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New Clause 19 — Power to remove or reduce burdens

Part of Orders of the Day – in the House of Commons at 6:00 pm on 15th May 2006.

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Photo of Bill Cash Bill Cash Conservative, Stone 6:00 pm, 15th May 2006

I am delighted that my right hon. and learned Friend has now entered into the debate with gusto. I had hoped that I might be called to speak before him, so that he could have engaged in a series of interventions on me. I am afraid that the issues that he raises do not add up.

Since 1972, we have been subjected to a constant stream of legislation that has been brought in by prerogative. Let us take the Maastricht treaty as an example, or the treaties of Nice or Amsterdam. I do not need to weary the House with the vast amount of legislation of that kind that has gone through this House, actively encouraged by my right hon. and learned Friend. Much of it has been resisted by popular sentiment, even though not everyone has understood every jot and tittle of it. My right hon. and learned Friend himself said that he found it difficult, to use the words of new clause 19,

"for example, where the legislation is hard to understand".

With regard to the population at large, the same applies to much of the European legislation, which is regularly visited on them by virtue of the extremely truncated, undemocratic and unaccountable methods employed through the European treaties and the mechanisms of the House. Ultimately, those lead to legislation going through effectively because we are told that the European Communities Act is inviolable, cannot be touched and is in concrete, that there is an acquis communautaire, that we should forget about any changes, and that the constant stream of European integration must therefore continue. Well, I have news for my right hon. and learned Friend—this is a moment when we say no.