Taxpayer faces multi-million pound bill as Theresa May details plans to opt out of 130 EU measures on law and order

 

The taxpayer faces a multi-million-pound bill after the Government announced plans to opt out of 130 EU measures on law and order, including the European arrest warrant.

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, delighted Conservative Eurosceptics today when she confirmed plans to return power over a swathe of criminal justice and policing measures from Brussels to Britain. They include the sharing of criminal records and DNA samples between member states, as well as information about money-laundering and passport fraud.

The move caused fresh strains in coalition ranks and warnings that the country would suffer a large financial penalty as a result of exercising the opt-out agreed by the previous Labour government.

The Tories are hostile to EU powers for a European-wide public prosecutor and to force British courts to take foreign convictions into account.

Critics also say the arrest warrant is being misused as EU police forces invoke it to ask for the return of people facing relatively trivial charges. However, its supporters argue that it allows the speedy return of criminal suspects such as Jeremy Forrest, the teacher arrested last month by French police on suspicion of child abduction.

As Britain cannot pick and choose which measures it remains signed up to, Ms May said the Government’s “current thinking” was that it would opt out of the laws en masse and then “negotiate with the [European] Commission and other member states to opt back into those individual measures which it is in our national interest to rejoin”.

Nick Clegg blocked the Conservatives’ original plans to announce the decision at their party conference last week, fearing the agreement might be exaggerated to please Tory activists.

A Lib Dem source said: “It seems a bit odd to opt out of something when you know you will opt back into key parts of it such as the European arrest warrant. It’s just pandering to the Eurosceptics.”

In Brussels, diplomats believe Britain faces a bill of pounds for the administrative cost of pulling out of policing and judicial co-operation and then rejoining parts of it. Officials think there could also be a political price for Britain opting back into measures such as the European arrest warrant. The  moves would require the unanimous agreement of all 26 other EU members and some might emand concessions in return. For example, Bulgaria and Romania might ask for more freedom for their citizens to come to the UK.

A European Commission spokesman said: “The Commission will now assess the consequences of the cessation of the UK’s participation in those areas.”

Ms May’s move was welcome by the Tory Right, with Peter Bone praising her as a “star” and Dominic Raab declaring: “We want focused co-operation, not blind loss of democratic control.”

Yvette Cooper, the shadow Home Secretary, accused the Coalition of sending out conflicting messages on the issue, adding: “It’s like the Government is playing a giant game of hokey-cokey and yet the fight against crime is at stake.”

She said there was no guarantee that the Commission and member states would support British requests to opt back in to individual measures - and also protested about the “financial penalty” the UK would face.

Ms May pointed out that Labour had helped negotiate the Lisbon arrangements, including the potential costs of opting out and in again.

Mr Cameron suffered a second setback on Europe yesterday when it emerged that a proposed banking union for the 17 Eurozone nations could see some rules and regulations imposed on the City of London against its will.  Although Britain will not join the banking union, its formation by the end of this year could influence decisions of the European Banking Authority (EBA), which sets standards for all 27 EU members. Under plans to be discussed by EU leaders this week, Britain would need the support of three eurozone members and two other non-euros to block proposals at the EBA.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
film
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
News
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £60,000

£25000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Care Workers Required - The London Borough of Bromley

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This homecare agency is based in Beckenh...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair