Outcome of the European Union Referendum - Motion to Take Note (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:39 pm on 6th July 2016.

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Photo of Lord Paddick Lord Paddick Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Home Affairs) 5:39 pm, 6th July 2016

Clearly, both the UK and the European Union would be the poorer without having these arrangements, but at the present time we are not members of the Prüm agreement. Therefore, we do not benefit at all from this rapid exchange of data, whereas other members of the European Union do. I cannot personally foresee how we are then going to become a member of the group that shares in those tremendous benefits when we are outside the European Union unless the Government can negotiate a deal.

Europol has been important in tackling cross-border crime. Close European co-operation to deal with such serious crimes as child sexual exploitation is essential. Europol, headed at the moment by a UK citizen, has successfully facilitated joint operations involving police forces from many EU countries. These joint operations may no longer be possible unless alternative arrangements are put in place. The European arrest warrant has been valuable in bringing people swiftly to justice, including terrorists who have fled the UK. Will the Government explain how they will prevent southern Spain from becoming a haven for fleeing fugitives, as it was before the European arrest warrant came into force?

This House has on many recent occasions debated the issues around racism and xenophobia, and the status of EU nationals currently resident in the UK and of British residents currently resident in the EU. Many noble Lords have concluded that the EU referendum has given people the confidence to give effect to feelings harboured for some time. What action will the Government take to tackle the root causes of such feelings and to restore a climate where racists feel unable to act?

Another difficult issue that needs to be addressed is the one mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Hain: that of the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. There appear to be conflicting principles. If the principle of free movement of people within the EU, including the Irish Republic, is no longer to apply to the UK, but the free travel area enjoyed by UK citizens and citizens of the Irish Republic, but not other EU citizens, is to remain, I urge the Government to address now the question of how the border is to be controlled in such circumstances.

Parliament passed legislation to delegate to the British people its power to decide whether the UK should be a member of the European Union. The British people, by a majority democratic vote, decided that we should leave the European Union. I believe that we cannot now decide that we want to take that power back just because we do not like the result.