A Labor MP left Kier Starmer's top team today over the party's refusal to oppose a controversial law on undercover agents.
Dan Carden resigned as the Treasury Department's shadow finance secretary, saying it was "a question of conscience" to vote against the Covert Sources of Human Intelligence Act tonight in the House of Commons.
Left Labor MPs have called on Starmer MPs to oppose the law that would protect undercover activists from prosecution if they were forced to break the law on operations.
Critics have called it a "license to kill" while working for the state, although ministers have denied it goes that far.
But while Mr Starmer reportedly gave the back benches a free vote on the law, he ordered his top shadow team to abstain.
Liverpool MP Walton, Mr Carden, who also served under Sir Keir's predecessor Jeremy Corbyn, announced that he would be stepping down on Twitter.
He was among the MPs who attacked the law when it was debated in the House of Commons this afternoon – which included Mr Corbyn.
In his resignation letter, he said: “You will understand that as an MP and trade unionist in Liverpool I share the deep concerns of the labor movement, human rights organizations and so many who have suffered abuse of state power about this legislation, from workers on the black List up to Hillsborough families and survivors.
Liverpool MP Walton, Mr Carden, who also served under Sir Keir's predecessor Jeremy Corbyn, announced that he would be stepping down on Twitter
Speaking in the House of Commons this afternoon, he said there were concerns that the powers in the legislation "may be abused".
While Mr Starmer allegedly gave the back benches a free vote on the law, he ordered his top shadow team to abstain
Speaking in the House of Commons this afternoon, he said there was concern that the powers in the legislation "may be abused".
"I think the way this house is run down the garden path is something worth speaking out against," he told MPs.
“Of course we all want adequate powers to deal with crime and the worst crimes. The scope of this law on the organization of criminal behavior by the state is, however, largely open to abuse.
"And it comes down to a threefold attack on our civil liberties: First, it allows state intelligence services to commit crimes to prevent what they consider to be a nuisance or what they consider to be detrimental to the economic well-being of the population." UNITED KINGDOM.
Second, it doesn't include the necessary independent and judicial oversight – so these agencies act alone in making that decision. And after all, it doesn't limit these crimes at all.
“And we heard that the human rights law applies to this legislation, but the human rights law doesn't create crimes like other laws. It means a government is in violation of the Human Rights Act – and so the crimes in that law are simply not limited. & # 39;
The bill aims to define the circumstances in which activists can commit crimes and to replace various overlapping pieces of legislation.
It will cover 13 law enforcement and government agencies including the police, the National Crime Agency, the armed forces and the prison service.
Ministers have come under renewed pressure to explicitly prohibit, kill, torture or rape undercover agents.
The amendments to the Covert Sources of Human Intelligence (criminal behavior) draft law aim to define criminal behavior that may never be approved.
At the stage of the bill, former Labor leader Corbyn said it was "an absolute travesty of parliamentary accountability" that the bill was being worked through
According to the amendment proposed by Conservative Former Secretary David Davis, this includes causing death or aggravation, violating a person's sexual integrity, and incarceration.
The government has previously argued that there may be caps on the activity that employees may be authorized to do and are contained in human rights law, which sets out the right to life, the prohibition of torture, and the prohibition of subjecting anyone to inhuman or degrading treatment. includes.
At the stage of the bill, former Labor leader Corbyn said it was "an absolute travesty of parliamentary accountability" that the bill was being pushed through the Commons.
He told MPs, “What has come out of those of us who have good friends in environmental groups, human rights groups, trade unions and many other campaigns is the sheer arrogance of covert police operations that infiltrated perfectly legitimate and legal operations to disturb them, spread negative information and cause them problems.
“Obviously, when we live in a free and democratic society, crime is not acceptable. Obviously, policing is required to deal with crime. However, you cannot deal with crime by authorizing crime through covert police operations in these groups.
“And those of us who had the honor of meeting people, especially women, in a number of groups infiltrated by the police and police then knowingly made connections, sexual connections with these women, children were born as a result and then, often years later, the affected woman finds that she has been totally betrayed, totally misled, and her life ruined by an undercover police operation. & # 39;
However, Shadow Security Secretary Conor McGinn defended Labor's position today.
The Shadow Security Secretary Conor McGinn defended Labour’s position today
In a letter for the Labor List website, he said: “Without the legislation, covert sources will either be unable to operate – by depriving our security services of an essential tool in the fight against terrorism and serious and organized crime – or they will be continue to do shade by working in the US.
None of the results are in the national interest. Both are worse than this bill. The bill makes it clear that any activity carried out by agents must comply with Human Rights Law and the European Convention on Human Rights, which expressly prohibits torture, murder and sexual violence.
& # 39; This is a powerful, important and legally enforceable protection. This means that agents must not be authorized to conduct activities that violate the HRA or the ECHR – and that this can be upheld in court.
"Keir Starmer, who literally wrote the human rights law textbook and represented those seeking justice on this matter in the country's highest courts, made this case incredibly powerful for Labor MPs this week."
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