Parliament will be asked to vote on any new treaty relating to the European Union, Downing Street has said.Goodness me! Not really! I have news for Downing Street and the BBC: all the treaties have gone through Parliament and the legislation was passed as an Amendment to the European Communities Act 1972. That's it? Those are the great Conservative concessions to democracy?
No 10 said any treaty signed by the UK "will need to go through Parliament", although it did not say whether this would require new legislation.
Meanwhile Mr Clarke spoke the inconvenient truth:
Mr Clarke, the most pro-European Conservative cabinet minister, told the Financial Times he did not expect any repatriation of powers as a result of this week's summit: "No, we're not going to renegotiate any transfers of powers, in my opinion."He is not wrong about those famous renegotiations. Even Cameron is not saying they will happen, merely that he will demand safeguards. And who defines what are adequate safeguards? Why, Mr Cameron, of course. Neat, eh?
He said Britain should focus on "how to maintain the financial stability of the western world", adding it would be a distraction to try to open up discussions about the "wider structures of the union".
Interestingly, the FT carries a slightly different headline from the BBC's anodyne one: "Clarke rejects call for EU power grab". One wonders who chose those words "power grab", Mr Clarke, the interviewer or some sub-editor. After all, the implications are that power rightfully belongs to the EU and HMG is somehow thinking of grabbing some of it away from them. That couldn't be what they meant, could it?
Otherwise the interview trots out all the bromides: now is not the time, eurozone stability and financial rectitude are more important, Britain should play a positive and constructive role. Blah, blah, blah.