A leading Eurosceptic cabinet member has warned that Britain’s border controls do not prevent people coming to the country to participate in criminal activity.
Employment minister Priti Patel spoke to The Lincolnite on her visit to Lincoln supporting fellow Conservative Marc Jones’ bid to become the next Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner.
She said: “Being with Marc Jones today, he’s put forward a whole range of brilliant ideas in terms of public service delivery.
“Crime rates are at their lowest level historically right now but I think this isn’t helped by Europe’s borders which are porous right now.
“Until we can control our borders, we cannot control who comes into the country, and in particular those that are coming here to do harm, to participate in criminal activity.”
The minister reserved particular contempt for the European Arrest Warrant, a mechanism by which individuals wanted in relation to significant crimes are extradited between member states to face prosecution or to serve a prison sentence for an existing conviction.
Patel insisted that the UK would easily be able to transfer people back to and out of the country if it voted to leave the EU.
She said: “We would be able to invoke our own legislation – we shouldn’t be dictated to. There are also a number of anomalies with the European Arrest Warrant, especially in the way British suspects are treated abroad because quite frankly in some cases it is disproportionate.
“The point about leaving the European Union is we should be able to take back control of our policies so that it works for British people.”
The employment minister also visited the new Public Services Hub in Gainsborough, which houses West Lindsey District Council, Jobcentre Plus, Citizens Advice and Voluntary Centre Services.