European Affairs

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 4:23 pm on 3rd June 2010.

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Photo of Bill Cash Bill Cash Conservative, Stone 4:23 pm, 3rd June 2010

I certainly do, and I say without any sense of self-congratulation that when we said such things in the Maastricht debates, we were vehemently criticised by the then Government. We were rubbished, if I may use that expression, for daring to suggest that the single currency would not work. The same goes for the paraphernalia that followed in a succession of treaties. I must have tabled at least 150 or 200 amendments-I cannot remember exactly how many-to each of the treaties from Maastricht onwards, including the Lisbon treaty, which we simply must not implement.

The whole European system must be radically and drastically reformed, precisely because it is impossible to repatriate powers without a sovereignty Act-I repeat my call for that to be introduced as urgently as possible-and we need that to underpin the negotiations on economic recovery. We must have economic recovery because otherwise, we cannot reduce the debt or pay for the necessary public services. We are living in a fool's paradise if we think otherwise. That is fundamental.

I am concerned about further enlargement, and my earlier exchanges with the shadow Foreign Secretary are on the record-I was slightly pulled up for following my point up. The European Scrutiny Committee asked very serious questions about the accession of Bulgaria and Romania. Those countries are reasons why we should not enlarge any more, to include, for example, Albania, Croatia, Macedonia and Turkey. I do not have time to go into those arguments now, but the bottom line is that the European Union is more than large enough, and unfortunately, it does not work, and must be reformed drastically.

If there is no way of reforming the EU from within because of the acquis communautaire and the role of the European Court of Justice, and because other member states are simply not prepared to negotiate sensibly on legislation that requires unanimity to repeal, we are going to be stuck by the majority vote. All the protestations, hopes, aspirations, and perhaps some rather over-enthusiastic promises, will come to nothing, because it is impossible to change the system under majority voting when there is no will to do so on the other side, which takes us back to repatriation and the sovereignty Act.

The human rights question is enormously important. The necessity for the repeal of the Human Rights Act 1998 runs in tandem with the charter of fundamental rights. In a recent speech to judges, the Lord Chief Justice stated:

"The primary responsibility for saving the common law system of proceeding by precedent is primarily a matter for us as judges...Are we becoming so focused on Strasbourg and the Convention that instead of incorporating Convention principles within and developing the common law accordingly as a single coherent unit, we are allowing the Convention to assume an unspoken priority over the common law?...We must beware."

We must take such things very seriously.

Lord Hoffman has said that the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg

"has been unable to resist the temptation to aggrandise its jurisdiction and to impose uniform rules on Member States. It considers itself the equivalent of the Supreme Court of the United States, laying down a federal law of Europe."

The same applies to the charter of fundamental rights. We must stop that process.

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