Mr Redwood’s intervention during the debate on the UK’s Justice and Home Affairs Opt-outs, 10th July 2014

Mr John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): Does the Home Secretary understand that either this House is sovereign in criminal justice or the European Union is, and that if we opt into this measure, the European Union becomes sovereign? She has rightly pointed out lots of defects with the arrest warrant, but once we have given away our sovereignty we have no absolute right to stop or change things in the way that we can if we keep the authority here.

Mrs Theresa May (Secretary of State for the Home Department): The point I have made to my right hon. Friend, and others in the past, is that of course there is a question about the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, and we have already opted into measures post the Lisbon treaty where the Court operates. We have seen decisions by the ECJ that have been unhelpful—perhaps I can put it like that—such as the Metock case, or the case I referred to earlier when making a statement to the House. We believe that the Court should not have the final say over matters such as substantive criminal law or international relations, and that is why we are not rejoining more than 20 minimum standards measures on matters such as racism and xenophobia. That is why we will not be rejoining the EU-US extradition agreement, and we should be able to renegotiate as we see fit. I am clear that we should have the final say over our laws.

By already opting out of certain European measures, we have taken powers back from Europe that had already been signed away. The process we were left with, which was negotiated by the previous Government, was an unappealing choice between the potential impacts of ECJ jurisdiction over those measures that it is in the national interest for us to rejoin, or the prospect and dangers of an operational gap.