Civil liberties in the United Kingdom
Civil liberties in the United Kingdom have a long and formative history. This is considered to have begun with Magna Carta of 1215, a landmark document in British constitutional history. Development of civil liberties advanced in common law and statute law in the 17th and 18th centuries, notably with the Bill of Rights 1689. During the 19th century, working-class people struggled to win the right to vote and join trade unions. Parliament responded with new legislation, attitudes to universal suffrage and liberties progressed further in the aftermath of the first and second world wars. Since the United Kingdom's relationship to civil liberties has been mediated through its membership of the European Convention on Human Rights; the United Kingdom, through Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe, led the drafting of the Convention, which expresses a traditional civil libertarian theory. It became directly applicable in UK law with the enactment of the Human Rights Act 1998; the relationship between human rights and civil liberties is seen as two sides of the same coin.
A right is something you may demand of someone, while a liberty is freedom from interference by another in your presumed rights. However, human rights are broader. In the numerous documents around the world, they involve more substantive moral assertions on what is necessary, for instance, for "life and the pursuit of happiness", "to develop one's personality to the fullest potential" or "protect inviolable dignity". "Civil liberties" are that, but they are distinctly civil, relate to participation in public life. As Professor Conor Gearty writes, Civil liberties is another name for the political freedoms that we must have available to us all if it to be true to say of us that we live in a society that adheres to the principle of representative, or democratic, government. In other words, civil liberties are "freedoms" which underpin democracy; this means the right to vote, the right to life, the prohibition on torture, security of the person, the right to personal liberty and due process of law, freedom of expression and freedom of association.
Magna Carta, supported what became the writ of habeas corpus, trial by one's peers, representation of nobility for taxation, a ban on retroactive punishment. The Case of Proclamations decided that "the King by his proclamation or other ways cannot change any part of the common law, or statute law, or the customs of the realm" and that "the King hath no prerogative, but that which the law of the land allows him." Dr. Bonham's Case, decided that "in many cases, the common law will control Acts of Parliament"; this may have influenced Madison which led to judicial review in the United States. The Petition of Right, established the illegality of taxation without parliamentary consent and prohibited arbitrary imprisonment. Habeas Corpus Act 1679, safeguarded individual freedom against unlawful imprisonment with right to appeal. Bill of Rights 1689, asserted certain rights of Parliament and the individual, limited the power of the monarch—the result of the Glorious Revolution; the Second Treatise on Representative Government outlines John Locke's ideas for a more civilised society based on natural rights and contract theory.
Ashby v White 1 Sm LC 253, right to vote cannot be interfered with by a public official. Armory v Delamirie K. B. 1 Strange 505, 93 ER 664. Entick v Carrington, right against arbitrary search and seizure, his principle was that the individual could do anything not prohibited by law, the state could do nothing but that, authorised by law. R v Knowles, ex parte Somersett 20 State Tr 1. However, this did nothing for the colonies. Trials of John Wilkes. Slave Trade Act 1807, abolished the slave trade in the British Empire following a Parliamentary campaign led by William Wilberforce. Roman Catholic Relief Act 1829, restored the civil rights of Catholics. Great Reform Act of 1832, enfranchised more property holders, rationalised the borough and county seat system. Slavery Abolition Act 1833, abolished slavery throughout the British Empire. Bird v freedom of movement. Second Reform Act of 1867, loosened the property qualification, extended the franchise to around a third of men. Conspiracy, Protection of Property Act 1875, decriminalised trade union activity.
Beatty v Gillbanks 9 QBD 308, the Salvation Army wanted to campaign against alcohol with the help of a brass band in Weston-super-Mare. Local brewers formed a so-called "skeleton army", threatened to disrupt the march with force; the police, fearing for public order told the Salvation Army to call it off. The police forced them, by breaking up the brass band. Field J in the High Court held; the Salvation Army was associating "for religious exercises among themselves, for a religious revival". No one could "say that such an assembly in itself an unlawful one". Stopping the march would be like saying "that a man may be convicted for doing a lawful act—there is no authority for such a proposition." Third Reform Act of 1884 and the Redistribution Act of the following year extended the same voting qualifications in the towns to the countryside and established the present-day one-member constituency as the normal pattern for Parliamentary representation. Trade Disputes Act
Intelligence assessment is the development of behavior forecasts or recommended courses of action to the leadership of an organisation, based on wide ranges of available overt and covert information. Assessments develop in response to leadership declaration requirements to inform decision making. Assessment may be executed on behalf of a state, military or commercial organisation with ranges of information sources available to each. An intelligence assessment reviews available information and previous assessments for relevance and currency. Where there requires additional information, the analyst may direct some collection. Intelligence studies is the academic field concerning intelligence assessment relating to international relations and military science. Intelligence assessment is based on a customer requirement or need, which may be a standing requirement or tailored to a specific circumstance or a Request for Information; the "requirement" is passed to the assessing agency and worked through the intelligence cycle, a structured method for responding to the RFI.
The RFI may indicate. The RFI is reviewed by a Requirements Manager, who will direct appropriate tasks to respond to the request; this will involve a review of existing material, the tasking of new analytical product or the collection of new information to inform an analysis. New information may be collected through one or more of the various collection disciplines; the nature of the RFI and the urgency placed on it may indicate that some collection types are unsuitable due to the time taken to collect or validate the information gathered. Intelligence gathering disciplines and the sources and methods used are highly classified and compartmentalised, with analysts requiring an appropriate high level of security clearance; the process of taking known information about situations and entities of importance to the RFI, characterizing what is known and attempting to forecast future events is termed "all source" assessment, analysis or processing. The analyst uses multiple sources to mutually corroborate, or exclude, the information collected, reaching a conclusion along with a measure of confidence around that conclusion.
Where sufficient current information exists, the analysis may be tasked directly without reference to further collection. The analysis is communicated back to the requester in the format directed, although subject to the constraints on both the RFI and the methods used in the analysis, the format may be made available for other uses as well and disseminated accordingly; the analysis will be written to a defined classification level with alternative versions available at a number of classification levels for further dissemination. This approach, known as Find-Fix-Finish-Exploit-Assess, is complementary to the intelligence cycle and focused on the intervention itself, where the subject of the assessment is identifiable and provisions exist to make some form of intervention against that subject, the target-centric assessment approach may be used; the subject for action, or target, is identified and efforts are made to find the target for further development. This activity will identify where intervention against the target will have the most beneficial effects.
When the decision is made to intervene, action is taken to fix the target, confirming that the intervention will have a high probability of success and restricting the ability of the target to take independent action. During the finish stage, the intervention is executed an arrest or detention or the placement of other collection methods. Following the intervention, exploitation of the target is carried out, which may lead to further refinement of the process for related targets; the output from the exploit stage will be passed into other intelligence assessment activities. Intelligence cycle List of intelligence gathering disciplines Military intelligence Surveillance Threat assessment Futures studies SurveysAndrew, Christopher. For the President's Eyes Only: Secret Intelligence and the American Presidency from Washington to Bush Black and Morris, Benny Israel's Secret Wars: A History of Israel's Intelligence Services Bungert, Heike et al. eds. Secret Intelligence in the Twentieth Century essays by scholars Dulles, Allen W.
The Craft of Intelligence: America's Legendary Spy Master on the Fundamentals of Intelligence Gathering for a Free World Kahn, David The Codebreakers: The Comprehensive History of Secret Communication from Ancient Times to the Internet, 1200 pages Lerner, K. Lee and Brenda Wilmoth Lerner, eds. Encyclopedia of Espionage and Security, 1100 pages. 850 articles, strongest on technology Odom, Gen. William E. Fixing Intelligence: For a More Secure America, Second Edition O'Toole, George. Honorable Treachery: A History of U. S. Intelligence, Covert Action from the American Revolution to the CIA Owen, David. Hidden Secrets: A Complete History of Espionage and the Technology Used to Support It, popular Richelson, Jeffery T. A Century of Spies: Intelligence in the Twentieth Century Richelson, Jeffery T; the U. S. Intelligence Community Shulsky, Abram N. and Schmitt, Gary J. "Silent Warfare: Understanding the World of Intelligence", 285 pages West, Nigel. MI6: British Secret Intelligence Service Operations 1909–1945 West, Nigel.
Secret War: The Story of SOE, Britain's Wartime Sabotage Organization Wohlstetter, Roberta. Pearl Harbor: Warning and Decision World War IBeesly, Patrick. Room 40.. Covers the breaking of German codes by RN intelligence
Defence Intelligence is an organisation within the United Kingdom intelligence community which focuses on gathering and analysing military intelligence. It differs from the UK's intelligence agencies in that it is not a stand-alone organisation, but is an integral part of the Ministry of Defence; the organisation employs a mixture of civilian and military staff and is funded within the UK's defence budget. The organisation was known as the Defence Intelligence Staff, but changed its name in 2009; the primary role of Defence Intelligence is that of'all-source' intelligence analysis. This discipline draws information from a variety of overt and covert sources to provide the intelligence needed to support military operations, contingency planning, to inform defence policy and procurement decisions; the maintenance of the ability to give timely strategic warning of politico-military and scientific and technical developments with the potential to affect UK interests is a vital part of the process.
DI's assessments are used outside the MoD to support the work of the Joint Intelligence Committee and to assist the work of other Government departments and international partners. It is this'all-source' function which distinguishes Defence Intelligence from other organisations such as SIS and GCHQ which focus on the collection of'single-source' Human Intelligence and Signals Intelligence respectively; as such Defence Intelligence occupies a unique position within the UK intelligence community. Defence Intelligence performs an intelligence collection function through the military capabilities lodged within the Joint Forces Intelligence Group. Defence Intelligence can trace its ancestry back to 1946, when the Joint Intelligence Bureau was established under the direction of General Sir Kenneth Strong; the JIB's was structured into a series of divisions: procurement, defences and beaches, key points and telecommunications. When the Ministry of Defence was formed in 1964, Naval Intelligence, Military Intelligence and Air Intelligence were combined to form the Defence Intelligence Staff.
Although the DIS focussed on Cold War issues, more its attention has moved to support for overseas operations, weapons of mass destruction and international counter-terrorism activities. Like the rest of the MOD, Defence Intelligence was subject to the 2008'Streamlining' initiative in which 20–25 percent of Central London staff were cut and it has had to continue to find additional savings since, it changed its name to Defence Intelligence in 2009. Defence Intelligence is headed by the Chief of Defence Intelligence, a serving three-star military officer and who, as the MOD's'intelligence process owner', is responsible for the overall co-ordination of intelligence activities throughout the Armed Forces and single Service Commands, he is supported by two deputies -- one military. The civilian Deputy Chief of Defence Intelligence is responsible for Defence Intelligence analysis and production and the military Director of Cyber Intelligence and Information Integration is responsible for intelligence collection amongst more wide-ranging other duties.
DCDI manages the production directorates of Defence Intelligence. These include directorates for: Strategic Assessments Capability Assessments Counter Proliferation Defence Intelligence Fusion Centre ResourcesDCDI is responsible for intelligence analysis and production, providing global defence intelligence assessments and strategic warning on a wide range of issues including, intelligence support for operations; these intelligence assessments draw upon classified information provided by GCHQ, SIS, the Security Service, Allied intelligence services and military collection assets, in addition to diplomatic reporting and a wide range of publicly available or ‘open source’ information such as media reporting and the internet. DCI3 is responsible for the provision of specialised intelligence and geographic support services, for the intelligence and security training of the Armed Forces. In addition to a Head Office policy staff he is responsible for two major groupings within Defence Intelligence: The JFIG was established in 2012 under the new Joint Forces Command and superseded the Intelligence Collection Group.
Making up the largest sub-element of Defence Intelligence, JFIG is responsible for the collection of signals, geospatial and measurement and signature intelligence and comprises: The Defence Geographic Centre The Defence Intelligence Fusion Centre known as the Defence Geospatial Intelligence Fusion Centre and prior to that JARIC Joint Services Signals Organisation Defence HUMINT Unit The Defence Intelligence Fusion Centre is based at RAF Wyton in Cambridgeshire and provides specialist imagery intelligence to the armed forces and other UK government customers. They deliver this through the exploitation of satellite imaging systems, as well as airborne and ground-based collection systems. DIFC uses these sources, together with advanced technologies, to provide regional intelligence assessments and support to strategic intelligence projections; the Defence HUMINT Orga
Mass surveillance in the United Kingdom
The use of electronic surveillance by the United Kingdom grew from the development of signal intelligence and pioneering code breaking during World War II. In the post-war period, the Government Communications Headquarters was formed and participated in programmes such as the Five Eyes collaboration of English-speaking nations; this focused on intercepting electronic communications, with substantial increases in surveillance capabilities over time. A series of media reports in 2013 revealed bulk collection and surveillance capabilities, including collection and sharing collaborations between GCHQ and the United States' National Security Agency; these were described by the media and civil liberties groups as mass surveillance. Similar capabilities exist in other western European countries, such as France. Surveillance of electronic communications in the United Kingdom is controlled by laws made in the UK Parliament. In particular, access to the content of private messages must be authorised by a warrant signed by a Secretary of State.
In addition European Union data privacy law applies in UK law. The law provides for governance and safeguards over the use of electronic surveillance. Further oversight including a requirement for judges to review warrants authorised by a Secretary of State, as well as new surveillance powers, were introduced by the Investigatory Powers Act 2016; the judicial body which oversees the intelligence services in the United Kingdom, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, ruled that the legislative framework in the United Kingdom does not permit mass surveillance and that while GCHQ collects and analyses data in bulk, its practices do not constitute mass surveillance. Other independent reports, including one by the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament came to this view although they found past shortcomings in oversight and disclosure, said the legal framework should be simplified to improve transparency. However, notable civil liberties groups and broadsheet newspapers continue to express strong views to the contrary, while UK and US intelligence agencies and others have criticised these viewpoints in turn.
Various government bodies maintain databases about residents of the United Kingdom. These include "bulk data sets" such as medical records. In January 2016 the Home Secretary stated she would neither restrict the data sets that might be accessed for such purposes, nor state whether or not communications protected from law enforcement access such as journalist's sources and legal privilege had been accessed covertly. Although the use of video surveillance cameras in the United Kingdom is common, as it is in many countries, its prevalence may have been overstated. Legal provisions exist that control and restrict the collection, storage and use of information in government databases, require local governments or police forces operating video surveillance cameras to comply with a code of conduct: the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice; the legal framework in the United Kingdom for lawful interception and storage of communications data and, when a warrant exists, the content of electronic communications is based on the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 and several other pieces of legislation.
The Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 deals with the retention of certain types of communications data. It was brought into effect; the Telecommunications Act 1984 has been used by the government to facilitate bulk communications data collection. The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 includes several provisions related to controlling or restricting the collection, storage and use of information in government databases; the Human Rights Act 1998 requires the intelligence agencies, including GCHQ, to respect citizens' rights as enumerated in the European Convention on Human Rights. The Investigatory Powers Tribunal ruled in December 2014 that the legal frameworks in the United Kingdom governing the bulk interception of data and intelligence sharing with agencies in other countries do not breach the European Convention on Human Rights, are compliant with Articles 8 and 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. However, the Tribunal stated that one particular aspect of intelligence sharing, the data-sharing arrangement that allowed UK Intelligence services to request data from the US surveillance programmes Prism and Upstream, had been in contravention of human rights law until two paragraphs of additional information, providing details about the procedures and safeguards, were disclosed to the public in December 2014.
Privacy and civil liberties advocates such as Liberty and Privacy International, who brought a legal case against the government to force the judgement, continue to oppose to the temporary bulk collection of data, powers to access this and retain selected data, as well as intelligence sharing relationships. Intelligence agencies and MPs have criticised the viewpoint of privacy campaigners on this issue. Following the publication of a special report by the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament in March 2015, which identified shortcomings in past oversight and potential improvements to the legislative framework, Prime Minister David Cameron initiated an inquiry into the legalisation governing the interception powers of the intelligence agencies. A third independent report into surveillance in the UK published in July 2015 found the intelligence agencies are not knowingly carrying out illegal mass surveillance of British citizens. Howev
House of Commons of the United Kingdom
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the upper house, the House of Lords, it meets in the Palace of Westminster; the full name of the house is the Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled. Owing to shortage of space, its office accommodation extends into Portcullis House; the Commons is an elected body consisting of 650 members known as Members of Parliament. Members are elected to represent constituencies by the first-past-the-post system and hold their seats until Parliament is dissolved; the House of Commons of England started to evolve in 14th centuries. It became the House of Commons of Great Britain after the political union with Scotland in 1707, assumed the title of "House of Commons of Great Britain and Ireland" after the political union with Ireland at the start of the 19th century; the "United Kingdom" referred to was the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1800, became the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland after the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922.
Accordingly, the House of Commons assumed its current title. Under the Parliament Act 1911, the Lords' power to reject legislation was reduced to a delaying power; the Government is responsible to the House of Commons and the Prime Minister stays in office only as long as she or he retains the confidence of a majority of the Commons. Although it does not formally elect the prime minister, the position of the parties in the House of Commons is of overriding importance. By convention, the prime minister is answerable to, must maintain the support of, the House of Commons. Thus, whenever the office of prime minister falls vacant, the Sovereign appoints the person who has the support of the House, or, most to command the support of the House—normally the leader of the largest party in the Commons, while the leader of the second-largest party becomes the Leader of the Opposition. Since 1963, by convention, the prime minister is always a member of the House of Commons, rather than the House of Lords.
The Commons may indicate its lack of support for the Government by rejecting a motion of confidence or by passing a motion of no confidence. Confidence and no confidence motions are phrased explicitly, for instance: "That this House has no confidence in Her Majesty's Government." Many other motions were until recent decades considered confidence issues though not explicitly phrased as such: in particular, important bills that were part of the Government's agenda. The annual Budget is still considered a matter of confidence; when a Government has lost the confidence of the House of Commons, the prime minister is obliged either to resign, making way for another MP who can command confidence, or to request the monarch to dissolve Parliament, thereby precipitating a general election. Parliament sits for a maximum term of five years. Subject to that limit, the prime minister could choose the timing of the dissolution of parliament, with the permission of the Monarch. However, since the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act 2011, terms are now a fixed five years, an early general election is brought about by a two-thirds majority in favour of a motion for a dissolution, or by a vote of no confidence, not followed within fourteen days by a vote of confidence.
By this second mechanism, the UK's government can change its political composition without an intervening general election. Only four of the eight last Prime Ministers have attained office as the immediate result of a general election; the latter four were Jim Callaghan, John Major, Gordon Brown and the current Prime Minister Theresa May. In such circumstances there may not have been an internal party leadership election, as the new leader may be chosen by acclaim, having no electoral rival. A prime minister will resign after party defeat at an election if unable to lead a coalition, or obtain a confidence and supply arrangement, she or he may resign after a motion of no confidence or for health reasons. In such cases, the premiership goes to, it has become the practice to write the constitution of major UK political parties to provide a set way in which to appoint a new leader. Until 1965, the Conservative Party had no fixed mechanism for this, it fell to the Queen to appoint Harold Macmillan as the new prime minister, after taking the consensus of cabinet ministers.
By convention, ministers are members of the House of House of Lords. A handful have been appointed who were outside Parliament, but in most cases they entered Parliament in a by-election or by receiving a peerage. Exceptions include Peter Mandelson, appointed Secretary of State for Business and Regulatory Reform in October 2008 before his peerage. Since 1902, all prime ministers have been members of the Commons; the new session of Parliament was delayed to await the outcome of his by-election, which happened
Privacy is the ability of an individual or group to seclude themselves, or information about themselves, thereby express themselves selectively. The boundaries and content of what is considered private differ among cultures and individuals, but share common themes; when something is private to a person, it means that something is inherently special or sensitive to them. The domain of privacy overlaps with security, which can include the concepts of appropriate use, as well as protection of information. Privacy may take the form of bodily integrity; the right not to be subjected to unsanctioned invasions of privacy by the government, corporations or individuals is part of many countries' privacy laws, in some cases, constitutions. All countries have laws. An example of this would be law concerning taxation, which requires the sharing of information about personal income or earnings. In some countries individual privacy may conflict with freedom of speech laws and some laws may require public disclosure of information which would be considered private in other countries and cultures.
This was a major concern in the United States, with the Supreme Court passage of Citizens United. Privacy may be voluntarily sacrificed in exchange for perceived benefits and often with specific dangers and losses, although this is a strategic view of human relationships. For example, people may be ready to reveal their name, if that allows them to promote trust by others and thus build meaningful social relations. Research shows that people are more willing to voluntarily sacrifice privacy if the data gatherer is seen to be transparent as to what information is gathered and how it is used. In the business world, a person may volunteer personal details in order to gamble on winning a prize. A person may disclose personal information as part of being an executive for a publicly traded company in the USA pursuant to federal securities law. Personal information, voluntarily shared but subsequently stolen or misused can lead to identity theft; the concept of universal individual privacy is a modern construct associated with Western culture and North American in particular, remained unknown in some cultures until recent times.
According to some researchers, this concept sets Anglo-American culture apart from Western European cultures such as French or Italian. Most cultures, recognize the ability of individuals to withhold certain parts of their personal information from wider society—closing the door to one's home, for example; the distinction or overlap between secrecy and privacy is ontologically subtle, why the word "privacy" is an example of an untranslatable lexeme, many languages do not have a specific word for "privacy". Such languages either use a complex description to translate the term or borrow from English "privacy"; the distinction hinges on the discreteness of interests of parties, which can have emic variation depending on cultural mores of individualism and the negotiation between individual and group rights. The difference is sometimes expressed humorously. A broad multicultural literary tradition going to the beginnings of recorded history discusses the concept of privacy. One way of categorizing all concepts of privacy is by considering all discussions as one of these concepts: the right to be let alone the option to limit the access others have to one's personal information secrecy, or the option to conceal any information from others control over others' use of information about oneself states of privacy personhood and autonomy self-identity and personal growth protection of intimate relationships In 1890 the United States jurists Samuel D. Warren and Louis Brandeis wrote The Right to Privacy, an article in which they argued for the "right to be let alone", using that phrase as a definition of privacy.
There is extensive commentary over the meaning of being "let alone", among other ways, it has been interpreted to mean the right of a person to choose seclusion from the attention of others if they wish to do so, the right to be immune from scrutiny or being observed in private settings, such as one's own home. Although this early vague legal concept did not describe privacy in a way that made it easy to design broad legal protections of privacy, it strengthened the notion of privacy rights for individuals and began a legacy of discussion on those rights. Limited access refers to a person's ability to participate in society without having other individuals and organizations collect information about them. Various theorists have imagined privacy as a system for limiting access to one's personal information. Edwin Lawrence Godkin wrote in the late 19th century that "nothing is better worthy of legal protection than private life, or, in other words, the right of every man to keep his affairs to himself, to decide for himself to what extent they shall be the subject of public observation and discussion."
Adopting an approach similar to the one presented by Ruth Gavison 9 years earlier, Sissela Bok said that privacy is "the condition of being protected from unwanted access by others—either physical access, personal information, or attention." Control over one's personal information is the concept that "privacy is the claim of individuals, groups, or institutions to determine for themselves when, to what extent information about them is communicated to others." Charles Fried said that
Caroline Louise Flint is a British Labour Party politician, the Member of Parliament for Don Valley since 1997. She served in the Government as the Minister for Public Health from 2005 to 2007, the Minister for Employment from 2007 to 2008, the Minister for Housing and Planning in 2008, as the Minister for Europe from 2008 to 2009, when she resigned citing disagreement with the leadership style of Gordon Brown. In 2010, she was elected to the Shadow Cabinet and Ed Miliband appointed her Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. From 2011 to 2015, she was Shadow Secretary of State for Climate Change. Flint was born on 20 September 1961 in Twickenham, she was educated at Twickenham Girls School, in Clifden Road and Richmond Tertiary College before earning a degree in American Literature and History combined with Film Studies from the University of East Anglia. She joined the Labour Party when she was 17, she was the Women's Officer of the National Organisation of Labour Students from 1982 to 1984.
She began her career with the Inner London Education Authority, as a management trainee from 1984 to 1985 and a Policy Officer from 1985 to 1987. She was head of the Women's Unit at the National Union of Students from 1988 to 1989, before joining Lambeth Council as an Equal Opportunities Officer from 1989 to 1991, Welfare and Staff Development Officer from 1991 to 1993. From 1994 to 1997, she was the Senior Political Officer for the GMB Union. Flint has been a member of parliament since the 1997 general election, she was re-elected at the 2001 general election, the 2005 general election, the 2010 general election, the 2015 general election and 2017 general election. Along with several other Labour women MPs, she is a member of a tap dancing troupe known as the Division Belles. Flint is a member of the Fabian Society. Flint is associated with the Labour Friends of Israel. In 1999, Flint became Parliamentary Private Secretary to Peter Hain while he was Minister of State at the Department of Trade and Industry and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office before in 2002 becoming Parliamentary Private Secretary to Dr John Reid, while he was Leader of the House of Commons and Minister without portfolio.
Joining the government in June 2003 as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Home Office, Flint was moved in May 2005 to the Department of Health, with responsibility for Public Health first as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State and from May 2006 as Minister of State in the same role. As Public Health minister she was responsible for managing government programmes concerning radiation exposure, the potential bird flu epidemic, sex education, the prevention of communicable diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV, oversaw campaigns to tackle obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, she was due to take ministerial responsibility for implementing the smoke-free workplace regulations in all public places resulting from the Health Act 2006, but was moved just a couple of days before it came into force. During her tenure at the Home Office, Flint reclassified magic mushrooms as a Class A drug. Flint pushed through the bill despite some challenges and objections from peers and MPs such as Dr Brian Iddon, plus disputed use of a scientific study by Swiss academic Dr Felix Hasler,In February 2007, it was announced that she would be Hazel Blears' campaign manager in Blears' campaign for the Deputy Leadership election of the Labour Party following John Prescott's resignation.
Blears did not win. In the Cabinet reshuffle of 29 June 2007 Caroline Flint moved to the Department for Work and Pensions where she served as the Minister for Employment and Welfare Reform. Flint was appointed to the new position of Minister for Yorkshire and the Humber. On 24 January 2008, Flint was promoted to Minister of State for Housing and Planning, as a result would now attend Cabinet meetings, she was appointed a member of the Privy Council and she relinquished her role as regional minister. In February 2008, Flint suggested that unemployed council tenants should "actively seek work", as a condition of their occupancy. In May that year, she inadvertently revealed grim forecasts for the future of house prices when she was photographed walking into Downing Street with her briefing papers visible. Close inspection revealed that her document read: "We can't tell how bad it will get."She was moved to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the October 2008 reshuffle, to become the Minister for Europe.
On 31 March 2009 she admitted that she had not read the Lisbon Treaty, the document which codifies the rules of the European Union. Critics described her admission as "extraordinary" and "unbelievable," given that the minister's responsibilities include overseeing the introduction of the Treaty. Flint resigned after the Cabinet reshuffle of 5 June 2009 asserting that Gordon Brown was running a "two-tier government", believed that she had been treated as "female window dressing" though she had earlier professed her loyalty to the Prime Minister. Flint renewed her attack on Gordon Brown in an Observer newspaper article on 7 June 2009, saying that she was not ashamed of a glamorous photoshoot which had upset Downing Street, she launched a broadside against the Prime Minister, complaining of "this constant pressure, this negative bullying". On 16 May 2015, Caroline Flint announced her intention to seek candidacy for the Labour Party deputy leadership election. Along with Tom Watson, she was seen as being a front runner in the contest.
By the time nominations closed on 17 June, Flint had gained 43 MP nominees, second only to Tom Watson, more