Selling Britain Down the River; ANALYSIS

Daily Mail (London), January 27, 2005 | Go to article overview

Selling Britain Down the River; ANALYSIS


Byline: EDWARD HEATHCOAT AMORY

ONLY this week we learned how much this country has surrendered to Brussels already when Tony Blair's assurances that we still had 'complete control' over asylum policy proved utterly untrue.

Now, behind the bland-sounding question that will be asked in the referendum on the EU Constitution lies a Trojan Horse containing other huge sacrifices of sovereignty.

The Constitution is certainly not the 'tidying up exercise' described by Labour minister Peter Hain or similar to the rules of a golf club, as described by Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. The following is a guide to its real contents, stripped of all ministerial spin.

THE RIGHT TO SAY NO

BRITAIN'S veto - the handbag which Margaret Thatcher wielded so effectively to obtain our budget rebate - is the single most important bulwark shoring up our independence as a nation state.

Tony Blair has already signed two EU treaties that have given it up in 66 areas, including transport, equal opportunities, social policy, and asylum and immigration. The Constitution would surrender the veto in a further 61.

Even worse, it introduces a voting system that makes it significantly more difficult for Britain and its allies to block legislation where we no longer have a veto.

We would be at the mercy of the Franco-German alliance, obliged to put up with whatever legislation they foisted on us. As for national parliaments, Mr Blair has claimed that Westminster will have a new right to 'block Commission measures'. This is another untruth. National Parliaments can complain, but the Commission can simply ignore them.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND ASYLUM

WHAT remains of our national control over borders would go with the creation of a much expanded 'common asylum policy'. A new Right to Asylum in the Charter of Fundamental Rights - an integral part of the Constitution - would make the European Court the final arbiter of all asylum issues in Britain. In addition,

the Constitution surrenders control over our criminal justice system, allowing the EU to pass framework laws dictating what is an offence in Britain and what penalties its perpetrators should suffer.

It also allows for the creation of a European public prosecutor who could pursue defendants through the British courts, and even permits Brussels to dictate to the British police how they should conduct investigations.

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