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European Union Bill

Part of Safe Standing (Football Stadia) – in the House of Commons at 6:52 pm on 7th December 2010.

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Photo of Mike Gapes Mike Gapes Labour, Ilford South 6:52 pm, 7th December 2010

The Government are hiding behind the words in the Wright Committee's report. The reality is that if the Government wished to, and they thought that it was sufficiently important, we could have a debate in Government time on the Floor of the House, as we have always done, on the matters to be discussed in 10 days' time at the European Council meeting, which comes at a crucial time for the future of this country and the EU. The issues range from the crises in Greece and Ireland, to climate change and the Cancun meeting, and what is happening with regard to China and its role in the world. Not least is what will happen over the coming decades with regard to migration policy and the impact that global changes will have on the people of north Africa and elsewhere who might wish to migrate to the EU. Those are the issues that we should be discussing.

We have had a lot of comments recently about Russia, although I will not depart from the subject of debate today. Frankly, the relationship between the EU and Russia is a complete shambles. There is no agreed approach on energy policy or on how we deal with human rights abuses and the suppression of democratic opposition in Russia. Why do we not have a debate about the role of the EU there? These are the vital questions, but instead of discussing them we are hiding behind the minutiae of a proposal, which if it is implemented will, as the hon. Member for Stone pointed out, put power not in the hands of a sovereign Parliament and Members of Parliament-elected representatives-but more and more in the hands of the judges and the judicial authorities, who will increasingly interfere in a political way. They will make the decisions about what matters are to be decided, not the elected people who represent the people of this country.

That is a fundamental matter, yet the Government are slipping this measure through, so that, with all the proposals in schedule 1, clause 18 and elsewhere, we will end up with the judicial system, not the political system, determining how this country is run. That is a fundamental decision-a fundamental matter-yet it has been slipped into the Bill as though it were a safeguard against the European Union taking away sovereignty. Actually, the proposal gives more power to the judges and to the legal system to take away parliamentary sovereignty. That is nothing to do with the European Union; Ministers themselves have determined those matters.