18 OCT 2010
By Norman Tebbit | Blogs | Telegraph
I have recently read the text of William Hague’s speech as Foreign Secretary – or, as he reminded the Conservative Conference, Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary. There is a lot of sound common sense in it. However, his remarks about the European Union, which brought great applause, need to be looked at very carefully indeed.
First, he said that “The Coalition is agreed that we will not agree to move more areas of power from Britain to the EU”. Notice the careful choice of words. It is not an undertaking that more powers will not go to the EU, but, that “no new areas of powers” will do so. Indeed, the Coalition opted into a scheme to give foreign police forces wide new powers within the UK , although it had no need to do so and cannot now opt out again. Even worse, those powers can be changed or extended without our consent by majority voting.
Nor will Mr Hague’s words rob the EU of its powers under the Lisbon Treaty to extend its reach and powers over this country. The powers are already there, they are simply not yet being used.
Mr Hague says there will be legislation requiring a referendum before any other Treaty “giving away more areas of power” (and notice that word “areas” has appeared again) could be signed. Of course a future Parliament could repeal that legislation, although that is unlikely, but it can do nothing about the powers already ceded to the EU.
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