Friday, July 2, 2010

Exactly what does this mean?

Given that the European Communities Act specifically states that European legislation takes precedence over UK legislation, given that there have been several legal cases (Factortame, Metric Martyrs) in which the judge firmly decided that European legislation takes precedence, given that we have had numerous replies in Parliament about the inevitability of being taken to the ECJ if we do not implement EU legislation it is a little odd to hear Ministers talk blithely about retaining Parliamentary sovereignty. What could they possibly mean?

Lord Stoddart of Swindon (yes, him again) put down a Written Question:
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will investigate the balance of powers between the United Kingdom Parliament and the European Parliament following the implementation of the Lisbon treaty.
Lord Howell's reply raised more questions than it answered:
The Government are examining the case for a United Kingdom Sovereignty Bill, to make it clear that ultimate authority remains with the UK Parliament. The common law is clear-the UK Parliament is sovereign. We are examining whether the common law provides sufficient ongoing and unassailable protection for the principle of parliamentary sovereignty.
So what will happen if Parliament refuses to implement certain financial directives that are likely to destroy the City?


  1. "So what will happen if Parliament refuses to implement certain financial directives that are likely to destroy the City? "

    No great problem. Dem Tories will rant and rave about it, hold their referendum and then the EU will just trump it with their precedence rules and the power will move over the Brussells.

    One thing's certain though. Whatever happens we still will not be given the opportunity to vote on membership.

  2. That actually is not the point. If Parliament is still sovereign the question of membership becomes slightly less urgent. So we need to know whether it is sovereign.

  3. Who is to decide whether Parliament is sovereign? The Judges seem to have decided based presumably on the, what was it, "The Single European Act" or somesuch from a few years ago. Parliament appears to have shirked it's resonsibilities on this and pretty much everything else. It has always seemed odd that Judges, sworn to uphold the Queens peace and the Common Law thereby, should just stand up and say that EU Law takes precedence. I ask out of interest and as a regular follower of your very good site as well as the EURef site.

  4. Sorry Helen, I did not take in the opening paragraph, of course the European Communities Act does that. However there is still the problem that Parliament did not do it's job of rpresenting the people. As I read the "Bill of Rights", a Constitutional document, MPs do not have the power to give away our Country and accept foreign control. So I am trying to understand how we can have arrived at this state.

  5. Surely we have arrived at this state because enough of the "establishment" agree with the idea that the UK has no future as an independent state that they have been able to have their way. The law (especially old-fashioned , fuddy-duddy law like the Bill of Rights) has nothing to do with it and has been swept aside where it is inconvenient.

    To sum up: Political Will > Law.

    Of course this is nothing new.

  6. There was a time the Bill of Rights was new though its authors maintained that they were merely enshrining time-honoured ideas. So, once we are out of the EU, there may be an argument for a renewed Bill of Rights. In the meantime, we can test the proposition that Parliament is sovereign by refusing to implement a whole raft of EU legislation that we do not want. The question is, will that happen.