The Prime Minister returned to Parliament yesterday to provide an update on her renegotiation of the Withdrawal Agreement.
This week one of our top policing and security experts stated that the deal before us will mean that we lose access to DNA databases, security alerts on terrorism and access to the European Arrest Warrant. I wanted the Prime Minister to promise a backstop insurance policy to ensure that we do not lose these important measures.
In her response she admitted her deal doesn’t cover two areas on criminal records and DNA databases. The Prime Minister stated that there will be ‘discussions’ on UK access to these in the future. I’m sorry, but to throw our national security overboard in the hope that ‘discussions’ will be fruitful in the future is reckless and puts us at risk.
Yet again the UK Government has evaded answering my serious concerns over national security.
During Home Office Questions, I asked the Home Secretary to explain how we will have access to important security instruments, such as EUROPOL, EUROJUST and SIS 2, if the Prime Minister’s pointless red lines on the European Court of Justice stay in place.
The Home Secretary tried to boast that this was not a problem as it was all covered in the political declaration. What he didn’t explain, however, is the political declaration is not binding. It is merely a wish list of things the UK Government want to achieve. As much as the Home Secretary might wish for these things to exist after Brexit day they won’t.
The Government need to wake up, listen to MPs concerns and change direction. Reheating the same old deal does nothing to protect our national security and does nothing to move us on from the mess this government has created.
We had the Director of the Serious Fraud Office in front of the Justice Select Committee today. It was a great opportunity for us to remove the heat out of the Brexit debate and shine some light instead.
The Director was able to state that the loss of tools we currently have at our disposal will slow down our processes to track and trace criminals and hold them to justice. As anyone in security and policing will tell you time is always key in getting the best outcome.
Committees, unlike the floor of the House, allow MPs to cross-examine witnesses with a lot more detail. The Committee system is often overlooked but the evidence we gather, like this, should help everyone make a more informed decision on all areas of public life.
During one of the days debating the Government’s Withdrawal Agreement from the EU I was able to raise my concern that the Government have erected the barrier of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) when it wasn’t needed.
For us to have access to the European Arrest Warrant we need to be a member of the ECJ. As my colleague, the Shadow Home Secretary, stated this will prove to be a risky endeavour by the Government.