UK’s Withdrawal from the European Union

Part of Business of the House (Today) – in the House of Commons at 2:15 pm on 14th March 2019.

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Photo of Bill Cash Bill Cash Chair, European Scrutiny Committee 2:15 pm, 14th March 2019

The hon. Gentleman is a member of my Committee, so he knows exactly what I am saying, and he understands perfectly well that when we leave we leave. When we do leave, the circumstances under which we currently operate, under our Standing Orders, will change.

When we leave the EU, the situation becomes radically different. I therefore propose—in line with the Prime Minister’s own suggestions as set out in a carefully crafted pamphlet published in 2007 by Politeia, a think-tank—that the European Scrutiny Committee should, upon our leaving the European Union, be able to make recommendations as to how and when our veto should be invoked, as justified by our national interest.

The alternative is that we will just have laws imposed upon us. That will include, for example—I invite the hon. Gentleman and the House to listen to this—matters relating to tax policy. There are now proposals on the table to change tax policy from national unanimity to majority vote. Defence and defence procurement are also included, as is state aid. The list is endless.

Contrary to some assertions that the EU law-making process takes so long that there would be no problem, the European Union is quite capable of accelerating its procedures, and I believe it would do so by putting us at the mercy of our competitors. One recent well-known example is ports regulation. We fought that in the European Standing Committee and, despite the fact that port employers and trade unions were against it, it went through. This would happen in respect of almost any proposed EU law within the vast swathe of competences in the entire corpus of the European treaties. If that happened, we would have no redress. We would not be able to veto it if we do not get a veto, and we would not be able to affect it properly under our current scrutiny arrangements. Furthermore, the British people would be the ones to suffer, and that would include people in Scotland, too. Do not get the idea that this is a free zone situation for Scotland. SNP Members will also be affected, and they better start taking it seriously.