The UK is governed by a grand pro EU coalition

One of the strange things about the Labour leadership is their willingness to support any measure, however bad, if it is a requirement of the EU. Sometimes they put their party on a 3 line whip to vote for it. Other times they let them go home early or discourage them from voting, so Conservative Ministers and the SNP can defeat Eurosceptic Conservative MPs and secure the Euro measure.

Pro EU people are thankful that Labour behaves “responsibly” in this way. Critics of EU legislation are increasingly angry that the official Opposition in Parliament will not normally oppose anything that has made in Brussels stamped on it. Let’s hope the vote to leave the EU next month changes all this.

The need for Conservative Ministers to rely on Labour votes or abstentions to get through all the EU legislation they are required to pass is having an impact on the conduct of government generally. Yesterday’s Queen’s speech programme was clearly designed to build bridges with Labour, to avoid provocative policies which might jeopardise the implied informal coalition with Labour which is so necessary for the half of our law which now comes from the EU. Neither front bench wish to have a major row with Brussels over for example their insistence on the tampon tax or their Court judgement to make us put up VAT on green products. It is extraordinary that Labour will provide no effective opposition to these tax requirements from the EU.

The left in Parliament is generally quiet on the enforced and self defeating austerity of the Eurozone scheme. They decline to champion the cause of the unemployed in Spain or the poor in Greece, despite claiming to be good enthusiastic and committed Europeans. They confuse Europe with the EU, and seem to think it is their duty to defend all that the EU does, however indefensible. It creates a lop sided and dishonest politics, where the big issues of EU poverty, unemployment, slow growth or no growth are simply not debated. The more that Brussels does, the less a national democracy can function.

We have seen how the democratic will in Greece has to be overwhelmed by Euro area economic policies. The UK still has some democracy left thanks to our opt outs. In an increasing number of areas the UK, like Greece, has to accept whatever Brussels lays down. The refusal of the official opposition to oppose EU measures is the price we pay for this bad way of governing a once independent democratic country.


  1. Dame Rita Webb
    May 19, 2016

    Yes and here are a couple of other home truths about the “grand coalition:’. Neo-lib economics is never wrong, borders never need to be secured, we need to follow the USA, even over a cliff if necessary, you can never question LGBT rights and the UK is a multi-cultural society. Regardless who is in No 10 the agenda never changes.

    1. Roy Grainger
      May 19, 2016

      ” …. you can never question LGBT rights and the UK is a multi-cultural society”

      Plenty in the Guardian today confirming those views. However the paradox is that if we really are a multi-cultural society – that is different cultures are allowed to live in parallel with each other with no assimilation into British culture, then you have to allow some of those cultures to oppose LGBT rights, and gay marriage and a host of other things offensive to their culture. What Guardian readers really want is a single culture – their own.

    2. stred
      May 19, 2016

      The Spectator questioned the suggestion by John Whittington to have a 10% allocation of LGBTs in BBC management when the official percentage is about 1.5. I couldn’t help wondering whether this was a sly way of trying to reduce the percentage from 30%. Anyway, why not have a % for SMs or asexuals.

      Etc ed

    3. Narrow Shoulders
      May 19, 2016


      The similarity between the main parties’ policies can not simply be explained by the occupation of the middle ground. There must be an element of this is what is mandated by our supranational masters to policy formulation.

    4. Hope
      May 19, 2016

      The libLabCon cartel was pointed out to all before the last election, don’t blame me I voted UKIP? Where are all the loud mouth voices over Bulgarian and Romanian immigration warnings Farage gave? The figures are far worse than he predicted! Covered up by Cameron while making disparaging remarks about Farage joined in with all sorts of smears insinuati mg racism when he was asking for controlled immigration based on an Australian system of immigration. When any of you cannot get an appointment to your GP, like my wife has to wait for three weeks, then blame yourself if you voted for the LibLabCon. They are different cheeks fo the same arse.
      What happened about the dinners for donors at Downing St at taxpayers expense i.e. Gas, electric, water etc? It gave a clue about Cameron’s lack of standards. Cash for policy change from the unions, a Tory PM! The no ifs of buts, the cast iron guarantees, I will not pay the £1.7 billion extra charge to the EU and hen paid more!

      Come on JR, this LibLabCon cartel has been working since the FCO paper 30/1048 which clearly demonstrates the deception by th cartel over the EU for forty years to prevent the public knowing what w really going on before it was too late. I suggest offense of treason was got rid of to protect MPs for committing the offence because they knew they were giving away the UK sovereignty incrementally by stealth. The offence should be brought back and altered to capture, retrospectively those politicians who committed the offence.
      Another farce yesterday bringing in jail sentences for weekends only, what next apologies for sending them to jail! How many times do criminal need to be convicted before they are sentenced to jail in the first place?

      I also read in the DM the convicted Polish rapist committed a serious assault after two days in the country! Where was his monitoring? Who was supervising him? Was he on our sex offender register? Safer in the EU! Another example why May should be sacked and apologise to this victim who received a beating and dragged before a bus to run over him sustaining a broken leg, broken ribs and brain bleed. May must go. 12 years in jail at our expense afte being in the country 2 days. Is this cost added to the EU bill?

    5. stred
      May 19, 2016

      Another ignorant Yank on R4 at the moment telling us to vote our country out of existence. One weak question which he was allowed to refuse and unlike any Brexiter was not interrupted. Thankyou for coming in sir and letting us have the opportunity to listen to your wisdom. Next. Think his name was Bloomberg.

      1. Dame Rita Webb
        May 19, 2016

        Bloomie, a Republican in name only. When he was mayor of New York he was as much an interfering know all as any “Guardian” reading social worker e.g. eliminating super sized sodas to reduce obesity. Despite failing to recognise that poor families buy them to share, as it cheaper to buy them instead of individual drinks

      2. Bob
        May 19, 2016

        Beeboids are programmed not to challenge so called “progressive” or “liberal” ideology.

        In some cases it may be about self preservation, because to deviate from the range of acceptable opinion could be career damaging.

        Freedom of expression is becoming a thing of the past, especially in the bastions of free speech, where students now require safe spaces where they can be insulated from ideas that might challenge their delicate sensitivities.

  2. Narrow shoulders
    May 19, 2016

    It might be helpful to compile a table showing recent EU legislation passed and collating the party votes that passed such legislation with the numbers from each party who voted against shown too.

    That way the public can see the collusion between all three parties and the EU to subjugate us further.

    1. Know-dice
      May 19, 2016

      That’s one of my worries with leave, it will be the same UK MPs, Civil Servants, Borough Councils, Town Councils etc as before, so exchange one set of useless civil servants in Brussels for our home bred ones…

      I notice that the Pound is up against the Euro again this morning 1.2994 @ 7:13… That Brexit fear is really cutting in… NOT…

    2. Dame Rita Webb
      May 19, 2016

      No collusion they just get a gentle reminder from the powers that be as to what is what. The best example here is Corbyn. His current pro EU, pro Trident stance must be the biggest volte face since Stalin decided to do business with Hitler in 1939. Being a millionaire (check out how much it is going to cost the trustees of the parliamentary scheme to buy him an annuity, appropriate to his current salary and length of service) he has obviously been advised as to which side his bread his buttered.

    3. Tad Davison
      May 19, 2016

      Good point NS.

      If we on the ‘out’ side don’t manage to convince people that ours is the right way, I would like to hold all the ‘in’ politicians to account when the grand EU experiment finally and inevitably implodes. They will have demonstrated their bad judgement, and are thus unfit to hold public office.

      Privately, I have been compiling a list of those people, both inside and outside the world of politics who have nailed their colours to the mast of their respective ships for use at a later date. I doubt very much if the ‘in’ campaign Tories will ever again be allowed to get away with the claim that they are in any way ‘Eurosceptic’.

      I am hopeful and very optimistic that we can make the public see the power of the ‘out’ campaign’s argument, and already there seems to be a massive disconnect between Westminster politicians and the people they are supposed to serve. I e-mailed one Eurosceptic Labour MP last week to say that in my experience, I haven’t found more than a handful of Labour supporters (other than Labour party members or affiliates) who want to stay in the EU. Whilst a small amount of personal anecdotal evidence is perhaps not very scientific, I think it tells us something as to why the Labour leadership hasn’t been all that vociferous about urging their supporters to vote to leave, because that disconnect would be exposed.

      Labour voters can see for themselves the horrendous problems in places like Greece, Spain, and Italy that the EU has caused. I just wish Corbyn had the bottle to make his true feelings known, and had not caved-in to the pressure from the parliamentary Labour party. He tries to kid us he is democratic, but no true democrat could ever have anything to do with the EU.

      As for Cameron, the warnings about that man are now coming true on a daily basis. His credibility is shot through. He isn’t a statesman, just (as one Tory MP told me over the phone one Saturday morning some years ago) an opportunist. The sooner the Conservative party gets rid of his kind, the sooner the British people can be properly governed in their best interest, and not by self-serving politicians who managed to worm their way in by florid words or an oily presentational style.

      Tad Davison


    4. RexN
      May 19, 2016

      Fair point but most EU legislation is not voted on, it is presented as Statutory Instruments and is only discussed and voted on if opposed.

  3. JoeSoap
    May 19, 2016

    Hence the saying LibLabCon.
    Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?

  4. Antisthenes
    May 19, 2016

    The paradox is that the government is as quickly as possible devolving powers and at the same time handing large amounts of it to Brussels. It will not be long before there will be next to nothing left for Westminster to do. How long those devolved powers will remain in the remit of the regions and and countries that make up our union is hard to determine but taken back by Brussels many of them eventually will be.

    Devolution/localism has to be applauded giving powers or having them taken away by Brussels is not. The former is democracy working at it’s best(the road to direct representation) the latter is abrogating democracy for a form of centralised socialist tyranny. Obviously Labour are too dim to understand why they are for the EU and support it for the wrong reasons but support it they do. In doing so they are promoting their socialist Utopia but do not know it and like all socialist governments it will eventually come to grief.

  5. eeyore
    May 19, 2016

    Taking a stronger elite-versus-people angle might produce results for the Leave campaign, particularly as Remain seem largely to have abandoned argument in favour of clubbing us down with “authoritative” predictions from eminent people.

    I do wonder how much of Labour’s support for the EU is due simply to its being an alternative gravy train for people who otherwise are not very useful and have limited earning potential outside politics.

    1. Anonymous
      May 19, 2016

      Here is the extent of that gravy train (from Dan Hannan’s Why Vote Leave):

      MEP’s monthly salary – £6537

      A tax free £800 flight to the EU a week (easyJet if they wish to pocket the difference)

      A tax free £3,500 a month block grant (to spend without receipts.)

      £12,000 a month to hire as many or as few staff as they like (family if they wish.)

      Their offices, stationary, postage, computers, telephones and lodgings are already provided for free.

      1. acorn
        May 20, 2016

        The European Parliament will cost circa €1.84 billion this year, that will be circa £225,000 each in salaries and expenses. A Westminster MP will cost circa £243,000. Basic salary is similar £74,000 at current Euro fx rates.

  6. Anonymous
    May 19, 2016

    Barring the immigration subject or the EU completing what Hitler set out to do (the unification of Europe) – both are now taboo.

    The one thing which seems to stick in my debates with Remainers is the lack of democracy in the EU.

    I’ve tried the photo test with them “Which of these is your President, what’s his name and what does he stand for ?” leaves them shocked. That we will never be able to influence the EU from the inside because we can’t possibly make the 55% consensus on any subject with the diversity of member states … etc etc…

    The People can’t vote in their President (as the Americans do) and they can’t reject him. And I doubt they’d know (or even care) if President Tusk was overthrown in a coup.

    When you change a Remainer’s paradigm with this they seem genuinely shocked. I think I’ve managed to convert a few – at last !

  7. Roy Grainger
    May 19, 2016

    I see the Sovereignty Bill which Cameron dangled in front of Boris and Gove has mysteriously disappeared and was not in the Queen’s Speech. Obviously just a negotiating ploy to be discarded when it was no longer needed – just like all the renegotiation items will be if the vote is for Remain.

  8. Ian Wragg
    May 19, 2016

    The Labour Party are only continuing what you did in opposition. Ramming through EU legislation and gay marriage despite the hostility of the electorate.
    With the forthcoming referendum the sheeple are seeing first hand how the Liblabcon and establishment conspire to mislead them.
    We learn today that there are probably 2 million more EU immigrants working or otherwise in the UK. Not reported by the Brussels Broadcasting Company of course.
    It’s time to clear out the the stables.

    reply Not so. In opposition we opposed Nice, Amsterdam, Lisbon and much else from the EU

    1. Mike Wilson
      May 19, 2016

      A Tory PM took us into the EU. Thatcher and Major signed the treaties that really did the damage. Cameron promised us a referendum on Lisbon.

      Mr. Redwood – you are in the wrong party.

  9. Denis Cooper
    May 19, 2016

    Isn’t it telling that the Labour party is now led by a man who voiced opposition to the EC/EC/EU/USE project throughout his previous political career, but who now stays quiet while colleagues campaign to keep us in it – albeit in many cases in a half-hearted way, in fact in some cases just “going through through the motions” – while trying to justify this apparent lack of any genuine interest in our constitutional future by dismissing the whole referendum as just the latest episode in a Tory civil war?

  10. agricola
    May 19, 2016

    In fairness to the Labour party, not much of the Conservative party in the H o C was prepared to oppose the will of the PM, which was the will of Brussels. They have been traitors to conservatism and the sovereignty of the nation. The duplicity of the PM over re-negotiation and the subsequent “reformed” EU has been mind boggling. Little wonder that the Queen did not look best pleased by yesterday’s charade in the H o L.

    The EU is a socialist concept, run like the USSR, but at present minus the gulags. The blind obedience of most socialists to the concept is not surprising, it is the way the brothers think, if that is not too exaggerated a verb to use in their context.

    The weakness of the southern European states stems from their dependency culture. They are all net receivers of EU largesse and generally cowed to seek any other solution. No doubt, as in the UK, those who are seen by the EU to be people of power and influence have been bought off. Only a people led revolution in some states will redress the balance. I hope that on 23rd June we in the UK demonstrate that there is a democratic way.

  11. alan jutson
    May 19, 2016

    Afraid many Labour Supporters like the LibDems seem to want it always.

    They want more Benefits, Higher State Pensions, lower VAT Rates, Lower taxes for the masses, but increased spending on Schools, the NHS and Foreign Aid.

    Defence, well all sides seem to think that Department can look after itself

    Labour simply have no clue as to how to do all this with a balanced budget, as their 13 years in power showed us, and was a recent reminder of past Labour failures.

    Afraid there are not enough so called rich people living in this Country to rob, so they are left bankrupt of idea’s and a bankrupt Country.

    Millions of voters are still deluded enough to vote for them, and whilst they do they will never change.

    All Governments need an effective and well organised opposition which tries to hold the Government of the day to account, not just to be in place to be self serving, as Champagne Socialists.

  12. Denis Cooper
    May 19, 2016

    There seems to be some confusion about whether this referendum is a “once in a lifetime” or a “once in a generation” event – Cameron has just said both, while back in January Osborne said just the first – but for simplicity let’s take a kind of average and say that it’s forty-one years since the last EU referendum in 1975 and so it may be another four decades until we are allowed another, if indeed we are ever allowed another.

    So shouldn’t Remain campaigners be laying out in some detail what they expect would happen in the following four decades if they won the vote to keep us in the EU?

  13. Charles Crane
    May 19, 2016

    Is anyone in the Leave campaign highlighting the situation in East Anglia where they are trying to force Cambridge, Suffolk and Norfolk to have an elected mayor?

    As I understand it, this is because the EU considers the UK to be too big to be one administrative area. Scot NI and Wales get away with it on population size but they insist England is split into smaller regions and this is why the Regional Development Authorities were set up to fudge the issue. It seems the fudge is no longer working, hence the mayoral campaign.

    Perhaps you could pass this on to the appropriate persons within Leave?

    1. Richard1
      May 19, 2016

      Speaking as a resident of that region I have no interest in an elected mayor it is a ludicrous idea. We do not need more layers of govt. we should be careful of this trend for enhanced new layers of local govt – it is an attempt to neuter demands for Justice for England. I hope those MPs who speak out for Justice for England such as JR will not be duped.

  14. formula57
    May 19, 2016

    And just what will all the members of the grand coalition do post Brexit? How will they cope?

    Many I imagine will expect the British people will not have the nerve to “go it alone” so feel safe within the coalition. If Brexit occurs, my expectation is many will subtlely change sides. Either way, the people will be ill-served by these representatives.

  15. Bob
    May 19, 2016

    For years, the difference between Tory and Labour govts has been a couple of percent up or down on tax and benefits. The general thrust towards big state top down govt has been a feature of the two. We haven’t had any serious opposition for many years now.

    What puzzles me is why David Cameron decided to hold a plebiscite on our EU membership, when he clearly wants to us to remain, and is prepared to go to extraordinary lengths to ensure that we do, Labour were not pushing and only a small number of his own MPs seemed to be calling for it. What gives?

  16. stred
    May 19, 2016

    While working in the Wetcountry recently I met a very nice lady who was a Labour councillor canvassing for the local elections. She had mistaken me for a tenant as I was repairing my crappy flat and we got on surprisingly well. She asked what I thought about the EU and we both agreed that it was all about making life easy for big business and bureaucrats. She said she was trying to persuade other party members to vote Out and was disgusted by Corbeau’s cave in. Their party did well in the elections.

    Alan Johnson wrote a very readable book about his upbringing in London. He is also a Labour politician who like to roll over and let the EU tickle his tummy. The reason is made plain in the book. His success depended on politicians taking control and taking care of the poor, building new housing and providing good education. The help has to come from government and so the ultimate panacea is for a single benevolent world elite to dispense goodies to the masses.

    In fact he may not realise that a lot of the things he remembers so well such as dreadful food and post war depravations were also shared by lower middle class toffs such as myself. He also forgets that after the disastrous post war Labour administration the Conservative government built much more council housing.

  17. Brexit
    May 19, 2016

    John, as usual you make important points in your article.

    However today there are only 5 weeks to go before the Referendum, and this transcends all other issues. I therefore hope you’ll forgive us going off-topic.

    The opinion of your readership is clear. Vote Leave are doing a dismal job.

    This has been repeated in different ways each day by so many of your readers and it’s being said everywhere now. The future of our country is at stake and certain people now need to wake up and smell the coffee. We could name the apparatchiks involved in the failures but we won’t out of respect for your site. All we will say is that it’s time for them to go – whatever ridiculous pay-off they’ll no doubt demand.

    We believe you might share these views although we understand why you may not want to express them on your site. We’re sure you’ve been doing everything you can behind the scenes.

    Early this morning we ran with a news piece which decimates the Remain campaign’s economic argument. It’s about jobs, migration and wages – basics for the 46m elegible to vote. It’s based on the figures released by the ONS yesterday afternoon and took a lot of research into ONS tables. It went up at about 4am this morning.

    What’s the latest on the Vote Leave website’s new page today? “We cannot counteract tax avoidance in the EU”, dated yesterday at 2.26pm.

    How on earth do they think this will address the fact that everyone is now saying that Leave has lost the economic argument? For heaven’s sake…. How does this help a Leave campaigner on the street, or a Leave MP being interviewed on TV this morning?

    Radical and drastic changes are now required at Vote Leave. The Directors need to act, or we’re going to lose this Referendum by 60:40 despite having all the arguments.

    If readers like our stance and want to help us do much more, there’s an urgent appeal for donations on our website news page:

    1. stred
      May 20, 2016

      In the words of Oscar Wilde, -If one tells the truth, one is sure, sooner of later , to be found out. Let’s hope it takes less than 5 weeks. If Vote Leave had any gumption, they would send a donation and employ Facts4eu. A lot of us get the feeling they would not be bothered if they lost. It’s just a career move.

    2. Know-dice
      May 20, 2016

      Why is your website still showing


      @ 7:40 20/05/2016 ?

  18. Big D
    May 19, 2016

    Nothing surprises me as far as Labour & the EU are concerned – I still remember a TV interview with Geoff Hoon, when Minister for Europe, in which he indicated his willingness to explore moving from a Common Law system to a Napoleonic/Civil Law one for the sake of integration/better working with other EU countries.

    Regarding the unemployed/poor of Southern Europe, I would have thought for the sake of ‘solidarity’, something that is thrown at us all the time, that Merkel/Germany would have looked to fill the gaps in the German workforce by taking the unemployed graduates from Greece, Spain, Portugal etc, rather than turning her back on them & offering these positions & training to Syrians etc.

  19. Iain Moore
    May 19, 2016

    I don’t believe this grand coalition for the EU comes as any surprise to us, or that this grand coalition , as is always the case with group think in Parliament, results in bad outcomes. EUscepticism has always been an insurgency movement .

    As to my post yesterday, expressing my exasperation at the incompetence of the Vote Leave campaign, I didn’t expect my concerns to be so quickly reflected in the collapse in support in the polls for Brexit. Twice I have contacted them to via their website to do what ever is necessary to campaign for Brexit, but without response. I sometimes wonder if the conspiracy theorists are correct when they say that Vote Leave are an establishment plot , put there to make the pretence of a campaign for leaving the EU , but ensuring they get the result they want, for Vote Leave have run up the white flag on the likes of the economy, failed to pursue areas that Brexit are strong on, and as for that leaflet , I took a look at it again, and still come to the same conclusion, that it was an excellent attempt to NOT sell Brexit, for if I was going through the motions on something my heart wasn’t in, then I couldn’t improve on the leaflet Vote Leave put out.

  20. Roamin
    May 19, 2016

    It would be interesting to know on what date Mr. Corbyn was travelling to Damascus and was blinded by the light, in fact the number of blinding light incidents while travelling to Damascus from any previously stated position, left, right or centre really should be investigated. One could be forgiven for believing that there is a very large and powerful force exerting enormous pressure on political individuals to make sure that an invisible agenda is not disrupted.
    The argument for leaving is overwhelming in both sovereign and economic terms. The fact that the main forms of media communication to the masses are in fact ignoring/misrepresenting the facts and reporting, producing and fawning over all items in support of remain is disgraceful. Sometimes it feels as though some of the Leave campaign are in fact manning a Trojan Horse.

    What is the agenda? United States of Europe? Transfer of wealth from rich to poor? Land access via Turkey through to the Middle East cutting of any potential Russian access to the Med/Persian Gulf?

    I don’t know, but somebody is pulling a lot of strings.

    Should I have a tin foil hat on?


  21. Jack
    May 19, 2016

    The Japanese have finally released after 20+ years that austerity and ever-more sales tax hikes simply don’t work (they’ve also proved that monetary policy doesn’t work the way most people think it does). But whether they can convince the G7 to act and remove fiscal drag remains to be seen. The EU continues pushing the same economic policies without even acknowledging that they have caused a great depression in Greece (with over a quarter of their entire economy gone), and in countless other southern European countries.

    If Trump wins in the U.S. and implements gigantic tax cuts for low and middle earners, then that could prove the pointlessness of austerity. But he could make huge mistakes and is so unpredictable that I can’t be confident in what his overall economic policy actually is.

  22. Shieldsman
    May 19, 2016

    I would just like to repeat a paragraph from a paper I quoted yesteday, what is happening and being said in Europe is ignored by the BBC and the MSM.
    The significance of this paper is that is signed by a Barrister (EU Law) and a professor (public and EU law), which says:
    But it is not a choice between change and no change. Rather, it is a choice between leaving or remaining in an EU that would remain committed to further political integration, and there is nothing in the EU-UK Agreement that can offer the UK any permanent legal safeguards against being dragged along the path of further integration albeit with provisos and reluctantly. The Agreement cannot do so because it does little to reform the EU and does not exempt Britain from the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice and the uniform application of its pro-Union approach to judicial decision-making.

  23. rick hamilton
    May 19, 2016

    I sometimes think that this cabal actually wants the EU to make all the decisions for them and that they are terrified by the prospect of having to run the country themselves if Leave wins.

    It was so much easier to subcontract the labelling of jam and recycling of cardboard to Brussels, to accept all those German wheelie bins, reduced power vacuum cleaners and cars with their headlamps on all the time. After such magnificent achievements why not let Brussels decide everything, after all we pay them enough to do it?

    Remain is for spineless wimps and losers. Leave is for those who want to stand on their own feet and decide their own future.

  24. Denis Cooper
    May 19, 2016

    I find it hard to follow the government’s logic about the so-called “Sovereignty Bill”.

    For a start we have Stephen Crabb, the new Work and Pensions Secretary, saying:

    “I don’t believe it has been tossed aside. We continue to debate that. What we don’t want to be doing is rushing forward and bringing forward proposals that are unworkable. We have had our fingers burnt before when we have done that.”

    But this has been under discussion for more than six years, for instance it was in January 2010 that Martin Howe QC wrote this article:

    “Time to Safeguard British Sovereignty”

    “The U.K. needs a sovereignty bill to preserve its right to override external laws, including those originating from the EU.”

    Yes, I know that for five years the LibDems constrained what could actually been done, which was limited to the declaratory Section 18 of the European Union Act 2011:

    “Status of EU law dependent on continuing statutory basis”

    explained in detail here:

    But six years is hardly “rushing forward” and one might thought that by now it would have been possible to include a bit more in the Queen’s Speech than just this:

    “My ministers will uphold the sovereignty of Parliament and the primacy of the House of Commons.”

    especially when for more than four decades Her ministers have done no such thing, and successive Parliaments have supinely accepted those infringements.

    Then there is the promise:

    “Downing Street on Wednesday night insisted it will still come forward with a Sovereignty Bill if Britain votes to stay in the EU on June 23.”

    Another one of Cameron’s “jam tomorrow” promises, and in this case after failing to even define the composition of the jam over a period of more than six years.

    Of course the obvious riposte is that this is an admission that our national sovereignty will continue to be under threat for as long as we remain in the EU, and even in the “reformed” EU that Cameron claims to have achieved – only if we vote to stay in it, of course – but there is the additional complication that our national sovereignty is also under threat from the Council of Europe’s court of human Rrghts in Strasbourg, in fact by the weird analysis of Theresa May that court is even more of a threat than the EU’s court in Luxembourg.

    What it boils down is that the Tory leadership flatly rejected the proposal that Parliament should regain the right to veto or disapply any EU measure:

    and having ruled out that essential ingredient it is struggling to know what it would put in the jam, even if it ever decided to keep its promise and try to make it.

    1. bluedog
      May 19, 2016

      Correct. The absence of a Sovereignty Bill is ringing validation of Michael Gove’s assertion that the ECJ is sovereign over the UK. We can tell Cameron is no lawyer, but those who are lawyers would have confirmed Gove’s advice.

      Once again, Cameron governs by disposable press release. Integrity? No, just a void.

  25. Timaction
    May 19, 2016

    Please Mr Redwood. Your own party is up to its neck in EU cronies. UKIP is the ONLY opposition. If we remain, Westminster must go, as it is just a gravy train to enact EU rule. So there is no point to it. The remainers are the most disgusting, dishonest, traitors this country has ever known, yet the Westminster village either won’t or can’t publicise this as with their previous connivance supported it or admit the extent of the cover up over the last 50 years to create a Country called Europa.
    Our democracy is dead. Shame on the legacy parties!

  26. Mitchel
    May 19, 2016

    Despite his cringeworthy,overdefensive response at the time,I can only conclude that Cameron (and his fellow travellers)does actually agree with Dmitry Peskov’s analysis of the UK at the G20 forum in September 2013 as “a small island that no-one pays attention to”.Why else attach yourself,barnacle like,to any passing hulk no matter how rusty.

    May 19, 2016

    Labour is democratic only on paper. Self-perpetuating cliques of career politicians at all “democratic” levels interacting with similar or same types of people within UK corporate trades unions.
    To a Socialist or a Liberal ( in the traditional description ) their philosophies would act as an automatic bar to cooperating with “Corporate Capitalism”of the EU. The SNP, if they genuinely wished for independence for Scottish people would condemn the EU as the very opposite to such an aspiration.
    What is in Parliament and in the political parties within the country is a mixed bag of undemocratic forces ( easily including Big Business ) who gang together for material and authority gain. UKIP included. It masquerades as fighting the Establishment but at branch level it has neutered its members by a whole string of measures damping down individual member activity and mysteriously not being able to field many candidates at local level despite a European and worldwide massive upsurge in Anti-Establishment sentiment. You can’t so mismanage and disable a Party such as UKIP except deliberately.

    Mr Cameron says Nigeria is one of the most corrupt countries in the world. He should put his binoculars down and look around him.

  28. Patricia Salter
    May 19, 2016

    John, why dont you stand for PM, you certainly speak more sense than anyone in the Cabinet. Are they all deaf, dumb and blind?

    May 19, 2016

    How does one get shut of the anti-democratic gravy-trainers at the top? We shall just have to put our crosses on LEAVE.
    You have to pray it will be as simple as that. The UK and its interaction with Europe has a glorious history of peaceful change as we all know.

  30. oldtimer
    May 19, 2016

    This sounds like a rerun of the stitch up between the Tory and Labour parties to ensure the necessary original legislation was enacted. It was described by the participants in Nick Robinson’s recent BBC series on Britain’s attempts to join the EU when Heath was PM. The whips offices on both sides played a cunning game of deception back then. It sounds as though they are doing the same again now.

    The history of the UK’s relationship with the EU is marked by deception, from its origins, its enabling legislation, the first referendum and now again with current legislation and the conduct of the referendum. I certainly felt I was conned about the issue during the first referendum; it was asserted by government that it was all about trade and that sovereignty was not and would not be affected. The Remain campaign is seeking to con people again; this time around it is arguing it is all about jobs and security – and making some outlandish claims in the process. So far it appears to be working. Enough people are likely to be persuaded that they will be better off in than out.

    The latest Ipsos poll indicates that the impact on Britain’s economy (33% unprompted responses) trumps the number of immigrants coming into Britain (28%) as a very important issue in helping people decide which way to vote. Britain’s ability to make its own laws ranks even lower at 15%.

    This is bad news for the Leave campaign. Somehow it has to persuade voters that to Remain is a threat to jobs and prosperity and that to Leave is an opportunity to grow jobs and prosperity faster. It has arguments to deploy. Immigration will only go up – even Mr Osborne concedes that there is at least another 3 million migrants on the way. That depresses pay and helps shut UK workers out of their own jobs market. There will be huge costs, incurred in tens of billions, to provide the housing, schools and hospitals to needed to support such a vast increase in the population. The UK’s net £10 billion a year contribution will only go up as the EU demands more to support its failing policies and as the UK rebate is whittled away. VAT rates will only go up while the UK has no power whatsoever to reduce them even if it wanted to (as it does on some products). While in the EU the UK is shackled to the dysfunctional Eurozone with its unresolved imbalances of trade with no obvious safety valve; whereas outside it will be free to trade with the rest of the world without let or hindrance from the EU – and that is where the growth is compared with the stagnating EZ. In short Remain is a threat, Leave is an opportunity.

  31. Liz
    May 19, 2016

    Labour’s reflexes are to oppose anything that the Government wants – even if it does not go with their previously declared “principles”.
    I think the chances of the Conservative party coming together after the referendum, whatever the result, are very small. I am totally disillusioned with David Cameron and other cabinet members who have been consistentently anti the EU in all their speeches for years and suddenly turn very nasty indeed in their determination to win the referendum for us to stay in an organisation they have reviled over the years. It didn’t need to have been like this – so unpleasant. At least the Europhiles have been consisgtent in their admiration for the EU and not wavered.
    None of the major TV/Radio news organisations are making even a pretence of showing the “leave” argument – in fact they might as well have “Vote Remain” on their strap lines etc. An ITV news reporter deliberately misinterprested Boris Johnson’s remarks about the history of Germany’s attempts to dominate Europe.
    Full marks for IDS pushing the sovereignty argument yesterday – to the marked displeasure of the above news organisations.
    Ofcom should be looking into this more closely.

  32. Kenneth
    May 19, 2016

    The problem for Labour is that it has suffered at the hands of democracy so many times that it sees the eu as the Trojan horse for its unwanted policies.

  33. Bert Young
    May 19, 2016

    The conduct of the way the business in the HoC is 0rchestrated is shameful ; it makes a mockery of democracy .

    Steve Baker was right to criticise the way Cameron has manipulated public funds and Government resources in support of his “Remain” campaign , his conduct as Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservative Party is an insult to the voter of whatever colour . It is time for a challenge and the 1922 Committee should consider this emergency .

    Today I received in the post yet another piece of “Remain” propaganda – this time from , so called , business leaders . Frankly , as one who was at the forefront of selecting and recommending top people , I would not have considered anyone of them as credible and worthwhile ( apologies John if I have overstepped in my remarks .

  34. NickW
    May 19, 2016

    With Labour willing to rubber stamp anything EU, the electorate needs to be told what the EU is likely to be doing once Britain has been “Persuaded” into a Remain vote.

    The EU and Cameron will of course deny that anything inimical to UK interests will be rammed down our throats once the referendum is out of the way, but we already know that the whole of the EU Government apparatus has been told to sit on its hands until our referendum is over, and we also know that Cameron and Juncker will lie without hesitation in order to achieve their objectives; and, those lies will come back to haunt them.

    What can we expect?

    Please can Leave put their thoughts on this into the public domain?

    Is there any chance of a few posts on this subject please Mr Redwood?

    May 19, 2016

    Mr Cameron also others wishing to chuck Country UK away, often speak of the EU as being a remedy for the historical internal, inter-state warfare and violence in Europe.
    As if from the Bronze Age and denying all archaeological finds, Romans. Gauls, Angles, Saxons and Vikings had never traded so much as a fish knife and a sturgeon.

    The truth is, Europeans make poor politicians and their upper echelons have been so greedy, so prone to selfish insidious liaisons, that social and political stability is impossible.
    Karl Marx and Lenin could never have sold a single book if Europeans and British had goody-goody “Ruling classes”. Sensible people.

    So in this outbreak of relative peace in Europe from 1945 except for the odd multi European state minor wars and military interventions…Macedonia, Bosnia, Croatia, Serbian Republic, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Greek Junta, Polish Junta, Ukraine, Crimea, Georgia, ( I know, I’ve missed one or two ) Remainders say the EU is making peace. Hell, just think if it were making war.

    The truth is there has been no peace in Europe not just thanks to the EU but thanks to anyone. The EU is actually a vehicle for war -making. Turning basically democratic European nations into undemocratic ones is on a big scale what ruling classes of individual European countries did in their own respective countries which laid the path for Marxism-Leninism and Fascism. And War. And civil war
    This EU thing is going to turn out very badly.

    The late Enoch Powell infamously envisioned “rivers of blood” based on racial divisions if I read him correctly. He is wrong now. More likely internal civil wars along class and national-patriotic lines. As usual.

  36. acorn
    May 19, 2016

    Labour is in opposition to the Conservative government at all times. Hence it will oppose Conservative policy towards the EU; if, it sees domestic votes in doing so.

    Unfortunately, Cam has buggered up the game. Labour has to decide whether to stick or twist, on a hand of cards that lacks aces and kings. The Conservatives, as the elected dictatorship (executive), have got all the aces and kings, the system is rigged that way. Best for Labour to stand pat; see if the red or the black aces and kings are face up on the 23rd.

    JR says, “The left in Parliament is generally quiet on the enforced and self defeating austerity of the Eurozone scheme.” It is also quiet on the Osborne version in the UK, as it operates with a “neo-liberal lite” ideology. No nation can grow without spending money. If the non-government sector is saving instead of spending, assuming it has anything left to save; then the government sector can spend from its revenue unconstrained Treasury.

    The Eurozone is stagnant at a aggregate budget deficit of 2.1%, but with a current account surplus of nearly 4%. Osborne austerity, is heading for a 0.0% budget deficit with a current account deficit of 5.2%, at the moment. More Household debt is the only way to make those numbers work.

    Osborne austerity will not be compatible with Brexit. The budget deficit possibly may have to act as the fiscal shock absorber for a little while on Brexit, but don’t panic.

  37. lojolondon
    May 19, 2016

    You are completely correct here, John – and it raises another key point – since almost all Labour and LibDem MP’s are in favour of the EU, the entire weight of questioning the EU falls to a small number of Conservative MP’s, who are confined to the backbenches. It is obvious that parliament is considerably more Europhile than the UK voters (a cynic would say that is because the EU is like a massive retirement plan for failed MP’s who have kept ‘on message’).

    Therefore, now Cameron is depending on large swathes of Labour and LibDem voters to secure the ‘Remain’ vote, against the majority of his own party’s votes, plus UKIP voters.

    For that reason, I believe that David Cameron should stand down, no matter what the result of the referendum, because his position on this key democratic issue represents Labour and LibDem voters more than Conservative voters.

  38. Dave scholey
    May 19, 2016

    There are huge economic benefits from coming out of the EU.
    – We stop paying a net £70 billion membership fee over the next five years to Brussels. . Every single penny of that £70billion has to be borrowed, added to our state debt of £1.7 trillion and from the first minute adding interest to that debt, a double whammy.
    – We can say no to millions of low wage , low skill EU immigrants who are depressing wages of low paid British workers and creating chaos in state services such as the NHS and education and overloading the state infrastructure. 630000 EU nationals given new NI numbers in the year to December, 209000 to Bulgarians and Romanians. MigrationWatch says Brexit would cut net immigration by 100,000 a year , . NI data suggests the cut would be substantially higher than that and would relieve pressure on hospitals, schools, infrastructure, jobs, wages and state finances.
    – We get out of the protectionist and bureaucratic common agricultural policy, allowing us to recoup the £50 billion opportunity cost of CAP membership that we will incur over the next five years, for example by sourcing cheaper food from the rest of the world through free trade treaties instead of applying high EU tariffs.
    – We get back our UK fishing grounds, 70% handed over to the EU, gaining us £15 billion over the next five years.
    – We set our own trade treaties and exit the protectionist and bureaucratic single market which costs business tens of billions of pounds a year and which have saddled us with a £89 billion annual trade deficit with the EU, , despite proof that EU setting our trade treaties and the single market are bad for British business. . 200 SME’s have recently signed a letter to Cameron endorsing Brexit.
    – We will continue to have major foreign direct investment into the UK. The $830 billion Norwegian sovereign fund says it might invest more after Brexit HSBC will stay after Brexit, Honda, Hitachi, Toyota, Nissan, Vauxhall will all stay here, Avon has just announced it is setting up its global HQ in the UK so it’s not worried about Brexit. Neither are 73% of Chief Financial Officers who say Brexit will not affect their UK investment decisions
    – As for the City, there’s growing consensus there that it will prosper outside the EU! Away from EU power grabs. . Deutsche Boerse is so relaxed about potential Brexit it wants to merge with the London Stock Exchange.
    – We can set our own energy policy instead of following the costly carbon emissions laws set by the EU
    The EU is collapsing economically because of a dysfunctional currency, protectionism and bureaucracy, it’s got deflation and minimal economic growth, why attach ourselves to,that economic carcass?
    So Brexit will benefit Britain economically, business costs will fall, global business will still invest here, food prices will fall, we will get the controlled immigration we need, state spending will fall, we set our trade treaties and we are freed from single market bureaucracy.

    1. stred
      May 20, 2016

      You have put more facts in here than the entire Vote Leave entry to the Electoral leaflet. And refs too.

    May 19, 2016

    Why are the Corporate Trades Unions of the UK, financed,- adminstratively and organisationally supported by Local Authorities, Central government and with grants from the EU allowed as organisations to advise their members to vote for Remain in a Referendum?

  40. bluedog
    May 19, 2016

    Meanwhile the good news is that 25 Conservative Eurosceptics have the support of Labour in attempting to excise the NHS from attacks by US healthcare companies following implementation of the TTIP, in itself part of the Queen’s Speech. There are suggestions that this development may cause Cameron to resign, according to constitutional convention. But when has Cameron ever obeyed any convention or acted within his mandate?

    This writer can only congratulate the 25 rebels for finding an issue that will get the knee-jerk support of Labour in order to cripple Cameron’s premiership ahead of 23rd June. As you say, Dr JR, the UK is governed by a grand pro-EU coalition. Using points of friction within that coalition to obtain the political decapitation of Cameron would be an act of great subtlety, if not sheer genius. Superb.

    Reply I am a co signatory

      May 19, 2016

      Cameron ought have been pensioned off when he returned from the Brussels negotiations with a toffee apple, a goldfish in a polythene bag, five magic beans and a look of goofy triumph on his face.

      1. getahead
        May 19, 2016

        Excellent comment C. Houston. Funny but true.

    2. Richard1
      May 19, 2016

      Is this good news? i can see why the NHS producers might idea of US firms competing with them but as actual and potential patients and taxpayers shouldn’t the rest of us welcome it??

      1. Richard1
        May 19, 2016

        Sorry missed out – why NHS producers might not like….

    May 19, 2016

    Off Topic;
    I see Andy Burnham has been attracted by the offer of Lands in Lancaster-Shire from King Cameron as compensation as Labour will never ever being able to get into power again in UK as a whole.
    I heard Mr Burnham trying to play the Northern card if I may paraphrase; “Uz up Noth dunt gerr az gud a dee-al az them darn Sowth” Yes, he’s picked up the lingo of your average Northern Labour Councillor, many of whom are over 70 years of age and left school (early ed)and never had time in their limited schooling to read beyond Peter-Pan as a set book.Hence, Labour’s love of foreign hook-handed individuals irrespective of their politics

  42. ale bro
    May 19, 2016

    I can’t tell which Brussels JR is referring to. Is ‘Brussels’ in the article the European Commission or the European Parliament?

    When people are deliberately vague about the institution they are criticising, the arguments become difficult to follow.

    I think the criticisms above are directed at the European Commission, and not the European Parliament (which is a democratically elected body).

    Why not criticise the Commission instead of Brussels, if that is what is meant?

  43. Mick
    May 19, 2016

    Just been watching the daily politics and it had that O’grady woman on talk about being in the pocket of big business, she could not answer the question about migrants running down wages all she kept spouting was it was down to employers at fault, then she was spouting on about laws that exist now would be repealed, what planet is she on does she think for one minute that the people would vote in a party that would do this, I can only hope that the people who are being advised by the unions to vote stay are not taken in by this blatant scare mongering

  44. Atlas
    May 19, 2016

    Yes John, it is sad the way the ‘intellentia’ act like lemmings in respect of the EU. Is it something in the water in Westminster?? (to which John is immune of course)

    1. Graham Wood
      May 19, 2016

      Atlas. Two words probably pin-point the source of such consistent collusion –
      Just Google – Common Purpose.

      Two words which uncannily often occur in speeches by some politicians, although I hasten to add not our host.

  45. Graham
    May 19, 2016

    Very angry that we still roll headlong, and promise more, into the EU web.

    When (if?) we vote out who the hell (apart from JW and obviously Ukip) has the balls to face the challengers head on and gets us extricated?

    If it wasn’t so serious you would only laugh at the clowns at the top of Lab/Con.

    Can anyone please give me some comfort on this??

    1. Anonymous
      May 19, 2016

      There are plenty of people who could slot into the tops of these parties. It is a travesty that they are not there already.

  46. Chris S
    May 19, 2016

    The whole thrust of the EU and Europhile British politicians is profoundly undemocratic.

    We have seen this on numerous occasions when past referenda have not come up with the “right answer.” The population of the Netherlands are the latest group whose vote is currently being ignored and a large number of Brussels and Eurozone political leaders that have questioned why we are having a referendum at all.

    The latest example is Merkel who has just been reported as saying that “It was a completely unnecessary risk that comes as a result of party politics rather than actual concerns for Britain’s best interests.”

    These Europhiles simply don’t get democracy, do they ?

  47. Stephen Berry
    May 19, 2016

    Certainly the UK is governed by a grand pro-EU coalition. The great puzzle is why this should be so. Nothing about the EU warrants such devotion. As an institution, the EU has turned Europe into a low growth/no growth zone and such an organisation will never long command the affection of its citizens.

    The man on the Clapham Omnibus would explain this as the big shots all scratching each others backs. The UK contributes a lot of money to the EU and a lot of this in turn goes into the pockets of the politicians and the EU bureaucracy. The possibility of a comfortable post in Brussels for the Westminster politicians is something we know has appealed to Conservative and Labour politician alike. But is this the whole story?

    There is a kind of group think affecting Europe wide institutions these last 50 years. Whether it was joining the EEC, joining the ERM or joining the Euro, the consensus of the movers and shakers has been in favour, and is still in favour of more European integration. This is a bit like the consensus in favour of socialist state planning in the first part of the 20th century. As late as the 1960s, George Brown was formulating a national economic plan for this country. 20 years later such ideas were dead in the water and only a political eccentric of the left like Tony Benn espoused them. It will be thus with Brussels. Suddenly the EU will have scarce a friend and politicians will all be busily rewriting their CVs. Indeed, the EU’s only supporters will be political eccentrics like Michael Heseltine.

  48. Lindsay McDougall
    May 19, 2016

    Follow the argument where it leads, Mr Redwood. There is no point in any Conservative Eurosceptic MP wasting any of his/her precious time supporting this useless set of bills. Stay in Parliament to ask awkward questions, but otherwise get out there and campaign for Vote Leave.

    You may think that it is desirable to keep the Conservative Party together after the referendum. I don’t. If Remain wins, the Conservative Party will be tarnished for all time, or at least until there is a total purge of all Tory Wet pro-European MPs.

    I wish to complain about the ineptitude of the Vote Leave campaign on economic matters. Nigel Farage absolutely shellacked Nick Clegg on this issue. Yet the original HM Government pamphlet and HM Treasury’s ‘study’ (George Osborne’s dodgy dossier), both of which are peurile crap, have gone unchallenged. Polls indicate that Remain is winning on economic issues.

    I’ve send Vote Leave rebuttals of both of these documents but it has neither used these nor come up with detailed rebuttals of its own. If Vote Leave submits detailed rebuttal documents to the newspapers and the television networks, they are duty bound to refer to them and discuss them. Nor has Vote Leave done a hatchet job on the past careers of all the ‘great and the good’ that Cameron and Osborne have been wheeling out. A list of all of the people and institutions that urged us to join the Euro would be a good start, with Heseltine and Lagarde right up there.

    1. DaveM
      May 19, 2016

      Indeed – I’ve been wondering if Vote Leave is on holiday. I’m sure GO would have been far more vocal.

      1. alan jutson
        May 20, 2016


        Remember who chose Vote leave !

        It was the establishment !

        Thus you may have your answer.

  49. peter davies
    May 19, 2016

    so we are almost at the point of not needing a government at all then if decisions made in Brussells are waived through without question…….

  50. Jon
    May 19, 2016

    Good observation that it is a Grand EU coalition that is running the UK, especially when the power of Westminster is diminished year by year.

    I just looked up the tax rates in Italy for a client. struth, no wonder its a black market there!

    May 19, 2016

    Today, a group of pc journalists have been on BBC or it could have been Sky and with straight faces stated it was categorically inappropriate to say “Hitler” although in making their daft point they used the word “Hitler” many many times.

    They were especially annoyed or miffed that “Hitler” was being used as with Boris and others to make political analogies although they didn’t use the word “analogy” as perhaps “Analogy ” maybe because some Evil person who died 70 years ago could presumably be called Herr Analogy also before the said journalists were born or a gleam in their parents’ or parent eyes or eye or a gleam in their adopted parents’ or parent eyes. Not that they necessarily have to have a parent of course. Or a paid job at all if I were Emperor.

  52. Richard1
    May 19, 2016

    There is an amusing exchange on the radio which can be googled (LBC) between Alastair Campbell and James Delingpole. Campbell is extraordinarily unpleasant – screaming and interrupting and describing Delongpole as an “idiot” for asserting that we have no democratic control over EU laws as there is a UK minister at the council of ministers(!) Hopefully we will not have to have this disagreeable and thuggish individual so much on the airwaves after publication of the Chilcott Report.

  53. Androcles
    May 19, 2016

    The PM says he is a eurosceptic. He says we will never sign up to a European super state, never join the Euro, never have passport free borders and we must strive to increase democratic control in the EU. However, it is in our financial interests to stay in the EU. Why then does the PM accept the economic analysis of institutions that do support all the things he says he doesn’t and not accept the analysis of those who agree with him?

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