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European Union Bill

Part of Safe Standing (Football Stadia) – in the House of Commons at 8:03 pm on 7th December 2010.

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Photo of Laura Sandys Laura Sandys Conservative, South Thanet 8:03 pm, 7th December 2010

The distrust over the Lisbon treaty has created a total and utter determination to put the people and Parliament back in control of our sovereignty, and to ensure that the public and the various views in both Houses are listened to and considered.

The Bill sets three clear triggers that will create sovereignty locks that will introduce a clear mechanism for referendums, the need for legislation or parliamentary approval. My constituency has one of the largest UKIP votes in the country-2,500 voted to get out of Europe-so I am very conscious that we need to be robust on Europe and that any further transfer of powers needs to be questioned. The Bill convinces me of our control over transfers of power, which is important.

Let us consider what will happen under the Bill. If any Government decide to propose any further power or competency transfer to Brussels, they will have to hold a referendum. If a Government decide on a transfer of responsibility to Brussels, and if they state that that is not a transfer of power or competency, they will have to justify their decision to Parliament. They will need to show that there is no change in sovereignty, and that there is no diminishment of our domestic laws. If they prove that no power or competency is transferred, they will come up against the second lock-they will require an Act of Parliament. Many hon. Members have very strong views on the EU and sovereignty, but that lock gives all of us the opportunity to vote against the proposals or to amend them, including to put them to a referendum. We therefore have the ability to call Ministers to account, and to vote on or amend legislation.

That is crucial, but I am not sure that many hon. Members see the opportunities that the Bill gives us to question the judgment of the great Ministers of State. For me that is a significant statement that makes it clear how power will be used and our relationship with the EU forged. It is important in terms of both substance and message. Unlike some of my hon. Friends, I believe that the substance is that the people will be able to sanction the transfer of power. The message is that Brussels now knows that the brakes have been put on any further power grab.