Voting with the government to opt-in to Prum

Politicians tend to disagree with one another on a lot of issues – luckily, catching criminals is not one of them. That is why the Liberal Democrats will be voting with the Government on the decision to opt-in to Prum: an EU process which allows member states to quickly exchange DNA, fingerprint and vehicle information in order to identify and catch serious criminals and terrorists.

The last time this decision was put in front of Parliament during the Coalition the Liberal Democrats couldn’t agree to it. At that point there were still millions of innocent people on DNA databases and schoolchildren were having their fingerprints taken in schools. The Freedoms Act 2012 put a stop to this, and with the additional safeguards the Home Secretary is proposing we can support opting-in to Prum this time round.

It is curious though that the Home Secretary wants to opt-in to another EU measure at the same time as her party is flirting with Brexit.

Theresa May clearly understands the need to work with our European colleagues – something the Liberal Democrats have been saying for years. Criminals don’t stop at the border and neither should our efforts to catch them.

The European Arrest Warrant is a great example of this. Since 2009 it has helped our police bring back hundreds of suspects who had escaped to Europe to face charges or jail for paedophilia, drug trafficking, rape and murder.

Yet for some Tory backbenchers’ ideology has left them blind putting them on the side of criminals to who Britain’s withdrawal from the EU would be an absolute gift! The Business and Implementation case published by the Home Secretary ahead of the vote demonstrates why we need Prum to keep us all safe. We hope the rightwingers will listen to reason and not rebel against their own Home Secretary on an issue as important as this.

* Alistair Carmichael is the MP for Orkney and Shetland and Liberal Democrat Chief Whip.

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One Comment

  • From http://www.scotland-judiciary.org.uk/25/1532/Morrison-and-others-v-Alistair-Carmichael-MP-and-another

    “The Election Court’s determination in the petition of Timothy Morrison and others against Alistair Carmichael MP will be published at 12 noon on Wednesday 9 December. A summary will be issued at 10.30am.”

    Personally, I think the best outcome for the SNP would be for Carmichael to win (but have to pay his own costs). That would leave the Liberal Democrats saddled with a deeply tainted sole Scottish MP until 2020. It would be a major issue in the Orkney and Shetland seats in next May’s election putting two of the remaining Liberal Democrat MSPs at risk of losing their seats.

    In contrast, if he loses and the people of Orkney and Shetland win their case, the Liberal Democrats will have the chance of fighting a potentially winnable by-election with a fresh and untainted candidate and possibly a chance to address their gender balance problem.

    It appears that we will find out tomorrow.

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