Labour challenges the government with opposition day debate on European arrest warrant

Guy Bentley
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Less than 24 hours after David Cameron came within a hair's breadth of losing a vote on whether to debate the re-signing of Britain to 35 EU justice measures, the Labour party is planning to use its opposition day to debate the European arrest warrant.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said the vote was necessary reaffirm the UK's commitment to the law. Speaking to the BBC, Cooper said judges "take account of things said in Parliament", and a vote in favour of the European arrest warrant would put the issue "beyond legal doubt".

Last night, David Cameron was forced to abandon the Lord Mayor's Banquet and head to the House of Commons to push through the measures. In the early part of the evening the timetable motion on whether the debate should proceed passed by just 251 to 242. However, the vote ended up covering only 11 of the 35 EU criminal justice measures the government wants to re-sign.

The government was heavily criticised by both backbenchers and the Speaker for denying a vote on the specific issue of whether to rejoin the European arrest warrant.

The central motion was passed overwhelmingly by 464 votes to 38.

Home secretary Theresa May and Cameron are understood to have been worried by rumours of a Tory rebellion that could have been up to 100 MPs strong. After significant lobbying efforts by May with backbenchers, the vast majority came on board.

In EU renegotiations last year the government decided to opt out of all of the 133 police and criminal justice policies. The opt-back-in to 35 of the measures should come into effect on 1 December.

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