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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
Tottenham legend Jimmy Greaves has defended fans use of the word 'Yid'
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West, performing in New York last week, has been the subject of controversy as rock's traditional headline slot at Glastonbury is lost once again
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living