May I add my thanks to you for how you have chaired this debate, Mr Evans? In closing, let me briefly say that there is a surprising amount of agreement in the Chamber, considering that we are on the verge of what I suspect will be a rather fiery election campaign. Representatives of various different political parties have spoken in agreement with the general principle, but with concern that human rights should be adhered to. I am grateful to Keith Vaz, Stuart C. McDonald—my old friend, if I may put it that way—Lyn Brown and the Minister. We have an opportunity to make some changes—if the right hon. Member for Leicester East is right, we have an obligation and will have no choice.
I absolutely support the principle that anyone who has committed a crime—whether they are a UK national who has committed a crime abroad or a foreign national who has committed a crime in the UK—has to face justice. I absolutely accept that we live in an age where terrorism is sadly an ever-present threat, and we need to be able to protect ourselves. I also think we have a duty to balance the protections we all need with protections for human rights. I am not absolutely convinced that we have the balance right at the moment.
I would press the Minister on this: I noticed that he was unable to say clearly whether he believed that the standards of justice in all the countries that are part of the European arrest warrant match the standards that apply in the UK. He may not be able to say what he thinks about that, but the European Commission has said that in two instances—Bulgaria and Romania—it is not satisfied with the standards of justice that apply there. Various MPs have given different examples and different cases, some involving those countries and some not, which back up that contention.
All I would say in closing is that it is important that we get the balance right. I very much hope that the Minister will be back. I hope he continues in some capacity to use his expertise of Home Office matters to develop a new partnership with the European Union that will protect the safety and the human rights of UK residents.
Question put and agreed to.
That this House
has considered the European Arrest Warrant.