In today’s Sunday Times, Dominic Lawson knocks on the head the PM’s claim allows us freedom from “ever closer union”. At the recent summit, our PM declared ““Ever since we joined, Europe has been on the path to something called ever-closer union. It means a political union. We’ve never liked it. We’ve never wanted it. And today we have permanently carved Britain out of it.”This is absolutely not true. The truth is that we have no more protection after the PM’s EU deal than we did before.
Dominic Lawson says: “Most pertinently, is there any judgment by the European Court of Justice (whose rulings on EU law are binding on the British government) which might be reversed — or reversible — as a result of this exemption from the rhetoric of “ever-closer union”?
There was a fascinating exchange between Cameron and the former defence secretary Liam Fox on January 5, during a Commons debate on this very issue. The PM declared: “The ever-closer union does matter, not purely as a symbolic issue, but because it does get used as an interpretation by the European Court.” Fox then asked: “Legally, how would Britain be exempted from ever-closer union unless we were exempted from all such judgments — either those that might be made in future or those historic in nature?”
To this, Cameron had no answer. He backtracked: “I accept that it is a symbol, but symbols matter in politics.” And when Fox’s fellow Eurosceptic Bernard Jenkin asked the PM to “make a list of the European laws and European Court rulings he believes depend primarily on the ‘ever-closer union’ phrase in the treaties”, Cameron floundered: “I do not have the list on me.”
Dominic Lawson continues: “This is well understood by the lord chancellor, Michael Gove, who declared yesterday: “We are still subject to an unelected EU commission which is generating new laws every day and an unaccountable European court in Luxembourg which is extending its reach every week . . . It is hard to overstate the degree to which the EU is a constraint on ministers’ ability to do the things they were elected to do.”
George Osborne’s blithe argument that “full parliamentary sovereignty “of course exists because parliament can vote to withdraw from the EU”, is ridiculous. If the only way we can demonstrate parliamentary sovereignty is by withdrawing from the EU, that is surely an argument for voting “leave”…..