Chris Heaton-Harris MEP

5 Dec 2011 17:41:54

Rolling record of Tory MPs' comments on new EU Treaty

Friday 8.45am John Redwood MP blogs:

"Orderly but rapid break up would be the least cost option. It would liberate the countries allowed out, and permit them to adjust their competitiveness by a devaluation which would be swift and easier to sell than large wage cuts. There is  no foundation to the proposition that the EU would lose 10-50% of its output if they changed currencies. To my knowledge 87 countries have left currency unions since 1945. In most cases they have prospered more after exit. The successful break up of the 16 member rouble bloc could be the model."

8.30pm Philip Hollobone told Sky News:

Hollobone_phillip"...we need to have a disorderly breakup so that the whole of Europe and the rest of the world economy can get back to significant economic growth in the future. This idea that we can prop up the eurozone in the next ten years with constant austerity is just not going to work."

6.45pm The leader of the Conservatives in the European Parliament, Martin Callanan MEP said: 

CALLANAN MARTIN"If there is any treaty change which creates European fiscal union then clearly that will radically effect the UK and that should be put to a referendum. That is what democracy demands, because we would be creating a fundamental change to the EU and our relationship with it. However, that could take years to complete. It might be a way to solve the next crisis - but not this one. That is why the focus should be on measures to address the issues at the heart of this crisis."

He said these would include "The casual one-size-fits-all approach that had undermined the euro from its foundations", "The massive economic imbalance between its prosperous and economically-disciplined members and those which were debt-ridden and financially dysfunctional", "The over-regulation which hampered wealth-creation and innovation and encouraged a dependency culture in struggling states."

5.30pm Paul Waugh reports that Edward Leigh said the following in a Westminster Hall debate this afternoon:

LEIGH edward MP"We have had enough of reading of British prime ministers over the last 20 to 30 years in the days preceding a summit that 'they will stand up for the British national interest' and then coming back from a summit with a kind of Chamberlain-esque piece of paper saying, 'I have negotiated very, very hard, I have got opt-outs on this and that and I have succeeded in standing up for British interests'."

Update: Paul Waugh tweets

"No.10 hits back at Edward Leigh's Chamberlain remarks. PM's spokeswoman: "It was offensive and ridiculous.""

5.15pm Nadine Dorries blogged

DORRIES-Nadine"I have no doubt that the PM will return with some form of a guarantee for Britain as the last thing Merkel wants is a referendum in Britain. If Britain succumbs, other countries may follow suit and the effect such an event would have on the markets would be damaging for Germany. After all, it’s all about Germany. A fiscal union of 17 EU members forming one new country and in effect a new trading block will have huge implications for Britain and British business. It's time we gave the British people their say via a referendum. The next two days will test the Prime Ministers courage and skills. If he misses this opportunity to grasp the nettle and give the British People their say, they may eventually make him pay with the one vote they will have."

4.15pm Nick Boles appeared on the Daily Politics show this afternoon, and argued:

Jenkin Campbell Boles"Today is the moment of maximum economic danger for Britain. Our retail sales are falling, manufacturing output is collapsing, Brazil has stalled, China has stalled. The entire global economy is sitting on the edge of an abyss and the urgent priority for the British people is to protect our economy and their jobs by getting this Eurozone crisis fixed. We need to repatriate powers but we need to come to that after we've saved our economy, not before. ... What I want David Cameron to do is to protect our economy, protect our jobs - mainly, because that's the thing that's under most threat from the Eurozone - protect the City of London, but he needs to help them get a solution to the Eurozone crisis so that the entire European economy doesn't fall apart. ... We are going to work out an entirely new kind of outer-tier relationship, and that is a big exercise, it's a very important exercise, and it offers big opportunities for Britain, but it's probably going to take two or three years - it's not the work of a weekend when the global economy is on the precipice."

3.30pm Sir Peter Tapsell told Radio 4:

Tapsel Peter"The fact is the French and German leaders have been meeting for weeks and weeks. I have very little doubt that they will not be able to solve the eurocrisis on Friday but it is very much in the British national interests that it should be solved. As we argued at the time of the Maastricht Treaty to think that you can have a single a interest rate for a whole variety of countries at different stages in their development. And that remains true today and although we opted out of the euro right from the beginning and very sensibly so, but we are affected by the euro and I feel really sceptical that they can solve to eurocrisis, I don’t expect it to survive. ... The reason why Europe is in crisis has to be traced back to the Maastricht Treaty. They then introduced a whole series of measures which weakened the European economy by comparison with those of the Far East and America and so on."

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26 Mar 2009 12:53:56

MEPs call for the Strasbourg Parliament to be scrapped

Strasbourg parliament Chris Heaton-Harris and Roger Helmer are both MEPs for the East Midlands. Together they have put out a press release urging the scrapping of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. This would have to be done by national governments, and last week Timothy Kirkhope wrote to Gordon Brown (who was in Strasbourg this week) on the matter.

Twelve times a year MEPs travel 250 miles from Brussels to Strasbourg (on the Franco-German border). Mr Helmer and Mr Heaton-Harris estimate the cost at £180 million annually, and say it causes tens of thousands of tonnes of CO2 to be emitted. 

Mr Helmer said:

"Moving the European Parliament from one country to another is completely pointless and a huge waste of taxpayers' money. There is no practical reason why we should go to Strasbourg as we have all the facilities we need in Brussels.

The two-seat operation of the European Parliament is a small amount of money compared to the vast debts being run up by our government this year, which are now larger than the entire EU budget; but scrapping it would send an important message that the EU is serious about cutting waste."

Mr Heaton-Harris added: 

"Conservative MEPs have led the campaign against the Strasbourg parliament. It is time for Gordon Brown to finally raise the issue with his European counterparts and demand they end this profligacy.

We need strong leadership from our Prime Minister if we are to end this unacceptable situation. For all his bluster and lecturing on the economy, he has failed to seize on one important piece of waste in the EU budget that could be slashed tomorrow."

This is a worthy cause, but I doubt it'll be successful any time soon ... not when Franco-German pride is at stake!

Tom Greeves

6 Sep 2008 05:41:09

The EU answers Chris Heaton-Harris' dead parrot question

We wondered if it was the best parliamentary question ever.  Chris Heaton-Harris played Monty Python and asked: "Would the Commission agree with noted British philosophers, Messrs Palin and Cleese, that [the treaty] has passed on! This treaty is no more! It has ceased to be!"

He has received this dull-as-dishwater reply:

"The Lisbon Treaty was signed by the Heads of State or Government of the 27 Member States of the European Union on 13 December 2007. Under international law, therefore, it exists and, indeed, each signatory State, by virtue of having signed it, is bound to make every effort to ensure that it is ratified. Ratification does not affect the treaty’s existence as such but does affect its entry into force. It was agreed at the European Council of 19-20 June 2008 that the repercussions of the Irish “No” would be discussed at the European Summit of 15 October 2008."

In case you missed it, Chris recently wrote a guide to the EU budget.  It's one of the best pieces we have ever had the fortune to host.  Read it here.

6 Aug 2008 07:45:39

Probably the best parliamentary question ever!

Heatonharrischris Chris Heaton-Harris MEP - soon, we hope, to be MP for Daventry - has put down this question to the European Commission:

"Would the Commission agree with noted British philosophers, Messrs Palin and Cleese, that [the treaty] has passed on! This treaty is no more! It has ceased to be! It’s expired and gone to meet its maker! It’s a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! The Irish have said no, it should be pushing up the daisies! Its metabolic processes are now history! It’s off the twig! It’s kicked the bucket, It’s shuffled off its mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible! THIS IS AN EX-TREATY!!

Does the Commission accept that there is no public support for further centralisation and will now abandon all attempts of implementing aspects of the Lisbon Treaty?"

If you are an EU Commissioner and have no idea what he is talking about then please watch this video: