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European Union Bill

Part of Safe Standing (Football Stadia) – in the House of Commons at 9:41 pm on 7th December 2010.

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Photo of David Lidington David Lidington The Minister for Europe 9:41 pm, 7th December 2010

We debated this matter at great length in Committee in January. A number of the learned academics who gave evidence to the European Scrutiny Committee discussed parliamentary sovereignty in broad constitutional terms, rather than in terms of the precise objective of clause 18, which is to recapitulate in statutory form the means by which European law is given effect in the United Kingdom.

I want to make it clear from the start that we are talking about a referendum lock on future treaty changes that transfer powers or competence-in particular, powers involving the surrender of vetoes-and that we are not seeking to overturn the terms of existing treaties. I know that that will disappoint a number of Members on both sides of the House, but, as my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary said in his opening speech, we are in a legal environment established by the Lisbon treaty, even though some of us might wish that we were not, and we must start from the position that we are now in.