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Dan Carden quits Labour front bench to vote against CHIS Bill ‘as a matter of conscience’

A LABOUR frontbencher resigned from the shadow cabinet yesterday to vote against the highly controversial Covert Human Intelligence Sources (CHIS) Bill.

Dan Carden, MP for Liverpool Walton, stepped down as shadow financial secretary over a Bill that would legally allow undercover agents to commit serious crimes such as murder, torture and rape. 

He said he quit as “a matter of conscience” to join rebels voting against the party whip ordering Labour MPs to abstain from the vote, which took place after the Morning Star went to print.

In a letter to Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, Mr Carden said that he feared the law would set “dangerous new precedents” in explicitly authorising MI5, police, and other agencies that use informants or spies to commit a specific crime as part of an operation.

He said he had hoped to “work constructively to shift the party’s position towards opposing the Bill” at its next stage, but it was “now clear that this has not been possible.”

He added: “You will understand that as a Liverpool MP and trade unionist, I share the deep concerns about this legislation held by 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.”

Mr Carden is the sixth Socialist Campaign Group MP to leave the Labour front bench in the last four months.

Despite his resignation, he said Sir Keir still had his “full support” as Labour leader. 

A number of Labour MPs have voiced their concerns over the human-rights implications of the Bill, as well as some Tory backbenchers who believe it could impinge on people’s liberty.

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said in the Commons that there was a “lack of transparency” in the way police operate, which had been shown in Orgreave and Hillsborough inquiries.

He also pointed out the lack of protection for women who had relationships, and even children, with men who they didntt know were undercover officers infiltrating protest and campaign groups.

Mr Corbyn said that he was “disappointed” that the College of Policing said “it is not necessarily wrong for undercover officers to form sexual relations with people in order to gain information.”

He said: “This is the kind of world that we are about to approve of unless the amendments that have been put forward are accepted by the government today.”

Amendments have put ministers under fresh pressure to explicitly prohibit undercover agents from being authorised to kill, torture or rape.

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