David Cameron is as out of his depth on international matters as he is on domestic ones, writes UKIP Leader Nigel Farage MEP in the Daily Express
•The problem with using conveniently-timed foreign crises to distract from domestic difficulties is that they depend on favourable subsequent developments in order to endorse the claim of being the saviour of the hour, rather than the failure.
David Cameron boldly told assembled MPs during the first PMQs of the new term that he would strive to remove the passports of militants from Britons fighting in Syria and Iraq, but could not explain how he would traverse the legal implications that come with being a member of the EU and being under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights.
Not only would the European Convention not permit rendering somebody stateless in the case of a British born national fighting in the Middle East, but in cases of dual nationality, where David Cameron is confident he would have the legal power to revoke citizenship, he could still face appeals at the European level where losing a British passport also means losing right of residence in the EU as a whole.
I was the first politician to call for British-born IS fighters to be stripped of their passports to prevent the return of hardened terrorists to the UK. However I urged this approach in the knowledge that being defiant of the EU and rejecting the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights was something that came naturally to me. In other words, I would be ready to follow through by facing down these international institutions that love to tell us what we cannot do.
It is of course somewhat different for Dave.
The PM also faced embarrassment over the issue of a European Arrest Warrant to chase the parents of a very ill child seeking alternative medical care across Europe. The parents travelled with the purpose of selling their holiday home to pay for treatment not available on the NHS, but ended up in a Spanish jail, separated from their son, due to a decision in the UK to subject them to the full shocking and sweeping impact of an EAW.
That placed them at the mercy of a Spanish judiciary with no prior knowledge of their situation. Thankfully the CPS lifted the arrest warrant and the family were reunited, but not without millions of Britons having cause to reflect on the dangers of having a pan-continental permit to apprehend and imprison, without substantial evidence, anybody charged with a perceived crime in one of 28 countries.
The principal of habeas corpus derives from English law and has been widely adopted internationally as a fundamental guarantee of the right to a fair trial and the prevention of arbitrary incarceration at the will of the state. Yet the European Arrest Warrant permits someone to be held before trial, opening the door for the disproportionate use of the warrant, resulting in long periods in detention in a foreign jail for people who may well ultimately be found not guilty of any crime at all.
The European Union is not only seeking to take over judicial matters, but is also taking an increasingly imperialist and ambitious stance in terms of foreign policy. Just on Wednesday INTA (the International Trade Committee of the European Union), voted to fast track an Association Agreement with Ukraine which would bring the beleaguered state closer to a full free trade deal with, and eventual membership of, the EU.
Despite warnings from UKIP MEPs, supported by elected representatives of other nations, that the move could be regarded as provocative by Russia during a keenly sensitive moment during the crisis, the Committee backed this move.
The EU's blundering on the world stage is most certainly something not welcomed by me and is at odds with the UK's position in NATO. As a founder member and steadfast signatory of the Atlantic alliance, we at the same time find our diplomatic stance increasingly dictated by the EU. Brussels, which has certainly not given up its ambition of forming a European Army, is making another power grab, this time seeking to dictate when we go to war.
This week's NATO summit is being dubbed the most important gathering of delegates in decades due to the growth of insidious threats to peace internationally.
Yet with troop deployments for exercises in the Ukraine and mounting pressure on the UK to commit military resources to the fight against the Islamic State, we could once again be faced with a situation where Britain becomes deeply involved in two separate conflicts, as we were in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But this time we would find ourselves doing so with greatly pared back defence capabilities and the spectre of higher powers pulling the strings.
My verdict on the week is that David Cameron is at least as far out of his depth on international matters as he is on domestic ones.