John Redwood on the Liberal Democrat Walkout of Parliament

Yesterday in Parliament, John Redwood was quick to denounce the LibDem walk-out during the Lisbon Treaty debate. His intervention, taken from Hansard, follows.

Mr. Redwood: Does the Minister agree that it is a discourtesy to him and the House that the Liberal Democrats, after synthetic anger about their broken promise, should now have almost entirely removed themselves from the Chamber when those most important issues, in which they say that they are interested, are up for debate? We should now ask: where are they?

Mr. Murphy: That is not an issue for the Government or for any individual Minister. All that I would say in passing is that on the issue of Europe, the Liberal Democrats, in principle, see the benefits of our continued membership and continued involvement in the European Union and support the reforms in the treaty. As to the conduct of individual Members of Parliament, that is an issue for the Speaker or the occupant of the Chair, not for Government Ministers.

Later in the debate, Mr Redwood asked the Minister to confirm the firgures on power transfers under successive Governments. The question in full, taken from Hansard, follows.

Mr. Redwood: The Minister is right that there has been a progressive surrender of powers and a progressive increase in qualified majority voting, but to ensure that the record is accurate, will he confirm that qualified majority voting has been granted in 10 times as many areas since 1997 as were granted by Baroness Thatcher?

Mr. Murphy: The fact was that—[Hon. Members: “Yes.”] No, I disagree with the right hon. Gentleman’s analysis of Europe and, looking at the figures, I disagree with his analysis of qualified majority voting. The Single European Act made 12 such moves and the Maastricht treaty, which he supported, made 32 moves. There were 26 moves under the Amsterdam treaty and 32 under the Nice treaty, while the Lisbon treaty, as we have all discussed, makes 51 extensions.