Treaty of Lisbon (No. 2) — (2nd Allotted Day)

Part of Points of Order – in the House of Commons at 1:47 pm on 30th January 2008.

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Photo of Alan Duncan Alan Duncan Shadow Secretary of State 1:47 pm, 30th January 2008

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for his astute clarification—double Dutch it indeed is.

Blinding us with techno-babble is a deliberate ploy to obfuscate the real intentions behind the treaty, which are exactly the same as those of the constitution: gathering power into the centre of Brussels, removing flexibility and ignoring the voice of its citizens, and assuming all the rights of power, but without any of its democratic responsibilities. This is neither the outward-looking, flexible European project that we wish to see, nor the project that we were promised.

Today it has fallen to us to examine the articles in the treaty that explicitly cover energy. In the spirit of the rest of the document, these sections are oblique, mysterious and evasive. Their very existence points to a murky process at the heart of Brussels which casts a shadow over the entire mechanism of decision making in the Commission, and, far more damaging, to the utter ineptitude represented by the Government's inability—in the phrase of one of my favourite Ministers, Lord Jones of Birmingham—to bang the drum for Britain.

The Government have said that we need these articles to drive forward the liberalisation of the European energy market. That is a bogus argument, for one critical reason that we have already touched on today: the European Commission already has the legal base on which to make progress on liberalisation, contained in the single-market provisions and in the 40 or 50 existing directives on energy.