UK Politics

Commons backs EU justice opt-outs

Theresa May
Image caption Theresa May says her plan is "in the national interest"

MPs have backed government plans to "opt out" of all European Union police and criminal justice measures.

The prime minister wants to jettison all existing rules and then negotiate to re-adopt the ones he feels are in the national interest.

The opt-out move was passed by a Commons majority of 97.

The government wants the UK to re-adopt the European Arrest Warrant, but many Tory MPs say this undermines UK sovereignty over key justice issues.

The agreement of all the other 27 EU members would be needed if the UK chooses to take on any crime and justice measures again.

Last week, Home Secretary Theresa May announced these would include the European Arrest Warrant, which some Tories say has led to disproportionate extraditions to face minor charges abroad.

Mrs May promised British law would be amended to "rectify problems and increase protections".

The government's opt-out motion - opposed by Labour - involves 133 measures.

The Commons also accepted unopposed an amendment by Eurosceptic Conservative MP Bill Cash giving a greater remit to Commons select committees to scrutinise which crime and justice rules the government decides to opt back in to.

For Labour, shadow Home Office minister Chris Bryant said there were "genuine risks" from the opt-outs, as there were "no guarantees" the UK could opt back in to any measures.

But Mrs May said: "I believe the government's programme of reform will get the balance right."

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