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Blackburn MP Jack Straw in rebel vote on security
5:00pm Thursday 7th March 2013 in News
JACK Straw has voted to allow so-called secret courts defying an instruction from Labour leader Ed Miliband to back a compromise.
The Blackburn MP spoke at Westminster against his party’s attempt to water down moves to allow more judges to examine secret intelligence in private.
Mr Straw then twice defied a ‘three-line whip – the toughest instruction on how to vote given to MPs – to back the Tory government.
He said it was the first time he had done so since a very new MP more than 30 years ago.
Mr Straw said his experience as a former Home and Foreign Secretary had persuaded him the new measures were needed to allow agents from MI5 and MI6 to give evidence in civil courts when the government was sued by individuals or organisations – as he personally had been twice.
Without them, cases would collapse or security service agents identified with catastrophic consequences for the fight against terrorists.
He said: “The heart of the issue is about protecting our national security.
“If we abandon our security agencies, serious atrocities could kill our ordinary people in Blackburn, Burnley or anywhere in the UK.”