On 9 February my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and I signed an agreement with the United States of America on the investigation and confiscation of the proceeds of drug trafficking. We hope to conclude further such agreements this year. Part VI of the Criminal Justice Bill will, if it is passed, enable us to seek agreements on confiscation of the proceeds of other serious offences.
I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for that encouraging reply. Does he agree that that matter should be resolved urgently with our European neighbours, and can he assure the House that rapid progress will be made in that direction?
I agree with my hon. Friend. We believe it is wrong that a drug trafficking crook should be able to serve his sentence, comfortable in the knowledge that he is hanging on to the fruits of his crime. I am in touch with several European Governments and I hope that, when they have their domestic legislation in place, as we have ours, we might be able to have a European treaty which will bring this forward.