By Paul Goodman
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I look into my glass,
And view my wasting skin,
And say, "Would God it came to pass
My heart had shrunk as thin!
The words in a speech that move most deeply, more often than not, aren't actually deployed in it. They are: I was there. Lords Jopling, Wakeham, Fowler, Waddington and Tebbit have spoken in the Lords, as has Lady Williams from the Liberal Democrat benches. My old boss Lord King of Bridgwater is there, and has spoken, too; Lord Howe was present, but has apparently left. Lord Heseltine is absent. But in that other sense, he was there.
"It’s a historic sort-of shift for Britain; it does mean that we can think more freely about where we want to be in the long-term. I think the great majority of British people don’t want to be part of political union. We want free trade and co-operation, but we don’t want to be tied into a straitjacket, and that is something that we need to address in the coming years, and I’ve no doubt David Cameron will understand that and will take that forward. He’s proved, as Prime Minister, that he’s prepared to put Britain first, and that’s what he’s done ... We never had a referendum on the Maastricht Treaty, so there are issues that need to be addressed, but at least we have a Prime Minister that understands what matters to Britain, and is prepared to stand up for our country, put Britain first, and show the bulldog spirit, and that’s what David Cameron did this week."
"I think that the immediate reaction is the Prime Minister secured the objectives, the two objectives that he had. One was to give encouragement to the eurozone members to sort out their problems, because he recognises the immense damage that collapse of the euro could have in this country, and the second, more complicated objective, but very important, is to protect the interests of the City of London, so he wasn’t prepared to give away any sort of negotiating position or any degree of national control in the middle of the night on Thursday."
2pm Mark Reckless MP told Sky News about his expectation of support for the Prime Minister amongst MPs:
"I think when the Prime Minister makes his statement on Monday he is going to be exceptionally well received on the Conservative benches. He kept his word. He said that if we didn't get protection for the City he would veto the treaty. He didn't get that protection so he vetoed the treaty. I think many of my colleagues will see this as an opportunity to develop a new relationship with Europe whereas a country we become independent once again, trading with Europe but governing ourselves and making our own arrangements with Europe - like the Swiss do - while the EU-26 go ahead with fiscal union with the union."
"I am a Conservative, and it is my job to urge the Coalition Government to reflect more fully the very strong Conservative opinion on this issue where I think we are in touch with the mood of the country, where the polls show that about four out of five people agree with us that we want less Europe. They don't agree with the Liberal Democrats. ... The UK isn't afraid of Germany, and we are happy to look Germany in the eye and say we don't agree on this and we want to do something different. A lot of the smaller countries near Germany are scared and they have to go along with a German Europe."
"We are going to see the detail of what [the 17] are proposing, but I don't see this as being necessarily negative. They already have the Euro, which is something that the 17 of them agreed on that has not harmed us. They have had other things that haven't harmed us either. I don't see this as one of those seminal moments in history that we are suddenly seen to be isolated in some way. We are still an economic power and buy more from Europe than we export to it."
"The eurozone want to move ahead now and pool their sovereignty and have decisions over tax and spending taken centrally by Brussels and so on. We don't want to be part of that. We want them to get on with it, to sort out the eurozone crisis, because it has been spreading across and slowing down economies right across Europe. We wish them well in that but we certainly don't want our tax and spending decisions taken in Brussels. We are going to protect that."
George Eustice MP in the FT (£):
"The truth is that today, Europe unites rather than divides Tories and they will all support the stance Mr Cameron adopted at this summit. They will judge him favourably because of how hard he has tried rather than what was achieved. There is a pragmatism within the new parliamentary party but underlying that patience is a steely resolve to see a new relationship between Britain and the EU: one in which, as Mr Cameron said in his Mansion House speech, powers ebb back to Britain rather than flow away."
John Redwood MP on his blog:
"The numbers of Conservative rebels will doubtless wax and wane, but there is now a hard core of at least 45 who are likely to vote against unsuitable EU measures, meaning the Coalition needs some Labour support or help should they want to put through more EU decisions."
Robert Halfon MP on his blog:
"Britain's veto was of huge importance. It is the first shift away from the ratchet effect of European integration for many years. It shows that the UK will no longer accept the unacceptable transfer of powers away from our nation state. It also opens up a real possibility of a fundamental renegotiation of our relationship with the EU: as part of a co-operative free-trading bloc within a European Economic Community - rather than being an inexorable part of a federal superstate."
5.45pm Mark Reckless MP has recorded a video-blog, in which he says:
"Our Prime Minister has shown that he is a man of his word... David Cameron said that unless he got a protocol to protect the City from European regulation that he would veto the European treaty. He didn't get that protocol...and he vetoed the treaty as he promised he would, and I just think restoring faith in politics is so important, and I think the Prime Minister has helped do that."
5.45pm The Daily Express reports on Boris' praise for the PM:
"The Mayor of London said: "David Cameron has done the only thing that it was really open to him to do. He has played a blinder.""
"I welcome the Prime Minister's stand. He is to be given credit. However it is now clear that the United Kingdom's relationship with the EU will significantly change given the emergence of a new inner EU-bloc, a dominant bloc. This new bloc is a major power shift, and establishes a new paradigm in the way the Eurozone and the wider EU will do future business. The UK has the full legal rights of all the other EU members. If these rights are abused then the UK should use its considerable budget contribution to the EU as leverage in its interests. The unintended consequence of these negotiations is that it seems more, not less likely that there will be an EU referendum on the UK's relationship with the EU within this Parliament, which is something our Coalition partners have also agreed upon in their last election manifesto. Today is a good day for British sovereignty"
4.30pm VIDEO Cameron has created path to "full renegotiation" of UK's EU relationship, claims Bill Cash MP
3pm Douglas Carswell told PoliticsHome:
"The events in Brussels show that we have changed direction. We have got a long way to go, but I think people will be supportive of David Cameron for doing the right thing. What we need to do is make absolutely clear that there is no scope for changing the small print of the deal. ... The idea of a new architecture of the EU that we are not part of is incredibly, incredibly exciting, and has the possibility of giving us a better relationship with the EU. We must make sure that we actually deliver the change."
2.30pm Lord Tebbit has just blogged for the Telegraph:
"At last! When all other options had been exhausted, David Cameron has done the right thing. By refusing to sign up to changes in the Treaty of Rome (which is now, after amendments, really the Treaty of Lisbon) the Prime Minister has adopted the policy which, in a conversation with Giscard d'Estaing, I described as “getting the British dog out of the European federal manger”. ... Whether Cameron's decision was made out of conviction and understanding of these great issues, out of fear that his party would split with a majority led by dissident Cabinet colleagues against him, or out of fear that demands for a referendum would become irresistible, we cannot know. We should just be grateful that he made it."
By Jonathan Isaby
It was remiss of me not to realise that yesterday was the 80th birthday of Lord Tebbit as I would have been delighted to note it in ConHome's Gazette.
However, this landmark in the life of the former Cabinet Minister did not escape the notice of several Conservative MPs, resulting in the following somewhat tenuous points of order in the Commons yesterday:
Dr Julian Lewis: On a point of order, Mr Speaker. There are certain politicians who arouse very strong feelings both in favour and against their political initiatives. One such politician is Lord Tebbit. I wonder whether there is any way within the rules of order that we may place on the record our appreciation of his long political career on this his 80th birthday, noting that he has gone from bovver boy to blogger in successive generations.
Mr Edward Leigh: Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. Although you are impeccably impartial, I know that deep in your heart there still lurks a little Tory. You will know the love and esteem in which Lord Tebbit is held on these Benches. May we not have some suitable memorial erected to him — perhaps a bicycle draped in the Union flag and carved in solid British oak?
Mr Speaker: The House should hold to the phrase “impeccably impartial”. I say to the hon. Member for New Forest East (Dr Lewis) that the short answer to his question whether that could be done within the rules of order is no. However, he and the hon. Member for Gainsborough (Mr Leigh) have found a disorderly but very far from disagreeable way to pay tribute to their illustrious colleague. I think that I can safely say that the remarks of both hon. Gentlemen will be appreciated by the noble Lord’s admirers and detractors in this House, the other place and around the country on the occasion of his 80th birthday.
Lord Tebbit, who is always good value, has asked an interesting written question:
"To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord West of Spithead on 30 March (WA 191) concerning the average cost of deporting an illegal immigrant, what is the cost of not deporting illegal immigrants. [HL2953]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): While research into the costs of illegal migration has been undertaken, this has been conducted with the aim of making general assessments on the impact of such migration, rather than producing definitive financial figures.
The two most relevant recent studies are the report of the House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs regarding the economic and fiscal impact of migration which was published in October 2007 and a Home Office research paper entitled Migration: an Economic and Social Analysis which was published in 2001 and is available on the Home Office website."
Here is the original question, from Lord Roberts of Llandudno:
"To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the average cost of deporting an illegal immigrant. [HL2120]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): It is not possible to provide a comprehensive figure for the average cost of a removal or deportation because there are many different factors which may or may not be involved in the cost of a case, such as detention costs, travel costs and the cost of escorting the individual in question. We are unable to disaggregate the specific costs, and any attempt to do so would incur disproportionate cost. However, the National Audit Office (NAO) gives a breakdown of the cost of typical asylum cases in 2007-08 in part four of its report The Home Office: Management of Asylum Applications by the UK Border Agency, which was published on 23 January 2009.
The table on page 36 of the report sets out 12 typical profiles and the lower- to upper-end estimate of costs either excluding or including accommodation and support costs. For example, profile four estimates the cost of a case resulting in the enforced removal of a single, undetained adult after he or she has exhausted their appeal rights as being between £7,900 and £17,000 excluding accommodation and support or £12,000 and £25,600 including accommodation and support. This report is available to view at the following website at www.nao.org.uk/pubications/0809/management_ of_asylum_appl.aspx. However, the UK Border Agency aims to ensure removals are effected at the lowest available rate subject to operational needs."
There were some noteworthy questions in the House of Lords yesterday.
If Lord Tebbit gets the memos from modernisers at Conservative Campaign Headquarters, I'm not sure he reads them:
"Lord Tebbit: My Lords, will the noble Baroness say whether her legislation and her policies will do anything to rectify the gross imbalance of the sexes in the Crown Prosecution Service, where twice as many women as men are employed? What will she do about that to help these poor men who are being discriminated against?
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: My Lords, that is an interesting point. In many professions and sections of our society, women do some jobs and men do others. It is part of the culture, but it is also part of our education; women and men do not know of the opportunities that are available to them. Therefore, we need more men to know about the opportunities in the Crown Prosecution and more women to know about opportunities in science."
(Barnoness Royall is Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Lords.)
Baroness Morris of Bolton (Shadow Minister for Women and Health) asked a question that will cause fewer palpitations:
"My Lords, one area where the pay gap is most stark is the City, usually because of bonuses. Given that the Government are now a substantial shareholder in a number of banks, how will they ensure that there is fair play in those institutions?
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: My Lords, that is yet another interesting point. The Government of course have some responsibility here, but the Equality and Human Rights Commission is conducting a series of inquiries in sectors where inequality is clear, including in the financial sector. We look forward to hearing the results of those inquiries."
I don't think it'll come as a surprise to anyone, or be considered a breach of confidence, if I reveal that Lord Tebbit often exasperates his successors on the Conservative green benches. But he is to be admired for stating his opinions without fear or favour.
A victim of terrorism, Lord Tebbit spoke out against Conservative policy in a House of Lords debate on the Counter Terrorism Bill. He supported the Government's wish to extend detention without charge to 42 days.
Here's a passage from his speech:
"If the lack of this provision causes the police to fail to prevent a major terrorist outrage, what then? It might mean multiple fatalities, a strike against economically important infrastructure with great consequences, or it might mean that we fail to prevent an outrage as great as the detonation of a dirty nuclear device in a city centre, leaving it uninhabitable for years. We have to take into account that things are changing, that what was unforeseeable a while ago has become terribly foreseeable in terms of the world
economy. What was also unforeseeable a while ago is that there is a very weak and potentially bankrupt Government in Pakistan, a country which is a nuclear power with all the dangers that that may bring to us. The weights in the scales are simply disproportionate.
It is very difficult indeed to rectify the injustice which has been done to a dead terrorist victim. Victims have human rights just as much as suspects. Finally, I should say to my noble friends on the Front Bench—to whom it will come as no surprise that I am going to support the Government today—that I do so for one other reason. Let us think about the dilemma if the Government are denied these powers tonight, but at some time in the future a Conservative Administration conclude that they need them. How would that Administration go about coming back to Parliament and asking it to grant those powers? My party might come to rue the day if it wins this vote. So although I find myself in strange company—not least in the company of the noble Lord, Lord Carlile, with whom, as he well knows, I do not always agree, and with many Peers on the opposite side of the Chamber with whom I do not often agree—when I vote with the Government tonight it is partly with the thought of protecting my friends in my party from the position in which they may find themselves if they are in government in the reasonably near future."
Lord Tebbit's colleagues defeated the proposals by a majority of 191, and the Government has said it will not now seek to force the issue. David Davis, who fought a by-election on this issue, says he has been vindicated.
Which of these tough customers do you agree with? They're debating it over here on Tory Diary.