We might need to leave the EU to reassert our sovereignty

At the Politeia meeting last night on Stay or Leave we ended up debating sovereignty. Most of us wish to restore or reassert UK sovereignty. If the UK people and their Parliament want to change a law or control our borders, or decide how much to tax and spend we need to be free to do so. None of that is possible under the present Treaties.

 

Some argued that the UK remains sovereign. They pointed out that the EU only has power in the UK thanks to the 1972 European Communities Act. What Parliament granted to the EU it could take away. Clearly having a referendum on whether to stay in the EU is the act of a sovereign country. If we vote to leave then leave we can and leave we shall. We can leave by repealing the 1972 Act.

The problem is if the UK does not wish to exercise this power, at what point does the power cease to exist? At what point are we so dominated by European Treaty law and by EU regulations and directives that we can no longer claim to be sovereign? At what point would seeking the amendment or repeal of the 1972 Act cease to be possible, as we were so bound in by EU laws?

The danger is the EU already has a very different view of our legal position to our view of it. They see us as subject to the superior law of the treaties and European Court. Re asserting sovereignty comes down to a question of political will. Either the government has to show it in its renegotiation, or the British people have to show it in, the referendum. If we leave it too long we will discover our sovereignty is no more, and the EU can control us by court judgements and new laws.

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90 Comments

  1. Antisthenes
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    The UK it would appear has reversed roles where before member states of the British Empire wanted independence they declared it. Often that entailed conflict in one form or another. Repeal of the act and repudiation of treaties would be an act of a declaration of unilateral independence. Whatever the outcome it would be very messy so not really a practical idea.

    However when you consider the UK’s membership of the EU it all basically comes down to sovereignty and the EU cannot exist if it grants any of it’s members that. Without sovereignty EU reforms and there wont be much in the way of that are almost meaningless because in the name of solidarity, expediency and/or crisis management and there is much of that those meagre reforms will be annulled. The EU has a considerable history of reneging on promises and/or manipulating the EU treaties for it’s own benefit and directly interfering in the governance of it’s members.

    The EU is the the UK’s master now and they will never agree to relinquish that control as all would want it and the EU cannot exist unless every utterance, law and regulation is strictly adhered to by it’s members. It can be noted that although the EU has not yet banned free speech it has long ago completely curtailed freedom of action.

    As members of the British Empire one by one came to resent being chained to that body despite many benefits of remaining so so it will be with the EU. The most important part of the demand for independence was freedom to run their own affairs their way in other words sovereignty. The UK needs it’s sovereignty back more than any other reform so the practical step is article 50 and even that will not be all plain sailing.

    Reply We carried out the Reformation by an Act of Parliament without the consent of the Pope.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 6, 2015 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      Nope, the UK Parliament is still sovereign and is free to repeal the Acts by which it has approved the EU treaties, wholly or in part. Without those Acts the EU treaties and laws would have no legal force in this country.

      • Antisthenes
        Posted October 7, 2015 at 1:59 am | Permalink

        Sounds simple enough. However it is not repealing the acts would be a repudiation of many treaties that have status under international law. Developing nations with unsavoury governments may do such things but they become pariahs in the eyes of the international community for doing so.

        Treaties are a contract between two parties and under UK law are unbreakable except by mutual agreement. It is perhaps one of the most important laws we have and the one that made us once great and gives our society the stability that it does.

        If a government arbitrarily decide on breaking a contract then no contract thereafter would be worth the paper it is written on and that is the road to chaos.

        Reply If we vote to leave in a public democratic vote then of course the rest of the EU will accept our wish to leave the EU treaties. Germany does not have a veto over whether we stay or leave.

        • Antisthenes
          Posted October 7, 2015 at 9:39 am | Permalink

          When parliament passed the acts it entered the UK into a contract with the EU. Under that contract a mechanism for leaving the EU was agreed and that was article 50. I know that Germany or anybody else can not veto repealing the acts but to do it would have far reaching consequences. At least it would undermine the basis of contract law(the UK would be looked on with distrustful eyes and entering new treaties would be very much harder) but more likely it would please nobody except eurosceptics and what ever legal and perhaps not so legal sanctions are available will be imposed vigorously upon the UK.

          Trade assuredly would continue but life would be made very difficult the EU commissars, Germany and France are very good at exacting revenge on recalcitrant members and would be no less diligent in exacting it on an ex-member.

          Reply I agree we will need to reach agreement with them on exit, but it is most important it is done as a sovereign country with rights of our own. Meekly accepting their Article 50 procedure would get us off to a bad start. Our right and opportunity to amend the 1972 Act is fundamental to being a sovereign country again. Once they recognise this agreement should be easier, not more difficult.

          • Antisthenes
            Posted October 7, 2015 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

            You may be right but the two need to be done together or by mutual agreement. We do not want to precipitate an acrimonious divorce.

    • Mark B
      Posted October 6, 2015 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      Yes ! And then what happened ?

    • dave roderick
      Posted October 6, 2015 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

      cameroon will be quite happy to give us this referendum even if we vote out he knows after november if we voted out he then has to go to the eu and ask for permission to leave as we all know they will say no and he will tell us i tried but my hands are tied

      he and all the politicons since heath have betrayed this country and are traitors why do you think blair worked so hard to change the rules

      Reply Not so. Out will mean out, and Parliament will then have to vote to do what it takes.

  2. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    A slight problem…UK people did not vote to join an EU as I remember. A Common Market..yep! And a Common Market shuts the CBI up, and its followers.

    The agreement (Act) might be valid for signatories but it isn’t for the people. To me its an illegal status at minimum, so can we not disconnect on that. Divvy up and reassert!

    How simple does it get?

    • oldtimer
      Posted October 6, 2015 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      This referendum is long overdue – there should have been one before the Lisbon Treaty was signed.

      The choice is clear. It is between “sovereignty” and “solidarity”.

      “Sovereignty” is restoring choice to the British electorate. “Solidarity” is abdicating choice to QMV within the EU – in effect being run and told what to do by others. I will vote for Leave and the restoration of our sovereignty.

      From their statements and comments, the Cameron/Osborne axis is on the side of “solidarity” and the claim that they can influence the EU from the inside. They also, I suspect, are supporters of the idea of bigger, international government – on the European scale and through the UN.

  3. alan jutson
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    The simple solution is out.

    All the while the EU tentacles are actually attached to our Country, we are in effect being held in a straight jacket, and paying for the privilege.

    The EU will never let go whilst it still has some sort of hold over us.

    Cameron may well get some sort of fudge agreement, but I am convinced that will only last for a short period, before we will be back where we started with yet more new controls and regulations added as time goes by.

  4. agricola
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    There is no question of “Might have to leave”, if we wish to restore our sovereignty we have to leave.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 6, 2015 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      Indeed. There will be no sovereignty, nor any semblance of democracy within the EU.

  5. Lifelogic
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Indeed.

    You say:- The problem is if the UK does not wish to exercise this power, at what point does the power cease to exist? But it is not the UK who have the power it is the politicians many on whom have promised to give a say to the people but keep ratting on the promise. I am still not entirely convinced they will get a say this time. I suspect ratter Cameron and IHT ratter Osborne will find a way of ratting again (or long grassing again) if they thinks they will lose.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 6, 2015 at 7:19 am | Permalink

      What JR do you think of Osborne pretending he is decreasing taxes when he has increased them hugely. Claiming incorrectly that with the national living wage people will be better off (very many will be far worse off as he must know).

      He seems to think the living way is some sort of gift from government. In fact the money come from business who will make lower profits or larger losses, will have less to pay the higher paid workers, will become less competitive, will employer fewer people, will have less to invest in capital equipment and many will go out of business as a result.

      On top of this he has the work place pension, grandparents maternity pay, the new apprentice tax, the new pension pot limits, the new dividend tax and endless other inconveniences and costs all lumped on to them. Please halfwitted top down bank regulations and an uncompetitive banking market.

      Does he really think over taxing and inconveniencing business is the way to make them more competitive, to get them to pay more and to help them grow and create jobs?

      Surely he is not quite that stupid is he? So why is he doing it while continuing with to bloat the largely inept and over paid state sector?

      • stred
        Posted October 6, 2015 at 9:59 am | Permalink

        The economy has been distorted by tax credits to the extent that they have, along with housing benefit and NHS paying for treatments in other countries, has made the UK an attractive destination for even close EU countries and the rest of the world. However, to suddenly change the economy without working out the effect on anyone except the very low paid will be as unpopular as the poll tax. There are families earning above the average wage who have enough children to rely on tax credits.

        The change will force these people to demand higher wages, or just give up and become reliant on the state. The rise in the minimum wage together with forced rises in higher earnings is bound to result in inflation or unemployment. Does anyone believe that taxes will come down for anyone but those earning the very lowest wages? It would be sensible for to make the changes very carefully in order to make the adjustments without people being unable to pay their rising bills.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted October 6, 2015 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

          When you look at Osborne’s tax and benefit changes in the round they are just another huge money grab from the private sector. They will render it less able to compete in the World and businesses will have less money to invest.

          Meanwhile the bloated state sector will continue to piss money away all over the place hand of fist. When they are not doing that they will be inconveniencing, over regulating, fining or taxing the productive.

          He seems to think of the enforced national living wage rise for some as a tax cut. It is not at all, it is yet another burden on employers, as is the removal of some of the in work benefits. All serve to suck the life blood from the productive economy and render it uncompetitive.

          • Bob
            Posted October 7, 2015 at 7:45 am | Permalink

            @lifelogic
            The Chancellor likes to increase the minimum wage because it increases tax revenue from the people on the minimum wage.

            If he were prepared to link the tax free threshold at parity with the minimum wage I might have a little more respect for him.

            Reply The policy is to take everyone on the Minimum Wage out of Income tax!

      • matthu
        Posted October 6, 2015 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

        What do you think of Osborne pretending he is decreasing taxes when he has increased them hugely?

        About on a par with Smart Energy advertising that a new smart meter “won’t cost you any extra” when what they really mean is that your pocket has already been picked, and if you elect not to have a smart meter you won’t qualify for a refund.

        Reply Mr Osborne has published 5 year estimates showing he is putting through a very large increase in tax revenue, so I do not understand your point. He is cutting Income taxes by raising the 20p and 40 p thresholds.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted October 8, 2015 at 7:04 am | Permalink

          You are right. Mr Osborne has indeed published 5 year estimates showing he is putting through a very large increase in tax revenue. So why did Osborne lie in his speech about “cutting taxes”. Just how stupid does he think the electorate are?

          He also claimed he was keeping his promise on IHT, it is just lies, lies and yet more lies.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 6, 2015 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      It seems the EU courts are trying to being kind to the UK for a change. Is this unrelated to the referendum. How much has this absurd prisoner voting rights and the other actions cost the state. How may lawyers, doing pointless parasitic over paid jobs, off the backs of the tax payers.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted October 6, 2015 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      Unfortunately LL, I suspect you are right, Gideon and CMD will wriggle out of this “promised” referendum in some way or another.

      May be they will go the Scottish route and poll the 4 Countries separately and only if they all agree will we leave.

      Do we have a firm date yet?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted October 6, 2015 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

        No Cameron also retains control of the date, to give them yet a further advantage. If Cameron thinks he will lose the referendum he will surely rat again in one way or another. Some scam like the one you suggest above.

        Or some drivel like claiming “a treaty is not a treaty once ratified”. Or he will just wave a worthless promissory note for a treaty change in the future.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted October 6, 2015 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

        Some ruse will be found if needed, they both have form in ratting department.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 6, 2015 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      Terresa May, saying all the right things about control of our borders in her speech, but she clearly has no intention doing anything at all about itm indeed she is powerless to do so. So why say it if you do not mean it? The government’s record is there for all to see. “No ifs no buts reduced to the 10s of thousands” sure Terresa are you even deluding yourself? Tell us how you have done on numbers so far during tenure Terresa.

      Well if Osborne can claim to be cutting taxes she can claim to be cutting immigration. They clearly both think the public is very dim and gullible indeed.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted October 6, 2015 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

        Sky News seems to think that the most important part of her speech was the pledge to stop asylum claims from the citizens of other EU countries, that is what they had scrolling along the bottom of the screen.

        However as she herself said this is nothing new, it is a long established rule which is already enshrined in a protocol attached to the EU treaties, and anyway there have only been 551 cases over the past five years.

        The only new part is that she will apply it more strictly.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 6, 2015 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      At least Theresa May had the courage to be interviewed by Andrew Neil rather than the absurdly wet Andrew Marr. She alas has no coherent answers to give but gave them well.

      Even so she looks like a rather better replacement leader than the monotonous, unpopular and “New Labour” impersonator George Osborne.

      • Mitchel
        Posted October 6, 2015 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

        “”New Labour” impersonator George Osborne”….with some rather Corbynesque spending plans – although no doubt to be funded by selling-and-leasing back the nation to the Chinese and Arabs(assuming the Arabs will have any money left) rather than just printing money.Given that dismal choice,frankly,I think I’d rather take the Corbyn route.

  6. JimS
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    We are told that there is a convention that the UK parliament cannot bind its successors, yet that is exactly what has happened as we cede power to EU ‘competencies’.

    Indeed it is a line put forward by the likes of Pat McFadden that we ‘must’ stay in the EU to ‘protect’ the rights of ‘workers’ – in other words to deny the UK population the right to elect a government that can amend employment legislation – some democrat!

    Incidentally Pat McFadden was given free rein by the BBC on Sunday to tell us that leaving the EU means leaving the Single Market and the end of trade with ‘Europe’ – tell that to Norway!

  7. A.Sedgwick
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Your key points are rightly our sovereignty and our ability to reclaim it. Mr. Cameron permitted the Scottish Government a referendum when there was no legal compulsion and by contrast Madrid has no intention of allowing Catalonia one. At some point the UK would inevitably need Brussels permission and that would be unlikely.
    Barring the EU collapsing, which even with all the Euro and immigration fracas is remote, its continental members are too institutionalised and enjoying their collective security. We, as an island country, have a different embedded mentality and history and for that reason alone should never have joined. Renegotiation is complete claptrap and regrettably any Conservative MP that supports the process is dancing on a pinhead – the choice is Article 50 or submission.

    • Richard
      Posted October 6, 2015 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      Repealing the 1972 act is preferable. Article 50 involves entering in to a period of 2 years of negotiations, which I understand can be extended if no agreement has been made at the end of those 2 years.

      ***

      JR: Some argued that the UK remains sovereign. They pointed out that the EU only has power in the UK thanks to the 1972 European Communities Act. What Parliament granted to the EU it could take away.

      ***

      This argument is bogus. Yes we could in theory regain sovereignty, but until the time we do we are not sovereign. We could in theory invade, rule, and be sovereign over another part of the world, but unless we do we are not sovereign. Just because you could be sovereign does not mean that you are.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted October 6, 2015 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

        No, that is the correct analysis. It is quite possible to be sovereign but choose not to exercise that sovereignty in some regard, and our national Parliament chose to adopt that course when it decided to pass Acts approving the EU treaties. That is, until you have abstained from exercising your sovereignty for so long and so extensively that it seems to many that it no longer exists, and that position is then formalised through a change to the treaties.

  8. Gina Dean
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    There is talk that the referendum could be delayed. Problem with that is there is some new EU treaty coming into effect early in 2017 which means we will not be able to get out of the EU without agreement from all of the other members. I am not sure if this true I hope someone would clarify this.

    Reply If we wish we can leave tomorrow – we just renounce the treaties and repeal the 1972 Act.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 6, 2015 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      We, being Cameron and Osborne and house of MPs who, in the main, want to stay in.

    • Mark B
      Posted October 6, 2015 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply.

      Not so !

      We have allowed the EU to negotiate and sign treaties for and on our behalf. Treaties that are signed by the EU with other sovereign states are between them. As soon as the UK leaves the EU without suitable replcaement treaties or, access to the EEA, we will not be able to trade with other countries.

      We need to leave the EU, but we need to leave in a manner that does the least harm and is to ourr advantage.

      Reply Always a good idea to seek agreement, but first you need to place yourself in a strong position to improve your bargaining power

      • forthurst
        Posted October 6, 2015 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

        I’m sorry Mark, but I simply do not think it’s as complicated as EUReferendum would like its avid readers to believe.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted October 7, 2015 at 7:37 am | Permalink

        Well, if we simply upped and left overnight then there would be legal chaos on a number of fronts, especially trade. But that doesn’t mean that we are legally incapable of simply upping and leaving overnight, just that though we could do that it would not be the best way of proceeding.

  9. David Murfin
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Hmmm.
    I live in a civilised country and I am bound by its laws. If I have a dispute with my neighbour over the boundary hedge, I am no longer allowed to assert my rights by threatening him with an axe, but must go to court if we can’t agree.
    By signing the Lisbon Treaty we surely bind ourselves to the relevant EU laws?
    That means that exit from the EU is through Article 50, not by simply repealing the 1972 Act. To do it that way, without using the EU legal way of Article 50 is surely only possible because it is hard to see what measures the rest of the EU would then take to enforce EU law in Britain, but they would certainly be entitled to try sanctions?

    Reply As a sovereign country we are free to do as we wish under international law including repudiating treaties we have signed.

    • Tom William
      Posted October 6, 2015 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      Reply to Reply

      Technically this might be true but the consequences would be very considerable.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted October 6, 2015 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

        In its pamphlet recommending a “Yes” vote in the 1975 referendum:

        http://www.harvard-digital.co.uk/euro/pamphlet.htm

        the government explicitly stated:

        “The British Parliament in Westminster retains the final right to repeal the Act which took us into the Market on January 1, 1973. Thus our continued membership will depend on the continuing assent of Parliament.”

        That is still the legal position, both for the 1972 Act and all subsequent Acts to approve later treaties.

        Given a majority in both Houses a Bill of repeal could be rushed through, given Royal Assent and come into force in less than 48 hours. That would however create legal chaos not just for us but for all the other EU states, the counterparties to the treaties, and for all those countries with agreements with the EU and its present member states, and it is not the preferred way to go about it.

        Of course it would be possible to go through all the steps of passing the Act of repeal but with a provision that it would not come into force immediately but only after a certain period, which would allow for negotiation of new treaty arrangements, but if we’re going to do that we might as well start out by proceeding through Article 50 TEU.

        ReplymImwould recommend an Act amending the 1972 Act to reassert Parliamentary sovereignty. we would follow that up by repeals and amendments to Eu law preferably by agreement, but with the sanction that we could simply do it unilaterally if we wished.

      • Kevin Dabson
        Posted October 6, 2015 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

        Why?

        We import more from them than we export!

        Makes no sense to me.

        If Corbyn offered an EU referendum I would support Labour. This issue of our democracy and “foreign rulers” over the UK is by far the most important.

        Even if he nationalised power stations etc so be it. Cameron is proving untrustworthy. Enoch Powell backed labour for the No vote also.

    • Henry Kaye
      Posted October 6, 2015 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      Reply to Reply: I have been saying this for many years now but have always been shouted down.

    • Mark B
      Posted October 6, 2015 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply.

      Davis is correct. We have to issue an Art. 50 first then negotiate. I am sorry Mr. Redwood MP sir, but you are wrong on this matter.

      Reply. Once we have decided to leave we do not have to play by their rules!

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted October 6, 2015 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

        No, we can leave at any time Parliament agrees to do so, that was the case when the treaties had no withdrawal clause and it is still the case now. If the UK was to unilaterally repudiate the EU treaties then it would be repudiating Article 50 along with everything else in the treaties, and so logically it would no longer be bound to follow the exit procedure prescribed in that article.

      • Charles
        Posted October 6, 2015 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        Sorry John, but have you taken leave of your senses!

        Unilateral repudiation of a Treaty is a very bad route to go down. The problem is that leaves the other side free to tear up all the other treaties between the governments.

        It also creates problems further down the line. For instance, if we want just a trading relationship with the rest of Europe, then to join the WTO will require the WTO’s agreement (Art XII), and given the EU’s influence and power, this might not be forthcoming.

        Art 50 of the EU Treaty has a perfectly reasonable exit route, so why not take that.

        • margaret
          Posted October 6, 2015 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

          Charles, we can does not mean to say we will , or else we would have done so. I can allude to ‘may I’ and ‘can I’

      • zorro
        Posted October 6, 2015 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply – Exactly, why do people not understand that countries can withdraw from treaties and exercise sovereignty? In fact, you are only effectively sovereign if you exert sovereignty within international law. It would be perfectly acceptable to withdraw from the EU by Act of Parliament. The reason that the EU wants to break up countries into regions and deny their effective existence is to stop them exercising effective ‘sovereignty’. Simple as that!

        zorro

      • Mark B
        Posted October 6, 2015 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply.

        I disagree. What if Scotland had decided to leave the UK ? Then suddenly decided that they were not going to play by the rules ?

        We are an honorable people. We signed those treaties in good faith even thought people like myself were NEVER EVER consulted on not one of them.

        Art. 50, followed by negotiations. Exit with or without agreement in around two years and access to the EEA. That is all that we need.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted October 7, 2015 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

          That Article 50 exit procedure has been agreed and preferably it should be followed. However that does not affect our legal, sovereign, right to unilaterally abrogate the treaties.

  10. Bert Young
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    I don’t care whether we regain sovereignty by repealing some act or other or by the outcome of the people’s vote ; I simply want ” Out ” . The more I witness the dictat from Brussels , the more I hate the relationship caused by creeping bureaucracy ; we have gained absolutely nothing from our joining a trading relationship ; it has moved inch by inch into our lives and threatens our very identity . The politicians who do support our relationship do so for their own short term ambitions and egos ; get rid of them too .

    • DaveM
      Posted October 6, 2015 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      I agree Bert. The more I see and read about the EU, the more sinister it sounds and seems. Seeing Merkel and Juncker together in a paper is enough to put me in a bad mood! I really want no part of it, even if it does cost me extra money. Although I doubt that will be the case.

    • Graham
      Posted October 6, 2015 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      Well put !!

  11. They Work for Us ?
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Politicians do need to put the UK’s interests first. They need to shy away from the need to be liked by their foreign contemporaries if there is a conflict with British interest.
    Instead of pandering to the EU in the hope that we will be told that we are “good Europeans” or are praised for showing “solidarity” they should support naked British interests first. If this occasionally causes our “friends” to look askance and say in modern parlance “thats harsh” we should say we must act in the best interest of our electorate. Note our “friends” Obama, Spain and the Argentine connected Pope have stated we should give up the Falklands (because it is in their interests). We should repeal the 1972 European Communities Act stating trade yes, cooperation yes, Sovereignty not possible.

  12. BeeCee
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    The Tory Manifesto was now clearly one which anticipated a Coalition Government with the LibDems and therefore the renegotiation and referendum kicked into touch.

    Now faced with having to implement the Manifesto Mr Cameron and his pro-EU team have no idea what the ‘red lines’ should be in case they end up with nothing.

    Surely the electorate should now be made aware of what it is Mr Cameron is demanding from the EU so that he can recommend we stay in?

    Big con on the arisen looms!

    • Anonymous
      Posted October 6, 2015 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      Why no EU flag at the proEU Tory Party conference ?

      Why just the jingoistic Union Jack ?

      If Cameron thinks the EU is a good thing then why not be proud about it ?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted October 7, 2015 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

        The Tory party did that at their 1984 conference, but they’ve since realised that it’s not a good idea to flaunt their allegiance to the EU.

  13. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Yesterday’s Independent reported your colleague and Home Office minister, Karen Bradley told a fringe meeting at Conservative party conference that : “Governments use the European Union to bypass national democracy and pass laws that national parliaments would not accept, a Home Office minister has admitted.

    Karen Bradley told a fringe meeting at Conservative party conference that other countries sometimes asked British MEPs to push legislation through the European Parliament so it could not be blocked by their own national legislatures.
    She used the example of mandatory passenger name records on flights, which she said British MEPs were currently pushing through in Brussels for an unnamed country.

    “When I’ve sat down with my counterparts and ministers from European countries and talked about passenger name records it’s quite clear that at a government level in all these countries they also want passenger name records but they cannot get them through their national parliaments,” she told the fringe meeting organised by the pro-EU Conservative Europe Group.

    “They cannot get something like passenger name records through their national parliaments. So they say to us – can you please help us get it through at the European level?

    “One of our MEPs, Timothy Kirkhope, is pushing passenger name records through the European Parliament as we speak.” ”

    What were you saying about national sovereignty?

    • forthurst
      Posted October 6, 2015 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      From which we can deduce that our governments are run by traitors who either themselves or whose English-hating backers want mass immigration in order to destroy our cultural identity. Very interesting point you have identified. We now understand the attraction of the EU to our politicians and their wealthy backers as well as the BBC and most of the rest of the MSM.

  14. Tony Harrison
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Absolutely – but it’s that very absence of “political will” in recent decades, demonstrated consistently by all governments, that has been the problem, and not just re the EU: immigration, defence and energy security loom large… Without political leaders who have a patriotic determination to safeguard and maintain our sovereignty, plus the intelligence & guts to see things through, we are stymied. Unfortunately few people believe anything Mr Cameron says about our EU membership any more: he has shown all the robustness & consistency of a chocolate fireguard.

  15. Martyn G
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    John, you say “They (the EU) see us as subject to the superior law of the treaties and European Court”.
    Of course they do and not least because of our supine governments and civil service mandarins having over the years actively worked towards making it less and less possible for the UK Parliament to control its own affairs. I note, for example, that every important Bill passed through the HoC starts with a statement by the relevant minister that it is compliant with this or that EU regulation. So in a way the EU is quite in order seeing us as a servile nation……

  16. Iain Gill
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    A six year old got me to watch the clangers instead of Cameron on sky TV, they made more sense than he does. As for ms may what about all those uncapped intra company transfer visas and indefinite leave visas the hypocritical woman is printing.

  17. Chris
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Regarding your comment, Mr Redwood:
    “…The danger is the EU already has a very different view of our legal position to our view of it. They see us as subject to the superior law of the treaties and European Court…”

    I think “our view”, at least those of Cameron’s government, is very similar to the EU. I believe our Ministers know full well that we are subject to the superior law of the treaties and European Court, and use it to their full advantage. I give but one example below.

    I was greatly concerned, but not surprised, to read (Karen Brady, Home Office Minister, at fringe meeting of Cons. Party Conference) that Governments apparently use the European Union to bypass national democracy and pass laws that national parliaments would not accept. These are apparently Karen Brady’s words (Home Office Minister) at a fringe meeting at the Conservative Party Conference:

    • “When I’ve sat down with my counterparts and ministers from European countries and talked about passenger name records it’s quite clear that at a government level in all these countries they also want passenger name records but they cannot get them through their national parliaments,”
    “They cannot get something like passenger name records through their national parliaments. So they say to us – can you please help us get it through at the European level? One of our MEPs, Timothy Kirkhope, is pushing passenger name records through the European Parliament as we speak.”

    • Chris
      Posted October 6, 2015 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      Correction to my comment above:
      Karen Bradley, not Karen Brady. Apologies.

  18. Tom William
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    The British public have no idea of the long term threat facing our sovereignty or how much we have lost already. They need to be told, repeatedly, that the EU is more than the Single Market (in which we can remain) or open borders (now likely to be restricted).

  19. Graham Wood
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    We might need to leave the EU to reassert our sovereignty.

    I am very surprised at the header and “might”
    As others have pointed out, in effect for many years, membership of the EU and sovereignty of the nation state (the UK) is entirely incompatible, and always has been.
    You assert: ” If we leave it too long we will discover our sovereignty is no more, and the EU can control us by court judgements and new laws.” I do not believe this can ever be the case – to quote the essence of our sovereignty by Enoch Powell who summarised the issue so well:

    “It is not possible for the British both to be a nation and also to have surrendered to external authorities – the exclusive right of its Parliament to make laws and levy taxes, and of the Queen’s courts to interpret its laws and dispense justice.
    If its nationhood is asserted that surrender must be recalled. If that surrender is not recalled, the assertion of nationhood is empty bluster”

    The 1972 Act can and must be amended and repealed at some point if we are to return to real parliamentary democracy.

  20. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    There can be no doubt Mr Cameron does not feel humiliation. Does not feel personal hurt. Does not feel like a Pretender to Prime Ministership because of the recent courageous and pointed behaviour in regard to their own countries’sovereignty of the Prime Ministers of Hungary ( population 10 million ),Slovakia (pop: 5 million ); Czech Republic ( 10 million ) and Poland ( 38 million ). He is very insensitive.

  21. Mike Stallard
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    At the moment, under the Treaty of Lisbon which Gordon Brown signed us up to, there are two Articles which give the regulations for leaving. One is Article 50 which is an extraordinarily long and involved process bringing in, of course, the Commission, the Parliament and the Council. The process will take 2 years according to the regulation. The other, slightly more arcane, is Article 48.
    When the Spinelli Document becomes the Fundamental Law of the European Union, this will change – details not revealed yet.

    Mr Redwood, you know and I know that we are going to be offered Associate Membership anyway in 2017 when the EU decides to offer the Fundamental Law for ratification. The assumption is that Associate members will slowly be assumed into the full Eurozone Democratic Federal United States of Europe.

    This is what we will be offered to vote on. Eurozone/AM/illegal departure.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 6, 2015 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      No, Article 48 TEU provides the mechanisms for the member states to amend their treaties, only Article 50 TEU is about the withdrawal of a member state.

      http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:12012M/TXT

      “Article 48

      (ex Article 48 TEU)

      1. The Treaties may be amended in accordance with an ordinary revision procedure. They may also be amended in accordance with simplified revision procedures … ”

      “Article 50

      1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements … “

  22. peter davies
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Anything other than preparing to pull out of the EU is fiddling around the edges. Their tentacles are now so far and wide that the UK would likely still be bound by swathes of regulations just for the privilege of having free access to the so called single market even if out of the EU.

    Add the fact that our Civil Servants are so well versed in implementing what has been passed down to them from Brussells I don’t think this will be an easy process at all.

  23. Margaret
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Very good speech by Mrs May. Three points arise though.
    1) Whilst we have many homeless people in this country and born in this country who are suffering ,shouldn’t their needs be addressed first.
    2)When we talk about numbers of inward migrants/ refugees why is it never stressed that the numbers are relative to land mass , i.e how many people per square acre?
    3) I am not exactly sure about the aid budget . Is it topped up along the way?

  24. Iain Gill
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Oh dear just seen a letter from the NHS saying they and their supplier AstraZenec have screwed up this years flu vaccine supply! Only about 60% of Fluenz expected will be available. They are trying to buy Flumist from the US to make up the shortfall but already expect to be able to get as much as they wanted. So people who were vulnerable enough to be entitled to the vaccine are going to be shuffled off the end of the list according to supply. Really we do sound more and more like a banana republic.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted October 6, 2015 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      Should be “but already expect NOT to be able to get as much as they wanted”

  25. paul
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Its the people that are sovereign not parliament, at the moment the people are sovereign to the whole of Europe but most country in Europe do not play by rules on your rights in their country, you should be able to get everything when you go to live in another European country, the same as if you lived there all your life, that is what European sovereignty means but you do not, they all break the rules.
    You live on a island you are not part of Europe, You vote for parties not individual its parties that control the people that you vote for not you, that’s why you will never get what you want and parties are control by influence from all around the world not by your vote.
    You see if you voted for an individual they have no one to turn to but you because they do not belong to a party, you are in control not the party. till you take that on broad you deserve all you got coming.

  26. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Theresa May’s speech to Conference today suggests she could support the view that we may need to leave the EU. All depends on whether she spots a second uninvited migrant on UK territory.

  27. paul
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Zac goldsmith.
    I believe passionately in giving communities a voice and making that voice decisive, I want to make direct democracy a London reality.

    You the people should take him up on it for direct democracy for the whole of country without parties. he is the man with the idea.

  28. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    It’s not surprising that our national sovereignty can be called into question when a great majority of our national parliamentarians don’t care two hoots about it, one way or another, and the small minority who do care about it and who want to protect it from attack are probably outnumbered by the minority who actively wish to destroy it.

  29. James Matthews
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    The “might” seems to be redundant. However the views of the international lawyers, one way or another, are essentially irrelevant. If the British electorate demonstrates a political will to leave we can leave. If not, we can’t.

  30. paul
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    You will not hear direct democracy from mr john redwood because he is a party man till the last.

    • Margaret
      Posted October 6, 2015 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

      John would probably deny it; It is something psychologically deeper than party loyalty but loyalty to those who love him and elevate him.

      Reply I have judged it more likely I can help get this country out of the EU mess it is in by standing as a Conservative and then keeping my promises to my electors. All I get from some of you here is ridiculous criticism that I am not Eurosceptic enough!

      • margaret
        Posted October 9, 2015 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

        Don’t be spiky. You are no different from all of us. Those who make us what we are ,if it is good, we mainly are loyal to. As you quite rightly state those who elected you in Wokingham are loyal to you and you reciprocate by attempting and sometimes achieving to come up with the goods.
        Re the EU ..you can only state what you believe and if you engage in double think, know one will know except you . For many years , particularly through poetry , people have imagined a sub text in what I have said. That is their mind not mine. When the text is not in stanzas and in the political genre, one would think they would treat it seriously . I suppose many have been let down.

  31. Old Albion
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    There’s no “might” about it………

  32. yosarion
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    You have done it now, he will look like one of Madame Tussauds wax figures by the time his advisers have finished with him

  33. DaveM
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, off topic (as usual):

    Tomorrow morning’s Conference schedule:

    Leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the National Assembly for Wales
    Secretary of State for Wales
    Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
    Secretary of State for Scotland
    Leader of Scottish Conservatives

    Did you notice there’s a country missing there? No SoS for England. No Leader of the Conservatives in the English Parliament. No English Parliament. Will it get a mention next year? I doubt it.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 7, 2015 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      People in England are treated as fourth class citizens.

  34. petermartin2001
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    Yes we do need to leave.

    There might be a better chance of getting a LEAVE vote if the referendum is delayed beyond next year. David Cameron would probably agree with that assessment which is why he’s no doubt keen to have it next year.

    There’s a new recession looming and it isn’t going to be pretty, so there could be more of a backlash against the government in 2017 than next year. Even if I’m wrong about that it’s fair to say that Governments are always more unpopular in mid term. They are in a ‘second honeymoon’ period right now. That won’t last.

    So what can we do to slow things down a little?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 7, 2015 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps you could get the Lords to amend the government’s referendum Bill in ways which the government would find unacceptable, and then stand their ground, and so force the Commons to invoke the Parliament Acts with the ca 13 months delay that entails. It’s up for its Second Reading in the Lords on October 13th.

      For a start, restrict the referendum franchise to UK citizens, the “British people” that Cameron and others keep talking about and saying they want to consult,

  35. Iain Gill
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    We need action not words.
    They can spin being tough all they want nobody believes them anymore. May as well change the name to the Pinocchio party. Ms may is a joke.

  36. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 7, 2015 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Apart from a small number of “expert” foreigners being admitted to the country to help run things and look after the investments there is no significant link between immigration policy and inward investment, and nor do people in other countries expect there to be one. The idea that a foreign investor will not be interested in the UK unless all his compatriots have the right to live here is quite barmy.

  37. Vanessa
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    The Rule of Law in Britain no longer exists. This government – or more accurately this PM – seems to think he is God. He uses his drones to kill UK citizens abroad when they should be brought home to stand trial. He decides to “bomb Syria” without any permission from the cabinet or his government, let alone the UN. This man is a nutter and very dangerous. Why aren’t our courts allowed to do what they do best administer justice. If they are no longer allowed to do this we are sunk.

    • Vanessa
      Posted October 8, 2015 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      Oh! I forgot he wants yet another regime change – let’s get rid of Assad. It was such a good idea in Iraq and Afganistan ! Thank God for Russia who seem to be more measured and grown up in their decisions.

  38. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    Might? Every Treaty that we signed with the EU has ceded more sovereignty. What do people find so difficult about repealing our Acts of Accession to those treaties? That’s right, unilaterally and in advance of negotiations.

  • 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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