In the Media

Conservatives seek to change 'one-sided' treaty with US

PUBLISHED March 29, 2006

The Conservative Party will today seek to change the Government's controversial "one-way" extradition treaty with America which has been criticised for targeting British businessmen rather than terrorists.

The Tories have tabled a series of amendments to the Police and Justice Bill, currently being scrutinised by a standing committee of MPs in the House of Commons, which if adopted will change the Extradition Act 2003.

Nick Herbert, shadow home affairs minister, said: "It is unacceptable that our extradition arrangements with the US are so one-sided.

"I have tabled two sets of amendments, which will be debated in committee, to deal with the problem. The first will enable the courts to refuse extradition if the crime could be dealt with in the UK. The second provides that the extradition arrangements will be restricted to terrorist offences, until such time as full reciprocity is granted by the US.

"The Government has acknowledged concerns about the issue. We will see whether or not it is willing to see proper balance restored."

The treaty has come under fire from the CBI and the Institute of Directors. The Daily Telegraph is also campaigning for change. The treaty has proved controversial in high-profile cases involving the "Natwest three" and Ian Norris, the former chief executive of Morgan Crucible.