A recent subject access request by Green MP Caroline Lucas & civil liberties group Big Brother Watch revealed that Lucas was included in a ‘disinformation’ report by the Government’s secretive Counter ‘Disinformation’ Unit (CDU) for criticising the UK government’s response to the global pandemic. Her tweet arguing for greater access to booster vaccines in countries with shortages was filed in a “vaccine hesitancy” report.
The CDU repeatedly monitored her speech online for criticising ministers. The unit flagged her tweet calling former prime minister Boris Johnson a liar under“mis/disinformation narratives” ahead of local elections.
Alarmed by the CDU’s work, Lucas said: “This is simply staggering overreach from a government which has had, at the very least, a socially distanced relationship with the truth on multiple occasions in recent years.
“The right of citizens to share entirely valid and objective criticisms of government ministers without fear of the consequences is a cornerstone of our democracy, and must be protected.”
Silkie Carlo, director for Big Brother Watch said: “It’s particularly alarming to see an elected MP’s criticisms of the government logged in reports on so-called ‘election misinformation’, which could then be subject to the most harsh restrictions, including around election periods.”