The proposal for a new settlement for the United Kingdom within the European Union was published on Tuesday 2nd February and as expected was totally underwhelming. What is being sold by the Prime Minister and the European Commission as a fundamental renegotiation is nothing approaching that and makes it clearer than ever that the safest choice for the British people is to vote to leave the EU at the referendum.
The concessions offered by the Commission are weak and we can expect them to be watered down further when the rest of the Member States have their say on the draft settlement. The baskets on economic governance and ever closer union both require treaty change at some unspecified time in the future.
The proposals recognise that the UK "is not committed to further political integration." I have always made it clear that the European Union is leaving us and will more than likely require a new treaty, creating a fully redistributive federal state when there are means of transferring funds from the wealth creating areas of the Eurozone to struggling areas who are unable to prosper at the rate at which their countries joined the Euro. This is something that we can never be a part of regardless of any deal we strike with the rest of the EU.
An emergency brake, even if agreed to by the rest of the EU will still only limit migrants' access to benefits for an unspecified period, rather than the total ban which was promised. Access to in-work benefits will be "graduated from an initial complete exclusion but gradually increasing."
Migrants will still be able to send benefits to their children abroad but this will be linked to the cost of living of each Member State, causing a bureaucratic nightmare for the DWP.
The much trumpeted "red card" system is intended to allow the UK to band together with like-minded EU parliaments and block legislation only when subsidiarity is breached. In reality this will never happen. As William Hague said in 2008 “Given the difficulty of Oppositions winning a vote in their Parliaments, the odds against doing so in 14 countries around Europe … are such that even if the European Commission proposed the slaughter of the first-born it would be difficult to achieve such a remarkable conjunction of parliamentary votes.”
I want to see the end of the supremacy of EU law and the European Courts. I want to see our Government brought back within the control of our own Parliament. The renegotiation has been a tragically wasted opportunity to leave the EU and create an entirely new arrangement with our European neighbours allowing us to trade with them and cooperate across a wide range of activities whilst ultimately making our own laws in our own Parliament. We have an historic opportunity to take back our sovereignty and I hope that the people of North Shropshire will join me in campaigning to leave.