Democratic Rights in Britain

Whistleblower uncovers London police hacking of journalists and protestors

By Trevor Johnson, 15 April 2017

The existence of a secretive unit acting illegally within the Metropolitan Police raises fundamental issues of democratic rights that have not been broached by the media.

London attack perpetrator was monitored by British intelligence six years ago

By Robert Stevens, 28 March 2017

In each terrorist attack in the UK over the last decade and a half it has been soon established that the perpetrators were known to the British state beforehand.

Five confirmed dead, 40 injured in terror attack in London

By Chris Marsden, 23 March 2017

The ruling elite in Britain and internationally were quick to make political capital from the appalling event.

Europe-wide demonstrations in defence of migrants and refugees

By Robert Stevens, 20 March 2017

Speakers at the London demonstration, including Trades Union Congress leader Frances O’Grady, declared token opposition to the treatment of refugees by May and Trump, which commits them to doing absolutely nothing.

Meeting on UK undercover policing highlights need for an independent inquiry

By Paul Mitchell, 23 February 2017

The ongoing Undercover Policing Inquiry, chaired by Lord Justice Pitchford, is aimed at whitewashing, not exposing, widespread illegal infiltration of state intelligence agencies into left-wing movements.

May government ends limited scheme allowing lone child refugees into Britain

By Margot Miller, 22 February 2017

A total of just 350 children will be accepted, meaning another 150 by March when the scheme will close, as 200 are already in the UK.

British court hears appeal of conviction of war criminal Alexander Blackman

By Harvey Thompson, 14 February 2017

The appeal is the outcome of a media-orchestrated campaign by right-wing forces, allied with sections of the military, who were never reconciled to Blackman’s jailing.

Report co-authored by murdered British MP Jo Cox advocates for war

By Richard Tyler, 11 February 2017

Cox’s brutal murder shocked millions, but her death has been used in the most cynical fashion by the most right-wing forces within the Labour Party.

UK: Family wins case against anti-democratic Prevent legislation

By Tania Kent, 10 February 2017

Bedfordshire Local Education Authority admitted breaching the rights of two school children to a private and family life, freedom of religion and freedom of expression.

European Court verdict no obstacle to UK state surveillance

By Robert Stevens, 24 December 2016

The Investigatory Powers Act is a staggering and unprecedented attack on the rights and privacy of every UK citizen.

UK: Inmates riot at Birmingham prison as conditions deteriorate

By John Newham and Robert Stevens, 21 December 2016

The ruling elite’s only response is law and order and the continuation of social policies that increase the prison population.

Immigrants protest ill treatment in UK detention centres

By Richard Tyler, 6 December 2016

Hunger strikes, attempted suicides and incidents of self-harm are common in the centres.

British parliament passes “Snoopers’ Charter,” expanding spying powers

By Trevor Johnson, 22 November 2016

The new laws are an unprecedented attack on democratic rights, giving the state the power to gather information on millions, and to process, profile and store the results.

Bedford riot highlights appalling conditions in UK prisons

By John Newham and Robert Stevens, 9 November 2016

Conditions in prisons in England and Wales have deteriorated rapidly as a result of spending cuts, while inmate numbers—including those held awaiting trial—have surged.

UK reneges on its promise to take in Syrian refugees

By Jean Shaoul, 17 September 2016

One year after former Prime Minister David Cameron promised to settle 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020, only 2,800 have arrived in Britain.

Chakrabarti report refutes claims of rampant anti-Semitism in British Labour Party

By Jean Shaoul, 26 August 2016

Far from calming tensions, the findings have added to the already “toxic atmosphere” inside the Labour Party.

UK inquest reveals brutality of immigrant detainee’s death

By Dennis Moore, 17 August 2016

Prior to the 43-year-old man’s death, he was attached by his wrists to a two-metre closet chain.

Swedish prosecutors to question Julian Assange in Ecuador’s London embassy

By Paul Mitchell, 15 August 2016

Assange remains fearful that attempts will be made to railroad him to the United States, where a sealed Grand Jury indictment involving espionage charges is awaiting him.

UK inquiry refuses to investigate police spying on Workers Revolutionary Party

By Paul Mitchell, 9 August 2016

The issue of police spying on the WRP resurfaced when actor Ricky Tomlinson called on Lord Pitchford to overturn his decision to refuse him “core participant” status in the inquiry.

Knife attack in London prompts massive police operation

By Robert Stevens, 5 August 2016

The killing on a central London street of a US national is being used to justify a massive build-up of armed police throughout the UK.

UK law firm boasts blocking support to disadvantaged children

By Benjamin Trent and Paul Mitchell, 4 August 2016

More than 1.3 million schoolchildren in England—15 percent of the total—have been identified as needing special educational needs and disabilities support.

UK Labour Party coup plotters make public their split preparations

By Robert Stevens, 1 August 2016

A major fear of the right wing is that if they carry out a formal split now, ahead of the September result, they could lose any right to be called the “Labour Party” and to secure its assets.

Protests follow the death of teenager in Liverpool

By Dennis Moore, 23 July 2016

Footage shows Mzee Mohammed face down, barefoot and apparently unconscious while appearing to have his hands cuffed behind his back.

The murky world of the UK’s Blairite anti-Corbyn coup plotters

By Robert Stevens, 22 July 2016

Leading figures in the plot to depose Corbyn were members of the US British-American Project, which was established during the 1980s with a mission “to perpetuate the close relationship between the United States and Britain.”

UK: Children referred for “deradicalisation” under “anti-terrorist” strategy

By Tom Pearce, 15 July 2016

Since the start of the 2015 academic year, increasing numbers of youth have been questioned over their religion, political affiliation and actions.

UK: Forty-two years after Birmingham pub bombings, inquest to be reopened

By Trevor Johnson, 6 July 2016

The inquest is into the bombings themselves and their victims, rather than the frame-up of six innocent men.

MP’s murder exposes role of neo-fascists in British Leave campaign

By Robert Stevens, 20 June 2016

The murder of British Labour MP Jo Cox underscores the frenzy of nationalism and xenophobia being whipped up around Thursday’s referendum on EU membership.

The EU referendum and the murder of British MP Jo Cox

By Julie Hyland, 18 June 2016

The murder of Cox has starkly revealed the fascistic character of the forces being whipped up around this week’s referendum on British membership in the EU, particularly by the Leave campaign.

Britain’s Labour Party helps Conservative government pass Snoopers’ Charter

By Trevor Johnson, 15 June 2016

The UK’s security and spying agencies are being rewarded for their criminality with new and almost unlimited powers.

Anti-migrant rhetoric dominates debate on UK membership in the EU

By Robert Stevens, 28 May 2016

The Leave campaign is focusing on whipping up hysteria over immigration.

Military and security figures take opposing sides in UK referendum on European Union

By Chris Marsden, 26 May 2016

The various military officials and spy chiefs backing either side in the Brexit campaign are all committed to defending British and US imperialism, particularly in the conflict with Russia.

Swedish court refuses to drop arrest warrant for Julian Assange

By Josh Varlin, 26 May 2016

The Stockholm Court rejected the conclusion of a United Nations working group that Assange has been arbitrarily detained in violation of international human rights conventions.

UK rich just keep getting richer

By Simon Whelan, 26 May 2016

The fortunes accrued by 120 billionaires account for 60 percent of the wealth of the 1,000 richest people in Britain and Northern Ireland.

Julian Assange challenges anti-democratic “no platform” campaign

By Laura Tiernan, 24 May 2016

The Sheffield meeting was a victory over efforts to silence Assange and close down debate on fundamental issues surrounding the escalation of militarism and war.

Queen’s Speech 2016: UK Conservatives continue agenda of austerity and repression

By Robert Stevens, 19 May 2016

The government’s legislative programme for the next year includes new powers for the state under the guise of tackling “extremism” and the abolition of the Human Rights Act.

US intelligence agencies expand electronic surveillance worldwide

By Thomas Gaist, 6 May 2016

Congress is reviewing statutory changes to a little known “Rule 41” that will allow the FBI and other security agencies to hack and spy on computers and networks anywhere in the world, based on a single, non-specific warrant.

Labour “anti-Semitism” witch-hunt dominates media in run-up to UK polls

By Robert Stevens, 6 May 2016

During Prime Minister’s Questions in Parliament Wednesday, David Cameron reiterated the charge that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was a supporter of terrorism.

UK Labour mounts purge of party based on accusations of anti-Semitism

By Robert Stevens, 4 May 2016

As on every other issue of principle, Jeremy Corbyn has surrendered to the right wing in the face of a slanderous attack on the Labour Party’s ranks as a mass of “anti-Semites.”

Scandal deepens over Hillsborough disaster cover-up

By Paul Mitchell, 3 May 2016

The verdict that 96 Liverpool Football Club supporters were unlawfully killed in 1989 is a vindication of the campaign waged by their families, friends and supporters to uncover the truth.

Hillsborough inquest: Ninety-six UK football supporters unlawfully killed

By Robert Stevens, 28 April 2016

The verdict in the longest jury case in British legal history vindicates the campaign by the families and supporters of the 96 Liverpool Football Club fans killed 27 years ago.

The Hillsborough disaster as it unfolded

By Robert Stevens, 28 April 2016

The death of 96 Liverpool football supporters on April 15, 1989 was followed by a 27-year cover-up.

UK bill hands vast surveillance powers to police and intelligence agencies

By Barry Mason, 14 March 2016

ISPs will have to keep records of the browsing history of everyone who accesses the Internet for 12 months, with this data freely available to the police and the GCHQ.

UK government proposes to set up Muslim-only jail

By Barry Mason, 25 February 2016

The precedent for grouping prisoners based on shared ideological beliefs is the infamous “H blocks” in the Maze prison in Northern Ireland in the 1980s.

UK: Second undercover police officer exposed infiltrating Socialist Party

By Trevor Johnson and Chris Marsden, 13 February 2016

The Socialist Party’s response to further revelations of undercover police penetration of its organisation is characterised by light-minded indifference.

UN panel condemns detention of WikiLeaks founder

Stop the persecution of Julian Assange!

By Bill Van Auken, 5 February 2016

Despite a ruling that Assange has been subjected to “arbitrary detention,” both the UK and Sweden vow to continue his persecution.

Former British Prime Minister Blair joins call for a European army

By Jordan Shilton, 2 February 2016

In calling for the creation of a European military force, Blair wrote that the European powers had to be capable of projecting their interests on the global stage.

UK parliament debates banning Donald Trump—but what about David Cameron?

By Chris Marsden, 22 January 2016

The parliamentary debate on whether to ban Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump from entering the UK took place on the same day that Prime Minister David Cameron launched his own campaign to stir up anti-Muslim sentiment.

Police in Britain illegally arrest thousands of children

By Thomas Scripps, 16 January 2016

The Police and Criminal Evidence Act states that children under 18 in custody should be transferred to the care of the local authority.

Criminal investigation launched into police killing of unarmed man in London

By Robert Stevens, 29 December 2015

One witness stated that Jermaine Baker was asleep in a car when he was shot and killed by police in the north London area of Tottenham earlier this month.

Scotland: Victims demand removal of former police spy from St. Andrew’s University

By Steve James, 23 December 2015

Every political or campaign organisation whose outlook implies the slightest criticism of the authorities has been spied upon by the police.

Senior UK Labourites Darling and Brown join the gravy train

By Margot Miller, 17 December 2015

Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown are emulating the unindicted war criminal Tony Blair, now estimated to be worth over £125 million

Cases of malnutrition surge in UK

By Liz Smith and Harvey Thompson, 17 December 2015

Almost three million people in the UK at any one time in 2014 were estimated either to be suffering or at risk from malnutrition

UK spy agency admits hacking phones and computers without warrants

By Trevor Johnson, 15 December 2015

The GCHQ claims the authority to target groups as loosely-defined as “all mobile telephones” in Birmingham, the UK’s second largest city.

An open letter

Socialist Equality Party (UK) demands the Undercover Police Inquiry release the names of all police agents and spies

By Socialist Equality Party, 10 December 2015

Even the small amount of information in the public domain makes clear that undercover officers were involved in and directed criminal activity.

UK Labour right wing tries to silence opposition to war

By Julie Hyland, 9 December 2015

In the Orwellian language of the Labour right, any calls for MPs to be held politically accountable for their actions is tantamount to “bullying” and “intimidation.”

Scottish police flout law to uncover journalist sources

By Minnie Watson, 24 November 2015

An independent investigation has revealed that 34 police forces, over the course of three years, accessed the data of 105 journalists and 242 sources.

UK local authorities crack down on the homeless

By Dennis Moore, 21 November 2015

The use of so-called Public Space Protection Orders is on the rise across Britain.

Labour MPs side with Tory government against Corbyn on war and repression

By Robert Stevens, 19 November 2015

Leading Labour officials are seconding Tory and media denunciations of Labour leader Corbyn as a threat to “national security.”

Prime Minister Cameron boasts of UK role in targeted assassination of “Jihadi John”

By Jordan Shilton, 17 November 2015

The assassination of Mohammed Emwazi was the third incident in less than three months in which UK forces have been involved in the killing of British citizens.

UK government admits spying on British population for decades

By Mark Blackwood, 14 November 2015

Amidst revelations of bulk spying on the population, the Cameron government is allocating yet more resources to the vast state surveillance system already in place.

UK government to legalise universal state surveillance

By Robert Stevens, 5 November 2015

Home Secretary Theresa May outlined the bill terminating democratic rights stretching back to the Magna Carta.

Last British prisoner at Guantánamo Bay released

By Robert Stevens, 4 November 2015

Shaker Aamer was released October 30 after 5,017 days in detention.

UK Criminal Courts Charge: A brutal assault on the poor

By Gregory McAvoy, 3 November 2015

The new system of fines for petty offenses will ensure that many people from deprived backgrounds will be plunged even deeper into poverty.

Tribunal rules British MPs not exempt from state surveillance

By Barry Mason, 22 October 2015

An October 14 decision by the UK's Investigatory Powers Tribunal opens the door for the British intelligence agencies to spy on parliamentarians.

UK: Metropolitan Police threaten “covert” measures to arrest Julian Assange

By Robert Stevens, 15 October 2015

The decision to end the police presence outside the Ecuadorean Embassy in no way lessens the threat to the founder of WikiLeaks.

BBC’s Panorama attacks Edward Snowden

By Robert Stevens, 14 October 2015

Edward Snowden: Spies and the Law was a travesty of journalism that repeated the lies and propaganda of the US military-intelligence complex.

Corbyn speech to UK Labour conference criticises austerity but offers no viable alternative

By Chris Marsden, 30 September 2015

Corbyn took pains to praise all his rivals in the Labour leadership contest, including the arch Blairite Liz Kendall.

UK National Youth Theatre cancels play on Syria after consulting police

By Tom Scripps, 17 September 2015

The cancelled production, Homegrown, explores the reasons for three London girls travelling to Syria to join ISIS.

UK Labour leader Corbyn, addressing Trades Union Congress, makes first policy speech

By Chris Marsden, 16 September 2015

Corbyn’s assignation of a progressive role to the trade unions flies in the face of political realities as experienced by almost two generations of workers.

UK Terrorism Act used to prevent British Library obtaining unique historic archive

By Robert Stevens, 7 September 2015

The decision by the British Library demonstrates the extent to which the “anti-terrorism” laws are being used to curtail academic and intellectual freedom.

UK government pursuing vicious anti-immigrant response to migrant crisis

By Tom Pearse, 2 September 2015

Official policy of the Conservative government is focused on whipping up nationalist anti-immigrant sentiment and echoes that long associated with far right-wing forces.

Scotland: Sheku Bayoh likely died of asphyxiation by police, lawyer says

By Minnie Watson, 26 August 2015

Within 45 seconds, Bayoh was incapacitated, restrained in handcuffs, leg and ankle restraints, and was in a “prone position face down.”

UK Conservative government escalates attacks on asylum seekers

By Jean Shaoul, 14 August 2015

A new Immigration Bill will slash the already miserly level of support given to families seeking asylum.

UK: Manchester City Council bans homeless protesters from city centre

By Dennis Moore, 11 August 2015

The refusal to provide the Manchester protesters with legal aid funding is part of a broader attack on access to justice in the UK.

UK announces “anti-extremism” plan sanctioning domestic repression and war

By Chris Marsden, 23 July 2015

Prime Minister David Cameron’s five year plan to address “extremism” will target Muslims and encourage anti-Islamic sentiment.

UK defence secretary admits flouting parliamentary ban on military involvement in Syrian war

By Chris Marsden, 21 July 2015

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon used the parliamentary debate to propagandize for war.

Buckingham Palace orders inquiry, threatens legal action over Nazi salute film

By Julie Hyland, 20 July 2015

The publication of a video showing members of the British royal family, including a young Queen Elizabeth, giving the Hitler salute has ignited a political firestorm in Great Britain.

UK Conservative government curtails right to strike

By Paul Mitchell, 17 July 2015

Conservative business secretary Sajid Javid has presented a new Trade Union Bill to Parliament that represents a massive attack on the working class.

UK government slashes non-EU migrant worker numbers

By Joan Smith and Paul Mitchell, 9 July 2015

The most vicious measure is the deportation of 30,000 or more non-European Union workers who fail to earn more than £35,000 per annum after being in Britain for six years.

Participants in UK marches denounce austerity

By our reporters, 22 June 2015

The World Socialist Web Site interviewed anti-austerity demonstrators in London and Glasgow.

UK: Labour saves Conservative government from defeat on EU referendum bill

By Jordan Shilton, 19 June 2015

The Labour Party demonstrated its readiness to form an alliance with the Cameron government over British European Union membership.

UK government, Murdoch press smear of Edward Snowden unravels

By Chris Marsden, 16 June 2015

Smearing Snowden is aimed at creating a climate of fear to justify state surveillance and repression.

UK Conservatives plan to scrap Human Rights Act

By Jean Shaoul, 22 May 2015

The act is to go the same way as other key elements of international law over which successive governments in the last 15 years have ridden roughshod.

Britain’s anti-terror law and the global assault on democratic rights

By Jordan Shilton, 21 May 2015

There is no serious opposition within the ruling elite internationally to the abandonment of democratic procedures and implementation of police state measures.

UK government counter-terrorism bill would criminalize speech, political activity

By Jordan Shilton, 18 May 2015

The proposed legislation would give the state the power to require an “extremist” group or individual to submit any written publication to the police before it is printed.

Defend migrants and refugees! Oppose British imperialism!

By David O’Sullivan, 25 April 2015

The following statement was issued by David O’Sullivan, Socialist Equality Party candidate for the London Holborn & St. Pancras constituency.

UK welfare benefit sanctions hit the homeless

By Dennis Moore, 20 April 2015

Sanctions affect one-third of homeless people claiming Job Seekers Allowance.

UK police watchdog justifies killing of Mark Duggan

By Robert Stevens, 26 March 2015

Duggan, a 29-year-old father of six, was unarmed when he was shot twice in Tottenham, north London by an armed police officer on August 4, 2011.

Whistleblower from UK covert police unit reveals spying on workers

By Harvey Thompson, 25 March 2015

The covert Special Demonstration Squad monitored hundreds of political groups between 1968 and 2008.

UK government pledges further spying powers and to “move on” from Snowden

By Chris Marsden, 14 March 2015

Hammond’s speech was meant to reassure Britain’s spies that they will be protected from any possible fall-out, and that their criminal actions can continue.

UK parliamentary committee justifies mass spying on e-communications

By Paul Mitchell, 14 March 2015

The Intelligence and Security Committee report is a whitewash, aimed at legitimising the spy apparatus exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013.

Irish police clamp down on water charge protesters

By Dermot Quinn, 25 February 2015

There is widespread opposition from working people to the water charge, which is seen as an attempt to make them pay for the economic crisis.

UK Police Federation votes for all police to be given access to Taser guns

By Margot Miller, 11 February 2015

The vote by the Police Federation is part of the move to authoritarian forms of rule in Britain.

US official admits to UK role in rendition to Diego Garcia

By Jean Shaoul, 9 February 2015

Britain colluded in the use of the British overseas territory of Diego Garcia by the US for its criminal activities.

UK: Blair government colluded in extraordinary rendition of Libyans

By Jean Shaoul, 2 February 2015

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair wrote to then-Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi that he was “disappointed” that Britain was unable to send more regime opponents back to Libya.

Europe faces political “earthquakes,” BBC warns on Democracy Day

By Paul Mitchell, 24 January 2015

A report commissioned by the BBC states that the rise of populist anti-establishment parties is set to cause political earthquakes across Europe in 2015.

UK to launch enhanced “anti-terror measures” and domestic use of troops

By Julie Hyland, 20 January 2015

Since 9/11, successive UK governments have introduced a series of “anti-terror” measures, each more draconian than its predecessor.

Police crackdown after Charlie Hebdo attack spreads across Europe

By Kumaran Ira, 19 January 2015

Security forces have been deployed across Europe in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo.

US drug enforcement agency acknowledges longstanding warrantless wiretapping program

By Thomas Gaist, 19 January 2015

The US Drug Enforcement Administration carried out mass surveillance of US telephone data over a period of more than a decade.

Obama, Cameron discuss war and state repression following Charlie Hebdo attack

By Chris Marsden and Jerry White, 16 January 2015

The two heads of state—whose countries have carried out a sustained attack on democratic rights—issued a jointly authored comment Thursday: “We won’t let the voice of freedom be muzzled.”