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Labour set to whip MPs over Syria as Diane Abbott warns she could resign

daily alternative | alternative news - Labour set to whip MPs over Syria as Diane Abbott warns she could resign

Ahead of tomorrow’s recall of parliament, MPs from all parties are voicing their scepticism and in some cases opposition towards intervention in Syria. The most senior Labour figure to do so is Diane Abbott. While it is often forgotten given her long spell as a maverick backbencher, Abbott has been shadow public health minister since 2010, having been appointed by Ed Miliband after standing in the Labour leadership election.

The Hackney North MP was quick to signal her concern over military action yesterday, when she tweeted: “Blair joins clamour for attack on Syria. Another reason why it’s probably a bad idea.” She went on to tell the Guardian: “I voted against the Iraq War. At the moment, I can’t see anything that would make me vote for intervention in Syria. Essentially it’s a civil war. What Libya and Egypt have taught us is that these situations in the Middle East are complex. It’s not good guys in white hats and bad guys in black hats.”

Asked whether she would resign from the frontbench if Labour supported intervention, she replied: “It would put me in a very difficult position.” While Ed Miliband has yet to explicitly state that he will vote in favour of military action, he has said that he is prepared to support the government provided that the intervention is “legal”, “specifically limited to deterring the future use of chemical weapons” and that it has “clear and achievable military goals”.

A Labour source told me this morning that the party “was likely” to whip its MPs, citing the precedents of Iraq and Libya. As a result, any frontbencher who opposes intervention (assuming that Miliband supports the government) would be expected to resign their position. Abbott told Daybreak this morning that she was “waiting to hear the debate” but added: “on the basis of what I know now, I’m not even sure this intervention will be legal and it’s certainly not the case that Assad is going to wake up the morning after we bomb him and say ‘oh, less of these atrocities’. It runs a big risk of making matters worse and of dragging us into a civil war in Syria with no endgame.”

The question for Miliband, as he seeks to preserve party unity, is how many other shadow ministers may be prepared to join Abbott if she decides to resign, rather than support military action.


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Law & Politics

Police Will Be Able To Read Everyone’s Internet Search History Under New Plan

UK Police are asking the government for new surveillance powers to be able to view the Internet search history of every single person in the country.

Richard Berry, the National Police Chiefs’ Council spokesman told The Guardian that “We want to police by consent, and we want to ensure that privacy safeguards are in place. But we need to balance this with the needs of the vulnerable and the victims. We essentially need the ‘who, where, when and what’ of any communication – who initiated it, where were they and when did it happened. And a little bit of the ‘what’, were they on Facebook, or a banking site, or an illegal child-abuse image-sharing website?”

“Five years ago, [a suspect] could have physically walked into a bank and carried out a transaction. We could have put a surveillance team on that but now, most of it is done online. We just want to know about the visit,” he added.

It is likely that police are already looking at your online activity, but just want the power to do it legally. As we learned from whistleblower Edward Snowden, governments are very interested what their citizens are doing online, and they do have the technology to spy on every telephone call and Internet communication.

Police in the UK have been attempting to reach for these powers through legislation for years, but they have been blocked on multiple occasions. This new effort proves that they will not be giving up on getting legal permission for their spying programs.

MP David Davis told The Guardian “It’s extraordinary they’re asking for this again, they are overreaching and there is no proven need to retain such data for a year.”

Home Secretary Theresa May will announce the specifics of the plan during a meeting about the Government’s new surveillance bill in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

“I’ve said many times before that it is not possible to debate the balance between privacy and security, including the rights and wrongs of intrusive powers and the oversight arrangements that govern them without also considering the threats that we face as a country,” May said.

“They include not just terrorism from overseas and home-grown in the UK, but also industrial, military and state espionage.They include not just organized criminality, but also the proliferation of once physical crimes online, such as child sexual exploitation. And the technological challenges that that brings. In the face of such threats we have a duty to ensure that the agencies whose job it is to keep us safe have the powers they need to do the job,” she added.


daily alternative | alternative news -Police Will Be Able To Read Everyone’s Internet Search History Under New Plan

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