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Bill Cash MP: It's the EU, stupid - The UK should take the lead in renegotiating all the European Treaties


By Bill Cash MP

Today I have released my pamphlet, “It’s the EU, Stupid” (pdf). This is being released on the same day as a European reform debate in Westminster Hall (Grand Committee Room) between leading Eurorealists and Euro-integrationists – which I have summarised below.

My pamphlet makes clear that the United Kingdom, in its own vital national interests, must take the lead in renegotiating all the European Treaties, combining with other Member States who reject the need for European economic government and fiscal union for the Eurozone. We must return to an EFTA-plus arrangement, so that we regain our democracy and economic stability and, with it, the ability to deliver policies for which the British people have voted or leave the European Union altogether.

There is an Alice in Wonderland fantasy around, that the idea of a fiscal union would be a possible runner or, at any rate, a short term fix but, unfortunately, this judgement overlooks the fact that it is doomed to failure and we would be better off keeping ahead of the curve by avoiding the inevitable implosion and sitting down with those from other Member States, or those who are prepared to discuss with us the want to avoid the implosion. Even Edward Heath would not have accepted fiscal union of other Member States.

What we are faced with is an unacceptable imbalance of a predominant greater Germany in the context of the rest of the European Union and not only the Eurozone which would develop into a federal system. 

I am calling upon David Cameron to go to the next Summit and set out an agenda for renegotiation of all the Treaties and to make it clear that there will be a UK Referendum for the proposals for economic governance of the Eurozone and fiscal union. 

The question to be asked of the voters, which must be embedded in the Referendum Bill itself, should be on a simple majority whether they wish a) to leave the European Union or b) to renegotiate our relationship with the European Union into a trading association of nation states with political cooperation. This would present the voters with a clear choice and the outcome would depend on which of the two questions achieved more than 50% of those who voted. 

David Cameron in his leadership election made clear that he would protect the sovereignty of the United Kingdom Parliament. In December 2005, after his election, he also promised the “imperative” repatriation of social and employment legislation – see his Centre for Policy Studies speech – which has never been implemented. We need this to obtain growth in the UK for small and medium sized businesses. We cannot reduce the deficit without growth and the EU, apart from Germany , is stagnant. 

The Conservative Manifesto promised a Sovereignty Act and repeal of the Human Rights Act, neither of which have been implemented. The LibDems and other elements in the Conservative Party have blocked these as a result of the Coalition and Nick Clegg has made it crystal clear that there will be no renegotiation of the Treaties. The 56 LibDem votes which give the Coalition majority are therefore an obstruction to our vital national interest. 

The Lisbon Treaty, to which I put up and debated about 150 amendments, was also, line by line, opposed by the Conservative Party (on which we were united for the first time since 1972), and we voted together for a Referendum. The Referendum has been denied and the Lisbon Treaty is now being implemented in full with disastrous consequences day by day for the United Kingdom. 

My pamphlet indicates that the UK and other Member States need an EFTA-plus arrangement through a free association of nation states – “associated, but not absorbed”, as Churchill said. … David Cameron should take the lead in establishing the European Free Trade Area-plus which would be purely Intergovernmental. It is in our vital national interest to do so. 

As for the European reform debate in the Grand Committee Room, off Westminster Hall, many will know from ConservativeHome’s original advert that a debate is being held on European reform today in Westminster between leading Eurosceptics and Euro-integrationists, in a series of debates which are being chaired by Mark Littlewood. 

For the morning panel on the ‘EU/UK economy’, we had speakers including Chairman of the Bruges Group and former Chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, Barry Legg and influential UK economist and economic columnist for Standpoint, Tim Congdon – with founding Chairman of Business for New Europe, Roland Rudd and economist and Euro analyst, Graham Bishop. 

On the late morning panel on ‘EU / UK Foreign Policy and Defence’, the speakers included Chairman of the Public Administration Select Committee, Bernard Jenkin MP and senior strategist at BGC Partners, Howard Wheeldon – with former Europe minister, Denis MacShane MP and Senior Policy Fellow at the European Council of Foreign Relations after having served as the first Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency in Brussels, Nick Witney. 

Later on, the session on ‘EU / UK Democracy and political institutions’ has speakers including newly elected Member of Parliament for North East Somerset, Jacob Rees-Mogg MP; author of ‘EFTA or the EU?’ Hugo van Randwyck – with Director of the Centre for European Reform, Charles Grant and European justice & human rights spokeswoman for the Liberal Democrats, Baroness Ludford MEP. 

For the final session, I am speaking along with political editor of The Spectator, James Forsyth – and co-Chairman of the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum and author of ‘The Euro – The Battle for the New Global Currency’ David Marsh CBE and the economist Andrew Lilico.


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