Clause 193 - National security

Part of Extradition Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:30 am on 21st January 2003.

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Photo of George Howarth George Howarth Labour, Knowsley North and Sefton East 10:30 am, 21st January 2003

No. I am making a distinction between the right of sovereign states to make decisions about their own legal systems and our role. Is it appropriate for us to be making such judgments? I have quoted one case, but I would not say that it could never happen. However, that seems to be the hon. Gentleman's point as regards whether one can trust a Spanish or Greek court to reach a proper legal decision by due process. He has repeatedly quoted the Pinochet case. As a junior Minister in the Home Office at the time, I was aware of the lengths to which the then Home Secretary went in order to judge that case. The hon. Gentleman went on to state his concern for the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, North-East (Mr. Ainsworth), who, at some point in the dim and distant future, might be called upon to account for his actions by some foreign court, when he happens to visit Paris or somewhere else and becomes the subject of extradition proceedings. I cannot imagine that happening, but if my hon. Friend the Minister were to fill Coventry football stadium with political opponents and butcher them, I would hope that he would be extradited at some point. The hon. Gentleman's example is not an edifying one. Although the Pinochet case was far more complicated, it does not serve his argument well.