Beyond Brexit (European Union Committee Report) - Motion to Consider

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:27 pm on 12th May 2020.

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Photo of Lord Howard of Rising Lord Howard of Rising Conservative 5:27 pm, 12th May 2020

My Lords, the committee’s wish to remain friendly with the EU is laudable but it is difficult to see how this noble aim can be achieved when EU negotiators treat the UK as though it is a colony and not a sovereign nation, and the EU persists in making unreasonable demands.

Britain still being under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice until 31 December might contribute to that attitude. This jurisdiction is overlooked by those suggesting extending trade negotiations. It is an important point. Ultimate legal authority is the essence of sovereignty, and the British people, who have consistently voted to leave the European Union, would resent any extension of ECJ jurisdiction.

What would also make any extension horribly catastrophic is the recent refusal by the German courts to accept the authority of the European Court of Justice. The knock-on effect of this will be that strict limits on quantitative easing will be imposed by the European Central Bank. Instead of printing money, billions of euros will have to be found. An extension beyond 31 December would keep Britain under the European Court of Justice, meaning that we would be obliged to contribute unlimited funds to EU bailout schemes, with no say on either the amount or the timing. Getting into such a situation would create friction and impede any sort of friendly relations.