Unity on the EU?


           On  Tuesday night in the Commons there was rare and peaceful unity on matters European.  The government proposed that the UK should not accept the EU draft  for a European Public Prosecutor. Conservative Eurosceptics agreed strongly. The Labour party seemed to agree, and said they would not be voting against the government’s motion. The EPP would mean EU influence and control over our criminal justice system.

           The unity went further. There was also a proposal to beef up Eurojust, the system which currently allows cross border collaboration between the differing criminal justice systems of the member states when crimes and criminals cross borders within the EU.  The proposals would allow the European body to intervene directly in the criminal justice affairs of a given member state on the grounds that something should happen to satisfy another state or to deal with cross border issues. They wish to have a European right to bring a case.  This too was a step too far for all three main Westminster parties.

           The UK Parliament has lodged a reasoned opinion that the EU is seeking to go beyond the powers granted it under The Treaties, as have other member states.

           The debate was an important prelude to the bigger debate we will have in due course when the UK exercises its opt out from all Criminal Justice measures, as we are entitled to do. The three parties have different views of which of the many criminal justice measures the EU has already established the UK should opt back into, to ensure smooth extradition and cross border arrangements. Indeed, Labour and the Lib Dems do not want to opt out in the first place.  Conservative Eurosceptics are keen to press on with the comprehensive opt out. We will take some persuading about opt ins, given the way the EU swallows powers and absorbs jurisdiction, constantly pressing for more.

          Luanching the European Public Prosecutor and the enhanced Eurojust around the time of the opt out decision was provocative. At least on this occasion the UK Parliament has risen to the task of defending UK powers, jurisdiction and independence in the criminal justice field. May it continue to do so.

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  1. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted October 31, 2013 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    The article lacks mentioning the yellow card procedure (EU subsidiarity), which has been applied successfully here. 11 countries were opposed. The whole proposal will now have to be reconsidered by the EU.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 1, 2013 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      “The whole proposal will now have to be reconsidered by the EU.”

      If the UK Parliament could have directed the UK government to exercise a national veto the whole proposal would now be dead, irrespective of whether there were ten other national parliaments agreeing with the UK Parliament or none at all.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted November 1, 2013 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

        @Denis Cooper: If the UKparliament had been intent to leave theEU, yes maybe, but otherwise such an approsch would be bad strategy which sooner or later would back-fire and harm the UK interests. The UK needs allies eather than enemies in the EU.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted November 2, 2013 at 9:26 am | Permalink

          Well, Peter, as you are an enemy of our national sovereignty and democracy I don’t think we’ll be turning to you for good advice on our strategy.

          You write:

          “The article lacks mentioning the yellow card procedure (EU subsidiarity), which has been applied successfully here.”

          Since when that procedure, which is in fact just another form of transnational majority voting, has been shown up as a sham.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted November 4, 2013 at 10:29 am | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper: Having left the EU you might end up with sovereignty only in theory, while in practice you’d have very limited room to maneuver economically. Inside the EU this would be larger and as such your sovereignty (not as a theoretical concept but as the power to deliver what your people need) would be stronger, as you (UK) would have a say in all matters.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted November 4, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

            Yes, Peter, I’ve heard all that before, I didn’t believe it then and I don’t believe it now.

  2. Brian Taylor
    Posted October 31, 2013 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    Just for information,there are 2 blogs I read first thing every morning this one and,
    EUReferendum which has just been selected to be in the final 20 to produce an essay on what to do should the UK decide to leave the EU!
    Well done to them!

  3. lifelogic
    Posted October 31, 2013 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    Good, but very little comfort. Given the choice between Miliband and “Heart and Soul” Cameron in 2015, England is surely going to end up as a mere powerless regions of the anti-democratic, over taxed and over regulated, EUSSR.

    Today it seems these parties will all vote to start wasting even more cash on HS2, this despite the transparent, vacuity of the business case to anyone who gives it even a little consideration. Just as they all voted for the even more absurd, expensive and job destroying, Climate Change Act. We seem to be governed by economic vandals.

    • Hope
      Posted November 1, 2013 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      Now the government has control over the press and the BBC as their broadcasting arm what is the likelihood of a fair EU referendum?
      (Raises a case where a Minister is alleged to have sought to threaten the press)

      • lifelogic
        Posted November 2, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

        Indeed even if we get a referendum and did vote to leave despite all the BBC and EU propaganda, I suspect the electorate will just be told to vote again.

  4. alan jutson
    Posted October 31, 2013 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    So the EU wants to impose ever more powers.

    No surprise there then, as it creeps ever closer to complete control over Nation States.

  5. M Davis
    Posted October 31, 2013 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Thank you, JR, for informing us, the general public, about this treacherous EU draft. The MSM and the BBC must not know anything about it, otherwise they would be shouting out about it from the rooftops, wouldn’t they?

  6. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted October 31, 2013 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    This type of swallowing of powers, I have observed, seems to cascade down into every aspect of daily life. It is a day to day occurrence that procedures are being centralised , individual judgement and ability to address issues becomes impossible and performance in this respect becomes poor, as hands are tied.

  7. Andyvan
    Posted October 31, 2013 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Interesting that MP’s are concerned about the EU having control over extradition and other criminal justice matters whilst being supremely unconcerned about the totally one sided extradition treaty Blair signed with the USA. Doesn’t seem consistent to me.

    • lifelogic
      Posted November 2, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      The US treaty is just as bad I agree.

  8. Horatio McSherry
    Posted October 31, 2013 at 8:27 am | Permalink


    From what I saw of the debate I got the worrying impression that the government’s position was to opt out now but to quietly opt back in later. Even more worrying was that plenty of Neo Labour and the Lib Dem members seemed happy to embrace an EPP from the very beginning. Some of that debate was quite chilling.

  9. Bert Young
    Posted October 31, 2013 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    At last a step in the “right” direction . EU intervention is a scar on the face of British tradition and independence ; keep this movement up ! .

  10. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted October 31, 2013 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    I note that you constantly refer to “Conservative Eurosceptics”. As we know that the majority of your MPs cannot be so described what are we to make of this? No doubt that minority of your party were the only ones to trouble themselves to partake in the debate. However, the likelihood of the UK Parliament really rising to the task of defending UK powers, jurisdiction and independence in the future looks no more likely now than it did before Tuesday.

    • lifelogic
      Posted November 2, 2013 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

      Conservative Eurosceptics – perhaps 100 tops.

  11. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted October 31, 2013 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    JR: “Unity on the EU?”
    Why ask the question? You tell us regularly that there is a majority in the Commons for keeping the UK subservient to the EU. Whatever happened on Tuesday changed nothing in that respect.

  12. Timaction
    Posted October 31, 2013 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    As with all things EU it has a habit of introduction by incremental stealth and we’ll learn later on how more sovereignty was finally given away by the LibLabCons.
    (Goes on to complain about continuing o
    levels of inward migration from EU ed)

  13. Vanessa
    Posted October 31, 2013 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    We need to stop shilly-shallying around and leave the EU. Their reason for existence is to create a completely harmonised “Country” called the European Union, we will not be good members if we keep saying “….this far and no further”. That is not their way.

    There is a move to look at how we would “survive” outside (Norway & Switzerland are wealthier than any EU country and have more say in the origins of the legislation than we do from inside).

    http://www.eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=84455 This is an interesting competition with a prize at the end as to what it would mean to Britain to leave.

  14. oldtimer
    Posted October 31, 2013 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Better late than never!

    Unfortunately the same cannot be said for other areas where the EU`s influence remains dominant.
    It is also relevant because the author advised Lord Donoughue on the questions he asked in the House of Lords about this very subject of statistical models. The paper points out that Lord Donoughue had to ask the question about the quality of the statistical model used by the Met Office no less than five times. Eventually, it seems, he received the reply that the statistical model is untenable.

    I understand that many of those in positions of power and influence, Messrs Cameron, Miliband and Davey to name but three, read PPE. Does not this degree course include, or at least demand, a basic comprehension of the use of time series in statistical analysis. If not, it should do so for it should be drawn to their attention that the statistical models on which they rely to support their climate policies are not fit for purpose.

  15. Posted October 31, 2013 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Regardless of all the other arguments for and against the EU, I am firmly of the belief that if this country loses control of its own justice, it has lost control of its sovereignty.

  16. Posted October 31, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood,

    At the risk of being called frivolous, may I remind you of the story of Jack and the Beanstalk. It features a giant with the express intention of homicide. “Fe, fi, fo, fum” he roars, ” I smell the blood of an Englishman. Be he alive or be he dead, I’ll grind his bones to make my bread.”

    Any normal child being told the story, knows instinctively that there is no polnt in discussing table-manners when facing an encounter with the giant.

    Why is it that our political representatives will not listen to the clearly-expressed intentions of the European Union leaders, set out in the treaties, to destroy our nation states, and do not recognise the actions of those leaders in grinding our bones to make their bread?

    Why do our representatives pass their time discussing which particular grinder is better than any other and are pleased when different strands of opinion agree on the choice?

    When will they decide to fight the giant, which will entail more than just talking about it?

    You have frequently replied to my comments in the past by claiming that a lack of consensus in the House of Commons ties the Eurosceptics’ hands and confines them to registering ineffective votes as a small minority.

    When will your frustration at this situation move you and your fellow Eurosceptic Members to DO something.

    What you do must be a matter of your choice, but I suggest that the current situation is too dangerous to our freedom to be allowed to continue. Loyalty to those who elected you must outweigh any other loyalties, however strong.

    If your political party is committed to surrender our independence, it is time for those who will not surrender our freedoms to sever their connection. There is need for independent voices to be heard in the councils of the nation.

    John Wrake

    Reply We fight the giant of federal control of our country in every democratic way. That is why we have tabled motions for IN/Out referenda, have now persuaded the Conservative leadership of the need for a referendum and are currently trying to put a Bill through a Parliament for a referendum where Lib Dems and Labour want EU federalism.

    • Hope
      Posted November 1, 2013 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

      Canadian Steve Harper had the courage to change the conservatory party in his country. He did not buckle under pressure and now he has a majority in his own right and a party with the values and principles he wanted.

  17. Tad Davison
    Posted October 31, 2013 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    They won’t be happy until there’s a world government dominated by an elite for an elite, and the rest of the people are little more than serfs.

    Tad Davison


  18. Atlas
    Posted October 31, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    … Glad to read of this …

    Can we tell that an election is coming where the usual pro-EU parties are worried about losing significant votes from a Eurosceptic population??

  19. Mark B
    Posted October 31, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood MP sir,

    The EU never gives up. The longer we remain, the more powers it will seek. It will always try to take each thing in turn. Slowly salami slicing its way to full political, fiscal & monetary union. The only way to prevent this, is to leave via Article 50 and a negotiated settlement and a new relationship based solely on trade.

    I believe you share that view, so do your colleagues in the HoC persist with this lunacy ?

  20. Mike Stallard
    Posted October 31, 2013 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    The EU and English Common Law are totally different coming from a different history and a different environment. On the Continent, the idea is to have a strong centralised government preferably under just one expert. Sort of Plato’s Guardians. Over here, the tradition has been to limit everything because we trust nobody. Sort of USA.
    Juries, impartial judges, habeas corpus, law by precedent not diktat, the Civil War teaching us toleration….. All this was totally different in Europe even in 1648 when their war of religion ended. They learned the lesson of power bringing prosperity, not poverty and injustice.
    For God’s sake, keep the EU out of our unique system!

  21. Antisthenes
    Posted October 31, 2013 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    On a practical level how was the EPP supposed to work given the different justice systems throughout the EU. France for instance has civil law whereas the UK has common law which are diametrically opposite in function. Under civil law it is only legal to do something if it written that you can whereas under common law it is only illegal if it is written that you cannot. For the EPP to work it has to have two levels of justice Federal and national not unlike the USA. Is this EU proposal just about preparing for making of the United States of Europe. It seems to me that total political and economic union is is behind this initiative like so much that has already been passed down from Brussels and will continue to be. This one being more blatant than the others.

  22. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 31, 2013 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    But almost all MPs are still very willing to expose their constituents to the potentially very grave injustices of the EU Arrest Warrant.

  23. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 31, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    “The UK Parliament has lodged a reasoned opinion that the EU is seeking to go beyond the powers granted it under The Treaties”

    The UK Parliament should be able to exercise a national veto on this and every other EU proposal; nothing less than that will do.

  24. Posted October 31, 2013 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood,

    I left my comment some hours ago. I hope the fact that it has not appeared means that you have been too busy to consider it, rather than any suggestion that the content is unfit for repetition.

    John Wrake.

  25. Posted October 31, 2013 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    The more of these crackpot interventionist schemes they come with the better because it will offer ongoing proof, if the voters need it, that the Brussels elite have learnt nothing :

    Despite there now being no appetite for “Ever Closer Union” amongst the populations of almost every member state they insist on pressing on with it.

    Sooner or later the Euro will cause the whole edifice to come crashing down around them.

    The crunch point could be when Frau Merkel presents her plan for centralised Economic and banking control, a loss of sovereignty that Hollande won’t accept, or the banking crisis comes back to bite them and Merkel is forced to chose whether to try and persuade the Bundestag to put up billions of Euros of her citizen’s money to bail out Spanish banks – a domino effect that will also bring down some important French banks as well.

    It’s only a matter of time.

  26. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted October 31, 2013 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    In the matter of the EPP, “The UK Parliament has lodged a reasoned opinion that the EU is seeking to go beyond the powers granted it under The Treaties, as have other member states.”

    Sorry, but a reasoned opinion is not good enough. Tell the European Court that if they dare to lodge a contrary opinion, we are going to get the guns out.

  27. forthurst
    Posted November 1, 2013 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Knowing nothing about this before JR’s blog, I decided to read over some of this debate including JR’s contributions. Frankly, I find it worrying that the government has not dismissed the proposal out of hand, rather than it’s ‘cautious’ wait and see. Mr Rees-Mogg’s contribution was illuminating by listing the proposed competances,

    “organised crime; terrorism; drug trafficking; money laundering; corruption; crime against the financial interests of the union; murder, grievous bodily injury, kidnapping, illegal restraint and hostage taking; sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of women and children, child pornography and solicitation of children for sexual purposes; racism and xenophobia; organised robbery; motor vehicle crime; swindling and fraud; racketeering and extortion; counterfeiting and product piracy; forgery of administrative documents and trafficking therein; forgery of money and means of payment; computer crime; insider dealing and financial market manipulation; illegal immigrant smuggling; trafficking in human beings; illicit trade in human organs and tissue; illicit trafficking in hormonal substances and other growth promoters; illicit trafficking in cultural goods, including antiquities and works of art; illicit trafficking in arms, ammunition and explosives; illicit trafficking in endangered animal species; illicit trafficking in endangered plant species and varieties; environmental crime; ship-source pollution; crime connected with nuclear and radioactive substances; and genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.”

    This list does have an emphasis, although not exclusively, on real crime rather than thoughtcrime; clearly for some people, this in unbalanced and requires a further initiative for the administration of European wide thoughtcrime law:-

    “The European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation (ECTR), a “tolerance watchdog” launched under the leadership of former Polish president Aleksander Kwasniewski and Moshe Kantor, President of the European Jewish Congress, called for the establishment of government surveillance bodies to directly monitor the “intolerant” behavior of identified citizens and groups.

    The council, which includes former presidents of the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Albania, Latvia, and Cyprus, and former prime ministers of Spain and Sweden, made the proposal in a report delivered during a 45-minute speech to the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties (LIBE).

    These “special administrative units,” the report says, “should preferably operate within the Ministry of Justice.”

    “There is no need to be tolerant to the intolerant,” it states, especially “as far as freedom of expression is concerned.”

    Mr Rees-Mogg prefaced his contribution with an allusion to when in his view our legal system diverged from that of the continent; it stemmed apparently from the Fourth Lateran Council; having consulted this encyclical online, I would have to agree that Catholics like Mr Rees-Mogg had received from Innocent III rather better guidance than we Protestants ever have for ensuring our own self-preservation as a religious and cultural group.

    Reply Racism is an unacceptable behaviour, and can move from evil thoughts to evil deeds. I am glad racism is a crime in the UK.

    • forthurst
      Posted November 1, 2013 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      If there would be a sticking point for the government, it would be “insider dealing and financial market manipulation”. Too much probing into how some in the City achieve their eye-watering ‘compensation’ might possibly kill the golden tax goose.

    • forthurst
      Posted November 1, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      I agree that incitement for any reason whatsoever is justly a crime and has so for quite a long time. I do not believe we need any special laws to distinguish between various purported motivations either for inciting violent behaviour towards anyone for any reason or attacking anyone for any reason save in self-defence of person or property, nor do I believe that any matter of historical or geo-political opinion should be subject to the criminal law. I believe in free speech provided it is not clearly intended to incite violent or other criminal behaviour.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 1, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      But “racism” is not a crime in the UK, and nor should it ever be made a crime.

    • Posted November 1, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      While I have no truck with racism I am rather uncomfortable with the fact that six football fans were recently jailed for up to 18 months for chanting at a football match.

      While I abhor their actions, what ever happened to free speech in this country ?

  28. Posted November 1, 2013 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Reply to reply at 12.40p.m,

    You write: We fight the giant of federal control of our country in every democratic way. That is why we have tabled motions for IN/Out referenda, have now persuaded the Conservative leadership of the need for a referendum and are currently trying to put a Bill through a Parliament for a referendum where Lib Dems and Labour want EU federalism.

    This smacks of a gentleman attacked by thugs being concerned that a proper response risks getting his gloves dirty.

    Our membership of the European Union was brought about by the lies and treasonous actions of governments of both major political parties, past and present, who continue to deceive the electorate as to their true intentions.

    The Conservative Prime Minister has stated a clear intention to campaign for continued membership. Labour and Liberal Democrat leaders are opposed to withdrawal. None are willing to heed the views of the people.

    Hoping for change will not cut it when the importance of procedure has precedence over action. When things are critical, procedure must take a back seat, as Oliver Cromwell recognised when he said “away with this bauble” and threw the Mace down.

    In our time, an unconstitutional Parliament has become dictatorial. If honest members will do nothing except talk, they must be prepared to accept the consequences of inaction which will surely follow.

    John Wrake

  29. Wireworm
    Posted November 2, 2013 at 3:04 am | Permalink

    I look forward to the EU introducing the crime of ‘unhelpfulness’, to cover any adverse comment, especially on the Web. To be met with exemplary punishment.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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