Clause 1 - Authorisation of criminal conduct

Part of Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill – in the House of Commons at 2:45 pm on 15th October 2020.

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Photo of Dan Carden Dan Carden Shadow Financial Secretary (Treasury) 2:45 pm, 15th October 2020

I think my right hon. Friend has far more trust in the words of the Government and the guidance than I do.

What would stop an agency deciding that an unofficial dispute constituted disorder or harm to the economy that it was worth taking action against? The Bill is written so badly and broadly that it is effectively a licence to criminally disrupt working people taking action to support themselves, their co-workers and their families, and we have seen this all too often in the past. The Bill paves the way for gross abuses of state power against citizens.

In Liverpool, we have a healthy suspicion of state power, because we have felt its damaging force too often in the past. We have experienced the 30-year fight of the Hillsborough families and survivors for truth and justice. We have had striking workers targeted by state violence, and trade unionists blacklisted and spied on for representing their members, and we are not alone. Campaigners fighting miscarriages of justice across our country, such as Orgreave, the Shrewsbury 24 and now Grenfell Tower, oppose this dangerous Bill.

I fear that my own party is being taken for a ride by this Government, because I will tell you what happens. You start with the idea that legislating for something that operates in the shadows must be a good thing. You then engage in good faith with a morally bankrupt Government arguing for vital safeguards, and once that Government finish stringing you along, you end up in the perverse situation of condoning laws that ride a coach and horses through our nation’s civil liberties and could even be used against the labour movement itself.

I am sent here by my constituents to stand up for their rights, freedoms and well-being, and that is what forces me to vote against the Bill tonight.