There was a good turnout for the demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament today during which the European Arrest Warrant was debated.
One of the first senior people to arrive at the group was party chairman Steve Crowther who said: “It’s great to see such a big turnout and I’m sure it will be bigger by the end of the day.”
He referred to the EAW. “The important thing is we should be drawing people’s attention to what is going on today – a transfer of powers without a referendum. However they try and spin it, that’s what it is, a transfer of powers without referendum and they have an act to say they won’t do that.”
He added: “If they vote in favour of this transfer there will be a judicial review action tomorrow.”
UKIP MP Douglas Carswell explained the party’s opposition to the EAW. “It cannot be right to pretend that different criminal justice systems are the same when they’re not,” he said. “We know that in some countries there is a presumption of innocence that weighs more heavily than in others, we know that in some jurisdictions public prosecutors are required to prosecute; in others they have discretion. Imposing this common system will lead to injustice, we know that because we’ve already seen examples.
“We need a system of extradition that is quick that is fast but is just, and the way to do this is simple. A British court must always be able to look at the evidence. If a British court can look at the evidence then they’ll be able to say yes or no.”
His views were echoed by the party leader Nigel Farage who said: “I am very pleased to see we’re making our presence felt. I don’t know quite what will happen across the road later on, how many rebels there will be I don’t know.”
He spoke of the North London man who was extradited to Greece. “Having done what I could to defend Andrew Symeou who in the end, without the production of any prima facie evidence, and indeed as it turned out later, with evidence that was based on people who were under serious duress, was sent across to a Greek prison in frankly Third World conditions and left for 11 months without charge, so to me I’d start from the position of thinking the British citizens being extradited without that sort of evidence frankly is an abomination and is against everything where we are supposed to have stood for since Magna Carta.
“My second observation is I thought this government was going to take powers back from Europe. What are we doing give more to way to Europe? What’s going on?”
Prospective MP for Rochester, Mark Reckless added: “It’s always important to show our presence and to do what we can to lobby them.”
He said that the campaign in Rochester had been very well run. “We have done everything we set out to do obviously. It’s a challenge because the Conservatives started off very confident in that seat and they thought it would be a walkover for them so we’re out to prove them wrong.”