Ministers and the EU government


The UK has two governments for the price of three. Ministers are busier these days, because so much of what they do entails checking the EU government will let them do what they wish, or requires endless negotiation of new laws and requirements with their European partners.

I was asked yesterday to explain how Uk Ministers interact with the EU government. Ministers  have to attend Council of Ministers meetings to discuss EU policy and the introduction of new EU laws with fellow Ministers from the other member states. Each new EU proposal for a law is drafted and introduced by the Commission, the permament government of the EU. The Commission needs the approval of both the  Council of Ministers and the the European Parliament to introduce a new law, but has extensive powers to administer and enforce the large corpus of established EU law. Most EU laws are passed by qualified majority in the Council of Ministers, which means if the UK wishes to block a proposal it needs to find a number of like minded states to vote against.

A UK Minister faced with a new proposal for a law is wise to bring it to the UK Parliament. Parliament can debate it and offer advice to the Minister on what the UK’s negotiating position should be.  Parliament’s best chance to influence and scrutinise occurs before the law is passed by the EU. Once passed by the EU the UK Parliament has no option but to co-operate in the law’s introduction into the UK, short of seeking exit or renegotiation of our relationship with the EU.

Most major  EU laws pass in the form of Directives. These are instructions to national governments to pass into their national laws a new law meeting at least the minimum requirements laid down in the EU Directive. The UK Parliament has a role to supervise the Minister’s translation of the Directive into UK law. The Parliament can, for example, seek to limit gold plating, requiring the Minister to do the minimum necessary for compliance. Alternatively Parliament can ask the Minister to go further than the Directive where this is permitted. The EU also puts through Regulations, which are directly acting and do not need UK Parliamentary approval in the way a Directive does.

Usually a Directive is transposed into UK law as a Statutory Instrument. This limits Parliament’s ability to debate and prevents amendment. Parliament votes on a take it or leave it basis, under the pressure of knowing that the UK has no option but to introduce the law as required. Parliament could vote the Statutory Instrument down, demanding a rewrite, but this does not usually happen. The only way Parliament could refuse to implement the Directive would be by means of amending the European Communities Act 1972, which would presumably be part of exit from the EU or part of a renegotiation of our relationship.

Ministers also face officials advising them that things they wish to do in the UK in the normal course of government business might be illegal under EU law. Such advice is a matter of opinion, seeking to second guess the possible legal actions of the EU. It encourages a caution in  the governing system which some will like and others will find frustrating, as the easiest thing to advise is to do nothing for fear of EU displeasure. Ministers rightly have to live under the law in the UK as well, but here Ministers have the power to amend the law for the future if the courts interpret it in ways that do not seem sensible from government and  Parliament’s viewpoint. If the UK government falls foul of a perverse interpretation of EU law Ministers have no similar power to change the law for the future so they can carry out their legitimate business.

The EU has made huge changes to our constitution. One of the biggest is Parliament now regularly binds its successors,by rubber stamping EU law which a future UK Parliament cannot repeal. Another major change is Ministers are now not only beneath the law, but in the case of European law cannot change the law for the future when it gets in the way of good UK government (Unless the Commission, the European Parliament and other member states agree)

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  1. Bernard from Bucks
    Posted October 10, 2013 at 5:41 am | Permalink

    “Usually a Directive is transposed into UK law as a Statutory Instrument. This limits Parliament’s ability to debate and prevents amendment.”
    Ah! I see. A sort of Dictatorship?

    • oldtimer
      Posted October 10, 2013 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      Correct! The only difference, but it is a crucial difference, is that the “elective dictatorship” (TM Quintin Hogg) is now based in Brussels and cannot be booted out of office at an election. Previously it was based in No 10 Downing Street and could be booted out of office.

      • uanime5
        Posted October 10, 2013 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

        MEPs are elected every 5 years, Councillors (ministers) are elected in general elections every 5 years, and Commissioners serve 5 years terms which require both the approval of the European Council and Parliament. So the UK’s representatives can be booted out after an election.

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted October 10, 2013 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      No a dictatorship is where you have no option.

      As John helpfully explains, albeit grudgingly, an option is to vote down the legislation, although, somewhat less helpfully, John does not go into any detail as to why this rarely happens. Unlike a dictatorship, the UK has an opportunity to influence the legislation that binds all member states.

      • Mark B
        Posted October 10, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

        “influence” That word so much beloved by Ken Clarke and Lord Heseltine. Yes, we can ‘influence’ things. But we cannot change them if they do not work out for us. Which is the other side of the coin no one wants to discuss.

        • yulwaymartyn
          Posted October 11, 2013 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

          You seem to be mixing up influence and outcome. If we can influence an outcome that’s fine. If we can’t then that’s tough. You win some, you lose some. Sometimes things don’t always go your way. But you can never discount influence; you can come back to it as a recurring theme. If you are out of the room,ie out of the club, ie out of the EU then there is no influence and the outcome will never reflect your influence.

    • behindthefrogs
      Posted October 10, 2013 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      No not a dictatorship just a higher elected body. In the same way our parliament passes laws that it expects local councils to implement without change.

      Why is it that our members of parliament question the rights of a higher elected body to pass laws over their heads. It is a matter of fact arising from multilayered government.

      Reply Because some of us do not accept what they do and wish to change our constitutional position.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted October 10, 2013 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

        Members of our sovereign national Parliament should never accept that laws can be imposed on this country by any form of transnational voting, whether it’s QMV in the EU Council of Ministers or simple majorities in the EU Parliament or whatever; those who do accept that, even if unwillingly, are demonstrating that they have no belief in the sovereignty of the British people and their national Parliament and should be removed.

  2. lifelogic
    Posted October 10, 2013 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    So Ministers are in a position that they cannot do the right things even if they want to. Democracy, such as existed, has virtually all gone and the systems are unbelievably inefficient, expensive, hugely damaging to jobs and industry and absurdly slow.

    Well done Heath, Major (with his “subsidiarity” joke), Blair, Brown and cast iron Cameron. Soon Miliband to finally finish the disaster and render it impossible to ever undo.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 10, 2013 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      I see that Lord Debden (John Gummer) has asked (in relation of climate realists on the BBC) “Does BBC give platform to those who don’t believe smoking causes cancer?”

      The difference is clearly that smoking does cause cancer and other many disease the scientific evidence is clearly overwhelming and it is about historical evidence. Global warming is clearly about guessing the long distance future of a chaotic weather system with millions of variables many of which are not even known or knowable. The vast majority of sensible scientists take this line how could they not?

      The discredited computer models for the “experts” do not even agree with the recent temperatures, for the last 15 years now warming has occurred. It is at best an exaggeration and at worse a gigantic scam & fraud.

      I find it very hard to believe that someone like Lord Debdon, who is clearly not a complete idiot, can honestly think this is a sensible comparison.

      The BBC and their presenters are still pushing this discredited science/religion almost every other day with hardly any realists ever to be seen and no sensible question from the BBC staff either (all arts graduates one assumes). The BBC bias and public indoctrination on this issue is a total outrage. It distorts the whole political debate.

      • Richard1
        Posted October 10, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

        Lord Deben should be challenged on this – whereas there are plenty of scientists, and plenty of peer-reviewed scientific papers casting doubt on the alarmist projections upon which global warming policies are based, the same is not true for smoking, where the connection to cancer has been established beyond doubt.

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 10, 2013 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

          Indeed no one is even challenging the smoking link to cancer. Yes nearly all sensible scientist can see how bogus and exaggerated the AGW agenda is. You just need to think for a moment or two.

          How can one predict climate for 100 years when you cannot predict for a week on Tuesday? This when many inputs and feed backs are simply not knowable. Volcanic activity, Meteor Impacts, Genetic plant changes or the Sun’s activity for some examples. Lottery balls are a much simpler problem.

        • uanime5
          Posted October 10, 2013 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

          If there’s so many scientists and peer reviewed papers supporting your point of view then you should have no problem posting the names of a few of them, the scientist that worked on these papers, and the scientists who peer reviewed it.

          Of course if you’re unable to name any such scientific papers I guess that proves that you don’t have any evidence to back up your claims.

          • Edward2
            Posted October 11, 2013 at 7:55 am | Permalink

            Its not surprising Uni, that scientists write similar papers when they are all based on the same data derived from the same computer models.
            Models which boldly predicted the future and can now be seen to have got their earliest predictions wrong by comparing their dire predictions with recent actual figures.
            Now we are meant to trust their latest dire predictions based on failed models that are fundamentally unmodified.
            Bear in mind the IPCC is an organisation that takes a political position on global warming and pays for papers to be produced so it therefore gets the results it actively is looking for.
            If the IPCC were to also fund research into the alternative view then I would be more impressed.
            Still no reply from you on if you still believe Al Gore’s film now that many of the predictions made back then have not come true.

          • Richard1
            Posted October 11, 2013 at 11:01 am | Permalink

            Perhaps we should ask our host to invite Prof R Lindzen of MIT to do a guest post. He has had numerous such works published. Remember that skeptical means not accepting the alarmism upon which global warming policies are based, not denying the fact that CO2 is a greenhouse gas.

            I see the University of Hawaii, on the alarmist side, says London will be uninhabitable due to global warming by 2056. But never mind, Sir Bob Geldorf says global warming will ‘wipe out’ humanity by 2030, so we won’t get there anyway. Was this balderdash peer reviewed I wonder?

    • Hope
      Posted October 10, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      Do not forget that under no circumstance will Cameron lead the UK out of the EU. Therefore it is clear Cameron is not be trusted on his alleged Eurosceptic ticket to get him the Tory leadership and in government. He chose to implement the EU arrest warrant-he did not have to, he did not make any changes to the Lisbon Treaty despite clear unambiguous words how dangerous it was tot he UK, he chose to make a three line whip to prevent a referendum on the EU, the UK paid another£1.3 billion in contributions tot he EU last year without a murmur to prevent it he has bailed out EU countries, with taxpayers’ money, despite assurances he would not do so directly or indirectly, he did not stop stop the £90 million being spent in Strasbourg because it might have upset the French, he did not stop Eurozone countries from using EU institutions as part of his veto that never was, it was an and not either or for both parts of the alleged veto. His advisers are Europhile through and through and weave aptly reminded by Thatcher those who plotted against her were treacherous. People who put the EU before country and party. The facts show you cannot or believe a word he says. Now, because of his poor judgment, with his friends and press secretary, he is not in a position to oppose state regulated press. This is before discussing Libya and Syria shows his judgment to be seriously flawed. And of course he has followed Miliband’s Climate Change Act and increased all our energy bills because he failed to negotiate with the Lib Dems and let them have a free hand.

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 10, 2013 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

        Indeed he is a say one thing do the opposite disaster and simply not to be trusted one inch.

  3. Richard1
    Posted October 10, 2013 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    I wonder whether we sometimes blame the EU too much. Yesterday an OECD official gave an interview urging more global warming driven policies, and praised measures such as the UK’s climate change act as leading the way. It seems therefore that far from being dragged reluctantly by the EU into imposing absurd and economically damaging measures, our Parliament is sometimes at the forefront.

    Should we detect in Cameron’s baiting of Miliband over his authorship of the climate change act and responsibility for high energy charges, a change in direction by the Conservatives on green taxes and subsidies? I hope so, it would be an election winner and will shoot Labour’s fox with their silly fuel price freeze.

  4. Andyvan
    Posted October 10, 2013 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    And all those laws are either counter productive, pointless, economically damaging, repressive or maybe all of these things. What a monumental waste government is. Why do we need it? Are human beings unable to run their own lives without being told what to do by a bunch of cosseted bureaucrats and dubious politicians that steal so much from the productive that they virtually bankrupt economies?
    Personally I make every effort to stay as far away from any form of government as possible as every time I have the slightest brush it costs me time or money or both in return for extremely little.

    • libertarian
      Posted October 10, 2013 at 11:26 am | Permalink


      Totally agree politicians are the problem, not the solution.

      As a small example. I recently started a new business. I deliberately chose to base it in an area with fewer local jobs available. It also has fairly cheap space rental. The business currently has no income and no staff. I expect to eventually employ 3 people there full time. The rent from my 500 sq ft industrial unit is £400 per month.

      The local council has 1) told me I can’t have an ariel ( similar but smaller than a domestic satellite dish) on the roof, therefore I cant get broadband to the unit. 2) I MUST pay a rubbish removal company to remove rubbish I don’t have 3) They want £400 per month RATES yes the same amount again I pay in rent. 4) I got a letter from local council offering me money for various business scheme advice, training and accreditation none of them relevant to my business.

      In the USA its called pork barrel politics, you take the money away and then appear to hand it back in the form of grants and loans and to make the local politicians look like theyre doing something

      Conservative Council, Conservative Government all of them anti business. Maybe they could send a TV personality to do an investigation into why more businesses aren’t starting up?

      The business will be closed

      • A.Sedgwick
        Posted October 10, 2013 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

        More small businesses are geared around the internet and home operation e.g. big log cabin in the garden with no staff other than the principals. I know of several such trading operations or specialist services and they appear to give their owners a good lifestyle. The downside for the UK economy is their attitude about growing into business premises with employed staff is very cautious.

        • oldtimer
          Posted October 10, 2013 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

          Many small businesses were lifestyle businesses before the internet became available. For many it was just not worth the effort and risk to grow their business when they would be taxed and regulated beyond reason if they were successful. So they intentionally stayed small. For them it was the smart move.

          PS I base my comment on having visited c300 such businesses in the late 80s as an advisor.

  5. Old Albion
    Posted October 10, 2013 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    JR you begin this piece with a major error:
    ” The UK has two governments for the price of three”
    No, the (dis)UK has five governments. From the top the EU, then the UK, then Scotland,Wales and N.Ireland.
    The UK is of course a double stranded Gov. in that it is also the Gov. of England. Because of course, England is not allowed to exist politically.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 10, 2013 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      Indeed and this absurd multi-layer government causes huge inefficiency and pointless confusion and expense and killing any remaining real democracy.

    • APL
      Posted October 11, 2013 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      Old Albion: “No, the (dis)UK has five governments.”

      Six if you count the UN. Many of the regulations the EU implements originate with other supra-governmental organizations.

  6. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted October 10, 2013 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Thank you for an easy reading, informative piece. It seems that the most important thing is or was, is to get it right in the UK in the first place. If we have a better chance of influencing , then the initial scrutiny must be of upmost importance. I can see that understanding language and how it is interpreted collectively and by non English speaking nations must be paramount .It is difficult enough for simple comprehension consensus on a site like this.

  7. Mike Wilson
    Posted October 10, 2013 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Well you read that …. and a huge sigh escapes.

    Why the hell did you ever sign us up to this?

    Why the hell won’t you get us out of it?

    Reply I did not sign up to it. I voted “No” in 1975, and voted against Nice Amsterdam and Lisbon.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted October 10, 2013 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      Comment on Reply–I think Mike means “You” the Conservatives not “You” personally as I suspect you realise. Yes I realise that it’s not all the Conservatives’ fault but it is true that your sticking with them a lot of us believe has been disappointing at best and at worst a disaster. Just think if you and a few others were to join you know whom.

      Reply There would still be exactly the same number of MPs prepared to vote and speak Eurosceptic in the Commons!

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted October 10, 2013 at 9:45 am | Permalink

        @Leslie Singleton – yes, I did mean ‘the Conservatives’ as opposed to Mr. Redwood.

        • Mike
          Posted October 10, 2013 at 11:54 am | Permalink

          How on earth does the following, which I have taken from the 1688 bill of rights, sit confortably with ‘membership’ of the EU?

          ” And I doe declare That noe Forreigne Prince Person Prelate, State or Potentate hath or ought to have any Jurisdiction Power Superiority Preeminence or Authoritie Ecclesiasticall or Spirituall within this Realme Soe helpe me God.

          Its all there on

          I haven’t yet found the act which prevents parliament from binding it’s successor however I will.

          It is clear to me at least that the EU and the 1972 act are illegal never mind constitutional….

          Reply The 1972 Act was a major constitutional change, made far bigger by Nice, Amsterdam, Lisbon etc. They are not, however, illegal, as they override the 1688 Bill of Rights, and the Act was endorsed by a referendum.

          • Mike
            Posted October 10, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

            From what I’ve seen so far any legislation which has been overridden does not appear on that website, merely a footnote with the act that overrode it.

            The passage I’ve pasted above appears still to be in force?

            Even if the 72 act overrode the Bill of Rights surely the fact that it binds future parliaments is illegal? As of November next year even invoking article 50 to leave the EU is subject to QMV, which effectively means that the ’72 act not only binds future parliaments but doesn’t offer parliament itself the free choice to leave – therefore binding all parliaments in perpetuity.

            Reply It is my view – and that of like minded Parliamentarians – that we can still repeal or amend the 1972 Act. If we do so without the agreement of the rest of the EU then we move rapidly to a conflict of law and jurisdictions, where Parliament might need to pass an Act reasserting its sovereign authority. That should then be sufficient to ensure all UK courts and judges accepted UK not EU law.

          • margaret brandreth-j
            Posted October 10, 2013 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

            Isn’t the spelling good, but hey no royalty or any other authority wants superiority to God or matters of the ‘spirit’ . The Cof E for the Queen is a medium through which she worships God .She has it right by law.

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 10, 2013 at 11:52 am | Permalink

        It would not help anyway, we are doomed to suffer Miliband by Cameron’s incompetence and ratting, then it will be too late.

        • yulwaymartyn
          Posted October 10, 2013 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

          No but it is a very good answer from John Redwood. Clear and concise even if he doesn’t agree with it. It may help to put to bed this nonsense about Heath being a traitor etc and that the EU is illegal.

          By the way for someone who fought on the beaches on D Day (along with Denis Healey, I believe) it is pretty loathsome to call Heath a traitor.

          • Mike
            Posted October 10, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

            I’d consider it loathesome not to!

            Whilst he won the referendum through lying and subreption in passing the act itself parliament was still binding future parliaments so it still appears to have been illegal at the time.

            Even an ardent Europhile would accept him as a traitor, they might think it was necessary or desireable but given the laws in place at the time it was a knowing act of treason.

            reply Mr Wilson won the referendum, not Mr Heath. The is not and was not illegal! We are all under a legal obligation to obey the EU government, all the time the 1972 Act remains unamended on our Statute book.

          • Mike
            Posted October 10, 2013 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

            Heath took us in and campaigned to stay in. He knew exactly what he was doing and I would distrust the motives of anyone, for or against our continued membership, who thought he acted legally, morally or patriotically. He was a traitor, pure and simple.

            I disagree about the legality! The 1972 act was clearly illegal.

            Signing an irreversible treaty which promised ‘ever closer union’ was clearly binding future parliaments. In the light of the early 70s it might bnot have appeared illegal but in the cold hard light of 2013 it clearly was.

            The natural conclusion to signing such a treaty happens next year when we cannot leave the EU without a qualified majority from their parliament… Surely Cameron’s motive for a fixed term parliament.

            Reply We can leave any time we vote to loeave

          • lifelogic
            Posted October 10, 2013 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

            I think, the experience of the horrors of these wars (of this generation) perhaps drove their absurd, post was pro EU agenda. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Cameron, Blair and Major have no such excuse.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted October 10, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

        Comment on Reply–For such an intelligent experienced man you do talk some rot at times. Are you really trying to persuade us that the enormous boost that would result to UKIP – very possibly causing the final surge that they so obviously need – would be of no account? One last heave. At present unfortunately the number of Eurosceptic MP’s in total seems close to irrelevant. What we want is a new Party that doesn’t talk out of both sides of its mouth at once.

        Reply A Conservative MP did in the past join UKIP whilst still an MP, but is no longer an MP. How did that help?

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted October 10, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

          Comment on Reply–First, that was when UKIP was nothing like as strong as it is fast becoming and, secondly, you are a much bigger and more consequential beast than the MP you refer to, whose name in fact I cannot begin to remember (indeed I doubt I had heard of him then–though all credit to him for trying). It is a question of timing and impact. Personally, if you and say four others were to declare for UKIP you could not fail “to help” as you put it–and on any basis the wretched EU would have to start to get the message.

          Reply We would quickly be marginalised. We would not have the same access to Ministers, would not be able to command the voting strength we currently muster, and would often not be able to get the debates we need. Were Mr Cash, for example, to do as you wish Eurosceptics would then probably lose the Chairmanship of the European Affairs Committee , probably to someone more inclined to agree with EU directives.

          • Leslie Singleton
            Posted October 10, 2013 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

            Comment on Reply–You talk as if nobody ever crossed the floor of the House before. Is there then a European Affairs Committee? Sounds as if there is and I bet overflowing with worthiness but is it effective as regards getting us Out? Not on your Nellie.

            Reply: Yes there is a European Affairs Select Committee, which scrutinises EU legislation and ensures debate on the floor of the Commons of the major issues and measures. It is why many of you know as much as you do about our EU government.

        • margaret brandreth-j
          Posted October 10, 2013 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

          Sorry , not attacking your position or freedom of speech , but is it necessary to say ” you do talk some rot” . You can question without making the initial derogatory remark . John would not do this even on his own site , even though he i bet thinks this

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted October 10, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply,
      How did you vote in the motion of confidence which was proposed in order to ensure support in Parliament for the passing of the Maastricht Treaty in 1993?
      Didn’t you all put party before country and vote thereby in effect to ratify the treaty?

      • Mike
        Posted October 10, 2013 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

        “”this country cannot afford to let this stalemate on European policy continue. It is against the interests of government in this country to do so. This House must decide today whether it is prepared to sustain the Government in office or encourage me to seek a dissolution.””

        Brian is right. You voted and showed your support for Major’s position which I’ve outlined above.

        As did Bill Cash who was recently ridiculed by our Nige for putting his party before his country and not having the balls to vote with his convictions.

        Reply I seem to remember resigning from the Cabinet to force the offer of a referendum before abolishing the pound. Strange how you choose not to remember that. As always Eurosceptics on this site take pleasure in attacking people trying to help them!

        • Brian Tomkinson
          Posted October 10, 2013 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

          Reply to reply,
          You have a selective memory too. Admit it, you had the chance to vote down the Maastricht Treaty and you funked it. You put party before country and many of us think that attitude will never change.

          Reply I had the opportunity to defeat the Conservative government on a motion of no confidence, leading to a General Election which Labour would have won, leading to probable joining the Euro! Wouldn’t that have been smart”! We later persuaded Blair to offer the referendum on the Euro which saved the pound.

        • Mike
          Posted October 10, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

          Too little too late at that stage John.

          On the no confidence motion you had your chance and chose party over country. You were a minister, you had a following and you allowed the government to do the country ill.

          Under what circumstances precisely would you have followed your conscience?

          Reply I followed it when I saw how I could make things better by resigning. Ushering in a Labour government earlier would in my view have lost us the pound and much else.

          • Mike
            Posted October 10, 2013 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

            If you’d brought the government down, as you should have on principle, Major would have resigned and the tories might have been electable.

            Instead you limped on and gave labour 13 years.

            How you can argue that you chose the right course of action even with hindsight beats the crap out of me.

            Id have a lot more respect for you if you admitted that you bottled it.
            Reply I think that by staying within, then resigning over the important issue of not joining the Euro, I helped secure the referendum pledge from both Major and Blair which saved the pound. You can only resign once and have to chose your time and issue well for it to have a favourable impact.

        • yulwaymartyn
          Posted October 11, 2013 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

          I very much hope that Bill Cash is a wiser man than he was two weeks ago.

          I think that your Nige has forever put his own interests and that of his party before the national interest. I think Nigel Farage has never even considered the national interest.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted October 10, 2013 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply: How about Maastricht? I can’t quite recall, (although I do seem to recall a very brief conversation in the Central Lobby where we both agreed it was a dog of a thing and should never become UK law). UKIP’s Nigel Farage even picked Bill Cash up on that at a meeting recently.

      How sceptic is sceptic?

      Perhaps the word ‘sceptic’ should be defined as relating to those (and only to those) who want out of the EU altogether.


      • Brian Tomkinson
        Posted October 10, 2013 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

        Agreed. We are continually told by our host that Cameron and the Conservative party are Eurosceptic, whilst Caeron has told us that he has no intention of ever taking the UK out of the EU and, as recently as last year, was totally opposed to a referendum. I am no longer sure that our esteemed host would qualify for our description of Eurosceptic.

        reply In that case there are not many Eurosceptics in the country! If pure Eurosceptics spend all their time trying to alienate anyone who agrees with them over much of the EU matter, they will remain angry and out of power.

        • Brian Tomkinson
          Posted October 10, 2013 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

          Reply to reply,
          Thank you for confirming that you don’t really want the UK to leave the EU. That goes for the majority of your parliamentary party. There is only one Eurosceptic party and that is UKIP.

          Reply. Try reading what I write. I voted for Out last time we had a vote, and would vote for Out today if we had the choice of current terms of membership or Out.

          • Brian Tomkinson
            Posted October 10, 2013 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

            Reply to reply,
            I voted for Out, too, in 1975 and would vote the same way now regardless of the terms – how about you?

            Reply Yes, I have said often if I had an In/Out referendum today I would vote for Out. Why can’t you ever accept or understand that?

  8. Roger Farmer
    Posted October 10, 2013 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Thank you for your explanation as to why the UK Parliament is now largely irrelevant.
    In 1939 we were on the point of being invaded by Germany. The population was against it, the government was equivocal until some MPs with their eyes open told the government to go. The most aware politician, Winston Churchill, then took over and led us from the brink of disaster.
    Now we have the majority of the population against a much more insidious invasion of our way of life, while the majority of politicians sit around, thumbs in bums, waiting to be told what to do. The so called leadership of our country, complicit in its’ destruction, would in 1939 be considered quislings and fellow travellers, suitable candidates for a prolonged stay in the Isle of Man. When oh when will the nettle be grasped.

  9. alan jutson
    Posted October 10, 2013 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    How in the so called name of democracy have we allowed ourselves to get into this shocking state of affairs ?

    Why do we have so many MP’s (the majority it would seem) still willing to put up with this farce?

    Why does any self respecting leader of a Country (not just this one) allow themselves to be controlled in this way ?

    If I had Joined a Club on a range of promises, then found out I was paying more for my membership than most of the others, that some members were even being paid to be members with a subsidy, and that my vote and thoughts were being ignored. That constant rule changes and increasing expenditure that required even higher membership fees was happening each year, and that accounts were never signed off.
    I would resign immediately.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 10, 2013 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      (the majority it would seem)

      All bar about 100 it seems!

    • uanime5
      Posted October 10, 2013 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

      All member states in the EU pay 1% of their GDP. If member states had to pay a fixed amount then this would mean the smaller and poorer countries wouldn’t be able to join.

      All member states benefit from subsidies (including the UK). The poorer countries get more than they put in to help them develop their economies. Once their economies are stronger they’ll receive less subsidies and be more likely to buy exports from other EU countries (including the UK).

      Finally the UK can also recommend rule changes and if they can find enough member states who agree with them they can implement these changes.

      • APL
        Posted October 11, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

        uanime5: “this would mean the smaller and poorer countries wouldn’t be able to join.”

        Why in gods name do we want smaller poorer countries to join? Don’t we have enough poverty in this country to deal with without our taxes having to subsidize Greece or Romania?

    • APL
      Posted October 11, 2013 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      Alan Jutson: “How in the so called name of democracy .. ”

      Alan, this isn’t a democracy, it’s a self selecting Kakistocracy.

      But since the Americans aren’t using their Constitution any more, perhaps we should adopt it from now on?

  10. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted October 10, 2013 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Thank you for explaining why we must leave the EU – not renegotiate with a view to staying in, entrapped under a foreign government.

  11. Tad Davison
    Posted October 10, 2013 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    ‘Usually a Directive is transposed into UK law as a Statutory Instrument. This limits Parliament’s ability to debate and prevents amendment.’

    And thus, if the British people think differently – TOUGH!

    Is that really what the likes of Major, Howe and all the others intended?

    If they knew it would happen, and hid I from the electorate, they should be shot as traitors. If they didn’t know, but signed us up anyway, they were blind and incompetent, and unfit to hold office.

    Why not invite them to give an account of themselves?

    But it doesn’t end there. We still have a great many Westminster politicians who absolutely believe, body and soul, that the EU is a fantastic thing, and we should have much more of it. Strange they seem not to want to explain their position in a proper debate, as in the case of Cambridge’s Julian Huppert.

    Tad Davison


    Reply The people to get really cross with are Blair and Brown, as they surrendered far more power than Major and Howe. Of course they knew as we Conservatives explained it to them and opposed it.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted October 10, 2013 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      Oh, I’ve absolutely no time for those two John, but the thing that always gets to me, is how we were led to believe the Conservatives would be different. I argued for, voted for, and trudged the streets for a party that turned out to be sneaky and duplicitous. As a believer in our own national sovereignty, I am bitterly disappointed by those who gave it away. The very people who would stand up and make us all believe they were against more of the EU and would see its effects reversed.

      And that is going to be vitally important come the next general election, because thanks to the likes of those I mentioned earlier, the Tories now have a huge credibility gap. No matter what they promise, few believe them, so their legacy could well be to consign the Tories to political oblivion for the foreseeable future. Cameron couldn’t even win the last election out right, even with the incumbent being hugely unpopular.

      We need actions not gestures. We need to know precisely which powers will be repatriated, because the people won’t tolerate a fudge or half-measures. We also need to make more of the failures of the last Labour government especially on the EU, but the Tories aren’t making anywhere near enough noises, which leads people to conclude they somehow acquiesce and don’t really want to rock the boat.

      Seeing is believing, and glib assurances to alter Britain’s relationship with the EU will no longer suffice. The clock is ticking, and UKIP are steadily gaining ground. Tory membership is now a fraction of what it once was, so do you really wonder why so many people regard Major and co. as an unmitigated disaster?

      They stole the party so many of us had worked so hard for. Had they not been allowed to ruin it, Blair and Brown would probably never have happened anyway.


    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted October 10, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply,
      I don’t for one minute think the outcome would have been any different at all if your party had been in office rather than Blair and Brown.

    • Mike
      Posted October 10, 2013 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      Blaming labour is nothing less than subreptile John.

      Heath took us in and Major signed us up to Maastricht.

      Reply Why can’t you see that Labour has cost us far more vetoes and opt outs than the Conservatives and remains a huge obstacle in this Parliament, usually siding with the Europhile Lib Dems.

      • Mike
        Posted October 10, 2013 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

        Because it is remarkably difficult to see any difference between the parties when it comes to selling my birthright for nothing.

        If labour had followed Thatcher and then we’d had 13 years of the tories I honestly don’t think we’d be in a different situation now.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted October 11, 2013 at 8:11 am | Permalink

        But it was Thatcher who set the precedent that the government could urge the abolition of vetoes and get Parliament to approve the amending treaty that was agreed – the Single European Act in her case – without going back to ask the people for their approval in a referendum, even though the 1975 referendum had been won on the explicit promise that our government would always have a veto.

  12. Max Dunbar
    Posted October 10, 2013 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Many people on this site want to completely withdraw from the EU but it is quite clear from what you have written that this is simply not feasible while we continue to have our own government operate in the way that it does at present.
    Pulling out of the EU would firstly mean some sort of revolution within our own system and a complete re-organisation of our institutions of government thereafter.
    In the meantime, we have regional problems of our own to contend with involving wasteful and divisive duplication of government in Scotland and Wales. This in turn provokes, quite understandably, bad feeling and a sense of grievance for many people in England. These separatist forces need to be reined in first and national unity re-established before a start can be made on plans for pulling out of the European Union.

  13. Bill
    Posted October 10, 2013 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Thanks for this. Like other readers, I find myself amazed that we ever allowed all this to happen. Not only did we lose an empire in the last century but by creeping changes we were absorbed into someone else’s empire. And not a shot was fired.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 10, 2013 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      We the voters unless over about 56? never had any choice in the matter and were lied to all the way through, from “Common Market” Ted Heath to “Subsidiarity” Major through Bliar and Brown and now “Cast Iron” Dave.

  14. Bert Young
    Posted October 10, 2013 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Your post more than adequately explains the meaning of wasted time , unnecessary expenditure and , the stupidity of our political leadership . I wish for a benign dictatorship capable of putting our ship back on its proper democratic course and restoring genuine British values .

  15. yulwaymartyn
    Posted October 10, 2013 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    It sounds absolutely fine with me.

    All those benefits from the single market and of course a curb on silly laws passed by the UK parliament acting out of its own self regard which unfortunately I am old enough to remember. For example that gem of legislation the Industrial Relations Act 1971.

    Plus if our ministers do their job properly and stop sulking in the corner we can influence policy on other member states in the EU.

    Thanks John for explaining it so well. I had no idea it was so simple.

  16. ferdinand
    Posted October 10, 2013 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    The EU again. Will the subject only end when we leave? Please tell me, why are there so many unintelligent MPs ? Is it because they have unintelligent constituents or is there some persuasive secret formula that gets them elected.

  17. yulwaymartyn
    Posted October 10, 2013 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Can I also John ask you of your opinion about the reports from the head of Nissan Toshiyuki Shiga who has said:

    “The UK is part of the European Union, [that] is very important. From the foreign investor point of view, I hope, that the UK will remain as an EU member.”

    According to the Daily Telegraph 09.10.13 Nissan is one of the most important foreign investors in the UK having launched its factory in 1986. In 2010 the factory produced 400,000 cars and this has now increased to 510,000 cars. Apparently 80 per cent of these are exported. Nissan currently employs 6,400 people in Sunderland.

    I would very much like to be present at a UKIP meeting at this factory; oddly there has not been one that I am aware of.

    Reply Nissan is entitled to a view but that dopes not mean we have to agree. Japanese car makers I remember told us we needed to join the Euro, but they stayed and invested more when we didn’t. They need to grasp that if the UK votes to leave the EU then of course we will wish to protect the legitimate business interests of companeis like Nissan and given the big imbalonce in our trade with the rest of the Eu should be able to do so.

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted October 10, 2013 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      The issue isn’t the euro but import tariffs imposed by other member states. The Japanese well know that the traditional British response to a financial crisis is to devalue the currency.

      The issue that concerns the Japanese is that the other member states will be able to impose import tariffs on British made exports to the EU following our exit. They are familiar but not remotely persuaded by the trade imbalance between the UK and the EU. They think that member states, once freed from EU obligations, will slap on tariffs due to some nationalistic local fervour which may be politically very convenient in the short term but commercially disastrous. The Japanese feel that they will be sitting on the sidelines powerless and without influence.

      Not helped of course by our own nationalistic group UKIP advocating the very thing that the Japanese fear the most, especially when coupled by the supine and craven responses from both the labour and conservative parties.

      Reply Indeed – that was the point I understood and answered. They were wrong about the Euro and will be wrong again about tariffs if the British people vote to leave, for the reasons I have often explained.

      • Mark B
        Posted October 10, 2013 at 4:11 pm | Permalink


        I do not wish to be rude, but you do seem rather ignorant with regards to trade and the EU.

        The EU is a Supra-national government and a Customs Union. The EEA (European Economic Area) is NOT the same as the EU, it is the Single Market and under the rules of the a fore mentioned, member states of the EEA can trade without barriers or restrictions with other members.

        Turkey, which is only a member of the Customs Union only, does not seem to have too much trouble attracting investment and selling to the EU.

        The ‘question’ regarding the EU for me, and many others who wish us to return too ‘self governance’ is in fact that. GOVERNANCE !

        It has little to do with trade and nothing to do with business, since business would largely go unaffected. But I await your counter arguments with interest.

        • uanime5
          Posted October 10, 2013 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

          Just a few things about Turkey.

          1) They’ve been trying to join the EU since the 1950’s.

          2) Under the terms of the custom union they can’t make treaties with a non-EU country without informing the EU. The EU can also annul these treaties.

          3) Under the terms of the custom union Turkey has to introduce all EU laws that are related to the custom union.

          The EU does not allow free movement of goods into the EU unless you obey all EU laws regarding the production of these goods.

        • yulwaymartyn
          Posted October 11, 2013 at 9:33 am | Permalink

          Thanks for your comments; I don’t find them rude at all and thanks for your reply. People who doubt or dislike our membership of the EU state that in the main there are political and economic arguments. The bent banana, British army being made to speak french, etc, arguments seem finally to have been dropped.

          The economic argument seems to vary from a loss of 3.5 million jobs to that there will be massive investment opportunities etc once we unshackle ourselves from the corpse.

          I think, as a massive Europhile, that nobody really knows what the outcome would be. I am sure that some jobs would be lost and others would be created. I think, certainly in the short term, there would be a net deficit, but that, like anyone else’s view is just a guess. With the noble exception of John Redwood, I am singularly unimpressed with the economic knowledge and analysis of tory eurosceptic MP’s.

          The big one for me and for many is the political argument. Do we want to share our laws and law making with other European member states? My fervent belief is yes because I inherently don’t trust British governments to deliver. I think UK governance is too confrontational and destructive and vengeful. Even the layout of the House of Commons to my mind is ridiculous together with the pantomime of PMQ’s. I think it is archaic.

          I am impressed that supply side reforms to the German Labour market in the early 00’s was carried out by a SDP Chancellor and then continued in the same vein by a CPD Chancellor. We in this country would never agree on such a dual strategy. I think therefore that we need legislation like the Working Time Directives to reduce the political football nature of British governance so that we, as a people, can get on and do what we are good at which is making things and design. Take the human rights legislation etc to Brussels, take all the other divisive legal issues to Brussels and let them sort out the framework and allow us to make the money and be the great country we are.

        • peter davies
          Posted October 11, 2013 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

          @Mark B

          Well said, I was just about to say the same thing about the EEA

  18. forthurst
    Posted October 10, 2013 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    I don’t understand the penultimate paragraph, in particular, the last two sentences. Is this saying that Ministers can change the law in the UK, if the courts in the UK interpret them perversely in their opinion, but if Ministers change the law or it is interpreted by UK courts such as to conflict with the intention of the original Brussels’ direction, they can be ordered to modify UK law for compliance? What body in the EU can determine whether the UK is compliant with an original direction and issue an order for compliance?

    What is clear however is that our government is in Brussels, a government of more supplicants than donors, a government in which creeping socialism proceeds on a ratchet, so when Cameron dons his Eurosceptic hat to decry the effects of EU law enacted here by Miliband or whoever, he is simply electioneering.

    Reply The ECJ can strike down a government deed or even an Act of Parliament for non compliance. If they do som, we cannot correct the position by another Act of Parliament, unless we also repealed the 1972 Act or took other action to remove EU/ECJ jurisidiction.

  19. behindthefrogs
    Posted October 10, 2013 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    The solution of course is to get rid of the UK parliament completely and for all lwas to either be passed by the EU or local councils.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 10, 2013 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for making that clear.

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted October 11, 2013 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

      that is a very interesting idea. Intergovernmental level and a local level. Who could argue with that.?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted October 12, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

        Anyone who believes that we are a nation and we have a nation state and therefore our national Parliament is the correct forum for decisions on how we are governed.

        • yulway martyn
          Posted October 13, 2013 at 11:46 am | Permalink

          What is a nation? I think you talk in very glib terms. Is Texas a nation? The Crimea? Wales? Catalonia? Monaco? Jersey? Nigeria?

          I think you need to define what a nation is before you come to the semi ludicrous concept of national sovereignty.

  20. John Wrake
    Posted October 10, 2013 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood,

    It will not do.

    Your replies to Leslie Singleton at 9.21 “There would still be exactly the same number of MPs prepared to vote and speak Eurosceptic in the Commons!” and to Tad Davidson at 7.51 “The people to get really cross with are Blair and Brown, as they surrendered far more power than Major and Howe. Of course they knew as we Conservatives explained it to them and opposed it. ” reduce the government of this nation to the status of a 6th Form school debate.

    We know that members of parliament are expert at procedure and comparative numbers, but the problem we face is too big to be handled this way.

    The fact that you, with Eurosceptic views, continue to take the Conservative whip, lends credence to that discredited Party. Though the numbers might not change, for those M.P.s who wish us to leave the E.U. to reject their Party affiliation and stand as Independents would have a dynamic effect on attitudes.

    We are past the time for working out the league-tables on treason. Who cares which individual did the most damage – they are all culpable.

    Your post is a description of a country governed by eunuchs, whatever they call themselves.
    We don’t want descriptions of our shame – we want change. What are you and your like-minded colleagues of any Party, doing about it? Voting as a minority will no longer serve.

    John Wrake

    Reply Typical unpleasant abuse against someone who is trying to solve a major problem that worries you. Doing it my way means I am an MP and have a voice and a vote on these matters in Parliament. After 20 years of trying there is still no UKIP MP to do the same.

    • ian wragg
      Posted October 10, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      reply to reply. John in only 20 years UKIP have gone from nothing to being in a position to destroy the conservative party. They do not need any MP’s.
      The general public are getting well aware of the LIBLABCON which rules us under guidance from Brussels. Your days are numbered.
      I voted Tory for almost 40 years but never again as it is a sham party run by traitors and quislings.

      Reply: If you could destroy the Conservative party you would have a federalist Labour/Lib Dem Parliament – what a silly thing to try to do.

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 10, 2013 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

        To reply: Yes but we have a federalist Tory Party apart from perhaps 100 MPs what is the difference? Anyway Cameron simply cannot win on his current course. He could not even win last time.

  21. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted October 10, 2013 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    The power to impose EU law and Directives on the UK by QMV derives substantially from the fact that we have acceded to the Maastricht, Amsterdam, Nice and Lisbon Treaties. If we repeal our Acts of Accession to these treaties unilaterally, we will regain a huge chunk of our sovereignty. To complete these initial steps, we should repeal our commitment to ever closer union. If the Conservative Party were to include these actions in our 2015 manifesto, it could begin implementation on day one after taking office.

    Nor should we recommend this only for the UK. Some 8 Member States do not want to join the Euro and other Member States are not fiscally strong enough to stay in the Euro. Our message to them should be ‘Come on out; the water is lovely.’

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted October 10, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      and devalue the currency by 25%. We can all do this. A national disgrace.

      • APL
        Posted October 11, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

        yulwaymartyn: “and devalue the currency by 25%”

        Too late old chap.

        You could live quite comfortably if modestly, on £2 per week in 1910. Today, £2 won’t buy a pint.

        The currency has already been destroyed!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 10, 2013 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

      Once again you ignore the Treaty of Rome, where the commitment to ever closer union first appeared, and the Single European Act. Our troubles did not start with the Maastricht Treaty, even though that was when some people first noticed the process of legal subordination which started on since January 1st 1973.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted October 11, 2013 at 10:30 am | Permalink

        By all means amend the original 1973 Act to exclude the commitment to ever closer union. However, the Single European Act gave us the closest we are ever likely to get to free trade in Europe. The subsequent treaties have not enhanced the Single Market but subverted it.

        The British people ought to have known that the 1973 Act was political in nature. When this was a Bill passing through the Commons in 1972, Enoch Powell and his allies forced 114 divisions against their own government. As far as I know, this was the biggest and most sustained parliamentary rebellion ever on a single issue (unless you count the disruptive tactics of the Irish Nationalists prior to Irish independence)

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted October 12, 2013 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

          The Single European Act set the precedent that instead of always having a national veto our government could agree to be outvoted, and there was no need to go back to the people to see whether they agreed with that idea.

  22. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted October 10, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    It keeps surprising me that you can’t realise by now (or just pretend) that you ARE EU government, you are part of it. Oh, if only you could live on an island! 🙂

    Reply NO, we are not the EU government. We are in the EU, under an EU government we did not elect and do not wish to boss us around, which is why a majority of the UK people want a new relationship, outside the federal treaties!

    • Peter van Leeuwen
      Posted October 10, 2013 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply:
      I’m sorry to have to say that you are part and parcel of EU institutions (“government” being a eurosceptic invention). Together You appointed Baroso, You elected Van Rompuy (from among your peers) as chairman/president, You proposed Lady Ashton and had her vetted and approved by the European parliament, which You are part of! (You = either the UK government, Cameron, or represenratives of the people, MEPs).
      These realities will be difficult to deny.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted October 10, 2013 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

        They are realities which should cease to be realities.

        • Peter van Leeuwen
          Posted October 10, 2013 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

          @Denis Cooper: at least you know them as current realities. I think that The Netherlands will try and keep th UK an EU member, so and more importantly will Germany. But the nature of these realities will likely not change. There will be less regulatory overload, an even better fisheries policy, more national involvement at the EU level, fewer tasks done at EU level, etc. This will result in a positive referendum, IF there is going to be one

          • Lindsay McDougall
            Posted October 12, 2013 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

            Don’t push your luck. Our involvement in ANY EU treaty can be repealed unilaterally by ANY UK government at ANY time. That’s a fact. And it is not constitutionally necessary to hold a referendum first; we didn’t have any when we signed up.

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted October 11, 2013 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      No Peter is right. We are part of the EU and have representation there. Presumably John you are going to exercise your right to participate next May and get involved or are you going to allow yourself and your party to be outnumbered by UKIP because they will vote whilst the Tory sulks at home.


  23. MArk B
    Posted October 10, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    A very nice summary of our continues subservience to a foreign power, aided an abetted by those around you.

    “The EU has made huge changes to our constitution.” And since when have we been consulted on this ? And please, don’t tell me about voting Conservative to get a referendum. I know. I also know that we will not get it, no matter who gets into power.

    But, if you know all this, then it is not also true that others in the HoC may also be aware ? If so, why then such a large number of you still wish to stay in the EU ?

    Perhaps you like this arrangement, no ?

    Recognition of our sovereignty: the peoples of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland comprise the ultimate authority of their nations and are the source of all political power. That fact shall be recognised by the Crown and the Governments of our nations, and our Parliaments and Assemblies;

    Reply I have often explained this in the Commons and outside, and voted to leave when we last had a vote in 1975

  24. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 10, 2013 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    “Most EU laws pass in the form of Directives”

    JR, that is not correct; Directives are greatly outnumbered by Regulations, which are directly applicable and usually by-pass Parliament completely.

    Reply Not so

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 11, 2013 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      In October 2010 the House of Commons Library produced a Research Paper entitled “How much legislation comes from Europe?”, which can be downloaded here:

      On page 9 there is a graph showing the numbers each year since 1959, and there have always been many more Regulations than Directives.

      (That graph also illustrates the great increase in so-called “soft law” in recent years:

      “EU “soft law” includes the communications, declarations, recommendations, resolutions, statements, guidelines and special reports of the EU institutions. These are not legally binding and are often taken forward informally through dialogue and negotiation among the Member States or between the EU institutions and Member States.”)

      Then there is a table on page 12, while on page 13 it is stated:

      “In numerical terms, the Commission, particularly Commission regulations, is the main source of EU law. In 2009 the Commission was responsible for 72% of EU legislation; Commission regulations alone were 45% of the grand total.”

      From that 2010 report it would appear that on average about 47% of our new laws now derive from the EU; but I doubt that the report has captured the full impact of ECJ case law, and it should also be recognised that even where the EU does not have “control” over our laws through legally binding instruments it can still have considerable “influence” through the so-called “soft law”.

      This is what the EU Commission has to say about EU Regulations:

      “What are EU regulations?

      Regulations are the most direct form of EU law – as soon as they are passed, they have binding legal force throughout every Member State, on a par with national laws. National governments do not have to take action themselves to implement EU regulations.

      They are different from directives, which are addressed to national authorities, who must then take action to make them part of national law, and decisions, which apply in specific cases only, involving particular authorities or individuals.

      Regulations are passed either jointly by the EU Council and European Parliament, and by the Commission alone.”

      In other words, unlike Directives most Regulations do not have to go anywhere near our Parliament; “as soon as they are passed, they have binding legal force throughout every Member State”, and so Parliament will only be involved if it is deemed necessary to remove some inconsistency with our existing law and/or establish means of enforcement and/or set penalties for infringement.

      Reply Thank you for that source. You are right that numerically there are more Regulations than Directives. What I meant to say – and will amend – is that the major items with the biggest and most expensive impact are undertaken through Directives. Many of the directly acting Regs are minor, unlike say the Working Time Directive.

  25. John Wrake
    Posted October 10, 2013 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood,

    In your reply to my comment you accuse me of typical unpleasant abuse. I refute that charge.
    I abuse no one, but I describe as eunuchs in the political sense, those who, in your own words, can have Acts of Parliament struck down by a foreign authority and who are only capable of gestures by forming minority groups when any question of our membership of the E.U. is raised.

    In your reply to Mike, you wrote “The 1972 Act was a major constitutional change, made far bigger by Nice, Amsterdam, Lisbon etc. They are not, however, illegal, as they override the 1688 Bill of Rights, and the Act was endorsed by a referendum.

    That too, I refute. The Constitutional document which was subsequently endorsed by an Act of Parliament cannot be overridden. The Petition of Right was upheld by a Constitutional Conference of the nation and was expressly stated to be for all time and, as part of the Constitution, was so written to prevent future treasonous politicians from taking away the peoples’ rights. Later parliaments have fiddled with the Bill which parliament wrote, but it does not affect the substantive document.

    The convention that no Parliament can bind its successors does not apply to constitutional matters. The 1972 Treaty signing was unlawful, performed on the back of a Conservative Prime Minister, who lied to the electorate about the nature of the treaty (lies which I heard for myself) and the referendum under a Labour Prime minister in 1975 was designed to perpetuate the deception.

    I do not abuse you, or those M.P.s who seek to restore the Sovereignty of this nation. I call on you to do what is necessary to change the current impasse, caused by leaders who have acted unconstitutionally and by elected representative who have, either through ignorance, or carelessness, or misplaced loyalty, have failed to restore the government of this great nation to the Rule of Law.

    John Wrake

    Reply In a democracy if a large majority do not share your view you have to work away at persuading them. Calling them all traitors or accusing them of an illegality that would not be upheld in the courts does not advance our joint cause of self government at all.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 11, 2013 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      John W, if you mean the Bill of Rights of 1688 then that is classed as an Act of the English Parliament, and indeed crucial parts of the original document are still on the statute book here:

      But only parts of it; and I believe that the first amendments became necessary as early as 1700 to alter the succession, while the most recent amendments have been through the Succession to the Crown Act 2013.

      However there have been questions about whether the Bill of Rights is susceptible to implied repeal, given that in his judgement on the Metric Martyrs case Lord Justice Laws mentioned it as an example of a “constitutional statute” along with the European Communities Act 1972, and said that unlike “ordinary statutes” any repeal had to be express; I’m not sure that the government’s lawyers have ever come up with a solution to the problem that over the past three centuries plus there have been various items of legislation which have contravened parts of the Bill of Rights without expressly repealing them.

      Reply All the time the 1972 Act remains unamended on our Statute books UK courts are likely to accept the superior jurisdiction of the ECJ

  26. ohn Wrake
    Posted October 11, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood,

    In your reply to my comment at 11 p.m. you wrote ” In a democracy if a large majority do not share your view you have to work away at persuading them. Calling them all traitors or accusing them of an illegality that would not be upheld in the courts does not advance our joint cause of self government at all.”

    My form of government, as set out in our historic constitution, is a Constitutional Monarchy. under that form of government, any attack on the person or role of the monarch is an act of treason.

    Do you deny that removing the supremacy of the monarch as the final authority in law is treason? Are you suggesting that the oath of allegiance required to be sworn by all officers under the Crown, whether parliamentarians, judges, magistrates, officers in the armed forces or any other person swearing that oath, is of none effect, since a parliament majority has changed the rules?

    As I have written before, we have a Constitutional Monarch, whose life confirms the reality of the oath which she swore at Her coronation to uphold our laws and customs, who has been served by some treasonous politicians intent on breaking their oaths of office, supported by others who have failed to identify and oppose the treason.

    Do you deny that Edward Heath, in a broadcast to the nation in 1972, stated that joining the Common Market had no implications for the sovereignty of this nation, despite having received legal advice to the contrary, and by that lie, committed treason?

    All the arguments you put forward about the legality which ties your hands rest on the premise that Acts of Parliament confer our freedoms, that we live in a Parliamentary Democracy and that Parliament is Sovereign. NONE OF THAT IS TRUE.

    Our freedom is God-given freedom, with the only constraints being the terms of Common Law. Various Parliaments have either confirmed that freedom or attempted to curtail it, with various success, just as various monarchs have done in the past.

    Parliament is not Sovereign. The people of this country, to whom sovereignty under God belongs, give that sovereignty to a monarch for life, after He or She has promised to uphold their laws (i.e. Common Law) and customs and loan the administration of the country to a Parliament for a term of years. Our history records the fate of those monarchs or parliaments who have abused the gift or loan.

    Parliaments and Kings who usurp their powers are outside the Law. Judges who claim the supremacy of laws enacted as a result of unconstitutional legislation are outside the Law.

    The amendments made to Acts and Statutes from time to time are only valid if they conform to the terms of the constitution, which is itself inviolable.

    John Wrake.

  27. peter davies
    Posted October 11, 2013 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    “Usually a Directive is transposed into UK law as a Statutory Instrument. This limits Parliament’s ability to debate and prevents amendment” – this sounds like a civilized version of a Vichy government or even a Soviet Union satellite country.

    Did Eastern European States like East Germany and Hungary not have national parliaments which had to apply the laws they were told by their Russian masters?

  28. theyenguy
    Posted October 11, 2013 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Please consider that from eternity past, God planned and brought forth liberalism, as part of his design for providing empires for governance; the most recent ones have been liberalism’s British Empire and the US Dollar Hegemonic Empire, the two iron legs presented in Daniel’s Statue of Empires, 2:25-45.

    But these are being swept into the dustbin of history, as Jesus Christ is operating in Dispensation, that is in the administrative oversight of all things economic and political, Ephesians 1:10, introducing authoritarianism’s Beast Regime of regional governance and totalitarian collectivism, seen in Revelation 13:1-4, which is the same empire of the Ten Toed Kingdom, with its toes being a miry mixture of clay democracy and iron diktat, seen in Daniel 2:25-45.

    The collapse of the first iron leg of liberalism’s empire came with the failure of the sovereignty of the British Empire in four stages. First, in 1948 the the UK was kicked out of Palestine with establishment of the State of Israel. Second, in 1951 Egypt repudiated the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936, and in 1954 the UK agreed to remove its troops, and withdrew is troops in 1956. Third, the UK transferred authority over Hong Kong in June of 1985. Fourth, The Treaty of Maastricht was an amendment to the Treaty of Rome, to which the UK had become a signatory by terms of the Treaty of Accession of November 1972, Conservative Michael Spicer relates in Total Politics article History of the Maastricht Treaty.

    Mr. Redwood, you complain bitterly about Eurozone interference in UK matters. It’s reasonable, that you will complain even more about authoritarianism’s Beast Regime foretold in Revelation 13:1-4, its Beast Ruler, in Revelation 13:5-10, and Beast Banker in Revelation 13:12-18, all of will rise soon out of Financial Apocalypse, that is a global credit bust and financial system breakdown, as foretold in Revelation 13:3-4, and more specifically out of sovereign insolvency and banking insolvency of the periphery (named countries that are not bankrupt removed ed) to become a European Super State.

    The First Horseman of the Apocalypse, that is the Rider on the White Horse, who carries the bow yet without any arrows, Revelation 6:1, is effecting coup d’etat globally to transfer the baton of sovereignty, from democratic nation states to nannycrats, as they rise to rule in regional governance and totalitarian collectivism, case in point being the EU finance ministers activity in Greece.

  29. Anonymous
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    You’ve made your point!

  • 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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