Coffee House

Sir John Major: EU election results make renegotiation easier

30 May 2014

Sir John Major isn’t a fan of Ukip and thinks it will fade away from its current position on the political scene. He’s not the only one who thinks that: one of the problems that all three main parties have face is that they have continually assumed that Ukip is about to lose its head of steam, and have therefore made precious few preparations for the party getting bigger and stealing more of their voters. But there was one very interesting remark that Major made in his interview on the Today programme. He said:

‘The circumstances between the 1990s and now are very different in many ways, and in a very curious way the recent European elections have emphasised that very clear. I think the results of these elections right across Europe have made a renegotiation much easier. It’s apparent now to governments right across Europe that reform of the European Union is necessary – it isn’t working as it should, it isn’t working in the way in which European citizens think it should.’

This is exactly the argument that Tory MPs campaigning in the European elections found on the doorstep. Voters told them that they liked what David Cameron had to say now about Europe and they liked the idea of a renegotiation. But they felt that voting Ukip would strengthen Cameron’s hand because it would give Brussels an awful fright at the prospect of Brexit. The question is whether the Conservatives can convince those Ukip voters to return in 2015.

It’s interesting that Major chose to be charitably complimentary about Cameron’s chances of securing a good settlement in the renegotiation, even though the Prime Minister has failed to take his predecessor’s advice about appointing someone to work full time on the matter. Cameron is on the brink of appointing someone to an influential job that will play an important role in that renegotiation, but as I say in my Telegraph column today, his apparent preferred choice of Andrew Lansley isn’t going down all that well with Tory MPs. They fear Lansley isn’t the strong player that Cameron needs when he’s got a very tough few years of talks with reluctant EU leaders ahead of him. He won’t want to rely on the fright of Ukip, after all.

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Show comments
  • FreeMarketNotSlavery

    We know any ‘renegotiation’ will just be lots of weasly words with nothing delivered, so lets get Britain out with a free trade agreement in place just as succesful, sensible and not bogged down by poltical jobsworths countries like Switzerland, Iceland (who are the only counrty to jail bankers and former prime minister) etc.

  • Augustus

    As far as I’m concerned the less EU circus the better. Why have expensive permanent parliaments in two places for starters? And hand a lot of those powers back to the nation states where they belong. And away with all that luxury in Brussels at taxpayers’ expense: unnecessary travels to Strasbourg; 5-star ego trips around the world; garages full of expensive Mercedes with drivers ready for every trifling little trip. Apart from Nigel Farage nobody seems to care. Why not?

  • rtj1211

    Major is simply not being a back seat driver, something Thatcher was completely incapable of resisting. His role as a former Primer Minister is to provide advice behind the scenes if requested, but not to undermine the current incumbent in public.

  • Smithersjones2013

    Yeah, yeah yeah. This is just Tory has beens spinning their heads off and circling the wagons around Cameron after the disaster of a Euros which saw them beaten in heartland after heartland.

    The simple reality is that if Cameron loses the general election then all the referendum talk goes away and Brussels knows this. SO they are just waiting until Cameron bites the dust and then the EPP, Socialists, Liberals and greens will carry on regardless toward ‘ever closer union’. Why because when all the dust settles there is still nothing to stop them…..

    PS Of course Major is going to support Cameron because

    a) he is a Tory
    b) the alternative centre right options are unpalatable to a sad old raving Europhiliac like Major.
    c) he probably thinks Labour will win in 2015 and save his beloved Eurofication

  • CharlietheChump

    The appointment of Lansley would confirm the general belief that Dave really doesn’t want out.

  • Peter Stroud

    Cameron must take a much more robust stance, in the EU negotiations. The gains by UKIP, and comments on such articles as this, should wake him up. The emergence of the more anti EU parties
    in the individual states, needs to be grasped, and coalitions made. Should he fail to rekindle the Euroscepticism, he displayed in opposition, he will lose the support of massive numbers of Tories, both inside and outside of the party. And he will not survive as leader, win or lose in 2015.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      Yes, 11.25 months from now, his head is going to be mounted on a spike .

    • Bill_der_Berg

      Angela Merkel has already warned Dave not to expect to much in the way of concessions from the EU. There is no reason to disbelieve her.

  • Denis_Cooper

    I’ll tell you what would strengthen Cameron’s hand in this putative renegotiation – a referendum on whether we want to continue further with the process of “ever closer union” first prescribed in the preamble to the Treaty of Rome agreed by the traitor Heath, and then reiterated in the preamble to the Maastricht Treaty agreed by this other traitor Major.

    Cameron has repeatedly said that HE wants us to be freed from that commitment,
    in fact he said it again on May 11th on the BBC Andrew Marr show:

    “We achieve those negotiation changes. Perhaps the most important is getting Britain out of the clause that says the European Union must be committed to an ever closer union.”

    “I don’t accept that. I don’t think the British people want to accept that.”

    Well, he says that HE doesn’t accept that and he says that he thinks WE also don’t want to accept that, so why not ask us to confirm that in a referendum?

    He’s had plenty of time to do that, and there’s still enough time to do that before
    the general election; but of course he won’t do that because HE doesn’t really mean it and he wouldn’t want to lumbered with a referendum result saying that WE the British people did mean it.

  • english_pensioner

    Cameron blighted his chance of any serious re-negotiations some time ago by proclaiming that “following negotiations, he would campaign for a Yes vote to stay in the EU”
    This is hardly negotiating from a position of strength, effectively saying “Give me a little something and I’ll do my best to stay in”

    • the viceroy’s gin

      “…or give me nothing. I’m still staying in.”

  • Denis_Cooper

    “… all three main parties … have therefore made precious few preparations for the party getting bigger and stealing more of their voters.”

    No party owns any voters, therefore no party can complain about another party “stealing more of their voters”.

  • Wessex Man

    So this fantastic failure of a Prime Minister believes we will fade away does he, while we were out canvassing the great majority of people on the doorsteps told us that they had heard enough lies from the major parties, would be voting UKip in the elecetions and would be voting UKip in the GE.

    As long as they want to underestimate us is fine by me.

  • Kitty MLB

    I shall throw a cat amongst the pigeons. Cameron should have the upper-hand in regards to these renegotiations with the socialist iron fist of the EU especially as
    Europe is clearly turning Right. And the EU also have UKIP giving them a well deserved thrashing. And I am sure we are a thorn in the side of the EU.
    And I suppose as Prime Minister he needs to be diplomatic, he knows the EU are
    not interested in renegotiations-they only take.He mght get a few little token things back but not much. But they also know we are having a referendum in 2017.
    At the end of the day this choice is up to the electorate and not any political party.
    But we must be given full facts on both sides.

  • southerner

    “Voters told them that they liked what David Cameron had to say now about Europe and they liked the idea of a renegotiation. But they felt that voting Ukip would strengthen Cameron’s hand….”

    You gotta love the MSM. They failed with the smears and unrelenting attacks pre-election. Now they try and make out that kippers love Cameron and were voting UKIP merely to help him out.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …it’s the Speccie kid issuing the bubble’s press release.

      • southerner

        Aye true enough. Only the brain dead Hooky and the Camerloons would fall for it.

  • itdoesntaddup

    The job of an EU Commissioner is to run one EU department for the EU, not UK renegotiations. That is parked in the FCO, with UKREP in Brussels and Liddington as Europe minister, none of whom make renegotiation easier.

  • GIN1138

    As long as Cameron keeps Oliver bloody Letwin away from any renegotitians we’ll be OK…

    • Wessex Man

      What about Hague and Boris then? boris in particular wants more of the EU!

  • R Fairless

    What a burden the British public has to carry. So many dishonest and incompetent politicians. Who to trust to preserve our independence and sovereignty? Major or Nigel Farage? Cameron or Nigel Farage? Clegg or Nigel Farage? Red Ed or Nigel Farage? One man against so many traitors! But he has a growing people’s Army to support him. More and more people realise the cost of staying with the corrupt and inefficient EU. It is so corrupt that for 18 years the auditors have refused to authorise their accounts. The Commissioners bullied them to hide the defects but failed. Billions of Euros are missing, falsely paid out, stolen, unaccounted for, misappropriated, unlawfully spent and so on. The Commissioners even sacked their chief accountant because she exposed fraud. (Kinnock was the man who sacked her for them) This year there is a shortfall so the EU are demanding more money, nearly half a billion pounds from the UK alone. What’s the betting we just pay up without even a whimper? What’s Cameron doing? Full steam ahead on propaganda to pretend he is doing something.
    What a mess we are in. The British public deserve better but they are not going to get it unless they reject these charlatans and vote for UKIP.

    • HookesLaw

      Saint Nigel? What a gullible fool you are. 3 cheers for bigotry.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …how’s that humiliating 3rd place finish washing down, lad?

        • Grey Wolf

          He is still collecting his tears in plastic buckets.

          • Wessex Man

            They are now spinning it that has the turnout was so low that-1 All the Ukip votes were used and 2 that Ukip would only get 7% of a ‘real’ election because of the shocking turnout figures, never taking in that they were third!

            • Grey Wolf

              A Tory defeat in Newark would be the coup de grace that all the right-minded people are looking for.

  • Raddiy

    ” Sir John Major isn’t a fan of Ukip and thinks it will fade away from its current position on the political scene. ”

    Well he would say that wouldn’t he!! In the best traditions of Conservative duplicity he was instrumental in UKIP coming into being, by forcing into law the Maastricht treaty.

    Forgive us if we also doubt his judgement, as the politician who nearly bankrupted the country in trying to keep us in the ERM, as well as his advocacy for the Euro currency itself, and of course not forgetting the moral vacuum he inhabits with his betrayal of his wife, by his inability to keep his d*ck in his pants.

    A thoroughly immoral, nasty and useless example of our political class, why on earth do you consider his views of value Miss Hardman, surely there are hundreds of other slightly less incompetent ex troughers to dig out of their coffins to support the fading anti UKIP campaign.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Not redeemed by his love of cricket but a mitigation to be considered when sentenced as a traitor.

      • Kitty MLB

        Ah ! Cricket that most English of sports. Played on village greens throughout the land during summer. With Earl Grey tea and homemade cakes. At least John Major regardless of his mistakes left
        the UK with a healthy set of books. He never left such a note as Labour.

        • Raddiy

          I know a number of people who lost their homes on the back of the ERM debacle with interest rates going up to 15% causing a house market crash, and pushing the economy into recession.

          Major and his cronies wrecked our economy for nothing more than ideology, and put thousands of our fellow citizens into penury, is that really your concept of success.

          • Kitty MLB

            You’ve known me for a very long time, you know that’s not the case. I was really talking about cricket and maybe it was not very subtle of me to mention John Major. What
            to the people you know was appalling Raddy.
            I only meant that Labour made a total pigs ear of things when they were trusted to continue with a Conservative agenda but
            went off with their own destructive agenda.

            • Raddiy

              Kitty, Apologies for being a tad sharp with you

              Labour made a total pigs ear of it, after the Conservatives had made a total pigs ear of it.

              That there was a brief interlude between the episodes of total pigs-earing, was probably more the effect of Major and his cronies having the doodoo scared out of them over the ERM debacle, to the point that for the remainder of their period in office, they kept their heads down and more or less left the economy to look after itself.
              Any success was probably more accident than design, and probably a result of Major spending more time watching cricket, than working for his EU masters.

              • Kitty MLB

                You are never sharp to me, blogging fishy chum. You, Mobius, myself and others fought
                many a battle together in the days of olde,
                and did so with humour and good grace
                regardless of political differences.

                • Wessex Man

                  Are you the Boudicca of the Village Green, you little old warrior you!

        • Colonel Mustard

          That’s it and the BBC have now banished it from our TV screens (too English) in favour of curling (zzzzz) whilst the international cricket taipans (God rot their socks) have turned it into football with horrible coloured kit and advertising. It is noisy now too. The audiences being no gentlemen.

  • global city

    Everyone, repeat this fact mantra-like, over and over again….

    If UKIP whither away then so will the offer of a referendum.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      What about a referendum on an article 50 declaration, and its triggering of a real negotiation?

      • global city

        I’d go for that.
        I would, however, rather see a new government simply repeal the 72 Act however, as that would cut all ties, from which any new agreements on cooperation would be just that. They would be single intergovernmental agreements that the ECJ would have no link to.

        I do not trust the government, Whitehall or the EU to not leave in little booby traps that would see us eventually dragged back into the nation building exercise, no matter what we agreed at the time under article 50.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          That would be the perfect referendum to offer:

          “Do you want to declare article 50 and engage in a 2 year renegotiation followed by a referendum on accepting the proposed changes, or do you want to declare out immediately and be done with it?”

  • Colonel Mustard

    Why would anyone genuinely wanting to force re-negotiation set out to neutralise any influence of UKIP in the European parliament? On the contrary, if Cameron was serious, he should be seeking to use them as a foil beyond their election success. He is slippery and doesn’t mean anything he says. The only things that he can be relied upon for are incontinent interventions in matters that have nothing to do with him like Twitter mob rows, supporting UAF street fighting gangs and looking after his chums in Common Purpose, even when they belong to other parties.

  • Grey Wolf

    What is going on here?

    Corpses are being dug up from the graveyard of politics, reanimated by the globalist, lying media and then unleashed on the subjects of Her Majesty? You can almost see the rotting flesh, grave mud clinging to the shreds of clothing, gurgling sound emanating from their throats and arms outstretched as they waddle towards civilisation.

  • BarkingAtTreehuggers

    Indeed they do. Invoke article 352 of the Lisbon Treaty, now!

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …is that something you and all your sockpuppets do, lad?

    • Denis_Cooper

      Article 352?

      That’s the “We’ll do as we damn well please” clause, how would it help to invoke that?

      “Article 352

      (ex Article 308 TEC)

      1. If action by the Union should prove necessary, within the framework of the policies defined in the Treaties, to attain one of the objectives set out in the Treaties, and the Treaties have not provided the necessary powers, the Council, acting unanimously on a proposal from the Commission and after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament, shall adopt the appropriate measures. Where the measures in question are adopted
      by the Council in accordance with a special legislative procedure, it shall also act unanimously on a proposal from the Commission and after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.

      2. Using the procedure for monitoring the subsidiarity principle referred to in Article 5(3) of the Treaty on European Union, the Commission shall draw national Parliaments’ attention to proposals based on this Article.

      3. Measures based on this Article shall not entail harmonisation of Member States’ laws or regulations in cases where the Treaties exclude such harmonisation.

      4. This Article cannot serve as a basis for attaining objectives pertaining to the common foreign and security policy and any acts adopted pursuant to this Article shall respect the limits set out in Article 40, second paragraph, of the Treaty on European Union.”

      • BarkingAtTreehuggers

        That is precisely why I mention it – “We’ll do as we damn well please” clause, a very apt description.
        ‘You’ signed it, now live with it. You cannot say you did not know what ‘you’ signed, that is just an argument for ‘your’ own incompetence given that the Premable of Rome has been with us ALL OUR LIVES.

        • Denis_Cooper


  • FlippityGibbit

    This says it all. The Tory Party so desperate to raise their “dead parrot” policy of “renegotiation” they have to enlist support from a VERY Ex PM who was not exactly setting the world ablaze with public support even when in office.They’d have done better getting a spiritualist to proclaim Maggie had contacted them from beyond the grave to support “re-negotiation!” But then, even the spiritualist would know it was a blatant and bare-faced lie.
    When Dodgy Dave broke his promise in not giving us a referendum we said 2015 would be our In Out Referendum on EU Membership. So Mote it be!

    • global city

      EVERYTHING that Cameron does or says is geared to getting him over the line in 2015. After that he does not care what happens. The betrayals needed to do this, and the explosion within the Tory party when he refuses to try for genuine rolling back of the EU, could lead to the death of the Tory party…. but Cameron does not care, he just wants to be prime Minister for two terms.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        He’s not going to be, but he is going to lead to the death of his own party.

  • @PhilKean1

    I ask you to give this some serious thought.

    (1) – Business and activists ask Cameron to set-out what he is wanting to achieve in a renegotiation.

    (2) – And they are asking him to recommend leaving the EU if he doesn’t get a satisfactory renegotiation.

    Now, these demands would never have needed to be made of Prime Ministers in times past. But these are different times, and a VERY different Prime Minister.
    Also, the people who have allowed this wholly unsatisfactory and damaging situation to arise are sitting on Cameron’s backbenches, and in the Cameron-friendly media.

    But let us examine the situation. Cameron doesn’t want to leave the EU. That much is obvious. So he is treading a precarious tightrope of trying not to get himself into a situation where the clearly defined failure to achieve his stated aims leaves him with no alternative BUT to campaign to leave the EU.

    (a) – Setting out his list of demands BEFORE the 2015 General Election would show his MPs if he is serious about achieving a credible renegotiation. I can tell them now : he isn’t.

    (b) – However, if he was to take a risk and set out a list of demands that his MPs WOULD regard as credible and that would unite them behind him, he will not only look silly and impotent when he fails in every respect, but he would also be expected to recommend leaving the EU.
    And when it is plain to see that Cameron would never leave the EU under any circumstances, you start to see the real pickle he finds himself in.

    But I ask you this. This man is our Prime Minister. He has our future and the future of our children in his hands. Do you find what he is doing acceptable?

    And don’t forget. As hard as this it to believe of an allegedly “Conservative” PM, it was he, and his Chancellor, who urged the EU to accelerate the creation of a political and economic union process that was always going to try to include Britain in it.

    • @PhilKean1

      Cameron supports …………

      * Getting Britain included in EU-US and Canada-EU trade deals.
      * Allowing any EU national access to live and work in the UK.
      * The Federal enabler that is the Single Market.
      * The European arrest Warrant and opting-in to EU Crime and Justice legislation
      * Further “enlargement” of the EU – with the astounding proviso that new members, say, like Turkey, should face longer transitional controls to prevent immediate influxes of immigrants into the UK.

      I mean, HECK – this is a C.V that Jacques Delors would be proud of.


    • Aberrant_Apostrophe

      He’s caught between the Devil and the deep blue sea. Which one is the EU and which the Tory party, I’ll leave you to work out.

      • global city

        Well, the EU an’t be the deep blue sea, as they see those things as ‘farawayland’…and ‘thar be dragons’!

        How can any entity be taken seriously on global issues when it views it’s seaboards as the periphery? What other land thinks of it’s coasts as peripheral? Ever other mighty entity sees them as their gateways to others. I think that this mindset betrays more about the EU’s limits and dangers than most other things.

        Just think about it. How closed minded and inward looking do you have to be to develop such a focus?

  • Blindsideflanker

    Cameron , when caught out by UKIP , having failed to make good his promise that he wouldn’t let matters rest there post Lisbon, didn’t bother to attempt to shore up his lost integrity over the EU, he gave the responsibility to make a hasty study of the EU competences to the Foreign Office, the most fanatically pro EU department of state, who not surprisingly decided every thing was just fine. delivering to Cameron a vacuous renegotiating document.

    Cameron treats us like fools, he thinks we will be suckered in to believing him by the act, not the substance of the act. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the same thing played out with his appointment to the EU.

  • misomiso

    I cant think of a worse choice of who to be our EU commissioner than Andrew Lansley. The NHS reforms went brilliantly didn’t they?

    I dont know why Cameron is so enamoured of him. He shouldnt’ even be in the cabinet.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Consolation prize I suspect. When he was at university he was an activist of the Broad Left (which included CPGB) and seems to have risen through the Tory ranks from the usual wonk background as an opportunist rather than a conviction conservative. There is some suggestion of brown nosing in his character. He is supposed to be a strategist but there is not much evidence of expertise in that field and his presentational and debating skills are appalling as revealed many times on QT, where on some occasions his performance was actually embarrassing to the government.

    • Brian K

      Maybe a best choice, someone useless I mean.

      Remember the commissioners are not there to ‘bat for Britain’ they are there to advance the cause of Brussels.

      I hope Callanan won’t stoop to accept if it is offered to him.

      In any case this article is not about a commissioner it’s about an envoy for Cameron’s renegotiation ploy.

      • misomiso

        Id rather see him appoint Callannan as he has a great deal of insider knowledge and contacts, and then Andrew Lansley could be appointed as the renegotiation Tsar. That way everybody would be happpy. It would be a HUGE mistake to appoint Lansley as he will be frozen out by the Eurocracy.

        Ultimately though, the big reform we want is an opt out of Free movement of Labour, and for other countries to be able to opt out as well (Netherlands, France, Denmark, Sweden).

        I dont think we’ll get it, and I dont think Cameron wants to get it either.

  • Rhoda Klapp8

    How is the renegotiation to take place? How can it deliver without a new treaty? What is the typical timescale for a new treaty?

    There is no way this can be done by 2017 even if the tories win outright. If someone else wins how will it happen. If a coalition ensues, how will it happen.

    It’s a complete fantasy designed solely to get the tories a narrative, no matter how infantile.

    Now, why does the Spectator, which can easily find the answers to the questions above, permit the fantasy to continue? In order to betray its readers?

    • Blindsideflanker

      How is he going to deliver a renegotiation without needing a new Treaty? Simple, request a renegotiation that is so insubstantial that it doesn’t require any treaty change.

      There is only one point of substance to Cameron’s renegotiation document, that of benefit tourism, where he seeks to extend it from three months to six months. This can already be achieved withinb the EU’s regulatory framework, I believe some countries already have a six month delay in paying out benefits.

      • Rhoda Klapp8

        Is benefit tourism from the EU actually a problem? I realise it is undesirable, but I think it is rather the EU folks who take jobs who have a greater effect when it happens in large numbers. Note, the numbers are the problem, not the strivers. Government seems not to be ready to curb those numbers whether EU or not, whether disruptive or not.

        • Makroon

          Correct, but that doesn’t fit the scaremongering benefit scrounger myth that Cameron has also bought into, (for purely tactical reasons).

          The job of Commissioner is a top EU bureaucrat job, NOT a job to renegotiate UK terms. First of all, what portfolio is Lansley supposed to get ? Is he qualified ?

          I don’t think Osborne trusts Cameron to be lead-negotiator on the reforms, and wants to do the job himself. Trouble is, both Osborne (and Gove another who might make a fist of it), are rabid foreign interventionists, and either as Foreign Secretary, would almost guarantee more foreign adventures.

        • global city

          No. It is an entirely constructed straw man that Cameron will claim to have knocked down. Farage actually stated this during the debates with Clegg, but the argument is still made. It is of no significance what so ever.

      • Aberrant_Apostrophe

        Very few other countries have non-contributory welfare systems, which is a major disincentive to benefit tourism. Why else are thousands of economic refugees queueing up at Calais to get to the UK, and not staying in France or any of the dozen or so countries they’ve passed through?

        • Makroon

          Because the UK has good growth and lowish unemployment, and is not as hostile as France.
          Pretty obvious really.

          • global city

            That may make sense if the same situation was not happening pre-crash, but it was.

    • Mark Myword

      Art 48 of the Lisbon Treaty sets out the procedures for amending the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU. Any national government can initiate these procedures. There are two procedures: the ordinary procedure, and the simplified procedure. Matters like controlling the free movement of Labour would fall under the simplified procedure. Providing there was general agreement, any amendments could be agreed and ratified in a year. If there were difficult negotiations it could take longer – perhaps up to two years. No new treaty would required – just the amendment of the existing treaty. If an objective of our renegoiation were to remove the ‘Ever closer Union’ preamble, then full blown treaty change would be needed. That would take longer and be more fraught. On the other hand, a new treaty will be needed relatively soon to further integrate the EuroZone, such a treaty would trigger the referendum lock legislation that is already in place to ensure that the UK has a referendum before the new treaty is signed.

      • Rhoda Klapp8

        You seriously think free movement of labour is either on the list of changes or deliverable with no treaty? It is an intrinsic part of the EU. A principle. It is not up for change. As the Swiss are finding, it applies to them even though they aren’t in the EU.

        • Mark Myword

          I gave a factual response to your questions. I repeat: Art 48 of the Lisbon Treaty provides a mechanism for amending the TFEU without a new treaty being agreed. The free movement provisions fall within Title IV of the TFEU, therefore is amendable without a new treaty. The Swiss have bilateral agreements with the EU – they have not signed Lisbon or the TFEU, so I cannot see the relevance to whether a new treaty will be needed or not.

          • Rhoda Klapp8

            Well, you establish possibility. Plausibility is another thing. But first to start. Article 48 you say. What can we get back with that? How many must agree?

            • Mark Myword

              Might I suggest that you download the Consolidated texts of Lisbon Treaty and the TFEU from the government website and read them for yourself.

              • Wessex Man

                Might I suggest that you stop being so patronising to other people, why on earth should Rhoda Klapp bother reading the very same Treaty that Kenneth Clarke was too bone idle to. We need to leave this floundering EU, that is my opinion and probably he opinion of the majority of people here.

                I don’t give a *******! about the text of the Lisbon Treaty and I’m sure that Rhoda doesn’t either. All I want for Christmas is an honest in/out referendum without people like you and Hooky babe trrying to baffle people into submission!

                • Mark Myword

                  I am not her personal research assistant nor yours either.

                • Wessex Man

                  I never asked you to be and would not accept any research from you unless verified by half a dozen different sources!

                • Grey Wolf

                  Good response, as expected.

                  The problem with people like Mark is that they are ”very civilised”, even to their detriment one might say. The hallmark of such a person in the West today is being tangled up in the legal form of things and debate that endlessly without having any fundamental belief in anything at all. They consider Ideology as something suspicious, perhaps dangerous. The problem is EU is an ideological project which has a legal form.

                  The substance is Ideology, the form is Legal.

                  The champions of EU will therefore love people like Mark.

          • Adro

            Mark, if there is one thing I have learned about so many of the commenters on here, it is that facts are often an anathema to them. Still, excellent work clarifying the position under TFEU.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            As mentioned, you haven’t laid out the Cameroons’ plan. You’ve laid out the EUSSR’s lingo. That’s no help at all.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        I don’t see the point of your post. It doesn’t describe the issues to be negotiated, nor the mechanisms for doing so. Let us know when the Cameroons decide to let others in on all that. I suspect we’ll remain waiting, right up until next May, when Dave’s head gets mounted on a spike .

        • Mark Myword

          Rhoda Klapp asked three questions – I provided the factual answers. I am no more privy to what will be renegotiated than you are – but that was not the question.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            I didn’t recognize the tone or intent of her questions as a request for Wiki recitations re the EUSSR. It was rooted in domestic politics and policy, and your post was unresponsive to that, as mentioned. .

          • Rhoda Klapp8

            Let’s be fair, Mark answered the questions. Factually, I guess. But some how I am not going to find the time to read the treaty. If I did I’d still need someone like Mark to explain it to me.. How could such a set of documents ever be a fair subject for a referendum?

            • Mark Myword

              Thank you for your response. I think you should always know what you are up against. If we are to leave the EU, or renegotiate the terms of our membership, we need to be clear about what steps have to be followed to ensure everything is legal in both international and domestic terms. For example, if a future government decided to leave it would serve notice under Art 50, if it decided to renegotiate it would serve notice under Art 48. Of course some argue that we should simply abrogate our treaty obligations, but I cannot see any UK government doing that.

      • Denis_Cooper

        “On the other hand, a new treaty will be needed relatively soon to further integrate the EuroZone, such a treaty would trigger the referendum lock legislation that is already in place to ensure that the UK has a referendum before the new treaty is signed.”

        We’ve been there and done that and there was no referendum; from October 13th 2011:

        “Minister for Europe David Lidington explains why the first use of the European Union Act 2011 does not require a referendum in the UK.

        This Treaty change will provide a solid legal basis for euro area members to set up the European Stability Mechanism to provide financial assistance to euro area countries in crisis.

        The Foreign Secretary has today laid a statement before Parliament under the terms of the European Union Act 2011. In it, he states his opinion that the EU Treaty change Decision does not fall within section 4 of the EU Act and no referendum is required in the UK.

        Speaking today the Minister for Europe said:

        “This statement is the first stage in the enhanced public and Parliamentary scrutiny of EU Treaty changes introduced under the provisions of the EU Act 2011. As this Treaty change Decision relates to a provision that only applies to euro area Member States, it does not fall within section 4 of the Act and there is no requirement for a referendum.

        “The UK supports the euro area’s stated commitment to do what it takes to ensure the financial stability of the euro area as a whole. The establishment of the ESM is part of that response. It is important that national approval procedures of this Treaty change now take place. If ratified by all 27 Member States, this will enable the permanent stability mechanism to be established by the euro area members as planned.

        “Today, the Foreign Secretary has laid a statement before Parliament to the effect that, in his opinion, the decision made at the European Council of 24/25 March 2011 to amend Article 136 TFEU does not fall within section 4 of the Act and no referendum is required in the UK.”

        • Mark Myword

          I accept this was done and, in my opinion, wrongly done. However, a fullblown treaty which almost certainly would contain provisions for the working of the EuroZone that require only QMV to bring into effect would trigger the act. If the government tried to avoid such a referendum, they could be subject to judicial review.

          • Denis_Cooper

            No, it wouldn’t; what Lidington said about that treaty change:

            “As this Treaty change Decision relates to a provision that only applies to euro area Member States, it does not fall within section 4 of the Act and there is no requirement for a referendum.”

            would also apply to any other treaty change where the provisions only applied to the eurozone states, and you can expect that the UK government would make sure that was the case and also that the other EU governments would recognise the need to avoid anything which would trigger a referendum in the UK.

            That is why Hague deliberately wrote that particular fine print into his “referendum lock” law, Section 4(4)(b):


            so that we would have no direct say over whatever EU treaty changes were given to the eurozone states in order to preserve the euro intact.

            • Mark Myword

              We will agree to differ, or to wait until the moment arrives and then see how matters play out.

              • Denis_Cooper

                The law as written by Hague is clear; no matter how much an EU treaty change might AFFECT the UK there will be no referendum unless on paper some provision will APPLY to the UK. And there would be no point in seeking judicial review, because the judge would simply say that the law has been written in that way. And it’s the same with any treaty for the accession for a new member state to the EU, another blanket exemption under Section 4(4)(c), invoked by Hague for the case of Croatia here:

                “All of the provisions of the Croatia Accession Treaty relate to the accession of a new member State to the European Union and thus the Croatia Accession Treaty as
                a whole is subject to the exemption provided for in section 4(4)(c) of the Act.”

      • Smithersjones2013

        On the other hand, a new treaty will be needed relatively soon to further integrate the EuroZone

        Will it? I’m sure the Commission will find a loophole (such as the aspiration of ever closer union) by which to use Article 352 of Lisbon (the enabling clause) to push through any changes that the qualified majority want regarding the EZ without entering full blown treaty negotiations.

      • Mike

        I can’t see many EU countries agreeing to restrictions of movement when they can dump their own parasites on the UK at our cost.

    • global city

      This seedy connection with Cameron’s date and the enactment of huge parts of the Lisbon Treaty do need to be better publicised than it currently is.

      • High Sheriff

        Cameron’s formative years were just those.

    • HookesLaw

      And how do we succeed in gaining any advantage once we have upped and left. Why should it be miraculously easy to deal with the eu once we have left … But impossible whilst in it.
      You have no answers and UKIP will in fact continue since it is realising that it can mine a seam of bigotry.

      • Alexsandr

        they will have to negotiate. not only are the UK and EU members signatories to world trade agreements, but the EU needs the UK to export to. Braun, Siemens, BASF. VW, BMW, Audi, Reanault et al cannot lose the UK market and will tell frau frump that loud and clear.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          If the UK declared Article 50, and then opened up its good offices to all those nations affected by a termination of exports, matters would quickly come to a reasonable settlement. There’d be a few domestic protectionist wolves to fight off, sure, but nothing a determined government couldn’t handle.

      • Wessex Man

        I’ve just rembered that you haven’t apologised for the bigotted nasty Tory ex-Mayor of Swindon’s disgusting comments about disabled people. come on Hooky babe let’s have an apology for this Bigot’s words!

      • Smithersjones2013

        Repeating the same old crap again I see. Oh god you are so boring you lobotomised degenerate slug!

        The negotiating comes as part of the withdrawal process and given the UK will become the EU’s largest external export market its reasonable to think there will be plenty of motivation on the EU’s side for it to be an amicable parting…

    • Makroon

      Major is quite wrong (and not for the first time).
      There were nationalist victories in the UK and France, but most other “rebellions” were leftish parties protesting about austerity.
      It is already clear that Hollande will ignore the FN vote for “less Europe”, and demand a lifting of austerity (i.e. mostly more funds and derrogations for featherbedding French companies and subsidies).
      The “re-negotiation” is likely to be mired in all sorts of interests demanding concessions, many of them contradictory.

      • Wessex Man

        erm, Sweden, Finland, Austria, Germany, Italy and Greece to name a few!

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