SPY COPS BILL 21 Jan 2021 Final Lords vote
Re Covert Human Intelligence Sources Spy Cops Bill – FINAL VOTE in the Lords THURS 21 JAN 2021 (Third Reading)
Please write and tweet this week against the dangerous Bill.
Even the amendments that exclude rape and murder as crimes that can be authorised are at risk unless there is strong visible opposition to the Bill as a whole.
As you know, the Spy Cops Bill paves the way to a police state, giving sweeping powers to authorise undercover agents, including from corporations, to commit all kinds of crimes, without any judicial involvement. Such agents would be immune from prosecution and their victims barred from compensation. The Bill has been called a licence to murder and rape, and the most dangerous law of our time. It must be stopped.
The Bill has attracted broad public opposition (see our previous statement signed by over 50 organisations). For weeks we have been publicising the statement, and lobbying the Lords, as have other respected organisations including Big Brother Watch, Just for Kids Law, Justice, Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign, Pat Finucane Centre, Privacy International, Reprieve, Rights of Women/End Violence Against Women Coalition, UNITE with several other trade unions. We collectively represent many thousands of people.
The Bill was amended last week in the Lords to: 1) prevent legal immunity to commit serious crimes, such as murder, torture, rape and other sexual offences; and 2) limit the use of child undercover agents.
These amendments are welcome but don’t go far enough to limit the powers of the Bill as undercover agents would still be above the law.
We don’t even know if these amendments will be blocked when the Bill goes back to the Commons, especially since the Labour leadership, as front bench peer Lord Rosser said, “supports the essence of the Bill”. This is despite several senior peers, such as Peter Hain and Doreen Lawrence, having described personal experiences of surveillance by undercover police who were on the wrong side of justice! Shamefully Keir Starmer, who claims to be the ‘victims’ champion’, whipped Labour MPs in the summer to abstain and just 34 defied him and voted against. We understand that Labour parliamentarians have been threatened with expulsion if they vote against the Bill.
A few peers from Labour and other parties – Greens, LibDems and even a few senior Tories – publicly expressed strong opposition to state and corporate agents being allowed to commit crimes and said that they would refuse to vote for rape and murder.
The government claims the Bill is needed to control serious crime such as drugs and fraud. Given the rapid descent of millions of people into deeper poverty, expected cuts to wages to pay for the Covid lockdowns, further attacks to human rights, and the destruction of society and the natural world, there is good reason to believe that the Bill is aimed at repressing dissent. We expect the first targets to be women and children, people of colour, disabled people, those without a passport and anyone engaged in legitimate protest, including by going on strike, in this country and overseas.
The Bill is being rushed through before the Inquiry into Undercover Policing can complete hearing evidence and report on decades of undercover police spying on women environmental activists (whom they sexually abused even having children with them), strikers and families organising for justice including after racist murders. The campaigning Irish solicitor Pat Finucane was murdered by a British State agent.
Please, email asap to the following Lords expressing your alarm, and challenge what they are doing. Urge Lords to vote AGAINST on Thurs 21 Jan.
Join our twitter storm on Wednesday 20th at 1pm! @Againstrape
And encourage these peers to vote against (a number of them spoke about their concerns or tabled amendments/opposed the Bill in the Lords; others have not spoken but are believed to have concerns):