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Another politician starts to see the light – Baroness Williams of Crosby

Baroness Williams of Crosby (ex Labour, ex SDP, now Lib-Dem) spoke on Any Questions and defended British freedoms to the amazement of many listeners. Idris Francis immediately responded with a number of penetrating questions, for it is indeed a quandary, how to reconcile a defence of British liberty with the EU, which the Baroness supports. We quote from Idris's letter -

Dear Baroness Williams,

You probably remember a fringe meeting at Brighton three or four years ago at which I said from the floor that you had been consistently wrong about everything for forty years. I mention that not to re-open that argument, but just by way of introduction for what follows.

I was amazed and delighted, however, listening to “Any Questions” on 9th November to hear your spirited and vehement defence of Magna Carta, habeas corpus, jury trial and the fundamental principles of liberty. I totally agree with every word you said. . .

I was also amazed and delighted to hear you attack ID cards so vehemently and say that you would be prepared to go to jail rather than be involved.

But how on earth can you hold those admirable views, believe so clearly in the fundamental principles of liberty that this country developed over centuries, and yet like most of your party, including both current leadership contenders, be so utterly determined to lock this country into a European Union which does not and never will recognise those values?

. . .Habeas Corpus is virtually unknown on the Continent. In Italy the limit to detention without charge or trial is one year, and detention is a totally routine aspect of the legal systems of Italy, Spain, Portugal, etc.

Jury trial does not exist in a form that we would recognise anywhere in the EU other than Eire. In France, for example, when juries are involved, which is not often, the judge sits with them as they deliberate.

As one of the small number of individuals who forced the EU’s “Corpus Juris” plan for a single legal system into the public domain (Telegraph 31 Nov 1998 onwards, Hansard etc) I happen to know that in a later meeting at Winchester you flatly denied that any such plan existed. . .Do you now accept that Corpus Juris does indeed exist? That it was indeed intended as “an embryo for a future EU Criminal Code” as was stated in the programme for its launch at San Sebastian in Spring 1997?

The EU's Corpus Juris explicitly allows detention without trial for up to six months, renewable for three months, without stated limit. Is that what you want?

Corpus Juris explicitly eliminates jury trials, preferring “professional judges” rather than “simple jurors or lay magistrates”. Is that what you want?

Corpus Juris explicitly allows double jeopardy. Is that what you want?

The EU Arrest Warrant already allows British citizens to be arrested “by any authorised person” (who need not be a policeman, or British) without even prima facie evidence of an offence, even if the supposed offence is not an offence in Britain and even if the “authorised person” has no Warrant but merely believed that one will be issued in due course. Does that not already drive a coach and horses through habeas corpus? Is that what you want?

You spoke vehemently in favour of Magna Carta I agree. Yet Article 52 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights which the Lisbon Treaty will impose upon us indicates that the rights set out in it are not so fundamental after all.

It states that, ". . .limitations (on the exercise of the rights and freedoms recognised by this Charter) may be made only if they are necessary and genuinely meet objectives of general interest being pursued by the Union..." I do not recall that King John at Runnymede managed to negotiate the ability to remove the rights he had granted any time they proved to be inconvenient to him, but that is precisely what the EU aims to do. Is that what you want?

You spoke vehemently against ID cards I agree completely. But are you not aware - how could you be unaware - that ID cards are not our Government’s idea, but the EU’s idea and that they plan to have fully “harmonised” and compatible ID cards throughout the EU. Is that what you want? To have the personal data you complained about readily accessible not just by 200,000 British civil servants, police etc, but thirty times that number throughout the EU including places like Romania?

. . .I put it to you that you cannot sensibly hold the views you expressed on these issues of fundamental liberties and principles and at the same time support our continued membership of the anti-democratic illiberal European Union unless of course you prefer to ignore all of the evidence I have set out above.

Which is it to be, liberty or EU membership? Please tell me. . .