Get Red Pepper's email newsletter. Enter your email address to receive our latest articles, updates and news.
Home Office minister Baroness Scotland apologised to a conference organised in April by the Centre for Corporate Accountability that the draft bill had not yet been published. However, she said: “We are still hoping to publish a draft bill before the end of the current parliamentary session.” This means by the beginning of the next queen speech -around October 2004.
But Scotland emphasised that the government would remain committed to its manifesto commitment to reform in this area.
The Labour government first announced its intention to legislate in this area at the 1997 Labour Party conference. A year earlier the Law Commission had proposed that there should be a new offence of “corporate killing” which would allow a company to be prosecuted for a homicide offence without the need to prosecute a director or senior manager of the company.
One of the main reasons for the delay appears to be a conflict within government about whether “crown bodies” – government departments and organisations controlled by them – should be prosecuted for the new offence. Although it would be difficult to allow private companies but not government bodies to be prosecuted for a homicide offence (allowing private, but not Home Office, prisons to be prosecuted, for example), some ministers remain uncertain about removing crown immunity.
With only five small companies convicted for manslaughter, the proposal to enact a corporate killing offence has been widely supported by trade unions and safety groups. However, there is now much greater uncertainty about the contents of the draft bill.
There is concern, for example, that the government has rowed back on in its summer 2000 consultation document, which suggested that any new bill would increase not only the criminal accountability of companies, but also of company director and managers. The Home Office has made it clear that the government’s bill will not be directed at the conduct of company directors.
The new reforms will be nowhere near as radical as reforms passed by Canadian parliament in November 2003. The new Canadian legislation:
Michael Coates reviews a new film revealing the shocking state of housing inequality in the UK.
The vicious media campaign against trans people is part bigotry, part strategy, writes Roz Kaveney
Jon Trickett MP reports on 'Dickensian' levels of poverty and hardship felt across the UK.
Natasha King busts some myths around the No Borders debate
He was once a radical icon, but now he's a mouthpiece for racism and nationalism. Time to get off stage, writes Michael Calderbank
Consensus seems to have shifted, but austerity is far from over. The chancellor has committed us to yet more years of misery while the rich get richer, writes Richard Seymour.
Frustrated at the idea of another royal wedding? You're not alone. Joana Ramiro argues we should stop idealising a fundamentally undemocratic institution.
Liberal elites are using Russian interference to minimise their own political failures, writes Matt Turner
Nick Dearden from Global Justice Now argues that after years of colonial domination and dodgy trade deals, the UK must make amends and support Zimbabwe in this uncertain time.
Last month's mass far right demonstration can be linked to a toxic mix of government tolerance of fascism and neoliberalism on steroids. Ewa Jasiewicz investigates.
Meet the frontline activists facing down the global mining industry
Activists are defending land, life and water from the global mining industry. Tatiana Garavito, Sebastian Ordoñez and Hannibal Rhoades investigate.
Transition or succession? Zimbabwe’s future looks uncertain
The fall of Mugabe doesn't necessarily spell freedom for the people of Zimbabwe, writes Farai Maguwu
Don’t let Corbyn’s opponents sneak onto the Labour NEC
Labour’s powerful governing body is being targeted by forces that still want to strangle Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, writes Alex Nunns
Labour Party laws are being used to quash dissent
Richard Kuper writes that Labour's authorities are more concerned with suppressing pro-Palestine activism than with actually tackling antisemitism
Catalan independence is not just ‘nationalism’ – it’s a rebellion against nationalism
Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte argue that Catalonia's independence movement is driven by solidarity – and resistance to far-right Spanish nationalists
Tabloids do not represent the working class
The tabloid press claims to be an authentic voice of the working class - but it's run by and for the elites, writes Matt Thompson
As London City Airport turns 30, let’s imagine a world without it
London City Airport has faced resistance for its entire lifetime, writes Ali Tamlit – and some day soon we will win
The first world war sowed the seeds of the Russian revolution
An excerpt from 'October', China Mieville's book revisiting the story of the Russian Revolution
Academies run ‘on the basis of fear’
Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT) was described in a damning report as an organisation run 'on the basis of fear'. Jon Trickett MP examines an education system in crisis.
‘There is no turning back to a time when there wasn’t migration to Britain’
David Renton reviews the Migration Museum's latest exhibition
#MeToo is necessary – but I’m sick of having to prove my humanity
Women are expected to reveal personal trauma to be taken seriously, writes Eleanor Penny
Meet the digital feminists
We're building new online tools to create a new feminist community and tackle sexism wherever we find it, writes Franziska Grobke