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Sunday, September 27, 2020

Old authoritarian Labour rears its head in disciplining of MPs

It is rather sad that Keir Starmer seems to believe that he can only get Labour back into power by echoing the law and order, national security actions and rhetoric of the former Tony Blair/Jack Straw/David Blunkett era, but that now appears to be the case.

The Independent reports that Starmer has sacked a Labour MP for voting against the government's plans to exempt UK troops from prosecution for war crimes and torture:

Nadia Whittome, parliament's youngest MP, confirmed in a statement that she had been "stood down" from her role as a parliamentary private secretary after opposing the Overseas Operations Bill.

Two other MPs, Beth Winter and Olivia Blake, also voluntarily stood down from similar roles to vote against the legislation, which Amnesty International says will give war criminals "a free pass".

The MPs joined Jeremy Corbyn and 14 other MPs from the left of the party in opposing the bill, which critics say would effectively decriminalise torture. The Liberal Democrats and SNP also voted against the plan.

The paper says that the new legislation has been slammed by human rights groups and some senior armed forces figures, including General Sir Nicholas Parker Commander in Chief, Land Forces 2010-2012. He argued that the bill would risk the UK being seen as holding itself to "double standards".

Ms Whittome told ITV News that she "thought the bill was a matter of conscience" and did not expect to be sacked for voting against it, describing the legislation as “anti-veteran, anti-human rights, and would effectively decriminalise torture".

Precisely! What is a supposedly progressive party of the left doing in whipping its MPs to allow such legislation to go through?

This Bill is not about backing our armed forces as the Tories claim, it undermines the discretion of the courts in determining whether a particular offence was proportional or not, and takes away some of the authority of army commanders to maintain discipline.

Our soldiers, like our police force, should not be above the rule of law, even if Ministers think they, themselves, are.
As I wrote in a previous comment (https://secularhumanism.org/2003/03/fascism anyone ((free Inquiry spring vol23 no2 by L W Brit) are we to have both left and right destroying UK reputation.
Right. Our courts have shown themselves perfectly capable of detecting fake evidence in these matters and ruling it inadmissible. Our service personnel who have genuinely been falsely accused need have no fear of the rule of law.

I do trust our officers to maintain civilised standards so far as is possible in the heat of war. However, passing this Bill puts an extra burden on them in terms of discipline.

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