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 Boris Johnson Boris Johnson Conservative, Henley 10:30 am, 21st January 2003

I am grateful to you, Miss Begg. Unless I am much mistaken—you will correct me if I am wrong—I do not believe that the point about mutual recognition has been made. I do not believe that anyone has said that the principle of mutual recognition has been wildly misapplied and is a logical absurdity in this context. It is important to get that on record. Here I am; I am meant to apply my brain to these questions. I do not understand how one can honestly and logically call the concept ''mutual recognition''. We are not invoking mutuality between two systems of criminal justice and saying, ''We'll recognise your law on the age of consent if you recognise our law on xenophobia.'' That is not what mutual recognition means. Mutual recognition means saying, ''We'll recognise your law on xenophobia if you recognise our law on xenophobia.'' It is meaningless when applied to criminal justice cases.

As the Minister said, there might be good reasons why we would want to import different standards of

law and make our citizens subject to a higher standard of criminality. However, that principle is not mutual recognition. We operate under the principle invoked by the Bill that if there is a cross-border criminal case and there is disagreement between the two legal systems, it will always be assumed that criminality is present. I do not know whether this has already been demanded—if so, you will have to forgive me, Miss Begg—but I would like the Minister and the Government to produce the following for the benefit of the people of this country who will be obliged to take cognisance of this law: an exhaustive list of the possible offences for which they could be done under the 32 generously drawn categories. That would allow British people to know which law is likely to apply to them, because it is not the law that would have been passed by Members of this House. That is the least that the Government could do.