The Acquis Communautaire contains the accumulated laws which the European Union has acquired from member states and therefore laws which the member states can no longer amend or repeal or fail to obey.
The problem faced by Edward Heath in 1972 was how to enact the then existing 13,000 pages of Acquis into United Kingdom law, a job which he delegated to Geoffrey Howe.
This 13,000 pages, incidentally, has now grown to over 100,000.
Faced with the problem of getting a Bill through Parliament which it was thought would run to thousands of clauses, Howe, with the help of his senior parliamentary counsel John Fiennes, came up with the idea of a short European Communities Bill of just 12 clauses and four schedules, with a short passage delegating to ministers the power to enact law directly.
The Labour Party was officially committed to oppose the Bill and Heath could not rely on his own backbenchers.
How the Bill came to be approved only emerged 20 years later. It involves an agreement between the Tories and a Labour politician.
Tony Benn described the passage of the Bill as a coup d'etat by a political class who did not believe in popular sovereignty. I do believe in our sovereignty, which is why I want the European Communities Act 1972 repealed.
PHILIP WARREN, Gosforth, Newcastle
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