By James Slack, The Daily Mail
Britain could be banned from extraditing terror suspects by the EU, in a new Brussels power grab.
One of the top legal advisers to the EU’s European Court of Justice said that – for the first time – its judges should be allowed to hear appeals from the likes of Abu Hamza if their human rights are being challenged.
The move would make it far harder to boot out crime suspects – and hugely undermine the Government’s commitment to end the human rights madness.
Former shadow home secretary David Davis said: ‘The argument that Europe is somehow improving our security is falling apart in the Government’s hands.’
The EU advocate general has been considering whether the ECJ should adopt powers to rule on extradition cases.
TRADE WITH EUROPE FALLS
- Britain is becoming less reliant on Europe for trade, official figures showed yesterday.
- In a boost for the Brexit campaign, less than half of exports of goods made in UK factories went to the EU in March. It was the nineteenth month in a row that Britain has sold more to the rest of the world than to the EU.
- At the same time, UK imports from the Continent hit a record £19.4billion, resulting in an £8.1billion trade deficit with the EU – the largest ever. It means Britain buys far more goods, such as German cars and French wine, to the EU than it buys from us.
- Eurosceptics claimed the report, from the Office for National Statistics, meant it was more likely than ever that the UK would strike a free trade agreement with the EU following a Brexit. The figures also undermined a warning by the National Institute for Economic and Social Research that leaving the EU would be a ‘significant shock’ to the UK economy.
- It said Brexit could knock 7.8 per cent off gross domestic product by 2030 and send the pound tumbling. But Professor Patrick Minford, a former adviser to Margaret Thatcher, said quitting the EU would boost trade.
- Matthew Elliott, chief executive of Vote Leave, said: ‘The EU is not working. The eurozone is collapsing, millions of people are unemployed and Europe’s economies are massively underperforming.
- ‘That means that European countries are buying less from us than ever before as we trade more with the rest of the world.
- ‘If we vote Leave we will be able to take back control of our trade and do deals with growing economies rather than being shackled to the failing economies of Europe.’
Every other member state submitted that the EU should have no legal powers in this field. But the UK raised no objection – and was even supportive of the latest power grab, according to papers released yesterday.
Advocate generals are the most senior legal advisers to the EU court, and their advice is normally accepted.
Once this happens, MPs say the Charter of Fundamental Rights will apply whenever third countries such as the US and Australia want to extradite EU citizens from the UK.
This will make it easier for foreign criminals to remain in Britain by arguing they might face ‘inhuman or degrading treatment’ overseas.
Some lawyers have argued that life sentences, which effectively mean a person will die behind bars with no prospect of release, fall into this category. In terrorism cases, US courts hand down sentences running to hundreds of years.
Abu Hamza was sentenced to life imprisonment with no possibility of release by a US federal court on terrorism and kidnapping charges.
Crucially, the advocate general’s advice would mean that suspects will be able to rely on the ECJ to defeat extradition regardless of what is done in the upcoming British Bill of Rights.
Plans are being worked on to limit the rulings of the separate European Court of Human Rights, based in Strasbourg.
But EU judges would simply take their place – and EU verdicts are legally binding.
The Charter also contains many other rights, including a right to respect for private and family life.
Eurosceptics said this ‘raises the prospect of many extraditions being delayed by spurious human rights challenges in the event of a vote to remain’.
Justice minister Dominic Raab said: ‘This is another silent blow to the British justice system inflicted by the EU.
‘Whether it’s the power to deport foreign offenders, or safeguards to protect innocent British citizens from rough justice, these vital rules should be made by elected lawmakers accountable to the British people – not faceless bureaucrats in Brussels or unaccountable judges in Luxembourg.
‘If we vote Leave on June 23, we will end the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights to the UK immediately after the referendum, allowing us to take back control over our justice system.’
Yesterday, the case was raised with Home Secretary Theresa May at the Commons home affairs select committee.
Conservative MP Ranil Jayawardena said: ‘The EU’s advocate general has said that the Charter of Fundamental Rights can now be relied on by criminal and terrorist suspects to prevent their extradition from the United Kingdom to countries outside of the EU. Do you believe that this would have affected your attempts to extradite Abu Hamza to the USA – because that’s what it’s suggesting?
‘And doesn’t this show that it’s not the ECHR, but that it’s actually the EU that is now a danger to our security?’ Mrs May said: ‘This is not the legally binding decision. It is the opinion of the advocate general. Of course, we wait for the final decision that is going to be taken.’
PRO-BREXIT GROUP BRANDED RACIST OVER ANTI-REFUGEE VIDEO AD
- A leading pro-Brexit group has been accused of racism and gutter tactics after it used an anti-refugee video narrated by Donald Trump to make the case for leaving the EU.
- The video, in which the US presidential candidate reads lyrics of a song over footage of refugees, appears to compare migrants to ‘vicious snakes’ who should not be taken in for fear of delivering a fatal ‘bite’.
- Leave.EU shared the footage on Facebook and Twitter, adding the slogan: ‘Donald Trump’s take on immigration … Vote to Leave the vicious snake that is the EU on June 23.’
- The video shows migrants rushing over a wall into European cities, as well as pictures of them apparently rioting. But one of those scenes is simply children reaching into a bag of food. Republican Mr Trump reads lyrics saying a snake was taken in by a kind woman but that ‘instead of saying thanks, that snake gave her a vicious bite’, which will kill her.
- Leave.EU, which was co-founded by Ukip’s largest donor Arron Banks, was condemned by Remain campaigners including Labour MP Chuka Umunna, Lib Dem leader Tim Farron and Winston Churchill’s grandson, Tory MP Nicholas Soames. They signed a letter urging Vote Leave, which is the official Out campaign, to distance themselves from the ad.
- Leave.EU said: ‘We’re very clear that this is Donald Trump’s take on immigration and no-one else’s.’ But they added that voters will feel ‘disaffected’ if EU supporters try to brush immigration under the carpet.
Former prime minister Gordon Brown will today make his first big intervention in the campaign, setting out ‘five positive arguments’ for remaining inside the EU.
He will argue that the co-operation that comes with EU membership benefits jobs, fairness in tax and security.
Mr Brown’s appearance on the campaign trail reflects deep unease in the Labour ranks that it is not getting its own vote out to support the In side of the debate.
Yesterday, Foreign Office minister James Duddridge also attacked claims that EU membership is bolstering national security. He said: ‘It is completely disingenuous to suggest that we are safer inside the EU.
‘EU law is undermining our bilateral relationships with key allies in the Five Eyes Alliance [the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Britain] whilst the European Court is seeking greater controls over our intelligence and security services.
‘The inability to control our own borders means that we cannot stop criminals entering the UK. And plans to give Turkey visa-free access to the EU will create a free travel zone from the English Channel to the borders of Syria and Iraq.’
Justice Secretary Michael Gove has proposed emergency legislation to end the application of the Charter to the UK immediately after the referendum in the event of a vote to leave the EU.