Clause 2 — Addition to list of treaties
Orders of the Day
William Cash (Stone, Conservative)
The only reason why I did not mention Maastricht was modesty, if I may say so. I did not think that it was necessary for me to explain every detail, as I tabled 150 amendments to that treaty. The number of amendments that I have tabled to the Lisbon treaty is of the same order, or a little greater. That is why I find myself leading on this group of amendments. I happen to believe that the Maastricht treaty was one of the critical moments in our history. The BBC recognised that point in a debate that took place reasonably recently. The bottom line is that although Maastricht was enormously important, the treaty that we are considering is even more important; the accumulation of functions since Maastricht has merely demonstrated that we were right at the time. That accumulation is in line with the predictions that we made at the time; that is the point.
Article F of the treaty of European union says that
The Lisbon treaty, too, refers to a "respect" for
"regional and local self-government".
That is completely misleading. The Union approach has been to pursue a one-size-fits-all policy, with total disregard for national identities, so the extension of the competences actually works in exactly the reverse manner. Moreover, the treaty says that the Union "shall respect" nation states'
"essential State functions, including ensuring the territorial integrity of the State, maintaining law and order and safeguarding national security."
In fact, although national security remains the sole responsibility of each member state, the article does not include important state functions such as conducting a foreign and security policy. Police and judicial co-operation will cease to be intergovernmental, and will be placed under the Community method.
It is very likely that the Union will put forward measures that might jeopardise member states' national security measures. The evidence is contained in the Prüm treaty relating to the collection of personal data, which is being implemented into Union law, so there is a kind of convergence. National security is hugely important, but there are indications of an invasion of it by other means. If we agree to the amendment, we will revert to the status quo, and we will therefore get rid of the problem and retain national security at the heart of our arrangements. I shall give that matter further thought as the debate progresses.
The principle of sincere co-operation is not new. Article 11 of the treaty on European union states that
"The Member States shall support the Union's external and security policy actively and unreservedly in a spirit of loyalty and mutual solidarity."
The treaty operates by reducing in every respect the power of our Parliament, and therefore the rights of our voters.
The position on subsidiarity is simply this: a series of laws are incorporated in the treaty, and the European institutions' attempt to put a gloss on the matter by suggesting that subsidiarity will resolve the problem and to give so-called power to national Parliaments is a complete con trick. That has not happened to any effect on any occasion that I can think of. Subsidiarity does not work, and there is no intention that it should. It is part and parcel of the artificiality of the arguments that they put forward to try to demonstrate that they are giving some credibility to national Parliaments.
I turn to competences and the European Court of Justice. As I say, competences are about power and law making. The ECJ is about the interpretation of that law. Let me quote the opinion of the Council legal service of
"It results from the case-law of the Court of Justice that primacy of EC law is a cornerstone principle of Community law. According to the Court"—
please note that it is "According to the Court"—
"this principle is inherent to the specific nature of the European Community."
There follows mention of the Costa case of 1964, to which the Minister for Europe referred earlier.
The opinion of the Council legal service goes on to say that at that time
"there was no mention of primacy in the treaty. It is still the case today. The fact that the principle of primacy will not be included in the future treaty shall not in any way change the existence of the principle and the existing case-law of the Court of Justice."
The opinion continues:
"It follows . . . that the law stemming from the treaty, an independent source of law, could not, because of its special and original nature, be overridden by domestic legal provisions, however framed, without being deprived of its character as Community law and without the legal basis of the Community itself being called into question."
There is only one way to get past that judgment by the Council legal service, which is right in one sense only—that that is the assertion made by the European institutions within the framework of the competences that they have granted themselves and have been granted, foolishly, by member states. As that is the basis on which they operate, we cannot and must not allow our own Parliament to assume that what they say is right. We must insert a provision, which I will discuss tomorrow, about the preservation of the supremacy of the United Kingdom Parliament, having regard to the European Communities Act 1972.
I will not go further down that route this evening, however much I may be tempted to do so—which I am. Having resisted that temptation, I shall briefly refer to the other amendments that I tabled. I have already dealt with many of the matters in general terms; they include, for example, the fact that Community common policies will take precedence because of exclusive competences that are being granted; the problems that we have with respect to competition rules; the conservation of marine biological resources; and the common commercial policy. I mentioned yesterday the problems that arise in the context of the development of policy. These demonstrate the manner in which the Union will grab and maintain new areas of exclusive competence. These matters are dealt with under my amendment No. 121.
There is also the matter of the UK Parliament being required legally to submit to the Union if and when the Union acts first. That also arise under amendment No. 121. The United Kingdom would be required to conduct economic policy in the interests of the European Union under instruction of the Council—again, that is dealt with in amendment No. 121. The European Union seeks to direct policy for British industry, health, education, sport, culture, civil protection and tourism. That, too, is covered by amendment No. 121.
Then there is the issue of the European Court of Justice and its ruling—not its guidance and interpretation, but its ultimate jurisdiction over the right of the British people to make their choices in general elections. That is what is taken away by giving such enormous power to the European Court of Justice.
Mr. Mitchell will speak about fisheries policy. There are further issues such as the granting of aid, the common agricultural policy and so on. The bottom line is that we are giving in to the whole of the European Union without—