'Claims we're wrecking a bid to catch paedophiles are outrageous' - Diane Abbott

28 Jan 2019
Tory Ben Wallace has accused "the loony Left" of "holding to ransom our children’s safety" with an amendment to the Crime (Overseas Production Orders) Bill, which speeds up US-UK data-sharing to catch criminals. He claims Labour's change would kill an agreement with the US. Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott explains why she's standing firm - saying Tories are putting us at risk, and smears won’t change that.

The security Minister Ben Wallace used one of the Sunday newspapers to accuse me and Jeremy Corbyn personally, saying we were wrecking a government bill that would help combat paedophiles who operate internationally, or who flee justice in this country.

This is an outrageous claim, both muddle-headed and nasty. It is a Labour amendment to the government’s Bill.  I am happy to stand by it because it protects human rights and the rule of law.

Our amendment would prevent authorities in this country sharing data with overseas agencies where there is a risk of the imposition of the death penalty. More than 50 years ago parliament as a whole passed a law which ‘opposes the death penalty in all circumstances’.

That is the law of the land. It means we do not co-operate with any government if the consequence could be capital punishment.  Parliament has for a long time believed that the death penalty is so abhorrent, and the risks of a miscarriage of justice so awful, that we outlaw it. Our ban applies to all countries where the death penalty is still on the statute books.

But government Ministers are desperate to cosy up to Donald Trump’s administration in the US, where the death penalty is still imposed.  Our amendment simply blocks data sharing co-operation with all countries if the death penalty is a risk.

The reason Ministers seem to be so keen to tear up our laws and ignore our human rights is because they are in a terrible mess in refusing to rule out a No Deal Brexit. Among other things this will end all our very close co-operation with all the EU countries in the areas of security and justice. Under Tory plans, we will actually be severing the agreement which allow us to co-ordinate with the EU on combating terrorism, organised crime, people traffickers, and fugitives from justice, including paedophiles.

There is almost nothing this government is doing that is not associated with Brexit, and its madcap refusal to rule out crashing out with No Deal. And because this is such a major threat to all of us Tory Ministers are resorting to ever more outrageous claims and smears to justify their actions.

It is this government which is putting our security at risk. And it is resorting to the lowest form of insults to cover up for that fact.

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