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9 Dec 2002 : Column 117—continued

Mr. Maples: If the hon. Gentleman has such confidence in the fairness of the judicial systems of all our European partners, why is clause 13 necessary?

Mr. Ainsworth: Let us identify what changes are in the Bill, and what changes are not in the Bill. Clearly, there are two changes. One is the speeding-up of the process, which is greater in relation to European partners with whom we have very porous borders that allow law-abiding citizens and criminals to travel freely between our jurisdictions. The other is the abolition of dual criminality in relation to the list offences. Those are the only fundamental changes that are being made. As my right hon. Friend the Minister for Policing, Crime Reduction and Community Safety clearly demonstrated at the start of the debate, the prima facie requirement for evidence was removed a long time ago.

Mr. Burnett: I, among others, referred to paragraph 31 of the Select Committee's report and to the suggestion that, if there is dual criminality, the matter should be referred to the Home Secretary for his decision. What I—and, I believe, other Members—asked was what practical steps were necessary to achieve that end.

Mr. Ainsworth: We will have the opportunity to talk about that in great detail in Committee, and I hope that we do so. In my opinion, the issue that the hon. Gentleman raised would undermine the position of mutual recognition. He suggested in pursuance of that, and was supported in it by the right hon. Member for West Dorset, that we could get round some of our current problems with a little ingenuity. All that we needed to do was to frame our request in a different way and, all of a sudden, the walls of Jericho would come tumbling down and we would not face some of the serious problems that exist with regard to the current extradition law. However, that is simply not the case. Some countries in the EU will not extradite for fiscal offences. One can frame the extradition warrant however one likes, but they will not do that. Under the current arrangements, they will not extradite their own nationals, and it does not matter what heinous crime they may have committed in this country. Some countries will not extradite their own nationals, and no amount of ingenuity can get us round that.

Some countries have statutes of limitation. When my right hon. Friend the Minister for Policing, Crime Reduction and Community Safety opened the debate, he pointed out some of the injustices that have occurred because of those statutes of limitation. Some crimes are not reported until many years after they are committed, but it is wholly wrong that people should escape justice simply because there is a statute of limitation in the country to which they have fled and because we cannot require them to return to this country.

Mr. Cameron rose—

Mr. Letwin rose—

Mr. Ainsworth: I shall give way to the right hon. Member for West Dorset in a moment.

We will discuss in Committee the issues that the hon. Member for Torridge and West Devon (Mr. Burnett) raised, and I hope that I can satisfy him on them.

9 Dec 2002 : Column 118

However, I was a bit concerned about the tone of his reception for the Bill. It was totally at odds with the Liberal Democrats' submission to the consultation. They then said that

I seriously hope that we have not seen a dramatic shift to a Eurosceptic position by the Liberal Democrats. Such news would go far wider than the Bill.

Mr. Letwin: I entirely welcome the Liberal Democrats' damascene conversion on this matter. The Minister is being thoroughly reasonable, so will he clarify one point? Were his earlier remarks intended to suggest that the bar on political opinions being a cause of extradition under part 1 would override the inclusion of xenophobia in the list of 32 offences?

Mr. Ainsworth: As the right hon. Gentleman knows, clause 13 contains a bar on extradition. It does not say that there may be a bar, because it is clear that there will be a bar on extradition on the ground of

That point is quite definite. It is in our law and applies to our citizens. It is wholly wrong for the right hon. Gentleman to suggest that the bar is anything other than a bar. A British judge will sit in a court and consider the case. If he considers that it involves issues concerning a person's political opinion, he will not issue an arrest warrant. I do not understand why the right hon. Gentleman has great difficulty with that.

The right hon. Gentleman raised some of the issues that many of my hon. Friends raised, including speciality, scrutiny and the politically motivated crime that we have just discussed. However, the overwhelming point that he made was his view that the problem with part 1 resulted from the fact that the Government were involved in a great, secret conspiracy to which they were not prepared to admit. He suggested that it had come about as a result of 11 September. However, let me make it clear to him that the treaty of Amsterdam in 1997 and the subsequent temporary special council agreed that mutual recognition of judicial decisions would become the cornerstone of judicial co-operation. That included fast-tack extradition arrangements. The British Government are leading on the issue of mutual recognition as an alternative to a European corpus juris. There is no secret about that and our approach came about long before 11 September.

Opposition Members demanded that no one should be extradited for conduct that would not be criminal in Britain. I think we are entitled to ask them a couple of questions that flow from that. First, a Frenchman who commits a crime in Britain that is not illegal in France can expect to be put on trial if he is arrested here. Why should he be entitled to escape justice simply because he has crossed the frontier? Secondly, why should someone be able to commit an offence, such as incitement to racial hatred or fraudulent trading, in this country with impunity simply because he can get to an EU country that does not have a corresponding offence?

9 Dec 2002 : Column 119

The Opposition have either avoided the questions posed by my right hon. Friend the Minister of State or they have effectively said that that situation is okay.

Mr. Maples rose—

Mr. Ainsworth: I have given way to the hon. Gentleman once and I am not doing it again.

Those Opposition Members who were prepared to answer the question seemed to say that the problem did not matter. I wonder whether the victims of crime feel the same way.

EU countries are mature democracies. All of them have signed up to the European convention on human rights. In an age when people, including criminals, can move freely about the EU, we should be prepared to operate on a principle of mutual recognition. We should not prevent extradition simply because of the lack of an exact equivalent offence. We need to recognise the other benefits that the introduction of the European arrest warrant will bring. It will end the ability of other European countries to refuse to extradite their nationals; it will end the refusal by other European countries to extradite for fiscal offences; and it will end a situation in which extradition cannot happen because another European country's statute of limitations has expired on a particular crime. We are well into the 21st century. There can be no excuse for continuing to use procedures that have largely been unchanged since the 19th century and that work against the interests of the victims of crime and the interests of justice.

The Bill will modernise and simplify our extradition arrangements. It retains proper safeguards for fugitives. We will discuss the issues raised by my hon. Friends, especially my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, South (Mr. Mullin), the Chairman of the Select Committee, and take them seriously. We are prepared to respond flexibly if they can show that there is a problem, but I think that the Bill contains many of the answers. I hope that I will be able to convince them of that.

We cannot ignore the menace of serious international crime. We need the tools to combat it. The Bill will be an important part of that armoury. I commend it to the House.

Question put, That the Bill be now read a Second time: —

The House divided: Ayes 325, Noes 146.

Division No. 21
[10:00 pm


Abbott, Ms Diane
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Bob (Cov'try NE)
Allen, Graham
Anderson, rh Donald (Swansea E)
Armstrong, rh Ms Hilary
Atherton, Ms Candy
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, John
Bailey, Adrian
Baird, Vera
Banks, Tony
Barnes, Harry
Barron, rh Kevin
Battle, John
Bayley, Hugh
Beard, Nigel
Begg, Miss Anne
Benn, Hilary
Bennett, Andrew
Benton, Joe (Bootle)
Berry, Roger
Betts, Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blears, Ms Hazel
Blizzard, Bob
Boateng, rh Paul
Bradley, rh Keith (Withington)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Byers, rh Stephen
Cairns, David
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Casale, Roger
Caton, Martin
Cawsey, Ian (Brigg)
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Chaytor, David
Clapham, Michael
Clark, hon. Dr. Lynda (Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, rh Charles (Norwich S)
Clarke, rh Tom (Coatbridge & Chryston)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clelland, David
Clwyd, Ann (Cynon V)
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Cohen, Harry
Colman, Tony
Connarty, Michael
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Cook, rh Robin (Livingston)
Corbyn, Jeremy
Corston, Jean
Cranston, hon. Ross
Crausby, David
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cummings, John
Cunningham, rh Dr. Jack (Copeland)
Cunningham, Jim (Coventry S)
Cunningham, Tony (Workington)
Dalyell, Tam
Darling, rh Alistair
David, Wayne
Davidson, Ian
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Dawson, Hilton
Dean, Mrs Janet
Denham, rh John
Dismore, Andrew
Dobbin, Jim (Heywood)
Dobson, rh Frank
Donohoe, Brian H.
Doran, Frank
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Edwards, Huw
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Ennis, Jeff (Barnsley E)
Etherington, Bill
Farrelly, Paul
Field, rh Frank (Birkenhead)
Flint, Caroline
Flynn, Paul (Newport W)
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings & Rye)
Foulkes, rh George
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Gapes, Mike (Ilford S)
Gardiner, Barry
George, rh Bruce (Walsall S)
Gerrard, Neil
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Gilroy, Linda
Godsiff, Roger
Goggins, Paul
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grogan, John
Hain, rh Peter
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Hancock, Mike
Hanson, David
Harman, rh Ms Harriet
Harris, Tom (Glasgow Cathcart)
Havard, Dai (Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney)
Healey, John
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hendrick, Mark
Heppell, John
Hill, Keith (Streatham)
Hinchliffe, David
Hodge, Margaret
Hoey, Kate (Vauxhall)
Hood, Jimmy (Clydesdale)
Hoon, rh Geoffrey
Hope, Phil (Corby)
Howarth, rh Alan (Newport E)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N & Sefton E)
Howells, Dr. Kim
Hoyle, Lindsay
Hughes, Beverley (Stretford & Urmston)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hurst, Alan (Braintree)
Hutton, rh John
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Illsley, Eric
Ingram, rh Adam
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Jackson, Glenda (Hampstead & Highgate)
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jamieson, David
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Alan (Hull W)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Kevan (N Durham)
Jones, Lynne (Selly Oak)
Joyce, Eric (Falkirk W)
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keen, Alan (Feltham)
Keen, Ann (Brentford)
Kemp, Fraser
Khabra, Piara S.
Kidney, David
Kilfoyle, Peter
Knight, Jim (S Dorset)
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Lammy, David
Lawrence, Mrs Jackie
Laxton, Bob (Derby N)
Lazarowicz, Mark
Lepper, David
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom (High Peak)
Liddell, rh Mrs Helen
Linton, Martin
Love, Andrew
Lucas, Ian (Wrexham)
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Stephen
McCafferty, Chris
McCartney, rh Ian
McDonagh, Siobhain
McDonnell, John
MacDougall, John
McFall, John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
McKenna, Rosemary
McNamara, Kevin
MacShane, Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWalter, Tony
McWilliam, John
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Mallaber, Judy
Mandelson, rh Peter
Mann, John (Bassetlaw)
Marris, Rob (Wolverh'ton SW)
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marshall, David (Glasgow Shettleston)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Martlew, Eric
Meale, Alan (Mansfield)
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Milburn, rh Alan
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby)
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moonie, Dr. Lewis
Moran, Margaret
Morley, Elliot
Mountford, Kali
Mudie, George
Mullin, Chris
Munn, Ms Meg
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
Norris, Dan (Wansdyke)
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
O'Hara, Edward
Olner, Bill
O'Neill, Martin
Organ, Diana
Osborne, Sandra (Ayr)
Owen, Albert
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Perham, Linda
Picking, Anne
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter (Burnley)
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Pond, Chris (Gravesham)
Pope, Greg (Hyndburn)
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prescott, rh John
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Purnell, James
Quin, rh Joyce
Quinn, Lawrie
Rammell, Bill
Rapson, Syd (Portsmouth N)
Raynsford, rh Nick
Reed, Andy (Loughborough)
Robertson, John (Glasgow Anniesland)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Coventry NW)
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rooney, Terry
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Roy, Frank (Motherwell)
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Ryan, Joan (Enfield N)
Salter, Martin
Sarwar, Mohammad
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Sedgemore, Brian
Sheerman, Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Shipley, Ms Debra
Simon, Sion (B'ham Erdington)
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Singh, Marsha
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, rh Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, rh Chris (Islington S & Finsbury)
Smith, Geraldine (Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Soley, Clive
Southworth, Helen
Spellar, rh John
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Steinberg, Gerry
Stevenson, George
Stewart, David (Inverness E & Lochaber)
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr. Howard
Strang, rh Dr. Gavin
Stringer, Graham
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Tami, Mark (Alyn)
Taylor, rh Ann (Dewsbury)
Taylor, Dari (Stockton S)
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thomas, Gareth (Harrow W)
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mark (S Derbyshire)
Touhig, Don (Islwyn)
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr. Desmond (Brighton Kemptown)
Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Tynan, Bill (Hamilton S)
Vaz, Keith (Leicester E)
Vis, Dr. Rudi
Walley, Ms Joan
Ward, Claire
Wareing, Robert N.
Watson, Tom (W Bromwich E)
Watts, David
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Williams, rh Alan (Swansea W)
Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Wills, Michael
Winnick, David
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Woodward, Shaun
Woolas, Phil
Worthington, Tony
Wright, Anthony D. (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, David (Telford)
Wyatt, Derek
Yeo, Tim (S Suffolk)

Tellers for the Ayes:

Jim Fitzpatrick and
Mr. Jim Murphy


Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Amess, David
Ancram, rh Michael
Arbuthnot, rh James
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Bacon, Richard
Baldry, Tony
Barker, Gregory
Baron, John (Billericay)
Bellingham, Henry
Beresford, Sir Paul
Blunt, Crispin
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Brady, Graham
Brazier, Julian
Browning, Mrs Angela
Burns, Simon
Burt, Alistair
Butterfill, John
Cameron, David
Cash, William
Chope, Christopher
Clappison, James
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Collins, Tim
Conway, Derek
Cran, James (Beverley)
Curry, rh David
Davis, rh David (Haltemprice & Howden)
Djanogly, Jonathan
Donaldson, Jeffrey M.
Dorrell, rh Stephen
Duncan, Alan (Rutland)
Duncan, Peter (Galloway)
Duncan Smith, rh Iain
Evans, Nigel
Ewing, Annabelle
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Michael
Field, Mark (Cities of London & Westminster)
Flight, Howard
Flook, Adrian
Forth, rh Eric
Fox, Dr. Liam
Francois, Mark
Gale, Roger (N Thanet)
Garnier, hon. Edward
Gibb, Nick (Bognor Regis)
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Goodman, Paul
Gray, James (N Wilts)
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian (Ashford)
Greenway, John
Grieve, Dominic
Gummer, rh John
Hague, rh William
Hammond, Philip
Hawkins, Nick
Hayes, John (S Holland)
Heald, Oliver
Heathcoat-Amory, rh David
Hendry, Charles
Hermon, Lady
Hoban, Mark (Fareham)
Hogg, rh Douglas
Horam, John (Orpington)
Howard, rh Michael
Jack, rh Michael
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Johnson, Boris (Henley)
Key, Robert (Salisbury)
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Knight, rh Greg (E Yorkshire)
Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Lansley, Andrew
Leigh, Edward
Letwin, rh Oliver
Lewis, Dr. Julian (New Forest E)
Lidington, David
Lilley, rh Peter
Llwyd, Elfyn
Luff, Peter (M-Worcs)
MacKay, rh Andrew
Maclean, rh David
McLoughlin, Patrick
Malins, Humfrey
Maples, John
Mates, Michael
Mawhinney, rh Sir Brian
May, Mrs Theresa
Mercer, Patrick
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Norman, Archie
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury)
Osborne, George (Tatton)
Ottaway, Richard
Page, Richard
Paice, James
Paterson, Owen
Price, Adam (E Carmarthen & Dinefwr)
Prisk, Mark (Hertford)
Randall, John
Redwood, rh John
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Angus (Moray)
Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)
Roe, Mrs Marion
Rosindell, Andrew
Ruffley, David
Sayeed, Jonathan
Selous, Andrew
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, Keith (M-Norfolk)
Smyth, Rev. Martin (Belfast S)
Soames, Nicholas
Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spring, Richard
Stanley, rh Sir John
Steen, Anthony
Streeter, Gary
Swire, Hugo (E Devon)
Syms, Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Taylor, John (Solihull)
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Tredinnick, David
Turner, Andrew (Isle of Wight)
Tyrie, Andrew
Viggers, Peter
Walter, Robert
Waterson, Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Weir, Michael
Whittingdale, John
Widdecombe, rh Miss Ann
Wiggin, Bill
Willetts, David
Williams, Hywel (Caernarfon)
Wilshire, David
Winterton, Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Sir Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Young, rh Sir George

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Desmond Swayne and
Hugh Robertson

Question accordingly agreed to.

9 Dec 2002 : Column 123

Bill read a Second time.

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