Yesterday Parliament staged a good debate. Voice after voice was raised to condemn the lack of democracy in EU government. MP after MP warned their leaderships that too much power has passed to Brussels without gaining the consent of the British people. MPs asked their leaders what part of the 80% public opposition to the imposition of a 3 line whip they did not understand. MPs praised the idea that the public can raise issues in Parliament through the petition system. They asked why the 67% of the public who want a referendum on the EU are not to have their wish granted.
A few MPs argued with the official spokesmen of Labour and the Conservatives and with the Lib Dem party that we need to stay in the EU on current terms, and should not hold a referendum. As heralded here yesterday, they used three main arguments.
We heard as always the argument that 3 milllion UK jobs are based on exports to the EU. We were told we must not put those at risk. I asked Labour why it is that many jobs in China are based on exports to the EU. On their argument as China is not a member of the EU these jobs should not exist.
We heard that now is not the time for a referendum because the Euro is in crisis. As Charles Walker asked, “If not now, when?” We explained that the Euro crisis is long, deep seated, and means Euroland needs changes. This is exactly the time to renegotiate and to ask the people.
We were told that now any tfransfer of power through a Treaty will command a referendum. We asked about all the transfers of power taking place daily without a Treaty, and all the powers transferred by past Treaties where governments refused to hold a referendum.
I don’t know what the leaderships expected on the vote. 81 Conservatives voted for or acted as tellers for the Yes camp. 19 Labour MPs voted for the motion as well. 111 MPs in total supported the motion.
As I have explained on this site before, this is a federalist Parliament. Solid ranks of Labour and Lib MPs can be expected to vote for more EU government. Coalition Ministers often join them. The heart of the Conservative party is Eurosceptic. Last night more showed their heart. Many of the remaining Conservatives who voted No did so whilst they saying they wanted less EU government, and wanted a referendum at some other time.
The drum beat of the Conservative party is to renegotiate. It is to get a new relationship with Euroland. The party is united in this. It speaks for the overhwelming majority of the UK electorate.