Tag Archives: Emma McClarkin

Written Declaration on Online Child Abuse

Despite its many positive advantages, unfortunately the internet has opened an all too accessible front for child abuse. All of us are only too aware that criminals and paedophiles are able to use websites around the world to distribute and share child abuse content.

Along with MEP colleagues Emma McClarkin ,Vicky Ford , Timothy Kirkhope, Silvia Costa, Richard Howitt, Gay Mitchell, Roberta Angelilli, Iva Zanicchi , Maria Da Graça Carvalho, Seán Kelly and Diane Dodds, I have co-signed this European Parliament Written Declaration:

1.   Child sexual abuse content is one of the most abhorrent types of content available, and the production, possession or distribution of such content is universally considered a criminal act;

2.   The cross-border nature of most online child sexual abuse content shows that strong international cooperation is necessary;

3.   The commercial distribution of such content could potentially be profitable for organised crime structures;

4.   Behind every image of child sexual abuse there is a real victim;

5.   The most effective way to deal with such content is to remove it at source in cooperation with law enforcement agencies;

6.   It is therefore important to share internationally information and expertise regarding the fight against online sexual abuse content;

7.   Adequate reporting and take-down mechanisms in respect of child sexual abuse content in every country are crucial;

8.   The Commission is called upon to consider developing as well as developed countries when establishing international cooperation to combat online child sexual abuse content;

9.   The Commission is called upon to support the creation of online child sexual abuse reporting mechanisms that meet acceptable global standards regarding transparency and freedom of expression;

The laws governing illegal online content differ from country to country which makes taking down abusive content and prosecuting the criminals responsible time-consuming and difficult.  In many cases there is also a commercial dimension to online child abuse content with the distribution of illegal material being profitable for organised crime.

In 2010 it was estimated that over 200 images of child pornography are put into circulation ever day and that the victims are getting younger and the content more violent and graphic. Other studies suggest that 10-20% of European children will suffer some form of sexual abuse as a child. This is an issue which is growing in severity and impact. The EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström hit the nail on the head. “The response of the EU cannot be too clear or too resolute. Whatever the EU can possibly do against that, the EU must do and will do.”

Global action is needed to fight online child abuse.  As you will have seen, this Written Declaration is a cross party project involving members from every main European political grouping. Ending child abuse is an issue that transcends party lines and enjoys support across the political spectrum. I hope we will see huge support from the European Parliament for the Written Declaration.

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From the Archives: UKIP member’s strange behaviour in chamber

Another UKIP blog that I thought was worth reminding my readers of was this from 6 February 2012.  During a debate in the plenary chamber in Strasbourg on the subject of sport, Godfrey Bloom made a somewhat odd interjection directed at Tory MEP Emma McClarkin.  It was a completely unintelligible question about something to do with the Cambridge women’s rugby team. 

UKIP member’s strange behaviour in the chamber

You may have already seen this on the Political Scrapbook blog.  It’s so good, I am repeating it for all my European readers who may not have caught it first time round.

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Tories abstain on equal pay for women

The gender pay gap, the difference between pay received between women and men, exists across the European Union. In the UK the gender pay gap is 10.2 per cent – not the worst in the EU but still far too high. The gap is widest in Austria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Germany and Slovakia and narrowest in Belgium, Italy, Malta and Slovenia, according to Eurostat.

Yesterday the European Parliament passed a report on equal pay for male and female workers for equal work or work of equal value. Despite having legislation on equal pay for over 50 years there is still a 16%-17% gender pay gap in the EU. All attempts to lessen and ultimately get rid of the pay gap between women and men are absolutely necessary, and this report is an important step.

In view of the lack of progress to date, MEPs urged the European Commission and member states to reinforce existing legislation with appropriate types of effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions for employers in breach of it. These sanctions should include penalties, administrative fines and disqualification from public benefits and subsidies.

It is not just that women are at a higher risk of falling into poverty. Statistics show that the gender gap is growing with age. There is also a gap when it comes to pensions and older women have a greater risk of falling into poverty than men do.

Even in sectors where women employees prevail, men tend to have higher salaries. Horizontal and vertical segregations of economic sectors are deeply rooted in the economies of all EU member states, but it has also much to do with culture and with society’s approach to motherhood.

It is really striking is there are now more women who graduate, and statistics show that women who start their working careers are better paid than young men in the UK. The gap appears for the first time when women return to the labour market after their first maternal leave.  It is time to change the approach to motherhood and evaluate parenthood in society.

Yesterday’s report makes several concrete proposals, including:

  • more transparency about the way      salaries are negotiated and settled to prevent women receiving less than      men
  • the European Parliament should offer      a “Women in Business Europe” prize to be awarded to employers
  • employers to be required to carry out      regular equal pay audits
  • attention to part-time work where the      gender pay gap is highest
  • measures to ensure disadvantaged      women and women with disabilities are not treated less favourably
  • additional research on this issue to      be carried out by the European Institute for Gender Equality as well as EU      member states
  • the European Commission to review and      update existing legislation
  • member states to behave in an      exemplary manner regarding ending the gender pay gap and each to appoint      an equal pay champion

You may be interested to know that British Tories voted against the paragraphs in the report outlining the first two of these recommendations.

Since the votes on these two paragraphs were recorded, I can tell you that the following Tories voted against both: Campbell-Bannerman, Chichester, Deva, Elles, Ford, Foster, Fox, Girling, Harbour, McClarkin, McIntyre, Stevenson, Swinburne, Tannock, Van Orden, Yannakoudakis. The leader of the ECR Martin Callanan voted against the second of these two paragraphs but did not appear to vote on the first.

All of the above abstained on the final vote to agree the report with the honourable exception of Marina Yannakoudakis who voted for it. Mr. Campbell-Bannerman, however, voted against.

If David Cameron is serious about gaining women’s votes and promoting gender equality, he really should do something about his errant MEPs.

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Godfrey Bloom high on drugs and drink

You may have already seen this on the Political Scrapbook blog.  It’s so good, I am repeating it for for all my European readers who may not have caught it first time round.

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World AIDS Day

I am really pleased that yesterday on World Aids Day the motion for a resolution was adopted by the parliament on the EU response to HIV/AIDS in the EU and neighbouring countries. 

The far-right Europe for Freedom and Democracy (EFD) group, of which UKIP are a member, asked for roll call votes on a number of passages in the motion. This means that the vote of each MEP is registered and made publically available so it’s possible to see which parts of the text they supported. 

The conservatives Roger Helmer, Sajjad Karim and Charles Tannock don’t support the strong link in national programmes between HIV/AIDS and sexual and reproductive health. 

Helmer and Tannock voted against the part of the motion supporting equitable and affordable access to contraception too. 

I wonder if they know that on a daily basis more than 7000 people are newly infected by HIV globally. Or that of the 24,703 people diagnosed with HIV in Western Europe in 2009 it is estimated that around 77% of these infections resulted from sexual contact

The inclusion of HIV/AIDS on the European public health agenda is a vital step in significantly reducing the number of new HIV infections. To prevent the spread of the disease people must be provided with access to adequate information on contraception, sex education and access to means of protection from HIV. 

The World Health Organisation has recognised that: 

HIV affects, or potentially affects, all the dimensions of women’s sexual and reproductive health — pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, abortion, use of contraception, exposure to, diagnosis and treatment of STIs and their exposure to sexual violence. For instance, HIV infection accelerates the natural history of some reproductive illnesses and increases the severity of others” (WHO, 2006). 

As I have said before, I fully support a woman’s right to choose. An abortion is a serious, life-altering decision, but the person whose life would be most altered and whose decision it fundamentally remains is the pregnant woman in question. 

Women living with HIV/AIDS are at greater risk of septicaemia and post-operative complications. Denying a woman the right to safe and legal abortion and post-abortion care can not only puts her reproductive health at risk it also puts her life in danger. This part of the motion was not supported by Nirj Deva, Roger Helmer, Sajjad Karim, Timothy Kirkhope, Emma McClarkin and Charles Tannock. 

We’ve not yet found a cure for HIV/AIDS, but, there is international agreement from organisations such as the WHO and the UN that the spread of HIV can brought to a halt and indeed reversed with policies and practices targeted at its prevention. 

 

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European Parliament debates regulating Football Players’ Agents

As we all watch the World Cup, we should reflect that Europe is lucky that some of the most talented sports men and women come from all over the world to compete here. Unsurprisingly, the increased internationalisation of sport of over the last few years has seen a steady increase in the activities of players’ agents across borders.

However, this is still a largely unregulated area across many member states, with general employment laws being used to regulate the activities of players’ agents, with no specific rules or legal recognition of their status, or for sports governing bodies to introduce their own regulations.

Unfortunately this has led to some abuse, with reports of corruption, money laundering and exploitation of underage players.

Leaving regulation up to organisations like FIFA, though they have done what they can and should be commended, is not enough as breaches of their regulations cannot be prosecuted in a criminal court.

It is very important to regulate this area or we risk seeing it being taken over by the dishonest and the criminal.

It is especially important to take care of young sportsmen and women, who may be coming from the least developed countries, who could find themselves particularly vulnerable to exploitation.

I am sure that all the countries in Europe want to remain an attractive prospect for talented sports men and women from across the world.  To make remains the case,  we must regulate players’ agents.  I f we do not, we will risk bringing sport in Europe in to disrepute.

Following the efforts of the Culture Committee, the oral debate on the issue of players’ agents in sport took place in the European Parliament in Strasbourg this week.  I spoke in the debate, which achieved a high level of agreement, the only dissenting voice being Emma McClarkin, the Tory speaker who did not see a European role for cross border regulation.

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