We read this week-end that the government is responding to the vote on Monday. We hear the Foreign Office is masterminding an exercise to ask all government departments what powers they would like to regain, with a view to drawing up a possible negotiating brief.
Reading between the lines , there is still an issue over the timing of any such renegotiation. Those of us who say we need a bigger price for granting more power to Euroland to bail out each other, have not yet heard that the government intends to dig in over this “technical change which does not affect us” with a view to getting a better deal for the UK. They seem to have in mind delaying further negotiations until other possible Treaty changes are discussed. Euroland may need more changes to strengthen economic government on the back of the “save the world” package we have just been treated to in outline.
There also remains a disagreement between those of us who say real powers are being given away continuously through Directives and Regulations, whilst the Foreign Secretary only counts powers given away in a new Treaty.The Prime Minister does now recognise the powers being surrendered over the City without a new Treaty as a serious threat. This is a welcome development. His worry could lead to a more vigorous approach to new law and regulation by the government.
I would like to hear from you over your priorities for repatriation. I appreciate many of you just want to pull out of the whole EU in one go. This option is not favoured by most MPs, and there is nowhere near a majority either for pulling out or even for an IN/Out referendum. That is why we do need to respond positively to the newfound enthusiaism for powers back. This policy is clearly endorsed by a very large majority of the UK electorate.
The powers could include:
1. Resumption of UK control of borders and entry policy, including people coming from the rest of the EU. (The UK used to have an opt out from the common migration policy under the Conservatives)
2. Return of powers to make our own employment and social laws. (The UK did have an opt out from the Social Chapter under the Conservatives)
3. Return of fishing policy. (The Comon Fishery Policy only applies to Northern Europe, not the Med. It has been unpopular with all political parties in the UK for many years)
4. Return of Agricultural Policy
5. End of any more opt ins to Criminal Justice Policy, and ending the Common European Arrest Warrant in the UK
6. Smaller EU budget and larger UK rebate (Labour gave away part of the rebate successfully negotiated by Mrs Thatcher)
7. Environmental policies – return of powers to settle our own approach to energy
8. Financial regulation
For the UKIP supporters who will write in to condemn what we are trying to achieve, I have two simple questions. What power have the UKIP MEPs got back for us? And what progress have the UKIP MEPs made to getting the UK out of the EU in line with their stated policy?