Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill — New Clause 4 — Trade Unions — 15 Oct 2020 at 16:00

The majority of MPs voted to permit the authorisation of criminal conduct by undercover officers and covert sources where such conduct relates to trade unions.

MPs were considering the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill[1][2].

The Bill provided for authorisation, by individuals within public bodies, of criminal conduct by undercover officers and covert sources.

The explanatory notes to the bill stated it: "provides statutory power for the security and intelligence agencies, law enforcement agencies and a limited number of other public authorities to authorise Covert Human Intelligence Sources (CHIS) to participate in criminal conduct where it is necessary and proportionate to do so for a limited set of specified purposes"[3].

Clause 1 of the Bill provided for amendments to Section 26 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, which already provided for the regulation of "the conduct and use of covert human intelligence sources", extending it to apply to: "criminal conduct in the course of, or otherwise in connection with, the conduct of covert human intelligence sources".

Under the Bill[2] provision was made for criminal conduct to be authorised by a range of bodies including the police, National Crime Agency, Serious Fraud Office, the intelligence services, the armed forces, Revenue and Customs, the Department of Health and Social Care, The Home Office, The Ministry of Justice, The Competition and Markets Authority, The Environment Agency, The Financial Conduct Authority, The Food Standards Agency and The Gambling Commission.

The Bill provided that regulations under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 may be made to set out the ranks of individuals within those bodies empowered to make an authorisation. [Such regulations were made in May 2021[4], well after this vote took place. Those empowered to authorise criminal conduct include police superintendents (inspectors in urgent cases), those at Grade 6 or equivalent in The Secret Intelligence Service and senior managers in The Gambling Commission.]

Provision for a Secretary of State or Scottish Minister to prohibit certain conduct, or impose additional requirements to be satisfied prior to the imposition of an order were included in the Bill[1][2].

The proposed new clause[5] rejected in this vote was titled Trade Unions and stated:

  • (1) A criminal conduct authorisation shall not be granted in respect of the actions of a covert human intelligence source relating to a trade union or a member or officer of a trade union acting or proposing to act in contemplation or furtherance of any issue which is or could be—
  • (a) the subject matter of collective bargaining within the meaning of section 178 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992;
  • (b) the subject of a trade dispute within the meaning of section 244 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992; or
  • (c) within the lawful objects of the trade union.
  • (2) In this section, “trade union” has the same meaning as in section 1 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.

The rejected new clause was accompanied by an explanatory statement from its proposer stating:

  • This new clause lays out that a criminal conduct authorisation could not be applied to a trade union, thereby putting a limit on where such authorisations can apply.

The motion rejected by the majority of MPs in this vote was:

  • That the clause be added to the Bill.


Debate in Parliament |

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Party Summary

Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.

What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.

What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.

What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.

PartyMajority (No)Minority (Aye)BothTurnout
Alliance0 10100.0%
Con310 (+2 tell) 1086.0%
DUP2 0025.0%
Independent1 30100.0%
Lab0 189 (+2 tell)095.0%
LDem0 10090.9%
PC0 30100.0%
SDLP0 20100.0%
SNP0 46097.9%
Total:313 255089.2%

Rebel Voters - sorted by party

MPs for which their vote in this division differed from the majority vote of their party. You can see all votes in this division, or every eligible MP who could have voted in this division

Sort by: Name | Constituency | Party | Vote

David DavisHaltemprice and HowdenConaye

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