The emergency snooping bill – How did North London MPs vote?


By Jim Jepps

corbyn de bois

Nick de Bois and Jeremy Corbyn, the only North London MPs to vote against new snooping powers.

Today’s rushed Data Retention and  Investigatory Powers Bill has been a travesty from the start. When the government’s communications act got bogged down in the Parliamentary mud earlier in the year the government decided to speed the process up and have fast tracked essentially the same legislation, passing it in just a week .

It’s outrageous that the government can by-pass Parliamentary scrutiny in this way, it’s even more outrageous that the “opposition” Labour Party have backed them. I can’t imagine there are many Liberal Democrat supporters out there who think this is a liberal law passed democratically.

The proposals deal with companies at home and abroad that provide telephone and internet connections to British customers. It obliges those companies to retain the “communications data” of their users. All of them.

This includes who we’re ringing and when, as well as boosting the powers of “legal intercept” — listening in on the calls and reading the emails of those on watch lists.

More worrying still is that the Data Retention and Investigation Powers Bill is designed to “clarify” the law on bugging phones by police and security services because providers were turning down requests (I’ve written more at the Morning Star for those hoping to bone up on the issue).

Just two North London MPs stood up against this rushed and authoritarian legislation. The Conservative Nick de Bois and Jeremy Corbyn, while Labour’s shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry indicated with her support of the legislation exactly how heavy handed she intends to be if Labour are elected in 2015.

Voting for the legislation;

  • Chingford and Woodford Green – Iain Duncan Smith (Con)
  • Chipping Barnet – Theresa Villiers (Con)
  • Enfield Southgate – David Burrowes (Con)
  • Finchley Golders Green – Mike Freer (Con)
  • Hampstead and Kilburn – Glenda Jackson (Lab)
  • Edmonton – Andy Love (Lab)
  • Islington South and Finsbury – Emily Thornberry (Lab)
  • Tottenham – David Lammy (Lab)
  • Walthamstow – Stella Creasy (Lab)
  • Hornsey and Woodgreen – Lynne Featherstone (Lib Dem) (did not vote for fast tracking, only second reading)


Voting against the legislation; 

  • Enfield North – Nick de Bois (Con) (voted against fast tracking but did not vote on second reading)
  • Islington North – Jeremy Corbyn (Lab) (teller)


Did not vote

  • Holborn and St Pancras – Frank Dobson (Lab)

In the debate Jeremy Corbyn asked “The Bill has been introduced in a big hurry. There has been no public consultation, no parliamentary scrutiny and very little public debate. It is a major piece of legislation that has global implications for what this country does. It relates to the surveillance of everybody’s telephones, internet and everything else. It is a massive intrusion into people’s lives. The Government are doing a great disservice to Parliament in insisting that we debate the whole of Second Reading by 5 pm, amendments by 9 pm and Third Reading by 10 pm, for the Bill to go to the Lords and come back here again on Thursday all done, and then have a sunset clause that goes on for two years.”

“This is not an appropriate way for Parliament to be treated and every MP should think very carefully. Why we are here? We have been elected to hold the Executive to account and to scrutinise legislation. This timetable motion is a travesty of what scrutiny of legislation should be about. I, for one, will oppose the timetable motion, so that we have a proper opportunity to scrutinise and debate the Bill.”

He later asked “Will the Home Secretary reflect again on the intervention by the right hon. Member for Haltemprice and Howden (Mr Davis)? If a foreign Government who are routine abusers of human rights passed the same legislation through their Parliament, could they then intervene on an internet service provider based in this country to obtain data on their citizens, in the same way that the British Government take that power for themselves in another jurisdiction?” to which  Theresa May replied that she hoped to pass yet more legislation.