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In the West - With a huge increase in the number of Brits being jailed
in European prisons, we ask if it's time to reform our extradition
Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1780 seconds
Welcome to the Sunday Politics in the West. But coming up, the Brits
or hauled off to foreign prisons under the European arrest warrant.
Is there any justice in it? Before you get an early morning
upon the door from the euro police, let me introduce hour two guests.
They are two Sisters of the coalition, Charlotte Leslie, a
Conservative bruiser who loves to box in her spare time, and Tessa
Munt, who has also been in a few scraps in her time, and she is a
Lib Dem MP for Wells? Are their tensions emerging between
the two parties this last week? They have been no punch-ups in the
Commons! Who is in charge?
It is a coalition. There has been some compromise, as you would
expect, but we are united in the challenge we are facing in bringing
the country through the awful legacy left by the last government,
and it is that common aim that is keeping us together. There are
tough moments, but we have to stage together.
When it last? Yes, it will. We have to make sure
we're all doing the right thing for the country, and it is absolutely
clear from my point of view that there are Lib Dem policies being
brought into practice. The voters see you as the head of
blame, and that you will get hammered at the next election. That
is what the indications are. I do not think the polls are
correct here. We shall see.
First, to our story about extradition.
The European Arrest Warrant has seen scores of Britons banged up in
foreign jails after being handed over by our own bodies. Under the
terms of the agreement, British citizens can be arrested on the
order of any European state to face charges.
Over 1000 miles from home, Michael Turner from Dorset and Jason
McGoldrick from Devon were held in this prison after being arrested
when their timeshare marketing company collapsed, owing �18,000.
It was back in 2009 that they were extradited to this jail. Michael
says he was interviewed only once by police, and kept in his cell for
23 hours a day. The warrant was designed to catch
murderers and terrorists, like this man, Hussain Osman. He was wanted
over the failed London bombings in 2005, and was extradited under the
European Arrest Warrant from Italy back to the UK.
Graham Watson, the south-west Lib Dem MEP, was a key architect.
It has vastly enhance the role of law on our continent.
The European Arrest Warrant swept away at a stroke the safeguards
against the rest established in Britain over 1000 years.
You may shake your head. In the Commons, a grouping MPs says
there is urgent need for reform of the system. 16,007, the nub of
arrest warrants have dramatically increased. -- since 2007.
We have 15 times more warrants than opponent. We have got to put in
place some basic checks to make sure that the innocent are not
swept along with those that we need brought to justice. -- opponent.
These two will be back in Hungary in June to face charges of fraud,
which they deny. Meanwhile, the Home Office are considering changes
to the extradition agreements with Europe and the United States to
provide greater protection for British citizens.
You saw him in that piece, William Dartmouth, he joins me now in our
studio. What is the problem? You asked if there is any justice,
and the answer is no, there is not. It is being used for offences which
are comparatively trivial. A British judge does not have the
right to look at the primary evidence, there is absolutely no
safeguard. Only 10 out of 210 in 2009.
If it it has got a European label, the Lib Dems say it must be
alright! Produce a back -- British subject are being surrendered to
harsh legal systems, for example, the Hungarian system permits
someone to be in remand prison, to be held in remand prison under very
harsh conditions for up to three years before coming to trial.
Justice is to be done, and it is a small world. It is easy to commit a
crime anywhere in the world. It is daft to have border controls in
place that stop criminals being apprehended.
Police forces and governments have co-operated across boundaries since
before the Second World War. For example, Britain has been a member
of Interpol since 1923. We can perfectly well to operate on
serious crime, for example, terrorism, without at the same time
giving away our hard-won liberties. I must make a serious point, which
is that the European Court of Human Rights has intervened to prevent
Abu Qatada's deportation back to Jordan. So the fact of the mattress,
the mess we have got ourselves in, spearheaded by the Liberal Democrat,
has meant that on one level, we cannot defend our own people. We
cannot... It was not very long ago that you
could not touch a criminal in Spain. It was the Costa del Sol, and they
were laughing at the British authorities. This has changed. That
has to be a good thing. No, that was changed in 2001, when
Jack Straw, the then Home Secretary, introduced a fast-track extradition
treaty with Spain. So you like that?
Yes, but no -- but not no questions asked. The film made a connection
between the European arrest warrant and the treaty between the US and
the UK. Let's bring in other guests. The
Tories have and puff about Europe a lot, but they are allowing this to
go ahead. Justice is not being done, and if
you look at the proportion of it, for every one person that is given
over to us in extradition, we give nine back, so it is not working out.
It was a knee-jerk reaction after 9/11, and the intentions were
absolutely right. It rests on the basis that justice systems in
European countries are the same as ours. There is a lot of talk about
human rights, but it is clear that they are not being protected for
our citizens. Tessa, what a day mistake by your
colleagues to pave the way for this legislation in Europe? -- what it a
mistake. No, I do not think it was. There
are lots of tariffs, drug smugglers and goodness knows how many other
people who have been moved around to be tried. It is ludicrous to
suggest that we should not have something. What it has done is it
has identified that there are different regimes and different
standards across Europe. Europe has recognised this and has
acknowledged it is not being used properly.
But it has not done anything about it. Politicians make mistakes all
the time in their legislation. However, what this piece of
legislation has done and why it is particularly pension should -- a
particularly pernicious is because it is ruining people's lives. What
these people are accused of his four events that took place between
2003 and a 2005. They will get a verdict in June 2012. I was that
the first day of the hearing, and I can assure the two Ladies opposite
that David was in Britain, what they were accused of would be taken
place in a civil court, probably a small claims court.
It is being used for investigation and not persecution. It needs
cross-party agreement that this is to change, and we have that. I
spoke in a debate that we just saw, and I was talking about a wider
review of arrangements, as the government is looking at the report
that is looking to change it, and there is agreement at hope that we
can do that. It has been there for nine years.
It is a bit late now! It was never intended to be used in
a disproportionate weight. When you have got to be punished try to
extradite people for stealing bikes... -- the punish.
They commissioned a big report, and we have had had a lot of debate, a
lot of people have spoken, and we hope it will be reformed.
In the meantime, people's lives will continue to be rent until this
legislation is suspended. -- continued to be run into.
We have to stop there. Charlotte and Tessa were among 230 new
arrivals in Parliament after the last election. As with any new job,
it takes time to settle in. But two years on, many express frustration
about what they consider to be the fuddy-duddy ways of Parliament.
It was an injection of youth and enthusiasm. More than one-third of
the MPs elected in 2010 were new. Few could have known what they were
letting themselves in for. This is the most public face of Parliament,
the weekly performance that is Prime Minister's Questions. But the
chamber gives a misleading picture. The Commons sits from 2:30pm to
10pm. On Thursday it is an hour earlier.
Occasionally, MPs coming on Fridays. And in reality, most of the time,
most of the seeds are empty. Westminster Hall acts as an
overflow for smaller debate. This one, on reforming Parliament, was
well attended. The public's suspicion about MPs'
behaviour following the expenses scandal has not gone away. Many
people are asking what exactly is it that MPs do?
Notes the abundance of pens and paper rather than any form of
computer nerds. -- computer. We should be trying iPad Fat
Prophets in committee. -- iPads. The but many advances are resisted.
There is a question about electronic voting. I know there
will be a sharp intake of breath when I say that!
Is dead, voting is done through walking through lobbies. One person
says MPs should be freer to challenge government.
The role of Parliament is not to run the country, it is to hold to
account those who do. I think members of parliament should take
much more seriously their role of holding government to account at
being parliamentarians first and then perhaps some members of the
government or possible members of the Government's second.
MPs can independently bring forward it meant -- motions at Private
Member's Bills, but these almost never made it onto the statute
books. I'll -- I often think the Commons
is a sophisticated open prison. We say you will sign mind if I will
sign yours. These things do not affect the direction of government,
all the way in which we are governed, and Private Member's
Bills are a classic example. It is very frustrating to have one and
five government's talking out your bill. -- government.
That is what happened recently to a daylight Saving Bill. Jacob Rees-
Mogg was among a small group determined to kill it off.
I notice that when I propose that Somerset should have his own time
zone, which seems to me a personal -- perfectly rational thing, this
was thought to be slightly eccentric.
This has come back again, and this is probably less a debate about
daylight saving and more about the debate about the internal process
getting the way of getting something done.
Dennis praise for the work of select committees. At hope that a
forthcoming report on the role of MPs may bring about change.
If you cannot take a joke you should not have joined! IUD
disillusioned after a couple of years in Parliament?
I am not, because for me it is fantastic. I can go and talk to
ministers and get things changed, and achieve what I want to. I
always said when I elected that if I could change one thing, that is
brilliant. Have you changed one thing?
Are probably more than that. You have turned a bid for a long
time. Now you are there. Is it what it is cracked up to be?
Yes, it is a fantastic job and you get -- and you can get things
changed. But you should not look at it objected -- you should look at
it objectively, and it is difficult, because you can get swallowed up by
the system. There are ways of thinking that it is really
dislocated from reality. After a few days in that place, from Monday
to Wednesday, you have been with the same people all week, you eat
in the same canteens, you really crave... It is really good to get
back to the constituency and see what real life is like, and it is a
constant quest to get back there. One of the points made was about
your prime job. Do you see it as representing opposite was on
holding the government to account? For I see my job in the
constituency as taking information, soaking up information from my
constituents about the things that go wrong for them, and then going
to London and sorting that stuff up. That is the way I see it.
On your way policy-maker? No, I am socially a social worker.
No offence to any of them who are watching. It is probably very
similar to that, because I am the one person to whom people can come
to as what they see as the last resort. It is fantastic.
What about the rules and regulations? We saw Jacob Rees-Mogg
talking out that Bill. People make a distinction between
Parliament and the constituency, but I see the constituency about --
as reality. You get reality from real life, and politics has to get
real. On the arcane processes, the daylight Saving Bill was
infuriating, because unusually, there was a real cross-party
agreement that something needed to change. Over 100 MPs, which is
remarkable, stayed away from their constituencies to come to this
review, which the country wanted. It was not debated, it was simply
told that? Yes, at that should never happen. I
would like to see private members' bills on a Wednesday evening so we
can all go as talk about them. -- all go and talk about them.
The rules mean we have to push on! It is time for other sprint through
the political week in just 60 seconds. -- our sprinter.
The last of the West's big councils have been setting their budgets,
but Bristol and well she joined our other councils in confirming they
will not be put in a their charges. -- Wiltshire.
Organisers of the annual St Paul's Carnival say this year's
celebration will be smaller because they have not had enough donations.
It is part funded by the city council and attract up to 100,000
people. Protesters have been occupied part
of the Hinkley Point site in Somerset have been evicted and
never to return. The GMB union has announced a 12
more strike days at Swindon's Great Western Hospital. Cleaners and
domestic workers are in a dispute with their employer, Carillion.
We have had a lot about privatisation, but this week,
Somerset County Council say there are two Lumiere privatise some
projects. -- they are to un- privatise. They have decided it is
cheaper to do some things in house. That was the week that has just
flashed past. Let's pick up that story about
privatisation. Southwest One, this un-privitisation, if that is such a
word. Are the days of selling off services coming to an end?
I had a questionable palp -- punch up with the County Council over the
last few months about this. Youth services, the young carer service,
all the youth clubs, bus services. They're trying to divest themselves
of any responsibility to provide a service for those who are
vulnerable in any way, and I have to say it is good to see them, and
I in favour of them are getting much more like this.
I UA fan of privitisation? I am a fan of whatever the world's
best. Sometimes, the private sector does things better. -- whatever is
best. New Labour and the Conservatives
have talked about privatisation, and in some cases it has been
magnificent. But we have got to be open about it and say that they may
be cases where it is not right. My first campaign was against
privatisation, but there are some cases where charities and private
organisations can run things better. Thank you. That is it from the West
this week. The Sunday Politics continues with Andrew, who is in