Mr MacNeil Maybe the right hon Gentleman gives too much credence to the power

Mr macneil maybe the right hon gentleman gives too

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Mr. MacNeil: Maybe the right hon. Gentleman gives too much credence to the power of the tabloids. He should think back to May 2007 when, without the support of any newspaper, the Scottish National party won the election in Scotland. Keith Vaz: That is very helpful. I hope that, if there is a debate, we will have the support of the SNP’s spin doctors. Perhaps they will be able to assist. For the time being, we have a treaty that will make a real difference to how the EU operates. I shall give two examples of that, the first of which relates to justice and home affairs. I had the privilege of being at the initial Tampere negotiations, which took place in Finland under the Finnish presidency in 1999. When we began the Tampere process, which became the Hague 2 process, we decided that the only way that we could combat major crime problems such as serious organised crime and human trafficking was to co- operate with our European partners. That co-operation is essential. Without co-operation through organisations such as Europol and Eurojust, we will never be able to deal with the people who perpetrate organised crime or with the real problems of immigration. The British people are worried not about legal immigration but about illegal immigration. Like other right hon. and hon. Members, I have seen pictures and read stories about how people are exploited by those who bring them in gangs from places such as Moldova. I recently saw a DVD about someone who was brought here from the Punjab and told that they would have a better life in the UK. They were brought from the Punjab to Bucharest, then to Moldova, Moscow, Albania and Amsterdam, and then to the UK. The only way that we can combat the illegal movement of people is through co-operation with our European partners. Mr. Lilley rose— Keith Vaz: Surely the right hon. Gentleman is not against that. Mr. Lilley: The right hon. Gentleman is making a cogent and coherent argument; such arguments have been rare from the Labour Benches. Does he accept that although it is always difficult to stop illegal immigration, it is less difficult for an island? The treaty says that we cannot have any internal border controls or any controls on movement through our ports and airports, and that we have to rely instead on the much more porous borders at the other edge of Europe. Does that not make it more difficult, rather than easier, to control illegal immigration?
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Keith Vaz: I am not sure that that is actually what the treaty says. However, if people are determined to travel all the way from Amritsar to Amersham via all those other countries, we need the co-operation of our European partners in order to prevent that from happening. It is no good for us to feel that because we are an island we should let the rest of Europe get on and do what they are doing. We need the co-operation of the French in particular if we are to stop illegal immigration. That is why the treaty is so important and why it is so important that we should look at the mechanisms through which the EU operates.
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  • Fall '08
  • Finklerberg

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