Letter to The Guardian;
The letter from Charles Kennedy and others (30 January) confuses our membership of the EU with our access to the single market. We could retain the latter without the former because:
1. We have 3m jobs exporting to the EU but it has 4.5m jobs exporting to us. We are its largest client.
2. The EU has free-trade agreements with 63 countries worldwide and another 63 on the way, so why not with us, on satisfactory terms?
3. Switzerland, not in the EU, exports three times more per capita to the EU than we do.
4. Only 9% of our GDP goes in trade with the EU (in deficit), 11% goes to the rest of the world (in surplus), and 80% stays in our domestic market. Yet Brussels overregulation strangles all 100% of our economy, and handicaps our exports to the countries of the future. Leaving the EU would create jobs, and restore our democracy.
The Earl of Liverpool
Douglas Carswell MP
John Cryer MP
Mark Reckless MP
Philip Davies MP
Austin Mitchell MP
Philip Hollobone MP
David Nuttall MP
Kate Hoey MP
Gordon Henderson MP
Kelvin Hopkins MP
Graham Stringer MP
Today in the House of Commons I asked the Prime Minister the following question:
Mark Reckless: “Would the Prime Minister explain what it is that he’s vetoed?”
To which the Prime Minister responded:
Prime Minister: “I vetoed Britain’s involvement in a Treaty so as a result it is not an EU Treaty. We had in front of this House, we had the Maastricht EU Treaty, we had the Lisbon EU Treaty, we had Amsterdam, we had Nice. All of those were Treaties Britain was involved in as a member of the EU and they were EU Treaties with full force of law. This is not like that. This is outside the European Union. It is an arrangement come to by 25 other countries and we’re not involved, so as a result we’ve safeguarded Britain’s interest which could have been put at risk by a new EU Treaty.”
After all the huffing and puffing of December the make-up of the front-bench today – Nick Clegg smirking next to the PM with IDS staying away – said it all:
- We have not vetoed anything and at best have an opt-out;
- EU institutions are used by this treaty as with any other EU treaty; and
- We have no safeguards and the City is left wide open to EU regulation by majority vote.
It is time for a referendum to let the people decide if we stay in the EU or become independent. Add your voice by signing up at www.peoplespledge.org
Mark Reckless MP discusses the Eurozone crisis with LibDem MEP Chris Davies on Radio 4’s PM programme.
We are told that the Foreign Office Sir Humphrey has asked each government department to report on opportunities (and inevitably for the FO ‘risks’) to repatriate powers from the EU. The fact that every department is involved shows how far the EU’s power intrudes and, of course, the principle of the acquis communitaire implies that once powers are taken by the EU they are not to be returned.
The only way we can even hope to get key powers back from the EU is to confirm that the result of any renegotiation will be put to the British people in a referendum, so that they can decide if they wish to stay in the EU on those terms. Only if there is the prospect of such a referendum will other EU countries or, equally importantly, the Whitehall mandarins, be incentivised to get power back.
Last Monday’s vote was on the principle of an EU Referendum and on this issue Conservative ministers cannot blame the LibDems for not doing what Conservative MPs and the electorate want, and holding a referendum on EU membership. That is because holding such a referendum was LibDem policy prior to the coalition. Indeed, until ten days ago, you could still sign up on the LibDem website to support their campaign for an In/Out referendum.
Some LibDems seemed to split hairs in last Monday’s debate, suggesting that their manifesto promise was for the next time there was a fundamental change in the EU, but Nick Clegg has now confirmed in the Observer that now is such a time, writing:
“the European landscape is about to change. European integration has always evolved in fits and starts, driven by crises and upheaval. Now it’s happening again and the question is: how do we in the UK respond?”
The LibDems answered their leader’s question in their manifesto. There should be a national referendum on EU membership. Last Monday’s debate and vote showed that this is also what Conservative MPs want.
We even now have the perfect opportunity for such a referendum – November 2012 – to coincide with the first elections for Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC).
Sir Humphrey is fighting a rearguard action against democratisation of policing, agreeing a Protocol to curtail PCC powers with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) after the police bill was through the House of Commons, and now trying to insist on Whitehall oversight of police budgets. Only a decision to hold a referendum on EU membership, and why not with those PCC elections in November 2012, will get Sir Humphrey to do the people’s bidding.
Posted in ACPO, bbc, conservatives, david cameron, europe, lib dems, mark reckless, People's Pledge, police, Policing, rochester and strood, sir hugh orde
Chris Huhne said yesterday that LibDems could not agree with Conservatives to bring power back from the EU to Britain. Thankfully, they don’t need to.
As I (at one with Peter Bone it seems) argued on Newsnight last night all the Coalition needs to do is carry through the LibDem manifesto commitment to have an In/Out Referendum on Europe. Then we can keep the Coalition together, both sides can make their case, and the people can decide.
We now have the perfect opportunity for a cost-effective referendum on November 15th 2012 when we will be voting for the first elected Police and Crime Commissioners. The case for a referendum on Europe is now becoming overwhelming. Add your voice by signing up at http://www.peoplespledge.org/.
I called while discussing the financial crisis on the Westminster Hour for a return to national currencies. Italy and Spain are only going to be able to compete with Germany – and pay their own debts – if their exporters are priced back into world markets. Given the inflexibility of the Italian and Spanish economies and labour markets that will only happen in a reasonable time frame if they devalue relative to Germany.
It is surely better for Spain and Italy to compete and pay their own way than for German taxpayers to take on their debts and permanently subsidise countries that cannot compete with them in the Euro. Unless Germany is going to take on Spain and Italy’s debts it is difficult to see how the Euro will survive in the long term. The Euro is now causing such instability and economic stagnation that it would be better to break up sooner rather than later. The likely result, once that happened, would be a rapid return to growth in southern Europe and a strong stockmarket recovery.
Originally posted on the People’s Pledge website
Much has changed since a €78 billion Portuguese ‘bail-out’ was nodded through on 3rd May. I believe that Parliament, and through its lobbying the People’s Pledge, have played a key role in that. From Portugal to Greece there have been three big moves.
1. We put a stop to the use of the EU-wide European Financial Stability Mechanism (EFSM) for Euro bail-outs. For Portugal we were told that there was nothing the UK government could do, because the EFSM has already been agreed and it was qualified majority voting. For Greece the UK government said there could be no question of the use of the EFSM and that this was a ‘red line’ issue for us. The House of Commons debated my bail-out motion, the government changed its position and the EU backed down.
2. The IMF has rediscovered some spine. It had seemed ready to give way on its usual condition of not advancing money unless next year funding is in place. Now it is again insisting that the Euro-zone must first agree how to fund Greece next year if more IMF credit is to be extended. It is to be hoped that reassertion of IMF orthodoxy lasts. However, it is not just the self-interested Euro-zone that would prefer easier terms, but the Obama administration which remains hooked on debt and too inclined to see bail-outs as a solution. At least the UK Treasury is highlighting opposition in Parliament to increasing our IMF subscription if the debtors take over the Fund.
3. The Eurozone took a little-noticed but potentially extraordinarily important decision on 20th June. It decided that Euro-zone loans under the European Financial Stability Facility (the EFSF – and not to be confused with the EU-wide EFSM) would not after all rank above private sector loans for repayment. This means that when debt restructuring takes place the new loans made by Euro-zone taxpayers will not be repaid in full and will be written down in the same way as private sector loans. Whether German taxpayers will accept this I do not know, and for now their government is throwing chaff by telling them that private lenders are going to help Greece ‘voluntarily’.
Soon though, I imagine that they will wake up to reality, and the position has changed. Six weeks ago the Germans were getting the British taxpayer to pay heavily for bail-outs. Now we are telling them ‘the Euro is your currency, not our’s, and if you want to keep it together, you will have to pay for it’.