Pete Wishart MP

Pete Wishart MP (Scottish National Party) MP for Perth & Perthshire North. A member of the Musicians Union and of the Performing Right Society, has contracted to Chrysalis Records, EMI Records and Sony Music for recordings. Member of and helped set up the All Party Music Group. Pete is the SNP’s Chief Whip at Westminster and has responsibilities in Parliament for the Constitution, Culture Media and Sport and Overseas Aid. Member of the parliamentary rock group 'MP4' with Kevin Brennan MP, Greg Knight MP and Ian Cawsey MP.


Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill

I have massive concerns about the Bill. I do not like the way in which it has been brought to the House. I do not like the way in which we have to rush through this process at breakneck speed, even though this is an issue that was flagged up to the Government some three months ago. I am suspicious about the reasons why we are doing all of this now. I do not like the fact that it seems little more than a half-hearted attempt to get around a European Court of Justice ruling that declared the European directive invalid and thereafter practically everything that the Government are doing on data retention probably illegal.

I am suspicious about the way in which all the UK parties and party leaders have been brought into line around these unspecified threats. That is reminiscent of the dark days of the creation of the anti-libertarian state by new Labour; unspecified threats were the things we had to address then. I particularly do not like the fact that the Scottish Government, who have responsibility

for the judiciary, policing and even delivering parts of RIPA in Scotland, were not consulted about the Bill. Most of all, I do not like the way in which the Government are trying to pretend that this is just business as usual when it clearly is an extension of what the Government can do in the collection and retention of an individual’s personal data.

I want to take that last concern first. I listened very carefully to all the party leaders last week when this was presented. The Prime Minister said that the Government were not introducing “new powers or capabilities”, but clauses 3 to 5 make significant amendments to the range of powers included in RIPA. The Bill extends the Government’s surveillance powers in two very important ways. Clause 4 clearly extends the territorial scope of RIPA, and the Government can now issue interception warrants for communications data to companies outside the UK. It also extends the definition of what “telecommunications services” means within RIPA to include webmail services such as Gmail. Mr Raab, who is no longer in his place, said that the most fundamental change is in that relationship between ISPs and the state.

The Government must now come clean with the British people. This is not business as usual. These are significant and substantial new powers. The Bill is more than the sum of its parts. It is a statement of intent. The Home Secretary said as much last week when she introduced it. Her real intention is, of course, to reintroduce her much-coveted snoopers’ charter in this Bill. The way in which the Bill brings on board the overseas ISPs is little more than a paving Bill for the reintroduction of that most unwanted anti-civil libertarian measure.

There has been a lot of talk about what is and what is not included in the Court judgement. The Government have had three months to address the Court’s findings. It is not the threat of terrorism or of criminal activity that has forced the Government’s hand in bringing this forward today. It is the threat of legal action by organisations such as the Open Rights Group and others that has prompted this emergency legislation. The Government should not mislead us about the urgency of the Bill. Given its significance and the issues it raises about our civil liberties, it should not be passed without proper parliamentary scrutiny. Truncating the Bill in this way is nothing short of appalling. It does a massive disservice to our constituents who have taken a real interest in this.

We all agree that the targeted retention of communications data can help the police to tackle serious crimes such as terrorism and child abuse. We all want to ensure that our communities are safe. But it has to be done proportionately and responsibly, and first and foremost, it should be legal.

What the European Court of Justice said was that we have a very low threshold for the retention of data, and it made it clear that the retention of data of every single person strikes the wrong balance between the need to tackle serious crime and our right to privacy and a private family life.

What most disappoints me is the total disrespect shown to Scottish Ministers. The first any Scottish Minister got to hear about this Bill was several hours after the statement was made in this House about its

introduction, yet Scottish Ministers are responsible for policing and justice. It is Scottish Ministers who sign off any request for intercept on serious crime grounds. Part of RIPA required an Act of the Scottish Parliament and it puts in place the authority to conduct directed surveillance, undercover intelligence and intrusive intelligence. It is therefore staggering that this Government would proceed with this measure without exchanging even the slightest word with Scottish Ministers.

We believe that it will always be necessary to collect and retain the personal data of individuals in the pursuit of serious crime and we will take those responsibilities very seriously as an independent nation, but because this Government have got the balance so badly wrong, we will oppose the Bill today.

Digital Economy Bill

Pete is being visited by at least one ORG supporter.


  • Strongly pro term extension.
  • Pro three stikes
  • Agrees that consumers should have a right to make limited copies for their own private use of copyrighted material they have bought, but thinks a better way should be found to compensate the music industry for their lost revenue because of the resultant loss of sales.
  • Does not agree with the report produced by the independent economists Gowers selected.
  • Disagrees with Gowers over a Recommendation 11 the right to use short samples from copyright-protected music. (As he puts it AKA hip hop)
  • Support Gowers recommendations for stronger rights enforcement, better copyright education and stronger up trading standards.
  • Very worried about music piracy and copyright infringement believes it poses a great threat to the UK music industry

Writing in the Scotsman Pete Wishart sported three strikes Pete Wishart: We must silence web trade in 'free' goods to protect our artists 11 September 2009

... If we are serious about developing our creative industries, then we must respect intellectual property and copyright. Forthcoming in the next Westminster Parliament is the Digital Economy Bill – a piece of legislation that will create a regulatory framework to combat illegal file sharing and other forms of online copyright infringement.
The UK government is right to pursue it vigorously. If we are to lead in the world, then we cannot allow our artists and creators to work for nothing.
"Won't you just criminalise some seven million kids who are doing nothing wrong?" comes the knee-jerk response. No. These "kids" (or rather the internet account holder) will simply get a letter informing them that what they are doing is wrong.
That letter will spell out the damage that illegal file sharing does and politely ask that they stop taking music for nothing. If it is ignored, then they will get another.
Of course, most will stop at this point, but those who continue to abuse the property of others will face sanctions such as temporarily suspending internet connection. What could be wrong with that?

House of Commons debate Point of Order Sound Recordings (Copyright Term Extension) 5 December 2007

Pete Wishart, supported by Mr. Ian Cawsey MP, Mr. Mark Field MP, Sandra Gidley MP, John Robertson MP, Rosemary McKenna MP, Adam Price MP, Mr. Greg Knight MP, John Hemming MP, Stewart Hosie MP, Kelvin Hopkins MP and Janet Anderson MP, presented a Bill to extend beyond 50 years the copyright term of sound recordings; and for connected purposes: And the same was read the First time; and ordered to be read a Second time on Friday 7 March, and to be printed [Bill 33].

Westminster Hall debate Intellectual Property 10 January 2007

It seems at times that Gowers decided unilaterally that copyright no longer belongs to the creator but to the user, the consumer and the general public. ... That view has infuriated the creative community in the UK, and the unprecedented collection of signatures of 5,000 UK musicians, from the humble to the high and mighty, who have come together to demand fair play for musicians, demonstrates the great concern of our artistic community, which feels unsupported and undervalued.
All the open right groups and digital right groups that have emerged in the past few years have been able cleverly to suggest that this has all been about the big bad music industry and its multimillion pound musician chums.
Everywhere in the Gowers report there are further erosions of the rights of musicians.
It is almost certain that the balance is not right. Artists and creators are unfairly discriminated against, and right now they are feeling particularly undervalued.

During PMQs Pete Wishart asked 22 May 2002

As a fellow musician, the Prime Minister, I am sure, appreciates the contribution of the creative industries of the United Kingdom. He will therefore be aware that massive losses have been incurred by some of the major record companies in the UK. What are he and his Government going to do about the real issues of music piracy and copyright infringement that pose a great threat to the UK music industry?

Westminster Hall debate Music Industry 12 June 2002

...Music exists in a digital and online world, with products easily cloned and available for download on the internet. Unfortunately, the pirates and criminals who look to profit from the creative works of others have been able to exploit that new environment and marketplace. The legal framework to protect our artists and creators is insufficient. At best, it is patchy and it is certainly applied inconsistently across the European Union.
Compact disc piracy loses the music industry millions on millions of pounds each year. ... We must also stress to the public that such piracy is a serious criminal activity...
The Government can do more to protect our industry, and some key measures are before them. ... Most notable are the draft electronic commerce regulations and the European copyright directive ... what the industry wants is the development of technical measures that will increase flexibility and choice for consumers while protecting creators from theft...
Many young people know how to download music from the internet, but we should stress to them that they could become creators or songwriters, turning their leisure skills into careers....

Rural Broadband

Westminster Hall debate Rural Broadband Services 25 March 2003

... Securing broadband in each locality in the United Kingdom should become a mission for the Government. We are still at the bottom of the G7 for broadband access and that must be dealt with. We are looking for resources and a commitment from the Government to deal with such matters, so that I can tell my constituents in Blairgowrie that they will receive broadband before it is received by people at the south pole.

Identity cards

Signed Early Day Motion 263 Identity Cards 06 June 2005

That this House believes that a convincing case for the introduction of compulsory biometric identity cards and a national database has not been made, that the risks involved far outweigh any discernible benefit, that the introduction of identity cards will fundamentally change the relationship between the citizen and the state, diminish personal privacy and threaten civil liberties, that the present proposals do not provide properly costed, proportionate or effective solutions to the problems they are claimed to solve; and calls upon the Government to shelve plans for their introduction.

Freedom of Information

Signed Early Day Motion 2699 Freedom of Information 10 December 2006

That this House welcomes the finding of the Constitutional Affairs Committee (HC991) that the Freedom of Information Act has `already brought about the release of significant new information and....this information is being used in a constructive and positive way' and the committee's conclusion that it sees `no need to change' the Act's charging arrangements; views with concern reports that the Government is considering changing these arrangements to permit an application fee to be charged for all requests or to allow authorities to refuse, on cost grounds, a significant proportion of requests which they currently must answer; and considers that such changes could undermine the Act's benefits of increased openness, accountability and trust in the work of public authorities.

IP Issues

Peter Wishart wants to protect the interests of the holders of copyright, large emphasis on the illegality of downloads and how this adversely affects the entertainment industry.

[1] Reference



2009-09-11 The Scotsman - Pete Wishart: We must silence web trade in 'free' goods to protect our artists
Author: Pete Wishart MP
Summary: If we are serious about developing our creative industries, then we must respect intellectual property and copyright. Forthcoming in the next Westminster Parliament is the Digital Economy Bill – a piece of legislation that will create a regulatory framework to combat illegal file sharing and other forms of online copyright infringement. The UK government is right to pursue it vigorously. If we are to lead in the world, then we cannot allow our artists and creators to work for nothing.
2007-01-10 - BBC - Musician MP makes copyright call
Summary: An MP who used to play in a Scottish rock band is to call on the government to change copyright laws for musicians. Pete Wishart, Scottish National Party MP for Perth and North Perthshire, was the keyboard player in Runrig. During a House of Commons debate, he will call for UK royalty payments for musical performers to be extended beyond the current 50 years.
2005-05-13 - BBC - MP4 strike a chord with voters
Summary: All four members of the Parliamentary rock band, MP4, kept their seats which means Parliament's first rock band remains intact. Pete Wishart is best known as the keyboard player from the Gaelic rock band, Runrig. He was also in the original line-up of Big Country and played with the group for a year. He is the only MP to have appeared on Top of the Pops.
2002-06-12 - BBC - Rock MP takes on music pirates
Summary: The government has been urged to crack down on music piracy by a former rock star who gave up music to become a Member of Parliament. Pete Wishart, who was in the bands Runrig and Big Country, told the first House of Commons debate on music that illegal copying was the biggest threat to the industry. "The message that we must get across to the public is that to steal somebody's intellectual property, their creation, is the same as stealing their video recorder."