John Redwood’s contribution to the European Union Bill debate, 1 Feb 2011

Mr John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): Does not the Minister understand that we do not want better impact assessments, but less regulation? How will the Government deliver their very good one-in, one-out policy on regulation if they cannot stop the torrent of regulation that is still pouring out of Brussels now that it is occupying the whole of the financial services field, for example?

The Minister for Europe (Mr David Lidington): We have to do both. The two are not alternatives. Impact assessments are valuable, and they focus the minds of other European Governments, and of the groups representing industry in those member states, to become more active in pressing home their interests than is sometimes the case at the moment. The more transparency that we get in the European legislative process, the more likely it is that we will move towards the objective that both my right hon. Friend and I seek.

I would share with my right hon. Friend a wish to see the EU legislate less. There is too often a culture in the Commission that identifies a problem and then seeks a remedy in the form of new law. Non-legislative measures can often be more effective, and certainly less burdensome and complex, than legislative measures. That is something that my colleagues across Government are pursuing with colleagues from other countries who share our views on this matter, and we seek to encourage other countries to work with us to look for non-legislative ways of addressing problems and challenges, rather than looking for a new directive as the first resort every time.

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One Comment

  1. English Pensioner
    Posted February 2, 2011 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

    One thing that I have learnt in life is that officialdom love regulations, it is their whole raison d’etre! Most politicians also love them, it gives them control, and one thing politicians love when they get in power is the ability to control people. So the combined efforts of officialdom to ensure that they have work and politicians only paying lip service to getting rid of regulations, there is no real chance of any significant reductions. We don’t need a “one in, one out” policy, we need a “one in six out” policy.
    On balance, I think that I prefer the situation in Belgium where they have had no government for almost a year, just think of it, absolutely no new regulations! I wonder what they do about all these EU directives?
    I’m sorry to be so cynical, but I can look back at the various governments that we have had since the end of WW2, and I can’t think of one which came anywhere near to fulfilling its promises. Probably Mrs Thatcher came nearest, but even she backed down over poll tax.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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