Joined: 03 Jun 2005
|Posted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 9:39 am Post subject: GIVE US A VOTE ON EUROPE OR FACE AN UPRISING, WE WANT OUT
|'This isn't a #@!#X*!# sixth form debate: Chief Whip accused of 'bully boy' bid to kill off EU vote
By Simon Walters and Brendan Carlin
Last updated at 12:33 AM on 23rd October 2011
Handbagged: Margaret Thatcher was voted best PM to take on the EU in our poll, ahead of David Cameron
Allegations of ‘bully-boy’ tactics were made against Tory Chief Whip Patrick McLoughlin yesterday as the Government fought to kill off a Commons bid to win a referendum on the EU.
Amid reports that up to 100 rebel Conservative MPs may defy the Prime Minister, there were claims that some had been subjected to a number of threats by Mr McLoughlin to make them toe the line.
According to one MP, ex-miner Mr McLoughlin was overheard shouting at a rebel MP: ‘This is not the f****** Oxford Union. This is not some f****** sixth-form debating society. This is the bloody House of Commons.’
Other threats allegedly included:
Banning MPs having extra time off at Christmas.
Giving their seat to a rival MP.
A four-year veto on becoming a Minister.
The alleged threats were revealed as David Cameron faced his most serious Commons revolt since winning the Election.
He is expected to win tomorrow’s Commons vote on whether to let the public decide on staying in the EU. But he may pay a heavy price.
Tory MPs say that ‘heavy-handed’ tactics used by the Government to avoid a defeat have backfired. They claim Mr Cameron could have given them a free vote instead of imposing a severe three-line whip because the result is not binding.
According to some sources, Mr Cameron gave in after pro-European Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg insisted he must face down the rebels.
According to one MP, Tory Whips threatened to cancel extra time off at Christmas for MPs who have booked holidays before the Commons breaks up on December 20.
One backbencher said MPs whose seats are to be scrapped in a shake-up of Parliamentary boundaries have been told that they will get no Government support to find a new one if they vote for a referendum.
Several would-be rebel Tories were summoned to see Mr McLoughlin in his Commons’ office last week. Others were called for meetings with Mr Cameron. One Tory said: ‘The Whips are hitting the phones over the weekend but the real arm-twisting comes tomorrow. They are using the classic tactic of picking off the weaker waverers or the ones angling to be bought off with some promise of a future job.’
Stewart Jackson, Parliamentary Private Secretary to Eurosceptic Ulster Secretary Owen Paterson, last night reaffirmed that he will put his principles above his career and vote for a referendum. Mr Jackson, who is ready to resign over the issue, said: ‘Keeping faith with your constituents and keeping their trust is more important than party preferment and jobs in government.’
Another PPS, who asked not to be named, hit out at ‘school prefect bully-boy tactics’ used by Whips.
Labour leader Ed Miliband faced growing troubles with his own backbenchers, when Derbyshire MP Natascha Engel said she would vote for a referendum.
Last night Mr McLoughlin denied swearing at a rebel MP, adding: ‘I am not making threats to anyone.’
Don't stop people voting for fear of what they might sayANALYSIS By David Davis Conservative MP for Haltemprice & Howden
Today Europe’s leaders are meeting to thrash out the latest ‘solution’ to the eurozone problem, a solution that is likely to be as futile as all the previous ones.
Tomorrow, a heavily whipped Commons will almost certainly reject an attempt by some brave new MPs to give the people a vote on how they want Britain’s relationship with Europe to stand, despite promises by both parts of the Coalition to give the people a referendum. Why is this?
This week a journalist described David Cameron as Euro-fearful. If this is true, it is understandable. Two decades ago the Tory Party tore itself apart over Europe.
But the analysis that says we should run away from this debate is old politics for several reasons.
First, Europe is likely to be the cause of huge economic problems in the immediate future. Second, the Tory Party is far more uniformly Eurosceptic now. Third, the British people’s attitude to Europe is far more sceptical than ever.
Being a member of the European Union has been a one-way street for Britain. Contributions from Britain to the EU budget have outstripped the benefits received in every single year of membership.
In total since 1979, Britain has paid in about €260 billion (£228 billion). It has received back in benefits just €163 billion (£143 billion). The difference of €97 billion (£85 billion at today’s exchange rate) has been Britain’s subsidy to the European project.
Each nation’s contribution is based mainly on its Gross National Income, a measure of its economic output and earnings from overseas. The budget is spent on a range of projects to do with agriculture, fisheries, social projects and other Brussels subsidies.
Britain’s contribution figure would have been even higher had it not been for Margaret Thatcher’s tough stance in 1984, when she famously negotiated a rebate on the basis that the vast bulk of EU spending went on agricultural subsidies and Britain received a far lower proportion of this than other nations.
Under the terms of the rebate, Britain’s contributions were cut while other countries which benefited most from agricultural subsidies (mainly France) paid more.
Since 1985 Britain’s rebate has been worth a total of almost €90 billion (£79 billion at today’s exchange rate). Though as our graph shows, Britain’s contributions have still consistently far outstripped the benefits it receives.
The rebate would have been higher in recent years had not Tony Blair given up part of it under pressure from EU leaders. He agreed to cut it by about 20 per cent from 2007 until the next round of budget negotiations in 2013. So far, his concession has cost Britain about £4 billion.
When Britain joined the Common Market in 1973 it signed up to a free trade agreement. Since then, the power of European institutions has transformed beyond recognition.
The Common Market has become the European Union and the trading bloc is a superstate in all but name. It has its own parliament, president, flag, foreign minister, diplomatic service, police force, bank and an ever-increasing multi-billion-euro budget.
A series of polls within the past year shows that, given an ‘in’ or ‘out’ referendum, half of Britons would vote to leave the EU, while only a quarter would vote to stay in.
The Government admits that half of British laws with a significant economic impact come from the EU – from home affairs to health and safety, from tourism to tax and from national security to social security.
UK citizens can be extradited to other EU countries without prima facie evidence, the Commission can tell us how many hours a week to work – and the European Court of Justice can overrule British judges.
The EU dictates how fruit and vegetables are packaged, the maximum length of bus routes and how dry soil has to be for farmers to use combine harvesters. Every year Parliament is forced to implement 3,000 regulations which originated in Brussels.
The Lisbon Treaty removed 40 important national vetoes on issues from asylum and migration to sports. On the eve of the recent Tory conference, the Commission denounced Britain over its rules on paying unemployment benefit to migrants.
Without a formal renegotiation of our relationship with the EU, all these transfers of power from Westminster to Brussels are irreversible.
It used to be a principle of Parliamentary sovereignty that no Parliament could bind its successors, but this is no longer true. As far as the European Courts are concerned, EU law is superior to British law and therefore Parliament has no power to pass laws which contradict it.
SHORT of scrapping the whole Act and leaving the EU altogether, no Parliament is entitled to repeal any part of the Heath Government’s European Communities Act of 1972.
What makes matters worse is that the European Parliament, the EU’s only directly elected body, has little influence.
Real power lies with the unelected European Commissioners – cronies chosen behind closed doors. The Commissioners propose new laws, control the EU budget and implement decisions. So what is the best way forward? I do not favour a simple ‘in or out’ referendum.
Back in 1975, Britain had such a referendum. Early polls showed a majority in favour of leaving the Common Market. Then came the scare stories that this would cost millions of jobs and raise food prices. Fear delivered the ‘yes’ vote the Government wanted. If we had an ‘in or out’ referendum, we could see the same scare tactics deployed.
If we voted ‘in’, it would be crippling for our negotiators in Europe. The Commission would argue that the British people had passed a vote of confidence in a federal Europe.
That is why the debate, and any future referendum question, needs to be more subtle.
We need a debate and a vote on what Britain’s negotiating position should be – the powers we want to repatriate from Brussels, the size of Britain’s contribution to the EU, the authority of the European Court of Justice.
Once a new deal with Europe has been negotiated, the British people should be given the final say in a referendum. This would be an incredibly powerful negotiating strategy.
That’s why the smart thing for the Government to do tomorrow is to drop the whip. After Ed Miliband decided to support the Government, there is no chance of the Coalition losing the vote. The Government should then decide how best to harness this new appetite of the public for a say in their future.
It is time to let the British people decide what relationship they want with the EU. It is no reason to deny the British people their chance to speak simply because you’re afraid of what they might say.
Call of the whips and give MPs a free vote, public tell Cameron
David Cameron should call off the Whips and give Tory MPs free rein in the Commons tomorrow to vote for a referendum on the EU, according to a BPIX poll for The Mail on Sunday.
And a referendum would result in the Prime Minister being forced to go to Brussels and demand that vital powers lost to the EU are handed back to Britain.
Four out of five voters say that Mr Cameron, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg and Labour’s Ed Miliband are wrong to impose a three-line whip, ordering their MPs to fly in the face of public opinion and block a referendum.
More than six out of ten want a nationwide vote, with only one in four against.
Using the same three options on offer to MPs tomorrow, our survey shows that roughly half of voters want to renegotiate Britain’s ties with the EU and have a relationship based only on trade and co-operation.
Nearly two-thirds are fed up with Britain’s membership terms, with fewer than a fifth satisfied.
But there is resistance to quitting the EU. While 34 per cent want to pull out, 44 per cent want to stay in. However, the fear of leaving the EU appears to be fading.
The 27 per cent who say that Britain is too small to go it alone are outnumbered by 44 per cent who disagree.
Asked if the British economy would recover quicker if we left the EU, 35 per cent said ‘yes’ and 23 per cent ‘no’.
Anti-EU sentiment is summed up by a test of modern Prime Ministers’ performance on Europe. In top place, with 22 per cent, is Margaret Thatcher, renowned for ‘handbagging’ EU leaders to win a bigger rebate in 1985, followed by Tony Blair on 13 per cent, Mr Cameron on nine, Gordon Brown on seven and John Major on two.
l A total of 2,041 people were interviewed online by BPIX on Thursday and Friday last week.
One dictator dead in Libya. Another one lives....in Westminster.....Welcome to democracy UK style.
The strength of feeling against David Cameron's arrogance is expressed in these comments very clearly indeed. But it's a certainty he will never read them - and very few of his MP's will have any interest in them. There is only one way to rub their noses in the truth: you have to write to them direct. It's far easier nowadays than you might think. Just go to WriteToThem.com and it's all laid out for you in very easy steps. (You don't even have to know your MP's name and address - they will insert the details for you). You can then express your views to both your MP and the Prime Minister himself. Don't abuse them in any way: just make it clear you will not be voting for them at the next election if they will not allow this country to work as a democracy. If enough of you write in this way, it might just influence the vote tomorrow! EITHER THAT OR JOIN US AND WE WILL DO EVERYTHING IT SAYS ON THE TIN.
I wonder what the Libyans are going to do with all the weapons they no longer need? as we helped them maybe they will help us.