- UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson attacks the country’s “unbalanced” extradition arrangements with the US after the Trump administration refused to extradite the wife of a US diplomat who is accused of being involved in a car crash with a British teenager last year.
- Johnson told the UK Parliament on Wednesday that: “I do think there are elements of that relationship that are imbalanced and I certainly think that it is worth looking at.”
- Diplomatic relations between Donald Trump and Boris Johnson have significantly cooled in recent weeks, with the president reportedly slamming down the phone on the prime minister after he defied US requests to ban Huawei from developing the country’s 5G network.
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Boris Johnson has hinted that he could tear up the United Kingdom’s extradition arrangements with the United States after the Trump administration refused to extradite the wife of a US diplomat who is accused of killing a British teenager.
Johnson was asked on Wednesday by opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn about the “lopsided” arrangements with the US after Johnson’s government failed to secure US agreement to extradite Anne Sacoolas, the American national suspected of killing British teenager Harry Dunn in a road accident.
Corbyn asked the prime minister whether that the “lopsided treaty means the US can request extradition in circumstances that Britain cannot.”
Johnson admitted that Corbyn has “a point,” adding that he agreed that the extradition agreement with the US was “unbalanced.”
He replied: “To be frank I think you have a point in your characterisation of our extradition arrangements with the United States and I do think there are elements of that relationship that are unbalanced and I certainly think that it is worth looking at.
Johnson sought to distance his comments from the ongoing Dunn case, saying it was “totally different” and “we continue to seek the extradition of Anne Sacoolas to face justice in this country.”
However, the prime minister refused to side with Corbyn in the matter of the extradition of Julian Assange, who is wanted in the US for criminal charges relating to Wikileaks.
He said he could not comment on individual cases but said: “It’s obvious that the rights of journalists and whistleblowers should be upheld, and this Government will clearly continue to do that.”
The UK and US currently have a bilateral extradition relationship which was agreed under Tony Blair’s government in 2003.
Diplomatic relations between Trump and Johnson have notably soured significantly in recent weeks.
It followed the prime minister’s decision in January to let Chinese telecoms giant Huawei build its 5G network, despite intensive lobbying from the US amid security concerns.
Trump was said to have been “apoplectic” during a phone call with Johnson last week after the decision was announced, and he was reported to have ended the call by “slamming the phone down,” according to officials in the room.
The prime minister has also delayed his imminent trip to Washington.
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