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Saturday 29th December 2012 | 09:53
European Parliament press release
Comments by EU Commissioner Viviane Reding - reported by the Daily Telegraph - that the UK will allow criminals and paedophiles to run free by opting out of the EU's justice and home affairs field are 'extremely unhelpful', Timothy Kirkhope MEP, Conservative justice and home affairs spokesman in the European Parliament, said today.
In the interview, the commissioner for justice said, "Do you want criminals and paedophiles running around freely on the streets? Is that really in the United Kingdom's interest? It is crazy?"
Responding, Mr Kirkhope, who was a Home Office Minister in the 1990s, said:
"Viviane Reding's comments are extremely unhelpful. She knows that owing to the way Labour negotiated the Lisbon Treaty this government is now faced with the choice of opting out en bloc or opting in to measures that are wholly incompatible with our legal traditions.
"The UK has made it quite clear to the commission and other EU countries that this opt-out does not mean the end of UK-EU cooperation on matters related to policing and justice. The UK is an important player in a number of these initiatives and will continue to be so. If Commissioner Reding is interested in catching 'paedophiles and criminals' then she should be working with us to find a mutually beneficial way forward, not throwing bricks from the side-lines."