MI5’s agents and informants have been secretly and officially authorised to carry out crimes without scrutiny.
The “secret and concealed” policy allows spooks to authorise participation in “murder, torture, sexual assault or other grave criminality” if it believed it was in the public interest, a court was told.
The policy remains secret.
The criminal authorisation was acknowledged for the first time in a British court when an alliance of human rights groups argued that it was unlawful.
Ben Jaffey QC told the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, which allegedly oversees the work of spy agencies, “This is a case where the agencies are able to self-grant themselves a practical immunity from the criminal law.”
When judicial oversight of the policy was introduced in 2012, it was kept secret. David Cameron, then prime minister, told the oversight judge, then Sir Mark Waller, at the time that he could not comment on its legality.
The order, which was renewed and signed off by Theresa May last year, allows MI5 handlers to authorise agents to commit crime while providing intelligence to help the agency’s investigations into terrorism and espionage.
Section 7 of the Intelligence Services Act 1994 allows the foreign secretary to authorise MI6 or GCHQ to carry out criminal acts outside Britain.
But the government had previously denied criminality within Britain and Northern Ireland by MI5.
The government has released a heavily redacted version of the guidelines. Circumstances in which crime is permitted are blacked out.
Take the case of the 1989 shooting of Pat Finucane, a British and Irish human rights lawyer killed by loyalist paramilitaries. Cameron wrote to Sir Mark Waller one month before he told parliament that there were “shocking levels of state collusion” in the murder.
The intelligence agencies, Home Office and Foreign Office argue that details of the policy cannot be publicly aired for reasons of national security.
Paul O’Connor, Director of the Pat Finucane Centre, said, “It can be no coincidence that Prime Minister David Cameron issued new guidelines on oversight of MI5 just two weeks before publication of the De Silva report into the murder of Pat Finucane.”
There are currently estimated to be hundreds of MI5 officers in Northern Ireland.
United For Change is investment banker Simon Franks’ new centrist party with reportedly £50 million behind it.
It is on the lookout for an advertising agency that “understands life for people outside the capital”.
It is apparently planning to launch next March.
Michael Gove’s rubbish plan to ‘help’ the poor
Michael Gove has a plan. Open the nation’s waste dumps. The environment secretary wants all council waste sites to have happy urchins clambering over them looking for stuff.
Gove said, “It is not an answer to everything but greater reuse is one way to ensure that pressure on resources diminishes. I do not want to go full ‘Good Life’ but resource efficiency is good for the economy.”
People should be able to pick up the odd treasure. Perhaps if really lucky you might get a birch Camargue chair worth £432 or elephant lamp worth £134.
Both of which Gove was was happy to get on MPs’ expenses.
The army's latest wheeze is to offer soldiers kicked out for using drugs a £10,000 “golden hello” to come back.
Some 700 fully trained service personnel were kicked out in 2015 after failing drugs tests. Though if you’re going to kill foreigners for bosses, it may be best to be high.
Cleaners are sick of MPs’ debauchery
MPs are to be warned about their conduct after cleaners complained of finding used condoms and vomit in their Westminster offices.
David Natzler, the clerk of the House of Commons, has received reports from disgusted cleaners forced to clear up the debris left by MPs.
“It’s the type of behaviour you would expect from students enjoying freshers’ week, not MPs and their staff,” the “source” said. “But cleaners are being confronted with vomit and used condoms in offices used by MPs and their staff.
“The cleaners are not there to clear up after their debauchery.”
Last year Tory Andrea Leadsom pledged to lead an investigation into alcohol consumption in parliament. A hotline was set up for people to report the behaviour. So far “Members of staff called suggesting, that Andrea had thrown a book at someone’s head,” the source said.
Pret A manger kills again
Pret a Manger is investigating the death of a second customer suspected to have had an allergic reaction to its food.
Celia Marsh died last December after eating a £3.75 vegan sandwich that was bought from a Pret store in Bath. It was contaminated with milk protein.
Tests revealed the dairy-free yoghurt used in the “super-veg rainbow flat bread” from one of Pret’s suppliers was contaminated. Dairy-free CoYo yoghurts from the supplier were pulled from supermarket shelves across the country.
Pret A Manger has been under national scrutiny after Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died of an allergic reaction caused by a Pret baguette.
She had a fatal reaction to sesame, which was in the baguette but wasn’t listed as an ingredient.
A GCSE in prejudice
An officially approved GCSE sociology text book has come under fire for repeating racist stereotypes about Caribbean families.
It claimed that men are “largely absent” and children are passed between relatives.
In AQA GCSE (9-1) Sociology a chapter discussing the sociology of families reads, “In Caribbean families, the fathers and husbands are largely absent and women assume the most responsibility in childrearing.”
No LGBT+ lessons for poshos
Children in private junior schools will no longer have to be explicitly taught about gay marriage, cohabiting couples or same-sex families.
The change is contained in guidance on the standards by which independent schools are inspected. It was put out for consultation in March by education secretary Damian Hinds.
Since the passing of the Equality Act in 2010, both state and private schools have had to teach about lifestyles and sexualities to meet inspection standards.