All 1 Michael Ellis contributions to the Extradition (Provisional Arrest) Act 2020

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Mon 22nd Jun 2020
Extradition (Provisional Arrest) Bill [Lords]
Commons Chamber

2nd reading & Programme motion: House of Commons & 2nd reading & 2nd reading: House of Commons & Programme motion & Programme motion: House of Commons & Programme motion & 2nd reading & Programme motion

Extradition (Provisional Arrest) Bill [Lords] Debate

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Department: Attorney General

Extradition (Provisional Arrest) Bill [Lords]

Michael Ellis Excerpts
2nd reading & Programme motion: House of Commons & 2nd reading: House of Commons & Programme motion
Monday 22nd June 2020

(3 years, 10 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Michael Ellis Portrait The Solicitor General (Michael Ellis)
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I am hopeful that all Members can unite in a common commitment to protect the British public, and I am pleased to have the shadow Ministers, Labour Members and, indeed, other Opposition Members’ support in that.

This is about helping UK policing. I am sure we can all recognise without hesitation the increasingly global society in which we live, and we are sadly all well aware of the threats we face from cross-border criminality. I am confident that this legislation will make the United Kingdom safer. The Bill will ensure that where a person is wanted for a serious offence by a trusted country—I repeat, because those are operative terms: a serious offence by a trusted country—our police have the power, then and there, to get them off our streets, into the court system and before a judge here in the United Kingdom.

Steve Baker Portrait Mr Steve Baker
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I am sorry that I missed the opening speech. Will my right hon. and learned Friend assure me that, as a country outside the European Union, we will not repeat the error forced on us as a member state of thinking that the integrity of the justice systems in all EU member state countries are of an equally high standard? We might, for example, recognise that the Adamescu case in Romania, which I mentioned earlier to the hon. Member for St Albans (Daisy Cooper), demonstrates that some countries are not fit to be included in the list.

Michael Ellis Portrait The Solicitor General
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As my hon. Friend knows very well, changed arrangements now with the European Union allow this country to conduct itself with fresh ideas and fresh considerations. But it is important to recognise that the Bill applies to a limited number of countries, with which we have an extremely good relationship, and in which we have considerable trust. Indeed we have considerable experience of their processes and judicial systems.

I just want to touch on a couple of remarks made in this brief debate by hon. Members from across the House. My hon. Friend the Member for North West Durham (Mr Holden) talked about the Bill being not before time. He is right to say that. He supports the mechanisms, including the statutory instrument mechanisms, which will allow an ease of process for the Bill going forward.

The hon. Member for St Albans (Daisy Cooper) talked about the Bill not being about the European arrest warrant and she is right. This is a matter of supporting our police here in the United Kingdom. Clearly, we are involved in negotiations, but nothing is more important, as she will recognise, than the safety of our people. The Bill is limited in scope, but it is important.

The hon. Member for Strangford (Jim Shannon), whose interventions in this House are always very welcome, mentioned, rightly, that the countries in the Bill are trusted partners. I am very pleased that he welcomes it.

The shadow Minister, the hon. Member for St Helens North (Conor McGinn), spoke in similar terms. It is important that on these measures, especially in times like these, we can speak as one about the security of the people of this country and recognise that the legislation does not change any other part of the subsequent extradition process. All the safeguards that currently exist in extradition proceedings in this country, set out under part 2 of the Extradition Act 2003, will continue to apply. The Bill does not do anything to change that. The courts will have the same powers and protections as they do now, including the fact that they must ensure that a person will not be extradited if doing so would breach their human rights in any way; if the request is politically motivated; or if they would risk facing the penalty of death. Our courts can be trusted—the examples are legion—to make sure that the provisions are adhered to.

The Bill seeks to deal with a very simple issue. Currently, as the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, my hon. Friend the Member for Torbay (Kevin Foster) mentioned in opening the debate, a potentially dangerous wanted individual who is known to the police can potentially remain at liberty on the streets of this country, able to offend, able to reoffend and able to abscond. Examples exist where that has happened. The new power will see people who are wanted by a trusted country for a serious crime, and who may be a danger to the public, off our streets as soon as they are encountered.

Bob Stewart Portrait Bob Stewart (Beckenham) (Con)
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In short, it will extradite them more quickly.

Michael Ellis Portrait The Solicitor General
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It will not change the process of extradition, but it will mean that police officers will potentially be able to arrest more quickly because they will be able to act when they have cause to do so.

In conclusion—

Toby Perkins Portrait Mr Toby Perkins (Chesterfield) (Lab)
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I am grateful to the Solicitor General for giving way. I am also grateful to him for recognising the position of my colleagues on the Labour Front Bench. He is absolutely right to say that we are united in this House. There is no difference in this House when it comes to the safety of the British people and the extradition of those who need to be extradited. We may disagree on the best way to achieve that, but we are united in that aim.

Michael Ellis Portrait The Solicitor General
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I am very pleased to hear the hon. Gentleman say that and it does not come as any surprise to me.

The Government are steadfast in their determination to ensure that officers, upon whom we rely to keep us safe, have the powers they need to do just that. The Bill will provide a small, but important part of that armoury. I commend it to the House.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read a Second time.

Extradition (Provisional Arrest) BILL [Lords] (Programme)

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 83A(7)),

That the following provisions shall apply to the Extradition (Provisional Arrest) Bill [Lords]:


The Bill shall be committed to a Committee of the whole House.

Proceedings in Committee, on Consideration and up to and including Third Reading

(2) Proceedings in Committee, any proceedings on Consideration and any proceedings in legislative grand committee shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion one hour before the moment of interruption on the day on which proceedings in Committee are commenced.

(3) Proceedings on Third Reading shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at the moment of interruption on that day.

(4) Standing Order No. 83B (Programming committees) shall not apply to proceedings in Committee of the whole House, to any proceedings on Consideration or to other proceedings up to and including Third Reading.

Other proceedings

(5) Any other proceedings on the Bill may be programmed.—(Tom Pursglove.)

Question agreed to.

Environment Bill (Programme) (No. 3)

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 83A(7)),

That the Order of 26 February 2020 (Environment Bill: Programme), as varied by the Order of 4 May 2020 (Environment Bill: Programme (No. 2)), be further varied as follows:

In paragraph (2) of the Order (conclusion of proceedings in Public Bill Committee), for “Thursday 25 June” substitute “Tuesday 29 September”.—(Tom Pursglove.)

Question agreed to.