New law ‘grants ministers immunity for ordering crimes abroad’

Tory former cabinet minister David Davis calls for restraint on use of national security exemption

Andrew Woodcock
Political Editor
Saturday 04 June 2022 19:21 BST

Proposed changes to national security laws would give ministers and spies immunity from allegations of assisting crimes such as murder or torture abroad, a Conservative former minister has warned.

A clause in the National Security Bill, being debated by MPs on Monday, would create an exemption from the offence of encouraging or assisting a crime overseas in cases where it is “necessary for the proper exercise of any function” of MI5, MI6, GCHQ or the armed forces.

Former cabinet member David Davis said that the measure was “far too slack” in the discretion it grants to ministers, and urged MPs to amend it so it applied only to acts compatible with the UK’s “civilised standards”.

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