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Move on, says PM after vote anger

David Cameron has insisted he is "satisfied" with last night's Commons vote despite widespread criticism that it avoided dealing with the controversial European arrest warrant (EAW) .

The Prime Minister said he wanted to "move on" after the showdown which saw Tory backbenchers vent fury about the Government's tactics.

"There was a vote on whether you want to be in some of these measures like the European arrest warrant that will help to keep us safe or whether you want to be out of them," he said.

"The Government won the vote and I am satisfied by that, and now we can move on."

The comments followed hours of bitter wrangling in the Commons which eventually resulted in the Government receiving the backing of MPs for opting into the package of European Union policing and criminal justice measures.

However, Labour has signalled it will seek to capitalise on Tory division by forcing a vote specifically on the issue of the EAW on November 19 - the day before the key Rochester and Strood by-election.

Debate on the Government motion last night - a draft of the Criminal Justice and Data Protection (Protocol No 36) Regulation - was cut short after shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper used a rare procedural device to attempt to postpone a decision until the EAW could be properly considered.

Ms Cooper's move failed but was still enough to curtail debate by forcing the main vote to take place almost two hours early, despite filibustering from Tory MPs.

Mr Cameron was forced to return early from the Lord Mayor's Banquet to take part in the vote, as did Chancellor George Osborne and other MPs.

During the debate, Speaker John Bercow confirmed to MPs they were not voting on the EAW and attacked the Government for trying to "slip things through".

He told the Commons: "I think I have given a fairly clear indication that this has been a rather sorry saga and the House should not be put in this position.

"I think most of us think a commitment made is a commitment that should be honoured and we should try to operate according to sensible standards rather than trying to slip things through through some sort of artifice.

"It may be the sort of thing that some people think is very clever, but people outside of the House expect straightforward dealing and they are, frankly, contemptuous - and I use the word advisedly - contemptuous of what is not straight dealing."

Tory Sir Richard Shepherd said the Government "seemed sly", while European Scrutiny Committee chair Bill Cash said it was "tainted with chicanery" and "completely unbelievable".

Mrs May insisted the Government regarded the vote as the Commons verdict on the whole package, despite Mr Bercow ruling that the EAW was not the subject of the day's debate or vote.

Downing Street rejected the Speaker's assessment that the vote was not on the EAW and that ministers had been trying to "slip things through".

Asked if the Government had behaved "contemptuously", as the Speaker suggested, Mr Cameron's official spokesman said: "That is not a premise the Prime Minister would share.

"What the Government did yesterday was bring forward exactly what it said it would do."

Asked if the Government was trying to "slip things through", the spokesman said: "I have been taking questions on this pretty regularly for quite some time, questions which were often on the basis that the Government might not be successful in its vote."

The Home Secretary had been meeting MPs about the issue and was "very clear in the House", he added.

"We were very clear. There was an opportunity yesterday for MPs if they did not support the package of 35 measures, then the UK would have come out of all of them."


From Belfast Telegraph