Labour and Liberal Democrats kill the referendum bill


Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs mainly stayed away form the Referendum Bill in the Commons. They clearly recognised that a referendum is popular with their electors and they did  not want to be seen opposing it and voting it down. In the Lords Labour and Liberal democrat peers did vote it down by refusing it the extra time last evening it needed, and refusing to speed up consideration of their many needless amendments.

It is strange world where two parties love the EU and all its works, want us to stay in, yet are determined to deny the rest of us a say in a  referendum. The stealthy way they killed the Referendum Bill tells us a lot about their approach to this most important of issues. Mr Cameron intends to try again in the next session, and may also use  the Parliament Act.


  1. Richard1
    February 1, 2014

    Off topic but could you allow a line on the passing of the leftwing American songwriter Pete Seeger, since it has been given such prominence by the BBC? (Can anyone imagine the BBC giving him such prominence had he been say, a libertarian conservative singer?!). We heard Pete Seeger interviewed saying ‘the rich have got richer and the poor have got poorer’ – complete nonsense, and very clearly so on a global basis where capitalism has lifted 3 bn people out of poverty since 1980. ‘We shall overcome’ has been on the airwaves in the last couple of days as much as the national anthem used to be. What’s been overcome since Reagan and Thatcher came to power is socialism/ communism, and no thanks to leftists like Pete Seeger.

    1. lifelogic
      February 1, 2014

      Well “BBC think” is largely “Labour think” I see, on Dan Hannan’s blog, that Sixty-nine per cent of Labour supporters would want a top rate tax of 50 per cent even if it brings in no extra money for the government to waste!

      This is just how lefties think, the politics of pure envy. They do not care if it actually works so long as they can kick the rich.

      1. Edward2
        February 1, 2014

        Its all about “fairness” a word they keep using but have yet to define.

        1. Bazman
          February 1, 2014

          Not taking the hit for rich people might be on definition. Right wing commentators and MP’s not being allowed to be brainless when it comes to the poor as well might be fair too. If you made any comments about the rich in such a dumb and deluded manner they would be on you like dogs. Is that fair?

        2. Lifelogic
          February 1, 2014

          Is it fair to sit at home watching day time TV all day while expecting others to work and pay for you and your 7 children?

          Is it fair that the state sector is paid, with pensions about 150% of the private sector and for fewer hours retiring earlier?

          1. Bazman
            February 2, 2014

            No its not fair for those who work, but if you have say three children then it’s certainly not possible for both parents to work more than five then it not to the persons advantage to work,but has been like this for decades. What so you suggest? No benefits as an incentive not to have children or some sort of licence to have them based on income including future income? As if. As for the state sector earning more than 150% then the private sector, maybe in some high position, but certainly not for the average worker many of which need their income topping up via the benefits system and a number cannot survive on the low wages paid. This is more deluded black propaganda from you that you have no evidence or proof of.

      2. Richard1
        February 1, 2014

        Indeed and we can be sure that were the 50p rate to come in there would be leftists who would still call for the rich to ‘pay a little bit more’ and argue for 60% and so on. That’s how we ended up with 98% under Labour in the 1970s. And what happened to business formation and wealth creation and indeed tax collection? It collapsed. Hopefully people will vote with their heads and realise that anti-business class based politics means lower living standards for everybody.

        1. Bazman
          February 1, 2014

          Rather depends if the business is beneficial to the country. If it is not then why are they allowed to operate here? Thatcher thought that 45% taxation was to low.

          1. lifelogic
            February 3, 2014

            Thatcher made the same mistake in not lowering income tax below 60% to at least 40% far more quickly. When she finally did it helped hugely. Other taxes stamp duty, IHT & most notably VAT was much lower though and thresholds were higher too.

        2. uanime5
          February 1, 2014

          That’s how we ended up with 98% under Labour in the 1970s. And what happened to business formation and wealth creation and indeed tax collection?

          Actually we had high levels of growth, tax revenues, and much lower income disparity. So it seems that these high tax rates were good for the economy and the UK.

          They also didn’t result in the wealthy leaving the UK.

          1. Richard1
            February 2, 2014

            Where do you get your data from?! The 1974-79 Labour govt saw the worst relative growth of the postwar period. The UK saw relative economic decline vs other countries from the 50s through to the end of the 70s due to lack of competition (due to protectionism, regulation, state ownership and union power), excessive taxation, and a rapid increase in strike action. The Thatcher govt reversed that and relative performance was good until the Labour debt crash of 2007-08.

          2. Edward2
            February 2, 2014

            You do make me chuckle Uni when you use your revisionist history book.
            The growth you refer to in the seventies was wiped out by rampant inflation.
            5% growth isn’t much use if inflation is 10%
            The equality you talk about was an equality of poverty
            And you haven’t heard of the “brain drain” of the seventies I presume.
            A problem for the UK as top earners fled to avoid punitive taxation.
            One of your most ridiculous posts.

          3. uanime5
            February 2, 2014


            My data comes from reality. In the 1970’s the only times there was negative growth was between 1973 and 1974 due to the 1973 oil crisis and between 1978 and 1979 due to the Winter of Discontent. The rest of the time there was far higher growth than we currently have.

            You also seem to have ignored the decade of growth under Labour and that the financial crisis would have been worse if the Conservatives were in power because they wanted even laxer banking regulations.


            My point still stands that high taxes do not impede growth.

            Where exactly did the top earners go to again? It can’t have been western Europe or the USA as they had similar tax rates. Did they all go to the Soviet Union?

            Perhaps you’re thinking of the brain drain between 1950 and 1970 when a large number of people moved to Africa. Though most did return.

            Reply The Conservatives did not want laxer banking regulaiton. I set out in the Economic Policy Review our request for tougher regualtion of cash and ca[pital – the very thing Labour was so lax over – and less regulaiton of the many things that did not need detailed intervention which Labour had introduced.

          4. Edward2
            February 3, 2014

            Your point doesn’t “still stand” Uni
            It is your opinion but there are strong arguments that high taxes impede growth.
            Just because you say you are right does not make it automatically so.

            You need to research the exodus of high earners Uni. Its well documented.
            Places like the Channel Islands Isle of Man Monaco and the Cayman Islands were very popular.
            Some very famous people went off to USA where deals could be done with the IRS.

      3. Lifelogic
        February 1, 2014

        Price Charles likens climate sceptics to “headless chickens”.

        Is this the same man who pushes quack medicine, wants to be protector of faiths, heat several huge houses, drives Aston Martins, take helicopters all the time and gets £1M+ PA from tax payers just for his annual travel plans? It is hard to think of some one less appropriate to make such silly comments.

        Rational scientist like Prof Richard Lindzen and most of the solid scientist I know realise perfectly well that climate changes always has and that mankind has an effect. Is that effect Catastrophic and can we do anything positive about it those are the rational questions. Littering the country and sea with daft wind farms and PV roofs is idiotic. This especially as all the indications are that C02 is not having any catastrophic effects and anyway up to about 2+C rise is most probably a net benefit.

        If you listen to the energy climate change committee on BBC Parliament with Lindzen it is quite clear that most of the committee were so daft and numerically/scientifically illiterate to even understand the simple
        statements he was making. Tim Yeo and John Robinson were particularly good at making this point.

        1. uanime5
          February 1, 2014

          Is that effect Catastrophic and can we do anything positive about it those are the rational questions.

          Given that humanity cannot endless increase the average global temperature without suffering because of it, it’s clear that the effects will eventually be catastrophic.

          We can also do something about this by reducing our CO2 emissions.

          Thus while these questions may be rational they’re somewhat elementary.

          This especially as all the indications are that C02 is not having any catastrophic effects and anyway up to about 2+C rise is most probably a net benefit.

          All the evidence shows that CO2 is going to cause a catastrophic effect because the rise in temperature is not beneficial, especially if you live in Africa.

          If you listen to the energy climate change committee on BBC Parliament with Lindzen it is quite clear that most of the committee were so daft and numerically/scientifically illiterate to even understand the simple statements he was making.

          Why exactly was Lindzen making simple statement if he’s supposed to be an expert on this issue? Could it be because he doesn’t understand any of the complex areas because he’s not an expert.

          1. lifelogic
            February 1, 2014

            Prof Lindzen clearly had to dumb down for his unscientific audience.

          2. APL
            February 1, 2014

            uanime5: “All the evidence shows that CO2 is going ..”

            I’ve asked you to provide some of the evidence you claim to have, viz the CO2 concentrations between 1913 and 1958, having sourced the data since 1958 for you myself. But you refuse to do so.

            So as to give some substance to your fictional ‘evidence’, perhaps you could provide some actual real data.

            Provide this one piece of data, it’d make all the difference and move all your other wild crazy claims just that little fraction toward credible.

          3. matthu
            February 2, 2014

            No credible scientist claims that CO2 can endlessly increase the global average temperature. The effect of increasing CO2 declines logarithmically.

            For this simple reason, there is scant evidence to show that CO2 is going to cause a catastrophic effect.

            Climate scientists are only now beginning to face up to the fact that the climate is considerably LESS sensitive to CO2 than they have ever previously claimed – hence why there has been no discernable surface warming for nearly twenty years.

          4. uanime5
            February 2, 2014


            I cannot recall you every asking for this information nor any reason why you would be concerned with this time period.

            I’ll provide evidence for my claims as soon as you provide evidence for your claims that African countries in the Sahel are currently having increased harvests.


            No credible scientist claims that CO2 can endlessly increase the global average temperature. The effect of increasing CO2 declines logarithmically.

            That’s not what the IPCC claimed. They said that constantly increasing CO2 levels would result in more global warming, not less.

            For this simple reason, there is scant evidence to show that CO2 is going to cause a catastrophic effect.

            What about the 5 IPCC reports and all the studies they examined? Do they not count because they contradict your ideology.

          5. APL
            February 3, 2014

            uanime5: “I cannot recall you every asking for this information ”

            Your unsubstiantiated assertion in this comment.

            That CO2 concentrations had doubled in the last century. Where I searched for and provided you with the keeling curve CO2 atmospheric concentrations since 1958, now to substiantiate your assertion that CO2 has doubled in the last century, you need to research and provide CO2 concentration data since 1913 to 1958.

            Then we can determine if your assertion is a fact.

          6. APL
            February 4, 2014

            uanime5: “I cannot recall you every asking for this information ”

            APL: Your unsubstiantiated assertion in this comment.


            For some reason the link did not materialise. But here it is now.

      4. Bazman
        February 1, 2014

        Lets have a look at how righties think lifelogic…Ho Hum! If a tax such as the bedroom tax or chasing absent fathers costs more to administer than the amount of tax or payments collected. Or a tax reduction just put money into the pockets of the rich with no measurable benefits other than to the rich and a drain on the poor, would it be right to pursue such policies? Maybe in you bigoted dream world. As pointed out to you before Lindzen is a dubious scientist and a voice in the wilderness. Your scientific knowledge as you have shown is closely linked to your right wing political views and you seek out sources that agree with these views not what fits.

        1. APL
          February 2, 2014

          Bazman: jumble of words

          But somewhere in there …

          Bazman: “Or a tax reduction just put money into the pockets of the rich ”

          Of course even a simpleton can see that a tax reduction is actually, not taking money out of the pockets of the people being taxed.

          The innovative, the entrepreneurial, the industrious, are often wealthy because they possess these qualities.

          1. Bazman
            February 2, 2014

            Most is inherited wealth and often that wealth has been created using the infrastructure and education system of this country. The correct tolls need to be paid.

          2. Edward2
            February 3, 2014

            Would you really only accept “the correct tolls have been paid” when you see those you envy ascend the steps towards a guillotine.
            Just admit to yourself that there is no rate of tax on the rich that would be high enough for you.
            Therefore it is not about raising revenue to help the less well off for you Baz, its about hatred and envy of others.

          3. Bazman
            February 3, 2014

            You don’t just pull out the envy and class war card and shout unfair when giving tax cuts to the rich and cuts to the poor. Its called social justice. Maybe you could say this in second and third world countries where the wealth is stolen from the population by a tiny elite. Russia being a prime example of a country run for the benefit of about a thousand people.

          4. APL
            February 4, 2014

            Bazman: “Most is inherited wealth and often that wealth has been created using the infrastructure and education system of this country.”

            And this country is theirs as much as it is yours or mine. Neither you nor I have any right or previledge to tell them, that they owe more to the country than you or I do.

            Bazman: “The correct tolls need to be paid.”

            You and I; (a) disagree that the correct tolls are being levied.

            (b) disagree that somebody who is [legally] successful, entrepernural and industrious, need pay any ‘toll’ in excess of that, than an idle, lethargic benefits claimant, might be obliged to pay.

            (c) When the party you support, opened the doors wide to mass immigration during its last tenure in control of the country, it basically set the toll for being a UK citizen, to nil.

            If you have a problem with that, take it up with the Labour party.

    2. Hope
      February 1, 2014

      Why did Cameron allow £18 million pounds to be spent on promoting closer union within the EU? Jacob Rees-Mogg spoke out against this inappropriate use of taxpayers’ money. Is this not giving taxpayers’ money to promoting a political construct? I thought we were in austerity?

      The people in Somerset could do with that £18 million pounds. Also Clarke’s reported comments on the flood victims should merit sacking, Cameron sacked a former Lord for far less.

      Reply I also spoke out against it and voted for the amendments to stop it.

      1. lifelogic
        February 1, 2014

        Why did Cameron allow £18 million pounds to be spent on promoting closer union within the EU?

        Because that is where his heart and soul lies, it is just written into his pro EU socialist genes, he cannot help himself.

      2. Timaction
        February 1, 2014

        I read this debate and the merits for and against including yours and my own MP, Jacob Rees Mogg contributions. Well done, but proved pointless. It is a straight £18 million propaganda give away endorsed by your Government and you know it! However, you are in a Europhile party, despite all the pretence (JRM pointed this out), who are as committed as the LibLabs to keep us in the EU at all costs. Cameron keeps saying so. Renegotiation is hogwash or a meaningless piece of Chamberlain paper. Article 50 is and always has been the ONLY solution. That’s why I cannot support my MP or LibLab and have turned elsewhere to a patriotic party, regardless of a few Tory Europhiles who are frankly ignored by your leaders. The Referendum was and is going nowhere. Our Presidents Barosso, Merkel, Hollande and others have said so. Who always proves to be right? There will not be any referendum, there is no mechanism for this in the EU Treaties, the only renegotiation is about ever closer Union which is already under discussion. Our purpose is to pay for the political construct e.g. French and others farmers or their infrastructure, whilst Somerset drowns and we’re overwhelmed with immigration (etc ed) and criminals we can’t remove (Yet another vote lost).
        If we keep voting for the same …………..we’ll get……………. the same!

    3. arschloch
      February 1, 2014

      Yes I bet when Ted Nugent passes away it will barely get a mention. Mandela’s funeral though took the biscuit. The only newsworthy angle was that in the half empty stadium the locals seemed to be outnumbered by the host of neo liberal vultures that had flown in from the North. This event was no where near the size of Nasser’s which I think still holds the record for the world’s biggest funeral

      1. Richard1
        February 1, 2014

        The Duke of Wellington had over 1 1/2 million in 1852 even though the population was far smaller then and logistics far more difficult.

    4. Feodor
      February 1, 2014

      “Can anyone imagine the BBC giving him such prominence had he been say, a libertarian conservative singer?!”

      Is there such a thing?

      etc ed.

    5. Bazman
      February 1, 2014

      Anyone thought of any funny right wing comedians yet? No? That will explain the popularity of a left wing folk singer.

      1. Handbags
        February 2, 2014

        All comedians are right-wing you dimwit – they just pretend to be left-wing because that’s what you’ll pay for.

        If no-one laughs they’ll change their act – and they’ll keep changing it until they attract a big audience.

        And why do they want a big audience?

        Money, power, success – that’s why.

        ALL winners are right-wing – wake up!

        1. APL
          February 2, 2014

          Handbags: “ALL winners are right-wing – wake up!”

          Jeremy Paxman recently interviewed the ‘comedian’ Russel Brand. During the course of the interview even Paxman was moved to call Brand intellectually shallow, first time I might agree with Paxman. But there you go.

          However, during the interview Brand called for ‘massive redistribution of wealth’, which of course prompted me to google ‘Russel Brand’ and ‘net worth’ which returned the interesting morsel that Brand has a (high net worth ed)

          The point of this is, if Brand is so enthuiastiac about ‘Massive redistribution of wealth’, then I’ll take (some ed) off his hands, I’d even give some ed) to my good friend Bazman.

          Brand demonstrates much more of the acquisitive capitalist nature than the redistributive socialist nature that Bazzy claims all leftie celebs have.

          The thing about leftie celebs,(they rarely give away all the money they make ed).

          It’s a pity sensible people like our Baz, fall for it every time.

        2. Bazman
          February 2, 2014

          All comedian are right wing? This is comical. Some were like Bernard Manning, but now they are gone. Quoting one misguided rich comedian who actually tells us that it is pointless to vote is hardly relevant and you assume I agree with Brand with no evidence of me ever showing this. I suppose you support Nigel Farage is he is the leader of organised stupidity and bigotry?

          1. APL
            February 3, 2014

            Bazman: “and you assume I agree with Brand with no evidence of me ever showing this.”

            I could care less if you agree with Brand, just not much.

            The fact is, someone advocating ‘massive redistribution of wealth’ is on the face of it, a Socialist, nay a Marxist, but ‘judge a man by his actions not his words, he accululuates wealth faster than he maybe giving it away. (Someone advocating this may be ed) a lying socialist, or just pretending to be – either way, his actions mark him down as something other than a true redistributive Socialist.

            You could pick any of a hundred other ‘celebrities’ and see the same behaviour repeated.

            PS. I see the figures I gave for Brands net worth have for some inexplicable reason been cut out. Just google his name, these figures are in the public domain.

            Reply I am always suspicious of journalist versions of people’s wealth or income, and do not wish you to be sued for false information.

          2. APL
            February 3, 2014

            JR: “and do not wish you to be sued for false information.”

            Well, thank you. But I hardly think it would be worth the effort.

    6. uanime5
      February 1, 2014

      According to the ONS the value of wages has fallen in the UK over the last 50 years. This is mainly due to wages not keeping up with inflation but since 2010 they’ve also fallen in real terms. So it seems that capitalism has resulted in the rich getting richer and everyone else getting poorer.

      1. APL
        February 1, 2014

        uanime5: “So it seems that capitalism has resulted .. ”

        This the way the economy is currently run, is not capitalism. It only seems that way to someone utterly deluded.

        1. uanime5
          February 2, 2014

          This the way the economy is currently run, is not capitalism. It only seems that way to someone utterly deluded.

          The way the economy is run is far closer to capitalism that any other type of economy and the problems would be far worse if the UK was more capitalist.

          1. APL
            February 3, 2014

            uanime5: “The way the economy is run is far closer to capitalism ..”

            So closer but not actually … Captialism.

            Thank you.

            uanime5: “that[sic] any other type of economy ”

            Now you are just plain wrong. Central planned economies, which is what we are operating in now are favorites of Communism and its sister ideology Fascism.

      2. Denis Cooper
        February 2, 2014

        That is not what the article says.

        On the contrary it says:

        “Real wage growth averaged 2.9 per cent per year in the 1970s and 1980s; 1.5 per cent in the 1990s; and 1.2 per cent in the 2000s. But it has fallen to minus-2.2 per cent since the first quarter of 2010, the figures showed.”

        So your claim that:

        “the value of wages has fallen in the UK over the last 50 years.”

        is not supported by the source that you cite.

        If you spend five minutes doing the sums you will find that based on those figures real wages rose by a factor of 1.77 during the first 20 of those 50 years, and during the next 10 years by a further factor of 1.16, and during the following 10 years by a further factor of 1.13; cumulatively the real value of wages more than doubled during those 40 years, by a factor of about 2.32, and that has only been partly offset by a decline of about 7%since the first quarter of 2010, meaning that real wages are still more than double what they were in 1970, up by a factor of about 2.17.

    7. Electro-Kevin
      February 1, 2014

      Richard 1 – If Pete Seeger had been true working class he would have had SEVERAL hammers.

  2. DICK R
    February 1, 2014

    The public are now becoming sceptical of the sceptics , if they would resign their seats and stand as UKIP candidates they just might earn more respect , or do their precious ‘ careers ‘ trump the wishes of the voters /

    Reply Why? UKIP was very unpopular when we got elected in 2010. We are the true standard bearers of Euroscepticism, fighting the battle daily in the Commons. UKIP cannot help us because they have no MPs. If any Conservative defected to UKIp there would still be the same number of votes for Eurosceptic causes in the Commons, not a single vote more. To help us UKIP has to win some seats from Federalist Labour/ lib dems.

    1. Roger Farmer
      February 1, 2014

      And I would add to your last sentence the 200 or so conservative Europhile MPs who continue to ignore the wishes of the electorate in the hope of advancement up the slippery pole.

  3. Old Albion
    February 1, 2014

    Secretly Cameron was dancing for joy, having been relieved of his latest ‘cast-iron promise’

  4. Rousseau
    February 1, 2014

    And what about another post titled “Conservatives and LibDems” kill the Transparency of Lobbying Bill?

  5. lifelogic
    February 1, 2014

    “It is strange world where two parties love the EU and all its works, want us to stay in, yet are determined to deny the rest of us a say in a referendum”. Not even for them to dare to make the case for staying in (beyond the no alternative, a say in the rules and millions of jobs drivel).

    But this is just a continuation of what Labour, the Tories and the Libdems have done for 40 odd years. Make anti EU noises and promises then rat, rat and rat again. Heath, Bliar, Major, Brown, Cameron where is the difference

    How is it that Cameron has, from this coalition agreement, not even managed to get the boundaries changed to become fair nor a law to promise a referendum after he has left office. This despite giving Libdems their silly AV referendum (+mad green drivel, 50% tax rates and endless other lunacies) and Scotland their referendum. Heath, Major, Bliar, Cameron what is the difference I see non of substance.

    Might as well have Milliband, with fewer wars, no HS2 hopefully and he is even distancing Labour from the state sector unions I see. Surely this is better than watching Cameron laughing at the voters while ratting on them yet again?

    Reply In office Labour di lots of wars. They have offered full support so far to HS2. Mr Cameron has made it clear he will not proceed with HS2 without Labour support, given the scale and long time horizon of the project.

    1. Mark B
      February 1, 2014

      What about the support of the general public ? You know, the ones that will have to pay for this White Elephant.

    2. Lifelogic
      February 2, 2014

      Yes Bliar’s wars were terrible and hugely counter productive, but I do not think Miliband will be so war like or will easily go to war on blatant like Bliar. Balls is certainly less pro HS2 than the coalition.

      The public certainly will not be asked on HS2.

  6. alan jutson
    February 1, 2014

    Yes Cameron needs to try harder both on the referendum Bill and again on immigration controls, their entitlement to benefits and so called human rights.

    Perhaps next time he will get himself and his party organised.

    At least if he is organised and clear in his own mind, perhaps some of his Party members may get some encouragement as to what he would prefer (shame they cannot make up their own minds).

    If the Lib dems and Labour vote down a clear motion, then at least the Conservatives can say they tried at the next election.

    Suggesting Ministers abstain I am afraid is just a cop out.

  7. Leslie Singleton
    February 1, 2014

    And may I ask anyone thinking that there are no negotiations still to be had on oil to look at Google where a prominent article (There are many) is as follow,viz

    “North Sea oil revenues will be one of the key areas of negotiation between Scotland and Westminster, should the people of Scotland vote for independence. The surrounding speculation has caused concern in the oil and gas industry, potentially adding a new layer of doubt to the already uncertain business of locating and extracting North Sea oil and gas.”

    1. Denis Cooper
      February 2, 2014

      But I see nothing in that article which questions the presently agreed line of the maritime border as already stated in various pieces of UK legislation, which puts almost all of the known oil in Scottish waters.

  8. Andyvan
    February 1, 2014

    If Dave is convinced that the referendum is right, the Commons voted it through and every survey finds a large majority in favour of it why not use the Parliament Act now? Why delay yet again? Get on with it.

    Reply You have to reintroduce the Bill in the next session before you can sue the Parliament Act.

    1. Denis Cooper
      February 1, 2014

      Explained here:

      As the Bill which has been blocked was a Private Members’ Bill introduced by the Tory MP who had come top in the last ballot it would need another willing Tory MP to come high enough in the next ballot for the repeat Bill to be given the time to progress, and even if that happened Labour and the LibDems might not let it pass in the Commons the second time round. The repeat Bill would have to be exactly the same as the last Bill when it was passed to the Lords, barring any changes made necessary by the passage of time and any amendments made by the Lords which the Commons find acceptable; as we know in their wisdom their Lordships made some important and valuable amendments to the Bill that came to them from the Commons, and if they were not included in the repeat Bill then the Labour and LibDem MPs would have a ready-made excuse to vote it down; but if the Lords amendments were included in the repeat Bill the Labour and LibDems MPs could decide that they were not such good amendments after all and have an alternative excuse to vote it down … but that would all be more grist to the Tory PR mill, which is what this is really all about, and moreover it would be closer to the general election and on polling day more people would vaguely recall that the Tories tried to pass a law to guarantee them the referendum they wanted but Labour and the LibDems stopped that happening, and that bring in some slight additional support for the Tories.

  9. margaret brandreth-j
    February 1, 2014

    I did not realize yesterday that a vote for not continuing the debate was a vote for the ‘contents’. I thought it meant a continuation at another date. What a ridiculous set of affairs that you cannot resume,however perhaps tactically and politically the right one for another conservative term.
    Cameron seems to be doing well with Holland(e) . According to the Guardian he is creating an environment where France understands that we are not content with the present terms even though France is happy to go along with them. Hollande states that one Country should not dictate the terms of another,yet this is exactly how GB (at this stage still GB) feels about it. We should not be dictated to!

    1. margaret brandreth-j
      February 1, 2014

      or is that the’ not contents?’

    2. yulwaymart
      February 1, 2014

      margaret: strange though that we can share anti ship missile guidance systems with the French, we can share aircraft carriers with the French, we can share nuclear technology with the French and we can even share our RAF transport planes with the French in Mali, but we can’t share a vision of European human rights with the French. On that issue we are much closer to Belarus.

      1. Neil
        February 2, 2014

        I wish our views on Human Rights were similar to the French. Then we’d simply deport anyone we didn’t want here and let the ECHR complain after we’d done it. The reason this country has more problems with the ECHR than others is largely that we actually follow what it says.

  10. JoolsB
    February 1, 2014

    Doubt Cameron will use the Parliament act as everyone knows he wants to stay in Europe. The only reason we are being offered this referendum in the first place is because of UKIP. If the Tories really care anything about democracy they would give the English a referendum on whether they would like equality with the rest of the UK, ie. their own parliament, something else UKIP are offering and the Tories are not.

    Referendum on the EU and acknowledge England’s right to the same level of self-determination as Scotland, Wales & NI instead of ignoring it – both vote winners hence UKIP’s rise and vote losers hence the Tories demise.

    1. Mark B
      February 1, 2014

      Agreed !

      Unless they can be sure of the answer, you can bet your life they will not give us a say.

  11. stred
    February 1, 2014

    Iwas talking to my Syrian pal, as he watches the TV in his shop, and was askinh how democracy works. He is here because some politicians were so keen to support it.

    He had seen the meeting between Presidents Putin, Rumpey, and mr Barrosso where Putin had ticked them of for sending Baroness Ashford to the Ukraine to encourage the demonstrators. How much did people vote for the EU politicians, he asked. Well they don’t, the only one that was elected by citizens is Putin. He said it seemed strange that she had been to see the Egyptian president when he was elected and had been locked up.

    And what is a baroness, he asked. Well some are the old female lords who were aristocrats, But most are old party politicians who were not elected. (sentence left out ed) So why can they stop the MPs bill like on the news, he asked. Well they wanted to go home so they couldn’t find time to pass it.

    What does the Queen and Prince Charles do, he asked. Well she reads the government stuff out, does the ceremonies and stays neutral, But Prince Charles keeps telling us what we ought to be doing and can’t keep his mouth shut. Yesterday he called anyone who thought climate change wasn’t a big problem and didn’t want windfarms ‘headless chickens’. In the olden days, if the King upset the people he would finish up headless himself, I mused. Yes we have a problem with headless in Syria since we tried to get democracy, he replied.

  12. Roger Farmer
    February 1, 2014

    If the jerrymandering of politics is allowed then this is what you get.
    It should not necessarily follow that we get rid of the HOL, but it does that it needs radical reform in terms of who sits there and how they become members. Currently by it’s actions it is not fit for purpose. The blame for this must rest squarely on the shoulders of generations of past Prime Ministers who saw it as a way of legitimising their programme in the HOC.
    In reality it should be a place of fine tuning of HOC legislation by people of proven wisdom and standing in the community and not necessarily elected. Elections encourage party politics which is the last thing we need. In the past it has done excellent fine tuning but this latest episode shows it’s dark side.
    It also shows that Lib/Dem, Labour have complete contempt for the electorate who want this referendum. It pairs well with their support, for totally un-democratic reasons, of un-balanced constituencies.
    Socialism is a user of democracy not a believer in it. In it’s extreme form , the USSR, one saw the unrestrained results of it in the slaughter of countless millions of none believers. I see the EU , or the way it is run, as a halfway house between social democracy and totalitarianism. Socialism is the tool of it’s continuance. Thinking as Cameron does that this can be changed by reasoned argument is I am afraid naïve. Only radical bold action will give our electorate the referendum they demand and this needs to be in the “Action Now” tray.

    Reply The Labour and Lib Dem parties decided to kill this Bill in the Lords rather than the Commons. They are to blame. There was no attempt to prevent their Lords talking it out.

  13. mick
    February 1, 2014

    morning john, i think it is time yourself and other fellow tories should defect to UKIP, then hopefully cameron would be forced to call a early general election with a BIG promise of a vote on the EU, this i am sure would give the tories a land slide victory and kick the lib/lab`s into a black hole were they belong

    Reply It would do no such thing. Why on earth would Mr Cameron call an early election?
    UKIP got 3% in Wokingham in 2010, so clearly they did not want a UKIP MP. Why then should I become one despite their view?

    1. Roger Farmer
      February 1, 2014

      2010 was then, 2014/5 is now. Who said a week is a long time in politics, or words to that effect.
      No need for you or the 100 or so Tories to defect to UKIP, just evolve a working relationship with them whereby they only contest the seats of Europhile Tories , Lib/Dems and the majority of Labour candidates. This way we could end up with sufficient support to kill our involvement with political Europe for good. Dismiss the obstruction you might get from Hollande, those who run Renault will adjust his thinking. Remember where the balance of trade lies.
      The EU’s greatest fear is loosing the 12 billion plus they get from the UK to fund their brand of socialism. Show some courage and start thinking outside the Westminster bubble.

    2. JoolsB
      February 1, 2014

      John, with respect, you’ve got to stop comparing UKIP 2010 with UKIP now. In 2010, not only were we all desperate to get rid of a rotten, corrupt, incompetent Labour Government but we were also under the impression that by voting Conservative, we would be getting a Conservative government with Conservative values. The Lib Dums apart, it now apparent that the party calling themselves Conservative under Cameron’s leadership are anything but Conservative whereas the party calling themselves UKIP are.

      In 2010 we didn’t dare vote UKIP for fear of letting Labour in whereas now we dare not vote UKIP because the alternative is the Con/Lab/Lib parties and we are all asking ourselves what is the difference between them?

      Reply I am explaining why I intend to serve as a Conservative MP not as a UKIP one, given what I said and what people wanted in the GE of 2010.

  14. acorn
    February 1, 2014

    Dave must be feeling good this morning, it was a brilliant strategy, and it worked perfectly. I don’t know who fabricated this “sting”, but the guy is worth twice what Cam is paying him. Probably even more than the trans-national pro EU corporate lobby, was paying their guys to kill the Bill.

    Imagine how this event would had played out, if the “executive”, (elected PM and deputy and appointed cabinet) was outside of the “legislature”, and each was elected separately via non-party primary elections.

  15. A.Sedgwick
    February 1, 2014

    Perhaps the 30 or so filibustering Peers did the out campaigners a favour. This bill was always meaningless unless Cameron won an outright majority in 2015. Regrettably his ineptitude is becoming more obvious as each month passes. His political insight can be kindly described as poor. Having said that he can come bounding back by manifesting an in/out referendum by 31/12/2015 without any of this re-negotiation nonsense.

  16. Freeborn John
    February 1, 2014

    If the Libdems block use of the Parliament Act Cameron should call on early election on the issue of Europe.

    However given that France has said they will not support treaty change, Cameron needs to declare whether he will campaign on the No side if the EU is not reformed. The EU is a treaty-based organisation with the powers conferred on it set out in the Lisbon Treaty. No treaty change means no powers returned and Cameron has said the EU status quo is “unacceptable”. However he needs to publically declare that without treaty change he will wholeheartedly lead the campaign for EU withdrawal.

  17. Tom William
    February 1, 2014

    In all the discussion of renegotiation and reform of the EU we all know the scorn which Mr Barroso and Commissioner Reding have poured on it. But why has the British political press, and I think you JR, not mentioned the 300 page draft treaty released last October by the Spinelli Group and called “A fundamental law of the European Union”? This treaty, when passed, will radically change the EU into a virtual country. Page 284 is “Protocol no 9″ offering Associate Membership to countries which can not go along with full membership but still want full trading access.

    Mrs Merkel has said, since her re-election “I know that pushing through treaty changes in the member states can be difficult, but if you want more Europe, you have to be prepared to develop it further. In a world that is constantly changing, we can’t stand there and say that at some point we agreed the Lisbon Treaty and there’s no need to change it again. This won’t work.””I know that pushing through treaty changes in the member states can be difficult, but if you want more Europe, you have to be prepared to develop it further. In a world that is constantly changing, we can’t stand there and say that at some point we agreed the Lisbon Treaty and there’s no need to change it again. This won’t work.”

    President Hollande’s opposition to what Mr Cameron is offering has been in the papers recently. EU leaders are beginning to talk openly of the need for reform but it is a reform totally opposed to the reform which is being mooted in the UK. Yet it appears to suit those who are claiming they are “winning the argument for reform”. Do they not know what is being discussed in the eurozone? If not why not?

    The realistic chances of the UK being able to change the EU structure the way Mr Cameron says he wants by 2017 is zero because of all the hurdles which would have to be crossed first. But it is zero anyway because it would take the EU in the opposite direction to what is being planned.

    I have posted this before at the end of a discussion and you JR may not have seen it as you did not reply. Could we have an answer please – why is there virtually no accurate coverage of what Merkel and Barroso, to name but two, mean by “reform”?

    Reply I suspect few have read this. I agree about the aims and the draft. I have often written about the way they are creating a United States of Europe, which is clear enough from the Treaties the UK has already signed.

    1. Denis Cooper
      February 2, 2014

      But surely we already know from events in 2007 what Merkel is likely to mean by “reform”; then it meant decanting almost all the legal contents of the rejected EU Constitution into what she called her “Reform Treaty”, later to be renamed as the Lisbon Treaty; nothing has happened since then to suggest that she has had a change of heart and now wants “reform” in the opposite direction.

  18. credible
    February 1, 2014


    As you know very well they are playing the system, which is exactly what you would do in their position. You are annoyed because you feel you are not getting what you want and what you believe the people want. Well, welcome to the world most of us live in in today’s Britain.

    I don’t believe for one second that if we were currently out of Europe, you would advocate a referendum about going in, even if there appeared to be popular support.

    Now we have a gagging law that will suppress freedom of speech. Ordinary people will have even less say and risk breaking the law. This country is moving towards a totalitarian state under the watch of a Conservative government.

  19. behindthefrogs
    February 1, 2014

    Parliament hasn’t even debated whether the we should have referendum concerning whether we should allow Scotland to break from the UK. Surely the other nations should have a say in this debate which doesn’t just affect the Scots.

  20. David Phipps
    February 1, 2014

    Mr. Redwood, I am at a total loss to understand this fixation with a referendum in 2017 and Cameron’s stated aim of renegotiating the treaties.

    He can no more renegotiate the treaties than I can, yet you continue to write about this. Surely you both know – and if you don’t, you should do – that treaty change requires a Convention followed by an IGC – a process that will take longer than 2 years.

    As a result, were a referendum to be held in 2017, on what would the public being asked to decide? A ‘status quo’ which was in the course of being changed – the outcome of which would be unknown? Does it really matter then, that a nonsensical bill has been lost?

    This ridiculous agenda that Cameron proposes – and which is supported by you and others in the Conservative Party – has to cease. Its continuation is misleading the British electorate and I would suggest that misleading the electorate is a heinous crime – but then it is a practice in which the political class excel; and have done so for decades.

    And still you and your ilk wonder why politicians are held in such low esteem?

    Reply I want people to have the opportunity to vote to leave the EU. If you are right and the rest of the EU will not offer Mr Cameron a better deal then I suggest it makes exit that much more likely. Why complain?

    1. David Phipps
      February 1, 2014

      Your response is most logical, Mr. Redwood. Unfortunately I note that like all politicians you duck the question I posed. To repeat: how can Cameron renegotiate the treaties and put a question to the electorate by 2017 when he has no power to change the treaties and when he has to undergo the process of Convention and IGC which will take more than 2 years?

      That about which I complain has nothing to do with his intentions, merely his continual deception of the public by maintaining that he will do that which he cannot -and which you and your ilk,together with the Conservative Party mouthpiece Open Europe, publicly support.

      And what of the Spinelli Group’s suggestion for a new Treaty and their call for those member states that will not join the Euro to become ‘Associate’ members? Or is that a subject that will not be broached with the public until it becomes unavoidable?

      Reply In EU affairs there is no fixed way of proceeding. If the other states wanted to help him they could do so quite quickly after 2015, as the states did who signed a non EU Fiscal Treaty recently.

      1. David Phipps
        February 1, 2014

        If by Fiscal Treaty you are referring to The Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union, otherwise known as the Fiscal compact then that is to be incorporated into the Treaties within the next 4 years.

        Where the next step from the LisbonTreaty is concerned – and it is coming as you would know if you paid attention to ‘matters EU’ – is by ‘treaty change’ and that can only be accomplished by a Convention and an IGC. Merkel has already hinted at it and Barroso is due to give a speech prior to the May elections.

        One of Cameron’s aims is to change immigration rules, which encroaches on the principle of free movement. Has not Barroso and Reding not stated that this is a ‘no-go’ area? Cameron attempts to change welfare requirements but cannot as it infringes that same principle of free movement.

        With treaty change coming, you honestly believe the Commission is going to allow some states to’fix things” to their own advantage – especially where the ‘four freedom’s are concerned? If so then I have to say you are deluded; and no offence is intended by my use of the word deluded’.

        Come Spring it is my intention to hold a public meeting, once I have found a suitable venue, the subject of which will be ‘Democracy – and why we haven’t got it’. This will encompass the deficits of representative democracy and the European Union – care to attend and turn it into a public debate?

        I extend the invitation to you – or any other MP, regardless of party – as my MP has publicly informed me that he has no further intention to answer questions I have previously posed him. When an MP can adopt such an attitude then democracy, per se, truly is dead.

        Reply As I have repeatedly said, if the other states will not engage in a UK renegotiation then the people have the opportunity to vote to leave. I suspect a way will be found to change the Treaties. The EU is constantly changing and evolving the way it works, as they did during the Euro crisis.

        1. Denis Cooper
          February 2, 2014

          Well, to be completely accurate about this the convention stage of the ordinary procedure for amendment of the EU treaties can be skipped if the EU Parliament agrees, and in fact that has already happened once since the Lisbon Treaty came into force.

          Page 42 here:

          But that was only a treaty change to allow three surplus German MEPs to keep their seats legally rather than illegally, not the kind of radical treaty changes that Cameron supposedly wants.

      2. Mark B
        February 1, 2014

        It was not a Treaty, it was a Pact.

        1. Denis Cooper
          February 2, 2014

          A treaty but not an EU treaty.

        2. APL
          February 4, 2014

          JR: “a non EU Fiscal Treaty recently. ”

          Mark: “It was not a Treaty, it was a Pact.”

          Denis Cooper: “A treaty but not an EU treaty.”

          A non EU Fiscal Treaty … hmmm! Actually that’d be the EuroZone fiscal treaty? That was vetoed by Cameron? But came into force anyway? That one?

          Calling it a ‘non EU Fiscal Tready’ is highly disengenious, since it only involved countries in the European Union, and also in the Euro Currency Zone. How you can call it a non EU fiscal treaty is …… amusing.

          And yes, when Cameron ‘vetoed’ it, it wasn’t a treaty. But it is a treaty now, so his veto-ing abilities are somewhat tarnished.

          1. Denis Cooper
            February 4, 2014

            There are different terms used to describe agreements made between states, some of which are synonymous while others have slightly different meanings.

            The parties to this agreement call it a “treaty”, their “Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union”:


            So I don’t think it’s really open to anyone else to contradict them and deny that it’s their “treaty”.

            However my reason for saying that it is not an “EU treaty” is that there are EU member states which are not parties to it and ostensibly it has not amended the existing EU treaties, as reflected in the ambition expressed in the preamble:

            “BEARING IN MIND that the objective of the Heads of State or Government of the euro area Member States and of other Member States of the European Union is to incorporate the provisions of this Treaty as soon as possible into the Treaties on which the European Union is founded”.

            That has been misinterpreted by some as meaning that it MUST be incorporated into the EU treaties, but of course under the existing EU treaties that cannot happen unless ALL of the EU member states agree to it happening, and at present the UK would not agree to it.

            Cameron did exercise a veto, a veto over it becoming an EU treaty; but unfortunately he did not stand his ground over the involvement of the EU institutions in general and most crucially he did not stop Merkel dragging the ECJ into it; instead he has allowed the appalling precedent to be set in Article 8 that the ECJ may impose fines on a country for breaching a treaty which is not an EU treaty.

  21. Brian Tomkinson
    February 1, 2014

    JR: “Mr Cameron intends to try again in the next session, and may also use the Parliament Act.”
    Really? Will it be another Private Member’s Bill? If you had no trouble getting it through the HoC why shouldn’t it be a government bill? Why not face up to reality this was only ever intended to try and stop your erstwhile supporters switching to UKIP. It didn’t work and it will make no difference if you try again. Put it in your party manifesto with a pledge that it will not be just advisory, together with the complete list of powers, which if not repatriated, will mean a recommendation by your party for the UK to leave the EU. That won’t happen either and no one would trust or believe your leader if it did.

    Reply It cannot be a government Bill as the Liberal Democrats in the government oppose a referendum! Why do all find it so difficult to grasp that if the Conservatives are in coalition with the Lib Dems we cannot get Eurosceptic measures through as government measures?.

  22. English Pensioner
    February 1, 2014

    Oh for the Swiss electoral system, or that in many of the States in the US, where it is possible for the electors, if they can collect enough signatures, to call for a referendum on any subject that they choose. No ifs or buts, the question has to be put on the voting paper at the next election, and if it gets a majority, it has to be implemented. To me that is real democracy.

    1. sm
      February 2, 2014

      Just pantomine , bread, circuses and the ‘stealthy’ bureaucratic kill. All decided behind closed doors.

      Still waiting for the actions , i guess we really need to vote almost all of them out and hope the ones we vote introduce true democratic reforms with referendums and recalls.

  23. Lindsay McDougall
    February 1, 2014

    Undoubtedly Messrs Clegg and Milliband put their Lordships up to it, although they needed little encouragement. One of the final speakers before the debate ended was the great Welsh windbag himself, spouting inane banalities at great length, as usual.

    We must undoubtedly wreak some form of revenge on their unelected Lordships, and I think that the usual 100 or so ‘rebels’ in the Commons should press for the appointment of 500 Eurosceptic peers. If the Prime Minister refuses to play ball, then write directly to Her Majesty.

    [Are not American spell checkers thoroughly irritating? Just about everything must be hyphenated.]

    Whether or not Mr Cameron uses the Parliament Act or not, it is clear that a referendum is necessary but not sufficient. The Conservative Party as a whole, not just the Prime Minister, should define our negotiating position and insist on it being put in the 2015 manifesto. The ‘red lines’, the deficiencies of the Single Market, and the means of ensuring that we are not sucked into a European Federation against our will, must all be there. Nothing less will do.

    1. uanime5
      February 1, 2014

      Cameron has already appointed hundreds of peers, the majority of whom are likely to be pro-Conservative, so I doubt that any attempt to appoint hundreds more so he can pass any bill he wants will be tolerated by the other parties.

  24. Denis Cooper
    February 1, 2014

    Rather off-topic, I would like to offer some thoughts about the potential significance of certain events over the past couple of weeks.

    By giving her Royal Assent to the European Communities Bill in 1972 the Queen agreed that EU law would have primacy within her United Kingdom, at least according to the prior assertion of the judges on the European Court of Justice based on their perception of the intentions of the parties to the 1957 Treaty of Rome.

    And then by giving her Royal Assent to the European Communities (Amendment) Bill in 1993 she agreed to become a citizen of the Union along with all her subjects in the United Kingdom, including her heir apparent Charles.

    So it is not difficult to envisage a situation where the monarch was reminded that as a citizen of the Union he or she had a duty of allegiance to the Union, and was warned that it would be “illegal” to give Royal Assent to a Bill which contravened EU law.

    Because over the past couple of weeks we have seen a very significant development – senior Tory politicians warning that two proposed amendments to a Bill before the Commons would be “illegal”, the Raab amendment because it would contravene the European Convention on Human Rights as interpreted by the Strasbourg court and the Mills amendment because it would contravene the EU treaties and laws as interpreted by the Luxembourg court, and we have seen that adjective “illegal” widely repeated in the media, and we have seen senior Labour politicians saying they would vote against the Raab amendment because the government had told them it was “illegal”.

    Most people only see the actions of Mills and Raab as an intra-party “rebellion” against the Tory leadership, which of course it was; but if it was accepted that such amendments were “illegal” then that would make it a different kind of rebellion, a rebellion against the EU and against the Council of Europe respectively; and eventually even if there were enough MPs prepared to vote for a Bill which expressly contravened EU law and even if they were prepared to use the Parliament Acts to bypass the Lords there would still be the question of whether the monarch would endorse their rebellion against the EU by giving Royal Assent to that Bill.

    It shows what poor MPs we now have on all sides of the House, with a small minority of honourable exceptions, that when they were told by the government that if they passed a certain law it would be “illegal” they were prepared to take that lying down.

    There should have been uproar, with the Speaker making time for MPs to debate and pass a motion reasserting the sovereignty of Parliament and insisting on their legal right to legislate as they saw fit and censuring the ministers who attempted to deny that right, but far from there being uproar there was just quiet submission.

    And that in itself really tells us all we need to know about the character of most of those we have mistakenly elected to our Parliament.

    1. Feodor
      February 1, 2014

      Denis, you seem to want a parliament not bound by law, where the law is whatever parliament says it is. This is not a proper system of checks and balances, as someone of your constitutional acumen doubtless knows. Drop the charade, please.

      1. Denis Cooper
        February 1, 2014

        Drop what “charade”, please?

        I am merely upholding the traditional view of the sovereignty of our national Parliament as still stated on its website, a view which served us well for centuries and which never resulted in laws so terrible that there was violent revolution as occurred in many other countries:

        “Parliamentary sovereignty is a principle of the UK constitution. It makes Parliament the supreme legal authority in the UK which can create or end any law. Generally, the courts cannot overrule its legislation and no Parliament can pass laws that future Parliaments cannot change. Parliamentary sovereignty is the most important part of the UK constitution.”

        And that principle is still recognised by our judges, for example by Lord Steyn in 1996:

        “in countless decisions the courts have declared the unqualified supremacy of Parliament. There are no exceptions.”

        and more recently by Lord Justice Laws in the Metric Martyrs case.

        As presumably you believe there should be constraints on the legislative supremacy of our national Parliament, what would you suggest?

        That we can elect whomsoever we like to sit in our national Parliament, but then they can be prevented from passing the legislation we want by a web of international treaties rendering certain proposed laws “illegal”, or they can be over-ruled by unaccountable judges foreign or domestic, or perhaps you would prefer a full-blown pan-European federation with a federal constitution reducing our Parliament to a subordinate status?

        Whichever option you preferred you would be effectively disenfranchising the population, so would you want that?

        1. Feodor
          February 2, 2014

          Are you paid by the word Denis?

          Parliament remains ‘the supreme legal authority in the UK which can create or end any law’. If it had wanted to pass the Raab amendment, it would have. This may have been challenged in the relevant supreme courts, whose oversight parliament willingly accepts. There is nothing particularly notable about saying the judiciary, operating under parameters they are bound to act under, would consider a proposal which violates those parameters illegal. If there was parliamentary support, the bill could still pass. It would be challenged and declared illegal. But if there was the parliamentary appetite for it, and especially if backed by public opinion, parliament could re-assert its authority and instruct that the law remain in force anyway. It chooses not to do this, especially on those issues where the proposed bill serves no real necessity and is instead little more than a sop for traditional support bases.

          Yours are just–very loquacious–sour grapes, alongside an inability to think beyond the documents.

          1. Denis Cooper
            February 2, 2014

            I may be “very loquacious” in playing this “charade”, but at least when I write something it is rarely totally incoherent and self-contradictory.

          2. Feodor
            February 3, 2014

            If that’s a euphemism for not understanding subtlety, then yes, I agree, ‘when [you] write something it is rarely totally incoherent and self-contradictory’ (as, it should be said, is often the case with men who continually bang the same old drum). Frivolities aside, Denis, now try and respond to the substance of my comment.

          3. Denis Cooper
            February 3, 2014

            If you can find any substance and say what it is then I might be able to respond to it.

          4. Feodor
            February 3, 2014

            The substance is the large block of text beginning ‘Parliament remains…’ and ending ‘…traditional support bases’. The argument I’ve made is easy enough to understand. If you think it inadequate, then point to the inadequacies. Avoiding the substance merely makes you seem intellectually dishonest, Denis.

            PS. Admin, ‘I am a human’. 😉

          5. Denis Cooper
            February 4, 2014

            OK, as you’re unable or unwilling to extract the substance from your own incoherent and self-contradictory text, and merely resort to further supercilious personal abuse, let me help you out by posing two simple questions to which you can answer just “yes” or “no”.

            1. Do you believe that the UK Parliament is the supreme legal authority for the UK?

            2. Do you believe that the UK Parliament should be the supreme legal authority for the UK?

          6. Feodor
            February 4, 2014

            See below. I appear to have replied in the wrong place. Apologies.

        2. Feodor
          February 2, 2014

          Are you paid by the word Denis?

          Parliament remains ‘the supreme legal authority in the UK which can create or end any law’. If it had wanted to pass the Raab amendment, it would have. This may have been challenged in the relevant supreme courts, whose oversight parliament willingly accepts. There is nothing particularly notable about saying the judiciary, operating under parameters they are bound to act under, would consider a proposal which violates those parameters illegal. If there was parliamentary support, the bill could still pass. It would be challenged and declared illegal. But if there was the parliamentary appetite for it, and especially if backed by public opinion, parliament could re-assert its authority and instruct that the law remain in force anyway. It chooses not to do this, especially on those issues where the proposed bill serves no real necessity and is instead little more than a sop to traditional support bases.

          Yours are just–very loquacious–sour grapes, alongside an inability to think beyond the documents.

        3. Feodor
          February 4, 2014

          They’re not simple yes/no questions, Denis, especially the first. That you refuse to see this is part of the problem.

          1) Ultimately, yes, parliament remains the ‘the supreme legal authority in the UK which can create or end any law’. But that is not the same as saying it is the only legal authority. Do you understand the difference?

          2) At present, yes. (Though if the Scots vote for independence, this question will fast be rendered redundant.)

          PS. As both of these responses could gleaned from an earlier comment of mine which you dismissed out of hand, accusations of haughty disdain are a bit rich!

          1. Denis Cooper
            February 5, 2014

            1) Yes, of course there are other legal authorities in the UK, but the highest is Parliament – that is what the word “supreme” means. Therefore it is illogical to suppose that anything in its Acts can be “illegal” under our law.

            But thanks to media briefings by senior Tories that illogical and misleading proposition was still being repeated by Benedict Brogan in the Telegraph yesterday:


            I will grant to you that when Parliament passes an Act it is always necessary for it to be clear how that Act should be interpreted by the courts in relation to previous Acts, and it should not send conflicting messages which may mislead the courts about its real intentions.

            In particular if Parliament has previously approved an international treaty by an Act but later wishes to legislate contrary to obligations springing from that treaty then the new Act should make it perfectly clear for the courts that Parliament is doing that deliberately and not inadvertently, otherwise it could lead to the kind of rigmarole you attempt to describe.

            The courts’ need for that clarity with respect to the EEC/EC/EU treaties was stated in general terms by Lord Denning in 1979 and reiterated in more specific terms by Lord Justice Laws in 2002, and the same would apply to the European Convention.

            2) I don’t see how Scottish independence would affect the position of the Parliament of the continuing UK as the supreme legal authority for the continuing UK.

          2. Feodor
            February 6, 2014

            I can see your point, Denis. There is definitely a problem with the language used (‘illegal’), though not necessarily the problem you identify.

            For you, ‘illegal’ is either misleading, if parliament is at is says supreme, or revealing, in the sense that it indicates parliament’s sovereignty is increasingly circumscribed by Europe. You seem to be making both arguments, essentially arguing that while parliament says it’s sovereign, in reality it is not.

            By contrast, I’d say the language was neither esp. revealing nor misleading. The adjective I’d pick is lazy (which, granted, can also be unintentionally misleading). Rather than say ‘illegal’, they should have said ‘in violation with treaties parliament has already ratified and which at present there exists no parliamentary majority looking to overturn’. Your objections, I suspect, would have been more muted if this phrasing was employed.

            Perhaps you are right to expect parliamentarians to be more precise in their language. I personally think you’re overly-literal in your thought processes, though at the same time I’d say parliamentarians themselves should realise that this is a possible problem where the issue under debate is one where the gov. vacillates, giving a nod and a wink but not following through with serious support, while the opposition is not given proper time to prepare. It was well below what we should consider acceptable standards of parliamentary practice. And the real danger this presents is not parliament’s sovereignty being circumscribed, it is that parliament loses its legitimacy in the eyes of persons like yourself.

            PS. The point on Scottish independence was a (somewhat contrarian) digression which plays on the idea that if Scotland leaves, then what will be left behind will be something other than the UK.

          3. Denis Cooper
            February 8, 2014

            Of course it is a problem with language, and in this case the correct language is of critical importance.

            Because as applied to an Act of the sovereign legislature of a dualist state the word “illegal” has a meaning and conveys an impression which is quite different from “in breach of an international treaty to which the state is a party”, and which is wrong on a fundamental constitutional level.

            As far as I can see Theresa May did not at any point use the word “illegal” to describe the amendment during the debate in the Commons, and Dominic Raab and several other MPs were emphatic in making the distinction, for example Jacob Rees-Mogg:

            “A principle that we should always state and restate in this House is that, by its very nature, Parliament cannot pass a law that is illegal. We can pass laws that contravene international obligations or that we may decide our diplomatic relations require us to remove or repeal, but Parliament cannot pass an illegal law.”

            Yet somebody in government circles deliberately chose to brief the mass media that the amendment was “illegal”; and a quick google search shows just how widely that totally incorrect impression has now been spread, as far as the pages of the Hereford Times for God’s sake; so why did they choose to do that?

            The answer is that there is a continuing, now decades-long, propaganda war between those in this country who are determined to uphold the continuing sovereignty of their national Parliament, and those who would deny that sovereignty, such as this lady:


            who having been slapped down by Lord Justice Laws in the Metric Martyrs case soon found herself a more congenial position at the EU’s Court of Justice, and there are those in the Tory party who have the same mindset.

  25. BobE
    February 1, 2014

    This Mays elections will be the first broadside. I will watch as ministers scurry for cover. lol

  26. yulwaymartyn
    February 1, 2014

    I have never accepted this referendum as being an extension of democracy or a part of the democratic process. In fact I think it is a con promulgated entirely by the Conservative party for its own ends.

    I fail to understand how such an important issue can be decided by the British people on a single 12 hour day and we all live by the result for the next 40 or so years. [By way of example Daniel Hannan has said personally to me when I asked him this question that if the British decide to stay in the EU by a small majority then he will of course accept the verdict and he has said he will leave politics and go back to journalism.]

    Is that it.? The result of a single vote on a single day decides this issue for the foreseeable future. That is absurd.

    What if, following this referendum, one of the two main parties wins an outright majority at the next general election with a manifesto different to the result of the referendum vote? Who then has the democratic mandate in those circumstances?

    Reply I do not think a political party will campaign for out of the EU if the UK voters have just voted in a referendum to stay in.

    1. Roger Farmer
      February 1, 2014

      The future of the UK and Europe was decided at Waterloo and Trafalgar in around 12 hours so what is wrong with a peaceful solution by way of a referendum.

    2. yulwaymartyn
      February 1, 2014

      JR – thank you for the reply. I think that is a very interesting reply. Do you feel that the parties would agree this as some kind of convention to be observed? If there was an agreement that this issue was now settled, (and as I type this it seems very possible), would you have any view on timescale before another referendum, (ie another 40 years or so). ?

      Furthermore if the governing party of the day decided for more Europe, say joining the Euro, do you think that there would then be the need for another referendum on that particular issue? This apparently being the current policy of the Labour party and Lib Dems or could that be a manifesto issue.?

      Reply By Act of Parliament more Europe as with joining the Euro requires a referendum. It is difficult to say how long parties would accept the will of the people in a referendum, but clearly it would be for more than 5 years or the next Parliament.

      1. Denis Cooper
        February 2, 2014

        JR, you know that Act of Parliament has been designed with multiple loopholes, and in any case it is not entrenched against normal repeal and it would only be necessary to write something like “notwithstanding any provision of the European Union Act 2011” into the Bill to take us into the euro without a referendum and that would be that.

        Reply The whole point is Conservative MPs want a referendum, are seeking to enact one this Parliament for next, will honour that Act if it is passed, or will pass a new one if it has not passed, assuming we have a majority. We have won this battle! Try and support and understand instead of always assuming the worst.

    3. Mark B
      February 1, 2014

      I agree with what you have said in your first paragraph.

      As to the rest:

      1) We were never asked or consulted about joining. A small group of people decided the fate of an entire Nation, its people, their livelihoods (fishing), and our democracy based on what ?

      2) Referendums are not legally binding. And they can always make us take it again.

      3) None of the main political parties, including the Nationalist ones, what to leave the EU. They have no exit plan, that’s how you can tell they do not want to leave.

  27. Ken Adams
    February 1, 2014

    So they killed a bill introduced because nobody trusts your leader to keep his word. Perhaps you would have been better advised to get rid of such an untrustworthy individual and replace him with someone who can be trusted.

  28. Antisthenes
    February 1, 2014

    This does say a lot about the mindset of politicians especially those on the left. When something is popular with the voters and politicians agree with it they use that to push through parliament legislation. However when something is popular with the voters and not with politicians they ensure that those very same voters do not have any opportunity to influence the actions of those politicians. That to my mind is not how democracy is supposed to work. Perhaps we should take a leaf out of the Swiss book and make calling a referendum much easier and mostly in the hands of the people. I would of course go a lot further but then I have set out my ideas of direct democracy many time before on Mr Redwoods blogs and others.

  29. Bazman
    February 1, 2014

    The smoking in car one was interesting. More smokers rights. As if they have any. Smoke it up boys.

  30. Bazman
    February 1, 2014

    They abstained John as you have done in the past. Remind us what we pay MP’s for if they abstain from voting on anything?

  31. bigneil
    February 1, 2014


    – -is there any plans to stop the “2 foreigners marrying here just to get UK visas and benefits for all eternity” sham marriages scheme

    surely it would be better to have the visa /benefit laws altered that make the “industry” totally worthless to do.

  32. uanime5
    February 1, 2014

    Given the way the Conservatives opposed AV and killed off the Lords reform bill it’s somewhat hypocritical of them to complain when Labour and the Lib Dems block the bills they supported.

  33. Richard
    February 1, 2014

    Mr. Redwood,

    I do not find it strange that two parties who love the EU and all its works, want us to stay in, yet are determined to deny the rest of us a say in a referendum.

    It is obvious they do not believe in democracy when there exists a chance that we may vote to leave the EU.

    Mr. Cameron must be very happy this weekend.
    The Lords have killed off the referendum bill, which was a nonsense anyway, as others above have explained, and Mr. Hollande did as requested and popped over for lunch to give us the message that he is not interested in any treaty negotiations in the time scale Mr. Cameron has set out for us.

    Mr. Cameron has only allowed this bill to exist to give voters the impression that the Conservative Party is willing to give the electorate a vote on EU membership. In reality Mr. Cameron does not wish us to leave the EU and neither do the majority of of Conservative MPs which makes the Conservative Party identical to the other two main parties as far as EU membership is concerned.

    The fact that senior Conservative MPs are calling for their eurosceptic rebels to quieten down simply shows that for these Conservatives winning the election is more important than democracy.

    So anyone wishing to express their desire to leave the EU should do so by not voting LibLabCon at any election.

    Although these alternative candidates may not gain sufficient votes to gain any seats the total number of votes cast will eventually provide a powerful force for the necessity for a referendum which LibLabCon cannot resist.

    In fact what is strange for me is that Labour voters still vote Labour when they are the group who have lost most through EU membership and hence immigration and will continue to do so as the EU empire expands into Turkey and beyond.

  34. Mark B
    February 1, 2014

    John Redwood MP said;

    “It is strange world where two parties love the EU and all its works, want us to stay in, yet are determined to deny the rest of us a say in a referendum.”

    According to Lord Kerr, and many, many others, we would not be able to have a referendum before 2017 due to a new treaty being drawn up.
    See the bottom piece in, Christopher Bookers column.

    So, right result in the end. The reason the other two, of the three pro-EU parties did not vote, was because they did not want to be part of this sham, not because they did not want us to have our say. That, and the fact that just about everybody has rubbished the idea, I think it has, on the quiet, worked out well for the pro-EU Cameron and Conservative Party.

    1. Denis Cooper
      February 2, 2014

      I too think that it has worked out quite well for the Tories vis-à-vis Labour and the LibDems, in PR terms, and it could even be worth a small reduction in the Labour lead in the opinion polls, maybe as much as percentage point off their average lead of about 6%, and the Tory party would not have been able to milk much more benefit from the exercise even if the Bill had passed. However if it does come up again in the summer that would refresh memories and give the Tory party a bit more help.

      Obviously if the Bill did pass then Labour would not go into the next election loudly proclaiming that they would instantly repeal it, instead they would be more subtle and point out that circumstances may change to such an extent that it would not be sensible to have the government rigidly committed to holding an EU referendum at an arbitrary date fixed in 2014.

      And of course if he was still Prime Minister Cameron could use the same kind of excuse for postponing or cancelling the referendum, which would only require Parliament to pass a short Act either to just change the date in the referendum Act or to repeal it in its entirety; Wharton’s Bill has no provision to entrench the Act against normal repeal and it is unlikely there would be any problem getting that new Act through either House.

      Reply There is no way Conservative MPs would vote to stop a referendum!

      1. Denis Cooper
        February 2, 2014

        Well, you may think that but in the past Conservative MPs have voted to approve successive EEC/EC/EU treaties without any referendum, and even when they knew that there were calls for a referendum, and the present lot of Conservative MPs obediently approved the EU treaty change demanded by Merkel to legalise future eurozone bailouts even though they knew that Cameron had got nothing substantive in return for his assent, so I’m afraid that I can’t share your confidence about what Conservative MPs may or may not do in the future.

        By the way, please could you tell your system that I am human and not a spambot as it keeps suggesting? I’ve repeatedly told it that but it doesn’t seem to believe me.

  35. Steve Cox
    February 2, 2014

    If ever there was a clear demonstration of just how flawed our supposed democracy is and why we need a fully elected Upper House then this is it. Perhaps Cameron should have let Clegg have his way on getting serious HoL reform started? Time to throw out all the old dross, the hereditary land thieves and cattle robbers, the irrelevant bishops, and all the appointed toadies who do their political master’s bidding without ever having to worry about answering to the electorate.

  36. theyenguy
    February 3, 2014

    You write, It is strange world where two parties love the EU and all its works, want us to stay in, yet are determined to deny the rest of us a say in a referendum.

    Dear Sir, please don’t weep, this was fated by Jesus, acting in the economy of God, as presented by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 1:10.

    The UK was once the centerpiece of a global empire that spread across the globe. But its failure as a global hegemonic empire, is like that coming to the US Dollar hegemonic empire, as this one flows as well into the beast empire of iron diktat regional economic governance, and clay totalitarian collectivism of debt servitude.

    Labour’s and Lib Dems’s actions were simply the nail in the coffin to decisively and thoroughly terminate the power of the once mighty British Empire.

    All empires have been based upon sovereignty and seigniorage; and most have been established on a debt based money system which established seigniorage wealth.

    Sovereignty is defined as the Sovereign’s policies and schemes which establish economic life, and which define the nature of the person. Since 2008, liberalism’s two persons, created by the democratic nation state banker regime, were the investor experiencing investment choice, and the client experience clientelism.

    Seigniorage is defined as the credit and flow of the Seignior, that is the top dog banker, who in coining money takes a cut, which defines the nature of economic life.

    Liberalism’s peak economic experience came through the coordinated efforts of the world’s central banks in establishing Global ZIRP, which created a crack up boom in risk assets, as the dynamos of economic action, these being creditism, corporatism, globalism, and clientelism, which facilitated inflationism, producing peak moral hazard based seigniorage wealth.

    Liberalism sovereignty and seigniorage secured the Means of Economic Inflationism, where Milton Friedman and Ben Bernanke, using the Benchmark Interest Rate, ^TNX, under Global ZIRP, fathered and favored the investor and the client.

    Liberalism’s economy died in January 2014 with the collapse of the Emerging Markets; this coming with the death of fiat money on October 23, 2013, and the death of fiat wealth on January 24, 2014.

    But twin extinction events, terminated liberalism, and as a result its creation, that being the investor and the client died, as greed turned to fear that the world central banks’ monetary policies have crossed the rubicon of sound monetary policy and have made “money good” investments bad.

    The first extinction event was the bond vigilantes calling the Interest Rate on the US Ten Year Note, ^TNX, higher from 2.48%, on October 23, 2013, which terminated fiat money, defined as the combination of Aggregate Credit, AGG, and Major World Currencies, DBV, and Emerging Market Currencies, CEW.

    The second extinction event was the bond vigilantes calling interest rate on the Emerging Market Local Currency Bonds, EMLC, higher, and the currency traders calling the Japanese Yen, FXY, higher, and Emerging Market Currencies, CEW, lower, which forced the investor to derisk and delverage out of the Emerging Market, EEM.

    Thus in January 2014, Destiny passed The Bow of Economic Sovereignty from democratic nation states and the world central banks, to regional sovereigns and regional sovereign bodies; these are now growing in political capital, and its authority to establish regional economic fascism, replacing all isms, such as crony capitalism, European Socialism, Greek Socialism, and Communism. Regional economic fascism is fated to be the singular, all inclusive, economic experience, as the ships of state flounder, and sink in the tossing sea of debt deflation driven, competitive currency devaluation.

    Regionalism is establishing a new debt based money system, that being the diktat money system, where regional overlords, ruling in each one of the world’s ten regions in mandates of regional economic governance, and in debt servitude schemes of totalitarian collectivism unifying all of mankind’s seven institutions, establish regional security, stability and sustainability.

    News reports reflect that the beast empire is now rising out of waves Club Med sovereign, banking, and corporate insolvency. It has the feet of a bear in banking supervision in Frankfurt; mouth of a lion in Berlin, as DW reports German FM vows more aggressive foreign policy; and coat of a leopard in fiscal supervision in Brussels, where a One Euro Government, that is a Eurozone Superstate, featuring a banking union, military union, and fiscal-debt union will form as leaders meet in summits to renounce national sovereignty and annonce regional pooled sovereignty as they set forth regional framework agreements, as these constitute the constitution of regional economic governance.

    If this were not enough, please consider that Bible prophecy foretells that the beast regime will be accompanied by the Sovereign, Europe’s New Charlemagne, as well as by the Seignior, that is the Top Dog Money Lord; and that they will forge, the new normal seigniorage wealth of diktat, and they will coin its peer, diktat money, out of their fiery words, will and way.

    Their sovereignty be Deutungshoheit in nature. There is only one sovereignty, and it provides only one life experience. Deutungshoheit is defined as interpretational sovereignty and connotes supremacy in all things, the result being German economic, banking, credit, and military supremacy, over all of the Eurozone. German linguist Thorsten Pattberg relates Deutungshoheit is a German word meaning “having the sovereignty over the definition of thought,” sometimes also called “the prerogative of final explanation.”

    Authority now longer resides in democracy; now Obrigkeit, as the Germans say, resides in beast regime’s policies of diktat in regional governance in all of the world’s ten regions, and has affect in schemes of debt servitude in totalitarian collectivism in each of the world’s seven institutions.

  37. James Reade
    February 3, 2014

    Enlighten me, John. I’m not a politician, or a political scientist, so perhaps you can explain something that’s confusing me.

    I thought a principle in UK politics was not to bind a successor government with some legislation passed?

    If so, why then castigate those that killed the bill as if they are the dishonourable ones?

    And when talking about the popularity of such movements, could you cite me a few polls? My understanding is that outside the bubble that is the Tory backbenches, nobody could really give a monkeys. When did you last consult your constituents and give them a say on this matter?

    Reply I regularly consult constituents and read polls. People do want a referendum. Parliament constantly binds successors by pushign through EU derived laws we cnanot later change.

    1. James Reade
      February 5, 2014

      Well if we can exit the EU, then we obviously can later change the rules. I believe you know what the principle is that I’m referring to, but you choose to obfuscate – and then accuse others of being dishonourable…

      On public opinion, YouGov would appear to challenge your belief that Europe is at the forefront of the electorate’s concerns…

  38. Lindsay McDougall
    February 5, 2014

    What is wrong with my suggestion of appointing 500 Eurosceptic peers PDQ? That’s a serious question.

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