New Clause 4 - Compatability with Crime

Part of Extradition Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:45 pm on 21st January 2003.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Conservative, Surrey Heath 3:45 pm, 21st January 2003

As my hon. Friend the Member for Upminster says from a sedentary position, that sounds like a dangerous precedent. The last thing that we want is for Inspector Clouseau to come out of the realms of fiction and into fact.

Despite this levity, I am making a serious point, which my right hon. Friend the Member for West Dorset made on Second Reading. My noble Friend Baroness Anelay of St Johns proposed a provision in Committee in another place on the Crime (International Co-operation) Bill that would require this Bill to be compatible with that one. We do not want two pieces of legislation going their separate ways without referring to each other, so that we make it clear to those who follow our proceedings and the public that we are alive to what the Government are really up to. We think that that has serious implications and we want new clause 4 in the Bill.

I can deal with new clause 5 much more briefly. We are talking about big changes in extradition law; even the Minister accepted that. The framework decision introduces 32 new categories and corpus juris, as we have said. The part 1 provisions are very significant. Concerns have been expressed by a range of organisations, from Liberty and Justice, which are traditionally regarded as on the left of politics, through the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, who are in the centre, one way or another, to the Freedom Association and the Democracy Movement, which are on the right of politics. The fact that all those organisations and parties express concerns shows that the changes that the Bill makes to extradition law should be kept under review by Parliament.

The framework decision makes such major changes, especially in respect of part 1 countries—as I think the Minister accepts when he is being frank—that there should be a report to Parliament by the Secretary of State on how all that is working. If the Minister chooses to adopt that proposal, he could say that it is part of the Government's modernising agenda. I am normally the bitterest opponent of anything called modernisation; I am a traditionalist. I believe that when the Conservative party returns to its rightful place in government, we should have a Traditionalisation Committee, chaired by my right hon. Friend the Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Mr. Forth), whose mandate is to reverse each and every one of the so-called modernisations that this Government have introduced.

Despite that, I would like to think that the Government would give a fair wind to the idea of keeping the legislation under review. That is a serious point; I do not say any more than that.