Lib Dem leaders urge transparency over journalist spying claims

September 9, 2015 4:00 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Lib Dem leader Tim Farron and Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie have today issued a joint letter to Prime Minister David Cameron and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon calling for full transparency over claims two UK police forces accessed the communications data of journalists without obtaining judicial approval.

The Interception of Communications Commissioner's Office July 2015 report identified that two police forces breached the code of practice for the acquisition and disclosure of communications data.

Police Scotland and the Scottish Government have refused to confirm or deny the claims.

In a joint letter to David Cameron and Nicola Sturgeon, Tim Farron and Willie Rennie said:

"These are exceptional circumstances. These are new laws which serve to protect freedom of the press and freedom of speech.

"But within a few short months these laws have been flouted by two police forces.

"Whilst investigations are ongoing, we need confidence that these breaches will not be repeated.

"IOCCO has already warned that the two cases are serious contraventions of the code, and in turn Article 10 of the ECHR, which protects journalists, their sources and persons who may act as intermediaries.

"We need full transparency over these allegations from both the UK and the Scottish Government's if we are to maintain public confidence in these protections.

"In these exceptional circumstances, we urge you to be transparent over the two police forces involved in the spying claims."