Thursday, July 14, 2011

Fair enough

Lord Willoughby de Broke speaking in the House of Lords debate on the House of Commons rejecting their Amendments to the EU Bill.
My Lords, this is again a wrecking amendment, which is how the noble Lord, Lord Blackwell, described the previous amendment. It goes to the very heart of the Bill and would neuter it completely if it produced a sort of son of a sunset clause. People outside this Chamber and outside Parliament will simply not understand what the House of Lords is doing if it votes for it. The Bill is intended to give British people a voice and protect them from further laws and further integration produced by Europe. They will not understand if the House of Lords supports this amendment, which goes against the whole tenor of the Bill.

On the earlier amendment, the noble Lord, Lord Liddle, made some great play about the lack of trust in politicians and Parliament in general. Although he would not interpret his remarks that way, I take them to support the use of referendums, precisely because of the lack of trust in Parliament and government in general in this country. The noble Lord, Lord Grenfell, prayed in aid the people of Slovenia, who apparently trust their Parliament and say that they do not want referendums. But that simply is not the case in this country. The voters in this country do not have the same faith in their Government and Parliament as the people of Slovenia apparently do. If the amendment is carried, it will drag Parliament even further into the contempt that British people already have for it. It is extremely dangerous, and I hope that it will be voted down by this House.
As readers of this blog will know I am not a great fan of an EU referendum and I do not believe that famous referendum lock, as it is phrased, will make the slightest difference. But one cannot argue with the noble lord's comments.

The House of Commons has rejected the Lords' amendments and the Lords have agreed. So that's that.

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