Starmer’s policy of appeasement over opposition is a dangerous approach in democracy.
Liverpool MP Dan Carden has resigned from the Labour Party’s front bench as he prepares to vote against a controversial government bill.
Dan Carden has resigned from the Labour frontbench over the leadership’s decision to whip MPs to abstain on the government’s controversial ‘spycops’ bill that will receive its third reading in the House of Commons this afternoon.
The left-wing MP, who was appointed to Labour’s Treasury team as shadow financial secretary in April, has written to Keir Starmer confirming that he intends to vote against the covert human intelligence sources (criminal conduct) bill.
The former Unite staffer has told Starmer that “as a matter of conscience I must use my voice and my vote on behalf of my constituents to object to legislation that sets dangerous new precedents on the rule of law and civil liberties”.
A Labour Party spokesperson said: “We are disappointed that Dan is stepping down from his role… Dan has been a valued member of Keir’s frontbench and the shadow Treasury team, and will continue to play an important role in ensuring a Labour government after the next election.”
20 Labour MPs defied the one-line party whip to abstain last week and voted against the CHIS bill at second reading, though it was approved by a majority of 162 votes. The rebellion is expected to be bigger today.
The bill will give any undercover intelligence source, including civilians, to commit any crime in the pursuit of intel and is widely expected to be used against unions and left groups, as well as giving a free hand to security forces for a repeat of behaviour like that which led to the ‘spycops’ scandal.
In a statement, Carden cited concerns about the impact on human rights of the ‘abuse of state power’:
“As a Liverpool MP and trade unionist, 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.
Carden is the son of a docker sacked for striking and a trade unionist.
The Bill seeks to define circumstances in which operatives can commit crime, replacing various pieces of overlapping legislation.
It will cover 13 law enforcement and government agencies, including the police, the National Crime Agency, the armed forces and the prison service.
Mr Carden added: ‘Tonight I intend to vote against the Government’s Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill, thereby breaking the party whip to abstain. In these circumstances, I am offering my resignation from your front bench.
‘I am hugely grateful to you for appointing me to serve as Shadow Financial Secretary back in April and for your personal encouragement and engagement throughout.
‘On this occasion I am resolute that as a matter of conscience I must use my voice and my vote on behalf of my constituents to object to legislation that sets dangerous new precedents on the rule of law and civil liberties In this country.
‘At the Second Reading, I followed the party whip to abstain in the hope that I could work constructively to shift the party’s position towards opposing the bill at Third Reading. It is now clear that this has not been possible. We have spoken at length on these matters and I know you have settled on yours and the party’s position from your own experience and with sincerity.’