As some of the details of David Cameron’s draft agreement with European Council President Donald Tusk have been published today, the final page of our Referendum Review underlines how poor a deal it will be. Of course, it is only a draft agreement. It has to be agreed by the other 27 member states at the forthcoming European Council, something which can by no means be guaranteed. However, even in draft form, Cameron’s proposals are nothing like as substantial as what he initially claimed he would be seeking, nor as ambitious as the Conservatives’ promises in their election manifesto. The Conservative MP Steve Baker said what was on offer was so trivial, he accused ministers of “polishing poo”. He is correct. As the chart in the Referendum Review shows clearly, there is no substantial change in our unhappy relationship with the EU. We would do far better by leaving.
Lord Stoddart said today:-
“It is quite obvious that in his haste for a rapid public relations victory, the Prime Minister has allowed himself to be fobbed off with vacuous promises that amount to little or no substantial change and abandoned most of the key commitments he has previously made.”
Lord Stoddart continued: “So many things are missing from this ‘deal’ that I hardly know where to start. We were promised that we would regain control over social and employment policy, we were promised an opt out of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, we were promised an end to the EU overriding our common law, we were promised an end to the rulings of the European Court of Justice taking precedence over our criminal law, we were promised treaty changes before the referendum, and reform of the CAP and of EU structural funding. None of these things appear in this so-called deal.
“Mr Cameron has not even been able to put an end to child benefit being sent abroad to support children who will never live in this country, something about which he was particularly passionate. The best he has been able to achieve is for the payments to reflect local living standards rather than those prevalent here but the point is that large amounts of money will still be siphoned out of our economy and sent as well as spent abroad.
“It is particularly humiliating to see the Prime Minister begging for our freedom in so many areas and being treated with such contempt by the EU. If he expects the British people to vote to stay in the EU based on this watery brew, then he is taking the electorate for fools. If this deal is a victory for Britain, I would hate to see a defeat.”