European troubles again


           The decision of the ECHR to prevent the UK keeping really violent and unpleasant criminals in prison for a long time will not go down well amongst Conservative MPs, nor in much of the rest of the country. The Lib Dems refuse to allow Conservative Ministers to tackle this unwarranted interference this Parliament. We will need robust proposals for tackling the wayward Court in our next Manifesto. I hear that will happen.

          At the same time Mr Clegg and the Lib Dems have apparently refused to allow the Coalition government to get back the 133 powers granted under Labour’s Criminal Justice co-operation with the rest of the EU unless the government opts back into crucial federalist measures like the European Arrest Warrant. This too is being taken very badly by many Conservative MPs. We so rarely get a chance to get powers back from the EU, so we do not wish to miss the full  opportunity.

            The press drew attention to the happy spirit of unity the Conservative party achieved when as a  united party we voted for a referendum last week. We had to cut loose from the shackles of coalition to do so, as the Lib Dems no longer supoprt an EU referendum. Next week it looks as if the Coalition is back in business, to the annoyance of Conservative MPs who want more power from Brussels and do not wish to lose any part of this opportunity to reassert control over our own criminal justice system.

           It is easy to unite the Conservative party on the EU – it will always be united when we are working  to make a reality of a “new relationship with the EU” that means we are able to govern ourselves again. The party was united in voting against Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon, and was united in voting for a referendum on whether to stay in. Anytime the Coalition grants powers to the EU or fails to take powers back, it will be opposed by many Conservative MPs.

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  1. matthu
    Posted July 11, 2013 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    It is easy to unite the Conservative party on the EU – it will always be united when we are working to make a reality of a “new relationship with the EU” that means we are able to govern ourselves again.

    The trouble will come when time runs out, as surely it must as a referendum approaches, and it becomes the moment to assess any new reality on offer.

    This is when I don’t trust Cameron, (words left out ed) Hague and friends (including Ken Clarke, the BBC and the EU) to represent the new reality to the electorate in anything approaching a fair and proper manner.

    Since the reality on offer at each of the last treaties was not fairly represented and since history has shown that at the time of the last referendum the government was positively deceitful in representing what was on offer, why should it be any different this time?

    We are regarded as bigoted, swivel-eyed loonies. Clowns. Stupid women.

    The “friends” have nailed their colours to the mast so far in advance of the outcome of any negotiation they don’t deserve our trust.

    • matthu
      Posted July 11, 2013 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      Just to clarify: The words redacted by JR were not directed at William Hague but were no more than a direct reference (in quotes) to what he is reported to have called a political opponent in Parliament yesterday.

      It reflects on Hague’s willingness to engage with political opponents and puts him in the same dismissive club as those who refer to their opponents as bigots, swivel-eyed loonies, fruit cakes or clowns.

    • lifelogic
      Posted July 11, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      Some woman are indeed very stupid as are some men. Many of them are in the House of Commons we see every day (witness the fact many on the left including many in the Tory party still believe in the Magic money tree and higher taxes.

      I cannot see why there is anything wrong with saying stupid woman or stupid man when it is accurate, either under ones breath or even out loud.

      • Bazman
        Posted July 12, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

        Not watering the tree as you put it, by cutting government spending and reducing public sector jobs is simply a route to further economic contraction hitting the poorest hardest. Not ‘helping’ them as you claim.
        Interesting study shows that upper class and rich people are more likely to behave selfishly. This explains a lot does it not in much of the economic right wing nonsense spouted by many on the right. Google it.

    • Hope
      Posted July 11, 2013 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      Cameron will not lead the UK out of the EU if he loses the referendum, what does that say about his true intentions, he ordered a three line whip against a referendum vote last October. Tis is an election gimmick. Unfortunately for Cameron, no one trusts him. Oly UKIP offer a true decision on the UK’s relationship with the EU.

      Today it is mooted Osborne will not have taxes rises if elected in 2015. Is this the same person who claimed ther wold be a 80/20 split between tax rises and spending cuts in 2010. 299tax rises and no substantial spending cut to date as pointed out by our host. No bonfire of quangos, the opposite has happened-more quangos and more czars. All for instant media attention with no substance for action.

    • APL
      Posted July 12, 2013 at 6:22 am | Permalink

      Matthu: “including Ken Clarke ”

      Exactly *why* is Ken Clarke in the Cabinet?

      Talk about ‘jobs for the boys’, and at £100K + per annum its a pretty fat job too.

      That’s £40,000 per annum more than we otherwise need to pay the fellow.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted July 12, 2013 at 7:37 am | Permalink

        It is indeed a mystery why a Tory leader, now Prime Minister, who declares himself to be opposed to eurofederalism in general and adoption of the euro in particular, should make room for a man who is clearly a eurofederalist and who openly supported and still supports adoption of the euro.

        And also why he should rely on Major for advice, when so many of the “European troubles” we face spring from the Maastricht Treaty.

      • APL
        Posted July 13, 2013 at 7:48 am | Permalink

        “Exactly *why* is Ken Clarke in the Cabinet”

        Surely as a member of the Privy Council, he doesn’t need ministerial status to be given access to any and all documents Cameron may seek his advice upon?

        As a patriotic ( snigger ) Member of Parliament, why doesn’t he give that £40,000 per Annam of advice to Her Majesties government for free?

        So, why is he in the Cabinet? It’s a real question.

        Reply Mr Clarke is not a member of the Cabinet. As Minister without portfolio he does attend it.

        • APL
          Posted July 13, 2013 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

          JR: “Mr Clarke is not a member of the Cabinet.”

          So what is his role?

          JR: “As Minister without portfolio he does attend it. ”

          Ah, he attends the cabinet, like a sort of secretary taking notes, good to know he is some value after all.

          Is it incorrect to think he gets a cabinet ministers salary.

          If not, what is he doing there?

  2. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted July 11, 2013 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    The ECHR verdict may have effects for the Netherlands, which also will have to include a prospect of review in lifelong sentences, the only difference being that over here no fuss is made about including such a procedure.
    We’re not fond of politicians playing judge or falling “physically sick” to please public opinion. I like this quote in the Guardian: “In fairness, it might be better if the prime minister were a strong supporter of rehabilitation and redemption rather than the eternal punishment and damnation that is a whole-life tariff with no prospect of review.”

    • Cliff. Wokingham.
      Posted July 11, 2013 at 9:24 am | Permalink


      As I recall, when our Parliament voted to end capital punishment in the UK, the whole life alternative was used to allay fears many backbenchers and indeed many members of the general public had in relation to those criminals re-offending should they ever be released. Whole life sentences are not given out willy nilly; those that receive them, tend to deserve them.
      Having said that, I do think that reviews should take place but, our elected Parliament should decide that question, not an unelected foreign body.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted July 11, 2013 at 11:34 am | Permalink

        Well said Cliff!


      • Mike Wilson
        Posted July 11, 2013 at 12:49 pm | Permalink


        Yes, but what if the person is innocent? A WHOLE life in a prison cell? The bloke (can’t remember his name) who was convicted of shooting his family still maintains his innocence. Still maintains it was his sister who did the shooting and then shot herself. The thing is – the only person who really knows is him. None of us do.

        It worries me the number of times that people who go on maintaining their innocence, year in, year out – even if this means they won’t get parole – are eventually proved innocent by new evidence emerging.

        And what chance has a convicted murderer got of ever being rehabilitated. I know the victims never get another chance – and that is what makes this such a difficult area.

        On the whole though the ECHR judgment made sense to me.

        • Cliff. Wokingham.
          Posted July 12, 2013 at 3:03 pm | Permalink


          I did state that the decision was sensible, my point was that the British Parliament should decide, not the ECHR or any other foreign organisation. I think ALL whole life sentences should be periodically reviewed: I would not want to go down the USA route of sentences that run into one hundred plus years.

          Although I am retired now, I worked as a clinician within forensic psychiatry. I spent most of my professional life in secure psychiatric hospitals but, for two years, I worked within the prison service. It may surprise you to know that our prisons are full of “innocent” people. Prisoners will constantly tell anyone that will listen that they are not guilty and its all a big mistake. I accept that in some cases there are miscarriages of justice but these are few and far between…..Just for Uni: I accept that just one is one too many.
          The problem we have is that when someone is convicted by our courts, the position stated at the time by the CPS’s lawyer is taken to be the truth. People are not convicted without rather solid evidence to prove their guilt. The jury are told by the trial judge that the level of proof is very high and equates to “So that they are sure” otherwise, if there is any doubt whatsoever, they must find not guilty: Note, they are never found innocent! The Scotish system also has a verdict of “Not Proven,” in addition to our guilty and not guilty verdicts.

          You are right in what you say that without accepting guilt they will not be paroled. Perhaps if, someone still maintains their innocence at such a late stage, the case should be completely reviewed.

          Most of the miscarriages of justice that have come to light recently, have highlighted a fundamental problem in evidence from official sources, usually the police. If the culture within the police service has changed, as the state and media suggest, we should see far fewer cases of wrongful or dubious conviction in the future. Most of the problems come from evidence from pre 2000.

          I agree it is a very difficult dilema to solve and to be honest, I don’t think there is a simple answer. A lot of our criminal justice system relies on trust: Trusting the investigators, trusting the police, trusting the medical professionals, trusting the witnesses, trusting the judiciary etc When that trust is misplaced we run in to problems.

          I think the case you refer to is that of Bamber; I don’t know the case first hand and feel it is therefore inappropriate to comment on it.

      • uanime5
        Posted July 11, 2013 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

        Our elected Parliament decided that reviews should no longer take place because “life should mean life”. Given that the UK has no constitutional courts to protect people from the excesses of the state the ECHR is the next best thing.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted July 11, 2013 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

        @Cliff. Wokingham: Being part of that body yourself (as UK) it cannot be foreign. Inadequate legislating leading to blanket approaches for too large categories is not something to be particularly proud of or nationalistic about. A stronger separation of powers might actually be a good thing for Britain and even national British courts are unelected bodies as far as I know.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted July 12, 2013 at 7:52 am | Permalink

          Like the EU the Council of Europe is about 90% foreign for the British, which is close enough to 100% to justify the shorthand approximation that it is “foreign”. If you think that 90% foreign is not enough to justify the overall description “foreign”, what would you say to the Maltese who make up less than 0.1% of the total populations, about 99.9% being foreign from their point of view? Would you still say that it can’t possibly be “foreign” for the Maltese because Malta is part of it, albeit a tiny part?

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted July 12, 2013 at 9:56 am | Permalink

            @Denis: I actually think that the Mathese don’t consider the EU as foreign, being part of it. Similarly, I cannot consider NATO as foreign, even though I rarely agree with any of their decisions. If you’re a kidney, you woudn’t consider the liver necessarily as “foreign”, being part of the same body. You’d be more likely to see a cancer as foreign. The problem with some (mainly older) British is that they view anything European as a cancer, something alien to them. It is heartening to see that the younger generation by and large tends to be less obsessed in this way.
            Your numbers game isn’t quite as rational as you think. An MP is selected (or deselected) in a constituency of some 70000 people. These people have no say whatsoever over the other 600+ constituencies and their elected representative counts for less than 0.2% in Parliament only marginally more than your MEP counts for in the European Parliament. The inability of those British mentioned to feel part of a larger entity than the UK is really down to emotions, the analysis of which we’ll leave for another day.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted July 12, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

            “The inability of those British mentioned to feel part of a larger entity than the UK is really down to emotions, the analysis of which we’ll leave for another day.”

            Yes, Peter, and the EU’s own surveys still show that only about 3% of the EU population feel that they are “European only”, while just another 6% or so put “European” before their own nationality; all the rest put their own nationality before being “European” and in fact about half of them don’t see themselves as being European at all.

            The British are most likely not to feel European at all, but at 60% the British only represent the tip of the iceberg; despite the incurable europhilia of their political class, in fact 52% of the Irish say they feel only Irish and not European.

            But carry on in your little bubble of delusion.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted July 12, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

            As said, this peculiar British psyche, strange but not totally foreign to me 🙂 we’ll leave for another day.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted July 11, 2013 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      So, as ever, the promises made–Life means life in this case–should never have been believed, nor even close. There was or should have been only one reason for ending Capital Punishment and that is the possibility of error in the evidence and trial. It was nothing whatsoever to do with how this that and the other it is or is not in prisons. These judges and some of our own unfortunately these days are away with the fairies…..and with the nutters in the Liberals. Beyond me why Cameron doesn’t engineer an election this afternoon.

  3. lifelogic
    Posted July 11, 2013 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    “Anytime the Coalition grants powers to the EU or fails to take powers back, it will be opposed by many Conservative MPs.” Not, alas, by the leadership though, nor enough of them, and there will be far, far fewer after 2015. We shall see what happens on the dreadful EU Arrest Warrant.

    Meanwhile Miliband is making noises to distance himself from the state sector unions and control MPs outside earnings, all we need is an EU referendum promise from him and he will look rather more attractive (or less unattractive I should say) than Cameron. He may well rat on it too, but with Cameron we know for sure that he is a serial ratter and is pro EU membership. He would clearly do so again given half a chance. Let us see how it looks after May 2014 when Cameron has come a poor third in the MEP elections and is looking at decimation in May 2015. A greater Switzerland might then look very attractive indeed to most voters but alas not, say one thing, do the other Cameron.

    • lifelogic
      Posted July 11, 2013 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      The BBC reported today that the 11% increase for MP was balanced by a cut to their pensions. Surely as the pension is based on salary they will get an 11% increase in their existing pension pots perhaps worth over £100,000 to some. How do the BBC think this is a cut?

      Is this the case JR or are their actual cuts rather than increases to the pension?

      Reply The pension fund will switch to career average and go to 1/52 accrual in place of 1/40 – savings – but will also see the MP contribution fall from 13.75% of salary to just under 10% from memory – an increase. You need to go through their report and understand their sums – then write in to IPSA as MPs are not allowed to be involved in these matters. They say they are saving £7.5m a year from the new tighter conditions for expenses.

      • uanime5
        Posted July 11, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

        I thought IPSA said that overall all the changes would cost the UK about £500,000 (unsure if this is a one off cost or an annual cost).

      • Jerry
        Posted July 11, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

        @Lifelogic: “How do the BBC think this is a cut?

        Because they are merely reporting what the IPC are saying perhaps, reporting rather than offering an opinion? Do feel free to find a clue as to what a job of a journalist actually is.

        • lifelogic
          Posted July 12, 2013 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

          You seem to think the job of a journalist is just to report whatever lies they are told without question? If they are just doing that they should at least say X organisation today claimed a, b & c. But it is self evidently lies and nonsense as a minute thought and a quick call to a pension specialist can easily determine.

          • APL
            Posted July 13, 2013 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

            lifelogic: “You seem to think the job of a journalist is just to report .. ”

            Pretty much all journalists do these days is parrot government/NGO/QUANGO press releases.

      • lifelogic
        Posted July 11, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Permalink


        I assume the reduction from 1/40 will only apply for new years so it looks to me as though it will be quite an increase in existing pension pots and not as the BBC reported a decrease other than perhaps for new MPs. Does the BBC not have anyone numerate enough to this report accurately? Surely with the amount of money they have to waste they could employ one or two, they might look at energy outputs from wind and PV usefully too perhaps and the HS2 cost/benefits?

      • zorro
        Posted July 11, 2013 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

        Civil servants are now on career average pensions, but I do not see them getting a 11% pay rise….and they are paying more for pensions unlike MPs under these proposals. Expenses should be looked at very carefully…..


    • Bazman
      Posted July 12, 2013 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) will unveil proposals tomorrow which will also include cuts to MPs’ pensions and expenses not the BBC Lifdogic. Can you not read and understand or do you just like spouting propaganda?

  4. Andyvan
    Posted July 11, 2013 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    The powers that UK parliament has given away so freely were never theirs to give away. The powers were granted by the British electorate to parliament to be exercised on behalf of the people of the United Kingdom. They were not toys to be traded away on the whim of a politician. They were not possessions of the government and the fact that successive governments have given them away with neither consent nor even consultation with the electorate proves beyond doubt what a sham democracy is in this country. I charge every member of every government that has ever voted yes to any transfer of powers whatsoever with treason. You are traitors to the people that were foolish enough to believe your lies and elect you. These are actions that are worse than all the expenses scandals, dodgy “consultancy” fees, sexual misconduct and any other of the myriad of crimes that MPs seem to delight in committing. These are the crimes for which there can be no defence. The mere fact that a vote against the interests of the British people was taken is enough to convict. Treason.

    • M Davis
      Posted July 11, 2013 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      Andyvan, I second that!

  5. Mike Wilson
    Posted July 11, 2013 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    You had your chance and missed it. Cameron and Clegg had stated categorically that it was ‘time for the people to have a say’ before Lisbon. During the Coalition negotiations a post treaty referendum on the Lisbon treaty should have been non-negotiable from the Conservative position.

    You could have had, and won, the referendum and gone back to Europe with a strong negotiating position … ‘our people have said they want to leave unless this endless transfer of powers stops and some of the powers come back’.

    But, no, suddenly no-one cared about Europe any more. As always, you (the Conservative party) were just paying lip service to the idea that you are interested in what ‘the people’ think.

    Reply Unfair criticism of those of us who voted for a referendum in this Parliament in 2011.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted July 11, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply: What vote for a referendum in 2011?

      The criticism is not unfair. For several years you (the political class) all promised us a referendum. We never got it.

    • zorro
      Posted July 11, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply – I think that the criticism is more of the Conservative Party as a whole and not actually criticising your efforts John. It is unfortunate that the Tory Party as a whole didn’t step up to the mark.


  6. Jerry
    Posted July 11, 2013 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    John, the ECHR has not stopped the UK from keeping really violent and unpleasant criminals in prison, all it has said is that such prisoners can not be allowed a review, of course there is nothing to stop that review finding that these criminals still pose a risk.

    Anytime the Coalition grants powers to the EU or fails to take powers back, it will be opposed by many Conservative MPs.

    That is all well and good but any time the the LDs help in the above they know that it is a recruiting sergeant for the UKIP and that the only party so damaged is the Tory party, thus come the next election there is even more chance of a hung parliament. What is more, such is the unpopularity of the Coalition (especially the Tory party) that an early election will not help, indeed the LDs would likely spin it that they had ended the coalition for the good of the country and many might believe it… Sorry but the Tories have blown it, and unless Ed Milliband comes out against the EU the next government is likely to be very europhile and thus the UK will be drawn in even more. Mr Farage was quite correct in 2010, that election was (quite likely) the last chance saloon for the UK to extract its self from the EU (and spreading federalism), it is just a pity that the UKIP didn’t put all it’s efforts into getting the only party elected who could do the deed rather than taking votes from them and deigning them an over all majority! Well Done Mr Farage and the UKIP!.

    • Jerry
      Posted July 11, 2013 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      Oops, if only the ECHR had said that! Of course I mean that they have said prisoners can not be deigned a review.

      • Little White Squibba
        Posted July 11, 2013 at 10:28 am | Permalink

        I am still mystified.

        • Dan H.
          Posted July 11, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

          Jerry is being sarcastic here; the ECHR have merely ruled that putting people in prison for life WITHOUT a review is just not on. They haven’t ruled that we can’t lock away criminals for all of their lives, just that we have to review these whole-life tariffs periodically.

          To be honest, this is only humane and just, and the case reviews need not be particularly onorous either; they could merely be little more than a rubber stamping exercise performed by the High Court every couple of decades for each whole-lifer. We don’t need to tell the ECHR to back down on this one; let’s save that option for when we really do disagree with them.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted July 11, 2013 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      Presumably it is legitimate to review their sentences and double them. If we were to review (someone’s ed) whole life sentence and double it, that would be incongruous and extract the Michael from the EU. Still, we can’t expect justices to be patriotic or have a sense of humour, can we?

    • zorro
      Posted July 11, 2013 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

      Jerry, there is absolutely no guarantee whatsoever that Cameron would have delivered a referendum with a smallish majority. I actually think that he had no real intention to do so.


      • Jerry
        Posted July 12, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

        @Zorro: Well that is something we will never know and I accept your opinion, but my point was that the UKIP prevented even any such hope of Cameron having a majority, whilst putting just about the most main-stream europhile UK political party into the drivers seat. As I said, well done UKIP! 🙁

        • zorro
          Posted July 12, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

          Indeed, that is your view. However, Cameron was not obliged to go into a coalition and could have led a minority government, and then go for another election with a sensible, realistic manifesto if other parties had frustrated efforts to resolve the economic situation.


          • Jerry
            Posted July 13, 2013 at 9:47 am | Permalink

            @zorro: Sorry but Cameron did not have that option, he would have had his first budget voted out [1] and the country would have been back at the polling stations within weeks, what do you not understand about the term “minority government”. Do you really think that Cameron would have formed a coalition had there been a realistic alternative?

            At best he could have stitched up a government of National Emergency but that would have been a coalition of all parties (and perhaps non), it would not have gone anywhere near the EU or the ECHR bar the needs of the immediate economic crisis – and there would most certainly not have been a majority in favour of a referendum on our EU membership.

            [1] the LibDems wanted power, not only that but a second election might have given them even greater electoral success, given that they will have been seen (even if not actually the case) as the only party willing to put the country before party politics.

  7. Denis Cooper
    Posted July 11, 2013 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    As far as the loony European Court of Human Rights is concerned, my proposal is that the UK should derogate just from Article 46(1) of the European Convention.

    That’s the part on page 25 here:

    which says:

    “The High Contracting Parties undertake to abide by the final judgment of the Court in any case to which they are parties.”

    That way we stay signed up to the general principles of the Convention, but no longer automatically accept the Court’s increasingly weird interpretations of those principles.

    People can still take their complaints to Strasbourg, and the Court can still consider those complaints and even where they have no basis in common sense or practicality the judges can still devise their convoluted ivory tower arguments to support their barmy judgments, but all of their judgments are merely advisory rather than legally binding.

    I also suggest that Mrs May could perhaps seek adequate Parliamentary authorisation for the derogation by proceeding through Section 14 of the Human Rights Act 1998, the provision that David Blunkett used in 2001 to gain Parliamentary authorisation for his derogation from Article 5 of the European Convention:

    “The Human Rights Act 1998 (Designated Derogation) Order 2001”

    The order would need to be approved by both Houses of Parliament, and there is a good chance that one or the other or both would refuse to pass it, but at least that would flush out those disaffected persons who believe that the British Parliament, and the British people it represents, should no longer be considered as sovereign but should instead bow the knee and accept that they are subservient to this jumped-up transnational court.

    • uanime5
      Posted July 11, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      Unenforceable rights are the same as having no rights. What you’re proposing is to ignore the principles of the Convention that human rights cannot be denied to people.

      Also there will be a heavy political cost for any politicians who claims that ordinary people shouldn’t have human rights.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted July 12, 2013 at 8:07 am | Permalink

        Typically you seem to forget that we have our own courts, and we had had our own courts for centuries before we foolishly proposed the establishment of this transnational court to interpret, and later increasingly misinterpret, an international Convention which was largely written by our lawyers on the basis of our own legal evolution. My proposal is surgical in its precision: it is not that we should withdraw from that Convention as a whole, but just that we should simply say that in the light of changed circumstances we are no longer prepared to be legally bound by whatever nonsense may emanate from Planet Strasbourg. If the response was that we could not derogate just from Article 46(1) without withdrawing altogether, then so be it, but I think that would be very unlikely to happen.

        • uanime5
          Posted July 12, 2013 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

          The problem with our courts is that provide no protection against the excesses of Parliament because we do not have a constitution to protect ordinary people’s rights. Were parliament ever to make it illegal to (follow a religion etc ed) there would be no way for the national courts to override this, unlike the ECHR.

          Again the problem with not being bound by these ECHR decisions is that you’re effectively making human rights unenforceable in the UK, which is exactly the same as not having human rights because the Government can ignore these rights whenever they’re inconvenient.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted July 13, 2013 at 8:05 am | Permalink

            We all know that our national Parliament is far from perfect, but I would still prefer to rely upon it as the representative of the British people rather than turn to other bodies, especially transnational bodies dominated by foreigners, to limit the power of Parliament and therefore of the British people.

          • Jerry
            Posted July 13, 2013 at 9:58 am | Permalink

            @U5: A fair point but how likely would a such laws be, and unless a government abolished elections, would simply be reversed by the next government – assuming that the people did not support the done-deed. Also, and in any case, if a (UK, in this instance) government wants to enact such laws it will simply ignore the protests from the ECHR – just like the government of Germany ignored the League of Nations in the 1930s.

      • Jerry
        Posted July 12, 2013 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

        @U5: As Denis implied, it was the UK who actually gave “Europe” the ECHR in the late early 1950, it was Winston Churchill who championed it, thus we really didn’t need to incorporate the ECHR into UK law because the ideals were already present in UK law, Blair did so for wholly partisan political reasons (and then invaded Iraq – go figure!).

  8. Gary
    Posted July 11, 2013 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    “The decision of the ECHR
    to prevent the UK keeping really
    violent and unpleasant criminals
    in prison for a long time”

    That is not what was said. The ECHR said that all life sentences should be reviewed after 25 years. Throughly sensible, I think. Unless we choose to live in a penal gulag.

  9. Denis Cooper
    Posted July 11, 2013 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    JR, please could you outline the Parliamentary procedure which will be adopted for the opting out from the 133 police and criminal justice EU measures and then the proposed opting back in to maybe 30 of them, including the EU Arrest Warrant under which my MP would have no qualms about me or any of her other constituents being carted off to languish for many months in a foreign prison without any need for prima facie evidence of guilt to presented in a court in this country where it could be challenged, according to rules which will ultimately be determined by the EU’s court in Luxembourg and not by any UK law which she may get passed by our Parliament as a sop to assuage widespread and well-founded concerns about the outrageous injustices which have already arisen through the operation of this eurofederalist “fast track” extradition system?

    Reply THis interesting question is still being argued over. It appears we need a vote to endorse the opt out from the 133, which all Conservative MPs will vote for , but which Lib dems do not want without an opt back in, with Labour apparently of the same view as the Lib Dems. There would also need to be a vote for the approval of any opt ins. The current plan is a composite motion on Monday, endorsing the opt out from 133 and committing us to negotiating over unspecified opt ins, to be followed presumably by a further vote on agreed opt ins once negotiated.

    • matthu
      Posted July 11, 2013 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      Presumably the opt IN again might be considered to be transferring powers back to the EU and would thus trigger a referendum?

      So no doubt the LDs want to wrap the whole opt out/opt back in into a single act to avoid wbing seen to be handing any powers back again?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted July 11, 2013 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

        I’ve quickly scanned through the so-called “referendum lock” Act without seeing anything which relates to this scenario. It’s very complex, and I may be wrong, but I suspect that Hague knew this was coming and deliberately excluded it from the scope of the Act. Maybe somebody like Bill Cash will know for sure what the position is.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted July 11, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

        Published during the passage of the “referendum lock” Act:

        Page 4 onwards points out that Ministers would make these decisions, on page 5:

        “If the UK were to opt out of crime and policing laws en bloc under the 2014 opt out, future governments could chose to opt back in to individual laws on a case-by-case basis. By doing so the law in question would come under the full jurisdiction of the ECJ and the UK would not be able to opt out again. These decisions should be subject to an Act of Parliament, in the same manner as decisions falling under section 1 above.”

        So as Open Europe identified this as one of the many loopholes in the Bill and publicised it at the time, there can be no doubt that Hague also knew about it but took a deliberate decision to leave it as a loophole.

      • Jerry
        Posted July 11, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

        @matthu: Nice try! Unfortunately such opt-back-ins will not be a part of a new treaty, there hasn’t actually even been a treaty change, just what sections of the said treaty we implement.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted July 12, 2013 at 8:54 am | Permalink

          It doesn’t have to be a new treaty as such; there’s a list of “Decisions requiring approval by Act and by referendum” in Section 6 of the Act here:

          But as I thought on the basis of my quick scan, and as Open Europe had previously pointed out, this scenario is not covered by anything in the Act.

          If one unthinkingly accepts the Tory spin that this is an example of the “repatriation of powers” that they are determined to achieve, with Theresa May “clawing back powers” from the EU by opting out of the 133 measures, then it’s only logical to see it as a transfer of power to the EU when she opts back in to some of them and expect that this would trigger a referendum.

          But no doubt the Tory party will try to spin it both ways: that the opting-out is a fine example of repatriation of powers from the EU, but the subsequent opting-in is not a transfer of powers to the EU.

          • Jerry
            Posted July 12, 2013 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper: If that is correct then we can have this referendum any time the government chooses, think about it… I think you might be reading somewhat more into the legislation than there actually is, but it would be nice if you are correct!

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted July 12, 2013 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, of course we can have a referendum on anything that the government wants at any time it wants, assuming that it can get majorities in both Houses of Parliament for the necessary Act. The stated point of the European Union Act 2011 is not to prevent the government holding referendums but to force it to hold a referendum under various specified circumstances. However by accident, or far more likely by design, this “opt-out opt-in” scenario is not included among the circumstances specified in the Act, so the government is under no legal compulsion to hold a referendum.

          • Jerry
            Posted July 12, 2013 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper: Sorry but I should have been clearer, and of course the government can do what ever it likes but we are talking about a specific Act/Law.

            You seem to be suggesting that by repatriating a group of powers given up [to the EU], within a previously ratified treaty, but not actually withdrawing from the said treaty its self, and then the immediate wish to return those powers to the EU would cause a referendum to be triggered automatically by law under the EUA2011 Act – at the moment this Act is awaiting the first [next] treaty that requires ratification, or so we are told, but now you are suggesting that it could be applied to an old, previously ratified, treaty…

            If the law actually does state what you are claiming then the clever eurosceptics on the right of the Tory party not only managed get it past the Tory europhiles but managed to pull a nice one over the face of their europhile coalition partners too, bring that referendum on Mrs May! I’m not going to hold my breath though if you don’t mind Denis.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted July 13, 2013 at 9:00 am | Permalink

            I think we’re talking at cross purposes here, Jerry, not for the first time and probably not for the last time.

            The 2011 Act specifies circumstances under which there must be a referendum on some legal change related to the EU, and similarly circumstances under which there need not be a referendum but there must be a full Act of Parliament, and likewise circumstances under which there need not be either a referendum or a full Act of Parliament but both Houses must approve a draft EU decision before the minister can tell his EU counterparts that the UK agrees to it.

            You can see this very clearly just by looking at the Table of Contents of the Act:


            If you delve deeper, you will find that there are also specific exemptions, two of which have already been used.

            Far from the eurosceptics out-manoeuvring their opponents over this Act exactly the opposite is true; not only in the present case, where the supposedly exhaustive lists of detailed circumstances under which there must be a referendum or at least a full Act of Parliament or at the absolute minimum a vote in both Houses does not include this “opt-out opt-in” scenario, but in earlier cases as well.

            The first EU treaty change after the Treaty of Lisbon came into force on December 1st 2009 was actually a protocol on the composition of the EU Parliament, basically to allow three surplus German MEPs to keep their seats legally rather than illegally, and any question of a referendum on that was circumvented by incorporating approval of the protocol as Part II of the 2011 Act; the radical EU treaty change agreed through European Council Decision 2011/199/EU of March 25th 2011:


            was held to be exempt by Hague because on paper none of its provisions “applied” to the UK, and similarly with a new protocol addressing some concerns of the Irish people about the Lisbon Treaty; while at about the same time the accession treaty for Croatia to join the EU was also held to be exempt because all accession treaties are specifically exempted under Section 4(4)(c) of the Act.

            Although the Act was and still is presented to the public as being the “referendum lock” law, in reality so far it has been used as a “referendum block” law, and that is not by accident but because Hague carefully designed it that way.

            And of course the final recourse for any government which could not find a plausible loophole to avoid an unwanted referendum would be to repeal the Act, either entirely or just to the extent necessary for that particular purpose; so those who assume that because of this Act we would have to have a referendum before joining the euro are quite mistaken, as it would be enough to put words such as:

            “notwithstanding any provision of the European Union Act 2011”

            into the Bill for us to join the euro, and that would cancel the requirement for a referendum.

    • Atlas
      Posted July 11, 2013 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      I second Dennis’s comments. I’ve already contacted my MP over this – he like you – is not pleased at May’s decision, and the Lib-Dem actions in forcing this unwanted Federalist move upon us when we had the chance to exit it.

    • Acorn
      Posted July 11, 2013 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      Pick-up your pencils, your time starts now. Marks will be given to candidates who manage to read all 133 opt-outs, before an insanity prevails. .

      The UK is top of the EU Opt-Outs league, with Denmark. By the time we get to a referendum on the EU, it will be near impossible to unwind all the legislation adopted into UK law. If I were Cameron and the Europhiles, that would be my show stopper that will put the Tory backbench Eurosceptics “behind the eight ball”. The longer we leave the decision; the less likely we are to ever come out of it, and the more likely we are to join the Euro.

      • Jerry
        Posted July 13, 2013 at 10:11 am | Permalink

        @Acorn: Not necessarily so, assuming we leave the EU, although I do accept that the longer we Cameron waits to try and negotiate a new relationship the less chance that he will have any meaningful success.

    • lifelogic
      Posted July 12, 2013 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

      Any opt ins on this are clearly transferring yet further powers to the EU and should, therefore, trigger a referendum, were we not promised this by the ratters?

      • Jerry
        Posted July 13, 2013 at 10:11 am | Permalink


  10. Iain Gill
    Posted July 11, 2013 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    To be honest I think anyone who reforms and stops being a threat to society should have a chance of being released, maybe a very low chance but a chance none the less.

    There was a very moving call from a serving prison officer to a radio phone in recently where the hardened cynical category A officer (so not your usual bleeding heart but rather someone who knew Charles Bronson) laid out his feelings that Charles Bronson should be released. Apparently Charles Bronson is not even in on a life sentence, and its questionable even if he is now in prison long beyond the amount of time he has been sentenced. He is now very old, almost blind, and a very different character to his younger troublesome self. And the prison officer himself was upset at the way he has been treated by the system, and laid out many ways in which the system was badly wrong in its approach to him. It appears Charles Bronson has no chance of release and will be in until he dies in a small 6 by 7 foot cell. Not good enough really.

    On the other hand Europe (and Scotland, and Wales, and Northern Ireland) should not be messing in our affairs.

  11. D Hope
    Posted July 11, 2013 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    The backtracking this week on the European Arrest Warrant left me pretty angry. I was glad that Jacob Rees-Mogg at least asked a question on it at yesterday’s PMQs.

    It seems that Mrs May supports any monitoring and surveillance power the police request. Now she supports the arrest warrant. Both run contrary to what was said pre election. Both are highly authoritarian.

    I can vote on law and order in the UK. I don’t have any say over the procedures, judges etc in other countries in Europe most of which are far worse than our imperfect system. It is with disbelief that I view the signing up to a system whereby I you or anyone else could just be shipped over to Italy, France or Eastern Europe for trial without evidence being presented here and the discretion of judges here.

  12. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted July 11, 2013 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Perhaps we need to pass another law stating that if violent criminals are released under EU legislation which is contrary to UK state law then the criminals should be deported to Brussels and not allowed to return to the UK.

    • behindthefrogs
      Posted July 11, 2013 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      This comment reflects the misunderstanding that this article has generated.

      1) It is ECHR not the EU which has demanded that the UK changes its treatment of full life prisoners.

      2) Their demand is not that such prisoners should be released but simply that their sentences should be reviewed after (say) 25 years. In practice very few if any would be likely to be released as the result of such a review.

      It is extremely unfair of you to use what is a very reasonable human rights action to promote your own your campaign for the UK to exit from the EU.

      • margaret brandreth-j
        Posted July 11, 2013 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

        I fail to see where you get the evidence that I want to exit from the EU . I certainly have not stated this and there is no campaign on my part. Your assumption demonstrates a misplaced perception.

        • behindthefrogs
          Posted July 12, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

          Sorry my final comment was directed at John, I had forgotten that I was replying to your post.

  13. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted July 11, 2013 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Having decided to opt back into “more than 30 pan–European crime and justice programmes”, according to today’s Daily Telegraph, where does that leave Cameron’s much vaunted promise to renegotiate the UK’s membership of the EU? Under the Lisbon Treaty was it a once and for all opportunity to opt out or could the process be repeated? In other words, having opted back in does that mean that this is now settled or could we opt out again? If you wanted the evidence that Cameron isn’t to be trusted on these matters here it is.

    • alan jutson
      Posted July 11, 2013 at 9:14 am | Permalink


      Agree with you.

      Surely its a simple matter of us getting out the EU completely, and then voluntarily opting in, to policies, regulation, leglislation of our choice.
      Thus no binding agreements, we simply choose to co-operate on certain matters with no binding agreements.

      • Brian Tomkinson
        Posted July 11, 2013 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

        Agreed, but that would be too much like hard work for our politicians who, regardless of our views, like to be told what to do by an unelected foreign organisation – oh, and they think they should receive a lot more money too!!.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted July 11, 2013 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      A once and for all opportunity which thanks to it having been negotiated by Brown is made available to the present government through Protocol 36 on Transitional Provisions attached to the EU treaties, which will not be repeated.

      That Protocol starts on page 322 here:

      and its Article 10(4) very generously grants (just) the UK the right to opt out while 10(5) allows opting back in, but once opted back in there can be no change of mind and opting back out.

      • Brian Tomkinson
        Posted July 12, 2013 at 7:54 am | Permalink

        I thought it was another stitch up by Cameron. Thanks for confirmimg it.

  14. alan jutson
    Posted July 11, 2013 at 8:43 am | Permalink


    What I do not understand is why Mr Cameron does not call Cleggs bluff on so many things.

    If the Conservative Party want something so bad, and they believe it is in our National interest, then go to Parliament with it, let the LibDems and Labour vote it down (at their cost) and let the people see exactly who is frustrating the National cause.

    Come election time we will have the LibDems saying they were completely responsible for all the good things.

    Cameron needs to grow a pair, if he really does believe that he has the right policies then for goodness sake at least have the balls to at least TRY to get them through, never know perhaps a handful of Labour and LibDems may support some measures.
    Then at least he can say, well I tried ! .

    This sort of attitude does not bode well for our so called future EU negotiations does it.

    • uanime5
      Posted July 11, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      Your plan will only work if people understand the issue being voted on. It may prove difficult to explain to the average person what benefits there are in trying to get back certain powers when they don’t know what these powers do or why the UK needs them.

      • alan jutson
        Posted July 12, 2013 at 7:53 am | Permalink


        Only our Mp’s need to be informed for a House of Commons vote.

        If you are talking about an EU referendum, then I agree more HONEST facts need to be made available to all.

        • uanime5
          Posted July 12, 2013 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

          While only MPs need to be informed for a commons vote if an MP criticises another MP or a political party because a “National cause” bill failed, or a MP is trying to get re-elected by supporting a “National cause” the public needs to understand what this “National cause” is all about or they won’t be interested in it.

    • JimF
      Posted July 11, 2013 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think Cameron feels strongly enough about his beliefs to fight for them.

  15. Cliff. Wokingham
    Posted July 11, 2013 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Your piece begs the question: Does the EU or Mr Clegg’s party pose the biggest threat to the future of an independent United Kingdom? (With or without Scotland)

    I think the ECHR has suffered from mission creep and gets involved in far too many areas that, in my opinion, does not concern it or at least, shouldn’t concern it.

    On the whole, the concept of the ECHR is a good thing however, it needs to be forced to only get involved in real human rights cases and not politics.

    I have heard it said that a country can only be a member of the EU, if they’re fully signed up to the ECHR, if this is the case, I am happy to give up membership of the ECHR just to get out of the EU. I am sure we could draft our own national bill of human rights and make a far better job of it too than the EU and its little helpers have.

    • uanime5
      Posted July 11, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      How is locking people up indefinitely not a human rights case? What do you consider to be human rights cases?

  16. John Wrake
    Posted July 11, 2013 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    While we suffer a government in two minds, with a Prime Minister more in accord with the views of the junior member, rather than his own party, all this is shadow boxing and totally irrelevant.
    We are not ruled by a coalition of Con/LibDem, but by unelected bureaucrats in the E.U.
    The way to fight a python is not to try to unwrap the coils – it is to cut off the head.
    Now that a large salary increase has been agreed, M.P.s can stop worrying about their financial security and start taking action to restore the Rule of Law.

    John Wrake

  17. Roger Farmer
    Posted July 11, 2013 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    I am afraid I have given up on telling you what to do while you sit around scratching your navels awaiting your fate in May 2015. Two things do not work to the benefit of the UK or it’s electorate. First there is the coalition, second is Cameron and his fellow quislings. Call a halt to the first and invite the second to depart. Finally have a general election based on a true Conservative manifesto. If you ignore what is staring you in the face, anticipate oblivion in 2015. You have not earned anything less.

    • Bert Young
      Posted July 11, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      Roger , you have said exactly what I feel about Cameron leading the Conservative Party ; there certainly cannot be a manifesto led by him that can be trusted or be eurosceptic . As things are , UKIP will win many marginal seats from the Conservatives and finish up as a different force to be reckoned with .As for the ECHR , the best and most expeditious approach , is to ignore everything – as the French do . The coming European elections are going to be a real wake-up call ; hopefully Cameron will have no choice but to resign .

  18. alan jutson
    Posted July 11, 2013 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Off Topic

    I see from press reports today, that it is not only the BBC which has been guilty of large payoffs to staff.

    The FSA and NHS also seem to be guilty.

    Such very large figures as well.

    The common theme, its not their money, its the good old taxpayer that is funding it all yet again.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted July 11, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      Once you give someone the power to take money from you with the threat of prison if you don’t pay up, you can’t be surprised when they just keep coming back for more.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted July 11, 2013 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

        I meant to add – government spending should be limited by law to a fixed amount of GDP.

        • alan jutson
          Posted July 12, 2013 at 7:56 am | Permalink


          Would agree, it also needs to be fixed at a level below the previous years tax take.

          We also need a law which prohibits the government borrowing in the peoples name.

          All sensible housekeeping controls.

    • Jerry
      Posted July 12, 2013 at 6:00 am | Permalink

      @alan jutson: “Its my tax money and so i don;t think the government should be spending it on nuclear weapons” – that sort of (silly) argument was put to bed by the courts back in the 1980s, once we have paid our tax bill it is no longer “our money”.

      • Edward2
        Posted July 12, 2013 at 7:43 am | Permalink

        What you are telling Alan is that he should not even complain where his hard earned tax money is spent on.
        Not silly at all Jerry.

        • Jerry
          Posted July 12, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

          @Edward2: If he wants to pay less tax then by all means complain, that is not silly, but trying to complain about how the tax receipts are spent is.

          • Edward2
            Posted July 13, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

            Total rubbish Jerry
            It is not silly to complain how your hard earned tax is spent, in fact it is the duty of all taxpayers to be involved and to scrutinise their Councils and Government in the way they spend their money.
            Its not just about how much tax you pay but the way that money is spent.
            You are promoting a “shut up and just pay up” attitude.

          • Jerry
            Posted July 13, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2: “You are promoting a “shut up and just pay up” attitude.

            Rubbish, but perhaps I didn’t explain, I’m just stating whose money it (legally) is, complain all you like about how government spends the tax receipts but it can not be described as “My Money” (although it could be collectively described as ‘Our Money’, meaning the nations), it is the states money for the government to do as they see fit – rightly or wrongly. It is the over personalisation, and thus political polarisation, that’s what I am objecting to, if the majority object then the government, council or what ever will get booted out if they do not change. The Individual vs. Society I suppose – perhaps that does make me a closet Socialist in many right-winger eyes, to me it just makes me human…

          • Edward2
            Posted July 14, 2013 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

            “perhaps that does make me a closet Socialist in many right-winger eyes, to me it just makes me human…”

            Pause for a moment Jerry, whilst I try desperately not to recall some second rate Hollywood actor in a white suit, flares and a red kipper tie, addressing the assembled stars the Oscars in the 1970’s

          • Jerry
            Posted July 15, 2013 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

            @Edward: Just proved that old saying, you learn something new every day, I never knew Ronald Reagan ever wore flares and a red kipper tie – fancy that! 😛

      • alan jutson
        Posted July 12, 2013 at 8:00 am | Permalink


        The real problem I have is with the huge amount of waste.

        Many of these people with huge payoffs are getting more than a lifetimes earnings of some people, a reward for failure, and that is really rubbing salt into the wound,

  19. Denis Cooper
    Posted July 11, 2013 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Off-topic, JR, on the subject of MPs’ pay, I wonder if you have any view on whether the government could legally invite MPs to over-ride the IPSA award through Section 13 of the Act setting up IPSA:

    That starts:

    “(1) A Minister of the Crown may by order make supplementary, incidental, transitional, transitory or saving provision in connection with this Act.”

    The Order would have to be approved by MPs.

    An Order designed to over-ride a pay award made by IPSA is not explicitly covered by any of the following sub-sections, but if MPs agreed that such an Order could be held to fall within the scope of Section 13(1) and voted to approve it, would anyone wish to gainsay that and object that the Minister was stretching that provision too far and so acting ultra vires and therefore the IPSA pay award must stand?

    Reply I think Legal advice is we would need new primary legislation to stop IPSA setting MPs pay.

    • Jerry
      Posted July 13, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      @JR reply: I can see certain tabloids having fun-day with that if parliament tries, you can be sure that it will get spun that MPs don’t want independant regulation but expect others (meaning the press) to do so – the fact that MPs are actually trying to save the nation money by refusing a pay increase will get lost on translation you can be assured. Parliament is dammed if they do and dammed if they don’t, pity it missed the boat on putting the press in their place…

  20. bluedog
    Posted July 11, 2013 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    It must be time to write to both the EU and the ECtHR a short letter explaining what the UK will be doing in future, irrespective of their instructions or judgements and irrespective of what the Lib-Dims want.

    • Jerry
      Posted July 13, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      bluedog: “and irrespective of what the Lib-Dims want

      Best write the manifesto too then, and get the election posters printed…

  21. Tad Davison
    Posted July 11, 2013 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    ‘The decision of the ECHR to prevent the UK keeping really violent and unpleasant criminals in prison for a long time will not go down well amongst Conservative MPs, nor in much of the rest of the country. ‘

    Now there’s a thing! Does that include all those Heath-ites who have done everything they can to draw us ever closer to full political union, in flagrant denial of the majority view, and the welfare and safety of the people they are supposed to represent?

    This, in my view, has always been the issue. They make the right noises at certain times, but then do something else in private. And I have experienced that first-hand through lobbying. I recall even saying to one Michael Heseltine, ‘deny if you will your part in the pro-EU conspiracy, and I’ll show you your voting record! No wonder the Tory brand is tainted and not trusted!

    And then they think they’re worth more money. I wouldn’t pay most of them in cow manure!

    Tad Davison


  22. Misterned
    Posted July 11, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    “The Lib Dems refuse to allow Conservative Ministers to tackle this unwarranted interference this Parliament. ”

    oH WAH WAH WAH you cry-baby bunch of traitorous wimps. Here’s an idea, grow some balls and stand up to the self hating anti-British, self-contradictory idiot liberals and tell them to stick it.

    The number one priority for any and all governments is the safety of the population. If you allow those idiot lib-dems to push you lot around over public safety and force you to accept the ECHR ruling, then you deserve to lose the next election by a big margin you wimps.

    We need to get out of the ECHR and replace the Human Rights Act with a common sense bill of rights which protects the law-abiding and hammers the criminals and terrorists.

    Now the thing is, we cannot opt-out of the ECHR so long as we are in the EU council, because since the Lisbon Treaty was allowed to become, and remain, UK law (without the cast iron guarantee of a referendum ever being implemented), being subject to the ECHR is now an absolute condition of being a member of the EU council….SO the only way to stop hardened multiple murderers, rapists and other members of the most dangerous and extreme criminal fraternities from laughing at you and the rest of society, is to get the hell out of this insane assylum called the EU!!!

    But oh no, you have not got the courage of your convictions have you? You do not even want to even pretend to get out of the EU, which is why you are trying your level best to con the UK into voting to to stay inside a “reformed” EU even though you and I both know that such reform is impossible to achieve before the 2017 deadline for a referendum. THAT is where the con will come in. You will promise a form of reform which would (if delivered) be irresistable. A promise of a de facto trading agreement only. A promise which will be slavishly supported by a majority of the establishment mainstream media… Only once the vast majorty of useful idiots have voted for this reformed EU, will the truth emerge via other nations vetoing it, will the country realise then that they had been conned into voting to remain in the EU at any cost.

    Then the usual lying and deceitful Europhile traitors will be saying, “Well you had your chance to vote out, and you voted in!” And we will be trapped in an unreformed EU under the same Lisbon conditions for integrating into the EU totally.

    It is sickening that tory “Eurosceptic” MPs will seek to con us into staying in the EU whilst still spouting their usual eurosceptic rhetoric. We know that you are lying and do not mean a word of it!

    You are a bunch of conmen and crooks and traitors and by God I so hope that you are routed at the 2015 general election and cast into penury.

    Reply I voted NO to the EEC in 1975 and would vote No to staying in the current EU if we had a referendum today. (and I voted for a referendum this Parliament) – so I think your rant is misdirected.

  23. uanime5
    Posted July 11, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    The decision of the ECHR to prevent the UK keeping really violent and unpleasant criminals in prison for a long time will not go down well amongst Conservative MPs, nor in much of the rest of the country.

    Good thing that wasn’t their decision. The ECHR objected to these people being held with no prospect of their case ever being reviewed, so as long as these people have their cases reviewed every 25 years (as used to happen before Blunkett changed the rules so life meant life) the UK won’t be violating anyone’s human rights.

    You could also replace life imprisonment with a minimum tariff of 50 years and still comply with ECHR law.

    The Lib Dems refuse to allow Conservative Ministers to tackle this unwarranted interference this Parliament. We will need robust proposals for tackling the wayward Court in our next Manifesto. I hear that will happen.

    I heard that this proposal will involve ordinary people losing their human rights so that ministers won’t have to worry about things such as fairness and proportionality. Unsure how arbitrary rule is going to make the Conservatives more popular.

    At the same time Mr Clegg and the Lib Dems have apparently refused to allow the Coalition government to get back the 133 powers granted under Labour’s Criminal Justice co-operation with the rest of the EU unless the government opts back into crucial federalist measures like the European Arrest Warrant.

    What is the main effect of these powers? Which powers are the most important? I trust the Conservatives aren’t trying to opt out for the sake of opting out.

    Next week it looks as if the Coalition is back in business, to the annoyance of Conservative MPs who want more power from Brussels and do not wish to lose any part of this opportunity to reassert control over our own criminal justice system.

    Well the Conservatives can end the coalition at any time and become a minority Government. Though this may make it more difficult to pass bills in the Commons.

    Also it seems that after the next general election MPs will get a 9.75% pay rise. Does this mean austerity is expected to end after this election or will the rest of public sector also get a similar pay rise?

  24. Martin
    Posted July 11, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Do you want to go back to the golden age of crime when gangsters could run off to the Costas safe in the knowledge that there was no EU arrest warrant?

    As for extradition treaties even the USA used to refuse to extradite terrorists to the UK or used every trick in the book to avoid so doing.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted July 12, 2013 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      I think the gangsters were more safe in the knowledge that (because of Gibraltar?) the Spanish authorities were deliberately and consistently un-cooperative about applying the existing international convention on extradition.

      So now we get some wanted British criminals back from Spain through the EU Arrest Warrant; in return for that any of us innocent Britons could be carted off to rot for months in a Spanish gaol on the say-so of a Spanish magistrate without any need to demonstrate a prima facie case against us in a court in this country; and you think this is a good deal?

      • Jerry
        Posted July 13, 2013 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

        @Denis Cooper: Does the UK need to show a prima facie case against wanted British (or other) criminals, or do we just issue a EAW against them – and why is there so many in the UK who seem to expect asymmetrical agreements between the UK and other nations. I say this as someone who actually has grave reservation about the way the EAW works, I just think that many of the arguments (if not rants) against the EAW system actually do more damage than good to our chances of getting change (short of leaving the EU!).

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted July 15, 2013 at 7:12 am | Permalink

          Of course the UK authorities don’t need to provide any prima facie evidence of guilt to seek extradition from other EU member states under the EAW.

          Which may not be a good thing either, as it is conceivable that the British police could abuse that convenience and start getting entirely innocent people dragged here without any good grounds, but which is primarily a matter of concern for those living under the supposed protection of those foreign states.

          There’s no reason to assume that extradition arrangements have to be symmetrical; even if the government of one country is careless about the rights of its citizens and others living under its protection that’s no reason why other countries should copy them.

          For example, would you say that if Paraguay agreed to hand over anybody to Britain on demand with no questions asked then we should agree to send Britons to Paraguay on the same basis?

  25. Andy Baxter
    Posted July 11, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    In the face of a political class who lack the courage to send ‘lawfully convicted’ murderers to their judicial death (AFTER: absolute presumption of innocence, trial by jury (composed of sober mature reasonably professionally, trade or vocationally educated people) conviction only by a UNANIMOUS verdict {State MUST then prove its case} absolute right to appeal, and Home Secretary power to commute to life imprisonment [if in the public interest or powerful mitigating circumstances exist] Then Whole Life tariffs should exist and be available to Judges for sentencing.

    It will never happen because we have a political class who lack the courage to send a lawfully convicted murderer to their judicial death and also a political class who lack the courage to take back POWER from the EU by invoking article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

    However I am reminded of a very powerful scene in the film ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ it’s called the parole scene and its where Morgan Freeman after repeatedly being denied parole, is after 40 years finally able to accept and feel true remorse and regret and come to terms with his characters actions that led him to spend 40 years in prison. So on reflection yes whole life tariff prisoners should have a chance at parole and a possible goal to work towards if our political class are gutless enough not to lawfully execute convicted murderers.

    Today with the exception of the few cases, 48 prisoners I believe on whole life tariffs most murderers serve on average 10-12 years in prison for taking a life, where is the deterrent and where is the remorse for destroying a life but also the lives of family and friends who lose someone dear to them?

    In the absence of a political class who fail to wield the stern sword of justice after weighing the scales of public good against individual rights then life imprisonment should mean a minimum tariff of decades behind bars with a chance of parole IF and only IF it can be demonstrated they have changed and feel genuine remorse and regret such as Morgan Freeman portrays so vividly on screen.

  26. Peter Stroud
    Posted July 11, 2013 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    It would seem most likely that there is a substantial majority of voters, across the political spectrum, that favour our pulling out of the ECHR. It is therefore very important that the official Conservative Party line on the matter is made abundantly clear, as we proceed towards the general election. Hopefully a well thought out draft of a national Bill of Rights will be available.

  27. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted July 11, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    The mechanism will be that we will opt out of all 133 powers and then opt back in to 35 of them. The opt out is because the EU insists that things must be done this way, and the fact that we will opt back in to as many as 35 is because we are in Coalition. The PM should ensure that, in the event of a Tory victory in 2015, we are able to review and amend this list of 35.

    This is one of a number of examples that show the need for the Prime Minister to include red lines – minimum recovery of powers – in his renegotiation stance. This is a task that should ideally be completed before the 2014 MEP elections. If UKIP emerge from those elections as the Party with the largest share of the popular vote, then their momentum may be unstoppable. Imagine having to deal with the comment that the Conservatives are splitting the Eurosceptic vote.

    To conclude, a little vulgar arithmetic for you all. The Conservative Party is currently polling about 29%; Labour support is soft and we may hope for about 4% from direct cross overs. We will probably leak about 2% to the LibDems as they recover. To reach the magic total of 43%, therefore, we need to attract 12% from UKIP, which is four fifths of their vote. So, how do we do that?

  28. JimF
    Posted July 11, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    It is no use moaning about this marriage of convenience which was voluntarily entered into by your party. To cufflink yourself and then die of starvation is pretty damn silly.

  29. JimF
    Posted July 11, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Sorry handcuff not cufflink of course!

  30. Mark B
    Posted July 11, 2013 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Once a power is ceded too the EU it can NEVER be returned – PERIOD !!!

    Of course you can prove me wrong. Get the fishing grounds back and yes, I might start believing in you.

  31. Terry
    Posted July 12, 2013 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    He may be DPM but Clegg and his wishy washy band of dreamers, are a liability to this country. For a minority party they have far too much clout in Downing Street. I trust the disgruntled electorate will vent their anti-Libdem anger come 2015.

    • Jerry
      Posted July 13, 2013 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      @Terry: Both the Tories and LDs are minority parties in Downing street, that is why there is a coalition, and many think of the Tories what you think of the LDs, if either party thought that they could do better at the ballot box I have no doubt that the coalition agreement would be assigned for use in one of the smaller rooms within Downing Street – and I don’t mean as store room jotting paper…

  • About John Redwood

    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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