Crime doesn’t stop at the Channel - neither should our ability to fight it - Labour’s Opposition Day Debate on EU police, justice and home affairs measures.
In opting out of pan European co-operation on crime and justice for no other reason than to placate their own rabid backbenchers, David Cameron and Theresa May are putting their own party interest ahead of the national interest. They cannot be allowed to get away with it.
A decision to opt out of 130 measures of European co-operation on crime fighting, criminal intelligence sharing and criminal transfers for internal political purposes is wrong and dangerous.
Labour is calling on Liberal Democrats, right minded Tories and others to back an opposition day debate motion making clear the Home Secretary and Prime Minister should to stop playing politics with justice for victims and make sure tackling crime across Europe is our first priority.
The Liberal Democrats committed to keeping these powers in their manifesto, and the Deputy Prime Minister has set this up as a test of strength.
Yvette Cooper MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, said:
"Crime doesn’t stop at the Channel. Whether it is catching criminals who cross borders to flee justice, or stopping international crimes like human trafficking and online child pornography, we need cooperation across borders to protect people and get justice for victims.
“But by turning their backs on European cooperation on crime, just because it has "Europe" in the title, the Government is in danger of making it harder not easier to catch criminals and get justice.
“They should listen to the police, children’s charities and victims who all say Britain needs to work with other countries to stop criminals fleeing from justice and to prevent cross border crime.
“The Tory party’s hysteria over Europe means the Government is at risk of tying the hands of the police and playing into the hands of criminals.
“Cooperation between the Met and Europol and data sharing stopped child trafficking rings who were bringing teenagers into London for rape and prostitution. That work by Operation Golf was partly funded by the EU and would be extremely difficult without the very measures the Government wants to reject.
"Over 4,000 suspected criminals have been sent back to other EU countries to face justice – over 90% were foreign citizens. The Arrest Warrant has tackled the ‘Costa Del Crime’ – 49 of the 65 top UK fugitives hiding in southern Spain have been returned.
“Cross border crime is growing. And criminals can travel between countries more easily than ever before. That's why there has to be a proper framework for police forces to work together across borders too.
“The Prime Minister must not put appeasement of Tory Europhobia above the fight against serious and organised crime. And the Lib Dems should not let him get away with it. We hope MPs of all parties will support the police, children’s charities and victims and back our motion today.”
Douglas Alexander MP, Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary, said:
“Cooperating with our allies across Europe on justice and home affairs issues helps to keep us safe.
“The European Arrest Warrant is an important tool to help protect British citizens and ensure our police can work across Europe to pursue the perpetrators of crime.
“But the Government appears to be putting internal party management ahead of fighting crime and the protecting victims.
“The Prime Minister’s priority should be keeping the public safe rather than trying to satisfy his own backbenchers.”