Theresa May deserves to be congratulated for the doing the very best she can within the confines of the Coalition on the decision on mass opt-out from pre-Lisbon Justice and Home Affairs measures. However, the Conservative Party urgently needs to look ahead to what it can promise for the future. As matters stand, there are still arguments to make for those of us who believe that police, criminal justice and other such issues should be decided at a UK level rather than a European level and that, in particular, they should not be subject to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
Why is this so? Because – under Coalition pressure? - the decision to opt-out of these old measures is apparently accompanied by a commitment to look at opting back into them on an individual basis. Any such opt-in would give the ECJ jurisdiction for the first time in the area concerned. Since the formation of the coalition government, new justice and home affairs proposals have been looked at on just such an individual basis under the terms of the Coalition Agreement and there has been a steady drip feed of EU measures into UK law.