The Home Secretary, Theresa May, and the Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor, Chris Grayling, will be questioned by the Lords EU Committee examining the UK’s possible opt-out from police and criminal justice measures, in the final evidence session of the inquiry on Wednesday 13 February at 2.00pm.
The Committee will also question an Irish academic, Dr Gavin Barrett, and the Lord Advocate, Frank Mulholland QC, about the implications for Ireland and Scotland of the decision at 11.00am and 12.00pm, respectively.
The inquiry is being conducted jointly by two of the Lords EU Sub-Committees – Home Affairs, Health and Education, chaired by Lord Hannay of Chiswick; and Justice, Institutions and Consumer Protection, chaired by Lord Bowness.
The two Ministers will be face questions from the Sub-Committees on evidence they have taken throughout the inquiry, including the following matters:
- The Government’s engagement with Parliament about the opt-out decision.
- The Government’s consultations with the Devolved Administrations and the Republic of Ireland and any concerns that have been raised.
- The Government’s concerns about the extension of the European Court of Justice’s jurisdiction to cover EU police and criminal justice matters.
- Whether the UK’s historical influence in the development of EU police and criminal justice measures could be undermined if the opt-out is exercised.
- The Government’s response to the concerns raised by senior police and law enforcement professionals about the potentially negative consequences of exercising the opt-out, including the possibility of the UK becoming a “safe haven” for criminals.
- Whether the Government supports attempts to reform the European Arrest Warrant and the feasibility of relying upon alternative, non-EU, legal instruments to facilitate cross-border cooperation.
- If the opt-out is exercised how straightforward it will be for the UK to rejoin particular police and criminal justice measures through negotiations with the Commission and the other Member States in the Council.
- When the Government will be in a position to provide the Committee with a list of measures that they would like to rejoin, were the opt-out to be exercised.
Earlier in the day, the Sub-Committees will hear from Dr Gavin Barrett, a senior lecturer in law at University College Dublin, at 11.00am and Frank Mulholland QC, the Lord Advocate, at 12.00pm. They will be asked questions about the implications of the opt-out decision for Ireland and Scotland, respectively.
The evidence sessions will take place on Wednesday 13 February at 11.00am with Dr Gavin Barrett; at 12.00pm with Frank Mulholland QC, the Lord Advocate, in Committee Room 3; and at 2.00pm, with the Home Secretary and Lord Chancellor, in Committee Room 4A.
The sessions will be webcast live at www.parliamentlive.tv and are also open to the public. Journalists wishing to attend should go to Parliament’s Cromwell Green Entrance and should allow time for security screening.