IT was great to read a very topical and important article by Andrew Tickell in the Sunday National this week (Tories neither shaken nor stirred over bill with a licence to kill. October 18). His is mainly a lone voice writing about the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (CHIS) Bill, a subject that has been (wilfully?) ignored by our mainstream media.

He says: “The legislation will green-light undercover agents from 13 different law enforcement and government agencies to break the criminal law. This includes the police force but also armed forces, HMRC and even the Food Standards Agency.”

Just read that again. Thirteen agencies will be able to break the law with impunity and immunity. Amnesty International director Kate Allen says of the bill: “MPs are signing off on a licence for government agencies to authorise torture and murder.”

READ MORE: Andrew Tickell: Tories not shaken or stirred over bill with a licence to kill

The CHIS bill allows state authorities to commit crimes against its citizens in three extremely ambiguous situations:

1. In the interests of national security.

2. For the purpose of preventing or detecting crime or of preventing disorder.

3. In the interests of the economic wellbeing of the United Kingdom.

No checks, no balances, no accountability – apart from a vague reference to “trust in the declaration of human rights”. And we know how much Johnson, Patel and cronies rate that particular safety net. Canada and the US have similar laws but they explicitly exclude certain serious crimes such as murder or torture. So why do we have “no specific limitation on the type of criminal activity that may be authorised”?

What is also alarming is the speed at which this “spycops” bill is being rushed through parliament – astonishingly, and disgracefully, with the collusion of Mr Abstention Starmer and the majority of his spineless MPs. Why the rush? What major event in the history of these islands is galloping towards us? Can we expect a government that has made a complete and utter mess of its handling of the Covid-19 crisis to suddenly transform itself into the most effective, incorruptible and principled body in recent history? Oh aye, that’ll be right.

READ MORE: Six of Keir Starmer's Labour frontbenchers resign over ‘spy cops’ law

Andrew Tickell sums them up well: “We’re served by a government which believes rules are for other people and that lawyers, judges and other meddlers have no business stopping the government and its agents from doing whatsoever they damn well please.”

So as the lorries clog up the ports, factories and businesses close, the shelves empty and protests and food riots begin, our state agencies can literally use murder to “prevent disorder” or tell Scotland to stick its independence vote where the sun don’t shine, “in the interests of the economic well-being of the United Kingdom”. No wonder this outrageous bill is being rushed through. The clock is ticking. What should a wise and careful people do?

Stuart Graham

THE Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill is a clear attempt to undermine our civil liberties and is a last-gasp effort by the British state ruled by the Tories to maintain the status quo of capitalism being in control during these torrid times.

If this bill gets through Westminster it will allow undercover agents infiltrating any organisation – including the independence movement – to commit crimes legally to maintain economic well-being and maintain their undercover status including murder, torture and sexual violence.

This piece of legislation is an attempt to destroy of all our democratic values, freedoms and liberties. We need to resist this abhorrent attack on our precious freedom given what has happened in the past, with undercover elements of the British state seeking to undermine the activities of legitimate trade unions, environmental organisations and justice campaigns.

All progressive people have to oppose this spy cops bill and fight it all the way.

Sean Clerkin