guilty of sex crimes. What about those in the Tory whips office who knew and are therefore accessories? What about Theresa May, the PM of the day, who also knew?

Former Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke has been found guilty of three counts of sexual assault this week, after being charged nearly three years ago.

But did you know that the Conservative Party’s Parliamentary whips had been well aware of his crimes before he was charged?

Their so-called “dirty dossier” of MPs (during the 2017-19 Parliament) who were known for their inappropriate behaviour included this line: “Charlie Elphicke: inappropriate with female researchers.”

Indeed.

We now learn that in 2007 he kissed and groped a woman at his home, while his wife was away for the night. He went on to chase her around the house, chanting, “I’m a naughty Tory.”

That woman was not identified as a researcher but in 2016 he tried to kiss and then groped a Parliamentary worker, afterwards allegedly saying, “I’m so naughty sometimes.” A month later he ran a hand up her thigh.

That he will be sentenced for his sexual assaults next month will come as scant comfort to the women he assaulted – or to the unknown number of other women (and men) who remain subject to sexual attack by predators who justify it by saying they’re “a naughty Tory”.

The copy of the Tory sexual offenders’ dossier available to me is nearly three years old. It became public knowledge in October 2017; Elphicke was charged in early November.

Who knows how many of the new intake of Tory MPs have joined those who kept their seats in the December 2019 election (Elphicke did not) on that list?

The simple fact is that a crime is a crime, even if committed by a member of Parliament, but these creeps seem to think they are above the law.

Knowing about a crime but hiding the evidence makes a person an accessory to the crime – equally guilty.

So why have the police not arrested those who occupied the Conservative whips’ office in October 2017 – and then-prime minister Theresa May, who was also aware of the list – as accessories to Elphicke’s sex crimes?

Source: Charlie Elphicke: Former Tory MP found guilty of three counts of sexual assault – Mirror Online

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The 21 Tories ejected from their party for voting with their consciences

Boris Johnson: How did it all go wrong so soon?

Dictator Johnson has gone through with his threat and withdrawn the whip from 21 now-former Conservative MPs.

The list includes extremely high-profile names including Father of the House Ken Clarke and Philip Hammond, who was Chancellor of the Exchequer until only six weeks ago (at the time of writing).

Also out are recent Conservative leadership candidate Rory Stewart, Oliver Letwin, Dominic Grieve, David Gauke and Nicholas Soames (who is entirely forgettable apart from being Winston Churchill’s grandson).

And Guto Bebb, who said he would vote against the government, has also been ejected for going through with it.

Others include: Richard Benyon, Steve Brine, Alistair Burt, Greg Clark, Justine Greening, Sam Gyimah, Stephen Hammond, Richard Harrington, Margot James, Anne Milton, Caroline Nokes, Antoinette Sandbach and Ed Vaizey.

Boris Johnson started his first Parliamentary session as prime minister with 311 MPs and a majority of one. He ends it with just 289 MPs and the stigma of being the first PM since Pitt the Younger to lose his very first Parliamentary vote.

It all bodes well for the future.

Tory rebels are set to call Dictator Johnson’s bluff

He THINKS he’s the law: Dominic Cummings, the Leave campaigner now seen as Boris Johnson’s top henchman, warns Tory rebels including David Gauke, Philip Hammond and – is that Theresa May or Ken Clarke? Michael Gove cheers him on while Dictator Johnson, wrapped in a Union Flag like a good ultra-nationalist fascist, watches from the background in this cartoon by Morton Morland.

Tory MPs who say they will not support Boris Johnson’s “no deal” Brexit may stand as independent Conservatives if he goes through with his threat to withdraw the whip from them – effectively expelling them from his party in Parliament.

The Dictator’s warning is already seen as an empty threat by many, as he would lose his majority in Parliament if he goes through with it.

And if BoJob’s government falls as a result, then he will not be leader and will be unable to follow through his threat to stop them standing as Tory election candidates.

So it could be crippling to him that as many as 20 Tory MPs are preparing to defy him:

The Mirror report, to which the tweet links, states that potential rebel MPs had been expecting to attend a meeting with Mr Johnson today (September 2), but this was cancelled after David Gauke appeared on a TV interview and said he was prepared to stand as an independent candidate in a future election, in the “national interest”.

BoJob said he would hold a “summit” meeting with Philip Hammond instead, but it seems unlikely that this will mollify the potential rebels.

The Dictator’s ultimatum means MPs who were cabinet ministers just six weeks ago may find themselves ejected from the party they used to lead in a matter of days – including, possibly, former prime minister Theresa May.

Also in the firing line are Philip Hammond, David Gauke and Dominic Grieve.

Some leading members of the Johnson camp have – astonishingly – claimed that nobody will be deselected at all, in what seems a transparent attempt to deflect attention away from what’s going on – particularly with reference to the apparent rebel ringleader, David Gauke:

It has been suggested that James Cleverly’s tweet may be deleted soon, so let’s just repeat its claim: “THERE IS NO DESELECTION MECHANISM IN THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY. We have had these Leave EU stories amplified by the press for months and no Conservative MP has been deselected. David Gauke is a great MP and a huge asset to our party.”

The threat from the Johnson camp has already been likened to a Stalinist purge, with some commentators pointing out that the only reason the mass media aren’t using those words is because it is happening in the Conservative Party and not Labour:

Indeed, the fact that Labour has not purged any MPs is being used against the Johnson regime:

But the most clear comparison is with Adolf Hitler – against whom Dictator Johnson has actually made himself appear the less acceptable figure:

Some have even adopted the optimistic view that this crisis could finish the Conservatives for good:

https://twitter.com/SurreyAmps/status/1168171760522604546

This Writer would not go that far. Conservatives are resilient and seem to have the survival instinct of the mythical hydra; cut off their head and two more will take its place.

And they are wily, too. Where the stick seems ineffective, Johnson and Cummings may try to apply the carrot and bribe their wayward colleagues back into line.

But the possible loss of his majority could represent a quantum leap forward in the battle against Boris Johnson’s bid to become the UK’s dictator.

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Tories on self-destruct: MP openly advocates cruelty to animals

Philip Davies: His vile opinions have made him a favourite focus of the “Unseat” campaign.

The Conservative Party is falling apart before our eyes, now.

Tories who should know better are openly admitting opinions that voters will abhore.

Take, for example, Philip Davies, Tory MP for Shipley, and his contribution to the debate on whether race horses should be protected from the whip.

The video also includes Labour MP Chris Williamson’s response:

Mr Williamson’s suggestion has prompted a chorus of approval from the massed minds of the social media.

Here’s my favourite response:

https://twitter.com/GeneRuane/status/1052215682631434242

If you think Philip Davies doesn’t deserve a hard horse-whipping, just type his name into the search box on this page and read a few of the other articles about him that have appeared on This Site.

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Don’t be fooled by fake news: Frank Field left Labour rather than be kicked out

Frank Field: He knew his days in Labour were numbered so he left.

Does Frank Field really think we are all that stupid?

He did not leave Labour because of the way the party is dealing with anti-Semitism.

He resigned the whip because his constituency Labour Party in Birkenhead overwhelmingly supported a vote of “no confidence” in him as their MP and called for the withdrawal of the party whip, after he propped up the Conservative government by supporting it in a crucial Brexit vote.

And he had the sheer barefaced cheek to accuse his fellow Birkenhead party members of taking part in “a culture of intolerance, nastiness and intimidation”!

His claim that this fake culture “is being driven, in part, by members who in previous years would never have been able to claim Labour Party membership”, coupled with the other assertion, should be justification for members of his CLP to take legal action against Mr Field.

The claim by Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson – that Mr Field’s resignation is a “wake-up call” for the party – a “serious loss” that “reflects the deep divisions in the party and the sense of drift engulfing us” is bilge of the smelliest water.

Have the mass media forgotten that this is a man who demanded that his own party disregard its disciplinary procedures and abandon action against Margaret Hodge and Ian Austin – for no very good reason – after they accused party leader Jeremy Corbyn of anti-Semitism… for no very good reason?

To me, this smacks of Mr Watson trying to make good on his threat to plunge the party into “a vortex of eternal shame and embarrassment”.

But it won’t work. We all know he’s talking through his hat.

Mr Field cannot remain a member of the Labour Party. He must resign his membership within 14 days or be expelled. He will not be allowed to remain a party member and represent Birkenhead as an independent Labour MP. He is out – for good.

And the possibility of other Labour MPs splitting off and sitting as independents, or even forming a new party? Negligible.

Without the party’s endorsement, they are nobodies. If they resign the party whip, they know they are guaranteeing the loss of their Parliamentary seats at the next general election – which may not be that far away.

Birkenhead CLP is now free to choose a new candidate for election next time – one whose values concur with those of the party in general. And yes, that includes opposition to anti-Semitism.

Mr Field will sink back into the obscurity he deserves.

Remember: He saved the Conservative government – a racist administration which has caused huge harm with the Windrush scandal, with its blatant Islamophobia, with its support for Saudi Arabia’s war against civilians in Yemen, and with its support for the apartheid regime in Israel.

The Labour Party does not need MPs who prop up racist governments.

Jeremy Corbyn has been warned that the resignation of the veteran MP Frank Field from the Labour whip, over antisemitism and what Field called a culture of nastiness in the party, must be treated as a wake-up call.

In a blistering letter to Labour’s chief whip, Nick Brown, Field wrote: “It saddens me to say that we are increasingly seen as a racist party” and added that antisemitism alone would have been enough to prompt his resignation.

The MP for Birkenhead, who recently faced a vote of no confidence from his local party over his support for Brexit, highlighted what he called a “culture of nastiness, bullying and intimidation”, saying this was at best ignored and at worst tacitly tolerated.

Source: Frank Field resigns Labour whip over antisemitism crisis | Politics | The Guardian

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Birkenhead CLP overwhelmingly votes no-confidence and withdrawal of the whip from Frank Field

Frank Field at a previous censure vote against him by his local Labour Party.

Following its report on Vauxhall CLP’s censure of Kate Hoey, Skwawkbox now reports on a decision on Frank Field’s future, by Birkenhead Constituency Labour Party:

Birkenhead CLP similarly voted overwhelming no-confidence in veteran right-winger Frank Field and called for the withdrawal of the whip. More than eighty percent of the votes cast supported the motion.

Skwawkbox also echoed the sentiment of This Site, when I reported its story about Ms Hoey:

Will similar moves be mounted against John Mann and Graham Stringer, the remaining pair?

Source: Breaking: Birkenhead CLP’s overwhelming no-confidence/withdrawal of whip vote v Field | The SKWAWKBOX

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