May's surprise attack: UK to opt out of 130 EU laws

May also want to leave the European Human Rights Act
May also want to leave the European Human Rights Act

By Charles Maggs

Theresa May today announced her plan for the UK to opt out of 130 EU measures on law and order, in a surprising development which will be greeted with glee by many Tory backbenchers.

Included in the opt-out will be the European arrest warrant, which will anger the Liberal Democrats. Once the opt out has been completed, the government will then negotiate opting back into measures on a case-by-case basis which must be agreed at a Europe wide level.

The possibility of an opt-out was retained by the previous government when negotiating the Lisbon treaty.


The arrest warrant has been controversial, mostly due to it being used by foreign governments to force the UK to catch petty criminals at considerable expense.

However it has had high profile success stories for the UK, as well. As recently as last week Jeremy Forrest, the school teacher who fled to France with a 15-year old pupil, was detained by French officials after the issuing of a European arrest warrant.

The decision will be subject to a vote in house and it is not yet clear if the government will be able to win a majority will Labour likely to oppose the move, with a vote expected early next year.

But Keith Vaz, the Labour MP who is chair of the home affairs select committee, welcomed the announcement, saying that the arrest warrant was "well intentioned but had become chaotic".

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