Clause 70 - Arrest warrant following extradition request

Part of Extradition Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 2:45 pm ar 14 Ionawr 2003.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Ceidwadwyr, Surrey Heath 2:45, 14 Ionawr 2003

The Minister is protesting somewhat too much. He attacks me and, by implication, the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland, for raising the point, and says that although the Law Society of England and Wales is an august body, that does not mean that we should try to row back on what the Government are doing.

I take the contrary view. We are considering a wholesale change—this is not only consolidation but a major alteration of our extradition law. The Bill, in whatever form it finally reaches the statute book, will be the Act that sets out all the law on extradition for the foreseeable future, or until another Act is passed. If we have representations from external organisations saying that we should examine the issue of whether category 2 countries should be divided into two different types, and if such an august body—as the Minister put it—as the Law Society of England and Wales expresses concern about fishing expeditions, it is the purpose of Committees such as this to consider those matters. As my right hon. Friend the Member for West Dorset said on Second Reading, there will be issues that repay scrutiny.

We are considering part 2, and we are not as rushed as we were towards the end of this morning's proceedings. I was therefore surprised by the Minister's aggrieved tone, because the purpose of the Committee is to consider the serious concerns that we raised, which are shared with the professional bodies, and with the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland on behalf of his party. The Minister should not, therefore, sound so aggrieved.

The debate has been helpful because the Minister has said, on the record, which countries will fall into the category. I am sure that the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland would agree that that has moved the debate forward. That was not said on Second Reading.

It would be even more helpful if the Government were to produce a comprehensive list, because this afternoon the Minister was able to refer only to countries such as Canada, Switzerland and Australia. The debate has, however, been useful. I opened it in brief and moderate terms, and so I am surprised that the Minister was so aggrieved in his tone.