Clause 3 - Arrest under certified Part 1 warrant

Part of Extradition Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:30 pm on 9th January 2003.

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Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Conservative, Surrey Heath 3:30 pm, 9th January 2003

The Minister says that these warrants are in the same category as warrants that we have been used to over the years, but they are not. The answer to his point is provided by the intervention from the hon. Member for Torridge and West Devon. We are talking only about a small number of people—about the maximum number of British citizens subject to requests for extradition. I think that the largest number of requests in recent years that was set out in the papers relating to the Bill was 116.

These are very special provisions: the European arrest warrant is something entirely new. As a matter of principle, Opposition Members believe that the draconian powers that the Government are seeking to

introduce are entirely inappropriate when applied to anything other than terrorism, as I have said. As the provisions are very special, new and draconian, extra protection is needed for civil liberties.

That is why we agree with Justice, whose amendments have been tabled by the Liberal Democrats. Had they not tabled them, Conservative Members would have done so, because we think that it essential to protect our citizens—the people whom we are sent to Parliament to look after. They should have the opportunity to have copies of this special warrant, with the six pages of A4 and the boxes, in a language that they understand.

It is unacceptable to say that what we are debating is just like an arrest for a domestic burglary. The Minister may say, ''Every constable will need to have notice of every European arrest warrant that is outstanding,'' as if there will be thousands of them. However, in the special circumstances in which a foreign country asks British police officers to find someone and arrest them, they should have available to give to the suspect a copy of the warrant in a language that that person understands. That is a special and restricted circumstance.