UK-EU Renegotiation

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:48 pm on 3rd February 2016.

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Photo of David Cameron David Cameron The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party 12:48 pm, 3rd February 2016

Let me take those issues in turn, because my hon. Friend is absolutely right to raise them. First, asserting the sovereignty of this House is something that we did by introducing the European Union Act 2011. I am keen to do even more to put it beyond doubt that this House of Commons is sovereign. We will look to do that at the same time as concluding the negotiations.

On what we are doing to restrict the flow of legislation from Brussels, for the first time ever in this deal, there is a commitment that Europe has to examine all its competences every year and work out what should be returned to nation states—subsidiarity in action, rather than in words. There is also the proposal to cut Brussels regulation through the bureaucracy cutting targets. That has never been there before.

I would argue that, looking across this deal, one can see that we have welfare powers coming back, we have immigration powers coming back, which I have just spoken about, and we have bail-out powers coming back. Of course, on the massive return of power that we achieved in the last Parliament with the justice and home affairs opt-out—the biggest return of power from Brussels to Britain since we joined the EU—we have absolutely nailed that down in these discussions to make sure that they cannot get around it. Those were all key objectives. I am not saying that this deal is perfect. I am not saying that the European Union will be perfect after this deal—it certainly won’t be—but will the British position be better and stronger? Yes, it will.