POLICE spies and MI5 operatives have been given the green light to commit crimes with impunity after an extremely controversial law was passed on Thursday night, proposed by the Tories and endorsed by Labour leader Keir Starmer.
34 Labour MPs and seven opposition frontbenchers broke the party whip by voting against the Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill at its third reading in the House of Commons. The Bill was approved by MPs with 313 votes in favour and 98 against. As a result, seven shadow cabinet members of the Labour Party resigned from the frontbench.
The Bill states that it will not only work in the interests of national security or preventing and detecting crime, but also preventing ‘disorder’ and in the ‘interests of the economic well-being of the United Kingdom’. State forces now have a ‘licence to kill’.
The law states that ‘the authorised conduct must be proportionate to what is sought to be achieved,’ but that will be decided by the authorising officer and their supervisor. It does not exclude any crimes, even murder, rape or torture, from its scope because the government claims that to do so would create a checklist that could expose its own agents as spies.
Those that resigned from the Labour frontbench included Dan Carden from the shadow Treasury, shadow education minister Margaret Greenwood and parliamentary private secretaries Nav Mishra, Kim Johnson, Mary Foy and Rachel Hopkins, along with Sarah Owen.
Carden said the legislation sets ‘dangerous new precedents’ on the rule of law and civil liberties, adding: ‘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.’
Starmer had met with MPs personally this week to urge them not to break the whip.
Kate Wilson, a woman who was spied on by undercover police for 12 years, has accused the Tories of failing to protect victims like her from covert operations with the new law. She is one of several women lured into fake relationships by police officer Mark Kennedy, who posed as an environmental activist to infiltrate protest movements for seven years.
The law was presented to parliament before the outcome of Wilson’s ongoing legal challenge over her treatment, and the long-delayed Undercover Policing Inquiry (UCPI) into abuses dating back to 1968.
Wilson said: ‘The police spied on me from when I was 20 pretty much at every point for a 12-year period, there was an undercover officer in every part of my life because I was involved in completely legitimate campaigning activities.
‘The authorisation process is very clearly flawed. There is a hierarchy of protections and they would have needed considerably more stringent procedures to tap my telephone than to put an undercover officer in my bed. The new law doesn’t address that and it means it’s lawful.’
Wilson stressed that the bill should have been delayed until the end of the UCPI and relevant court cases, and that the government should have approached victims of intrusion such as the women deceived by Kennedy and the family of murdered Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane.
Pat Finucane was shot dead in front of his family by Loyalist killers, with alleged British state collusion. Now the state has granted itself sweeping powers for its agents to infiltrate movements, father children with women they spy on, sell drugs, steal, torture and kill with impunity, all with the collusion of the leader of the Labour Party.
What is becoming clearer as each and every day passes is that the capitalist state fears the tax hikes, cuts, closures and sackings they are bringing in to claw back the two trillion pounds-worth of debt will provoke a revolutionary uprising in the working class.
Many Tories consider that Tory PM Johnson will need Labour support to deal with such an uprising, and that the Labour Party will be needed to form a national government.
Simultaneously, the powers of the state are being increased, rushed through to prepare a force capable of putting down an uprising on the streets of the UK.
It has never been more urgent to build the Workers Revolutionary Party, to mobilise the working class to seize the power and carry out a socialist revolution to overthrow capitalism and smash its state apparatus, disband the police and the army, and establish a workers government and a workers state.
Join the WRP and Young Socialists today to organise this struggle.