Blackburn: Hacker McKinnon’s mother to ‘fight for civil liberties’

By Luke Frost

Janis Sharp, the mother battling the extradition of her son to the US, has revealed her priorities as she begins her election campaign against Justice Secretary Jack Straw.

Writing on her website under the slogan “vote with your head not with your habit”, Ms Sharp criticises the loss of civil liberties under the Labour government as she starts her fight for Mr Straw’s Blackburn constituency.

“We are being watched, listened to and monitored and the tax office can open and look at our personal mail before we have even received it in the post.

“This is the kind of thing we might expect from a Nazi state or from an undemocratic country but this is Britain and the list of freedoms that have and are being eroded by this government are endless.”

Ms Sharp uses the site to condemn trial without jury, the introduction of ID cards, the use of CCTV cameras and the passing of the Digital Economy Bill, which has been heavily criticised after being rushed through Parliament in the “wash-up” of outstanding proposals before Parliament dissolved.

In response, a spokesman for Jack Straw said: “Jack respects the right of Ms Sharp to select her own agenda for the election but doubts that many people in Blackburn will share her particular emphasis.

“CCTV cameras are undoubtedly recognised as vital in the fight against crime and if Ms Sharp asked around the town she would probably find that the concern was that there were not enough cameras not that there were too many.
“The government have a duty to protect their citizens and they need to use all the appropriate tools in that challenge.”

Referring to the recent expenses scandal Ms Sharp wrote: “Perhaps too many MPs are so busy swapping houses or fiddling expenses to notice what is going on behind the scenes.

“Perhaps they are too busy with their next fact finding holiday to question the whips motives when they are told how to think.”

Janis Sharp, who is from Hertfordshire, is battling for Jack Straw’s seat as she blames the Justice Secretary for pushing through an extradition treaty with the US, with her son fighting extradition to America.

Mr McKinnon, who suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, has been battling extradition after hacking into the Pentagon’s computer system.

He says he was looking for evidence of UFOs. If convicted he possibly faces decades in a US prison.

Ms Sharp also wrote that she will “fight for reform in government and an end to the whip system which suppresses debate and democracy and a reform to the voting system to give a voice to the majority and not just the first party past the post.”

But in a video on the website, many Blackburn voters did not seem interested in Ms Sharp’s battle, with most of those questioned saying that they would not vote at all.