Labour “complicit in state oppression” if it abstains on spycops bill, Green peer warns

Jenny Jones: “Labour must dramatically change its position in the next few days on this bill or else it will be complicit in future acts of state oppression”

Green Party peer Jenny Jones has submitted a fatal amendment to the Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill which will be voted on in the Lords on Thursday during the legislations Third Reading. She has urged Labour MPs and peers not to vote for the spycops bill as it goes through its final stage in the coming week.

Baroness Jones, who was herself the subject of covert police surveillance for more than a decade, warned Labour would be complicit in “state oppression” after it failed to support several key amendments to the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill  last week. 

She said:

“Once again we are witnessing a complete failure of opposition to this government from Labour, which will allow dangerous legislation to pass without proper public debate or parliamentary scrutiny.

“This is possibly the most dangerous piece of legislation I have seen in my lifetime, yet we have seen Labour peers abstain on a vote to replace blanket immunity for covert human intelligence sources with the existing system, which includes a public interest test and legal defence. This is simply allowing hundreds of police officers to either break the law or allow others, including criminals, to do so. Labour refused to back a ban on the use of agent provocateurs, or to limit the use of these spies to “serious” crimes, or “serious” public disorder. Labour also failed to back amendments to completely exclude children and vulnerable adults from the scope of the CHIS Bill, potentially placing them in extreme danger.

“There is no doubt that the responsibility for this travesty of a bill lies squarely at the doors of the government, but as the official opposition Labour have the power to influence and shape how it proceeds. That is their role in our democracy, yet it is not what we are seeing.

“Of course, there are some peers and MPs on the Labour benches who are trying to do the right thing, despite the fact that Keir Starmer appears to be intent on leading the party towards their authoritarian ways of old.

“Sadly, without Labour’s support for my Fatal Motion on Thursday, the Spy Cops Bill will be heading back to the Commons where the Government will be able to strip out the amendments the Lords have added. Labour must dramatically change its position on this Bill or else it will be complicit in these deliberate acts of state oppression.”

Notes – wording of the Fatal Amendment

“Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb to move, as an amendment to the motion that this bill do now pass, to leave out from “that” to the end and insert

“this House declines to allow the Bill to pass because the Bill grants blanket prior legal immunity for otherwise criminal conduct without sufficient safeguards or oversight; provides no system of prior judicial authorisation; does not recover profits obtained under a Criminal Conduct Authorisation which could include proceeds from the sale of drugs, weapons, human trafficking and slavery; fails to provide compensation to victims of crimes authorised under the Bill; and represents a significant expansion of undercover policing despite, and without regard to, the ongoing Undercover Policing Inquiry.”