Following a key general election campaign pledge, Hendon's MP Matthew Offord has secured the agreement of the government to legislate a change in the law so that Universal Jurisdiction will only be enacted when there is clear and genuine evidence that has a real possibility for prosecution.
On the floor of the House of Commons, Matthew asked the Secretary of State for Justice (Kenneth Clarke MP) if he thought that Britain would not be able to play a diplomatic role in the world if foreign politicians were unable to visit this country without fear of arrest. Such an example of this occurred last year when Israeli Opposition Leader Tzipi Linvi chose not to visit London to discuss the peace process with the Prime Minister after an arrest warrant was sought. That aborted trip came just two months after Israeli Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon, cancelled a trip to London upon the advice of his own government's lawyers.
Matthew's question received a favorable reply from the Secretary of State for Justice who advised that he agreed there is no sense in visitors being subject to arrest on the basis of evidence which held no prospect of prosecution and that the government would make an announcement on how this problem will be addressed in the very near future.
Speaking after the question session, Matthew said: ""I made this a key issue during the general election and have worked to secure the agreement of the Foreign Secretary, the Justice Secretary, the Attorney General and even the Prime Minister to make changes to the law. However, we have not achieved my objective yet as there remains much opposition from the Labour benches to the proposal. While this is real progress, it is only the first stage in a long process that will enable the real objective to be achieved, which is to focus upon a two state solution for Israel that will cement a peaceful future for the country.”
Matthew is pictured with Israeli Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon on 16th June 2010 in Israel