98 MPs Who Supported Human Rights While Countering Terrorism


Just before the election, I created a list of 149 MPs (out of 650 in total), who had signed up to two important Early Day Motions over the previous 12 months. The first opposed the use of secret evidence in UK courts, particularly in the cases of terror suspects (both British and foreign nationals), where it is used as a pretext to hold them under control orders (a form of house arrest) or in prison pending deportation, or on deportation bail (again, a form of house arrest), without them being formally charged or tried. The other called for the release of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantánamo, who was cleared for release by the US authorities in 2007, but has still not been reunited with his British wife and four British children, despite claims by the Labour government that it had done all in its power to secure his release since August 2007.

As I also noted at the time, the 149 MPs included just three Tories (less than 2 percent of the total number of Conservative MPs), 89 Labour, 43 Liberal Democrat, and 14 independents, or members of other parties.

Now that the election is over, I’ve been through this list again, identifying those who lost their seats (refining the previous list I made here) and those who stood down at the election, to provide the first list of the remaining MPs who, at some point in the last year, demonstrated concern about the Labour government’s draconian response to the perceived terrorist threat — or its dithering over securing the return to the UK of Shaker Aamer.

Crucially, I also added MPs who had voted against the annual renewal of control orders on March 1, 2010 (PDF), in which Liberal Democrat MPs (including Nick Clegg, Vince Cable, Chris Huhne and Danny Alexander) came out in force, with almost every Lib Dem MP voting against the renewal of the legislation, and just one lone Tory — the maverick David Davis — joining them.

In the coalition government formed by the Tories and the Lib Dems, the gulf between both parties is particularly pronounced on these topics, and I hope, therefore, that this list provides a useful starting point for campaigners to write to MPs to encourage them to make their voices heard in the first few months of the new parliament.

They are not the only MPs who care about these issues, of course. In the new influx of MPs, those who care about justice and human rights include Caroline Lucas, Britain’s first Green MP, and, presumably, the handful of other new Lib Dem MPs and some Labour MPs too (who might feel less pressured to toe the party line now that they are no longer in power). I am, however, deeply concerned that, out of 306 Tory MPs, only two have demonstrated clear opposition to the Labour government’s draconian policies regarding terrorism, and I believe that, as a result, putting pressure on the Lib Dem MPs in particular is absolutely essential. If they stick to their principles, they must push for the abandonment of control orders and the use of secret evidence, and the return of Shaker Aamer. Otherwise, it will be revealed that they have sacrificed their principles for political gain, in a world not of their own devising, but of the Tory majority in their unusual coalition.

MPs can be contacted through very useful interactive lists on the party websites (Liberal Democrat, Labour and Conservative), or through the website TheyWorkForYou, and I will shortly be posting a template of a letter that can be used to address these issues with readers’ local MPs.

Note: In the list, CO refers to those who voted against the proposal to renew control orders on March 1, 2010, SA refers to the Shaker Aamer EDM, and SE refers to the secret evidence EDM. Please also note that, bizarrely, the 19 Labour MPs marked with an asterisk (*) voted for the renewal of control orders, even though, in some cases, they had supported the EDM opposing the use of secret evidence.

Conservatives (2)

Bottomley, Peter (SA, SE)
Davis, David (CO, SA, SE)

Labour (43)

Abbott, Diane (CO, SA, SE)
Anderson, David (SA)
Bayley, Hugh (SA)*
Betts, Clive (SA)*
Buck, Karen (SA)*
Campbell, Ronnie (SA)
Caton, Martin (SA, SE)*
Clark, Katy (CO, SA, SE)
Clwyd, Ann (SA)*
Connarty, Michael (SA)*
Corbyn, Jeremy (CO, SA, SE)
Crausby, David (SA)*
Cruddas, Jon (SA)*
Dobson, Frank (SA)*
Dowd, Jim (SA, SE)
Flello, Robert (SA)*
Flynn, Paul (SA, SE)*
Francis, Hywel (SA)*
Gerrard, Neil (SA, SE)
Gibson, Ian (SE)
Godsiff, Roger (CO)
Havard, Dai (SA, SE)
Heyes, David (SE)*
Hoey, Kate (SE)
Hopkins, Kelvin (CO, SA, SE)*
Hoyle, Lindsay (SE)*
Iddon, Brian (SA)
Illsley, Eric (SA, SE)
Jackson, Glenda (CO, SA, SE)
Lazarowicz, Mark (CO, SA, SE)
McCafferty, Christine (SE)
McDonnell, John (CO, SA, SE)
Mitchell, Austin (SA)*
Riordan, Linda (CO, SE)
Sarwar, Mohammad (SE)*
Sharma, Virendra (CO)
Singh, Marsha (SA)*
Skinner, Dennis (CO, SA)
Slaughter, Andy (SA)*
Thornberry, Emily (SA)
Vaz, Keith (SA)
Winnick, David (CO)
Wood, Mike (CO, SA)

Liberal Democrats (44)

Alexander, Danny (CO)
Baker, Norman (CO, SA, SE)
Beith, Sir Alan (CO)
Brake, Tom (CO, SA, SE)
Brooke, Annette (CO)
Browne, Jeremy (CO)
Bruce, Malcolm (CO, SA)
Burstow, Paul (CO)
Burt, Lorely (CO, SE)
Cable, Vincent (CO, SA, SE)
Campbell, Menzies (CO, SA)
Carmichael, Alistair (CO)
Clegg, Nick (CO)
Davey, Edward (SA)
Farron, Tim (CO)
Featherstone, Lynne (CO, SA, SE)
Foster, Don (CO, SA, SE)
George, Andrew (SA, SE)
Hancock, Mike (CO, SA, SE)
Harvey, Nick (CO, SA, SE)
Heath, David (CO)
Hemming, John (SA, SE)
Horwood, Martin (CO, SA, SE)
Hughes, Simon (CO, SE)
Huhne, Chris (CO, SE)
Hunter, Mark (CO, SA)
Kennedy, Charles (CO, SA)
Lamb, Norman (CO, SA, SE)
Leech, John (CO, SA, SE)
Moore, Michael (CO, SA)
Mulholland, Greg (CO, SE)
Rogerson, Dan (CO, SE)
Russell, Bob (CO)
Smith, Sir Robert (CO)
Stunell, Andrew (CO, SA, SE)
Swinson, Jo (CO, SE)
Taylor, Matthew (CO, SE)
Teather, Sarah (CO, SA, SE)
Thurso, John Sinclair, 3rd Viscount (CO)
Webb, Steve (CO)
Williams, Mark (CO, SA)
Williams, Roger (CO, SA)
Williams, Stephen (CO, SE)
Willott, Jenny (CO, SA, SE)

Independent (1)

Cook, Frank (CO, SA, SE)

Plaid Cymru (1)

Llwyd, Elfyn (SE)

Scottish National Party (5)

Hosie, Stewart (SE)
MacNeil, Angus (SE)
Robertson, Angus (CO, SE)
Weir, Mike (CO, SE)
Wishart, Pete (SE)

Social Democratic and Labour Party (2)

Durkan, Mark (SA, SE)
McDonnell, Alasdair (SE)

MPs who lost their seats

Labour: Barlow, Celia (SA)*, Berry, Roger (SA)*, Dismore, Andrew (CO, SA, SE), Drew, David (CO, SA, SE), Hall, Patrick (SE), Linton, Martin (SA)*, Mallaber, Judy (SA)*, McIsaac, Shona (SA)*, Morgan, Julie (SE)*, Prentice, Gordon (CO), Prosser, Gwyn (SA)*, Wright, Anthony D (SA)*
Liberal Democrat: Gidley, Sandra (CO, SA), Goldsworthy, Julia (CO, SE), Harris, Evan (CO), Holmes, Paul (CO, SA, SE), Kramer, Susan (SA, SE), Opik, Lembit (CO, SA), Rennie, Willie (CO, SA, SE), Rowen, Paul (CO, SE), Younger-Ross, Richard (CO)
Independent: Davies, Dai (CO, SA, SE), Pelling, Andrew (CO, SA), Taylor, Richard (CO, SE)
Respect: Galloway, George (SA, SE)
Scottish National Party: Mason, John (CO, SE)

MPs who stood down

Conservative: Wilshire, David (SE)
Labour: Austin, John (CO, SA, SE), Burgon, Colin (SA), Challen, Colin (SE), Chaytor, David (SE), Clapham, Michael (SA, SE), Cohen, Harry (SA, SE), Cousins, Jim (CO), Cryer, Ann (SA, SE)*, Dean, Janet (SA)*, Devine, Jim (SE), Etherington, Bill (SA, SE)*, Jones, Lynne (CO, SA, SE), Kilfoyle, Peter (CO), Lepper, David (SA, SE), Mackinlay, Andrew (SA, SE), Marshall-Andrews, Robert (CO, SE), Mullin, Chris (CO, SA), Naysmith, Doug (SE)*, Olner, Bill (SE), Simpson, Alan (CO, SA, SE), Stewart, Ian (SA)*, Strang, Gavin (SA, SE)*, Truswell, Paul (SE), Turner, Desmond (SA, SE)*, Vis, Rudi (SA, SE), Williams, Betty (SA)*, Wyatt, Derek (SA)
Lib Dem: Barrett, John (CO), Breed, Colin (CO, SE), Howarth, David (CO, SA, SE), Keetch, Paul (CO, SA, SE), Oaten, Mark (CO, SA), Willis, Phil (SA)
Independent: Wareing, Robert N (SA, SE)
Independent Labour: Short, Clare (SA, SE)

MPs who died

Labour: Taylor, David (SE)

Please also note that other MPs who may be worth contacting are Fiona Mactaggart (Labour), Richard Shepherd (Conservative) and Edward Timpson (Conservative), who were all members of the Joint Committee on Human Rights (PDF), although none of them voted against the renewal of control orders, or supported the secret evidence EDM, unlike the chair, Andrew Dismore, who lost his seat, and members Evan Harris (Lib Dem), who also lost his seat, and Virendra Sharma (who did vote against the renewal). Also of interest is Andrew Tyrie (Conservative), who established the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition.

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK). To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed (and I can also be found on Facebook and Twitter). Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in January 2010, details about the new documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, and currently on tour in the UK), and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.

3 Responses

  1. Eleanor Boyd says...

    Andy, unfortunately my MP is still Frank Roy. Need I say more?

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    No, not really, Eleanor. His record speaks for itself: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/frank_roy/motherwell_and_wishaw

  3. An uncivilised society | Andy Worthington | Latest United Kingdom Politics News says...

    […] the Liberal Democrats promised to scrap the system entirely, and on 1 March, at the last renewal, voted en masse to repeal the existing […]

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Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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