Treaty of Lisbon (No. 3) — (3rd allotted day)

Part of Points of Order – in the House of Commons at 4:33 pm on 5th February 2008.

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Photo of David Lidington David Lidington Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) 4:33 pm, 5th February 2008

I beg to move, to leave out from "House" to end and add instead thereof:

"disapproves of the Government's policy towards the Treaty of Lisbon in respect of human rights because of its incoherence and inconsistency on the status of the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the United Kingdom;
notes that after the Intergovernmental Conference was agreed the previous Prime Minister told the House that "it is absolutely clear that we have an opt-out from both the Charter and judicial and home affairs";
notes that the Minister for Europe told the House when debating the Treaty of Lisbon that "the fact is that the United Kingdom has neither sought nor achieved an opt-out on the Charter of Fundamental Rights";
and calls on the Government to adopt a clear and consistent policy whose merits Parliament may then judge."

I am delighted that the Secretary of State opened the debate on behalf of the Government. I congratulate him on his speech, which was a masterpiece of obfuscation. Opposition Members admire the way in which he shimmies around any challenge to do with the substance of the charter of fundamental rights and the content of the treaty. To develop the image of Mrs. Dunwoody, we see the right hon. Gentleman as the Kyran Bracken of the Government Front Bench. It is not just his experience as Foreign Secretary that commends him to us. Conservative Members' regard for the right hon. Gentleman is only enhanced by knowing that it was he who bounced the former Prime Minister into promising a referendum on the European constitution. After the French and Dutch votes he pledged that

"there will be no proposals made by this Government that seek to bring in this constitutional treaty, or elements of it, by the back door."—[ Hansard, 6 June 2005; Vol. 434, c. 1000.]