Extradition and Ministerial statements


        Yesterday was another day for backbench business in the Commons. This has been Mr Cameron’s best reform so far, enabling Parliament to be more relevant, and to have more impact upon the agenda and debates of the nation.

         The Committee decided to allow two issues to be aired. The first was a motion to require Ministers to make all their important announcements to the Commons first. If a Minister breaks the convention and leaks important information prior to the Statement, then the House wished the matter to be dealt with either by the Speaker or by the Standards and Privileges Committee. Parliament voted this motino down by 228 votes to 119.

          In recent years governments have got lax about telling the Commons first. They often prefer to tell a friendly journalist or create a story on a week-end show. This matters. Parliament is the correct forum, so the matter can be properly exposed to comment and criticism by Opposition and government backbenches alike. If Parliament is to stay relevant most of the time it needs to hear the news first, to disseminate the main announcements about government policy and actions.

          The second motion was to call upon the government to reform our extradition arrangements. Many of us think the European Arrest Warrant  is too intrusive in its impact on UK justice. We are not against extradition, but would like to see the UK retain more control over the process. Similarly, many of us thought the last government’s deal with the US was lop sided, giving too much to the US. Other countries have different arrangements which we think are preferable.

            This motion passed without opposition. This means the government has accepted it. Let us hope they now carry out the will of the House. The UK needs a better deal on extradition. Too much power has been given away by past Parliaments. It is good to see this one trying to reclaim some. I am grateful to Dominic Raab for bringing forward his motion, which I did co-sign.


  1. lifelogic
    December 6, 2011

    Good this very encouraging but will it actually result in any real action? The extradition of anyone clearly should be considered on the merits of the particular case not according to some, sausage machine type, of automatic rules.

    1. lifelogic
      December 6, 2011

      Similarly I tend to think that appeals against guilty verdicts should just consider whether on not there is sufficient evidence to show that the person convicted is actually guilty. Rather than, as currently, trying to show that the initial trial was not conducted to certain set standards. Hence the huge list of people in the UK who have been unable to get any (or at least speedy) redress of the very many unsound guilty verdicts given.

      What is the point of constantly tying the hands of the judges – just make sure you have good, fair, impartial, sensible and honest ones in place and let them do their jobs.

      1. uanime5
        December 6, 2011

        What you’re proposing is an affront to natural justice. If the trial was conducted unfairly then the verdict must be quashed and the accused must be retried. The court of first instance has to establish the facts of the case as appeals can only be granted on points of law, so if the first trial was flawed all subsequent appeals will also be flawed.

        The judge’s job is to apply the laws made by Parliament and if they do this wrongly those accused of crimes should not suffer for the judge’s mistake.

      2. Bazman
        December 6, 2011

        Now a supporter of kangaroo courts. Where does it end?

  2. Mike Stallard
    December 6, 2011

    The European extradition arrangements have been getting quite dangerous. Other countries, to say the least, do not have our traditions of Common Law. Nor the presumption of innocence. Nor the jury system. Nor the independence of the judiciary. Nor any form of habeas corpus.

    And echoes of this are beginning to creep into our system too – especially, I believe, in the family courts which are held in total secrecy, and in all the anti-terrorist legislation which is beginning to be used to deal with inconvenient cases.

    1. lifelogic
      December 6, 2011

      Indeed the family courts seem to be a constant source of the most appalling outrages and most are totally hidden from the public view by the secrecy rules.

      1. Mike Stallard
        December 6, 2011

        Glad you have seen that too.
        If justice is not seen to be done, then it is not justice.
        This could be the next scandal.

      2. uanime5
        December 6, 2011

        All decision by the courts are publically available. Though the names of children and vulnerable people are usually censored. Decisions by the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords / Supreme Court are easier to find as they’re more useful for lawyers.

    2. uanime5
      December 6, 2011

      Most European countries used to have the common law but chose to replace it with the Napoleonic civil code, all have presumption of innocence (it’s a human right), only Germany doesn’t have a jury system, the UK didn’t used to have an independent judiciary until recently (the House of Lords acted as a court and legislator), and all have habeas corpus (another human right).

      All cases involving children and vulnerable people are held in secret for the protection of these children and vulnerable people. Though the judge’s decision is freely available (it would be impossible to study family law without this information). The same is true for every civil case as they’re not open to public, unlike criminal cases.

      All secret evidence in terrorist cases has to be approved of by the judge. If the judge doesn’t approve of secret evidence it has to be given in court or not used.

      1. MickC
        December 6, 2011

        You are seriously suggesting that the judiciary was not independent because the Court House of Lords also sat in the legislative House of Lords?
        It wasn’t ideal, but it hardly meant the court system was not independent. The House of Lords was one of the most independent bodies in government, in either guise, because it was dependent on the Executive; it no longer is so, because it is filled with former MP placemen.

        1. uanime5
          December 7, 2011

          The House of Lords wasn’t independent because all the judges were also politicians. This is a clear violation of the separation of powers. It also violated the human right to a fair trial.

          I take it you mean that the judicial House of Lords was ‘independent of the Executive’; which it wasn’t because the Lord Chancellor was part of the Executive and was chosen by the Prime Minister.

          The legislator House of Lords also wasn’t independent as most of the Lords were former MPs given a peerage by the Prime Minister. The cash for peerages scandal and Cameron creating over 100 Lords shows just how dependent on the executive the House of Lords is becoming.

          The majority of MPs are part of legislator, not the executive. Only front benchers are part of the executive.

          The Supreme Court is now full of judges, not MPs. Also these judges now have to resign if they want to be part of the House of Lords.

  3. Brian Tomkinson
    December 6, 2011

    Virtually all of the recent statement by the chancellor was published in the papers and broadcast media days before he made it. There was a time when leaks of budget statements led to resignations. Clearly many MPs are happy to be treated with contempt by the government. They should not underestimate the signal they have given to the executive who will disregard them with impunity. As usual, MPs have forgotten that they are the representatives of their constituents in Parliament and by allowing the government to ignore the importance of that forum they are diluting still further the interests of their constituents.

  4. zorro
    December 6, 2011

    Here is an interesting statement from the US ambassador on this issue made to the Home Affairs Select Committee…..http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/home-affairs-committee/news/111202-us-ambassador/


  5. stred
    December 6, 2011

    Yesterday, David Cameron made a well briefed speech about a new deal for medical research in the UK. He appears to have been listening to some senior figures in the field and proposed to open up the NHS records for use in scientific studies as well as new research centres.

    Unfortunately, three commercial pharma’ research centres have already closed and new ones have been opened in China. If scientists wish to carry out a project, they have to spend half their valuable time finding the money to fund it. This means writing the project and trailing in around various charities, companies or to the MRC. Very few get through the process. Money has dried up to a large extent and many scientists are facing redundancy. The same goes for those in Europe and the USA.

    The measures seem to be largely too little/ too late. Only last week, I heard of a very promising project for the treatment of Dementia which has had funding cut back. This would have huge potential if it succeeded. The salary of a researcher would be under £35k pa. but this amount is under question, while waste in the NHS and other tax funded areas is immense. Research institutes are already there. These need funding rather than building new ones.

  6. stred
    December 6, 2011

    In Eastern Europe, the ex-communist mafias are now in positions of influence in the commercial and judicial system. God help anyone who, having escaped and is now a UK citizen, fell out with them.

    1. Bazman
      December 6, 2011

      The law was recently changed making anyone born in Russia have a Russian passport to visit Russia even if that person has a British passport. The person has to register at the Russian embassy to get this passport. It is possible to renounce Russian citizenship by paying a fee, but would this count in Russia on the ground. Presumably the children of Russians are in the same predicament in Russia?
      Very sinister and causes the predicament of informing them or not going to Russia. Which in my opinion is a criminal state.

  7. uanime5
    December 6, 2011

    I feel that the European Arrest Warrant is currently too broad, most likely because it was created after 9/11 when everyone was worried about terrorist plots.

  8. forthurst
    December 6, 2011

    The sovereignty of Parliament is draining away and the Mother of Parliaments is degenerating into the End of the Pier Show. Allowing Ministers to present their policies to the MSM in the first place is conceding that policy decisions are a form of entertainment to enhance the relevance of the MSM whilst deprecating Parliament and may be presented to the nation, or that part of it that still watches the drivel emanating from MSM, as propaganda. The HoC is sovereign except where it is overridden by the EU, the Special Relationship, the ECHR, NATO or put another way, it’s irrelevant.

    Over time this country has introduced judicial safeguards such as Trial by Jury, Habeus Corpus, the assumption of innocence which now, never or no longer apply to either the US or European states. In addition, that we having thought crime laws is bad enough but some European countries have thought crime laws in relation to beliefs as per the Inquisition. (Individual case removed-ed) Much of the ‘need’ to ‘streamline’ extradition is based on the ‘War on Terror’, an entirely phoney concept based on the 9/11 false flag operation. We should be looking particularl at the USA which is in the process of trashing its Constitution in order to introduce a police state run on Bolshevik lines in which the Banksters are the Nomenklatura acting through a (questionable-es) Congress and anyone who threatens their pre-eminence by word or deed will be deemed a ‘terrorist’.
    We should not facilitate the convenience of foreign jurisdictions when that process would lead to miscarriages of justice or convictions for ‘offences’ which are clearly of an imaginary nature.

  9. Alan Wheatley
    December 6, 2011

    Re Ministerial Statements, it is a shame the motion was defeated.

    One consequence of the “week end show effect” is that the viewer is presented with a pointless conversation. Ministerial interviewee is asked about something he knows can not be discussed fully so answers are hedged and facts are not available. Other guest are asked their views on something they can only speculate about, so the viewer can not properly benefit from their expertise. Often the consequence is that the media think they have covered the topic before the announcement in parliament and so do not bother to return to it when all has been revealed. This has the effect of subduing public debate: whether deliberately or intentionally I could not say.

    Either way I have largely given up watching such shows as being a waste of my time.

  10. RDM
    December 6, 2011

    Nice Job! Next?

    PS: I’m waiting until we find out the details of the meeting, come the 9th Dec. Because if they are serious, then they will need to do better then that! Is not the key question; How much direct Fiscal control will they give to Brussels before Germany will stand behind a suitable supply of funds and/or allow the ECB to act as the lender of last resort. I think the Markets will respond to the anwser to this question!

  11. Javelin
    December 6, 2011

    Is Parliament Soverign or not? You can’t ignore the will of the house and then claim the will of the house is more important than the will of the EU laws.

  12. Martin
    December 6, 2011

    Some of you might care to look at Hansard for the speech of Mr David Davies (I caught it on the Parliament channel). He gave a long list of Commonwealth AND EU countries who apply stricter criteria to this deportation business both within the EU and the US treaties.

    What I want is parity with countries such as Germany and Australia who apply the stricter criteria.

  13. Steve Cox
    December 7, 2011

    So why was the motion on ministerial statements voted down so heavily? I must be missing something, as it sounds like Parliament voting to be irrelevant, and to have little impact upon the agenda and debates of the nation. Do turkeys vote for Christmas? It seems that MP’s have just voted themselves into blithe irrelevancy.

    Reply: As someone who voted for the motion I am not the person to ask

  14. sydney taylor
    December 12, 2011

    Dear Mr Redwood,
    From what I know about you, I am impressed by your common sense views on important subjects. However, you are part of a government which continually reminds us – the public !-
    that you are not living in the same world as the ordinary people, including those of us who voted for you . We are not without common sense in general, and we fail to understand, why the top levels of our government keep popping up with the most outrageous proposals!
    Example – an extra 40m pounds for the opening and closing ceremonies at the Olympics 2012,surely all the brains who were assembled in the planning stages should have budgeted accordingly, then there is the planned increase in overseas aid to up to 8 billion or so! I could go on! All this in the face of reduced Armed Forces, closures of hospital wards, young people,s start up schemes, shortages of teachers, carers, increasing cost of living for older pensioners and people in need. There are children with learning disabilities, such as my own grandson who is autistic aged 4 and a half, and my daughter is fighting so hard to obtain funding for him to have a one to one teacher or assistant at his school in Hampshire, which he has been attending since September, but come January he may lose his place at the school because the funding for the one to one situation, which has worked wonders for him , may not be granted. So I,m sure you understand Mr Redwood that my situation is only one of many similar. How on earth can our Government
    which we had great hopes for last year, continue ignoring the general public,s pleas for common sense and fairness . I realise that you have a heavy workload, but I would be interested in your own views on the above.
    Thank you

    Reply: I agree there are more economies in the less essential items of spending that can and should be made. Councils should be able to afford to provide decent services in the areas you identify

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