Would Labour be believed if they offered a referendum on the EU?

 

 Labour have been deeply divided over the EU for many years. In Labour older MPs and more socialist ones are anti the EU. The younger ones tend to be more Euro friendly. It is the opposite of the Conservatives, where the Ken Clarke generation contains a few Euro enthusiasts, but more recent generations are Eurosceptic.  

Labour sees that it is losing some of its votes to UKIP over the EU and migration matters. It sees that the Conservatives  are more in tune with the mood of the country by offering a referendum and seeking Parliamentary support for one. Some in Labour are suggesting that their party propose an early In/Out referendum. It could be before or at the time of the 2015 election, or shortly afterwards should Labour win.

 

There is no doubt that the Labour high command want to stay in the EU. They were a pro EU party for 13 years in government. They gave away 138 vetoes when in office, and have remained pro transfers of power and new European laws in the last three years  of opposition. The only reason the leadership would even think of holding a referendum is if they thought they could win it for staying in the EU. Lord Mandelson has already warned them this could prove difficult.

 

Indeed, if Labour got into government and then held a referendum which they lost, the government would be effectively ended. A pro EU government, wedded to the idea of ever closer union and  reliance on the EU for much of our law and administration, would be bereft of its main purpose and have no working plan to turn the UK into a self governing democracy again. One of the things former Labour Ministers and many Labour MPs like about the EU is the EU decides for us and stops UK people preventing new laws and new government obligations which the EU manufactures in profusion.

 

For this reason Labour may well continue to decide that a referendum is too big a risk. They may also see that a pro EU party offering a  referendum is a poisoned chalice to the majority  of British voters who either want out of the EU altogether or want a new relationship based on trade and co-operation rather than full Treaty based government. Labour would not be seeking  to negotiate a new relationship. They would be using the full force of government to spin and argue that the UK must stay in the EU. Eurosceptics would fear that with the weight of government spin behind the pro case it would be more difficult to get the change we want.

Of course if Labour came out for a referendum Eurosceptics would welcome it. It helps build momentum. It would not, however, be a reason for people to vote Labour if they are Eurosceptics, as they would understandably fear any referendum under a Labour government would be posed to seek the answer Yes to staying in. An earlier referendum would of course be more attractive as an option.

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124 Comments

  1. Mike Stallard
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    1. So we win the referendum and there is a majority for leaving immediately. The euro-government rolls over and admits it is beaten. Mr Rompuy appears in England and, with tears in his eyes, begs us to do what we have to. The Euro-mandarins (UKREP) hand in their batons of honour in Brussels and return to retirement in England…

    2. Meanwhile, thank you for your remarks about the Labour People inside Parliament. Most interesting! (Workers of the world unite, said Marx, and the Socialists in Brussels and the Socialists in UK are brothers! )

    • Hope
      Posted August 25, 2013 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      Cameron forced a three line whip to prevent a referendum taking place. Now he wants us to believe he will hold one if elected. Jog on Dave you are toast and toxic.

  2. Brian Taylor
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    Aged 66,I voted to stay in the Common Market because the media was telling us that it would be good for jobs that was 1975.
    Since then I have realised the true ambitions of the EU. I hope I live long enough to vote to get out of the EU and have a trading arrangement with Europe.
    Gordon Brown signed the Lisbon treaty the best thing in it was article 50 which would allow an orderly and negotiated exit from the EU
    I think we will have the majority of the media headed by the BBC again trying to scare us about jobs and hoping for the vote to stay in,although this time we have Social Media so we are no reliant on the old media as in 1975
    The main reason to leave for me is the targets on renewable energy that Blair and Brown signed upto and how they could try and stop Fracking for Gas (see Booker in the Sunday Telegragh).

    • zorro
      Posted August 25, 2013 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      Wow, are you 103 now? 🙂

      zorro

  3. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    How much earlier an early referendum? An in/ out referendum or a change in the relationship?
    I don’t think that labour sees that it is losing votes to UKIP, not in the north at any rate; it is much too right wing.
    Are we tactically in a stronger position in Europe now than we were 13 years ago? as this may also be a deciding factor. The proposition was that we want to be central and leaders in Europe. Are we getting there?

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted August 25, 2013 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think that labour sees that it is losing votes to UKIP, not in the north at any rate; it is much too right wing.

      UKIP got 25% of the votes in South Shields.

      • margaret brandreth-j
        Posted August 26, 2013 at 6:30 am | Permalink

        There are those who would vote UKIP as some would have done for the BNP, yet I would be surprised if this would affect the number of seats.

  4. Old Albion
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Let’s just be honest here for a moment John.
    Apart from a handhful of individuals. MP’s of Labour, Conservative and Lib.Dem. are all rabid Europhiles.
    The Conservatives have already made a worthless proposal on a EU referendum. What is the point of Labour offering another one.
    A referendum is needed now. With one clear question. Should the (dis)UK remain within the EU or leave.
    Failing that option. I suggest vote UKIP.

    Reply Practically all Conservative MPs want a new relationship with the EU that does not entail submission to Brussels government as per the current arrangements.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted August 25, 2013 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply,
      You know that such a new arrangement is not feasible and most of your colleagues would vote to stay in the EU regardless of the outcome of any renegotiation.

    • Ken Adams
      Posted August 25, 2013 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      That is why you are lead by someone who says he thinks we would be mad to leave the EU. Sorry we are really fed up with we want to stay in the EU-just not this one.

    • Old Albion
      Posted August 25, 2013 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

      But ‘practically’ the whole of England wants out.

  5. Roger Farmer
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    As with the conservatives, any promised referendum by labour would only be credible were it demanded before the next general election. Were this unlikely event to take place then the 100 or so conservative MPs who have already voted and called for a referendum could combine with labour and force the issue.
    The current Cameron stance is not credible, first because he is most unlikely to be in power after 2015, and secondly were he in power he is dead against any referendum and true to form will find every excuse to avoid it. He is already talking of a further period of coalition after 2015 which would kill off any talk of referendums. My bet is he is hoping and praying for such a situation.
    As for re-negotiation where is it. I would also submit that this is a fart in a bottle, to be opened in celebration of a second term of coalition.

    • zorro
      Posted August 25, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      You just know what he will say……’The Great British public has spoken, they do not want government by one party. They want a majority coalition which will govern in their interests and for the good of the nation. We are all in this together, and we will continue to pay down our bets as we have already (we know he hasn’t, but anyway…) to ensure that we speedily return to sustained prosperity and growth, only 8 years after the economic crisis…’……He will think this….’yes, yes, yes….no need to hold a referendum’, but will say this…..’As much as I want to see a referendum on our relationship with the EU, I cannot deliver it as the Lib Dems will not agree to it.’

      zorro

      Reply As I have recently made clear on the Express website, Conservative MPs elected on a ticket of negotiate and decide would regard this as non negotiable in any coalition talks should we not win a majority on this attractive proposition. It is even more reason why all sensible Eurosceptics should vote for the best offer from a party that can win a majority, and let us get on with sorting out the totally unsatisfactory relationship with the EU.

      • Ken Adams
        Posted August 26, 2013 at 10:52 am | Permalink

        to reply: Sorry Mr Redwood I for one simply do not believe conservatives will sort this out, the conservative leadership stance is far to wishy wash, just a few of you MPs are making noises. Until your leader stands up and tells us clearly what he wants to negotiate, what his red lines are and exactly what he will do in the event these are not met, you are asking us to vote for a pig in a poke.

        Even if he were to do be clear about his intentions, we would still have to decide if we think he has gone far enough, just returning the odd power here and there is not going to work.

  6. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    I think you’re having a bit of a laugh here, JR.

    You must know that much of what you have written applies to the Tory party just as well as the Labour party, and as for the so-called Liberal Democrats …

  7. lifelogic
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    The chance of a fair in/out EU referendum under Labour is virtually nil but then it is under heart and soul Cameron too alas.

    The problem for the Tories is Cameron. He gave away the last sitting duck election with his EU ratting, quack green, lefty agenda and equal TV billing for Clegg. If he even cannot beat Brown he surely cannot win the next election. This especially as we now all know he is a serial ratter, heart and soul pro the EU, tax borrow and waste, antidemocratic, fake green, big government, silly enforced “equality”, tax borrow and waste, say one thing do the opposite leader in his every actions.

    There is no one who could replace him credibly either alas given quality of the typical Tory MP.

    Labour will surely win easily we do not even have fair constituencies thanks to Cameron. As Private Frazer might have said “We’re doomed!”

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 25, 2013 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      I see the MOD is treating tax payers money with the usual diligent care, with a £40,000 speaking clock bill. I assume the HS2 build estimates have provided for a similar figure for speaking clock calls by their staff.

      Still we are all in it together I am told.

      • bigneil
        Posted August 25, 2013 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

        I am not 100% certain – – but do I detect a hint of cynicism?

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 25, 2013 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      In Cameron’s own words before the last election:-

      The final reason we must have a vote is trust. Gordon Brown talks about “new” politics. But there’s nothing “new” about breaking your promises to the British public. It’s classic Labour. And it is the cancer that is eating away at trust in politics. Small wonder that so many people don’t believe a word politicians ever say if they break their promises so casually.

      Today, I will give this cast-iron guarantee: If I become PM a Conservative government will hold a referendum on any EU treaty that emerges from these negotiations.

      What could be clearer?

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted August 26, 2013 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

        Our host usually jumps to Cameron’s defence at this point.

  8. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    After the first paragraph, most of what you have written here applies just as much to Cameron and the Conservatives as to Labour. In fact just changing Labour to Conservative in your script tells it all. As for : “Would Labour be believed if they offered a referendum on the EU?” does anyone other than Conservative MPs wanting to show loyalty believe what Cameron has offered? ” As you say: “The only reason the leadership would even think of holding a referendum is if they thought they could win it for staying in the EU.”

    Reply The Conservatives are seeking to legislate for a referendum against the votes of Labour and Lib dems, and have promised a renegotiation which Lib Dems and Labour decline.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted August 25, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      I don’t want any phoney “renegotiation” either. That trick was tried by Wilson in 1975 . He kidded most people then and Cameron hopes to do the same if he can in 2017. I want the UK to leave the EU it’s as simple as that. Most MPs want to keep us subservient to the EU even in your party.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted August 28, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

        The effective compromise would be to publish ‘red lines’ (minimum acceptable recovery of powers) in the Conservatives’ 2015 manifesto. Backbench Conservative MPs who want the Party to recover most of UKIP’s votes in 2015 have to see to it that Mr Cameron cannot ‘do a Harold Wilson’ after a 2015 election victory, so the debate on ‘red lines’ needs to start now. I know it’s a question of ‘Who will bell the cat?’ but a little courage is needed.

  9. Nick
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    You’ve offered referenda in the past, and then stuck two fingers up when elected.

    Why should we believe the Tories on anything?

    For example, still waiting on those pension debt figures you promised in order to get elected.

    What was the phrase you used?

    “It’s not the way it works”.

    It’s exactly the way it works. You and others make promises to get elected, then you ignore what you have said you will do.

    Same with the Lib Dems. See tuition fees for the prime example there.

    Until MPs are subject to the law on fraud on their manifesto and husting pledges, nothing will change and we lose.

    Reply Nonsense. I published figures on the true debt, as has the government.I have given figures on the State pension as well, though that has always been and will remain a pay as you go scheme, just as the NHS is also pay as you go. Mr Cameron kept all his promises on voting for a pre Lisbon ratification referendum. He did not offer a referendum in the 2010 election. I did and have voted for one on every available opportunity.

    • Hope
      Posted August 25, 2013 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

      Kept all his promises on Lisbon treaty- I suggest you watch Cameron’s video on YouTube and his clear views why the UK must have a referendum on it. He clearly declares the dangers of the treaty. No, it cannot be reasonably stated Cameron kept his promises. Like his fake veto that never was. Part two of the alleged veto was never enacted. Try again JR. This is pure spin.

      reply Nonsense. Mr Cameron, I and others made the case for a referendum on Lisbon when it was a live prospect, we moved an amendment to get one in the Commons, spoke in favour and voted for it. We made the case and kept the promise, but in Opposition you cannot win the vote unless other MPs join you.

      • Hope
        Posted August 26, 2013 at 9:32 am | Permalink

        When he had the chance to amend the Lisbon treaty in 2010 he did nothing. Try again JR, no one believes the Tory on the EU. It is clear from all the replies on this blog. Just like he would not help bail out the Euro either directly or indirectly throu the IMF……… He has failed on each count.

  10. sjb
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    James Wharton’s referendum bill reaches committee stage on 3 September. If Labour moved to change s1(2) to 31 December 2014 how many Conservative MPs do you think would support the amendment?

  11. Sean O'Hare
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Indeed, if Labour got into government and then held a referendum which they lost, the government would be effectively ended.

    Surely that would equally apply to the Conservative party or are you still pretending that the Tory leadership are Eurosceptic?

    Reply The big difference is Conservatives are pledged to negotiate a new deal, Labour is not. Most Conservatives could not vote to stay in the current arrangements.

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 25, 2013 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      Has heart and soul decided what he wishes to negotiate back yet, or is too busy with quack green energy drivel, gender neutral royal succession, no retirement laws, board representation of women and gender neutral insurance nonsense? Perhaps he could tell us if he has, and maybe what his reasons for not wanting a greater Switzerland actually are. Perhaps also why he ratted on the treaty referendum and IHT thresholds. Also why anyone should ever trust him on anything at all, ever again.

      • Bazman
        Posted August 25, 2013 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

        How can anyone be forced to retire with no income and as for Switzerland. Again. This is not a middle class country and how would we deal with all the taxations and absurd regulations creating one Orwell-logic?

      • zorro
        Posted August 25, 2013 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

        Obviously not decided, or hasn’t told John anyway!

        zorro

    • Ken Adams
      Posted August 25, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      to reply: But your question was, would we believe a labour party if they did offer a referendum I would have thought yes, at least Milliband has not broken a cast iron promise.

      The new deal is a meaningless attempt to cloud the issue and get the people of this country to remain in the EU.

  12. John Eustace
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Not the best chosen headline – it triggers the immediate response “What makes you think anyone believes the Tories?”
    I expect you yourself trust David Cameron on this about as much as the country at large.

  13. Leslie Singleton
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    When the EU, or whatever it was then, made at least some sort of sense, Labour, in particular Tony Blair, were against. Now that the EU has morphed in to what it is today, Labour are in favour. Odd that. As you know I struggle to understand why I should care a fig what MP’s think. By definition they, or most of them, are not normal people. Of course we should have a referendum and the sooner the better.

  14. Sue Jameson
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    We don’t believe the Conservatives, so logic only dictates, we believe the Labour Party even less. The next government is likely to be a coalition of Lab/Lib Dem unless Cameron grows a spine and brings the referendum forward and we know how much the Lib Dems adore the EU.

  15. Bob
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    ” they would understandably fear any referendum under a Labour government would be posed to seek the answer Yes to staying in.”

    How does this differ from the Tories or Libdems?

    “One of the things former Labour Ministers and many Labour MPs like about the EU is the EU decides for us and stops UK people preventing new laws “

    Again, how does this differ from the Tories or Libdems?

    It looks like the only clear blue water is between UKIP and LibLabCon.

  16. ERIC
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Only UKIP can be trusted on a promise to give the British public an in/out EU referendum.

    Cameron’s weasly promise is worthless as he has already shown himself to be a liar on this issue.

    Reply Untrue, as you should know. He promised to get the Conservative party to vote for a referendum on Lisbon prior to ratification, which we all duly did on a Conservative amendment to Labour’s federalist Bill.

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 25, 2013 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      The “prior to ratification” was not in the promise the everyone heard. Anyway if one is needed before ratification then logically it is needed far more after one.

      If it is not going to be ratified a treaty referendum is clearly not needed at all.

      He ratted very, very, very clearly indeed (and on IHT thresholds too) indeed it lost him the election together with giving Clegg equal TV billing and all his big state, quack greenery drivel. He is dead in the water with not an ounce (gram as he would have it) of credibility on anything.

      Reply The point of the pre ratification referendum we sought was to get the public to vote it down so it would not be ratified! For heaven’s sake, please understand that quite often Conservatives do exactly what you want. We opposed the Treaty in Parliament, we sought allies abroad to delay ratification, we said we would let the British people vote it down if we got into office prior to ratification. There is now no Lisbon Treaty to get rid of – there are the consolidated Treaties, which we now wish to renegotiate. However much people may hate the EU, to change our relationship with it we do need to proceed by legal means.

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 25, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

        But how can we proceed under Cameron when the man will not even tell us what he is trying to negotiate back from the EU and we cannot trust him as we know where his heart and soul lies?

        Worse it is not just the EU, he has totally failed to cut the huge waste in the state sector, he pushed the misguided enforced equality agenda, HS2, daft EU bailouts, no retirement, gender equal insurance, no competition/lending in banking and has an absurd energy & green policy.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 25, 2013 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

        “There is now no Lisbon Treaty to get rid of”

        Yes there is; here is the collection of treaties on the EU’s website:

        http://eur-lex.europa.eu/en/treaties/index.htm

        and at the top of the list is “Treaty of Lisbon (2007)”, available in a variety of formats.

      • Ken Adams
        Posted August 25, 2013 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

        We do need to proceed by legal means, but first we need a government willing to stand up and actually force change and failing that to lead us out. There is no evidence that Cameron is the person to lead that charge in fact just the opposite.

        However that has nothing to do with Cameron breaking his cast iron promise to the British people he did not say anything at all about a pre ratification referendum that was just the excuse used to rat out on his promise.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted August 25, 2013 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

        Comment on Reply–There are an infinity of examples of relationships back through time changed by other than “legal means”. Did America gain Independence by what you call “legal means”? Hardly. Do it anyway and then kiss and makeup and ratify what gets done (Treaty of Paris, from memory).

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 25, 2013 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

        About 100 Tories seem to be fairly sensible on the EU and other issues. Yet pathetically only five MPs votes against the totally absurd Climate Change Act. Can we really trust the sanity of these 100? Can we trust them to vote sensible or will they become sheep again as with the EU pushed Climate Change Act 2008.

        Reply I think more MPs now understand why the Climate Change Act was a bad idea. Remember about half the 100 Eurosceptic voting Conservative MPs were first elected in 2010.

        • matthu
          Posted August 26, 2013 at 7:30 am | Permalink

          The problem then appears to be the vast number of MPs prepared to vote on complicated and far-reaching laws which they do not understand.

          Why all parties should vote in a one-sided manner on such laws is still a mystery to UKIP supporters.

          Reply In 2008 all 3 main parties believed global warming theory, the dash for renewables etc so when all 3 imposed a 3 line whip to vote for it most MPs most just accepted it. The few of us who disagreed made no progress in private or public trying to persuade them otherwise. It was the same with the collective madness of all 3 parties backing the Exchange Rate Mechanism – the whole establishment is gripped by a collective folly on these grand projects. The CBI and TUC favoured the Climate Change Act as well.

          • lifelogic
            Posted August 26, 2013 at 8:03 am | Permalink

            “The whole establishment is gripped by a collective folly on these grand projects”. Indeed a sort of group insanity, ignoring the blindingly obvious logic and maths of these bonkers decisions.

            We still have it now, with gender neutral insurance, no retirement, the Euro bailouts, HS2, pushes for gender equality on boards and the BoE, grants for electric cars, PV and wind and countless other lunacies everywhere.

          • matthu
            Posted August 26, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

            Surely, if all 3 main parties believed in global warming theory, the dash for renewables etc then it should not have been necessary to impose a 3-line whip, or am i missing something?

            To date, no party has come out and openly renunciated this belief, so the electorate must presume this collective madness persists.

            Reply 3 line whips are imposed regularly on items of important policy. Quite often they are imposed on MPs who will willingly vote for the policy anyway! It is just the whips way of trying to make sure the vote goes the way the leadership wants, and of exposing who is against.

        • lifelogic
          Posted August 26, 2013 at 7:56 am | Permalink

          To reply:- Good let us hope so.

        • Ken Adams
          Posted August 26, 2013 at 10:58 am | Permalink

          I think more MPs now understand why the Climate Change Act was a bad idea.

          For goodness sake Mr Redwood we need our MPs to understand the ramifications of voting before they vote not after.

          • Mike Wilson
            Posted August 26, 2013 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

            Our whipped MPs are just there to make up the numbers. The leaders decide and the lads and lasses are whipped into line. What is the point of a parliament of 650 MPs if they all just do what their leader tells them to do?

            Reply This Parliament has plenty of rebels and rebellions.

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 25, 2013 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        “to change our relationship with it we do need to proceed by legal means”.

        If the government of the day elected, for just a term gives away, in perpetuity, large parts of the UK peoples’ democracy to the EU, without any consultation or authority of these people this legal means?

        Should company directors decided to change the rules of a company to say that the shareholder owners could still elect future directors. But in future these directors would not have any real powers to decide on the direction of the company in say 60% of areas. This as they had decided ten people in the Bahamas would, from now on, decide this in perpetuity. Would that be legal means too?

        Re[ply Legal means to sort out the EU from here either require the British people to vote in a Parliament which has the will to announce withdrawal from the EU and the repeal of the 1972 Act, or to elect a government pledged to negotiate a new relationship and then put the whole matter to the British people. The latter seems to me to be the more likely possibility, which is why I am backing that.

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 25, 2013 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

        JR you say “There is now no Lisbon Treaty to get rid of – there are the consolidated Treaties”

        Cameron said:- Today, I will give this cast-iron guarantee: If I become PM a Conservative government will hold a referendum on ANY EU TREATY that emerges from these negotiations.

        Very clearly he ratted on this promise, he is PM & there is an appalling treaty which emerged. I am not even convinced they genuinely tried hard to stop or delay ratification. I think he wanted it ratified, just as I believe they wanted Alistair Darling to approve some inconvenient EU things, post election, before the coalition took power.

        Reply Let me try and explain it all again. Conservatives wanted to block Lisbon. We opposed it in the Commons, and voted for a referendum on it, but Lab/Lib voted it through without a referendum. We then sought to keep other reluctant member states from ratifying before we could get into government, promising a referendum and the end of the Lisbon Treaty if the UK electors voted it down. Unfortunately all the other member states caved in and ratified it along with Mr Brown before the election. Mr Cameron then announced there was no longer a Lisbon Treaty to block, as it had all gone through and became part of the consolidated Treaties. Mr Cameron promised in the 2010 election to offer a referendum on any subsequent Treaty transferring powers , and in practice used his veto so the Fiscal Treaty is not a proper EU Treaty and does not apply to us. If we had a Lab/Lib government doubtless we would now have ratified UK subservience to the Fiscal treaty as well. Now the only legal ways to scrap Lisbon are to renegotiate or exit the EU altogether. Renegotiation and an In/Out referendum is Conservative policy for 2015, because the Lib Dems will not let us do now.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted August 26, 2013 at 9:32 am | Permalink

          Comment on Reply–It was pure sophistry by Cameron, who was obviously well pleased with the way things worked out. He should have kept his word and looked the wretched EU in the eye and told them that if they didn’t approve, bad luck, because he was going to keep his (cast iron, door-to door salesman) word no matter what. If as was likely the people gave the answer No (which result wouldn’t have suited Cameron at all), that would have set the scene well and at the least have put us a few years ahead in terms of getting out. A referendum is always a good thing, viz in this case that the people wanted un-ratification.

        • Richard1
          Posted August 26, 2013 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

          Cameron & Hague’s mistake was not making this clearer. I agree with your reply – there was no more point guaranteeing a vote on the Lisbon treaty after it had been signed than on the treaty of Versailles. But the language at the election was ‘we will not let matters rest there’. It should have been more focused on Brown’s dishonesty in refusing a referendum and an admission that there was nothing a subsequent govt could do about that treaty specifically.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted August 26, 2013 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

          “Mr Cameron then announced there was no longer a Lisbon Treaty to block”

          He tried to prey on the limited understanding of the general public by pretending that the Lisbon Treaty would cease to exist the instant it came into force.

          (Which was actually on December 1st 2009, about three weeks after his announcement.)

          Could we agree that the Lisbon Treaty has not ceased to exist?

    • David Price
      Posted August 25, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      What bunkum, there was nothing stopping UKIP running a referendum before or now. Why haven’t they?

      What exactly have they done for the UK in the EP? They have had MEPs there for a significant time now, what benefit has their presence there been to the UK, as opposed to merely themselves?

      As for being trustworthy, it is interesting to see what UKIP have done with their policy statements. These have moved from commitments to “policy discussion” points and their manefesto is now non existant so who knows what they really stand for anymore. Meanwhile they have buried their plans to increase taxes on some pension payments which sounds a lot like the actions of weasels to me.

      The evidence suggests that UKIP can be trusted no further than any other party and have yet to demonstrate their value to the country with the political power they already have.

  17. Bert Young
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    The coming election will be fought on “Europe” . Whether you are David Cameron leading his party with a basic will to remain an integral part of the EU , or , Ed. Milliband staying neutral , will not alter the fact that the overwhelming view of the electorate is against staying in . Raising hopes by offering a referendum at a later date to the Conservatives is not a viable option ; I , and most of my friends want a decision now . Apart from the enormous cost to us , there are too many negatives for staying “in” – the latest headline of some hoodlum being allowed to remain in this country after a record of violence and criminal activity , is an adequate reminder of the need to have proper control of our own affairs . The looming threat of a further invasion from Eastern Europe is another very impelling reason .

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted August 26, 2013 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      @Bert Young The coming election will be fought on ‘Europe’.

      No it won’t. You might vote on that basis. But not everyone has the same priorities as you.

      There are only two real issues when people vote:

      1) Who is likely to become Prime Minister
      2) The economy

      Labour won 3 elections because of Blair vs Major / Hague / Howard – each set against the backdrop of an okay economy (based on debt, of course).

      Europe is way down the list as a factor.

      • Ken Adams
        Posted August 27, 2013 at 6:41 am | Permalink

        First, it is is not Europe, it is the political entity the EU! Second, membership impacts on so many other areas of government policy that to view it as a separate issue is a lie.

  18. me
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    It would probably be more believable than anything “cast iron” Dave said.

  19. JoolsB
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Sadly John, it’s not only the Labour high command who want to stay in the EU, so does Cameron. Labour would never keep their word but then not many people believe Cameron will keep his word on a referendum either and as for Labour only considering one because of UKIP – pot calling kettle springs to mind!!

  20. James Matthews
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    To reiterate the obvious, as I am sure many others will, all three main political parties appeared to promise a referendum before the last election. If they did not actually lie they certainly mislead people. so the answer to the question must be no. Only people with very short memories will believe any of you.

    Reply Not true of the Conservatives. There was a row before the election when Lisbon was ratified, because Mr Cameron then said there would not be a referendum once Lisbon was in place.

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 25, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      I agree he ratted on it before the election but he ratted nevertheless.

      Reply It was not ratting – his point was you cannot vote down a Treaty after it has been ratified. We could have voted it down if Labour had agreed to an earlier referendum on it as we wished.

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 25, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

        No but you can hold a referendum to see what the people thought about having the treaty rammed down their throats, without their authority by Gordon Brown.

        Doing this would have strengthened his renegotiation hand and his political appeal. Clearly he did not want it to be strengthened. No surprisingly as he is a pro EU, fake green, tax borrow and waste, LibDem to his very heart and soul.

        • Mike Wilson
          Posted August 26, 2013 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

          Spot on.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 25, 2013 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

        Parliament being sovereign it can order a UK referendum on anything it chooses at any time it chooses, and if there was a referendum tomorrow on whether the UK should revoke its instrument of ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon, and if the people voted for that to happen, then it could be done even though that treaty has already come into force.

        As pointed out before, the Treaty of Lisbon to amend the existing EU treaties did not mysteriously disappear at the instant it came into force, something that treaties are not known to do; it can still be read on the EU’s website in its collection of treaties as a separate legal document which received its own separate instruments of ratification from the contracting parties; and if really had disappeared as an identifiable legal document then all references to it in UK legislation would have been rendered meaningless.

        Most importantly, what could it possibly mean that Section 1(2) of the European Communities Act 1972 now includes that treaty in the list of treaties , if it no long exists?

        http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1972/68/section/1

        ” “the Treaties” or [F2 the EU Treaties] F2 means …

        [F16 and

        (s) the Treaty of Lisbon Amending the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty Establishing the European Community signed at Lisbon on 13th December 2007 (together with its Annex and protocols), excluding any provision that relates to, or in so far as it relates to or could be applied in relation to, the Common Foreign and Security Policy;]

        Where F2 and F16 both refer to amendments made by the European Union (Amendment) Act 2008:

        http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2008/7/introduction

        “An Act to make provision in connection with the Treaty of Lisbon Amending the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty Establishing the European Community, signed at Lisbon on 13th December 2007.”

        Reply All the time the UK remains in the EU we are under EU law. Once a new Treaty is ratified by all member states it becomes part of our framework law. The EU would not allow us to renounce one past Treaty and stay in the rest. Our choice is simple

        1. Stay in on current terms
        or 2. Negotiate new terms
        or 3. Leave the whole thing

        Getting out of Lisbon is not an option, unless that is the sole aim of a renegotiation and the EU agrees to that. I myself would not regard getting out of Lisbon as sufficient renegotiating success to want to stay in.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted August 26, 2013 at 5:52 am | Permalink

          Comment missed for moderation here.

          Reply Long comments can take longer to moderate when I am busy or elsewhere. I will clear any backlog this morning.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted August 26, 2013 at 8:17 am | Permalink

            Apologies for my impatience.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted August 26, 2013 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

          Reply to reply:

          In 2008 the UK government deposited an instrument of ratification for the Lisbon Treaty, formally confirming that the UK consented to be bound by the terms of that treaty, which comprised a package of amendments to the existing EU treaties. There is nothing to stop the UK government revoking that ratification, saying that it no longer consented to be bound by those treaty amendments.

          Also in 2008 the UK Parliament passed an Act to approve the Lisbon Treaty and add it to the list of treaties covered by the European Communities Act 1972. Once again, there is nothing to stop the UK Parliament repealing the 2008 Act and removing the Lisbon Treaty from the list of treaties in the 1972 Act.

          The result would be that the UK would no longer be bound by any EU measures which relied solely on a treaty amendment made by the Lisbon Treaty. For example, if previously the UK would have had a veto on a certain decision, but that veto was abolished by the Lisbon Treaty, then the UK would not consider itself bound by a decision made by qualified majority voting.

          That would be a complex but not entirely unprecedented situation, insofar as many of the EU member states have their own “opt-outs” from certain classes of EU measures and are not bound to accept those decisions, although in some instances they are still free to do so if they wish; by abrogating the Lisbon Treaty the UK would be in effect claiming a comprehensive “opt-out” from anything springing from the EU treaty amendments made by that treaty.

          Trained lawyers would have no difficulty identifying which measures depended on those treaty amendments, and which did not.

          Of course some other EU member states would object, but the answer would be that they, and in particular one of them, and in particular one leader, had created the situation by assuming that the British people would simply lie down and allow an unwanted treaty to be imposed on them against their will.

          Let us recall that it was Merkel who insisted that the legal contents of the rejected EU Constitution must be decanted into what she at first called her “Reform Treaty”; and it was Merkel who tried to make sure that there would be no referendums on her treaty; and it was Merkel who insisted that the Irish must be made to vote again after they had voted against her treaty; and it was Merkel who deliberately set out to make sure that the Irish were made to vote again on her treaty in good time before the UK general election so that the British people could be deprived of a referendum.

          June 2008 was the time when Cameron should have stood up and made it perfectly clear to politicians in other EU countries that he was not going to stand for this abuse, and if the Lisbon Treaty had not been dropped when he became Prime Minister then he would give the British people their say whether or not the treaty had already come into force; instead he listened to the europhiles in his party and let us down; and then in November 2009 he compounded that by trying to justify his failure with the pathetic pretence that the Lisbon Treaty no longer existed.

          Reply Legal opt outs have to be agreed by the other member states. That is extremely unlikely over Lisbon for the UK now. Also, why do you only want out from Lisbon? I want out from Nice, Amsterdam, and much else.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted August 26, 2013 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

            Well, for the best part of two years the Tory party campaigned for a referendum just on the Lisbon Treaty, saying that it gave the EU too much power over our national policies and that without a referendum it would lack democratic legitimacy in this country, and that if it did come into force without a referendum then “we would not let matters rest there”, until Cameron went back on all that by deciding to swallow it whole and do nothing about it.

            Reply He wishes to negotiate a new relationship with the EU which means far fewer EU powers over us. He cannot do this until he has a majority.

        • Ken Adams
          Posted August 27, 2013 at 6:52 am | Permalink

          Sorry to reply: You make an important point Mr Redwood “The EU would not allow us to renounce one past Treaty and stay in the rest”

          But they will apparently allow us to “Negotiate new terms” which to mean anything must require power to be returned to us.

          I am getting a clear signal that this is not going to be a separate negotiation that is acceptable for Britain, but an agreement between other member states to attempt to fiddle a little bit with the structure of the EU.

      • ian wragg
        Posted August 25, 2013 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

        Rubbish John. Any treaty can be abrogated by the government of the day. A simple motion before Parliament annulling the ratification would render it dead in the water.
        You really do think we’re all morons.

      • Ken Adams
        Posted August 25, 2013 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

        Mr Cameron did not a place conditions on his promise to offer the people of this country a referendum on the negotiations that produced the Lisbon Treaty. He made a cast iron promise and he broke his word, that is all we need to know, he is not to be trusted and no beguiling words about this or that not being possible will convince.

        That is why you wanted this promise voted on in this parliament to tie his hands should he win the next election to make it harder for him to rat out again.

        Reply Untrue, and rebutted again in full elsewhere this morning in replies

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted August 25, 2013 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

        Comment on Reply–He could have taken the view that, irrespective of ratification (which was my idea of fraudulent in any event), he was going to stick to his word. If the referendum had come up with a No that would have given the rest of Europe the very correct idea that most of the British people wanted out and set us on the right road (Out). If this seemed odd to the rest of Europe it could readily have been explained that Gordon Brown’s shiftiness had caused the problem and that many of us thought what he did was ultra vires to put it politely. He misled everyone left right and centre. He is down there with Cameron.

      • James Matthews
        Posted August 25, 2013 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

        Reply to Reply.

        He made no caveat about the treaty not being ratified in his initial promise (or rather “caste iron guarantee”) and when he made that first promise it was already fairly clear that the treaty would probably be ratified before the election. It was therefore a reasonable inference that he really meant a referendum, come what may.

        It would have been legally possible (a) to hold a retrospective referendum asking for public endorsement of the treaty and (b), if that endorsement was not forthcoming, to withdraw from the treaty. Parliament can not bind its successors. True the LibDems and Labour might have blocked him, but at least he would have demonstrated good faith and they would have had to explain themselves to the electorate. He did not even try to do this because it was a promise he did not expect, or want, to keep.

        Politicians, like parents, can always find “good” reasons for not keeping promises. Like parents, however, they sacrifice trust if they do.

        Reply Mr Cameron made clear his position on a referendum well before the General election, so he did n not mislead anyone who was following the debate. He kept his promise by voting for a referendum on Lisbon in the Commons, when it was still a live possibility. Please see my response to Mr Cooper about why we cannot now get out of Lisbon but have to change the whole relationship with the EU which includes Lisbon.

        • James Matthews
          Posted August 26, 2013 at 10:14 am | Permalink

          Reply to reply:

          “All the time the UK remains in the EU we are under EU law. Once a new Treaty is ratified by all member states it becomes part of our framework law. The EU would not allow us to renounce one past Treaty and stay in the rest. Our choice is simple”

          Quite an interesting response. You seem to share the general British failing that we must be punctilious about following EU law to a degree that does not seem to be universal within the EU. That aside, the proposition that the EU would not allow us to renounce one past treaty but remain in the rest is not a foregone conclusion. It is yet to be tested. However, if you are right, that does not provide an excuse for Cameron to fail to keep his promise, it just means a consequence of keeping it would have been the UK leaving (or rather being thrown out of) the EU. In effect, the Lisbon referendum would have been the in or out referendum which so many of us want. Where is the problem?

          Reply Mr Cameron did not offer an In/Out referendum, and said well before the election that there could be no referendum on Lisbon once ratified. I did tell my electors in 2010 I wanted a European referendum anyway, and have always voted for one when it has been discussed in this Parliament.

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 25, 2013 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

        Is keeping the old inheritance tax thresholds (even after the next election – in the highly unlikely event the Tories win next time) not ratting as well?

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted August 26, 2013 at 9:40 am | Permalink

        Comment on Reply–Nobody said or is saying that you can vote down a ratified treaty but Cameron could and should have said that he had very explicitly given his word so he would keep it and at least ascertain whether the people did not support the ratification. As already stated that would have got us more on the right track.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted August 26, 2013 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

          If it was impossible to vote down a ratified treaty then there would have been no point in holding the 1975 referendum on whether to stay in the EEC.

          If the answer had been “no”, then on the international plane the UK government would have revoked the instrument of ratification for the treaty of accession of the UK to the EEC that it had previously deposited, while on the domestic plane the UK Parliament would have repealed the European Communities Act 1972 that it had previously passed to incorporate the treaty into our national law.

          Reply Do try to understand the simple point I am making. Of course you can have an In/Out referendum on the whole thing, which is what 1975 was and what 2016-17 will be. There is no point in having a referendum on just part of the consolidated treaties, as if you could stay in the rest.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted August 27, 2013 at 9:00 am | Permalink

            But getting exemptions for the UK from just certain parts of the consolidated EU treaties, while staying in the rest, is precisely what Cameron is now proposing with his policy of remaining in the EU but “repatriating powers”.

            The difference is that if the British people had rejected the Lisbon Treaty in a retrospective referendum then the UK government would have TOLD the governments of the other EU countries that it was withdrawing from that package of treaty amendments and the UK would no longer consider itself bound by any measures springing from them.

            Instead the UK government intends to PLEAD with those other governments to allow the UK exemptions from the consolidated treaties while staying in the rest.

            And moreover by his too ready assent to the EU treaty change formalised through European Council Decision 2011/199/EU of March 25th 2011 Cameron has already failed to deploy his claimed trump card, that the eurozone states would need EU treaty changes and that would give him a good opportunity to demand other treaty changes in return.

            Reply You either withdraw completely or you have to negotiate a new package you will accept. Rejecting Lisbon would be part of the latter -why limit yourself to just renegotiating Lisbon when there is so much else we do not like?

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted August 27, 2013 at 11:09 am | Permalink

            June 2008 was the critical period when Cameron was put to the test and found wanting.

            If he had taken a strong and principled stand and made it clear that as Prime Minister he would put the Lisbon Treaty to a UK referendum even if it had already come into force, and that if the answer was “no” he would revoke the UK’s ratification, then in all probability he would have killed that treaty stone dead and the Irish would not have been bullied into voting again to get the right answer, and furthermore the chances of the Tories getting an overall majority at the next general election would have been significantly enhanced.

            Reply An absurd retrospective dream. The Coalition was never going to do that, and by then a veto on just Lisbon was not enough as well as being unlawful under EU law.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted August 28, 2013 at 7:52 am | Permalink

            Neither “absurd” nor “retrospective”, JR; it was the correct principled course of action and I repeatedly urged it at the time, including through letters published in the national press. But of course whatever I had to say was of no account in comparison to what Kenneth Clarke and other Europhile Tories were saying to Cameron. There is no doubt that the Tories’ U-turn on the Lisbon Treaty in November 2009 cost them significant support, probably the difference between scraping home with a slim overall majority and being forced into coalition with LibDems. And I remind you that we are still a sovereign state, our Parliament can still disapply and the government can still abrogate any part of any treaty, and while there could be political consequences from doing so there would be no question of it being unlawful under the law that matters, our national law as approved by our sovereign national Parliament.

            Reply Unless and until we repeal the 1972 Act we are under EU law and have to obey it.

  21. Hope
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Cameron’s comments are clear he will not lead the UK out of the EU. Based on performance to date only the stupid would believe a word he says.

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 25, 2013 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      Indeed the very stupid. Labour will be worse, but only slightly, it is a price the EU have to pay thanks to Cameron.

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 25, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

        “UK” not “EU” sorry.

  22. Martin
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    Does it matter who wins the election as either way as you could be detained at Heathrow or Dover for 6 hours under Section 7 of PTA 2000 and miss the vote in parliament? (Of course the PM and Home Secretary of the day have nothing to do with it.)

  23. Timaction
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    This discussion is really over. If we vote Labour, Liberal or Conservative we get the undemocratic, unaccountable EU dictatorship that costs us £12 billion net and millions of foreign people and their public service costs that run into many more £billions. There is really very little between the parties as most of our laws and policies are already set in Brussels. Every week we are reminded of our enemies within the EUHCR always ruling against the English, imposing foreign criminals upon us. We are an overcrowded island that is bursting at the seams. There is only one answer and everyone out here now knows outside of Westminster what to do at the next elections. Otherwise we are destroyed as a nation state with its own indigenous peoples.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 25, 2013 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      Every week we are reminded of our enemies within the EUHCR always ruling against the English, imposing foreign criminals upon us.

      Given that most cases from the UK brought to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) are by one person in the UK against another person in the UK the result will always be ruling against one person in the UK and for another person in the UK.

      Also the ECtHR does sometimes side with the Government and sometimes criminals can’t be deported because of UK law.

      • Edward2
        Posted August 25, 2013 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

        Playing very carefully with your words again Uni.
        I think you know that most of those you say are “inside the UK taking action against the UK” are actually non UK passport holders who do not wish to be deported back to their country of birth.

    • bigneil
      Posted August 25, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      totally agreed – even down to the full stops – but I think it is already too late – the human rights lawyers will have a field day if anyone tries to get rid of all those nice roma people that are heading our way – you know – the one’s who AREN’T going to get benefits, houses etc – the ones who are going to breed just to get masses of benefits- while contributing nothing but have the career path of metal thieves as has already been proved.

      wonder how many times pieces of the HS2 rail are going to be replaced?

  24. John
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    I wouldn’t get complacent John. I think a lot of people don’t believe Cameron’s “promise” of a referendum is worth the breath he used to utter it, such is the lack of confidence in both parties on this issue.

    Camerson has also hardly helped himself with the way he presented his “promise” either. It was so riddled with conditions that it was absolutely meaningless. I myself was quite annoyed by the way Cameron decided he would only offer it after the next election – if he had any honestly he would have just done it rather than playing silly little games with what is an extremely important issue.

    Labour may have no credit on this issue, but don’t delude yourselves – your party doesn’t either. It’s one of the reasons so few people are even bothering to vote anymore.

    Reply I often write about the Conservative/Coalition position. Sometimes we need to explore the Labour position, especially as in this Parliament no single party has majority.

  25. John Wrake
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood,

    Arguing about the tactics of the labour Party over a referendum is a distraction from reality.

    Our present Parliament, including the supporters of all the political parties present in it, is acting contrary to our historic Constitution and is unlawful. It is no wonder that there is constant pressure for constitutional change over the House of Lords, methods of voting, etc. etc., for having departed from the safeguards written into our historic Constitution, our politicians have lost their way and suggest a variety of answers to the problems which their unlawful actions continue to create.

    The indigenous population of Great Britain and those immigrants who came here lawfully because they valued the freedoms which our constitution provides, are rightfully concerned at the course which the main political parties are taking, for they see the result of this folly in their day-to-day lives. they understand that their concerns are not being properly addressed, that laws which press them down are made by those who are unaccountable, or uncaring, or uninformed.

    Because of the lies which have been spread by successive governments and by public servants, people have been led to believe that the problems are the result of greedy bankers or lazy Greeks and Spaniards, or uncaring European bureaucrats or unscrupulous corporations. They have not recognised that the cause is the unlawful and treasonous actions of Parliaments here, which have ignored the constraints put upon them and their actions by the constitution.

    Our difficulty over unrestricted immigration, unsustainable government borrowing, the continuing destruction of our national defence forces, low interest rates for savers, the decline in value of the currency caused by quantitative easing (government forgery in plain English), the supremacy of European Courts – all have the same cause. Parliament has taken to itself powers which, under the Constitution, it does not possess, like the Royal Prerogative, like giving the Sovereignty of the people under their rightful Queen to a foreign power.

    By lies, spin and propaganda, many people have been encouraged to think that these things are inevitable unless M.P.s vote for a change – a course which most M.P.s don’t favour. Why would they, for it would reduce their power.

    Since we claim to be a democracy, that is how the change should occur, but it will not occur until our representatives accept the paramount nature of Common Law, enshrined in our Constitution. If the political parties to which they belong continue to flout the historic Constitution, individual members must examine their consciences and decide whether they should resign Party membership and continue in their office as Independents.

    Until our Parliament returns to the Rule of Law, our problems as a nation will only increase.
    Referenda, however offered and however vague, are simply a distraction.

    John Wrake.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 25, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      But if you believe the government the sovereignty of Parliament is itself a matter of Common Law, see the Explanatory Notes for Section 18 of the European Union Act 2011:

      http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2011/12/notes/division/6/3

      Quoting Lord Justice Laws:

      “Whatever may be the position elsewhere, the law of England disallows any such assumption … Thus there is nothing in the ECA which allows the Court of Justice, or any other institutions of the EU, to touch or qualify the conditions of Parliament’s legislative supremacy in the United Kingdom. Not because the legislature chose not to allow it; because by our law it could not allow it … The British Parliament has not the authority to authorise any such thing. Being sovereign, it cannot abandon its sovereignty … The conditions of Parliament’s legislative supremacy in the United Kingdom necessarily remain in the United Kingdom’s hands. But the traditional doctrine has in my judgement been modified. It has been done by the common law, wholly consistently with constitutional principle.”

      Not everybody agrees that the supremacy of Parliament is a matter of common law, indeed the Tory MP Bill Cash MP strongly objected to that proposition.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 25, 2013 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      Our present Parliament, including the supporters of all the political parties present in it, is acting contrary to our historic Constitution and is unlawful. It is no wonder that there is constant pressure for constitutional change over the House of Lords, methods of voting, etc. etc., for having departed from the safeguards written into our historic Constitution, our politicians have lost their way and suggest a variety of answers to the problems which their unlawful actions continue to create.

      What exactly are you referring to? The UK has never had a written constitution.

      In the past only the wealthy landowners could vote but this was changed to give ordinary men and women the vote. Was this change also a violation of our “historic Constitution”?

      They have not recognised that the cause is the unlawful and treasonous actions of Parliaments here, which have ignored the constraints put upon them and their actions by the constitution.

      Given that the UK’s constitution effectively gives Parliament unlimited law making power how can its actions be unlawful or treasonous?

      Since we claim to be a democracy, that is how the change should occur, but it will not occur until our representatives accept the paramount nature of Common Law, enshrined in our Constitution.

      The Common Law is judge made law, so if it was made supreme over statutory law (made by Parliament) and equity (a form of law that is also supreme over the common law) this would make it impossible for Parliament to change any law made by judges. This would effectively remove all legislative power from Parliament and give it to unelected judges. How exactly will this make the UK more democratic?

      Until our Parliament returns to the Rule of Law, our problems as a nation will only increase.

      The rule of law states that everyone is subject to the law, as opposed to the ruler ruling by divine right. While it’s obvious how this applies to the MPs within Parliament how exactly is this meant to apply to Parliament itself? If we have a “historic Constitution” then surely there’s already a law saying that Parliament can rule in this manner.

    • Trevor Butler
      Posted August 25, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

      I wish this blog had a like button for comments! Well said Sir!

  26. Barbara1
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    ‘It is the opposite of the Conservatives, where the Ken Clarke generation contains a few Euro enthusiasts, but more recent generations are Eurosceptic. ‘

    Mr R, are you aware of the Bruges Group website?

    If you sort by ‘worst’ voting record ( ie those MPs who have voted over and over again in favour of giving away our sovereignty) it comes up ‘Conservative’ for page after page.

    I was quite shocked when I saw this. It would appear that the Conservative MPs’ voting record is by far the most Eu-compliant.

    Reply Simply not true. Conservatives voted consistently against the 3 most federal Treaties, Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon, rushed through by Labour.

    • Barbara1
      Posted August 25, 2013 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      I am sorry, but it is true.

      The Bruges Group figures are for *post 2010 election* (ie more recent) voting. I know you have requested commenters not to use links here, so I didn’t, in my previous post; but here is the link to the list. Apart from a few Lib Dems at the top (to be expected), the top ‘worst voters’ for giving away powers to the EU are all Conservatives.

      http://www.brugesgroup.com/mpwatch/index.live

      Reply Exactly, it is just post 2010. Conservatives as a block voted in a very Eurosceptic way in the previous Parliaments, by opposing Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon. Labour in government was far more pro EU t5han current Conservative Ministers, and were busily signing away as many powers as possible. In government since 2010 the official whipped line results as we can see in a score of minus 68 for all Conservatives obeying the whip. This reflects the scoring system and the duties of government – Ministers and others following the full whip are told they have to pass a wide range of measures to comply with EU rules under the Treaties the last Labour government foolishly signed us up to. Some of us backbenchers vote against the whip despite the Treaties, to make the point continuously that we want these Treaties renegotiated or cancelled.

      • peter davies
        Posted August 26, 2013 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

        “comply with EU rules under the Treaties the last Labour government foolishly signed us up to” whatever happened to the rule of a govt never being allowed to bind its successor?

        Reply That rule was abolished when we joined the EEC

  27. Mike Wilson
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Would Labour be believed if they offered a referendum on the EU?

    Does anyone believe the Conservatives’ offer of a referendum on the EU? I don’t.

    Can anyone explain why all 3 ‘main’ parties promised a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, but we did not get one.

    There is only one other party offering an alternative position on the EU.

    Reply Only the Conservatives offered a referendum on Lisbon pre ratification, and we all voted for one, losing to Labour. Lib Dems said they wanted an In/Out referendum but when we gave them the chance to vote for one they failed to support it.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted August 25, 2013 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      Labour’s promise on Europe

      I do not accept that only the Conservatives offered a referendum on Lisbon.

    • Bob
      Posted August 25, 2013 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      @ JR re your reply
      “Lib Dems said they wanted an In/Out referendum but when we gave them the chance to vote for one they failed to support it. “

      The majority of Tories also failed to support it!

  28. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Only somewhat off-topic:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/10263393/The-dangerous-greenies-are-in-Brussels-not-Balcombe.html

    “The dangerous greenies are in Brussels, not Balcombe”

    “The real threat to fracking took place at a meeting of the EU’s Council of Ministers with a presentation by Jeremy Wates”

    “Seated near the Brussels environment commissioner at the head of the table was Jeremy Wates, from the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), who was allowed to listen to the discussion as ministers from each country put forward their country’s view on fracking. Some, including Britain and Poland, were in favour; rather more, including France, were strongly against; others waited to be persuaded.

    Towards the end of the lunch, however, Mr Wates was invited to address them all with a vehement attack on fracking, trotting out all the familiar green scare stories about how it pollutes water supplies, triggers dangerous earthquakes, hastens disastrous global warming, and all the rest.”

    We are actually paying for this man and his ilk to exert their undue influence within the EU against our national interests, and presumably our own minister was prepared to sit and listen to him?

    The 2007 EU Regulation permitting him and his ilk to be funded by taxpayers:

    http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2007:149:0001:0016:EN:PDF

    expires at the end of this year; so is our government fighting hard to block the passage of a new EU Regulation to extend this practise of our money being used to fund lobbyists to work against our national interest?

  29. Chris S
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    As a confirmed Eurosceptic I should be welcoming a labour U turn but what if they then win the election and the referendum ? That would be he worst of all worlds. We would inevitably end up giving away even more powers to Brussels without any constraints. I reckon that a coalition between Labour and the Libdems would be even worse !g

    A Conservative government, even one led by Cameron who subsequently won a referendum on any kind of renegotiated terms has to be better for the country.

    Of course we have to hope that either the renegotiation process brings about really significant changes ( unlikely though it seems ) or the country votes to leave.

  30. Graham Hamblin
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    I wouldn’t trust any party to hold a free and fair referendum on our membership of the EU. I trusted Sir Ivan Lawrence, who sent me a personal letter of assurance before the 1997 General Election, he was defeated. Since then I have chosen not to vote, nor will I until there is a party with a leader comitted to get us out of the EU.

  31. jbyrne
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    “…a pro EU party offering a referendum is a poisoned chalice to the majority of British voters….”

    Exactly.
    This is what we would be faced with if Cameron wins in 2015.

  32. Pleb
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Its too late, we are run from Brussels. Our government has been nutered. Its just a talking shop for trivial laws now as all real decisions are made in Brussels. Its over, we are a region of the EUSSR.

  33. Bazman
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    I don’t see why Tories are against The EU as it has provided cheap labour for their businesses the problem being if there where less regulations on this cheap labour such as health and safety, the minimum wage and employment laws preventing sacking at will labour could become even cheaper and in some cases maybe even free. A referendum in my opinion would produce a staying in vote, because like NHS privatisation fantasy most of the population suspect the above reasons as the reason for wanting to leave. An offshore second rate country reliant on low tax rates and cheap labour to make up for poor infrastructure. The widening of poverty and equality of opportunity and everyone being told it is the persons own fault and they should work harder. Count on it as all evidence points to this. Prince Charles did not get his wealth and position by merit and so didn’t many other below and the elite 400 or so in Scotland who own most of it what is good for them is not good for us.

    Reply Conservatives do not want cheap Labour. I want people to have better paid jobs, from better skills, training and from better management of their talents. It is the EU that is helping drive down wage rates by insisting on a large supply of labour coming into the UK from much lower wage countries in eastern Europe. Most people in the UK who are on good earnings or who have built up an asset base have done so from their own efforts, not from inheritance. Prince Charles is far from representative.

    • Bazman
      Posted August 26, 2013 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      A large supply of cheap labour utilised by business in particular big business and we all know the Conservatives links to big businesses, so what will replace this cheap labour supply? It’s not as if these cheap labour saves anyone any money on the their bills and in fact costs the country a great deal in housing benefits and tax credits to bring the living standards up to accepat6bl;e levels. Does not seem any willingness by all political parties. (name of a company accused of tax avoidance removed ed). How ironic and moronic. Tolls need to be paid by these companies for infrastructure usage and not bedroom benefit reductions on the poor and low paid. Indication of a few peasants scratching a living at the bottom and having to pay an extra few quid is just sickening.

  34. Ken Adams
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Well Mr Redwood there is not much reason to vote Conservative either if you are EUsceptic.

    Just take your arguments against Labour and apply them to the conservatives and they fit perfectly

    Conservatives have been deeply divided over the EU for many years

    Conservatives see they are loosing votes to UKIP over the EU and Immigration

    There is no doubt the the Conservative High command want to stay in the EU, Cameron has made that absolutely clear.

    Conservatives have given away lots of vetoes to the EU and have remained pro transfers of power and new European laws in the last three years of government. They have in fact continued to transfer powers during that time.

    The only reason Cameron would ever think of offering a referendum is because of UKIP and he will do everything he can to ensure we remain in the EU the is what the renegotiation idea is all about insetad of an in our we will be promised some sort of cobbled together deal that will be as meaningless as 1975. Cameron is on record as saying he would ignore an out vote and that we would be mad to leave.

    The Conservative are a pro EU government who have no working plan to make this a self governing country again.

    In short we EUsceptics are not in the least bit convinced by Conservative EU spin.

  35. peter davies
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Can Labour be trusted to deliver a referendum? Simple answer NO! As was proved with Lisbon, they used the fact that it was called something other than the EU constitution as an excuse not to give one.

    The problem is that all 3 parties appear to have roughly the same opinion at the cabinet level that the EU is good.

    The best outcome for me in 2015 would be a Tory/UKIP coalition with an EU referendum being the key central pillar of any coalition agreement. Lets hope by choosing 2017 Mr Cameron is not playing for time hoping that younger voters are more inclined to support this ghastly EU project and therefore make any referendum outcome less likely towards exiting.

    Reply Conservative Ministers do not think the current EU relationship with the UK is good or workable. Many Ministers are locked in fierce dispute with the EU over powers and decisions – they all agree we need substantial powers back, starting with criminal justice, borders and welfare arrangements.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted August 26, 2013 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      Comment on Reply–I imagine you are right and that there are indeed a few Ministers acting as you say but, even assuming so, many of us want no truck with this baloney about begging for our own powers back. The so-called Prime amongst Ministers is in any event not one of these “fierce” Ministers. We should simply make it clear at every turn that we want Out. I take it you read Boris today in the Torygraph. Never were truer words spoke. Our kith and kin from a prominent anglophone nation gets turned away whereas anyone from God only knows where in the wretched EU, and speaking God knows what, has automatic right of access. Truly truly absolutely bonkers. I liked Boris’s approach, viz tell the EU to stuff it.

      reply M4r Johnson does not argue to come out of the EU completely. I voted No in 1975, so don’t blame me for our unfortunate membership of these present Treaties and institutions. As I have often pointed out the electorate does not elect a pull out Parliament, so we are not about to pull out.

      • peter davies
        Posted August 26, 2013 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

        Mr R, I don’t think anyone doubts your sincerity on this issue. I wish you and others of the same ilk were in the cabinet making the big decisions.

        I feel that any renegotiation would be pointless – putting all the ducks in a row to make sure there will be no impact on trade tariffs/quotas and working out what agreements will be needed to ensure agreements of mutual interest are put into place should be the focus now with an intention of leaving.

        We’ve seen the effect of what the EU is doing and anyone with any ounce of sense should say enough is enough.

  36. Mark B
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    I do not believe even the Conservatives will hold a referendum, let alone the Socialist.

    Cameron, as many who have taken time to study the subject know, will fail in this false claim to repatriate powers from the EU. The ‘aquis’ is all powerful and runs down the centre spine of the EU.

    Reply I can assure you that if Conservatives are returned with a majority there will be an EU referendum. The backbench party would insist on it, but I do not think Mr Cameron would even consider ratting on such a crucial promise.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted August 26, 2013 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      Comment on Reply–Are we in to degrees of ratting now? He would use his snake-oil-salesman skills to dress up some excuse, sure as eggs is eggs. In any event I do not see how you can be sure of what you assure us simply because you of course do not know who will be returned as Conservatives and that’s in the unlikely event the Conservatives are returned with a majority. Down at the Dog and Duck nobody thinks that is likely to happen.

  37. uanime5
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    If Eurosceptics are unlikely to vote for Labour if Labour offers a referendum on the EU then there’s no reason for Labour to offer this to appease Eurosceptics.

  38. John Wrake
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood,

    In your reply to lifelogic’s comment at 1.56 you wrote: However much people may hate the EU, to change our relationship with it we do need to proceed by legal means.

    You are maintaining the fiction that our present relationship with the EU is a lawful one.

    The Combined Treaties, like all their predecessors were unlawful, being contrary to the terms of our historic Constitution. When will you and your fellow Members of Parliament cease claiming that illegal acts can only be overturned by legal means. Illegal acts by definition cannot be law. Our membership of the EU was brought about by unlawful action.
    Votes are not required to cease breaking the law. Just honesty and a change of direction.

    John Wrake.

  39. Paul
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    No, of course Labour would not be believed if they offered a referendum on the EU. Ed Miliband would happily join the Euro now and give in to any demand from Brussels. He is weak, totally out of his depth and knows nothing about what goes on outside of his political bubble. He makes David Cameron look competent which is an extremely difficult thing to do. The only reason I believe the Conservatives will deliver on one is because of the pressure put on him by UKIP. There are a few of his backbenchers who would not let him get away with it if he reneged on his promise. This makes it difficult for voters like me who agree with almost everything UKIP says and would love to see the back of Cameron and Osborne, but deep down know that a vote for UKIP would let Labour in. The Conservative Party needs to accept that unless they get rid of Cameron there is a real danger they will lose enough votes to let Labour in. Real Conservatives simply do not like or trust Cameron.

    Reply As someone who wishes to get us a new relationship with the EU outside the current Treaties I think getting a Conservative government with a majority pledged to a renegotiation followed by an In/Out referendum is the only way to do that.

  40. Anonymous
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Europe.

    Definition: A subject over which two equally useless British political parties can pretend to be different and over which they can vie for office.

    Stephen Fry has more political influence with David Cameron that back bench Tories do.

  41. Richard1
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    An immediate referendum – if that’s what Miliband offers – would of course be a complete volte face by Labour. It would also be an attempt to bounce the population into staying in the EU on current terms, since there would have been no time (nor inclination) to renegotiate. I think Cameron’s plan is a good one – have crack at renegotiation (and let’s just go for a Switzerland type arrangement whilst remaining nominally in the EU to save face for those who need it) – if that works, fine vote to stay in, if it doesn’t vote to get out. Anyone who wants a new relationship with the EU needs to vote Conservative at the next election.

  42. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 26, 2013 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    On the question of whether environmental fanatics may try to call in the EU to stop us exploiting our shale gas, see my earlier comment about the lecture that a taxpayer-funded opponent of fracking was permitted to deliver at a recent meeting of the Council of Ministers, it should be noted that under the present EU treaties “energy” is a “shared competence”, allowing plenty of scope for EU interference and with EU laws imposed on us by qualified majority voting.

    And how has it come about that “energy” is a “shared competence”, giving the EU this power to control our government policy?

    As recognised here:

    http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/institutional_affairs/treaties/lisbon_treaty/ai0024_en.htm

    through the Treaty of Lisbon amending the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community, signed at Lisbon, 13 December 2007:

    http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:12007L/TXT:EN:HTML

    “12) The following new Title and new Articles 2 A to 2 E shall be inserted:

    “TITLE I

    CATEGORIES AND AREAS OF UNION COMPETENCE

    Article 2 A …

    … 2. When the Treaties confer on the Union a competence shared with the Member States in a specific area, the Union and the Member States may legislate and adopt legally binding acts in that area. The Member States shall exercise their competence to the extent that the Union has not exercised its competence. The Member States shall again exercise their competence to the extent that the Union has decided to cease exercising its competence …

    … Article 2 C …

    2. Shared competence between the Union and the Member States applies in the following principal areas …

    … (i) energy … ”

    And this is the same Lisbon Treaty that Brown forced through Parliament without a referendum, and then Cameron agreed to swallow whole.

  43. John Wrake
    Posted August 26, 2013 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Comment by uanime5 at 4.17 on 25/08:

    You are factually incorrect in stating that this country does not have a written Constitution. While its written Constitution has not been expressed in one document, its written terms are plain to see in Magna Carta, the Petition of Right (1627), the Bill of Rights (1688), none of which is an Act of Parliament and all are expressly for all time and inviolable. Though some of the terms were subsequently written into Statute Law, changes in Statute Law do not affect the originals, since they did not originate with Parliament. Magna Carta and the Coronation Oath predate the existence of Parliament, as does Common Law.

    You are factually incorrect in stating that Common Law is judge-made law. Common Law dates from the time of King Alfred and is Common to all Estates of the Realm, as the name implies – it binds Monarch, Lords, Parliament and all the people. Its terms are simple. You must not physically harm your neighbour, you must not take what belongs to your neighbour, you must not deceive your neighbour. Your freedom is a God-given right, limited only by the terms of Common Law. Common Law has been subject to interpretation by judges, on the basis of precedent, but they do not and can not make Common Law.

    The law-making powers given the Parliament are limited by the Royal Prerogative, given to the Monarch as part of the Coronation ceremony in the form of the Acclamation, but only AFTER the Monarch has sworn the Coronation Oath, promising to rule in accord with our laws and customs i.e. the Constitution.

    Politicians who claim that Royal Assent to government Bills is automatic, who claim that Royal Prerogative is now Parliamentary Prerogative, who have given the Sovereignty of this nation, which is not in their gift, to a foreign power, who have agreed the supremacy of foreign courts over Common Law, are in breach of their oaths of allegiance to the Queen and unconstitutional in their actions, which have the nature of treason.

    John Wrake.

    Reply You are living in a past world. Magna Carta was just one of many deals between Crown and nobles, which has been much modified by law since. The biggest constitutional referendum came by the 1972 European Act, which placed us under EU laws, which are upheld now by British judges. This was endorsed by a referendum of the British people, and can only be changed by an Act of parliament, probably triggered by or endorsed by another referendum.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 26, 2013 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

      The 1688 Bill of Rights has the status of an Act of Parliament, albeit it was an unusual Convention Parliament that agreed the terms with William and Mary.

      That is why it is included among the Acts of the English Parliament for 1688 listed here:

      http://www.legislation.gov.uk/1688

  44. sm
    Posted August 26, 2013 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    They wont because the LiblabCon game would be up. Even the dumbest would think and ask why wait, logic would dictate an immediate vote.

    The longer delayed the more obvious the treason.

  45. John Wrake
    Posted August 27, 2013 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Reply to your reply to my comment at 9.51 on 26 Aug. to unanime5:

    Mr. Redwood,

    Sadly, one comment in your reply is correct – I do live in the past, a past when our representatives n Parliament still adhered to their oaths of loyalty to the Monarch and refrained from treason.

    As to the rest of your reply, I am afraid that it bears little relation to the events you describe. You write: Magna Carta was just one of many deals between Crown and nobles, which has been much modified by law since. The biggest constitutional referendum came by the 1972 European Act, which placed us under EU laws, which are upheld now by British judges. This was endorsed by a referendum of the British people, and can only be changed by an Act of parliament, probably triggered by or endorsed by another referendum.

    Magna Carta was a contract between Monarch and the Barons representing the people. It established trial by jury, the terms are in writing and claim to be immutable – a claim which has been upheld through the ages and endorsed by Winston Churchill, who, for all his faults, was still a patriot.

    As for your comments on the 1972 European Act being a constitutional referendum, I would remind you that Edward Heath signed up, lying to the electorate that it had no sovereignty implications despite legal advice to the contrary, following a massive PR campaign in favour.

    What referendum did occur, three years later under Harold Wilson, asked the public if they wished the country to remain a member of the Common Market.

    Both Prime Ministers, and those that have followed, have deceived the people of this country, knowingly and openly, which is an offence against Common Law and legislation which makes British judges comply with the rulings of European Courts is treason.

    There have been other attempts in the past to enslave the ordinary people of this nation, by kings, by foreign dictators and by weasel politicians with other interests at heart, trying to convince Joe Public that it is the Government which gives him freedom. All lies.

    Such freedom as the people of this country have enjoyed and which has proved a magnet to others who have known no freedom, is founded on the English Constitution, framed in accordance with the Christian Faith, which is also written into the Constitution. That freedom is under attack now, not by wicked kings or foreign despots, but by those in the great councils of the nation who are anti-Christian, followers of Marx, republicans, members of other religious faiths or none, self-servers or simply apathetic. Unhappily, such people are now in the majority. They may be nice individuals, but their ideas and their votes will destroy us.

    Reply I am afraid you do not understand modern constitutional law.

  46. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted August 27, 2013 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    Lord Mandelson is right to be concerned about holding an IN/OUT referendum now. Most of you know about the comprehensive opinion poll conducted by Survation for Sky News and published in early June. In case not, it is summarised below.

    Once ‘don’t knows’ are eliminated, the results are:
    IN 49%, OUT 51%
    How likely are you to change your mind?
    Won’t change 51% Small chance 45% Significant chance 5%

    Game changers for the IN voters; will vote OUT if:
    Forced to have Euro 49%
    National budget approval by EU 44%
    EU centralised armed forces 35%
    [Germany wants all three of these]

    Which powers would you most like to see returned to the UK?
    Immigration within EU 65%
    Policing and criminal justice 45%
    Employment law 40%
    Farming subsidies 36%
    [Club Med will disapprove of returning all 4 of these powers]

    Mind you Eurosceptics don’t have it all their own way. Is being in the EU of benefit or harm to the UK in the following areas?
    Peace and national security: benefit 44% harm 24%
    [A brief history lesson of Civil Wars in USA, Russia, China and the Indian sub-continent might be useful]
    Economic growth: benefit 38% harm 34%
    [The standard of mathematics in the UK is indeed lousy]
    Protection of human rights: benefit 39% harm 34%
    [Do they think that we imported human rights from the EU?]
    Immigration and freedom of movement: benefit 26% harm 58%
    [Other Member States freedoms are our youngsters’ lack of jobs]

  • 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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