European Arrest Warrant membership 'a priority' for Brexit talks, Amber Rudd confirms

Posted On: 
6th March 2017

Amber Rudd has all-but ruled out the possibility of Britain leaving the European Arrest Warrant, describing the mechanism as “absolutely essential” for bringing criminals to justice.

Amber Rudd answers questions in the Commons this afternoon
Parliament TV

The Home Secretary said it was a “priority” for the Government to keep the EAW, which allows suspects to be arrested and transferred across EU member states, in the upcoming Brexit negotiations.

The Government has consistently underlined the importance of continued security and policing co-operation after Brexit but has, until today, refused to be drawn on specific measures.

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In the Commons today, Ms Rudd was asked to “guarantee” continued membership of the EAW by Labour MP Chris Leslie, who drew attention to Theresa May’s plea in 2014 that ditching the measure would make the UK a ”honeypot for all of Europe’s criminals on the run from justice”.

“I certainly agree with the principle that the European Arrest Warrant is an effective tool and is absolutely essential to delivering effective judgment to the murderers, rapists and paedophiles that we have managed to seek judgment on,” the minister said.

“It is a priority to ensure that we do remain part of it and I can also reassure Honourable colleagues throughout the House that this is something European partners want to achieve as well.”

The Government’s white paper on the Brexit talks said it wanted to “continue our deep cooperation with the EU and its member states” on security and terrorism issues.

It also highlighted the fact that 8,000 criminals have been sent from the UK to other EU countries since the EAW came into effect in 2004, but did not commit to remaining party to the mechanism.

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Lord Paddick said Ms Rudd had “finally woken up” to the importance of cross-border cooperation.

“This is just one of a whole range of tools that are part of EU cooperation on crime and security that are being gambled with by Theresa May in the Brexit negotiations,” he said.

"Keeping Britain safe from dangerous criminals depends on the exchange of information with our European partners. The Government has to explain how this can be done without European Court of Justice oversight and common data standards.”