Progress on opting out from criminal justice measures

 

                  People writing into this site often ask what backbench MPs do all day. Eurosceptic ones have been busy since the government first announced its motion for yesterday to approve the opt out from the EU Criminal Justice measures, and to press on with opting back in to some of them.  There have been many meetings and discussions with Ministers, as MPs have explained that we want to opt out of all the measures, but are not  persuaded of the need or desirability of opting back in to some of the most important of them.

                          As a result of these discussions the government toned down its original motion. Eurosceptic Conservatives were still not happy. Three Chairmen of relevant Select Committees tabled a further amendment, to delete reference in the motion to the list of possible opt ins the government has already drawn up in a negotiation betwen Lib dems and Conservatives. Under pressure, Ministers decided to accept this amendment.

                                It means that last night the Commons did approve the all important opt out from the 133 measures. The wording on future opt ins was watered down, and leaves Parliament free to scrutinise draft proposals, offfer advice, and in due course have a vote on any measures the government does wish to opt into.  That was progress.

                              The Select Committees will now get work on whether some opt ins are desirable. Unfortunately from the Eurosceptic point of view both the Labour and Lib Dem parties want more opt ins, not less.

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66 Comments

  1. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted July 16, 2013 at 5:15 am | Permalink

    When Britain opted out of the 1955 talks that lead to the Treaty of Rome it later on found an EU(EEC) different from what it would have liked. With this new opt-out Britain will not be able to shape future judicial cooperation in Europe and will lose its current considerable influence.

    • David Price
      Posted July 16, 2013 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      You mean the EU will refuse to cooperate on judicial and legal matters even by separate treaty like they do with other countries?

      Gosh, however will they maintain the moral high ground?

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted July 16, 2013 at 10:23 am | Permalink

        But of course the EU will still cooperate with the UK on judicial matters (why not???), just like with any other country. But what will have been already agreed among the rest of the EU (among the 27+ nations) will be like a “fait accomplis” which will not be changed for the benefit of Britain. It will be take it or leave it, just like in 1972.

        • alan jutson
          Posted July 16, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

          Peter

          It will be a “fait accomplis ”

          So what changes.

          Even if we had a voice but disagree with all others, it still goes through, we still have to follow the rules.

          Seems little point in taking part, as the Eurozone will get anything they ever want, as they have a built in majority.

          Time for us to leave and do our own thing, for the very reason you highlight.
          We have Zero change of getting anything we will ever want, including proper re-negotiation.

          So time to say goodbye and good luck, but do remember the fees will have to increase for all those who are left, when you no longer have our subscription.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted July 16, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

            @alan jutson: I don’t expect fees to be much different than before, that is about 1% of GDP for every nation in the EU.
            The Eurozone isn’t about judicial cooperation and there is no compelling need for every EZ nation to agree on all issues and they don’t. As UK, you’ve been, I’ve read, quite infuencial in this area where you area you are now opting out of, punching above your weight so to say. But if that is still not enough, you cannot quite expect as a nation of 61m people to “command” 500m people in 28 nations, those times are over.

          • alan jutson
            Posted July 17, 2013 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

            Peter

            “…..Those days are over….”

            Agree with you, thats why many of us just want out.

            Then we will responsible for our own success or mistakes.

      • uanime5
        Posted July 16, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

        Those separate treaties are with countries not in the EU and those countries have little influence over the terms of these treaties. Were the UK to agree to a similar treaty it would be on the EU’s terms and almost identical to the 133 measures we’re opting out of.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted July 16, 2013 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

          What, including all those measures which your fellow eurofanatic Lord Hannay dismissed as “defunct, dross or things that have no impact”, an analysis repeated by both your heroine Yvette Cooper and the Tory Jacob Rees-Mogg during yesterday’s debate?

          You make most of this stuff up off the top of your head, don’t you?

          It’s really very simple: if the authorities in a foreign country want to get their hands on somebody in this country, they should be able to do so on the conditions set by our Parliament, which our Parliament can amend in the light of experience and changing circumstances, not on whatever conditions may ultimately be set by a transnational court in Luxembourg or indeed on whatever conditions may be set by the governments of the US and other foreign countries outside the EU.

    • Sue
      Posted July 16, 2013 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      @Peter – Oh, you mean as opposed to now when we have absolutely no power over our own judicial system? We can’t even deport terrorists unless the ECHR says so. You’re delusional to assume we have any power at all…. we don’t. The only way to assert our power is to opt out, better still, leave the whole EU project shambles to the rest of Europe. Our legal system has worked for hundreds of years. Why on earth should we opt in to a system which is inferior?

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted July 16, 2013 at 10:28 am | Permalink

        Your vote in parliament wasn’t on ECHR which is quite different from the EU, so let us not mix them up. In the EU, on judicial matters, Britain has quite a bit of influence, probably much more than the 12% the UK accounts for. Of course you can opt out. On the other hand, international crime will not opt out of Britain, or any other EU nation for that matter.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted July 16, 2013 at 10:43 am | Permalink

        Yesterday Yvette Cooper said:

        “… we cannot go back to the days when it took 10 years to extradite a terror suspect to France”

        but without interrupting her flow to give any details.

        So we don’t know exactly what obstacles to extradition caused the delays in any particular case that she had in mind; we don’t know whether either the previous Tory government or the Labour government actually had a hand in protracting the proceedings, either through direct political intervention, or by getting legislation passed which invited the ECHR to start sticking its oar in; and we don’t know whether some of the fault for the delay lay not with the system but with the French authorities for repeatedly failing to produce enough good evidence to justify extradition.

        We do know that in another extradition case, that of Lotfi Raissi:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lotfi_Raissi

        it took two years for that person to defeat the attempt to extradite him to the US, with the FBI repeatedly providing evidence of his guilt which proved to be incorrect, until in the end the British judge brought the case to an end and released him, and in 2008 the Court of Appeal exonerated him and also found that the CPS and the police had given false evidence to the courts, result up to £2 million compensation announced by Jack Straw in April 2010.

        And we do know that under the new UK-US Extradition Treaty, or the EU Arrest Warrant, there would have been no need to produce any evidence against him in a court in this country, and so he would not have been able to challenge that evidence and show it to be false, and therefore an innocent person would have been extradited in relatively short order; and no doubt Yvette Cooper and others would count that in among the successes of “fast track” extradition.

        • Peter van Leeuwen
          Posted July 16, 2013 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

          @Denis: Is it good to pick out single cases that happen to support your wish (of leaving the EU etc.) or would it be wiser to look at the bulk of cases? There is agreement at the European level that the EAW urgently needs reform and various proposals for this exist, e.g. additional safeguards, proportionality checks, and a check on the possible human rights conditions in the receiving country. Opting out (without re-opting in) means no more influence in these matters. At the same time, “crime knows no borders”.

          • matthu
            Posted July 16, 2013 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

            We do know that the French have a system that assumes guilt until proven innocent … and I cannot see how that is readily reconciled with our own system?

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted July 17, 2013 at 7:03 am | Permalink

            Peter, the Raissi case has nothing to do with my wish to leave the EU, but it has everything to do with my belief that any person who is legally resident in this country should have a fair chance to defend himself against an attempt to deport him to another country. You may note that Raissi is actually an Algerian, not a UK citizen, but nonetheless it had been agreed that he could live here under the protection of the UK state – under the protection of the British Crown, to use more old-fashioned language – and in 2001 that protection still extended to allowing him to see and challenge the prima facie evidence being brought forward to justify his extradition to the US. As it turned out he could show that evidence to be false, in fact partly falsified, he was entirely innocent and his extradition to the US would have been totally unjustified. So what would you say? That Raissi should have been presumed guilty as alleged by the FBI, denied the right to even know what evidence there was against him let alone challenge it in a court, and packed off on the next flight to the US?

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted July 17, 2013 at 11:54 am | Permalink

            @matthu: You’re quite misinformed, maybe you missed reading the french penal code or its constitution which both are very clear on this: “Toute personne suspectée ou poursuivie est présumée innocente tant que sa culpabilité n’a pas été établie”

      • uanime5
        Posted July 16, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

        Firstly the ECHR is not part of the EU.

        Secondly even if the UK leaves the EU we will still be bound by the ECHR.

        Thirdly the UK legal system has not worked for hundred of years and has in many cases been massively unjust. As a result the current system is far superior because it is fairer.

        • Disaffected
          Posted July 16, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

          The Lisbon Treaty makes the nexus between the EU and ECHR. Separate in name, let’s not pretend they have nothing to do with each other- they do.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted July 16, 2013 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

            @Disaffected: The EU as a legal entity may subscribe to the European Convention and thus the ECHR, the latter comprises fare more nations and 800m people instead the EU’s 500m. Look up ECHR in wikipedia and you’ll see a map which will show you how much alone you would be if you opt out of that organisation. Non-membership currently is only for Belarus.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted July 17, 2013 at 9:16 am | Permalink

            Indeed from time to time there have even been suggestions that the two courts should merge.

            Here’s an interesting academic study on how the relationship between the two is developing, especially post-Lisbon and in the light of the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights:

            http://ejil.oxfordjournals.org/content/22/4/1071.full#fn-10

            (That’s the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights which was said to have no more legal weight than the Beano.)

        • Anonymous
          Posted July 16, 2013 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

          The EU and the ECHR share a common predilection for taking control and doing so from an unelected, unqualified and unaccountable position.

          The ECHR was set up to prevent gulags, torture and persecution – not to enable lifers found guilty of serial killings to have their sentences reviewed.

          “…the UK legal system has not worked for hundreds of years.”

          It’s tosh such as this that makes you a standing joke on this forum, Uanime5. The contempt you have for your country seeps from your every utterance.

          The good news is that it will be all over within your lifetime. You are bound to thoroughly enjoy what is going to take its place.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted July 16, 2013 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

            @Anonymous: if courts in Britain are “elected” that is news to me!

          • Anonymous
            Posted July 17, 2013 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

            Mr van Leeuwen

            No. Our courts are unelected. But they are qualified and accountable by virtue of our own educational and institutional systems and jury selection – all of which are influenced by our own democratically elected legislature.

            My comment was with regard to both the EU and ECHR. I’m sorry if that confused you.

        • Edward2
          Posted July 16, 2013 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

          Firstly:-
          You needed to choose your words very carefully on this claim Uni, because the relationship between the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) are both issues in European Union law and human rights law.
          The European Court of Justice rules on European Union (EU) law while the European Court of Human Rights rules on European Convention on Human Rights which covers and involves the 47 member states of the Council of Europe.
          Cases cannot be brought in ECHR against the European Union but the Court has ruled that EU member states cannot escape their human rights obligations by saying that they were implementing EU law.
          There is therefore much interweaving of these bodies even though you may be able to claim one is not “part” of the other.
          Secondly
          We are only bound by the ECHR for as long as a free Parliament or a referendum of the people decides it wants to leave.
          Thirdly
          You are of course entitled to your negative opinion on UK law and justice, but I would prefer to be ruled by an elected Parliament of my fellow citizens rather than by the more remote Courts in Europe which already are showing many serious imperfections and regularly are making freedom sapping decisions.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted July 17, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

        Why is it not possible to sign an international convention, in this case on human rights, without recognising the right of an international court to rule on individual cases. A Statute to reserve that right for British courts is perfectly feasible.

        We are not obliged to provide Cherie Blair with a good living.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted July 16, 2013 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      Try and understand that there are so many of us who have no desire for the influence you would have us worry about.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted July 17, 2013 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

        @Leslie Singleton: Interesting. The European arrest warrant has brought many dangerous criminals to justice. Why ditch it over party politics? (the “many of us”)

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted July 18, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

          It is really very simple, viz I don’t want foreigners arranging arrests here. This is, or at least was, England. Perhaps it’s different where you live with all the pretend borders, which are not our fault.

  2. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted July 16, 2013 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    Without exactly knowing what the opt outs or opt ins are and how they intend to be worded ,it is difficult to imagine whether they are sensible and in the nations interest. My biggest fear is that the conservatives will veer to that which is best for private industry and not human rights.

    • David Price
      Posted July 16, 2013 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      Why do you seek to tar conservatives, the last Labour government was no beacon of human rights – erosion of civil libertities, increase of state surveillence, the Dr David Kelly episode.

      Or, how about the apparent Labour proposals to make sponging off the state a human right, hows that for abuse.

      The issue is always the pressure on human rights by the state, which isn’t just the politicians but they do seem to change their minds and perspectives once in power.

      • uanime5
        Posted July 16, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

        You’ve ignored that Labour introduced the Human Rights Act (HRA) so that people could enforce their human rights in UK courts, while the Conservatives are planning to add repealing the HRA and leaving the ECHR to their campaign manifesto. So it is clear which party supports human rights.

        • David Price
          Posted July 16, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

          I’ve not ignored the HRA merely pointed out that political affiliation has no bearing on treatment of civil liberties. But, since you bring itrup passing the HRA obviously had no bearing on the demonstrated attitude of the Labour government to human rights/civil liberties, more a case of “do what I say not as I do” which statists are prone to.

        • Anonymous
          Posted July 16, 2013 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

          Uanime5 – It also made a certain legal practice very successful indeed.

          • lifelogic
            Posted July 17, 2013 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

            Indeed

        • margaret brandreth-j
          Posted July 16, 2013 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

          I am not tarring the conservatives, but perhaps I should say the coalition , but there again it is the tory’s’ who want to opt out at this particular time, The governing body are the ones who will forward all processes at this time, therefore I am addressing what is relevant today. I personally believe that human rights , including British human rights have been marred for many years and I during the terms of labour have certainly not been excluded from this or the tory terms prior to that. I have not secured justice for being the victim of many misgivings until one day someone fought for me using EU human rights and they won.!

  3. lifelogic
    Posted July 16, 2013 at 5:41 am | Permalink

    We shall see but I do not expect much progress in the right direction from this dreadful House of Commons.

    Interesting to hear yesterday, from Prince Charles spokes people, that he does not enjoy a competitive advantage over other businesses, through not paying corporation taxes, trust taxes, IHT and capital gains taxes and only paying income tax at just over 20%. Perhaps open this option to his competitors then too. How do they find people who can say this drivel with a straight face? I assume they are rather well paid and honoured.

    We also learn he has five homes in town and country. Fine but could he please stop lecturing the rest of us on his catastrophic alarmist global warming religion, until such time as he lives in and heats up just one small house perhaps and sells his Aston Martins.

    • margaret brandreth-j
      Posted July 16, 2013 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      We all have our birth right. How would you handle it had you been that baby born to the royals and brought up in one particular way? Perhaps the starving Africans would say , how can YOU talk such drivel, whilst using a computer and eating well , keeping warm and drinking when our babies are dying? There again these houses need staff, who are paid. How does that compare to the large city buildings who employ many staff , keep the lights/ heating / air conditioning on over night 365 days a years.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted July 16, 2013 at 9:04 am | Permalink

        @Margaret brandreth-j: You’re saying it is his birthright to lord it over us and compete in commercial markets unfairly because he pays less tax than others?

        Personally, I’ve never bought into all this forelock tugging that goes on in this country.

        • Jerry
          Posted July 16, 2013 at 10:22 am | Permalink

          Mike Wilson: I take it that you don’t “Lord it” yourself – compared to those young families (yes I did say families) who live in a rented one-bed flat because that is all you can afford (through no fault of theirs)? All Margaret was doing was to point out that all things are relative.

          • Mike Wilson
            Posted July 16, 2013 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

            @Jerry – Are you serious? I really don’t understand your point. How can you compare the lives of Royalty and their undeserved riches, land and power with the rest of us? I don’t ‘lord it’ over anybody. Anything I have I have worked for – all my life.

          • Jerry
            Posted July 17, 2013 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

            @Mike Wilson: It’s called the accident of birth (rights), even if that might just be were in the country one was born [1], never mind your genetic make up etc, no one was questioning that you have worked for everything you have (you might not think that Prince Charles works but he does, as does the Queen) but did you really do that without any influence from your parents etc.

            As I said, to someone working for the NMW in a totally unskilled job whilst raising their family in a one bed flat you are “Lording it”, just as I am!

            [1] for example many might contest that children born in Kent get a better state education, if your parents were able afford private education then you likely do even better

      • alan jutson
        Posted July 16, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

        Margaret

        Seems to me the Prince and the Dutchy are no better or worse than any of the other recent Commercial Companies to have used tax avoidance measures to minimise liablity.

        I also fail to see how supplying/selling large volumes of branded goods for money to supermarkets, does not constitute a proper business.
        Perhaps the Inland Revenue could advise us all.
        Like wise how we can put personal expenditure (it is suggested) against Company profits.

        For someone who often takes the high ground on so called Morals, I think The Prince is rather publically shooting himself in the foot on this one.

    • Nina Andreeva
      Posted July 16, 2013 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      If I was some left wing pointy headed intellectual I would be rapidly coming to the conclusion that I was wasting my time writing pamphlets on why the UK should become a republic. HM Queen’s likely successors are a totally uninspiring lot and the monarchy will probably wither away naturally due to lack of popular support. Once the Queen passes on, her successors only claim to legitimacy would be, in my eyes that, “Who do you want in Buckingham Palace us or Tony and Cherie?”. Given the choice of who has the greater moral authority and gravitas to lead the country through a national crisis, even a monarchist such as me, would find it very hard not to plump for some one like Terry Waite than Prince Charles.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted July 16, 2013 at 9:05 am | Permalink

        Or, of course, you could leave Buck House empty. Surprisingly, Versailles seems to get quite a few visitors.

    • lifelogic
      Posted July 16, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      I am all in favour of the Monarchy, far preferable to any alternatives. But it is a bit rich for Charles to run five homes and Aston Martins then to lecture us on his irrational global warming beliefs then spend over £1M of public money on his world travel and tell us off for taking one holiday a year while heating our small homes.

      Worse still for his paid staff to blandly state, and to a parliamentary committee, that his paying no tax (other than a little income tax at circa 20%) gives him no advantages over other businesses. Just how stupid do they think the public and MPs are (well the public anyway)? I just hope the Queen and her very sensible (especially on the warming religion) husband live plenty more years to come.

      Also that the third in line to the throne learns from his grand parents, rather than his father.

      Hypocrisy is not very attractive, as all the labour MPs who use private education can surely attest. Perhaps people who call others “Morally Repugnant” while MPs and MEP enjoy special tax advantages and while wasting money hand over fist can attest to this too.

      • Anonymous
        Posted July 16, 2013 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

        It will be untenable for a monarch to be as outspoken as Charles likes to be.

        etc ed.

        • lifelogic
          Posted July 18, 2013 at 6:39 am | Permalink

          Indeed and in such a blatantly hypocritical way.

          “Do as I say not as I do” seems to be Charles’s fake green motto. He should learn from his mum smile, wave cut the tapes, declare x open and keep his silly green and political views to himself.

  4. Martin
    Posted July 16, 2013 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    Are you trying to recreate the Costa del crime?

    Under your proposals what will happen if the UK wants to deport a suspected terrorist to France or vice versa? Umpteen years of legal process and appeals through the courts?

    Have you thoughts about the implications for Northern Ireland which has a highly easily crossed border with the Irish Republic?

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 16, 2013 at 6:56 am | Permalink

      This just goes to show how far the EU has transformed from what the British people agreed to.

      They would never have agreed to (among other things) British citizens being extradited by foreign authorities.

      • Anonymous
        Posted July 16, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

        …far less them agreeing with Britain ever being put in a position where it COULD become a Costa del Crime.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted July 16, 2013 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      “Are you trying to recreate the Costa del crime?”

      As I understand the Spanish authorities created the Costa del crime by refusing to co-operate with the extradition attempts of the UK authorities. You might ask why a government would prefer to harbour foreigners who are either proven criminals or who clearly have a substantial case to answer back home, rather than being keen to rid their country of those undesirable foreign elements. You might also ask why the Spanish authorities which were previously so reluctant to co-operate with the UK authorities have now suddenly become highly co-operative. If the answer is that there was something wrong with the Spanish judicial system and so the EU had to arrange for it to be by-passed then you might go on to ask why the UK has now agreed to automatically deport you to Spain just on the say-so of a Spanish magistrate without the tiresome need for any prima evidence of your guilt to be presented in a court in this country.

      • forthurst
        Posted July 16, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

        “You might ask why a government would prefer to harbour foreigners who are either proven criminals or who clearly have a substantial case to answer back home, rather than being keen to rid their country of those undesirable foreign elements.”

        That’s a fair point, although obviously in exceptional circumstances such as when the wealth had been stolen by ‘Russian’ ‘oligarchs’, it would not apply.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted July 17, 2013 at 7:22 am | Permalink

          In relation to the matter of the UK government previously tolerating certain undesirable foreign elements in this country and possibly impeding their extradition I submitted another reply to Martin, which apparently JR deemed too sensitive to even consider for moderation.

          Reply I did not post it as the whole thing rested on a long Guardian article which I did not have time to check out and was nervous about.

  5. matthu
    Posted July 16, 2013 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    Presumably without coalition agreement on what to opt in to there can’t be a government motion on opting in to any of them, so it would need to be a backbencher’s motion?

    I can see I am being naive here, but it seems to me that the government is continually being trampled all over by the LDs.

    Perhaps it suits some of them to be trampled on.

    And what became of referring it to the electorate in the form of a referendum? Ah, another fantasy.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted July 16, 2013 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      The Tory MP Mark Reckless made brave attempts to argue that opting back in to any of the EU measures should trigger a referendum under the European Union Act 2011.

      He was rebuffed on that by Theresa May and later by other ministers:

      http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhansrd/cm130715/debtext/130715-0003.htm

      Actually I think he’s wrong; it seems that when Hague wrote his “referendum lock” law he intentionally omitted this “opt-out opt-in” scenario from the supposedly exhaustive list of circumstances which would trigger a referendum, or even require an Act of Parliament, or even need a motion to be passed by both Houses.

      Which makes sense if you start with the assumption that this government no more wants any referendum on the EU than previous governments, and if the law had been inadvertently written so that opting back in to any of the EU measures would automatically trigger a referendum then the government would cornered itself into being unable to exercise the right to opt out of all the measures.

  6. Andyvan
    Posted July 16, 2013 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    It is amazing how many people spend their whole lives trying to correct problems caused by legislation that they and others spend their lives dreaming up. It’s like one gang goes around digging holes and another follows filling them in. Here’s a revolutionary idea – don’t invent stupid rules in the first place and then everybody could do a productive job and not waste their whole lives making life more difficult for other people. I know there are an awful lot of people that like nothing better than making other people’s life harder but should we let them do it to us?

    • alan jutson
      Posted July 16, 2013 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      Andyvan

      I certainly agree with the tone of the comments you make.

      We are supposed to be a Country where people are allowed to come in order to be safe, a refuge from nasty places, but we do not seem able to do anything to protect ourselves if they turn out to be fakes or liers.

      Given we have such an excellent standing in the World (thousands want to come here) why do we need to belong to anything, especially where rules are set by others.

      We could certainly do with less legislation on most things, and certainly with less lawyers, who just seem to complicate any issue, and at the same time enhance their own rewards.

  7. Denis Cooper
    Posted July 16, 2013 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    I watched much of this debate, including your own excellent contribution, JR, and cutting through all the party political point-scoring a number of things struck me.

    Firstly, that the Labour front bench has abandoned the presumption of innocence; as far as Yvette Cooper is concerned, anyone who gets named on an EU Arrest Warrant may be presumed guilty, and should be immediately plucked from their life and family in any one of the EU member states and dragged across Europe to rot in a prison in another member state without the need to ask any further questions about whether that is justified.

    If one was only interested in the ease and speed with which that could be done, and just took the numbers of cases each year as a measure of success, then it would be simpler to entirely dispense with any court proceedings before the person was transferred and just allow a police officer in (say) Poland to ring up a counterpart in (say) the UK and say:

    “Hi, we want to interrogate Suspect X who lives in your area, please could you pick him up and send him over?”

    Which I suppose is pretty much what happens now within this country, that the police in (say) Manchester contact the police in (say) London and get somebody arrested and brought to them, without the need for any court in London to authorise that arrest and transfer; so that would be perfectly acceptable for those disaffected persons who believe that their country should now be seen as “Europe”, not the UK.

    Secondly, that apart from some of the Tories the MPs we have elected as our representatives are quite indifferent to the proven potential for major injustice to be inflicted on those living in their constituencies through the operation of the EU Arrest Warrant, and indeed that indifference is shared by some of the Tories who complain about injustices arising from the new UK-US Extradition Treaty.

    Thirdly, and in connection with that, they are also quite indifferent as to whether the persons plucked from their lives and families in their constituencies are British citizens being forcibly transferred to foreign countries or foreign citizens being recalled to their home countries, which at one time would have been seen as very different matters.

    Fourthly, the supporters of the EU Arrest Warrant obstinately refuse to take into account the plain fact that ultimately the rules for its operation would be decided by the EU’s Court of Justice, not by any court in this country and not by our Parliament; so if for example that court in Luxembourg decided that member states could not bar extradition on the grounds of “proportionality”, which it would be free to do, then Theresa May’s proposed amendment of UK law to introduce that test would have to be repealed or the UK would be in breach of EU law.

    • forthurst
      Posted July 16, 2013 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      “I watched much of this debate, including your own excellent contribution, JR”

      After such a recommendation, having unsuccessfully attempted to do just that, I read Hansard in which:

      JR: (column 793) “… It is the rapid pro-Europeans who so dislike our French and German partners that they say that it all has to be bound up in central European government…”

      It is painfully obvious that those who wish to abandon our democracy are in an indecent haste, however, I’m fairly sure JR intended to describe the terminally unpleasant medical condition with which those people have become infected, depriving them of any vestiges of the senses of fairness and decency that might have lurked within their souls, even perhaps salivating profusely at the prospect of dispatching English people to jurusdictions where an improbable version of history is sanctified by law and the denial of which is a serious crime.

    • uanime5
      Posted July 16, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      As the rules for the EU Arrest Warrant are decided by the European Parliament (if implemented via EU law) or the European Council (if implemented via treaty) these organisation have the ultimate authority regarding the rules of operation. All the ECJ does is determine how these rules apply in the case before it, so it’s hardly fair to blame the ECJ if the rules they didn’t make don’t allow the UK to bar extradition on the grounds of “proportionality”.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted July 16, 2013 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

        Wrong, the ECJ is the ultimate authority for the interpretation of the EU treaties and laws and has no hesitation about exerting that authority as it sees fits. Therefore if the ECJ decided that member states should not apply a “proportionality” test when responding to EU Arrest Warrants then any states which had already put that test into their national legislation would be in breach of EU law if they didn’t repeal that national legislation and stop applying that test.

  8. Mark
    Posted July 16, 2013 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    The realities of being in a de facto minority government on a confidence and supply basis bite home.

    It would be nice to think that our media, led by the BBC, would examine the potential opt in agenda rationally, and thereby encourage debate and perhaps a change of opinion among at least some MPs who are unthinkingly pursuing an agenda of opposition and support for the EU, regardless of consequences. I do not expect such debate at the BBC. Does anyone else?

    • Mark
      Posted July 16, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      P.S. the efforts of yourself and others to make a complete opt-out at least a possibility are appreciated. You can be nine wickets down, but still go on to win the match…

  9. David Hope
    Posted July 16, 2013 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Good to hear, please do all you can to prevent the reincorporation of the EAW.

    Wonder where all the solicitors are to campaign against it – who are so passionate about protecting UK law when it comes to legal aid…

  10. Bert Young
    Posted July 16, 2013 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    I watched much of the debate yesterday . I am amazed that so many of the contributions were long- winded ; Bill Cash was a particular offender . Your own contribution was articulate , well put and received . The outcome ? well , definitely wishy washy . I cannot see the point of any subsequent “Opt In” if we are to be a democracy . Ken Clarke’s recent suggestion that a Cameron led re-negotiated relationship with Europe was the only way to go , was hilarious . It’s about time he was shoved into obscurity and prevented from being an embarrassment to his Party .

  11. Acorn
    Posted July 16, 2013 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    Bloody hell, you Rednecks really aught to get some education. Don’t you realize that your hang ’em and flog ’em approach is cutting off your nose to spite your face. To be specific, it will be your kids and your grand kids, who will get the pain of this government’s neo-conservative, neo-liberal ideology. If any of this debt and deficit hysteria were true, we would never have recovered from WW2, when we had debts 2.5 times our GDP. Has that stopped you buying a 60 inch plasma TV in this decade?

    In any nation, every government strives for total control. That’s why they first make sure that you do not have any access to weapons. The biggest threat to any government is an educated middle class. Name me a current insurrection anywhere that was started by those on housing benefit.

    Wake-up you masochists, you are getting screwed by the 1% elite and you are heading for the graveyard of the boiling frogs. (with apologies for plagiarism to Jonathan Freedland at the Guardian). 🙂 .

  12. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    How are the personnel of Select Committees chosen? It clearly matters.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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