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Clause 2 — Addition to list of treaties

Part of Orders of the Day – in the House of Commons at 9:45 pm on 5th February 2008.

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Photo of John Redwood John Redwood Conservative, Wokingham 9:45 pm, 5th February 2008

The right hon. Lady is a little cleverer than that: she knows that that is not the official position of the Opposition party, and nor is it the case that I happen to be making at present. Her history is wrong, of course: we did not give all those powers away at the beginning when we joined something called the Common Market in common parlance, or the European Economic Community as set out in the original treaty. That was not the deal offered to the British people when they last had a vote on this issue in 1975. It so happens that I voted "no". I have always since accepted the verdict of the British people. I am sure that they voted for a common market, and that is what I would like them to have. They voted for co-operation and collaboration while our country retained its veto. What I dislike about the deal under discussion—the clauses before us tonight highlight this—is that our veto has been given away needlessly, when the Government had the veto to veto surrendering the veto; the Government just had to say "no", and they would not have had so many law-making powers brought in by the back door by this treaty and this proposed legislation.

I, like my party, say that this deal is many steps too far—it gives away far too much of the power rightly accumulated by Parliament over the centuries to do good for the British people and to respond to their will and their wishes. The right hon. Lady has in a previous intervention in our debates today come up with a clever argument. She says that the magic of this particular block of work is that at last the EU will have to submit itself to the human rights Court and the human rights convention that many states in Europe have signed. What she omits, however, to tell the House in that very partial interpretation is that that in no way detracts from the power of the European Court of Justice to keep on advancing its power at the expense of the British people and their elected representatives in this Parliament assembled.