Treaty on European Union

Part of Orders of the Day — European Communities (Amendment) Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:45 pm on 4th March 1993.

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Photo of Bill Cash Bill Cash , Stafford 6:45 pm, 4th March 1993

My hon. Friend the Member for Northampton, North reminds me of the constitutional adage, "The King can do no wrong," so we must assume that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has been sadly misled by his advisers on this matter. But that also applies to the legal basis on which we have been proceeding with the treaty. The division of powers among the Parliament, the Commission, the Council of Ministers and the Court of Auditors, all of which are matters within this grouping of amendments, depends on the legal and constitutional nature of the attributes which will be given to the various treaty articles, not merely as a matter of opinion but as a matter of law.

We are creating a legal framework. The European Court of Justice will have jurisdiction in the matters that we are discussing. There will be a new judocracy. Decisions will be taken by political judges. We shall undoubtedly deal with the European Court of Justice in a further group of amendments. On their own admission, the Government got their legal advice badly wrong in respect of the social chapter and the constitutional implications of amendment No. 27—whether it would wreck the treaty. As I have said repeatedly, and written on several occasions, the basis on which the treaty has been devised and sold to the British electorate is based on completely wrong legal advice.

The Maastricht treaty is a centralising measure and nothing else. It is apparent to people throughout Europe that it is a centralising treaty. They want it to be a centralising treaty. Yet we continually hear from those who wish the treaty to be ratified that it is not. They will say so until the moment comes when the final page of the treaty and the debates are closed—if that ever happens —but then we shall be told that of course the treaty had the consequences which we predicted. There will be no way of preventing those consequences.