28 Oct 2014 at 15:10
I sincerely hope that no sentient Tory backbencher is going to be so craven and frit as to submit to Douglas Carswell’s blackmail about the vote on the European Extradition Warrant.
In yesterday’s Telegraph he gave them a sinister message.
‘Any Tory MP who fails to vote against the EAW cannot make any credible claims to be Eurosceptic’
Oh really? Are backbenchers (Labour beware) going to have to jump through hoops to be awarded some barmy KIPPER kitemark so save their seats from Farage’s representative on earth? if I was still in the Commons I would be rather insulted. But more worrying than this little hissy fit is that Carswell clearly hasn’t a clue about what the EAW is all about.
‘Why are we prepared to have someone carted off to another country without giving a UK court the chance to have a look at the basic evidence?’ he screeches.
‘The process rolls on more or less automatically.’ he booms with all the authority of a Readers Digest affectionado.
It will shock you to know that the Carswell analysis is sphincter rattlingly. bollock clenchingly wrong. The reason why in opposition the Tories voted against the EAW was that labour swallowed the Brussels line hook line and sinker. The EAW, thanks to some deft political footwork from Theresa May is now a very different creature.
Now nobody can be extradited for minor offences. Before a warrant can be granted a British judge considers proportionality. Between July and October British judges have thrown out 21 warrants on these grounds. So if you nick a bottle of Bolly from the Paris Ritz nobody is going to bang on your door in this country. But it would be wise to steer clear of France.
Now nobody can be extradited if the offence is not an offence in the UK. From July to October British judges have thrown out 34 warrants on these grounds.
Now nobody has to languish in a foreign jail whist awaiting their fate. No British judge will issue a warrant unless there has been a decision to charge. And there are many more safeguards. From British judges.
Probably the most bonkers part of the Carswell analysis is that we should go back to the good old days of the 1957 European convention on warrants which was an unworkable fiasco. Many EU countries refuse to extradite their nationals under the convention. They include France, Germany and Spain. And you can’t extradite those accused of fraud and tax evasion. So not only have UKIP cosied up to the holocaust deniers and wife beater of Europe, they are now the fraudersters’ friends.
But Carswell is not alone in his delusion. Dominic Raab argues in the Independent on the same day that the EAW is the beginning of the stampede to harmonised European Justice. Not even the utterly hopeless Chris Grayling wants to dismantle our cherished jury system. Raab even prays in aid the awful case of the young lad whose parents were arrested in Spain because they sought alternative treatment for their young son. But this was the fault of a terrible decision by our own CPS.
We need to argue for a reformed Europe. More transparent, more democratic,more in touch. To vote against an EAW reformed by a British government is something that even the Rampton wing of the Conservative party should steer well clear of.