Nadia Whittome reveals she has been sacked on live politics show
Labour MP voted against government bill designed to stop “vexatious prosecutions” of service personnel, saying it’s “anti-human rights”
Office of leader Sir Keir Starmer had told Labour MPs to abstain on vote
This is the moment a Labour MP reveals on live TV that she has been sacked by Sir Keir Starmer.
Nottingham East MP Nadia Whittome has lost her role as a parliamentary private secretary after going against Labour policy to oppose the controversial Overseas Operations Bill, which the government said will protect service personnel from “vexatious prosecutions”.
Whittome, appearing on ITV’s Peston show, was shown a tweet saying she had been considered “to have resigned” by the leadership’s office after defying the whip’s orders to abstain on the vote.
After being shown the post, Whittome revealed she had been sacked as she said: “I haven’t resigned…”
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— Peston (@itvpeston) September 23, 2020
She was part of a group of Labour rebels from the Socialist Campaign group of MPs – which includes former leader Jeremy Corbyn – who voted against the bill.
Explaining why she voted against it, Whittome, who at 24 is the youngest MP, said “the bill was a matter of conscience”.
“I felt that given that all the major human rights organisations – Amnesty, Human Rights Watch… even the British Legion and veterans themselves opposed this bill – and these are all arguments that our front bench made today, we don’t agree with this bill.
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“And we think it’s anti-veteran, it’s anti-human rights. It would, effectively, decriminalise torture, and that’s why I voted against it.
“We already have laws that prevent vexatious claims, and, in fact, many veterans are against this.”
The government says the proposed legislation will ensure service personnel will be protected from “vexatious claims and endless investigations”.
Ministers said it seeks to limit false and historical allegations arising from overseas operations by introducing a statutory presumption against prosecution, making it exceptional for personnel to be prosecuted five years or more after an incident.
To override the presumption, the consent of the attorney general will be required, and the prosecutor must weigh up the “adverse impact of overseas operations on service personnel” and, where there has been no compelling new evidence, the public interest in cases coming to a “timely conclusion”.
Campaigners and some senior military figures have warned the legislation will create a presumption against prosecution of torture and other serious crimes, except rape and sexual violence.