MPs join charity and law firm to demand drone policy answers

Rosa Curling

Members of the UK parliament have joined  charity Reprieve and law firm Leigh Day to demand information about the UK’s use of unmanned combat drones.

Leigh Day has sent a Letter Before Action (LBA) on behalf of Caroline Lucas MP and Baroness Jones, who are demanding transparency from the government over the use of targeted drone strikes in countries like Iraq and Syria.

They want to know if the government has formulated a targeted policy, and if so what that policy is, and whether it is legal.

The LBA states: “The Claimants condemn terrorism. The Government is right to dedicate resources to ensure the British public is protected. Yet those planning or involved in such acts must be dealt with in accordance with the law. If any pre-authorised and targeted killing can be lawful, they must be carried out under a formulated and published Targeted Killing Policy which ensures transparency, clarity and accountability for such use of lethal force.”

Rosa Curling, a solicitor in the human rights team at Leigh Day said: “The lack of, or the failure to publish, the policy by which the UK government is currently killing UK citizens abroad is unlawful. It is crucial our government’s actions to counter terrorism are lawful and transparent.

“The government must allow its Targeted Killing Policy to be properly scrutinised by the public, Parliament and the courts without further delay so a proper debate about its content can take place.”

Kat Craig, legal director at Reprieve, said: “The government has said it has the power to kill anyone, anywhere in the world, without oversight or safeguards.

“This is a huge step, and at the very least the Prime Minister should come clean about his new kill policy.”

She added: “It is disappointing that MPs are having to turn to the courts to extract even the most basic information on a policy which the Prime Minister himself has described as a ‘new departure’ for the country.”