Dr Phillip Lee: We must reduce EU control over policingBy Laura Herbert
January 30, 2013
You may recall a previous column last year in which I wrote about the need to repatriate powers on crime and policing back from Europe.
This was following a letter in a national paper that was signed by 102 of my Conservative colleagues in Parliament which called on the Government to lessen EU control over the British justice system.
At the time, I was already calling for serious negotiations on the UK’s membership of the European Union.
Many people have been wrongly arrested because of botched DNA matches.
New EU regulations risk a flood of such cases.
Brussels wants foreign police to have access to the details of 38 million motorists held on the DVLA database, as well as the UK’s DNA and fingerprint records.
Even European Commission concedes that systemic flaws could lead to false matches sucking the innocent into foreign investigations.
This is why in light of this week’s policy development following a speech by the Prime Minister, I would like to update you on the Government’s progress of protecting our sovereignty from the EU, including the repatriation of crime and policing policy.
With the ongoing Eurozone crisis, the EU is changing.
This is undoubtedly raising questions about its future and Britain’s place within it.
Therefore, I am a strong advocator and fully behind the Prime Minister’s cast-iron pledge to negotiate with the EU to seek a looser relationship then, based on those new terms, offer an in/out referendum in 2017 in the event of a Conservative majority in 2015.
The EU’s direction of travel is towards closer union.
The last referendum on the EU in 1975 was on profoundly different terms and this lack of a British democratic mandate needs to be put right.
Remember, anyone born since 1957 has not had the opportunity to have any say on the EU.
Hence, so this democratic deficit can be addressed, I believe the Government should first negotiate a better settlement for Britain in the EU and then put the deal to the people in a referendum.
The best way to achieve this would be via a new Treaty that makes the changes needed to resolve the crisis in the Eurozone, while at the same time protecting the interests of those of us outside the Eurozone.
This would drive forward reform for all.
Having exercised an opt-out, there is still a possibility to press for basic safeguards as a condition for opting back.
I believe that few would object to Europe-wide criminal records checks to protect the public, but the proposal to sign up for a pan-European data-sharing on every citizen is dangerous.
This is why I want to see British standards of justice and democratic accountability into these crucial decisions.
In closing, I would like to encourage you all to come along to my next public question and answer session in Sandhurst on Thursday, February 7.
This will be a fantastic opportunity for you to engage further in this debate and ask any questions about what changes to our relationship with Europe would mean for my constituents.
The meeting will take place at Sandhurst Town Council from 7.30pm.