Police and MI5 crime authorisation bill clears third reading

Proposed legislation giving undercover police and MI5 agents explicit permission to commit criminal offences has passed its third reading in the House of Commons by a huge margin.

The Covert Human Intelligence Sources (CHIS) (Criminal Conduct) Bill was approved by 313-98 after the defeat of a number of amendments aimed at addressing human rights concerns.

An amendment moved by Labour MP Conor McGinn, which would have excluded killings, rapes and torture from the crimes that can be authorised under the bill, was defeated by 316-256.

Speaking after the vote, Kate Allen, director of Amnesty International UK, said: “It’s hugely worrying that we’re a step closer to seeing this deeply dangerous bill become law. MPs are signing off on a licence for government agencies to authorise torture and murder.

“Giving such disturbing powers to bodies including MI5 and the police could have devastating impacts.

“We are now urging peers who care about the rule of law to introduce urgent amendments before the bill progresses further through Parliament.”

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