"Are we not in grave danger of insisting on the British way on a relatively insignificant matter and giving an open invitation to other, oppressive countries in Europe to mistreat their prisoners? I recall meeting a woman in a Turkish jail who had been given a 35-year sentence for murdering her abusive husband. As someone who has been involved in these matters for the past 15 years in Europe, may I say that we are sending out a signal that other countries may behave in line with their own national interests and traditions, and that those traditions are to oppress their prisoners and to ignore human rights?"
That was today in the Commons. David Cameron made a foolish statement and the sensible Dominic Grieve has the delicate task of extricating him. If the Government's policy of bluster and anti-EU spite every one of our 87,000 could demand compensation of £thousands. Even the tabloid press would judge that a price that is not worth paying.
Most Tory MPs today indulge an emotional spasm of anti-Europeanism. Few understand the consequences that our insiting on following our Britsih national rights will end the moral authority we have to insist that other Governments reform their legal systems to respect human rights. Happily Peter Bottomely and a couple of LibDems appeared to understand the dire consequences of a nonsense act of jingoistic flag waving.
I believe that the Tories will find some face-saving formula to u-turn and hide David Cameron's blushes.