Theresa May’s opt-outs from the criminal and justice policies of the EU should not be received with applause from Eurosceptics, indeed there is much to be concerned about her proposals. It is notable that the most controversial aspects of the EU measures such as the European Arrest Warrant will be retained and most of the measures to be opted out from are of little consequence.
In today’s debate, John Redwood MP says that those who would not vote to opt-out have contempt for this country’s democracy, and responsibility to tackle crime should rest with Parliament and with successive Home Secretaries. The government should not opt back in to any EU justice measures because our courts should possess exclusive jurisdiction over crime. Opt-ins for any of the justice rules would degrade our judiciary which will be bound by the interpretations of and judgments from the ECJ.
May’s proposals need to be scrutinised properly; they should not amount to a cheap victory to buy some goodwill from Eurosceptics. Some of the measures she will opt out from are obsolete but it is easy to miss, perhaps something she hopes grateful Eurosceptics will overlook. The opt-out measure could be a diversion to confuse voters by fortifying Tory Eurosceptic credentials while not achieving anything substantial in regard to our position with the EU.