New Clause 4 - Compatability with Crime

Part of Extradition Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:30 pm on 21st January 2003.

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Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Conservative, Surrey Heath 3:30 pm, 21st January 2003

I can be brief. The new clauses are important and if the Minister does not accept them, we are likely to press for Divisions. We will, of course, listen to what the Minister has to say.

New clause 4 is designed to build into the Bill an essential requirement for compatibility between two pieces of legislation going through the House of Commons at the same time. I referred briefly to the problem earlier, and my discussions with our helpful

Clerk about how best to deal with it in the Bill resulted in the new clause.

The issue was important enough for my right hon. Friend the Member for West Dorset to refer to it on Second Reading. In response to an exchange between my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham (Mr. Hogg) and my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Harborough (Mr. Garnier), the former shadow Attorney-General, my right hon. Friend said:

''I agree with my hon. and learned Friend''—

the former shadow Attorney-General.

''Furthermore, the Government have presented the Crime (International Co-operation) Bill as a tiny amendment that would for the first time allow foreign policemen—whom the Minister tells us he means not to authorise, but who will be authorised under the Extradition Bill—to enter the country to pursue a villain across our borders. In short, we find ourselves surrounded by a set of minor incursions that are centripetal in their intent. There is a move towards the homogenisation of systems of justice in the EU''.

There was then an interruption, as Hansard politely describes it, by the Minister for Policing, Crime Reduction and Community Safety, the right hon. Member for Southampton, Itchen (Mr. Denham), expostulating from the Treasury Bench. My right hon. Friend responded:

''The Minister for Policing, Crime Reduction and Community Safety suggests that I do not believe what I am saying. I do not think that I have ever in my life said anything that I believe more strongly. If he is sufficiently naive as not to believe it—if he is a fellow traveller rather than a willing enthusiast—he will be sorely disillusioned as the measure progresses. ''—[Official Report, 9 December 2002; Vol. 396, c. 58–9.]

As ever, my right hon. Friend puts the matter far more eloquently than I could.

The Government cannot be allowed to get away with having two Bills proceeding through Parliament—one starting in another place, the other in the House of Commons—both of which chip away at our historic freedoms. One allows foreign policemen to hot pursuit in this country for hours. The other says that foreign policemen cannot act without the authorisation of UK courts, but allows arrest warrants issued by a foreign judicial authority to be executed here by British policemen. Both measures, as my right hon. Friend the Member for West Dorset said, are chipping away at our policing and judicial system. We on the Conservative Benches passionately object to that.

The Minister may say that the Crime (International Co-operation) Bill allows a hot pursuit only for a few hours. He has said that the Bill does not involve a massive extension of foreign judicial power to the United Kingdom, but if we allow all this chipping away, we will end up losing all our freedoms. We will end up as a tiny administrative region of the European Union.

Conservative Members think that many Government Members want this country to be just a minor region in the EU. The current Secretary of State for Wales was pretty honest and open about it when he was Minister for Europe. I have always thought that as the right hon. Gentleman, who represents Neath, is not British but South African—and should not

therefore play any part in our Government—he does not understand how British people feel about their historic freedoms. How could he? He did not grow up in Britain.

The current Minister for Europe comes from the former eastern Europe; he did not grow up in Britain either. We refer to him as ''the hon. Member for Geneva, Central'', because he spent most of his career working for the World Bank in Switzerland. I am worried about the Government. The past two Ministers for Europe have not been British and do not understand our historic freedoms. If we allow the two pieces of legislation to which I have referred to trundle away through our legislative procedures—