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As a statement of fact, that is true. Before the treaty can come into force, it has to be ratified by the Senate. What he omitted to mention was the fact that the British Government would not bother with bringing the treaty into force, but would instead ensure that its provisions came into force long before the Senate had had even the opportunity to not consider it. It is almost irrelevant whether the treaty is ratified, because the British Government, in an apparent attempt to curry favour with the US Administration, have already enacted all its provisions into our law.

Secondly, there is the matter of reciprocity. We have heard what I can only describe as sophistical arguments from the Law Officers and other Ministers about the equivalence of the provisions. I simply cannot reconcile their statements with what was plainly said by Home Office Ministers when we considered the orders made under the 2003 Act. In the Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation, the hon. Member for Don Valley (Caroline Flint) stated:

It is impossible to reconcile that with what the Prime Minister said today and what the Law Officers have been saying in both Houses over the past two days.

Thirdly, there is the matter of application. We were told explicitly by Ministers that there was a limit to the application of the measures. I challenged that in the Committee, but was told by the hon. Member for Don Valley that

That is directly countermanded by the fact that dual criminality was expressed in the form of the catch-all
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conspiracy to defraud provision, which meant that the individuals in the very case to which attention was drawn in Committee are now subject to extradition proceedings, so I cannot talk about the matter further.

Throughout the early stages of the legislation, we heard the refrain that it was all about terrorism. I do not want to dwell on the Conservatives’ position, because I welcome their support today. I utterly respect what the right hon. and learned Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Mr. Howard) said. I agreed with everything he said, which is a rare occurrence indeed. He admitted that the Conservatives had been gullible in believing what the Government said, he acknowledged that mistake and said that he would recommend to his right hon. and hon. Friends that they avoid repeating it. I exempt the right hon. Member for Wokingham (Mr. Redwood), who was a member of the Standing Committee and failed to vote on the draft order, who said

Well, he was wrong—they were every bit as unbalanced as I suggested and the right hon. Gentleman has now come to realise the folly of his position. The fact is that it was suggested that the legislation was to deal with big crimes and terrorism, when it was clear that it would apply to every offence that carried a tariff of more than one year’s imprisonment. That was clear to me right from the beginning.

We have an imbalance in the evidential requirements. The American authorities have to do little more than establish identity and the grounds for issuing a warrant—a much lower evidential test than anyone else must meet. We know that huge mistakes are made as a result of misidentification. Mr. Derek Bond, a rotary club member from Clifton in Bristol, was arrested in South Africa on the basis of CIA information that he was an international gangster and money launderer.

My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for North-East Fife (Sir Menzies Campbell) was right in Committee when he said:

That is what we have seen today.

We should be concerned about the fact that we are dealing with 50 different state jurisdictions, plus the federal jurisdiction. Who knows what applies to Guantanamo Bay? We should be worried about the extra-territorial jurisdiction claimed by the Americans and about retrospectivity. Most of all, we should be concerned that we alone of the 132 states with which the US has bilateral extradition arrangements are willing to allow our citizens to be extradited on the basis of such a low and unequal burden of proof. A Minister acting under duress could not have signed a worse treaty and I object to that supine acquiescence, not because I am anti-American, but because a sovereign power such as Britain should defend the
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interests of British citizens. We are not a wholly owned subsidiary of the US. I urge the Government, even at this late stage, to consider tabling amendments to the Police and Justice Bill in another place, to consider revisions to the Extradition Act 2003, and to consider renegotiating the treaty. They should not be afraid to abrogate it, because it has been abrogated by the American Senate, which refused to ratify it. Let us deal with a situation that the people of this country recognise as unfair and which, I am pleased to see, the vast majority of hon. Members recognise as unfair, too.

3.32 pm

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Joan Ryan): I apologise in advance to right hon. and hon. Members if I fail to address their points, as I have only five or six minutes in which to respond.

We have had extradition treaties with the United States since 1796 and, for most of that time, those relationships have been uncontentious. The only criticism has been that procedures are often slow. Indeed, we heard about cases in which people waited eight or 10 years to be extradited. I am pleased that, under the Extradition Act 2003, such lengthy processes before someone can even stand trial, which are not in the interests of justice, will no longer take place. The Government have a responsibility to review and modernise the UK’s extradition laws, as that has not been undertaken thoroughly since 1870. The Home Office published a full review of extradition law in March 2001, which was well before 9/11—a point that has already been made. Many right hon. and hon. Members said that the treaty and the Act dealt only with crimes related to terrorism, but that is not the case. The Act deals with our relationship with a particular country and it covers all crimes, not just terrorism. I have a record of our debates in Standing Committee, in which the United States was designated as a country that did not require prima facie evidence. We made it clear that the designation, which changed our relationship with the United States, did not just apply to terrorism. Much of the debate, if anyone chooses to read it, was about different kinds of crime.

Mr. Denis MacShane (Rotherham) (Lab): How would my hon. Friend regard a British firm whose criminal activity led to the destruction of thousands of people’s lives, their homes, pensions and their children’s education? What if we wanted to bring back to this country someone to give evidence on the international ramifications of such activity, but another sovereign legislature refused to accept our claim? We should not forget that we are talking about international law and international crime.

Joan Ryan: Absolutely. My right hon. Friend makes the case for the measure.

I shall concentrate on a few issues that arose in our debate. First, the Liberal Democrats requested a debate because they said that there had not been enough time or scrutiny. When the treaty was ratified, it was laid before the House for 21 days with an explanatory memorandum. It was submitted to the Select Committee on Home Affairs under the Ponsonby rules,
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which hon. Members can read in “Erskine May”. There was therefore an opportunity to examine the treaty, and it was dealt with in the way that new treaties are normally dealt with. The Extradition Bill proceeded through both Houses in an appropriate period, as is the case with any Bill, so hon. Members had an opportunity to comment on it. When the designation was made, it was subject to affirmative resolution in Standing Committee in both Houses, as normal. Conservative Members did not oppose the measure, but I accept that the Liberal Democrats did. We could therefore say that there is honourable opposition from our Liberal Democrat colleagues, but Conservative Members did not express opposition to the Bill, to the treaty during the 21 day-period in which it was laid before the House, or to the order in Committee. Provisions in the European convention on extradition were incorporated in the Extradition Act 1989 by a Conservative Government, who did not ask for natural—

Mr. Hogg: rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.

Question, That the Question be now put, put and agreed to.

Question put accordingly,

The House proceeded to a Division.

Mr. Alex Salmond (Banff and Buchan) (SNP): On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. As I am sure that you are well aware, “Erskine May” makes it clear that, in this House, according to ancient practice, votes should follow voices. In my distinct observation, Government Front Benchers shouted, “No”, on the Division, but I have not seen any of them vote in the No Lobby. Will you therefore explain whether “Erskine May” has been observed by Government Front Benchers and confirm that that is the practice of this House? Perhaps you will even suggest why the Government are not voting in the Division.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Michael Lord): The hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond) has misinterpreted what is set out in “Erskine May”. The best thing that we can do is wait to see the result of the Division.

The House having divided: Ayes 246, Noes 4.
Division No. 284]
[3.32 pm


Afriyie, Adam
Ainsworth, Mr. Peter
Alexander, Danny
Amess, Mr. David
Ancram, rh Mr. Michael
Arbuthnot, rh Mr. James
Atkinson, Mr. Peter
Bacon, Mr. Richard
Baker, Norman
Barker, Gregory
Baron, Mr. John
Barrett, John
Beith, rh Mr. Alan
Bellingham, Mr. Henry
Benyon, Mr. Richard
Beresford, Sir Paul
Binley, Mr. Brian
Blunt, Mr. Crispin
Boswell, Mr. Tim
Bottomley, Peter
Brady, Mr. Graham
Brake, Tom
Brazier, Mr. Julian
Breed, Mr. Colin
Brokenshire, James
Brooke, Annette

Browning, Angela
Bruce, Malcolm
Burns, Mr. Simon
Burrowes, Mr. David
Burstow, Mr. Paul
Burt, Alistair
Burt, Lorely
Cable, Dr. Vincent
Cameron, rh Mr. David
Campbell, rh Sir Menzies
Carmichael, Mr. Alistair
Carswell, Mr. Douglas
Cash, Mr. William
Chope, Mr. Christopher
Clappison, Mr. James
Clark, Greg
Clarke, rh Mr. Kenneth
Clegg, Mr. Nick
Clifton-Brown, Mr. Geoffrey
Conway, Derek
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Cox, Mr. Geoffrey
Crabb, Mr. Stephen
Curry, rh Mr. David
Davey, Mr. Edward
Davies, David T.C. (Monmouth)
Davies, Philip
Davies, Mr. Quentin
Davis, rh David (Haltemprice and Howden)
Djanogly, Mr. Jonathan
Dorrell, rh Mr. Stephen
Dorries, Mrs. Nadine
Duddridge, James
Duncan, Mr. Alan
Duncan Smith, rh Mr. Iain
Dunne, Mr. Philip
Ellwood, Mr. Tobias
Evennett, Mr. David
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Mr. Michael
Farron, Tim
Field, Mr. Mark
Foster, Mr. Don
Francois, Mr. Mark
Gale, Mr. Roger
Galloway, Mr. George
Garnier, Mr. Edward
Gauke, Mr. David
George, Andrew
Gibb, Mr. Nick
Gidley, Sandra
Gillan, Mrs. Cheryl
Goldsworthy, Julia
Goodman, Mr. Paul
Goodwill, Mr. Robert
Gove, Michael
Gray, Mr. James
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian
Greening, Justine
Greenway, Mr. John
Grieve, Mr. Dominic
Hague, rh Mr. William
Hammond, Mr. Philip
Hammond, Stephen
Hancock, Mr. Mike
Harper, Mr. Mark
Harris, Dr. Evan
Hayes, Mr. John
Heald, Mr. Oliver
Heath, Mr. David
Heathcoat-Amory, rh Mr. David
Hemming, John
Hendry, Charles
Herbert, Nick
Hoban, Mr. Mark
Hoey, Kate
Hollobone, Mr. Philip
Holmes, Paul
Horam, Mr. John
Horwood, Martin
Hosie, Stewart
Howard, rh Mr. Michael
Howarth, David
Howarth, Mr. Gerald
Hughes, Simon
Huhne, Chris
Hunt, Mr. Jeremy
Hunter, Mark
Hurd, Mr. Nick
Jack, rh Mr. Michael
Jackson, Mr. Stewart
Jenkin, Mr. Bernard
Johnson, Mr. Boris
Jones, Mr. David
Kawczynski, Daniel
Keetch, Mr. Paul
Kennedy, rh Mr. Charles
Key, Robert
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Knight, rh Mr. Greg
Kramer, Susan
Lait, Mrs. Jacqui
Lamb, Norman
Lancaster, Mr. Mark
Lansley, Mr. Andrew
Laws, Mr. David
Leech, Mr. John
Leigh, Mr. Edward
Letwin, rh Mr. Oliver
Lewis, Dr. Julian
Liddell-Grainger, Mr. Ian
Lidington, Mr. David
Lilley, rh Mr. Peter
Llwyd, Mr. Elfyn
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter
Mackay, rh Mr. Andrew
Main, Anne
Malins, Mr. Humfrey
Maples, Mr. John
Mates, rh Mr. Michael
Maude, rh Mr. Francis
May, rh Mrs. Theresa
McDonnell, John
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McLoughlin, rh Mr. Patrick
Mercer, Patrick
Miller, Mrs. Maria
Milton, Anne
Mitchell, Mr. Andrew
Moore, Mr. Michael
Moss, Mr. Malcolm
Mulholland, Greg
Mundell, David
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Neill, Robert
O'Brien, Mr. Stephen
Oaten, Mr. Mark
Öpik, Lembit
Osborne, Mr. George

Ottaway, Richard
Paice, Mr. James
Paterson, Mr. Owen
Pelling, Mr. Andrew
Penning, Mike
Penrose, John
Pickles, Mr. Eric
Price, Adam
Prisk, Mr. Mark
Pritchard, Mark
Pugh, Dr. John
Randall, Mr. John
Redwood, rh Mr. John
Reid, Mr. Alan
Rennie, Willie
Rifkind, rh Sir Malcolm
Robathan, Mr. Andrew
Robertson, Angus
Robertson, Hugh
Robertson, Mr. Laurence
Rowen, Paul
Russell, Bob
Salmond, Mr. Alex
Sanders, Mr. Adrian
Scott, Mr. Lee
Selous, Andrew
Shapps, Grant
Shepherd, Mr. Richard
Short, rh Clare
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, Mr. Keith
Smith, Sir Robert
Soames, Mr. Nicholas
Spelman, Mrs. Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob
Spring, Mr. Richard
Stanley, rh Sir John
Steen, Mr. Anthony
Streeter, Mr. Gary
Stuart, Mr. Graham
Swayne, Mr. Desmond
Swinson, Jo
Swire, Mr. Hugo
Syms, Mr. Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, David
Taylor, Mr. Ian
Taylor, Matthew
Teather, Sarah
Thurso, John
Tredinnick, David
Turner, Mr. Andrew
Tyrie, Mr. Andrew

Vara, Mr. Shailesh
Villiers, Mrs. Theresa
Walter, Mr. Robert
Watkinson, Angela
Webb, Steve
Weir, Mr. Mike
Whittingdale, Mr. John
Widdecombe, rh Miss Ann
Wiggin, Bill
Willetts, Mr. David
Williams, Hywel
Williams, Mark
Williams, Mr. Roger
Williams, Stephen
Willis, Mr. Phil
Willott, Jenny
Wilshire, Mr. David
Wilson, Mr. Rob
Winnick, Mr. David
Winterton, Ann
Winterton, Sir Nicholas
Wishart, Pete
Wright, Jeremy
Yeo, Mr. Tim
Young, rh Sir George
Tellers for the Ayes:

Andrew Rosindell and
Mr. Dan Rogerson

Cohen, Harry
Simpson, Alan
Skinner, Mr. Dennis
Taylor, David
Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Douglas Hogg and
David Maclean
Question accordingly agreed to.
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12 July 2006 : Column 1450

Adjourned at six minutes to Four o’clock.

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