I beg to move, That this House
do now adjourn.
Leave having been given on
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for allowing this debate to be held on a matter of tremendous seriousness and urgency. We are all aware that tomorrow morning, three British citizens are to be extradited to the United States on the basis of an unfair, imbalanced treaty that the Government negotiated in secret and to which they devoted the most cursory parliamentary scrutiny imaginable. Although it is too late to alter the fate of the so-called NatWest three, except in terms of pressing for bail, in which we support any efforts that the Government are able to make, it is not too late to abandon that treaty, which is not yet in force in international law, but which we have chosen, inexplicably, to implement unilaterally.
We on the Liberal Democrat Benches have objected to the extradition arrangements with the USA ever since the text of the new treaty was published in May 2003. We spoke and voted against the orders implementing our end of the treaty in December 2003. We have tabled a Bill in the House to restore the need for prima facie evidence to be provided by US authorities when requesting extradition. We have supported in another place amendments to the Police and Justice Bill that would suspend our implementation of the treaty. The purpose of those parliamentary initiatives has been to prevent serious injustice for those who face extradition to the USA or may do so in future—injustice because the extradition treaty and its enactment through the Extradition Act 2003 is manifestly unfair to British citizens.