Prime Minister's Questions - mention of Chris Tappin and Gary McKinnon extradition cases

Oral Answers to Questions -- Prime Minister
11:30 am 22 February2012

HC Deb, 22 February 2012, c873

Jo Johnson (Orpington, Conservative)

On Friday, United States marshals will escort my 65-year-old constituent Chris Tappin from Heathrow to a jail in Texas, where he will face pressure to plea bargain in order to avoid lengthy incarceration pending a financially ruinous trial for a crime that he insists he did not commit. What steps is the Prime Minister considering to reform the US-UK extradition treaty, which has been so unfair to the likes of Gary McKinnon and, now, my constituent Mr Tappin?

David Cameron (Prime Minister; Witney, Conservative)

I quite understand why my hon. Friend has raised the case of his constituent. Obviously Chris Tappin has been through a number of processes, including those of the magistrates court and the High Court, and the Home Secretary has thoroughly considered his case.

My hon. Friend has also raised the more general issue of Sir Scott Baker's report on the extradition arrangements, which he has completed and which we are now considering. He did not call for fundamental reform, but my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary will examine his findings carefully, and will also take into account the views of Parliament that have been expressed in recent debates. Of course, balancing the arguments is vital, but I think it important for us to remember at the same time why we enter into these extradition treaties: to show respect for each other's judicial processes, and to make sure that people who are accused of crimes can be tried for those crimes--and Britain can benefit from that as well. A proper, sober, thoughtful review needs to take place, and this case shows why.

A carefully worded re-iteration by the Prime Minister that the controversial Scott Baker report is not completely the last word in determining government policy on future extradition policy (which will only affect future cases, not that of Gary McKiinnon or Chris Tappin etc.)

This delay in making a decision on extradition policy must be purely political.