Clause 68 - Extradition to category 2 territories

Extradition Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:30 pm on 14th January 2003.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Conservative, Surrey Heath

I need not detain the Committee long, but I want to make some brief opening remarks about part 2 as we start to debate it. My right hon. Friend the Member for West Dorset (Mr. Letwin), the shadow Home Secretary, made it clear on Second Reading on 9 December that we do not have anything like as many objections to part 2 as we had to part 1. However, we continue to have objections, as demonstrated amply by the various votes throughout the first four Committee sittings, not least those before the luncheon adjournment this morning. Those Divisions showed our objections to part 1.

We want to analyse some detailed points in part 2 although, as on 9 December my right hon. Friend the Member for West Dorset said,

''Parts 2, 3 and 5 will, no doubt, repay attention in Committee, but do not involve vast matters of principle.''—[Official Report, 9 December 2002; Vol. 396, c. 52.]

I simply want to take the opportunity of once again urging the Government to reconsider whether we need the part 1 provisions except for terrorist offences and whether part 2 would be a much wiser way of proceeding for all others. I realise that the Government have got themselves into a difficulty by signing up to the framework directive, arguably without having the required authority to do so, as I stressed in referring to the distinguished opinion of Leo Price QC about whether the Government were acting intra vires when they signed up. We will undoubtedly deal with that on Report and in another place.

I remind the Minister about a point made by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham (Mr. Hogg) on 9 December. He intervened on my right hon. Friend the Member for West Dorset to say:

''Is it not extraordinary that the part 1 procedure would apply to Greece yet the part 2 procedure would apply to Australia? Surely most people in this country would think that if the Government had such absolute confidence as to use the part 1 procedure, they would use it in respect of the courts of Australia and not in respect of the courts of Greece.''—[Official Report, 9 December 2002; Vol. 396, c. 58.]

In the light of the experience of the British plane-spotters, I can say only ''Hear, hear''. I wanted to put that point on the record again. We believe that the part 2 powers would have been sufficient, and the only justification that we could find for the extraordinary

extension in part 1 was in relation to the extraordinary crime of terrorism.

Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

Considering those comments, I wonder why the previous Government removed the requirement for prima facie evidence in the case of extradition to Greece and yet kept it for Australia. That is strange considering those comments.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 68 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 69 ordered to stand part of the Bill.