Restore the veto over EU laws

The European Scrutiny Committee of the Commons, a cross party body, has just produced an excellent report. They recommend that the government restores the veto over all current and future EU laws.

The Chairman, Bill Cash, has long held this view and has worked out the legal niceties. So have I long believed we need to restore the veto on everything. What Parliament would do under this scheme is amend the European Communities Act 1972 which is the source of all EU power in the UK, disapplying EU powers or laws where Parliament does not agree with them. The form of the legislation would provide UK courts with every reason to obey UK law, and not to appeal it to the ECJ.

I recommend the Committee’s report to the government.

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76 Comments

  1. Old Albion
    Posted November 29, 2013 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    That’s a report that will disappear into the ‘long grass’ for sure.

  2. Bryan
    Posted November 29, 2013 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Another sensible proposal which will end up being wrapped in plain paper packaging by the Government.

  3. Bert Young
    Posted November 29, 2013 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    There are differences in every country who are members of the EU consequently the laws and regulations created by the Brussels bureaucrats cannot be applied equally and fairly across the board . Each member country must retain the right to veto or amend these edicts otherwise serious distortions would occur . I am extremely pleased that we are going to restore a veto ; the sooner it is voted through the better .

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 30, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      There is no chance of any such law being passed before the general election, and little chance of it being passed afterwards either, unless we had managed to get a wholesale clear out of the present pro-EU MPs at the election.

      Even if Cameron himself wanted to introduce such a Bill, which he wouldn’t, he’d run straight up against a large chunk of his own Tory MPs and ministers including the Attorney-General, and the Liberal Democrats would go berserk, and almost all of the Labour MPs would also vote it down.

      Then even if he somehow got the Bill through the Commons it would have to get through the Lords which is packed with pro-EU unelected legislators-for-life, and time would be running short to use the Parliament Acts to by-pass them.

      If there was some kind of really major crisis then maybe it would be possible to get a specific law passed to disapply just one EU law, or a set of EU laws, which were causing very serious problems, with both MPs and peers reluctantly agreeing that there was absolutely no alternative to doing that if disaster was to be averted, but not a general law to restore national vetoes.

    • uanime5
      Posted November 30, 2013 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

      The point of EU law is to harmonise the legal systems in all member states, which will make it easier to do business between them. If every state could ignore the laws they didn’t like then there’s no point in making any laws.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted December 1, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

        Well, we don’t want our legal system compulsorily “harmonised”, thanks; we want our sovereign national Parliament to make the laws which suit our circumstances; and if it turns out that its members have got that wrong in a particular case they can change the law, or risk being thrown out at the next election and replaced by people who will change it.

  4. oldtimer
    Posted November 29, 2013 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    An excellent idea. But will the coalition act on it? Will a majority of MPs vote for it if/when it come to the House of Commons? Will the House of Lords waive it through? Or will the forces for more and more EU domination prevail?

  5. Chris
    Posted November 29, 2013 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    I understand that this would not in fact be possible now under EU law.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 30, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      Parliament is sovereign and could pass the law if it wished.

      If somebody then lodged a complaint with the eurofederalist lawyers on the ECJ in Luxembourg they would have to decide whether the very existence of the UK law was a breach of EU law, or a breach would only occur if it was used.

      Because they are eurofederalists, my guess is that they would decide that the very existence of the UK law was a breach of EU law even if it was never used.

      What would happen then is really anybody’s guess; the ECJ itself could not strike down the Act of Parliament, and the Act could be worded to prohibit UK courts venturing to do that on behalf of the ECJ; so the action would then move from the field of law to that of politics.

      I think we all know that Cameron does not have the stomach for that kind of fight, and even if he did it would need extraordinary circumstances for him to get the support of a majority of the House of Commons as presently constituted.

  6. lifelogic
    Posted November 29, 2013 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Indeed and what do you think Mr Heart and Soul and Mr no Greater Switzerland’s reaction to it this will be?

    His mind might be concentrated after the EU elections when he comes third, but even then what he promises to do (for after he has been booted out) will never believed.

    Even if anyone does still thinks he can win a majority.

  7. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted November 29, 2013 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Obviously the European Communities Act 1972 was there for a reason: To protect treaties. With this suggested amendment, UK parliaments will have the power to roll back (parts) of treaties it would happen not to agree with anymore, distorting the Single Market’s level playing field in the process. That is a power that not even Norway can boast to have. In my view that would put the UK outside the Single Market, i.e. outside the EU. Of course, just like the EU will have negotiated trade agreements with Canada and other countries, there is no reason that some kind of trade agreement couldn’t be achieved between the EU and (former member) UK. But I fear that there will be quite a bit of bad blood by then, making it harder to achieve agreement.

    • Richard1
      Posted November 30, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      The device seems simple and attractive. My question would be isn’t it a breach of existing EU law and wouldn’t it put the UK in a long and expensive legal fight every time we disapplied a piece of EU legislation? If not and if this device works, it should certainly be adopted.

    • libertarian
      Posted November 30, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      Peter,

      Lets hope it leads to the EU kicking us out. As to bad blood trade agreements, who care? You need us far more than we need you and that arrogant assumption that you have something that we want or needs is typical of the small minded, blinkered and inward looking nature of you little Europeaners .

      There’s a big wide and growing world out there while your little Euro club is a moribund, collapsing empire in its last days of being relevant to anyone

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 30, 2013 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      There is already bad blood, Peter, people like you have created it.

    • Timaction
      Posted November 30, 2013 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      More fear, 3 million jobs at risk, trade loss , no voice in the world, still have to comply with the trade rules, no investment from foreign business, free movement is good for the Brits as we go to other places in the EU. 1.3 out of 2 million to Spain and France to retire with NO costs to the host nations!……………………… Give it up Peter, we are no longer fooled by this propaganda. Take it back to the EU and tell them the game is up. We pay £12.2 billion net for a £50 billion trade……..deficit. £20 billion with Germany alone. Will they want us to stop trade? Of course not. USA, Japan, China, Switzerland etc. don’t have to be in the EU to trade with it. The EU is a political union by stealthy incremental Treaty changes to create a United States of Europe.
      We want our fishing and agricultural policies back, our energy and border controls and will happily sign free trade agreements for NO charge. We want our Country and sovereignty back and its starting to happen Peter. The people have had enough the politicos will just have to catch up.
      We can then also ensure we get the £118 billion in corporation taxes legally avoided by the rules layed down in the Maastricht Treaty where multi-nationals can locate to the cheapest tax area.

    • Mark
      Posted December 1, 2013 at 12:50 am | Permalink

      As a Netherlander you have some reason to fear a less good agreement – less business for your country as an entrepôt for the UK, and diminished exports and a worse trade balance for the other EU countries generally, adding more stress to the EU economy. The UK could readily restore Commonwealth Preference with countries such as Canada without being prevented from doing so by the EU.

      The EU would be the loser from any “bad deal”, given the UK’s £61bn trade deficit with the EU (and £9bn with the Netherlands) in the most recent rolling year.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted December 1, 2013 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

        Our deficit with the Netherlands will be very slightly reduced since I got so weary of the constant insolence of this Dutch correspondent that I decided to apply personal trade sanctions to his country.

  8. ian wragg
    Posted November 29, 2013 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    And what makes you think that will ever happen when “call me Dave” thinks all things EU are the Bee’s knees.
    Better than that all EU laws should be properly scrutinised and any against the national interest should be ignored. That will be most of them then.

  9. Duyfken
    Posted November 29, 2013 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Slightly differently, I suggest that as a default position, no future laws or directives emanating from the EU should be applied in the UK until and unless the UK parliament has specifically agreed to each one of these. Unnecessary then to have a veto and, with the welter of EU-promoted laws having to be debated in parliament, both MPs and the general public could more readily appreciate, or rather deprecate, the degree to which Brussels tries to control us in every nit-picking detail.

  10. yulwaymartyn
    Posted November 29, 2013 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    To Bill Cash:

    “it is difficult to free fools from the chains they desire” Voltaire.

    • Douglas Carter
      Posted November 30, 2013 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      Describes the EUphile mentality with unsurpassable panache.

  11. chris S
    Posted November 29, 2013 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Can you post a link to the report ? I have had a quick look and can’t easily find it.

    Thank You

  12. Terry
    Posted November 29, 2013 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    You endorse it, I endorse it and no doubt many of you readers will also endorse it.

    Unfortunately I do not have the confidence in the Coalition Government to suggest they will adopt it. Mr Cameron’s Caesar has too many Bruti at his back, knives at the ready.

  13. Posted November 29, 2013 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Tories rush to decry alleged ‘democratic deficits’ in the EU while being unelected at home. Theirs is ‘buffet democracy.’

  14. Roy Grainger
    Posted November 29, 2013 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    On the EU, is it not extraordinary that the Spanish PM has apparently announced that if there is a Yes vote for independence in Scotland next year then Spain will veto their application to join the EU ? How’s that for fraternal harmony and ever-closer union ? Or for meddling in and trying to influence the internal affairs of another country ? Or for democracy come to that ? The reason is he doesn’t want to set a precedent for Catalonia and the Basque region.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 30, 2013 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      Most likely there would be no application to join the EU; most likely shortly after a “yes” vote in the referendum there would be a proposal from Cameron that the present EU treaties be amended using Article 48 TEU so that at the same instant Scotland finally separated from the rest of the UK it would become a new member state in its sovereign right rather than being just part of a member state, with a seamless transition from the present UK being one member state to Scotland and the rest of the UK becoming two member states.

      Cameron would propose that, and of course Salmond would support it, because neither would want trade between Scotland and the rest of the UK to be subject to any interruption or impediment, not even for a microsecond let alone for years while Scotland was going through the normal accession process under Article 49 TEU; the Spanish might threaten to veto the necessary amending treaty, until Merkel reminded them that they needed her help to get out of their economic mess; but she in turn would demand her own price for allowing the treaty to go through, and the obvious prize for her would be getting at least Scotland, and preferably the rest of the UK as well, committed to joining the euro.

      A “yes” vote in the referendum would not be for the good of England, leaving aside whether it would be for the good of Scotland, and I hope not to see whether I am right about what I expect would follow with regard to the EU.

  15. John Bolton
    Posted November 29, 2013 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood, Would this not constitute an amendment to the treaty? If so, it would require agreement of all the other states.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 30, 2013 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      No, it would be an amendment to the UK’s approval of the treaties on the national plane which would be seen as putting the UK state in potential or actual breach of the treaties on the international plane.

  16. Acorn
    Posted November 29, 2013 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    How does Bill Cash plan to get over Denning 1979?

    “If the time should come when Parliament deliberately passes an Act with the intention of repudiating the Treaty, or any provision in it, or intentionally of acting inconsistently with it and says so in express terms then I should have thought that it would be the duty of our courts to follow the statute of our Parliament. I do not however envisage any such situation… Unless there is such an intentional and express repudiation of the Treaty, it is our duty to give priority to the Treaty.” The adoption by Parliament of a law repudiating a Treaty would, of course, put the UK in breach of its fundamental obligations under European law.

    [European Law Monitor says]. “Treaty objectives are agreed by the member governments when a new Treaty is being drafted. The EU can only propose new laws to fulfill the completion of those Treaty objectives, and should not come out with measures outside of that framework. Basically, the governments agree a 10 year plan, which is then put into Treaty form. They then tell the Commission to implement these policies by coming out with legislative proposals to fulfill the agreed Treaty objectives. Once a law has been passed, the different countries agree to implement it, and allow it to override national law.

    Does the UK accept this principle? Yes, and it has done since 1972, when Parliament passed the European Communities Act. Since then, if there has been a conflict between national law and European law, the UK courts have to give priority to European law.”

    IMHO. Give it up Bill, you will be in the UK and EU Courts for the rest of your days. Try and organise a telephone referendum with “opt2vote” or similar. Use your Poll Card number and a PIN and get near instant results. I know this may sound a bit alarming to a parliament where you still have to spend twenty minutes walking through a lobby to vote.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 30, 2013 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

      The Act to amend the ECA72 would make it clear to UK judges where their duty lay, and it would be to follow the will of Parliament not the will of the ECJ. So he wouldn’t be in the UK courts for the rest of his days, the problems would be with the reactions from the neighbours.

    • Acorn
      Posted November 30, 2013 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

      As I debated elsewhere today. Cameron, though still eighteen months away from the general election, has already run out of ideas, and is now making policy based on knee jerk reaction to media headlines.

      That along with a Chancellor who has no idea how a sovereign fiat currency economy actually works. Has castrated an economy with “austerity” caused by deficit hysteria. Wants the government to be running a surplus in the next Parliament and can get there without raising taxes. Well, if the government runs a surplus, then the private sector will have to go broke, financing the negative balance of payments (Imports) with the rest of the world.

      In fact, it now appears that Carney whose job it is to manage the monetary bit of the economy; is now managing fiscal policy for Osborne as well.

      It is normal for the “executive” to put a couple of quangos between it and the front line, in case any policy goes ****-up; enabling it to dodge any direct blame. This government needs an “independent” enquiry or three, before it will go for a piss! As Thatcher said. “The right hon. Gentleman is afraid of an election, is he? Afraid? Frightened? Frit?”. It’s worse than that Mags; Cameron is scared stiff of doing the job he is paid to do. Making decisions to benefit the 99% not just the 1% elite!!!

      Anyway, who the **** wants to vote for a party that has Grant Shapps as its Chairman?

  17. matthu
    Posted November 29, 2013 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    John, you say:
    (1) So have I long believed we need to restore the veto on everything.
    (2) What Parliament would do under this scheme is amend the European Communities Act 1972 which is the source of all EU power in the UK, disapplying EU powers or laws where Parliament does not agree with them.

    These two statements are not equivalent.

    What needs to happen is that you disapply EU powers even where Parliament does (currently) agree with them, for the simple reason that any future Parliament may take a different view, particularly in the light of the manner in which the EU has a history of continually changing the way in which it interprets these laws always in the same direction so as to ratchet up the powers which it awards to itself.

    So if we want to retain democratic power and accountability it is not sufficient to disapply EU powers only where we do not currently agree with them.

  18. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted November 29, 2013 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    That’s as good a way of ensuring OUT as any. But will your Party leader accept it?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 30, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      Not necessarily; other countries have broken EU laws but they are still in the EU; the EU institutions themselves have broken EU laws without anything being done about it. As long as the government does not break the law which really matters to us, our national law as passed by Parliament, I have no great problem with them breaking the laws of an EU which doesn’t itself respect the rule of law.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted December 2, 2013 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

        Quite. The European Court is now issuing verdicts that completely ignore the opt outs that the UK obtained from the Lisbon Treaty. The only sensible response by the UK is to withdraw recognition of the European Court; now, not in 2017. I can assure everyone that nothing bad would happen to us because the European Court is clearly in the wrong. We have got to the stage where a ‘great big bust up’ is precisely what is needed.

        There is a comfort factor in the promise of an IN/OUT referendum in 2017 but that gives the EU federalists four years in which to force through their political project. It is highly dangerous to be inactive in the meantime, and I believe it would do a lot of good if the leading lights of the EU and the EC were made aware that we are prepared to get the guns out.

        When I talk to people in UKIP, most of the talk is not about how to vote in 2015 or 2017, but of whether we can get what we want by peaceful means.

  19. lifelogic
    Posted November 29, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    I too have long believed we need to restore the veto on everything.

    Perhaps then we should also to look severely at the individuals who thought they could give this away without the peoples’ authority. This so as discourage any repetition. Then amend the constitution to also try to prevent any such anti-democratic moves it in future.

  20. nigel
    Posted November 29, 2013 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Is there a petition to lobby Downing Street for a debate on this report?

  21. Mark B
    Posted November 29, 2013 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    John Redwood MP said;
    “They recommend that the government restores the veto over all current and future EU laws.”

    According to the Lisbon Treaty, Qualified Majority Voting will be come more common place. Also, EU law is above UK national and constitutional law.

    I am sure your good friend has looked at the problem. I am not too sure if he is correct.

    More window dressing I fear.

    • Chris
      Posted November 30, 2013 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      I believe you are right Mark B. The veto idea is in fact a non starter.

      I copy below a response I got to Mr Redwood’s proposal – this was from someone who knows EU law inside out:
      “…Not possible within the terms of the treaties. The UK would immediately be in breach of EU law. Fundamentally, it would change the very nature of the EU … the essence is QMV – the veto converts it from a supranational to an intergovernmental body. Therefore, anyone suggesting the restoration of the veto fails to understand the very nature of the EU and is living in a fantasy world.”

      So, there you have it – not possible.

      Reply The whole point is to promote change – if we did this they would need to negotiate with us over how the relationship could be rebuilt, which clearly needs Treaty change or a UK exit.

      • Chris
        Posted November 30, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

        Any politician advocating the policy of reclaiming the veto has first to be completely open with the electorate about the powers we willingly signed over in the Lisbon Treaty. Our government signed up to the Lisbon Treaty which set out how QMV would replace the veto. Your proposal apparently is to say that we no longer accept one of these fundamental principles, and to expect that the rest of the MS will accept this. It is misleading, I believe, to suggest to the electorate that we can negotiate a change – what the electorate should be told up front is that QMV will prevent this being a starter. It would appear that those suggesting this course of action just want to go through the motions, raising people’s hopes that it is in fact achievable (when knowing it is not), and reaching the point where it is rejected, however many months/years later. Will these politicians then say “We will start action to leave the EU”, in order to try to try to get their way? This all presupposes that these politicians are actually in power and have the support of their colleagues – a highly unlikely scenario. Furthermore, it is really rather obvious what fellow MS will say in response to the UK trying to change the rules: the rules are not for changing, you have signed up to these knowingly (even although the UK electorate did not understand or sanction this action), and if you do not like them then you can leave.

        I believe that our mandarins know this full well, and what they also know is that invoking Article 50 is realistically the only option in order for us to define and set in place a new relationship with the EU

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted November 30, 2013 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

          QMV had already extensively replaced the need for unanimity before the Lisbon Treaty, starting with a batch of vetoes abolished through the Single European Act, and with more abolished through each of the Maastricht, Amsterdam and Nice Treaties.

          At the end of the last page here:

          http://en.euabc.com/upload/Final_Tables_by_Klaus_Heeger_pdf.pdf

          there is a summary of how successive treaties have abolished the national vetoes and moved EU decision-making to transnational majority voting.

          “NUMBER OF QUALIFIED MAJORITY VOTING (QMV) ARTICLES INTRODUCED OR EXTENDED, OR OF UNANIMITY ARTICLES MOVED TO QMV, BY THE DIFFERENT EUROPEAN TREATIES”

          “Treaty of Rome (plus extensions) 38

          Single European Act 12

          Maastricht (Treaty on European Union) 30

          Treaty of Amsterdam 24

          Treaty of Nice 46

          EU Constitution 68

          Treaty of Lisbon 68″

          Of course the original EU Constitution never came into force, but its legal contents were decanted into the Lisbon Treaty and hence they both have 68 as the number of vetoes abolished.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 30, 2013 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

      I wish this hare had never been set running … the extension of QMV to new areas under the Lisbon Treaty occurred when it came into force on December 1st 2009, what is set to happen next November is a change to the rules for operating QMV, not its extension to additional areas.

      As explained in Box 2 on page 5 here:

      http://www.openeurope.org.uk/Content/Documents/PDFs/2011Eusocialpolicy.pdf

      “Decisions in the Council of Ministers – where national ministers meet – are normally taken by QMV. The current voting rules will remain in force until November 2014 (or April 2017 if a state specifically requests). Under these rules the UK can, with difficulty, form a blocking minority. However, when new voting rules entailed in the Lisbon Treaty come into force after 2014/17, based on member states’ population, the UK will never be able to form a blocking minority if the eurozone votes as a caucus.”

      • Chris
        Posted December 1, 2013 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        Thank you, Denis.

  22. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted November 29, 2013 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Good news.

  23. Leslie Singleton
    Posted November 29, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Veto would be wonderful of course but are you not going to tell us in advance that that nobody Clegg will not allow it and that’s before we start?

  24. Mark Riley
    Posted November 29, 2013 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Eminently sensible measure that has been floated on many occasions in essentially the same guise – never going to happen under any Government involving liblabcon. Even if it were passed, the radical judiciary installed by Blair would strain every sinew to work around it. At the risk of appearing paranoid without drastic surgery the game is up – the real day to day levers of power – the delivery mechanisms are dominated by yet more Blair placepersons that the “Bonfire of Quangos” was going to address – From the execrable BBC to the Zoological Society, all pro EU, large Gvt, CAGW, …. fill in as required. Tragically Parliament is becoming an insignificant irrelevance – but a relatively well paid one when you consider the talents and employability of many of the lobby fodder party apparachiks now present.
    As Bercow pointed out many MPs (word left out)maximise expenses to pass the time – they have too little to do – the adoption of reclaiming lawmaking from the EU would have a serious impact on their time and I believe they would vote against for self interest – notable honourable exceptions such as yourself being just that exceptions.

  25. forthurst
    Posted November 29, 2013 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    What about Vilnius?

    “Ukraine has rejected a key integration deal with Europe. The EU ‘keeps the door open’ for Kiev, but doubts it would happen under the current government. It comes as opposition holds thousands-strong protests against the rejection.

    The deal was rejected on Friday in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, where European leaders have gathered. Unlike Moldova, Azerbaijan and Georgia, which initialed association agreements with the EU, Ukraine stuck to its decision not to integrate with the union.” RT News

    The Ukrainian President, apparently, has realised that joining the EU would destroy his country’s industry because the costs of bringing it up to European standards are reckoned in billions, in compensation for which, the UK taxpayer etc (EU) is only prepared to stump up millions.
    Meanwhile David Cameron has met the Azerbaijani President to discuss regional cooperation (which region would that be: Azerbaijan is in Asia?).

    • Mark B
      Posted November 30, 2013 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      David Cameron can only discuss. Only the EU can negotiate. That’s where the power lies nowadays.

    • uanime5
      Posted November 30, 2013 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

      Technically Georgia and Azerbaijan are on the Europe/Asia border. Though Cyprus is in Asia.

  26. uanime5
    Posted November 29, 2013 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    I doubt the EU will approve the of the UK unilaterally deciding to ignore any EU law they don’t like. Especially since it is a clear breach of EU and several treaties.

    Expect the Government to be heavily criticised if they ever try this. People don’t like it when the Government decides that it’s above the law. Especially when the law prevents the Government abusing them.

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted November 30, 2013 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      Uni: we need more Clive Pontings

      • Mark B
        Posted November 30, 2013 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

        No we do not !

        Governments are not individuals. They are bodies, and their role is limited to their respective constitution and international agreements. Other countries and Supra-National Governments like the EU, as U5 quite rightly points out, would not approve. There could also be consequences. The EU can remove our MEP’s and in extreme circumstances our position from the Council of Ministers.

        You have to remember, its their house, and it is their rules. Play the game and be good, and mother EU will look after you. If you do not like the rules, either work to change them or leave. Simple.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 30, 2013 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      The government wouldn’t be above the law if Parliament passed this law.

  27. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 29, 2013 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    I would also recommend the report to the government, if I could.

    Why would I recommend it?

    Because during the campaign for the 1975 referendum the official government pamphlet delivered to every household:

    http://www.harvard-digital.co.uk/euro/pamphlet.htm

    clearly stated:

    “The Minister representing Britain can veto any proposal for a new law or a new tax if he considers it to be against British interests.”

    and there has never been any subsequent referendum asking us whether we agreed to give up national vetoes and move to transnational majority voting.

    But I wouldn’t expect the government to pay a blind bit of notice.

    • Douglas Carter
      Posted November 30, 2013 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      There’s a small but very sharp double-edged sword within this though.

      It’s mischief-making essentially, and I doubt that anyone on the scrutiny committee would expect it to be adopted, but it compels Mr. Cameron to actively favour a situation where EU tenets cannot be vetoed. It shackles him very distinctly to a situation where he specifically acts to oppose any notional powers of Westminster above those of the EU. The preferred public artificial posture he adopts of fence sitting thus becomes ever more precarious….

      Mr. Redwood, just for personal indulgence, I recall once Bill Cash asserting – with regard to the European Scrutiny Committee – that either ‘none’ of its amendments or recommendations have ever been adopted by this Governement; or that it has a record of having the fewest amendments or recommendations accepted by the Government among all Committees extant?

      I’ve doubtless got the wrong end of that stick somewhere but I’d be grateful if you’d comment?

  28. Antisthenes
    Posted November 29, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    A wonderful idea but in my view will never see the light of day. As far as Brussels is concerned I can see them reacting to such a move as being the same as waving a red rag at a bull. No government unless it is predominately euro-skeptic in nature is going to go along with such an incendiary action. To most it would be like walking through a minefield with Pandora’s box wide open.

  29. Edward2
    Posted November 29, 2013 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    I greatly admire Mr Bill Cash who has an amazing knowledge on the technical and legal aspects of the EU.
    We were constantly assured back in 1975 that this veto would never be removed so it is good to hear that it might reappear.

    What about this an idea for a new democratic EU:-
    Each nation gets one vote for every pound or Euro it pouts into the annual budget.

  30. brian
    Posted November 29, 2013 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    It’s good to read that Bill Cash has “sorted out the niceties” but if there are not enough votes in the HoC it can’t be done.

  31. bigneil
    Posted November 29, 2013 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    are you saying we should rule ourselves ??? – – -I will have to sit down for a while to let the shock go away. – -or will the EU veto the veto ?? – — could we then veto the veto that we vetoed ???

  32. TJS
    Posted November 30, 2013 at 1:12 am | Permalink

    This sounds wonderful. Will it really happen?

    There is a huge feeling of of unease and fear in our country just now. People feel threatened by new waves of mass immigration.
    We wonder how all the services will cope. We are always being told how wonderful it is to embrace diversity!

    Our politions have let us down.We don’t what they want. We want to be a free nation, able to decide for ourselves what is for our country.

  33. alan jutson
    Posted November 30, 2013 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    This begs the question.

    If it seems as simple as you suggest, a vote in our own Houses of Parliament, why has this not been done before to save years of past hastle ?.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 30, 2013 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      Because we’ve had the wrong people in Parliament, in particular we have elected the wrong people as MPs. If we had elected the right people we would never have been dragged into the EEC/EC/EU project in the first place, and our government and Parliament would not have helped it grow into the monster it now is.

      • alan jutson
        Posted December 1, 2013 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

        Dennis I agree, but we can only vote for those who put themselves forward.
        Unfortunately all Parties have chosen clones like themselves for the most part, few Mp’s seem to have a mind of their own, our host excepted.

        Let us hope time will change things, or at least educate those who could change things by public pressure.

  34. Hope
    Posted November 30, 2013 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    I am sure it will collect dust somewhere. How Major has the affront to make comments as he has this’s week is beyond believe. His accrued lossesf or the country on the scale of Fred Goodwin to join the Euro and in the process making people homeless and business go broke and he stupidly claims of the consequences should the UK leave the EU. One fanatic that should crawl back under ar ock and hope the public forgets the mess he created and why the Tory party were in opposition for so long. Anyone who disagree with him is labelled a b….tard! Let us stop his pension, take away his title for the damage he did to the UK on the understanding he will shut up and leave the rest of us sane people alone.

  35. sm
    Posted November 30, 2013 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Restore the veto?

    That would imply we might use it?

    Watch the actions don’t listen to obfuscating words from the LibLabCon

  36. Posted November 30, 2013 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    I continue to find it extraordinary that members of the House of Commons can be so meticulous in their desire to measure all their actions by what is legal, that they happily continue to introduce or support legislation which is unlawful.

    Those who claim that they are Eurosceptics because they believe that we should not be subject to the European Union in its present form are really saying that there is nothing wrong in being subject to a foreign power, so long as that power is benevolent, which, at present, it is not. So they talk of re-negotiation of treaties, of necessary changes to the rules, of clawing back powers which have been ceded to others.

    And how is this to be achieved? By legal means!

    When will they summon up the courage and the integrity to act on the knowledge that our membership of the E.U. was achieved unlawfully, by those politicians, who, for their own purposes, succeeded in deceiving the electorate, by ceding powers which they they did not lawfully possess and refused to act to correct the wrongs done by their predecessors.

    From the earliest days of this nation, our common life has been founded on the form of law known as Common Law – the law that is common to all estates in the nation, governors as well as governed. Under that Law, based on the Ten Commandments, only three actions are banned. You may not assault your neighbour, you may not steal your neighbour’s goods and you may not deceive your neighbour.

    The interpretation of that law-breaking has been decided on precedent – how has the Law been operated in the past. Common assault, though it is now subject to finer definition, is still unlawful.

    Though it has not always been rightly administered, the principle has not been changed and through the ages, correctives to abuse have been applied.

    Illegality, as the word is now used, implies breaking a law, but that law is often based on a different system of law from our own Common Law. European Union Law has a different base, It states that legality is set by what authority says is legal and any other action may be illegal until authority decides.

    So which form of Law should our Parliamentary representatives be most concerned with – our own Common Law which shows that our membership of the E.U. is unlawful, or the treaties, directives and laws made under to terms of Corpus Juris, the continental form of law, which set out what is legal ?

    John Wrake.

  37. Vanessa
    Posted November 30, 2013 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    Why don’t we just leave ? It seems to me this idea is just a watered down version of leaving, we would still have to receive all the legislation only to say “no”. A lot of wasted time.

    Also this would not stop mental PMs from their idiotic ideas on equality (EU speak) homosexual marriage to appease 0.1% of the population nor HS2 (EU speak) for transport harmonisation.

    Reply I have been trying for a long time to get a referendum so the British people can decide to leave, but recent Parliaments have not had a majority to do that.

  38. petermartin2001
    Posted December 1, 2013 at 4:28 am | Permalink

    The Tory right do need to be careful not to alienate others who may not share their political views but nevertheless do agree that the EU membership makes the UK less democratic and therefore everyone less free.

    It is an idea which has resonance across the entire political spectrum. I’m told some Lib Dems may even be susceptible!

    So, linking EU withdrawal with such policies as sending home Eastern European migrants, bringing back capital punishment, or the outlawing of the metric system may be somewhat counterproductive.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 1, 2013 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      Nobody has ever suggested outlawing the metric system, the objection has always been to cowardly and treacherous British politicians agreeing with Brussels that British units would be outlawed.

      And this story pretty much exemplifies the damage that entanglement with the EEC/EC/EU project has done to our country: Acts of Parliament in 1864 and 1896 gave people the free choice of using metric units as a lawful alternative to British customary units, but that was simply not good enough for the “single-minded” eurofanatics; oh no, that free choice which was previously available must be removed by actually outlawing the British units, so that there would be a single system of weights and measures across the whole of the planned pan-European federation, with its single market and its single currency.

      • petermartin2001
        Posted December 2, 2013 at 8:22 am | Permalink

        Denis,
        I was perhaps exaggeration slightly to make a point, but underneath was the suggestion that being anti EU wasn’t the same as being anti modernity.
        As a Physicist I would suggest that SI units be adopted wherever possible. But that’s nothing to do with the EU. It’s the international standard.
        Being anti EU isn’t the same thing as being anti Europe either. A free trading block in Europe was a good idea, but its a good idea gone bad with the adoption of the Euro.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted December 2, 2013 at 10:32 am | Permalink

          As a chemist I would disagree with you; unquestionably SI units serve much better in the laboratory than British units, but British customary units were still fine for most everyday applications and there was no good reason for outlawing their use in trade. There were reasons, including the desire to erode any advantage we may have had for trade with the US, but not good reasons.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted December 2, 2013 at 11:10 am | Permalink

          “Britain is in an anomalous position, as a full partner in the EU but sharing a common system of weights and measures with the USA, thereby enjoying an unfair competitive advantage in transatlantic trade.”

          Former EU Commissioner Martin Bangemann, who resigned his post in 1999 under suspicion of corruption, to the British Weights and Measures Association in 1996.

          These are the kind of people our government stupidly refers to as our “friends” and “partners”.

  39. peter davies
    Posted December 2, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been tied up with work so have not spent time on this blog or read papers the last few weeks.

    On the face of it this is good news – don’t let the govt kick this into the long grass and I hope there is something in there for repealing EU laws.

    Otherwise it might be better to just leave and ensure our EEA status protects free trade – crikey – even Ukraine don’t want to be part of this mess!

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. 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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