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Clause 2 — Addition to list of treaties

Part of Orders of the Day – in the House of Commons at 9:15 pm on 5th February 2008.

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Photo of Bill Cash Bill Cash Conservative, Stone 9:15 pm, 5th February 2008

I should get ahead a little, because others definitely want to speak.

I should like to touch on how the European Court of Justice has operated, on the interaction in our constitution between the decisions taken in the House and those of the Court itself, and on what we can do about it. There is a world of difference between saying that we want to be able to legislate for ourselves and facing up to the fact that that presents certain constitutional problems in the light of the European Communities Act 1972. However, before I get to that, and because my main concern is about the rights of the people of this country to have the vote and to be able to use it properly, I should like to refer to chapter 5 of the charter. It talks about citizens' rights, and mentions the

"Right to vote and to stand as a candidate at elections to the European Parliament", the

"Right to vote and to stand as a candidate at municipal elections", and so on. There is no reference to the right to vote to uphold the democracy of the individual member states according to their constitutional orders; this is to do with the European Union's citizenship. In an intervention, I made a point about the Lisbon treaty. Whereas at the moment, citizens' rights complement the rights of the citizens in the individual member states, the treaty says that those former rights will be in addition to the latter ones, not complementary to them. That makes a substantial difference. I do not want to labour the point, but a new citizenship is being created. It fills in the gaps about which I remember complaining to my Government during the proceedings on the Maastricht treaty. I vividly remember that that treaty said that, as has been developed by the dynamics of other treaties since, the citizens' rights will be subject to such rights, powers and duties as shall be developed in due course.