Interruption I must now try to close my remarks The way in which the treaty is

Interruption i must now try to close my remarks the

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[Interruption.] I must now try to close my remarks.
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The way in which the treaty is being rammed through without a referendum is as clear a breach of an election promise to voters as one could get, and the inescapable reality of the whole process is that the Government have no democratic mandate to sign up to the treaty. The plain fact of the matter is that the Government are attempting to make fundamental changes without letting the voters have any say at all, either in a general election or in a referendum. If the Government get their way, and next year the new EU president stands up and claims to speak for all Europe, this country included, voters may well ask, “When did we give permission for this person to speak for us?” and the Government’s honest answer would 11 Mar 2008 : Column 175 have to be, “Never.” As the charter of fundamental rights becomes legally binding, and as the European Court of Justice begins to change EU laws in light of the charter, as it inevitably will in time, people will ask when they agreed that the document should have legal force, and Ministers will have to answer, “We thought you should have no say on the matter.” When Eurojust initiates some investigation, or the European Court of Justice, with its new full jurisdiction over criminal justice agreements, changes some part of our criminal justice system, or when the Government opt into an EU law on criminal proceedings and are then outvoted, people will ask when they were consulted about that. Those Members here who voted against a referendum will have to say, “I voted to stop you having a say when that went through.” If the treaty goes through, the EU will hold powers that the British people never gave it permission to hold. It will work by new methods that the British people never endorsed. If Ministers and Liberal Democrat leaders had as their real intent the undermining of the European Union’s democratic legitimacy in this country, they could have chosen no better way. Despite the EU’s many profound faults and follies, I believe that the EU has benefited Britain and the rest of Europe, and that is yet another powerful reason to oppose the Government’s arrogant determination to ram the treaty through against the British people’s wishes. They will in the long term find that they have been false friends to the European Union. Everything about the ratification of this repackaged constitution has been marked by cynicism and calculation. The voters who put us here already have a low opinion of this place, yet the Government have done everything they can to confirm it by treating people like fools. Why should they believe manifesto promises when those are so shamelessly ignored? How can they believe a Prime Minister who claims to want to listen to the people, when he does everything in his power to stop them having their voice heard? Why should voters trust politicians when politicians will not trust them?
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  • Fall '08
  • Finklerberg

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