Conservative MEP, Sajjad Karim, has urged the UK and European Union to take swift action towards protecting our democracies from malign actors like Russia. During a debate in the European Parliament on the use of Facebook users’ data by the infamous political consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica, the British MEP described how Vladimir Putin’s government had interfered in our electoral processes, calling for decisive action to be taken.

Speaking from Strasbourg, Dr Karim said:

“In my own country, the relevant committee in my parliament is crying out for action to be taken. My colleague, Damian Collins, is not satisfied with the result and the committee in question has carried out an inquiry, and has directly said that there is manipulation and Russian interference in our election processes. That is at a nation state level. “And look here today – the Council chairs are empty – that is the response we are giving. Governments are stalling. Facebook knows its power. But this weekend, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of London and of their demands is a demand that we must protect our much cherished democratic processes.”

The British MEP also stated that Cambridge Analytica and Facebook played a key role in swinging the 2016 British referendum on EU membership:-

“Cambridge Analytica and Facebook were instrumental in swaying the EU referendum in the United Kingdom, using techniques beyond the expectations of an unsuspecting electorate and out-of-date election regulations.

“Nick Clegg may be in the most senior public policy role in Facebook today – let’s hope he guides them well – but Cambridge Analytica have not gone. It lives on in other guises and will continue to show itself again.”

Mr Karim has been one of the most vocal MEPs on the issue of Russian interference over the years. In May 2018 he hosted a conference ‘Protecting Our Democracy’ that brought together experts on the issue and debated how the problem of meddling can be solved.