Author Archives: Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP

Sarah Ludford writes …Creating EU Data Protection rules that safeguard both privacy and jobs

As those who read this LibDem Voice article by Peter Bradwell of Open Rights group will know, I am currently the ALDE (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe) group ‘shadow rapporteur’ on the draft EU Data Protection Regulation in the European Parliament.

I was not originally expecting to play a major role on this particular piece of legislation. But when my German FDP colleague Alexander Alvaro unfortunately suffered a serious car accident in February, the ALDE group appointed me as his interim replacement. I unwisely promised a response to Peter’s article ‘soon’! – but the last few months of negotiations have been very demanding. The new Regulation, unlike …

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Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP writes…An EU-US trade deal would be good for Europe and for Britain

Today the European Parliament gave the go-ahead to negotiations for an ambitious comprehensive EU-US ‘transatlantic trade and investment partnership’ agreement – or T-TIP in the jargon. The EU and US combined account for over half the global economy, making this by far the biggest free-trade agreement in history. Existing protectionist restrictions in America as well as in Europe mean that the full potential of our economic relationship is not realised. While the abolition of remaining tariffs on goods will bring worthwhile gains, the greatest benefits will be in removal of non-tariff barriers to achieve a much more integrated transatlantic marketplace.

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Sarah Ludford MEP writes… Deal on transfer of passenger data to the US was least worst option

The transfer to the US of EU travellers’ Passenger Name Record (PNR) data – the information we give the airline for booking purposes – has been happening for over a decade. MEPs including me have been battling since then to control the terms on which that transfer takes place in order to build in adequate data protection, and we have secured considerable improvements.

It is important to recall that the US has a sovereign right to impose whatever conditions it wishes on airlines and …

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Sarah Ludford MEP writes: Passengers should be able to opt out of body scanning

The EU is considering whether to enlarge the list of techniques approved under its aviation security regulations beyond physical searches or metal detectors, and if so with what safeguard provisions.
In the meantime, individual Member States can trial security scanners known as ‘whole body’ scanners – or more popularly as ‘naked’ bodyscanners – and apply their own rules. They are currently in use at many European as well as American airports.
In the UK, they are being trialled at Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester airports, governed by the 1982 Aviation Security Act and an interim Code of Practice issued last year. A permanent …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Tagged | 6 Comments

Lord Pearson as a Tory party whip and Griffin v. Maloney

UKIP have got themselves into a right pickle recently, poor things! It emerged last week that their new leader Lord Pearson a number of months ago made a somewhat controversial offer to the Conservative party. Pearson allegedly (The Times, 30 November, UKIP’s planned deal with Tories causes outrage in anti-Europe party) approached Lord Strathclyde, the leader of the Tories in the House of Lords, with an offer to disband the party and withdraw all UKIP candidates if the Tories agreed to hold a referendum on EU membership. Lord Strathclyde himself has confirmed that the meeting with Pearson, who is in fact a former Tory, took place.

Although Nigel Farage has since changed the story slightly saying that the offer only included withdrawing all candidates, this is still a pretty hefty political gamble.

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Sarah Ludford: my first party conference memories

My first conference was 25 years ago, in Bournemouth, and coincided with my husband Steve Hitchins and I moving to Islington. Steve was a few months behind me in joining the party, so I was on my own in Bournemouth 1982. It remains my favourite location and the repository of my fondest memories, partly because I had such a good time but also because it represents the beginning of my journey as an activist in the Liberal Democrats.

I was in fact only part-based in the UK at the time as I worked for the European Commission in Brussels and …

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