Labour MP offers to resign from front bench over ‘spy cops’ Bill

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A Labour MP has offered his resignation from the Opposition front bench after pledging to vote against the so-called “spy cops” Bill.

Liverpool Walton MP Dan Carden wrote to party leader Sir Keir Starmer, offering to resign as shadow financial secretary to the Treasury over the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (CHIS) Bill.

Mr Carden said that, as a “matter of conscience”, he would vote against the Bill later on Thursday, saying the legislation sets “dangerous new precedents” on the rule of law and civil liberties.

The Bill would grant wide-ranging legal rights to undercover agents to commit crimes in the course of their work.

Mr Carden said in his letter that he intended to vote against the Bill, thereby breaking the party whip to abstain.

“In these circumstances, I am offering my resignation from your front bench.

“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.

“You will understand that 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.”

He said he fully supported the Labour leader, adding: “My focus now and in the months ahead will remain on representing by Liverpool Walton constituency and fighting for the people of my city as we face the huge challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.”

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