Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

European Union Bill

Part of Safe Standing (Football Stadia) – in the House of Commons at 7:02 pm on 7th December 2010.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Stephen Dorrell Stephen Dorrell Chair, Health and Social Care Committee 7:02 pm, 7th December 2010

My hon. Friend is entirely right. Like him, I would have much preferred it if the Lisbon treaty had not been introduced, so that the pillars of intergovernmentalism in the Maastricht treaty were protected. But that does not alter the fact that if we attend a Council of Ministers meeting in Europe to exercise the competences of the European Union, the process of discussion about how the power is used by the Council of Ministers, particularly in a world of 27 member states, has the feel of a negotiation between member states of an organisation. It is a negotiation between member states.

My hon. Friend the Member for Harwich and North Essex is right to say that there is a strong power of initiative in the European institutions. Like him, I do not want any further competence to be passed to them. My case for the Bill is that it reduces the risk of that process happening again; it does not make it impossible, but it reduces the risk. I hope that it will make a modest step towards rebuilding public trust in the framework of the European argument and therefore refocus that argument on where it properly needs to be-on how those competences are used, rather than on yet more discussion about the further extension of "the European project".