Mr John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): Many of us thought that we would have an opportunity today to debate the very weighty question of whether this country should opt back into 35 important measures relating to criminal justice, and put it under European Court of Justice and European Union control. We looked forward to a debate and a vote on that high principle, which includes the important and contentious European arrest warrant, but also a number of other measures that constitute the building blocks for a system in which our criminal justice would be conducted primarily under the central control of the European Union rather than that of the United Kingdom.
We welcome the Government’s wish to engage and to allow us a reasonable length of time in which to debate those matters, followed by a concluding vote at 10 pm, but you, Mr Speaker, have told us, very wisely and helpfully, that that is not what the business motion says, and, through you, I urge Ministers to consider amending it. As I understand the position, you would probably be sympathetic if they wished to do so. We could debate their regulations for 90 minutes, and during the remaining time, until 10 pm, we could debate the much wider issues of substance. We could discuss whether we wish to opt into all those measures and what we think of the European arrest warrant. Some believe it to be the biggest of all the measures, which is in itself debatable. I think that justice would then be seen to be done by the wider public.
I hope, Mr Speaker, that I am not taking liberties by suggesting to Ministers, through you, that a simple amendment to the business motion might provide a way out of this dilemma, and enable the House properly to consider the wider constitutional issues.