Thursday, 22 April 2010

Ask Nick.

I think most people would agree that, of all the parties, the Liberal-Democrat manifesto promises on civil liberties are the best. However, these are domestic policies and we need to know their views on proposed EU legislation. Liberal Democrat MEPs voted for the fast track European Arrest Warrant, under which Britons have been sent abroad to face trial, sometimes for fairly trivial offences. The Tories voted against this.

The European Union has put forward a proposal, the extended European Evidence Warrant, which would be an EU-wide search warrant that could be issued in any state, and which would be binding on all police forces. Warrants could also be issued which would force police to intercept phone calls, set up CCTV surveillance, monitor bank accounts, and even demand body samples such as fingerprints or DNA. See here.

This European Commission Green Paper proposes going much further than the European Arrest Warrant and is in essence, an expansion of Ripa powers to every state in the EU.

Naturally our old friend, Home Affairs Minister, Meg Hillier says:

We would in principle support a new and comprehensive instrument based on mutual recognition that covers all types of evidence.

Dominic Grieve, the shadow justice minister, said that a Conservative government would ensure that Britain did not opt into the scheme:

Civil liberties campaigners are right to be concerned about this extension of state power across national boundaries.

We need to ask Nick his views on this subject.

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