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Clause 2 — Addition to list of treaties

Part of Orders of the Day – in the House of Commons at 9:00 pm on 5th February 2008.

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Photo of Bill Cash Bill Cash Conservative, Stone 9:00 pm, 5th February 2008

Indeed, but the difference is that there is a way of dealing with the judgments that come out of the House of Lords—enacting legislation and putting matters right. I am delighted that the hon. Gentleman walked into that bear trap. The proposition that I put to the Committee is that we should insist on the supremacy of Parliament to rectify decisions that are taken on behalf of our electors. He is the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West. I doubt very much whether the debate will be reported in any of his local newspapers, which is a great pity, but if his electors knew that the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West, who is the successor of my old friend Nick Budgen, would prefer to have decisions taken on their behalf by the Court of Justice rather than by themselves, he might not be in his present position very long. However, he can rest assured that, as I have said on a previous occasion, the best way to keep a secret is to make a speech in the House of Commons. The hon. Gentleman, my good friend, will therefore understand that he is trespassing on sensitive territory.

The Government were explicit and clear about the Human Rights Act 1998. The Lord Chancellor at the time made it clear in his speeches that the sovereignty of the United Kingdom was not affected by the Human Rights Act and that we could legislate inconsistently with it if we wanted to do so. Lord Hoffmann, in a famous case called Simms v. O'Brien, made it crystal clear in a House of Lords decision that if Parliament decided to do so it could in every material respect amend or repeal that Act. The Lord Chancellor of the time made that clear as well.

That is not the same as the question that applies to the European Court of Justice, which is why I was so keen to get on the record my concern that the European Court of Justice will effectively subsume—as it was expressed in the decision of the Court of Justice—the legal order of the European convention on human rights. It may apply the principles, but that is typical of the doublespeak of a kind that I came across in a very interesting book, which some people will recall: "Nineteen Eighty-Four" by George Orwell.

In the book Orwell deals with the biggest problem of all. He writes:

"In Oldspeak it is called, quite frankly, 'reality control'."

I started my speech by saying that I thought we were moving into virtual reality. We are going back to "Nineteen Eighty-Four" in the field of reality control. Orwell goes on:

"In Newspeak it is called doublethink, though doublethink comprises much else as well.

Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them."

We are dealing with the concept that there are fundamental principles that are part and parcel of the European convention on human rights, but the doublethink comes from saying, "Those are the principles, but that is not the way that they are going to be applied." They will be applied another way, under the aegis of the treaty of Lisbon and the general principles of the Union's law, as set out in article 6(3). All the abstruse debate, none of which will get into the press or be discussed in the media, is about one simple problem—that is, that the people of this country are being profoundly deceived by the idea that this Bill is innocuous and will not have a dramatic effect on their daily lives, but it will.