Today in Justice Questions I took the opportunity as Shadow Prisons Minister to raise with the Government the importance of remaining a member of the European Union in order for compulsory prisoner transfer agreements to stay in place. This system was established by the European Union and enables Britain to deport prisoners back to their country of origin.
My first question was:
Is it not the case that as the former Chancellor and Justice Secretary the Rt Honourable Member for Rushcliffe put it that if we ever left the European Union we would go back to a system of prisoner transfer where we had absolutely no ability to deport anybody to their country of origin unless we could persuade the government of that country to accept them. Why would we risk losing that progress?
Prisons Minister Andrew Selous’ response:
The Honourable lady is right in that if this country leaves the EU we will lose the compulsory prisoner transfer agreement that we currently have and that will cause issues in terms of trying to return the current number of Europeans prisoners within our prisons.
My second question was:
Does the Minister agree with me that rather than sniping from the side-lines on these issues we should be playing our full part in coordinated international security frameworks such as:
- The Prisoner Transfer Directive
- The European Arrest Warrant
- Eurojust – the body that leads judicial cooperation between member states
- And the Schengen Information System
As all of these ensure that our EU membership continues to help protect us against crime, terrorism and threats to our security – yet more reasons to vote to remain on 23rd June.
Prisons Minister Andrew Selous response:
This Government wants to see as many compulsory Prisoner transfer agreements as possible because it is hard work trying to transfer all foreign nationals of whatever nationality out of prisons from England and Wales so therefore all compulsory transfer arrangements are useful and currently we have them with all members of the European union with the exception of Ireland and Bulgaria
You can watch my exchange at Justice Questions below: