This Parliamentary Written Question , by Andrew MacKinlay MP, one of the senior Members of Parliament who attended the demonstration in support of Gary McKinnon at the Home Office, is interesting:
Written answers and statements, 7 January 2010
Andrew MacKinlay (Thurrock, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his duty to assess the appropriateness of extraditing persons to the US in relation to health grounds applies (a) at the time of the receipt of the US application, (b) at the time of proceedings in the UK and (c) at the time immediately before the extradition takes place; and if he will make a statement.
Meg Hillier (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Home Office; Hackney South & Shoreditch, Labour)
holding answer 6 January 2010
In the scheme of the Extradition Act 2003, it falls to the courts to determine whether health factors raise a barrier to a person's extradition. However, the Home Secretary has an implied power to withdraw an extradition order where, exceptionally, a new matter arises subsequent to the completion of all proceedings under the Act but before extradition takes place. The basis for this implied power is section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998, which renders it unlawful for the Home Secretary, as a public authority, to act in a way which is incompatible with a Convention right.
Presumably this Parliamentary Written Answer is the latest considered view of the Home Office's legal advisors.
This rather contradicts Home Secretary Alan Johnson's earlier testimony in front of the Home Affairs Select Committee, where he did his Pontius Pilate like shrugging of shoulders, claiming that he had no power to intervene and stop the extradition of Gary McKinnon to the USA.