It was typical of Mr Miliband that he used a good phrase out of time and when it was not true. Mr Cameron used the veto , refusing a UK signature on the proposed new Treaty before Christmas, and then renewed the same veto this week. He has made it crystal clear that the UK will not sign the proposed Treaty, will not surrender more powers, will not submit its budgets to Euro style controls. I for one am relieved Mr Cameron was doing the negotiating rather than the Labour leader. Labour in office gave away huge powers at Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon.
Some smell treachery nonetheless, saying that Mr Cameron should also have made sure the European Court of Justice will not adjudicate in matters arising from the Treaty of the 25 proposed this week. Labour, of course, negotiated the UK into an arrangement under the existing Treaties where the Euro area requirements of the 17 are under the ECJ and serviced by the EU, even though 10 other states are not members. They allowed the idea of “enhanced co-operation” to become established. This means they do already have Treaty powers to run a club within the club.
I and my colleagues have no wish to see new powers gained by the ECJ as a result of a Treaty of the 25. We have been told by Mr Cameron that he has placed a veto on any new ECJ powers over the UK, and would resort to legal challenge if the UK felt the ECJ was acting incorrectly in pursuit of a non EU Treaty by the 25. Many of us will be watching progress on just this.
Some of us will also be very surprised if this Treaty comes to pass in anything like its current form. It will presumably need the referendum approval of the Irish and maybe others. The front runner for French President says he wants to scrap the current version and wants fundamental revision. Other countries are keeping a low profile but may have ratification problems ahead if it comes to that. The Czechs have jumped ship since Christmas.
This one will run and run. It is good that the UK has consistently placed a veto on any of this applying to us. The UK now needs to play its hand well over any extension of ECJ power over other members.