Clause 2 - Part 1 warrant and certificate

Part of Extradition Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:30 am on 9th January 2003.

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Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Conservative, Surrey Heath 10:30 am, 9th January 2003

I am saying that the Minister was wrong to suggest that there have not been recent problems about the status of a person issuing extradition warrants. In fact, that issue has consumed hours of judicial, political and television time and acres of newsprint. The Minister cannot

rewrite history. The Opposition have said that, precisely because of the problems that have arisen. We want to protect our citizens by ensuring that a superior court is involved and that the presumption of innocence applies. We want our citizens to be protected by our historic traditions, such as habeas corpus and the presumption of innocence. That is why we feel so passionately.

It is simply not acceptable for the Minister to brush all that away and say, ''Well, it doesn't matter that that is not in our legislation. You have to look at the European directive.'' He blithely says that if the issuing or requesting country does not use a judicial authority, it will be in breach of the framework decision. Is he really saying that other countries never breach framework decisions and always act in line with every dot and comma of every European decision?

Our constituents complain to us all the time that we are forced to comply with every dot and comma of European legislation, whereas people in other countries are not. Many of our constituents are concerned that we gold plate European legislation, whereas other countries blithely ignore it where it does not suit their citizens. I want to ensure that British citizens are protected by what is in the Bill—our legislation. That is our job in Parliament.