Clause 193 - National security

Part of Extradition Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:15 am on 21st January 2003.

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Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Conservative, Surrey Heath 10:15 am, 21st January 2003

I suggest to the hon. Gentleman that he is putting our case too high in his argument. I passionately believe that, in order to provide a safeguard, we should widen the Secretary of State's discretion, so that in future cases such as that of Kevan Sloan a British Home Secretary would be able to say, ''Let's stop this extradition. I've got a concern. I think there might be a risk of injustice.'' If the Secretary of State had that wider discretion, perhaps hon. Members would not need to have Westminster Hall debates or to keep pursuing every angle as a constituency MP, because the person would not have to be extradited. I realise that the Sloan case was not an extradition case. However, the hon. Gentleman has said that he thought that the foreign judicial procedure was flawed. We should build in safeguards. We are not criticising every foreign jurisdiction, and we are not trying to stop all extradition. The Secretary of State should be given a wider discretion to protect against further cases such as that of Kevan Sloan, in which someone might be unjustly extradited. Surely, the hon. Gentleman can understand that he is putting our case much higher than we are putting it ourselves.