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Labour government squanders our civil rights in Europe

September 26, 2008 5:44 PM

The European Parliament has adopted a resolution on EU progress towards becoming an "area of freedom, security and justice" in which Member States should cooperate in both delivering safety and upholding the rights of their citizens.

Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman Sarah Ludford MEP said:

"EU governments are pushing ahead with law enforcement measures like the European Arrest Warrant and storage of personal data without corresponding civil liberties guarantees like a charter of defendants rights and strong privacy protection."

"The EU action programme drawn up a decade ago was balanced in its objectives. But the UK's Labour government has been one of the principal architects of the mistake that US founding father Thomas Jefferson warned of: "he who trades liberty for security deserves neither and will lose both."

"The Blair and Brown governments have been instrumental in undermining the EU's human rights credentials by collusion in illegal rendition and attempts to make expulsions to third countries with a record of torture a common EU policy. Proposals on mass surveillance and profiling while opposing tough data protection legislation also bear the Downing Street imprint."

"The UK already has a policy of commercial firms collecting fingerprints of 6 year old children who apply for visas, and is keen for the EU as a whole to do the same. As the MEP responsible for this legislation, I am opposing fingerprinting of young children."

"The Labour government needs to be held to account both at Westminster and by the European Parliament for what is it doing in Europe. One of the best arguments for the Lisbon Treaty is an enhancement of democratic scrutiny by MPs and MEPs."