Is Parliament still sovereign?

This will be the title of tomorrow’s blog. If anyone has received a short and badly typed piece on this topic today, that is because the computer apparently sent out a half finished first draft with poor  typing at high speed. Please ignore. As soon as I saw what it was doing I sought to retrieve.

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    Posted November 22, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Sovereign, how can it be when the UK government has to use Veto’s to make decisions, it’s pathetic they have to go cap in hand to Europe !!
    We all know that a big percentage of UK rules-laws are made in Brussels.
    We need an independent UK so we can make independent decisions about OUR COUNTRY.

    Why is it so difficult to have a referendum (clear simple in-out) on Europe.
    I would like to live in a true sovereign Britain and would like to see a return to democracy, not be part of some faceless European soviet style superstate, along with the vast majority of British citizens.

    • uanime5
      Posted November 22, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

      The main problem is that if the UK leaves the EU we will only have restricted access to the EU markets (like every other country outside the EU). Given that over 50% of the UK’s exports go to the EU leaving will cause major problems in the short and medium term.

      • Nicol Sinclair
        Posted November 23, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

        Unanime5: Bollocks! What about WTO?

        As for the “50% of the UK’s exports go to the EU”, what %age of that is then re-exported ‘abroad’ from the EU? Need to compare like with like…

      • Edward
        Posted November 23, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

        Given that we are Germany’s major European export market I dont see Germany who are the dominant country in the EU, being happy if there was a trade war between the UK and the rest of the EU.
        We could quckly match any tariffs that may be placed in our way by the EU.

        By the way its not 50%, its 46% and falling and its even less than that because of the Antwerp and Rotterdam effect, as you well know.

        Given the USA have restricted access to the EU I dont see any lack of USA products in the shops all over Europe.
        Although in overall EU trade terms the UK is only 10% of the EU’s total exports, the UK is a significant market for France and Germany and they will want to keep trade free and open even if we were outside the EU.
        There could be short term difficulties if we had a reduced membership or left the EU totally but there is a world out there and I do feel you are worrying unduly.
        For example Jaguar Land Rover’s biggest and fastest growing market is now China

  2. Tad Davison
    Posted November 22, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    So, we must ask the question, who got us into this awful EU mess in the first place?

    Who was it that fought tooth and claw, and took the UK ever closer, and by whatever devious means they could, despite sound and reason and logic, and in flagrant disregard of public opinion?

    Surely then, we cannot trust those same people to do the right thing and extricate us from it now?

    Would you trust a car salesman to finally sell you a decent car, when he’s been selling you costly, unreliable junk for years?

    We need a completely different relationship with the EU, and one that re-establishes our own parliament’s supremacy, but don’t expect the bulk of the present crop to do anything other than flap and flounder, and tinker around the edges.

    Personally, I like the stance taken by UKIP. If we remain even a tiny part of the EU poltical process, the whole mess can happen all over again. We must sever the creeping tentacles of EU federalism altogether (and that’s TENTACLES, the other kind is severely lacking!)

    If in doubt, get us out!

    Tad Davison


    • uanime5
      Posted November 22, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

      The only relationship you can have with the EU where you don’t have to obey EU law is one like the USA has, where you have limited access to the EU markets and are subject to tariffs.

      • Bob
        Posted November 23, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Permalink


        Since they sell £50,000,000,000 worth of goods more to us than we do to them, how likely is it that they would cut of their nose to spite their face?

        If they did, it would tell you all you need to know about the EU.

      • Edward
        Posted November 23, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

        I don’t see any shortages of USA products in the shops in Europe.
        Take Apple oe Nike products for example. Europe is one of their biggest markets so they seem to manage OK

  3. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 22, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Yes, Parliament is still sovereign, the supreme legal authority for the United Kingdom, even though too many of its members in both Houses prefer that it doesn’t exercise its continuing legal sovereignty and a fair number of them would prefer to see it reduced to a non-sovereign body subordinated within a pan-European federation.

    However it has to be understood that while legally the UK Parliament is still sovereign and can make or unmake any law, it is not omnipotent and therefore it may not be in a position to enforce certain laws which it could in theory pass, for example hypothetical laws to reverse the previous laws granting independence to former colonies.

  4. Wilko
    Posted November 22, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Probably not, in many ways. If the UK’s ‘Supreme Court’ makes a decision which is nullified by another, it is hardly supreme.

  5. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted November 22, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    I look forward to reading it.

  6. WitteringsfromWitney
    Posted November 22, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    This post is going to be interesting then if we are to get your views on whether Parliament is still sovereign. Was it ever?

  7. lifelogic
    Posted November 22, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Well it cannot control its own borders, cannot prevent prisoners voting, cannot have insurance that reflects real gender risks or even take VAT off insulation products – does anyone still think it is sovereign?

    Certain not with the coalition in charge.

    • lifelogic
      Posted November 22, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      I see the new BBC DG is another dreaded Oxford PPE graduate too Keeble.

      It seems there was no due process it just seems he was offered the job apparently from BBC reports is this legal given all the silly employment laws.

      Needless to say in the interview with Lord Patten (on PM) Lord Patten was not asked if he a put a clause in giving the new DG £450K should he feel the need to resign in a few days time. Nor indeed was he asked if he though he should have resigned for putting such silly clauses in last time and for an existing BBC staffer – at least we save on head hunters it seems this time but he is still to be paid and no doubt pensioned at about three times the going rate for the job.

      • Edward
        Posted November 22, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

        I too would question if this (overpaid) top job at the BBC was properly advertised, with a short list drawn up and a careful lengthy selection and interview process followed, as required by all the regulations that are put upon us when selecting any staff in the private sector.
        Just another white middle aged, middle class, metropolitan elite chap, drawn out of that very small gene pool.
        Rather like premiership football managers the same old names keep moving around these organisations, often failing, getting fabulous pay offs, before popping up again, like bad pennies, somewhere else.
        Or did one of his mates at the Beeb just phone him up and ask…do you fancy having a go?

        • Nicol Sinclair
          Posted November 23, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

          “…top job at the BBC was properly advertised, with a short list drawn up and a careful lengthy selection and interview process followed, as required by all the regulations that are put upon us when selecting any staff in the private sector.”

          We don’t know, of course, but it would be (very) nice to be told what procedures were followed – if any. For me, without more information on the procedures, the recruitment stinks although Lord Hall may well prove himself to be the best man for the job…

    • APL
      Posted November 22, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

      lifelogic: ” or even take VAT off insulation products ”

      VAT of course, is a foreign imposed tax.

      • APL
        Posted November 23, 2012 at 9:52 am | Permalink


        Also the most prone to fraud and with the greatest adverse impact on businesses to boot.

        In fact as taxes go, it is the worst of all possible worlds.

  8. Mike Stallard
    Posted November 22, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    I very much look forward to reading your thoughts on Parliament of which you are a long standing MP.

  9. DadOf3
    Posted November 22, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Parliament is sovereign but it is not above the law. A government that can do as it pleases is a dictatorship. The principles of Magna Carta are as vital today as ever.

    • lifelogic
      Posted November 23, 2012 at 6:50 am | Permalink

      But whose or which court’s interpretation of the law prevails and for what reasons, that is surely the question?

  10. Iain Gill
    Posted November 22, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Oh dear the government has further widened the (opening) of the intra company transfer visa entry route allowing the Indian outsourcing movement to (compete against) UK jobs and intellectual property ever more!

    Apparently because Cameron’s “business advisory” committee told him to! (queries personnel on committee withotu giving whole list)Expect complete anyalation at the ballot box if this is the mismanagement of the economy we are to continue to tolerate

    Where is the voice of the majority of the population on immigration in parliament?

  11. Pleb
    Posted November 22, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Ultimately we won’t need a government because civil servants will be able to impliment the decisions made from Brussels. It proves that turkeys do vote for christmas.

  12. ReefKnot
    Posted November 22, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    If our Parliament is not Sovereign then what is the point of having a Parliament ? We should not forget that Parliament derives its sovereignty from the People, who lend it to Parliament and if Parliament has no Sovereignty then neither have the People. We should recognise that their Sovereignty cannot in truth ever be taken away – it is inalienable, regardless of any pieces of paper that politicians sign. Therefore the People are always Sovereign and so is any Parliament they may care to convene.

    • Nicol Sinclair
      Posted November 23, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      Hear, hear!

  13. Max Dunbar
    Posted November 22, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    The Judiciary seem to get off rather lightly in all this. Parliamentary sovereignty has looked somewhat diminished by some of their judgements recently.

  14. Socrates
    Posted November 22, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    It’s a case of heads th EU wins tails Britain loses.

  15. Old Albion
    Posted November 22, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    Don’t bother re-typing it John. The answer is NO !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Electro-Kevin
    Posted November 22, 2012 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    “…that is because the computer apparently sent out a half finished first draft with poor typing at high speed.”

    What have I told you about texting whilst driving !

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted November 22, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

      Yes. Of course Parliament is still sovereign.

      The EU is a good cover for those in our country who wish to change Britain against the will of the public.

    • Nicol Sinclair
      Posted November 23, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink


  17. uanime5
    Posted November 22, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    Somehow I doubt foreign companies will invest in the UK if the UK acts in a xenophobic manner, with a total disregard for the courts and human rights.

    One has to question the morality of MPs when the only ECHR judgement they refuse to obey is the one that effects how they’re elected.

    • Bob
      Posted November 23, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      You cannot refer to the British as xenophobic.
      They are one of the most open societies in the world.
      If anything, that openness is a reason to doubt the sanity of the system, we have a loyal soldier locked up for one and a half years for a perceived breach of firearm regulations, and a known terrorist walking free and living off of the British taxpayer.
      Go figure!

    • Edward
      Posted November 23, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      Given that MP’s are merely following the wishes of the majority of electors in this nation its a democratic decision.
      Its not a human right, its a civic right or one could say a civil right.
      They lose many human rights when they do the acts which get them into a prison cell.

  18. Christopher Ekstrom
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 2:12 am | Permalink

    Despite every sort of special pleading that free MP’s of all demands of patriotism & conscience in the final analysis you are as Sovereign as you ACT! So next time you look the other way for Cast Iron Davey Boy & allow your people to be mislead a little bit more; well that’s Parliment losing the only true Sovereignty: their good faith with the people.

  19. David Langley
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Alarm, Alarm, Achtung. I read that Cameron has proposed that cuts be inflicted on the Eurocrats as part of the reduction in EU spending plans. If this is supposed to be part of his no to an increase in Budget payments why? What we want is to pay no money to the EU at all. If this is just a bit of a sop to allow the payments as usual it more on the lines “if you dont hit me any more I will give you my toffee apple”. I am not impressed by his amateur negotiation skills. The proposed reduction in pensions and pay to the Eurocrats is a drop in the ocean to the money we pay. It also suggests that he is going to compromise which in the EU means give in.

  20. David Langley
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    I think we decided some time ago that we are really not sovereign. The Queen is our sovereign but her powers have been vastly diluted by successive PM,s acting no doubt on advice. I signed up for God, Queen and Country, I think it was in that order, I never believed in God, thought the Queen had the ultimate power as head of the armed forces, and obeying my country I took to not behave in any treasonous activity and do as I was told by my elders and betters.
    Understanding our Laws and regulations has been a lifetimes experience, I do believe that signing away various freedoms in favour of EU regulations and Laws would be treasonous to me. My Queen and Parliament has supreme authority, and no person can give that away. Attempts to do so either by coercion or failing to understand what they do is no excuse. I am afraid that the Tower should be the destination of all those who signed up to the Treaty of Rome and all subsequent acts giving the EU Council the rights to dictate what laws and regulations and directives we must obey or face fines from the EU Court.
    I maintain they have no jurisdiction over me and I would go to jail rather than pay any EU fines. etc etc

  21. Pleb
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    Cameron, playing to Eurosceptical images of Brussels “fat cats”, targeted the roughly 60 billion euros earmarked for EU salaries and benefits in 2014-20 for deep cuts, insisting that European officials endure similar reductions in numbers and pay as national officials in some countries.
    He handed Van Rompuy a paper setting out ways to trim the bloc’s administration bill by 10 percent, including raising the retirement age for most officials from 63 to 68, and capping pensions at 60 percent of final salary instead of 70 percent.
    The Commission and others are telling the Greeks, Italians and others that they should put the retirement age up to 68.”
    Van Rompuy ignored them in his latest draft compromise plan.
    Well done Mr Cameron, but stick to it mate.

  22. Christopher Ekstrom
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Permalink


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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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