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Letter to Daily Telegraph: Misrepresentations in the debate on EU legal developments

The Editor, Daily Telegraph

Dear Sir,

Channel 4 News interview on EU powers & migration

 

In an interview for Channel 4 News, Liberal Democrat MEP for London Sarah Ludford said that EU freedom of movement is an 'integral part' of the European Single Market. While the coalition government is right to ensure the EU migrants will be unable to claim benefits in the first 3 months that they live in the United Kingdom, further measures should be discussed with our EU partners rather than pursued unilaterally; otherwise the livelihoods of the 2 million Brits that live in other EU countries could be jeopardised.

 

Tory attempt to block Snowden EP 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:

 

Nick Clegg: Liberal Democrats are the 'party of In' - 'In Europe, In Work'

In his New Year message, the leader of the Liberal Democrats and Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, reaffirmed the Liberal Democrats' commitment to being the 'party of In' - 'In Europe, In Work' ahead of the European Parliament elections on May 22nd.

The Liberal Democrats are Britain's Party of 'In', because being in Europe means jobs, trade and prosperity; our EU membership is worth £3,000 to every British household.

Only LibDems will stand up for residents over Heathrow

Reacting to the Davies Commission’s interim report on airport capacity in London and the South East, Liberal Democrat MEP for London Sarah Ludford said:
 
“Along with solid Liberal Democrat opinion, I have long opposed the expansion of Heathrow airport because of serious environmental concerns.”
 
“I will therefore continue to fight any proposal to expand Heathrow that would increase noise and air pollution for local residents.”
 
“The Davies Commission must look again at how the ample spare aviation capacity in London and the South East could be used more effectively, instead of heaping more misery on residents in West and South West London.”
 

Huffington Post Blog: European Arrest Warrant 12th Birthday - Time to Reflect on Both Success and Reform

12 years ago, European leaders reached a historic agreement on the European Arrest Warrant (EAW), streamlining a cumbersome and politicised extradition system in favour of judge-led procedures. Since then, the Euro-warrant has helped bring thousands of serious criminals and terrorists to justice, including one of the 2005 London bombers Hussain Osman.

 

New EU consumer rights law ends rip-off online practices

Excessive fees for credit card payments and hotlines, and pre-ticked boxes on websites are set to be banned following the coming into force of new EU consumer rights legislation today. Under the new rules, which must be fully implemented by 13th June 2014, retailers across the EU will have to give clearer price information and provide shoppers with longer cooling-off periods to cancel orders and return goods. Refunds must be made within 14 days.

Liberal Democrat MEP for London Sarah Ludford commented:

“These new rules will finally bring consumer law into line with the digital era. This is particularly welcome news for customers in the UK, who now do more of their shopping online than almost any other country in the world.”

Euro-warrant 12th birthday is fitting time to reflect

Today (12 December) marks the 12th anniversary of the political decision by EU governments in 2001 to adopt the European Arrest Warrant.
 
London MEP and Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman Sarah Ludford said:

“This 'EAW birthday' is an appropriate opportunity to reflect on its successes as a crime-fighting tool but also on the aspects that need reform.”

“The European Arrest Warrant is a crucial crime-fighting tool. It has delivered speedy justice compared to previous cumbersome extradition procedures. It has ensured the deportation from the UK of over 4,000 criminal suspects since 2009, and the return to British justice of many serious criminals like London bomber Hussain Osman.”
 

Tory and UKIP MEPs fail to condemn female genital mutilation

Lynne Featherstone MP and Liberal Democrat European human rights spokeswoman Sarah Ludford MEP have strongly condemned Conservatives MEPs who voted against or abstained in a European Parliament vote today on condemning the disgraceful practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

 

Four Conservative MEPs – Marta Andreasen, Nirj Deva, Sajjad Karim and Timothy Kirkhope – voted against the motion to condemn FGM, and several UKIP and Conservative MEPs including Nigel Farage abstained.

 

Lynne Featherstone commented: “It is deeply shocking that so many Tory and UKIP MEPs today refused to condemn female genital mutilation."

New opportunities for London’s universities and businesses as millions of EU research funding announced

From today, universities and businesses in London can apply for millions of pounds worth of European funding under the first of round of the EU’s latest research programme.

 

The new EU framework, Horizon 2020, will be the world’s largest research programme with a budget of more than £65 billion over the next seven years.

 

London’s universities and labs are already leading the way having netted £1.2bn in EU research and science funding since 2007, the 4th highest budget share for any region in the whole of the EU. But London could be in line for even more - around £1.5bn - over the next seven years.

 

Liberal Democrat MEP for London Sarah Ludford commented:

 

Pakistan deserves easier access to EU market

Liberal Democrat MEP for London Sarah Ludford, the party’s European justice and human rights spokeswoman, is urging a positive vote in the European Parliament tomorrow to allow Pakistan’s exports preferential access to EU markets. Some political groups have tried to block Pakistan’s inclusion. She said:

 

“Liberal Democrats at Westminster recently torpedoed Conservative plans to impose visa bonds on all visitors from so-called 'high-risk' countries including Pakistan, as we want to keep open social and business channels of communication.”

 

UK must access EU funding to help ensure fair trials abroad

Agreement between the Council and European Parliament on the EU’s ‘Justice’ funding programme for the long-term budget period 2014-2020 was approved by all MEPs in plenary today.

 

The programme provides funding for training and support of staff involved in the justice system - judges, prosecutors, probation officers, lawyers and legal NGOs - to ensure that individuals and businesses get proper access to good quality civil and criminal justice across Europe.

 

Tory eurosceptics’ proposals would be a Fresh Start for criminals

Tory Eurosceptic group Fresh Start yesterday published a report calling for the UK to withdraw from all EU policing and criminal justice measures.

 

LibDem European justice and human rights spokeswoman Sarah Ludford MEP said:

 

“These proposals would indeed be a fresh start, for the thousands of criminals who would find it far easier to escape justice.

 

“UK police chiefs have made it clear: you cannot fight cross-border crime without cross-border police cooperation. Pulling out of EU crime-fighting measures altogether would be a gift to drug-smugglers, human-traffickers and online sex offenders.

 

London cyclists at risk if EU rules watered down

Liberal Democrat MEP for London Sarah Ludford has today with colleague Fiona Hall MEP written to the European Commission demanding the EU do more to protect London’s cyclists following 6 cyclist deaths in less than two weeks on London’s roads.
 

Reforming Euro-warrant to prevent repeat of Andrew Symeou injustice

Liberal Democrat MEP for London Sarah Ludford is lead author of a report in the European Parliament calling for major changes to the operation of the EU's European Arrest Warrant (EAW) scheme.

 

The reforms demanded include the introduction of an explicit human rights safeguard clause under which an EAW could be refused in order to prevent damage to individual rights, a proportionality threshold test to prevent the Euro-warrant being used for petty crimes, and compensation for miscarriages of justice. A consultation procedure is also suggested, so that eg a British court could satisfy itself that a case was ready for prosecution and trial, not a fishing expedition.

 

European Arrest Warrant ripe for reform

Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford today presented a report calling for major changes to the European Arrest Warrant (EAW), including the introduction of a human rights' clause to prevent miscarriages of justice and a proportionality test to prevent the warrant being used for petty crimes.

 

Sarah Ludford stressed that EU-wide reform is essential in order to improve the EAW, arguing that Home Secretary Theresa May's proposal to simply amend UK legislation will not be sufficient. The report therefore calls upon the European Commission to come forward with legislative proposals to reform the EAW at the EU level.


Commenting, Sarah Ludford said:

Siemens to stop investment if Britain leaves EU

The managing director of Siemens UK, which employs 13,000 people across the country, has warned that his company would stop investing in factories in the UK if it was not part of the EU. He added that leaving the EU would be “disastrous” for British manufacturers.

 

This follows a poll last month which found that eight out of ten manufacturers want to remain in the EU.

 

Siemens employs hundreds of people in Greater London at its Hayes, Heathrow Airport and the Docklands sites.

 

In total, investment from EU companies has created and safeguarded nearly 19,000 jobs in London since 2003.

 

Liberal Democrat MEP for London Sarah Ludford commented:

 

ALDE President Guy Verhofstadt: 'Level headed' Liberalism key to avoiding political gridlock post-elections

Ahead of the European Liberal Group (ALDE) Congress being held in London’s Canary Wharf from 28th to 30th November, the President of ALDE Guy Verhofstadt has written an article for TheParliament.com about how voting Liberal is essential for ensuring a ‘check on the extremes of both left and right’.

Letter to the Evening Standard on need for EU action to protect London's cyclists

With 6 cyclists killed in less than two weeks in London - making a shocking total of 14 so far this year - much more needs to be done to protect people who cycle on our capital’s roads.

A major responsibility rests with the Mayor of London, but the EU can also help. European legislation already requires all HGVs to have blind spot mirrors and for most of them to have sideguards which help protect cyclists from the lorry's wheels. However, the current exemption for construction vehicles from the sideguard requirement is unjustified and extremely dangerous in cities. I applaud the action by Crossrail insisting their contractors have sideguards, but Liberal Democrat MEPs continue to press for EU law to change on this point.

Billions of new EU funding for London’s universities and small firms

Liberal Democrat MEP for London Sarah Ludford today hailed a major victory for the London research community as the European Parliament overwhelmingly approved the EU's new £64 billion research and innovation programme for the next 7-year period.

 

The new framework Horizon 2020 will be the largest research programme in the world and will see an increase of funding of almost a third compared to the current period.

 

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