Proceeds of Crime Bill

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Mr. Ainsworth: I will be brief, as I do not wish to provoke you, Mr. McWilliam. However, it is apparent that the hon. Member for Surrey Heath believes that a German ought to be allowed to break the law in this country, if the offence that he commits is not an offence in Germany.

Mr. Hawkins: No, I do not believe that. I do not want to get too deeply involved in a debate that we will resume at another date—which has yet to be fixed— with regard to another measure. However, to respond to the Minister's point, I must explain that we have always had proper extradition arrangements that address offences in each country, and examine where matters can be separately identified in each country's criminal law.

With regard to the European arrest warrant, the concern is about the generality of the descriptions. I am not speaking for my party alone on this subject. The same concerns have been expressed by many noble Lords, including Labour and Liberal Democrat Lords. When distinguished jurists such as Lord Lester of Herne Hill, and distinguished judges such as Lord Scott of Foscote, express themselves in terms as strong as those that they used on 19 November, when the matter was addressed in the other place, a serious issue is at stake.

We are currently addressing serious principles of a similar kind. Therefore, the hon. Member for Lewes is right to alert the Committee. I hope that we will hear from Government Back Benchers, because I hope that they will not simply ignore the seriousness of the point about retrospection, which concerns a fundamental principle in our law. I will be interested to hear how the Minister tries to defend this sweeping extension to our law.

        Debate adjourned.—[Mrs. McGuire.]

        Adjourned accordingly at seven minutes to One o'clock till this day at half-past Four o'clock.

Column Number: 463

The following Members attended the Committee:
McWilliam, Mr. John (Chairman)
Ainsworth, Mr. Bob
Baird, Vera
Baker, Norman
Brooke, Mrs.
Clark, Mrs. Helen
Davidson, Mr.
Field, Mr. Mark
Foulkes, Mr.
Grieve, Mr.
Harris, Mr. Tom

Column Number: 464

Hawkins, Mr.
Hesford, Stephen
Johnson, Mr. Boris
Lucas, Ian
McGuire, Mrs.
Robertson, John
Stinchcombe, Mr.
Stoate, Dr.
Watson, Mr.
Wilshire, Mr.

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