Saturday, October 29, 2011

Leftover impact of EU Referendum Debate

Its being claimed by some that the 81 Conservatives who voted for the motion to hold a three way preferendum on the UKs relationship with the EU have succeeded in changing Government policy - and that a more Euro sceptic Government will result. This is an ruse to justify last Monday's bungled attempt to pressurise the Government into an In/Out referendum. What a lot more than 81 Conservatives agree about is that we want priority on changing Government's approach to the EU. I voted against the motion because it was so badly drafted that it divided Euro sceptic opinion, and prevented the House of Commons approving a motion demanding the return of powers to the UK Parliament. I much approved of the holding of a debate, the very holding of which did make a difference. But it should not have included a commitment to a withdrawal option. This ensured that party managers could not, and very properly did not, allow a 'free vote'. Withdrawal from the EU is not the policy of any mainstream party. I decided to vote against immediately I saw the motion, and would have voted against if it had been a 'free vote'. Its not the 81 Conservatives that 'rebelled', but them and the rest of us together who have made it clear we need to see a genuine drive to repatriate powers from the EU back to British parliaments.

But Monday's debate has done less harm than I thought it would. Despite the motion being overwhelmingly defeated, its clear to Government that a majority on MPs want a change of approach to our relationship with the EU. Next time there's a motion on the issue, the wording will be thought through more carefully, and we will probably end up with a majority calling for a cultural shift in the relationship. We want the EU to stop taking responsibility for matters that do not need to be taken at a European level,

Of course, the matter could be taken out of the hands of the current Government by the financial crisis that still faces the Eurozone. There may well be a proposal of significance in how the EU is governed which inevitably triggers a referendum in the UK. And if its on any question which does not involve actual withdrawal, I believe the voters will vote No. Whatever, I certainly do not think that we have seen the last of parliamentary debate involving the EU in this Parliament.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"We want the EU to stop taking responsibility for matters that do not need to be taken at a European level..."

But the UK signed up to the transfer or such powers to "European level"...

What does culture have to do with it? You guys signed on the dotted line!