John Redwood intervenes again on Lisbon Treaty Debate

<strong>Last night in the Commons John Redwood was again prominent in the ranks of MPs remonstrating against the inevitable loss of Parliament’s legislative powers if the Lisbon Treaty is ratified. </strong>

John Redwood’s three interventions, taken from Hansard, follow.

<strong>Mr. John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): </strong>Why did the Home Secretary not just say that Great Britain wishes to keep in place the original architecture—outside the EU treaty and European Court of Justice jurisdiction—and to co-operate with other member states where appropriate, so that we preserve our veto and future Parliaments can change their mind if they wish? The problem with her system is that future Parliaments will be bound by any decision she makes.

<strong>Jacqui Smith: </strong>I made it absolutely clear that I felt—I shall outline this when I make some progress in my speech—that having the benefits of taking EU co-operation forward through the new treaty arrangements alongside the protection of UK interests negotiated through our opt-ins on a range of justice and home affairs areas was the right balance to deliver the sorts of results that we wanted.

<strong>Mr. Redwood: </strong>Will the Home Secretary tell us how she would have felt if the previous outgoing Conservative Government had passed a series of laws that Labour did not like and had locked them all in by means of an opt-in so that they could not be repealed without the consent of most of the other member states? Is that a democratic way of proceeding?

<strong>Jacqui Smith: </strong>I would have hoped that any Government had negotiated hard in Britain’s interest. I would have hoped to see negotiating success such as that which we have seen in this case, although I am not sure that that Conservative Government would have achieved it. I also would have expected lengthy and detailed scrutiny of the proposals, along the same lines as that which we are carrying out and that will take place over the coming days. That is what the Government are delivering.

Mr. Redwood: Will my hon. Friend confirm that, every time the Government opt in to an area of competence under the treaty, the House can no longer reach a free and independent view and repeal and amend it and it cannot be debated sensibly in a general election? The people, as well as Parliament, have lost their power.

<strong>Mr. Grieve:</strong> My right hon. Friend is right and I shall deal with that point towards the end of remarks.


  1. John Broughon
    January 30, 2008


    You say that power once granted to Brussels it can never be repatriated.

    Equally all (possibly) MPs and the electorate subscribe to the view that one parliament cannot bind its successor.

    These two viewpoints are diametrically opposed.

    Please will you explain this to me a many other euro realists in this country.

    On a somewhat different aspect of the same problem can you also explain why the current government of this country wishes to hand over power to Brussels and render themselves impotent politically?

    Finally, sorry to bang on, when will William H and David C give an unequivocal promise to hold a referendum on this treaty/constitution if railroaded through parliament?

    Reply: We have said we want a referendum on the Treaty and are vocal in Parliament for it and will vote for it. The challenge is to persuade more Lib Dem and Labour MPs to join us in the lobbies.
    Officials like power passing to Brussels, because it means they can influence legislaiton for a large area without having to worry about the reaction of Parliament and people. This group of Ministers seems to go along with it, because they clearly do not believe they can influence it for the better, and never want to have a big row with the EU

  2. John Broughon
    January 31, 2008


    Sorry to be repetative but what happened to one parliament cannot bind its successor please?

    Reply: That ceased to be true when we joined the EU, unless politicians are prepared to amend our memebrship unilaterally if necessary.

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    February 5, 2009

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