Extradition Bill

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Mr. Ainsworth: As the hon. Gentleman knows, that is not exactly what I said. I was talking about the specific case of the Greek plane-spotters and what they were accused of. Will the hon. Gentleman to return to the point raised by my hon. Friend, a a serious point to which he must respond? It is not good enough for him to say, ''But there is part 2.'' That is simple and fair enough where we say clearly that a country is designated as a part 2 or part 1 country. An extradition case to Spain will be dealt with under part 1and an extradition case to the United States will be dealt with under part 2. He suggests that part 1 be used for some offences and part 2 for others in which, as I think I demonstrated, the offences can be identical but the difference is in the motives. That is why my hon. Friend asked him whether he accepts that his amendment is simply inoperable. It is not good enough for him to say that part 2 exists. That is a completely different argument.

Mr. Hawkins: We are not going to agree. I have of course seen the research paper and have read Lord Diplock's remarks. Lord Diplock was discussing pre-existing law. We are dealing here with the Government's proposal, which the Minister's own party colleagues have said—in strong language in the Select Committee report—is in appropriate.

Column Number: 028

Before pushing the matter to a vote, I must return to the plane-spotters in Greece. The Minister said that he took advice from Home Office officials on what would have happened had that been an extradition case, but he once again ignored what his colleagues said in strong terms about that case. The Home Affairs Committee deal with it specifically at paragraph 28, proving that I am not alone in using the plane-spotters as an example and that it is not only Eurosceptics from my party who are concerned about it. The Select Committee, which is Labour-dominated, said:

    ''To use the example of the recent case of the British 'plane-spotters' charged with spying in Greece, under the new arrangements there would be nothing to prevent the Greek authorities from determining that such contact amounted to 'sabotage'—

one of the new plane crimes—

    ''or, if the plane-spotters had recorded their observations on a laptop computer, 'computer-related crime'''—

that is, another plane crime. The report continues:

    ''If the Greek authorities were to classify the offences with which the plane-spotters were charged as falling into one of the 32 offences listed in article 2.2,''—

which the Government are introducing—

    ''then the UK would not be able to refuse to extradite them on the grounds that their conduct would not constitute an offence in the UK.''

The abandonment of the dual criminality protection, parliamentary protection and judicial scrutiny is at the heart of the mischief. That is why I want to push amendment No. 1 to a vote.

Mr. Howarth: The hon. Gentleman said that he had studied the Diplock judgment and he felt that Lord Diplock was addressing a different set of circumstances. Let me quote from the Library research paper, because Lord Diplock was not talking about the state of the law as it currently exists either here or anywhere else, but about legal principles. The hon. Gentleman should be aware of that. Lord Diplock said:

    ''I would hold that prima facie an act committed in a foreign state was not an 'offence of a political character' unless the purpose sought to be achieved by the offender in committing it were to change the government of the state in which it was committed, or to induce it to change its policy or to escape from the jurisdiction of a government whose political policies the offender disapproved but despaired of altering so long as he was there.''

The instances to which the Minister referred fall outside that category. The way in which the law was interpreted by a senior member of the judiciary means that the amendment would render clause 1 inoperable and would do nothing to help the extradition of terrorists.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 2, Noes 10.

Division No. 1]

AYES
Hawkins, Mr. Nick
Watkinson, Angela

NOES
Ainsworth, Mr. Bob Campbell, Mr. Alan Crausby, Mr. David Dobbin, Jim Harris, Mr. Tom
Howarth, Mr. George Hughes, Mr. Kevin Stoate, Dr. Howard Twigg, Derek Wills, Mr. Michael

Question accordingly negatived.

Column Number: 029

The Chairman: Before we proceed to the next business, I must note that the hon. Member for Surrey Heath raised the question of deferred votes on other amendments. We will have a look at those votes. It is difficult to judge categorically in advance, but, taking the similarities between amendments into account, it may be possible to vote on amendments Nos. 68, 74 and 85. However, we need to examine that matter closely, and those decisions would be deferred to the appropriate time.

Having listened carefully to a debate on three amendments to a clause that is four lines long, together with 10 more amendments on related issues, I have to say that, in all conscience, I am not minded to allow a separate clause stand part debate.

Column Number: 030

Mr. Hawkins: On a point of order, Mr. O'Hara. Were you to allow an intervention from the Government Whip, who was seeking to catch your eye, you might find more time to consider the matter and I might be able to persuade you to reconsider on Thursday.

The Chairman: Whether or not we adjourn now, the decision on a clause stand part debate has still to be taken.

Further consideration adjourned—[Mr. Derek Twigg.]

Adjourned accordingly at fifteen minutes past Six o'clock till Thursday 9 January at twenty-five minutes past Nine o'clock.

The following Members attended the Committee:
O'Hara, Mr. Edward (Chairman)
Ainsworth, Mr. Bob
Burnett, Mr.
Campbell, Mr. Alan
Carmichael, Mr.
Crausby, Mr.
Dobbin, Jim
Harris, Mr. Tom
Hawkins, Mr.
Howarth, Mr. George
Hughes, Mr. Kevin
Stoate, Dr.
Twigg, Derek
Watkinson, Angela
Wills, Mr.

 
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