Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Gove Fires Torpedo at Cameron with Warning Deal May Be Overturned

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Gove Fires Torpedo at Cameron with Warning Deal May Be Overturned

Article excerpt

Byline: Joe Murphy and Joseph Watts

DAVID CAMERON'S close friend Michael Gove fired a torpedo at his EU reforms today by claiming they could be overturned by European judges.

The Justice Secretary, who oversees British courts and the legal system, contradicted the Prime Minister's claim that his deal was "already legally binding and irreversible".

His claim -- strongly denied by Downing Street -- came as military figures and more business chiefs piled into the EU referendum battle on the side of the Stay campaign.

General Lord Dannatt, the former head of the Army, told the Evening Standard that Nato would be put at risk if Britain left the EU, placing security in Europe and the Middle East in danger.

A survey of 200 London business leaders by the Confederation of British Industry found that 95 per cent regarded access to the European Union's Single Market as the capital's "single greatest strength".

Whitbread, which owns Costa Coffee and Premier Inn, joined businesses publicly arguing against a Brexit. Its board ruled that the firm's "best interests are served by remaining within the EU" because of uncertainties for the wider economy.

Mr Gove, one of six Cabinet ministers campaigning for an Out vote, said it would only become binding if there was treaty change, which will not happen for about five years.

"The facts are the European Court of Justice is not bound by this agreement until the treaties are changed and we don't know when that will be," said Mr Gove, adding: "I do think it's important that people also realise that the European Court of Justice stands above every nation state, and ultimately it will decide on the basis of the treaties and this deal is not yet in the treaties."

The claim was quickly denied by No 10, which issued a formal statement insisting the deal was both binding in international law and "irreversible".

Former attorney general Dominic Grieve also piled into Mr Gove's analysis, saying it was a "fanciful" interpretation. However, he conceded it was a theoretical "possibility".

"It's always possible that an interpretation of the treaty may turn out to be different from what the United Kingdom may argue," said Mr Grieve. …

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