Tag Archives: Labour Party

MPs unite behind counter-terror legislation amendment opposing Temporary Exclusion Orders

Following the introduction of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill by Home Secretary Theresa May, a cross-party amendment has now been tabled opposing the Government’s proposed Temporary Exclusion Orders.

According to fundamental rights and freedoms concern Liberty, Temporary Exclusion Orders (TEOs) would effectively exile British citizens by revoking their passports when outside of the UK and risk exposing them to torture or possibly delivering them into the hands of terror factions.

The proposed amendment to the Bill, drafted by Liberty, would replace TEOs with a Notification and Managed Return Order (NMRO). These would allow the Home Secretary to require airlines and other carriers to notify her of the return plans of those whom she suspected of terrorism abroad. The authorities could then use their existing powers against a suspect when they return to the UK.

Crucially, the Home Secretary would not have the power to revoke passports while individuals are outside of the country.

Shami Chakrabarti: director of Liberty

Shami Chakrabarti: director of Liberty

Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, commented: “Instead of abandoning British citizens abroad to the possibility of torture or further radicalisation, shouldn’t we deal with them within the rule of law? This amendment would put some much-needed common sense into this counter-productive and illiberal Bill. We urge Parliamentarians to support it.”

The amendment is supported by the Labour Party’s front bench and the Green Party.

TEOs – and Liberty’s suggested amendment – were debated on the Second Day of Committee Stage of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill on Monday 15 December.

Speaking out against the Government’s proposals

A number of MPs have already spoken out against the Home Secretary’s proposals.

At Second Reading, Sir Menzies Campbell MP said: “I confess that I’m by no means convinced of the legality of what is being suggested under TEOs. What’s the position of someone who declines to accept conditions of return and who is not subject to deportation by the country in which they temporarily find themselves? Are they not de facto stateless in such circumstances?”

Also during Second Reading, former Attorney General Dominic Grieve QC MP pointed out: “It’s a fundamental principle of the common law in this country that an individual, unconvicted – the presumption of innocence applies – should be free to reside in his or her own land. The principle of exile, as a judicial or even administrative tool, has not been tolerated in this country since the late 17th Century. Even if exclusion is on a temporary basis, what’s being proposed is a draconian and unusual power being taken by the State. The point has been made that the proposal could be in breach of our international legal obligations by rendering a person stateless.”

Chris Bryant MP said: “TEOs would, in effect, result in the exile – albeit short-term and temporary – of British citizens, in many cases to other countries. All history suggests that such action further radicalises people and makes them more dangerous enemies to this country.”

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GMB welcomes Labour’s plan to increase National Minimum Wage to £8 per hour by 2020

The GMB Trade Union – which represents many workers within the UK’s security sector – believes it’s important to shift the burden of dealing with low pay from taxpayers to employers, and that the transition must be real so that the increase is not paid with one hand and taken away with the other.

At the Labour Party Conference in Manchester, Ed Miliband announced that Labour plans to raise the National Minimum Wage to £8 per hour by the end of the next Parliament. In response, Paul Kenny (GMB General Secretary) said: “This is a welcome and necessary first step for workers to recover the nearly 15% drop in the value of earnings they’ve suffered over the last six years. It’s important to shift the burden of dealing with low pay from taxpayers to the employers, many of whom are sitting on record levels of cash and profits. The transition must be real so that the increase is not paid with one hand and taken away with the other.”

Miliband told delegates at the Labour Party Conference in Manchester that his ‘Plan for Britain’s Future’ will rebuild the link between working hard and sharing in our national wealth. The planned increase would take the National Minimum Wage from £6.50 in October this year to £8 by 2020 – a rise of £1.50 an hour for Britain’s lowest paid workers (worth £60 per week or £3,000 per annum).

Labour Party leader Ed Miliband

Labour Party leader Ed Miliband

The proposed wage rise – which would be implemented by the Low Pay Commission over the course of the next Parliament in consultation with business – is based on a plan to boost the National Minimum Wage from 54% to 58% of median earnings by 2020.

“Too many people are treading water, working harder and harder just to stay afloat,” said Miliband. “Too many working people have made big sacrifices but in this recovery they are not seeing the rewards for their hard work because, under the Tories’ failing plan, the recovery is benefiting a privileged few far more than most families. One in five of the men and women employed in Britain today work the hours and make their contributions but find themselves on low pay. If you work hard, you should be able to bring up your family with dignity. From Perth to Portsmouth to Penzance, working people are demanding to know if any political party can make a difference. I have heard that despair in Scotland and across the United Kingdom.”

The Labour Party’s leader continued: “This week, Labour’s ‘Plan for Britain’s Future’ will show how we can change and how we can once again become a country that rewards hard work. That’s why we have set out plans to raise the minimum wage by £1.50 an hour by 2020 to £8 an hour – because Labour is the party of hard work, fairly paid.”

Background to the National Minimum Wage

The introduction of the National Minimum Wage was orchestrated by the last Labour Government, raising pay at the bottom for increased productivity. The National Minimum Wage was originally designed to prevent exploitation and extreme low wages. Today, the challenge is different, with the Labour Party pointing towards a large number of people that do a hard day’s work but are still living in poverty or dependent on in-work benefits.

In May this year, Ed Miliband announced that the next Labour Government will set the Low Pay Commission (LPC) a five-year goal of increasing the National Minimum Wage to a more stretching proportion of median earnings (as recommended by Alan Buckle in his independent review on low pay). It would be for the LPC to determine the path to reach that goal during the course of Parliament.

Miliband is now proposing that the goal should be set at 58% of median earnings by 2020. That would mean the minimum wage reaching £8 an hour by 2020. The theory is that a clear, long term target will give businesses time to plan and adapt their models in order to boost productivity and support higher wages.

The Labour Party is adamant that international evidence shows countries can support minimum wages at this level with no adverse impact on employment. This would afford the UK a National Minimum Wage similar to the level seen in Australia and EU countries such as Belgium and Germany, but still lower than France and New Zealand.

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