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Lords warn of 'unacceptable risk' over EU arrest scheme

Lords warn of 'unacceptable risk' over EU arrest scheme

Emilio Casalicchio

2 min read

Failure to strike a new deal on the extradition of criminal suspects after Brexit would pose an “unacceptable risk” to the UK, a committee of peers has declared.

Britain must negotiate a replacement to the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) in time for leaving the EU in March 2019, according to the EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee.

Under the terms of the EAW, EU member states must arrest and transfer suspects to the country where they are wanted for trial or detention.

Chair of the committee Lord Jay said member states had transported some 1,000 individuals since the EAW was set up - including would-be terror attackers.

But the report warned of a “cliff edge” after Brexit - especially since the Government wishes to cut all ties to the European Court of Justice, which oversees the warrant.

"An operational gap between the European Arrest Warrant ceasing to apply and a suitable replacement coming into force would pose an unacceptable risk," it said.

Lord Jay added: "Less than three years ago, Theresa May, in her role as home secretary, opted to maintain the UK's involvement in the European Arrest Warrant, thereby accepting the European Court of Justice's role in overseeing the European Arrest Warrant.

"She stated that it was in the national interest to retain cooperation with other EU countries in order to keep the British public safe.

"Now as then, the safety of the people of the UK should be the Government's overriding consideration.

"In March 2017, the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, said that it was a priority for the Government to ensure that we remain part of the European Arrest Warrant arrangement.

"This is welcome, but it was not clear to the committee how this objective will be compatible with the Government's plans to remove the jurisdiction of the court of justice, let alone other aspects of the UK's withdrawal from the European Union."

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