The House of Commons debated yesterday the Finance Bill, including new clauses on VAT on sanitary protection products. During the debate Bill Cash made the following interventions: ...continue reading

The Prime Minister made a statement, yesterday, at the House of Commons, on the most recent European Council. Bill Cash made the following intervention: ...continue reading

The Prime Minister announced on Thursday 15th October that he was writing in November to Donald Tusk, the President of the European council who chairs EU summits, detailing the changes he hopes to obtain in the EU, before putting the outcome to a referendum by the end of 2017 on whether the UK should remain in the EU. This was viewed as the Prime Minister reacting to pressure from Jean-Claude Juncker and other European Union leaders.

The matter was raised at a press conference. At 8.59am, it was made very clear by No. 10 to journalists that it would be a confidential letter and that MPs and public would not be allowed to see or to have access to the letter.

A journalist telephoned Sir Bill Cash, Chairman of the House of Commons’ European Scrutiny Committee as the press conference progressed and asked for his response to the issue of confidentiality. Sir Bill told the journalist that this letter must be made available to the European Scrutiny Committee, Members of Parliament and therefore to members of the public as voters.

Then the journalist put this back to the Prime Minister’s spokesman. The No. 10’s official response through the spokesman was that it would not be made available to MPs or the public.

The journalist then requested a further response from Bill Cash on this matter. Bill Cash said it was Parliament that takes precedence over diplomacy and he would use the power of the European Scrutiny Committee to call for papers – and added that this letter must be placed in the House of Commons and made available to Parliament and the public. Bill Cash made clear his committee are already engaged in an inquiry on the terms of renegotiation and the sovereignty of Parliament – and therefore he would use the powers of the committee to call for papers and to have the letter made available to the committee.

Within half an hour, at 9.37am, having refused originally to make the letter available to MPs, the Government’s position changed.

It is now going to be made available to the European Scrutiny Committee, MPs and to members of the public. “The letter will be shared with MPs and made public,” said a No. 10 official. Bill Cash welcomed the decision to publish the letter clarifying Mr Cameron's demands. He said: "I am extremely pleased. The whole nation will be grateful.”

David Cameron said before yesterday’s European Council, "I'll be setting out again the four vital areas, where we need change, laying down what those changes will be at the beginning of November, so we quicken the negotiations in the run-up to the December council,". When Bill Cash knew that David Cameron would unveil his EU renegotiation demands in a letter to be sent, in early November, to the European Council President, Donald Tusk, and then to be distributed to the other 27 EU member states, he immediately requested for this document to be published. Number 10 initially indicated that the letter won’t be published. The European Scrutiny Committee has already launched an inquiry into the UK Government's renegotiation of EU membership: parliamentary sovereignty and scrutiny, and Bill Cash said that he would use all possible means for the letter to be provided to the European Scrutiny Committee and to Parliament. This was strongly supported by the Conservatives for Britain. Then, Downing Street back down and agreed to provide the letter to the European Scrutiny Committee and to Parliament. The Government accepted therefore Bill Cash’s request for the letter to be made public. As Bill Cash said to PA it was "essential that people in this country and in our Parliament know what is being said to other member states on the future of our country". He then further stressed “Parliament precedes diplomatic negotiations”.

The EU, and its legal system, as well as the role of the European Court of Justice, have a significant impact on the daily lives and business of the British people. One can find EU influence everywhere and yet most of the provisions do not work, or impose burdens on business, such as the EU Health and Safety regulations that have been eroding Britain’s trade and economic well-being. In fact, the EU overregulation and, particularly, employment and social laws, such as the Temporary Agency Workers Directive and Working Time Directive, place unnecessary burdens on businesses, particularly on SMEs and micro-enterprises, and have been preventing growth, prosperity and employment. ...continue reading