North Rhine-Westphalia: CDU accuses SPD of spying attempt

Status: 04/22/2022 12:48 p.m

In the affair surrounding the resigned Environment Minister Heinen-Esser, the SPD is now being criticized. The CDU accuses the opposition of having “spied on” a daughter of Heinen-Esser.

In the course of the so-called “Mallorca Gate” affair, an employee of the SPD MP Sarah Philipp tried to view the Instagram account of the 16-year-old daughter of the then Environment Minister Ursula Heinen-Esser (CDU). Philipp confirmed corresponding research by the “Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger”.

The parliamentary manager of the SPD parliamentary group said she had no knowledge of the process and apologized to Heinen-Esser and her daughter.

Screenshot of Heinen-Esser’s daughter’s cell phone with a follower request from the accounts of Sarah Philipp and employees

Image: wdr

As a screenshot shows, which is also available to WDR, the employee initially sent a contact request to Heinen-Esser’s daughter from Sarah Philipp’s Instagram account at the beginning of April, and three minutes later also from his own account.

Background: The 16-year-old’s Instagram channel can only be viewed by confirmed contacts. Philipp confirmed a direct connection between the action and the “Mallorca affair”. Accordingly, on April 6, there were the first rumors in the state parliament “about an alleged birthday party for Mrs. Heinen-Esser and other members of the government”. Out of “curiosity” the student employee made the contact requests.

Heinen-Esser testifies again in tears

The employee apparently wanted to look for photos of Heinen-Esser’s husband’s birthday party in Mallorca in the flood summer of 2021, because of which Heinen-Esser resigned as minister shortly afterwards. The affair has dominated the state election campaign in North Rhine-Westphalia for weeks. On Friday, the ex-minister had to testify again before the state parliament’s investigative committee about the storm disaster last year. Other members of the state government are also criticized for the affair.

Before the flood committee, Heinen-Esser spoke in tears about the process on Friday. The allegations against her have “taken on grotesque traits” in recent weeks, said the CDU politician. The Instagram requests to her daughter were “a step too much” for her, “a limit was crossed,” said Heinen-Esser.

CDU calls for Kuchaty’s apology

CDU parliamentary group leader Bodo Löttgen demanded an apology from SPD parliamentary group leader Thomas Kutschaty. “The fact that the SPD is spying on underage children of politicians via the Internet represents a serious transgression. Something like this was completely unimaginable among the democratic parties in our country. You can argue hard about the matter, but if underage children are now being used and spied on in a targeted manner then that is a shocking brutalization of democratic culture,” said Löttgen. He demanded further explanations from Philipp and her colleague.


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