PARLIAMENTARY SOVEREIGNTY AND EU RENEGOTIATIONS – 4 February 2016

[Mr John Baron: ... Let us be clear about the so-called “red card”. We appear to have a system that has more holes in it than a Swiss cheese – so much so that it is more like a lottery ticket that has been through the wash. The question is: is it valid? The idea is that we club together and form a majority with other national Parliaments to stop unwanted EU taxes and laws, but that would not enable our Parliament, by itself, to reject anything that it did not want. This would be an extension of the ineffectual “yellow card'” system currently in operation, but with an even higher threshold. ... The “lottery ticket” system will not work. It would be like a football referee getting out his fraction of a red card, only then to consult with 14 other officials before deciding what to do, by which time the game is over. If we are serious about regaining control of our borders and fisheries, and about having the ability to set our own trade deals and the power to set our own business regulation, sovereignty must be restored to Parliament. It is quite simple. Everything else is a cop-out, a sell-out, a lottery ticket fraud. Let us be honest about the washed-out lottery ticket.]

Dr Julian Lewis: I am glad that I did not interrupt my hon. Friend in the midst of that wonderful metaphor. One of the real problems with the mentality of those who subscribe to the EU project is that instead of being honest enough to say “no” to those of us who want our sovereignty back, they put forward devious and deceptive and pretences to say yes, when in reality they know it means no.

[Mr Baron: I can only agree with my right hon. Friend. Having said that, the Minister for Europe (David Lidington) is nothing but a courteous and able Minister, and I am delighted that he is in his place. I would not want him to be under the illusion that we are suggesting that of him, but there has been a tendency to act out a charade, when actually we have been on the conveyor belt of ever closer union. We need greater honesty in this debate.]

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[Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg: ... The direction of travel is towards more Europe. Even in the context of monetary union, we should bear it in mind that we only have an opt-out from stage 3. We are committed to stages 1 and 2. The European Union has not enforced those in recent years, for obvious reasons, but that will not always be the case. We are committed – article 142 of the treaty on the functioning of the European Union is relevant to this – to our currency being of interest to the European Union.]

Dr Lewis: Does my hon. Friend agree that part of the problem is that there is a huge degree of unification among the elites at the heart of the European Union, but there is no such sense of common identity among the peoples of the countries that make it up?

[Mr Rees-Mogg: My right hon. Friend has hit the nail on the head. He is absolutely right: there is no common people, but there is an elite who have this vision that more Europe is the answer to a maiden’s prayer.]

[For Julian's speech in this debate click here.]