LOCAL LIB DEM MEPs, Edward McMillan-Scott and Rebecca Taylor have welcomed the news that Liberal Democrats in government have stopped Conservative plans to abandon key EU crime-fighting measures.
Under the Lisbon Treaty, the UK has the option of leaving a series of cross-border EU crime fighting measures and must make a decision on whether to opt out by next year.
Earlier today, following extensive negotiations within the coalition, Home Secretary Theresa May announced that the government will be opting back in to 35 of the 136 measures, including all those deemed vital by the Association of Chief Police Officers.
Notable cases of the use of the EAW include the extradition of the Tansey brother’s, who were sent back from Spain and later jailed for a series of armed robberies in Elland and Huddersfield.
Lib Dem MEP Edward McMillan-Scott commented:
“The Conservative party were in danger of putting their own ideological opposition to Europe ahead of the battle to fight crime. We know they wanted to withdraw from key European crime-fighting measures – the very measures leading British law enforcement experts have repeatedly warned are vital for Britain’s security.”
“The Lib Dems were determined not to let ideology come before the safety of the British people. The Lib Dems have ensured that the UK retains those crucial measures such as the European Arrest Warrant, which has led to the capture of thousands of criminals including murderers, people traffickers, paedophiles and terrorists.
Fellow Lib Dem MEP Rebecca Taylor added,
“The reckless Tory plans to withdraw from this kind of cooperation would have left our police with both hands tied behind their back, allowing criminals to escape the long arm of the law.
“Liberal Democrats will continue to ensure that British police forces have the necessary tools to keep people safe and tackle transnational crimes such as drug-trafficking, people-smuggling and child abuse effectively. 21st century criminal gangs do not stop at our borders. Neither should our efforts to pursue them and bring them to justice.”