Clause 2 — Electoral Commission Recommendations
European Parliament (Representation) Bill
Mr William Cash (Stone, Conservative)
I have already given my reasoning on that point with respect to the interaction of the protocol and paragraph (3). A number of serious points arise, and it is not necessary for me to repeat what I have already said. The hon. Lady refers to the question of case law whereas I refer to the constitutional question. A substantial area must be considered very carefully, and I do not think that the natural consequences of going down the route that has been assumed so far can be taken for granted.
With respect to clause 4, which would implement the changes in the number of UK MEPs, the Lord Chancellor would have the power by order to give effect to a change—not an anticipated change but an actual change—under Community law. I take exception to the term "Community law" in that context. For similar reasons as before, I have substituted the wording in the protocol. The Minister will be aware that what I am doing is perhaps somewhat improbable. The Prime Minister once said to me in the Lobby, when I was raising a matter of European law, "I wouldn't have thought that you would have accepted that," but I accept the law as it stands. Whether I think that it is right, fair or can be changed is a separate issue. That is why I am putting the Government to the test. If they are to rely on article 2 of protocol A, to which I refer in my amendment, why not stick to it? It is as simple as that. Why go through the paraphernalia of using the words,
"or anticipated change under Community law"?