Clause 27 - Court's powers on appeal under section 26

Part of Extradition Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:15 am on 14th January 2003.

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Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Conservative, Surrey Heath 10:15 am, 14th January 2003

The amendments would insert a specific reference to habeas corpus. There are many important issues in the Bill, and some of them will come up towards the end of part 1. I therefore do not want to detain the Committee too long in making the case for these amendments today. However, I would not want my brevity to imply that we do not take the matter seriously. We feel strongly, as do many other organisations from Liberty and Justice to the Freedom Association, that there should be some reference in the Bill to the historic right of habeas corpus, which

British citizens have had for hundreds of years. That is vital. We do not argue that our wording is absolutely perfect. I should pay tribute to the Clerk of the Committee who has helped me considerably with the drafting. As always, the Clerks of the House are helpful to all of us, particularly Opposition spokesmen.

I wanted to alert the Committee to the crucial significance of habeas corpus. We think that this is one of the most appropriate places to put a reference to it in the Bill. We will listen to the Minister with interest. I hope that even if he cannot accept the amendment today, he will recognise that a great deal of time in the other place or perhaps on Report may be taken up with much longer debates on habeas corpus. We feel absolutely passionately about not losing the historic freedoms and rights of British citizens to civil liberty. There is none more important than habeas corpus.