John Redwood made two interventions in the Commons debate on the Lisbon Treaty yesterday. He stressed the need to devote sufficient time to debating its implications, over and above the limited time currently allocated by the government. Such careful consideration is needed now, since the treatyâ€™s dubious opt-in system is very wrongly paraded by the government as a protection of Parliamentâ€™s decision-making powers.
The interventions, taken from Hansard, follow.
(1) <strong>Mr. John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con):</strong> Does my right hon. Friend think that the reason why the Minister needs only an hour and a half for amendments on each of the topics is that the Government have only one argumentâ€”â€œWeâ€™ve given the powers away, weâ€™ll drive the Bill through with Liberal Democrat votes and we donâ€™t care a damn what you think about it allâ€?
<strong>Mr. Hague: </strong>My right hon. Friend is certainly right that the Government want to drive the Bill through, although I suspect that this evening they will not have even the Liberal Democratsâ€™ votes, so I shall not be as rude about them as I usually am. No doubt the hon. Member for North Southwark and Bermondsey (Simon Hughes) will make his case in a momentâ€”or for most of the evening, in all probability.
(2) <strong>Mr. Redwood:</strong> Would my right hon. Friend confirm that the danger of the opt-in system is that if the Government opt in, we cannot debate the matters in question in a future general election, offer to change a particular view or get powers back because it is a one-way ratchet? That is why we need hours of time to consider this grave step that takes away the peopleâ€™s right to change their minds and have a better Government.
<strong>Mr. Hague:</strong> Once again, I agree with my right hon. Friend.