Provocative' Snowden appearance before European Parliament green-lighted

12-Dec-2013 @ 18:0

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Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

The President of the European Parliament has effectively given the green light to a highly controversial appearance by NSA fugitive Edward Snowden before a committee of MEPs.

Snowden is due to give pre-recorded answers to questions posed by MEPs, with no opportunity for Members to challenge his assertions or cross-examine him. His appearance before the parliament's 'NSA inquiry' could be as early as next week.

Last week, European Conservatives and Reformists Group spokesman on the inquiry Timothy Kirkhope MEP wrote to the President of the European Parliament arguing that the appearance would be 'a provocative act that would enable him to further endanger public security.' A discussion amongst lead MEPs on the inquiry yesterday led to them referring the matter to a meeting of the leaders of political groups – the Conference of Presidents. However, a vote in the Conference of Presidents today has referred the matter back to the lead MEPs in the committee.

ECR Group Leader Martin Callanan said after today's meeting:

"The President of the Parliament and other Group leaders have refused to stop a wanted fugitive being given a free platform to further endanger public security. The committee of inquiry asked group leaders to make a decision and they ducked out of taking responsibility by passing the decision back to a lower level.

"If the parliament was so desperate to hear from Snowden, it could have done so in a private forum. It should not give a public, unchallenged platform for a wanted criminal and then claim to be conducting an impartial or credible inquiry. MEPs will have no opportunity to cross-examine him in a live discussion through fears for his security. But what about fears for public security? The parliament's priorities are dangerously warped."

Timothy Kirkhope, ECR justice and home affairs spokesman said:

"The European Parliament's self-appointed inquiry into these allegations never wanted to ascertain facts. It has been a one-sided prejudiced talking shop for the left and far-left that has shouted down anybody who wants to approach these allegations with an open mind. We were willing to engage with the committee in a positive and constructive way. However, we will have no involvement in an inquiry that gives a platform to those whose actions, whatever their motives, have aided those who would do us serious harm. The fight against terrorism is an ongoing one and all of the security services have been quite clear that Snowden's actions have handed terrorists an advantage. We should not hand them more.

"With the decision now being made by the lead members on the committee, UK Labour MEP Claude Moraes still has the power to side with us and stop this provocative event from happening; or side with the far left and provide a free platform for Snowden. If he does the latter, he will have to be prepared to look his London constituents in the face and explain why he has granted this fugitive an open platform."

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