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I strongly agree with that sentiment. Indeed, I go further and say that I have always argued for an association of nation states based primarily on trading and political co-operation. Above all else, we must ensure that we make those decisions in the House on behalf of the electorate. Where we find it impossible to make those decisions, it is increasingly argued that it should be done by referendum, when we abdicate the power in the House to the people as a whole.
Clause 18 defies the sovereignty clauses on which the shadow Cabinet, the Whips and Back Benchers voted on several occasions before the general election, using my "notwithstanding" formula. Our report, based on clear evidence from constitutional experts, upholds both the principle and the wording of the "notwithstanding" formula, which I proposed in amendments to the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill when we were in opposition. The Whips even asked me to put in their own tellers. As I said to the Minister for Europe last night, he too voted for those provisions. Why not now, therefore, and in the Bill?
We have no hope of resolving the effect and implications of the European crisis on our country, or of reducing by deregulation the impact of European laws on our businesses, including our small businesses, and our deficit, if we do not remove the overall burden of the 50% of economic regulation now on our own statute book, according the House of Commons Library on