If South Korea can do it, why can’t we?

THE PRESS OFFICE OF                                                           

The Lord Stoddart of Swindon (Independent Labour)  

News Release

3rd November 2015

Peer hammers Government for pro-EU bias and stay-in campaigners for belittling our country’s ability to stand on its own

During a debate on the European Union Referendum Bill in the House of Lords (02.11.15), the independent Labour Peer, Lord Stoddart of Swindon has pointed out the bias being exhibited by the Government in the debate about Britain’s future in the EU and strongly criticised fellow peers who regularly talk down Britain’s ability to cope as an independent sovereign nation.

Lord Stoddart said that it is impossible to obtain unbiased information from “…the Government because they are in fact biased. I say that because the Prime Minister has just been to Iceland where he made his position perfectly clear, which is that he wishes to remain in the EU. He believes that it is the best thing for Britain to do, so he has made his position absolutely clear. How can the Government be unbiased?

In a hard hitting speech, Lord Stoddart bluntly stated that “the British national interest cannot be served in the European Union. That is because the European Union is exactly what it says it is and what it wants to become. It has been made perfectly clear by unelected officials and indeed by elected people that they want further integration. However the Prime Minister tries, he will never be able to join a full Union unless he is prepared to agree to more integration.”

Lord Stoddart also expressed serious concerns about the habit those who support staying in the EU have of belittling our country and its ability to thrive as an independent nation. “The other thing that has worried me about this debate is the lack of confidence that so many people have in this country’s ability to negotiate with other countries and to stand on its own and build up its own businesses and exports. Why is it that other countries in the world can do it? Why can South Korea do it with a population of 25 million? Why cannot Britain, with a population of 65 million, negotiate successfully with other countries when smaller countries including Saudi Arabia and Iceland can? The Prime Minister of Iceland made it perfectly clear that it was doing very well outside the EU with a population of 350,000 and did not want to go into the EU any longer. Why have we lost confidence in ourselves?”

The full text of some of Lord Stoddart’s remarks during the debate are as follows. Click on this link for the full debate.

Referendum Bill – second reading

House of Lords – 2nd November 2015

Lord Stoddart of Swindon (Ind Lab): My Lords, I have been listening to this debate all afternoon and I find it very interesting indeed. I also realise that all the amendments are well meant, but I think that the noble Baroness, Lady Royall, has hit the nail on the head. What she wants is unbiased information, and she believes that you cannot get it from the Government because they are in fact biased. I say that because the Prime Minister has just been to Iceland where he made his position perfectly clear, which is that he wishes to remain in the EU. He believes that it is the best thing for Britain to do, so he has made his position absolutely clear. How can the Government be unbiased? The noble Baroness said that we have civil servants and they will be unbiased. Civil servants are never unbiased; they take their lead from the boss, as in fact they should. Knowing that the Prime Minister has gone abroad and said that he believes that the United Kingdom should remain in the EU come what may will condition whatever is put into these reports. We should make no mistake about that.

2 Nov 2015 : Column 1450

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: Would the noble Lord allow for the possibility that the Prime Minister might have reached the position he now holds because of his concept of the British national interest and his position as Prime Minister in trying to define that national interest?

Lord Stoddart of Swindon: Yes, I believe that the Prime Minister believes that, but the British national interest cannot be served in the European Union. That is because the European Union is exactly what it says it is and what it wants to become. It has been made perfectly clear by unelected officials and indeed by elected people that they want further integration. However the Prime Minister tries, he will never be able to join a full Union unless he is prepared to agree to more integration, and that of course will also mean joining the euro. Further integration must include the euro and anyone who wishes to be part of further integration will have to join it or else leave or become some sort of associate member. Those are the facts and we should not try to deny them.

6 pm

The other thing that has worried me about this debate is the lack of confidence that so many people have in this country’s ability to negotiate with other countries and to stand on its own and build up its own businesses and exports. Why is it that other countries in the world can do it? Why can South Korea do it with a population of 25 million? Why cannot Britain, with a population of 65 million, negotiate successfully with other countries when smaller countries including Saudi Arabia and Iceland can? The Prime Minister of Iceland made it perfectly clear that it was doing very well outside the EU with a population of 350,000 and did not want to go into the EU any longer. Why have we lost confidence in ourselves? Why is it that so many people say we have to be members of this great organisation to succeed?

Mr Cameron, let Parliament see your negotiation proposals

THE PRESS OFFICE OF                                                           

The Lord Stoddart of Swindon (Independent Labour)  

News Release

20th October 2015

Peer calls on PM to consult Parliament on the EU re-negotiation before going ‘cap in hand’ to Brussels

The independent Labour Peer, Lord Stoddart of Swindon has called on David Cameron to put his proposed EU re-negotiation stance to Parliament for debate before taking it to the European Council.

Lord Stoddart said:   “At the moment, Westminster seems to be playing second fiddle to the European Council.  I understand that Mr Cameron is going to write to the President of the Council to set out his proposed negotiations before bringing them to Parliament.  I call upon the Prime Minister to lay his proposals before Parliament in the right and proper manner and to do so before he presents them to the Council.

“I would remind Mr Cameron that he is the Prime Minister of a Government and sovereign Parliament at Westminster and he is subject to the traditional obligation of any Prime Minister, namely to consult Parliament first about this or, for that matter, any other major Governmental policy decision.

“Therefore, I have submitted a written question in the House of Lords, asking if the Prime Minister is going to consult Parliament, before going cap in hand to Brussels.”

State aid – Redcar illustrates how the EU constrains us

THE PRESS OFFICE OF                                                           

The Lord Stoddart of Swindon (Independent Labour)  

News Release

1st October 2015

Redcar steelworks closure emphasises impotence of the Government and strengthens case for leaving the EU

Commenting on the closure of the Redcar Steelworks, the independent Labour Peer, Lord Stoddart of Swindon has highlighted the impotence of the Government in the face of strict EU rules on state aid and that being unable to help the steelworkers, who face losing their jobs, strengthens the case for leaving the EU.

Lord Stoddart said:  “The Government openly admits that EU rules on state aid for industry constrains their ability to provide financial support for the Redcar steel plant, to prevent its closure.  This is yet another example of EU membership leading to loss of jobs for British workers and further loss of manufacturing industry.  This must, surely, bolster support for leaving the EU, even among those in the Labour Party and some trade unions, who believe that the United Kingdom should remain in the EU, come what may.

“Sadly, it is a long established principle that our democratically elected Government must wade through a sea of EU red tape and go cap in hand to Brussels to beg for permission to help our own industries, from unelected bureaucrats at the European Commission.  Once again, it is quite clear who really governs Britain.”

 

rn the UK alone.

Declare your interest!

THE PRESS OFFICE OF                                                           

The Lord Stoddart of Swindon (Independent Labour)  

News Release

25th  August 2015

Peer challenges unions and think tanks receiving EU funding to ‘come clean and declare an interest’

Following recent revelations that the European Commission is secretly funding trades unions and think-tanks to promote pro-EU messages on both sides of the Atlantic, in the run up to the referendum on EU membership, the independent Labour Peer, Lord Stoddart of Swindon has called on all such organisations to make it clear that they are being funded by the EU.

Lord Stoddart said:  “We are in the disgraceful situation where taxpayers’ money is being given by the EU to organisations openly campaigning for the UK to stay in the EU.  What they are not so open about is the fact that they are being under-written by the EU itself.  They should make that clear in all their pronouncements on this topic.

“I do not absolve individuals from declaring an interest either, most notably  politicians who are in receipt of pensions from the EU, which are conditional upon not being critical of Brussels. In the interests of a fair referendum, it is time for these organisations and individuals to come clean and declare an interest.”

The European Commission has a £500 million per annum promotional budget and spends at least £200,000 a year funding think tanks and unions in the UK alone.

 

Peer calls on Government to honour commitment to keep President Obama out of EU debate

THE PRESS OFFICE OF                                                           

The Lord Stoddart of Swindon (Independent Labour)  

News Release

24th July 2015

Peer calls on Government to honour its commitment to keep President Obama and other foreign leaders out of EU debate

Lord Stoddart of Swindon, the independent Labour Peer, has called on the Government to honour a commitment made by Baroness Anelay of St Johns, the Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, in a reply (17th June) to a written question from him, in which he was promised that efforts would be made to keep foreign leaders out of the debate about Britain’s future in the EU, ahead of the referendum.

The Baroness said that ‘the decision in the referendum will be one for British voters to make’ and that ’The Government will make this clear as necessary in its discussions with foreign leaders and EU officials.’

Lord Stoddart has written to Baroness Anelay to remind her of the commitment she made, in light of the latest statement from President Obama in which he has blatantly involved himself in the debate about the EU, ahead of the referendum.  He has urged her to ensure that the Government makes representations to the President on the matter.

The full text of Lord Stoddart’s message of 24th July, to the Baroness is as follows:

FAO: The Rt Hon. the Baroness Anelay of St Johns DBE

Dear Joyce

Further to your written reply of 17th June 2015 (see web link below) and the Prime Minister’s article in the Daily Mail of today’s date, may I assume that the Government will be making representations to President Obama in relation to yet another statement from him, reported this morning, urging the UK to stay in the European Union.  His interventions are improper and are a gross interference in British politics that is widely resented.  They also do nothing to dispel the impression that the UK is the USA’s poodle in the EU.

Government ‘tamely surrenders’ power to decide level of protection for bank depositors

THE PRESS OFFICE OF                                                           

The Lord Stoddart of Swindon (Independent Labour)  

News Release

23rd July 2015

The Government has “tamely given away the right to decide the level of protection for UK depositors” against bank failures says independent Labour Peer

The independent Labour Peer, Lord Stoddart of Swindon, has exposed yet another serious surrender of governmental powers to the European Union, through a written question (20.07.15) which asked why the Government had accepted an EU directive that has tied the United Kingdom’s bank deposit protection scheme to the euro-sterling value, resulting in a £10,000 reduction in the level of protection for United Kingdom depositors from next year.

Lord O’Neill of Gatley, for the Government said:  ‘Deposit Guarantee Scheme Directive (DGSD) updates existing EU legislation designed to harmonise the level of deposit protection provided across the European Economic Area (EEA).

‘This is necessary to ensure that depositors are entitled to the same level of protection wherever they deposit their money, and that UK firms are not competitively disadvantaged in relation to firms in other EEA jurisdictions.’

Commenting on the response from the Government, Lord Stoddart said:  “Lord O’Neill can witter on about EU harmonisation as much as he likes but the harsh reality is that UK depositors, who have previously been protected up to £85,000 will see this protection reduced to £75,000, from 2016, thanks to interference from the EU.  Even more significant is the fact that the Government has tamely given away the right to decide the level of protection UK depositors should receive.

“This new arrangement means that in order for depositors to get more protection, our economy needs to stumble and the value of the pound to shrink.  The same situation applies to our contributions to the EU, which go up when our GDP rises.  In other words, the more successful we are the more the EU punishes us!

“Sadly, the Government has adopted a similarly mad arrangement for the payment of Overseas Aid, by anchoring it to a percentage of GDP.  This means that every time our GDP increases, we have to send more of our hard earned money overseas.”

“The politicians whom we elect to govern us are supposed to obtain the best deal for Britain, not trap us in a self-defeating system that can only bring us down.”

The full text of Lord Stoddart’s written question and the Government’s response is below:

Written question – Hansard 20th July 2015

Lord O’Neill of Gatley, HM Treasury, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL1108):

Question:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will explain why they agreed to a European directive tying the United Kingdom’s bank deposit protection scheme to the euro-sterling value which has resulted in a £10,000 reduction in the level of protection for United Kingdom depositors from next year; and what action they intend to take to address this anomaly. (HL1108)

Tabled on: 06 July 2015

Answer:
Lord O’Neill of Gatley:

The Deposit Guarantee Scheme Directive (DGSD) updates existing EU legislation designed to harmonise the level of deposit protection provided across the European Economic Area (EEA).

This is necessary to ensure that depositors are entitled to the same level of protection wherever they deposit their money, and that UK firms are not competitively disadvantaged in relation to firms in other EEA jurisdictions.

As a result of the current strength of the pound in relation to the euro, it has been necessary for the Prudential Regulation Authority to review the sterling coverage limit. However, the Government has taken action to ensure that UK depositors are not exposed to a sudden reduction in the level of protection they receive.

HM Treasury has laid a statutory instrument to ensure that depositors who are currently entitled to £85,000 of protection from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme will continue to be until 31 December 2015.

This will ensure that there is sufficient time available for depositors to be made aware of the changes, and to take such steps as they feel necessary to manage their financial affairs appropriately in light of this change.

Date and time of answer: 20 Jul 2015 at 17:37.