Hague say in response to my intervention that we needed a constitutional

Hague say in response to my intervention that we

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Member for Richmond, Yorks (Mr. Hague) say, in response to my intervention, that we needed a constitutional safeguard. I shall not go through all the arguments we made the other day, but it is imperative that we come up with clear, legally watertight wording
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that reflects those decisions, or we shall be unable to renegotiate, although we know we must—for example, on over-regulation. By Commissioner Verheugen’s own admission, over-regulation costs European economies £100 billion a year—many billions to the British economy. We shall have to renegotiate the provisions, so we need a sound constitutional basis in our domestic law to enable us, where negotiations fail or falter, to tell other member states that we have reserved our position. The House should be in a position to tell other member states that we will renegotiate because we have retained the right to do so. Without going through all the arguments again, I say only that the consequence of acceptance of the treaty is that the European Court of Justice and our courts will be determined to apply case law, because that is what declaration 17 says. It may be only a declaration but it will still be used, just like the working time provisions that were meant to be only a declaration. The courts will say, “You have accepted the constitutional assumptions on which the European Court has made its determinations.” Those assumptions include—unequivocally, as is shown in cases such as Costa and Handelgesellschaft—the fact that national Parliaments and national constitutions are subject to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. All the legislating we do in this place will be reduced—pulverised—by the significance of the case law of the ECJ where it chooses to exercise it. Because we have given away so many powers by handing over competences, we are reducing and draining away the powers of the House, but they are not ours to give away. It is not our House. It is not our Parliament. It belongs to the voters. Churchill, speaking on this subject, said that Members’ first duty was to their country, their second was to their constituents, and only in third place was their duty to their party’s policy and programme. We 11 Mar 2008 : Column 200 Conservatives believe in that. I personally would like always to obey the Whip, and I have no problem whatever doing so in relation to the Bill. We have acted together. There have been one or two blips—the other night, for example—but that is not as important as the fact that we work together. Michael Connarty: I will not take us back to Churchill, but the hon. Gentleman will recall that recently the European Court of Justice issued a judgment on a case in which a journalist’s house was ransacked— Mr. Cash: Tillack. Michael Connarty: Tillack is the man, yes. He went to the European Court of Justice looking for justice, saying that his right to privacy had been breached, and he lost his case. He then went to the European Court of Human Rights, which awarded him €30,000 and expenses. The hon. Gentleman says that there is no appeal, but in such
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  • Fall '08
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