Blinded by their eurosceptic ideology, the Tories are risking our national security

Withdrawal from the European arrest warrant would turn the UK into a haven for foreign criminals.

Cross-border crime cannot be tackled by nation states acting alone. Criminals do not stop at national borders. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Crime is becoming increasingly international and, in many cases, increasingly complex and sophisticated.

European co-operation in police and judicial matters is a great success story. Since the introduction of the European Arrest Warrant, over 4,000 criminals have been deported and removed from the UK. Thanks to the warrant, many criminals have been extradited back to the UK to face justice – the bomber who fled to Italy, the school teacher who abducted a 15 year old pupil and was found in France and, most recently, one of Britain’s most wanted fugitives, Andrew Moran, who was tracked down by the Spanish and British police working together. Prior to the introduction of the warrant, extradition took years, in some cases decades, rather than weeks or months.

European co-operation has also made inroads into tackling one of the world’s most chilling and horrific crimes: human trafficking - boys, girls, women and men traded by criminal gangs like commodities across borders. This modern-day slavery can only be rooted out by police forces co-operating closely. The Metropolitan Police and the Romanian National Police recently worked together to track down and bring to justice a Romanian gang that trafficked children into the UK, resulting in the arrest of 126 people for crimes including human trafficking, benefit fraud, theft, money laundering and child neglect.

Time and again, the Conservatives let their obsessive euroscepticism blind them to what is in the national interest. This case is no exception. The claim that it would be better to withdraw from cross border co-operation with our European neighbours in order to tackle cross border crime is illogical and ludicrous. The truth is that eurosceptics believe that anything that has Europe in the title must be bad, even if it helps the UK track down suspects, extradite foreign criminals and seek justice for victims of crime.

The consequences of pursuing the policy the eurosceptics advocate would be to turn the UK into a haven for foreign criminals fleeing justice in their own country. This danger has been highlighted by the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Law Society and the intelligence services.

Decisions about European policy should be guided by the national interest, but instead the decision whether to opt back into 130 European police and judicial measures is subject to horse-trading within the Tory-Lib Dem government. Yet again, the Prime Minister is running scared of his backbenchers on all things European. He should start to lead rather than follow his party and put the national interest before his party’s interest. It falls to Labour to speak up for the victims of crime and call for policies which would help the police prevent and tackle crime and terrorism using the vital and necessary cross border co-operation that makes it possible. In this area, the advantages of our EU membership are clear for all to see.

David Cameron attends a press conference at the EU headquarters on May 22, 2013 in Brussels. Photograph: Getty Images.

Emma Reynolds is MP for Wolverhampton North East and former shadow Europe minister.

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Exclusive: Shami Chakrabarti set to become shadow attorney general

The Labour peer and former Liberty director is expected to join Jeremy Corbyn's team next week. 

With the conclusion of Labour conference (here are five lessons from it), Jeremy Corbyn's attention will turn to assembling a new shadow cabinet. The leadership is expected to agree to allow MPs to elect a proportion of the frontbench. But Corbyn intends to begin appointments next week in advance of a deal.

Shami Chakrabarti, who recently became a Labour peer and chaired the party's anti-Semitism inquiry, is set to become shadow attorney general, I can reveal. The barrister and former Liberty director "wants to do more" and the "gig is a no brainer," a source said. Her slated brief has been unfilled since Karl Turner's resignation in June. 

Others expected to join the shadow cabinet include Keir Starmer (who could become shadow home secretary following Andy Burnham's departure), former shadow housing minister John Healey and former shadow Wales secretary Nia Griffith. Stephen Pound is said to have turned down the post of shadow leader of the House, currently filled by 81-year-old Paul Flynn, who doubles up as shadow Wales secretary. In his conference speech, he praised Corbyn's "job creation scheme for geriatrics". 

The Labour reshuffle is expected to begin next Wednesday, the day the Conservative conference ends. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.