Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill - Committee (3rd Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:00 pm on 12th November 2018.

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Photo of Lord Rosser Lord Rosser Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Shadow Spokesperson (Transport) 7:00 pm, 12th November 2018

My Lords, the effect of this amendment is to insert a new clause into the Bill which would make it an objective in the Brexit negotiations to continue participation in the European arrest warrant. European arrest warrants are valid in all member states of the European Union and can be used to ask a state to arrest and transfer a criminal suspect to be put on trial, or to ask for someone who is sentenced to custody to be transferred to the UK to complete their sentence. In the calendar years from 2010 to 2016, the United Kingdom issued 1,773 requests. Of these, 11 related purely to terrorism and a significant further number to organised crime including human trafficking, child sex offences and drugs trafficking.

Extradition outside the European arrest warrant can cost four times as much and take three times as long. It would also mean an end to the significant exchange of data and engagement through Europol. In counterterrorism investigations, speed is of the essence and it is thus vital that we have the objective of continuing to play a key role on the European security scene. Recently the European arrest warrant has been obtained in respect of the two suspects in the Salisbury attacks, which means that if they set foot in the European Union they will be remanded to the UK to face justice.

The Government themselves have admitted that existing extradition arrangements between the EU and third countries, which is what we shall be on departure from the EU, do not provide the same level of capability as the European arrest warrant. This amendment does not bind the hand of those doing the negotiating since it simply says in clear terms that continued participation in the EAW is a negotiating objective. That is important, not least in the light of the reality that the current Brexit Secretary had a record of voting against home affairs and justice co-operation before taking up his current post. Continued participation in the EAW is vital for the security of this country. This Bill is about security: the EAW and the tools it gives us should not be excluded when considering security issues. The amendment is relevant and should be in the Bill at this time. I beg to move.