Clegg orders fresh review of extradition laws headed by Ming

It’s two-and-a-half years since Nick Clegg as Lib Dem leader publicly stood up on behalf of Gary McKinnon, a computer hacker wanted to by the US authorities under controversial extradition laws:

The Americans are hell-bent on extradition and making an example of him. He was told if he sat back, pleaded guilty and said nothing about his extradition, he could end up doing a shorter sentence in a British prison. But because he exercised his basic right to challenge his extradition, he’s now classed as a terrorist. … No fewer than three Labour home secretaries have played their part in this fiasco. … The only conclusion possible is that the British Government cares more about its relationship with the United States than it does about the welfare of its citizens. Where is this Government’s moral compass? The truth is this Government has lost its basic sight of what’s right and what’s wrong.

However, it’s clear Nick is having to fight all the way within the Coalition for the government to address the issue. So Nick has taken the decision, as Lib Dem leader rather than as Deputy Prime Minister, to commission a party review headed by former leader Ming Campbell QC to ensure that reform does not get forgotten.

Here’s how the Telegraph reports it:

The deputy prime minister has broken Government ranks to set up a Liberal Democrat review amid fears the Conservatives will not reform the controversial act. Sir Menzies Campbell, who is a QC, is to chair a panel to examine how the arrangements could be reformed.

The treaty has been criticised as unfair by the families of Britons facing extradition, particularly Janis Sharp, the mother of Gary McKinnon, the autism sufferer wanted by US authorities to answer hacking charges. An official review by retired judge Sir Scott Baker concluded last month that the Extradition Act was not biased despite the fact nine times as many Britons have been extradited as Americans.

Mr Clegg, who attacked the treaty in opposition, believes his conclusions were “questionable” but fears the Conservatives will accept them and not attempt to reform the act. He has set up his own review as Lib Dem leader rather than deputy prime minister and it is expected the findings will form a basis for his party’s policy on which to fight the next general election. However, the move will also allow him to deflect criticism if the Coalition Government fails to act.

The paper quotes a spokesperson for Nick Clegg saying:

“There is a strong view among Liberal Democrats that Baker’s findings are genuinely questionable. The fear is that the Conservatives will accept the findings of the Baker Review and nothing will change in the extradition arrangements between Britain and the US. Nick made clear his views on the treaty in Opposition and he wants a second opinion. Menzies led the charge on this issue when he was Leader and Nick thinks he is the perfect person to head up a Liberal Democrat review of the issue.”

Janis Sharp, Gary McKinnon’s mother, described the Lib Dem review as “fantastic news” and praised Mr Clegg (and attorney general Dominic Grieve) for “standing up for the rights of British citizens”.

Read more by or more about , , or .
This entry was posted in News.
Advert

4 Comments

  • Old Codger Chris 19th Nov '11 - 9:25pm

    Good for Nick. We should just ask ourselves what the American reaction would be if the boot were on the other foot.

  • The phrase ‘kicked into the long grass’ springs to mind.

  • “An official review by retired judge Sir Scott Baker concluded last month that the Extradition Act was not biased …”

    Strange conclusion, when the treaty clearly specifies different levels of evidence required for extradition for the UK and US and the treaty gives UK citizens a lower level of rights (under US law) than US citizens get under Us law.

    So does Sir Scott Baker hold US citizenship, or have a US government pension or other vested interests as to why his review should so blatently favour foreign interests, or are the photo’s particularly embarassing…

  • Matthew Huntbach 22nd Nov '11 - 11:00pm


    In The Orange Book, a publication that is almost Frankensteinian

    Do you mean clumsily sewn together bits of things that had died?

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJames Belchamber 29th Jan - 1:38pm
    Many Local Parties can hardly pay their website hosting bill - expecting them to support local members wishing to attend conference just wouldn't work. Conference...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 29th Jan - 1:32pm
    Liberalism is for freedom. The Chinese government is the opposite. Conservatism is for stability. The decision by this government is the opposite. Why not try...
  • User AvatarPaul Holmes 29th Jan - 1:21pm
    @Daniel Walker. Regrettably it seems to be the sort of question that misled LD Strategists into believing right up to 10pm on Polling Day in...
  • User AvatarKevin White 29th Jan - 1:18pm
    I agree David. I think a full and comprehensive review of the Conference setup and the way policy is decided needs to be undertaken. For...
  • User AvatarJohn Marriott 29th Jan - 1:16pm
    @Catherine Jane Crosland I’m afraid I don’t do social media. Your first response partially explains why! If that is Jonny in the yellow jacket, perhaps...
  • User AvatarRuth Bright 29th Jan - 1:06pm
    expats - yup we targeted non-voters from the left (both in the tower blocks of Southwark and in leafy East Hampshire). I do possess a...