95 MPs sent the Prime Minister a letter about the EU. We did so, not as rebels, but as Conservatives keen to build on the PM’s policy of renegotiating our relationship with the EU and then offering all of us a vote on the results. The British people will decide whether to stay in or leave.
The immediate reason for the letter was the publication of a very important European Affairs Select Committee report . This unanimous piece of work, agreed by members of all the parties on the Committee, proposed that in future the UK should reserve the right to decline to implement a European measure, or to repeal an existing one, where it is not in the UK’s national interest.
This would strengthen our bargaining hand when it comes to renegotiation that we have taken this power. It would mimic the German position. Germany reserves the right not to implement European matters where they are at variance with her constitution. Disputes are settled by the German constitutional court. The UK equivalent is the supremacy of Parliament, and the decision of Parliament in a few crucial cases to assert our rights.
Some say you could not have a working EU if countries take this line. We know that is untrue, because Germany already practises this. We used to belong to the EEC and then the EU whilst preserving a European version of the veto called the Luxembourg Compromise. This was first deployed by France, and was a useful way of protecting the national interest if all else had failed in the discussion with other member states.
We 95 have merely urged the government to respond positively to the Committee Report. If they do so they will have a stronger negotiating hand. They will also please the majority of the UK people, who clearly want Brussels to govern us less and Parliament more. We need to sort out dear energy, borders and criminal justice matters with more input at home.