Rules which allow unequal extradition to countries like the US must be revisited, Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael has said today. Speaking virtually in the House of Commons Mr Carmichael pressed the Government to allow debate on the issue, which dates back to the War on Terror and has provoked concern across society, including for liberals and human rights activists concerned about the potential for abuse.
Mr Carmichael said:
“I ask the Leader of the House whether we can have a debate in Government time on the operation of the UK-US extradition arrangements, which were entered into under a treaty of the Labour Government in 2003. He will have seen press reports about the case of British businessman Mike Lynch, which demonstrate that the treaty is not only open to abuse but is being abused. We need arrangements that are equal in fairness to each side. Many Conservative Members were critical of the treaty in 2003. Can we now start a debate about getting improvements?”
Responding for the Government, Jacob Rees-Mogg MP said:
“The issue that the right hon. Gentleman raises has aroused concern. Any extradition treaty should be proportionate and fair between the two parties and we should always ensure that Her Majesty’s subjects are treated fairly in any legal proceedings that may arise in this country or overseas.”
Reacting after the exchange, Mr Carmichael said:
“Liberals fought hard against the unreasonable and unequal extradition deal with the US both before and after it was agreed in 2003, and our opposition has only been validated with time. Mr Rees-Mogg says the right words but unless the Government takes action to start addressing the illiberal nature of our extradition rules then those words will ring hollow. These issues have not gone away and will continue to arise – as we are seeing with the Lynch case.”