Yesterday Parliament debated whether to opt back in to 35 of the EU Criminal Justice measures. We have recently rightly opted out of all 135 measures, as we were entitled do under our version of the centralising Lisbon Treaty. I and others told Parliament why we do not wish to opt back in to anything.
On June 15th 1215 at Runneymede the King conceded an important grant of liberties to Englishmen called Magna Carta. Though this was just one of many evolving constitutional documents thrown up in our history of curbing the powers of executive government and building a stronger dem0cratic Parliament to curb excessive state power, it has become one of the earliest and most iconic. It gave Englishmen the right to fair trial under English law with proportionate punishments for the guilty. It set up a forerunner of Parliament, an elected council of 25, to supervise the settlement and check up on the government’s good faith in implementing it.
The government plans to celebrate and commemorate this event next year. It is no way to do so by passing control of these important matters of justice to the European Union. I and like minded colleagues fully understand the need for cross border police collaboration, for some common investigations of cross border crime with agencies from other countries, and the need from time to time to extradite possible criminals for trial elsewhere. We do this by Extradition Treaty or agreement with other countries in all but the EU. The EU wishes us to have different arrangements in the EU, submitting our control and jurisdiction to EU and European Court jurisdiction. This to me is a step too far, and a needless sacrifice of the sovereignty of the British people.
Yesterday the government argued that the European Arrest Warrant was necessary to get back nasty criminals for trial who had travelled to EU countries. We explained to them that we too wish to see serious crime pursued across frontiers. We wish to have an Extradition Treaty with the EU just as we have such treaties with many non EU countries. That is a better route than putting ourselves under the control of the ECJ and the Commission. We can change, influence or cancel an Extradition Treaty if we wish. Once we have opted into EU criminal justice we are powerless to change anything unless 27 other EU countries, the Commission and the European Parliament agree.