There have been two resignations from senior members of the Government’s cabinet today. The Foreign Secretary and the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU have both departed because they stated they had no confidence in the proposals put before them. The Government is in a mess, the Prime Ministers authority lays in tatters and we are still none the wiser on what our future relationship with the EU will be once we leave. Remember a deal must be struck by October 2018 and voted upon by Parliament to ensure that we do not fall off a cliff edge in March 2019.
Many people pressed the Prime Minister on the political situation she finds herself in. I wanted to drill down into further detail on our future security relationship with the EU. It is shocking to see that the former Home Secretary is willing to throw the European Arrest Warrant overboard and put our safety at risk. I asked her what the Government is doing to support our police officers in catching criminals and bringing them to justice.
March 2019 is when we leave the EU. We only have 8 months left and the Government can still not provide the public with details on our security arrangements after Brexit.
EUROPOL and the European Arrest Warrant are key in protecting us. It allows our police to share intelligence with other EU nations and ensures that any criminal that has fled the UK after committing an offence can be brought back to face justice.
You would expect these two factors alone make the UK Government put our relationship with international security bodies front and centre of our negotiations. You would have thought that they would have a position by now. But no. Instead we have a government desperately fighting internal battles for supremacy on Brexit. They are not thinking with the interests of the country in mind only that of their party.
As a former policing and securities minister I can tell you how valuable our cooperation is with EU countries in tackling crime. Losing out on EUROPOL and the European Arrest Warrant will hinder the police’s ability to keep our streets safe.
The ability to track down those who have committed crimes and terrorist atrocities in Northern Ireland, who may very well be in the Republic of Ireland, is dependent on the police and security forces having access to EUROPOL and the European Arrest Warrant.
If we lose access to these important tools following Brexit we could see our police and security forces hampered in bringing about justice. The Secretary of State was able to praise the current work of all police forces on the island of Ireland, but failed to say if we will maintain our partnership in EUROPOL and the European Arrest Warrant.
Protecting ourselves from crime by giving the police and security agencies the resources they need is of utmost importance. That is why at Home Office Questions I pressured the Government to commit to retain the European Arrest Warrant, cooperation with European police forces and to use all our powers to bring those who have committed crimes to justice.