Thursday, 9 January 2014

Tory Attempt To Block Snowden European Parliamentary Enquiry Evidence Foiled

MEPs from the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee today voted to invite video testimony from whistle-blower Edward Snowden to the European Parliament's inquiry into mass surveillance. The evidence session is expected to be held in coming weeks, possibly as early as the week commencing January 20th.

British Conservative MEPs strongly opposed Snowden giving testimony, but were heavily defeated with 36 MEPs voting in favour and only the two Tory MEPs in the committee voting against.

Liberal Democrat MEP and European justice and human rights spokeswoman Sarah Ludford commented:

"The purpose is not to give Edward Snowden a one-sided platform, but to allow the European Parliament's inquiry into the NSA's snooping programme to achieve a better understanding of the situation following his revelations. He will be asked to supply answers to questions put forward by MEPs."

"It is important to fully clarify whether Snowden's motives for leaking the information went beyond the public interest and if there were any whistleblowing channels open that he failed to use. But to ignore him is absurd."

"I'm proud that Liberal Democrats are leading the fight against excessive state surveillance. Proposals to tighten judicial oversight and ensure the regular release of the number of data requests made by security services will be voted on at our party conference in March."

The East of England's Lib Dem MEP Andrew Duff added:

"The Snowden affair exposes serious issues which the US and UK security services have to answer. Bugging Angela Merkel's phone is something which should not simply be shrugged off as an Anglo-Saxon hobby. The European Parliament has a duty both to protect citizens' right to privacy and security and to bolster cooperation between the EU's national police and judiciary. It is not in the British interest that Tory MEPs are increasingly isolated in Europe on this and many other important issues."