Wednesday, 1 September 2010

UPDATED Human Trafficking: Labour, Lib Dems and the EU Directive

Originally posted at 04:18. Now updated with new information which in my humble opinion makes this vitally important and potentially a coalition deal breaker.

Yesterday on my way to Liberal Drinks in Belfast I read a story that really got me seething, sadly I couldn't get signal on the train or it would already have been written up.

Apparently the coalition government has used its European opt-out not to sign up to a directive that includes a common definition of trafficking which makes it easier to convict people across the 27 member states. Dennis McShane is up in arms about the Government failing to sign up to this directive.

In the European campaign before it got scuppered by the expenses scandal the Lib Dems were quite correction pointing out some of the errors in the EU and some of its strengths including cross-border policing. We especially aimed our attack at the Conservatives who were wanting to scrap many of the protections that the EU gave our citizens under co-operative policing. Therefore if a directive was being ignored, or opted out on by the new Government Lib Dems would rightly be pointing that Dennis McShane has a right to be angry.

However, when I googled to find said directive the only result that came back that matched the remit of the story is this one. It has been open to signature since the 16th of May, so you suggest a new government would be keen to act on it. Unfortunately that particular 16th May is in 2005. Therefore does that mean that the directive has been around for five years? Does that mean the Labour Government, under which Dennis McShane was Europe Minister, failed to sign the directive in a full term of parliament?

Now of course there may well be another directive in 2010 that I have been unable to find. If there is and someone would like to post a link to it in my comments please do and I'll amend the post accordingly. However, it does on the surface, after my initial anger, to be yet another case of the Labour opposition trying to punch holes in the Government ship and ending up merely exposing their own shortcomings.

Update As I asked above any update on a new directive would be welcomed. Well Olga Ivannikova has provided just that. There was a new directive on 29 March 2010.

Therefore I would echo Olga's that we as Liberal Democrats should stand up so that nobody is enslaved in this or any other way. Not kowtow to Eurosceptic Tories who want nothing to do with Europe even when it is for the betterment of humanity.

This for me is a line in the sand which the Lib Dems should not step over. We should sign up to this EU directive. If not we as Liberal Democrats should walk away from the coalition.


  1. We must do all that's in our power to interrupt and stop human trafficking - it's the modern day slavery. It's one of those raison d'etre issues for Lib Dems, so core that it's way, way beyond VAT. No better reason for stamping our feet and risking the coalition which I otherwise support..

  2. There is lots of information summarised and linked to in my blog. If you are interested:

  3. So, if I understand this right, Dennis McShane was Europe Minister for a party that sat not making a decision on this for five years. And now that someone else has made a decision that he potentially was too afraid to, he's seemingly using it to try and stir up trouble to create cracks in the coalition, possibly in the hope of forcing another election?

    Don't get me wrong, I think we should have signed up for this, it's too important not to. But it does seem that there's a lot of gossiping trying to create coalition cracks.

  4. Thankyou for the update. The anti-slavery sign up campaign starts right here, right now! "I will not be slave"!