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.