UK ports and another EU power grab


Yesterday morning a group of MPs met in Committee Room 14 to discuss the EU’s plans to take control over all the main ports in the EU, establishing by direct EU regulation their right to determine how they are run and how they charge.

This is one of many such scrutiny committees that have met over the years as the EU has greatly expanded its legislative activities. Under Labour the Minister would recommend the EU measure to the committee, and the Labour majority would vote it through, usually with no Labour backbench speeches either in favour or querying any element.

The EU’s wish to regulate the 47 largest ports in the UK is opposed by the  ports industry. Measures which may make sense for state owned or state subsidised ports in Mediteranean countries make no sense for free enterprise competitive  ports with market prices and no subsidy in the UK. The Chairman of the European Select Committee was present though not a member of this scrutiny committee, as his  Committee had recommended that this important new EU measure should be debated on the floor of the Commons. Bernard Jenkin and I were also present, though not voting members of the committee.

Mr Jenkin began the proceedings with a point of order. He argued that the latest draft of the EU proposal available to the committee was dated 23.5.2013. There have been various redrafts since then. There were also some other papers missing. He proposed that the committee be adjourned until the government had circulated all the relevant papers. I backed him up. The Minister, Mr Hayes saw the merit of our case and offered to move the adjournment of the committee so the right papers could be circulated and read. The three of us followed it up with speeches saying the whole matter should be taken on the floor of the House in good time before any decision was made in Brussels, with the latest text. The whole committee swung behind the idea of delay and the need for proper texts, and many also backed the proposal that the debate should be for the whole Commons given the importance of the power grab. We have already told the Minister that we think the whole regulation should be stopped as it is not needed.

The Minister I expect agrees with us that this Regulation is not needed and  is not in our interest. The problem is, it can be pushed through by qualified majority against our wishes. I trust he will vote against it if  the others want to push ahead with it this time It is yet another example of the growing legislative tentacles of the EU operating against the UK’s interests.

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  1. matthu
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    I can’t get terribly excited about this: it is what the electorate have been warning about for years. If this is pushed through against our wishes it will be yet another example of powers given away on the quiet to the EU.

    David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg should hang their heads in shame. Joined by all MPs of their respective political parties who have allowed this to happen.

    • Hope
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 7:20 am | Permalink

      This might be the reason why Carswell and others have just lost faith and confidence in anything Cameron says. We saw the effect of the EU arrest warrant this week with the King family- issued to arrest loving parents who had done no wrong.

      Cameron wants to opt in the EU arrest warrant, Rees-Mogg wrote a clear article why the UK should reject it. The rationale to opt in is specious. Crime occurs around the world not just in the EU! How can any of us believe that Cameron will renegotiate while regulation, directives, and laws are imposed upon us a by a foreign body that was never elected? In some regards your views are laudable, then I wonder why you continue to put up with it rather than take decisive action to stop Europhiles like Cameron? I have come to the conclusion he does not want to scrap quangos because they implement the will of Europe by the back door so people do not notice.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 5, 2014 at 10:54 am | Permalink

        Clearly we should reject it the US one is an outrage too.

  2. Mark B
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    This is not a power grab by the EU. They are only acting upon a Competence that was given too them, via our elected representatives through treaty. Treaties on which we, the people, have had no say.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 4, 2014 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      True but it is still a further EU power grab.

      I see Andrew Robert in the Spectator is advising Cameron to do nothing, Re. Carswell/UKIP, this on the grounds that:-

      “Every newly incoming ministry since the war has been re-elected – except that of Ted Heath, which broke all the rules anyhow – and your one will be too.”

      How out of touch with the UK can one be (perhaps it is being in New York).

      The past is not always a good guide to the future and this is a very small sample to go off too.

      Cameron has only about a 13% chance of an overall majority it seems. The electoral system is heavily against him, Scotland is still in the balance, he has foolishly decided to compete and thus lose very badly in Clacton.

      He is heavily odds on to repeat the Heath (& Major) disasters he did not even beat Brown. It is still, just about avoidable, but his ignoring the issue, as he is currently (and seems keen to continue) simply will not work. I would certainly take a rather large bet against it.

    • acorn
      Posted September 4, 2014 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      There are more ‘old Spanish customs’ in the Docks of the UK and Europe, than there are spivs in the City Of London. This proposed legislation is actually trying to do the opposite of what Europhobes claim. Read an unbiassed briefing at “hfw”, (other lawyers are available):- . 😉 .

    • cosmic
      Posted September 4, 2014 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      Well yes.

      The EU has been given the basis for these powers, more or less on the sly, the gift being forced through, and the forcing through being lubricated with lies such as “It’s only a tidying up exercise”, when it had to talked about at all. Now it’s using them, as must have been the intention in giving them – big surprise.

    • margaret
      Posted September 4, 2014 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      I have read the article and as you say it speaks of greater efficiency . It also says that there are to be less controls. What is the subtext there?

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    But what do we hear from the Tory leadership on all this highly damaging power grabbing by the incompetent EU command economy. Ports, hair dryers, vacuum cleaners and up to 30 other appliances, the UK finance industry …… absolutely nothing.

    Nor of course from the Libdems or Labour.

    • David Price
      Posted September 4, 2014 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      Nor of course from UKIP. What exactly have the UKIP MEPs who are supposed to represent our interests in the EP done to block these … absolutely nothing.

      • matthu
        Posted September 4, 2014 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

        You may well be right, David.

        But I thought that MEPs voted on legislation which had already been drawn up and did not get involved in proposing the legislation. It is unelected members who propose the legislation.

        • David Price
          Posted September 5, 2014 at 5:53 am | Permalink

          But UKIP didn’t even try to do anything and have said nothing to alert anyone, happy for it to slide through and then claim the UK parliament is powerless.

          UKIP are not political amateurs, they have been in the game for 20 years and they are playing games now. From their actions their intent is for Labour to get in to power to “teach everyone a lesson” for voting in left-central governments. They do not care how long it takes or what damage is done to our society.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted September 5, 2014 at 9:03 am | Permalink

            Can you provide any evidence for your allegations about the UKIP MEPs?

          • David Price
            Posted September 5, 2014 at 11:49 am | Permalink

            SOme quotes from the Mail as it was the easiest to find where they talk about “the laziest MEPs in Europe” –

            Farage has defended his party’s poor voting record (76th of 76 parties) by insisting UKIP’s policy is to involve itself ‘sufficiently’ with the EU to provoke debate. That ‘Our objective as MEPs is not to keep voting endlessly for more EU legislation and to take power away from Westminster,’ That was in March this year. Further, the UKIP view is ‘in 15 years has been that we engage sufficiently here and we use that information to get a debate going back in the United Kingdom.’ and ‘It seems to me, given the debate we are now having on the European Union, that the Ukip policy has been pretty successful.’

            That is their objective, to engage just sufficiently (by their measure) to provoke debate, to not assist in how regulations progress – whether that aids or damages the UK.

            UKIP MEPs are not representing the interests of those who did not vote for them despite what an MP or MEP should do. As a voter why should I believe they won’t do any different as MPs.

          • David Price
            Posted September 6, 2014 at 10:08 am | Permalink

            for some reason my reply to this did not make it through, maybe because of a website link and John having better things to do than verify content. In an article in May this year the Mail reviewed the voting record of parties in the EP, UKIP were 76th out of 76 making theirs the worst record for attendance.

            The Mail article went on to present Mr Farage’s justification being that UKIP’s role was not to represent UK interests in EU legislation but solely to engage sufficiently to provoke a debate and in that he thought UKIP had been successful.

            An MEP for a region must represent all the interests in his area, not just those who vote for him and UKIP have failed to do this and have declared that is their intention. This is a hypocritical behaviour for a party that professes greater support for democracy than the “old parties”, UKIP are playing a game with the electorate.

            In that context I am not surprised that UKIP raised no alert about this issue despite having a seat on the Transport commitee, they are apparently unwilling to do any more than raise some debating points and not do their utmost to protect our interests.

            I have no faith that UKIP will not do exactly the same if they are elected as MPs.

            Reply Indeed. I was told last night by a Conservative MEP that they are declining to table amendments sought by UK interests on a committee where they have the representation.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted September 6, 2014 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

            That doesn’t answer my question about this particular proposal.

  4. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    Across the North Sea, I trust that Rotterdam prefers a ‘level playing field’, instead of having to compete with subsidised and unsafe harbours. Pretending to bring that about without any regulation seems a bit odd to me. Scrutiny to stick to minimum regulation would be fine of course.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 4, 2014 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      Level playing field, what planet are you on?

      That is not the reason for the power grab, it is just the the ruse.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted September 4, 2014 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

        @Lifelogic: As an islander you might not understand, but Rotterdam has to compete with e.g. Antwerp and Hamburg for its business, and all kinds of unfair practices are possible. We’re on planet earth, where has your EU hate catapulted you to Lifelogic? You do understand fair competition, and that without regulation that wouldn’t work?

        • Lifelogic
          Posted September 5, 2014 at 4:45 am | Permalink

          Indeed I understand fair competition – so why is the EU so keen on unfair subsidies for bonkers, vastly over expensive and intermittent energy generation – from Wind, Biomass and PV panels?

          What does it do for fair competition to have energy prices in the USA up to 1/3 of those in the EU? We are competing in the World not the EUSSR.

          Fair competition in Health Care and Schools would be good too, rather than state virtual monopoly provision or often non provision.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted September 5, 2014 at 8:10 am | Permalink

            @Lifelogic: I believe the issue was about ports.

          • Bazman
            Posted September 5, 2014 at 11:01 am | Permalink

            Again you forget the massive subsidies for nuclear dwarfing all other subsidies with no end to them ever, as might happen with wind and PV or other sources as technology advances.
            It has also been pointed out to you that fossil fuels and fracking also receive subsidies. Yes they do no matter how much you refuse to believe this. Quack black propaganda again from you.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted September 5, 2014 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

            Bazman it has been pointed out by you, but it is just not true, they pay net tax.

          • Edward2
            Posted September 5, 2014 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

            Ive posted before showing the relative susidies given to the various methods of energy production Baz.
            And it shows that renewables are subsidised the most.
            Nuclear is about half way on the chart with coal fired and gas fired power stations the least subsidised.
            Nuclear is the best in terms of CO2 creation which I know is a concern of yours.

          • Bazman
            Posted September 6, 2014 at 7:27 am | Permalink

            As I have pointed out both of you are afraid to look at ‘oil company subsidies’ as it will prove your deluded views wrong. Nuclear could not exist with state subsidy no if no buts.

          • Edward2
            Posted September 7, 2014 at 12:24 am | Permalink

            Im not afraid to look at oil company subsidies at all.
            Every industry gets tax breaks the oil industry is no different.
            For example, in the engineering industry if we invest in new plant and equipment or in R and D or in training we got tax breaks and so does the oil industry.
            Its just the greens anti oil propaganda you have swallowed Baz.
            Just about keeping the lights on this winter if we are lucky.

          • Bazman
            Posted September 7, 2014 at 10:20 am | Permalink

            It not just tax breaks is it? and many of these only apply to the oil industry if you take a look as you clearly have not done.

        • David Price
          Posted September 5, 2014 at 5:56 am | Permalink

          As an island we have quite a few ports which compete with each other…

          As for competion in the EU, that happens through political power and lobbying, the actual competitiveness of the service, product or business is not a deciding factor.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted September 5, 2014 at 8:13 am | Permalink

            @David Price: That is why I mentioned island. Fair competition between your UK ports can be achieved by national regulation.

          • David Price
            Posted September 5, 2014 at 11:30 am | Permalink

            government interferrence to the extent of setting charges does not lead to fair competition when the needs and markets of different ports are .. different.

            The EU is not involving itself in this aspect for any other reason than it gets to exercise power.

        • Hope
          Posted September 5, 2014 at 7:27 am | Permalink

          Figures for imports exports do not reflect reality of the UK position when considering ports like Rotterdam. Once more, there are more ports around the world, this is not an EU specific issue, specious nonsense to promote the EU superstate merging everything to become one. I do not want a foreign body imposing law, regulation and directive on me. This is what our parliament is for.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted September 5, 2014 at 8:16 am | Permalink

            @Hope: Of course there are other ports to compete with which are not part of the single market. If the UK were to trade with the EU from the outside (like Canada, like China), then you wouldn’t have these regulations.

    • Wireworm
      Posted September 4, 2014 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      How can there be a level playing field when the British grow up speaking English? Surely they should have to learn it like everyone else? The EU should immediately ban its use in the home, to be replaced by … well, it will probably have to be German.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted September 4, 2014 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

        You’ve lost me here, even though I speak some English

  5. Old Albion
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    Another reason to vote UKIP.

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 4, 2014 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      The only way is OUT.

    • Richard1
      Posted September 4, 2014 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      No, a very good reason not to vote UKIP. By enabling Labour to win the election – by voting UKIP – you will ensure there is no attempt at renegotiation (perhaps ports regulation should be one of the issues for renegotiation) and no referendum to back up the negotiation. A vote for UKIP, at least at the General Election, will ensure this new measure becomes permanent.

      • BobE
        Posted September 4, 2014 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

        Ukip can win the balance and combine with the Cons to keep labour out.
        Your old song is well worn out.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted September 4, 2014 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

          Surely it is the Tories splitting the EU referendum vote, looking a the Euro elections and Clacton.

        • David Price
          Posted September 5, 2014 at 7:39 am | Permalink

          Unless UKIP take libdem and Labour seats there is no change in the balance of seats.

        • Richard1
          Posted September 5, 2014 at 10:55 am | Permalink

          I think that is a fantasy. Anyone on the right would much prefer a Con /UKIP balance than a Con / LibDem, but there is no evidence UKIP pose a serious electoral threat to anyone other than the Conservatives. At the general election (Euro and by-elections are different) a vote for UKIP = a vote for a Labour Govt. Anyone thinking of doing that should reflect back to the last 2 periods of Labour govt, or look at France under Hollande, and ask whether they really want a re-run.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 5, 2014 at 8:24 am | Permalink

        Once again I suggest that you put aside your preconception that voting for UKIP will enable Labour to win the next general election and look at these four opinion poll charts which tell an entirely different story:

        You will see that Labour is ahead of the Tories now because of the collapse in support for the LibDems in the months after they joined with the Tories in the coalition government, with far more of their lost support switching to Labour rather than to the Tories, a consolidation of the anti-Tory vote that was worth at least a net 7% advantage to Labour over the Tories.

        You will also see from the first line in the table below the charts that the Tories got 7% more votes than Labour in May 2010, but because of the inherent bias in the electoral system that was not enough for them to win an overall majority, and as the LibDems blocked the boundary changes that anti-Tory bias is still there in the system and is still worth maybe another 7% advantage to Labour over the Tories.

        Both of those two factors each worth about 7% advantage to Labour over the Tories spring from the failure of the Tory party to win the last general election; if they had won an overall majority then the LibDems would not have lost their shine by entering into the coalition, so the leftish anti-Tory vote would still be much more split, and they would not have been able to block the boundary changes that the Tories needed.

        Compared to those two major factors working against the Tories’ chances of winning the next election the effect of UKIP is minor; because UKIP has been pulling patriotic voters away from Labour as well as the Tories there would only be a slight net benefit, perhaps 2% at most, for the Tories in their contest with Labour even if UKIP were to completely disappear from the political scene and so there were no UKIP candidates standing and seeking votes.

        If you want to leave the EU then it makes much more sense to vote for a party which agrees with you and is totally committed to leaving the EU, rather than for a party which is totally committed to keeping us in the EU at all costs, and is only offering to sell you a referendum in exchange for your vote because it has been forced into doing so and because it believes that it would be able to dupe the public into voting to stay in the EU just as Wilson duped the public into voting to stay in the EEC in 1975.

        • David Price
          Posted September 5, 2014 at 11:59 am | Permalink

          All this camoflage is to hide the fact that UKIP are doing their utmost to damage the Conservative party whereas if they truly believed time was critical then they would have done their utmost to displace libdem and Labour seats and actually change parliamentary arithmetic. So many UKIP supporters have stated repeatedly on this blog that their aim is to destroy the Tories and make the UK voter suffer another term of Labour government.

          Yet UKIP offer no plan or detail at all on how separation would proceed so it would seem we must simply put our trust in Farage and Wheeler? This despite a number of proposals including the detailed one from Richard North, no comment from Farage et al.

          Given the apparent lack of achievements in the EP, apart from a jolly good salary and pension for a few chaps, and this strange strategy I wonder if the UKIP elite are really focussed on what is best for this country.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted September 5, 2014 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

            I suggest that you spend a bit of time looking at the charts with an open mind to see what is actually happening.

        • Hope
          Posted September 5, 2014 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

          Well said and spot on the money. You also vote for what you believe in and who you believe. Cameron does not feature in my mind.

        • Richard1
          Posted September 5, 2014 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

          Well sure it would have been nice if the Conservatives had won outright in 2010 and then made the boundaries fair, and if the 15% or so leftish-green eurofederalists still voted libdem. But we are where we are. And all the evidence – your link shows nothing different – is that UKIP votes are coming mainly from the Tories. In marginal constituencies this will let in Labour or LobDem MPs (note, not UKIP). There will not then be any attempt at renegotiation and no referendum.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted September 6, 2014 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

            “And all the evidence – your link shows nothing different – is that UKIP votes are coming mainly from the Tories.”

            No, it doesn’t show that. If you look at the many fluctuations in support for UKIP on those charts then on your hypothesis you would expect to see that any movement up or down in the support for UKIP would generally be reflected by an opposite movement of similar magnitude for just the Tories; but that is not the case, there are usually roughly equal movements for both the Tories and Labour. Over the past month, as I have mentioned before, + 2% for UKIP was not matched by -2% for the Tories but by -1% for the Tories and -1% for Labour; the month before it was -4% for UKIP and
            +2% each for both the Tories and Labour; and that is a pattern which can been repeatedly seen.

            Moreover the various opinion polls show that UKIP is drawing support from people who claim to have voted Labour or LibDem in 2010 as well as from those who claim to have voted Tory, and to similar extents. Of course two thirds of those who voted LibDem in 2010 soon deserted that party, and most of them gravitated towards Labour in the first instance, so they should be counted in.

            And in the summary for his most recent poll, for the Clacton by-election, Lord Ashcroft writes:


            “More than half (59 per cent) of those who voted Conservative at the last general election said they would switch to UKIP, as did 45 per cent of 2010 Labour voters.”

            I agree that on those numbers, which disregard those who voted LibDem in 2010, UKIP is still somewhat less attractive to erstwhile Labour voters than it is to erstwhile Tory voters, but it is yet further evidence that “UKIP votes are coming mainly from the Tories” is an assertion which is now wide of the mark; and because every voter who is pulled away from Labour by UKIP offsets one who is pulled away from the Tories by UKIP there would as I say be little net benefit for the Tories even if UKIP were to completely disappear.

    • David Price
      Posted September 4, 2014 at 5:32 pm | Permalink


      Certainly a reason to leave the EU but why vote for UKIP, their MEPs are in the EP and yet have done nothing to stop this and let this slip through.

      At least some of our MPs are trying to do something tangible to address the situation, UKIP MEPs apparently have problems even turning up to meetings

      • matthu
        Posted September 4, 2014 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

        I think you will find it is the EU commission who have drawn up this legislation, not the MEPs.

        • David Price
          Posted September 5, 2014 at 5:59 am | Permalink

          Yet no alert from UKIP MEPs despite this issue running since 2001? They must have missed the meetings, all of them.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted September 5, 2014 at 9:01 am | Permalink

            Give the dates of the meetings in the EU Parliament relating to this present proposal – not to any past proposal along the same lines – and name the MEPs from the UK who were supposed to attend any such meetings, and say which of the UK MEPs attended and which did not.

      • Bob
        Posted September 4, 2014 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

        @David Price

        “their MEPs are in the EP and yet have done nothing to stop this “

        All British MEPs of all parties total 8% of the EU Parliament.
        Do the maths.

        • David Price
          Posted September 5, 2014 at 6:09 am | Permalink

          So, parliamentary arithmetic is valid in the case of UKIP in the EP but not in the case of Conservatives in the British Parliament?

          MEPs, like MPs, must represent the interests of all their constituents, not just the ones who voted for them. Not taking on duties and responsibilities which support UK interests is a dereliction of responsibility.

          Further, if UKIP are unable to obtain support from other groups inside the EU then they will have no chance outside of it.

          What was to prevent UKIP alerting people in this country to this action which has been going on many years? Or have they simply been going on jollies to the EU offices, collecting a paycheck and building up a pension while doing nothing to support the UK?

          • Bob
            Posted September 5, 2014 at 9:01 am | Permalink

            @David Price
            UKIP have been campaigning for UK independence for years, where have you been?

          • David Price
            Posted September 5, 2014 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

            Many groups have been campaigning for UK, and English, independence for years but UKIP MEPs were elected to represent the best interests of the people and businesses in their regions, not the best interests of UKIP.

  6. mick
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    surely this is just another way for the EU to conquer the UK. We need out of the EU now, great to see Douglas Carswell as the backbone to leave the pro-European party

  7. Ray Veysey
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    and when QMV pushes it through despite our objections, what exactly will your reaction be?What precisely will you do at that moment and in the days that follow? anything constructive, or nothing .
    Will you write us another little essay bemoaning the fact that it has happened? and how dreadfully sorry you are, or will this be the straw that breaks the camels back and forces you to slam the dining room door on your way out from a breakfast spoiled by the news. We have come to expect nothing more, you are bound hand and foot to your conservative badge of honour, and the diminishing lustre of it’s glory.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted September 4, 2014 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      “Will you write us another little essay bemoaning the fact that it has happened? and how dreadfully sorry you are”
      That is exactly all he will do.

    • Graham
      Posted September 4, 2014 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      Sums up my thoughts as well.

    • margaret
      Posted September 4, 2014 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      Steady on mate . John isn’t in the running for pm or even in the cabinet. He is an academic trying to make people see what is happening. He has been accused of trying to run the country alone and he may have influence , but ultimately all prophecies/ academic pieces e.g. ‘The Death of Britain ‘ are met by obstacles which no man alone can put right.

    • David Price
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 6:21 am | Permalink

      And yet so many more people in his constituency voted for John than for the UKIP candidate. Perhaps you should go there and stand as UKIP candidate.

      Since you are obviously a UKIP supporter I assume this is your idea of political foreplay, an attempt to woo John over to your cause, to have an epiphany and go have lunch with Stuart Wheeler.

      If you were subjected to all the UKIP commentary on here, typified by your sarcastic vomit, would you see your group as a natural home? If you were a Wokingham voter aware pf what John has contributedand continues to contribute as a constituancy MP would you see UKIP as a rational alternative based on yours and similar comments?

      Or are you just venting because this is a popular political blog and UKIP don’t have the cajones to operate a public debate forum?

  8. Hefner
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    So the big bad EU is again at it to tell DP World (Dubai Ports World), ABP (Jersey based), Arcus (private equity investment fund dealing with Forth Ports), …. what to do.

    It is so nice to see our MPs in shining white armours battling the EU to keep these “UK” companies out of harm!

    • acorn
      Posted September 4, 2014 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      You couldn’t make it up.

      We have a civil war in the middle east. WW3 about to start in the Ukraine. Africa riddled with killer bugs. Massed public sector employees (in a turf war) racing around Europe with an arrest warrant for a five year old.

      And what was our House of Commons debating at 12:30 today?

      Puppies and Kittens.

    • David Price
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 6:22 am | Permalink

      and yet you ignore the UKIP MEPs on the front line…

  9. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Slightly off-topic: Jonathan Hill (ECR), now the envisaged commissioner on Energy and Climate Change, is getting a rather powerful position for a country about to be leaving the EU!

    • Mark B
      Posted September 4, 2014 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      It means nothing. These people are there to serve the interests of the EU, not the ‘Country that they know best’. 😉

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted September 4, 2014 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

        @Mark B: You have a point, but still you’ve noticed that countries take a rather keen interest. You could argue that Mr Hill combines the portfolios of the German and Danish commissioners. If he had been Mrs Hill, she might have made it to vice president as well?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 5, 2014 at 8:55 am | Permalink

        And they swear an oath of office to that effect.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 4, 2014 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      Indeed one assumes he will follow the Ed Davey/C Huhne/windmills in un windy Notting Hill religion line.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted September 4, 2014 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

        Maybe he will make drilling for shale gas easier in countries like Poland and the UK? Who knows?

      • stred
        Posted September 5, 2014 at 8:39 am | Permalink

        Lord Who is well qualified to control and continue EU energy policy, without asking awkward questions. Re Wiki. MA History Cambridge, job in and owned Public Relations Co, Helped with EU treaties when younger, one of Dave’s favourite non elected politicians and probably understands as much about energy conservation as he does himself.

    • David Price
      Posted September 4, 2014 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      If this is the UK being allowed some scraps of influence despite the more than scraps of funding extracted from us then it is too little and too late.

      The EU extremist elite attitude and actions has turned so many people against it and has likely passed the point of no return on the catastrophe curve. Of all the approaches the EU could have taken they picked absolutely the worst one to facilitate a cooperative and peaceful acceptance of their goals.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted September 4, 2014 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

        @David Price:
        As a country you’re not doing so badly out of the EU, but all the same, you constitute 60 million people out of 500 million. You cannot expect to have colonial power of the rest of the EU. No country will prevent the UK from leaving, even though some of us would regret it.

        • David Price
          Posted September 5, 2014 at 5:47 am | Permalink

          Why do you have such a large chip on your shoulder. Non-existant colonial power has absolutely no bearing on the EU.

          The issue is how the common man in the UK views the EU and the attitudes and treatment meated out to this country. We are required to pay more than most and give up far more than most, yet treated with contempt.

          Only our money, resources and markets are welcome, we are not and we should leave, the situation is not healthy for either party.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted September 5, 2014 at 8:19 am | Permalink

            @David Price: you are actually paying less than we do (per capita) and we’ve all benefited from markets (e.g. Poland) developing for our exports. I never hear people in the Netherlands saying that we have too little influence in Brussels, so that makes it difficult to understand your complaint.

  10. Ian wragg
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    This demonstrates the sheer dogedness of the EU in their quest to destroy Britain for the benefit of France and Germany. Of course eventually the proposal will be accepted because the quislings at Westminster are for all things EU
    Despite your posturing John the majority of your party don’t give a fig for us
    When Lisbon kicks in we are sunk and what do you intend to do about it.

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 4, 2014 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      A referendum to leave the EU ? “No – maybe – not yet – wait and see – maybe in three years – none binding …”

      A referendum to break up Britain ? “Yup. You got it !” (But not for ze Engleesh)

      It’s like being in, what you thought was a long, stable, successful and happy marriage only to find the divorce papers on the breakfast table.

      Of all the cobbled-together countries in the world – Germany in particular. And it’s Britain that has to blow apart ?

      Blair underwent a Catholic ‘conversion’ after leaving office. I wonder if Alex Salmond has Catholic leanings. Do these men have hidden agendas ?

      • David Price
        Posted September 5, 2014 at 6:28 am | Permalink

        “Of all the cobbled-together countries in the world – Germany in particular. And it’s Britain that has to blow apart ?”

        We have form in disrupting plans for European conquest, we have more enemies in Europe, including those whose backsides we helped pull out of the fire, we are too successful in financial markets, so of course we must be diminished.

  11. Nick
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    So Camerons promise of a referenda if their is a transfer of powers is yet another lie.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 4, 2014 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      Indeed perhaps sophistry is the most polite way of putting it.

      Is see Newsnight managed to get another dig in at JR’s singing of the Welsh National Anthem in last night. Also they has Mathew Parish taking his usual pro EU/nonsense/I am not a Tory/Lefty stuff. It is the Mathew Parish types who are the real traitors not the Carswell.

      Can they not see Carswell will actually trying to help Cameron. He did after all come a poor third in the EU elections has he forgotten this already? Will cameron start to act though – no time left to lose?

  12. Ian wragg
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    I see you don’t mention it began life in 2001 and has been rejected several times by the French. All European laws are for the furthence of France and Germany. Wake up over there.

  13. Iain Gill
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    If only MP’s were scrutinising the issue of work visas, indefinite leave to remain visas, and so on so keenly…

    • bigneil
      Posted September 4, 2014 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      Are ANY visas necessary? – news of 50,000 (probably treble) -who were told to go – not a clue where they are – -who wants a bet they are all still here.

  14. formula57
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    “The Minister I expect agrees with us…” – that is nice but as he is a man seemingly content to subject himself to scrutiny using out of date drafts his commitment to negotiating in the EU is less than real perhaps? Let us hope Mr. Carswell does not hear of this.

    One has to admire the EU though – yesterday vacuum cleaner power, today sea ports. There is no limit to its attention span.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted September 4, 2014 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      “One has to admire the EU though – yesterday vacuum cleaner power, today sea ports. There is no limit to its attention span.”
      Quite. Don’t forget kettles and hair dryers are in their sights and no doubt countless other things about which we haven’t been informed by our supine MPs.

      • Bob
        Posted September 4, 2014 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

        Roger Helmer wrote to the Commission with the following question:
        “I understand that the Commission proposes to introduce measures to limit the power of electric kettles. Is this the case?

        Does the Commission have any grasp of the basic physics of boiling a kettle?

        Is the Commission aware that so far as the water itself is concerned, it takes just the same energy to boil a litre of water slowly as to boil it quickly?

        Is the Commission aware that in boiling it slowly, over a longer time, more waste heat will be lost to the environment through conduction, convection and radiation?

        Does the Commission therefore recognise that this proposal will increase electricity consumption, generate more waste heat, and tend to increase emissions, both of CO2 and water vapour?”

        • stred
          Posted September 5, 2014 at 8:46 am | Permalink

          Did he receive an answer?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 4, 2014 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      If they want to save energy they should start be closing Strasbourg down and the endless moving down.

    • Sebastian Weetabix
      Posted September 4, 2014 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      Of course there is no limit to its attention. It is our real government. Parliament is now a museum/theme park, there to provide the illusion of democracy, while our real rulers, the EU commission and their friends in NGOs, get on with running the show elsewhere.

  15. Iain Moore
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    And what is the betting when/if you do get a debate on the floor of the Commons, that few MP’s will bother to turn up?

  16. Mike Stallard
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Well done! The remote and bossy EU is certainly not the right place to micro manage anything much. Certainly not our entire import-export trade which goes, I imagine, largely through the said ports.

    I must admit that I am staggered by the sheer inefficiency of either your committee or the EU itself in not providing the right papers. Do you imply a sinister delaying motive here?

    The EU, to its credit, is certainly open and honest in its aims. It wants a united states of Europe with a central (federal) government micro-managing every single thing with a nod towards subsidiarity. This puts the Commissioners in charge of everything. But, of course, this is never mentioned.

    • margaret brandreth-j
      Posted September 4, 2014 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      You see they have to get it right and change around everything for effect and then cover tracks for getting things wrong , by omission and editing.

  17. David Price
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Mr Hayes saw the merit of your case? Apart from the obvious lack of care and attention in having the wrong documents, the worrying aspect is that the minister and his civil service helpers appear to have a default position of accepting all EU demands.

    Surely the default position should be to not accept them unless MPs are overwhelmingly convinced of the merit of an EU regualtion or whatnot.

    Let the ardent EUphilics identify in the house argue for and justify EU measures rather than rely on a cowed parliament, let us be shown who is really for and who is really against the EU.

    • David Price
      Posted September 4, 2014 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      Let the ardent EUphilics identify themselves

  18. alan jutson,
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    If pushed through, then the Referendum Lock should settle it then.

    Unless of course DC does not see this as giving more power to the EU, because it has already been written into some other paperwork which was produced before the above was pledged by him.

    Regulation over how ports are to be run !

    Would this also include passenger travel.

    EG Ferry Ports and the way they operate with the free movement of people not to be restricted.

    Same rules and regulations for government subsidised ports and commercial operations !

    Like comparing chalk and cheese I would suggest.

    Pleased you were in the room, with a couple of other sensible people.

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 4, 2014 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      The referendum lock is clearly a toothless/fig leaf/PR exercise. It will never be invoked by Cameron.

  19. Mondeo Man
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    The French ports are in the news again today but for a slightly different reason. The hoards are at crisis point once more.

    How utterly humiliating for your party. No signs of urgency (despite the IS threat) that would convince us that your PM is serious about a referendum.

    I won’t vote Tory for the simple reason that it’s a crap product which keeps slapping me about when I dare mention taking it back for a refund.

    You lost to Brown. Now – incredibly – you could well lose to Ed too.

    Please don’t blame me for switching to UKIP.

    I really don’t understand what it is that YOU DON’T GET.

    (We are chilled by the IS beheading videos because we believe that this is our long term future. Enabled – eventually, as was Rotherham – through the Political Correctness, an ideology which you defended a few posts back.)

  20. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    JR: “The problem is, it can be pushed through by qualified majority against our wishes.”
    Perhaps you would be good enough to explain just how your leader proposes to re-negotiate the return of powers to the UK which are decided by QMV?

  21. bluedog
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Will this be the Tea Party moment, Dr JR?

    This is not a reference to the US political movement but to the catalytic Boston Tea Party that became a metaphor for the American insurgency. If ever there was an diktat that had the potential to break the power of Labour over the port workers, it is this. If Miliband follows his Europhile instincts and presses Labour to support the measure he presents Eurosceptic politicians such as yourself with a golden opportunity. Public opposition to this EU diktat, and hence the EU itself, could become overwhelming if the matter is properly exploited.

    By any standard the EU grab is extraordinary and sets a precedent for seizure of other Commanding Heights. One suspects that aerospace and defence industries could be a very high priority if the EU is interested in more that just infrastructure.

  22. oldtimer
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    A revealing insight in how things happen now tht Parliament has abdicated its control over so many everyday matters. Presumably someone, somewhere let the vacuum cleaner and hair dryer nonsense through on the nod. This one got your attention. The fact that the papers under review were out of date suggests either contempt or carelessness by whoever was responsible.

  23. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    JR: “The Minister, Mr Hayes saw the merit of our case and offered to move the adjournment of the committee so the right papers could be circulated and read.”
    Pity that he and his civil servants hadn’t bothered to ensure that this committee, whatever is, had not had the necessary papers for the meeting. It shows either complete complacency, incompetence or attemted deliberate deception. The more we learn of the operations in our Parliament the more shambolic they seem or, perhaps more likely, deliberately malevolent.

  24. AndyC
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Well, you can sit in committee rooms making lawyerish points about dates on bits of paper, which ultimately won’t make a blind bit of difference. Or you and your colleagues could follow Mr Carswell and attempt something effective. Sadly, we know clearly which option you prefer.

    • David Price
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 6:58 am | Permalink

      “attempt something effective”?

      Mr Carswell has not changed the parliamentary arithmetic at all. If anything he will facilitate a Labour government, which is the intended strategy of Farage & co. If he wanted to be effective he could have left Clacton to be fought by Mr Roger Lord and supported him while fighting a LibDem or Labour seat elsewhere, thereby securing two seats for UKIP and improving the parliamentary arithmetic.

      BTW, part of the MP’s job is to discuss, decide and agree matters in commitee, Mr Carswell is no longer part of that process on important issues which diminishes the strength of voices aligned to UKIP purported goals.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 5, 2014 at 8:50 am | Permalink

        I read today that UKIP is also trying to get Labour MPs to defect to UKIP, so square that with your nonsensical idea that Farage’s intended strategy is to get a Labour government.

        • David Price
          Posted September 5, 2014 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

          I’m glad you agree it would be a nonsensical strategy yet it is a goal so many purported UKIP supporters have declared repeatedly on these blogs.

          As I have stated in the past I sincerely hope UKIP do take some Labour seats, that would change the parliamentary arithmetic and allow UKIP to demonstrate its true intentions and value.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted September 5, 2014 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

            “I’m glad you agree it would be a nonsensical strategy”

            For Pete’s sake, if you’re going to twist my words try to be a little more subtle about it.

          • David Price
            Posted September 6, 2014 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

            I have no wish to twist anyone’s words, for the most part you give objective and valuable insights. Just lately though there has been an avalanche of UKIP comment on this blog that pretends the 14 years of Labour disaster never happened and would be quite benign if it was allowed to continue.

      • AndyC
        Posted September 5, 2014 at 8:59 am | Permalink

        Reading your comments through on this page, I’m inclined to wonder whether you work for Conservative Central Office. Can II claim my £5!?

        You seem to set great store in the current government position which, since 2010, has been based on bad faith and a disingenous approach to the general public. You are no doubt genuine in your desire for EU change, but as I used to say to Labour voters prior to 1997, I’ll wager that you will end up more disappointed than me.

        Mr Carswell has sent a message that Conservative MPs don’t have to put up with supporting a front bench position that takes them – and their electorate – for fools. Where and when he fights an election is wholly irrelevant to that. While the Conservative front bench refuses to engage with this issue seriously, all the parliamentary arithmetic in the world can’t stop an EU decision once it is subject to QMV. Only the abolition or substantial reform of the 1972 EC Act can achieve that.

        And thanks, but I don’t need a lesson in what an MP’s job is. The relevant point is that it doesn’t matter any more where, when or by whom things like this are discussed. As an EU competence, they will go through regardless of the views of parliament. I wish that were not true, but I see no evidence that Mr Cameron has any intention of making substantive changes. In that, I wholly agree with Mr Carswell and not, to my great regret, with Mr Redwood.

        • David Price
          Posted September 5, 2014 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

          It may seem like that but no I don’t work for any political party. If you had read my comments on previous blogs you would see I am no cheerleader for the Tories and do not support Cameron as leader. I also don’t believe Farage is an effective leader nor that UKIP is following an effective strategy that matches it’s stated intent.

          Then again, If you read the multitude of the purported UKIP comments on these pages you migtht think many of them are Labour or libdem supporters.

  25. agricola
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    CMD will no doubt claim that this is not a ceding of powers to the EU and that a referendum is not required. I would contend that the only possible time for a referendum is between now and May 2015 because the conservatives will not be in a position to offer one in opposition. This should please CMD no end as that has been his game plan all along. Even were he to find himself in power again he would duck and dive to avoid any meaningful referendum.

    You can bewail the situation day by day in this diary but your loyalty to the party exceeds any thought for the future of the UK and it’s eventual absorption into the socialist EU. Very noble but not much use. As the ethos of conservatism now resides in UKIP, that is where you should be, alongside Douglas Carswell. You may think the suggestion impertinent but seen from 1000 miles away it has a certain logic.

    • David Price
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 7:10 am | Permalink

      Cameron doesn’t have a majority so cannot offer anything without agreement of other parties. While Farage can deliver nothing on his promises much less as he doesn’t believe he needs to coorperate with anyone.

      Even if all the Conservative MPs defected to UKIP the essential parliamentary arithmetic would not be changed. There would still need to be some sort of coalition and cooperation, something Farage and UKIP have singularly failed to demonstrate in European and British politics

      As for the ethos of conservatism residing in UKIP – who can tell, they change their manefesto policies as often as most change their socks. And yet, no mention of an English parliament, no action on Rotherham despite having a large proportion of council seats, no plan for brexit, no indication or plan of how or if they will deal with a public sector ho are set against reform.

  26. Tad Davison
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    This is just the thin end of a very big wedge, and one we Eurosceptics have been warning about for years. I just cannot support any party that has allowed this to happen, yet I am criticised by some of my political friends as disloyal for taking that position. I am firmly loyal to this country and it’s people and always will be. It is the Europhiles who have been disloyal with their acquiescence to constant further EU integration by stealth.

    But this isn’t the biggest worry I have right now. The US are to send troops to Ukraine on a ‘peace-keeping exercise’ next week, and they tend to be like black paint on a white shirt – very difficult to get rid of once it’s there. Vietnam started that way, with ‘advisors’ in the case of the latter.

    It is now reported that if the US forces DO leave, there will be a rotation with troops from other NATO countries taking their place so to have a permanent force in place. Perhaps if the Ukraine economy hadn’t been stripped bare, they might have enough money to pay their own army, and I can’t help but see a kind of underhanded EU construct at play in that war-ravaged country.

    The western TV and press have been reporting all manner of things to stir up anti-Russian feelings, but has offered little in the way of solid evidence to support it. The US, aided and abetted by the EU and our own puppet politicians, have a proven track record of finding inventive ways to get into a conflict. It’s clear they’d like to subjugate and control Russia and China by increasing tensions. Let’s hope this time, they’re not about to bite off more than they can chew. If the big one happens, it won’t much matter what else the EU wishes to grab for itself.

    Tad Davison


  27. English Pensioner
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Our Governments have given the EU this power without consulting the electorate or any of those involved. There seems very little point in having our own parliament as the EU seems to want to control everything from vacuum cleaners to how our ports are run.

  28. Chris S
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    By rights, this is the kind of measure that clearly involves the taking away of powers from National Governments so should trigger a referendum, even if Labour were in power. The huge swathes of areas that were brought under Qualified Majority Voting by Lisbon were a disaster from our point of view.

    But, as others have said, the problem is that Cameron, Clegg and Miliband can all hide behind the fact that Gordon Brown gave away our right to reject these new measures when he sneaked over to Portugal and signed the Lisbon Treaty all on his own, hoping nobody would notice.

    I’ve changed my view over the last year : I have always thought it necessary to give Cameron a chance to renegotiate, even if only to bring on board as many undecided people as possible when he fails, but I’ve clearly come to the view that the attempt will come to nothing.

    Boris, and I suspect, George Osborne are now of the same view and Osbourne for one will be looking to swap places with Philip Hammond and become Foreign Secretary in charge of the renegotiations if they win another term. Whoever is in charge of the renegotiations, we are never going to get enough concessions to make membership palatable so I for one will be voting for out, if the referendum ever happens.

    Let’s hope a majority of Conservative Candidates will put such a commitment in their personal Manifesto.

    Will you be doing so, Mr Redwood ?

    The real battle now is to pin Cameron down to a definitive set of Red Lines that would genuinely give us back our country’s independence AND get him commit to leading the out campaign if even one of these Red Lines is not achieved.

    I suspect that these two objectives will prove even more difficult than the actual renegotiations…………………

    • David Price
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      Unequivocal commitments on key positions in personal manifestos would be an excellent step.

  29. John Wrake
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Nothing to commend here.

    Incompetent civil servants. An incompetent Minister. An incompetent committee. Two busy-body M.P.s attempting to do what others should already have done.

    This is an example of the activity of those who claim to represent the electorate. Nothing can be done to secure our borders. Nothing can be done to identify and punish those in public office who abuse children or condone the abuse by others. Nothing can be done to prevent the arrest of caring parents who have broken no law. etc ed
    This is Westminster, 2014. Roll on 7 May 2015, when we can rid ourselves of these parasites on the body politic.

    John Wrake.

    • David Price
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      Where will you be putting yourself up for election?

      • APL
        Posted September 6, 2014 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

        David Price: “Where will you be putting yourself up for election?”

        You know he doesn’t?

  30. Charles Mumford
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Excellent work by conservative MP`s Mr. Redwood and Bernard Jenkin. The good people of UK are getting the message that the EU is a power grabbing construct that we need to remove ourselves from asap. This can only be achieved with a Conservative majority at the next election in 2015. Anyone who believes the defection of Douglas Carswell will assist this process are deluding themselves.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted September 4, 2014 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

      Anyone thinking the Conservative party will remove us from the EU is deluding themselves.

    • Bob
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      @Charles Mumford
      Did you know that David Cameron wants us to remain in the EU?
      He has publicly said so, and in the unlikely event that the Tories gained a working majority in May he will campaign together with Labour and the LibDems and the BBC to stay in the EU.

      Also, the lead time for Mr Cameron’s proposed referendum will allow time to import a further two million supporters of open borders and lose a further 700k people who have given up hope on this country, which will help the pro EU vote.

  31. Bill
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    I think the way to deal with bureaucratic encroachments on British sovereignty is to throw up bureaucratic and procedural obstacles. In this way European law remains intact but nothing happens.

    I believe that when the French were being threatened by lots of Japanese video-recorders, they demanded that these recorders should only enter their country through a remote town in the Alps. The bother of getting lorries up steep Alpine roads soon slowed the flow of goods down to a trickle.

  32. A different Simon
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    It’s becoming clearer and clearer that for the future of the UK , or what is left of it , the Cameron lead Conservative party must be annihilated in 2015 .

    Nothing less than total defeat will force them to rebuild and appoint a Euro-Sceptic leader .

    Farage was right about no-deal with the Conservatives while Cameron is in place .

    Those Conservatives who hold out the quaint hope of a meaningful renegotiation under Cameron have been duped .

  33. Alan
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Surely it is quite sensible to have common standards for ports throughout the EU? Ports have international connotations and it seems inherently something where we ought to agree with our neighbours how things should be run. To do otherwise would be a bit like building an international railway line without agreeing on how far apart the rails should be.

    Mr Cameron, in a different context, recently spoke about the danger of “knee-jerk” reactions, and it seems to me this is advice that Eurosceptics could follow. It doesn’t matter to many of us where the regulations on ports emanates from, what matters is that they be sensible. In this case, presumably because of an error by a UK civil servant, the actual detail of the agreement was not made available to the relevant committee. Well, that’s not good, but it is, I imagine, a fault in the UK legislature, not in Brussels. Let’s talk about the substance of agreements, not about where they originate. Let’s not run down everything from the EU. In fact this type of regulation is exactly the type we are likely to have to come to an agreement on whether we are in the EU or not, and the EU provides a better way of coming to an agreement than the alternative of negotiating with every country individually.

    • David Price
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      European law and bureaucracy operates by telling you what you are allowed to do, they dictate all aspects including how you are allowed to compete – or not if they set the charges.

      British law operates by telling you what you cannot do so offers more freedom to find different was to compete.

      Ports are not like railway lines, or should all ports be laid out identically, with the same depth and same German machinery?

      • A different Simon
        Posted September 5, 2014 at 11:50 am | Permalink

        David Price ,

        That sums up the irresolvable incompatibilities between the British and European mentalities .

        Why should everyone in Europe and Britons have to accept the inferior European legal system just because it is more widespread than the centuries more evolved British system ?

        • David Price
          Posted September 5, 2014 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

          Ad Simon,
          Good question, but it is imposition rather than acceptance and not just by the politicians but also the civil service. If UKIP or anyone wants to change things they will have to deal with both groups.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      Whatever the EU proposes you will always attempt to defend it.

  34. David Price
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Thank you for alerting us to this latest episode.

    I wonder why we heard nothing first from our UKIP representatives on the EP though? Why do we have to wit until it starts sliding through parliament before we notice that UKIP have taken no action despite being elected representatives.

    Reply Good question

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      My first question would be whether this proposal has actually got as far as the EU Parliament for MEPs to consider.

      • Brian Tomkinson
        Posted September 5, 2014 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

        Ascertaining the facts will never come before knocking UKIP.

      • David Price
        Posted September 5, 2014 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

        Well there is this open letter from the European Shippers COuncil to MEPs dated 21 January 2014 –

        It starts “Dear Member of the European Parliament,

        In view of the upcoming vote in the Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN) of the European Parliament on the proposal for a Regulation establishing a framework on market access to port services and financial transparency of ports, the undersigned associations, representing users and customers of European seaports and port services, would like to underline the need to keep a meaningful proposal.”

        So I would expect the UKIP MEPs that were in office at that time to be aware of it.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted September 6, 2014 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

          Fair enough, so can you now provide a link to any UK MEP of any party alerting the public that this was in the pipeline.

          I will give you this. When the first three UKIP MEPs were elected in 1999 they said they unlike the MEPs of other parties they would be telling the public what was going on; and they did some of that for a time, and then it got lost in the intranecine squabbles and was never really started up again. I always said that was a great mistake.

          • David Price
            Posted September 7, 2014 at 5:29 am | Permalink

            No I cannot, I haven’t had the interest or time to review EU activities in such depth, I niavely expected the politicians and public employees to do their job properly and protect our interest. I expected the UKIP MEPs to keep us informed as you describe.

            I would rather there be constructive debate on how to deal with the common problem that is the EU, instead it has become purely a tribal issue with hypocracy flying in all directions and people are losing sight of the real enemies to a satisfactory resolution.

            The UKIP supporters complaint is that they have no real power so they must rely solely on promises. But they do have the power to demonstrate their fitness to govern by matching actions to words and doing their utmost to meet and exceed their responsibilities where they have them. Do a proper job as MEPs and councilors and MPs and win some issues for their constituents and the UK and publicise the disasterous doings and direction of the EU – it should be simple enough as the EU bureacrats and elites cannot help themselves.

            Unfortunately any real achievements of councilors et al is being lost in the story about a shouty bloke that occasionally stands up in the EP and chastises some other blokes then goes to the pub.

  35. Andyvan
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    So why do we not do what France does when it doesn’t agree with EU law? Iignore it.
    Are our leaders so cowed that they expect the Brussels armed forces to invade Britain to impose regulation over our Hoovers and ports? Surely they are not worthy of being leaders if they lack the backbone to stand up for Britain’s interests?
    Rhetorical questions obviously. Our politicians haven’t stood up for Britain’s real interests since Winston Churchill.

  36. Eddie Hill
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    This is an interesting development, considering what’s going on in Calais at present, which I note you haven’t commented on!

    I note that, 24 hours after the mayor of Calais threatens to close the port illegally to reinforce her demands that Britain compensates Calais for the cost of feeding the thousands of migrants that gather there in the hope of entering Britain illegally, hundreds of them break into the docks and besiege ferries to British ports.

    Can it be a coincidence that they broke into the port 24 hours after this threat?

    In any event, I’m not entirely sure why we should be “compensating” Calais for this – if Calais doesn’t want migrants gathering at the port, surely it’s up to France to deny them entry to their country, which they are only doing in the knowledge that they are trying to get to Britain.

    This of course, raises the issue of why the want to get to Britain when, theoretically, all EU countries should be equally attractive to migrants.

    Finally, and perhaps most worryingly of all, how much longer can we happily roll on and off ferries after those lovely holidays to France without having to use weapons to stop people trying to board the ferries with us?

    And how many of the people that check passports and tickets at these ports will be prepared to risk their lives to stop migrant mass invasions?

    A friend of mine, delayed for an hour queuing at Heathrow to get back into his own country, asked the passport officer whey the long wait? The reply was that resources had been diverted to help process immigrants more quickly. Surely, immigrants should be made to wait while Britons can return home expediently, or is this yet another outbreak of political correctness?

    “World War Z” has started and we are appeasing the eventual victors!

    Reply I cannot comment on everything and do my job as well. This week I am concentrating on posting about things I am doing and investigating.

    • Alan
      Posted September 4, 2014 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      It’s a pity we didn’t join Schengen. Then we, and Calais, would not have this problem.

      • David Price
        Posted September 5, 2014 at 7:18 am | Permalink

        You would like all immigrants to the EU to come to the UK?

        It’s a pity we didn’t stay out of the EU then we would not have this problem.

  37. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    We desperately need regulation , but not by the EU . We need to decide for ourselves . Safety first and then trade second.

    • David Price
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 7:19 am | Permalink

      We were not put on this earth to avoid risk, trade and personal responsibility first and safety second.

  38. Vanessa
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    It is amazing that all you tory MPs are so surprised by this. As Mark B says above YOU lot signed all the treaties – what did you expect ? Did anyone bother to READ anything before signing away our hard-won freedoms and English Constitution? Of course not, that would have meant you had a brain and could read English !

    Sorry, but it is all of us who suffer from our politicians idiotic ideas. We no longer have freedom of speech, innocent until proven guilty, our Bill of Rights, etc.

    We are a very sorry little country shackled to a dying continent which has no idea how to govern and looks as if it could have made a new world war more possible – Ukraine and its EU Treaty was NOT a Trade Treaty but a JOIN NOW treaty – what did they expect Russia to do? Sit meekly on the side-lines and clap?

    • David Price
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      Labour signed lots of these treaties and yet it is obviously UKIP policy to facilitate a Labour government considering their actions and the bulk of UKIP comments on this blog.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 5, 2014 at 8:35 am | Permalink

        “Labour signed lots of these treaties”

        The Tories took the lead with three, two being classed as founding treaties, then Labour followed with three more building on the foundations that the Tories had installed and largely with the support of the Tories behind their façade of opposition, plus the Tories have never opposed any treaty for the accession of an additional country to the EU.

        • David Price
          Posted September 5, 2014 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

          Thanks for the clarification, so 3 treaties each plus Labour did not keep their promise of a referendum on the Lisbon treaty.

          The point is none of their hands are clean but all we hear is how bad the Tories are despite the 14 years of Labour.

          • Vanessa
            Posted September 7, 2014 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

            The Tories cast the first “shot”; Heath was desperate for Britain to join and so signed the Communities Act in 1973. Therefore, in my eyes, they are the worst enemy! It is easy to carry on up the same road but the tories took the first wrong turning.

  39. yulwaymartyn
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    “The EU’s wish to regulate the 47 largest ports in the UK is opposed by the ports industry.”

    That tells you all you need to know.

    Having lived for eleven years near a port that is now wholly French owned one can only wonder how the UK authorities had allowed it to fall into such a decrepit state. Upon acquisition the French within six months had landscaped some of the more hideous areas, introduced a fish shop for the local fishing industry and funded lined facilities for a new lifeboat station. The marina is now expanding and there are new shops. The port in its previous condition is now thankfully a receding memory.

  40. Malcolm Browne
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    I’d quite like an EU power grab, or preferably just a German power grab, to take control of our borders away from the disastrous Lab/Lib/Con bunch of politicians. I read today, that crowds of Africans have tried to storm one of the cross channel ferries at Calais, in an attempt to get to England, the land of free benefits and housing. They have crossed Italy, France and Germany, but don’t want to stop in any of those places because they won’t get any hand-outs there. We should be able to stop these immigrants, and there is no need to leave the EU to do it, but the parliamentary shower are so utterly incompetent.

  41. John E
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    It seems Claude Juncker has a sense of humour – appointing the UK Commissioner Lord Hill to the energy brief. I expect he’ll be kept busy with that one.

  42. Elliot Kane
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    This may sound utterly naieve, as the idea seems to have been no more than a bit of sleight of hand to pacify Eurosceptics for a while, but shouldn’t any attempt to seize control of our ports trigger Cameron’s famous Referendum Lock?

    After all, as an island nation who must rely on our ports for our maritime trading, surely no-one could argue that this was not an important transfer of power. It goes far beyond silly fiddling with vacuum cleaners and hair dryers and strikes right at the heart of our control over our own nation.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 4, 2014 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

      Indeed the heart of the nation and its ability to trade, to defend itself and to feed its population.

      But the referendum lock is clearly just PR scam.

  43. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    As others have already said this is probably not the EU grabbing power but just the EU more fully exercising power that our government and Parliament have very willingly delegated to the EU institutions, presumably having got bored with exercising it for themselves although still wanting the same exalted status and pay.

    There are occasions when it can be argued that the EU institutions are exceeding the powers that have been conferred upon them by the member states, but to have any possible legal effect within the EU such arguments would have to be presented to the EU’s own Court of Justice, and – guess what? – the eurofederalist lawyers sitting on that court almost invariably conclude that everything is fine and in line with the process of “ever closer union” to which all of the member state governments and Parliaments, including ours, have solemnly committed themselves through the EU treaties, and sometimes they go a step further and redefine the powers even more widely.

    If this is a case of the UK government opposing an EU measure but being outvoted, well, let us recall that a certain Prime Minister was very keen to see national vetoes abolished, even though just a few years before she had campaigned for us to stay in the EEC on the promise that our government would always be able to veto a measure that was seen as being against our national interests, and she gave away that power without thinking that perhaps she should go back and ask the people directly whether they minded.

    Of course when we find that an unacceptable EU law has been imposed on us through qualified majority voting there is always the theoretical last resort of legally disapplying it in the UK, as recommended in that report from the European Scrutiny Committee mentioned here last November:

    “The European Scrutiny Committee of the Commons, a cross party body, has just produced an excellent report. They recommend that the government restores the veto over all current and future EU laws.

    The Chairman, Bill Cash, has long held this view and has worked out the legal niceties. So have I long believed we need to restore the veto on everything. What Parliament would do under this scheme is amend the European Communities Act 1972 which is the source of all EU power in the UK, disapplying EU powers or laws where Parliament does not agree with them. The form of the legislation would provide UK courts with every reason to obey UK law, and not to appeal it to the ECJ.

    I recommend the Committee’s report to the government.”

    Has there been any response from the government on that yet, JR?

    Reply Yes, there has.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      So what was their response?

  44. NickW
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    Talking of power grabs, we need to ask ourselves whether the EU’s determination to foment war with Russia is designed to force that political union which no one wants.

  45. They Work for Us?
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    I for one am grateful that our host provides a sounding board for our pro England/ pro UK opinions and comments. We’re should realise that Dr Redwood does not have the influence in Parliament we would like because their is a Europhile majority (at the moment). Many of us would like him to be PM but he is not (at the moment).

    UKIP and some Conservative MEPS regularly do vote against extensions of the Commissions Powers and “competences” but are howled down or viewed as sad mental cases by the rest of the mainly Socialist, Integrationist MEPS who by far have a large majority in the EP.

    There is no hope for us there because of the MEPS allocation being limited for the larger contributing countries whilst the smaller mainly recipient countries have boosted numbers of MEPs.

  46. Kenneth R Moore
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    Another day another Eu outrage. Why should it take a minor point of order to have this motion delayed – this proposal shouldn’t even be considered. Why do our rulers hate us so much ?

  47. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted September 5, 2014 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Each of the 4 Federalist treaties – Maastricht, Nice, Amsterdam, Libson – has extended the areas of EU competence and the areas of joint EU/Member State competence. With it has come a steady extension of QMV.

    It therefore follows that the ONLY way of getting rid of this scourge is to repeal our Acts of Accession to all 4 of the treaties. Why can so many clever people fail to understand such a simple 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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