It was an embarrassing climb down for the Home Secretary, Theresa May, yesterday who was forced to agree that Britain should remain a participant in the European arrest warrant scheme.
She had made promises to change British law so that the European arrest warrant could not be used to extradite UK nationals over what she said were ‘trivial or dubious charges.’
But she confirmed in a statement to Parliament, to the heckling of some of her own back bench euro sceptic MPS, that the fast track arrest warrant was among 35 EU criminal justice measures the government was seeking to retain.
Another embarrassing U-turn for the government and yet again the coalition government failed to understand the political significance of making such a move had it pursued it further. It also illustrated how the coalition is prepared to put politics above the interests of the country.
Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, responded by saying many of the measures May “is seeking permanently to opt out of have been replaced already, did not operate anymore or had never been used, while others were just agreements to cooperate.”
If this is May’s way to seek repatriation of powers then it couldn’t be a worse strategy mainly, but not only, because this specific piece of legislation a serious policy on crime and justice. This is an important power and is not a game- something Yvette Cooper reiterated when responding to May’s announcement.
I’ve said it before and I repeat it here, some significant crimes have been resolved swiftly in the United Kingdom as a result of the European arrest warrant. For example, we were able to catch and bring to justice the 7/7 terrorists as a result of this; an indication alone of how useful it is and therefore how important it is to protect.