Why Britain must repudiate the European Arrest Warrant

Justice photo

Copyright (c)  Torquil Dick-Erikson 2014

1) The EAW is unjust and oppressive, and tramples on our historic rights and freedoms

Habeas Corpus presupposes that any order to arrest a person must be based on evidence of a prima facie case to answer that has already been collected by the authorities. This requirement is negated by the EAW, which forbids UK courts from asking to see evidence collected by the requesting state. The reality is that under the Napoleonic-inquisitorial systems of criminal justice used on the continent, suspects are arrested on the basis of mere clues, and most of the investigation to seek evidence is conducted with the suspects under lock and key. This can last many months, and there is no right to any public hearing during this time. This cannot happen under British procedures, where Habeas Corpus ensures that within hours of arrest, a suspect must be brought into an open court hearing and there charged, with evidence already available to be shewn.


2) It is based on a false conception – that the European Convention on Human Rights gives equivalent protection to our rights in all EU countries.

Neither the governmentt nor even the legal profession has conducted any systematic research into continental criminal law systems. They all rely (lazily) on the fact that all EU states are signed up to the ECHR, and this is supposed to guarantee the fairness of their systems and their worthiness of recognition by our own. It is (presumably) supposed that the matter of evidence need not be examined by a British court, because the foreign court can be relied on to deal with it adequately and fairly.

The trouble with this is that the ECHR is vague and woolly in its wording, and totally inadequate when compared to the safeguards provided by our own Common Law system. For example, article 6 says a prisoner has a “right to a public hearing before an impartial tribunal in a reasonable time”. But it doesn’t say what is “reasonable”. This can be as long as a piece of string. For us it is hours after arrest. In Italy, for example, and in the EU’s Corpus Juris proposal for a single criminal code for all Europe, it can be up to six months, extensible. During this time there is no right to a public hearing. The time is used by the investigators to interrogate the suspect in prison, and to try to build a case against him. 


3) It will give the EU the key power of statehood – arbitrary physical coercion over our bodies

 Only a State has the right to arrest someone and put them in prison, depriving them of their liberty. If anybody else does it, it is a kidnap, and kidnappers are common criminals. By giving the EU this power – which is henceforth to be submitted to the jurisdiction of the ECJ and the enforcement powers of the Commission, so placed quite beyond the reach of our Parliament – we will effectively be granting it Statehood.

By granting the EU the power to have people arrested in Britain on no evidence, we grant them the power to exercise physical coercion over us quite arbitrarily. The real reasons for arresting a person may be quite different from the ones ostensibly stated – ie the charges can be trumped up. Their purpose could be political.


4) The European Public Prosecutor will be able to use it against us (despite our opt-out)

The idea of “mutual recognition” by EU states of one another’s legal systems was originally put forward at Tampere in 1999 by Jack Straw as an alternative to the Corpus Juris proposal for a single system of criminal justice imposed on all (which he realised would be immediately unacceptable to the British people). The EAW is the first fruit of this idea. However the very first mention of a “European Warrant for Arrest” is actually in Corpus Juris itself (see below).

What seems to have escaped notice in Britain is that the EAW is not a permanent alternative to Corpus Juris, it is a stepping stone towards it. The centrepiece of Corpus Juris is the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor (EPP). Corpus Juris is the rule-book that defines his tasks and his powers. At least nine EU states are going ahead anyway with the EPP, under enhanced cooperation, though the UK has opted out.

However, our opt-out can be, and doubtless will be, sidestepped as have some other opt-outs in the past. Article 24.1.b of Corpus Juris (original edition, 1997) provides that “a European Warrant for Arrest, issued on the instructions of the EPP by a national judge… is valid across the whole territory…”. Obviously, since Britain has opted out of the EPP proposal, the EPP will not be able to instruct a British judge to issue an EAW. But he can order, say, a Belgian judge to issue one against a person in the UK. Unless we repudiate the EAW now, the British police will receive the EAW from Belgium, and will simply have to execute it, with no questions asked. The person will be trussed up and shipped over to Belgium, where he will await the pleasure of the Belgian judge, who will doubtless hand him over to the EPP, and there he will languish, under lock and key for up to six months, extensible by three months at a time (Corpus Juris, art. 20.3.g), and with no right to any public hearing during all this time.

Our own lawyers may well opine that “this would be an illegitimate use of the EAW”, but unless we repudiate the EAW now, the entire matter will be subject to the jurisdiction of the ECJ, so out of our hands. And as we know, the ECJ’s mission statement says its decisions must always further the aim of “ever-closer union”…            

It is not yet known who will have power to appoint the EPP, but it is highly likely that the unelected Commission, which holds the monopoly of legislative proposals in the EU, will have a say. Doubtless there will be some statement in the legislation to say that the EPP “must be impartial and independent” but he will surely feel beholden to whoever it was who selected him, and who will doubtless have a say in his re-selection when his term comes to an end.


5)  Its supposed advantages are non-existent for Britain

It is said by its apologists that the EAW is good for Britain because it enables us to obtain the speedy extradition of our own criminals who have taken refuge in other EU countries (and by the way, if we controlled our own borders this would not be so easy for them). Now our own police and crown prosecution service will never request the arrest of someone (whether inside or outside Britain) unless they have already collected enough prima facie evidence against him. They do this anyway, and they did it before the EAW – they would send an extradition request with an indication of the evidence against the suspect. They would continue to do it after the EAW was repudiated and we reverted to the previous arrangements. Our own procedures would not change. The difference would be that the foreign prosecutors requesting us to extradite someone would also have to provide evidence against the wanted person. At present they can have people extradited on a mere whim, or a hunch, or a “feeling” that the person in question is guilty, they do not need to shew any hard evidence.

The subtext of what the apologists for the EAW are saying is actually that, unless we continue to allow the foreign authorities to haul over anybody they fancy, providing no evidence, then they will retaliate, and put up all sorts of difficulties when we request an extradition from them. Even though our extradition requests are furnished with serious evidence. If this is really how they would behave, then they would be behaving in a petty and spiteful manner, and their behaviour would amount to blackmail. The British response to any type of blackmail should surely be robust. 


6) It will have good political traction with the public

It is said that arrests and extraditions only affect a tiny minority of the public, so people are not too concerned about it. It would thereby not be worth investing political capital in this matter. As long as we have confidence in the justice system under which we live, so that only real criminals are badly affected, this consideration may well be true.

However, one of the reasons to be proud to be British, is that British people actually do care when they see an innocent person wrongfully locked up. We do not just shrug and say “Well, that’s tough, but that is how the cookie crumbles”. On the whole we tend to get indignant, and we say “That is not how the cookie should crumble, and if it does, we damn well need to change it.” Hundreds of years ago, the English poet William Blake summed up the national feeling when he wrote, “A robin redbreast in a cage, Puts all heaven in a rage”. British people know, in their bones, that freedom from arbitrary arrest and wrongful imprisonment is important. Indeed it is important enough for past generations to have fought wars and laid down their lives to prevent it happening to us in our own country. Freedom and fairness are the values inscribed on our banner, in our laws, and in our hearts. We may be a “nation of shopkeepers” and we do realise the importance of economics, but we also cherish higher values than money (and indeed without freedom economics languishes).

At present people in Britain are accustomed to enjoying personal freedom and the safeguards of British law such as Habeas Corpus and Trial by Jury, as much as they are accustomed to breathing air without having to pay for it. Some are perturbed at some of the cases thrown up by the EAW, but overall they have accepted – so far – the bland reassurances by the politicos regarding the ECHR (“you know the Convention was drawn up largely by British lawyers…”), and by the unspoken assumption that the other EU countries are politically democratic and so surely must have fair and democratic criminal law systems too, even though not quite as scrupulously applied as our own. So they do not feel immediately threatened. They are like people lying on a beach facing the land and not seeing the tsunami wave rushing in from the ocean to drown them all. We just need to give them the facts, ie tell them to look over their shoulders towards the sea. When they see the tidal wave coming, they will react, just as they did in 1940. 


7) Repudiating it will not require the government to breach the Treaty, so no renegotiation is needed.

It seems to be insufficiently appreciated that this is an open goal. Under Lisbon, our government and Parliament were entirely at liberty to exercise the block opt-out from the 130 Justice and Home Affairs measures listed. They have done that, despite the shrill protests from Commissioner Reding. And now it is entirely up to us to choose freely which measures to opt back into, or not. No negotiation is needed. No permission or agreement from any EU body nor any other EU state is required. Opting back in is an entirely voluntary act. 


8) Not to repudiate it will make a mockery of Cameron’s stated aim to “claw back powers from the EU”

 In view of the above, the government’s stated aim to opt back into 35 of the JHA measures, including the EAW, makes a mockery of Cameron’s other stated aim to “claw back powers from the EU”.

Especially since the EAW is the ace of trumps, it is the key state power trumping all others, it will grant de facto statehood to the EU.


9)  Not to repudiate it will make a mockery of the Magna Carta celebrations currently planned by the government.

800 years ago, England made a major contribution to human civilisation, by beginning a process of limiting the power of the State, putting constraints on the power of the king. There is a general awareness in Britain today, and in the English-speaking world that shares our traditions, that in 1215 we did something good and important, and worth celebrating.

But we must also realise that at the same time, in continental Europe the Pope was setting up the machinery of the Inquisition, which vastly extended the power of the State over the individual. Only England to a fair extent escaped the ravages of the Inquisition during the centuries that followed. The EAW, and then Corpus Juris, by submitting us to the writ of continental prosecutors and judges, and of the EPP himself, will bring us under the sway of a Europe that uses the Napoleonic-inquisitorial method. Thus we shall be terminating 800 years of our own distinctive legal history, where the law has also been a shield for the individual against the otherwise overweening power of the State, instead of merely a weapon for the ruler to impose his will on the people.


Is Praemunire returning through the back door?

For ceunturies, it was illegal to appeal to any foreign court. The three acts of Praemunire, passed in the 14th Century, made it a criminal offence. These acts remained on the statute books until the 1960s, rarely (if ever) used in the last few hundred years, but still symbolising the concept that a self-governing nation should have its own legal system. The Praemunire acts were repealed with little fanfare in the run-up to the UK’s accession to the EEC. Our courts ceased to be the final authority in 1973.

It must be pointed out from the start that the European Convention of Human Rights, which the Conservative Justice Minister Chris Grayling has talked recently of giving our judges and the power to overrule or ignore, was not created by the EU but by the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe. This organisation, founded in 1950 by a number of European countries including the UK, shares the same flag as the EU – the so-called “ring of death” – and also exists to promote European integration. However, it is a separate organisation which, unlike the EU, cannot pass binding laws and does not require its member states to transfer any sovereignty. The European Convention on Human Rights was drafted as far back as 1960, although it was not incorporated into UK law until 1998, through the Human Rights Act, even though the UK was one of its founding members. One reason for the long delay was the reservations felt particularly by some Conservative MPs that it would result in a replacement of the older common-sense UK concept of human rights with a more politically correct variant. Their reservations have proved well-founded. It has been the ECHR appeals system which delayed the deportation of the extremist Moslem cleric Abu Qatada by 10 years and the ECHR which is insisting that the UK ends its blanket ban on prisoners being allowed to vote.

So talk of pulling out of the ECHR appears at first glance to be a good move towards reasserting the sovereignty of our courts and indeed, of our Parliament. Perhaps Praemunire is sneaking in by the back door. Well, possibly, but there are some serious questions which need to be answered.

Firstly, would the EU allow us to ignore the rulings of the Strasbourg judges? The Open Europe think tank thinks it is a possibility and Grayling has insisted his proposals are consistent with EU membership. However, the outgoing Justice Commissioner Vivianne Reding made it clear that while we are part of the EU, the UK must be a signatory of the ECHR and implement its decisions. In other words, withdrawal from the ECHR would require not just withdrawal from the Council of Europe but withdrawal from the EU. If this sounds confusing, things get even more complicated. The Lisbon Treaty gives the EU the legal basis to acceded to the Convention in its own right. This could see the European Court of Human Rights court ruling on EU laws which apply in Britain and greater use of the convention by the EU Court of Justice. The new European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has said he would like to see the EU accede to the convention under his term. Would the UK seek to veto such a proposal as part of its plans to shake off the yoke of the ECHR?

Secondly, if the desire of Chris Grayling and other senior Tories is to return power back to the UK judiciary and Parliament, they will need to tackle the European Court of Justice and repeal the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU. This is as equally stuffed with political correctness as the ECHR. It was an ECJ ruling which, for instance, banned insurance companies from using gender as a factor when setting motor insurance premiums. It also fined the National Museum of Labour History in Manchester £7,223 for failing to display a representation of the EU flag on a billboard. If the Tories are serious about cracking down of foreign interference in our nation’s legal system, they cannot ignore the ECJ. So far, there has been no mention of standing up to this EU institution. Is it possible that the Tories are just engaging in window-dressing to attract back disillusioned voters? After all, many ordinary people are unaware that the ECHR is not an EU institution. Is this a ploy to confuse people into thinking that power is being reclaimed frim the EU when it is nothing of the sort? Given the enthusiasm of Theresa May, the Home Secretary, to opt back into 35 Justice and Home Affairs measures contained in the Lisbon Treaty which were among the 135 which the UK initially opted out of, some degree of scepticism is justified.

Finally, there is a plan to replace the ECHR, which was incorporated into UK law in 1998 through the Human Rights Act, with a specifically UK Bill of Rights. This would be fine if it is based on, for example, the 1689 Bill of Rights and rooted in our historic Common Law. If so, it would give the lie to the critics who claim that withdrawing from the ECHR would put us on a par with dictatorships like Belarus, Common Law has historically given us far greater freedoms than anything available on the Continent, be it a dictatorship or even a democracy like France or Germany. However, concerns have been expressed that this new bill of rights, supposedly based on “British Values” will turn out to be a medium for enforcing political correctness. Andrea Williams of Christian Concern has pointed out that on some occasions the Strasbourg Court has overturned some pretty daft decisions by the UK courts. She therefore has reservations about Grayling’s proposals. “This is a very worrying development,” she wrote recently. “Our national courts have seriously let down the Christian community and do not have a track record of recognising and respecting Christian faith. The European Court of Human Rights has shown a better understanding of Christian belief and a greater commitment to protecting Christian freedoms than we have seen in the UK courts in recent years.”

So while the restoration of national sovereignty is to be welcomed, if the Tories are serious, they must combine it with a root and branch clear-out of political correctness and a restoration of true “British values” that do not penalise people for holding positions which were mainstream in our country for hundreds of years.

Get Carta

‘Torquil Dick-Erikson, the journalist who first alerted us to the iniquitous Corpus Juris criminal code has had a letter printed in the Daily Telegraph. We reproduce it below:



Magna Carta is to be celebrated by David Cameron’s administration, even if Allan Massie (Comment, June 16) says that it was not a “revolutionary” step in its time. 

Yet it was the first, successful attempt to limit the state’s power. Clause 29, to this day, deprives the state of power to order punishment of a citizen, which can be decided only by a jury of the defendant’s peers. It inspired the American revolution. Nobody has mentioned that Magna Carta never crossed into continental Europe. 

Continental criminal procedures are little known in Britain, even by the Government.

In 1215, Pope Innocent 111 was setting up the Inquisition, which, far from limiting the authorities’ power over the individual, made it absolute. When he heard of Magna Carta, he wrote to the English clergy saying they had done something “abominable and illicit“.  In Europe, only England escaped the Inquisition. Centuries later, Napoleon’s new laws adopted and adapted an inquisitorial method, redirecting it to the service of the state. Napoleon’s codes underpin most continental legal systems today. Brussels aims to create a unified European criminal code. The embryo “Corpus Juris” proposal was unveiled in 1997, and was denounced in “THE DAILY TELEGRAPH”  It would abolish trial by jury, HABEAS CORPUS, and other safeguards considered normal by the British, yet ignored by the European Convention.

The European arrest warrant is a stepping stone towards Corpus Juris: a European prosecutor will issue European warrants. Yet Mr Cameron intends to reconfirm the European Arrest Warrant.  This will trash the foundation stone of our freedoms in Magna Carta.

So just what is Mr. Cameron meaning to celebrate?


How EU law is made

Originally published August 28th, 2010 by Ian Parker-Joseph

When politicians explain that laws are made in Westminster they are only giving you a half truth, so please ask them to explain what I am about to show you below, and then ask them whether they understand the UK relationship with the EU, and how the UK is governed.

Following the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, the first pillar of EU law has been satisfied, subsumed into the Treaty on the EU (TEU) and into the renamed Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU). Such treaties provide primary law within all 27 member states.

As the Lisbon Treaty as subsumed allows for self amendment, there will be no more treaties of this kind, only International Agreements that will now be negotiated and sealed by the EU, and former National treaties that will be adopted and form part of the TEU and TFEU, an example of which can be found here.

All other law, in the parlance of the EU, is called Secondary Legislation, and it is derived in the following ways, and I outline the three most important elements of secondary legislation, Regulations, Directives and Decisions. (and I take this from the EUR-LEX database direct).

1.3.1. Introduction
The ‘secondary legislation’ is the third major source of Community law after the treaties (primary legislation) and international agreements. It can be defined as the totality of the legislative instruments adopted by the European institutions pursuant to the provisions of the treaties. Secondary legislation comprises the binding legal instruments (regulations, directives and decisions) and non-binding instruments (resolutions, opinions) provided for in the EC Treaty, together with a whole series of other instruments such as the institutions’ internal regulations and Community action programmes.
1.3.2. Regulation
Adopted by the Council in conjunction with the European Parliament or by the Commission alone, a regulation is a general measure that is binding in all its parts. Unlike directives, which are addressed to the Member States, and decisions, which are for specified recipients, regulations are addressed to everyone.
A regulation is directly applicable, which means that it creates law which takes immediate effect in all the Member States in the same way as a national instrument, without any further action on the part of the national authorities.
1.3.3. Directive
Adopted by the Council in conjunction with the European Parliament or by the Commission alone, a directive is addressed to the Member States. Its main purpose is to align national legislation.
A directive is binding on the Member States as to the result to be achieved but leaves them the choice of the form and method they adopt to realise the Community objectives within the framework of their internal legal order.
If a directive has not been transposed into national legislation in a Member State, if it has been transposed incompletely or if there is a delay in transposing it, citizens can directly invoke the directive in question before the national courts.
1.3.4. Decision
Adopted either by the Council, by the Council in conjunction with the European Parliament or by the Commission, a decision is the instrument by which the Community institutions give a ruling on a particular matter. By means of a decision, the institutions can require a Member State or a citizen of the Union to take or refrain from taking a particular action, or confer rights or impose obligations on a Member State or a citizen.
A decision is:
– an individual measure, and the persons to whom it is addressed must be specified individually, which distinguishes a decision from a regulation,
– binding in its entirety.
It is important to note that the European Commission, an unelected body, has the power to make law using the methods above without recourse to either the European Parliament or the Council of Ministers. The UK Parliament, our MP’s, now only create on their own initiative something in the region of 15% of the laws that pass through Westminster. All other laws and Statutory Instruments are in furtherance of laws that have been made in Brussels using the 3 methods above.
If you go to the EUR-LEX database directly, you can see the other types of instruments that are used to formulate, or coerse National Governments to introduce legislation ‘voluntarily’ with the veiled threat that a directive will follow unless they do. These areRecommendations, Opinions and Joint Actions.
The Smoking Ban is one such example, where the EU Commission has only ever given an Opinion that National governments were encouraged to follow, with explicit threats of EU legislation if they did not.

Historical laws and regulations are all on the various EU databases. All you have to do is find them, trouble is they keep moving them.

You don’t think they are trying to hide anything! Do you?

Civitas calls for the return of supremacy to the Supreme Court

Civitas, which is leading think tank supported by The Campaign for an Independent Britain has released a report which says that Britain has a “moral duty” to give the Supreme Court power over the European Court of Justice.

Dr David Green, the head of the Civitas said in a report released today that “The Government must unpick unwanted EU laws one by one and challenge Brussels to “do its worst”. To do this the Government will have to amend the 1972 European Communities Act to give Supreme Court superiority over the EU Court of Justice. A move which would amount to a “unilateral declaration of independence” without tearing up all EU laws and regulations in one go, Mr Green said.

The Civitas report examined the damage the EU has “wreaked upon Britain’s traditions of liberty and democracy since we joined the common market in 1973“. “There is a moral imperative for the UK to reclaim its independence irrespective of whether the EU is economically beneficial or not, Dr Green said.”

“It is tragic to watch the free people of Britain, who historically led the way in establishing modern freedom and democracy, absent-mindedly give up their powers of self-government. What’s at stake is far more than our future prosperity. It’s our ability to uphold our distinctive contribution to Western civilisation. The huge cost of the EU is undoubtedly a very important question, but even if the cost were zero – for that matter, even if we made a profit – the case for upholding our independence would stand.”

Last year Mr Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary said: “We have to make our Supreme Court supreme, I do not believe decisions about the way this country is governed – we are a democracy after all – should be taken elsewhere.” He is likely to welcome the report as renewed support for his ongoing battles with the European court over prisoner voting and whole-life tariffs.

Britain’s leading judges have also lent their support for the campaign for protecting the sovereignty of the Supreme Court in recent months. Lord Sumption, who is a UK Supreme Court justice, has accused the court of exceeding its legitimate powers, usurping the role of politicians and “undermining the democratic process“.

This is a welcome development now that Britain’s membership of the undemocratic economically moribund EU is being openly discussed but doesn’t go as far as we in CIB want which is the complete repeal of the 1972 European Communities Act.

The Debates in British Parliament

Most politicians, if not all, know exactly what the European Union is to turn into, for it is written clearly enough in Hansard. It is only the ordinary people of the Country that these politicians of yesterday and today didn’t see fit to enlighten. Yet these ordinary people trusted them, they voted for them to look after them and this their Country.

As I take words from Hansard, and to mean anything at all, they have to be the words taken from before we actually joined the European Community or Common Market as we were told. My one difficulty is, there are so many words to choose from on this subject it is difficult to choose which ones to set down for you to read. I have put the dates and column numbers for your own confirmation.

Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, 31st July 1961 (column 928)

This is political as well as an economic issue. Although the Treaty of Rome is concerned with economic matters it has an important political objective, namely to promote unity and stability in Europe which is so essential a factor in the struggle for freedom and progress throughout the world.”

Mr Fell, same day (Column 935)

Is the Prime Minister aware that this decision to gamble with the British sovereignty in Europe, when 650 million people in the British Commonwealth depend upon his faith and his leadership, is the most disastrous thing that any Prime Minister has done for many generations past?”

On 2nd August 1961 (column 1478), a Mr Silverman is restating that on the 28th June he moved a Motion about the European Common Market in the following terms, “That this House, being gravely concerned at the pressure to make this country enter a European Common Market and the consequent threat to subject its independence, its membership of the Commonwealth and its right and power to plan its economy in its own way, to a political union with Germany, France, Italy and Benelux, as well as a threat to the survival of the Commonwealth inherent in

these proposals, urges Her Majesty’s Government not to enter into any negotiations concerning such entry until expressly empowered so to do by a conference of Commonwealth Prime Ministers and by this House.”

Later on that same day (column 1480) at 3.42 pm, the Prime Minister Harold Macmillan:

I beg to move, That this House supports the decision of Her Majesty’s Government to make formal application under Article 237 of the Treaty of Rome in order to initiate negotiations to see if satisfactory arrangements can be made to meet the special interests of the United Kingdom. Etc, etc”

Later on (column1491), he states,

This problem of sovereignty, to which we must, of course, attach the highest importance is, in the end, perhaps a matter of degree.  I fully accept that there are some forces in Europe which would like a genuine federalist system. There are many of my colleagues on both sides of the House who have seen this at Strasbourg and other gatherings. They would like Europe to turn itself into a sort of United States, but I believe this to be a completely false-analogy.”

 Mr Gaitskell then reminds the Prime Minister (column 1498) what Macmillan said in 1956, when Chancellor of the Exchequer, which was,

Finally, we must recognise that the aim of the main proponents of the Community is political integration. We can see that in Article 138 of the Treaty, which looks towards a common assembly, directly elected. The whole idea of the six, the coal and steel community and Euratom is a movement towards political integration. That is a fine assertion, but we must recognise that for us to sign the Treaty of Rome would be to accept as the ultimate goal – to accept as the ultimate goal– political federation in Europe, including ourselves.”

Later on (column1501), Mr Gaitskell says,

“There is the question of a common currency, which is mentioned in various quarters as something to which we must look forward.  In my opinion, it is idle to speak about a common currency until there is a common government, and the idea of not being in control of our own currency, and having it subject to a supranational or international gathering, would be quite wrong, and I hope that, equally, will be made abundantly plain.”

On 3rd August 1961 (column 1735), Mr Shinwell continues his words after having read out a part of the Treaty of Rome, ending with

reinforcement of the European Parliament through direct elections and widening of its powers and, finally, a European Government. That is the intention. That is their object and that is what they are saying on Hon Members can talk until they are black in the face about the Rome Treaty and there being no provision for federation, but there is no doubt that from the declarations made by some of the most influential people – M.Spaak, Professor Hallstein and others who have indicated that there is a definite intention and that once we accept the economic provisions of the Rome Treaty – and it looks as though this government might – they are on their way towards complete political integration.”

I wonder what this place will be like during the course of the next ten years? There will not be 630 Hon Members. There will be no need for more than 150 or so. It will be like—“

Mr A. C. Manuel, A Council.”

Mr Shinwell, “I was about to say a Parish Council, with the authority of some kind delegated to it by the European Parliament and dictated to be a European Government. To that we are being led.”

On 16th November 1966 (Column 446), I quote just a couple of comments from the then Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Mr George Brown, on the subject of joining the EEC,

The issue today is not do we join Europe – (who does he remind you of?) we have always been there. The issue is can we play such a role that from here on the continent shall be unified and we shall be effectively a leader of it?”

And a little later on (Column 488) he says,

We could clearly play a much greater role from within the Community, in influencing these affairs than we can play from outside”.

 I now turn to Sir D.Walker-Smith, snippets from his speech on 16th November 1966 (Column474)

On the constitutional side, the agricultural position shows clearly under the Treaty of Rome we would no longer be masters in our own house and that the powers of decision would pass from Parliament.  For many years this country has practised a system of price support. It may or may not be the best system, but it has operated for 20 years with the assent of both sides of the House, etc, etc.”

But the constitutional question is clear. It would not matter if not one Member wanted to change the system.  That would be irrelevant because, under the Treaty of Rome, if we join the Community the power of decision passes from this House.”

I now turn to the political and constitutional aspects, of which there are two. First, there is the immediate affect of adherence to the Treaty on British sovereignty, and secondly, the future question whether membership of the Community carries any implied or inescapable commitment to political federation in the future?”

On the second of those matters, the position is clear as far as it goes; but our range of vision is necessarily limited. The Treaty, of course, carries no express commitment to future federation.  But the difficulty is that as time goes by, if we join the Community, the decision about federation would not be one of our own choosing so much as the will of others, because our arrangements would be so inextricably involved with those of the Community that it would be difficult to the point of impossibility in practice—though not impossible in theory– to dissociate ourselves from a supranational federation if our partners decide that they want it.” Etc, etc.

I come now to the other question relating to the political and constitutional aspect-the immediate consequences of signing the Treaty of Rome.  Here we can see the position much more clearly.  Two truths are apparent—first, that over a wide range of our national life there would be an immediate abandonment of sovereignty and of our constitutional principle of the sovereignty of Parliament. The second truth is that, so far, the British people have very little idea of what is involved.”

(Column 478),

It is clear that Article (189) in respect of those Regulations this House can be nothing but a conduit pipe.  That will be its role. We cannot reject of even vary any of the regulations which are at present pouring out from Brussels.  The collective law of the Community would bind the individual British citizen, and Parliament and Courts alike would be powerless to intervene.  That would be a heavy price to pay for Membership of the Community.”

The British people may, in the event, pay it.  I do not presume to prophesy about that, but I do know that they should not be asked to pay it in ignorance.  It is a mistake to assume that the British people are interested only in the economic bread and butter aspects of this matter.  It is a mistake to assume that they are not interested in these great political and constitutional matters.  I know, of course, that terms like “sovereignty” are not part of the every day idiom of the British people; but the represent things which are long-established and cherished.  They are like the air we breath – little noticed in its presence but valued beyond price in the event of deprivation.”

 There is therefore, a duty on the Government of explanation and instruction, a duty not to gloss over these political and constitutional consequences.”

Mr Stanley Orme, 16th November 1966 (Column 489),

I want first to consider the European situation. At a private meeting in the House, M. Spaak, who was prominent in the setting up of the Community, explained his concept of what the European Community should be and what it should entail, and his explanation sent shivers down the spine’s of some of my Hon Friends who are very pro-European.  M. Spaak’s political concept is that of many statesmen, particularly among the five, excluding France, (General de Gaulle, who wanted a Europ des Patries) It is the political issue which we must seriously consider.”

M. Spaak is against the entry of any neutrals. He regards the Community purely as an extension of the militarily based N.A.T.O. a further extension of a military alliance.  I do not attribute those views to all of my Hon Friends who favour entry, but I do know that there are many Hon Members on both sides of the House who are interested in the Community not just as an economic unit but as a political unit too.  They regard it as a supranational authority of which Britain should be a part.”

Page 492, still Mr Orme,

It has been said that the British people do not fully understand what is involved in our entry to the Common Market.  This is true, and I am hoping that the continuing debates on this matter will get the facts across to our people.  It is not just a matter of an increase in food prices, serious as they may be; it is not simply the effect on the economy, the distribution of our industry and our future development, or our social services.  It has also to do with how the Community is operated and controlled.  The Community is undemocratic.”

Mr Jennings, 16th November 1966 (Column 495),

I cannot bring myself to assume that there will be no political and constitutional connotations if we sign the Treaty of Rome.  It is historically illogical that this should happen, that one step will follow another, and that from economic union there will follow political union.  I have no objection to economic arrangements, even a negotiated economic union, provided we get certain safeguards.  But I am horrified when I am told that I am as British as ever because I do not want to be a European first.  I want to be British first and European after.  Is there any shame of disgrace in wanting to be British first?  It is therefore the implications and consequences of economic union of which I am frightened.”

We know quite well that five or six years ago, when we debated the question in this House, the sentiment in most of those who supported going into the Market was eventually for a political alignment and a politically united Europe. They do not deny it. They are quite honest.  Even Members who are here tonight are nodding their heads on agreement.  They know that this is what they want.  That is what frightens me.”

The question of sovereignty or loss of sovereignty and political union in a political union in a federal United States of Europe has been swept nicely, beautifully and quietly under the carpet.”

It is almost a sin to talk about it.  Apparently we have got to get into the Community, because of the mess we are in, in order to live as a nation. ‘Oh thou of little faith’,. Have we lost faith in our own selves?  Have we lost pride in our own ability even to stand alone?”

Page 497,

“My Rt. Hon and leaned friend the Member for Hertfordshire (Sir D. Walker-Smith who five years ago most expertly, throughout the country and in this House, exposed what the loss of sovereignty would be, has touched upon it and given us the gist of it this afternoon. But the ordinary man in the street has no conception of what he will lose in rights and privileges that he now enjoys, even in a denigrated Britain, which is the attitude that many people tend to adopt.  I mean questions of social services, benefits, rates of contributions, the position of the trade unions and all that sort of thing. How much loss of sovereignty of this House will there be?”

It is easy to talk glibly about going into Europe. That is the way that it is put over to the electorate.  “Let us go into Europe”. Is the theme.  We never attempt to say what we mean by going into Europe, but just what do we mean?  Do we mean trade?  Is that all?  Do we leave the other sort of things, the unmentionables? Under the carpet or push them under the bed, or where?  By going into Europe, do we mean in addition to the trade negotiations a form of federalism in which Britain would become a State in a United States of Europe, or part of Europe—what I have described as the rump of Europe?”

I am not in favour of a federal United States of Europe or binding ourselves in any direction like that.  I would look more kindly on a confederal system, if we had to have something like this.  The alternative is what is called federalism.”

I am not prepared to sign a blank cheque that would denude this House of its powers; nor can I support a central Parliament to which we would contribute electorally, a central Parliament in Europe. I ask the Rt Hon Gentleman who is to reply to this debate, if this question of sovereignty and all it means does not arise, will he tell us quite clearly, and if he does, will he tonight, or his Rt. Hon Friends tomorrow night, tell us how much loss of sovereignty is involved?”

16th November 1966 (Column 510), Mrs Renee Short,

I must add my view that many of those speaking in favour of going into the Common Market are tending to gloss over the problems and difficulties that would face us as a Nation.  This is not really being fair to the public outside this place whom we represent and who rely on us for leadership in this matter, and in connection with all the other important problems with which we as Members of Parliament have to deal.”

My own view on this issue of entering or not entering the Common Market we have been brainwashed for a long time.  I do not go along with this emotive phrase, Going into Europe”. As my Rt. Hon Friend said, we are in Europe; the question is what sort of Europe are we going into?  Enormous pressure has been exerted, not only by big business, which has obviously vested interests for going into Europe, but by the Press.” Etc, etc.

 Page 518, still Mrs Short.

“It is no use saying that if we go into the Common Market we should accept the Treaty of Rome as if it is written, with all the small print—most of which I find extremely alarming, including many articles which were referred to by the Rt. Hon and learned Member for Hertfordshire (Sir D. Walker-Smith), which refer to the power of the Commission to issue directives to Member States as to what they should do about their economy.  There are many of these articles (Interruption) Oh yes, there are. There are at least a dozen.  The Rt. Hon Gentleman gave some of the numbers.  They lay down clearly that the Commission can issue directives to Member States.  In the event of economic difficulties the Commission can issue directives about taxation, aid to nationalised industries, and many other matters which affect the economies of nations.”

It is no good saying, “It is all right.  We can accept this and when we get inside we shall be able to change the machinery.”  This is barking up the wrong tree.  If we go in we shall have precisely the same voting power–no more and no less, as West Germany, France or Italy, based on population. We shall therefore be faced with the possibility of being out-voted if three or four or five, of the existing Members decide to vote together on any issue.  We shall be able to speak and raise our voice, but our vote will not be decisive.”

 16th November 1966 (Column 530), Mr. A.J.Irvine,

“It will be found that there is strong opposition in this country and, I think, on this side of the House, to federalism, and I share that opposition.  There is certainly strong opposition to an excess of federalism, to any loss of identity of this Parliament, to any loss of sovereignty affecting foreign affairs, defence or certain aspects of our industrial and economic planning.”

The most interesting single feature of the Community at present is that, as I understand it, in our dislike of the federal solution we have a supporter in the President of France, and in the outlook of the French Government.  The President’s objections to federalism, which I share and which are enormously influential inside the Community, might in some respects neutralise his objection to our special relation with the United States.”

16th November 1966, Page 535, Sir Legge-Bourke,

The only respectable basis upon which anybody could be in favour of Britain’s entering the Common Market is by being at the same time entirely confederalist or federalist for Europe as a whole.  A study of the Treaty of Rome shows straight away that inevitable it will involve political changes of a federal kind.  How far and how fast and exactly how federal or confederal will be worked out as the years go by, but it is wrong to suppose that the Community can survive without a customs union being followed by a single currency, and it is wrong to suppose that the countries of the organisation can keep alive the vigour with which they started— and all credit to them— without developing politically with all this.  To make that supposition is to fail to face what is in the Treaty, or is deliberately to deceive the people.”

 I believe that the Treaty was conceived in a spirit of high federalism.  It was soon apparent to Europe that Britain was not overkeen on that idea, but Britain had to be brought in by the architects of the document. And so the whole thing was trimmed and as the negotiations developed, the emphasis was more and more on economics and less and less on the political side.”

I have long believed that the most important economic freedom for nations is the one freedom which was left out of the four Atlantic freedoms—the freedom of choice to do business with whomsoever one will on mutual beneficial terms.  In other words, this is the right to discriminate in trade.  This right was taken from us particularly by the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which was signed by the first Labour Government after the war.  Again, I do not want to hark back over what happened after that.  I deeply regret that when it was returned to power the Conservative Party did not exercise the full rights which it had reserved through the mouth of Oliver Stanley and reassert our rights to alter our preferential tariffs and so on.”

8th May 1967 (Column 1088), The Prime Minister, Mr Harold Wilson,

I should like to deal before I come to the political issue.  One of them, on which certain anxieties have been expressed, is that the constitutional and legal implications for this country if we join the European Community.  Here again, our examination of the Treaties and the other law emanating from the European Institutions, but even more of the way in which member states have been applying Community law, taking full account of realities prevailing in the member states, has greatly reassured us about the possible implications for Britain.”

It is important to realise that Community law is mainly concerned with industrial and commercial activities, with corporate bodies rather than private individuals.  By far the greater part of our domestic law would remain unchanged after entry. Nothing in the Treaty would, for example, materially affect the general principles of the law of contract or tort or its Scottish equivalent, land law, the relations of landlord and tenant, housing, town and country planning, matrimonial law, or the law of inheritance.  The constitutional rights and liberties of the individual such as habeas corpus and the presumption of innocence will, of course not be affected; not in any material sense will our criminal law.  The main affect of Community law on our existing law is in the realms of commerce, Customs, restrictive practices and immigration and the operation of steel, coal and nuclear energy industries.”

8th May 1967 (Column 1109), Mr Turton,

The debate is historic, to follow the remarks of my Rt. Hon Friend, Sir Alec Douglas-Hume) It is historic because, if we join the Common Market, under Article 189 of the Treaty of Rome, NO Hon Member will be able to get up in this House and protest and vote against regulations which affect the economic or social welfare of his constituents.  For many of us that is the main reason why we take the view which we hold on this issue.”

Last November, I and many of my Rt, Hon Friends asked for a White Paper on the constitutional issues. We felt that they were what all the country should know about.  We have never had it.  We have never had a White Paper on the economic issues.  We have only had an article, a very fair and, I thought, damning article in The Times of last Monday.”

 (Column 1114),

I believe that acceptance of the Motion would lead to a betrayal of the Queen in Parliament, would be disloyal to our Commonwealth Members, and would put unendurable burdens on the British people.”

8th May 1967 (Column 1154), Mr Erec S. Heffer,

I also want us to go into the Community because I believe that a United States of Europe is absolutely essential, and I want to see a Socialist United States of Europe. That is the prospect.  I believe that we can get a socialist United States of Europe.”

Finally, I will finish with Mr Peter Shore (as he was then) on 22 February 1972 (column 1164),

When we consider the net effects of what we pay out and receive back, these arrangements are little short of a national disaster.  No Government in their senses could have agreed to terms so clearly against and detrimental to our interests.  It is difficult to imagine a system of taxation, a tax mix, that could impose a heavier and more disproportionate burden upon us than the particular tax mix that has emerged as the permanent tax system of the Community under the “own resources” rule.  I do not say that was the Community’s purpose, but they have been extremely blind in not recognising the grievous effect this is bound to have upon us.  Indeed, I cannot recall another example in history of a free country, without compulsion from outside, entering upon an arrangement so damaging to itself.”

Apart from being disastrous and unfair, these arrangements, as the Financial Secretary has made abundantly clear, constitutes a direct challenge to the most important power of Parliament, our exclusive control over taxation. As the Ways and Means Resolution makes clear, we shall permit the Community to tax the British people. We are acceding not just to the Treaty of Rome but to the Treaty of

Luxembourg of April 1970, which specifically authorised the Community to have its own resources and to receive the yield of the three taxes to which I have referred.”

That agreement was a major development in the Community and I found it extraordinary that, in our debate last week, neither the Solicitor General nor the Prime Minister had anything to say about it.  The Solicitor-General amused himself greatly by quoting from the 1967 White Paper on the legal and constitutional implications of Britain joining the Common Market but, in his efforts to show that the constitutional innovation of the Communities having directly applicable law in the United Kingdom was known in 1967, he totally, and to me surprisingly, omitted to mention the second and even greater constitutional innovation which occurred in 1970: the right of the Communities to tax directly the Member States.”

For the Prime Minister to say, as he did last Thursday, that the constitutional position has not changed in any single respect since the negotiations of 1961, when it was fully discussed in the House time and again, is stretching the truth to the greatest possible extent.”

This is a major development in the Communities, as a consequence of which there is a major intrusion into the sovereignty of Parliament.  The strongest of all our constitutional principles is that Parliament, and in particular the House of Commons which represents the people of this country, alone has the right to levy taxation.  That has been the basic constitutional doctrine.  Because Parliament three centuries ago insisted on this right, we gradually brought the Crown and the Executive under the control of elected representatives.  As we were reminded recently, Parliament made the supply of money to the Government conditional on the remedying of grievances.  That was the way in which control by the House of Commons was brought about.”

There should be no doubt about what is intended here.  It is not proposed that we should make a contribution to the Communities, which we can alter if we think it is too much or too little.  It is not a contribution at all.  The right to levy taxes, which are specified, is to be ceded to non-elected institutions of the Community without the further consent of Parliament of the British people. As the Ways and Means Resolution puts it, we shall be, giving effect to any charge to taxation of those Communities” That is quite unacceptable to us.”

There are more, many, many more pages of these debates; for the debates on our entry into the Community cover a great many number of years. I hope I have proved, without a shadow of doubt, that most, if not all Members of Parliament knew what the Community was eventually, step by step, to become.  Many Members of Parliament wanted to join, many did not. Again without a doubt, the truth of what the Community was to become was kept from the people of this Country. This was a complete betrayal to ALL in this Country.  Today’s politicians can find out the true facts of our history regarding this County’s entry into the European Community in exactly the same way that I have.  It just takes time and patience. It is all recorded, every sordid detail, (Britain’s shame) in Hansard.

No matter how long ago these events took place, the Members of Parliament that are still alive, should and must be made accountable for their actions, in the same way that ‘today’s’ MPs will surely be.